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Hello, and welcome to my blog. My name is Dave Rice and I’m the proprietor and HMFIC at Coastal Cerakote LLC. Here’s where you’re going to find my musings on all things gun related. And you may even find a few things non-gun related as well.
If you’re going to take the time to read this blog, you should probably know a little bit about me. I was born in Dade County, Florida 53 years ago. Though my family is not originally from the south, I’ve lived in the south my entire life – Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, and for the last 31 years, South Carolina.
In the south, they say, “Just because the cat had her kittens in the oven, don’t mean we call them biscuits.” Meaning just being born in the south doesn’t make you a Southerner. Maybe not, but living here for over a half-century sure makes one a Southerner at heart. And one thing that Southerners love, even more than sweet tea and four-wheel drive trucks, is guns.
We love guns, we love guns, we love guns, and we make no apologies for it. We love guns.
Now, for as long as I can remember, going back to my boyhood, I’ve loved guns. I’ve also loved motorcycles, Corvettes, and Canadian whiskey but that’s another story. I was always fascinated by guns. I wanted to know everything there was to know about guns – mechanically, historically, legally. In the days before the internet, I used to read every gun magazine I could get my hands on. I read Guns and Ammo, American Handgunner, Combat Handguns, The American Rifleman. I read the prose and the exploits of legends like Bill Jordan and Colonel Jeff Cooper. I absorbed the tactical wisdom of salty street cops like Massad Ayoob and Evan Marshall. I pored over new gun reviews and comparisons. I could rattle off model numbers and specs without pause. I was a walking encyclopedia of useless gun info.
And anyone who knows anything about guns knows that no matter how much you know about guns, what you DON’T know about guns will still fill an encyclopedia.
My first introduction to true marksmanship training came, as it does to the few and the proud, at the rifle ranges of the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. It was there, during that scorching hot summer of 1985, that I was issued a lightweight, gas operated, air cooled, magazine fed, shoulder fired weapon, a brand new M16A2. Though since phased out, the M16A2 was at that time the Marine Corps’ newest battle rifle and my recruit series was the first to receive them. It was there at Parris Island that I learned about firing positions – offhand and kneeling, seated and prone. I learned about loop slings and hasty slings and “snapping in”.
It was there that the mantra “clear tip of the front sight post” was drilled into my recruit brain until it became second nature, until I could consistently hit a man sized silhouette at 500 yards with iron sights. Every Marine a rifleman…
It was there at Parris Island that I shot the 2nd highest score out of my recruit series on final qualification day. Out of four platoons of Marine recruits, the one guy who shot a higher score than I just happened to have the same last name as I did, no relation. He also happened to be a former high school rifle team shooter. Just my luck.
It was during my time in the Marine Corps that I began to buy and trade, and of course to shoot guns. I bought and shot pistols, rifles, and shotguns. But I always came back to handguns. I loved shooting pistols and revolvers.
Fast forward to 1991. Shortly after returning home to MCAS Beaufort from Operation Desert Storm, my time in the Corps was finally up. I was honorably discharged and a few months later I went to work for the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
In the early 90’s there was already a big push in law enforcement nationwide towards equipping officers with semi-automatic pistols. High profile incidents like the FBI Miami shootout had spurred the move to larger capacity autoloaders in 9mm and the then-new .40 S&W caliber. My agency hadn’t yet made that move and wouldn’t for a few years yet.
No, my first duty weapon was a Smith & Wesson model 65, a 4-inch barreled, stainless steel, six-shot revolver chambered in .357 Magnum.
It was with that gun that I won the Clifford A. Moyer marksmanship award, presented to each class’ high shooter at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. It was there, while competing and winning against modern semi-auto pistols, that I began to understand that it was less about the tool and more about the mechanic.
Over the next couple of decades, I wore many different hats, but my favorite was always that of a firearms instructor. I was fortunate to do a lot of fun “high speed, secret squirrel” stuff during my career as a cop, but my fondest memories are always of times spent on the ranges, shooting, and teaching, teaching, and shooting.
Over the course of those years, I also shot competitively in IDPA and steel challenge matches, even winning one occasionally. I also coached a junior competitor to a state IDPA title.
I’ve worked part time and full time in firearms retail, I’ve sold hundreds of firearms to first-time gun owners and to experienced collectors.
I’ve worked as a Chief RSO and firearms instructor for a gun store and commercial range. I’ve taught firearms safety and basic marksmanship to hundreds of new shooters, from police recruits to school children to octogenarians.
I’ve worked as a consultant for local attorneys and been recognized by the 14th Judicial Circuit of the State of South Carolina as an expert witness on firearms and use of force.
And for the last 4-plus years, I’ve worked on YOUR guns, turning out what I hope are sources of pride for our customers and envy for their friends. I love what I do, and I couldn’t do it without all of you. So, thank you.
Did I mention, I love guns?