Monday, April 24, 2017

I can't say much, but...



...you can see me in the background in a few shots in this video. Springfield Armory will be unveiling a new handgun at NRAAM. I don't think that I'll get in trouble for saying that I legit thought it was cool.

Overheard at the range:
"Hey, Tam, did you shoot the dueling tree with Rob Leatham?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Dude, I've seen how this movie ends. Why do I need to sit through the whole thing?"
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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Can't gather any moss...

I have commented before that I've finally reached that age where People Magazine has somehow turned into Who Are These People? Magazine. So it was a moment of relief in the checkout line the other day to realize "Hey! I recognize the dude on the cover of People!"...

...followed by the immediate bringdown of realizing the only reason I recognize the dude on the cover of People is because he's been dead ten frickin' years now.
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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Today in History: Pax No More

So, people tend to confuse the Pax Romana with the period of history during which the Roman Empire existed, but that's not really how it worked.

The late days of the Republic and the period of civil wars that ended with Octavian as Augustus were anything but peaceful. The salad days stretched across most of the first two centuries AD, when transfers of power were mostly peaceful and when they weren't, they were at least brief and disrupted the life of the ordinary people of the empire very little. What wars there were happened out on the frontiers and Rome was generally victorious. The rule of law more or less functioned properly, and the aqueducts ran on time.

Omens of future problems came with the reign of emperor Joaquin Phoenix who (after going crazy and arranging for the murders of a bunch of senators) was not actually stabbed in the Coliseum by Russel Crowe, but rather was strangled in the tub by his wrestling coach and personal trainer.

There was a brief period of semi-stability under the increasingly silly and neurotic Severan Dynasty before the wheels came off in the Year of the Six Emperors, which kicked off the Crisis of the Third Century, a period when two centuries' worth of chickens came home to roost in Rome.

The crisis began when Maximinus Thrax, a "Barracks Emperor" who completely lived up to his anime villain name, got folks fed up. Some younger, well-to-do Romans in North Africa stabbed the local tax collector to death and talked the provincial governor into declaring himself emperor. Since the dude was an octogenarian, he nominated his son as his co-augustus.

Unfortunately the governor of the next province over not only remained loyal, but was a better general. The rebel army got crushed in the field at Carthage, killing the son (Gordian II), and on hearing the news, the dad pulled an Aaron Hernandez to avoid capture and execution.

On this date in 238AD, the senate then appointed a couple of elderly senators, Pupienus and Balbinus, with good military histories and prominent committee memberships (most importantly, both were ranking members of the What the Hell Do We Do About Emperor Maximinus Thrax Committee) as co-emperors.

This proved about as popular with the general populace of Rome as would the Senate suddenly appointing John McCain and Lindsey Graham as co-presidents to unseat Trump. The PR problem became apparent when the new co-emperors couldn't appear in public without people throwing stuff at them, and so the senate named the Justin Bieber-looking 13-year-old grandson of the recently-hanged Gordian I as Gordian III.

Anybody with a room temperature IQ could see that Balbinus and Pupienus were still in charge and the barely-pubescent Gordian was a figurehead, but the populace of Rome was mollified by this move, which doesn't speak much for their collective smarts.

Meanwhile, Maximinus Thrax was making his way from his home base in the Balkans toward Rome. He arrived at the city of Aquilea but, rather than welcoming him and resupplying his troops, the city shut its gates and forced a siege. With the senatorial army led by Pupienus closing in from Rome and supplies growing short, Maximinus Thrax wound up getting shanked by his own troops, along with all his family and staff.

With the guy with the anime villain name dead, McCain and Graham naturally started quarreling and plotting against each other. Before it could come to open war, the Praetorian guard killed them both and left Justin Bieber lookalike Gordian III sole emperor at the end of the year.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Seeming Dichotomy...

"Tam, you're so inconsistent! Just a few weeks ago you were talking about how if someone took a basic four-hour class, stuffed an LCP in a pocket holster every day, and made it to the range quarterly to make sure they still knew how it worked, they'd be way ahead of the game. 

Then yesterday you're talking about working on speed and buying yourself a timer and shaving half a second off your concealed draw to a 3x5 card. What gives? Which is it?"
I don't think there's a dichotomy at all. I think if you do all the stuff in the first example, you have probably immunized yourself against most sorts of random crime you're ever likely to encounter.

However you probably also don't have "gun owner" or "firearms enthusiast" as part of the terms you'd use to identify yourself and you probably aren't reading this blog. If you are reading this blog, it is very likely that those are terms you use to identify yourself and shooting is probably something you do for fun and more often than once in a very great while. If that's the case, wouldn't you want to be better at it?

I see the guys come into Indy Arms Co. two and three times a week, and they've been coming in since the store opened, and they're still scattering bullet holes all over a B27. They haven't improved one bit, and that's just foreign to me.

I mean, if you're only popping off a box of ammo every three months to make sure the gun works, that's one thing, but to grind out two or three hundred rounds of ammo a week and never see any improvement in your ability to hit what you're aiming at? At what point do you ignore your ego and admit maybe you might could take some lessons?
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Such a deal!

CDNN is a gun store in Texas that is also known as a purveyor of closeout and overstock merchandise that they apparently buy from manufacturers for dimes on the dollar and sell off via catalog sales. If you're looking for one of that limited run of Millard Filmore Commemorative Grade III engraved 28ga over-and-under shotguns from two years ago, chances are that CDNN has the remainder of the lot.

 So, I haven't mentioned it because I wanted to wait until a check cleared so I could buy one, but CDNN currently has Sig Sauer P250 Compacts in .22LR for $289.99. Not only do these things make use of regular P250/P320 holsters, but the fire control unit in the rimfire gun is the same as the FCU in the centerfire guns. This means that you could buy the .22 compact for a practice/play gun and a Caliber X Change kit in, say, subcompact .45ACP format...
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Local News: Hard(ish) Target & Start Snitchin'.

