The One Gun – ASIL Bulldog, in 12 Gauge…

This is an entry in our Non-Fiction Writing contest – by Mike

Firearms are like everything else. There is not a single one that can do everything that you want it to. That’s one of the reasons most of us who own firearms have cabinets with more than one. Here in Canada I believe the average number of firearms each licensed owner has is 8 per person. It’s probably higher than that in the United States.

That presents us with a problem. There may be a situation that arises where we have to leave our house and leave it right away. If that weren’t true there wouldn’t be nearly as much emphasis on having bug out bags ready to go. It would be nice to bring a shotgun for hunting birds and other fast moving game, a large calibre rifle for deer and other large game, and a pistol and semi-automatic rifle with a higher capacity magazine for personal defence. But how are you going to get all that ready and carry it with you if you have to leave right now? Let alone carry the ammo you need for all those firearms with all the other gear you’re going to want to have in your bug out bag.

This is something I have thought about. Obviously, if I’m going to grab just one, it’s going to be a compromise, of that there’s no doubt. But what is the best compromise? Is there something out there that can fit most applications? Maybe it won’t fit them perfectly, but will be adequate for almost anything that comes up.

Well, I believe I found it and I’ll describe why I think it would be a great ‘if you can only grab one gun’ firearm. After I’m done I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe even blow a few holes in my arguments, after all, we are all here to learn right?

The gun I’ve chosen is the ASIL Bulldog, in the 12 gauge shotgun calibre.

guns for preppers - ASIL Bulldog, in the 12 gauge shotgun

First, a little bit about the gun itself. It’s a Turkish built shotgun strongly patterned after the Remington 870. It’s a short barrelled shotgun with an 18″ barrel but it takes screw in chokes. It comes with 3 chokes, cylinder, modified and full. However, the chokes are patterned after the Browning Invector style chokes, and I’ve confirmed that by purchasing a Browning Invector style rifled choke that fits the barrel perfectly. The chokes themselves protrude from the end of the barrel and are knurled so you can remove them by hand. The capacity is 6 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber for a total of 7. The stock is, interestingly shaped. It actually feels pretty good and shoulders well and comes with a nicely padded butt. It also has another little surprise which I’ll get into later. Finally, it has a magazine disconnect tab on the left side of the receiver which I’ll also get into later.

So why a 12 gauge shotgun, and in particular, why this one?


Remember, in this situation, we only have time to grab our bug out bags, 1 gun, and the dog. Oh, and the rest of the family if we have time after making sure the dog is safe (don’t lynch me I’m kidding!). If we grab our long barrelled high calibre bolt action hunting rifle that’s great if we’re in the mountains of New Zealand where there’s lots of big meaty tasty animals roaming around but not many humans. But not too many of us are in that situation, so we want something that might not be fantastic at doing one thing but pretty good at doing a lot of things.

My choice in 12 gauge fits the bill. Simply because by changing the load and the choke, you can do many things with this calibre. With the ASIL Bulldog, you have a relatively short barrel for working in confined environments (and the higher capacity helps too). It might be a shorter barrel but you have screw in chokes that can be removed and replaced by hand so you can be ready to go with the right choke and the right load provided you have a few minutes to prepare before you enter the situation.

The Special Stock

I said the stock came with a bit of a surprise. Well, it does. ASIL engineered the butt pad of the stock to come off by simply unscrewing the rear sling holder, as pictured below:

prepper guns - ASIL Bulldog, in the 12 gauge shotgun

This was designed so that you can swap out the longer butt pad for a shorter one the shotgun comes with to reduce the length of pull from 14 1/4″ to a tad over 13″. Personally I’d like something in between that but I’m keeping the longer one because the short one has no padding (and who wants to shoot buckshot or slugs with no padding right). However, that also gives you the opportunity to keep stuff in the stock for easy access later. To show this, I’ve easily fit the 12 gauge innards of an Otis pull through cleaning kit as well as two chokes as pictured below:

prepper guns - ASIL Bulldog, in the 12 gauge shotgun

I could easily fit a few more things in there. To me, that’s useful as I can grab the gun and run and I’ll have those gun related things I might not have in my bug out bag but I’m sure we could make use of a cleaning kit and those extra chokes, right?
Availability of Ammo

As I’ve mentioned before, 12 gauge is very versatile ammo. While it’s large and bulky, just about everyone has a 12 gauge shotgun. I mean, it would be nice to be lugging around a .338 Lapua or have a big honking 45-70 government lever gun. But if you’re going to be scavenging in abandoned sporting goods stores, Wal-Marts, and abandoned homes (especially in smaller towns/rural areas), the most common type of ammunition you’re going to probably find is 12 gauge shells. And lucky for me, my ASIL Bulldog is chambered in 12 gauge.

