Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Mosin Nagant 91/30 An Honest Review

By Joel Persinger


A few weeks ago I picked up a 1942 Mosin Nagant 91/30. I had just finished teaching a basic pistol class and stopped into the pro shop at the range to talk with the range manager. I never got to talk with the manager, but I did buy a rifle.

While I was waiting for the manager to appear, I noticed the old Russian girl standing in the gun rack next to so many sleek new rifles. When my eyes drifted over the price tag I just had to see it. Once I held it and fiddled with it a bit, I thought... "What the heck!" So, I bought it for $143.00 out the door (including taxes and the California government fees).

After I bought the Mosin I made the mistake of looking on the web to find out about it. What I found was endless opinions about the Mosin Nagant as an "end of days/SHTF" rifle, a hunting rifle or a home defense rifle. The discussions go on adnauseam. After having purchased one, cleaned it up and shot it, I think I've figured out what it can and cannot do. So here comes yet another opinion... mine.

How did it shoot?

After a couple of hours spent cleaning the cosmoline out of the 69-year old rifle, it actually looked like I might have gotten my hands on something interesting. From what I could tell, the rifle appeared to have been refurbished or perhaps simply never issued to a soldier. So, I took it completely apart, checked the function of the gun and the firing pin adjustment to make sure it was safe to fire and went to the range. I had purchased some surplus 7.62x54R ammunition, so I thought I'd start with that.

It was a good day to try the rifle, since my partner and I had just finished teaching a pistol skill builder and the range was not being used. I set up a paper target and launched some rounds at it from 50 yards to see if I was on the paper. Right away I noticed two things. 1) The gun was LOUD! 2) It did not have the punishing recoil I had read about. Sure, it pushed back at me when I pressed the trigger. But the recoil was manageable and actually quite soft for a rifle firing a powerful cartridge. My business partner, Mike Ritz, felt the same way after he fired it.


The sites were a little off, causing my rounds to strike about six inches to the right. I didn't have a mallet or brass punch with which to adjust them, so I had to deal with it the old-fashioned way. After applying a little Kentucky windage, I was able to put three rounds in the center of the target in a group that measured slightly less than 1 1/2 inches. Once I had the sites figured out, the rifle consistently grouped under two inches. In fact, I had two groups which measured under one inch. That's pretty good for a $140 rifle that's almost 70 years old, particularly when firing surplus military ammunition. Suffice it to say that accuracy was good.


Although the gun functioned almost flawlessly, the bolt was quite rough and the trigger was pretty bad. The bolt tended to stick after firing a round. This was probably due to some cosmoline I missed when I first cleaned the rifle. As a result, cycling the bolt was challenging, although the problem seemed to go away after I fired three or four rounds. The trigger was of the standard military variety. I didn't measure the trigger pull, but it was pretty heavy and the trigger had quite a bit of creep. All that having been said, for what it is, the Mosin Nagant is a great rifle. I'm very glad I bought it.

Dependability and usefulness:

The Mosin Nagant is an ugly, simple, rugged and utterly reliable rifle that was designed to be issued to illiterate peasants and conscripts who had little if any rifle training. The rifle is dirt simple and can be used and cared for by anyone given a modicum of instruction (like ten minutes). By design, the rifle is meant to take abuse and still keep shooting. Basically, the Mosin Nagant is an old bolt action battle rifle that was perfect for what it was designed to be. But how does it fit for a home defense, end of days (SHTF, WOROL) or hunting rifle?

As a home defense gun it leaves a lot to be desired. It is too long, too heavy and too powerful to be an ideal home defense gun. You're better off with a short shotgun or a good handgun. The same problems present themselves when you contemplate using the Mosin to hold off a determined group of thugs in an "end of days, SHTF" scenario. With the Mosin's slow rate of fire and limited magazine capacity, you would be much better off with an AK-47 variant, a Mini-14 or a good AR15. Again, similar issues pop up when you think of the Mosin being an ideal hunting rifle. As a hunting rifle, it's HEAVY, long and cannot be easily fitted with a scope. A much better choice would be a light and quick handling modern rifle with a good scope.

