Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Automotif CVI...

199(8?) Dodge Viper RT/10 roadster. Not absolutely sure on the year, because other than special year model colors, it's hard to tell one vintage of second-generation Viper from another. And red was available every year of that generation, from 1998-2002.

Blinded By The Light

So, right up front, I like SureFire flashlights, okay? I got into them at the very tail end of the incandescent era. The green G2 on the left was my first, a Christmas gift from a friend, and I carried it everywhere for a year or so and liked it so much I bought an aluminum-bodied Z2 to which I immediately added a GG&G "Tactical Impact Device", not so much because I thought I'd ever be putting a beatdown on somebody with my flashlight, but because it looked cool.

Eventually I upgraded from the incandescent Z2 (which is currently in the door pocket of my car and hence not in the picture above) to the LED Z2-S, second from left in the picture, which was marginally brighter and stretched a lot more life out of a set of batteries. It had a strobe setting, but the utility of the strobe was hampered by the fact that you needed to double-pump the button to activate the strobe; something I was unlikely to remember to do when faced with the imminent possibility of fool-shootin'.

Three years ago I bought the P2ZX Fury, second from right in the picture, and the most modern light in the shot. It's output is the full 500 lumens, with a hot center and good spill, which is pretty much the lower limit for effectively lighting a room as I discovered recently. The M3T CombatLight on the right, bought as dusty New-Old-Stock, puts out an almost quaint 125 lumens with the regular xenon bulb and is mostly included for scale. The picture above doesn't even include the Surefire lights on my carbine or shotgun or the X300U pistol light, either.

What the Z2, Z2-S, P2ZX, and M3T all share is the wasp waist, rubber ring, and handy lanyard necessary for the SureFire/Rogers Technique (demonstrated here by a different Rogers) but what they all lacked was any easy way to carry them, short of adding a carrier to my belt. As a result, I carried the Z2/Z2-S/P2ZX in the pocket of a shoot-me vest or winter coat or my purse...and when I got my hands on my little 75-lumen LED Lenser single-AAA light, I stopped carrying the big lights at all.

Until I got an email from SureFire asking if I'd be interested in trying one of their lights out that they thought might work for me.

Well, duh...
Let's unbox it like it's an Apple product!


The E2D Defender Ultra uses a pair of CR123 cells and is slightly slimmer than the P2ZX. It boasts the same 500-lumen output and features a pocket clip. Looking at the pocket clip, it's pretty apparent that it can also be worn inside the waistband as a "tuckable" clip, if you're in the sort of place where people would lose their $#!+ over a flashlight. I can't imagine what such a place would be like, but we did just see newscasters come unglued at the thought of using a fire extinguisher, so one never knows what the next step on the descent of homo cubiculus will be.

In addition to the 500-lumen output, there's a 5-lumen "low beam" setting as well, more on which in the next post.
I've had it in my pocket for over a week now. So I'm about ready to offer some initial thoughts.

Monday, August 31, 2015

I have nothing to add.

This list is great.

*checks watch* Only twenty years to go, thank God.

This is the emoting that passes for thinking these days:
Sure, those fans shelling out $300 a ticket in the box seats may initially balk looking through a netting, but if they don't like it, they can reserve the right to stop coming to games, too.

It's no different than the airlines. You may hate taking off your shoes, your belt and putting your laptop in a bin, but if you don't like it, stop flying.

You can get used to inconvenience.

You never become immune to tragedy.
It's uncomfortable watching a grown man doing this in public. There is no virtus there. You want to throw a blanket over him so the kids don't see. Maybe spare a shred of what's left of his dignity.

My only remarks on that subject.

First, on the phone the other day with staghounds, he remarked that it's a thousand wonders we haven't had one of the narcissistic nihilists wear a GoPro while committing their heinous acts yet. I'd say that last week's events make it a near certainty that one will in the near future, and news directors across America will practically decorate their cupcakes at the thought of airing the footage while simultaneously wondering aloud why such things happen. After all, some clueless yayhoo at NBC actually wrote the following headline:
--------------, Virginia TV Killer, Vowed on Day of Firing to Make 'Headlines'.
I swear, self-awareness is so uncommon these days it should be considered a f%$@ing super power.

Right now, what do you think the easiest way would be for the average American schlub to get their very own Wikipedia page: Win a gold medal at the Olympics? Write a best-selling novel? Or shoot five or six people in a moderately telegenic fashion? Incentivize something and you will get more of that thing.

