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Wiltons' Roast Grouse - A Recipe for Fall Grouse


The turning leaves and cooler weather of the British countryside are a clear indication that the short Northern European summer is coming to an end.

It also foreshadows the arrival of grouse season and, with it, the delicious dishes that accompany the fall months of Great Britain.

For the best recipe we know in existence, we turned to the head chef of Wiltons, a London restaurant that is as historic (it opens its doors in 1742) as it is iconic to the London Beretta Gallery staff and customers, with its location but a short-walk away from our London store.

Here is the original Wiltons recipe, followed by a brief history of the restaurant.

Says the chef: 

"At Wiltons we take pride in ensuring we have some of the best grouse in the country on our table and we also think it should be cooked simply so you can enjoy all the delights this glorious bird has to offer.

This is our recipe for you to cook this bird at home, but don’t forget if your going to do the traditional roast you need game chips, watercress and bread sauce."

The Roast Grouse

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This happens in three parts: the bird is seared on all sides on top of the oven it's then roasted in a very hot oven and, finally, it's rested. If any of these phases is skimped, the grouse will probably be under-, or unevenly, cooked.

You will have to ask your butcher to prep the bird for you and ask him for some trimmings too.


1    prepared grouse per serving

20ml sunflower oil

50g  dice of celeriac, carrot, shallots (mirepoix)

Sprig of fresh thyme

1dsp brandy


Make sure you have taken the grouse out of the fridge 30 minutes before you roast them. If you stand it with its breast pointing upwards, the juices inside it will be better distributed.

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-duty pan that will just contain the grouse.

  2. Lay the bird on one side of its breast and begin searing it. Turn it over on to the other side.

  3. Add the mirepoix and thyme.

  4. Turn it on to its back and continue to fry.

  5. Hold up the grouse and sear the plump ends of the breast.

  6. Pour brandy into the pan.

  7. Transfer pan and grouse to a preheated oven at 200°C Fan assisted.

  8. Allow 8 minutes for Medium Rare and 12 minutes for Medium.

  9. Rest the grouse at least 10 minutes before carving it.

 Grouse preparation

Roast gravy

Now you will never get the carcase of the grouse to make the gravy like we do in restaurants so ask your butcher for the neck and winglets so you can have a rich sauce that should accompany this glorious bird.



200g grouse trimmings

1    streaky bacon rasher

1    banana shallots, rough dice

1    garlic bulb, peeled and sliced

1    sprig of thyme

1    bay leaf

5    white peppercorns


5    juniper berries

1tsp sherry vinegar

1tbsp     port

1tbsp     red wine

500ml     veal stock

500ml     chicken stock

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  1. Colour off the grouse trimmings and bacon in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the shallots, garlic, herbs and spices. Cook this on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Now add the sherry vinegar and let it reduce down to syrup.  Just keep stirring this to release any taste morsels left on the pan.
  4. When it’s syrup and the port and reduce to a glaze, by glaze I mean a syrup consistency.
  5. Now add the red wine and reduce to a glaze.  All we are doing here is concentrating the flavours of the wine.
  6. Its now time to add the stocks and bring to the boil.
  7. Simmer, skim and cook out for 40 minutes approximately.  The sauce should coat the back of the spoon and taste full in the mouth. If you think its there, strain it and put it in the fridge till you need it.

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Always in the St. James's area, WILTONS originally opened in 1742 as a stall selling oysters, shrimps and cockles in the Haymarket by George William Wilton, a local shellfish monger. Business prospered and moved in 1805 toCockspur Street.


Over the next 50 years, the premises moved around St James's and became a fully-fledged restaurant in 1840 onRyder Street, calledWiltonsOyster Rooms. The first Royal Warrant was received in 1884 as Purveyor of Oysters to QueenVictoria, and a second as Purveyors to the Prince of Wales.


In 1889, the restaurant moved out of the family for the first time and was bought by David Edwin Winder. In 1930, the license was taken over by Mrs Bessie Leal. Mrs Leal held the license until 1942, when a bomb was dropped on St. James’s Church, Piccadilly. Mrs Leal folded her towel and declared to Mr Olaf Hambro – who happened to be eating oysters at the bar – thatWiltonswas closed. Mr Hambro’s response was to request thatWiltonsbe added to his bill.


Mr Hambro engaged the services of Jimmy Marks, then oyster man at Bucks Club, and reopened a week later. WILTONS moved toBury Streetin 1964 then to its current site at55 Jermyn Streetin 1984. The restaurant is still owned by the Hambro family.


