Find Your Gun’s Groove: Part Two

In continuation of last month’s blog about picking out a gun, we are going to take a further look into the process. By now you should have the fundamentals of firearm safety and operation pretty well under hand. (Remember that TAB+1 is a great and simple way to know how to handle a firearm safely.) So now it is time to think about what exactly you are looking for in a handgun. I started this blog-series with the intention of focusing on a handgun used for personal defense and target shooting, so we will keep on with that. Let’s get started.

When it comes to handguns there are two types: pistols and revolvers. I will explain the two in very basic fashions. A pistol is a semi-automatic handgun that is fed rounds via a magazine. When a round is fired, the casing is ejected out and the next round feeds up into the chamber. A revolver is either a single-action or double-action handgun that stores its rounds in a cylinder that cycle around after being fired. These are typically referred to as wheel-guns. Since typically single-action (think cowboy guns) are not used in self-defense applications, we will not focus on that action. (But, some people do prefer one and there is nothing wrong with that. They chose their firearm for a reason.)

When it comes to choosing a handgun, there is no real “right” or “wrong” reason. The only “wrong” reason I could see for choosing one would be buying a cheap one due to cost. This is not a purchase to be stingy about. If you try out a handgun and absolutely love it but are off-put by the price, just save up. And luckily most gun manufacturers make good guns at decent prices! And what is the cost of a several hundred dollar handgun compared to your life?

You will notice that people have preferences towards brands/manufacturers but don’t let that be the deciding factor for your choice. You are the one that has to shoot it. There are numerous calibers out there, each with their own benefit/drawback. Just understand that the larger the caliber, the bigger the kick. The heavier the gun, the more recoil absorption it has. So a medium caliber in a heavy gun would be a delight to shoot all day long and a larger caliber in a small gun would hurt after a while.

The most common caliber for a revolver is .357 Magnum. It is a solid and reliable round that has been around for years. Any revolver chambered in this caliber can also shoot .38 Special, which has significantly less kick to it. It is also cheaper, which makes it a good option because target-shooting can get expensive quick. There are less expensive calibers than that to shoot, such as 9mm. A few manufacturer’s offer a double-action revolver in 9mm which might be a great choice for someone’s first firearm. The heavy weight and lighter recoil of that combination, along with the vast improvements in defense rounds and relative cheapness to shoot that caliber all work in the guns favor. (I am referring to the Smith and Wesson 986, pictured above.) The thing that most people have against revolvers is their lower round-carrying capacity and the time it takes to reload.

Pistols come in a wide variety of options. Some are metal and others polymer. There are several common calibers for them (9mm, 380Auto, 40S&W, 45ACP) and once again each have their benefits/drawbacks. This is where people’s “brand loyalty” and “favorites” can become extremely apparent. Just remember to do your own research and try out the gun if possible. In comparison to revolvers, most handguns have much higher carrying-capacities and reloading becomes a quick, almost-reflex activity. Take your time, search for any recalls/common issues with specific firearms you are looking at. See how readily available after-market products are. So forth and so on.

One thing that many people don’t think about when it comes to finding their gun’s groove is what their firearm prefers. Each handgun has its own personality and preferences in some ways. Some guns will feed certain brand ammunition better than the other. The best way to test this is to get value packs of several different manufacturer’s ammo in the caliber for your gun. Pick a distance and shoot at it consistently. Have a note pad and mark down how well it groups, any misfires or jams and so on. I would personally suggest picking up boxes by Remington, Winchester and the Hornady American Gunner. (Especially the last option, Hornady makes great products.) After you figure out what practice-ammo to use, then you can start looking at what defense rounds to go with. This is a rather expensive proposition, so maybe connect with a family-member or friend who is looking to do the same. (My buddy Joe and I are looking to do all this with the HK VP9.) Just like ammo, your gun might prefer certain after-market magazines as well.

While this all might seem intimidating, there is no reason for it to be. People who have passion for the world of firearms, love to share it and pass it along to others. Lessons can be learned from just about any source.



2015 Fall Hunting Classic


AUGUST 21-30 

Doug Koenig Sweepstakes

Enter in store or online!

GRAND PRIZE:  1 Winner will receive a a hunting trip to Argentina with Doug Koenig

FIRST PLACE:  1 Winner per store location will  receive 1 Plano Pro-Max Pillar Lock, 1 Leupold 10x25 Rogue Binoculars & 2 Boxes Hornady American Whitetail .308 Rifle Ammo


2nd Amendment Instant Savings on guns and safes!

Save up to $100 when you purchase a gun or safe using our Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards Credit Card!


Local Pro Seminars

August 21-23

Friday at 7pm

Saturday & Sunday from 1-4pm

Pro Staffer Charlie Faulk will be in-store as well as Keith Hickman and Mossy Oak Pro Staff.

Stop by and checkout the Mossy Oak truck while you're here!

Game Camera, Hunting Boot and Rifle Scope Trade-in

Parker Bows will be here August 29 & 30 to do product demos in their range!


Next Generation Weekend

Kids Events!

August 29-30, 11-4pm

Kid's Archery Challenge

Kid's Archery Workshop at 2pm & 4pm

BB Shooting Range

Free Giveaway (first 100 kids)


Photo Download

Women's Hunting Workshop at 3pm August 29

You're not gonna want to miss this!  Stop in and check out the great deals!



Fall Hunting Classic 2015- Mesa, AZ

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It means that another successful and egg-frying-on-the-sidewalk summer has come to a close. It also means that the holiday season is coming around the corner, which is always a great time. But for those of us who like to pursue game, get mud on our boots, take pride in filling our freezer with our own meat and have just cause for not showering know that Fall means hunting season! And we at Bass Pro Shops always kick this season off with what is one of our best sales and greatest events of the year: The Fall Hunting Classic!

Many of the hunting and outdoor enthusiasts come to our store as part of their hunting preparation. And who can blame them? We get inspired by the taxidermy around the store, can share stories with each other, learn new tips and tricks and find great deals on many essential items. Last year we had a great Fall Hunting Classic, but to be honest this year’s looks even better!


