Lowers! Billet vs. Forged – What’s Best?

Forged Versus Billet Lowers on the AR-15 Platform

AWC offers a variety of 80% AR-15 lowers, which should you choose? There’s plenty of lively discussion about the pros and cons of each. Why the difference in price? Which is strongest? Which is lightest? What grade of aluminum should you look for? The discussion and debate seems to never end. This short article should help clean up some of the discussion and allow you as a customer make a more informed decision on an AWC AR-15 lower receiver.

80 Percent Lowers

Forged ANO AR15 80% Lower

Manufacturing Processes 

There are multiple ways to manufacture a lower but the most commonly discussed are forged AR-15 lowers and billet AR-15 lowers. 7075-grade aluminum is used for all AWC 80% lower receivers. Forgings are made by hammering together two roughly shaped halves of hot aluminum and cleaning up the profile with machines later. This allows for minimal machining, keeping cost of production low, and overall a more affordable lower.

Billet AR-15 lowers are made by taking a single block of aluminum and having a CNC machine mill out the profile of a lower. This process takes longer, as the CNC machine mills an entire block of aluminum into shape, as opposed to starting with the rough shape in place. Billet lower manufacturing also allows for more unique designs and integrated features to be achieved.

80% Lowers

Billet ANO AR15 80% Lower

Material Quality 

There are two main grades of aluminum used for AR-15 parts, 6061 and 7075. These numbers are used to grade and specify what type of aluminum alloy manufacturers are working with. There is also often a subgrade added to the end of the alloy number, “-T4” or “-T6,” for example. These numbers measure the temper placed on the aluminum, meaning how metallurgists heat treat the metal to give it different properties other than what is found in the base alloy. 6061-T6 and 7075-T6 are two of the most common aluminum alloys around in AR-15 lower receiver use. While 6061 aluminum is a very useful and serviceable alloy, it is not as rugged as 7075-grade aluminum, especially when tempered to the “-T6” designation. AWC’s AR-15 80% lower receivers are made from 7075-T6 aluminum alloy, the highest possible quality material selected for end users to own.


In terms of strict function, there are operationally no differences between a forged 80% AR-15 lower and a billet 80% AR-15 lower when finished to proper specification. The main differences are aesthetic; forged lowers from any company will match dimensionally, both internally and externally. The vast majority of forged lowers are made to the latest military specifications. Forged lowers follow those specifications in order to give customers the classic look and feel of a traditional AR-15/M-16, keeping it simple for those who want a straightforward, battle proven design. Billet lowers allow more artistic leeway with manufacturers. Straighter edges, 90-degree angles, designs/decorations, and variations in magazine well sizing, to name a few things that can be done with billet lowers. AWC billet 80%

AR-15 lowers come with clean lines, straighter edges, and an integrated, enlarged trigger guard. AWC Signature III% AR-15 80% lower series offer even more than that: Beefier aesthetics, a flared magazine well, the III% logo on the front milled into the aluminum, all of which offer a more unique styling.


Durability might be the most hotly debated part of the forged lower vs. billet lower discussion. General consensus tends to be that due to the nature of the forging process that forged lowers are technically more durable. The pressure applied by the hammering of forging compresses the aluminum and makes the metal grain run in a homogenous direction; both good things for rigidity and durability. Forged lowers tend to be lighter than billet lowers, as they generally don’t have as much extra material from proprietary design differences. Billet lowers do not have those hammer-hardened characteristics, but with the use of high quality 7075-grade aluminum in this day and age any concerns about durability are largely unnecessary. It then ends up, as most things AR-15 will, as a personal preference choice from the end user.

In Summary 

There are many things to think about when purchasing an AWC AR-15 lower receiver, hopefully this brief breakdown of the differences between forged and billet AR-15 receivers can help you make a more informed decision. AWC strives to make the highest quality lowers, parts, and accessories, so buy with confidence knowing you’re getting the highest possible quality of gear. So which should you buy? Only you can make that decision. Stay safe and happy building!

