Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Final IDPA Match Shooting Revolver Carry Optics


Revolver Carry Optics

Back in August 2017, I discussed the topic of setting up a revolver for a Carry Optics Division (CO) in IDPA. For those unfamiliar with that division, it is a division that permits the use of red dot optic instead of/or in addition to iron sights. In my post A Revolver in Carry Optics?, I discussed how to set up a revolver for an IDPA Carry Optics. I based the revolver on several assumptions I made about a provisional division, assumptions that turned out to be wrong.

In order to fit the "theme" of the carry optics division, I selected a Smith & Wesson Model 66-6 with a 3.25 inch barrel. Why? Well it's not too big, but not to small. I've discussed my partiality for three inched revolvers in the past. I think that might be the perfect length barrel. In my post Model 66: Carry Optics Ready, I laid out the parts, the optic, and other gear required for the "new division" as I envisioned it at the time. 

That brings us to today's post. This is my final match with the Model 66 Optic in IDPA. Below, you'll find the normal recap of each stage but instead of a picture, there is a video! Revolvers Only has started a YouTube channel! There you will find complete match videos, individual stages, and hopefully reviews of guns and related gear! The complete match video is down in the Conclusions section, if you prefer that format. Now, onto the match!

Stage One

This stage was midway through my squad's match. This was a seated start, but once the timer went off targets could be engaged while standing. The barrel was on the right side of the chair, which me and another lefty were a bit concerned about, but the Match Director said to "reach the gun safely" so I picked it up as I stood. Both reloads were smooth, so I guess that practice is paying off! As a lefty, I like moving from right to left on a stage. It made shooting around those corners a bit easier! I finished the stage one (1) point down in 33.20 seconds.

Stage Two

Stage two was set up in every bay all three squads took care of this first. The stage was limited, with guns were downloaded to five rounds, a mandatory reload, followed by five more rounds. After my third shot, I ran into a bit of a problem. Another light strike. I tried to keep my composure as a furiously pulled the trigger looking for the last round. The stage wasn't a total loss, as I was only one (1) point down in 15.88 seconds.

I've actually encountered light strikes frequently with Remington ammo. This is not the fault of the ammo. The strain screw was filed for a 7 pound 2 ounce pull, which is perfect with Federal ammo. To fix the problem, the screw was shimmed which brought the pull weight up to 7 pounds and 12 ounces. Unfortunately, this was still not enough. Luckily, my gunsmith Jimmy trimmed another screw that pulled at 8 pounds and 8 ounces just in case I had issues with the shim. A quick swap and I was back in the game for the rest of the stages. I'm so glad we cut another screw!

Stage Three

This stage was a disaster! It was the second to last stage of my match and I was starting to get a little clumsy. I changed my plan right before the buzzer and I think that might have thrown me off a bit. Here's how it all played out.

I slipped on the fault line (board) while stepping into the first position. The shots were good and I too a big step backward to the next position to fire my last two shots. The rounds stuck and as I plucked them out, I dropped my speed loader. I grabbed a fresh loader but didn't retrieve the old one. I earned a procedural for leaving live ammo on the ground. After the third position, I loaded on the move and managed to pull one round out with the speed loader. I probably should have bleeped the video, but...I didn't. It was mess but I was only one (1) point down in 35.19 seconds with that pesky  three (3) second procedural hurting my time. 

Stage Four

This was actually the last stage of the day for my squad. It was starting to heat up and I was ready to head home. This was my best stage of the day. My reloads were smooth, the hits were all there, and all with no make-up shots. No points down and finished in 28 seconds. I was very happy to finally shoot a clean stage, even if it was the last stage of the day!

Stage Five

This was the third stage of the day for my squad. After the misfire and subsequent screw swap of stage two, and the swinger on stage six, I was ready to do a little moving. I reloaded at position two with a clear plan in my mind, but an unfortunate make up on a steel popper messed up that up. 

After knocking over the barrel at the final position, I took the last shot in my cylinder. I reloaded quickly, reengaged that target and addressed the final two paper targets. I guess it didn't hurt my plan all that much, as I needed to reload at that position anyway. I finished with one (1) point down in 31.54 seconds.

Stage Six

Stage six was limited to only six rounds. The rope was placed in the strong hand and on the buzzer, the shooter released the swinger, drew their downloaded firearm, and engaged the single target. My original plan was to shoot two on the left pause, two on the right pause, and the final two on the left pause. It didn't quite play out that way, but I was happy with it. The shooting sure wasn't fast, but I was only three (3) points down in 7.69 seconds. I heard a lot of other shooters with points down in the double digits.