Our bow and crossbow trade in will end on the 16th, but we have a few more going on for our Fall Hunting Classic. We are going to have a Riflescope and (for the first time ever) Game Camera trade-in running from August 21st to the 30th. Bring in any working riflescope or game camera and receive a coupon to save on your purchase of a new one! For each one you bring in you will receive a coupon, but you can only use one coupon per item purchased. See below for a breakdown of the savings!

We will also be having a Hunting Boot trade-in as well! This will also run from August 21st to the 30th, and works basically just like the Riflescope and Game Camera trade-ins. Bring in some old hunting boots and receive a coupon to save on a new pair! The boots that we receive will be donated to Soles4Souls which is an awesome organization! See below for a breakdown of these savings.


Customers who are 21 years or older can enter in for a chance to win a hunting trip in Argentina with Doug Koenig! That is our grand prize, and let me already say how jealous I am of whoever wins that! And at each store there will also be a winner for a Prize Package that includes: 1 Plano Pro-Max Pillar Lock, 1 Leupold 10X25 Rogue Binoculars and 2 Boxes of Hornady American Whitetail Ammo in .308 Winchester!


On August 21st we will have a seminar on year-round Game Camera strategies at 7PM.

On August 22nd we will have four separate seminars:

1PM- Archery Tune-Up

2PM- Scent Control and Scent Products

3PM- Boots 101

4PM- Knives and Tools for Hunting

For the Family:

We will have our Next Generation weekend going on the weekend of August 29th and 30th. It is going to run from 11AM to 4PM both days. There will be youth seminars at 2PM and 4PM, crafts, an archery challenge, BB Gun Shooting Range*, free photo download and giveaways. *All participants under the age of 18 must have a parent/legal guardian sign a waiver.

We will also have an awesome Women’s Hunting Workshop at 3PM on August 29th! This should not be missed by any ladies, looking to get some great tips and tricks!

Overall I am super excited about this and hope you all make visiting the Fall Hunting Classic part of your traditions!



Fall Hunting Classic and Next Generation Events


Fall Hunting Classic 2015 - August 21st-30th

2nd Amendment Instant Savings on guns and safes with use of Bass Pro Shops Credit Card

Enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize of a hunting trip to Argentina with Doug Koenig! One winner per store location for one of three prizes – 1 Plano Pro-Max Pillar lock, 1 Leupold 10x25 Rogue Binoculars, or 2 Boxes Hornady American Whitetail .308 Rifle Ammo.

Friday August 21st
7:00pm – Advanced Game Camera Strategies For Year-Round Scouting

Saturday August 22nd-Sunday August 23rd
1:00pm – Archery Tune-Up: Prepare Your Gear For The Hunt
2:00pm – Get Close: Scent Control and Scent Products That Give You The Edge
4:00pm – Knives and Tools To Guide Your Hunt From Field to Freezer
3:00pm – Boots 101: Choosing The Right Footwear For Your Outing Experience

Women’s Hunting Workshop - Saturday August 29th at 3:00pm

*First 20 attendees each seminar on Friday and Saturday ONLY will receive a Fall Hunting Classic tumbler.

Trade-Ins – 10 Days of Trade-Ins! Game Cameras, Hunting Boots, and Rifle Scopes!


Next Generation Weekend 2015 - August 29th & 30th at 11:00am-4:00pm

BB Gun Range – Take aim and shoot a perfect score!

Archery Challenge – Hit the target and win a prize!

FREE Photo Download – Take a photo and be on the front of a Bass Pro Shops Adventure Kids magazine or get photo bombed by a smiling deer.

Crafts – Come visit us during the Next Generation Weekend and make a fox craft.

Workshops – Kid’s Archery Workshop at 2:00pm and 4:00pm each day.

Giveaways – First 100 kids who get their card punched each day will receive a deer drawstring bag!

For more information, please call (913) 254-5202 or visit our website at


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Ty Dillon and Freedom Days!

Our weekend starts on Friday, July 31!

NASCAR XFINITY driver Ty Dillon, Richard Childress Racing's driver of the #3 Chevrolet Camaro, will be here Friday, July 31, for autographs. Ty is in town for the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA, on Aug. 1.

Autographs start at NOON on Friday, July 31.



Celebrate our Second Amendment during NRA Freedom Days!

NRA membership drive - Aug. 1/2 - Sign up in-store to for NRA membership and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card!

Free Seminars:

Saturday, August 1

  • 11 AM - Gun Competition Basics: MSR’s, handguns, shotguns and ammo
  • 2 PM - Accessorizing your MSR
  • 3 PM - Women and Self-Defense: How to train and defend

Sunday, August 2

  • 2 PM - Choosing the Right Home Defense System: Shotgun, handgun or MSR
  • 3 PM - Gun Safety in the Home: Gun safes, handgun vaults, and cleaning accessories

(Free Bass Pro Shops logo mug for the first 15 seminar attendees each day!)

Plus, these additional sale and promotional opportunities:

  • Free gun case with any handgun purchase of $300 or more while supplies last!
  • 2nd Amendment Instant Savings: Instant savings on guns up to $150 equal to the value of your sales tax!
  • Triple/Quadruple rewards points on select products!
  • NRA Freedom Days Experience Sweepstakes


Would your kids like to help us feed the fish? Fish are fed every Tues., Thurs., and Sat. at 3 p.m. Call the store to schedule your child's opportunity to become an Official Junior Fish Feeder!  515-957-5500!

We have free Kids' Basic Archery Workshops every Wednesday night at 6 p.m. Ages 6-10 yrs of age. Children must be pre-registered by calling the store at 515-957-5500 and asking for the Archery Dept.


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NRA Freedom Days!

Celebrate our Second Amendment during our NRA Freedom Days Sale and Event!

NRA membership drive - July 25/26 and Aug. 1/2 - Sign up in-store to for NRA membership and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card!

Free Seminars, July 25 & 26, Aug. 1 & 2 - Free Bass Pro Shops logo mug for the first 15 seminar attendees each day!

