Monday, May 31, 2010

Closer to...

This marks my second summer without my Grampa J.

A peaceful man, he was a reluctant recruit in "Mr. Roosevelt's foreign war" some 70 years ago, but he went when his country called. Unlike so many others, he came home and had a long, productive life afterward, finally passing away in 2008.

After his passing, I was on the phone with my mother, who was left with the task, as both the oldest and closest child, of cleaning out the house. "We have his old Army jacket. Do you want it?"

"I... You mean nobody else does? Yes. I'd be honored."

It hangs in my attic now. The shoulders bear the three chevrons over a "T" of a Technical Sergeant and the collar has the brass insignia of the Signal Corps. He was a cook in France during WWII, and I recall with fondness his proud stories of how he'd baked such wonderful cakes and pies for the officers that they'd pulled levers to keep him in their mess. I've thought about ordering a European - African - Middle Eastern Campaign Medal to pin on his jacket... You know, just because.

But at least Grampa J. came back.

It seems strange to me to have one day set aside to remember those who never did come back. Every day, their memories are all around me, too. Old pistols and rifles... Maybe this particular one never left the continental United States, but maybe the kid who used it to learn his unsought trade in boot camp never returned. Other pieces of memorabilia, both from our wars and foreign ones, clutter my desk, united only in the sacrifices they represent.

When you're surrounded by history every day, you tend to think more about those who made it, and especially those who didn't live to see what they'd made.

If you don't think about it on any other day, then on this one, please... remember.

Not gettin' in the groove...

On various extreme target pistols and rifles, it is not uncommon to see grips that are molded to the hand of the individual shooter. Consistency is, after all, accuracy.

But an ISSF shooter rarely has to pull his free pistol from the bottom of a pigpile, nor does a Three-Position Smallbore competitor need to acquire a good-enough firing grip on his Anschutz while unassing a burning Humvee. Hence, I question the utility of highly-molded stuff like this.

Although I could be wrong.

The times, they are a changin'...

Once upon a time, it seemed like 99.9% of spam email consisted of shady mortgage re-fi stuff, Viagra, and Nigerian 419 scams.

Now it seems to consist of fake luxury watch spam, Viagra, and Nigerian 419 scams.

Conclusion: 99% of everybody dumb enough to fall for the bogus re-fi stuff has already been foreclosed on and now they want a shiny fake watch to wear so they can look professional at interviews for a retail gig, which they'll need to keep the Viagra money coming in until their wire transfer gets here from Nigeria.


"Forty miles off the coast and a mile down is Louisianans' biggest worry..." intoned the voice-over.
"They put Barack on a sub?" mused I...

On the Today Show this morning, a very serious and concerned Lester Holt asked one Ed Overton what the odds of success were for plugging the oil hemorrhage in the Gulf. The reason for Ed's being asked is that he was "Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences" at LSU. I blurted at the TeeWee "Environmental Sciences? What the hell is that? He pays grad students to count tree rings or something?"

As it turns out, no. Ed has worked on petrospills for quite some time and is all published and patented and everything, but mostly in the effects of spills, and measuring and quantifying spills and contamination via gas chromatography and et cetera. Which, actually, has about as much to do with plugging high-pressure leaks a mile under water as paying grad students to count tree rings does. But he had a PhD and was handy and lived in Louisiana, so there you go.

Meanwhile, on another segment, dismay and shocked surprise was expressed that the Israelis, who had said that they were going to stop the Gaza convoy for realz and they weren't kidding, stopped the Gaza convoy for realz and they weren't kidding, yo. (In other news, drunk steps across line, is punched in nose by other drunk. Film at 11.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

My life is a string of meaningless coincidences...

I have two pistols which I regularly CCW.

I usually carry the Springfield Armory Professional Model I've had since late '01. I also have an old Colt that I set up to be as similar in the hand as possible (long trigger, flat MSH, three-dot night sights, 20 lpi checkering and whatnot) that I mostly use for a range gun and backup. However, I'd been carrying the Colt for the last few months, after setting the Springer aside for a detailed scrubbing.

This morning, I went up into the attic to unload the Colt and put the Pro back on my hip. Just after I did so, I noticed a copy of the very first issue of Concealed Carry Magazine lying atop a stack of periodicals. For whatever reason, it caught my eye, and I picked it up and thumbed through it.

There on page 15 was an Oleg Volk photo of the very pistol I had just stuck in my holster.

It is, indeed, a small world...