Another attempted gun store burglary using carjacked vehicles as battering rams happened last night here in Indy. They knocked the little entry foyer half off the front of Bradis guns out on the southwest side of town, only to be confronted with another, inner hardened steel entry door.

Like anybody raised on Hollywood, they tried to shoot that lock off, which appears to have only put a hole in the doorknob. Stymied, they then fled in the non-battering-ram vehicle.

One supposes that a larger vehicle and a more judicious choice of ramming points on the rather large half frame building and they probably would have made entry, but if they were smart, they'd have jobs and could just buy guns.

The easiest way to prevent crooks from using carjacked cars to break into gun stores would be to shoot them when they were trying to carjack the cars, of course, but I doubt Mayor Hogwarts will stumble across such an obvious solution.

Last night Mayor Hogswatch was giving the State of the City address and proposing a gun crime snitch line. See an illegal gun, call it in, and get $750 if they bring charges against the guy. "Hello, yes, gun snitch line? I see a guy with an illegal gun. Where? Right here at 38th & Post. He's sticking it in my face and telling me to get out of the car."

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

4/19, Part III...



"People like the militia have a whole bunch of crazy ideas... However, they have two pieces of truth in all the craziness. One is 'Look at what happened at Waco. And the government hid its mistakes and concealed its misdeeds.' And the other piece of truth is that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms made this attack on Waco because Koresh's followers had guns. And the militias have guns. So the militias have these two kernels of truth in all their craziness about our government: Waco, and the fear that the government will come after them because they have guns." -Dr. Alan Stone

4/19, Part II...

On this day in 1943, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began...
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4/19, part I...


"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world"

Happy Patriot's Day to each and every one of y'all. :)

Slow is slow. Fast is fast. Smooth is smooth.

So, the other day I ran across a defense of the old aphorism:
"Lately, I’ve seen a lot of criticism over “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”  I think part of it is that a lot of folks have seen, heard, or possibly even said that line without actually knowing what it meant."
I can assure oddball that many, if not most, of the critics are well aware of the meaning. The problem is with how it gets used in the broader firearms self-defense community.

My first class with ToddG was the single biggest light bulb moment of my shooting career. You see, actual performance tracking is not something you ran into in the defensive shooting community very often back in the day, and it's still not super common.

On the one hand you have the people who hit the range every month or so and spray an even distribution of holes across a B27 target and then excitedly point out the lucky ones that "would've hurt that dude for sure!" On the other hand you have the guys who profess their martial skills with the gun fu, and can indeed keep a reasonable group on a B8 repair center, but seem to be nowhere to be found when there's a timer around.

The best contribution Gamer culture makes to shooting is the lack of fear of people finding out how much you suck. It's the main reason a lot of folks avoid action pistol shooting or metrics-heavy classes: It's easy to talk like a ninja on the internet if nobody can look up your scores. If you compete, or attend the sort of classes where metrics are involved, your ego may take a hit when you find out that you're maybe not where you thought you'd be in the standings.

And the thing about getting faster is it's not a thing that happens naturally. It's a skill that needs to be learned, the same as accuracy. In fact, it is a harder skill to learn. Shooting accurately with a pistol in slow fire is not that difficult: Line up a good sight picture and then control the trigger straight to the rear without disturbing that sight picture and your bullet will impact right where you want it to, every single time.

And you do need to be smooth! Herky-jerky movements all add up to extra time. Watch a USPSA GM draw their pistol: There's no jerking or hunching of the shoulders. When an experienced IDPA competitor is reloading from concealment, their hand only goes far enough under their fishing vest to acquire the spare magazine, rather than blowing past the mag to dramatically clear the cover garment and then come back to the reload.

But shooting fast? You only learn how to do that by shooting fast; you won't know even know what fast is unless you feel it. And to do this, you have to give yourself permission to miss in practice. (There's a reason why dropped shots on the 3x5 of the FAST are a two-second penalty while you only lose a second for each dropped shot on the 8" circle.)

So if you're sitting there doing the same reps slowly and smoothly over and over, waiting for the magic of speed to somehow come along, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. I've heard more than one trainer mention that people don't need to be encouraged to shoot fast in a gunfight; they do that all by themselves. Well, the middle of a gunfight is a lousy time to try and pick up a new skill, right?

Me? I'm slow, but I'm getting faster. I managed a personal best on a clean FAST from concealment yesterday. I think I've got at least another second I can shave off that time just in the draw and reload...


We are diminished...

RIP, WeaponsMan...

One of the smartest and most clueful writers on firearms and history on the whole of the interwebs has passed away.

Kevin and I were infrequent email correspondents, and he was always complimentary and encouraging of my work. My last trip up to New Hampshire, we'd intended to meet for a beer and to shoot the breeze about guns and history, but a combination of procrastination and a bit of feeling under the weather caused me to put it off until the next trip.

Don't put things off until the next trip.
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It is finished.

Yesterday morning saw me at Marion County Fish & Game bright and early, with three hundred rounds of 9mm ammo and a grim determination to finish up the Wilson's ordeal so I could clean it.

This is weird. I normally don't care if a gun is filthy, but for some reason I want the Wilson to be all shiny and pretty.

And soon enough it was done. There were no malfunctions of any type to report, and I'd even saved that box of 124gr HST jacketed hollow points for last, to see if they'd function in maximum filth and dryness. Of course they did.

This gun has run like a sewing machine for 950 rounds of Winchester 124gr NATO Q4318 FMJ, 950 rounds of Speer Lawman 147gr FMJ, and 100 rounds of Federal 124gr HST ammunition with no cleaning or lubrication. The only malfunction was an underpowered near-squib round of Q4318 that left the empty case in the chamber. That one doesn't count against the gun, since it would have done the same in any other pistol. Nice QC, there, Winchester.

Would I trust this gun enough to carry it? Hell yes. Sample of one, and everything, but it's as reliable as any Glock or Sig I've tested, and way more so than the Canik or the Steyr were.

I'll take it apart this afternoon and get some closeups of the filth.
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Overheard in the Office...

RX: "What's wrong?"

Me: "I can't find it!"

RX: "Can't find what?"

Me: "Mas Ayoob sent me a review copy of his book, and I can't find where I put it."

RX: "Did you open the envelope?"

Me: "I read the book! 'Did you open the envelope?' That's a little harsh, don't you think?"

RX: "Well, sometimes people send you things and you don't open the envelopes."

Me: "They could be bombs!"

RX: "From Massad Ayoob?"

Me: "Good point."

RX: "Besides, that was long enough ago that any anthrax or smallpox would have died by now."

Hey, look!

A Brief History of the .38 Special as a People-Shootin' Cartridge, Part I...
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Skiffy.

I'm currently watching The Expanse (only three episodes in) and really digging it. That's some great big classic sci fi, there.

Speaking of which, TJIC has his SF novel ready for printing. Sample chapters are available for the reading. I liked what I read enough that I'll go ahead and order a copy of both books in dead tree.
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Outdoors, on my own...

Yeah, I spent some time outdoors in Vegas, but my schedule was on rails, it was all in a group, and that desert landscape always feels a little more like a movie set than actual outdoors. I guess it's the lack of trees and grass, which are normally the two most handy indicators that you're not inside anymore.

Today, though... Today is supposed to be chamber of commerce weather here in Hoosieropolis. Sunny and seventy-something degrees. Time to drop the top on the Zed Drei and drive out to Marion County Fish & Game and see if I can't finish out the last three hundred rounds on the Wilson test, and then maybe pedal the Broad Ripple SUV up into Broad Ripple Proper and get lunch at Brugge or the Brewpub or Public Greens.

I need some Vitamin D.
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Quick range trip...

Saturday morning I went to Indy Arms Co again, wanting to put at least a few rounds through the Wilson since the 2,000-round mark was so close and I was beginning to feel the urge to clean this poor gun, which is a novel sensation for me.

A hundred rounds of 147gr Speer Lawman went through the gun in a very quick range session. I'm probably going to hold off on replacing the front sight's light pipe until I clean the gun. The front end of it is filthy.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 1,700 rounds fired since the Wilson was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 300 rounds to go.
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Two hundred more...

Took the Wilson to Indy Arms Company along with two hundred rounds of Speer Lawman 147gr FMJ on Friday morning.

The group in the 8" circle should be labeled "150 rds".
Somewhere during a long string of fire in the first box of ammo, I noticed that the dot in the front sight wasn't glowing green anymore, but was instead a sort of target-colored circle. The fiber optic rod had been spit out after some 3,000 total rounds. This happens. It's why the sights ship with extra rods.

Kept shooting without a rod in the front sight.

During one long mag dump in the last fifty round box, my grip was starting to fall apart thanks to sweaty hands and lack of good physical conditioning. As I was shifting my hands around to rebuild my grip, my trigger finger said "Oh, that's a good sight picture!" and did its job. The result would be that low left shot. A good grip is important.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 1,600 rounds fired since the Wilson was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 400 rounds to go.
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Friday, April 14, 2017

Awwww, yissss!



C'mon and tease me some more!
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Have you noticed...

...that some of the people who got all overjoyed with the Navy delivering thirty tons of high explosives to Assad in half-ton increments one night the other week are now all in a hand-wringing tizzy over the Air Force delivering nine-and-a-half tons of high explosives to guerillas in Afghanistan all at once?
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Retro Shooting

The joke has been made that IDPA's rule set doesn't really reflect actual street carry guns so much as it does actual street carry guns of the early Nineties, and so it should be called Retro Action Shooting or something in recognition of this fact.

What would be cool would be if this were formalized into a ruleset with maybe a little cosplay added, the way Cowboy Action Shooting and its Wild Bunch and Zoot Shooter spinoffs have done.
  • I'm Too Old For This Shit Division: Must shoot from concealed. Style of sports coat can vary. Revolvers or subcompact single stacks that are era-appropriate. PPKs, J-frames, or you can rock a Model 29...

  • Welcome To The Party, Pal Division: Unconcealed (Concealment Optional.) Large capacity autos permitted. Make sure any Wayfarers are ballistic-rated.

  • Ross Seyfried Division: Single-stack "open" guns circa '80s-early '90s. Bootie shorts, tube socks, porn staches, and foam-front meshback trucker hats are mandatory. Adhesive pornstaches (or faux beards to hide "superface") are allowed for participants unable or unwilling to grow their own facial spinach.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Super power...

Here under the yellow sun of Pacific Time, I have the super power of waking up super early with no problems.

It's cool being out of bed at 5:30AM, wide awake and feeling guiltily like you overslept.
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Viva Las Vegas

Gotta be out front of the hotel at 8AM for the shuttle to the range, so not a lot of late night Vegas-type shenanigans tonight.

Also no "On The Road" nightstand picture because everybody's seen a flashlight and a clock radio. I decided to see how the other half flies again, since Nevada doesn't hardly recognize nobody's toter's permit and I'm only here basically one day and two nights.

My trite EDC pocket dump photo right now would be Manhattan-legal, unless they have some sort of flashlight butthurt there of which I am unaware.
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Monday, April 10, 2017

Sunday Shooting

Put another hundred rounds of 147gr Speer Lawman through the Wilson on Sunday morning at Indy Arms Co.
These targets always bugged me. Dude's hand is obscuring a big chunk of his A-zone, so I shot around it, or tried to.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 1,400 rounds fired since the Wilson was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 600 rounds to go.
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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Another hundred in the books...

Saturday morning I got out to Indy Arms Co. with both the Sig X-Carry and the Wilson again. Fifty rounds of American Eagle 115gr FMJ through the Sig and a hundred of Speer Lawman 147gr ball through the Wilson.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 1,300 rounds fired since the Wilson was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 700 rounds to go.
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Saturday, April 08, 2017

Tab Clearing...

Automotif CXXXIV...

A fairly rara avis, especially just out and running about as what looks to be a more-or-less daily driver. This would be an '84 Ford Mustang SVO. Developed in the early '80s when it was feared that oil embargoes and gas crises and EPA regs spelled the certain death of the V-8, the SVO was an attempt at pioneering a credible performance future with four bangers. It was as much a technology demonstrator as it was a production model, a sort of blue collar Porsche 959.

In addition to an intercooled turbo four that pumped out 175 bhp in the debut year (205 in the subsequent model year) it had new aero body styling cues that would become standard across the Mustang line. It was the first Fox-body Mustang with 5-lug wheels and featured a revamped suspension. Car and Driver testing of an '85 model turned up a zero-to-sixty time of 6.8 seconds, a top speed of 129mph, and .79 G's on the skidpad; all numbers pretty much equivalent to the contemporary carburetted V-8 model and not too far off my own 2.8L BMW Z3 from a decade and a half later.

The odd-looking headlights are because the '84 SVO was to debut flush aero headlight covers for the Mustang, but DOT approval didn't arrive in time for production. (Yes, kids, Uncle Sam used to protect us from the dangers of headlamp covers.)

Shooting proceeds apace...

More range time with the P320 X-Carry test gun for Shooting Illustrated yesterday, and another hundred rounds through the Wilson for the blog...

A total of 150 rounds fired, a hundred through the Wilson and fifty through the Sig. I'd developed a bad habit of "prairie dogging", or looking over the sights rather than through them, and had been working to correct it, since it causes shots to run low. The problem vanished with the Wilson but the X-Carry continued to shoot a little low rather than a lot. I think this is one of the range guns from SHOT, judging from the sticker on the box; I remember it having that issue there, too.

The Wilson continues to run like a sewing machine.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 1,200 rounds fired since the Wilson was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 800 rounds to go.
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Friday, April 07, 2017

Past the halfway mark...

Another two-hundred round session with the Wilson at Indy Arms Co yesterday morning...

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 1,100 rounds fired since the Wilson was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 900 rounds to go.
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I've lost my scorecard.

I watched the news today, oh boy...


Thursday, April 06, 2017

Pew Pew Pew!

Another session Wednesday morning at Indy Arms Co. with the Wilson 9mm.

Two hundred rounds over the course of about twenty minutes. Trying to move the trigger a little faster. It's a good way to diagnose grip errors, I'll give it that...

One hundred rounds of Speer Lawman 147gr at fifteen feet and one hundred of the Winchester NATO at twenty-one.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 900 rounds fired since the Wilson was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 1,100 rounds to go.
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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Seriously?

Generally I prefer the sort of instructors that I would want to subpoena in the legal morass after a self-defense shooting. I try and avoid the ones that the prosecution will want to subpoena.

Put your lawyer on danger pay, Gabe.
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Well, I figured it out.

What happened to my knee, I mean.

See, part of the curse of being tall is that your feet hang off the edge of the bed rather often.

Apparently, Monday night I slept on my left side, with my left leg straightened to the point that the knee was locked out straight. And the toes of my left foot were hooked over the end of the mattress, holding the leg in place. And then just add slight downward pressure from my bent right knee to the side of my hyperextended left knee for a few hours.

Not a lot of pressure, but steady pressure pushing the joint in a direction it's not supposed to go, with the leg locked in place. While I slept.

It feels a little better today. And the aspirin this morning is a lot more effective than the aspirin yesterday morning, but I'm still going to limit my activities today to a quick range trip.
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Huh.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Rounding up...

Yesterday morning found me back at Indy Arms Co. with the Wilson, to bump the round count up some more...
The top group was at five yards and the bottom at ten yards. I wasn't using the Shotmaxx and wasn't really rushing. Probably a pretty lazy .7-1.0 pace, just emptying the mags.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 700 rounds fired since the Wilson was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 1,300 rounds to go.
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Jeezis...

My left knee is just amazingly sore.

Thankfully it's not the stabbing pain like at SHOT, it's more of an ache with the occasional technicolor twinge.

Staying off it. About to take a long, hot Epsom salt tub soak.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Hey, look!

A thumbnail sketch of some of the training blocks from the first day of Tac-Con '17!
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Sunday Range Day

Sunday's range trip had three goals:
  • Function-checking the Apex trigger in the G37.
  • Checking the installation of the Trijicon HD XR sights on the G32.
  • Putting some more rounds through the Wilson on the way to 2k.

The trigger on the 37 worked fine, and I experienced a light bulb moment that should have been obvious in retrospect, but which will have to wait for a later post.

The rear sight on the 32 need to be nudged slightly to the right.

There were no malfunctions of any type to report with any of the three pistols.

This makes 600 rounds fired since the Wilson was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 1,400 rounds to go.
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You keep using that word...

Indiana's liquor laws are pretty good. You can go to the grocery store or the Walgreen's and grab a bottle of Jack Daniels off the shelf with less drama than it takes to buy Sudafed, for which you must carry a token to the pharmacist and sign a log and stuff because meth.

About the only notable laws are the prohibition on the sale of alcohol for off-premises consumption on Sundays (with the exception of beer purchased at the craft brewery) and the somewhat unusual prohibition of the sale of cold beer at grocery stores, convenience stores, and drug stores. You can sell chilled white wine in these places, but cold malt beverages are right out. Like any time there's a weird law in Indiana, I blame John Dillinger.

There's a good run-up to repealing this law pretty much every legislative session these days, but the state liquor store association, who has the monopoly on cold beer sales, defends their iron rice bowl tenaciously with lobbying and campaign contributions.

Enter a couple convenience stores of the local chain, Ricker's.

Like a lot of convenience stores, they have a little restaurant area with a couple tables for seating. They serve made-to-order food, they're a restaurant, ergo...cold beer sales were allowed in these Ricker's.

"Oh, no, no, no!" say state legislators, with the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers' collective hand up their poopers, opening and closing their mouths. (IABR will drink cold beer while the Senators say this. It's good ventriloquism.)

So there's a hasty scramble at the statehouse to close this loophole, with "loophole" meaning "someone doing something perfectly legal that I don't like."

Thing is, the proposed patch can't just stop Ricker's, because that would be a bill of attainder and un-American. Instead, they figure the proper American way to stifle this business competition would be to reclassify a "restaurant" for purposes of alcoholic beverage sales as someplace that derives at least eighty percent of its revenue from food and beverage sales. So, if it passes, good bye to alcohol sales in movie theaters, bowling alleys, golf course clubhouses...

Laws and sausages.


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Sunday, April 02, 2017

From an away game...

I spent most of the weekend writing for work. I'm, like, 3,600 words down with another 2,800ish to go in the next couple days, plus a trip to FedEx to get the pistol winging on its way. In the meantime, here are some recycled words from a conversation elsewhere...


I stole this from Kathy Jackson. If she got it from someone else, I don't remember who it was, so I'm crediting her...

So, imagine this island. The dry land starts at the beach and gently slopes upward. The farther inland you go, the higher the ground gets, but the steeper the slope becomes. Most of it only requires a pair of shoes, but if you keep going inland and upward, the slopes get steeper and eventually you may need specialized gear and training. But the climbing is fun, and some people buy the shoes and ropes and pitons and make a hobby of it.

Just putting your shoes on and walking off the beach will probably save you from 90% of the tsunamis that are going to come along. If you're way up on the mountain, it's going to take a really rare world-ender of a tsunami to affect you. How much time and money do you feel like spending mountain climbing? If you're doing it out of a pure risk-benefit calculus as opposed to because you just like mountain climbing, probably not a ton.

Similarly, I remember when the "zombie apocalypse" thing started rearing its head among survivalists (now called "preppers") some twenty years ago as basically a shorthand joke: "If you're prepared for the dead to rise from their graves and walk the earth in search of human brains, then a week without power after a hurricane should be a doddle."

This constant assertion that if people haven't taken a refresher Tactical Disruptive Combat Pistol III every year, shoot IDPA once a month, and carry a Roland Special with a two spare mags, a handheld light, a blowout kit, and a BUG, then they just aren't serious about self-protection is actively counterproductive in the wider shooting world.

"Putting on your shoes and walking off the beach" is carrying a gun...any gun...daily, getting at least a basic half-day class in when and how it may legally be used, and getting to the range with it at least twice a year to maintain some basic level of comfort with its use. If somebody does that, they are SO FAR ahead of the curve, statistically speaking. The majority of gun owners don't have carry permits. The majority of the ones who do, don't carry on anything like a regular basis.

If somebody's debating whether or not they can work an NRA Personal Protection Outside the Home class and daily carry of a P3AT into their budget and lifestyle, and you tell them that they might as well not even bother unless they're willing to dump a few thousand dollars and so much time that they'll have to give up one of their existing hobbies, like bass fishing or golf, then guess what they're not going to do?

Now in here, it's a different story because we're all a bunch of gun dorks who think this stuff is fun and it is our hobby. But sometimes we get into a lot of ego defense in trying to make our expenditure of vast amounts of time and money seem absolutely necessary for survival. (Most of us even acknowledge this with the whole "killed on the streets" joke.)

[We] repeatedly cite Tom Givens' database (which is in fact a gold mine of data.) Ask Tom how many of those sixty-some people were what you'd call "hobbyists" and how many had been to just a basic CCW or his introductory pistol class.
Now, do I think it would be awesome if lots of people got super serious about self-defense? Hell, yes I do. But that's for the next post...
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As I suspected...

...the rear sight on the Glock 32 needs to be nudged to the right just a teeny bit.

Everything ran fine, as one would expect.

Nice enough outside to drop the top on the Zed Drei on the way home from the range.
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Saturday, April 01, 2017

Gun stuff...

Ammo arrived from SGAmmo, a case of 9mm Speer Lawman 147gr, a 300rd battlepack of 115gr PMC Bronze, and another 500rd sleeve of Winchester Q4318. I'm normally a pretty loyal Lucky Gunner customer, but the blowout price on the 147gr Speer was hard to pass up.

Last night I got the Zev Fulcrum out of the Glock 37, replacing it with an Apex trigger purchased from Brownells, and installed a set of Trijicon HD XR sights on the Glock 32. Range trip tomorrow to see how everything works. Bobbi says she might come along, too.

Vroom.

Somebody in the neighborhood has obviously been working on getting their bike up and running for the season.

It's blasted around the block a couple times now and is currently idling a few houses down across the street. It's not a V-twin, nor a boxer twin, either. It's a fairly big four-cylinder, I think, although it could be an inline triple.

When the temperature and humidity are like this and it's pitch-black night outside, and I hear that noise, I will be forever cast back to that Georgia night sitting astride the GPz550 we just bump-started, blue high-beam and green neutral indicators glowing up at my helmet...

"Do I know how to ride this? Of course I do!"

Of course I didn't.

But that just made it all that much more fun.
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Friday, March 31, 2017

COMING SOON!


Supposedly the next generation ones will be cheaper. These first-gen ones stabilize the camera against bullet spin with a gyro and tiny bearing races, but the next gen will use software correction to remove the spin from the video and bring the cost down by a projected $3.69/rd.

The current ones are so expensive because the tiny bearing races have to be assembled by hand by nearsighted orphans in Pakistani sweatshops who have both the vision and the tiny, dextrous hands to do the work.
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Automotif CXXXIII...

An Italian-styled, British-built Grand Tourer with big-block Mopar power under the hood. The 440 in this Jensen Interceptor III sounded glorious as it roared out of the parking lot and onto College Avenue...
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Hell on Earth...

When I lived there, by most metrics Atlanta traffic was considered some of the worst in the nation, its rush hour snarls only exceeded by LA and the DC area. I am given to understand that in the intervening years the Houston metro area has gotten itself into that list of dubious honor, but that doens't make traffic in the ATL any more fun.

It was like a force of nature. You just accounted for it in the way you planned your life, to the extent that once I lived in-town, if I couldn't find work within a mile or two of home, I sought work outside the perimeter so that my commute was against the flow of traffic, rather than stuck in the gridlock.

This plan went awry when I got a job working evenings at Lawrenceville Airport. To compensate, I would leave home two hours before I had to clock in and arrive an hour and a half before my 6PM start time, rather than gamble on leaving an hour before my start time and arriving late.

This all came back to me seeing the I-85 fire in Atlanta, which is right where I got on the interstate at the start of my commute.

One thing about Atlanta commutes is that they're long. Mile-wise, the average Atlanta resident used to have a longer commute than any other major metro, although I don't know if that's changed.

A) Dahlonega, B) Atlanta Airport, C) Lawrenceville Airport, D) Pilot's house in SC, E) My apartment, F) Gun shop
When I worked third shift at the convenience store where Roswell Road crossed I-285, one of my morning regulars was a woman who was stopping to get coffee on her commute from Dahlonega to the Atlanta Airport. Go look at that on a map. When I worked at Lawrenceville Airport, one of our pilots commuted from his home just across the South Carolina state line. My own commute at the time, from home to gun store to airport to home, was 100 miles a day.
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High and Low

Weird dream last night.

Lots of time in airports and airplanes. At one point I was on an empty jet with the chief pilot from my days at the corporate flight department. He was flying the thing and I kept getting up out of the right seat and running back into the empty cabin, running from window to window to gawk at all the other planes in a sky that was inexplicably as crowded as the ceiling in the Udvar-Hazy museum.

When we landed, instead of taxiing we somehow flew along the taxiways at about 35mph and 10' AGL, in violation of all kinds of laws of physics.

At the airport, there was a crafting class going on in a disused meeting room. Jennifer was making these cool beaten-silver bracelets. I tried my luck at pottery and I know it was a dream because my vases were turning out more or less vase-shaped instead of the sad, kiln-fired, glazed turd shapes that have traditionally been the result of me turning my hands to the clay.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Holler Points...

Yesterday saw probably the last range trip with the M&P M2.0 before sending it to Fairfax for glamour shots. While I was at it, I put a box of 124gr HST through the Wilson because everybody knows that 1911s...especially 9mm 1911s...have difficulty feeding jacketed hollow points, right?

The Wilson ran just fine with the HST's, of course...

This makes 550 rounds fired since the pistol was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 1,450 rounds to go.
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From an Away Game...

From discussion elsewhere...
This is the single best thing about striker fired handguns. Like rifles, nobody can tell at a glance if they're cocked or not. If an exposed hammer is to the rear, it doesn't matter to the spring, but everybody from Sergeant Major Smith to Cletus the Hillbilly Hunter just HAS to lower that hammer because...apparently they think it's doing something bad to the spring?

People don't blink at soldiers running around with loaded, cocked rifles on safe, but let someone see the hammer back on a holstered 1911 in an institutional environment and everyone gets the vapors.

My carry 1911s were never un-cocked for most of a decade. Get ready to go to bed at night, pull cocked pistol out of holster and place in safe. Get dressed in the morning, remove pistol, still cocked, from safe and holster up. Lather, rinse, repeat from 2003 to 2011. The only time they were not cocked is if they were apart for cleaning or actually in the act of busting a cap.
True story: When 26-year-old me was first working in a gun store, we had probably a hundred long guns...shotguns, hunting rifles, Evil Black Rifles, et cetera...racked vertically along the wall behind the counter. At night, before locking up the shop, I would go down the row "making sure they weren't cocked" by pulling triggers on the racked rifles. Wouldn't want those springs staying cocked overnight!

They were unloaded, right?

26-year-old me was a fool.
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wrapping up...

Went to Atlanta Conservation Club to do some more shooting, including accuracy testing, with the M&P M2.0 yesterday.

I dragooned Mike Grasso into shooting the Smith off the sandbags I ordered to replace my plastic rest, which was kinda "meh" and only really transports easily in the Subaru. I was not dipleased with the gun's accuracy.
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"No, really..."

Any cop you know can tell you the story about the time that he or one of his buddies at work was conducting a pat-down of a suspect and found a bundle of dope in the dude's trousers, only to be told with a straight face "These aren't my pants!" Which is such a lame excuse that it's a wonder anyone would try and tell such a whopper...

Well, apparently there's an exception that proves the rule.

Now, personally, I think that The War on The Fourth Ame...er, Drugs needs to go away and quit trying to burn the village to save it, but at the same time, given the current climate in the narcotics trade, dealing cocaine out your master bedroom closet in a sketchy neighborhood while raising a kid in the house is showing a cavalier indifference toward that kid's well-being.

One of the hardest parts about writing my "Good Guys Win" column for S.W.A.T. Magazine is trying to ensure that any reported home invasions are not actually Bad Guy-on-Bad Guy incidents, and I'll bet I only bat about .750. The vast majority of home invasions are either on dope dealers or at least think they're invading a dope dealer's home.
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #162...

M&P M2.0 at the range yesterday.
The PMC Bronze 115gr ran the gun fine, but was typical of standard-pressure bulk 9mm range fodder these days: Average velocities were solidly subsonic. This sort of weak-ass ammo runs okay in Glocks, M&Ps, and Sig P320s in my experience, but there are also guns it gives fits.

Meanwhile, the standard pressure 124gr HST was a good 100fps faster, on average, and cycled the gun with authority.
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Truth In Advertising...

I like it when Facebook groups are up front with the "TAMARA KEEP OUT" stuff...

"No, dude, I'm not calling your Barska scope a wretched pulsating ball of suck and fail because I'm a snob, I'm calling it that because that's what it is."
Some things are just destined to end in tears and are better off not even begun. We're all better off if a big ol' Meanie McMeaniepants like me doesn't even begin that one.
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Monday, March 27, 2017

Great training on sale!

From my friends at Citizens Defense Research, get two people trained for the price of one! Take yourself and a loved one to class for the cost of one person (or be selfish and take the class yourself and use the free chair in another, later class)!
FLASH SALE
From now until Monday at 11:59PM EST we are a running a BUY ONE GET ONE free sale on the Alliance Ohio iteration of the entire 16 hour block of instruction of our Contextual Handgun: The Armed Parent/Guardian curriculum being held April 1-2.
This offer is only good for the entire 16 hour block of instruction ($450) and only for the Alliance class. Once you signup you can contact us with your order number, and who you would like to have attend the class with you, and we will add them to the roster at no additional cost (We're even covering the additional range fees). If you don't have someone you'd like to come with you, then we will issue a voucher to you to attend an additional class at a later date, free of charge.
This class is for people who have kids, or anyone interested in learning how to manage/protect non-combatives (not necessarily just children) in a violent encounter.
To signup please click the signup button and select the $450 ticket option.
See yah next weekend!
Here are some class reviews that are newer than mine: Primary & Secondary, Beauty Behind the Blast.

Signup link is HERE.
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The more work-y sort of range time...

Chrono work in the morning with the M&P M2.0. It's time to start wrapping this up so I can ship the gun off to the mothership for some photography.

I'll be headed to the range tomorrow to do another hundred rounds of assorted blasting, which is fun, and then chrono work, which is meh. I need to go ahead and make sure I have some ammo laid out for the test numbers: three different bullet weights from three different manufacturers is ideal. (And I need enough of each to do a ten-round chrono string and five 5-shot groups at 25 yards.)

Tuesday will be the 25-yard groups and probably a couple runs through the short course of fire just to serve as a benchmark.
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Sunday, March 26, 2017

The shallow end of the word mines...

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "Oh, my God! The cat just wandered over to my chair, gazed adoringly up at me, floated an air biscuit, and then wandered back off across the room."

RX: "Cats don't really fart all that often. Are you sure you're not smelling natural gas?"

Me: "There is nothing natural about this smell."

Bloggery has occurred at the other blog...

Gasp! Two Sunday Smiths in a month!
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Random Musing...

Saturday, March 25, 2017

I'm tired.

Or rather my car is.

Friday I stopped at the local tire mart and left the Zed Drei there while I walked with my range bag across the street to Indy Arms Company for some pew-pew-pew with the M&P M2.0 review gun.

200 rounds through the M&P and a short wait back at the tire place later, I had a new set of skins on the Zed Drei...for about the price of a good deal on an HK P30. Yikes.

Both rears were pretty well worn on the inboard sides, and a smarter person likely would have replaced them before a 1,200-mile round trip, but I never claimed to be all that bright. Further, the driver's side front had a very slow leak in the "no repair" zone.

Due to the fact that rears wear so much faster on the Zed Drei*, and the fact that I'm a starving artist, I usually only replaced the tires on one end of the car at a time, and that when strictly necessary**. Fortunately, I'd just gotten paid, so now the Z3 has the same brand of front and rear tires for...wow, for the first time since probably 2004. No wonder this feels kind of like a big deal to me.

*And since front and rear are different sizes and wear directional tires, there's no rotating the tires, either.
**With the Z3 2.8's wheel sizes, your choices are a few varieties of cheap-ass tires that wear like RugRite carpet and are as sticky as oiled cue balls, or Ultra Super Sport tires. Like the joke backronym goes, "Bring Money With".

Thursday...

I spent Thursday morning at Atlanta Conservation Club with Mike Grasso, working on our Quick & Dirty Course of Fire, intended to be used as a future evaluation tool in gun reviews.

The guns in the picture were the ones we were using as benchmarks, his P226 SAO Legion and my Robar Gen2 Glock 17. It was in the high 30s and windy when we first got there, and I did not cover myself in glory initially, only shooting 248 points on a 300 point course. I tried with frozen fingers and I tried with glove liners, and neither was super satisfactory.

Some of it is that I have a hard time adapting to traditional timed courses of fire, allowing myself to use up all the allotted par time to get the best shots, rather than finishing five seconds early with a couple of nines and eights.

Some of it was that I really need to work on my transitions; I was swinging the gun and my eyes at the same time, rather than leading with my eyes and then bringing the sights to my eye line. Some more time in dry-fire on that will help, plus now that it's warming up I'll be getting more time on the steel plates in the bays at MCF&G.
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Friday, March 24, 2017

A quarter done...

Wednesday morning saw me at Indy Arms Company with the Wilson and four boxes of the Winchester 124gr NATO ammunition. I wanted to work on speed on smaller/farther targets. I think, judging from what was happening in longer strings of fire, I have some serious grip issues to work on.

After a hundred rounds at the lower 8" circle at the fifteen yard line and fifty at the 3x5 from seven, I brought it back in to three yards and just worked on trying get good trigger presses on the 2" circles. That dropped shot is annoying.

There were no malfunctions of any kind to report.

This makes 500 rounds fired since the pistol was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 1,500 rounds to go.
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Awkward!

So, I'm rolling through Arkansas between Little Rock and Memphis on I-40 eastbound. The cruise control on the Zed Drei is set at 80, a speed that has me passing probably nine vehicles in ten, leaving that tenth vehicle to get pulled over for driving too fast.

I'm passing a couple clumps of vehicles in the right lane and I see another ahead that's far enough that I could probably duck into the right lane for a little bit, but a check of the rear-view mirror shows nobody closing on me. So I stay in the left lane as I slowly overtake the pair; a little Korean hatchback bobbing in the wake of an eighteen wheeler.

As I slowly close the gap, the hatchback decides he's seen enough of this particular truck's ass, and signals left. I'm far enough back, and my rate of overtaking is low enough, that I just turn off the cruise control and pop the high beams twice, indicating that it's cool for him to cut over in front of me.

Suddenly his turn signal cuts off and he lunges back into the right-hand lane. Had he not seen me initially?

I pop the high beams three or four more times, as if to say "No, seriously, it's cool. Come over..." when I glance across the median and see the reason for his abortive pass: Three Arkansas staties have someone pulled over and a fourth is rolling up on the scene. And here I have been frantically flashing my high beams like a prat for something completely unrelated to the presence of the po-po, who all now no doubt think I'm That Driver.

Not gonna lie, I pulled my wallet out and set it on the console, and I was nearly to the outskirts of West Memphis before I stopped expecting a pissed-off ASP Charger to come barrelling up my tailpipe, lights ablaze.

"You're totally not going to believe this, officer, but..."
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Still not killed in the streets.

Tuesday morning I was back at it with the Wilson at Indy Arms Co. Because I dropped a couple shots at the 15 yard line at the match, it was time to do more shooting at fifteen yards.

I promptly dropped a couple shots at the fifteen yard line, here, too. Incidentally, the shooting at the 3x5 at five yards and the eight-inch circle at fifteen were both at approximately the same speed. The target says I could have been going a little faster at five, but was going about as fast as I could at fifteen...

There were no malfunctions of any type to report.

This makes 300 rounds fired since the pistol was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 1,700 rounds to go.
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The most Australian thing ever...



This dude makes Jackass look like the Teletubbies.

Also: Australian taxpayers saved this man's arm. If that's not an argument against socialized medicine, I don't know what is.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Arrived safely...

That's a piece of a drive.

Last time I drove through Little Rock (on my way to Texas) I detoured via Louisville/Nashville/Memphis, which adds a good hour to the drive. Now, six years later, Illinois will let me CCW through their state...as long as I don't get out of the vehicle with my gat.

So I topped up the tank in Terra Haute on the way down and Charleston, MO on the way back, and set the cruise control at only two or three over while in the Land of Lincoln, so as to avoid any imperial entanglements.

Homeward Bound...

Heading back to Indy after an action-packed weekend.

Oh, and this is a thing that happened.Don't know how I placed overall yet, but apparently way better than I thought I would.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

#W_K__SF_CK

Weekend stuff...

 Parking on the DARC campus Friday morning...

 This is not the typical outdoor range...

One of many training blocks available: "Pocket Poppers" class for techniques specific to snubbies & pocket .380s, deployed from a pocket or ankle holster, from Chuck Haggard at Agile/Training & Consulting.
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Friday, March 17, 2017

That was weird...

Rolling down the interstate at eighty, the half-dead audio system in the Zed Drei was fighting with the wind noise in the top to be heard.

I had no idea what the local stations were, and hit something via "scan". I didn't have it turned up loud, so hearing any real detail in the music was out of the question. I could basically make out the rhythm track and the occasional guitar chord. Vocals? The DJ between songs? Drowned out by wind noise and static.

At first, I thought it was a "classic rock" channel. I was pretty sure that was a Def Leppard song, and that was Whitesnake, and that was maybe the Eagles? But that seemed kinda like Toto, circa IV...and that sure seemed like Katy Perry...

Then I got deeper into broadcast range for the station, the signal got stronger and the static went away and I turned the volume up a little...I'd been listening to a "country" station. Huh.
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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Going faster...

Back to the range with the Wilson yesterday morning. I fired a magazine at the top left 2" circle at five yards, then ran the target out to seven yards and shot the remainder of the first box at the 3x5 card. Since there was nobody else on the pistol lanes, I decided to use the remaining box to go ahead and flout the speed limit a little.

Now, bear in mind that I am slow as molasses and a .30 split on an 8" circle at 21 feet is blazing fast for me. And that one was a hit, as were a couple .31's...

So, about five of those are legit misses on the 8" circle, which shows that I was indeed pushing my speed. And that pushing my speed is still pretty darn slow.

But, hey, I'm not going to get faster unless I try to get faster. I don't mind those misses on the 8" circle at all. (But those two dropped shots on the 3x5? Those chap my ass.)

There were no malfunctions of any kind to report.

This makes 200 rounds fired since the pistol was last cleaned or lubed, with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 1,800 rounds to go.
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "You know, the TV news is more interesting when your brain fills in the half-heard syllables from a couple rooms away. I'm pretty certain Matt Lauer didn't just say 'Frank Lloyd Wright, twelve gauge assassin. Ai yi yi yi yi! Mexico.'"

Next Test

So, I hadn't actually done a 2,000 round test on the Wilson Combat Tactical Carry Professional. The gun came as a review gun for a magazine article, and while I document the shooting of those for the purposes of the article, I don't make the sort of day-by-day updates on the blog that accompany a 2k round test. I put 1,700 rounds through it before sending it off to the magazine for glamor shots for the article, where it was obviously cleaned.

It came back, I sent Wilson a check, and have since put another 25 rounds through it in the service of some chrono and accuracy testing for an ammo company. I gave the gun an extra good glorping of Lucas Oil on the rails, barrel hood, and muzzle end, and let's go 'head and put a couple cases of ammo through it for the amusement of the internet, hey?

Dat Winchester QC, doe. Soot along case is from the round not having enough pressure to properly obturate.
MALFUNCTION! Only not the gun. Round #29 went *pop* instead of *BANG!*. The slide didn't fully cycle, and had to manually eject the spent case. With the slide locked to the rear, I shone my flashlight into the muzzle end, worried that the bullet might still be in the barrel. Fortunately I could see light through the ejection port; the projectile had had enough steam to exit the bore.

Several people had mentioned experiencing a downturn in QC with Winchester ammo. This is the fourth 500-round case of Winchester Q4318 ("NATO 124gr +P FMJ") and I hadn't had any problems up to this point...

Sigh. Both Remington and Winchester have seen their ammo QC go in the toilet recently. Hornady and Federal/Speer/CCI still remain my go-to choices. Sig's new ammo line appears righteous thus far, as well.

The gun is just stupid easy to shoot. The rounds in the 8" circle were fired at about a .55-.66 second split pace, and it seemed pretty languid. I imagine this would be a great gun on which to learn to shoot fast. An all-steel 9mm 1911 is like shooting on Easy Mode.

This makes 100 rounds fired with one FTE not charged to the gun at round #29. 1,900 rounds to go.
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