Cape Gun Works staff introductions

When you visit Cape Gun Works we want you to feel welcome. You don’t have to know exactly what you want before you walk in the door. We won’t make you feel awkward if you can’t remember all the terminology. Our job is to assist you in finding whatever works best for you, and no two gun owners are the same. We’re happy to share our knowledge if you’re interested in learning more, but it isn’t about us. It’s about you being happy with your purchase and enjoying your visit. It’s about you feeling comfortable to stop in anytime, even just to talk about the latest tacticool gadget or draconian edict. Christina epitomizes that friendly, helpful service.



Christina washed-ashore in Yarmouth at age 5. After graduating from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School she moved to El Paso, Texas, fueling her passion for horses and guns. In fact, since before she could walk, Christina has harbored a deep love for all things equine. In 2015, she moved to Campbell Hall, N.Y. and became an assistant trainer under World Champion Reining Horse trainer Jeremy Gates. Pursuit of a long-held goal of becoming a nurse brought her back to Centerville. Christina comes from a large military family with members who have served or are currently serving in the USMC, US Army, USCG, and the US Navy. Her family has always been gun and hunting friendly. She hopes to expand her personal defense training, and she would also like to venture into the fast-growing sport of cowboy mounted shooting. In addition to her immediate family on Cape Cod, she shares her life with a 5-year-old shepherd-mix rescue, Sammy, and a 3-year-old AQHA palomino gelding, Joey. And, she’s a die-hard Patriots and Bruins fan.

Favorite handgun: “easily” the HK VP9
Favorite long guns: Shotguns and quality AR-15s

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet another of the Cape Gun Works staff

We only hire the most helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly staff. Meet Kayla…

Kayla Bridge, Cape Gun Works staff member, loves her Nemo Tango 6 in 300 blackout! Photo by Erin C. Healy

Kayla Marie Bridge has worked at Cape Gun Works since they opened in July 2014. Photo by Erin C. Healy


Kayla Bridge has been working for Cape Gun Works since it opened in July 2014. Her first exposure to firearms was in 2014 when she shot a .22 rifle. She stepped it up to the M1 Garand, and was hooked from there. Kayla has taken basic pistol and personal protection in the home through the NRA, and she is certified to teach basic pistol by the Commonwealth. She took a combat focus shooting course with Rob Pincus of Personal Defense Network, and another one with Cape Gun Works’ co-owner Toby Leary. Kayla loves being outdoors, hiking and trail-walking; she’s been to Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, Mount Greylock in Adams, and Leominster State Forest in Westminster, all in Massachusetts. She earned her associates degree in healthcare management and is furthering her education in that field. Kayla washed ashore at 3 and lives in Hyannis.

Her favorite gun: Nemo Tango 6 in 300 blackout

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Meet the Cape Gun Works staff

Cape Guns Works prides itself in having a friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful staff. But who are these gunslingers? Meet them here.

Matt Jacobs is the gunsmith at Cape Gun Works in Hyannis, Mass. Photo by Erin C. Healy

Cape Gun Works’ gunsmith, Matt Jacobs, learned how to shoot at his grandfather’s side. Photo by Erin C. Healy


About MATT JACOBS, Cape Gun Works gunsmith

Matt grew up in non-gun-owning home in Belmont, Mass. His first exposure to firearms was when he was about 10. His grandfather let him shoot his Marlin model 60 in his back yard in Plymouth. He later gave Matt his Sheridan Blue Streak multi-pump pneumatic .20 caliber air rifle. It was with this gun that he honed his shooting skills in his early teens. That air rifle currently sits on a wooden rack in Matt’s bedroom as a tribute to the man (now deceased) who got him into this way of life. Matt attended Pennsylvania Gunsmith School in Pittsburgh, Pa. and graduated in 2011 with a diploma certifying him as a “Sporting Arms Ordnance Technician.” While there he also completed the Glock armorers course and became one of their certified armorers. Matt lives in Eastham with his girlfriend, Sherena, and their daughter, Fanya, which is Russian for “free.” An old mutt, Roxie, completes their family.

Favorite handgun: HKVP9.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Walking into a gun shop


Your first visit

Walking into a gun shop can be intimidating. Even shooting enthusiasts feel a twinge of unease stepping inside a gun store they’ve never been in before. In a way, that’s a good thing. Buying a gun is serious business, but that doesn’t mean your first visit has to be awkward or humiliating.

Gun sellers should want to sell you a gun, and the good ones, the ones with integrity, want to sell you the exact right gun for you. They know you may be nervous; they understand you might not know exactly what you want. Undoubtedly, they stock the perfect gun for you, but they’ll need to ask you some questions first. Beat them to the punch.