Saturday July 25 & August 1

  • 11 AM - Gun Competition Basics: MSR’s, handguns, shotguns and ammo
  • 2 PM - Accessorizing your MSR
  • 3 PM - Women and Self-Defense: How to train and defend

Sunday July 26 and August 2

  • 2 PM - Choosing the Right Home Defense System: Shotgun, handgun or MSR
  • 3 PM - Gun Safety in the Home: Gun safes, handgun vaults, and cleaning accessories

NRA Freedom Days Experience Sweepstakes: One winner nationally will win a trip for your and up to 7 guests to visit the NRA Museum in Springfield, MO, a stay for up to 8 people at Big Cedar Lodge, and a shooting experience with the Gould Brothers at the Bass Pro Shops Shooting Academy! Each store will have one winner for a lifetime NRA membership!

Plus these additional opportunities:

  • Free gun case with any handgun purchase of $300 or more while supplies last!
  • July 20-Aug. 2 - 2nd Amendment Instant Savings: Instant savings on guns up to $150 equal to the value of your sales tax!
  • Triple/Quadruple rewards points on select products!

#secondamendment #bassproFreedomDays


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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops - Freedom & Fun for Everyone!

It's the FINAL weekend of Family Summer Camp and the first weekend of our NRA Freedom Days special seminars!

Family Summer Camp

Sounds like another HOT and sometimes stormy weekend for us. Join us inside for our last weekend of summer camp workshops for kids - plus, our outdoor activities are moved INDOORS, so your kids can try their hand at shooting a BB gun, casting, and shooting a bow.

Each child receives a Summer Camp lanyard at their first seminar, then a pin at each seminar they attend (while supplies last.) It's still possible for kids to get all nine pins on Saturday and Sunday! The workshops are about 20-30 minutes each and the schedule is:

Saturday - July 25
Noon  -  Fishing
1 p.m. - Water Safety
2 p.m. - Shooting and Hunting
3 p.m. - Kayaking
4 p.m. - Bird Watching

Sunday - July 26
Noon  - Shooting & Hunting
1 p.m. - Archery
2 p.m. - Travel Safety
3 p.m. - Camping
4 p.m. - Backyard Adventure

Crafts are noon-2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday






Celebrate our Second Amendment during NRA Freedom Days!

NRA membership drive - July 25/26 and Aug. 1/2 - Sign up in-store to for NRA membership and receive a $10 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card!

Free Seminars, July 25 & 26, Aug. 1 & 2 - Free Bass Pro Shops logo mug for the first 15 seminar attendees each day!

Saturday July 25 & August 1

  • 11 AM - Gun Competition Basics: MSR’s, handguns, shotguns and ammo
  • 2 PM - Accessorizing your MSR
  • 3 PM - Women and Self-Defense: How to train and defend

Sunday July 26 and August 2

  • 2 PM - Choosing the Right Home Defense System: Shotgun, handgun or MSR
  • 3 PM - Gun Safety in the Home: Gun safes, handgun vaults, and cleaning accessories

Plus, these additional sale and promotional opportunities:

  • Free gun case with any handgun purchase of $300 or more while supplies last!
  • July 20-Aug. 2 - 2nd Amendment Instant Savings: Instant savings on guns up to $150 equal to the value of your sales tax!
  • Triple/Quadruple rewards points on select products!
  • NRA Freedom Days Experience Sweepstakes




Simple Steps with Wes: Military Lessons

One of our oldest running blog series, and by far one of my favorites, has been Simple Steps with Wes. These started all the way back in 2013. They were the brain-child of one of our amazing associates, Wes. He was a Lead in our store and has extensive survival knowledge. He loves sharing this information and passion with others. Earlier this month, he was back in action at our store and was handling the seminars for our Family Summer Camp.

And that is one of things that I admire about him. He can give seminars to crowds of kids just as easy as talking to a classroom full of adults looking for helpful hints and tricks. Some of that ability to adapt, had to come from his military background. And that is where this month’s Simple Step comes from, his military background. Enjoy!

“I have learned many lessons in the military and in this edition of Simple Steps I hope to convey some specific ones about hiking and backpacking. “Rucking” is the military term for hiking with a full pack or “Rucksack”. As you can imagine, this is a huge issue for the military, as soldiers must wear body armor and carry weapons, ammo, water, communications equipment, and other gear critical to complete the missions. During my last training event I was carry just over 85 lbs. not including my weapon and ammo.

In order to maintain optimal capabilities military service members learn very valuable lessons along the way which can help keep you at your best when you decide to hit the trail.

1. One pound on your feet equals five pounds on your back.

Aside from selecting the proper footwear (which we covered during an earlier edition of simple steps), the weight carried at the shoe takes five time more energy to maintain the same pace of travel  as it would carrying the weight at the torso level. Simply put, lighter footwear equals less strain on the body and is more energy efficiency. In practical terms, this means you could carry half a gallon more of water if you buy boots that are a pound lighter.

2. Managing pack weight needs to be a conscious effort 

Packing what you need, not everything you want, will keep weight out of the pack. Researching potential weather conditions can also help you make decisions in what you leave at home as well. Ideally, a backpack should not weigh more than 30% of the carrier’s body weight. Each 1% of your body weight carried in your pack makes you 6 seconds slower per mile. Small changes such as flashlights that use smaller and less batteries, proper sleeping bag selection, aluminum cookware, and smart food selections can all help subtract pack weight quickly.

3. Comfort starts in how you pack

Packing lighter items lower and heavier items closer to the top of the pack helps keep better posture. As you hike, your upper body naturally leans forward. Weight at the top of the back will work with your body and lessen muscle fatigue in your shoulders and back. Properly adjusting should straps and belt straps will allow the back weight to be supported more evenly, rather than straining just shoulder and back muscles alone.  

4. Downhill is harder on the body than uphill

Going downhill places twice as much strain on your body as going uphill. Why? Braking forces. As you descend, you have to brake your speed with your quads to keep yourself under control. The steeper the downhill, the more braking. This added load on your muscles further affects your uphill performance if you have repeated bouts of up and down work. This also adds to the risk of knee and ankle injuries.

By selecting the proper footwear, bringing only what you need and packing it properly, you can keep the strain of your body and sustain yourself for longer distances and with lower risk of injuries. Read, research and ask questions and you can experience more of life in the great outdoors.

