A George Finegold Blog

Saturday, August 29, 2009


By Marty Gartenberg

Ever seem to always be looking for a good spot in your bedroom to conceal your handgun, but still have instant access to it? Some people put it under a pillow, or in a night table drawer or even right on top of the night table where it can be easily seen.

The pictures will show exactly what I did and how I did it. The materials are absolutely free. It took me less then five minutes to construct. I used a five gallon paint mixing stick, cut to size along with a regular one gallon paint mixing stick, also cut to size that you can get for free at any Home Depot store in the paint department by just asking for it


Your night table will need to have an overhang to be able to accommodate it. If it doesn't you can still utilize my technique in another place such as under your bed attached to the frame or any where else that you can think of.

The gun has to be in a holster with a belt clip or anything that resembles it. The belt clip simply slides onto the end of the larger paint stick that you will have to cut to the proper size to accommodate your needs. The smaller paint stick is simply cut into two small pieces that act as shims to keep the larger stick slightly away from the over hang. Depending upon the distance between the holster and belt clip will determine how many shims you will need. In my case it was two shims - see picture 1. You need to drill two holes into the paint stick as well as the cut to size shims. Then use two wood or sheet rock screws to hold everything in place. I used two sheet rock screws and counter sunk the larger stick to make a neat looking installation. A picture is worth a thousand words so see picture 2.

To draw your handgun is quite simple, straight forward and fast with no fumbling under a pillow or having to open up your night table drawer, which can mean a life or death situation.

The furniture in my home in Pennsylvania is made by a company called This End Up and it is very sturdy. The top and sides or any viewable areas are very nicely finished - and my gun is always available. see picture 3.

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Gun Digest Gunsmithing Center - Resources for Gunsmiths

Welcome to the new Gun Digest Gunsmithing Center - an online resource for aspiring and experienced gunsmiths. This portal will take you to gunsmithing articles, gunsmithing forums, exploded gun drawings, and gun parts.

Projects for Gunsmiths
Gunsmithing: Install a Better AR-15 Trigger
Gunsmithing: Install a Better AR-15 Trigger - Part 2
Barrels for the Ruger 10/22
Make An Accurate .22 Semi-Auto
What Shall I Do With That Old Mauser? Part 1
What Shall I Do With That Old Mauser? Part 2

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As you might imagine, we get a lot of questions about shotgunning here at Remington. Hunters want to know if they can shoot 2-3/4" shells in their 3"-chambered gun;what choke works best on late season pheasants; how steel shot compares to lead shot; or what the heck “dram equivalent” means? The list goes on and on. So, in response, we thought we’d take some of the most often-asked questions and create a concise, easy-to-understand reference that you can use whenever you need it. And here it is: The Remington Guide to Shotgun Use. If you’re just getting started with a shotgun, it will provide a wealth of information and probably answer just about every question you can dream up. If you’re an experienced shotgunner, you just might find a few bits of information that can make you even more knowledgeable.


By Kathy Jackson

Conventional wisdom says a 12-gauge shotgun is best for home defense. I disagree with this conventional wisdom. To my way of thinking, the best gun for home defense is (drumroll please) ... the gun you can get to in a hurry and use efficiently.

Whether or not that's a shotgun, a rifle, or a handgun depends entirely upon you and your circumstances. But there are some strong reasons to consider the handgun as a good tool for a home defense gun.

A handgun is easily transported around the house, invisible to friends and casual callers but still within your direct control at all times. It is easy to answer the doorbell armed with a handgun, without anyone being the wiser. The handgun can even be drawn, discreetly concealed behind one leg as you open the door. Unlike a long gun, a handgun can always be available for instant use without unnecessarily threatening legitimate callers.

Handguns are also most easily kept accessible to adults but out of the hands of small children, more so than shotguns and rifles. As I've written elsewhere, when our children were very small, I soon began to develop a well-earned skepticism about my ability to know what the little darlings were up to in the next room. The kids, bless their active little hearts, gave me more than a few exciting little lessons about why I should not trust "child-proof" locks, or (worse) simply rely on their good natures to stay out of trouble. And the day I found a two-year-old sitting on top of my refrigerator, I realized that putting things "up high where the kids can't get it" was just a sick little joke.

