Friday, May 26, 2017

Twist my arm...

Bobbi got home from work tonight with a couple of bags from Fresh Market in her arms. "Do you want a baked potato with dinner?" she asked.

I sussed out the situation... "You got steaks? I was supposed to play World of Warcrack with Robin and J- and the Nerds at 8:00PM, but I can tell them I'll be late...only... Well, I was going to tell you when you got home that I was thinking about getting some steaks tomorrow so we could eat them while watching the last two episodes of the first season of The Expanse."

"I don't see a problem with that."

"You could eat steak two nights in a row?"

"If I'm buying one night and you're buying the next, I don't think it counts."

From conversation elsewhere...

"It's something of which I try and remain cognizant. Yeah, I've been to a bunch of gun school...for work. Yeah, I have a pretty relaxed dress code...because I write about guns for a living. 

Translating my experience to somebody who has to dress professionally in a No Guns Allowed cubicle farm and gets a couple precious weeks of vacation a year that they might want to blow taking the fam to Disney instead of taking Extreme Tactical Rollover Prone Room Clearing Level 3 is something I have to keep in mind. 

It's why I constantly check on what Claude is writing. He keeps me centered."

Good news and bad news...

On the left is Hornady's 147gr .355" XTP jacketed hollowpoint, a bullet not known for enthusiastic expansion at subsonic velocities. Shoved out of a 5.5" .357SIG barrel at about 1240 feet per second and this one expanded okay, even through four layers of denim. It penetrated a little over eighteen inches of Clear Ballistics gel, coming to rest a little ways into the second block.

The 125gr Remington Golden Saber Bonded .357SIG projectile on the right did likewise.

Thing is, though, so did several 9mm 124gr +P Federal HST bullets.

Maybe the .357SIG would have performed better than the +P 9mm through auto body sheet metal or windshield glass? Don't know, but these two bullets did pretty much the same thing in gel covered in four layers of denim...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bigger, Better, Faster, More?

Wilson Combat's loading of the 115gr Barnes all-copper TAC-XP bullet turned in very consistent performance in some informal testing through four layers of denim. Whether fired from the 3" barrel of the Chiefs Special 9, John's 4" Wilson X9 test gun, or the 5" (actually 5.31") barrel of a Glock 34, the bullets penetrated between 12 and 14 inches in a Clear Ballistics FBI block and expanded to look like advertising photographs.

Each inch of barrel just seemed to add about a half inch more penetration, and they all expanded fairly early
The top two are the Wilson-loaded 115gr +P 9mm bullets. The lowest one is a .45ACP 185gr +P Barnes TAC-XP from a Carry Comp 1911 built by Chuck Warner. It also penetrated 13" and expanded perfectly. The lead-cored projectile, provided for scale, is a 10mm Auto Critical Duty bullet that was pulled out of the second block, having penetrated about 20" of denim-covered gel.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


In picture: Dark Star Gear holster, Grayguns FCU, Boresight Solutions frame.
One neat consequence of the P320's modular nature is that you can test the effects of very specific changes, like the shape of the new X-series grip module. Same trigger, same top end, only the frame is different. Or you can, for example, swap back and forth between the factory Sig lockwork and the Grayguns-tuned FCU while keeping the rest of the gun the same.

It's pretty interesting. I'm grinding the numbers, and they'll be in the Shooting Illustrated article.

Keys, please.

So, the anti-theft immobilizer system used on Bimmers in the late Nineties and early Aughties basically involves...stuff. Transponders and rolling codes and things.

I've used a pre-FMVSS car as a daily driver before, a '67 Dodge Coronet. Prior to the 1968 model year, you didn't even have the whole "locking steering column" thing. The ignition switch was on the dashboard and, once you'd turned the key, you could take it out of the ignition and chuck it out the window at 72mph and the car would just keep running until the fuel pump sucked air. Then you'd have to get under the dash with some wire clippers the next time you wanted to go for a drive.

In the Zed Drei, on the other hand, the car is effectively bricked without one of the ten rolling transponder codes the EWS-III can recognize. This does make stealing the car a lot more difficult than it would have been to boost that old B-body Mopar, but it is not without its downsides.