If you have questions or would like to see a topic covered in a future edition of Simple Steps with Wes, submit them to “

Thanks, Wes! With all the upcoming big-game hunting seasons and just people going out into the woods more this is really good stuff to know. Until next time! Get more of Wes at his Facebook and Webpage.


Previous Steps

Floods Dehydration Halloween Edition Survival Kit Daylight Estimation

Determining Direction Eye Protection Nature Calling First Aid Kits

Epi-Pens Scorpions Edible Fruit Search and Rescue Clouds Traps Celestial Navigation

Footwear Communication Trick or Treating Fire 12 Steps (Reboot)


Freedom Days



Bass Pro Shops has partnered for an exciting NEW 2-weekend event- We are calling it Freedom Days!

We have 2nd Amendment Instant Savings on Guns- up to $150 equal to the value of your sales tax!


FREE Workshops!

Saturdays, July 25 and August 1

11 am 3- Gun Competition Basics

      MSR’s, handguns, shotguns and ammo

2 pm  Accessorizing your MSR

3 pm  Women and Self-Defense

      How to train and defend. Learn about handguns, revolvers and gun cases

Sundays, July 26 and August 2

2 pm  Choosing the Right Home Defense System

      Shotgun, handgun or MSR

3 pm  Gun Safety in the Home

      Gun safes, handgun vaults and cleaning accessories


Not a member of the NRA??

We will be giving you opportunity to sign up here in the store on these weekends or visit


Win a NRA Freedom Days Experience!!!

Enter for a chance to win July 25- August 2

1 winner and 7 guests will win:

* 1-night stay at Big Cedar Lodge

* Private shooting experience with Gould Brothers Exhibition Shooting at our exclusive BPS Shooting Academy

* A visit to the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum in Bass Pro Shops, Springfield, MO

And I can’t forget the Kids’ Corner

July 25 & 26

Kids' Corner

FREE Kids BB Gun Shooting Range

FREE Shooting Workshop



Bass Pro Shops presents Freedom Days along with the NRA!













Take a look at what we have going on - This is an event that should not be missed.

July 20th - August 2nd

2nd Amendment Instant Savings on guns in stock

Up to $150 equal to the value of your sales tax!

You will get a FREE Plano Gun Case with any handgun purchase of $300 or more.  (In store only)








 July 25th - July 26th - August 1st - August 2nd  

NRA Membership Drive - Sign up to be a member in the store or visit











July 25th thru August 2nd

Enter for a chance to win a NRA Freedom Days Experience

1 winner and 7 guests will stay 1 night at the Big Cedar Lodge

Private shooting experience with the Gould Brothers

Exhibition Shooting at our exclusive Bass Pro Shops Shooting Academy










A visit to the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum in Bass Pro Shops Springfield, MO.  In addition to this 1 winner per store will receive a NRA Lifetime Membership!










July 25th & July 26th Kids get a change to shoot BB guns in the Daisy shooting range.








FREE Seminars

FREE  Mug giveaway to the first 15 people to attend seminars

Saturday - July 25th & August 1st

11am - 3 Gun Competition Basics - MSR's, handgun, shotguns, and ammo

2pm - Accessorizing your MSR

3pm  - Women and Self Defense - How to train and defend.  Learn about handguns, revolvers, and gun cases


Sunday - July 26th & August 2nd

2pm - Choosing the Right Home Defense System - Shotgun, handgun or MSR

3pm - Gun Safety in the Home - Gun safes, handgun vaults, and cleaning accessories


July 20th through August 2nd

Receive  triple rewards points  on Hornady and Federal Premium ammunition as well as Quintuple rewards points on Hornady storage, Smith & Wesson knives, and Magpul.












Cool Calibers: 204 Ruger

So far in our Cool Calibers blog series we have been able to cover a more obscure round in rifle, handgun and shotgun (respectively). And I am the kind of guy that does not stop a good thing from keeping on going. So we will flip back to the beginning and focus on a rifle cartridge that may not be the most common, but one that might find itself in your collection. Since the last rifle-caliber found itself useful for medium to larger game, this one will be specifically for the “little guys”. This month’s cool caliber is the 204 Ruger.

The 204 Ruger was developed by Hornady and Ruger, and introduced in 2004. When it was first introduced it had the highest velocity of commercially produced ammunition. As stated above the round was developed for the “little guys”. Not meaning shooters of smaller stature, but of the targets. It is a great varmint and silhouettes caliber. Varmint shooters need a bullet that can fly flat and fast. The 204 Ruger fits that bill perfectly. And the round is extremely accurate.

The 204 Ruger was not the first gathering of Ruger and Hornady on a project. Previously they had developed a revolver cartridge together. When consumers saw that these two were working their magic again, they picked up on it quick. The other group of people who picked up on it quick were hand loaders/reloaders. Since the caliber is a center-fire it can be reloaded. Many have achieved amazing results when hand-loading this caliber, but please always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Ammunition for this caliber can be purchased easily at many major retailers. Usually with these kinds of rounds one must hunt for ammo, but such is not the case here. What is interesting is how over the past number of years there have been growing trends in shooting sports. Reloading and hand loading have been growing in popularity. With large game being harder and less available to hunt, picking off some varmints has also become more common. Some ranchers and farmers will even encourage the hunting of certain species, just be sure to be legal and have permission when doing so. And using AR-15 platforms to hunt has also been an increasing trend.

Standard calibers for that platform, like .223 Rem and .308 Win, are now budding up to specialty calibers for AR hunting. Several specialty calibers have been developed. There are several reasons many are attracted to hunting with an AR. They are light, fun, pretty-dang accurate and can take a multitude of attachments/accessories. You can also remove the upper of one caliber and switch on a different caliber, where applicable. So instead of having several rifles for all your hunting and shooting needs, you can have one lower and several uppers instead! And guess what, AR-15s can use a 204 Ruger.

