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  • Trip to the Ruger Factory

    Posted By on October 1, 2014

    In November of 2013 I won the Ruger 10/22 50th Anniversary Design Contest. My design was voted the best of thousands of submissions. One of the prizes was a trip to the Ruger factory in New Hampshire to see my rifle being produced.

    The winning design

    The winning design

    In April of 2014 I went to the NRA Convention in Indianapolis and met with the folks from Ruger. I got a chance to see a prototype of my rifle and pose with it and company executives. In that production hadn’t started yet there was no date set for my visit. However, while there the CEO Mike Fifer asked me if I wanted a special serial number on the rifle I was to get. I was happy to reply yes, my initials and 001. “Can do” he said. In subsequent conversations I asked if it would be possible for me to buy 5 more rifles off the line preferably with sequential serial number for my kids and family. “We can do that as well” he answered.

    Photo Op at the NRA convention

    Photo Op at the NRA convention

    L to r, Me, Tom Sullivan, Mark Gurney, Craig Cushman

    L to r, Me, Tom Sullivan, Mark Gurney, Craig Cushman

    In July the trip was arranged and my wife and I were flown to New Hampshire’s capital city of Manchester on Sunday August 3. We were picked up at our hotel on Monday August 4 by Craig Cushman who is Ruger’s product manager. Craig drove us up to Newport, about an hour north where the factory is located. Upon arrival we met up with Tom Sullivan. Tom is the Vice President of Operations. We also met up with Mark Gurney, Director of Product Management, Tim Lowney, Director of Engineering, Ron Nelson, 10/22 Line Manager and Brenda Taglieri who is the day shift Leader on the 10/22 line. She and her people are the ones who actually assemble the 10/22.

    Interestingly, they wired me for sound and had cameras follow us around the whole day. It will

    In the woodshop area

    In the woodshop area

    likely be edited down and shown on the Ruger Inside and Out show on the Sportsman Channel or their youtube channel sometime in the future.

    More production processess

    More production processess

    We got the grand tour with Tom Sullivan with us all day long. The Newport facility includes Pine Tree Casting which is Ruger’s original facility along with their manufacturing and assembly plant. It is their main foundry and factory. They make rifles, shotguns and revolvers. They also have a facility in Arizona that makes their semi auto pistols and a new facility in North Carolina that makes their American Rimfire .22 bolt action rifle and their new AR 556 rifle.

    It is a pretty large facility and we were there all day long breaking for lunch at a nearby restaurant. After lunch the tour resumed and we watched them make various guns. At around 2:30 PM they took us over to the 10/22 production line where they had my rifle set up. To my surprise they

    10/22 Line team leader Brenda showing me how to assemble a 10/22 on the line

    10/22 Line team leader Brenda showing me how to assemble a 10/22 on the line

    had arranged for me to make my own rifle on their line between shifts. The afternoon shift started at 3 pm. This is where Brenda came in. It is her team that makes 10/22s on the day shift. She walked me through the process. Unlike sitting at home putting a 10/22 together working down the line was a step by step process using tools, presses and jigs for each stage. Yeah, I knew how they are put together but not like on an assembly line.

    "Look Mac rifle #1"

    “Look Mac rifle #1”

    As we worked our way down the assembly line we came to the receiver. I pulled it out and noticed it had the special serial number on it. Then to my amazement, I pulled out five more receivers all with my initials and numbered 002-006. Ruger had put special serial numbers on the rifles I had requested for my family as well and we were going to build them!

    After building my rifle I was escorted to the range to test fire it. Not really a range, more like a

    A rack of winning rifle stocks awaiting assembly

    A rack of winning rifle stocks awaiting assembly

    bullet trap. “Yes, it works!”. I then got a chance to talk with the 10/22 engineers who adapted my design and made it a reality. They seemed to like the design and thought it was cool to meet the guy who thought it up. I of course thought it cool to meet the people who took it and made it happen.

    My 6 contest rifles at the factory

    My 6 contest rifles at the factory

    After a long but interesting day the whole group of us went to dinner at a local pub. We were joined by Tom Sullivan’s wife. We ate, drank and talked guns late into the evening.

    An amazing experience on my part and was treated royally by Ruger. I’ve always been a fan of their reliable and affordable firearms and am even more impressed by how they make their guns. They are one of the great American gun companies who are keeping American’s shooting heritage alive.

    Stay tuned for a review of my rifle on the line….

    More Stuff To Come

    Posted By on October 1, 2014

    We got attacked pretty good in September by spammers and other things that brought the site down including the forum. After much digging around and some expense to clean it up we are back up. Thanks to all who expressed interest in helping and those who said they missed us.

    I am working on some more articles and would appreciate hearing from our readers about what they would like to read. In fact, we are open to submissions. If you would like to write and article e just let me know. We are not paying anything but you get it published on the internet..

    As I said, more stuff to come…


    Ruger LC9 Review

    Posted By on December 23, 2013

    Just obtained a new Ruger LC9. I know there are lots of reviews on the internet but I thought I would offer up some first impressions.

    First some background….Been carrying a gun for 37 years, 34 of that in law enforcement. Been retired for 3 years now. I have carried just about everything over the years both on and off duty, undercover, as a backup etc. That goes from small .25 and .22 autos to j frame revolvers, original AMT Backup .380, Charter Arms .44 bulldogs, Star PD .45 auto, Keltec P32s and P11s, full size 1911s, Glocks, XDs, etc, etc.

