Caliber: A Gun Store with ‘No Ceiling’ (VIDEO)

If you’re an aficionado of high-end guns and catch yourself in the Birmingham-area you should stop by Caliber. Located just a stone’s throw from the Magic City in Homewood the gun store is instantly recognizable. It’s a striking balance of concrete and wood, inviting you in to check out some of the most iconic and sought-after guns in the country.

“What’s really interesting about the opportunity to set this store up is that we were able to have a floor but no ceiling,” said Joe Speer, the gunsmith at Caliber. Inside the gallery, there’s everything from practical Winchester .22s to the exclusive 2 millionth commemorative Browning to the unattainable Izumi Beretta shotgun valued at a cool $250,000.

Don’t worry if you don’t have hundreds or tens of thousands of dollars to drop on your next firearm, they got the everyman covered too. Neatly tucked away in the store you’ll find a plethora of guns ranging from AR’s to Glocks the average Joe can afford. It truly is a store that anyone can walk into with any budget and walk out happy.

In addition to the guns, Caliber caters to the hunter and outdoorsman who wants to look fashionable afield. “We are a gun gallery of course, but we are so much more,” said Cameron Iversen, Caliber’s assistant manager. She showed off the vast selection of shooting shirts, watches, sunglasses, belts, and of particular interest knives and tomahawks.

Iversen explained Caliber features a number of knives in their collection. Everything from the big names like CRKT to local Alabama knife makers range the gamut. Of particular interest in the bladed weapons was the McCoun Tomahawks they had for sale. “Believe or not, we cannot keep these in stock. They are all handcrafted and hand-forged and make for excellent gifts,” she said.

Caliber is a gun store like no other I’ve ever come across. It’s like walking into a car store where you could buy a Bugatti and a Ford Escape all in the same place. If you ever find yourself in Homewood, I highly suggest stopping by. Even if it’s for nothing more than to take in some beautiful guns and friendly conversation.

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If You Want to See Over 50 Different WWI Guns in Action, This is for You (VIDEO)

From motorcycle-mounted Vickers machine guns to Glisenti pistols and Winchester Trench Guns, this amazing supercut has you covered.

Over a four year period, the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association compiled a series of more than 50 clips of Great War period (1914-1918) guns being fired. The above 40-minute mashup starts with a vintage Matchless motorcycle combination with a sidecar mounted Vickers machine gun and just gets better from there.

Running through the machine guns to include the Chauchat, Lewis, and others, they move into the pistols and revolvers of WWI with everything from the Russian Nagant 1895 and classic Colt 1911 to Spanish .455 S&W clones and a Broomhandle Mauser C96.

Then comes the rifles, ranging from British classics that aren’t seen very often such as the Lee-Metford 1888, Jeffrey 1908 magazine bolt-action rifle .333 Jeffrey (good luck finding that at an ammo dealer!) and an SMLE Sniper to a Russian-contract Winchester 1895 magazine lever-action rifle in 7.62x54R. There are also such neat-o finds as a Chandler Trench Periscope adaptation of a Long Lee-Enfield Rifle and a Winchester trench shotgun slam-fire demo.

More detail on each of the demos over at the HBSA’s site.

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National Train a Teacher Day Brings Free Training to Educators


Gun owners listen to a free seminar about concealed carry techniques. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

Firearms instructors across the nation will band together to provide free training courses to teachers as part of the annual National Train a Teacher Day on July 20.

The second year running, the day looks to encourage medical, concealed carry, firearms and tactical instructors to offer free training opportunities to anyone who works in a school. The hope is to better prepare school staff for unfortunate events. A collaborative effort originating from ScotShot instructor Grant Gallagher and Trigger Pressers Union founder Klint Macro, the grassroots initiative emphasizes the movement is all-encompassing and doesn’t just set its sights on firearms classes.

“We have an open agenda that if these people are ever in a horrible situation they should have something that they can go to that suits their personal interest,” Gallagher told at the Concealed Carry Expo. “For some people that might be getting armed. Some might be interested in using a tourniquet. Some people might want to know tips to secure a classroom.”

The idea formed after the Parkland school shooting. Gallagher said that many organizations were offering free training to school staff but there was no cohesiveness to it. To rectify that, Gallagher and Macro teamed up to focus free training on a national level by coordinating it on one day.

