Maryland Assault Weapons Ban in jeopardy after Court of Appeals ruling

Yesterday, the 4th Circuit Appeals Court ruled 2-1 to remand a case reviewing Maryland’s AWB back to the District court and for the District court to apply a more stringent standard of review to the case. In the majority opinion, Chief Judge William B. Traxler Jr stated that the Maryland AWB “significantly burdens the exercise of the right to arm oneself at home.”

Maryland had originally passed their assault weapons ban in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. The ban regulated over 40 specific guns by name, and as many such bans do, limited the possession and access to magazines with a capacity higher than 10 rounds. The law was challenged by a group of plaintiffs that included national organizations such as the NSSF; they were met with defeat at the US District Court level, when that court ruled that Maryland’s law was in fact Constitutional.

The victory at the Court of Appeals level means that the case will get sent back to the District Court for review. The Appeals court has found that Maryland’s law does violate the Constitution and that the District Court should apply strict scrutiny. The Maryland DA has said that he plans to seek an en banc or Supreme Court appeal to reverse the Appeal Court’s decision.

For a more detailed analysis from an actual legal expert, please visit the Volokh Conspiracy.

SHOT Show news: derpy AR triggers and guns you can’t buy

Switching gears this morning to bring you the worst of SHOT Show, and we begin with a company called Fostech, best known for making the AK Bumpski stock, which is a fun piece of kit for turning money into smoke and noise. At SHOT, they announced their new drop in AR trigger, called “Echo.” Here’s what it is, and why it’s derp: when you pull the trigger to fire your AR, it fires a round. Then when you let the trigger reset, it fires another round! It’s such a dumb, pointless, and potentially unsafe idea I predict it will sell like hotcakes to derpy-clownshoe guys who just can’t wait to drop one into their shitty homebuild AR so they can do wicked sick double taps at the range with their idiot friends. Ugh.

Up next in red-hot derp, we have the perpetual purveyors of putrid products, Kel-Tec. Oh yes, my favorite whipping boy is bringing out three new products, which means they’ll ship two to Oleg Volk for photography and never actually send any to dealers. First up, is an NFA-ready Kel-Tec Shotgun, to which I have to ask…why? Who wanted this product? The only people who actually own Kel-Tecs are some pretend operators who throw them around padded rooms. Anyway, now they have a version that drops the capacity by four rounds and shortens it up so it’s an NFA item. It also comes with a vertical handguard that will probably shear off under vigorous operation so can pump a round into your hand!

NFA ready KSG photo courtesy Outdoor Hub, click to view their coverage
NFA ready KSG photo courtesy Outdoor Hub, click to view their coverage

They’re also introducing a new version of their Sub-2000 carbine, which is a gun I really want to like except for that fact that I’ve seen two of them blow right the hell up from out of battery detonations. But now you can blow yourself up using M&P magazines, or Sig P226/Beretta 92 mags all in the same gun! Awesome!

But really, the worst offender is this stupid trigger. It’s just dumb. It’s also potentially dangerous, but then again the sort of people who buy it probably aren’t really overly concerned with safety anyway.

I need a drink.

Thompson/Center Arms™ Introduces T/C® Compass™ Bolt-Action Rifle

New Feature-Rich Bolt-Action Rifle to be Available for the Fall 2016 Hunting Season

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (January, 19th 2016) — Thompson/Center Arms today announced that it has expanded its line of innovative products with the introduction of the new T/C Compass. Designed to deliver today’s sport shooters and hunters with a feature-rich bolt-action rifle at an affordable price point, the T/C Compass elegantly blends American-made craftsmanship and value into a professional-grade rifle. The new T/C Compass, with its advanced feature set, is the latest entry into the company’s broad line of Thompson/Center rifles, all designed to deliver the performance, accuracy and ease of maintenance that has become the hallmark of the Thompson/Center Arms brand.