Check out Our Billet and Forged AR15 Lowers here!

Check out Our Billet AR10 Lowers here!

Clearing the Caliber Confusion: .223 Wylde vs. 5.56 NATO

Though they share identical case dimensions, the .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO are slightly different—and the .223 Wylde makes the most of both of these loads.

Brad Fitzpatrick


The 5.56×45 NATO broke cover in 1957 as a military cartridge, and since that time it has served in multiple campaigns and conflicts around the globe. The 5.56×45 offered a lot—it was a flat-shooting, fast cartridge with minimal recoil and minimal weight (read: you can carry a lot of them). So great was the 5.56 that it soon followed in civilian garb as the .223 Remington, a cartridge that has remained viable and popular since its release date.

There are some that will tell you that a .223 and a 5.56 are the same cartridge. Well, in terms of case dimension, that is true. So, how do they differ?



Technical Dimensions of the .223 Rem vs. the 5.56 NATO Cartridges

Technical Dimensions of the .223 Rem vs. the 5.56 NATO Cartridges. Image credit: here


The short answer is that they differ with regard to pressure and chamber dimensions. Pressures in the 5.56 cartridge are higher than the .223, and as a result the chamber of the 5.56 is different as well. There’s more throat length in a 5.56 barrel—about .077 inches—and the angle of the throat is different to accommodate increased pressures. It is, therefore, alright to fire a .223 cartridge in a 5.56 chamber, but going the other way can cause pressure problems. Simply put, the .223 doesn’t perform as well in 5.56 chambers as it could. If you have two cartridges that are so similar in external case dimensions why not have one chamber that makes the best of both loads?

Enter Bill Wylde. Bill had the idea to create a chamber that would serve the 5.56 and the .223 Remington equally well. The .223 Wylde has the same chamber angling as the standard 5.56 chamber, so there’s no problem with pressures, and it also has a .2240 freebore diameter. The result? You have a chamber that is sufficient to handle the hotter 5.56 load without concerns about pressure and you get the gilt-edge accuracy that’s common in many quality .223 rifles.


The .223 Wylde Chamber Dimensions

The .223 Wylde Chamber Dimensions


Is there a compelling reason to switch to a Wylde chamber? Well, the most obvious reason is that you can fire .223 ammo without giving up accuracy and 5.56 ammo without worrying about excess pressure. Sure, you can fire .223 ammo all day from a 5.56 without worrying about pressure problems thanks to generous chamber size, but if you really want to tighten those groups that .2240 freebore diameter helps. In fact, .223 Wylde chambers are known for extreme accuracy, which is better on the whole than what you can expect from a standard 5.56×45 chamber.

Better accuracy, more versatility with ammo—so what’s the downside? Well, right now that can be cost and availability. The gains that the .223 Wylde provides haven’t prompted a whole bunch of companies to swap to that chamber, but there are certainly .223 Wylde-chambered target rifles out there. Do you need a Wylde? No, but it will help your long game and will make your AR rifle even more versatile than it is now.

Check out AWC’s High Quality Barrels here.


Understanding Twist Rate for the 5.56

Matching bullet weight to twist rate is vital for maximum accuracy. How do you know which twist rate is right for you?

Brad Fitzpatrick


In the 1960’s, when the 5.56×45 and the accompanying AR platform debuted, but rifles had barrels with twist rates of 1:14 inches, or one full rifling twist for every 14 inches of barrel. That’s because at that time the standard choice in 5.56 ammo was a 55 grain FMJ projectile. And although the 50-55 grain bullet is still a versatile and effect varmint hunting bullet, for military and long-range purposes most ARs have switched to heavier bullets. That means that the barrels must switch, too.

Today you won’t find very many 1:14 barrels because, frankly, there isn’t a whole lot of demand for them. They’re good at stabilizing lighter bullets, but they won’t stabilize heavier projectiles. For that reason, the 1:12 is about the slowest AR barrel you’ll see today. Because there’s a “sweet spot” when combining bullet and barrel twist rate, you’ll need to have an idea what type of ammo you’re going to be shooting. If you’re going to limit yourself to 55 grains or less, the 1:12 will work.