Meanwhile, on gun fora threads mostly full of endless dreary chest-beating about MAH SITUATIONAL AWARENESS*, Glenn Meyer raises a point that was all too quickly drowned out by the ritual chanting but bears a repeat out here:
If you had some knowledge of the attentional and alertness literature, you would not be surprised. In all kinds of critical incidents, even with highly trained personnel, cues are missed.

There is a trace of blaming the victim in the proclamations of how one is always on the alert and ready to go. It serves to make you feel better than there is a just world and it is the victim's fault for not being the steely eyed dealer of death that you are. It also reduces your anxiety as you feel so much better as you are a warrior and it wouldn't happen to you. You sit on your toilet, scanning the environment, wearing a vest with a ceramic plate! Add the Dunning-Kruger effect, as to your superb ability.

Since you go around armed with significant firearms and have lots of training (as most of us here probably do), you expect a 24 year old newscaster to have a Glock 19 on her at all times and blame her for not doing so. Yes, I believe in being prepared but I'm not going to rant and blame a young woman for being killed by a monster. It is the monster's fault.

*Remember: Chanting "SITUATIONAL AWARENESS" with your fellow congregants at the daily virtual prayer meetin' prevents criminal assaults just like chanting "FOUR RULES" and "BOOGER HOOK BANG SWITCH" prevents safety lapses.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #133...

M1877 "Lightning" from Colt. The mug is from Engrish.com.
Colt 1877 "Lightning" .38 Long Colt double-action revolver, made in 1882. It's a basket case, but was too cheap to pass up. This is a "shopkeeper's model", with a 3.5" barrel sans any ejector rod assembly. I might make a quixotic attempt at getting it restored, or at least mechanically functional, but even if I don't, it'd be fun to fiddle with while watching Young Guns or Tombstone. After all, it was made the same year Jesse James was killed.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Derp sells. Especially if it's New, Improved Derp.

Behold, the "Handgun Sling"*:

A learning-impaired tree sloth should be able to spot a number of glaring errors here. For instance, the handgun is carried right on the lumbar spine, which is practically an invitation to future hobbies like wheelchair basketball and getting to compete in 5k fun runs while sitting down.

Second, the dude orients the grip incorrectly for a handgun carried behind the back. Observe how the best-known small-of-the-back holster, the Galco SOB †, rides. This is so that if you just have to carry your gun in the wrong place, then at least when you draw the firearm in a big hurry, you don't flag your own frickin' kidneys with the muzzle. Blowing your own giblets out your belly button when trying to throw down on an ATM stickup artist is a pretty serious party foul.

But the pièce de résistance, the derp cherry on the suck icing of the giant failcake, is the blindfolded hand jive one must go through every morning just to holster up:

If dude could somehow get his strong-side traffic finger a little further into the trigger guard, he'd be a shoo-in for today's "How Many of the Four Rules Can You Break at Once?" contest.

Don't fall for this stuff. It's stupid.

* I have downloaded the video, so in case the guy goes dark, we can put it back up elsewhere.
If I had a dollar for every minute of my life I have spent on a sales floor, explaining the "why" behind the orientation of the Galco SOB to an uncomprehending audience, I'd buy myself... well I don't know, but it'd be something pretty nice.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Unintended Consequences...

Look for the costs of opening a McDonald's or Burger King franchise to rise in the future, because the order-taking kiosks and burger-assembling robots will add to the front end costs significantly, although they'll be less expensive over time than unionized New Minimum Wage workers.

A Good Sign

Indy Arms isn't open-open, as such. We did a "soft open" before the scheduled Grand Opening, with limited hours from noon to five on weekdays and no publicity. Nevertheless, people have been turning up. We had a fair number of customers in yesterday, people who stopped by on the way to the post office or one of the other local businesses when they noticed the gates were open on the front door.

I sold a guy a shotgun, just a basic synthetic-stocked Remington 870. It'd been a while since I slung a gun across the glass. It felt good.

As it ticked down to five o'clock and time to tidy up before going home, I stepped out front with the Windex and a paper towel to shiny up the glass, and noticed this sign...

Your 92D is okay here.
We approve.

EDIT: It pains me to have to spell this out for the Hard-of-Reading and the Perpetually Offended, but the sign doesn't say "No open carry." It says "Firearms must be concealed, holstered, or cased."

If a sign said "Pizzas must have pepperoni, sausage, or bacon," would that mean all pizzas must have pepperoni? No. No it would not. Just don't come in waving a gun around in your hand. It needs to be concealed, holstered, or cased.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Tab Clearing...

Isn't this where we came in?