The Magazine Disconnect

So let’s say I’m out in the woods trying to get a deer or a hog or some other big, meaty kind of game. I’ve got 7 rounds of buckshot in my ASIL Bulldog. I’ve been hunting all day and haven’t been having any luck. I startle a pheasant or a quail and it does the forest ground bird thing of flying off the ground and away from me in a straight line and lands back in the foliage about 100 yards away. Now, I want to eat that pheasant but if I try to go after it and manage to tag it with my buckshot I’ll be lucky to be sucking up raw pheasant soup from the forest floor and probably the 3 dozen trees I’ll splatter with bits of the poor bird. I would really like to go stalk that bird with some #6 shot or something but I know I’d have to cycle 7 rounds out of the chamber and my luck I’d shoot the pheasant and a deer would go bolting out of the brush in front of me and I’d have nothing to shoot at it with. What to do?

Luckily the ASIL Bulldog has a magazine disconnect tab. I just flip that tab, unload the shell that’s in the chamber by opening the pump and all the rest of the buckshot shells stays in the magazine. I then pop in my #7 shot shell, walk to where the pheasant landed, startle it up again, shoot it dead in mid-air (because I’m an awesome shot), startle the buck that was hiding in the undergrowth, bring it down with two well placed buckshot loads (after remembering to flip the disconnect switch back) and all of the sudden I’m having a meaty good dinner for the next while because I also remembered how to make campfire jerky. All thanks to the ASIL Bulldog and my amazing shooting skills. Or something like that.

Materials of Gun Construction

We’ve all (probably) carried a shotgun around the woods with a blued steel receiver and wood furniture. It gets really heavy after a while. Ounces become pounds very quickly. The ASIL has an anodized aluminum receiver and polymer furniture. That weight saving material plus having a shorter (lighter) barrel will save your arms and if your arms are less tired you’re more likely to react more quickly to any situation and to be more accurate.

Price vs. Quality

Turkish built shotguns in particular offer a very, VERY strong quality to dollar factor. The ASIL Bulldog is actually the third Turkish shotgun I’ve purchased, as well as the least expensive. I’m not sure if you can buy Chinese made shotguns in the states, but I once bought a Chinese Remington 870 clone, shot it a few times, then sold it. It was a little bit cheaper than an actual Remington but it didn’t come close to the quality of the 870 I already owned. Not so with the Turkish shotguns. They are quite a bit less expensive than their American made counterparts but I would say the quality is at least as good. The ASIL is no exception. I don’t know how it will stand up to the test of time, but it cycled and fired everything I put into it right out of the box (after I cleaned and oiled it of course). If it’s anything like my other Turkish built shotguns I have no doubt this one will also stand up to the test of time.

I paid $239 Canadian for this shotgun. I don’t know what the conversion rate is, but I’m pretty sure $239 Canadian is like, what, $8 American? Anyways, it’s a great price and well worth the testing I’m going to put this gun through.


This shotgun came with a front sight that looked like it should have had a fiber optic rod in it. It did not though. It probably should have came with one but for the price, I’m not complaining. Still, I went to my local gun shop and they actually gave me a tru glo rod for free (threw it in with some other purchases). The other criticism I have is the way the gun aims. The rear, well, I don’t know what to call it. Maybe a half rail? The rear half rail has an indent in the middle that when you sight the gun it looks like you’re supposed to sight it like a rifle by putting the front post in the middle of the indent. Which I found weird because when I shouldered the gun as I would any other shotgun with a rail and a bead the front sight floated above the indent. When I sighted it like a rifle, it would hit low all the time. It turns out that you need to sight the gun like I had it first, and treat the rear sight the same as you would a shotgun with a mid bead. The front sight must be centered above the detent. It definitely take some getting used to but it is accurate when you do.

As well, the stock is pretty funky and it works really well – when you get used to it. It does feel and handle a bit differently.


While I wish I was inspector gadget and could carry an entire arsenal quickly available to expertly handle any situation, that’s just not a reality. I feel that because of the load versatility of a 12 gauge, that’s the one gun you grab when you have to grab one and run with it. I feel that the ASIL’s price, short barrel that accepts screw-in chokes, and all around versatility as I’ve described make this one of the better choices for your emergency grab and go gun.

If there is any flaws in my thinking, I’d love to hear them from you all.

Prizes For This Round (Ends July 29, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…

First Prize:

Second Prize: 

Third Prize:

Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.

The more original and helpful your article is, the deeply and less basic it is, the better the chance, that I will publish it, and you will win. Only non-fiction how-to-do-it type articles, please.

The Mossberg 500 – 20 Gauge Shotgun… is it the Ultimate Prepper’s Shotgun?

by Thomas The Tinker

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest


A product review ..  including the bonus features of…  Care and feeding…  Practical preppers logistical supportPractical preppers  employment…  and  this preppers  minor custom fit modifications of the sucker in the photo above.  In fact this is a ‘review’ of the 20 gauge shotgun in general .. that my ‘favorite’ is the one above is …. Secondary.  Submitted for your consideration and .. entertainment by … Thomas The Tinker

The Mossberg 500 – 20 gauge Mod. #54300(B) Shotgun.

First.. This is once again.. simply my opinion based on my empirical experience with this piece of ‘Iron’.. not another paltry attempt to sway .. your ..  point of view or get ya ta buy one of these… (well.. yahh.. you could do worse owning one)  I do like my toys and finding ways to make them work.. perform .. to my ‘potential’.     Second …. I’m not a gunsmith.     Third …. I have in my past earned my living with these ‘toys’.  This is not to say .. that what I say .. is the last word on what works.  It is simply mine.. my own.. my precious.. (opinion .. and shotguns).

