Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson Reveals...

Spy Secrets That Can

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Mailbag Monday

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What about black powder pistols and rifles, are they in the same legal category as primered bullets/firearms? Will they be under the same potential laws? 

-From Jack L.

Answer: Under federal law, guns manufactured before 1898, or guns that have use a method of loading a separate ball, powder, and primer are not considered modern firearms.

This is federal law only. Your state could have more restrictive laws so check with a local attorney as well.

Here is where it gets tricky: Under federal law, any firearm that can be readily converted to fire fixed ammo by replacing the barrel, bolt, or breechblock is not considered an antique firearm.

So, if you have an old .36 caliber pistol from 1900 that uses a ball and primer, but you convert the cylinder to shoot a .38 cartridge, it would be considered a modern firearm.


You’ve mentioned that Glocks are not a natural pointing gun. What does this mean?

-From Terry H.

Answer: What I mean is, if you give a new shooter a Glock, they will most likely aim high when shooting. The reason is because the Glock grip angle is at about 22 degrees off square.

Comparatively, the 1911 grip angle, including variants, such as the Springfield XD, is more nearly square to the slide at about 18 degrees off square.

In other words, its better not to fight what is a natural grip angle for most shooters.

Basically, the shooters hand and wrist anatomy naturally aim better with pistols other than Glocks, which is why a 1911 is a more natural pointing gun.


I wear glasses. What type of shooting glasses do you suggest I wear? 

-From Tom M.

Answer: When it comes to going to the shooting range, finding quality shooting glasses when you already wear prescription glasses can be difficult. But, some gun ranges will allow you to just wear your regular prescriptions glasses when shooting.

But, if you are looking for more eye protection I would check out the NoCry Over Safety Glasses. These sell for about $20 on Amazon. These glasses are OSHA approved and go over your existing glasses.

They are made from polycarbonate and have scratch-resistant lenses. They fit over glasses up to 5.7 inches wide and up to 1.37 inches high.


What is a “bolt carrier group”?

-From Paula M.

Answer: The bolt carrier group is an important part of the AR-15 and M16 rifles. It’s part of the upper receiver of the rifle.

When a round is fired, the gas from the cartridge is funneled back into the bolt carrier. The gas fills the chamber and forces the bolt carrier back against the recoil spring.

As the bolt carrier moves back the cam pin twists the bolt. This unlocks it from the chamber so the bolt carrier group cycles rearward. Within the bolt carrier group there are a lot of smaller pieces with all of them working each time the rifle goes bang.

A lot of folks upgrade the bolt carrier group of their rifle. This isn’t a bad idea. But make sure that whatever you buy is mil-spec. This doesn’t mean it is the greatest in the world, but it’s at least built to U.S. military specifications.


I have several boxes of face masks. They are rated good against H1N1, H2N2, H9N2, H3N8, and H3N2 VIRUSES. I noticed there is an expiration date on each box. How effective will these be if they have expired?

-From George K.

Answer: Not surprisingly, the older a face mask is, the less likely it is to perform at its full potential. Over time, components such as the strap and foam may degrade, which can affect the quality of the fit and seal.

To play it safe, I would update your survival gear and remember to check expiration dates so you always have gear that isn’t expired.

However, during an emergency, if the expired masks were the only thing you had, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to wear them. The reality is, there are many variables to take into account such as how the masks are stored, which will affect their shelf life.


What are your thoughts on having a machete as part of your survival gear?

-From Robert P.

Answer: A machete is a great survival tool. It can be used to clear brush, chop wood, and, of course, for self-defense. One of the best reasons a machete can be used for self-defense is because you can defend yourself without getting right up close to your attacker.

In other words, if you had to use a knife, you would obviously have to be closer to your attacker, but a machete lets you keep some distance.

Plus, a machete doesn’t run out of bullets. (The big blade that I prefer is called a Kukri, which is essentially, a better version of the machete.)

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