All that having been said, not everyone can afford a home defense shotgun, handgun, AR15 or a nice hunting rifle with a scope. When we consider the reality of the pocket book, the problem with the Mosin Nagant is not with the rifle, the problem is people's expectation that the Mosin Nagant should somehow manage to be ideal for any task other than the one for which it was designed. As a result, it is not "ideal" for most things. For example: It's not ideal for home defense. However, I would not want to be on the business end of one! Being hit squarely with a 7.62x54R round will put just about anybody's face in the dirt. It's not ideal for an "end of days, SHTF" gun. Still, it isn't all that bad a choice either. It's rugged, utterly reliable, cheap and supremely capable of killing anything that walks in North America. It's not fast. But when combined with a good quality fighting handgun it doesn't need to be. If the bad guys are up close, transition to your short gun. If they're far away, bust out that Mosin. Lord knows that if you hit 'em, they're not going to fight with you anymore. Besides, if the dude you shoot has a nice AR15, you can take his. After all, he won't be needing it. It's not ideal for hunting. Still, the 7.62x54R round is perfectly suitable for taking both medium and large game anywhere in North America. Actually, I plan on taking my Mosin Nagant 91/30 deer and pig hunting this year. But, keep in mind that if you buy a Mosin for hunting, you probably won't have a scope. I wouldn't let that bother you. Folks were hunting successfully without scopes long before any of us were born. Many people still do. So, there's no reason why you can't.

The bottom line is that the Mosin Nagant isn't the ideal rifle for anything. But, if you're on a budget, it's a darn good rifle for just about everything. You can buy one for around $150 or less and you can buy a "spam can" containing 440 rounds of surplus ammunition for less than $90. What a deal! So, let's recap: the Mosin Nagant is cheap, accurate, strong, reliable, powerful and always goes bang. Works for me!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stick Sparring with The Cannibal Combat Group

This past Sunday was a great thrill for me. I had a chance to participate in the advancement test of one of the Cannibal Combat Group brothers. He is a fine young man, and a tough, strong and able fighter named John Ramirez. He did very well during his test.
Guru Greg Moody was there as well. He was visiting from out of town. Guru Greg Moody is a Co-Founder of Cannibal (along with Guru Mike Ritz). The two of them started the group in their backyards, sparing with rattan sticks and garden gloves. After six years of beating the tar out of each other they had a group.
I've been studying under Guru Ritz for several years (five or six I think), during which we have spent many hours in my back yard and Mike's garage swinging sticks, knives, swords and every other tool of destruction you can think of. I was into it for a couple of years before I had the privilege of meeting Guru Greg. Five minutes after our first meeting, we were smacking the snot out of each other in my backyard. I loved it and so did Greg. We were instant friends.
Greg came down to visit over the weekend and spared just about every member of the group. I couldn't attend on Saturday, but got to spend time with the group and play around with Greg on Sunday morning. We bagged the gloves and padded sticks and just sparred the old way, live sticks and no gloves. That is the best way, if you ask me. Nothing truly simulates the danger and speed of a real stick. If you really want to learn to hit and not get hit, live stick with no pads is the only way. You take some licks, but you learn a ton with every session.
Greg and I had a terrific time. We were both a little beat-up afterwards, but I would not have traded that time for anything. Here's to you Guru Greg! I'll have my sticks ready for the next time you come to town. In the meantime, I'm sure that Guru Mike will be more than happy to smack me around in your absence.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Are TASERs The Right Tool For Security Guards?

By Joel Persinger

In the days leading up to the TASER International "Law Enforcement Instructor Course" this week, I was unconvinced that TASERs are a viable self-defense tool for security guards. However, having completed the course two days later, fired several TASERs during the training, spoken to line officers who carry them every day and seen countless examples of their effectiveness, I am now a believer.

But, before I get too far into my impressions of TASERs as security guard self-defense tools, I should probably take a moment to explain exactly what a TASER is and what it does. A TASER is an Electronic Control Devise (ECD) that delivers a shock to a subject by means of two probes that are launched from the front of the unit by compressed air. The probes are connected to the unit by ultra-thin wires, which unravel as the probes fly toward their target. Once the probes have attached themselves to a subject's skin or clothing, the unit delivers a debilitating shock that causes severe pain and muscle lockup (also called Neuro-Muscular Incapacitation, or NMI). NMI is the process by which a TASER stimulates the subject's motor nerves, which causes the subject's muscles to contract outside of the subject's direct control. This is why you cannot resist the effects of a TASER ECD, unlike a "stun gun", which only applies pain without NMI.