Its currentJermyn Streetlocation, in the heart of St James's, is ideally suited to its clientele, which includes members of the government, businesspersons, film stars and British aristocracy. Service is discreet, professional and welcoming. WILTONS is a British classic.




Wiltons Restaurant, 55 Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6LX - Telephone 020 7629 9955 –

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Response to Gov. O'Malley's signature of SB281 - Your Gun Rights


describe the imageThis morning, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed into law SB281, a bill that will severely limit the Constitutionally-protected rights of American citizens in the State of Maryland. 

Following the signature of the Bill into law, Beretta has issued the following statement, regarding our company's position regarding the law, and our willingness to remain in the State of Maryland.

You may also wish to read this article, outlining our future plans to remain in a state that has chosen to cripple its citizens' Second Amendment rights.

"The firearm companies owned by Beretta Holding in Maryland—Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Benelli U.S.A. Corporation and Stoeger Industries, Inc.—have all been deeply concerned about Governor Martin O’Malley’s effort this year to impose broad new restrictions on the rights of Maryland citizens to buy firearms, as well as on the types of firearms and firearm magazines they can acquire. The Companies have submitted comments before the Maryland legislature and to the press condemning these efforts and stating that the Governor's anti-gun activity is causing them to evaluate whether they want to remain in this State.

Notwithstanding some media reports to the contrary, those efforts have had some beneficial effects. 

Through the Companies’ legislative efforts and with assistance led by Delegate Joe Vallario and others provisions were stripped out of the final Bill that would have required an immediate move of certain operations out of Maryland. The parts of the legislation that remained, though - and that were not deleted notwithstanding the Beretta Holding companies efforts to do so -remain offensive not only to our companies as firearm manufacturers, importers and distributors and as investors in jobs, taxes and income within the State of Maryland, but also to those of us who, as Maryland citizens, will now be encumbered with obstacles to our exercise of our Constitutional rights, such as a requirement we now be fingerprinted like a criminal before we can buy a handgun, without providing a commensurate benefit in reducing crime.

The resulting law that passed is not acceptable, even with the improvements we were able to obtain.  In short, the law that finally passed went from being atrocious to simply being bad. 

The question now facing the Beretta Holding companies in Maryland is this:  What effect will the passage of this law--and the efforts ofMarylandgovernment officials to support its passage--have on our willingness to remain in this State?

In that respect we are mindful of two objectives:  We will not let passage of this legislation prevent us from providing on-time delivery of our products to our U.S. Armed Forces and other important customers.  We also will not go forward in a way that compounds the insult made to ourMarylandemployees by their Governor and by the legislators who supported his efforts.

Prior to introduction of this legislation the three Beretta Holding companies located inMarylandwere experiencing growth in revenues and jobs and had begun expansion plans in factory and other operations.  The idea now of investing additional funds inMarylandand thus rewarding a Government that has insulted our customers and our products is offensive to us so we will take steps to evaluate such investments in other States.  At the same time, we will continue our current necessary operations withinMarylandand we are thankful for and welcome the continued support of our employees as we do so."

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Testimony of Beretta to the State of Maryland


Second AmendmentRecently, Maryland Governor Maryin O'Malley presented Senate Bill 281 to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. This Bill, which you can read here in its entirety, includes, among other things, a ban on the transport, sale, purchase, transfer or possession of certain commonly owned semi-automatic centerfire rifles, a ban on any magazine containing more than 10 rounds, and a required state permit for the purchase, rental or possession of a handgun.

On Fabruary 6, the Maryland Legislature held a hearing on this Bill. The hearing was attended by what some estimates put at over 1,000 people, who voiced their disagreement with the Bill.

Beretta addressed the Legislature, during this hearing, in a testimony by Beretta USA Corp. General Counsel, Jeff Reh. Though Mr. Reh's testimony was capped at four minutes, the entire written testimony was introduced formally.

As a service to our readers, followers, fans and Second Amendment supporters, I have asked Mr. Reh to provide us with the complete document. 

You can read Beretta's complete Testimony here.

Beretta continues to be committed to the safeguard of law-abiding citizens and to their Second Amendment Constitutional rights. 

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Responsible gun owners: Don't Give Up!


by Phil McNaughton- Guest Contributor

A few months ago, gun control was a rare discussion at the dinner table, on the news, or around the water cooler. It felt like the winds had changed and we were heading for calm waters.  Then a storm erupted, and now gun control seems to be front and center on everyone’s mind. The tragic misguided actions of a few disturbed people have turned the spotlight on us, the legal, responsible, safe gun owners and firearms enthusiasts of America. Unfortunately, that spotlight is full of misguided rage and ignorance.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about gun control these days, including politicians, journalists, actors, musicians, soccer moms, the mail man, and even my brother’s dog, who barks every time certain politicians show up on the TV.  I’ve been taking it all in, from day one, but the reactions I’ve encountered at the range over the situation are truly amazing. 