Ten years ago I started this blog. Some things haven't changed, like my opposition to asset forfeiture laws or the looming threat of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Others have; for instance I'm a lot less opposed to the idea of the local po-po at least having access to some sort of bullet-resistant vehicle than I was. (Although in most smaller communities it would probably make a lot more fiscal sense to talk the bank president or car dealer into taking up an interest in WWII surplus armored cars and then handing him one of those auxiliary deppity holster-sniffer badges in exchange for a spare set of keys.)

I was working in a gun store & indoor range at the time and that seems to have come full circle, too...

"Do you want to interview?"
"Er, I really don't have much time for a job."

"Part time is fine!"
"I'm out of town a lot for gun school."
"Let us know ahead of time! Wanna interview?"
*scuffs toe* "I guess. Employee discount and free range time?"

Blogger says 12,103 posts. From 2008 to 2010, I was a postin' fool, it looks like. Since that time, I've gotten published in dead tree rags, largely because of this blog. I'm told that it's more usual for writers to have to shop article ideas and column proposals around than to get approached by editors and asked to write stuff. Being almost morbidly shy, I'm glad the latter route has worked for me.

Anyhow, I'd ramble on more about this stuff, but I've got today's blog post to write. Thanks for reading and for all you awesome readers have done for me. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog, already in progress...

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #132...

Some glamor shots of Bobbi's stainless Colt Government .380...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

...and finally Part Two.

So two things remained to do with the BG380 test.

First, determine how much of Monday's fiasco with the ignition problems on the Sig Sauer FMJ ammo was the gun and how much was the ammo. Second, would the BG380 return to some semblance of reliability when returned to a diet of the Fiocchi FMJ from Lucky Gunner?

This obviously required a second .380 as a control, and since all the other pistols I own in the caliber are antiques of questionable reliability themselves, I used a Colt Government .380 thoughtfully provided by Bobbi to double check the Sig ammo.

Above are the nine rounds of Sig .380 and the one Remington that qualified as "duds" in Monday's testing, each showing the marks of multiple primer hits from the BG380.

When fed into the Colt, they all fired normally on the first try. Obviously, despite being a hammer-fired gun with a stout mainspring, the BG380 had reached a point where it was having ignition problems after going a thousand-plus rounds with no cleaning or lubrication.

The second part was to re-try the Bodyguard with the Fiocchi. To this end I ran another hundred rounds of the Fiocchi through the gun. All fired. However, four of them did not go on the first try. This time, though, instead of ejecting the round, photographing the primer, noting the round number, and reloading it in the magazine, I took advantage of the true Double Action Only trigger mechanism and just pulled the trigger a second time.

All four ignited with a second trigger pull.

Obviously the BG380 had reached a point where the increasing amounts of propellant residue and lack of lubricant were affecting its reliability. I decided to call the test done at a round count of 1335 rounds total through the gun.

"For you, ze var is over."
My hypothesis, and I'm just guessing here, based on the slightly off-center primer hits on the "duds", is that the gun had reached a point where it was sometimes stopping just a tiny fraction of an inch out of battery, and the fall of the hammer would push the gun the rest of the way closed. This, however, was absorbing enough energy to keep the primer from popping. This is why they went off, four-for-four, when I just pulled the trigger again, instead of cycling the round out of the gun and back into the magazine.

Regardless, the gun still shoots fine. And all the trigger practice on this thing has been a big help! I was standing there Tuesday shooting 20-yard steel with a tiny mousegun with a 10+ pound DAO trigger like it was the most normal thing in the world. This is not something that was in my skillset not all that long ago.

I will clean the gun, give it a good lube, function fire it, and resume carrying it with more confidence in the gun than I had before I started this program. (Do note that there was not a single failure to feed or failure to eject over the course of 1335 rounds.)

I am not a Wally World shopper, generally...

...largely because the one nearest us has atrocious service. However, they are an invaluable resource when I am on the road. If you're in a far-off small town for gun school or house-sitting for a friend in another state and find yourself in need of bug spray, a cyalume stick, shooting glasses, beef jerky, bottled water, tube socks, shotgun shells, and toothpaste, you know where your one-stop shopping experience is to be found.

The only two Wally Worlds whose gun departments I've paid any real attention to in the last couple years were the ones in West Lebanon, New Hampshire and Salem, Ohio, and both of them were almost 50% AR-15 variants in the long gun department. Given the latest news, it would not surprise me to find out that Wally-World belatedly went long on AR-15s late in the panic and is now sitting on a several year supply at current purchase rates...

Words I never thought I'd use...

"The Mercedes team boss Niki Lauda…
Well there’s a name I never thought would make me blurt “You cowardly sniveling weasel!” It’s a shame to find out that lead foot was really clay all along.

Pusillanimity, thy name is Niki.