    Never was big fan of 9mm but I own several and carried a Keltec P11 which I thought was good pocket gun being a compromise between caliber and firepower. Recently I’ve been carrying a small Charter Arms Off Duty .38 with a hip grip just stuck in my waistband/appendix carry. Works well but I would prefer something with a higher capacity. I sold my P11 about 5 years ago to a friend of my wife who had a threatening ex husband. The deal was I get to buy it back when she no longer needs it or has replaced it with something else. Been looking at replacing the P11 with another one if I could find one at a good price. Other alternatives were the Ruger LCP in . 380, the Keltec 3AT from which the Ruger design was stolen/borrowed, the Keltec PF9, a single stack 9mm or the Ruger LC9 which is Ruger’s version of the PF9, another borrowed design.  I preferred 9mm over .380 so the PF9 and LCP were choices one being cheap and the other being free. The Ruger contest I won allowed me to pick a couple free guns so the choice became obvious.

    The Ruger LC9

    The Ruger LC9, note inner tube on grip

    Overall Impression

    Ruger has come a long way with their service pistols since the “P” series. The “Ps” (P89, P90, P95, P97) were good guns but somewhat heavy and clunky. Not very esthetic either. Ruger’s LC (LCP 380 and LC9) as well as their new SR series (9, 40 & 45) are much nicer looking and working pistols. The LC9 is a good looking and well made pocket gun.

    It is a nice size for a pocket pistol. It is shorter than my classic Colt Model 1903 .32 which is the granddaddy standard of pocket pistols. The LC9 is not too small or two big though I can only get two fingers on the grip. The grip is also pretty thin and is IMO uncomfortable to hold. Overall though the pistol is well rounded and ergonomic.

    Left to right... SA XD9, Colt 1903, Ruger LC9, Charter Arms Off Duty .38

    Left to right…
    SA XD9, Colt 1903, Ruger LC9, Charter Arms Off Duty .38

    Good and Bad and Indifferent

    Nice size for a pocket gun
    Trigger while very long was pretty smooth on this pistol.
    7 round mag is better than a 5 shot revolver. I also got an 9 round extended mag
    Accurate and reliable-I put a hundred rounds of 5 different kinds of ammo. All shot to point of aim and no malfunctions.

    Long, long trigger pull. You really have to learn the trigger and resets on this pistol or you will definitely short stroke it.
    Small sights with small white dots.
    Uncomfortable grip
    Need a tool to field strip it (the safety key can be used but who is going to carry that around with them?)

    It comes with a bunch of safety features including a manual thumb safety, a loaded chamber indicator, magazine disconnect safety and a key lock out. In our litigious society these are added to keep idiots from shooting themselves or others and suing the company.

    Thumb safety

    Thumb safety

    I listed these as indifferent since you don’t really need to use any of them except the mag disconnect. I am used to a thumb safety on my 1911 and other pistols but with the long double action trigger pull (The Keltec P11, P32 don’t have safeties) you really don’t need an additional safety. Don’t like it? Don’t use it. However, whatever you decide to do at least be consistent. Either use it all the time or don’t use it at all. In a stressful situation you will get confused and forget whether it is on or off.

    Same goes with the key lock out thing. I would never use it since I no longer have kids in the house but it is a way to store it safely if others could have access to it. On the other hand this is a carry pistol not a home defense gun so it is likely to be in someone’s procession most of the time, not stored.

    You can lock the gun with a key

    You can lock the gun with a key

    I didn’t even notice the loaded chamber indicator when I loaded the pistol. Some people don’t like it because of the why it looks, I don’t really care one way or another.

    Loaded chamber indicator

    Loaded chamber indicator. It not only shows you, it tells you

    Mag disconnect. I’ve read reviews by people who say that the mag safety is tactically unsound in that you can’t shoot the gun during a reload. Consequently, this gun is not suitable as a carry gun except as a back up since it leaves you vulnerable. I get the ultimate tactics thing but it can sometimes be taken too far. A revolver can’t be fired during a reload, neither can an empty semi auto. So don’t carry them either??? Some people also advocate disabling the mag disconnect. I’ve done that on some guns (Browning Hi-Power) but I don’t advocate it from a liability issue. If someone (grandchild, spouse whoever) were to pick up your modified gun and inadvertently shoot themselves or someone else YOU ARE NEGLIGENT for disabling that safety device.

    Recoil is snappy. Small light pistol with full power 9mm=snappy recoil. You have to learn it.

    Mods and fixes:
    First thing I did was dab some Wite Out, typewriter correction fluid on the front and rear sights so I could see them better. That stuff lasts but is easy to remove. My eyes are older and I don’t pick up the front sight so well anymore.

    Second thing is the old bicycle inner tube custom grip trick. Yeah, you could buy a slip on rubber grip thing. All my guns get the inner tube thing because it works and it cheap. Makes the grip more comfortable.

    Third is ordering a belt clip for it. I had a belt clip on my P11 which allowed it to be carried inside the waistband without a holster. I also have one on my P32. They are a really handy way to carry these types of guns. Some people feel uncomfortable carrying a gun without a holster. I get that but save your preaching. Do what’s comfortable for you, I’ll do what works for me.

    The LC9 shown with pocket clip

    The LC9 shown with pocket clip

    I know these are considered pocket guns but I’ve never really liked carrying a gun in a pocket even with a holster. I prefer it on or inside the belt.

    I haven’t carried it out and about as my primary weapon yet but have been carrying it around the stuck in my waistband. It is very comfortable to carry to the point I forget I have it.


    Size:  6″L X 4″H X .90″WWeighs  17.1 oz,  Comes with one 7 round single stack mag. 2 round extenders are available                                                              MSRP for the LC9 is $449  Street price runs $360-400


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