DECEMBER 16, 2021

Skill Set: What’s Next?

This last year has been quite a bumpy ride. It seems like we’re living in an upside-down world. Right is “wrong,” and wrong is “right.” The future is uncertain, yet things aren’t as bad as they may appear.

The firearms manufacturers are on top of their game. There’s a great demand for their firearms, and companies are producing, improving and offering brand new models to meet consumer’s appetites. The highlight this year for me was Springfield Armory’s release of the SA-35 Hi Power pistol. Since reviewing it in the Wire I’ve installed new springs, and reworked the trigger, sear and hammer engagements. (For any action tuning of this type I highly recommend Power Custom’s Universal jig, which has adapters for almost any pistol, found here. After a little work, which is common for any military style weapon, I’m pleased to report that the SA-35 is performing flawlessly; it’s a fantastic Hi Power.

Ammunition is still “expensive.” This is the “new norm” everyone has been talking about. Next year, predictions are for prices to rise even more as costs on raw products, manufacturing, transportation and all the other factors increase. This is another great reason to do more dry-fire practice, which is the best way to improve your skills. On the plus side, producers are putting together the best ammo we’ve ever seen, especially when it comes to defensive rounds. There’s a greater variety of quality ammunition available than ever before, with rounds specifically designed for the exact type of pistol you shoot and carry. This includes rounds best used in short barrel autos and snubbie revolvers.

The same is true for firearm accessories. There’s so much out there now it’s hard to keep track. Regardless of what you shoot, the ability to customize a firearm has never been better. The same is true for all the other carry gear you need – holsters, belts, flashlights and such. Want to build an AR platform, assembling a rifle or carbine for a specific purpose? Take your pick from a wide assortment of calibers from small to large, in either pistol or rifle calibers.

The general public – non-shooters – are finally realizing that self-defense is a personal responsibility. Sales of firearms have been and will be increasing. This is a great thing. The more responsible firearm owners there are, the better the “optics” for all of us. Just remember that part of your job as a shooter is to welcome all these newbies into the fold and help ensure they become sensible, mature firearm owners.

This truly is a golden age for shooters. But, to ensure our rights to keep and bear arms we need to get involved. Local, city and state elections have never been more important. Some parts of the country are willing to tolerate violence, riots, lootin’ and shootin’ as part of daily life. It’s up to you to make the officials you elect understand that for your community, city or state that this is unacceptable behavior.

Next year is right around the corner. There’s no way to tell what’s coming next. Just keep in mind, we live in the greatest nation the world has ever seen. As Americans, we know how to survive hard times and the challenges they bring. Stay safe, enjoy the holidays, and we’ll see you next year.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, has a regular column in American Handgunner and makes some cool knives and custom revolvers. Visit Shootrite’s Facebook page for other details.