Ammunition can come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. While all ammunition has a common purpose of destruction there are some finer nuances that any gun enthusiast should be aware of. Some examples of alternative ammunition includes: lead round nose, wad cutter, semi jacketed, hollow point, armor piercing, and boat tail. This is only a portion of those available to give you an idea of the variation. So what makes each of these so different from another? Here we’ll look at some of the strengths and weaknesses some of the more common types of alternative ammunition can offer.
While this type of ammunition has nefarious connotations for its destructive properties it is in fact a very common type of ammunition and is debatably considered more ‘safe’ than some of the alternatives in many situations. The basic idea behind hollow point is that the tip of the bullet will expand upon impact much like an umbrella creating a larger impact hole. This creates a few key characteristics for hollow point ammunition. It has very high stopping power, it is ineffective against armored targets, and it is much less likely to pass through the initial target. For these reasons it is a popular choice for use by law enforcement and almost always used in hostage situations. Yes, hollow points are more destructive than their solid counterparts but in many ways it is a misconception that they are more dangerous. The additional stopping power may often require fewer shots needed in an instance of self defense. Additionally there is a smaller likelihood of collateral damage from passing through initial targets.
Full Metal Jacket
This variation of ammunition is characterized by being composed of a soft core (usually lead) encased entirely by a harder metal (usually gilding metal, cupronickel, or a steel alloy). The harder casing allows for higher muzzle velocities than many other types of ammunition. However, because the hard shell jacketed ammunition will not expand upon impact like hollow point or soft tip ammunition. This means that FMJ ammunition has less stopping power but is a viable solution for lightly armored targets. Jacketed ammunition is most commonly distinguished for its ability to cleanly pass through targets. While there may be a time and place for this type of ammunition it is probably not well suited to self defense as it has a higher potential for collateral damage and less stopping power than hollow point.
While this is a less common type of ammunition and has little place for self defense it does serve an interesting and unique purpose. The basic idea comes from the form of the ammunition which is slightly tapered at the base so that it resembles the hull of a boat if seen by cross section. This allows for the bullet to retain velocity over long distances and resist deflection from cross winds. However, it does take more time for boat tails to ‘settle’ into a steady flight path so it is considered less accurate for close ranges. In general this bullet is only suited to long range shooting but may make for a good addition to your hunting kit should a suitable situation arise.
Guns have come a long ways since their shaky inception centuries prior. Unlike some inventions, guns are not likely to hit any sort of peak in their development. Innovation has been steady and there’s likely much more on the way. Guns are becoming more accurate and reliable with a large number of innovative peripherals being regularly developed. Here we’ll look at some of the cool high-tech guns hitting the market and exactly what makes them more superior to their predecessors.
Corner Shot Launcher
While this firearm might never be available to the general population it’s still a pretty cool piece of equipment and definitely worth mentioning as the future of modern firearms. The basic idea is a gun whose barrel can rotate 90 degrees to shoot around corners (up from 60 degrees in previous models). It comes with an attached camera to allow you to see what you’re shooting without having to put yourself in danger by leaving your cover. This is something that has the potential to revolutionize military tactics and even save lives in the process.
TrackingPoint’s Smart Rifle
This awesome little piece of equipment has the ability to turn anybody into a world class sniper so long as you have $25,000 to spare. This recent innovation unveiled by Texas gun manufacturer TrackingPoint utilizes its patented ‘XactSystem’ to assist with the difficulty of hitting targets at incredible distances. It monitors a wide variety of factors including: wind speed and direction, distance, gravity, the rotation of the earth, and more. It will tell you when and how to fire the weapon to achieve incredible accuracy. Some critics argue that it might ruin the sport by allowing anybody to achieve what usually takes years of training and dedication.