As I promised above, here is the complete match video. I plan to video all of my matches from this point forward using my Go Pro Hero 5 Session and Sidekick Mount. I am also in the process of setting up a space to do table top reviews! In addition to a YouTube channel, these videos will also be Vimeo because of YouTube's ever changing policies. If you liked the videos, please like and subscribe!

Sadly, this will be my last match shooting the Model 66 Carry Optics. The reason for this change is not my dislike or boredom of this set up. It actually may be my favorite configuration thus far! I  removed the optic because I am shooting my first ICORE match at the end of June and decided to shoot the Smith & Wesson 929 in Open Division. More on that later!

As always, if you have any suggestions for future posts or would like to share your experience on the current topic please post below!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Revolvers of the NRA Annual Meeting 2018 Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of Revolvers of the NRA Annual Meeting 2018! Last week I discussed about half of the wheel guns I saw at the show, so this week we're looking into the other revolvers I photographed at the convention. While I visited Uberti's booth at the show, I didn't post any picture of these revolver because Taylors & Company imports this firearms. Plus, I featured a pair of those in Part One. I hope you enjoy the remaining revolvers of the NRAAM.


Night Cobra

Colt is one of the oldest firearms manufacturers in the US and it all started with revolvers. Although Colt ceased production of it's revolvers in the late 20th Century, they have recently re-entered the revolver market with the new take on the Colt Cobra. The new Cobra is all stainless steel chambered in .38 Special +P that features a six shot cylinder, an easily replaceable front sight, and quality trigger all in a concealable package.

This year Colt has released another model, dubbed the Night Cobra, that may be even better suited for concealed carry. This new addition features a flat black diamond like coating, a tritium night sight, a bobbed hammer (to prevent the hammer snagging on clothing), and smooth G-10 grips that doesn't grab garments. These features are all very appealing to anyone who might wish to carry a snub nose revolver. I'd love to add one of these to my stable.


Kimber K6s DC (Deep Cover) and CDP (Custom Defensive Pistol)

Kimber is known for producing 1911s but recently waded into the world of revolvers with the K6s. This line of wheel guns weighs in at 23 ounces and is the lightest six shot revolver chambered in .357 Magnum. It is loaded with other features like a replaceable front sight, a dovetailed rear sight with serrations, a match grade trigger, and checkered rubber stocks. While the stainless model was the first on the scene, Kimber was bound to release a variety of models. Here are two of my favorites from the show.

The K6s DC (Deep Cover) is similar to the Night Cobra in many respects, except for the concealed hammer and .357 Magnum cylinder. It features a matte black DLC coating, front and rear tritium night sights, and G-10 stocks. These features appear to make the DC a great option for concealed carry.

The other model I examined at the show was a dressier version of the K6s, the CDP (Custom Defensive Package). The barrel, cylinder, cylinder release, and trigger are all brushed stainless that contrasts with the matte black frame. Other features such as the tritium front and rear night sights and a checkered Rosewood stocks come standard with this revolver. I know it is a bit flashy, but I like the two tone finish more often than not!

Charter Arms

Charter Arms Southpaw and Bulldog Classic

When I shared the 2018 NRA Annual Meeting Preview on Reddit, a user reminded me to visit Charter Arms. I didn't know too much about the company except for some less than stellar reviews. Well, I ended up chatting with the owner and he really sold me on giving his revolvers a try. Charter Arms has been producing guns out of Connecticut since 1964 and offers a lifetime warranty if you do run into a problems. Charter Arms offers a large product line and here is a bit about the two I was most interested in.

I am a lefty and am of the opinion that pretty much every revolver is designed for right handed shooters. Well, the Charter Arms Southpaw is a mirror image designed for the wrong handed  revolver enthusiast. This seems like a great plan, but for anyone with a large amount of experience using a "normal" swing out cylinder, it may pose a problem. All of that muscle memory goes right out the window and if you spend the time to relearn on the lefty friendly model. Even though it may not be for me, if you are left handed and in the market for your one and only revolver, this may be right up your alley!