As Base MP Co. Training NCO, I had access to a number of ‘Government’ models… (nearly all in an advanced state of worn out) and all the full brass cased buck shot I cared to take to the training range or pig hunting with the locals.  I still own a pre-war Ithica-37 surplus cruiser beasty.  The thing .. the one thing .. I learned about the old worn out Iron the Corps let me play with is that I could do nearly everything with them close in .. as I could with the issue M16.

Back on point .. and let me piss off a few folks.   I feel safe, yepper I do, in saying that most of us that haunt this site do not have the skills to employ the state of the art firearms we own… to their full design potential.  My late Father in Law willed a Winchester  Mod. 70 Camp Perry National Match “heavy bull gun” rifle with a Unertl  J 2” 20X scope that is a mechanical piece of Freaking ART .. frankly I ain’t got the stones to play with or take it out of the oak box.   That beast won him a medal or three at Camp Perry.  They scored 1000 yard Vs with a probe & glass and a Vernier.  I have his last winning target .. the scoring glass .. and his Glove too.  No… hell no… I don’t have the skills to use it to do what it ‘Can’ do,  but this an example of design potential vs. skills in the extreme and I have ‘Di-gressed’ way off.

What I’m saying is all of us have our failings… mine… I’m not a 19 year old grunt… and I too cannot use a lot of what I own to it’s design potential… but I sure as heck will push the gear to MY limits.  I know one’s “limits” and “potential” get closer together when you push yourself.

With the exception of 100 yard+ slug shooting, I believe nearly anyone that can ‘handle’ a shot gun can employ it to dang near the ‘guns’ design potential.  Practice till your knee deep in hulls .. and I betcha  nailing center mass with a slug at 3… hundred… feet .. is a do-er  too… ev .. ery time.

As I have posted here before … I have grown to favor a lighter gauge pump gun.  I favor a 20 gauge over the 12 gauge favorite.  I have also grown to favor a 9mm over the 40 cal .. or the revered 45 acp for the same reasons…  Control-ability.  My ‘conversion to the “Lite Side” came from training with the ‘20’ for years and years.  I found that the terminal results of delivering a 20 gauge load are no more worth arguing than getting me nickers in a knot about which drops a target ‘better’… a 9mm or the vaunted 45ACP.  Hitting a perp… dog… deer or hog with this number of pellets or that slug at ‘house hold’ ranges ain’t worth the ….. nit-picking

Below are two of my everyday run around “Irons”.  My #6 Iron is a standard Mossberg 500 ‘20’ with a few add ons.  The one below is the subject of this article my just overhauled Mossberg 500 Tac-tickle ‘20’ #9 Iron.  If you read my last review on the Enforce Tac light, you know I won’t “add on” anything that is not “captured” as in through bolted into or around the firearm.

#1. After market 5 way ‘pic-rail’ block with QD sling swivel.  On the top one I have drilled the heat shield (6-48 tpi) and moved the night sight to it.  An add on set of ghost ring sights would be easy to attach this way.   #2. Mossberg heat shield heated at both ends and formed to 20 gauge barrels.  Quenched to return some ‘heat treat’.  On the fore end is a 2” section of pic-rail, through bolted to the fore end, for the tac-light I reviewed earlier this month.  The ‘rail’ is beveled at both ends… no thumb jam that way.     #3. (4) four round shell caddy through bolted to frame.(any more and you would have to ‘shave’ the fore end. #4. 13 1/2 “ pull pistol grip with a limb saver recoil pad. On the bottom one .. my baby .. I’ll have a mag-pull QD inlaid sling swivel socket and a “Blue Force” sling… no shell caddy.. no single point slingy.. No m’as.. No m’anos. As a matter of fact.. I think I’m going to replace the pistol gripper with a standard (no spacer) Mag-pul stock.

Now I own all of these… and the “ATF Form 4 (5320.4) rev. 3/06” with the lil blue eagle stamp … for the one in the middle.


The bottom one in the photo below is a standard Mossberg 590A1 12ga. 9+1 41” long and it comes in at 7.25 lbs. unloaded.  The second is a standard Mossberg 590SBS/NFAR 12ga. 6+1.. It is.. shorter and comes in at (    )lbs. unloaded.. it will be 2” shorter when I take out the Mag-Pul stock spacers.  The skinny one at the top is my Baby…  The Mossy 500 #9 Iron 8+1 20ga. 39” long and coming in at 6lbs. unloaded.  Take note of size if you will.  Think doors, windows, cars, stairways and hallways and humping it around over you neck… or holding it up!  I use em all.  All in all, I favor the one on the top.

I favor a pump gun over every auto available, including the ones I’ve owned and the one I still own,  for well self-demonstrated reasons.  The average  .. (doesn’t train.. doesn’t practice much.. doesn’t practice at all..) auto shotgun owner cannot rely on their skills to ‘run’ any of the auto guns under ‘field’ stress or heavy use in training … as to combat or even simulated combat… No.  (YEowZaaa did I say I’d PO some folks or did I not!!! And if you’re an old ‘Grunt’ who’s run one…. You ain’t average)

I was young once with an under developed forebrain just like we all suffered with .. until our late 20s … some longer.  Set your ego aside and try a few days of simply running one under the simple stress of training with it .. or the ‘fun’ of running one under the stress of a ‘Three gun’ event.  You Tube that.  I favor a pump over any auto Why?  Cause, IMHO, any man made tool .. that is designed to operate independently of a humans brain .. and muscle memory .. and human will .. shall… is… gonna… fail to function… “Automatically”.  I favor keeping the ‘thought’ process short.. simple.  Having to process the step sheet for a semi-automated devise.. takes time.  Even if you know it by heart.

Am I “Harping” here…  compounding complexity is neither sexy or safe .. TacTiCool yes.

Pump gun:  Pull trigger…. Click .. your empty .. or .. you short stroked it and left a spent shell in the tube.  Stroke it again as hard as you should have the first time and pull .. boom .. all good .. click .. not so.  You are still empty or lack short term memory regarding the short stroke you performed a second ago.  Training mitigates these lil failings .. operator errors.  Combat loading drills!! .. Beat it, Stroke it, like a TOOL cause it is one.   When you bust it buy another one.  If you own one of such quality and fine finish that you’d not want to drop in the mud or gravel….. you own a distraction …. Not … a TOOL.  A Mossberg 500 12 or 20 is running NEW for $188.oo at the Central Ave. Wal-Mart … right … Now.  Monday March 22, 2016, 1:48 p.m.  Remys….. Alil more!

Auto gun:  Pull trigger.. click .. your empty.  Or ‘It’ failed to feed, ramp-jammed, loaded two behind the gate cause ya brushed the lil button on the port side.   Or It failed to eject a low base spent shell.   Or it fouled in the port and now you have one behind the gate cause you are using Wal-Mart low base birdshot and it won’t cycle and don’t have the ‘GAS’ to fully cycle it.   Or you have a shell caddy with 6 to 8 rounds hanging on the side along with may haps a clamp on tac-light …. Err .. other  tac-ti- cool stuff and your auto’s inertia recoil system won’t “Inert” and fully cycle.   Or ya didn’t push the reload far enough up the tube to keep it from popping right-back-out-behind the gate.  If you are an auto fan and ya haven’t made all of these booboos…. Ya autta ‘create em & practice em and the requisite Oh S—T clearance drill…. While, of course,  practicing your moves to cover thang.  Cynical fella am I not!

Spoiler AlertI own an auto… only ONE now.  They are fun to shoot .. in any event that mandates a score card, timer… or rules… ergo a game .     Ok… so now ya got most a my reasons for running a pump gun.

Ok, Care and Feeding:     Care!  Clean the thing when you are in the mood.  Pull the fore end stock now and again and scrape the crud off of the shell tube then lub it with what you’ve learned works best.  This does help the slide… slide.  Me…. My opinion again …. Every time you strip down a good fire arm to a basket of parts you shorten the rated life span of same.   Ya can’t turn it in and get a new one issued… can ya?   Own one that will operate under duress.. and dirty (Gawd how I wish Glock would market a shotgun).    If you are into the prepper gun smith thing and wanna stock parts.. goody!  I keep my spares in the form of spare complete weapons.

‘Feed’ it what .. you .. have proven it will ‘Eat’.  Pumps will eat anything, including those cute lil ‘minis’, so “feeding” is more along the line of knowing what manufacturer and what ‘load’ your Iron likes to eat.  Take 100 quality or crappy Irons (shotguns) and you will have perhaps half a hundred different  patterns with the same shot…  or more, probably more.   This goes for slugs as well.  At household ranges this may not matter to nearly .. everyone.   Me, it matters.

At the ranges (in yards) I train to,  20 gauge #3 buckshot gives ‘me’…  Opinion Alert .. the pattern I can work with and the punch.  My BIL 1 favors ‘Turkey loads’ my DD favors plane ol birdshot. (BIL & SIL both run a 20 Mossy, DD runs a 20gauge 870)   My idea of ‘lite shot’ is HiVel plated lead BB.   Slugs… I spent the time and ca$h to find one that performs to my skill set in all of my Irons.. 20 gauge Berneke  K.O.Slugs.  12 gauge as well….. yeah…. remember I still own and love my 12s (did I spelk burneke write?)

Here is where da ‘Guns & Ammo’ crowd dumps all the online & factory stats about this and that load…. Or how many dozen they fired off to support their stats… Do Your Own Homework fellow ‘Packers’.   It is expensive.. but is so much more fun learning your baby’s favorite foods.

Applications:  Each to our own.  I will be ‘confident’ taking my above pictured 20 gauge pump along for sentry duty etc.  House work.  Yard work.  Crowds.  I am ‘confident’ running my above or below  pictured 20 gauge with slugs to 125 yards.. further is a ‘Hail Mary’ for me for now, how… ever.. I am bound and determined to learn center mass shots on an IDPS profile at 150 yards this season.  Yepper.. I am.. (I was gonna say 200 yards… I had ta beat on my ego there.)

I’m 6’3”.  Getting through a door or window or out of a vehicle with a full length M590A1 beast … is beastly.. but fun to watch.  Its why I went to the hassle and time to get a Mossy 590 SBS 12 ga.   Its why I’m going to do it again to retro-fit the ‘20’ 8+1 to a shorter package.  Now Remember my fellow Packers …. I said I love my toys and pushing myself to get the skill and potential numbers tighter.

IMHO…. The 20 gauge shot waffen will fit any of us, children, elders, gringos and gringettes, big ol hairy guys and the new “PEW Professionals”.  I watch yearly as the number of trainees fielding 20s has climbed from, my BIL the first, 1 in 30 .. to I’ll bet 1 in 5 this July.  Even my favorite SMsSgt-Armorer, range manager and Instructor fields what he has built for himself .. A Remington 870, ghost ringed, ported, throated, restocked and coated … 20 gauge.  4 of the 6 of us doing ‘Shotgun’ this year will be running 20s.

Ok.. ya’ve figured I like my ‘20s’.  Ya’ve figured out my bias.  Ya’ve patiently read this far.. ThanKYou. 

I look forward to the discussion.  If any of you care to join in the fun at “Gun Camp”  it’ll have to be next season as this season….. filled out over a month ago.  The pictures on the site are over a decade old… I’ll try to get some fresh ones this July.  Ok… chime in… no flaming… no trolling.. be of good spirit and have fun kicking this around the coffee pot.. and do remember.. as to spekl chech and grammar and scholarly “Prose” … As evident! I don’t do those.

Xoxo  from the East side of the Pecos  Thomas T. Tinker 


Prizes For This Round (Ends April 12, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…

  1. First place winner will receive –   A gift certificate for $150 off of  rifle ammo at Lucky Gunner, an Urban Survival Kit a $109 value courtesy of  TEOTWAWKI supplies, a WonderMix Deluxe Kitchen Mixer a $299 value courtesy of Kodiak Health and a LifeStraw Mission Filter a $109 value courtesy of EarthEasy, and a 4″ Heavy Duty WaterBoy Well Bucket a $106 value and a WaterBoy Tripod Kit courtesy of Well WaterBoy Products for a total prize value of over $867.
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail a $119 value courtesy of Augason and Berkey Light with 2 (9″) Berkey Earth Elements a $157 value courtesy of LPC Survival, for a total prize value of $276.
  3. Third place winner will receive –  International MRE Meals Supply a $72.00 value, a LifeStraw Portable Water Filter a $19 value, Yoder’s Fully Cooked Canned Bacon a $15 value all courtesy of CampingSurvival and one copy of each of my books “The Prepper’s Primer” and a copy of “The Prepared Prepper’s Cookbook“ for a total prize value of $137.

AR15 / M4 Back up sights

All guns should be Glocks

.22 Handgun for Self-Defense?

Winning Tactics To Avoid Getting Ripped Off at The Gun Shop

There are two types of preppers in the world, those that are gun owners and those that are not. Granted most of us own guns, but from comments posted on the blog and emails I’ve receive some don’t, so obviously, all of us preppers aren’t into guns – yet.

Most of the  comments and emails have asked about choosing the right gun, they want to know what to look for and how to avoid getting ripped off.  The best way to avoid getting ripped off  is to buy smart. Here’s how.

Do your research

A few days spent doing research will help you avoid making mistakes. Know what guns to avoid and shotgun, handgun,  rifle action types before you shopping. Learn about the different calibers and types of cartridges that are available.

Get a copy of “The Shooter’s Bible“, “Boston’s Gun Bible” and Guns 101.  Avoid most of the “this is the best survival gun” type stuff posted on forums and the web, most of the information is dated, wrong and of little use.

Know what you want before you go shopping

Never walk into a gun shop without an idea of what you want, if you don’t have any idea as to what you want, you need to do more research untill you do. Some sales people can be pushy and you don’t want to be crusaded into buying something you don’t want or need because some over zealous sales clerk needed a commission from your purchase.

What do you want it for

Before you can be sure of what you want, you have to know what you want it for. If your intention is concealed carry then your needs would be different than if you wanted a firearm for hunting or foraging. For example one of the best and most devastating close range weapons is the 12 gauge shotgun when properly loaded, but you would be at a distinct disadvantage if hunting on flat open terrain or needed concealment.

You can’t do it all

There is no one do everything firearm, so stop looking. If you want to cover all the bases, you’ll need a minimum of three different guns. A handgun, shotgun and center fire rifle, and even with that three gun battery there are some gaping holes about what you can do.  Of course if you know you could not shoot someone in self-defense then guns for foraging may be all you will need.

Price doesn’t always mean quality

With firearms price doesn’t always mean quality. Granted, some of the best firearms available are costly,  but that doesn’t mean that they are the only quality choices available. For example, I would feel just as protected and well armed with a Smith and Wesson model 10 or Makarov as I would if armed with a custom 1911 or HK45. The key is diligent research before you buy (and skill with what you have).

Fit, feel, recoil and other considerations

Whatever firearm you buy, it should fit your body and grip. A gun that fits your body will be easier for you to use and more accurate than if you have to force your body to conform to the size and shape of the weapon. The gun should be an extension of your body and it should feel natural when held in a shooting position.

This can not be determined by anyone but you – you have to  hold the weapon, point it and aim it to determine how well it fits your body. Guns and Ammo posted a great article that can be read here titled “The Right Fit” that everyone should read. The article is about handguns but many of the principles can be applied to long guns as well.

Take a class

Get training. Most areas offer hunter safety courses that are free to anyone wanting to take part. If you live in a state that issues handgun carry permits, sign up to take the required classes, most are great for learning basic care and safety rules. The NRA offers a number of low-cost training opportunities that you should look into.

Have advice that would help others avoid getting ripped off when buying their first firearm or questions feel free to speak-up in the comments below…

Copyright Information: This article may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to and a link to the article homepage.

Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle Review

Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle Review

The AR-7 Assembled and ready to go…

Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle Review

A few weeks ago when a representative from Henry Repeating Arms contacted me about reviewing their latest version of the AR-7 Survival Rifle, I have to admit to being just a little excited. I’d owned one of the early Charters Arms Explorer Pistols back in the 1980’s and it was inaccurate and unreliable, and I was eager to see if Henry Repeating Arms had once and for all fixed the issues that have plagued the AR-7 in the past.

Because of the inaccuracy and unreliability of the Charters Arms Explorer Pistol that I had experienced, I never owned another AR-7 type rifle or handgun, that is until Henry Repeating Arms agreed to send me one for review. After all what did I have to lose…

But first a couple of facts that you might not know – The AR-7 type rifle is an off-shoot of the AR-5 bolt-action survival rifle that was adopted by the U.S. Air Force as a survival rifle for downed pilots. Both the AR-5 and AR-7 were designed by Eugene Stoner for ArmaLite with the AR-7 being released to the public in 1959.

Eugene Stoner also designed the first AR-15 type rifles, and a host of other firearms. He was a great designer whose influence will be seen in firearm design for decades to come, perhaps even forever. However all designs can be improved and both the AR-7 and AR-15 have both have been greatly improved upon over the years by other designers working for other companies to where they are so much better than the original designs.

The AR-7 was designed so that everything fits compactly in the stock and the Henry AR-7 stock is filled with foam so that it floats, making it an excellent choice for boaters or pilots.

Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle ReviewAnother interesting fact is that the magazine are interchangeable across all manufactures to date. So if you owned an AR-7 20 years ago and still have a couple of magazines around, then you can use those in the new Henry AR-7. There are also 15 round aftermarket magazines available if you’re lucky enough to find them in-stock, but these extra capacity magazines will not fit correctly in the rifles stock because of the extra length of the magazines.

Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle ReviewHenry sent me the camouflage version but it’s also available in black – the  camouflage pattern is very well done and appears that it would be very durable and long-lasting. The pattern and colors would work well in most wooded areas, and is a perfect match for the deciduous forests that cover the area where I live.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking… but is it reliable… is it accurate… I know this because at this point I was thinking the same thing, so off to the range I went to do so shooting.

Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle Review

The front site is much improved over earlier versions.

The first thing you’ll notice when shooting the AR-7 is that the stock is larger than a traditional rifle stock and takes getting used to as does the fact that there is no traditional forearm out front to hold onto. But after shooting a hundred or so rounds through it those features become less noticeable, to the point where you don’t pay any attention to it when shooting because it starts to feel “natural” when holding it.

As I said before the old Charters Arms Explorer Pistol that I owned was unreliable and inaccurate, well Henry has fixed the reliability issue and the new AR-7 is accurate enough to carry out it’s intended purpose, and that is to take small game at 50 yards or less.

Henry Repeating Arms AR-7 Survival Rifle Review

Accuracy was good enough…

After putting several hundred rounds through it, I has experienced one stoppage and that was due to an ammo issue with the round failing to fire when struck by the firing pin. The trigger pull was heavy and gritty, but it fired reliably.

Accuracy was not match grade and I never expected it to be because, well it was never intended to be a match grade shooter. My best 50 yard group was just under one and a half inches with match grade ammo, with an average of around two, to two and a half inches, which is good enough to put a rabbit in the stew pot.

The AR-7 isn’t the “perfect” choice for every task but it works great for what it was designed for and that is a low-cost stow-away survival rifle, for backpackers, boaters, pilots or preppers to stash behind the truck seat or in the car truck just in case.

Please share this post with others. On forums, on your blog, with your email list – anywhere & everywhere you can post it =D all I ask is that you include a link back to this the original article and to the homepage.

If it helped you – it will help others, share the love folks!

Cheap Bulk Pistols for Preppers the Kel tec PF9 and P11.

Today we present another article for our non-fiction writing contest – by PrepperDoc

Keltec PF9Some people choose a small number of very expensive, fine firearms for their protection planning. While I have my share of expensive firearms, I also prefer to have a significant number of “additional” firearms. There are many reasons, including the fact that if I’m ever involved in a self-defense issue, it is likely that whatever firearm was involved will be impounded; also there is a significant advantage in really scary times to be able to arm trainable friends/neighbors…

So I choose to purchase several lesser-expensive models, especially if crucial replaceable parts are available at low prices without hassle. Sometimes a bit of work is required to make these inexpensive firearms become thoroughly reliable. I happen to have developed some familiarity with the Keltec line (manufactured in America) and while there may be better options, here I present some helpful hints for these firearms.