I’ve heard gun owners say that nothing is going to happen.  “There won’t be a ban. Nothing else is going to infringe to our rights. They aren’t that stupid. The votes aren’t there.” I wish I was this optimistic.

I’ve heard from shooters who are concerned, but aren't taking action.  Other than panic buying like everyone else, they just don’t seem to want spend time fighting for our rights.  “I’m worried, but I don’t know what to do.”  I wish I was this apathetic.

I’ve heard from gun owners who are already throwing in the towel.  “We can’t win. We’re going to lose something; it’s just a matter of what. No way can we stop this steamroller, after such a deplorable act.”  I wish I could give these people hope.

“So, what are you doing Phil?”  I’ll tell you, but first let me tell you what I am not doing. 

I am not giving up. I’m not giving up on America. I’m not giving up on the Constitution. I’m not giving up on my right to defend my life. I’m not giving up on my freedoms. I’m not giving up on my hobby.  I’m not giving up on the shooting sports. I’m not giving up on the modern sporting rifles or their owners. I’m not giving up on the duck hunters, the deer hunters, or the back yard plinkers. I’m not giving up on my Berettas, my AR-15, or anything else that has a trigger.

I am contacting my legislators.  I know, does it really do anything?  I honestly don’t know, but it’s something I can do.  I’d wager some of the people screaming for gun control are doing so because the talking heads on TV, their favorite actor, or their Facebook friends are telling them it is the right thing to do.  I’m also going to wager these people won’t go the extra mile to write that letter or make a phone call when the next gun control bill hits the floor for a vote.  If I can get just one more letter or phone call in than the other guys, it’s a win.

I’m increasing our numbers.  I’m already a member of a popular 2nd Amendment lobbying organization, but I’m also persuading others to join, including family, friends, my brother’s dog, and anyone else who will listen.  I gave gift memberships for entire family (even you Mom) right before I wrote this.  I want to make sure every gun owner that I know is a member of one of these organizations.  Maybe I can persuade a few non gun owners too. 

I’m not letting the media bias break down my resolve. Bias, agenda, whatever you call it, it’s there, whether we like to admit it or not. I am standing firm, no matter what they spew at us.  At the same time, I am not shying away from the other side either. As frustrating and illogical as some of the “facts” and opinions out there may be, I’m paying attention to what they are saying. I’m thinking about it, thinking about what drives it, thinking of ways to discuss it, and thinking of ways to argue against it. 

I’m being a responsible representative for gun owners.  How?  By communicating with people about the 2nd Amendment and safe, responsible firearms ownership in an effective, non-argumentative or aggressive way. It’s proven difficult for me at times, trying to remain calm, and discuss the situation without letting emotion take over.  If you are passionate enough to be reading this, you have probably felt the same way.  I am seeking out people who want to discuss the issue.  We shouldn't force a discussion on anyone, but if I overhear one happening, I am jumping in.  Engaging in calm, collective debate, and making folks understand that the criminals all over the nightly news are NOT indicative of the typical legal American gun owner, is our most effective tool right now.  I’m putting these folks in my shoes, showing them what gun ownership means to me, what I have gained from it, and teaching how important it is to all of us.  What better way to educate people about guns than friendly conversation with an actual gun owner?

I’m remembering who the real enemy is.  We could have a healthy debate on this one, but I tell myself that many of the people calling for gun control are not our real enemy.  Our real enemies are fear and ignorance.  Yes, the person blaming us and our guns for the deaths of innocents isn’t our enemy, their misguided ideas are.  It’s very hard to stay above the emotions and rage often inflicted upon us, but we have to, at all costs.  We must prove that the stereotype of gun owners is not correct.  We must rise above and be better than the illogical ideas and the false fears.

I’m reminding myself that we all have a common goal.  Gun owners and anti-gun folks alike all want the same thing in regards to recent events.  We want to never again turn on our TV’s and see a scene like the one from Newtown, or Columbine, or Aurora.  We just have differing views of how to accomplish that goal.  It’s hard to look past that sometime, but we have to keep that in mind, no matter how emotional this issue gets.  If we can devote some of this energy we are using against each other into a common solution, we might just be able to accomplish this goal.  I know that there are those among us who will always seek to infringe on liberty, but we would have an easier time standing against those people if they didn't have the terrified masses behind them in the wake of another tragedy.

