Category Archives: General

Kids and Firearms

This time, the topic of kids and firearms isn’t going to be about keeping kids away from firearms – it’s introducing them to firearms and taking them to the range to let them experience first hand what it’s all about.

At our house, for example, I reduce the curiosity factor by telling my kids they can see and handle my firearms any time they want. All they have to do is ask, and I’ll supervise them while exaggerating safety (if there is such a thing as exaggerating safety).

Once I feel they are old enough, I offer to take them to the range any time they want to go, within reason of course. Age isn’t necessarily as much of an indicator of readiness as their maturity level. There are some 4 year old kids who are ready, and some 12 year old kids that aren’t, it’s not good or bad, it’s just the way they are. It’s up to the parent/guardian to make that call, and to be there to supervise them, while at the same time making a point to preach and demonstrate safety.

At a minimum, it’s a good idea to recite safety rules whenever firearms are present, but any time is good – at home, on the way to the range, at the range, on the way home from the range, etc.

  • All guns are always loaded.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you are ready to shoot.
  • Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.
  • Be aware of your target and what’s beyond.

It’s also important to teach kids what to do if they find a firearm when an adult isn’t present.

  • Stop
  • Don’t Touch
  • Leave The Area
  • Tell An Adult

Following the basic safety rules and knowing what to do if an adult isn’t around should they find a firearm are crucial.

Kids and Firearms - Visual Feedback
Seeing a pop can blow up is not only positive feedback, but a visual reminder that firearms are not toys.

That said, taking kids to the range can and should be an enjoyable experience. Visual aids like balloons, fruit, even soda bottles help encourage kids, and can be used to not only show that they hit their intended target, but also that firearms are not toys and must be respected at all times. Seeing something ‘pop’ or ‘explode’ is visual, and will stick with them long after the range session is over. Remember, don’t just preach safety – demonstrate it! Make sure to provide a visual for your child so they understand, show them that your finger is not on the trigger when you are taking aim, only when you are ready to fire. Don’t let them catch you breaking the rules or they might think it’s OK to do themselves.

Hi-Point 995, 4095, 4595 Pistol Caliber Carbines (PCC)

The Hi-Point pistol caliber carbines such as the Hi-Point 995, 4095 and 4595 are a very popular choice for people wanting a low cost, reliable and accurate rifle that shoots the same ammo as their handgun.

As suggested by their names, the Hi-Point PCC’s are offered in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP. The Hi Point series of Pistol Caliber Carbines pack a lot into a small and affordable package that is fun to shoot with many available options to customize it to your liking. Available accessories from Hi Point include extra magazines, a single or double magazine holder for the stock, magazine pouches, foregrips, add-on rails, laser, and red dot sight, though more options are available in the aftermarket world, such as replacement sights, angled foregrips, and almost anything you can mount to a rail.

The TS series features a spring loaded recoil reducing stock, and all offerings come with peep sights, sling mounts, sling, trigger guard lock, Hi Point tool, and user manual. Various packages are available that include options such as a light, laser and vertical  foregrip. Both the 9mm and 40 caliber come with a 10 round magazine, the 45 caliber comes with a 9 round magazine. Although there is a higher capacity magazine available, reports show it does not work well and voids the Hi-Point lifetime warranty if used.

In my opinion, for around $300 new, you can have a really fun rifle that works well for anything from a range plinker to a home defense firearm, and virtually anything in between.

Conceal and Carry, Concealed Carry, Permit to Carry

M&P Shield 9mm is popular among open and concealed carriers.
M&P Shield 9mm is a popular choice among open and concealed carriers alike.

It seems most people in Minnesota call their permit a conceal and carry permit, or concealed carry permit which is understandable since a lot of instructors teach it that way and the majority of the country issues some form of concealed carry permit. The reason being is that some states it’s legal to open carry without a permit, but you need a permit to carry concealed.

In Minnesota that isn’t the case, we need a permit to carry – open or concealed. The law doesn’t differentiate between the two so you are free to carry open or concealed, so long as you have the permit.

Carrying concealed is more commonplace, and is also referred to as conceal and carry, concealed carry, conceal carry, CCW, etc. Reason being is that most people don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they are carrying. The mindset that ‘they will be a target’ or that it will cause a “man with a gun call” are two common reasons. For the most part, people carrying concealed just want to blend in and go about their day without any further inconveniences.

Carrying openly is probably more common and accepted in rural communities, however it takes place all over Minnesota. People who carry openly generally do so because it works better for them. It’s usually more comfortable and easier to access, and when done properly is barely noticeable to the general public (literally hidden in plain view).

