Our last feature of 2020 wasn’t a normal holiday message. Since 2020 wasn’t a normal year, so we probably shouldn’t have expected otherwise. In a “normal” year, we would have wished each other the best and moved on to holiday stuff.
The BATFE seemed to have assumed that’s what we would all do. So they tried to slide a fast one by us. But it didn’t work.
Instead of quietly getting their “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’” into the federal register, they received nearly 72,000 comments, despite an abnormally short 14-day comment period.
In response to that unanticipated outpouring, the ATF folded like a stabilizing brace.
Their final communications for 2020, was entitled: “General Notice: Withdrawal of Guidance: Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces”.
While we celebrate the timely demise of “guidance” that raised more questions that it provided answers, please note a parting note in the Withdrawal Notice:
“The withdrawal of the guidance does not change any law, regulation or legally binding requirement.”
All that’s missing is “So there” and a foot stomp.
Celebrate the fact your comments made the difference. But realize they’ve set a tone going forward.
No bureaucrat likes being told no. Especially after seemingly trying to rig a mandated process in their favor.
Yet, another government comment period ends today. It’s important, too. Unlike the ATF’s rule, this one is pro-firearms industry. It’s the Proposed Rule to End Banking Discrimination Against the Firearms Industry.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has proposed it to ensure fair access to banking services by the firearms industry.
If you remember the Obama administration’s unmasked efforts to “encourage” banks to end relationships with “undesirable businesses” via Operation Choke Point, you know the what it’s designed to remedy.
Yes, Choke Point was discovered, and ostensibly ended, but the discrimination has quietly continued.
The new rule will set penalties for continuation of that discrimination.
But comments must be made today at: https://beta.regulations.gov/commenton/OCC-2020-0042-0001
Peacemaker National Training Center in West Virginia was the home for our first Starlight 3-Gun Championship. Today, it’s announced that it has a new owner, Inter-Con Security.
While we were on hiatus, we learned Peacemaker National Training Center in Gerradstown, West Virginia, is getting new ownership. The McCullough family has sold the 800+ acre shooting facility to Inter-Con Security, a large, privately-held California company.
Peacemaker was the site of our first Starlight 3-Gun Championship. And it has hosted many other national competitions. We enjoyed our time there. Inter-Con’s acquisition is based on their positive experiences there, too. You can read more about that acquisition in today’s news section.
Leupold’s announcement of their new DeltaPoint Micro is also in today’s news section.
As you’ll read in the Leupold release, the new DeltaPoint Micros will initially be available for S&W and Glock pistols. As you’ll see in the accompanying image, it doesn’t look like any other optic. The battery actually hangs off the non-business end of the slide.
The new Leupold DeltaPoint Micro gives a new-and very different- look to my M&P Shield (above). “Hanging” the battery from the back is different, but it doesn’t take long to get past the look and realize it gives real shooting advantages. When mounted on a full-sized pistol (below), it’s not so ungainly looking. It works in either configuration.
I was offered- and received- a test unit just before our holiday hiatus. I decided to mount it on my first-generation M&P Shield. The inability to put an optic on it had become a real problem. To the point it was resting in my safe, not riding in the holster where it accompanied me for several years.
The problem wasn’t the Shield, it was my aging eyeballs. I can’t see the sights well enough to shoot it accurately. And I believe that no matter how much you like a gun, you shouldn’t carry it unless you can operate it accurately.
So I’d benched the Shield for two other pistols: either a Springfield Armory Hellcat or a SIG SAUER P320 RXP.
Both have slide-mounted optics. Either enabled me to shoot faster and more accurately than my Shield, despite my having far more trigger time on the Shield.
Even without a lot of range time in on the DP-Micro equipped-Shield, I’ve shot it enough to realize I’m more accurate -and considerably faster than with iron sights. No more “searching” for a front sight. Now, I’m using dry-fire practice to “re-learn” the Shield with this new optic.
While the Shield looks “different” with the optic, it fits the same (familiar) Fobus holster. I appreciate that.There’s no desire to add another “used to fit” holster to the box in my garage.
In the process of my changing out the rear sight, I confirmed something I’ve suspected for some time: I’m no gunsmith.
After watching videos and reading manuals, I felt capable to remove the rear sight and replace it with the DP-Micro mounting plate. Doing that means dealing with the plunger safety spring Smith & Wesson locates under their rear sights. After loosening the (tiny) set screw in the rear sight, I used a Real Avid Master Sight Pusher to remove the rear sight, being very careful to make certain not to let the spring or its cover escape.
Despite looking “different” the Shield still works in its familiar holster (above). A major improvement (below) is the red dot that sits directly over the big-dot front sight. Shooting in low-light, if the Micro failed, I could use the rear sight as a pseudo-ghost ring rear sight.
After cleaning the sight channel and making certain the mount fit, I began the re-assembly. And promptly launched the plunger spring into the stratosphere. It apparently burned up on re-entry.
After moving everything around my work bench and sweeping the floor with magnets, it never reappeared. But I did find a couple of long-lost screws from other projects.
The disappearance caused a real delay in my test and evaluation process. Heavy volume in the shipping world meant “overnight delivery” of three replacement springs (I’m not a gambler), took three days.
That delay dropped me off the reservation list at the range. Instead of three range sessions, I got one. That meant no drawing and firing practice, only limited 5, 7, and 10 yard slow-fire.
And that means no carry evaluation -yet.
Here’s my short range observation: the 3MOA dot sits right on the front sight. It’s not difficult to make accurate shots.
It shouldn’t be difficult to draw and fire quickly, but I don’t know that for certain, despite the fact I’ve drawn and fired the same pistol from the same holster hundreds of times before.
Comfortably carrying the Shield again will require considerably more training time.
No knock whatsoever on the new optic, it’s solid.
But confidence in my ability to “run a gun” only comes with practice.
We’ll keep you posted.