At the present time, TASER International's primary business is providing TASER ECDs to police agencies. However, TASER has developed TASER ECD packages designed specifically to address the needs of professional security guards. Among them are the "X26", which is carried by police officers around the world, and the "C2", which is the smaller, sleeker, simpler and less expensive brother to the X26. Both the X26 and the C2 use similar technology and both are serious self-defense tools.

In my view, TASER ECDs, particularly the C2, are a wonderful "less lethal" option for security officers. Unlike police officers, security guards, as a general rule, are not required to subdue subjects or make arrests. Still, security guards are sometimes placed in harm's way, by the very nature of their duties.

While law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly in their efforts to employ "less lethal" technologies, the security industry has not. Most security guards don't carry any self-defense tools. Those who do, carry firearms and batons, both of which are deadly weapons. The only commonly carried "less lethal" option among security guards is pepper spray (sometimes called O.C., for oleoresin capsaicin).

Pepper spray is a wonderful tool in many instances, but it is not always the best tool. Take security aboard the San Diego Trolley for example. What would happen if a security guard sprayed pepper spray at a subject inside a trolley car? The answer is simple. The entire car and everyone in it would be exposed to the effects of the pepper spray. The same is true of the security officer who works in a downtown office building, a shopping mall or any other enclosed space. In the same way, a firearms is a poor choice for such locations for similar reasons, as well as the fact that a missed shot could injure or kill a bystander. A TASER ECD, on the other hand, could be deployed against a specific subject, without significant risk of harm to onlookers.

A TASER ECD is also less obtrusive than a firearm. Security guards in a professional environment, such as an office complex or hospital, might prefer a self-defense tool that is low profile and can be carried in such a way as to be almost unnoticeable. The C2 has been designed with discretion in mind. It is a powerful self-defense tool that does not alarm clients, employees or guests. It is also moderately priced when compared to the X26 or X3. TASER offers a special package, called the "TASER C2 Standard Issue Kit" for security guards, which includes the C2, a holster and three cartridges.

The security industry will always need a variety of force options for officers to use in defense of themselves and others. In some cases, a firearms, baton or pepper spray will be the appropriate tool. But in many instances, a TASER ECD in the hands of a well trained security guard could be the perfect tool to resolve potentially dangerous encounters, while reducing the risks of injury to everyone concerned, and the costly litigation that often follows such incidents.

If you would like to know more about TASER ECD training for security guards, please visit our website at to check our schedule for the next available TASER ECD course.

Security guard Classes that are available from Practical Defense Systems each month include: BSIS Guard Card, BSIS Exposed Firearms Permit, California Concealed Carry (CCW) Permit, BSIS Baton Permit, OC/Pepper Spray Card, TASER ECD, American Heart Association CPR / First Aid with AED, Handcuffing and Defensive Tactics. We serve all of San Diego County, including: Alpine, Bonita, Bonsall, Camp Pendleton, Campo, Cardiff, Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Descanso, Dulzura, El Cajon, Encinitas, Escondido, Fallbrook, Imperial Beach, Jacumba, Jamul, Julian, La Jolla, La Mesa, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, Leucadia, Miramar, National City, Oceanside, Pacific Beach, Palomar Mountain, Pine Valley, Poway, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego, San Marcos, San Ysidro, Santee, Solana Beach, Spring Valley, Valley Center, Vista and Warner Springs.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Which gun is best for home defense?

By Joel Persinger.

It is an indisputable fact that long before guns were invented, someone invented opinions. And since the invention of the gun, opinions about guns have been popping up all over the place. So much so, that while not everyone owns a gun, just about everyone has an opinion about them. So, it's no surprise that opinions fly in every direction when someone asks the age old question, "Which gun should I buy for home defense?"

I went around the range one day and ask a bunch of folks this very question. What I got was opinions that fall within a few loosely defined groups: the shotgun crowd, the inevitable 1911 group, the Glock worshippers, the Tupperware pistol gang (These are polymer framed, striker fired pistols like the Springfield XD, Glock and S&W M&P), the AR-15 aficionados and one or two old guys who swore by the revolver. When asked about home defense calibers, the shotgun folks said, "12 gauge" and the pistol people retorted, "Never take a gun to a fight with a caliber that doesn't start with a 4." So, if these folks are to be believed, only full sized pistols in .40 Smith & Wesson or larger are acceptable and only a 12 gauge or larger shotgun will get the job done.

