Is it slickup time? With ammo too scarce for shooting, spend your "gun budget" in other productive ways.
The panic buying and hoarding of ammunition and reloading components after the election has left gun shops with pretty bare shelves as of this writing. At a gun club where I try to compete monthly, turnout was down by about 40 percent at the most recent match. Part of it, match directors believed, was some folks didn't think they could replace the ammo they shot up at the event, and stayed home. Part of it was there was a large gun show in town, and many of the "regulars" were probably there, trying to restock their ammo supply.
Personally, I saw this coming and stocked up enough beforehand to be in good shape for at least another year of regular match shooting. That said, though, I'll admit a lot more of my recreational shooting than usual is with .22s these days. My "ammo habit" is such I'm "cutting down" and "switching to 'lites'," but I sure ain't gonna quit.
In a way, the ammo drought is simply changing the patterns of practice of our hobby. If you live in a climate with horrible winters and few indoor ranges, the cold weather months become a time when your focus transfers from shooting to gun cleaning, maintenance and upgrading your guns. Some are handy enough to do the latter in their own home shop. Some find it best to send their firearms to professionals for upgrades. Let's focus here on one such professional.
My old friend Rick Devoid is a factory certified armorer for Beretta, Glock, Heckler & Koch, Remington, Ruger, SIG, Smith & Wesson, and probably a few more I've forgotten. I've known the guy for over 30 years. He has improved a lot of my handguns, and scads more belonging to graduates of my school, Lethal Force Institute. He focuses on improving the function, not the looks of the customer's handgun, and makes a point of keeping prices affordable and the turnaround down to about two weeks. His company is called Tarnhelm Supply.
A staple of the Tarnhelm menu is the $100 action hone. Contact surfaces are polished glass smooth. One of my favorite backup guns is a J-frame S&W and its double action trigger pull feels as if you're stroking a piece of Waterford crystal. It has been rendered double action only for civil liability, with internal removal of the single action-cocking notch ($45 additional), and he'll bob the hammer spur for snag-free draw for another $35 if you wish. I like the $45 trigger polish, which turns the trigger face into a smooth, edge-free surface resembling a mirror, reducing chafing and trigger fatigue during a long day of shooting or dry fire, and permits the finger to slide across the trigger through the course of the double-action stroke to prevent the muzzle from deviating side to side.
One of my favorite Ruger SPl01s also has a sweet Tarnhelm action job. All this simply makes the gun more shootable. Mike Carmoney, one of the top double-action revolver competitors today, began his winning career in the old Second Chance match days with N-frame S&Ws Rick Devoid had worked over.
Lots of traditionalist pistol shooters like everything about the Glock pistol except the tact it doesn't come with a thumb safety like the one on the 1911 they cut their teeth on. For $125, Devoid will install a (right-hand only) Cominolli thumb safety on the frame of any Glock. The shooter operates it the same way as a 191 l's thumb safety, and yes, it works. I have one on a Glock 17. Many shooters appreciate the butter-smooth action of a double-action-only traditional style S&W auto pistol, but wish it had a thumb safety to make it more proprietary to the user. Rick will install a dedicated S&W ambidextrous safety on the slide of one of those for $125 including parts. He did that plus an action hone on my S&W 3953, and it's one of my nicest concealed carry compact 9ram pistols.
You didn't think you could get safeties on revolvers'? For $200, Rick will install a Murabito safety on your J-frame or larger S&W, which turns the cylinder latch into a "secret" thumb safety you wipe off in the same fashion as a 1911's. And he is to my knowledge the only source for the MagnaTrigger conversion.
This is the one true, proven "smart gun," turning an all-steel K-frame or larger revolver so it will only fire for a shooter wearing a special magnetic ring. I used a Model 66 so converted as my carry and bedside piece when my kids were little, and it has come out of retirement now that I'm a grandfather. I bought a Model 19 snubby for Rick to convert to MagnaTrigger for my daughter when she first became a morn. Price is $350 plus $60 per ring, and a stone bargain for what it does.
Rick does a Robar-like grip-trim on Glocks for $115, and will undercut the triggerguard and remove the finger grooves for another $35 for each operation. The large-frame Glock has always been a bit long for me in trigger reach, and I shot my favorite Glock 30 compact .45 distinctly better after a frame trim. Any period of reduced shooting time opens a window of opportunity to enhance your favorite shooting machine, and I can strongly recommend Rick Devoid and Tarnhelm Supply for those services.
TARNHELM SUPPLY CO., INC.
431 HIGH STREET
BOSCAWEN, NH 03303
(603) 796-2551, WWW.TARNHELM.COM