Written by Frank Semeraro
If you carry a firearm, it is important that you wear a good quality gun belt. A belt from Walmart isn’t going to cut it. I good gun belt will keep your firearm tight and close to your body. Many times people blame their holsters for flopping around when it is actually their gun belt that is flopping. If you carry every day, don’t skimp on the gun belt.
There are different types of gun belts, and it is a personal choice as to what type of belt to use.
Traditional Leather Gun Belts – Nothing loos as good as a leather gun belt. It can be worn with casual or dress clothes. Leather does stretch a bit over time, and I find the belt holes can be spaced a little far apart making the belt too tight or too loose. I have reviewed many traditional leather gun belts and Hanks Belts are by far the best quality you can get. They are made in the USA and have a lifetime warranty.
Ratchet Style Belts – Ratchet style belts have a track system on the inner side of the belt that allows adjustments in ¼ inch increments. This allows you to maintain a more precise fit and keeps your firearm close and tight to your body. Out of all the ratchet style belts I have reviewed, the Kore Essentials ratchet belt is the best I have tried.
Tactical Belts – Another option is a Tactical Belt. A good quality re-enforced nylon tactical belt is another good choice. Due to the buckles on tactical belts, they work best with IWB holsters since the belt buckle won’t fit through the holster loops. Blue Alpha makes a very good quality belt, it’s made in the USA and has a lifetime warranty.
Click on this link to watch our review
GET A GRIP
By Frank Semeraro – AKA “Big Gun”
As much as we may love our guns, they are not always comfortable mainly due to the factory grips. Most factory grips are not the best quality since this is one area they can skimp to keep the cost down. In order to shoot effectively, it is extremely important to maintain a proper grip. If you can’t grip your gun properly or comfortably, you may want to think about changing your grips.
The purpose of an aftermarket grip is to improve the factory grip by either adding more texture or more girth, so your hands don’t slip and you manage recoil better. It’s also a comfort issue. Different grips can reduce the vibration of the gun and make them feel more comfortable. Depending on the type of firearm you have will determine the choices of available grips. I have reviewed many grips for many different guns and will provide you with the options available to help you make your decision.
Polymer Frame Guns – If you own a firearm with a polymer frame such as a Glock, S&W Shield, Springfield XDS, etc., you are limited to your grip choices. The only type of grips available are rubber sleeves or tape grips. Talon makes great quality tape grips with different textures. Here is my review of the Talon Grips. For rubber sleeve grips, Houge makes a great rubber grip sleeve. Here is my review of the Houge Grips.
Metal Frame Guns – If you own a metal frame gun such as a revolver or a 1911 pistol, you have many other choices available since the grips are replaceable, not built into the frame. I will cover the most common grip options.
Rubber Grips – Rubber grips are comfortable and help reduce vibration and shock. Rubber grips are also very good for wet or sweaty hands. However, the rubber may grab the skin or clothing when trying to draw.
Wood Grips – Nothing looks better than exotic wood grips, they are beautiful. Wood grips can be a little slick and may be harder to maintain a firm grip with wet or sweaty hands but are smooth on the skin and won’t grab clothing. Altamont makes beautiful wood grips. Here is my review of the wood grips.
G10 Grips – In my opinion, G10 grips are king. G10 is a high-pressure fiberglass laminate created by stacking multiple glass cloth layers. This is done by soaking the glass in epoxy resin. Then by heat and pressure, it is compressed into shape. As with most fiberglass, this stacking provides amazing strength and durability. . G-10 will not rust or oxidize. It won’t become brittle or soften over time. This means it is basically maintenance-free. G10 grips are available in many cool colors and textures. Keep in mind that some textures are very aggressive and will irritate your skin if you carry IWB. I have very mild texture G10 grips on my 1911 and they are very comfortable. LOK Grips makes the best G10 grips on the market. Here is my review of G10 grips.
Now that you have your options it may make it easier for you to make a selection and Get a Grip
Frank Semeraro, AKA BIG GUN
When I hear on the news that a teenager finds his parents gun and brings it to school and
shoots students and teachers it makes me cringe. Children finding a parents’ gun and shooting
themselves, their friends or family members because they thought it was a toy or unloaded
happens all too often. When I hear these horror stories all I can do is wonder how these gun
owners can be so irresponsible.
As a firearm owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that guns in your home are stored where
they are inaccessible to children or other unauthorized persons. Unauthorized persons are
Minors, Felons, people who are intoxicated or under the influence or anyone else the gun
owner feels should not have access to their firearms.
Securing firearms protects children and adults by preventing unintentional shootings and gun
suicides. Some states have laws mandating that owners secure their firearms. Unloaded
firearms should be stored in a locked cabinet, safe, or storage case. The storage location should
be inaccessible to everyone except the owner of the firearm. Hiding a firearm in a closet or
desk drawer is not storing a firearm. Ammunition should be stored in a locked location
separate from the firearms.