There are distinct downsides to living in Broad Ripple, seeing as how it is the part of Indy where Seth & Jared and Tiffani & Amber all come to get their Public Intox, OWI, and Minor In A Tavern on.

For instance, when you realize that your genius planning has left you bereft of soft drinks at, say, 0430 on a Sunday, thereby forcing you to drive to the store for more fizzy caffeine, you hop in your car and drive down College Avenue...

...but very carefully, because College Avenue between 52nd and Broad Ripple Avenue is a veritable MiG Alley at 0430 on a Sunday, and doubly so on the Sunday of the Big Race. Half the cars on the street are cops. The other half are stopped in the headlights of the cop car, with their occupants yakking on their shoes preparatory to being cuffed and stuffed. It's quite the show...

Staying on the ball.

Federal, state and local governments will use intelligence, expanded community engagement and development programs to help local communities address the radicalization of Americans before they join al Qaeda, Rhodes said.
How about Tea Parties, Mr. Jones? Are we going to make sure people don't get radicalized and join Tea Parties? MSNBC says they're a big threat, you know. Why, they're halfway to being militia terrorist NRA members! Boy Scouts, even! If you leave this unchecked, these people might set off car bombs or, worse, vote Republican.

Wishful thinking...

Maybe I'll use today to answer all the email I didn't answer while I was in TN.

(Maybe pigs will fly, too, but it's good to have goals.)

Weird dreams, Part Two

The night before last, I dreamed I was going someplace with Shootin' Buddy. We were walking down a sidewalk in a kinda run-down urban neighborhood. I remember the sky was clear and blue, and all the vegetation was very green and verdant.

We were passing an out-of-business, vacant service station on our right; not a gas station, but a mechanic's shop, where the service bays came right to the sidewalk. The doors to the bays were open. There were these two dudes coming the other way down the sidewalk and they actually stepped into the street to swing wide around us. Shootin' Buddy was a little ahead of me and to my right, and as they passed him and drew abreast of me, I suddenly got this sinking feeling in my gut, like 'something bad is about to happen right now.'

The dude closer to me starts to say something like "Give it over..." and his shirttail has been brushed back and there's a revolver clearly visible in the front of his waistband. I'm trying to yell something to Shootin' Buddy as I'm pulling my own pistol and just wishing the guy would run away and I don't have a clear view of his partner 'cause he's in the way and he goes for his gat and I'm frozen on the trigger and I reallyreallyreally don't want to shoot this guy why won't he just leave? We're kinda circling, with him stepping to the side and me actually backing into the service bays and he's going to point the gun at me and BANG! BANG!

My own gun surprises me.

And now the bad guy is down and the other bad guy is down and Shootin' Buddy has his pistol in one hand and is on his cell phone and I guess the cops are on the way, and here's where it got really weird the way dreams do, because with no thought to continuity issues, the guy lying there bleeding suddenly has an M16 (A1, Vietnam-era, if you must know,) in one hand and a magazine in the other, and he's laughing at me, and making to load the gun. "Buddy, just drop the gun. Don't make me shoot you again. I'm not kidding."

And apparently he did shoot me because in the next scene I'm in a rehab ward (cleverly filled in from my motorcycle experiences) and everybody was telling me that I was going to be okay and I did okay and all's well that ends well, and then we segued to more normal dream fodder.

That was the first time I've ever had a "frozen on the trigger" dream (that I can recollect, anyway,) and it left me a little rattled, actually.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

QotD: If Billy has two apples, and the government takes them both, how many apples can the government give Jimmy?

We are so boned:
According to a Fox News poll earlier this year, 65 per cent of Americans understand that the government gets its money from taxpayers, but 24 per cent think the government has “plenty of its own money without using taxpayer dollars.”

What is S&W thinking?

For years, grumpy old S&W fans clogged internet gun forums and groused at each other about how Smith didn't make any more of the guns like they wanted. All these newfangled guns were stainless steel! They had full underlugs and sometimes even unfluted cylinders! If S&W just made blue steel revolvers with skinny barrels like they used to, why, these guys would start buying Smiths again.

(This conveniently overlooked the fact that if the grousers had kept buying those blued guns when they were still for sale, they'd never have been discontinued in the first place.)

Anyhow, eventually the lone carbon steel holdout in the Smith & Wesson revolver lineup was the lowly Model 10. That's right, the original .38 Military & Police was still popular enough with the rent-a-cop market and the occasional constabulary here or there that it held on over a hundred years after its introduction.