Originally at 1:14 twist, more common 1:7-1:9 twist rates are available in the market today

But why give up the 5.56/.223’s blessed versatility? Why not get the most out of your rifle?

In that case, you’re probably going to want to look for a faster twist rate that stabilizes larger bullets. 1:10 and 1:9 twist barrels, which work just fine with 55 grain projectiles but will also handle heavier 60, 62, and 69 grain bullets. These two barrel twist rates are situated in the middle of the pack and, generally speaking, allow you to shoot a wider variety of bullets than any slower-twist barrels. But as you go beyond 1:9, barrels do better with heavier bullets and don’t perform as well with lighter ones. Just as slow-twist barrels won’t stabilize heavy bullets properly, fast-twist barrels will sometimes overstablize, which reduces bullet stability and results in poor performance. For that reason, the faster twist barrels—1:8 and 1:7—are best with heavy bullets. 1:8 twist barrels will stabilize bullets up to 80 grains, and 1:7 tubes will actually stabilize heavy, long-for caliber, aerodynamic bullets up to 90 grains.


A small example of the hue variety in bullet profile and weight


So, what’s right for your AR? That depends. If I were building a strict varmint gun—something that would almost exclusively fire bullets in the 55 grain and below range—I’d opt for a 1:10 twist rate, which has proven effective for me in the past. The 1:10 is highly versatile and will work with most bullets, from 55 grain polymer tip varmint bullets on up to heavier boat-tails for a little extra reach. If I planned to shoot a bit of every type of ammunition I’d go for a 1:9 or 1:8, which would allow me to take advantage of a broad range of bullets. If I were building a long-range target gun and knew I’d be using bullets from 77 grain on up, well, I’d have a 1:7 twist.

If you’re building (or buying) a 5.56×45 AR then it will help to know twist rates. You’ll understand how your gun and ammunition work together, and you’ll be able to get the most out of your loads.

Check out our High Quality Barrels here at AWC!


Ares Armor Announces Corporate Name Change to American Weapons Components, Inc.

New Name Realigns the Brand with its Core Business and Reflects a Proud Commitment to U.S. Manufacturing

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – December 16, 2015 – Ares Armor today announced a corporate name change to American Weapons Components, Inc.™ (AWC™). The new name realigns the brand with its core business of providing high quality gun parts and accessories to firearms enthusiasts nationwide, while emphasizing the company’s long-standing commitment to U.S. manufacturing. The name change is effective immediately and will be implemented across all products and brand platforms by early 2016.

“The new name, American Weapons Components, ideally represents where we came from and the future that we envision,” said Bryce Stirlen, president and CEO, American Weapons Components, Inc. “We are more committed than ever to protecting and preserving the Second Amendment, which is the driving force behind everything we do. AWC has carved out a market niche providing firearms enthusiasts with superior components that represent the highest quality and value for their custom builds. American-made products are also very important to our customers, so it’s a source of great pride to convey our dedication to U.S. manufacturing in our new name.”

AWC’s research, development and manufacturing departments are located in its San Diego County headquarters, enabling faster innovation and adherence to strict quality standards. The company will continue to specialize in rifle and pistol components, including 80% lower receivers, barrels, compensators, jigs, rails, rifle kits, safety selectors, stocks, upper receivers and more. The company will also continue offering made-to-order nylon tactical gear that is individually hand sewn in-house, including chest rigs, combat packs, plate carriers, pouches, rifle bags, rucks and more.

The name change is part of a recently announced corporate restructuring that will refocus resources and simplify business processes to support the company’s core firearms components business and yield improved efficiencies in customer service. The restructuring is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2016.

About American Weapons Components, Inc.