“We felt it would have more impact and would get more people if there was a one day focus. It would spread the word through a variety of different things and that was really the inspiration — to bring free training to teachers.” He added. “It’s happening all over the country on the same day, July 20. For people who are looking after children, it’s free. If you are a trainer anywhere in the country and you’ve got something that you’re offering then we would encourage you to help.”


Taser is helping with the endeavor by providing cartridges to students. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

This year Gallagher says more companies have joined to lend their support including the U.S. Concealed Carry Association and Taser Self-Defense. For their part, Taser Self-Defense is sending two free cartridges per student in addition to brochures and information.

“We think it’s a great opportunity and a great cause to get behind. It’s important to support teachers,” Sara Morrell told “Training is so important. Competence breeds confidence and we want teachers to be competent with their device — whether it’s a Taser device, gun or pepper spray. The more confident and trained you are, the more effective and safe you are.”

Any instructor in the tactical, firearms, concealed carry or medical training fields interested in providing free training to school staff is invited to register a course online for National Train a Teacher Day. Teachers and staff looking for free training opportunities can also visit the National Train a Teacher Day website to find resources nearby.

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New 8x22mm Nambu Ammo Headed to Market

New 8x22mm Nambu Ammo Headed to Market

An estimated 475,000 Japanese Type 14 and Type 94 Nambu pistols were made, with many coming back to the U.S. after WWII as war trophies. Steinel Ammo is now making new cartridges for these relics. (Photos: Chris Eger/ pistol, Steinel- ammo)

Ohio-based Steinel Ammunition announced this week they are making new factory ammo for Japanese Nambu pistols. The rimless, bottleneck 8x22mm cartridge was developed in 1904 by Kijiro Nambu, a firearms designer often referred to as the “Japanese John Browning.”

Used in Nambu’s Type 14 and Type 94 pistols as well as his Type 100 submachine gun in World War II, the low-powered cartridge had a reputation in military service as being on the anemic side, especially when compared to .45 ACP rounds. While no guns chambered for the round have been made since 1945, officials with Steinel feel there is a desire among potentially thousands of Nambu enthusiasts in the States for the round.

“Unless you are adept at loading your own ammunition, we find many classic firearms owners are just keeping these unique historical pieces in the safe,” said Andy Steinel, president of Steinel Ammunition. “So many Marines who served in the Pacific theater during World War II either captured or picked up one of these Type 14 or 94 Nambu pistols. They are incredibly fun to shoot, offer light recoil and their unique design is still copied by firearm designers today.”

Steinel noted that no less a firearms designer than Bill Ruger is believed to have used the Nambu handgun series as inspiration for his own Standard .22LR pistol in 1949.

Using an 83-grain full metal jacketed bullet, Steinel is marketing the new production Nambu cartridges in 25-round boxes for $26.99.

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From the Warehouse: A Pile of Colt Gold Cups (PHOTOS)

Colt Gold Cups

What’s not to like about a Colt Gold Cup? (Photos: Richard Taylor/

An absolute classic offshoot of the standard M1911, the Colt Gold Cup series are iconic match pistols, and we have several up for grabs from the warehouse.

John Moses Browning’s celebrated 1911 design was adopted by the U.S. military just in time for World War I and soon after Colt began to respond to feedback to tweak the gun for further use. In January 1932, Colt responded to the common fine tuning done to service pistols by military marksmen at the National Match competitions in Camp Perry by introducing the National Match series of accurized 1911s that offered upgrades such as hand-fitted internals, match barrels, checked triggers and mainspring housings and adjustable sights. This model proved popular until it was suspended in 1942 due to the pressing needs of World War II.

In 1957, Colt rebooted the concept as the “Gold Cup National Match” line and has retained the terminology ever since. Fundamentally, these guns have been the benchmark for right-out-of-the-box competition pistols for more than a half-decade with Colt long describing them as “the finest shooting semi-automatic in the world.” With that being said, many have also turned to the reliable all-steel longslide for personal protection and in the good old days when the wheel gun was king for law enforcement, it was not uncommon for members of LE shooting teams to carry their otherwise competition NM 1911s for everyday use.

Originally introduced with the square-bladed Colt Accro adjustable rear sight — which was later changed out as the series progressed, the guns featured slanted serrations on the slide as well as a grooved 7/16-inch flat rib in the 12-o’clock position, the latter feature giving the gun a distinctive “flat-top” appearance. Other improvements include a flat mainspring housing, larger ejection port and several minor internal differences from the standard GI 1911.