So the 204 Ruger was the right caliber at the right time. Should you check one out? Perhaps! I know I am.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig - 16 Gauge


GLOCK 42: The Sleek Carry That Packs a Punch

If you are looking for a reliable, no-nonsense concealed carry pistol look no further than the GLOCK 42, currently in store at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton, Virginia.  The GLOCK 42 is sleek and compact, making it a great concealed carry choice for anyone looking for a no-frills carry.  It features GLOCK’s drop-safe trigger, which protects the carrier from a negligent discharge and it has stippling on the grip to help keep it firmly in hand.  This is truly a reliable, consistent, slim-line subcompact firearm that is perfect for “pocket carry” or for any shooter with smaller hands.  It has a moderate recoil, a reliable single-stack magazine and is made in the U.S.A.  While this is GLOCK’s smallest pistol to date, it uses .380 caliber ammo so it will pack a punch despite is small size.

Its length measures at 5.94 inches, with a width of .94 inches and a height of 4.13 inches.  The length between the sites is 4.92 inches, with a barrel length of 3.25 inches.  It weighs in at a mere 17.29 oz when loaded, and has a trigger pull of 5.5 lbs (with a trigger “travel” of .49 inches) which is fairly standard meaning that you don’t have to worry that this firearm might be too touchy on the trigger for somebody who may be newer to carrying concealed.  This firearm was designed for personal defense, and it does not have a safety.  Priced at $469.00, we encourage you to take a look if you are in the market for a solid concealed-carry pistol.

Once you’ve checked out the GLOCK 42, feel free to compare this pistol to similar products we carry, like the Kimber Micro Carry 380 priced at $779.00, boasting a miniature 1911 frame and a Crimson Trace Lasergrip) or the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 (which has a safety and is priced at $379.00).  Good items to pair it with might include .380 ammo, a holster, and a cleaning kit.  And, remember, that GLOCK does come with a limited, lifetime warranty; so, while you cannot put a Bass Pro “Gear Guard” on this item, you can trust that the manufacturer will stand behind its product.  In our opinion, this is a solid contender for your concealed carry weapon that will hold up to the test of time and the elements while consistently offering you an accurate pistol that can pack a big punch despite its small size.

What are customers saying who have purchased the GLOCK 42?

" I got lucky and just purchased my G42...Its a great "little" gun...a good bit larger than my TCP, but, has less recoil...very easy to shoot and accurate, as well. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 star....I shot 100 rounds of "gun show" hardball reloads....40% of the rounds "stove piped" ....I'm sure it was the quality of rounds and not the fault of the TCP had no problems with the reloads....(Hornady Critical Defense) worked flawlessly.....The size of the gun allows me to carry in my pocket without any problems. If you get lucky and have the opportunity to buy one of these great guns.....go for it......"

" I've had mine since day after Vegas show, it has shot every ammo without fail, I believe once it failed to chamber a Russian round not a brass case, carries great even though I have a Alien holster custom, I prefer to just use front pocket with a glove holster."

Would you like to learn more from the Bass Pro website?














































Capturers of the Outdoors: Peter Hathaway Capstick

If you had followed my Africa’s Big Five series, you probably could have seen this coming. In those blogs I wrote about the “five most dangerous game” of Africa, which included Lion, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino and Leopard. The articles were about the nature of these animals and the history/future of hunting them. Things have changed a lot since the original “African explorers” first traveled the “dark continent”. One man though was able to contain this essence of adventure and excitement in his writings, Peter Hathaway Capstick. His books would inspire a new generation of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. So for the month of May he will be the focus of our Capturers of the Outdoors blog.

I should preface, after the first preface, with the fact that he is one of my favorite authors. So yes, there will be biased shown in this blog. Just the same if I was to write a blog on why A-Wings are cooler than X-Wings or why Jurassic Park is the best movie ever.

Peter Hathaway Capstick was born in New Jersey in 1940. He passed away in 1996 in South Africa. When you look at those two things you see that he didn’t reach the age of 60 and didn’t pass on American soil. At firs this could be considered confusing, but once you read his works and know his own story it makes perfect sense. Capstick was born and raised in the United States. He attended University of Virginia and had a career working on Wall Street.

While selling and buying stocks can be its own adventure in its own kind of jungle, Capstick yearned for more. So he left the urban jungle and went to the Latin American jungle. He pursued his lifelong passions of fishing, hunting and traveling at this time. He also learned Spanish, which would be one of the several languages he would speak in his lifetime. After a couple years he returned to New York began a business arranging professionally guided hunting trips which caught the attention of Winchester Adventures. He worked there as a director.

From this he took his first trip to Africa and from then on his life would be forever changed. Many who take a trip to Africa can tell you just how amazing it is. A few different associates at our store have spoken about his, even though they didn’t have the words to explain it. You quickly realize that it is something you have to experience. Capstick would eventually become a professional hunter (PH) and game ranger in three different African countries.

Close to a decade after his first trip to Africa, Capstick published his first book: Death in the Long Grass. This books covers the dangerous game in Africa in several chapters. He fills his chapters with stories of his own, taken from others, historically documented cases and more. Being both a PH and a game ranger he clearly would have constantly been in close proximity to dangerous situations or others who had been in them. Death in the Long Grass was a success and is considered one of the quintessential books of African hunting.

When you read his work you can tell Capstick was well-educated and extremely passionate about his topics. His words can clearly bring a mental picture to mind as you read them. He would eventually write thirteen books and even dabbled in film, where his story-telling mastery came to life in front of you. He published six hunting videos, which before the time of every hunter having a TV show or YouTube channel was quite impressive.

His subjects ranged from the animals of Africa to the men that hunted them. One of my favorite books of his though is Death in a Lonely Land. This book is a compilation of some of his favorite and forgotten writings, so it ranges from fishing to playing with BB Guns. Besides publishing books and videos, Capstick wrote for Outdoor Life, Guns & Ammo, Petersen’s Hunting and American Hunter.

The last thing he did to share his passion with the world, was one of the last things he ever did. He was a keynote speaker at a banquet for Safari Club International. He suffered exhaustion and eventually collapsed. They were able to get him back to his beloved and adopted home of South Africa for an operation that in the end did not work. He is still remembered through his writings and honored through a special award given out for the promotion of responsible hunting and wildlife conservation.

