Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

You Be The Judge

Written By: Bob - Sep• 04•16

I’m fairly certain that the Taurus Judge had triggered more disappointment in me than any firearm I’ve encountered in my life.

No, I’m not claiming to have much trigger time with them. Several cylinders of .410 and another with .45 Colt scratched that itch for a lifetime (which is good, because the cylinder on that gun then locked up tighter than a Baptist’s butthole in a San Francisco bathhouse).

The thing is, they sell.

In fact, they’ve sold so well that Smith & Wesson gritted their teeth and developed their own version of the Judge, which they elevated to a higher elective office, the Governor.

While some people picked one or the other up for the novelty of it, there seem to be quite a few people who have bought into the idea that a large, awkward handgun with alternating .45 Colt bullets and .410 shotgun shells is a great home-defense handgun.



I’ve seen a few of them fired at square ranges, almost always slow-fired, single-action, and at close range. The owners typically fire one or two cylinders, and then they’re done. Recoil in the Judge (and I’m guessing the Governor) tends to be on the stout side. When the pull their target back from five-yards out, they’re thrilled that most of their bullets and or shot are somewhere on the paper.

You know where I’ve not personally seen a Judge? At any serious defensive pistol classes.

I’ll go ahead and confess that I’ve had a limited number of defensive handgun classes (eight) and have therefore seen only a limited number of fellow defensive handgun students (probably 80-90), and so there is the distinct possibility that they’re out there and I simply have a very limited education on the subject. That said, I read a lot of AARs (after action reports) from classes that I may be interested in attending in the future, and I don’t ever hear students or the instructors talking about the Judge for good or ill, as they simply don’t seem to be there. This holds true in even the revolver-centric classes or classes where the course of fire is more friendly to revolvers.

It concerns me to think that while Taurus seems to be selling the Judge to every Tom, Dick, and Sally, that the owners don’t seem to be getting any sort of quality training with them.

That leads me to the next question: is there a training industry opportunity for a Judge and Governor-focused class?

I have a sneaking suspicion that if marketed the right way, and taught by an instructor who can work around the deficiencies of the platform, a several hour to one-day course called “The Judge/Governor For Home Defense” might actually put some butts in seats.

Is that a completely insane idea?

I’m going to go weed and pull out summer plants so I can put in a fall garden now, before I suggest something truly crazy, like a class entitled, “Yes, Your Hi-Point Has Those Bumps With Dots On The Slide For A Reason.”


Is A Manual Safety On A Pistol A Good Idea?

Written By: Bob - Sep• 01•16

My buddy Reid at Valor Ridge takes some time to provide his opinion on whether or not a manual safety is a good idea in a self-defense handgun.

My first handgun was a M1911-style pistol. I then went to a series of striker-fired pistols which I think are still very valid carry options in a fighting gun, then toyed a bit with DAO (double-action only) pistols, before settling in with DA/SA guns in decocker-only mode to get what I feel is the best option for:

  • my current experience level as a shooter
  • the amount of practice I have been able to carve out in my schedule
  • getting on target and getting rounds downrange fast and accurately with a minimum of dropped/inadverdent/early shots.

Please note that this is for me.

This is not necessarily my recommendation for you.

I’ve developed an affinity for drawing a double-action (longer, heavier first shot trigger pull) firearm from concealed carry bringing it quickly to eye level and starting to press my trigger as I extend on target and my sights align so that my shot breaks as my arms reach my desired firing position.

Currently, I feel I strike the best balance of safety, accuracy, and first shot speed using DA/SA guns.

I prefer decocker-only variants of DA/SA guns precisely for the reasons Reid mentions in this video. I do not want another safety lever to have to worry about if I screw up and put myself in the position of having to defend myself or others.

Jake Brewer, RIP

Written By: Bob - Sep• 20•15

My Townhall Media colleague Mary Katharine Ham is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  She was fortunate enough to meet her match  in a wonderful young man, Jake Brewer. They were wed in 2011.

MK and Jake have an adorable daughter, and another child on the way.

Jake was tragically lost yesterday as he participated in a charity bike ride to raise funds for cancer research.

Eloquent even in grief, Mary Katharine posted the following statement to her Instagram account today.