“The concept behind the T/C Compass was to be able to offer dedicated hunters and shooters an affordable bolt-action rifle that exceeded their expectations in terms of accuracy, reliability and functionality,” said Danielle Sanville, Brand Manager for Thompson/Center Arms. “The new T/C Compass expertly meets each of these needs while delivering a highly-capable bolt-action rifle that can match any budget. The new rifles will begin shipping in early summer,giving consumers plenty of time to purchase, mount optics and bring them to the range for sighting in before this year’s hunting season.”

At the center of the rifle is the T/C Compass’ aluminum pillar bedding design. This tested bedding system positively locates the receiver and free-floats the barrel for outstanding accuracy over the lifetime of the rifle. To further establish a solid, smooth action, the T/C Compass features a three-lug bolt design with 60-degree lift, which enables optimal scope clearance when loading and unloading the rifle.

Shooters of all skill levels will appreciate the T/C Compass’ user-adjustable single-stage trigger, which allows them to pre-set their preferred pull rate between 3.5 and 5 pounds with minimal over-travel. The T/C Compass’ buttoned-rifled barrel complete with 5R rifling provides consistent, reliable accuracy that is backed by Thompson/Center’s Minute of Angle (MOA) guarantee. The MOA guarantee promises that each rifle will deliver a one-inch, three-shot group at 100 yards with the use of premium ammunition.

Each T/C Compass is also standard with a factory threaded barrel for use with compatible suppressors, compensators and muzzle breaks, but also comes standard with a thread-protector for when these accessories are not in use. For improved handling in all field environments, the T/C Compass features an ergonomic, lightweight classic stock design with modern contours and textured grip panels. Operating controls on the rifle consist of an easy-to-use 3-position safety with bolt lock. This time-tested design provides a tactile feel, clear visibility and easy access when on the range or in the field.

On top of the receiver, the T/C Compass comes drilled and tapped and is furnished with scope bases for easy installation of optics. Swivel studs are conveniently located at the forward and rear portion of the stock to help simplify transport while in the field. A detachable rotary magazine (5+1 in standard calibers and 4+1 in magnum calibers) is standard with each rifle and fits flush with the stock in order to provide smooth, consistent feeding between shots. Like all bolt-action rifles from Thompson/Center, the new T/C Compass is backed by a limited lifetime warranty delivering added peace of mind to hunters and shooters everywhere.

T/C Compass Specifications:
Calibers: 204 Ruger, 5.56, .22-250, .243, .270, 7mm-08, 7mm, .308, .30-06 and .300 Win Mag
Barrel Length: 22 inches (standard calibers) 24 inches (magnum calibers)
Overall Length: 41- 41.5 inches
Weight: 7.25 – 7.5 lbs.
Length of Pull: 13.25 inches
Rate of Twist: 1:9, 1:10, and 1:12
MSRP: $399

Nighthawk Custom Guns Hi-Power

Nighthawk Hi-Power

So. Nighthawk is making a Hi-Power. It’s $2,900 it looks amazing, and I need one. I don’t really have any insightful commentary on this because 1) I love BHPs, and 2) every Nighthawk I’ve ever played with has been friggin’ awesome. Do want. Want a lot.

Continue reading “Nighthawk Custom Guns Hi-Power”

ICORE moves International Revolver Championship to Universal Shooting Academy in Florida

In a press release that came out this weekend, the International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts announced that the 2016 International Revolver Championship will be held at Universal Shooting Academy in Frostproof, FL. This is a huge change, moving the match from the Hogue Action Pistol range in San Luis Obispo, CA.

ICORElogo135

I think that Universal Shooting Academy is a fantastic facility and that they’ll do a great job hosting the match. I’ve shot probably a dozen matches at USA over the years, and with the exception of one IDPA Nationals where I needed SCUBA gear to shoot, I always had a great time.

But I don’t like this call, and that’s where this post changes from reporting the news to an editorial. To understand, you have to look at a little bit of shooting sports history. In 2011, I shot the last Steel Challenge that was held in its historic location in Piru, CA. It was awesome. 2012-2013 the match moved to Frostproof at USA, and in 2013 the match had its lowest attendance in over a decade. This isn’t a knock on Frank Garcia or Shannon Smith, the operators of Universal Shooting Academy, because they run a solid business and have a great facility.