This is one of the few successful attempts to oust the M16’s dominance over military assault rifles. Some of the interesting and important innovations included in this weapon are the built in laser sight, optical scope, and translucent magazines. Additionally, this is a ‘bullpup’ assault rifle which means that it holds its ammunition behind the trigger rather than in front. This allows for the rifle to have a more balanced center of gravity and much more manageable recoil. The SAR 21 maintains the same barrel length as the M16 but it lighter and generally more manageable. Currently this rifle is standard issue in the Singapore military but we’ll see if it can make its way into the mainstream in other parts of the world as well.
While a solid safe is always going to be the best option for safety and security, sometimes you’ve got something special enough that you just need to show it off. Gun display cases can offer a nice compromise between safety, security, and visibility. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind when planning to display your firearms. Here we’ll look at some of the basic precautions you can take to make sure that your items on display will remain secure and in prime condition as well as some simple guidelines to keep in mind when shopping for or building your own gun display case.
The first that that you need to keep in mind when displaying your firearms is that they still need to be locked up. This is a basic safety precaution as well as a way to prevent theft. Though it will never be as secure as your rifle safe it should still pose some difficulty for potential burglars or curious children. This is usually best accomplished with a simple padlock though alternative solutions do exist. Additionally it is a good idea to make sure that your encasement is well built with solid materials and reinforced hinges.
The most common option and a near necessity for gun display cases is the use of acrylic sheeting in place of glass. This will increase security due to its resistance to shattering. Additionally acrylic can provide additional UV protection which will help maintain the quality of your firearms on display.
While there are many options available for the aesthetics of your display case the most popular are based on a wooden frame with a velvet or felt backing. Additionally important to note is the number of different variations available for gun display cases. Wardrobes converted into long gun display cases are a common and great do-it-yourself option. Additionally there are a number of ‘framed’ wall mounted displays that can accomplish the same task. Lastly there are counter boxes that can also make for an interesting way to display your firearms though these are usually best suited to pistols.
It’s important to take good care of your firearms that are going to be on display. This is especially true of antique guns with high value. Some important things to keep in mind include: humidity control, UV regulation, and a scratch free interior. Additionally it’s important to wax and clean your guns thoroughly before putting them on display for extended periods of time. This will ensure that they don’t deteriorate over long periods of display.
Fort Knox is often considered one of the most secure locations on the planet. Built in 1936 Fort Knox has briefly held the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and even England’s crown jewels. The only attempted breach in the history of Fort Knox is by fictional Bond villain Goldfinger; even modern heist movies won’t touch Fort Knox because of the sheer implausibility. Currently home to over 250 billion dollars worth of the United States’ precious metals reserves, Fort Knox has good reason for its extreme security. What exactly makes it so safe though? Here we’ll look at exactly how Fort Knox has managed to attain its coveted title and why this fortress is virtually impregnable.
The first line of defense at Fort Knox is the simple fact that it is also a military base. This means that at any time there are roughly 30,000 soldiers, multiple fleets of attack helicopters, tank squadrons, and sufficient artillery to wage a small war. So, for those looking to break in perhaps a frontal assault is not the best option.
If you can somehow get past the soldiers there’s a plethora of additional security features awaiting. The next line of defense for America’s safest fortress is a minefield covering much of the area immediately surrounding the building. In addition to the mines, this area outside of the building is also laden with lethally charged electrical fences as well as barbed wire. Additionally this area is under constant surveillance from radar, helicopter patrols, motion sensors, and satellite surveillance.
The vault of Fort Knox is the single most fortified vault in existence. It rests under the building and is lined with 4 feet of granite walls and two feet of steel. The door to the vault was commissioned by the Mosler Safe Company in 1935 and weighs 22 tons and is over 2 feet thick. It is believed that Fort Knox could withstand a direct nuclear assault. The combination for the lock is supposedly shared among 10 people who each only know their part of the combination. Inside the vault are additional compartments for further security and equally thick walls and doors. The last line of defense is the secrecy surrounding Fort Knox. It has only once been opened to visitors in 1974. Among the security precautions we know about there are a number of rumored security additions including flooding tunnels, constant satellite surveillance, and virtual trip wires.