My harrowing parenting experiences soon taught me that if I wanted the kids to stay out of something, I should not rely on anything less than a lock designed to keep adultsout of that thing. A gun locked inside a sturdy safe would frustrate an adult thief, and so I could also trust the lock on the gun safe to keep my children out. But a gun balanced on the top shelf of the closet, hidden between the mattresses of the bed, or leaned casually against a wall in an off-limits bedroom would be just as easily accessible to a determined child as to an adult thief. If the gun was out of my sight, it had to be locked up.

With children in the home, the gun that is out of adult sight absolutely has to be locked up. But it is really a lot slower and less certain to get at the gun in a hurry if you have to force your terrified brain to remember a combination, or persuade your trembling fingers not to drop the keys or fumble them. When faced with an immediate and deadly danger, even split seconds count.

Keeping the home defense gun out of my children's hands was problem one. Problem two, of course, was being sure I myself could get to the gun quickly enough if the unthinkable happened. I kept thinking about this second problem, and the more I thought about it, the less happy I was.

Experts generally agree that the best plan for a home defense situation is to get yourself and your family behind a single locked door, such as in the master bedroom or some other "safe room." Then you can hunker down behind some large piece of furniture and await events with gun in hand. If the police arrive first, they can deal with the intruder for you. If they don't, you can protect yourself until they do arrive.

So it did seem to me that the sensible place to store my home defense shotgun, if I got one, was behind a good lock somewhere in my bedroom. Maybe it would be out of sight too, but definitely locked up where the kids could not get it. The inherent slowness of a lock worried me, but once I got the gun unlocked, it would be available if I awakened to the sound of a home intruder.

But what if I wasn't in my bedroom when an intruder entered? What if I was, instead, in the front room with the children? Would I leave my children in the same room as the intruder in order to go fetch the long gun from my bedroom? What if, as soon as I bolted for the firearm, the intruder picked up one of my children and simply ... left? Perish the thought!

I found myself thinking, There has to be a better way.

There was. Rather than struggling for ways to store and then to quickly release a long gun locked up in some out-of-the-way location at the back of the house, I could instead keep an easily accessible handgun in a holster on my body when I was at home. That solved both problems.

First, while I might not know what my active little sweethearts were up to in the back room when the house went suspiciously quiet, I would always know whether or not their little fingers were prying the gun out of the holster on my hip. In this way, the loaded and easily accessible handgun on my hip was actually more secure than the "securely locked" long gun in another room.

Second, with the gun on my belt (or in a fanny pack) at all times, there could be no question of having to abandon the children to the tender mercies of an intruder while I ran to fetch a gun. The gun would be with me and instantly available.


At this point, some of my readers are probably wondering how in the world I keep a handgun on my body when I sleep. I don't, of course.

At night, I habitually lock my bedroom door. I have done this ever since my children were very small. We used to have a row of baby monitors, one for each of the kids' rooms and for the living room, lined up on my dresser at night. If one of the kids awakened in the night, I would know it -- and I would know it before the adorable munchkin dropped a full cup of juice on my face as I slept, or vomited onto my pillow just as I opened my eyes. 1

Behind my locked bedroom door, the gun is secured in a fanny pack placed inside an open safe. Inside the fanny pack, there's a flashlight, a charging cell phone, and a spare magazine with extra ammunition -- any of which I might need in a hurry if an intruder is in our home.

If something awakens me in the night, I can quickly pull the fanny pack on over my robe. Looks goofy, but it works. If I don't want to take the gun with me, I simply swing the safe door shut and lock it before unlocking my bedroom door.

Tactical Stuff

During an emergency, a handgun can be carried in one hand, and can instantly be deployed with one hand. This emphasis on one-handed use might sound a bit silly to someone who does not expect to get injured during a crisis. Why would you need a gun which can easily be fired with one hand?

An injury to one hand or the other really is not outside the realm of possibility. But even if we set that aside and do not consider it in our planning, you may very well need one hand free to do things like open or close bedroom doors, tote the phone, keep a tight hold on a child's hand, or carry a baby across the hall to the safe room. Any or all of these things may need to be done during a home invasion, and few of them can be done well (or at all) while carrying a long gun.