There are many affordable options for firearm storage that provide owners with quick access to
their guns while still preventing access by children and people at increased risk of harming
themselves or others. Further.
Simple locks as shown below make the firearm inoperable and greatly reduce the risk of injury or death.
My firearms are stored in a gun safe that I have bolted to the wall and floor. How would you feel if you
did not properly secure your firearm and it was stolen and used to kill or injure someone? If you can’t
afford a gun safe you can find used storage lockers fairly cheap.
With all the chaos going on in the world right now, there are millions of new gun owners every year,
many of them are not shooters and have little or no knowledge or experience with firearms. This is the
group of gun owners that concern me the most.
Unsecured guns may actually increase the likelihood of crime and violence through an increased risk of
gun theft. Each year, an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 guns are stolen, and wind up in the hands of
If you are a gun owner that properly secures your firearms, I thank you for that. If you are a firearms owner that currently does not secure your firearms, I hope you will consider doing so.
By Frank Semeraro, AKA BIG GUN
Certified NRA Pistol Instructor
As gun owners, it is our responsibility to know our state and local gun laws. Many people go out and purchase a firearm and never check the firearms laws of their state. Not knowing your state gun laws or pleading ignorant isn’t a defense and can land you in jail for not knowing. Since laws vary from state to state and people are constantly moving they should know the gun laws of the state they are moving to.
For example, I live in the great state of Tennessee. There are no magazine restrictions here so all my rifle magazines are 30 round magazines. Most of my pistols have 15 round magazines. I know for a fact that if I moved to a state like New Jersey which has a 10 round restriction on both pistols and rifles, I could be in hot water if I was in possession of those magazines in New Jersey.
If you carry a firearm it is even more important to know your state and local laws. You should know where you can and can’t carry. Since the laws differ from state to state, it may be legal to carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol in one state but not another. The same applies to state parks, school property, etc.
A good example is one day my wife and I were traveling on the bike. The next thing I know the GPS routed us through Maryland. I was carrying a loaded Glock with a 15 round magazine. If I would have gotten pulled over I could have landed in jail because I can’t carry in Maryland.
What about shooting on your property. I live outside city limits and I can shoot on my property. People who live less than a mile away live within city limits and legally cannot. They shoot on their property because they see and hear us do it but if a neighbor were to call the local authorities, they could find themselves in trouble.
There is a lot of confusion about permitless carry. Typically, if a state is a permitless carry state, only residents of that state may carry. A lot of people think that in a permitless state anyone can carry without a permit. If you live in a permitless carry state you should still apply for a concealed carry permit. The reason is that you will only have reciprocity in another state If you have a resident permit from your home state. You should also know what states have reciprocity with your home state. You should also know what states you can open carry in. Some states allow concealed carry but prohibit open carry. You should also know how to transport firearms in your vehicle when driving through states that are not gun-friendly.
Firearms laws vary from state to state and in some instances even from county to county. Do yourself a favor and read your state and local firearm laws as well as the laws of any state you may be traveling through.
We all love shooting our guns and improving our shooting skills. One of the best ways to improve our skills is going to the range. Let us prepare for our trip to the range and determine what we should bring.
Range Bag – The most important essential you should have. A good quality range bag should be durable and have enough compartments to store your firearms, ammo, magazines, etc. There are a lot of range bags on the market and I have gone through a bunch of them. The Orca Tactical Range bag is an excellent quality bag with many storage compartments. This bag is very rugged and will last you many years. I have reviewed this bag and here is the link to my review. Orca Tactical Range Bag Review
Eye Protection – You should have a good pair of eye protection, clear and tinted for indoors/outdoors.
Ear Protection – Ear protection is a must. Disposable in the earplugs or headset style. Your ear protection should be rated at 28 decibels minimum.
Spare Magazines – You should always carry a few spare magazines in case of failure.
Cleaning Kit – A cleaning kit or a bore snake as a minimum should be part of your range kit.
Brass Rod & Mallet – If you ever experience a squib load, this will come in very handy.
Band-Aids/First Aid Kit – You can never go wrong with having band-aids at the range. I sliced my fingers loading magazines many times.
Speed Loader – I always carry a speed loader so I can spend more time shooting and less time loading magazines.
Small Flashlight – You should have a small flashlight to check for obstructions in your barrel.
Screwdriver Set – A Set designed for your gun and one designed for scope rings and mounts.
Gun Oil – You can always use Gun Oil
Timer – For timed drills.
Log Book and Pen – Record your shooting scores.
Plastic Bags – To keep your brass and things.