Monday, May 22, 2017


I have a pretty distinct mental checklist I follow for emptying the car of stuff if I'm ever planning on needing to leave it overnight for service or whatever, but apparently I need a card in my wallet with a checklist for unplanned instances, like having to abandon it in Shootin' Buddy's garage until I get fresh keys.

This morning Bobbi asked if I was good for transportation, and I replied that of course I was. I could Uber to the Bimmer dealership and back and, if I needed to do any errands, this is Broad Ripple and I have a bicycle with ample baskets.

Then she left for work and I realized that my garage door opener is still clipped to the sun visor of the Zed Drei in Lafayette.

While it is still technically possible to get my bike out of the garage, and then out of the locked gates in the back yard, and then get everything all locked up again without having a garage door opener, it's pretty much a "missionaries & cannibals" exercise and too much hassle to be worth it except for dire needs.

Fortunately, Fresh Market and the various restaurants at 54th & College are a pretty easy stroll. Heck, the neighborhood is walkable enough that, if one worked from home, a car...or even a bicycle...wouldn't be absolutely necessary. I remember walking to the neighborhood grocery store with my grandmother in Chicago when I was in grade school; it was a little closer, but not much. She had a collapsible wire two-wheeled grocery cart to haul her goodies in... (Note to self: Grandma wasn't dumb. Look into one of those.)

It was a beautiful day for it, too. Low seventies and sunny. I grabbed lunch, a Chicago dog at Fat Dan's, before heading over to Fresh Market for groceries.

"It could be like this all year 'round and I wouldn't complain," I remarked to the cashier at Fresh Market.

"Yeah, but we couldn't afford to live anyplace with weather like this year 'round," he pointed out. "I'll shovel snow a few times a year in exchange for the nice low cost of living."

Fair point.

"How was your weekend, Tam?"

Now to get the title to the Zed Drei and Uber on over to the BMW dealership and get some new keys, because the spare key seems to have gone air-soluble between 2001 and now.
"There's all kinda preparedness stuff in here. There's a first aid kit with a spare TQ and chest seal, there's tools and Fix-a-Flat and electric tire pump, there's a flashlight and a pocket knife and a Glock..."

"You got a spare car key?"


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "What makes you think the video is Japanese?"

Me: "Because of the way they're folding that stuff. Look, in Japan, they've basically raised two things past 'art form' and clean into 'cultural obsession': Serving tea, and folding stuff really, really neatly."

RX: "There's also vending machines. And tentacle porn."
nb. My landlady wishes it to be known that awareness of the existence of tentacle porn is not the same as approval thereof.

Two Updates For the Price of One

Thursday I got the Glock 29 out to Atlanta Conservation Club where it was fed a box of Armscor 180gr FMJ. The gun ran fine for me, albeit I was concentrating on a firm grip. There was one round that experienced the light primer strike/OOB malfunction while Mike was shooting it. That was round number thirty-four of the day (#64 of the test.)

Friday morning saw the stubby Glock's date with the chronograph. It's often assumed by internet pontificators that, with its short 3.77" barrel, the Glock 29 launches 10mm bullets at .40 S&W velocities. Which is almost true...if you consider that it's launching 10mm bullets from a compact pistol at velocities that barely exceed similar loadings in a 6" barreled longslide Glock 24.

I'll go ahead and list the chrono data with two numbers in each row, the first being from the compact Glock 29 and the second from the full-size Glock 20:
Hornady 180gr XTP
LO: 1035  1109
HI: 1057  1127
AV: 1046  1118
ES: 22.70  17.78
SD: 8.36   6.32

Hornady 155gr XTP
LO: 1194  1290
HI: 1238  1321
AV: 1217  1306
ES: 43.78  30.70
SD: 12.60  11.31

Sig Sauer V-Crown 180gr JHP
LO: 1052  1158
HI: 1098  1215
AV: 1071  1168
ES: 46.41  57.46
SD: 15.62  16.88
The Armscor 180gr FMJ I hadn't chrono'ed out of the big gun or, if I did, I can't find the numbers right now, but it averaged 961.7fps from the Glock 29. That Bobcat 180gr JHP that caused the issues in the first range session, by the way, had averaged 1,225fps from the G20.