If the clerk hasn’t already greeted you—an uncommon occurrence Cape Gun Works in Hyannis, Mass.—say hello and ask if they offer a basic pistol class. If they do and there’s one coming up, be grateful that you don’t have to wait months or travel half a state away. Sign up and pay. Then tell the clerk you’re just going to look around.

If you’re like the majority of first-time gun purchasers, you’ll be buying a firearm to carry for self-defense. One day soon you’ll be walking up to those glassed-in cases where the handguns are on display and the hawkeyed clerks loom. Don’t worry, when that day comes, you’ll be prepared to tell the difference between all those flat-black and shiny silver objects.

You might want to browse the holsters, and the eye and ear protection section. Scout out the paper targets and the ammo so you’ll have something to practice on at the range when you make your new purchase. Then leave. Simple as that.

When you complete your course, you’ll be given a certificate that you’ll need to bring with you when you apply for your license to carry. If you live in Massachusetts, you’ll need to go to your local police station to fill out the form and pay the $100 fee (the fee may vary from state to state). The officer will also take your picture and your fingerprints. Provided all goes well with the background check, you’ll need to return to the station to pick up your license. You’ll also receive a PIN number in the mail. Hold onto that. You’re going to need it to make gun related purchases.

Next step, read Toby Leary’s post, “Good choice, Everyday carry gun options for Bay Staters” and make a note of the some of the guns you’d like to try.


Your second visit

So now you have your license to carry, you’ve learned some things at school, and you’ve read Toby Leary’s post, “Good choice, Everyday carry gun options for Bay Staters.” It’s time for your second visit to the gun shop. Don’t forget to bring your LTC. You’ll need to show it to the clerk before you will be allowed to handle any guns.

Although the revolver was probably the easiest gun to master in class, you realize that for concealed carry, you’d be best suited to a semi-automatic pistol, which is often shortened to semi-automatic or semi. (Fully automatic guns are reserved for military use only.)

Now things get complicated. You’ll start hearing things like, single action, traditional double action or double/single action, or double action only? Huh? You vaguely remember something about those terms, but you’re standing in front of row upon row of different guns, one of which you may soon handle and purchase. You feel a dryness in the back of your throat and realize your mouth is open.

But wait! You got this. You pull out your notes from Toby’s article. For self-defense purposes and to get your gun into the fight as soon as possible, you’ll want a “double-action only semi-auto.” or “striker-fired.” This is also called a double action because the trigger pull requires the striker, or firing pin, to be cocked and released, two actions. The advantage of this choice is that you can safely carry a cartridge in the chamber, you have a consistent trigger pull between your first and subsequent shots. Striker-fired guns have a relatively light trigger pull allowing for a quick and consistent string of fire. In a self-defense situation, this could mean the difference between life and death. In Massachusetts you’re choices are limited, so you may only have a few to look at. This is good; you can’t get overwhelmed.

“Single stack or double stack?”

Great, this is starting to sound like a list of specs on a power tool. That probably wasn’t covered in class, but you read about it in Toby’s article. You may be limited to a single column of bullets in the magazine because of the size of your hands. If you have large hands, you might be better off with a double stack since it allows for a higher capacity, but only if the frame easily fits your hand.

“I’d like to see how a double-action semi-automatic, single stack feels.”

“Any particular make?”

Just say no unless you have a fondness for a certain manufacturer, and if you do, you can stop reading this and move on to more in-depth topics.


Other vocabulary

  • Magazine (not clip)
  • Ammunition (ammo, not bullets, unless you mean the projectile at the end of the cartridge)
  • Gun (Not weapon. Ex-military: Please, no demonstrations on what you think your gun is. Believe me, I understand. I still hesitate, waiting to be dropped.)

So the clerk offers a gun for you to try. He or she, out of courtesy assumes you are not an expert on that particular model and opens the gun for you so you can see that there are no rounds in it. This is called checking or clearing the gun. Look in the chamber. If it’s empty, say OK or thanks. If you see brass, say something immediately. It should never happen, but it could.

The clerk will also remove the magazine, then he or she will hand you the gun or lay it on the counter for you. Cue the “Jaws” music. The moment of truth. You got this. Pick it up confidently with your right hand, keeping your index finger away from the trigger—lay it along the gap underneath the ejection port. Don’t worry about your grip. Transfer the gun to your left hand so that you’re holding it around the barrel from underneath.