Meanwhile, as a sop to the curmudgeonly, a trickle of "classic" models has turned into a flood: Models as diverse as the Model 17 .22 Target Masterpiece and the Model of 1917 in .45 ACP are reappearing in carbon steel, albeit with high-zoot pricetags to match. Of course, the gun forum curmudgeons point out the MIM parts and the locks and the frame-mounted firing pins and turn their noses up with disdain, giving one the feeling that a lot of these guns will be available for very reasonable prices from closeout specialist CDNN in the not-too-distant future.

Now in the 2010 catalog, the Model 10 Military & Police revolver is finally gone. However, there's a new, Classic Model 10 on offer, with an MSRP of only(!) $814...

Now, I can kinda see a Model 27 or 1917 "Classic". The originals, after all, are hard to find, pretty expensive in their own right, and are appreciating steadily. But the Model 10!?!?!

Let's see... Should I shell out more than half a thousand dollars for a copy, or should I just go to the nearest gun show and buy the real thing? I mean, they only made some umpty-million of the things over the course of a century or so, so it shouldn't be too tough to scare one up, and for considerably less th... heh... snerk... BWAH-HAH-HA!... sorry... considerably less than eight bills.

Really, this is the kind of marketing genius I'd expect from Colt, not Smith.

Book report,

I just finished reading Don't Tread on Me: A 400-Year History of America at War, from Indian Fighting to Terrorist Hunting. It was the back cover blurbs that sold me, and they weren't lying.

Sure, it gets to toeing the neoconservative interventionist party line in the last chapter or two, but that manages to not detract from the good time offered by the first 360-odd pages of crackling, snarky writing. If you want to read it as straight military history and avoid the worst of the political cant, you can just put it down around Tet anyway.

I especially enjoyed the first two thirds, up to and including the Civil War, a great deal of which was laugh-out-loud funny.

If you're looking for a penetrating insight into the mind of one or two great captains or a dissection of the TO&E of V Corps at Kettle Hill, this isn't the book for you. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a broad overview that covers plenty of the nooks and crannies that get ignored by history textbooks and the Hitler Channel, as well as makes you chuckle to read, then you'll like this one.

An oeuvre that likely won't result in Oscars.

So I somehow accidentally caught a minute or two of one of those late-night shows, where the host was chatting with Gemma Arterton, who was making the rounds to plug her latest flick, and I'm thinking "Gemma, honey, you've been in a remake of Clash of the Titans and a movie based on a video game with less of a plot than Pac Man. What's next? A star turn as Ms. Paddle in Pong 3D?"

Friday, May 28, 2010

Got a theropod problem?

Got a theropod problem?
No, I'm sorry, Mr. Seligman, but I can't take you hunting Late Mesozoic dinosaur.

Yes, I know what the advertisement says.

Why not? How much d'you weigh? A hundred and thirty? Let's see; that's under ten stone, which is my lower limit.

I could take you to other periods, you know. I'll take you to any period in the Cenozoic. I'll get you a shot at an entelodont or a uintathere. They've got fine heads.

I'll even stretch a point and take you to the Pleistocene, where you can try for one of the mammoths or the mastodon.

I'll take you back to the Triassic where you can shoot one of the smaller ancestral dinosaurs. But I will jolly well not take you to the Jurassic or Cretaceous. You're just too small.

What's your size got to do with it? Look here, old boy, what did you think you were going to shoot your dinosaur with?

Oh, you hadn't thought, eh?

Well, sit there a minute . . . Here you are: my own private gun for that work, a Continental .600. Does look like a shotgun, doesn't it? But it's rifled, as you can see by looking through the barrels. Shoots a pair of .600 Nitro Express cartridges the size of bananas; weighs fourteen and a half pounds and has a muzzle energy of over seven thousand foot-pounds. Costs fourteen hundred and fifty dollars. Lot of money for a gun, what?

I have some spares I rent to the sahibs. Designed for knocking down elephant. Not just wounding them, knocking them base-over-apex. That's why they don't make guns like this in America, though I suppose they will if hunting parties keep going back in time.

-"A Gun For Dinosaur", L. Sprague De Camp

Got a diplodocus tearing up the rhododendrons? Maybe a rogue giganotosaurus scarfing the hounds out of the back yard? Yard boy get eaten after you equipped him with one of those feeble Drake & Co. Garands fitted with a BAR magazine?

Dinos getting bigger every year? Holland & Holland .600 Nitro just not doing a job on the local pests the way it used to?

Never fear! The Stoltzer & Son's 2 Bore is here!