However, there’s a data point here from Steel Challenge that says when you move a West Coast match to the East Coast, you run the risk of losing participation. I really can’t stress hard enough that I’m not knocking Universal here, because I do think it’s a great facility, but it’s also in Frostproof. Which, if you’ve never been there, is in the middle of nowhere, FL. It’s about an hour and a half from Tampa or Orlando, there aren’t a lot of great restaurants around, and it’s just…not a great place to hang out for an extended period of time. Maybe I’m just a homer and miss California, but I think people would much rather go to the central coast region of CA for a match than go to Frostproof.

I hope I’m wrong, and I hope the IRC continues to flourish now that it’s been moved to Universal Shooting Academy. I will say that November is the best time to hold a match down there, as the weather is actually pretty nice! Hopefully I’ll be able to pull the resources together and go shoot my first ever IRC at Frostproof this year.

CARACAL COMMITS TO US MARKET WITH WILCOX PARTNERSHIP

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Caracal and Wilcox Industries have announced today a new strategic partnership that will see Caracal firearms produced for the first time in the United States from Wilcox’s world-class manufacturing facility in Newington, New Hampshire.

Senior officials from Caracal, the Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC) and Wilcox Industries.
Senior officials from Caracal, the Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC) and Wilcox Industries.

On the new partnership, Hamad Al Ameri, CEO of Caracal said, “This partnership takes Caracal to the next level, and supports our long-term strategic goals for the United States. Our two highly-experienced teams will be working hand-in-hand, collaborating and sharing expertise on the design and development as well as the manufacturing and testing of new, exciting Caracal products customised for the US market.”

Wilcox is well-known to the industry as an innovation leader when it comes to tactical products developed to support special forces units in the United States and globally, and are highly sought after by many of the top gun makers.

Under the terms of the partnership, Caracal’s US-based subsidiary, Caracal USA will co-locate its headquarters with Wilcox, with its Idaho office serving as its marketing arm. Target weapons for production at the facility include the 5.56mm CAR 814 direct impingement, semi-automatic rifle and the CAR 816 short stroke gas-piston semi-automatic rifle, both of which are designed for the US sporting market. Select-fire variants of these rifles will also be made for the defence and security market. Caracal’s new generation Enhanced F 9mm pistol will also be made in the facility. The production of the CAR family of rifles will also enable Caracal USA and Wilcox to now compete for US government arms contracts.

Speaking on the strategic partnership, Mr. Jim Teetzel, founder and CEO of Wilcox Industries, said, “We are proud to have Caracal working and collaborating alongside our team. This unique partnership represents the future of the industry, where leading experts from around the world unite to develop cutting-edge products for the market.”

The partnership will also provide Caracal with manufacturing and distribution rights for the Wilcox fusion system and the 40mm Grenade Launcher Module (GLM).

Caracal and Wilcox will be showcasing their latest products at SHOT Show 2016 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 19th to 22nd. For members of the media and industry buyers, Caracal will have live demonstrations of select products at Industry Day at The Range located in Boulder City, Nevada on January 18th.

Wilcox is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of high quality tactical equipment for use by military and law enforcement in the United States. Product lines include Night Vision Mounting Systems, Small Arms Systems, the PATRIOT Hybrid Life Support System and Combat Systems including an accessory line that significantly enhances rifle modularity, all of which present a significant tactical advantage for the end user.

Caracal is the only OEM small arms company in the Middle East, and it is now being backed by a strong industrial parent company, the Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC). This unique arrangement allows for Caracal to receive maximum resources and support in order to drive the next phase of growth for the company, including its new US presence.

Caracal CEO Hamad Al Ameri and Wilcox Industries CEO Jim Teetzel endorse their new strategic partnership.
Caracal CEO Hamad Al Ameri and Wilcox Industries CEO Jim Teetzel endorse their new strategic partnership.

Attendees can visit Caracal at its booth 2829 in Hall 1and Wilcox at its booth 7208 in Hall 1 during SHOT Show.