When it comes to sharpening your skills with a firearm there really is no better option than target shooting. Fortunately, there are a lot of different drills you can do to hone both your speed and accuracy with a firearm. It’s important to be focused and set goals for yourself rather than mindlessly unloading clips at your local range. Here we’ll look at some different methods you can use to increase your proficiency with a firearm during range practice.
Goals and Quotas
The reality is that marksmanship has no real secret besides practice. There may be tips and tricks you can find along the way but there’s nothing better than regular practice to hone your skills with a firearm. One great way to make sure that your shot is steadily improving is to set a regime and follow it. Choose a number of rounds you want to fire every week and stick to your number. Additionally, you can set goals to help you keep track of your practice. Use a point system with your target, set a goal, and practice until you can regularly reach your point goal. Once you have reached your goal, raise the number of points or extend the distance and repeat. If you can stick with your regime you will eventually meet your goals and over time you’ll develop a strong proficiency with your weapon.
Dry Fire Drills
Dry fire drills are a great way to really practice your fundamentals when you don’t have access to a shooting range. There are a lot of different techniques that you can perfect with an unloaded weapon. While it might not be as much fun as shooting live ammunition, it’s no coincidence that every law enforcement agency regularly uses dry fire drills for training. Some examples of things that you can work on without live ammunition include: trigger control, stance and grip, sight alignment, shooting with both eyes open, draw stroke, first shot, safety manipulations, target transitions, etc. You get the idea. However, it’s important to note that you need practice proper form, even for dry fire exercises. Sloppy practice will just ingrain bad habits and poor technique, so take your time and take it seriously even if there is no live ammunition.
Observe and Seek Help
If you’re a regular at the gun range but still a terrible shot, take a little bit of time to figure out what’s wrong with your shot before you burn through some more ammunition. Spend some time observing the more successful marksmen and don’t be afraid to ask for tips. Most gun enthusiasts will be delighted to share their methods and help you out. Also consider hiring a coach or taking some classes. There is no shame in admitting you’re not the fastest gun in the west. Progress is all about using the resources available to better meet your goals, and there are a lot of resources available.
If you are a true gun enthusiast you probably spend a fair amount of time at the range honing your skills. Imagine if you could set up your own range, in the privacy of your own home, and practice at your leisure whenever you please. While this might not be for everyone, as it requires certain property characteristics to do so, it can be a fun venture that will only further improve your skills with more regular practice. There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to target practice on your property so check out this quick guide on setting up a personal gun range on your own property.
The Garage / Basement Gun Range
Having a small single or double lane range in your own basement or garage may be surprisingly feasible for many Americans. The first step is going to check the local laws in your area. For the most part this should be a permissible construction if you can keep the noise level down but it’s always best to check out local regulations before you start construction.
There are a number of obstacles to keep in mind before you start construction on your range. Firstly, do you have the space required? Plan on about 10 meters as a minimum for range length. This will ensure that you have adequate range to practice as well as help you deal with airflow and soundproofing. Additionally you’ll need to make sure that your range is ballistically secure and you have bullet traps, a proper method for lead disposal, and a target system.
Ventilation is an often overlooked necessity in a home range. Using a firearm releases harmful airborne lead particles with negative effects on one’s health. Most ranges use positive air pressure and channel air from the shooting stations down range. The basic idea is you pump air into the shooting side of your range and have it carry the harmful lead particles downrange until they can be safely removed through the ventilation on the other side.
There are a number of different materials available for soundproofing from acoustic panels, and sound insulation to hanging carpets. The basic idea is to line the walls and ceiling of your gun range with a soundproofing material that will diffuse the noise of gunfire. While it may not seem important, firing a gun in an enclosed place with hard walls can be damaging for your ears over time and might not put you on good terms with the neighbor.
Of course, the most important part of your home range is always going to be safety. Make sure that the walls are solid and cannot be pierced by the ammunition you will be using. Reduce the chance of dangerous ricochets with baffles and make sure that the backstop is secure and strong enough to withstand your ammunition. Additionally, concrete surfaces can cause your bullets to fragment so it’s a good idea to cover exposed concrete.