American Weapons Components (AWC) provides high quality firearms parts and accessories for those dedicated to the craft of custom-built firearms. AWC is proud to be a one-stop source for shooters nationwide, offering the widest selection of components for AR and 1911 builds, as well as custom nylon tactical gear. Headquartered in San Diego County, California, AWC is proud to develop and manufacture 100% of its products in the USA.

The Best Optics for Your AR

From CQB to nighttime animal control to extreme long range shooting, having the right optic on your AR makes all the difference.

Brad Fitzpatrick


I’m often asked which optic is the best for an AR, and that’s a topic I love because it offers me a platform to explain just how versatile black guns can be. AR carbines and pistols are light and compact, and that makes them perfect for close-quarters defensive work. In addition, they’re great for mid-range shooting, everything from 20 to 200 yards. But the reach of the AR extends far beyond that distance, out to 800 or even 1,000 yards. They’re great for hunting, home defense, and competition shooting. In short, your AR can do just about anything.

That is, if you select the right optic. There are a bunch of choices for AR shooters, but here’s a quick guide to some of the best scopes, lasers, and reflex sights based on what you plan to do with your rifle.


Reflex sights are a great option when shooting CQB-style or when on the move.


Close Range: For everything out to 100 yards, I like a reflex sight. That’s because they’re compact, lightweight, and they offer a clear both-eyes-open aiming point. The red dot is the fastest and most flexible sight for shots out to 100 yards, and they perform well even beyond that range, but if the bulk of your shots in the field or in competition are closer than a hundred steps, a reflex or red dot is your best option because magnification can be a hindrance (ever tried to take a snapshot when your scope was on 9x?)  On a recent helicopter hog eradication shoot in Texas I used the Trijicon SRS (sealed reflex sight) with great results, but the company’s newest offering, the MRO, is another superb choice. Likewise, Burris’s AR-F3 combines a lightweight, durable FastFire III optic with their durable AR-F3 mount, which allows the sight to sit low and has metal “wings” that protect it. For budget reflex sights, it’s hard to beat the economical Bushnell First Strike, which offers an easy-to-see 5 MOA dot. One other option is a laser sight like the Crimson Trace MVF-515, which has a light and laser. It’s great for moderate-range shooting, and if you have night vision equipment you can opt for the IR module.


Moderate distance shooting made much easier with a variable-zoom scope.


Moderate Range: I consider moderate range anything from muzzle tip to a quarter mile. As previously stated, if my shots are under a hundred, I want a light, compact, reflex sight for fast shooting. If, however, I want to extend my rifle’s range I want the option of magnification. One of the best options is EOTech’s Holographic Hybrid Sight II, which combines an EXPS-2 holographic sight with a G33.STS magnifier. The EXPS-2 holographic sight offers all the benefits of a reflex sight, and you’ve got the option (the magnifier swings in and out of the line of view as needed) for instant 3X magnification. If you’re looking for a standard optic, pay attention to low-power variables like the Trijicon VCOG in 1-6×24. I like this sight a lot because it offers a first focal plane reticle (which maintains constant size relative to the target and aids in aiming) and it doesn’t require scope mounts. Leupold’s Mark AR MOD 1 1.5-4×20 is another great option, and it features a compact, durable design with Firedot illumination and stadia lines. Yet another great (and affordable) option is Nikon’s M 223 1-4×20 BDC 600 scope, which has holdover points out to 600 yards for 55 grain polymer-tipped loads. It also has zero reset turrets, another bonus when shooting at various ranges.


A large main tube body is important for light transmission, helping you hit that gong way downrange.


Long Range: The long-range AR is really a specialized platform, and if you are serious about banging steel way downrange you need to invest in top-shelf glass. For starters, a 30 or 34 mm main body tube makes sense; a good 30mm scope gives you more internal adjustment capabilities for making longer shots, and 34s are better still. You can select either MOA or Milrad reticles based on how you prefer to shoot, but be sure that you get good, clear glass. Other options like a zero-stop are nice when you’re trying to hit a target at a great distance.

