More 2-Gun Action!

Yep, it’s that time again – we’ve had another 2-Gun Action Challenge Match. I was hoping to take a Ross rifle this month, but it didn’t arrive in time – so instead I used a heavily modified M1 Garand. I’ve had some people ask what my personal favorite (practical-use) guns are, and this month I’m using them. The M1 is a tanker conversion done by Arlington Ordnance decades ago, with an 18″ barrel chambered for .308 Winchester. I added a Smith Enterprises muzzle brake (which I really like) and an Amega Ranges scope rail. The optic is a Burris 2-7x pistol scope with their BallisticPlex reticle. I like it too, although I clearly need to practice with it a lot more.

So why would I pick this as my go-to rifle? Well, I started by deciding that I wanted a full-power rifle cartridge for barrier penetration. I wanted an optic because that would allow me to exploit the range potential of the gun much better than irons (it’s not just about the rifle being accurate enough to make a hit, but also about whether you can identify a target at distance). I tried out all the common semiauto rifle designs available at the time, and the M1 felt like it fit me the best. The “tanker” version in particular felt really comfortable, so that’s what I decided to get. Would I make the same choice again? I’m not sure…maybe not. But the great majority of effectiveness comes from the shooter and not the rifle, so I have no plans to replace my bastardized M1 with anything else any time soon.

The pistol is my regular Ballester-Molina – it rattles a bit when you shake it and a lot of the finish is long gone, but it has yet to hiccup on me (I use Wilson Combat mags in it) and is plenty accurate for what I need. Really, I like all milsurp 1911 style pistols because they just fit me really well (I will be the first to acknowledge that there are much more practical pistols to choose from today, though).

Anyway, I decided to use the match this month to play with my M1 for a change. Since it’s not a proper historical gun, I’ve used footage from a couple stages shot by Karl, one of the match organizers who brought out a Russian SVT-40 this time.


  1. Did you have to modify the Wilson Combat mags to fit in the Ballester? The catch location on my B/M mags seem slightly different from the GI 1911 mags, and do not appear to be interchangeable.

  2. I find your proficiency with the Ballester Molina…….disquieting? I was lied to and I feel violated I was told that those sights would not only make a gun impossible to shoot but destroy your retina in you even tried. Was it all….Lies? Why would they betray me like that, I trusted them. how could I have been so wrong?

      • I know I was just musing about modern abosolutist attudes tword gear. tht being its either the best thing ever or it will get you killed or thrown into jail

  3. Awesome. You guys have all the fun.

    I’ve been to matches where if you pulled that bayonet stunt the range officers’ brains would be impaled by a sudden leap of the stick they kept up their asses.

    • Um,I am guessing he asked permission as you cant jut suddenly do that kind of thing in the middle of a match!

      • The bayonet charge wasn’t done during the match, it was just something fun to do while we had the camera afterwards. 🙂

        However, when I eventually do one of these with an Arisaka…

        • why isn’t a bayonet charge incorporated into the match ?
          something like shoot the targets and before you can reload you need to bayonet / bash the manikin and run back to the shooting position

  4. Good video, Ian, and thanks as always. Excellent proficiency with the Ballester-Molina and with the modified Garand. I can see why you like your “tanker” M1 so much — it would appear that you have done a very good job of tailoring it to your specific preferences. Your friend Karl demonstrated remarkable ambidextrous skills with the SVT-40 as well.

  5. Is there a “major” requirement? Looks like a P90 and a 5-7 would have a big edge in a competition like that, never having to reload.

    • There isn’t a major/minor distinction, but using a P90 would put you in PCC (Pistol-Caliber Carbine) class. However, the matches are pretty well written to prevent gear from giving anyone an advantage. On the left hand/right hand stage, for example, you were forced to start with only 10 rounds in the gun.

      • You wrote that most guys use more modern guns. Does anyone run a bolt gun? Or will your Ross be the first?

        • As far as I know nobody uses one regularly, but people have certainly brought them before. In this specific match, one guy used a Winchester 94, and things like Trapdoor Springfields have also made appearances.

  6. Wow you make the handgun part look all too easy! I could move my standing up at least 10 places in the 3 gun could I shoot that well!

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