Are you looking for a safe and unique way to store your firearms? Don’t have the space for a conventional gun safe? What if you could safely store all of your firearms, firearm accessories and other valuables under your bed? In fact, what if you could turn the entire base of your bed into a gun safe? Bed bunkers are convenient, secure, hidden, and make for a spacious and secure home safe option. This fantastic idea has recently become a reality and a favorite for gun enthusiasts willing to go the distance for gun safety and home security all in one. Here we’ll look at some of the pros and cons of the bed bunker and just maybe it’s the right choice for your needs.
One of the greatest perks of the bed bunker is the sheer amount of space that it can offer. Bed bunkers come in twin, queen, and king sizes each with different capacities. To put this in perspective a king bed bunker has two compartments each with a size of 75” x 26” x 10”. This means that you have over 22 cubic feet of storage space. This is enough to comfortably fit over thirty rifles, seventy handguns, and more. To put it simply space will likely no longer be an issue for your valuables should you opt for a bed bunker.
Should you choose to keep firearms in your bed bunker for home security you have the perfect setup for home security and self defense. A bed bunker is the safest way to keep firearms in close proximity while you sleep. You can roll out of bed and be armed in moments in the case of an emergency or home invasion. You will literally be sleeping on top of a pile of guns, every home burglar’s nightmare.
The bed bunker makes no concessions in terms of security. Each compartment has two locks. The walls are made from 10 gauge steel and the doors are ¼ “ steel. It has a backup internal hinge to prevent compromise. The doors are equipped with a heat sensitive fire gasket that will expand to seal the door in order to protect the contents from fire and water damage. Additionally, it’s hidden. This is an often overlooked security perk but it’s hard to crack a safe if you can’t find it.
The single downside of the bed bunker is the price. That is somewhat to be expected as it is a high quality piece of luxury equipment. It may not be for everybody but if you have the means and enough valuables to warrant a safe of this size the bed bunker may be a great option for you and your home.
The first alert 2484DF is an excellent quality mid-range multi-purpose gun safe. This safe comes with a plethora of quality security features as well as a one hour fire rating. Equipped with a programmable digital lock and pry resistant internal hinges, the First Alert 2484DF is an excellent option for the modest price range under $600. Here we’ll look at some of the technical specifications as well as the pros and cons of the First Alert 2484DF Executive Gun Safe.
External dimensions: 27.00” H x 18.50” W x 19.50” D
Internal dimensions: 25.50” H x 17.00” W x 14.00” D
Internal storage capacity: 3.50 cubic feet
Weight: 170 pounds
As you can see from the dimensions this safe is not meant for rifles. The 2484DF fits an interesting niche being bigger than a pistol box but smaller than a rifle cabinet. The idea is to have a home safe that can fit multiple small firearms and accessories and still have space for documents or valuables. It is a burglary, fire, and gun safe all in one.
Some key features of this product include:
Programmable digital locking system with an emergency override key.
Pry resistant all steel door with concealed hinges and three locking door bolts.
Fully carpeted interior with adjustable shelves and key rack.
Included mounting hardware and holes.
AA battery backup.
5 year warranty.
The technical security specifications for this safe include an Underwriter’s Laboratory certification for fire resistance. This safe will maintain an internal temperature of 350 F for one hour with an external temperature of 1,200 F. This makes the First Alert 2484DF ideal for documents.
This safe is perfect for someone that needs a mid-range medium sized all purpose safe. If you plan on exclusively guns you may be better off with a pistol box or a gun cabinet. If you plan on only storing documents and valuables you may want a pure burglary fire safe. However, if you plan on storing a variety of different items this safe will be well suited for the job. The First Class 2484DF is high quality for a reasonable price and can serve a number of different purposes.