A handgun is also more easily used in tight quarters than a long gun is. If an intruder rushes you in the hallway, you may not have room to bring the long gun to bear before he is on you. But the handgun can be fired while it is very, very close to the body, and needs very little room to use.

Whether you decide to use a long gun or a handgun for home defense, it is really a good idea to get some practice in close-quarters work. That means learning how to defend the gun from a sudden and unexpected grab, and also how to get the gun away from an opponent who has already gotten his hands on it. Which is easier to defend against a grab, a long gun or a handgun? That all depends. My personal experience has been that it is easier to prevent a handgun from getting grabbed in the first place, but if there's room to work, a long gun provides a lot of wonderful leverage to help you defeat the grab. Neither defense is instinctively natural, and both have to be learned from someone who knows the secrets.

It is generally a bad idea to move through the home when intruders are present. As mentioned above, experts strongly recommend you just hunker down in a safe room with your family rather than wandering around looking for someone to kill you. But realistically, this hunkering-down is not always immediately possible. You might need to grab a young child and bodily move her to the safe room with you, for example.

If you do need to move through the home with gun in hand, handguns are generally easier to deal with while moving around corners and in tight spaces. Remember the intruder could be hiding anywhwere, and may be waiting for the opportunity to grab you or the gun. Even people who are highly trained sometimes have a hard time moving around corners with a long gun, without allowing the barrel of the long gun to precede them around the corner. This is less likely to happen with a handgun.

Other Considerations

Money was an issue too. I'll admit that right up front. An important budget item to consider for any defensive weapon is training. I trust my handgun because I have trained extensively with it. I know how to load it and unload it. I know how to shoot it accurately, how to clear jams, how to reload it, how to fire accurately while walking, running, moving, hiding behind cover. I learned all those things in classes where talented (and stubborn) instructors taught me the most efficient ways to do them. And I have practiced with the handgun so much that it feels very nearly like an extension of my hand when I am holding it.

Could I get all that training and do all that practice with a long gun? Of course I could! But I already had the handgun, and was already getting handgun training. Although from the size of this website, you might think I'm a little obsessive about firearms, the truth is that I have a whole lot of other things to do with my time and money. Learning a new firearm as well as I already knew my handgun, would have literally doubled the amount of time and money I spent on training. For me, given my budget and time constraints, it just made more sense to focus all my training time and training money into learning one system really really well.

If you are a concealed carry permit holder, you probably consider the handgun an acceptable defensive choice while you are out and about during the day. All other things being equal, it will be less expensive and simpler to just use that same defensive firearm at home at night, too. The handgun might produce less overall power than the shotgun or the rifle, but it is no less effective at home than it is when you are out and about. And you trust it with your life when you are out and about.

But if carrying a handgun at home seems too much of a hassle to you, and if you do not have small children to complicate the issue, or if you are able to secure a long gun in such a way that you are confident you could get to it in a hurry, then a shotgun or carbine may indeed be the best choice for your home defense.

Reasons to Avoid a Long Gun

Rifles and shotguns do have a lot going for them: power, ease of aim, and the intimidation factor. Shotguns offer another important benefit, which is the huge versatility of ammunition choices. But long guns are also bulky, do not lend themselves to being discreetly carried to the door when someone knocks after dark, and are not easily kept quickly accessible to responsible adults while safely secured from children and the clueless. They can't get dropped into a fanny pack and it's difficult (not impossible with adequate training) to operate a long gun one-handed. These drawbacks are worth taking into account too.

The myths about a shotgun not needing to be aimed, or about the mere sound of it driving intruders off, are just that: myths. Don't bet your life on those! But like all myths, both of these have a small germ of truth hidden inside them: a long gun is easier to aim than a handgun, and shotguns are powerful enough that a marginal hit may be enough to do the job anyway.

As for the sound being enough to drive an intruder away, if you have not squarely faced and accepted the notion of killing someone else to defend your own life, a firearm -- any firearm! -- is nothing but a dangerous nuisance. If that's a factor for you, you need to get your own ethical/moral/religious issues worked out before you arm yourself with a deadly weapon.


The best gun for self-defense is the one you can get to in a hurry and use efficiently. For me, that was a handgun. For you, it might be something else.

Whatever you choose, take careful thought to how you will safely secure the firearm. Purchase appropriate accessories for it. And get training in how to use it effectively.