The other revolver I am interested in is the Charter Arms Classic Bulldog. The five shot cylinder is chambered in . 44 Special, a cartridge I've been interested in trying out. This model comes equipped with a three inch barrel (which I believe is the perfect length for an all-purpose revolver), a deep blued finish, and checkered walnut stocks. At 20 ounces, I bet it has a bit of recoil, but if you are someone who prefers a cartridge that starts with a .4x, this may be the revolver for you!


Raging Hunter
In Part One, I discussed the re-introduced Taurus Model 856. I was really impressed with that model, but I also wanted to discuss the new offering in .44 Magnum, the Raging Hunter. I mentioned earlier that I don't currently own revolvers chambered in .44 Special/.44 Magnum, but I'd be interested in giving one a try. I am a little worried about recoil, but the Raging Hunter weighs 55 ounces, has a ported barrel, a heavy duty frame lock, and a cushion rubber stock that should make it a comfortably shooting big bore. I also like the two-toned finish, which has the opposite scheme of the Kimber K6s CDP.

Taurus 692
The other new revolver Taurus released this year is the Model 692 which comes in two different barrel lengths, three and six and a half inches, both ported to reduce recoil. The really impressive thing about this new wheel gun is the ability to swap cylinders 
with the push of a button. The 9mm cylinder is cut for Taurus' proprietary stellar clips. Both cylinders are have a seven shot capacity and are not fluted. I'm not sure the factory version is legal in any of the different competitive leagues in which I participate, but the swap-able cylinder feature is pretty impressive. I wish more companies did this.

North American Arms

NAA 22MS-P and Ranger II

North American Arms is a company that produces small single action revolvers that can always be in your pocket when you can't carry a larger handgun. The company chambers all of their mini wheel guns in .22 Long Rifle, .22 Magnum and even .22 Short. Many models can be purchased with an additional cylinder so you can swap out a .22 Mag cylinder for some cheap practice with .22LR. 

While the NAA 22MS-P isn't exactly new, this model looked pretty neat as it features ports. Even though .22 Magnum doesn't have a lot of recoil, this model is perfect for recoil sensitive shooters who just want something on them for personal defense. I think something like this might be great option for a few members of my family if they choose to pursue a concealed carry license in the future. 

The newest release from NAA is the Ranger II, a updated version of their popular Ranger. Now this is the revolver I'd like to add to my collection! I've mentioned my love of the top break design and this model features a working ejector. The latch wasn't hard to open, although I did accidentally engage it when trying to cock the hammer once. I'm sure that was a fluke. I don't own anything chambered in .22Mag, so perhaps this is the one for me!

Rock Island Armory

M206 Spurless

Rock Island Armory has been producing steel framed snub nosed revolver since the 1970's, so this isn't exactly new, BUT it was new to me. The representative I chatted with explained that Rock Island purchased a design from Colt and has been making it ever since. The model that I liked the most is the M206 Spurless. It is an all steel frame that weighs in at one and a half pounds unloaded, so it shouldn't recoil all that much with .38 Special round. In fact, I don't think it is rated for +P ammunition. The checkered wood stocks felt comfortable, and I am starting to prefer bobbed hammers on all my double action revolvers. Seems like a solid purchase if you are in the market.

E.M.F Company

E.M.F Company has been producing quality single action since the mid 1950's for the film industry. When Colt stopped producing the Single Action Army, this company worked with Italian gun makers to find a suitable replacement. Pietta has been producing firearms for E.M.F. for decades and the models I handled  were of amazing quality. 

I was born in raised in the city of New Orleans and discovered an interesting black powder revolver in my reading, the LeMat. Jean Alexander LeMat designed this in 1856 and it was seen in the hands of Confederate forces during the American Civil War. It is unique, featuring a nine shot .44 caliber cylinder and a .20 gauge shotgun barrel, perfect for mounted cavalry. E.M.F. and Pietta have come together to produce this faithful reproduction that I'm extremely interested in owning. I have not ventured into the world of black powder, but I plan to get into that with this revolver down the road. If anything, it will be a great conversation piece.


Well, that wraps up my recap of the revolvers I encountered at the 2018 NRA Annual Meeting! I met a large number of people, both trainers and representatives, who still like to carry and shoot revolvers despite the prevalence of auto-loaders. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I did my best to visit every booth that had a revolver for display. I apologize if I missed any wheel guns or didn't post a picture of your favorite. I really enjoyed the convention and hope to attend this event in the future! 