Not surprisingly there is a wide assortment of non-lethal ammunition that may make a good alternative for non-lethal home security or firearm training. While typically this ammunition has been used in the past for riot control it is slowly making its way into the mainstream to serve a multitude of different purposes. There are a lot of different varieties, most of which can be used with non-modified firearms, with varying levels of incapacitation and risk involved. Here we’ll look at some of the different varieties of non-lethal ammunition and some of its potential purposes in a non-commercial environment.
The basic idea behind non-lethal ammunition is blunted force. Non-lethal ammunition typically uses less propellant and travels at a slower speed than conventional ammunition. Additionally, there is a wide array of materials used for non-lethal ammunition. Some examples include: rubber bullets, wax bullets, plastic bullets, pepper balls, electric bullets, beanbag rounds, and ring airfoils. As you can see from the multitude of options this has been a recent surge in non-lethal ammunition innovation. While advertised as non-lethal there are some instances of death when using non-lethal ammunition. This usually results from abuse, improper training, or previous medical conditions. Non-lethal, in this context, means not intended to kill.
One important thing to note for wax, plastic, rubber bullets is that they are best suited to single shot or revolver handguns. It is possible to use with a semi-automatic but will likely need to be individually chambered before each shot. Among these, wax bullets have the least stopping power and are typically used for training while rubber and plastic bullets are considered fairly equivalent in power and suitable for riot control or self defense. Plastic bullets are a favorite for close range target practice because they can be reusable. One thing to note for rubber and plastic bullets is their high propensity for ricochet so be careful and wear protection.
For the proud owners of shotguns out there you’ll be pleased to find that you also have a couple of great options for non-lethal ammunition. The most common non-lethal ammunition for a shotgun is the beanbag round. These can be used with a regular 12-gauge shotgun and will fire a beanbag at a speed around 80 meters per second. It is a force to be reckoned with and should provide more than enough stopping power with a lower likelihood of permanent injury. In addition to the beanbag round there is also rubber shot than can be used in most shotguns with a similar effect.
Stay tuned for some more information on non-lethal ammunition as we look at pepperballs, electric bullets, and ring airfoils at a later date. For the time being it might be time to pick up some non-lethal ammunition and give it a shot.
One of the often forgotten parts of firearm ownership is that your gun is only as good as the ammunition you put in it. If you’re using incorrect or cheap ammunition it doesn’t matter if you have a top of the line gun when it doesn’t fire properly. For first time gun owners it may be a little bit overwhelming trying to understand the specifics so we’ll look at some of the basics of handgun ammunition and how it works. After all, one of the basics of safety is understanding.
Ammunition is regularly measured by the size of the barrel it can fit in. This is called caliber (measures the inside diameter of a gun barrel) and can either be measured in inches or millimeters. Handgun caliber can range greatly from the Swiss Mini Gun at .092 inches / 2.3 millimeters to some of the larger magnums at .511 inches or 13 millimeters. Most handguns will fit in between somewhere, usually around .357 inches or 9 millimeters.
Ammunition has some basic parts that are going to be found on every caliber of ammunition.
This is the part of the ammunition that holds everything together. It is usually made out of brass, steel, or copper for most handguns.
This is the chemical compound that ignites the gunpowder when struck by the firing pin. The primer can be found on the rim of the case or in the center of the base depending on the firing mechanism of the gun
This is the chemical mixture responsible for the propulsion of the bullet. When ignited by the primer, gunpowder turns into an expanding gas to propel the bullet. Modern smokeless gunpowder will burn slowly in the open and is less dangerous and more stable than black powder.
This is the material that is propelled at high speeds by the gunpowder. The projectile can vary between different kinds of ammunition. For most handguns the projectile is a lead slug usually referred to as the bullet at the top of the casing.
When a cartridge contains no slug or bullet it is called a blank. When a cartridge contains no primer or gunpowder it is called a ‘dummy.’
Now that you have the basics of ammunition anatomy you are more informed to get into some of the more complex topics of different kinds of ammunition. Hopefully you can use this information to further your knowledge of guns and ammunition and become a truly informed firearm owner.