Luggage Tag – You will see a lot of black range bags.
I hope this list is helpful to you for a successful day at the range.
Frank Semeraro AKA “Big Gun”
By Frank Semeraro – AKA “Big Gun”
As the year winds down, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
If you are new to firearms and considering purchasing gun I hope this will give you the information you need to make an intelligent decision. Purchasing your first firearm is a major decision and should be taken very seriously. There are many considerations to take into account. As a certified NRA Instructor, I highly recommend taking a basic Home Firearm Safety class before purchasing your firearm and introducing it to your home and your family. I also suggest purchasing a gun safe or cabinet where you can safely store and lock your firearm to prevent access to unauthorized users.
A firearm is not a “One-Size-Fits-All” item. What works for one person may not be right for another. Many times a person new to firearms will ask their friend what they should purchase. This is a big mistake because most likely they will recommend the firearm they own even if it may not be right for you. I normally carry a 10MM or 45ACP. It works well for me but not for everyone. If you are asking for suggestions the person you ask should be asking you questions to help you decide what will work best for you, but they usually just tell you to purchase the firearm they have.
What will the firearm be used for? Will the firearm be used for Home Defense, Hunting or just shooting at the range? Will you be carrying the firearm for personal protection?
What Caliber should you get? Depending on how you plan on using your firearm dictates the caliber you should get. For example, if you are using a firearm for husting you may choose a .357 or .44 Magnum. Keep in mind that if you are carrying a firearm for personal protection you will need to consider over penetration with large calibers like that. For Home Defense or Personal Protection a 9mm or 45ACP are great calibers. If you are just using it for shooting at the range, a .22 caliber is great for that purpose. I always recommend new gun owners to start with a .22 caliber since there is no recoil and very easy to handle. You can always get a larger caliber when you are more confident and develop your shooting skills.
Revolver or Semi-Automatic? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Revolver – A revolver is a very safe firearm for a new gun owner since you have to fully pull the trigger for it to fire. A revolver is also much simpler than a semi-automatic and almost fool proof. I have never seen a revolver fail or jam. The disadvantage is that a revolver typically only holds between 5-7 rounds and takes more time to reload under duress than a semi-automatic. Revolvers can also be more bulky to conceal if carrying.
Semi-Automatic – A semi-automatic is very popular among shooter since they are available in sizes from compact to full size and conceal very well if you plan on carrying. They also hold more ammunition, typically between 10-15 rounds and can be loaded very quickly. All semi-automatic do not have a physical safety and may fire is dropped. Typically, one would carry a semi-automatic with one round in the chamber. A new firearm owner may not feel comfortable carrying that way. A semi-automatic is also more prone to jamming than a revolver. I would personally recommend a revolver for a first firearm.
Visit your local gun range and ask if you can rent a firearm to shoot. If a salesperson keeps pushing a specific firearm without asking you the above questions, leave and go somewhere else.
Don’t purchase a firearm because it looks nice. Fit and comfort is very important, what feels right in one’s hand may not feel right to another’s. If considering a semi-automatic it is important to rack the slide to determine if it is comfortable to you. My wife loves my 1911 45ACP but she can’t rack the slide.
Take a firearm safety class to learn how to safely handle a firearm and how to clean it. It is very important to keep your firearm clean for reliability. You will also need to know how to properly secure your firearm.
Other equipment you will need includes eye and ear protection and a cleaning kit.
No matter what firearm you decide to purchase, Remora has a holster that will fit it.
What is it and, do you need it and is it worth it
By Frank Semeraro – AKA “Big Gun”
CCW insurance is a hot topic these days. I have done extensive research on this subject and is not possible to compare apples to apples since they are all bundled differently. Before you jump in and purchase one of these products there are some things you should know before you make a decision.
Technically, although the companies call it CCW Insurance, none of the companies are Insurance Companies. They are memberships to a pre-paid legal team. You pay a monthly or yearly fee and in the event you have to use your firearm, they have a legal team that will defend you.
The reason it isn’t technically insurance is because insurance is regulated state by state and this type of coverage does not pay your liability only legal fees and expenses.
The big question is do you really need it. Only you can decide that. Statistically, you are very unlikely to find yourself in a position that you will need this insurance but if the situation does arise, it is very expensive not to have it.
Carrying a weapon comes with responsibilities and consequences. If you are ever forced to defend yourself there can be complicated charges and legal issues that come from using your weapon. Even if you are 100% innocent you can still be arrested and charged with a crime when using your firearm in self-defense, you could also be sued by family members of the person that you shot in a civil case that could cost you a fortune.
Any time I go to a store, restaurant, mall, etc., the first I do is scan my surroundings. I then ask myself if an active shooter were to appear would I be in a position to take the shot without hurting innocent people. Since it is not easy to determine if there is a person behind the door or wall I say to myself, I may not be able to take the shot.