My father, a long time Deputy Sheriff and lifelong shooter, had a somewhat different opinion. He was a large and jovial, but soft spoken man who tended to look at firearms from a more pragmatic point of view. He felt strongly that people cannot defend themselves adequately with firearms that they never shoot. Consequently, he always advised selecting a gun that you enjoy shooting. "If you like shooting it", he used to say, "then you'll actually practice with it once in a while."

Last year, my wife announced to me that she wanted a pistol of her own. She is not a long time shooter and had no idea what she wanted. Following dad's sage advice, I took her to the range and had her pick up just about every pistol they had for rent and try each one on for size. When she had selected five guns that felt comfortable in her hands, we rented them one at a time. After about thirty minutes on the pistol range, she had narrowed the choices to two. We went back to the clerk and asked if we could rent both of the chosen pistols at the same time. The clerk agreed and we took both guns back to the firing line. My wife compared them side by side, shooting one after another. Finally, she settled upon the Smith & Wesson M&P in 9mm. She absolutely loves that pistol. As a result, it is a pistol that she will actually practice with once in a while. I have used this same approach with many of my students. It has always yielded a wonderful result.

When it came to self defense calibers and gauges, my dad felt strongly that a Peace Officer should carry nothing smaller than a .38 Special and preferably a .357 Magnum handgun and that the Remington 870 in 12 gauge was best because, "Mr. Remington ALWAYS gets respect!" If he were alive and working as a Peace Officer today, he would likely agree that a .40 Smith & Wesson would work just fine and that every officer on patrol should have a carbine. However, when it came to calibers and gauges for civilians to use in defense of their homes, dad had two simple rules. 1) Always select a home defense gun in a caliber or gauge that you can actually hit something with. He always said, "A solid hit with a .22 is better than a loud miss with a .44 Magnum." 2) Buy a quality, reliable firearm that will ALWAYs go bang. "After all", he would say, "the loudest sound in a gun fight is 'click'."

In my experience (and my father's), when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of defending your life, the best gun to have is the one that you know inside and out and that you can use effectively. It doesn't matter if it's a .22 rifle, a 410 shotgun, a .380 pocket pistol or a rock-n-roll $3,000 AR15 with every bell and whistle known to man. Caliber, gauge, manual of arms, type and style really don't matter if you don't know how the gun works or can't hit the broad side of a barn with it. So, bag all the hype and select a gun that is comfortable, reliable and that you like to shoot. Then take it to the range and shoot it. That way, if you ever need it in a pinch, you'll have something that you know you can count on.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Security Guard Training Begins Now!

We're now offering training for security officers:
  • Guard Card (Powers to Arrest and Weapons of Mass Destruction)
  • Chemical Agent (Required in order to carry OC/Pepper Spray on duty. Certification Card issued upon completion)
  • Firearms (This is the class required in order for a security officer to obtain a permit to carry an exposed firearm while on duty)
  • Baton, CPR, Basic First Aid, California CCW Permit and Defensive Tactics classes are coming soon!

Call me to find out more 619-460-5680

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NRA First Steps Pistol Class at P2K Range

Our NRA pistol class at P2K Range went very well. We had 10 students who were excited about learning and full of great questions.

NRA First Steps Pistol is a basic pistol orientation designed to teach students how to own, use and maintain a pistol in a safe and responsible way. It is an excellent class.

In October's class, we had students who had been shooting for years, as well as those who had never held a firearm in their lives. By the time class was over, all of them had improved their shooting. They had a great time and so did Mike Ritz and I.

Students were provided with plastic "red" and "blue" guns, so they could safely practice their two handed grips in class. They also got to hold and learn the operation of many different types of pistols, including double-action revolvers, single-action revolvers, various semi-automatic pistols, derringers, pocket pistols and several others in the "Bag-o-Guns" section of the class.

At the range, students got to practice their marksmanship and improve their shooting by applying the fundimentals of pistol shooting. Those who did not have their own firearm were provided with one of ours. We also provided the ammunition at no additional charge.

We're looking forward to the reloading classes starting in January 2010. We have reloading classes for both shot shell reloading and metallic cartridge reloading. All of our classes are NRA designed and approved classes taught by NRA certified instructors.

Pistol and reloading classes are scheduled for the entire year of 2010.