In The News – Open carry has gotten a bad name over the years, primarily blamed on a group in Texas open carrying long guns (rifles and shotguns). In Texas it’s legal to open carry long guns, but not handguns, so some groups are trying to make a political point, and in doing so it’s making a negative impact across the country forcing some large businesses to make decisions on their otherwise accommodating firearms policies. Target and Starbucks are a couple of the more recent examples of businesses that have been approached by MDA (Moms Demand Action), a group paid by Bloomberg to promote anti-gun agendas. It’s important to remember, it’s not usually the open carry of handguns that cause these negative impressions, it’s the open carrying of long guns.

Back to Minnesota, and the topic at hand, it’s important to use the correct terminology when discussing carry permits, as we certainly don’t want to open up the Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act for amendments. If the mindset is that Minnesota has a concealed carry permit, it will make it more difficult for those who responsibly carry openly, which will in turn make it more difficult for all of us collectively.

I hope this helps explain the differences and reasons behind the terms, feel free to comment with your opinion.

Can I really carry a firearm in Minnesota?

If you meet the requirements listed below, you are well on your way! Once you get your certificate of completion and submit your application to your local county Sheriff’s Department, they will have 30 days to issue or deny your permit to carry. In Minnesota it is not called a concealed carry or conceal and carry permit since you need a permit to carry openly or concealed, your permit allows for both.

The requirements are as follows:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
    • Must complete an application form
    • Must not be prohibited from possessing a firearm under Minnesota Statute 624.714
    • Must not be listed in the criminal gang investigation system
    • Must be a resident of the county from which you are requesting a permit, if you reside in Minnesota. Non-residents may apply to any Minnesota county sheriff.
    • Must provide certificate of completed authorized firearms training. Training by a certified instructor must be completed within one year of an original or renewal application. (624.714, Subd. 2a)

Civil Response Firearms Training LLC offers the class you need for a new permit and your renewal (needed every 5 years in Minnesota).

Our class meets or exceeds the requirements for several states, including Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, to name a few of the more common in the area. Take a look at our schedule of upcoming classes, or find out about setting up a private class.

Private Party Firearm Sales – Minnesota

Always check your local laws and consult an attorney, this was written on April 3rd, 2014 and applies to how the Minnesota law was written at that time.

Recently I was involved in a debate on the legal requirements for a private party sale in Minnesota. The other person in the debate believed rather strongly that a private seller was obligated to report the transfer to the sheriffs department under Statute 624.7132, which is simply not true.

I’ll offer some quick details, and then divide it into pieces and discuss it in more detail for those who want to understand it better.

You could be charged with a gross misdemeanor if the buyer possesses or uses the weapon within one year after the transfer in furtherance of a felony crime of violence, and if the buyer was not eligible to possesses the firearm at the time of transfer under 624.713.


If the buyer possesses or uses the weapon within one year after the transfer in furtherance of a felony crime of violence, and it was reasonable to foresee that they would use it in a felony crime of violence.

For private party firearm sales the following must apply:
(buyer = transforer, seller = transferee)

  1. the seller does not know or have reasonable cause to believe that the buyer is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under federal or state law;
  2. the sale, delivery, and receipt fully comply with the laws of both states; and
  3. the buyer and the seller meet in person to make the transfer.

It’s best to ask to see a permit to carry or permit to purchase,  which puts you in compliance with statute 624.7132, in addition, a bill of sale signed by both parties is rather common.


For those interested in learning more, let’s dive in, shall we?

The statute reads as follows:

Subdivision 1.Required information.

Except as provided in this section and section 624.7131, every person who agrees to transfer a pistol or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon shall report the following information in writing to the chief of police of the organized full-time police department of the municipality where the proposed transferee resides or to the appropriate county sheriff if there is no such local chief of police:

(1) the name, residence, telephone number, and driver’s license number or nonqualification certificate number, if any, of the proposed transferee;

(2) the sex, date of birth, height, weight, and color of eyes, and distinguishing physical characteristics, if any, of the proposed transferee;

(3) a statement that the proposed transferee authorizes the release to the local police authority of commitment information about the proposed transferee maintained by the commissioner of human services, to the extent that the information relates to the proposed transferee’s eligibility to possess a pistol or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon under section 624.713, subdivision 1;

(4) a statement by the proposed transferee that the transferee is not prohibited by section 624.713 from possessing a pistol or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon; and

(5) the address of the place of business of the transferor.

The report shall be signed and dated by the transferor and the proposed transferee. The report shall be delivered by the transferor to the chief of police or sheriff no later than three days after the date of the agreement to transfer, excluding weekends and legal holidays. The statement under clause (3) must comply with any applicable requirements of Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, sections 2.31 to 2.35, with respect to consent to disclosure of alcohol or drug abuse patient records.

Now, if you stop there it’s possible to see how that could be taken that you need to submit paperwork to your local sheriffs department, however if you continue to read the statute there are exclusions.