I’m shooting!  Of course!  This is the most important thing we can do!  We have to keep the spirit of the American gun owner alive, now more than ever!  Matches are still happening.  The thrill of the hunt is still waiting.  There is practice to be done.  There are lots of new shooters who need a guiding hand or a basic firearms safety education.  Ammo needs loaded.  Lots of guns at the gun shop need a new home!  Admittedly, it’s sometimes difficult to keep a smile on my face and enjoy the range time with my friends and family, given the seemingly enormous mountain of obstacles ahead of us, but keeping my passion alive reminds me why I must continue to fight the good fight.

Lastly, I’ll tell you what I am going to do if we are hit with new gun control legislation.  I’m still not giving up.  I will keep shooting.  We must all keep shooting.  We will change our gear, adapt our rule books, and do whatever else we need to do to keep our guns running.  We have no choice.  We owe it to every American who has ever served or given their life in defense of this country and the Constitution.  We owe it to ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities, and all who have lived, or ever will live, under the Stars and Stripes. 

I’m finishing this post with an important picture.  It's not a gun, or a flag, or an eagle, or anything else commonly seen as patriotic.  It's picture of the Safety Officers and Staff from the 2012 PA State IDPA Championships.  I had the pleasure of working with this motley crew in running this match.  What does this photo have to do with the 2nd Amendment battle we are facing?  Everything.  These folks are the reason I am fighting.  Of all the things I have gained from being a gun owner, nothing is more important than the people I have met, the memories we have made, and the memories waiting to be made, on and off the range.  There are doctors, lawyers, police officers, housewives, students, mechanics, and active and retired military in this picture.  They are all safe, responsible, legal American gun owners.  Some of them are my oldest friends, some of them are new friends, but every single one of them is a member of my family.   

They are your family too. Don’t give up.

Blog Imate

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

An Honest Look At The Concealed Carry Purse


by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

The Concealed Carry Purse, people either love them or they hate them. To carry your firearm in a concealed carry purse is your decision to make and there is no right or wrong answer. What there is though, is what is recommended. You are an intelligent woman who can consider all of the information, the risks and the pro's and con's and make an intelligent decision for yourself if a concealed carry purse is right for you. Why do so many fiercely counsel against this popular mode of carry? Likely for two reasons. One, there is serious risk anytime our guns are not on our bodies and two, it limits our ability to respond as quickly as possible and those seconds could count! These are very real issues that must be considered and consciously accepted by you when making the decision to holster your gun in a concealed carry purse. I trust you will do this.

What do I think about concealed carry purses? First, I must tell you that I believe my role is to provide information and resources and let you make your own decisions. My opinion is just that, my opinion and really only matters to me in making the decision for myself. What do I know? I know that awareness and practice are key. Do I carry in a concealed carry purse? Yes, sometimes I do. Why? Because there are times that if I didn't, I wouldn't have my gun with me, and that is not an option for me. (As long as it is legal) 
I know myself - I know my capabilities - and I practice. Having your gun holstered somewhere ON your middle is BEST. It is close, it is safe and it easy to get to. You really can't argue with that. On The Body is the safest and best way to carry your gun, Period! Can you carry safely in a concealed carry purse, yes you can. The proper purse, meticulous awareness, and practice drawing/shooting from one is the key. 

When choosing to carry in a concealed carry purse, here are some questions you might ask yourself in making this decision:

  • Am I forgetful?
  • Have I left my purse behind in the last 6 months, in the restroom, a restaurant or store?
  • Am I around small children regularly who might have access to my purse?
  • Am I willing to carry my purse cross-body to minimize risk of someone taking my purse?
  • Can I keep it on me and store it properly when it must be off my body?
  • Will I vow to always have my gun in a holster in a designated compartment of the purse?
  • Am I disciplined enough to practice the awkward draw and use of my gun from the concealed carry purse? (yes, you may very likely need to shoot through the purse to not loose the precious seconds)

These are just a handful of important questions to ask yourself. It is your decision, one that it is important you make honestly and thoughtfully. If you can't answer these questions with confidence, than even if you think this is the best option for you because of the convenience, it likely is not a good choice for you.

Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and quest contributor for the Beretta Blog. Join the dynamic group of women shooters on Facebook orTwitter and visit
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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Things that go crash in the night...

The word 'gun' conjures up different images, depending on who is thinking it. We think of guns as tools of the trade, as hunting implements, as devices for our hobbies.

Beretta Model 96
And then there are stories that bring the many facets of a gun alive, showing, for example, that a handgun purchased originally for concealed-carry can serve its purpose when we're home, and the threat is not another person, bent on threatening our welfare, but dangerous, nonetheless.

