Make Your Voice Heard

Those who’ve made the choice to take charge of their well-being until authorities arrive during a criminal attack—by securing a concealed carry permit—face an ever-changing landscape where they may not be honored in certain states, even neighboring ones a few miles away. Worse yet, reciprocity status can change unexpectedly.

Photographers often travel with expensive gear. I do, and I don’t exactly have the kind physique it takes to intimidate an armed robber into backing down—not that anyone does with today’s drug-crazed culprits. I’ve been lucky enough to escape several dangerous criminal confrontations with my life, but all those optics I tote around for assignments make me  an attractive target of opportunity (on the bright side, at someone considers me attractive in some way). I now have a carry permit, thankfully haven’t had to use it, and recommend other law-abiding photogs do the same.

The national Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (H.R. 38), which is currently being considered by Congress, would allow those with CCWs to carry in every state in the nation, but it would still require adherence to all applicable regulations in the respective jurisdictions. It’s every bit as sensible as driver’s license privileges not being suspended periodically as you drive cross country. It’s important, and the kind of good common sense legislation that should see a tidal wave of signatures on the White House Petition urging President Donald Trump help pass the measure.

The petition explains in part, “No other group is as law-abiding as concealed handgun permit holders, regardless of which state they are from. Currently over 20 states, such as Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona, already honor permits from all other states, without issue. H.R. 38 will simply make such recognition uniform across the nation and will save many innocent American lives!”

Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is a Big Issue

The issue isn’t a small one, either. There are more than 16.3 million permit holders across the nation and last year that number grew by more than ever before. The odds are pretty good most of them took or have taken a vacation this year, and the confusing reciprocity maze meant booking reservations wasn’t their only homework.

NRA-ILA’s July story explains the positive promise the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act holds. It states, “Though support for national reciprocity and the number of law-abiding gun owners it would impact are both increasing, getting the legislation through Congress requires all of us to make sure our representatives know how important it is.”

You can do that today by visiting the petition website, signing and making your voice heard. It’s fast, free and an eloquent reminder to our legislators that the right to self-defense isn’t suspended at any border.

 

 

9 Reasons For RCMP Grenade Launchers

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently misplaced a bag containing a 40 mm grenade launcher and electronics gear—along with a box of ammo—when the stuff “bounced off a truck” at British Columbia’s Golden Ears Bridge, near Vancouver. A law-abiding citizen found the RCMP grenade launcher and returned the items, but not before the agency issued a public plea for help in locating the items.

The incident, however, begs a question: Why does the RCMP need grenade launchers? We’ll start with the official claim and provide nine lesser known, “Hokey Smokes” reasons cartoon and movie sex symbol Dudley Do•Right might provide, if he really existed.

  1. The official explanation—To launch less-lethal projectiles and tear gas at unruly mobs
  2. Dudley Do•Right, however, has been known to use his to clear icy roads in Frostbite Falls from time to time
  3. He’s also learned damsels in distress prefer their men to make explosive entrances
  4. Breaching dangerous sawmills
  5. Snidely Whiplash is still at large
  6. Finally forcing rabbits out of Bullwinkle’s hat
  7. Tactical response to flying squirrel squadrons
  8. Adding color to the Northern lights since 1957
  9. Runaway Zambonis

As you can tell by the photo I took while on assignment one winter while at the north end of Quebec, those explosive colors in the Northern Lights are hard to explain. It could be someone is on the trigger of RCMP grenade launchers on clear, cold winter nights in the Great White North.

If you think these painful puns are bad, don’t read my Solar Eclipse Facts for Shooters blog.

 

 

 

 

Solar Eclipse Facts For Shooters

The first total eclipse in 26 years to darken the United States mainland hits the beach today in Oregon. At about 2:50 p.m. it will swim off shore in South Carolina, making a cross country trek that hasn’t been seen in nearly 100 years. Countless stories have appeared about the event, but there have been no warnings about what shooters can expect if they’re at the range when the two minutes or so of darkness falls. Here are some things to keep in mind.

5. Pregnant women on the firing line will magically disappear—driven indoors by the ancient belief that direct exposure to an eclipse can be dangerous to an unborn child. Pregnant men are OK under a roofed firing line.

4. If you’re in the 2 1/2-minute, total-eclipse path, now’s the time to convince your friends you really ring steel at 1,000 yards—with your .22 LR.

3. The cumulative gravity when both celestial bodies are aligned—like Charlize Theron standing directly behind Kate Upton—is irresistible. So, tides raise and bullets travel further, although the added distance is statistically less significant than the odds of the average gun writer dating either starlet.  

2. There’s no epidemic of zombies coming, despite the fact the black plague was allegedly “predicted” by the fabled 3 hour and 29 minute eclipse of 1345.   