Give your magazine springs a break now and again by rotating the magazines and ammo.

(Photo Tim Dees)


You should have enough magazines on hand to rotate ammo on a one or two week basis to give the springs in the magazine a rest break. Failure to do so will result in feeding failures.

When the magazine springs for your firearms give up the ghost, don't throw that magazine away. Brownells sells replacement magazine springs and keeps your costs down for maintaining your firearm. There are many other reputable gun accessory vendors that can supply these and other items to keep you ready for the street.

Is It Empty?

By Kathy Jackson

you pick up a handgun, you should always check by both sight and feel to be sure that it is not loaded. Here's how to do this, and why it is necessary.

Semi-automatics: Remove the magazine. Then lock the slide open and visually look in the chamber. Poke a finger into the magazine well to be sure it is empty. Then run the tip of your pinky finger into the chamber to be sure that there's a hole in there rather than a live round. Look again before you close the slide.

Revolvers: Roll the cylinder open and visually count the chamber holes. Then run your finger over the holes and count them again by feel. Visually count the holes again before you close the cylinder.

To a newcomer, using your fingertips as well as your eyeballs to be certain the gun is unloaded may sound a bit obsessive. But it's really not obsessive. It is simply a good safety habit.

In the pictures below, I've unloaded a revolver for you to look at. You should just glance at this first picture. The gun is unloaded, right?

Visual illustration of how an 'unloaded' revolver can still be loaded. Always, always, always double check by counting the holes.

Use the tip of your finger to
count the holes. Eyeballs can lie!

For the record, the photos don't cheat. The gun in the second photo is in the exact same condition as it was in the first photo -- loaded! The only difference is that the cylinder was not rolled out all the way in the first photo, which is a really easy mistake to make if you're just glancing at it for a quick check when you already "know" it's unloaded.

This is why we check twice with our eyes, and touch the holes. When distracted or under stress, it is surprisingly easy to miss seeing things we really didn't expect to see anyway. And it is just as easy -- or easier -- to do the same with a semi-auto, and miss seeing the round in the chamber or the magazine in the butt of the gun.

So use your hands as well as your eyeballs to check, and never take anything for granted.

10% of the Gun Owning Population Are Cross Dominant But Many Don’t Know It

Cross dominance is simply the situation that occurs when your dominant eye and dominant hand are not on the same side of your body.
In other words, your are right handed, but left eye dominant, or left handed and right eye dominant.
Cross dominance occurs in about 10% of the gun owning population and we see it in about 10% of the tens of thousands of student who train at Front Sight each year.
Once diagnosed, it is very easy to work around with proper training techniques. Unfortunately, many people who are cross dominant, have never been made aware of it and get frustrated in their inability to shoot accurately.
Here is an easy diagnostic test to determine your dominant eye and what to do if you are among the 10% who are cross dominant...
You already know your dominant hand. It is the one you write with, throw a ball with, hit a baseball with, etc.

Here is how to determine y our dominant eye:

  1. Take an 8 x 11 inch sheet of paper and in the center of the paper, use a pencil to punch a hole in the paper.
  2. Hold the paper with both hands at arms length.
  3. Keeping both eyes open, look through the small hole as you slowly bring the paper back to your face.
  4. When the paper touches your face, the hole will be centered over your dominant eye.
If your dominant eye is the same as your dominant hand, then good for you. You are normal and unremarkable! (That’s a joke.) You are like 90% of the other gun owners in this country.
However, if your dominant eye is opposite of your dominant hand, then you are Cross Dominant and will need to make some decisions before embarking on serious training.
No need to worry. You can still train to the highest levels in the world. I know. I’m a Four Weapons Combat Master and I am cross dominant. I am left handed and have a dominant right eye.

So here is what you do:

With a long gun: Shoot with your dominant hand keeping both eyes open until that fraction of a second when you need to shift the focus on your eye to the front sight, then simply close your dominant eye. Your non-dominant eye is now the dominant image forcing your brain to use the non-dominant eye to focus on the front sight.
With a handgun: You can use the same technique or simply tip your head a bit and focus on the front sight with your dominant eye.
Those two techniques above=2 0are the easiest fix for Cross Dominance.