Before my hunting trip to Tennessee I would find myself reaching for anything by Capstick. I took a few of his books with me on my trip and in between times in a blind or handling tasks around the farm I was deep into my book. His writings continue to inspire the passion and imagination of hunters. He truly captured the outdoors in every aspect of his life.


Previous Capturers

Zane Grey Disney Nature


Choosing a Turkey Shotgun!

Turkey season is just around the corner.  Whether you already have a turkey shotgun or are currently looking for one, there are some important things to consider- how the shotgun shoots, how comfortable you are with it, and where you will be hunting.  Many hunters will debate on everything from the best choke, barrel size and ammo till the end of time. However, it is important that hunters realize that a specialty shotgun, like for Turkey, as just as much to do with the shooter as the gun itself and there is no right or wrong answer to the argument.  The argument about shotguns can relate to the argument about beer “taste great” or “less filling!”

The most important thing is to choose a shotgun that is best for you as an individual.  The more comfortable you are shooting a shotgun the more confident you will be- thus making you a better shooter.

                That being said, factory guns are fine out-of-the-box, but a few modifications based on your individual skill and type of firearm can make things easier for you.  It is important to base those modifications on your ability and the shotgun itself and not to compare it to you buddy’s situation. For example, your buddy might have a Winchester with an extra full choke that patterns Winchester long beard #4 very tight. This does not mean that your 870 with an extra full choke will do the same.  Moreover, barrel lengths and choke restrictions affect patterns.  It is important that you do some range time to determine which ammo shoots best in your shotgun.

                 This can be a time consuming as well as hard on your wallet. You can save time and money by doing some research first.  There is an abundance of resources on the internet to help you determine a narrow list of possibilities for ammo selection.  However, just like a said before about listening to your buddy, the same goes here. Look for repeated patterns in what people are saying. If 10 people are saying the same thing about how a size load patterns in the same type of shotgun you have than you can take that as quantitative evidence. If only one or two people say it, than you do not and would have to test it for yourself.   From my experience, if you research enough you will find that quantitative evidence you need.


                One of the biggest markets for Turkey hunting as well as all shooting sports is accessories. Accessories have more to do with the individual person than performance of the firearm.  If you feel more comfortable with a pistol grip stock then go with it-if you are not comfortable then don’t.  The same idea holds true with sights.  Remember you are shooting the shotgun and not the sight. The sight is there to aid you. Therefore, the site fits your ability and style of shooting.

                Camo patterns are the latest craze in firearms.  Regardless of what you see on your favorite hunting show or how camo patterns of guns are advertised, camo is determined by where you will be hunting- period.  You should not care what a professional hunter in Texas on television says about Brush camo by Mossy Oak if you live in Indiana.  Moreover, it is important on what season you are hunting.

If you have a Realtree Xtra camo which actually represents the Fall season, it might not be suitable for spring.  So if you are going to choose a shotgun that has been dipped or you are thinking about getting your current shotgun dipped, realize that you will be limiting that firearm to a season and a specific geographical are.


Cool Calibers: 16 Gauge

With the third installment of our Cool Calibers blog I will be successful at focusing on a more-obscure and less appreciated caliber in rifle, handgun and now shotgun. I am hoping to continue this pattern for the following installments, but I might just run out of shotgun calibers to focus on. Which actually let me apologize for my incorrectness concerning this. Shotguns are measured in gauges, not calibers. Gauge refers to the diameter of the barrel. There is more to it but that is not our focus today, what is will be the 16 gauge shotgun!

The two most popular shotgun gauges are the 12Ga and 20Ga. The 16Ga sits right in between them. It was originally known as a “gentlemen’s gun” with the 12Ga being marketed and used more heavily by rural people. It is also considered a European firearm, as it originated there and has retained popularity. The gauge is perfect for upland bird which is the majority of its use.

Once conservation and wildlife agencies got their acts together in early America, bag limits and seasons were set to protect animals. This significantly reduced the number of birds hunted and protected many species from extinction. But what is a shot gunner supposed to shoot at if not birds?! That is where skeet came into play. Such shooting activities as skeet and trap provided shooters a recreational way to keep firing. Unfortunately the rules were written to not include 16Ga in them.

Image courtesy of

Because of this and the majority of shooting turning to sporting instead of sustenance, manufactures produced more of the 12Ga and 20Ga. And so slowly the 16Ga disappeared from American fields. Manufacturers of 16Ga products tried to step up their game with the quality and diversity of the gauges possibilities. Unfortunately all was too little too late and further pushed the 16Ga from American minds and gun cabinets.

I remember growing up and the 16Ga was mentioned as if it was a legend. When I learned that my best friend’s Belgian grandfather had a side-by-side 16Ga (still in Europe) I knew to look upon it would have been like finding the Holy Grail. For years I grew up listening to my friend’s father talk about the firearm, and I will tell you what: It was beautiful!

This adds to the majesty of the round. The “gentlemen’s gun” was given high praise and often handed down through generations. The nicer guns always survived adding to the “nobility” of the gauge.

A couple years back though I noticed something interesting on the shotgun ammo shelves. It was a box of 16Ga. And then I noticed some more. Yes, there has been new life breathed into this classic firearm. Manufacturers and shooters are bringing it back into the public’s conscious. The fact that you can shoot the 16Ga a hundred times and not be sore, and carry it all day and also not be fatigued makes it a great upland bird gauge.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig


.22’s Catch .22

Think back to the first gun you ever shot. What was it? Dad’s first rifle? Or perhaps your great-uncle’s squirrel gun? Well more than likely it was a .22 of some kind. There are several variations of .22 which includes Short, Long, Long Rifle and Magnum. It is the most commonly owned caliber in the world. This is usually the first firearm one shoots as it is a step above from a BB gun but not nearly as powerful as a center fire rifle cartridge. They use this caliber in the Boy Scouts and for Hunter’s Education purposes.

That is not to say that .22’s are kids play. Far from it. I have heard from several retired officers that it is the most common cartridge used in crimes. There are also countless stories/rumors of it being the “assassin’s choice” for handgun. Which may or may not be true but let’s not put any faith into that. You can put faith though into the fact that .22’s are lethal out to far ranges and should be treated with all the seriousness as any other firearm. It may not kick as much but it can still cause serious damage.