1. Indoor ranges won’t be affected. 

BF Goodrich 36 Hours of Uwharrie

Last week I camped out on Uwharrie National Forest, although getting away from it all wasn’t the main goal. I was doing photography at the BF Goodrich 36 Hours of Uwharrie, which included two mandatory shooting stages during the off-road, adventurist-style competition.

I wish I had time to see all the missions assigned to participants—more than 30 in all—but my main focus was their trigger time behind Ruger AR-556s and pump-action Stevens 12-gauges. The six new guns used for the event were nicely engraved with the 36 Hours of Uwharrie logo, by the way.

AR-15 Photography Session

The AR-15 marksmanship phase took place on a public range about as photogenic as a train wreck, without flames, explosions, sirens, screaming or even a gratuitous herd of onlooking goats. It was a confusingly ugly derailment though the lens, although the range officers kept things running smoothly, safely and efficiently. The shooting benches were cramped, the firing line was covered in shade and combined with the bright sunlight downrange it confused my Canon 5D and flash worse than an English major in a calculus final exam.

I resorted to manual, but the wood rest/bench/walls still gave everything an ugly and unnatural warm tint. Yes, Photoshop cleaned it some in post, but still yuck, as you can see here. If I arrived before the firing line went hot, I could have set up strobes remotely triggered by Pocket Wizards and been a lot happier, strobist style.

I could also crop closer to highlight the brass that’s just been kicked out, but then things wouldn’t be hi res enough for the print magazines I write/photograph for.36 Hours of Uwharrie, Fear and Loading, Guy J. Sagi, Ruger AR-556

Shotgun Photography Session

Things were different at the clays stage, thankfully. Shooter’s working a pump-action shotgun are a little slower at shucking empty hulls, so I caught a lot in the air, some still smoking. The one at the top of this page was taken with a Canon 70-200 F4/L at a shutter speed of 1/1000. That’s not real fast by today’s DSLR standards, so give the setting a try the next time you’re at the range.

Final Thoughts on the 36 Hours of Uwharrie

You have to wait until next year if you think you’re driver enough—or shooter—to win. It’s an awesome event, with great people and you can read one of my first stories on NRA’s ShootingIllustrated.com here. Look for another soon at my AmericanRifleman.org Fear and Loading blog and I crammed a bunch of the shooting photos and video into a modest 1:42 long YouTube video. It’s not great, but you’ll get the idea, anyway.

Anytime I’m on assignment, I also make a point of catching a few scenic/flavor shots along the way. This time spent hours trying to fine-tune some images of my tent at dusk….stay tuned for a look at how they many flashes it took to get one I like. The next time I go I may need a semi just for camera gear.

In the meantime, feel free to complain about my gun photography. I’m always eager get input, even if it’s as ugly as the Uwharrie rifle range. I’ll bring the goats.

SIG Sauer Upgrade and Ruger Recall

SIG Sauer P320

In a few rare cases SIG Sauer P320s have fired when dropped in a specific manner, despite the fact the handgun meets all U.S. standards for safety֫—including those prescribed by the Sporting Arms Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute—and passed rigorous testing by military and law enforcement personnel. Safety is a high priority with SIG, however, so it worked with various agencies to find a solution and is offering enhancements that address the remote chance of an unintentional discharge, while improving function and reliability.

“SIG SAUER is committed to our approach on innovation, optimization, and performance, ensuring we produce the finest possible products,” said Ron Cohen, President and CEO of SIG SAUER. “Durability, reliability and safety, as well as end-user confidence in the SIG SAUER brand are the priorities for our team.”

The upgrade is voluntary and the M17 variant of the pistol, selected by the government as the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System, is not affected. Visit the voluntary upgrade webpage for full details.  

Ruger Precision Rifle

A safety bulletin has been issued for certain Ruger Precision Rifles. Interference between the aluminum bolt shroud and the cocking piece in a few of the guns can result in light primer strikes or—in extreme cases—the rifle won’t fire when the trigger is pulled. In the latter case, the rifle could unintentionally discharge as the bolt handle is lifted.

Precision Rifles that have fired more than 100 rounds without a problem are unlikely to be affected, partly because as parts wear the issue often resolves itself. Despite the fact only a small percentage of the firearms are affected and the interference is rare, Ruger is firmly committed to safety and offering free replacement bolt shrouds to eliminate the possibility. If you have a Ruger Precision Rifle (regardless of caliber) that has an aluminum bolt shroud and its serial number falls within the ranges of, 1800-26274 to 1800-78345 or 1801-00506 to 1801-30461, visit Ruger.com/RPRSafety and use the lookup tool to determine if your firearm qualifies for the replacement part.  

