Charles L. Cotton

Charles L. Cotton

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NRA Awarded Attorney Fees -- Again!

After losing a long and costly legal battle trying to deprive its citizens of their Second Amendment rights, the city of Chicago has been ordered to pay the $1.3 million to the national rifle association of America.  This figure represents a portion of the legal fees and expenses incurred by the NRA in defending the constitutional rights of American citizens.  Initially, the Federal District court denied the NRA’s request for attorney fees, but a favorable ruling by the U.S.  Seventh Circuit Court Of Appeals require the district court to award  “reasonable and necessary attorney fees and expenses.”

Regardless of the constitutional rights at issue, American citizens benefit when governmental entities that are acting arbitrarily, capriciously and unconstitutionally are required to reimburse the attorney fees and expenses incurred in protecting constitutional rights.  For this reason, it was shocking when self-proclaimed “pro-gun”  attorney Alan Gura filed documents formally opposing the NRA’s request for attorney fees.  Thankfully, the court rejected Mr. Gura’s unfounded opposition.

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Magazine Fix

robo gripI have about 40 or so .45 ACP magazines, with the majority being Chip McCormick Shooting Stars and Power Mags, with a few Wilsons mixed in. I number my mags. so I can identify any that are giving me trouble. I found five mags that would not drop fee when they were empty.Read More

They would when they were partially filled, but what good is that!? I carefully examined all five and couldn't see any signs of a problem. Since these mags were about to go into the garbage, I decided to give something a try. After all, I had nothing to lose.mag1

I  used Sears/Craftsman RoboGrips (the smallest size) to gently squeeze the forward lips of the magazines. I do mean "gently!" It didn't appear to be doing any good, as the lips appeared to spring back into their original position. I tried the first mag. in the gun and it dropped free without any drag or delay. I loaded the mag and made sure it would properly feed loaded rounds. I did the same thing to the remaining four magazines. It appeared they were fixed, but I wouldn't know for sure until I had a chance to use them at the range. Range testing proved all five mag4magazines functioned flawlessly. So, mags. destined for the garbage can are now back in the shooting bag. I'll use them in practice and in matches, but they will never see duty in a self-defense role.mags

So, if you have a misbehaving magazine, try this before throwing it in the trash.mag2

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Keep Up With the Legislature

The 2013 Texas Legislative Session began on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 and it will end 140 days later.  The first several days were spent taking care of administrative matters.  Appointments have been made to the various committees in the house and senate and committee chairman and vice chairman have been selected by the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor.

Pre-filing of bills will begin in November and a lot of people are under the misconception that pre-filing a bill manning said it will be considered a earlier in the legislative process.  This is incorrect as the order in which bills are filed do not control when they will be considered either in committee are on the floor.  There are tactical reasons why some bills or pre-filed and others are not, but the lack of pre-filing does not indicate the lack of interest in the bill.  Often, pre-filing simply gives the opposition more time to go on our support.

It is never possible to predict the exact number and subject matter of firearms related bills that will be filed during any legislative session.  However, in all likelihood of 2013 Texas legislative session will see bills filed dealing with campus security (a/k/a campus-carry), amendments to the Texas concealed handgun law in terms of eligibility, training requirements, and administrative procedures, along with tweaking of the employer parking lot bill.  Open-carry of handguns will probably see some activity during the session, but whether that will be introduced as so-called licensed open-carry (CHL’s only) or unlicensed open-carry is unknown.

Regardless what the 2013 Texas legislative session may bring, you can keep up with what’s going on in Austin by frequently checking the Bill Status Report here and on the TFC website.  The Bill Status Report will list every bill filed in the Texas legislature that deals with firearm ownership and usage, laws dealing with self-defense and offense a property, and any other subject matter that directly or indirectly impacts Texas gun owners.  The report will contain the author of the bill, the brief description of its purpose, the status of the bill in the legislative process, and whether or not the bill is supported or opposed by the Texas Firearms Coalition.  Sometimes a bill is covered for informational purposes only, and the TFC remains neutral on the bill.  A condensed version of the Bill Status Report is also available on along with reports from every Texas legislative session from 2005 onward.