Image courtesy of

A few years ago you could walk into almost any sporting goods store and pick up a box of .22. It was no harder to find .22 ammo at a sporting goods store than it was to find bread at a grocery store. Nowadays though, good luck. Finding .22 ammo on the shelf is like successfully hunting a unicorn. OK, maybe not that bad but it is a rare sight. At our store, the most common phone call from a customer is about the status of .22 ammo. I am sure this is the same for other Bass Pro Shops and other sporting goods stores nationwide.

It all started with the usual fear of gun-bans. There had been some prolific mass-shootings that took place and even some legislation proposed though our government. This caused a rush on the market and people began buying up everything. Handguns, long guns (especially AR-15 style platforms), high-capacity magazines, accessories and ammo were being bought up by the truckload. Certain calibers like 9mm, 45ACP, 223Rem, 308Win and of course .22’s of all kinds were the most sought after.

For months after the initial scare you could come to our store and see a line of people waiting to get in as soon as we opened to see what we had on our shelves. Talking to people at other stores, this was the same state-wide and more than likely nationwide.

But so what’s the deal? As people will say “it’s only .22” and you begin to wonder why you can’t find it. It’s not like they aren’t producing it anymore. On the contrary! Ammunition manufacturers saw what calibers consumers most wanted and started just focusing on those. More obscure rounds have stopped being produced commercially as those machines are now needed for your common calibers. So where are they all going?

I have heard some people say it’s the government, that they are buying it all up so the youth can’t get into shooting. Like we said earlier, it is the most common caliber for kids to learn to shoot. Really the next step up is .223Rem which honestly has enough kick to be reserved for kids ten years of age or older. Remember if kids don’t enjoy shooting when they are young and get bruised up by too large of calibers, they probably won’t be lifetime shooters or gun owners.

Others point towards the “preppers” as they are stockpiling food, water, supplies and ammo. These certain types of people are misunderstood by many who do not know what they do. It is understandable though. Most people who are preparing for some kind of catastrophe are considered “weird” or “crazy” by others. That is until a disaster strikes and your family doesn’t have any can-goods because you didn’t even think about what may happen in this crazy thing called life. TV shows that document preppers and their lifestyles point out how they store products like alcohol, ammo or medical supplies to be used as a bartering system after money has no value.

Then you also have the people who purposely buy it all up just to sell on the internet for a profit. Don’t think people would actually do that? Think again. People were paying for magazines and firearms at way above decent mark-up on products. An AR-15 magazine for $60? Yea and people paid it. So if you haven’t been able to buy any .22 in-stores for a year or two but find some online at a higher price, you know you probably would pay it.

And outside of government conspiracies, people profiting like pirates and those crazy preppers you had your normal gun enthusiasts who want to get their hands on .22 ammo. People who own several firearms in their home and more than likely a .22 or two. You yourself may be such a person, and until recently you never thought about stockpiling up thousands of rounds of ammo. But now with how scarce it is, you buy up as much as you can when you get the chance. You’re not trying to gouge people online or are concerned with zombie-tornadoes, but you don’t want to not have any .22 either.

Because of all of this, you have .22’s very own Catch 22. People who weren’t stockpiling it before are now. Preppers hear about these government buy-outs and are now more determined to acquire as much .22 as possible. And shoppers/shooters like me and you who now pick up an extra box or two of the ammo when we don’t need it are making it scarcer. No one wins. And to boot, unlike 9mm or 308Win that you can reload .22 is almost impossible to. There are ways to do it, but none of them are very practical or safe so it is best to avoid that altogether.

Image courtesy of

Will this Catch 22 ever end? I honestly don’t know. All I do know is that if you ever have the chance to teach a kid how to shoot that it is not the time to be stingy with your stockpile.


Other Caliber Related Blogs:

7mm-08 Remington - 357 Sig 16 Gauge


RangeMaxx Firearm Cleaning Seminars

What surprises me is how many times I have seen customers purchase a firearm and not also pick up a cleaning kit for it. And I know that many avid-shooters have a multi-caliber/gauge cleaning kit of some kind, but many don’t! Gun cleaning and care is an extremely important aspect of being a responsible firearm owner. Just like everything else, you have to take care of it for it to stay functional.

One of my first Check it Out List blogs was about firearm cleaning kits. And while it covered many aspects of what you need to clean your firearms, it did not cover how to. For me, this is one task that is better to be learned hands-on or visually. There are hundreds of YouTube videos on how to clean and maintain firearms. Google the firearm you own and how to clean, and there will probably be a video for that exact one! But alas, even the mighty internet is not the best source for learning this practice. So what is?

Well here at Bass Pro Shops-Mesa AZ we are going to have a day with a few seminars on Basic Firearm Cleaning and Care. This event is sponsored by RangeMaxx, who makes some excellent firearm products.

I picked up one of their range-bags a couple years back and absolutely love it! I have had no issues at all, with nothing breaking or tearing. And when I load up for the range it usually entails three to four handguns, eye and ear protection and several boxes of ammo… in other words it’s pretty loaded. (Side note, isn’t weird how much lighter a range bag is after an hour or so?!)

So here are the details:

Sunday, May 3rd

Stop by our store and come upstairs to the Conference Room where we will be holding three separate seminars on Basic Firearm Cleaning and Care. We will cover cleaning and care items for pistols, rifles and shotguns. Attendees do not need to bring anything. Please note, this is not a chance for a free gun-cleaning.

Seminars will be at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30.

 1:30– Pistols/Revolvers

2:30– Shotguns

3:30– Rifles/MSRs

After each seminar a raffle will be held for those who attended. There will be a different prize for each seminar.

We hope to see you there!



Check it Out List: Bow Fishing

OK! I promise this will be the last bow fishing blog for a while! Sheesh! I know it was bad enough doing this month’s Fishy Fact blog about bowfin, but you can’t blame me. Bow fishing is really awesome. It is one of the few sports that combine two distinctly different outdoor passions into one (archery and fishing). It is also one of the few things that have gone from survival technique to big-league sport. I haven’t seen the International Fire Starters Championship, but there definitely is a U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship!