We lost our Jake yesterday, and I lost part of my heart and the father of my sweet babies. I don’t have to tell most of you how wonderful he was. It was self-evident. His life was his testimony, and it was powerful and tender and fierce, with an ever-present twinkle in the eye. I will miss him forever, even more than I can know right now. No arms can be her father’s, but my daughter is surrounded by her very favorite people and all the hugs she could imagine. This will change us, but with prayer and love and the strength that is their companion, we can hope our heartache is not in vain– that it will change us and the world in beautiful ways, just as he did. If that sounds too optimistic at this time, it’s because it is. But there was no thought too optimistic for Jake, so take it and run with it. I will strive and pray not to feel I was cheated of many years with him, but cherish the gift of the years I had. In a life where nothing is guaranteed, Jake made the absolute, ever-lovin’ most of his time with all of us. This is a family picture we took a couple weeks ago. It was taken because Jake, as always, was ready with a camera and his immense talent. All four members of our little, growing family are in it. I can never be without him because these babies are half him. They are made of some of the strongest, kindest stuff God had to offer this world. Please pray that he can see us and we’ll all make him proud. God, I love him. Psalm 34:18, Philippians 1:3

A photo posted by Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammertime) on

Please pray for the Ham and Brewer families, and most especially Mary Katharine and their children.

The Jake Brewer Memorial Education Fund has been established, with the goal of ensuring that Jake and Mary Katharine’s toddler daughter Georgia and the baby who is on the way will have money set aside for college.

It’s going to be incredibly difficult for Mary Katharine to deal with the stresses of raising two small children without Jake being present, but if we can hit the $200,000 goal to ensure that their education provided for, that would be one less concern for them.

Thank you.

Home Defense On A Budget

Written By: Bob - Aug• 16•15

Reid Henrichs of Valor Ridge has produced an excellent “home defense on a budget” video that I hope people take the time to watch.

A lot of people get caught up in the “tacticool” arms race of expensive, high-end gear, and I’m certainly no exception. The fact of the matter remains that not everyone who wants to purchase a firearm for home defense is a “gun nut” who thoroughly enjoys firearms and shooting. Some folks want a “just in case” gun.

I’m fairly decent with a pump shotgun, though I’m a bit out of practice in using them.

Most of the killing I’ve done in my life has been with a pump shotgun, either my father’s Savage 12 gauge, or various Remington 870s or Mossberg 500s, like the 500 you didn’t see me kill a deer with on the Sportsman’s Channel recently on Destination Whitetail, where my Townhall colleague Katie Pavlich was the featured hunter.

A pump shotgun is an excellent tool… if you learn to use it properly. It’s also easy to induce a malfunction in one under stress.

Several times I’ve seen people “short stroke” a shotgun and jam it when “buck fever” takes over while hunting. I’ve also seen people hit the bolt release at an inopportune time, unloking the bolt and causing the gun to go “click” instead of “bang.” These things are embarrassing while hunting. The stakes are much higher in a self-defense scenario.

I know I’m probably stating what is obvious to some, but I’m going to say it again: Whatever firearm you get for self-defense, get professional training from a professional instructor in its use.

Professional training on your weapon is sometimes more expensive than the cost of your firearm, but if you have the choice between a $700 shotgun and “training” with your friends, or spending $300 and 400 on a weekend’s training class with a professional, take the lower-priced weapon in conjunction with professional training every time.

Buying expensive tools doesn’t make you a competent shooter anymore than buying an expensive sports car makes you a competent race car driver.

Training makes the shooter.

Mr. Henrichs consistently shows in his other videos that premium training matters more than premium equipment and he does serious work with common firearms.

We live in a wonderful time for shooters where reliable (if not flashy) firearms can be had at very reasonable prices, and where their is a renaissance in firearms training, and world-class instructors are available within driving distance for almost everyone.

Take advantage of it all.

Pimpin’ The Hoard

Written By: Bob - Dec• 14•14

I know I hardly ever post here anymore, but I did want to pass along a suggestion if you are interested in buying a gun online.

Dennis Badurina of Dragon Leatherworks makes great custom holsters and gun belts, but he’s expanded into become an FFL as well.

If you’re interested in buying a gun and want to support an American small businessman who is also very nice guy, please give the Dragon’s Hoard online gun store a look.