Now secure your grip. With your right hand, shake hands with the gun so your thumb webbing is high under the grip safety. Your middle finger, ring finger, and pinky should be wrapped firmly around the grip, but you don’t need to squeeze so hard that your knuckles turn white, but no weak handshakes. Align your trigger finger in that gap underneath the ejection port. Or as one instructor told me, “Point toward God.”

I initially learned to place my finger on the outside of the trigger guard, but in feeling around for the trigger guard, I could accidentally land on the trigger. It also forced my smaller hand to twist out of my grip position because I had to stretch to reach the trigger guard. And when you’re on the firing range, it helps the range safety officer to not to see a finger across the trigger guard. It’s hard to tell if it’s on the trigger or not. If your finger is out of sight in the gap under the ejection port, he’ll know you’re not firing.

And finally, place the meat of your left hand in the gap between the heel of your right hand and fingers. Wrap the four fingers of your left hand around your grip fingers, and layer your thumbs close together, without any gap along the length of the thumbs or the meaty part of the palms.

As you learned in class, you want to cultivate the proper mentality about shooting under all circumstances. Think about what could be behind your target, even if you’re practicing with an unloaded weapon. That means, don’t aim at the clerk! Practically anywhere you aim in a store, is likely to be unacceptable with people walking into your line of fire. I like to aim high or low, like toward the seam of the wall and the ceiling or floor respectively. It gives me something specific to line up on, and it’s unlikely that should it be a live-fire scenario that anyone would be shot.

If you remember from class, what you’re doing is lining up the front sight, which is the one at the front of the gun, not the one closest to you, with the rear sight, which is closest to you. It’s like a castle. You want all three turrets to aligned on top and be equi-distant apart. You are focused on that; it is sharp and clear in the foreground. They call that sight alignment.


In the background will be the seam where the ceiling or floor meets the wall, or at a range: the bullseye. That’s called the sight picture; it should be slightly out of focus but clear enough for you to line up your sights on. Think of it like a portrait photograph; the subject is crystal clear and the background is “soft” but still discernable. Now you see how the sights are shaped and align.

But what you’re really checking for is how the gun feels in your hand. Is it too big? Too small? Ask the clerk if you can “dry fire” the gun. Modern striker-fired guns will not be damaged by dry firing. If it’s an older gun, you may need to use a rubber round like a Snap Cap to protect the gun, but do ask. If you’re hesitant to touch buttons on your own, ask the clerk to show you how to turn on and off the safety (if it has one) and release the magazine. You should have a general idea how to retract the slide and release it: Cup your left hand over the slide, punch out with your right while you simultaneously pulling back with your left. You want to feel what the trigger pull is like. The “pull” is the amount of exertion, in pounds, it takes for you to pull the trigger back far enough to activate the hammer.

If you’re comfortable with how it feels, you’re done with that portion of the purchase. If not, keep trying until you find one that fits just right and is easy for you to operate. Like it? Congratulations! You just picked out your first gun. You’re part of the long-standing American tradition of gun ownership. Some of us hunt, some target-practice, some collect and never shoot at all, but all of us know that without what’s called our first freedom, we cannot defend our other freedoms. Owning a weapon is the No. 1 thing you can do to stem the inevitable rise of tyranny, which is why tyrants work so hard to take that freedom away. Our 2nd Amendment makes us citizens; without it we are merely subjects.

Before you finalize your purchase, you’re going to need a holster and a security system at the bare minimum. If you plan to target practice, you’ll need eye and ear protection, paper targets, and maybe an extra magazine or three. If you plan on practicing at home, you may want to buy that packet of Snap Caps the clerk opened for you.

You may find that you’re perfectly content with your purchase and you only return to the gun shop for targets, ammo, and the occasional upgraded accessory. Or you may find that now you need to know how to build an AR-15 to keep the zombies at bay. Either way, welcome to the community, and stop by the gun shop anytime.

About the author: ERIN C. HEALY
erin-healy59Since grade school Erin knew writing was the gift God wanted her to use in life. She has been a magazine editor with the Cape Cod Times since 2002. Before that she was assistant editor at On The Water, a New England recreational fishing magazine, an administrative assistant, and she served for a short time in the U.S. Army., 1990-’91. In addition to her contributions to Cape Gun Works, Erin maintains, a blog about books and movies through the lens of God and country. She lives on a working cranberry bog in Cataumet, Mass. with her two Jack Russell terriers.
Favorite gun: Her new H&K VP9.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Good choice! Selecting the right gun for everyday carry in Massachusetts



Making the right choice for an everyday carry (EDC) gun is a process. We help people daily with this choice, and people are often surprised that the gun they come in to buy for EDC, is often not the gun they leave with. A lot of times people are looking for a certain brand because of a loyalty to that brand, or they have had good experiences with it. Others come in with a specific gun in mind due to a recommendation of a friend, or something they read online (like this).