Burris’s Veracity has performed well for me, and it’s available in magnification ranges from 2-10 to 5-25. The Veracity has Progressively Thick Crosshairs, which narrow toward the center for rapid target acquisition at higher magnification. The Leupold VX-6 offers extremely clear glass, 30mm tubes, a 6x zoom ratio and T-MOA reticle, which has 1 MOA stadia lines and can be used for range estimations. The VX-6 line is available in a variety of magnifications, from 3-18x all the way to 7-42x! Nightforce’s ATACR line is also excellent, with first focal plane reticles, .25 MOA/.1 Mil-Rad click values and magnifications ranging from 4-16x to 5-25x.

A History of Firearms and Gun Control

From the Ottoman Empire to Australia, private citizens have been forced to forfeit their firearms, and the results have been disastrous.

Brad Fitzpatrick

October 23, 2015

Americans are granted the right to own and bear firearms, a right that has been stripped away from citizens in many countries over the last century. But before any new gun control legislation passes, it’s worthwhile to examine how similar laws have affected ours and other nations in the past. Do less guns make us safer? What has happened in the wake of nationwide gun grabs? What can history teach us about firearms ownership that could prove valuable as we move into the future?

First, a few statistics from the NRA-ILA. There are an estimated 300 million firearms in America and approximately 100 million gun owners. Roughly 40 million of those gun owners have handguns, and it is believed that approximately 40-45 percent of homes have at least one gun. Many of these guns are owned by hunters, which account for the sale of 14.5 million hunting licenses annually. Those hunting licenses create billions of dollars and revenue, and the Pittman-Robertson Act has generated millions of dollars for conservation—not to mention the funds generated for wildlife by groups like Ducks Unlimited and other organizations. But there’s another telling statistic that has been largely buried since a 1982 study of violent criminals in 11 states. Of those criminals who were surveyed, 40% said that they had decided not to commit a crime because they believed the intended victim owned or had access to a firearm. 34% of the criminals surveyed said that they had been personally shot at, wounded, captured or scared away from the scene by private firearms owners, and 69% responded that they knew of at least one other criminal who had been stopped or scared away by firearms.

Photo credit: Joshuashearn


Historically, there are several instances when governments seized firearms from private citizens and then committed atrocities. In 1911, the Ottoman Empire began a gun confiscation program that eventually led to the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians. In 1938, Hitler’s Nazi party implemented gun confiscation programs that preceded the Holocaust, and in 1935 the Chinese government forced citizens to turn over their firearms, and between 1935 and 1952 20 million citizens were murdered. Similar gun control measures, gun seizures, and subsequent acts of violence against citizens have occurred in Cambodia and the Soviet Union, where unarmed populaces were left with little recourse when governments initiated acts of violence.

Results from the Australian gun buyback program

Results from the Australian gun buyback program


The Australian gun buyback program of 1996 resulted in the collection of approximately 650,000 guns, but did that serve to reduce homicide rates? Not according to a long-term study that was released in 2007 titled, “Gun Laws and Sudden Death: Did the Australian Firearms legislation of 1996 Make a Difference?” authors Jeanine Baker and Samara McPhedran examined homicide rates in Australia from 1980 until 2004. What is clear from their study is that homicide rates dropped steadily from 1980 until 1996, when a shooting prompted the legislation. According to Baker and McPhedran, the buyback program and stricter legislation had, “no influence on homicide in Australia.”

Such programs, if ever implemented in the United States, would cause major resistance and would cost a tremendous amount of money. History has proven once again that disarming legal citizens and stripping away their gun ownership rights has no positive effect on public safety.


The Politics of Gun Control

What candidates—and statistics—say about gun violence in America.

With the 2016 presidential election on the horizon, candidates from both parties have developed stances on gun control and Second Amendment rights. As you might imagine, these stances vary greatly, and the recent Democratic debate sparked controversy over gun rights in America. Of particular interest to candidates on both sides of the debate were “assault” weapons bans, magazine restrictions, and universal background checks.

