Beretta Blog

Tom McHale

Tom McHale was born helpless, hungry and shooting-deprived. He's finally given up the corporate life to pursue his passion of creating slightly offbeat, but educational, content related to guns and shooting. So far, he's published six books and nearly 1,500 articles on various topics related to shooting and self-defense.
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Recent Posts

What You Need to Know About Driving with Firearms

Posted by Tom McHale on Sep 18, 2018 8:50:00 AM

driving with guns

Suppose you’re planning a road trip and intend to transport a firearm in your vehicle. You’re a law-abiding citizen, and of course, there’s this thing called the Second Amendment that should cover you, right? Well, not exactly.

In part, because the Founders of the United States believed that most laws should be made locally, states carry a lot of power when it comes to regulations of firearms ownership and transportation. As a lawful gun owner, it’s up to you to know the laws of your home state, but also each and every state you visit while in possession of a firearm. Let’s plan a hypothetical road trip to outline some of the things you need to know.

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Topics: Concealed Carry, Self Defense

Are You Acting in Self-Defense Legally?

Posted by Tom McHale on Sep 12, 2018 8:21:00 AM

Know the law

Did you know that there are over 20,000 gun-related laws on the books throughout the United States? Did you know that more are added daily? Did you also know that you are responsible for knowing and adhering to every single law that’s in force wherever you happen to be standing at any given moment?

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Topics: Concealed Carry, Self Defense

Can You Shoot to Police Standards?

Posted by Tom McHale on Sep 5, 2018 9:26:00 AM

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Without pictures, it didn’t happen. Unless you bring back a t-shirt, you didn’t go. And without skill and progress measurement, you can’t improve.

One way to exercise your skills and measure your progress is to practice with a structured course of fire. A good routine will “walk you through” a variety of skills like strong hand only, support hand only, two-handed shooting, draws from a holster, and magazine changes. While the shooting community has developed hundreds of such practice scenarios, you don’t have to look any farther than your local law enforcement agency to find one. While every agency differs in the details, most have a structured qualification course of fire that every officer has to complete on a regular basis.

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Topics: Law Enforcement & Military, Concealed Carry, Dynamic Shooting, Handguns

How Lack of Time Can Make You a Better Shooter

Posted by Tom McHale on Aug 9, 2018 9:41:00 AM

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With many things in life, I deliver better results with aggressive time limitations. There’s nothing like a tight deadline to make me focus and produce. Unfortunately, shooting isn’t one of those activities. In fact, adding a time crunch to basic shooting tasks has the opposite effect of degrading performance, sometimes to near comical levels.

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Topics: Concealed Carry, Dynamic Shooting, Handguns

What You Need to Know About Shot Timers

Posted by Tom McHale on Aug 7, 2018 9:15:00 AM

IMG_555292978If you want to become a better shooter, you must measure your both your current skill level and your progress. You can measure and track accuracy results, and depending on your personal goals, that may be enough. For recreational shooting and some types of competition, time may not matter. However, if you want to improve your defensive shooting capabilities or perhaps move up the action pistol sports ladder, being able to shoot accurately under time pressure becomes important.  

A simple shot timer is a great addition to your range kit. Here’s what you need to know about how they work. 

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Topics: Concealed Carry, Competitive Shooting, Dynamic Shooting, Handguns

The Concealed Carry Draw

Posted by Tom McHale on Jul 2, 2018 10:53:11 AM

Draw steps

I don’t give a hoot about my “open carry” draw.

To clarify, drawing from an outside the waistband holster without a cover garment isn’t relevant in my chosen universe. Indeed, if I were passionate about competing in action shooting sports like USPSA or Steel Challenge, then an “open” draw would be crucial to me.

I like to compete, but I view competition as an opportunity to test and improve my skills with my everyday carry gear, sans “cheating.” That means I use my carry gun with no lightweight trigger modifications. It means I use my every day inside the waistband holster with an actual shirt or jacket that I wear when out and about. I don’t "game" my carry configuration to shave some fractions of seconds from the clock just because it’s a competition. If my setup puts me at a competitive disadvantage, so be it. My purpose, after all, is to get better with what I carry and use.

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Topics: Concealed Carry

Pistol Science: The Rotary Recoil System

Posted by Tom McHale on Jun 27, 2018 9:01:00 AM

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By very definition, semi-automatic pistols all have some basic features and functions in common. What makes them "semi-automatic" is the recoil system that performs a carefully orchestrated process of:

  • Moving the slide to the rear.
  • Ejecting the spent cartridge case.
  • Cocking the hammer or striker for the next shot.
  • Moving forward and stripping a fresh cartridge from the magazine.
  • Loading that cartridge into the chamber as the slide closes and locks into position.
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Topics: New Shooters, Handguns

6 Things You Need in Your Range Bag

Posted by Tom McHale on Jun 1, 2018 7:50:00 AM

Range bag gear

There are plenty of things that are obvious additions to a range bag. You’ll need eye and ear protection. If you like to bring guests, then pack extra safety glasses and hearing muffs, so everyone has a set. Targets, a stapler, and spare staples are also a given. Is that all you need? Not if you want to guarantee an interruption-free outing.

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Topics: New Shooters, Dynamic Shooting, Handguns

Why You Shouldn’t Use Reloaded Ammunition for Self-Defense

Posted by Tom McHale on May 11, 2018 8:02:00 AM

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Maybe you don’t even reload your own ammunition. That’s OK, read on anyway, because this article still might apply to you.

For purposes of this discussion, let’s consider a universe containing two types of ammunition: practice and self-defense. Practice ammunition is designed to do one thing – go forward in more or less a straight line. As a bonus feature, it should also drill holes in paper or cardboard targets and make a clanging noise against steel plates. If a practice round doesn’t go bang once in a while, it’s no big deal and presents a training opportunity to work on your malfunction drills.

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Topics: Concealed Carry, Self Defense

Pros and Cons of Pistol Optics

Posted by Tom McHale on May 10, 2018 11:30:17 AM

benefits-of-optics-on-handgun

Some decades ago, conversations over newfangled inventions for guns went something like this...

Hold on there son; you want me to put a thing made of GLASS on top of my trusty rifle? Are you kidding me?

The discussion was about the idea of adding a scope to a rifle to perform the task of accurately getting sights on target. For hundreds of years, shooters had relied on a solution of simplicity and extreme durability: iron sights. Adding a potentially fragile, and more importantly, unproven invention had to be just asking for trouble, right?

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Topics: Concealed Carry, Self Defense, Dynamic Shooting