The story below is from Dean Rosnau, who holds a CCW license and a Beretta 96.
When a noise awakens him and his wife in the middle of the night, Dean is prepared for anything. Well, almost anything.

"I was awakened at 0100 by some crashing sounds, clearly coming from the downstairs area of our home. My wife stated, "Something's in our kitchen!"

I jumped out of bed, threw on some pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt, and grabbed my model 96 .40 cal Beretta and an extra mag. (loaded with 180 grain S & W FMJ) I chambered a round and started downstairs, not knowing whether someone or someTHING was in my home. (I am a CCW holder) More noises drew me towards the kitchen. Nearing the kitchen at the end of our hallway, with weapon in a lowered safe position, I suddenly heard a loud crashing noise from the dining room, 20 feet away, and I raised my weapon in that direction.

There, halfway through the window, was a HUGE bear. My ability to fire was compromised by a home across the road, directly in the line of fire should I have missed. I resorted to yelling..."Get out of here you son of a bitch!"....the bear backed out of the window. I went to the front door, on the wall 90 degrees from where the bear was standing on the deck, and switched on the porch light, in hopes that the bear would get scared and flee. Seconds after the lights came on, there was a huge crash of splintering wood....I assumed the bear went right through the deck rail.

I opened the front door and took 4 steps towards a blind corner leading to the front deck where the bear had been. 20 feet from that blind corner, the bear suddenly appeared in front of me. I stopped in my tracks and raised my weapon. The bear immediately raised it's lips, snarled at me, then started straight for me. As I backed toward the open front door, I squeezed off 4 rounds, striking the bear with all 4 in the chin and forehead. The bear wobbled, but kept coming.

I stepped into the open door, and the bear went down the steps off the deck into the front yard, clearly wounded. Not wanting to let a wounded bear get out in the community, I stepped forward towards the bear, and from 15 feet, put two more rounds in the hind quarters to slow it down. The bear then wobbled more severely, but headed towards my driveway. From 30 to 40 feet, I put the last four rounds into her, then slapped in my second mag.

The bear dropped on my driveway, clearly mortally wounded, and I walked up to it and fired 3 rounds to the head. Done.

This whole event...from the moment I saw the bear in the window, to when she was dead and down, was less than 60 seconds. (Notice the look on my face in the picture... kinda like, 'What just happened?'

Later that morning, the [Department of Fish and Game] came and retrieved the carcass. The sow weighed 322 pounds, and was 'Wanted' for breaking into numerous homes for the past 2 years."

You can view a larger version of this image here.

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A Call To Women Gun Owners - Speak Up


by Carrie Lightfoot - Guest Contributor

I  wanted to speak to you, the American woman gun owner, face to face.

The looming changes and restrictions to our rights to to be able to match the weaponry of the violent criminal who wants to do us harm are coming. As women - we already have the disadvantage, the application of the proposed legislation would leave us ill equipped and on an even more un-level battlefield. I believe the path we as a nation are about to head down leaves us extremely vulnerable to more restrictions that will jeopardize our Second Amendment rights. Now is the time for us, collectively, the millions of women like you and me who exercise our right to defend ourselves, our loved ones and our homes, to enter this debate with passion and might.
Thank you for listening and uniting to effect policy.
With great respect,

Carrie Lightfoot is owner of The Well Armed Woman and quest contributor for the Beretta Blog. Join the dynamic group of women shooters on Facebook orTwitter and visit

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

3 Concealed Carry Tips For People With A Disabilities

I was diagnosed and treated for a rare muscle tumor when I was 17. The cancer was so rare that I was only the 7th person diagnosed with it and the first person to ever survive it. I was sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN which is an awesome hospital and I strongly recommend that you help support they hospital with donations or fundraisers.

I spent 6 months in treatment and have been in remission since December of 1997. Eventually the side effects of the radiation treatment set in and the scar tissue in the radiation area set up like concrete. I reached the point where I couldn’t move my left hip or knee. I walked with a very pronounce limp.

In March 2010, I broke my bad leg. My femur snapped where the good bone and the irradiated bone met and the bad bone shattered into 3 pieces. Two years, ten months, two surgeries, a bone graft and two titanium rods later (the first non-slip rod slipped), and I am still on crutches and will be for the foreseeable future.

The bone started mending after the second surgery but the healing is slow due to the poor circulation in the radiation area and also due to the poor condition of my femur bone. The doc was shocked when what looked like dead bone started healer. I guess it was just mostly dead. Thanks to God for the miracle of the human body.

I’ve told you all of that so that you can know that I know what it is like to live with a physical disability. As you know from my previous posts Crutching Around With A CCW and 3 Problems With Carrying A Gun While On Crutches I now have a concealed carry permit and have been working out the best way for me to carry a concealed weapon.