Not Sure if this Qualifies as Gun Porn

My experience at the National Shooting Sports Foundation Fantasy Shooting Sports Camp in April was wonderful. I wrote about it here, for NRA’s American Rifleman and there’s another article scheduled to appear soon. Getting good photographs of guns in action isn’t exactly easy. That’s why I always take many more than I need for articles and sales, winding up with a surplus of what some call gun porn.NSSF Fantasy Camp, Walther pistol cycling, handgun ejecting brass, Guy Sagi

I won’t tell you the final count when I got back from Vegas. I gave my Canon 5D a well-earned month vacation. Let’s just say there’s another 1,000 images I haven’t opened in Photoshop yet because the thumbnails look, well, boring. Either that, or I’m still exhausted after three months.

Photo Use

If you visit the story at AmericanRifleman.org, you won’t find many images. It’s a shame, too, because seeing firearms hard at work—1/8000th of a second at a time—is awesome. The other article will probably be accompanied by two dozen images, which is nice for firearm enthusiasts, obviously.

Today I was doing that annoying task of cleaning my computer’s hard drive and ran across the trip’s folder. Maybe 200 images are good enough to sell in the future, but they’ll collect digital “dust” in the meantime. Then there’s the GoPro footage I took remotely downrange taking up space.

Gun Porn Outlet

Some of them are too good to ignore. That’s why I gathered more than 100, mixed them with video, and created a Formula 1-fast 2-minute slide show/video for my Fear and Loading YouTube channel today. They’ve been moved to my library drive until an editor needs one, but in the meantime, give them a look. If you can ignore my monotonous voice in the beginning you might actually enjoy it. I suggest turning down the volume, personally.

For camera buffs out there, the video was taken on a GoPro 3 Black and I was running the 70-200L Canon glass on my camera. Shutter speed was way up there, thanks to that bright sun and I dialed the F-stop wide open. Depth of field suffered, but I did get some great images of guns cycling.

Let me know what you think….and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

 

 

 

Ballistics, Breast Impants and Non-Newtonian Fluid Body Armor?

Non-Newtonian fluid body armor probably wasn’t on Dr. Christopher Pannucci’s mind as he treated the woman for a gunshot wound. It would be just another case in the E.R., except for one peculiar fact. The bullet’s trajectory altered after it hit her breast implant, missing the heart and saving her life. The case piqued his curiosity. “The entrance and exit wounds were not in a straight line, so we thought the implant must have caused the bullet to slow down and alter its trajectory,” he told NewScientist.com.

He assembled a team of experts and tested the theory. The results aren’t shocking to firearm owners, although his expense report may raise eyebrows. After passing through large saline implants, handgun bullets traveled roughly 20 percent less through ballistics gelatin blocks behind. Muzzle velocities were a little more than 930 fps and distance to target was almost 8 feet.

Pannucci noted bullets collected after passing through the supple-to-the-touch barrier exhibited a larger diameter and flatter profile. He theorizes the corresponding increase in drag coefficient slows velocity until lifesaving turns become possible. He explained, “But it would depend on the bullet velocity and the size and type of the implant.”

Non-Newtonian Fluid Body Armor Research

The news probably won’t get much of a rise out of researchers who’ve been working on a liquid outer layer to protect law enforcement and military personnel. In 2010, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory released a video on advancements after a decade of experiments with a non-Newtonian shear thickening fluid—light and flexible enough to be used in the parts of fatigues not traditionally protected by body armor.

The same year, BAE announced a Kevlar/liquid mix that researchers affectionately labeled bulletproof custard. “Its [the liquid] molecules lock together more tightly when struck,” the Popular Science article explains.

By 2015, Poland’s Military Institute of Military Technology had allegedly solved the nagging liquid body armor-weight riddle without compromising its performance—which greatly exceeds that of Kevlar. Viscosity in non-Newtonian fluids varies with force applied, potentially spreading energy across the entire media and those that thicken can instantly harden to armor-plate strength.

I have sudden urge watch Terminator again.

 

Win a VIP NASCAR Weekend Package

(Photo courtesy of Daniel Defense)

 

Introduce someone to target shooting before Sept. 23 and you qualify for a chance to win two hot passes to a NASCAR race. The special tickets provide access to the pit and garage, team hauler tours and the opportunity to meet Richard Childress. It’s all part of this year’s National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF) festivities, the 45th annual.

Simply fill out the pledge form and haul that spouse, co-worker or friend to the range. The drawing’s runner-up won’t be complaining, either, because he or she will visit Missouri’s Ozark Mountains for a two-night stay in a log cabin at Big Cedar Lodge, enjoy guided largemouth fishing on Table Rock Lake, attend Bass Pro Shops’ Outdoor Shooting Academy and much more.

“Mentoring is critical to ensure our outdoor tradition lives on through future generations,” said Childress, honorary chair for 2017 NHF Day and NASCAR racing legend. “Make the commitment to take someone outdoors and show them why you value hunting, fishing and target shooting.”