Our current selection of Gold Cups that is up for grabs from our extensive gun library covers a wide range of the gun’s production history, covering about a 30-year range.

This MK IV Series 70 Colt Gold Cup National Match from 1983

This MK IV Series 70 Colt Gold Cup National Match from 1983 and includes factory Elliason rear sights, an adjustable trigger, and a beautiful finish for its age. It comes with its original box and paperwork. Colt stopped producing this model in 1983.

This stainless 80 Series Colt Gold Cup hails from 1993 and has wraparound grips

This stainless 80 Series Colt Gold Cup hails from 1993 and has wraparound grips

This Colt Gold Cup Trophy is a 1999-vintage gun

This Colt Gold Cup Trophy is a 1999-vintage gun. The Trophy series started in 1997 and this example includes Elliason rear sights and a wraparound grip. Of note, this beautiful Colt is currently just $999.

A more modern gun, this slick circa 2013 Series 80 Colt MK IV Gold Cup National Match “round top” has imitation pearl Colt grips and a skeletonized trigger.

This certified gun still has the original Colt rubber grips as well as an extra mainspring in its original factory case.

Gold Cup National Match, of recent manufacture, is one of Colt's Series 70 O5870A1 style flat tops

This Gold Cup National Match, of recent manufacture, is one of Colt’s Series 70 O5870A1 style flat tops, a more retro styling that Colt has been going with in recent years.

For home defense, competition use or sheer collectability, it is hard to beat a vintage Colt Gold Cup 1911.

Colt Gold Cups 70 and 80 series National Match and Trophy models

We always have several Gold Cups on hand, with our current selection ranging across nearly a four-decade span of the type’s construction.

However, for those who would like to go with something new and take it from there, Colt still makes the Gold Cup line in both 70 and 80 series and can help you out with one of those bad boys as well. Check out the video of the new stainless 70 Series Gold Cup Trophy we caught up a while back.

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Hank Williams Jr. Offers Cash for His Grandpas’s Lost Shotgun

Hank Williams Jr Shotgun reward poster

While “a country boy can survive,” to help carry on a hunting tradition, Bocephus is looking for a lost family heirloom 16-gauge, no questions asked. (Photo: Steve Smith/Facebook)

Country singer and avid hunter Hank Williams, Jr. is looking for his grandfather’s long lost Remington shotgun and is offering cash or trade for its return.

Williams, better known to his legion of fans as Bocephus, is on the prowl for a specific Model 11-48 made by Big Green. The 16-gauge semi-auto, whose serial number ends in 58111, is thought by the singer’s Alabama attorney, Steve Smith, to have been lost when Williams moved from rural “Cullman to Paris–possibly from his cabin on Smith Lake.”

While the country legend is offering “fifty $100 dollar bills, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, no chance of criminal prosecution,” Smith also says if the finder would prefer a gun or guitar “I’m sure that can be arranged with a proper certificate of authenticity.” In addition, a $1,000 finders fee has been offered for information that puts Smith on the trail of the vintage scattergun.

Introduced by the New York-based gunmaker in 1952, some 429,000 Remington Model 11-48s were made before the shotguns were phased out in favor of later models in 1968.

Williams, 69, said the gun belonged to his Granddad Sheppard and he now wants to “pass the Remington down to my own children and grandchildren.”

Earlier this month he posted photos of an Alabama turkey hunt in which 10-year-old Lane Murphy harvested two toms with a .410.

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From Machining to Firearms: Faxon Firearms Rise to Success

Faxon Firearms

Bob Faxon founded the company after designing the ARAK-21.  (Photo: Faxon Firearms)

Bob Faxon’s journey in the firearms industry began at his kitchen table. Using knowledge accrued within the halls of Faxon Machining, Faxon leveraged his expertise to develop Faxon Firearms’ first product, the ARAK-21. From those beginnings, he built a brand. Faxon Firearms, now known for its innovative parts, accessories and complete rifles and pistols has become a mainstay for consumers looking to improve and elevate their favorite builds; but more importantly, the company is known for its commitment to customers. sat down with the always jovial Faxon to talk about the company’s origin and why consumers are at the root of Faxon Firearms.

GDC: So Faxon Firearms was originally an offshoot of Faxon Machining — which has a hand in many different areas in the industrial realm. What are a few areas people would be surprised to find the Faxon name?

Faxon: Oh that’s easy. We’ve done nuclear. We’ve done aerospace. We’ve done automotive, oil and gas, renewable energy, machining tools. We’re heavily in the defense industry and of course firearms. We even had a part in the Mars Rover — the robot that went around the planet of Mars. We’ve touched most industries.

GDC: Very cool. So what caused the shift into firearms?

FaxonI was watching the Discovery Channel with my sons and they were running down the top 10 battle rifles. The AK-47 beat the M-16. I was absolutely beside myself. I understood the evaluation process and I see the advantages the AK-47 has but I find it unacceptable that the AR-15 is number two. So I got kind of pissed off and I sat down at my kitchen with a little sketchpad. There I designed the ARAK-21. It was developed for four purposes — reliability, features, accuracy and price. It took about a year and a half to get it developed then we started selling it. There’s a very loyal, very dedicated following of people who love that platform. The ARAK-21 really gave us the concept of how we wanted to do things in terms of innovation and service.

GDC: How many times have you given that spiel?

FaxonI’ve done that spiel 46 million times. The guys laugh at me. They ask my wife at SHOT Show: “When he goes to bed at night, does he keep saying that while he sleeps?”

GDC: I’m sure at shows where you’re constantly doing the sales and marketing bit, it gets a bit redundant.

Faxon: Yes, but there’s a variety of people coming through and I personally love it. I always make time to go because it’s the only time where I get to go talk to customers directly. I enjoy talking to the person who reaches into their pocket and pays hard-earned money to buy our product. This year at NRA was really fun because we had the big launch of our pistols, the FX-19.


The FX-19 on display at the NRA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

GDC: That’s an interesting point you bring up about interacting with consumers. There are some manufacturers who are less than thrilled to have the average joe coming up to talk shop, but every time I passed your booth at NRA you were right out there in the middle chatting with people.

Faxon: It comes back to our consumer-driven attitude of helping our customers and making sure they’re happy. We’re not just spitting out the same designs. We’re constantly innovating all under that service banner. Our goal is the customer experience. We want our products to shoot as good or better than the guy next to you. We don’t want your buddy to razz you about paying too much for a bad product. If it doesn’t cycle properly if it doesn’t hold a group that’s very frustrating. That’s a terrible experience. So we think about the chain of events from the time the customer buys one of our products to the time he takes it out of the bag at the range.

Here’s what I want — I want our customer to go buy our product, take it to the range, then on the way home with his 15-year old kid in the pickup truck I want him to say, “You see Johnny’s gun? He spent $800 on that barrel and we outshot him twice as good.” That’s the experience I want for our consumers.

GDC: I think that shows from the levels you give the consumers. You have the parts and accessories so that consumers can build their own pistol the way they want and now you have the FX-19 which offers all that assembled. Talk to me about why you think it’s important to give your consumers an array of options when it comes to accessories, parts and complete set-ups?

Faxon: You know, it’s funny. Now my level of ability has risen so that I am excited to buy everything and put it all together, but earlier in my life, I didn’t want to put all the pieces together. My brother would’ve put the pieces together. So it’s important to represent both buyers. Again, we are talking about the consumer and what’s going to be a positive experience for them.

GDC: You keep coming back to the consumer and I can tell by the excitement in your voice that you are really passionate about those that buy your products. Do you think this has to do with having your name stamped on the product? Are you more cognizant of your brand when your brand is you?

Faxon: We take a lot of personal pride in what we make and how we make it. There’s a level of quality there because of (the name). Wearing our t-shirts with the logo and the name, you’re subject to being seen in public and people knowing you are involved in this. I think that accountability is huge. It’s not anonymous. It’s not an entity, it’s us.

I’ll tell you a funny story. I was in an airport recently wearing a Faxon Firearms shirt with one of our guys. We walk up to the TSA checkpoint and the agent asked, “Are you with Faxon Firearms?” I said I am and he said, “I’ve got one of your barrels.” I asked how it shot for him and he said that it shoots great and he loves the barrel. That’s the kind of personal exposure you’re subjected to. I think if that doesn’t do anything else it will motivate you to do your best.

GDC: Well said. Is there anything else you think our readers should know about Faxon Firearms?

Faxon: We understand that things people purchase from us are a want, not a need so we appreciate their business immensely. We are extremely excited that they choose us when they spend their money and will continue to provide a line of products that are deserving of that.

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