Friday, January 17, 2020


I've never tried using back-button focus. I should give it a whirl and see how it works for me.

Dumb Holster #1

Why is your ankle holster connected to your belt?
Your leather-working skills may be aces and the craftsmanship might be superb, but your holster idea is dumber than an acre of fungus, dude.

I was in a conversation elsewhere regarding holsters that caused me to actually go looking for this image, or one like it, on the internet. On purpose.

Drop holsters are some of the most frequently misunderstood and poorly configured holsters out there. Basically, unless you're wearing a plate carrier or LBV or something that interferes with a normal belt mount, you should probably leave the drop-legs to Hollywood space pirates and B&W cowboys.

If you find yourself needing to wear a real one for one of the above reasons, here's how to look like you know what you're doing:

Photography is not a crime!

Well, it's not every day I find myself on the same side of an issue as Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, and yet here we are:
As a matter of fact, still photographers were entirely blocked from covering the historic proceedings yesterday, when the articles were formally presented to the senate:
According to a report from Roll Call, Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C. Stenger are putting in place restrictions that will allow just a single video camera to be present in the room. No still photographers will be allowed to press the shutter and no audio recordings will be allowed.
Unfortunately, these restrictions likely mean photographer David Burnett won't be able to use his now-iconic 4 x 5 film camera to capture the transfer of articles for the third impeachment in U.S. history.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Automotive Dark Ages Late Medieval Period

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Feels Good In The Hand

One of the most trite pieces of advice given to prospective first-time handgun buyers is to "go to a gun store and try holding a bunch of different ones to see which one feels good in your hand".

Not only does "feeling good in your hand" have zero to do with how well you'll be able to shoot the gun, it also has no bearing on whether you have the hand size or grip strength to safely load and unload it.

Claude has a point:
"For those who are helping a prospective purchaser, demonstrate the technique but then place the pistol in a sterile (unloaded with slide forward) condition and let them do their own evaluation without comment or coaching."

The Fun Loophole

If there were any cool foreign cars you wish they were importing back in 1995, good news! They're cool for individual importation this year, thanks to the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988!

Trying something new...

Instead of trying to do everything at the last minute, I think I'm going to start getting stuff ready for SHOT today. Do some laundry and get at least the basics packed, for starters. I've already got to the point where I keep a separate bag of travel toiletries in the suitcase, and I've checked it to make sure it's all good and nothing needs replacing. (Can conditioner go bad? I don't think so?)

I need to pull the MacBook Air out and make sure that it's all updated, not just the OS but Word and P-shop, too. I don't want to run into this scenario I had at NRAAM:

I'm also going to throw all the spare camera batteries on chargers and round up the actual kit I'll be using for the show and make sure it's all packed.

Both those Sony bodies are gone, so I'll be falling back on using Canons for work stuff until I can afford a secondhand Sony a7 III this summer, after the a7 IV's cause the used prices to tumble. I just couldn't face another range day or show floor with a pocket full of batteries, and the a7 III has apparently better than double the battery life of its predecessors. (The a7 II would burn up almost five full FW50's in a busy day's work. It was a marginal power source for their APS-C cameras, and totally overwhelmed in the full-frame bodies. Photogs with the early original gangsta a7's would sometimes take the battery door off to make swapping fresh batteries in faster.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Brick & Mortar Retail in the Crapper, Department Stores Hardest Hit

While big box stores are apparently doing okay, online retail is putting the boot to traditional department stores. This past holiday season was no respite for brands like Macy's and Kohl's...
JCPenney's sales at stores and websites open for a year fell 7.5% during the holidays compared with last year. Kohl's and Macy's sales dropped slightly, and Macy's said it will close 28 stores. Victoria's Secret sales at stores and websites open for at least a year fell 12% and its parent cut its earnings forecast. 
JCPenney's results raise "continued questions about the chain's long-term viability," Neil Saunders, analyst at GlobalData Retail, said in a note to clients Thursday. "Once loyal customers now avoid the chain and shop elsewhere."
Our local Macy's is a goner. The Super Target across the parking lot likely finished them off. What's ironic is that the Macy's was a freestanding stump of what used to be the enclosed Glendale Mall, which began life as an open-air shopping plaza before being turned into a covered mall in the Sixties, then demolished in '07, replaced with Target and its parking lot.

(The mall had a cluster of penguin sculptures which have migrated to a new home at the Indianapolis Zoo.)

Ran When Parked

When I was a kid, a local landmark was a row of C-130's painted in Libyan air force livery, backed up against the fence of the Lockheed plant by the highway.

Built for Libya in 1972, the Nixon administration nixed the delivery of the planes when Col. Muammar started getting cozy with the Soviets all terrorist-y, so there the planes sat. Eventually, they were moved away from the fence line and...well, out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes.

They surfaced in the news again during the early days of the Libyan civil war. Apparently they were still on the grounds of the Lockheed plant, or at least the complex it shares with Dobbins Air Reserve Base and the former NAS Atlanta (now General Lucius D. Clay National Guard Center), just off in a field you couldn't see from South Cobb Drive.

I was relating this tale to a friend on Facebook this morning and went scrolling around on the Googlesat map and...holy crap, they're STILL THERE, tucked away in a couple fields. Half of them are blocked in by an L1011 and a P3, both of which look like they've had their motors pulled.

You'd think that whoever's running Libya these days would have put them up on Plane Trader or eBay Motors or something by now.

Monday, January 13, 2020

I used to think I understood it...

“Nie mój cyrk. Nie moje małpy.”

So, some juvenile delinquents were doing juvenile delinquent things in a neighborhood park in Reno, Nevada. A couple of neighborhood residents, one James Upton and another man, took it upon themselves to go and get involved.

Upon contacting the youths, according to the police report:
Upton took video and photos of the four juveniles "appearing to be suspicious to him and his neighbors, but doing nothing criminal."
Whereupon said juveniles piled into a car to leave. At this point, the unnamed neighbor blocked their vehicle in from the front, while Mr. Upton blocked their vehicle in from behind. The juveniles piled back out of the car to confront the neighbor who'd blocked their passage, and Mr. Upton got out of his car and approached to get more video.

And then...
"Upon doing so, one of the juveniles approached the defendant in an aggressive manner with his hands clearly visible and nothing in them," the report said. "At that time the defendant drew a concealed handgun and did willfully and unlawfully use force against the juvenile."
Upton fired three to five shots, hitting the sixteen year old in the leg twice.

Upton, formerly a Captain in the Nevada Air National Guard before his experiment in neighborhood policing, was arrested and booked on the charge of Battery with a deadly weapon. He was found guilty this past October and was just sentenced to up to six years in prison.

Dude lost his commission, is now a felon and a prohibited person, is out probably middlin' six figures in legal fees, and is staring at up to six years in the big house, all because he thought his carry permit was a Batman badge.

The part that gets me is that even after the kids got in their car to go, Batman and Robin decided to pass up an easy exit to the whole affair, and instead chose to escalate by blocking the car. In what universe was that a good idea?

Surreal World

Yesterday morning on This Week With George Stephanopolopolopolous, Nancy Pelosi was sounding like she'd chewed up a copy of The Federalist Papers* and was regurgitating them all over the microphone. Suddenly the Democratic Party is all about the original intent of the founders and preserving the Constitution. When did San Fran Nan become a strict constructionist?

Jonah Goldberg had the same observation of this phenomenon as I did:
"Okay, now, here’s the point. Because of all of this, the only time either party talks about restraining the president’s war powers—or the deficit, or the debt, or federalism, or transparency, or a thousand other things—is when that party doesn’t hold the White House. In short, they are foul weather constitutionalists and statesmen. (It’s like so much of our political culture: Standards and principles are things you hold the other team to.)

When the other party holds the White House, legislators take to the floor of the House and Senate and wax prolix on the need to restore the constitutional balance, restrain the imperial presidency, check runaway spending, etc. But when their guy is in the Oval Office, Katie bar the door, let’s go for transformational change, baby.

*Next thing to free on Kindle, so you can harangue people with your favorite passages by reading them off your phone. Sure to be a hit at dinner parties!

Sunday, January 12, 2020


Sony RX100 in Program mode, 1/50th @ f/3.2, ISO 2500
I realized yesterday while running errands that the Mustang was still driving around on the remainder of the gas I'd bought in Terre Haute on the way back from New Mexico before Thanksgiving, so I went and filled the tank last night.

It was raining, so I huddled in the meager shelter offered by the station's tiny canopy...really just a small sunshade directly over the pump...on the opposite side of the pump from my car, so as to be in the lee of the wind and rain, and waited for the ka-chunk! of the automatic fuel shutoff.

Instead of a ka-chunk!, I got a glug-glug-glug as the fuel shutoff failed and gasoline gurgled from the filler neck and onto the ground. FML.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

You can't displease all the people all the time...

...but you can get some of them butthurt pretty much every time.

A few months back, I had a review of the Sccy CPX-3 .380ACP pistol published in RECOIL Concealment. Long story short, Sccy sent a pistol and Hornady sent a bunch of .380 Critical Defense and I was going to do a 2k test on it.

The gun showed up with ten extra mags for a total of thirteen, was well-lubed right out of the box, and...didn't live up to expectations. There was no time to send the gun back before the deadline and so I had to write up what I had*. Sccy fans were not happy. I sent the pistol back to Sccy and forgot about it for a while.

After a bit, Sccy sent the pistol back, and I went back to shooting it with the remainder of the same batch of Critical Defense, as well as assorted other .380 ammo, and this time the gun ran fine for nearly seven hundred rounds. So I wrote that report, too. This time all the people who don't like Sccy were assmad.

Plus there were the usual weird comments...

Area of concern circled in magenta.
So no matter what, someone is gonna be mad. That's just the way it is.

*That's only the first third of the article at that link. The full piece in the print issue ended with the line "As delivered, the CPX-3 was unable to deliver," or something like that.

Change in the Weather

The week started off a little warmer than usual for this time of year, with highs in the forties and clear skies letting overnight lows dip into the high twenties.

Cloud cover from the south-southwest started blowing up Thursday afternoon, and we've finished the week unusually warm and wet, with record rainfall in Indy yesterday. This morning we woke to more rain and 62°F temperatures. Before Sunrise. In January in Indianapolis. This is downright unseasonable.

The long-range forecast claims we won't be seeing normal winter weather again until week after next.