Subd. 12.Exclusions.
Except as otherwise provided in section 609.66, subdivision 1f, this section shall not apply to transfers of antique firearms as curiosities or for their historical significance or value, transfers to or between federally licensed firearms dealers, transfers by order of court, involuntary transfers, transfers at death or the following transfers:

(1) a transfer by a person other than a federally licensed firearms dealer;

(2) a loan to a prospective transferee if the loan is intended for a period of no more than one day;

(3) the delivery of a pistol or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon to a person for the purpose of repair, reconditioning or remodeling;

(4) a loan by a teacher to a student in a course designed to teach marksmanship or safety with a pistol and approved by the commissioner of natural resources;

(5) a loan between persons at a firearms collectors exhibition;

(6) a loan between persons lawfully engaged in hunting or target shooting if the loan is intended for a period of no more than 12 hours;

(7) a loan between law enforcement officers who have the power to make arrests other than citizen arrests; and

(8) a loan between employees or between the employer and an employee in a business if the employee is required to carry a pistol or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon by reason of employment and is the holder of a valid permit to carry a pistol.

The key for this article is the first one, which excludes private party sales:
(1) a transfer by a person other than a federally licensed firearms dealer;

There are three requirements for private party sales, they are:

Exempted Transfers
Federal law authorizes an unlicensed individual (a non-FFL) who is not a prohibited person to sell a firearm (handgun, rifle, or shotgun) to an unlicensed resident of his or her own state, as well as to loan or rent a firearm to a nonresident of the state for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes, provided that:

  1. the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under federal or state law;
  2. the sale, delivery, and receipt fully comply with the laws of both states; and
  3. the transferor and transferee meet in person to make the transfer.

Handguns and ‘Assault Style Rifles’ have special considerations.

Stature 609.66 subd 1f reads:

Subd. 1f.Gross misdemeanor; transferring firearm without background check.

A person, other than a federally licensed firearms dealer, who transfers a pistol or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon to another without complying with the transfer requirements of section 624.7132, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor if the transferee possesses or uses the weapon within one year after the transfer in furtherance of a felony crime of violence, and if:

(1) the transferee was prohibited from possessing the weapon under section 624.713 at the time of the transfer; or

(2) it was reasonably foreseeable at the time of the transfer that the transferee was likely to use or possess the weapon in furtherance of a felony crime of violence.

You could be charged with a gross misdemeanor if the buyer possesses or uses the weapon within one year after the transfer in furtherance of a felony crime of violence, and if the buyer was not eligible to possesses the firearm at the time of transfer under 624.713.


If the buyer possesses or uses the weapon within one year after the transfer in furtherance of a felony crime of violence, and it was reasonable to foresee that they would use it in a felony crime of violence.

It’s best to ask to see a permit to carry or permit to purchase,  which puts you in compliance with statute 624.7132.

624.7132 Subd. 8.
Report not required.
If the proposed transferee presents a valid transferee permit issued under section 624.7131 or a valid permit to carry issued under section 624.714, the transferor need not file a transfer report.

I hope this clears any confusion on the matter, as it can be a hot topic.

Single Action vs. Double Action vs. Both

You see the acronyms, SA, DA and SA/DA but what do they really mean and why do you care?

Let’s start by defining what they are, then talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

The Ruger SR22 is a single action/double action hammer fired handgun.
The Ruger SR22 is a single action/double action hammer fired handgun.

The difference is what happens when you pull the trigger. In a double action firearm, the trigger pulls back the hammer, and then releases the hammer, causing the chambered round to fire. The trigger in a single action only releases the hammer, causing the round in the chamber to fire. In a single action/double action, the first round is double action, while remaining rounds are single action.

Single Action
As we mentioned, a single action only releases the hammer (it performs one action) which generally results in a much shorter and lighter trigger pull. As you can imagine, a safety is crucial if carrying a gun in single action mode and most modern single action handguns have at least one safety.

Double Action
Since a double action handgun both cocks and releases the hammer (performing two actions), its trigger pull is generally long and heavy and in most cases this is considered the safety.

Single Action / Double Action
In a single action/double action setup, the first shot fired is double action, each round after is single action. This is possible because when the first round is fired, the slide cocks the hammer, putting the firearm in single action mode. These will typically feature what is called a decocker, which will safely drop the hammer and put the firearm back in double action mode without firing a round.

Striker Fired
Although it isn’t mentioned in the title, there is also a striker fired model, which is used by Glock, Springfield Armory, S&W and others. The trigger releases a striker instead of a hammer to allow the firing pin to ignite the chambered round.
On a Glock, the trigger performs two actions (cocking and releasing the striker) so it is a double action firearm.
With Springfield Armory XD/XDM or Smith and Wesson M&P for example, the trigger only releases the striker, (single action).