Smith & Wesson® Introduces 2nd Generation M&P® 15 SPORT™ Rifle

Market Leading MSR Delivers Expanded Features, Added Value

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (January 11, 2016) — Smith & Wesson Corp. today announced that it has expanded its popular M&P family of Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) with the introduction of the M&P15 SPORT II — a 2nd generation M&P15 SPORT rifle. Backed by the company’s reputation for high quality components and consistent, proven reliability, the new M&P15 SPORT II offers enhanced upgrades to the original, industry leading M&P15 SPORT rifle. Delivering a ready-to-go package with the additional features of a forward bolt assist and dust cover, the M&P15 SPORT II provides added value to this already time-tested platform.

m&p15 sport gen 2

Dependable, accurate and engineered for a wide variety of recreational, sport shooting and professional applications, the M&P15 SPORT II provides the best combination of price and function. Manufactured on a forged upper and lower receiver constructed of 7075 T6 aluminum, the new M&P15 SPORT II is as rugged as it is capable. Chambered in 5.56 NATO, the new rifle has been fitted with a 16-inch barrel comprised of 4140 steel with a 1 in 9-inch twist. For added longevity, the rifle features a durable corrosion resistant Armornite® finish along with a chrome-lined bolt carrier, gas key and firing pin.

The M&P15 SPORT II comes with an adjustable, folding Magpul® MBUS® rear sight and an adjustable A2-post front sight. The standard rifle has been furnished with a six-position telescopic butt stock and a 30-round PMAG®. The MSR measures 35 inches with the stock fully extended and 32 inches collapsed. The M&P15 SPORT II has an unloaded weight of 6.5 pounds and is standard with an A2-style flash suppressor and a forged, integral trigger guard.

The M&P15 SPORT II will also be available in state compliant models.

For more information on Smith & Wesson’s M&P family of products, including the complete line of M&P15 SPORT rifles, please visit www.smith-wesson.com.

About Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC) is a U.S.-based leader in firearm manufacturing and design, delivering a broad portfolio of quality firearms, related products, and training to the global military, law enforcement, and consumer markets. The company’s firearm division brands include Smith & Wesson®, M&P®, and Thompson/Center Arms™. As an industry leading manufacturer of shooting, reloading, gunsmithing and gun cleaning supplies, the company’s accessories division produces innovative, top quality products under Battenfeld Technologies, Inc., including Caldwell® Shooting Supplies, Wheeler® Engineering, Tipton® Gun Cleaning Supplies, Frankford Arsenal® Reloading Tools, Lockdown® Vault Accessories, and Hooyman™ Premium Tree Saws. Smith & Wesson facilities are located in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and Missouri. For more information on Smith & Wesson, call (800) 331-0852 or log on to www.smith-wesson.com.

Ruger gets into the NFA game with the Silent-SR suppressor

Poke around Ruger’s new website for a bit, and you’ll find the product page for Ruger’s first homegrown suppressor, a .22 LR can that fits perfectly with their line of factory threaded .22 rifles and pistols.

Image from Ruger.Com
Image from Ruger.Com

Continue reading “Ruger gets into the NFA game with the Silent-SR suppressor”

The Ruger American Pistol

By now everyone has heard of the newest polymer framed striker fired pistol, launched this week by Ruger. The Ruger American pistol is available in 9mm and .45 ACP, and if you want one they’re in gun shops today.

Image courtesy Ruger
Image courtesy Ruger

Continue reading “The Ruger American Pistol”

Smith & Wesson releases statement on cease & desist letter

Yesterday afternoon, the internet exploded when a custom gunsmith posted a cease and desist letter he received from Smith & Wesson’s outside counsel to instagram. Here are screencaps of the entire letter (more below the jump):

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Needless to say, the response from the internet was fast and savage. S&W’s social media feeds were bombarded with comments from end-users; and there was also a considerable amount of confusion regarding the issue. To help clear that up, here’s a bit of legal analysis from an actual lawyer, Annette Evans:

So we have here Apex, who at their own cost (from what I understand) offered gunsmithing services to keep competitors’ S&W M&P guns running at the S&W title match – IDPA Indoor Nationals – when S&W wouldn’t or couldn’t. Brownells, who really needs no introduction. Some other fine companies making modifications that make people want to buy more M&Ps, and they hire someone from an expensive outside law firm, whose representative list of client industries doesn’t include firearms or manufacturing, to write this flaming pile of [censored], sent out three days before Christmas and imposing a deadline that will be close to impossible to meet (not to mention ruinously expensive) given the holidays? And that’s giving them the benefit of the doubt on the typo for the response deadline.