Two firearms that meet that my criteria are the Keltec PF9 and P11. I have several, and I also have the .380 P3AT.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not an FFL, and I’m certainly not YOUR FFL. My opinions and modifications are presented here for you to review only – always seek the help and advice of a certified gunsmith before performing any firearm modifications. Presented here for informational purposes only.

First let’s investigate parts, because you want spares if you are a prepper. Parts for both these firearms are readily and cheaply available from their Cocoa, FL USA maker via their website ( For example, an “extractor kit” for the PF9 is only $6.00.

P11 extractor by itself with sharpie to show some of the areas for filing. (See Ref 2)

P11 extractor by itself with sharpie to show some of the areas for filing. (See Ref 2)

The extractor itself for that model is $4.00; the spring that holds the extractor is only $1.00; the ejector is $1.50. A P11 extractor is $4.50; firing pin $2.50, ejector $1.50. (I’ve even purchased the entire plastic lower (minus frame) and switched out colors on one firearm inexpensively.) Where some vendors will use handling charges to gouge the purchaser, Keltec charges only about $7 for fedex delivery (USA) for even a miniscule purchase, a huge help to the home buyer who wants to have a few key components on hand.

PF9 extractor springs & original screw

PF9 extractor springs & original screw

These are not fancy firearms. If you want fancy, buy the Ruger versions that look very similar! On Keltecs, you may find edges that need sanding/filing, little plastic sprues from the mold etc, easy stuff for you to smooth and make the gun nicer. So do it yourself.

Both of these firearms under discussion are 9mm, and capable of occasional usage of +P. With lightweight 9mm’s, I don’t like +P, so not an issue for me. Both are locked breech (like most 9mm’s) with a takedown pin securing the slide on the frame. Keltecs have a really nice touch that the takedown pin can be levered out easily with a 9mm case edge, rather than needing a pin tool.

PF9 with extractor (silver sharpie dot) in place. If you look very closely, you can see there are two of them sticked under the new bright screw.

PF9 with extractor (silver sharpie dot) in place. If you look very closely, you can see there are two of them sticked under the new bright screw.

Firearms manufacturers (especially the ones who build their products with CNC mills) are always improving their product. They may well have fixed the issues that I’m going to tell you how I fixed. At least some people who have current PF9’s and P11’s have problems with “failure to extract” – and also know how to voice their problems on forums, and as a result these guns can be bought secondhand VERY inexpensively. Both models can be fixed with a little effort. Let’s take the PF9 first, because it’s fix is SO easy, and it is a really nice-feeling pistol in my hands, also!

P11 with extractor in place, look very closely to see the slant on the previously vertical edge of extractor

P11 with extractor in place, look very closely to see the slant on the previously vertical edge of extractor

The PF9 is one of the extremely thin single-stack 9mm’s (0.88” ) that could easily be concealable by many people, even in a pocket holster. I usually see them in the mid to high $200’s. Even new, they are not much more. Like many other smaller pistols, this one is “semi-double-action” in the sense that the slide MUST have cycled in order for the trigger to fire the next shot. If a round doesn’t fire, you do the “tap, rack, bang” drill. No safety needed; the trigger pull is considerable and this is a safe gun to pocket carry (in a holster). (I don’t like safeties on my defensive weapons.)

If your PF9 has failures to extract, you merely need to add a 2nd curved flat extractor spring ($1) on top of the existing one so that it grips the 9mm case more strongly. The spring (see photo) is held in place by a 6-32 screw, and you’ll need to replace that screw with a slightly longer one that has just about exactly one more thread to make up for the additional thickness of the 2nd spring, because the screw (as in other designs) does double duty to keep the firing pin from leaving the gun! Simply buy a couple pan-head 6-32 screws (ten cents each), accurately cut & file/grind the length correctly, and lock-tite when you have tested it. Fixed! I include a photo where if you look very closely you can see both springs stacked, and the new screw holding them.

On to the P-11. These go VERY CHEAP used, likely because of two issues: This slightly chunkier (1” wide) double-stack pistol (10 or 12 rounds) has what many consider a great self-defense trigger: it is FULLY double-action. The trigger both cocks and fires; as a result, if your primer doesn’t go off, you can simply pull the trigger again immediately and it works! But it is a real trigger pull (no safety needed here either!) and many people don’t realize its advantages – including the fellow who made it possible for me to buy his turned-in specimen for $176 from my favorite retailer. I LIKE it that way in a defensive gun.

The second issue, in my opinion, is the design of the extractor tip (that grabs the 9mm case and pulls it back from the chamber after firing) which is built with a perfectly vertical straight edge sitting just at and below the midline of the case. Because it is a straight edge trying to grasp a round groove, it grabs the circular case rim at only ONE point. Two out of three of my P11’s had extraction problems.