(Over in comments at WM, someone asked how posting video of shooting a different kind of rifle at a target range was "insensitive" to the victims of the train attack, to which I replied "It's an Herbivore Thing. You wouldn't understand.")

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Range Trip Part One-and-a-Half

I know I promised a Part Two of Monday's range trip yesterday morning, but that's been sort of overtaken by events. I went to the range again yesterday and that means that Monday's "Part Two" was turned into "Part One-and-a-Half" of a bigger story.

So, where were we? Oh, yes, I had just finished shooting the Remington and was about to start in on the Sig Sauer Elite Performance FMJ, provided for testing purposes by Sig...

The Sig Sauer offering features a flat-pointed 100gr FMJ bullet. I haven't yet chronographed it, but it sure felt like the zippiest FMJ offering I've yet tried in the little gun. It's certainly the heaviest bullet, with all the rest of the test ammo thus far being either 90 or 95 grain projectiles. Sig claims 910fps in their advertising, but doesn't state the barrel length from which that velocity was obtained.

Anyway, I settled down to loading magazines and shooting. It didn't take long for the BG380's new nemesis to raise its ugly head...

*BANG* *BANG* *click* Round number #103 of the day didn't ignite on the first try, but popped on the second. Then round #109 didn't go, and didn't go on the second try, either. Same with #113... and then #114... Before long, I'd covered the back of a Pet Supplies "Plus" receipt with my tale of woe. Was it the gun? Had it just gotten that dirty? Was it the ammo? Were the primers just harder than woodpecker lips?

"I was told there wouldn't be any math!"
Four rounds into the second box, having experienced a dozen light strikes, nine of which didn't respond to a second trip through the magazine, I threw up my hands in frustration and went home. This was going to require two things to diagnose properly: Another .380 pistol to give the Sig ammo the all-clear, and the previously reliable Fiocchi from Lucky Gunner to see how much of it was the BG380's fault.

This made 1235 rounds through the gun without cleaning or lubrication.


Jay's post I linked to yesterday, the one in which he came close to being cleaned off his stationary motorcycle by an Acura in the throes of a NASCAR-grade single vehicle accident, was extra sphincter-puckering for me in that it recalled a very specific incident almost fourteen years ago.

So, once upon a time, very shortly after I got the Z3, when Marko and I were still roommates...

Google "The Grove at Deane Hill" on Google maps. That was where our apartment was, in the top floor of the southwestern most building in the complex, overlooking the intersection of Morrell and Deane Hill. We got to see some pretty spectacular wrecks there as Morrell was downhill to the traffic light from both north and south, and people sped right along.
A: Normal, civilized place to watch wrecks, on a third-floor balcony. B: Bad place to watch wrecks. C: Wreck.
I was heading south on Morrell, coasting up to the traffic light in the turn lane with the top down on my shiny new roadster, when a Ford Ranger heading down the hill from the other direction apparently didn't notice they had a red light and clipped the front of the car making a left turn from Deane Hill.

I was then treated to the sight of a Ford Ranger going ass-over-teakettle, doing two complete bumper-to-bumper endos in midair before coming to rest maybe a dozen feet from my front left fender.

If it had landed in my lap, I don't think the fates would have given me bonus points for leaving the bike home that day.

The thing that sticks with me most was the time dilation effect. As that truck was flipping lengthwise through the air in my direction, a view we don't normally get unless it's being projected in two dimensions on a theater screen, I had plenty of time for a whole cascade of thoughts to run through my head. "Wow, they look bigger when they're vertical like that. Jeezis, his front bumper's gotta be three feet off the ground. He's going over a second time. How fast was he going? He must've been hauling ass and clipped the dude just right. He's gonna land on his wheels. Wonder which side he'll bounce over on?"
...and simultaneously the realization that the whole thing was happening so fast that by the time any processed information was converted into physical action by my hands and feet and then into motion by my vehicle, the whole thing would be over. I was essentially just a very interested spectator until physics finished having its way with its new play toy.


This new Trijicon sight intrigues me. I've had Aimpoints on my carbines for years now, a Comp M2 on my older one and a PRO on the newer gun. They're great optics but I've thought about switching to the smaller T1 because of size and bulk. But ai yi yi! The price!

Aimpoint PRO (top) and M2 (bottom)
This new Trij, with its MSRP in the mid fives, bodes a street price at your more competitive sellers that should go head-to-head with the PRO, which is pretty much the current bang-for-the-buck champ in red dot optics.

Trijicon's known for good gear, and life is too short for junk optics... It's tempting to start rolling my pennies and watching the longer term reports from Steve Fisher and Pat Rogers and others whose opinions I respect.