As always, if you have any suggestions for future posts or would like to share your experience on the current topic please post below!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Revolvers of NRA Annual Meeting 2018 Part One

This trip was my first visit to the National Rifle Association Annual Meetings. I have been an NRA member for a few years, but the convention has never been close enough for me to visit. Luckily, the NRA decided to host it's event in Dallas, TX which is right down the road. Coincidentally, the best man in my upcoming wedding lives all of nine minutes from the Kay Bailey Convention Center. 

This show floor was massive and I met quite a few folks (including reps, competitive shooters, YouTubers, and instructors) while walking around and took a ton of pictures. There are a lot of revolver aficionados out there still if you look. I ran into Mike, better known as Mrgunsngear on YouTube, who still enjoys shooting revolvers when he gets the chance. Without further ado here is part one of my highlights from the convention floor! 


The first booth I visited at the show was Nighthawk Custom Firearms. Nighthawk is known primarily as a high end 1911 company, but the have recently partnered with Korth (a very fine German company) to import European revolvers. The Mongoose .357, was the finest revolver I handled at NRAAM. It features an adjustable trigger and can be ordered with a second cylinder in 9mm that does not require moon clips to function unlike my Smith & Wesson 929. This is a pretty convenient feature.

The amount of detail Korth and Nighthawk put into the Mongoose is incredible and I'd love to own one at some point in my life. While visiting their booth I was also hunting for another revolver that was not at the show, the Sky Hawk 9mm. This is an incredible little snubby features a shorter cylinder for the round that, like the Mongoose, does not require moon clips to function. I believe it would be a fantastic carry gun. Unfortunately, it appears Nighthawk is a little back ordered on this wheel gun, but hopefully I can snag one soon!


The Chiappa Rhino 30DS Hunter.

In previous posts, I have mentioned my affinity for the Chiappa Rhino series. I think the design is an evolutionary step for revolvers, and expect to see more companies follow this trend. I currently own a 200DS in .357 Mag that serves as a carry gun but, I have been waiting for three inch model to hit the market, particularly in a dark finish. I've mentioned before that I think three inch barrels are the perfect size for most tasks. This model with the green finish and wood stocks really caught my eye! I hope to keep adding different models like this and the Charging Rhino to my collection. I can't express my infatuation with this design, with its' modern design and low barrel axis.


Taurus 856 silver and black.

It is my understanding that Taurus Firearms have a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to quality control. I have never owned one of their revolvers, but I have heard they have a better track record than the automatics. This year Taurus released a few new wheel guns to their product line, including the re-released model 856. This model features a six shot cylinder in a package that is only slightly larger than their five shot model, the 85. According to their website, the 856 only weighs 22 ounces, which is just one ounce heavier than the model 85! That seems like pretty impressive engineering to me. The trigger was fairly smooth. With an MSRP of $329, I'd assume the street price will be closer to $300 which is very affordable for a wheel gun. I'll be discussing the two new models in Part 2.

Smith & Wesson

Model 19 Carry Comp and Model 19 Classic.
Smith & Wesson was very well represented at the show. Their both contained samples of nearly every revolver, among their many firearms, the company currently produces. The big surprise of the show, on the revolver side of the house at least, was the introduction of two "new" K-frame revolvers. These have been dubbed the Model 19 Classic and the Model 19 Carry Comp. 
These were a very tightly guarded secret before the show. Smith keeps new releases under tight wraps since a recent leak.  

The Model 19 was one of S&Ws most popular revolvers until it was discontinued in 1999. The Classic is offered with a four and a quarter inch barrel and square butt, while the Carry Comp features a three inch ported barrel and round butt. I'm actually more interested in the Carry Comp, but that's just me. I am excited to see the return of the model 19 to Smith's line up.


GP100 in 10mm!

By the time I made it the Ruger booth at the show, it was packed. I waited in line to get to the center display to handle the new GP100 chambered in 10mm. This model is similar in appearance to the GP100 Match Champion chambered in .357 Magnum/.38 Special, without the slab sided barrel. I really liked the feel of the checkering on the wooden stocks, but I'd imagine they'd get uncomfortable with extended firing.

I am mildly interested in the revolver, but not for the 10mm Auto capability. If I were to purchase this wheel gun, I'd be shooting light loaded .40 S&Ws in the Revolver-Enhanced Division at IDPA matches. The .40 is arguably a shortened 10mm, should have less recoil, and load quickly with the provided moon clips. I might pick one up down the road...unless I come across a four inch Chiappa Rhino in .40 S&W for a good price.