I take the point that the “Dream M&P” was announced just on Friday (and I’m willing to bet at least a few associates’ weekends were ruined over this), but it’s not like most of these companies don’t have a history of providing a large and popular line of aftermarket accessories and modifications….and in fact, the overreaching demands go far beyond the “Dream M&P” that apparently brought S&W’s hammer down, to products that S&W can’t possibly argue that they weren’t aware of in the past and indeed, they have acknowledged Apex’s work in particular in their own marketing materials (see http://www.smith-wesson.com/…/BallisticIssue001_SW_58…)

AND this C&D is essentially to argue trademark confusion? Against companies that have arguably raised the perception of the brand (unless you want to count the fact that Apex has made any factory trigger S&W put on the M&P a joke) and who S&W has had ample opportunity to partner with? From companies whose general audiences are tinkerers, i.e., people who buy something and put flair on it?

AND if S&W wants to be consistent about this, where are their C&Ds against ATEI? SAI? Saying you have to act to preserve your rights in your marks (a la Kleenex or Thermos’s failure to do so and subsequent genericization) is weak.

First salvo out from outside counsel is ridiculous. This should have been handled by a phone call by senior executives requesting that it be made clear S&W was not a sponsor/supporter and/or a letter from in-house counsel. And long before this, S&W should have been working on partnering with Apex in any case.

See also: Streisand effect.

Annette Evans is an attorney in the Philadelphia area who has been practicing as in-house commercial counsel for over six years, and was previously in private practice doing transactional work. She is currently the lead attorney for a global specialty research services company.

This morning, S&W and Brownells have released a statement on the issue:

James Debney, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson, said, “I would like to clarify that we fully support the Brownells Dream Guns® Project and we appreciate that it showcases the many ways in which our customers – loyal fans of our M&P brand – can choose to customize their M&P firearms. Our decision to contact the companies that worked on the project was intended to protect the trademarks that support the M&P brand. When a product bears the Smith & Wesson and M&P trademarks and is purchased new with our lifetime service policy, we want to be sure that the consumer knows it has passed our demanding quality standards. In our efforts to protect that promise and to preserve the brand that we and our customers cherish, we did not fully understand the intent of the Dream Guns® Project and we overlooked the opportunity to convey our enthusiasm for the creativity and innovation that Brownells and all of the companies involved have demonstrated. We look forward to seeing the firearm on display at the upcoming SHOT Show in January and at the NRA in May.”

“I have spoken with James Debney, President of Smith & Wesson, who called me regarding the M&P® Brownells/Apex Dream Gun™,” said Matt Buckingham, Brownells President. “It was a simple misunderstanding about the intention of the project. He made it clear that Smith & Wesson is excited to have their product featured in this fun and unique way. For our part, we are honored to include it in our Dream Gun lineup. Smith & Wesson is a legendary brand in this industry and we continue to be proud partners with them.”

Before S&W released this statement, rumors had begun to circulate that the C&D letter was sent due to a misunderstanding of the nature of the Dream Gun project, and it appears that was actually the case.

I am glad to see S&W releasing a statement clearing this mess up, as the potential fallout from this would have been considerable. Can you imagine the can of worms it would have opened up if suddenly major manufacturers were threatening every custom gunsmith that worked on their pistols with legal action? Glock vs. Lone Wolf, Colt vs. 1911 smiths, it would be utter chaos.

Again, I’m pleased to see Smith & Wesson stepping out and clearing this mess up.