To increase the ability to notify  Texas gun owners of critical legislative is calls-to-action, the TFC will launch a new e-mail/eNewsletter system when its new website is launched in the coming weeks.  Critical information and calls-to-action will still be posted on the web site.  All Texas gun owners are strongly encouraged to register for TFC e-mail blasts and eNewsletters and get their friends and families to do likewise.  The importance of the ability to generate thousands of phone calls and faxes to elected officials cannot be overstated.

Please make it a priority to stay informed as to what is taking place in Austin by frequently checking the TFC Bill Status Report.

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Indoor v. Outdoor - Public v. Private

bigstock firing range 9162233Occasionally people who are new to shooting will ask about the pros and cons of indoor shooting ranges v. outdoor shooting ranges.  Now there’s a loaded question!  As with most things in life, there’s a trade off when talking about using an indoor v. outdoor range, but both certainly have benefits to offer, as well as downsides.

If you poll people who shoot at both types of ranges, the two biggest issues you will hear mentioned are weather and noise.  Let’s face it, Texas gets hot and some parts of the State get really hot!  If you are in the Gulf Coast part of Texas, it also rains a lot and the humidity is ever-present.  During the winter, parts of Texas see low temperatures that many non-Texans find hard to believe.  So in terms of weather, there are definitely times when the advantage goes to indoor ranges.

Indoor ranges also tend to be available later in the evening than is typically found with outdoor ranges, though there certainly are exceptions.  This makes them more accessible to people who like to shoot in the evenings after work and when the kids are out of school and can participate.  Several indoor ranges offer special programs and leagues during the evening hours like IDPA or ISPC competition.  These matches often require the range to close to the general shooting public, so they tend to offer these events only one or two days a week.

So what are the typical cons related to indoor ranges?  Noise was already mentioned and it’s certainly the primary complaint heard from shooters.  Many choose to “plug and muff” meaning they use both ear plugs and shooting muffs to dampen the louder conditions created by sound reverberating off the walls of indoor ranges.  Sound deadening material can be used on the walls and it helps to a degree.  But there is only so much that can be done.  

Another issue often mentioned is temperature.  The dilemma faced by owners and operators of indoor ranges is how to control both smoke and temperature.  If the air is exchanged fast enough to keep the range clear of smoke, it is difficult to keep the temperature at a comfortable level.  This is especially true during the summer months when air conditioning units have a difficult time cooling the air that is being rapidly exchanged.  Indoor shooting ranges that can both exchange the air fast enough to keep the smoke cleared while maintaining a comfortable temperature had made a substantial investment in their HVAC system.

Let’s talk about outdoor shooting ranges a bit.  As previously discussed, outdoor ranges are at the mercy of the weather.  Temperature, humidity, and rain cannot be controlled, but efforts can be made to ameliorate these problems to a certain extent.  Covered firing lines and other shading devices help, as do misters and fans to make a summer day of the range much more pleasant.

The biggest benefit offered by outdoor shooting ranges as variety.  Typically, one can shoot types of firearms at an outdoor shooting range that cannot be accommodated at an indoor range.  Some outdoor shooting ranges also allow people to engage in types of shooting that is prohibited at indoor ranges.  For example, drawing and engaging the target from a holster is usually prohibited at indoor ranges while it is permissible at certain an outdoor ranges.  (Even at outdoor ranges, this type of shooting is often prohibited by commercial ranges, while private clubs allow it.)

Many outdoor shooting ranges also offer a greater variety of shooting distances not available at indoor ranges.  A 25 yard indoor range is rare, but outdoor ranges often offer targets at 200, 300, or even 1000 yards.