Here are 3 Tips for folks with a disability that conceal carry:

Don’t Let Someone Else Tell You What Is Best For You – talk to people, get opinions but when it comes down to it, you need to carry what works for you. Don’t let someone tell you that you should be carrying a .45 for the stopping power when your arthritis will barely let you use a .22. The choice of a carry pistol has to be what works best for you.

When is comes to how you will carry concealed, you will need to figure out what works best for you with that too. In your case, a lot of the recommended conceal carry techniques and holsters may not work for you. Don’t let someone else tell you what is best for you. You need to work it all out in a way that best suits your needs.

Practice Your Way – Once you have the best method that fits your situation, practice, practice, practice. This applies to everyone but more so to someone with a disability that might impede their ability to draw their weapon. Sorry but that’s just the way it is.

Don’t Carry a Gun – I know that sounds radical but hear me out, if your disability doesn't allow you to draw or shoot your pistol or allows an attacker a more than average chance of taking your pistol away from you, don’t carry one. You are responsible to be able to defend yourself and your loved ones. If your disability makes carrying a pistol a danger to others either by your inability to fire the weapon safely and accurately or by the potential of your weapon being used against others then you should seriously consider not carrying a pistol.

Instead, you could carry a knife and tactical flash light. In a pinch, those two items are quite effective. I am not sure where I heard this saying but is has stuck with me (I am paraphrasing): Someone can take a gun away from you without getting shot, but no one can take a knife away from you without getting cut.

What do you think? Anyone else have some tips that you want to add?

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

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You can check me out on Twitter @thejasonparksand on Instagram Instagram

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

Deer Hunting Gear


By Jason Parks – Guest Contributor

Sunrise in the Ozarks
When it comes to going out into the woods, there are some items that you really need to have with you no matter what, like matches, water, knife, flashlight, etc. When it comes to hunting, that list gets expanded somewhat.

I feel that I pack like my wife when I venture out into the deer woods. Then I see all the stuff my friend Boone takes with him and don’t feel so bad.

Here is a list of what I carry with me when I go deer hunting.
My rifles: I mainly hunt with my Remington 7400 Carbine .30-06 and my Marlin Model 1895 .45-70. I prefer larger caliber rifles when hunting due to my preference of trauma and knock down (if you hit them hard enough with a big enough bullet, the deer will go down). I don’t hunt in any location that one of these two rifles can’t get the job done. I have a few others that I pull out occasionally to play with. Last year I hunted with an Enfield Mk III SMLE .303 rifle manufactured in 1915. 

My Backup: Hunting on crutches in an area that has fresh bear sign has made me a little cautious. I don’t venture too far out into the woods on the crutches but it takes me a good 10 minutes to get back and forth from my 4 Wheeler and stand. A few years ago I started packing my Ruger Blackhawk .44 Magnum. This is an older model Blackhawk manufactured in 1968. I can’t help it. I have an affinity for older guns. I also have the goal of taking a deer with my Blackhawk if the opportunity presents itself. In the mean time, the black bear we nicknamed Tux because of the white patch on his chest is still roaming around and this fat boy on crutches can’t move very fast. Be sure to check out a pic of Tux I posted at the bottom.

My pack: If you are going into the woods, you most likely will be taking a back pack with you. I like back packs,  but I prefer a shoulder pack because of the ease I can access my gear when I have it on. This year I bought a surplus Yugoslavian Combat Pack from Liberty Tree Collectors that can be used as a back pack or shoulder pack if you rearrange the straps. It has 2 inside pockets and plenty of room to carry everything I need.

My Belt: I use an old Army web belt to carry my canteen, my Recon Tanto knife, my Ruger Blackhawk .44, a small pouch and sometimes my small binoculars. I like my old belt and have had it since I was 5. At the rate I am going, it will probably only fit for a few more years so I am going to keep using it until it doesn’t fit any more.

My knives: I use a BuckLite III folding knife that I keep in my pack for my field dressing and skinning. It takes a while to get a good razor sharp edge on a Buck but once you do, it will stay sharp through field dressing, skinning and boning out for at least two deer and is easy to get the razor edge back. I also carry a Cold Steel Recon Tanto fixed blade on my belt. I like this knife because it has a very heavy blade that is good for chopping. It also makes for a pretty good skinning knife. Again it took a while for me to get a good edge on it, but once I got it sharp, it has stayed sharp. It also doubles for my camp/survival knife of choice.