Firing a solid bronze bullet nearly a half-pound in weight at roughly 1500 feet per second, the 2 Bore cartridge develops over eight tons of muzzle energy, easily enough to down the most voracious sauropod in your cabbage patch! Be the first time-travelling scientist gentleman adventurer on your block to own one! Enquire today at

QotD: Where Great Britain Used To Be Edition.

From TJIC:
Guns are illegal.

Knives are illegal.

Only 492,000 more nouns to go, and England will finally be crime free!

For some reason, that really kicked over my gigglebox and yet also made me sad, all at the same time.

Weird dreams, Part One

The night before last, I dreamed I was standing in a grassy field that stretched off to the horizon in all directions. All of a sudden, this guy in a multicolored jumpsuit just fell right out of the sky in front of me. Looking up, I realized it was raining parachutists for some reason, and they were coming down really fast, so I ran and ran, trying to look up enough to dodge falling dudes, but not so much I tripped over my own two feet.

Bring me the Hebrew, Daniel, that he may explain the meaning of this.

That's weird.

Apparently there are people out there that eat parts of the chicken other than the skin.

Different strokes, I guess.

Although I don't know how I feel about the idea of cooking it by itself. I think it gets its flavor on the rotisserie by leaching it from the rest of the bird.

Hippies under glass.

So, SurvivalBlog had a link up to this photo essay on the weed-choked greenhouse that is the semi-defunct remains of Biosphere 2, best known as the setting for godawful Pauly Shore movies.

So that led me to the Wikipedia article on Biosphere 2, wherein I learned that if you seal a pack of Gaia-huggin' crystal worshippers with bogus scientific credentials in a big greenhouse and make them drink their own recycled pee for a few months, they start acting like a cross between the cast of Reservoir Dogs and the monkeys from the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I think, based on what I've found on the web, that the whole experiment would have worked out best if Tina Turner showed up and threw some chainsaws and sledgehammers into the enclosure, 'cause that would have been frickin' awesome.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What a let-down...

So, a dude's out playing around with his metal detector, and it goes berserk.

He starts digging and pulls something that looks to be a rusted, dirt-encrusted revolver from the ground.

After a bunch of cleaning and scrubbing, however, it turns out to be an FIE Tiger, which is not actually a gun, but rather a gun-like object.

Assuming it was in 100% condition, the Tiger would be worth somewhat less than a hundred bucks. As it is, I wouldn't let him put it back in the hole unless he gave me a twenty.

"Cheering for the New York Yankees is like cheering for US Steel."

Jessie Abbate signs with Team Smith & Wesson.

Seeing as how they were already sponsoring Julie and Kay, I can see how they wanted to make sure they didn't let any trophies get away...

A problem with terminology.

I keep reading references to Faisal's Fizzled Firework as an "attempted terrorist attack".

Whenever I do, I think about Staghounds' clarification of the terminology.

Shahzad did everything he set out to do; only dumb luck prevented a body count.

Not fair.

How come Alabamans get to watch all the cool campaign ads this year?

It's just not fair.

(H/T to Sebastian.)

Do video games hurt kids...? not properly preparing them to survive the coming zombie apocalypse?

(I do know this, however: Video games have dumbed down the discussion of firearms on teh intertubes more than any other single factor. More than The Matrix and Equilibrium combined. Even more than airsoft.)

Spend the stolen money wisely, please?

Real-estate has dropped in value, businesses have gone under, people aren't spending as much money... All these things add up to less tax revenue.

When tax revenue falls, unnecessary government services take it in the shorts.

It's important to understand what is meant by "unnecessary government services". For example the following services are vital, and cannot be cut:
  • School administrators' salaries.
  • Kickbacks and subsidies to professional sports teams.
  • The mayor's "business development" visits to Monaco and Cap d'Antibes.

"Unnecessary government services" would be things like:
  • Pothole repair.
  • School teachers and school bus drivers.
  • The po-po.

Now, as a good libertarian, I think there's hardly a thing the government does, short of nuking the Japanese 'til they glow, that couldn't be done better and more efficiently by a private concern. However, if you're bound and determined to steal money at gunpoint from me anyway, is it too much to ask that you spend it on something useful and from which I might derive a tangible benefit?

It's like being robbed: It would take at least some of the sting out of it if you knew the guy was going to spend the money on tuition and a haircut instead of rotgut and lottery tickets.

You know you're being shivved in the liver...

...when even Joe Biden starts making fun of you.