So which is better, indoor ranges or outdoor ranges?  Neither/both.  It really depends upon the type of shooting that you want to do, the time of day you have available, and weather conditions.  In the best of all worlds, you will have access to both types of ranges so you can select the one that best fits your needs at any given time.  So don’t right off either type of range; support both of them with your patronage.  Every time a shooting range closes its doors for good, we all lose.

Shoot, have fun, and do it safely!

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IDPA Competition

What is IDPA Competition?

IDPA stands for International Defensive Pistol Association, the sanctioning body for IDPA matches.  Each match consists of a number of different scenarios that simulate realistic defensive shooting situations.  A competitor receives a score for each scenario in the match and the lowest total score wins.  The score is a composite of the raw time to shoot each scenario, plus time added for points down on targets and any procedural penalties

Classes and Divisions

The type of gun a person uses will determine which one of the five Divisions they will be competing in for any given match.  A shooter receives a Classification by shooting a 90 round Classifier in one of the five Divisions.  This Classification is used to ensure shooters compete with people at the same relative skill level.  IDPA rules require competitors to shoot at least one Classifier each year, but they do not have to shoot one in each Division in which they want to compete.  PSC runs at least two Classifiers a year and often three to four.  When Classifiers are scheduled, they will be posted on the PSC Calendar and on the Event Registration link.

What Equipment Do I Need?

The driving premise behind IDPA shooting is to use guns, holsters and mag. carriers that a person could actually use to carry a concealed handgun.  No "race guns" are allowed in IDPA competition.  The vast majority of IDPA shooters use Glocks, Springfield XD's, and various 1911s.  A few shooters use revolvers and their number is growing.

So what should I bring to the match? The obvious items are: 1) handgun; 2) holster; 3) ammunition sufficient for the match; 4) at least three magazines, but the more the better (only two extra mags. can be on your belt); 5) eye protection; and 6) ear protection. These are the bare essentials. Consider the weather in the Texas Gulf Coast and dress accordingly. Sun block, a good hat (caps are okay, but if you have a sombrero, bring it!), plenty of water, a towel and a folding chair may seem like luxuries while you are sitting at your computer reading this, but you'll think they should have been in the essential list after attending one of the summer matches. This is not meant to scare anyone. If you are a "summer person" and enjoy being outside during the hotter months, you will not have a problem, as long as you come prepared. If you have trouble handling the heat, you probably should shoot with us during the fall through spring schedule.

Many clubs/matches have a "new shooter briefing" for people who are new to action pistol shooting to help them feel a little more at ease when trying a new sport.  They are typically offered just before each match. Some clubs also will also pair new shooters with a mentor for their first match and this is a great way to get up to speed.

IDPA matches are the easiest and most economical way to get into action pistol shooting and you will meet a great group of people!

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Girl With A Gun

img 03Growing up in an environment that has welcomed and encouraged the use of firearms has really helped me become who I am and who I will be in the future. Learning about gun use and safety procedures from a young age has taught me to take responsibility for my actions.

Being able to go out to the range and shoot has always been a treat, something that could be used as a reward for getting good grades or get taken away for not doing so well in school. While using a gun my mind is on what I am doing rather than what a friend said to me, or the project that is due in a few days. Pulling the trigger means that all of my attention is on what I am seeing down the barrel, totally focused on what I should be doing right then.

Being familiar with firearms has opened up a lot of great opportunities to meet and become friends with people that I would otherwise never have a chance to say hello to. They have been able to teach me so much about respecting fellow shooters and the powerful machines that we are using. Listening to their instruction and advice has really helped improve my shooting by a large margin.

I’ve been encouraged to learn how to use and take care of everything from a .38 Special to a 12 gauge, with all kinds of rifles thrown in the mix as well. Knowing how to use such a large variety of weapons puts me in a good position for competition shooting and hunting. 

Being able to tell other kids about shooting and hunting is very exciting and though I have never been shooting with another person my age outside of family members, I really hope that kids will begin to understand that firearms are not something to be scared of.

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