My Water: I use a plastic canteen in an insulated canteen pouch on my belt. Whatever you do, carry some water with you. You never know what might happen that might keep you out longer than you planned. I have been on too many Search and Rescue calls where when our team got to the lost folks, the first thing they asked for was water.

My Flashlight: On my recent hunt in Texas, I shot a nice 8 point Whitetail Deer and dropped him where he stood. There was another deer with a limp and deformed rack that hung around after I shot so I sat still and watched him until dark. When I finally got up to look for my deer, I found that I flash light wasn’t in my pack (I still don’t know where it is). On my first trip to the store after I got back from TexasI picked me up a new flash light for my pack. I don’t recall the exact model but it is a MiniMag LED light that runs off 3 AAA batteries and will throw a 170 lumen beam out about 75-100 yards. By the way, I did find the deer finally with some help and a borrowed flashlight.

My Matches: Just in case you get stuck in the woods unexpectedly, it is also a good idea to carry matches (or lighter) and tinder of some sort like a bird’s nest, laundry lint, and cotton balls covered in petroleum jelly or anything else to help get the fire started. I carry a lighter all the time and strike anywhere matches that I keep in a pill bottle in my pack.

Non-latex Gloves: I keep a box of non-latex gloves in my truck to stock or hand out during a Search and Rescue or Medical Reserve Corps incident and to have on hand at work. During my Texas hunt I used gloves for the first time to skin and process a deer. As soon as I got back, I put a pair in my pack to have to field dress my next deer. Using gloves makes everything less messy and cleaning up is a cinch.

My Binoculars: I have two different binoculars that I use – one big and one small.  I like to scope the farthest edge of my visible area and try to catch a look at the deer coming in before they get too close. I have had too many deer suddenly appear in range with no warning so I have made looking harder, farther out a priority in my hunting. Plus I can’t hear worth a flip so seeing them first is the best option I have to getting the drop on a big buck.

My Grunt Call: After hunting in Texas for the first time this year, I am starting to become a believer in grunt calls. I have not had much luck with them here in Arkansas but after getting a small buck to come to me and having a big buck follow the smaller guy right up to me, I am have done more grunt calls in the Arkansas woods. I lost my old grunt call somewhere between home and Texas and didn’t realize it was not in my bag until opening morning of modern gun season and missed the chance to try to grunt in another nice buck. I now have a new one, but haven’t been able to call in a big buck yet.

My Mask and Gloves: I use a mesh mask and mesh gloves that are marketed for turkey hunters to keep my face and hands from being seen. When I was squirrel hunting as a kid, I noticed that I could see my hunting buddy’s hands and face when he moved through the woods even though I couldn’t see any other parts of him. Deer see movement better than anything else, the flash of a hand moving or a face turning will give away a hunter more often than not unless they are covered. I like the masks best, but you can also paint your face like a Navy SEAL. Whichever you prefer.

My Toilet paper: My Dad told me about when he was a kid and my grandfather took off into the brush to do his business and used a handful of weeds to clean up. Those weeds turned out to be what we call blister weed (I am not sure of the actual name of the plant.). That blister weed lit him up for several days after that. Ever since I heard that story I never go into the woods without TP. I prefer Charmin Ultra Tough in case you were wondering. 

What gear do you carry while hunting in the woods?

Tux reaching for the feeder.
For the record, I also carry the TP in case I have a chance run in with Tux.
This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

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InstagramIf you have any questions or want to contact me, you can follow me on Twitter @thejasonparks. I don't tweet a lot but I do enjoy keeping up with other shooters and hunters on Twitter and on Instagram. 

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This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.


Smoke Sticks


By Jason Parks – Guest Contributor

Smoke sticks, better known as black powder rifles or muzzle loader rifles, are a fun and challenging way to deer hunt. You can also hunt squirrel or dove hunt with a black powder shotgun if you want to diversify a little, or even hunt with black powder pistols.

For what is supposed to be a primitive weapon, black powder rifles have come a long way in the last decade. Now you have breach open rifles with shotgun primers, pyrodex pellets and sabot bullets. Granted you can reach out a lot farther with these rifles than you can with a traditional muzzle loader  but I am not a big fan of the new in-line muzzle loading rifles. I just like old guns I guess. I have considered upgrading to a flint lock but have never gotten around to it.

I assume that most of you know what a muzzle loaderrifle is, but just in case, a muzzle loader is exactly what is sounds like: a rifle you load from the muzzle that is fired by an external hammer and primer cap. This is pretty much what every gun was before the invention of paper and cartridge ammunition and the new guns to shoot them. The more well known muzzle loaders in Americaare the Pennsylvania and Kentucky hunting rifles and the Springfield military rifles which were later converted to breech loader rifles.