Voluntary Taxes

The Pittman-Robertson Act. enacted in 1937, places an 11-percent tax on sporting arms and ammunition. That money is then distributed to states for acquisition of property and development of open-to-the-public facilities (ranges), hunting and firearm education and wildlife conservation. Handguns were added in 1970—at 10 percent—and archery gear was included in 1972. A similar tax, Dingell-Hart, is levied on fishing gear. The sum collected is substantial. Last year the figure was $1.1 billion and Vista Outdoor’s bill for fiscal year 2017 was $87 million.

NHF Day is an annual celebration of the sportsman’s investment and contribution to conservation through organizations and volunteer labor. “Help a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker learn how to hunt, fish or shoot,” Childress said. “Introducing someone to the joys of the outdoors not only enriches their life, it creates a future conservationist.”

Strange How my Byline Hasn’t Aged

I’ve been writing about the outdoors for more than 30 years. Hint: I started before Al Gore invented the Internet. My bylines have appeared as Guy Sagi, Guy J. Sagi, Fear and Loading and G.J. Sagi with a few dead relatives to be named later. Don’t ask. Most of the time today my name doesn’t appear anywhere, which is OK, so long as the check clears.

Oddly, my name in a magazine/website looks just as fresh and eager as the day it appeared with my first search and rescue article. Yet, there’s this old geek in my mirror every morning and he’s still excited to craft the words and create the images that get people out of doors safely.

Surviving the Changes

The landscape has changed radically. Websites are thriving and many flagship publications are somewhere in Davey’s Locker. My hands don’t smell like Dektol and D76 from developing black-and-white prints, which makes my wife happy.

I’ve expanded from an exclusive search and rescue perspective, although it’s still exciting to share lifesaving tips. There’s a lot to be learned today, by everyone, even in the “safe” city.

The continuing education keeps me going, and I’m not alone. The writers who specialize in fishing, climbing, hunting and shooting that successfully made the jump to electronic is long. What Richard Mann has accomplished, for example, puts everything I’ve done to shame.

Passion for the outdoors runs deep, and it reflects in each writer’s dedication, despite the hurdles. Each of us are truly blessed, and occasionally see our name in an old-school print magazine. I’m probably not alone when I say it still makes me smile, like this one that arrived the other day, the May/June Sporting Retailer.

 

No Progress in West Virginia Ammo Factory

Lack of progress on Ranger Scientific’s 1,000-acre purchase of reclaimed mining property to build a $41.5 million, 150,000-square-foot West Virginia ammo factory has some residents concerned. The company made headlines when it announced plans on May 31, 2016, to secure the property in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Since then there’s been little if any headway and at least one newspaper is now reporting on the CEO’s alleged involvement with two other failed cartridge-manufacturing attempts.

Production was to begin in 2018, with as many as 450 employees at an average salary of $70,000. It was big news for an area with a chronically high rate of unemployment. CEO Daniel Pearlson’s claim Ranger would be offering “harmonically synchronized” loads also intrigued shooters. Cartridges would be available with different powder charges and bullet weights in each chambering, and sample kits were planned, allowing shooters to determine the best performing load.

Saber

According to the newspaper report, the businessman’s journey to establish the West Virginia ammo factory began on Nov. 26, 2012, when a joint Handels Securities and DayDra Holdings Group press release announced a partnership to form Saber Ultra Precision Ammunition. It claimed the Las Vegas-area plant would “…introduce the highest-quality ammunition in the industry, at high production levels, and at relatively low costs.” A study conducted by the Nevada Governor’s office estimated the total economic impact of the 500 jobs it could bring to the region would be more than $165 million. Architectural plans were submitted and a zoning meeting held.

Saber’s website is still live, though, and there is one promotional YouTube.com video. “I didn’t start the company; I never owned any part of it, never made any investment and was never paid,” Pearlson told the Charleston Gazette-Mail, explaining he was a part-time consultant.

Texas Ultra Precision Ammunition

Late the next year, Mineral Wells, Texas, was doing everything it could to entice another company, Texas Ultra Precision Ammunition—in talks with Mark Ryan (Director of Business Development for the latest effort) and Pearlson, according to another Gazette-Mail story—into launching and locating its $50 million manufacturing facility on 100 acres near there. Up to 200 people could have been employed, according to the Mineral Wells Index. Ultimately, that effort fell apart.

“I was also not the CEO of UPA (Texas Ultra Precision Ammunition),” Pearlson explained. He served as a technical consultant and, “I purchased no share of the company…”

West Virginia Ammo Factory

Residents would benefit from the new company, and Ranger’s approach certainly piques the interest of precision shooters. Let’s keep our fingers crossed the third time is the charm for this West Virginia ammo factory and nearby residents.

 

 

 

 

Crafting the words and images that capture the spirit of the outdoor sports and the beauty that surrounds them.