If your life is on the line, you don’t know what you would do or how you will react. If I did feel it was necessary to take the shot it would be comforting to know I have the legal and financial support to help me through the process.
Most of the providers cover the following
- Criminal court case and attorney fees
- Civil court case and attorney fees
- Witness fees
- Personal hardship (lost wages, clean-up fees, etc.)
- Post-incident therapy
- Lost firearm replacement
Some of the questions you should ask the company offering the product:
- Does it cover you in all 50 states
- Can you choose your own attorney
- What is the financial limit
- Are fees and costs paid up front
- Do you need to have a CCW permit in order to be covered
- Does this include accidental discharge or accidents
As I mentioned earlier, it is not possible to compare apples to apples since the coverages and costs vary dramatically from company to company so you need to make sure that if you do decide to purchase this product you are well informed.
The major players in the game are:
- US Law Shield
- Second Call Defense
- CCW Safe
I hope this gives you the information to ask the proper questions before purchasing one of these products.
By Frank Semeraro AKA “Big Gun”
Ammo is very scarce and expensive right now and I have had a lot of people ask me about reloading their own ammo. Before taking the plunge into the world of reloading there are a few things to keep in mind. Reloading is a very expensive hobby and when ammo is scarce, so are the reloading components. Reloading isn’t about saving money, it’s about having ammo when you need it and loading the cartridges to suit your needs.
To start off you will need the following minimum equipment that is a one time purchase:
- Reloading Press – The prices of a reloading press run between 150.00 and $1,000 dollars. I would recommend a single stage press for beginners. I personally use and recommend the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme. This is an excellent press and will last longer than you do. You can pick up one of these for around $200.00
- Reloading Dies – You will need a set of reloading dies for each caliber you plan on reloading. I recommend the Lee Precision Carbide Dies. These dies fit almost every reloading press and when using carbide dies you don’t need to lube the cases. These dies will also last a lifetime.
The Die set will run you about $85.00 per caliber set and gives you all the dies to de-prime the cases, size the cases, seat the bullet and crimp the cases.
- Powder Measure – You will need an accurate powder measure to accurately throw a charge of gun powder into the case. I recommend the RCBS Uniflow Powder Measure and you will also want to purchase a stand for it so you can mount it to your reloading bench and a funnel. This will cost you around $200.00
- Powder Scale – You will need an accurate powder scale to weigh your loads. It is critical that your charges fall into the acceptable range. I weigh every 10 loaded cartridges to make sure the amount of powder on the cases are safe to shoot. I recommend the Frankford Arsenal Digital Scale Model DS-750. This scale is very accurate and easy to use and can be found for about $35.00
- Calipers – You will need a good set of calipers to make sure the Minimum and Maximum overall case lengths are in spec. I use the Hornady Digital Caliper which cost around $40.00
- Priming Tool – You will find it much easier to prime your cases with a hand tool instead of using the press. I recommend the Lyman E-ZEE Prime. This is very easy to use and make priming the cases go very quickly. This will cost you around $100.00
- Reloading Bench – You can use a table or workbench for reloading. I made my own reloading bench from 2×4’s and a plywood top for under $100.00
So far you can see that this is not a cheap hobby and this is just the bare-bone minimum setup. Fortunately, this is only a one time purchase. The next part are the consumables which will be an on-going expense.
Consumables – These are the components you will need to start reloading your cartridges.
- Cases – You will need Brass or Nickle Cases for each caliber you will reload for.
- Bullets – You will need to decide the weight and type of bullets for each caliber. Lead, Lead Coated, Copper Plated, Hollow Point, etc. The average cost of bullets are about $100.00 for 500 rounds.
- Primers – You will need primers for your cases depending on if they are Large or Small Rifle or Large or Small pistol. Your cases will determine if you will need large or small primers. For safety reasons only use Rifle primers for Rifle Cases and Pistol Primers for Pistol Cases.
- Gun Powder – You will need multiple powders depending on the types of cartridges. There is no “One Size Fits All”
I would also recommend a reloading manual that contains the load data for each caliber cartridge based on the weight of the bullet. This is very critical since you can cause damage to your firearm or yourself if you don’t follow the reloading data specs. This is the manual I use.
Reloading is actually a very simple process as long as you follow the instructions. It is an expensive hobby but you will always have ammo when you need it. I usually have 50,000 rounds of ammo in my safe at any given time.
This is also a very time consuming process, so don’t think you will go to the garage and crank out a few thousand rounds on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
I hope you now have enough information to make the decision to Reload or Not to Reload.
If you have any questions you can always email me at email@example.com
Also visit my youtube channel, I have reviewed many of the products mentioned.