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Winchester's The Shooting Wire
Good News From Around the Country
From The Shooting Wire for Friday, May 7
Despite my having been more than a little distracted by the natural disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, there is some good news to report from around the country.
Very quietly, Texas has put their concealed handgun license process online, including the fingerprinting process. According to RenEarl Bowie, Assistant Director of Regulatory Licensing for Texas DPS, "Completing the application form online is convenient for applicants and will allow us to process applications faster."
"We are excited to offer this online service to concealed handgun applicants and hope they take advantage of the online process."
The digital fingerprinting process involves scanning, rather than inking and press-printing each finger. According to Texas officials, the digital prints have a 98 percent accuracy rate- far better than traditional fingerprint cards.
Texas has simplified the renewal process as well. If you have a valid Texas ID or Drivers License, you won't be required to provide photos for renewal. Citizenship documents and criminal history materials are still required to be mailed in.
And Texas' neighbor, Oklahoma, has sent a measure for open carry by holders of concealed-handgun permits to the governor. Brad Henry hasn't said he if he will sign the measure or not, but either way, the requirements for obtaining a license wouldn't change. Some Oklahoma legislators opposed the open-carry measure, expressing concerns that state tourism would suffer due to tourist concerns.
This weekend, in addition to keeping an eye on the developments in the Gulf of Mexico, I'm planning to spend a good bit of time preparing for the NRA Show next week in Charlotte, North Carolina. We know of at least a half-dozen companies that will be rolling out new guns, and other items also make their official debuts at the NRA Annual Meeting.
Springfield Armory and Remington have already set the tone for the meetings by pre-announcing their new products. We'll see on the show floor how much "buzz" was created by pre-NRA publicity over Springfield's new XD(M) 45ACP and Remington's 1911R1- their first entry in the 1911 handgun market in nearly a century.
Smith and Wesson will roll out their new SD (Self Defense) line of polymer, striker-fired pistols next week. Designed to fill the gap between the entry-level Sigma line and the M&P line, the first SDs will be introduced in both 9mm and .40.
According to S&W sales materials we've seen, the SD features a tritium front sight, steel white 2-dot rear sights, the SDT (Self Defense Trigger), offering "optimal consistent pull first round to last" a standard Picatinny rail for accessories, slim textured grip, front and back strap texturing and front and rear slide serrations. They'll be offered in standard capacities (16+1/9mm, 14+1 .40 S&W) or low capacities (10+1 each). Both are offered in four-inch barrels. The MSRPs $530 for both.
The official rollout on the product information sheets we've seen say the launch date will be June, 2010.
For the record, I like the idea of standard and "low capacity" magazines. That's much more harmless sounding than the previous references to "standard" versus "high-capacity" magazines.
Unless local laws prevented it, the higher capacity magazines are standard capacities.
And I'm also doing some serious reading over the weekend. Weighty material, actually. It's the new edition of The World's Assault Rifles, authored by Gary Paul Johnston and Thomas B. Nelson.
The first edition of this gigantic reference tome (1,194 pages, over nine pounds of knowledge) was written more than 40 years ago. The current edition has been ten years in the research and writing. It's a blend of styles that's actually entertaining reading. Gary Paul Johnston is a former California police officer, instructor, and all-around character in the firearms world. For the record "character" is a title of merit. Johnston laughs when he's called an "expert" - he says he was an "expert" at 20; today he's a serious student of firearms.
Thomas B. Nelson is a noted firearms historian and the man Johnston says is responsible for this edition happening. He penned the first edition of The World's Assault Rifles in 1967 with his colleague Dan Musgrave.
The World's Assault Rifles, second edition, has quite accurately been described as one of those books that becomes an instant reference work. I agree that it's definitive, but I'm not describing anything ten years in the making as "instant" anything.
Leafing through the pages, I'm impressed with the depth of detail on every assault-style rifle I've been able to name. I'd thought maybe I would know one they didn't, Cobb Rifles, makers of the Cobb MCR rifle I have considered my favorite .308 since I acquired it three years ago, but Cobb's there - page 1084. That's thorough.
It's published by Ironside International Publishers, Inc. of Lorton, Virginia. and carries a publisher's price of $69.95. It's seriously informative and decidedly heavy reading.