How your handgun fires makes a big difference in how it shoots. A longer, harder trigger pull may require more range time to get used to, while a short and light trigger pull may require getting used to using a safety on the draw stroke. When carrying a single action/double action, you will want to practice getting that first shot off in double action mode, then knowing how it fires in single action mode for follow up shots. There are a lot of things to consider here, but knowing the differences up front can reduce some frustration (and expense) later on.

Whichever you choose, make sure to practice with it how it will be carried to build muscle memory.

What is an FFL and why do I need one?

Federal Firearms License, or more commonly referred to as “FFL”, is required by anyone or any business in the United States who sells firearms or transfers firearms across state borders. In every day conversation it’s common to hear of the business itself referred to as an “FFL”.ffl

Except in rare cases, such as when warranty or recall work is done on a firearm you already own, you cannot have firearms shipped directly to you, an FFL is required to handle the transaction. The FFL will then do the background check, and complete the transaction. Whether you buy online or from a private party across state borders, you will need to use an FFL. In some cases, private in state transactions use an FFL if the buyer or seller choose to do so, however it is not required by Minnesota law.

Most FFL’s typically charge between $15 and $25, while some will charge $40, $50 and even closer to $100 for their services. It’s a good idea to find a local FFL ahead of time and even pay them a visit. In my experience, they are very knowledgeable and eager to help you and may even be able to get you what you are looking for (if they don’t already have it on hand).

Once you have a good relationship with your FFL, do your best to help support them – without them, we’ll have to travel farther distances and possibly pay higher prices from other retailers.

If you have a good FFL, please share your experience and give them some free advertising right in the comments section below, we’ll add them to our FFL listing.


No Gun Signs – What They Really Mean

Almost everyone has seen these signs at one point or another, either nogunsat a restaurant, retail shop or other establishment.

To some, it’s a “feel good” measure and they get some sense of safety from this sign. After all, it says guns aren’t allowed, kudos to the person who put that there, great idea!

Truth is, I’m not sure this line of thought could be any more incorrect.

What this sign should tell you, is that the owner of the establishment does not wish to allow LAW ABIDING citizens the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones. This sign has 0 chance of stopping a person who has decided that today is the day they are going to ruin some lives, in fact they seem to be targeting places that have no guns policies.

Schools, malls, movie theaters… all major targets of mass shootings because they provide a victim rich, low risk atmosphere to do as much damage as possible in very little time.

Oddly enough, once these cowards are confronted with a good person with a gun (legally armed citizen, law enforcement), they stop their attack and either turn themselves in or take their own life.

At the time of this posting, Minnesota law has a specific requirement for no gun signs to be compliant, however even ones like the image above serve as notice. In order to be in violation of Minnesota law, you must be notified (either verbally or visually (the sign), and asked to leave. Only after you refuse to leave may you be charged with a petty misdemeanor, in which case you’ll receive a $25 fine.

Why Carry A Spare Magazine?

Your new carry gun has a nice size magazine that holds 19 rounds, why on earth would you need to carry a spare!?896140

Valid question, as most civilian gun fights are under 10 rounds according to our scientific research (aka, Google-Fu). So a magazine with a capacity of 19 rounds should be more than enough.


But that’s not the most important factor to consider.

What is the most important reason? Magazines fail, it’s just how it is – and Murphy’s Law can come into play when you need your firearm the most. Broken feed ramps, worn springs, dirt/crud in the magazine (possibly during a scuffle, etc). Magazine issues are one of the most common reasons for handgun failure, why rely on just one when it’s so easy to carry a backup?

If you don’t carry a spare magazine, carry a spare gun (aka New York Reload).

The .22 For Self Defense

The .22LR, one of the most popular rounds for plinking, small game hunting and Appleseed.

But is it a good round for self defense?

First, I want to emphasize that I feel there are much better choices than the .22LR for self defense, and that with proper training you could most likely shoot a larger caliber quite well. In some circumstances however, it may be but one of a few options you have available.

Some will argue that the .22LR is not adequate for self defense purposes because it lacks ‘knock down power’. In all honesty, most handgun rounds are under powered, which is one reason hollow points are popular. Realistically, the .22LR has been successful in self defense and is perhaps the only available choice for those who can’t handle a larger round as the recoil is very light and manageable.

The biggest issue with the .22LR, besides being very small, is the fact that a lot of the ammo is not reliable. If you are going to use it for self defense, it would be wise to purchase quality ammo and make sure it functions flawlessly in your firearm.

You might think I’m saying the .22LR is as good of choice as any for self defense, that’s not the case. I feel almost any round is a better choice, but as I discussed in our ‘What handgun is best for carry‘ article, the ‘best‘ is the largest caliber you can shoot well, including follow up shots.

In the end, the gun you have with you is better than the one you left in the safe because you’re not comfortable with it.

Whatever you carry, make sure you safely practice with it, and carry responsibly.

If you like this article, please share it. I would also like to hear your ideas for future articles.