Taylors and Company

Smoke Wagons with Short Stroke Kits; Tuned Action and Gunfighter.

I really enjoy reading about the Wild West even if it isn't all that wild like the movies suggest. I am particularly enamored with the single action revolvers wielded by cowboys and desperadoes depicted in films. My fiance purchased a Cimarron Frontier in .45 Colt for my back in 2016. I really enjoy shooting that the Frontier, but I've recently had some issues with it. A few weeks prior to NRAAM, I met a representative from Taylors & Company who sold me on giving her brand a try.

I hope to test a Schofield very soon, but I also discovered Taylors & Co Smoke Wagon with a short stroke kit. Man does that shorter throw on the hammer really work! Even neater than that, the company offers a tuned model with an enhanced action and parts. The company also produces a version with an extended grip, the Gunfighter Short Stroke, that felt even better in my hands. I will definitely add one or two of these to my collection in the future. If you are interested in getting into Cowboy Action or just like single action revolvers, this may be the brand for you!


This wraps up Part One! I'm ready to test as many of these revolvers as possible, especially the Mongoose. Remember this is only about half of the revolvers of interest at NRAAM in Dallas. Next week's post will include Colt, Kimber, Rock Island Armory, Charter Arms, North American Arms, and E.M.F. Stay tuned for more revolver coverage!

As always, if you have any suggestions for future posts or would like to share your experience on the current topic please post below!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

2018 NRA Annual Meeting Preview

Courtesy of
This coming weekend is the 
2018 National Rifle Association Annual Meeting in Dallas, TX. For anyone unfamiliar with this event, the NRA hosts a convention each year for members to gather and support the Second Amendment. Visitors need only be active members to enter a large exhibit hall where firearms and related products are on display. There are also events such as seminars, speakers, and other special events that members can attend for a fee. 

I'll briefly address something I've seen online recently. Many people do not like the NRA. I'm happy to be a member and pay my dues, but I really don't like the spiel I hear every time I answer a phone call from a representative. I feel like it alienates portions of the firearm populace rather than embracing all Second Amendment supporters. But I'm not going to the events for the rhetoric. I'm there to peruse the acres of products at the exhibit to get an idea of new products.

Exhibit Floor Plan

Courtesy of

This convention space looks huge! I think I can finish it in two days, but we'll see. Call me old fashioned, but I want to handle the products before I buy them. According to the event website, "The NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits offers experienced outdoor retailers and outfitters a tremendous opportunity to sell merchandise, secure leads, book trips and interact with the shooting sports community." 

The major selling point of this event is the chance to chat with folks who really know the products. A representative for the company should be able to offer a bit more insight than someone behind the counter of the local gun store. Most regional reps I've spoken with are pretty great at rattling off specs, but I hope to chat with the shooters who actually run their gear to know all the little quirks.

My Planned Stops


The map above show a number of marked booths. There are so many places to visit, I decided to print a map with all of the "must visit" stops. Here is my list so far!

  • Taylors & Company
  • Cimarron
  • Chiappa
  • Colt
  • Smith & Wesson
  • Ruger
  • Kimber
  • Nighthawk (I'd really like a Korth revolver some day)
  • North American Arms
  • Taurus
  • Apex Tactical
  • Ranch Products
  • Tuff Products
  • Hogue
  • Eagle Grips
  • VZ Grips
  • Altamont Grips
  • Safariland
  • Comp Tac
  • El Paso Saddlery
  • De Santis
  • Galco
  • and anything else that looks revolver related.

Did I miss any? I also plan to visit other booths along the way because I don't only shoot revolvers but, you aren't here to read about those guns. You are here to read about wheel guns. The event should be an experience and I'm just happy I can attend without much expense.

My Wish list

Except for a few new releases, the majority of the companies at the show have already released the products on display at the show. That being said, I love surprises! I am a huge fan of break top revolvers like the Smith & Wesson Schofield. I'd love to see a company produce a modern, break top revolver in double action. It would be even better if it was cut for moon clips. I can dream right?



I'm pretty excited to attend the 2018 National Rifle Association Annual Meeting in Dallas, TX. Depending on how many interesting things I encounter, there will be one or two posts detailing my trip. Comment below if there is anything you'd like me to hunt for at the show!

As always, if you have any suggestions for future posts or would like to share your experience on the current topic please post below!