It looks like the G29 gives up as much as 100fps to the full-size gun, but is still steamier than .40 S&W out of full-size duty guns. And out of compacts? When I tested Speer 155gr Gold Dots in the Performance Center Shield .40 for Shooting Illustrated, they only averaged 1,063fps, compared to 1,217fps for the 155gr XTP's from Glock's baby ten.

During the chronograph testing there were no malfunctions, other than me choking way up on the gun and inadvertently causing the slide to lock back prematurely on round number thirty-six of the day (#116 of the test.) Since that was entirely me and not the gun, I'll note it here but not in the running tally.

This makes 120 rounds fired since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with six failures to feed (#2, #3, #12, #13, #22, #23) and seven failures to fire (#4, #7, #9, #15, #17, #26, #64). 1,880 rounds to go.

Does NBC have an alternate channel for Americans?

Oh my sweet Christ! After the week we've had, Meet the Press should have been just guaranteed entertainment.

Instead, those Manhattanite Euro-fellators at NBC have preempted it for a goddam British soccer game. Jesus wept, who cares if the Brightinghamshire Ponces can best the Twarfton-by-Blight Tea Cozies or not?

It will be many years before the majority of Americans view soccer as anything other than a participation trophy sport for eight-year-olds whose NPR-listening, Volvo-driving parents feed them muesli and won't let them play Pop Warner football.

Friday, May 19, 2017

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I might have mentioned finding this Gen4 Glock 29 sitting in the showcase at Premier Arms out in Brownsburg for a very attractive price. I used to tote a 29 'way back in the day, so there's a bunch of nostalgia wrapped up in the gun for me.

Further, the fact that it still had the copper-colored grease on the slide and that the extractor, breechface, and chamber hood were unmarred led me to suspect the gun was unfired. Should I put 2,000 rounds through it for the amusement of the internet? Sure, why not.

I lubed the gun on the factory-recommended lubrication points with Lucas Extreme Duty Gun Oil, which I selected because there happened to be a .5 oz. bottle of it on my desk at the time. I found a box with thirty leftover rounds of Bobcat Armament 10mm JHP in the trunk of the Zed Drei, and so I brought the 29 along when I took the XD-E to Indy Arms Co on Wednesday. I figured I'd shoot the XD for work and then the G29 for a bit of fun...

*BOOM!* I'd forgotten that Bobcat Armament, like most small ammo makers, feels obliged to load up 10mm Auto to NUKYULAR levels, lest it get mistaken for .40 Short & Weak. Consulting my notes, this stuff averaged 1,225fps out of my Glock 20. Recoil in the stubby little Glock 29 was, as the old saw goes, "brisk but manageable".

With the first shot, the grip torqued in my hand, I could feel the slide bottom out hard as the recoil spring fully compressed, and...failure to feed on the second round in the magazine. As a matter of fact, the second and third round did this in all three magazines. "You're limp-wristing!" Okay. Personally, I think my wrists were fine, but the gun was trying its best to get out of my hands; I'll cop to not having a Captains of Crush Grip...but should that be necessary to make a gun function?

The primers were well flattened and at the ragged edge of primer flow. This is hot ammo. You play at the edge, sooner or later, you fall off... (Sig Sauer's 10mm ammo only chrono'ed some 50fps slower and showed no pressure signs at all when I tried it in my 20, remember.)

Additionally, my favorite bugbear of hard-recoiling compact Glocks popped up: Light, off-center primer strikes caused by a failure to go completely into battery. This happened six times in thirty rounds. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Glock's reputation for reliability is built on their 9mm guns. The further away from the 17 you get, the more chance there is that there will be special issues. In the case of this range session, I'm perfectly willing to bet that if the ammunition were loaded more reasonably, the gun would have been a bunch less problematic.

Factory sights impacting high when I forget to align the plastic and not the paint...

This makes 30 rounds fired since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with six failures to feed (#2, #3, #12, #13, #22, #23) and six failures to fire (#4, #7, #9, #15, #17, #26). 1,970 rounds to go.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Overslept this morning, then wound up having to wait on ammo from FedEx dude before running to the range. I've got editors to make happy and not a word in my head. This is as vicious a case of writer's block as I've had in a while.