My muzzle loader is a Thompson Center Renegade .54 caliber rifle. Why .54 caliber? It was on sale. Most in-line black powder rifles are .50 caliber as are most traditional muzzle loaders  However there are a lot of other calibers available in the traditional style muzzle loaders such as .36, .45, .58 and even .72 caliber.

To shoot a black powder rifle you need some supplies: powder (powder flask is optional), power measure, caps, patches, lubricant, bullets, ball starter and a cleaning kit. Most hunters have what is called a “possibles bag” that they use to carry a lot of this around in.

Loading and shooting a black powder rifle is fairly easy. The best way to learn how is to get someone who does it to show you. There are probably some YouTube videos you can watch. However you learn, I would like to encourage you to give it a try.

I would also like to encourage you to go the traditional route to help preserve the spirit of primitive hunting that in my opinion is lost when you use a modern in-line black powder rifle.

Here are some tips that I have learned through the years:

  • Make sure your rifle is empty before you load it. You can do that by popping a cap with the rifle pointed down range in a safe direction.
  • Fire a cap on an empty barrel to prep your rifle for loading by drying out the nipple. I like to add a little powder in the barrel to help dry out the barrel on damp mornings.
  • Another way to make sure your rifle is unloaded is to mark your ram rod to show “Empty”.
  • Mark your ram rod to show loaded as well. I have mine marked to show when the bullets seated all the way for different grain loads i.e 60 grains, 90 grains etc.
  • Some (maybe all) traditional black powder rifles (like mine shown) will probably shoot round balls more accurately than sabots compared to in-line muzzle loaders that will shoot sabots better than round balls. Mine does.
  • Never, ever stand over the barrel of your rifle when you pour in your powder especially after you have just shot it. Having a stray spark lighting up the powder while you are standing over the barrel will ruin your day.
  • Always use a powder measure. Never pour you powder straight into the barrel.
  • You need to lubricate the patch so that the patch and ball goes in easier. There are commercial lubricants available. I put the patch in my mouth and get it wet with saliva instead of using messy lubricants. It works. Unsanitary? Probably, but it hasn't killed me yet.
  • When you are ramming the bullet down the barrel, be sure not to grip the ram rod too high. You will most likely break the ram rod if you do. A grip about 6-12" above the barrel works best. Also you will eventually accidentally pull the rod too far out and will jab your hand with it so get ready for it. 
  • Always make sure your bullet is properly seated in the barrel, tight against the powder. When ramming your bullet in you will eventually get to a point where you do not have enough ram rod to grip properly. When you get to this point, take your ram rod, place it in the barrel, raise it about half the length of you barrel and throw it like a spear down the barrel. Do this multiple times. This basically taps the bullet into place with the momentum of the ram rod. When the bullet is seated, the ram rod will bounce.
  • If you fire the rifle and the cap pops but the rifle does not fire, KEEP THE MUZZLE POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION! Sometime the rifle will go off a second or three after you have pulled the trigger. I have had it happen to me several times and have seen it happen several more times.
  • If the rifle does not go off after about 10-15 seconds, replace the cap with the rifle pointed in a safe direction and try again. Wet weather and condensation is usually the culprit when this happens.
  • Keep your rifle's hammer in the half-cocked position while you are in your stand so that  if you happen to snag the hammer and it snaps down it will stay in half cock and you will not accidentally discharge the rifle. The half-cocked position of the hammer will keep the hammer from striking the cap and will not fire if the trigger is pulled. Basically, it is the "safety" of the black powder rifle. 
  • Never, ever carry your black powder rifle loaded with the hammer down on a cap. Snagging the hammer and snapping the cap with fire the gun. See the previous note.
  • Hard core black powder shooters clean their rifles after every shot. Muzzle loader rifles are dirty and that will affect your accuracy. I don't do that. I clean mine after about 8-10 shots or every 3-5 years whichever come first.
  • Lastly, I do want to encourage you to try hunting with a muzzle loader if you don’t already but I also want to encourage you to practice and hunt with someone who has experience with muzzle loaders until you get the hang of it.

That’s all I have on black powder rifles for now. As I finish this up today (October 19, 2012), muzzle loader season opens tomorrow and my truck is loaded and ready to go. I will see you all when I get back hopefully with a buck and if not, a lot of pictures.

Do you have any tips or lessons learned that you want to add to my list?


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You can follow Jason on Twitter @thejasonparksand on Instagram @jason_parks_brothers_farm 

This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent those of Beretta.

Make sure you follow Beretta on FacebookTwitter or YouTube


This post and its contents are the views and opinions of the author only, and do not necessarily represent Beretta.

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