This process should not be taken lightly. If you’re ever in the position of needing to defend yourself, your EDC choice could be a matter of life or death.

A good place to start is a modern striker-fired gun, that is concealable and fits your hand well. A striker-fired gun is also known as a safe-action pistol, in which the trigger loads up tension onto a firing pin (by drawing it back), and then releases it. There is no traditional hammer to hit the firing pin. The trigger pull is consistent, light, and it is safe to carry with “one in the chamber” (even without a safety). Unfortunately for us in Massachusetts, this isn’t as simple as you might think.

We have two bodies governing what guns dealers may legally sell in Mass. The list of guns we can’t sell is a lot larger than the ones we can… There is the EOPS (Executive Office of Public Safety) list that the state puts out a couple of times a year, listing weapons that have been approved by an independent testing lab to meet the criteria set forth by Mass. law found in Chapter 140 of MGL (Mass. General Law). Then there is also the attorney general’s regulations (Commonwealth of Mass Regulations or CMR), which are a series of rules that narrow what we can and can’t sell in Mass. But that is an article for another day. See here for more info.

Through a lot of firearms training and from talking with other instructors, I have been a proponent of a 9mm striker-fired pistol for a long time. I believe a gun should get into the fight with as little encumbrances as possible. This is why I choose a Kydex (molded plastic composite) holster (I like Insane Kydex Creations) with no external retention device to defeat, and a striker-fired weapon without an external safety.


That leaves a very short list of guns for me to choose from. The good news is, the ones available are good choices.

Single stack

With a single row of bullets in the magazine, which results in a thinner grip, usually the slide will be thinner, and lower overall capacity (holds fewer bullets).

  • Walther PPS
  • Smith and Wesson (S&W) M&P Shield

With safety:

  • Kahr P9 or PM9
  • Ruger LC9S

RugerLC9S1 RugerLC9S2a

With or without a safety:

  • S&W Shield

SW9ShieldNS2 SW9ShieldNS

Double stack compact

Double stack is a staggered row of bullets in the magazine resulting in higher capacity, but a wider, thicker grip and slide.

Without safety:

  • S&W M&P 9c


With safety:

  • Ruger SR9c

Full size no safety

Large, full-frame pistols are harder to conceal, but are great for managing recoil and home defense.

Without safety:

  • M&P9
  • HK VP9
  • Steyr M9A1 (The jury still out on this one. I haven’t played with one yet.)
  • S&W SDV
  • Walther P99


A good alternative to striker-fired is the HK Pistols with LEM trigger. It is a double action only (DAO) trigger, which, like a striker-fired trigger, has the same consistent trigger pull every time. Traditionally this resulted in a very heavy pull, but the HK LEM (stands for law enforcement modification) has an assist device that lightens the trigger pull to 7.5 to 8.5 lbs. from a stouter 12 lbs. double action without the assist.

Pending the outcome of a Comm 2A (Commonwealth Second Amendment Inc.) lawsuit filed with the state’s attorney general’s office regarding the sale of Glocks, this is a fairly small list. If you live in a FREE state, you have a lot more to choose from. We hope this will change in the near future in Massachusetts.

I know everyone has an opinion on caliber, type, brand and best gun to get the job done, but you need to make sure that the gun fits your hand, and that it is the most efficient gun you can use to get into the fight.

Multiple-shot strings of fire are the most likely scenario you would encounter, and having a gun with an easy-to-manage recoil while still being a well-proven caliber is why 9mm gets the edge. I use an asterisk here, and say if you’re using a gun in your line of work, you should train with what you are issued.

What do you think? What should a Bay Stater consider when purchasing an EDC gun?


Toby is the president and co-founder, with business partner Brendon Bricklin, of Cape Gun Works in Hyannis, Mass. He was first introduced to shooting at the age of 12 through the Boy Scouts of America, and while it started as a hobby, it grew into a way of life. His new-found passion deepened until, on his 18th birthday, he walked into the local police station to get his license to carry. Right away he saw the need for an indoor public shooting range on Cape Cod, and the seed was planted. Toby is now carrying his love for firearms, self defense, and the Second Amendment into making that important business venture a reality. Toby and Brendon are up to the biggest challenge of their lives: creating New England’s first state-of-the-art indoor shooting facility. Toby brings with him 12 years of business experience; his fine woodworking company has been employed by luxury homeowners on the Cape and islands for 20 years. He feels blessed to be continuing successful businesses in both of his chosen fields: firearms and woodworking.

Posted in Toby Leary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments