Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tactical Boogeyman...

You know that urban legend that goes around every now and again, the one about the ankle-slashing [rapists/carjackers/gang initiates] that are supposedly lying in wait under cars in parking lots to slash the Achilles tendons of women as they unlock the driver's side door?

Well, the tactical version of that is the "spent brass in the pockets" legend.
.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Apparently making stuff is bad.

CNN says that people who make things don't want their kids to make things.

Apparently making things is such a lousy way to make a living that only foreigners should be allowed to do it. No decent American should have to sully their hands with productive labor by actually building stuff; instead, get a Master's in Barista.
.

Awkward dream...

So I had this dream last night that SHOT Show next year was in Atlanta, for some reason. And I'm in the jostling crowd elbowing my way onto the show floor from the lobby, and there in the press of people in front of me are my parents.

What mom and dad were doing at SHOT is beyond me.

Anyhow, the rest of the dream was as awkward as you could imagine, with my folks following me around the show as I'm trying in my usual half-assed way to get some work done, and they're politely trying to be interested in my work and everything's just a mess. Dad's trying to be helpful, Mom is gamely feigning enthusiasm...it's a classic Comedy of Manners.

As best I can tell, this is some super-advanced-level version of the Have to Give an Oral Book Report Naked in High School Dream, about being unprepared, or maybe it's some manifestation of Impostor Syndrome or something.
.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #163...

zomg we're all gonna die, Part MCXLII...

Bunches of earthquake clusters in Yellowstone should take your mind off the fact that Russia turned off the deconfliction hotline in Syria and has declared they will splash any US aircraft that cross some line-of-death or another.
.

Whoah...

I knew that the overdose situation was getting dire, but according to a spot I just caught on Today, Ohio is apparently on pace for ten thousand overdose deaths this year.

Ten thousand.

Bear in mind that Michael Bloomberg and all his concerned Mommy minions go completely off their nut at thirty-something thousand firearm deaths nationwide, and a good chunk of those are suicides who meant to die. Meanwhile ten thousand people in just one state inadvertently offed themselves trying to catch a buzz.

If you want to read some $#!+ that will turn you white, there's a thread in the Law Enforcement subforum at pistol-forum.com where cops, EMTs, ER docs, coroners, and one guy in Huntington, WV talk about their experiences with the huge upsurge in heroin and Fentanyl overdoses.

I don't pretend to have a solution. We're still warring on drugs as hard as ever, and the bodies keep piling up. It's almost as much hassle to buy a packet of cold medicine now as it is to buy an AR-15, and that doesn't keep the Montgomery County coroner from giving interviews in a walk-in fridge full of Fenatanyled corpsicles.

At this point I'm half tempted to suggest we take all the money we spend on the War on (Some) Drugs and use it to buy narcotics. Pile the dope in every intersection in America, declare a one-week business holiday, and let America get all its fatal overdoses out of its system all at once.
.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Poignant

This dude came to my attention because Kathy Jackson linked a blog post where he was attempting to get some fair recompense from Delta for a trashed camera and lens. All appears to have been squared away and the squeaky wheel satisfactorily greased, but that's not why I'm mentioning this...

I'm mentioning this because damn, this guy is good. His photography is captivating and he can paint a heck of a picture with words. I hope he does well as he cuts loose to try and make a living off it this August.
.

Tit for Tat...

I'm surprised it's taken this long for something like this to go down, but another van drove into a crowd in England today, except this time it was a guy driving into the end-of-Ramadan-fast crowd around a mosque. He popped out of the van swinging fists and shouting "I did my bit, you deserve it!" before being laid hands on by the crowd and turned over to responding police.


.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday, Lazy Sunday...

As the clock ticks on to 1:00 PM, the odds of me getting out of my pyjamas today approach zero.

I might still be digesting last night's meal...

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

Saturday, June 17, 2017

It's here!

The batt'ry-operated lawnmower has arrived. The first battery is on the charger even now.

Before too long, we'll know how well it works. (I mean, it had really good customer reviews, better than most mowers in its class, but the proof is in the cutting.)
.

Running low on words...

Over the last two days I plumped some outlines and notes into a feature-length review and two columns, and jotted down notes and outlines for two more article-ettes that I'll have to inflate into their final form here in the next couple days.

My word tank is about three-quarters empty.

I figure I'll play some World of Warcrack today, maybe watch a couple episodes of The Expanse with Bobbi, and then get back to it after Meet the Press tomorrow gets me all riled up.
.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Lawn Machine

Woke up this morning and got my quick lap around the block in before it got hot outside. It was only 71, according to the nearest weather station, but the dew point was very nearly the same as the temperature. It was more like swimming than walking.

My lower back already felt like I'd been putting in a hard day's physical labor, and not like I'd just got out of bed.

I bring up the back pain thing because this weekend will be the swan song of the corded electric mower. Bobbi, who deals with drop cords for a living and has used that lawn mower for probably twenty years, does not see what my problem is with it.

Myself, on the other hand? I'm completely inept at handling extension cords. Paying out the two cords it takes to cover the lawn, wrangling the cord around the raised bed while mowing, and rolling up and stowing the two cords at the end of the mowing turns what should be a twenty-minute breeze of a lawn job into an hour of back-wrenching stoop labor.

Bobbi would rather not store gas cans in the garage, and so I did a bit of nosing around online and settled on a solution.

Multiple reviewers mention mowing a quarter acre without draining the dual batteries, so it should be more than up to cutting Roseholme Cottage's little bowling alley of a lot. It was definitely cheaper than my initial suggestion of just paving the whole lawn and painting it green.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Overheard in the Office...

Presented without context, yelled down the hall at the television...
Me: "How about we discuss Russian involvement in your mom, Matt Lauer?"

Our local grocer is dying...

...and I am sad.

Ever since I moved to Indy, the Marsh supermarket at the corner of 62nd and Keystone has been what I would consider my neighborhood supermarket. Their prices and selection were good, the meat counter had good meat, the produce was fresh and varied, and the deli had a good variety of cheeses and lunch meat.

They had all the trendy features of a modern supermarket: A salad bar and a sushi bar and an olive bar. There was a little dine-in area by the deli & bakery.

But Marsh is auguring in. Bankruptcy has been filed, and the Hoosier grocery chain will officially be no more come July 1st. Kroger has bought some, and another Ohio chain has bought others, but that leaves eighteen Marsh stores that will close for good next month, and our local Marsh is one.

And, honestly, I helped kill that one.

It started when Fresh Market opened around the corner from the house. That pretty much ended purchases of meats and produce and deli items from Marsh for us. Fresh Market's selection on that stuff is better, the prices weren't measurably worse, and the convenience of being right around the corner kinda sealed that deal.

That left Marsh for processed and packaged foods, and household goods. When the neighborhood Target became a "Super Target", that siphoned off some of that business from Marsh for us, but not a ton. It was harder to park and get in and out of the shopping center where the Target was located, so Marsh still won on convenience.

And then they opened the Meijer at 54th and Keystone, and that was the last nail in our neighborhood Marsh's coffin.

I felt a little guilty when I stopped into Marsh a couple months ago after a several-month hiatus. The place was just generally down at the heels; under-stocked, under-staffed... I felt bad, especially, because the company must have been a good employer; most of the staff was the same as it was years ago when the place was a near-daily stop for me.

So, no, nobody bought our neighborhood Marsh, and why would you? There are two Krogers, a Fresh Market, a Fresh Thyme, a Meijer, and a Super Target all in a square a couple miles on a side. It's practically the opposite of a food desert.

I'm looking for the next likely victim to be the "mini Kroger" in the heart of Broad Ripple. It has a lot of fierce neighborhood loyalty, but the Fresh Thyme that is part of the new 151-unit "The Coil" apartment complex is bound to draw off a fair amount of business.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Softball...


Well, he's removed his tweet now. Matthew Modine had tweeted a picture of an AR-15 with the usual drivel about how the Founders couldn't have envisioned such a weapon when they wrote the Second Amendment. He also noted, presumably with disapproval, that such weapons were available for as little as $500, because damned if people of moderate means are allowed to own effective weapons.

ETA: Ah, here we go...


.

Fixed.

The air conditioning here at Roseholme Cottage got its annual recharge this morning, making things a lot more bearable indoors.

Yay!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hotter than...

It is hotter than Satan's stovetop...well, actually it's not even the heat, not yet at least; it's the humidity. I woke up last night at quarter to four and couldn't fall back asleep, so I went for my 0615 lap around the block and, despite it only being 75°F out, the 85% humidity made it feel like I was underwater.

And the A/C here in Roseholme Cottage is on the fritz.  I've been consuming fluids all morning but I'm still so hot that I'm sitting here actively weighing donning a summer dress versus taking a cold shower. Neither are things I will do without great provocation, mind you, so you know the situation is dire.

Or I could go to the library.
.

Monday, June 12, 2017

EXTREME! Part Deux...

So there's apparently some attraction in Vegas where you can get into full-contact sims gun fights for real or something?
We’re not talking compressed air paintball guns. Everything operates the same way as a real gun, because it is a real gun.  The ammo operates in the same way as real ammo with blue and red tip bullets to indicate the team colors.  When the bullets hit their target, they leave a mark all over their opponent’s protective gear, and when it hits the skin, it stings. The mark can sometimes leave behind big red welts – all from non-lethal training ammunition.

Something tells whoever wrote the copy hasn't taken a contact shot from a sims gun...
 .

It's boring here (and we like it that way.)

Handy to have...

A couple of very useful things for me:
  • The Uplula mag loader. Cramming the seventeenth round into these brand new 509 mags would have been well-nigh impossible without it on the first couple loadings. The raspberry one doesn't hide in the range bag and will hopefully be more resistant to permanent borrowing at the range.

  • Safariland's GLS holster. I was so impressed with the first one I got that when I stumbled across a couple of FDE ones on the sale table at a gun store, I snapped them both up. The pictured one holds the 509, as well as its FNS sibling, the midsize 19/23/32/38 Glocks, a bevy of HKs, Smith SD's, Tanfo Witness P's, and others. It ships with both a paddle and belt loops. If you gotta write about a lot of different guns, you could probably holster most of them with about four different GLS holsters.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Foiled...

American politics are shunted off NBC this morning by French tennis, which will then be followed by Canadian F1 racing. I literally can't even.
"If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press, unless the Frogs are playing tennis or there's a good game of footie on."
I'm not a citizen of the world. I'm (increasingly grudgingly) a citizen of the US and of the state of Indiana. And of course Inside Indiana Business, our state-level weekly politico-economic talking head show, is preempted for the thwock-grunt-thwock-grunt-thwock-shuffleshuffle-thwock-grunt of clay court tennis as well.

As I've noted before, thanks to the commentators talking in the hushed tones of pasture pool announcers and the metronomic soundtrack of the activity itself, combined with the pulsing muted surf noise of the crowd, televised tennis is a wonderful soporific for laying abed of a summer Sunday morning.
.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

EXTREME!

Apparently, good gun handling and firearms safety is racist.

The column's author also brings up something that came up in a discussion on my Facebook timeline:
One last point, and it does directly concern race. VODA is targeting his closest demographic for business: black gun owners new to the firearm world. He is targeting gun owners who do not yet know what right looks like. They’re uneducated in basic gun safety and fundamentals.
He is propagating unsafe firearms techniques and downright dangerous weapons manipulation, and here is an unfortunate result of that: he has a following that agrees with him based strictly on race rather than skill, proficiency, or the ability to instruct.
On Bookface, I had noted:
Now that you mention it, he's a direct parallel to the Gun Bunny phenomenon, only on the pigmentation axis rather than the bathroom one.
The shooting community is constantly trying to reach out to under-served demographics, and sometimes in the guise of encouragement and evangelism, hand out accolades and attagirls where they're not necessarily deserved. In the best case, these serve their intended effect and keep an uncertain person in the game and striving. 

In the worst case, the seeds of unwarranted encouragement land on the fertile soil of narcissism and result in people "innovating" combat techniques that shoot range ceilings and only avoid slicing their gun hand open or shooting their knife hand by pure dumb luck. At some point, this guy was given NRA Instructor certs (which have since been wisely revoked):

Yes, he's crossing his knife hand in front of the muzzle with his finger on the trigger.
Now, a thoughtful person watching that video would ask themselves "If I'm within arm's length of some bad actor, is he just going to stand there watching while I use both of my hands to execute a painfully slow and fumbling draw of my pistol and knife simultaneously? And why am I shooting and stabbing at the same time? What if he just stepped into me while I'm doing all this?"

But neither the guy in the video (who claimed he was "innovating" a new "platform", because apparently we just use buzzwords at random now) nor his intended customers know enough to even ask these questions.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Next project, good omen...

My review sample of the new FN 509 arrived for a forthcoming Shooting Illustrated article, and I dragged it to the range on Wednesday. I'd been shooting a series of Dot Torture drills with my ex-CCW Gen3 Glock 19, and meeting frustration after frustration, mostly centered on Dot 5 (five shots Strong Hand Only) although other dropped shots and borderline ones kept me shooting 48's and 49's.

I pulled the 509 out of the box, not really having done any dry-fire with the gun, and not having fired a single shot to see where the bullets hit relative to the sights...

...and cleaned Dot Torture cold with it, if somewhat messily. I'll take that as a good omen for the gun.

Now to quickly grind another several hundred rounds out so I can write it up. I don't like writing a review with less than 750 rounds through the gun if I can help it.
.

The best thing to come out of the Comey testimony...

...for me so far is that Corey Lewandowski seems to have popped back up out of the ground clutter and onto the media's radar again. The Today Show had him on this morning, and I had forgotten what an entertaining interview he is. I mean, anybody who can be reduced to verbal flailing like that by Savannah and Matt must get outwitted by arugula on a regular basis.

Please say that they're trying to find a gig for him in the White House, because watching him get interviewed is like the verbal equivalent of a Three Stooges sketch.

On a more disturbing note was Senator McCain's attempt at grilling Comey, which I listened to on NPR on the way to the range, and which nearly caused me to steer into a ditch...



Wow.
“In the case of Hillary Clinton, you made the statement that there wasn't sufficient evidence to bring a suit against her, although it had been very careless in their behavior, but you did reach a conclusion in that case that it was not necessary to further pursue her,” McCain's line of questioning began. 
“Yet at the same time, in the case of Mr. [Trump], you said that there was not enough information to make a conclusion. Tell me the difference between your conclusion as far as former secretary Clinton is concerned, and Mr. Trump.”
If McCain were my kin, I'd have pulled the car over right then and gotten on the phone with family to discuss maybe getting together and taking his car keys away. Maybe his constituents want to get together and discuss doing likewise with his senatorial vote, before he dozes off at the wheel and veers into oncoming legislation.
.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Hey, look!

I have a piece up at BreachBangClear!
.

Cooldown Period.


Well, that was pretty heavily edited, but it sounded like Pat Mac was in favor of waiting periods. The background check remark was pretty ambiguous. I mean, we already *have* background checks, so...

This popped up in his Instagram feed...

"tmacsinc" being the company name for Pat Mac's training company. Okay, so he seems to think that waiting periods would deter crimes of passion or acts of spontaneity. I disagree. Then P&S released this on the Bookface last night...

There's a lot of "well, are you going to crucify this guy for lack of RKBA purity?" going on, as well as a lot of...well, crucifying for lack of RKBA purity.

I've participated in two internet lynch mobs of the sort. Both were for print journos (former Outdoor Life writer Jim Zumbo and former RECOIL editor Jerry Tsai) who spoke up in favor of AWBs at times when such things were realistically still on the table. And Jim Zumbo got a pardon, as far as I was concerned, after a public recanting and a carbine class with Pat Rogers.

I guess I could say I stood by and held coats at the stoning of Dick Metcalf, but he brought that on his ownself, trying to sell out his fellow Illinois gun owners at a politically vulnerable time for the sake of lining his own pockets. He didn't make himself a very sympathetic figure with his sneeringly condescending retorts and whining excuse-making, either.

I reserve the right to form my opinions on these things on a case-by-case basis. I haven't really formed mine here yet, other than I think Pat Mac is as wrong as tw...well, as a very wrong thing...when it comes to the utility of waiting periods.
 

As far as Universal Background Checks, here's the correct and constitutional way to implement those: Since the right to keep and bear arms is a civil right, the default setting is that everyone has it. If someone becomes a felon or is otherwise debarred from arms, then make a NO GUNS ALLOWED black mark on their DL/ID/passport/whatever.

Show me an ID without that disclaimer, and you'd be good to go, no background check necessary. And you'd be good to go in all 50 states, at that.

I'd trade that for moving suppressors to Title I, repealing the Hughes Amendment, and interstate handgun sales. Hell, I might throw in a 3-day wait on sales from FFL dealers for that package deal.But that's not what the other side means by "compromise".
.

Ruger Mk.IV recall...

So, apparently there's a hitch with the operation of the safety on the Mk.IV pistols...



...and Ruger is issuing a recall. Ruger tends to be pretty proactive with things like this, and doesn't mess around with "voluntary upgrades" and suchlike.

It's buried in the corporate DNA, dating back to the guy who offed hisself dropping an "Old Model" three-screw Ruger Blackhawk and the resulting lawsuit that resulted in the New Model Blackhawk and its transfer bar operation that is safe to carry with six beans in the wheel. (This is also the genesis of the paragraph of safety arglebargle rollmarked on Ruger handguns. That's mandated by a court settlement, not because Ruger just loves adding an extra rollmarking step to the manufacturing process.)


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Tam Gets Judgy, Part MCMLXII...

Forget the question about kids, because I don't pretend to be an expert on when your kid is mature enough to handle power tools, but if someone has a crappy airsoft-grade flashlight stacked atop a cheap rail-mount laser, and has aftermarket grip plug and slide cover plate engraved with what they consider aspirational or motivational logos or sayings...and they still have the janky plastic factory sights on the gun? I'mma get judgy as hell, because they might as well have "I DON'T HAVE A F***ING CLUE" branded on their forehead. With a brand. The red-hot iron kind of brand.
.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

6/6/44

The youngest guys wading through that bullet-stirred surf are ninety, now, and there are fewer every year who remember with advantages what feats they did that day...
.

I can't even get into anhedonia.

I walked into the Indy 1500 gun show this past Saturday morning with $200 in my pocket. I limped out an hour and a half later with $195, because I'd bought a large soft drink at the concession stand.

This is disturbing me.

I fell off the daily walking for exercise bandwagon following my weekend in Louisville back in March, but in reality, I'd fallen off it much earlier than that. As important as the walking is for exercise, the key part was the act of forcing myself awake and out the door first thing in the morning; exercising volition as the first act of my day, even before getting sucked into reading content on the internet or chatting on Bookface.

I've managed two days in a row now. Just a single lap around the block, a third of a mile, but it's been the first thing I did in the morning both days. I'll have to regain some level of fitness again; apparently I've been limping a lot lately.
.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Oh, it's on like Donkey Kong.

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

Captain Ohellno and the Moon Landing

Alex Honnold, last referenced here after his free solo ascent of Half Dome, apparently spent his weekend out overachieving again. While normal people with functioning adrenal glands and healthy survival instincts were mowing lawns and barbecuing and other first-weekend-of-summer stuff, Honnold was busy free-soloing El Capitan, an achievement likened to the lunar landing of the free soloing world.
.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Speed Reading

Preparing for a writeup at Breach Bang Clear, I got in some chrono testing of Federal's latest addition to the HST line, the 130gr .38 Special +P loading intended for short-barreled revolvers (since that's about the only kind of .38 Special revolver that's even remotely mainstream anymore, let's face it, fellow wheelgun fans.)

While I was there, I also clocked two classic loads often recommended for snubby use, as well as a lesser-known .38 Special loading, the 147gr +P+ Hydra-Shok.

First up is the 158gr lead semi-wadcutter hollow point, loaded to +P pressures. This is pretty much the classic self-defense load in the .38 Special, the vaunted "FBI load". Out of a 2-inch tube, it loses some steam, though:
LO: 812.3
HI: 878.7
AV: 852.2
ES: 66.46
SD: 19.51
That adds up to 255 ft/lbs of muzzle energy, the most of the four rounds tested, if you're the sort of person who puts much stock in that kind of thing. When you start stuffing more powder in a .38 in serach of velocity, you rarely do much for consistency. This box of ammo is probably a dozen years old, from a time when Remington's QC was much better than it is now, and we still see a 66 fps spread between the fastest and slowest rounds in a ten-round string.

That's nothing compared to the results from Federal's 147gr +P+ Hydra-Shok, though...
LO: 770.4
HI: 891.5
AV: 847.3
ES: 121.1
SD: 36.38
...for an average of 234 ft/lbs of energy. The Hydra-Shoks are from my half of a case that I split with a friend back in 2003. They've been stored in a non-climate-controlled attic for the last nine years, seeing seasonal temperature swings of probably fifty degrees, but I think the culprit in the massive velocity spread is more likely to be a lot of slow-burning powder intended to maximize velocity out of service-size barrels. In a 2" gun, this can lead to wildly varying numbers as lots of the powder is still burning when the bullet leaves the muzzle.

I also had a box of Federal Gold Medal Match 148gr wadcutters that I'd apparently been saving for a rainy day since 2005, so I donated ten to science for the chronograph.
LO: 628.3
HI: 682.0
AV: 662.5
ES: 53.63
SD: 17.00
Slow-moving rounds with more consistency, but only 144 ft/lbs. A lot of very clueful people I know advocate them for self-defense loads in a snub-nosed revolver because they're soft-shooting, penetrate well, and...to be perfectly frank...hollow-points tend not to expand well, or at all, at the sort of velocities you're likely to get out of a snub-nosed revolver.

Which brings us to the new 130gr +P Federal HST, which is a jacketed hollow point with a monstrous cavity, like the old trick of loading hollow-based wadcutters backwards in the case. How did it do, velocity-wise?
LO: 753.9
HI: 811.3
AV: 782.9
ES: 57.42
SD: 20.12
A hundred and seventy-seven foot pounds of muzzle energy doesn't strike me as a lot when you want to use some of that energy to deform a hollow point bullet. I'll also note that, despite being nominally a +P load, the 130gr projectiles were traveling noticeably slower than the heavier LSWC-HP or Hydra-Shoks, and the round was commensurately more pleasant to fire out of a 2" barrel. I'm assuming that a faster-burning powder was specified, by the fairly consistent velocities and reduced muzzle blast.

For the conclusions, including terminal ballistic testing and what not, stay tuned for a link to the Breach Bang Clear piece.

EDIT: The default bullet weight in the online calculator I use is 150 grains, and somehow I reported the 130gr HSTs as being 150gr bullets. This has been corrected in the text. My apologies. Thank you to Rich Grassi for catching the error; he let me know this morning, but correction had to wait until I got back to my laptop.

Tab Clearing...

Automotif CXXXVII...

Hard to pin down the year on this XJS parked curbside up in Broad Ripple proper. It's from the '82-'91 time frame. I don't recollect it having a CHMSL (That's NHTSA-speak for "center high-mounted stop lamp", aka the "third brake light") so we'll arbitrarily call it an '83.
.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

...last Friday, though...

Last Friday had me back at the range with the 29, squeezing in some range time on the heels of some shooting I was doing for work. I had forty rounds left out of a box of fifty, thanks to the ten-round chrono string I'd fired the week before...

I got two failures to feed, on round number six and number twenty-four of the day. (#176 and #194 of the test.) Also, round number three of the day (#173 of the test) featured another light, off-center primer strike from not going back into battery. Clearly I am limp-wristing the gun. Also clearly: the gun is entirely too easy to limp-wrist.


This is reminiscent of the early stages of the Glock 32 and Glock 20 tests. In both cases the problem was cured with an application of aftermarket recoil spring. Clearly it's time to do some research...

Trying to gorilla grip the gun and shoot fast made for a few ugly dropped shots.

This makes 210 rounds fired since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with eight failures to feed (#2, #3, #12, #13, #22, #23, #176, #194) and nine failures to fire (#4, #7, #9, #15, #17, #26, #64, #156, #173). 1,880 rounds to go.
.