At the forefront of the debate was the notion of an “assault” weapons ban. Both Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton support legislation that bans or severely limits the sale of “assault” weapons, but the very term “assault weapon” is ambiguous and could open the door to the regulation of a wide variety of firearms. The sale of machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and a variety of other weapons has been regulated since the 1934 National Firearms Act, and today most candidates use the term to describe semiautomatic weapons like AR-15s. But the NRA-ILA contends that banning these firearms would have little effect on crime rates and would unfairly restrict American citizens from purchasing firearms designed for hunting, sport shooting and home defense.


photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque


“ ‘Assault weapon’ is the term that gun control supporters use to malign general-purpose rifles like the AR-15,” says the NRA-ILA website. “Americans now own five million AR-15s, the number is growing by several hundred thousand annually, and the nation’s murder rate is down by more than half since 1991. They’re commonly used for home defense, sports (such as the NRA’s National Defense Match, NRA High Power, and Three-Gun), and hunting.”

The increase in the number of state-issued concealed carry permits and a growing number of right-to-carry laws has coincided with a significant drop in U.S. homicides—a fact rarely addressed when stricter gun control laws are being pushed.

“Forty-two states have Right-to-Carry laws, and 48 states prohibit cities from imposing gun laws more restrictive than state law,” says the NRA-ILA. “From 1991 to 2012, the total violent crime rate declined  49% to a 42-year low, and the murder rate declined by 52% to a 49-year low.”

pew research gun crime reduction

Magazine restrictions, often erroneously referred to as “clip restrictions” by gun control advocates, are recommended by O’Malley, Clinton and others. Many self-defense handguns have magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and these firearms would, under these proposed laws, be considered unlawful to own. But the NRA contests that magazine restrictions are not an effective means by which to control gun violence but rather another restriction that is aimed at gun owners and manufacturers.

“Most modern ammunition magazines designed for defensive purposes hold more than 10 rounds for handguns and 20 or more rounds for rifles,” says the NRA-ILA. “Not surprisingly, gun control supporters who claim that firearms aren’t useful for defensive purposes, claim that such magazines are also not useful for defense, but are instead only useful to criminals. The congressionally-mandated study of the federal ‘large’ magazine ban of 1994-2004 found that such magazines had only rarely been used in crime, a subsequent study found that revolvers were more associated with criminal gun injuries than semi-automatic pistols, and the official report on the Virginia Tech shooting concluded that a 10-round magazine limit would have not made much difference in the outcome of the crime. Americans own well over 100 million ‘large’ magazines and the nation’s murder rate is nearly at an all-time low.”

The issue of background checks has also taken center-stage in 2015, and several candidates are pushing for “more thorough” checks. But according to the NRA’s findings, background checks are not an effective means by which to control violence but rather a further restriction on gun owners. Current federal law requires anyone who purchases a firearm to be screened through the National Instant Criminal Background Check, or NICS, and felons are currently prohibited from owning firearms.

“Gun control supporters demand that sales and trades of firearms that don’t involve dealers be subject to NICS as well,” says the NRA-ILA. “They claim that such a law would prevent criminals from getting guns, but most criminals obtain guns from theft, the black market, or ‘straw purchasers’—people who can pass a background check and who buy guns for criminals. Furthermore, none of the high-profile crimes that they cite involved guns bought without a background check.”

The rights of America’s estimated 100 million gun owners are at stake, and legislation that, in effect, restricts or limits gun owners and does little to address the root causes of violence, serves little purpose in making American streets safer. The notion that purported “gun control” measures will help make the United States a more secure nation has not been backed by statistical evidence. It’s more important, then, that American gun owners understand that our rights as citizens must be preserved and that other significant issues in our culture like concerns over mental health are need to be addressed immediately. Taking firearms out of the hands of American citizens is not the answer to decreasing violence and preserving our rights.


-Brad Fitzpatrick


October 22, 2015

The Blame Game and Gun Control

The first step to securing our rights is to truly understand who is at fault when a crime occurs.