Your bow can either be a recurve style or a compound style. (I believe Burt Reynolds had a recurve in Deliverance.) Both have their advantages. The recurve is very easy to learn and pretty simple. The compound has more features and gadgets. Crossbow options are available as well. It all depends on you. You won’t have to take 70 yard shots or anything like that, so really just figure out what works for you. Most people go with a compound though.

Hey, ever wonder what happens to all those bows we get from trade-in specials? Well we donate ours to a non-profit group that turns them into bowfishing rigs. So if you can get your hands onto an older bow for cheap, this might be a good option too!

The reel attaches to your bow and holds the line. The line is attached to your arrow. So hypothetically you would spot a fish, fire your arrow and (hopefully) hit the fish. You would then reel your line in, bringing the arrow and fish right back to you. This is nice, because if you miss you can simply reel it back in. Anybody who shoots archery will tell you what a pain it is losing arrows. Now the reel itself can be your standard set up, or one that closer resembles a spin-casting reel used for fishing.

Lines are pretty standard so it is whatever works best for you and your bow. Archery gear can be like anything else where it seems to prefer certain products. Just like your rifle might prefer certain manufacturer’s ammo.

The arrows don’t have any fletching, mostly because they don’t need them. The shots taken while bowfishing really are not that far. Once again, you’ll figure out what your bow likes as far as arrows go. Once you start looking at the different points, you’ll see a wide variety of options. It all kind of depends on what fish you will be going after and what you like shooting. But basically you will hit the fish and the blades will keep the fish from getting off as you reel in.

A big thing lately has been bowfishing for gators. Please note that you will need some heavy duty stuff for that, and it is best done with a guide. Seriously.

Accessories for bowfishing include gloves, scales, sunglasses, hats and all of your standard fishing accessories. Whether it be tools or apparel these are things you can pick up over time or use what you already have.



Picnics Gun Cleaning Game Care First Aid Kayaking Day Pack Trip Prep Range Time

Fishing Pack Boating Day Trip Camp Cooking  Dove Hunting Upland Hunting Tactical Clothing

Winter Camping Reloading


Let's Talk Turkey!

With temperatures quickly shooting into the 70's in much of the Midwest, it is time to start gearing up for the last (but not least) hunting season before Spring gives way to Summer:  Spring Turkey season!

The good news: the game hasn't changed that much.  All your needs are basically the same:  gun, ammo, camo, calls, decoys and lots of patience are all that is needed to finally bag that big gobbler that we all dream about this time of year.

The only thing that has really changed (for the better) in the past few years is the development of hyper-realistic decoys.  One of the leaders in this trend, Avian-X, has been a best-seller since their debut a few years ago with their LCD (Lifelike Collapsible Decoy) line of decoys.  Not one to rest on their laurels, Avian has upped the ante yet again with new Merriam and Rio combo packs aimed to add diversity to your arsenal.





Most turkey decoy manufacturers tend to model their coloring after the Eastern subspecies of turkey, because they are by far the most numerous in population and distribution.  However, they are located almost exclusively East of the Missouri River.  

There are 3 other major subspecies of turkey found in the United States:  Merriam, Rio and Osceola.  Osceola turkeys are only found in the state of Florida, but the Merriam and Rio subspecies can be found scattered throughout the states West of the Missouri River.



Currently, the only way to get these new color options is to buy them in the combo pack, which comes standard with LCD Jake and Lookout Hen decoys.  Of course, you will still be able to buy the other poses individually in the Eastern configuration, but if diversity is what you seek, look no further than the new Avian-X lineup.


Home Defense Without Breaking the Bank


There is a growing population of people in the gun world who believe that in order to have a solid home defense plan, one must own a purposefully built AR with a night vision sight, all of the lasers and lights that would fit on it, and any other bells and whistles for any remaining rail space. A setup like the one pictured above can easily run you thousands of dollars, possibly more, but it is by no means the only thing capable of protecting you from everything that goes bump in the night.  If you can afford the aforementioned AR system, don't let me be the one to stop you, but if you want that warm fuzzy feeling without having to take out a small loan or pawn off your first born then here are some suggestions for you.


Defense Shotguns

A good ol' 12 gauge buckshot round is my personal preference for home defense. This offers plenty of knockdown power with less threat of over penetration. There is a host of shotguns being produced with home defense in mind and some are just as costly as the AR, but for those that aren't worried about having defend our homes against the incursion a pump or even a double barrel shotgun would more than suffice.

My personal choice is going to be the pump and there are plenty of options well under the $500 mark.  My shotgun of choice is the Winchester SXP Defender, coming in right at $350 it is one of the smoothest actions of all pump shotguns and feeds any round you throw in the chamber.  Of course, there are other options available, the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 offer great platforms that can be customized with all the accessories you could ever want.

If you aren't a fan of the pump action, there are also several double barrel options built specifically with defense in mind. The only downfall of going to a double barrel is that you are limited to two rounds, but if you foresee two rounds of 12 gauge not being enough firepower, I would begin to reconsider what kind of situations I plan on getting myself in.




Handgun shooting is a different breed of sport altogether and employs new techniques and practices but for those who carry a handgun on them and are accustomed to doing so, a handgun is second to none for defense. Handguns were designed with defense in mind, as their smaller size makes them easier to conceal and are less unwieldy than a long gun when operating in narrow spaces found in households. One thing to keep in mind with handguns is to be sure to get the right ammo.  Drywall and wood are no contest for a fast moving pistol round; full metal jacket (FMJ) bullets can penetrate through several layers of drywall before coming to a halt. If you think a handgun might better suit your needs and are willing to train to become proficient in using it, they are definitely a viable option.

The options for handguns are endless, with prices ranging from just a couple hundred dollars and up in to the thousands depending on model.  Choosing a cartridge is another factor, with the most popular defense handgun calibers being .380 ACP, 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .38 Special, but that is a whole other topic unto itself.

As with any gun you plan on using, whether it be for defense, hunting or any other purpose, plan on putting in the time to train and become proficient with your weapon.  No one wants to have to use their weapon to defend themselves from danger, but if the time should come, you do not want to be the one who is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with their weapon.