Shooting USA – Back Up Gun Nationals

It’s the match limited to the guns people actually carry, five-shot revolvers and small autoloaders. The defensive scenarios are creative and challenging on the Smith & Wesson Indoor Ranges in Massachusetts, and it’s the best possible practice for a real-life emergency. Plus, the 1873 Single Action Army is one of History’s Guns. And, Colt re-launches the company and the new guns now focused on serving civilian customers.   

Smith & Wesson BUG Nationals

35-04-1In 2013, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) and Smith & Wesson created a competition solely for concealed carry guns. Shooters compete with their small defensive semi-auto or revolver they would normally use in their every day lives. So, the match became known as the BUG Nationals, or Back Up Gun Nationals, held at the Smith & Wesson Employee Shooting Center in Massachusetts. And each year, the match continues to grow in popularity thanks to the real-life scenarios on each stage. 

35-04-2“It's supposed to simulate a back up gun,” says Smith & Wesson Team Member Doug Koenig. “So, the gun could be on a table, in a briefcase, you know, different situations, but what I like abted as a penalty. Despite the challenging stages, IDPA is also a big draw to disabled Veterans, and the sport is responding.



35-04-3“I am a right below-the-knee-amputee, left above-the-knee-amputee, and left arm through-the-elbow amputee,” says competitor Andrew Bottrell. “The cool thing about IDPA is they just rewrote the rulebook this past year, 2015. I’ve been on prosthetics for four years so I just do it on my prosthetics, but you can do it. There’s always a way, really.”



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 History’s Guns: Single Action Army

35-04-6Long before Hollywood, the U.S. Government adopted an iconic firearm of the Wild West and America’s frontier. The Colt Single Action Army was a military sidearm first, adopted in 1873 as the Army’s standard issue revolver. And, it stayed in service for more than two decades! Though used militarily, civilians also praised the six-shooter in its most popular chambering, .45 Colt.


35-04-7“It fired .45 Colt, which, basically, until the development of the .357 magnum, was the most powerful handgun cartridge in the world,” says Firearms Historian Garry James. “It’s a heck of a good round. It still is. I mean I know people who use Single Actions for house guns.”



A New Era for Colt

35-04-8From the Single Action Army to the 1911 Government Model, Colts have been a part of America’s military history since the early 1800s. For many years, Colt focused on serving its government contracts, and not on building firearms for shooters and enthusiasts. Colt ultimately lost a lot of ground in that market, but 2016 will be the year the company gets it back. For the first time, Colts will now be in gun shops across the nation.


35-04-9“A couple of things that we saw right off is, we really needed to engage customers differently,” says Paul Spitale, Colt’s Senior Vice President of Commercial Business. “When we look at our business going forward. It’s all-opportunistic. I mean the customers are looking for our products. We’re putting them in our stocking dealers. We’re building what they want and for us, it’s just a special time.”


35-04-10Furthermore, Colt is producing new firearms, including the Competition Pistol, ideal for enthusiasts or IDPA competitors, and the Expanse, a civilian sporting-rifle version of the M4.




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Hornady RAPiD Safe

35-04-13After Hornady’s introduction to the RAPiD Safe, which opens with an RFID chip in a bracelet, card, or key fob, the innovative manufacturer is now producing two smaller versions.  The RAPiD Safe 2600 fits most 4-inch barrel pistols and 2-inch revolvers, while the 2700 fits 1911-size pistols. Both safes are designed for more restricted spaces, such as a nightstand drawer or a desk drawer at the office.

“And here’s the best new idea: the RFID key is now a sticker for the back of your cell phone, because you always know where that is,” says Jim Scoutten. “So you‘re not going looking for the key fob in the middle of the night.”

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STI Tactical Double Stack 4.0

35-04-14STI International is out with the new Tactical Double Stack 4.0, which is built on its world renowned 2011 frame. The double stack design is built from aluminum to save weight. Still, the gun, fully loaded, tips the scales at two pounds, nine ounces. Both sights are serrated, but the rear sight is also ramped with a forward-swept design for one-hand racking in the event of a malfunction. With surfaces treated to a black CeraKote finish, a pistol of this pedigree is never going to be cheap. The MSRP is just under $2,200.

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Vickers Guide: 1911 Book

35-04-12Long time Trainer and Retired Special Operator, Larry Vickers has turned author with a coffee table book that’s likely appealing to 1911 collectors. Many of these guns are Government Model Colts, enhanced by gunsmiths from the earliest days of custom work on 1911s. Since Vickers is also an accomplished gun builder, he also traces the history and development of custom gun building. Plus, he takes you through the guns of Delta Force, what they used and what they have now, when Larry has been with them as a trainer.

“What really appeals is the stunning color photography of this collection of guns taken by Nashville attorney James Rupley,” says Jim Scoutten. “If you’re interested in custom 1911s this is your picture book.”

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Pro Tip: Jerry Miculek’s Choice Presentation to Target

35-04-15One of the biggest challenges in handgun competition is how the firearm is presented on target. Luckily, Smith & Wesson Team Member Jerry Miculek explains two effective ways of presentation.




joinherejpegNRA Membership Offer:  Jim Pays $10 when you join the NRA through the Shooting USA website.



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