If yours does also, three bits of file work may make it perfect: (a) give a that extractor a “slant” (or even a radius) to the business end somewhat matching the case curve better, (b) take a bit off of the extractor “flat” that butts up against the slide, so that the extractor can go even further into the case groove, and (c) round the front (leading) edge just slightly so it will nicely bump over a case rim should it need to.

This idea is not original with me; I found here here: Ref [2]. In a photo below I show the extractor (silver sharpie dot) both on and off the firearm, and I tried to mark the places you could trim a bit to get more grasp of the case. The part is CHEAP ($4.50) so buy a couple in case you err. It comes out easily by removing a roll pin with a tiny nail as a tool. The description of how to file in Ref [2] is much better than my photo, so read this carefully through; it only takes a few moments once you see what you need to do. If you know this trick, you can take firearms that others practically GIVE away and turn them into very cheap and very reliable equipment!

The youtube video Ref [3] nicely demonstrates how to field strip and reassemble these Keltecs, and also shows a “gotcha” that some of mine also had– barrel doesn’t always slide easily fully forward on its own accord during reassembly (unless you “fluff & buff” the gun quite a bit) and as a result the takedown pin won’t find the proper slot in the barrel. Clerks at gun shops may not even be aware of this, and it is another reason (once you demonstrate it) to argue for a lower price! Knowing this trick will save you considerable embarrassment when reviewing a Keltec for possible purchase.

Precisely because these firearms have a few rough edges, a few oddities and areas of possible improvements, they are available used for HALF or less what fancy new 9mm’s cost. Two for the price of one! I prefer to have a small number of my very favorite carry/range pistols and I paid dearly for some of them – and then I prefer to have several “just for bad times” extra firearms that can be stored in locked boxes in each vehicle of our family. The Keltec’s have filled that niche very nicely.


Prizes For This Round (Ends October 11 2015 ) In Our Non Fiction Writing Contest Include…

  1. First place winner will receive –  Two Just In Case… Essential Assortment Buckets courtesy of LPC Survival a $147 value, a  Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Grain Mill courtesy of a $219 value, and a gift certificate for $150 off of  Rifle Ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo… Total first place prize value over $516 dollars.
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – A case of Sopakco Sure-Pak MRE – 12 Meals and a Lifestraw Family Unit courtesy ofCamping, and a One Month Food Packcourtesy of Augason
  3. Third place winner will receive –  $50 cash.

Open VS Concealed Carry

What do you think?

Top Mistakes in Training for Self-Defense Shooting

By Ethan Robinson

These days, self-defense is something many people hold as important, especially firearms training. However, the acquired skills may be compromised if discrepancies are made during training. Here, we’ve got the top mistakes people commonly make when it comes to firearms training for self-defense.

Not training in the proper field

In different fields of firearms training, different techniques and strategies are used. Whether it’s for hunting, for civilians, for law enforcement, or others, it’s important to have the proper training in the right field. Tactics used for training in one field will not always be applicable to another, leading to possible lawsuits.

Not having effective student-instructor ratio for training

When you’re training for self-defense shooting, you need a focused instruction to learn quickly and effectively. This will most likely not be achieved in a classroom setting that has more than 20 students and only one instructor. Of course, having one-or-one instruction or near to it will be best for beginners.

Listening to inexpert instruction

Bad habits are acquired when people learn from inexperienced gun owners. Having the license to carry a gun does not make anyone a real expert on firearms. For proficient training, find an experienced instructor. Talk to people who take self-defense classes and ask about their experiences to find the right fit for you.

Repeating one skill too much

Practicing your skills is good, but focusing on just one technique is not. You might end up being unable to adapt to the various scenarios which may call for self-defense. Always try to keep your skills varied and efficient by mixing up your practice. Focus on mastering different skills, not just one or two.

Not having a realistic mindset for self-defense

Self-defense training helps you protect yourself from hostile forces. In a real setting, shots will not be clean hits on paper targets. As much as possible, inject realism into your training by using targets that are clothed or in 3D. Practice different angles and positions for shooting and try practicing on moving targets.

Not having more instruction or guidance

Professional instruction on basic self-defense shooting skills is important. After the needed preliminary knowledge, keep learning by having guidance from someone else. Self-defense skills are not developed with just one dimension. Continue learning so you’ll know different skills for different scenarios.

Not doing drills with dry firing

Ammo is expensive, especially when you’re just beginning to learn. To save money and time, practice dry firing at home. Make sure the guns are not loaded and keep all ammunition away. With this, you can improve your trigger control and practice drawing from your holster for improved muscle memory.

Having the wrong type of gun for you

Not all types of guns would fit well with everybody. The right gun is determined by several factors that differ from one person to another, so try out different types before settling to one. The factors to consider include experience, body type, the size of one’s hands, and to what purpose you will use the gun.

Self-defense is an important skill to have against the unpredictable dangers of today’s world, so make sure to have proper training by avoiding these mistakes. No aspect of your training must be sacrificed for substandard skills, as these are what will safeguard you against real-life threats.

Bio: Ethan Robinson is a gun and self-defense enthusiast, hunter, blogger, and online marketing strategist based in Australia. He is currently partnering with IDF Holsters, a top supplier of high-quality holsters, tactical equipment and weapon accessories.