Brad Fitzpatrick

October 27, 2015

Several of the current frontrunners for the 2016 Democratic presidential candidacy have emphasized their support for legislation that would allow individuals impacted by a gun crime to seek financial compensation from firearms manufacturers in civil court. In short, in the event of a shooting gun companies could be held liable. Many gun control proponents are, as you might imagine, in favor of this legislation.

Anti-gun legislation is nothing new, but perhaps this particular topic sheds light on a much broader and more dangerous attitude regarding firearms and crime in America—many voters seem to have a great deal of trouble identifying who is really at blame when a gun is mishandled.

Let me provide a simpler example. Several months ago, I was researching the best holsters to wear while exercising and, during the course of that research, I came upon a running forum that addressed the topic. A young woman—new to running but familiar with firearms—asked which holsters were best to wear while exercising. It seemed a logical question to me; runners are frequently the target of assaults, and many holsters simply wouldn’t stand up to the abuse. Instead of addressing the woman’s question, the responders took this as an opportunity to attack her. The first response to her question read, “Maybe if you think you need a gun you should find another place to run.”

There was general agreement with the “find another place to run” response on the forum, but that comment infuriated me. Although it may seem benign, this is the type of attitude that abdicates criminals for their actions and levels a measure of guilt on victims. There are several fundamental problems with the “maybe you should find another place to run” attitude, and here are a few:

  1. Violence Only Occurs in “Bad” Places: The notion that you know where crime will occur is absurd. Sure, there are statistics that show that certain areas have higher rates of crime than other areas, but that doesn’t mean you are completely safe in your suburban neighborhood where folks are watering their lawn or shooting baskets in the driveway with their kids. Crime is everywhere, in every community, good and bad, poor and rich.
  2. Avoidance Is An Effective Means Of Crime Prevention: No one in their right mind (save first responders, who risk their lives for others on a daily basis) would seek out violent confrontations. But don’t mistakenly believe that avoiding crime will protect you from crime. One of the most frightening things about violent encounters is that they happen at any time, anywhere—at your kid’s soccer game, while you’re on vacation, when you’re walking from your driveway to your front door. If your sole protection against crime is avoiding crime you will fail.
  3. Carrying a Gun means You’re Looking for Trouble: I don’t carry a gun looking for a conflict. I carry a gun because I don’t want to be a victim of violence, and if every other option is closed off to me then my last resort will be a firearm. Whether I’m at the store, on the road, or, yes, jogging on a trail through a park, I carry a gun because I may have no other option but to use it.
  4. The Victim of Violence Shares in the Blame: Let’s be very clear about this one—when a crime occurs it isn’t the fault of the gun company, the community, the current economical condition, or the victim. It is the fault of the criminal alone. The victim of a crime isn’t at fault because she ran in the wrong area, because she got lost in the wrong neighborhood, or because she stopped at a rest area on the highway alone at three in the morning. Instead of warning victims against running where there is a remote chance that a criminal will attack them, let’s issue this warning instead—if you are a criminal and you choose to harm another person be prepared for them to exercise their Second Amendment rights, which may mean that you get shot. Magazine restrictions, civil litigation against firearms companies, and warnings against running in certain areas of town are all methods by which the uninformed point the finger of blame at law-abiding citizens. The battle for gun rights starts with a clear understanding of who is at fault when violence occurs, and that is criminals.

It’s Labor Day Weekend! Have fun and be safe!

With the long holiday weekend upon us, it is important that we take a step back for a minute and ensure we follow firearm safety rules at all times. The 2nd Amendment comes with great responsibility; part of that responsibility is ensuring that we safely handle our firearms in order to protect ourselves and more importantly, those around us. You can find safety rules from the NRA, the military, your local gun shop, and countless other places. They all focus on the same thing… SAFETY! To help you stay safe and promote responsible gun ownership, here are three simple rules from our friends at the National Rifle Association:


ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

This is the primary rule of gun safety. A safe direction means that the gun is pointed so that even if it were to go off it would not cause injury or damage. The key to this rule is to control where the muzzle or front end of the barrel is pointed at all times. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.

ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

When holding a gun, rest your finger on the trigger guard or along the side of the gun. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.

ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
Whenever you pick up a gun, immediately engage the safety device if possible, and, if the gun has a magazine, remove it before opening the action and looking into the chamber(s) which should be clear of ammunition. If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.


When using or storing a gun, always follow these NRA rules:

  • Know your target and what is beyond.
    Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap. Think first. Shoot second.
  • Know how to use the gun safely.
    Before handling a gun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts, how to safely open and close the action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine. Remember, a gun’s mechanical safety device is never foolproof. Nothing can ever replace safe gun handling.
  • Be sure the gun is safe to operate.
    Just like other tools, guns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun’s general upkeep. If there is any question concerning a gun’s ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.
  • Use only the correct ammunition for your gun.
    Only BBs, pellets, cartridges or shells designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that gun. Most guns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge. Do not shoot the gun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.
  • Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate.
    Guns are loud and the noise can cause hearing damage. They can also emit debris and hot gas that could cause eye injury. For these reasons, shooting glasses and hearing protectors should be worn by shooters and spectators.
  • Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting.
    Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns.
  • Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.
    Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store guns. A person’s particular situation will be a major part of the consideration. Dozens of gun storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the gun, are available. However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules.
  • Be aware that certain types of guns and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions. 
  • Cleaning
    Regular cleaning is important in order for your gun to operate correctly and safely. Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life. Your gun should be cleaned every time that it is used.A gun brought out of prolonged storage should also be cleaned before shooting. Accumulated moisture and dirt, or solidified grease and oil, can prevent the gun from operating properly.Before cleaning your gun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded. The gun’s action should be open during the cleaning process. Also, be sure that no ammunition is present in the cleaning area.


Be safe over this long, holiday weekend and we thank you for your continued support of our 2nd Amendment Rights.








Gun in Underwear is a Killer


Photo:  Pittsburgh Police Dept.

We’ve all been there. “My underwear is killing me!” Those words have been said or thought by countless people fixing a wedgie or other form of uncomfortable thunder down under. This common problem can be especially deadly for those who choose the gun in underwear method instead of safely and securely carrying it in a Kydex Holster.

This painful truth of an underwear adjustment just became reality again near Pittsburgh.

What makes for a totally strange but true story is this fact. The gun in underwear tragedy didn’t kill the 19-year old carrying the firearm. Instead, he allegedly killed another 19-year old sitting in front of him.

Eietyoung Kemp (pictured above) of East Allegheny, PA is now in the Allegheny County Jail after turning himself in to police last night following the shooting death of Robert Alston from the North Side over the weekend. Court records show Kemp has been charged with homicide, carrying a firearm without a license, recklessly endangering another person, and tampering with evidence.

Police were called to the emergency room of UMPC Magee-Womens Hospital on Saturday night, after friends dropped off Robert Alston with a single gunshot wound to the torso. The young man was pronounced dead at 11:49 p.m.

The criminal complaint says this is what happened.

Eietyoung Kemp, Alston, Justice Johnson, and Dominick Hall were in a car together on their way to a party. Kemp told detectives just before the four arrived, he was sitting in the back seat directly behind Alston on the passenger’s side. As he was attempting to adjust the gun in his underwear he said his finger accidentally pulled the trigger and the gun went off.

The bullet went through the seat and in through the back of Robert Alston. When Alston began screaming in pain, Kemp ran away. He went back to the North Side. While crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge, he tossed the gun into the Allegheny River below.

The next day, police lifted fingerprints from the car the young men were driving when the shooting took place. Fingerprints matched Eietyoung Kemp. That same day, the suspect arrived at police headquarters to report his role in the gun in underwear shooting which he claimed was an accident. He was released on Sunday, and formally surrendered last night.