Joe Biden! There hasn't been such a lack of gravitas in the Number Two chair since Dan Quayle sat there, and you could at least dress Dan up for social events and make him stand there with his mouth shut and he wouldn't look like Uncle Badtouch.

I love the internet...

...'cause you can get the best conspiracy theories there.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You may retire when ready, Gridley...

Especially poignant to me, having just finished reading US Cruisers 1883-1904, comes the news that the Independence Seaport Museum in Philly isn't going to have the dough to keep Dewey's flagship from Manila Bay, the USS Olympia, afloat.

Barring fresh sponsorship, the last floating pre-Dreadnought iron warship in the world is going to wind up as a piece of marine habitat off the coast of New Jersey, whose gun laws she probably violates in thirty dozen ways.

It seems a lowdown dirty shame; hopefully a private benefactor will turn up. (And wouldn't the events of the morning of 1 May, 1898 make a splendid movie? Surely somebody in Hollywood might be inclined to chip in in order to keep this fabulous future movie set afloat...)

(H/T to Snowflakes in Hell.)

God really does look out for idiots, apparently.

Thanks to the magic of YouTube, we can watch the idiocy of our fellow humans from the safety of our own homes, wondering if and when when the expected blown out kidney or severed finger is going to happen.

(Amazingly, both idiots linked above managed to complete their videos without setting themselves on fire, but if you have an ounce of gun safety in you, both clips will have you wincing from start to finish, waiting for the expected cloud of pink mist.)


Neat Huey pics at Gun Geek Rants.

Those two-bladed rotors make one of the most distinctive noises in machinedom, right up there with a Jake brake or the potato-potato-potato exhaust of a Hardly Dangerous. I mean, you never hear a Huey fly over and say "Huh, I wonder what that noise is?"

(Speaking of distinctive mechanical noises, look here.)

Making fenceposts look like Einstein.

So, in criticizing the performance of the M4 carbine in Afghanistan, one Major General Robert Scales, Jr. USA (Ret.) suggested reviving the dormant XM8 program.

The XM8 is, of course, another carbine in 5.56 NATO.

The fact that a man so obviously ignorant of the simplest elements of riflery managed to become a Major General in the Army of my nation makes me very sad inside.

(The alternative explanation, of course, is that the "You Suck And We Hate You" company has him on retainer, but I'd prefer to think that the retired O-8 is an idiot, rather than a crook and a shill.)

As I said at Unc's, the military needs to lose its obsession with some imaginary bygone day of riflery, when every draftee could pick up his (M1873/Krag/Springfield/Garand/M-14/20″ M-16) and accurately engage point targets at mortar ranges.

That's gonna stick.

Bobbi hadn't heard "Blame Canada" before, so I played the YouTube video for her.

I'd forgotten what a potent earworm it is; now I'm afraid I'll start singing it in line at the Fresh Market or something.

The dangers of marginalization.

The problem with the gun culture being virtually underground in some places is that whenever anybody in those places sees a gun that is not attached to a uniformed hip, they tend to flip out and assume the worst, since they've been conditioned by popular culture that anybody with a gun and no badge to go with it is about to set off on a cross-country killing spree with Juliette Lewis.

Or, as it was put more succinctly at Random Nuclear Strikes:
One of the biggest reasons to promote the awareness of the gun culture in the media is that when it vanishes under the radar, as it has in California, you get government regulators, census workers, and cops who all think that if you have a gun, that’s a bad thing that needs to be Reported to Someone.

Overheard in the Office:

Me: "But that's not even a science! That's just somebody taking a Greek or Latin root and tacking '-ology' on the end of it to make their made-up twaddle sound respectable, like 'phrenology' or 'astrology' or 'psychology'!"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Somewhere east of Louisville...

...the iPod started playing a song to which I'd never really listened before; "Gas Panic!", by Oasis...

It caught my ear and I hit replay at the end. After it played through the second time, up came the next tune at random, "Ted, Just Admit It..." by Jane's Addiction.

I went ahead and listened to the two back-to-back another two or three times, 'cause I'm all weird that way when I'm driving.

Hippies soil their nests...

...then they come soil yours, too.

Someone should put up a fence.

Off the shelf...

I am actually slightly embarrassed to admit that I have not read The Man in the High Castle. I am currently in the process of fixing that.

Philip K. Dick was not the most cheery of men, ya know?

Shoot to ill.

Ah, New York City (aka Greater Bloombergia); the city where the cops didn't get hollow-point ammunition until, like, last Tuesday. Now some elected official who has no idea what guns are about or from which end the bullet emerges is trying to meddle with NYPD policy again:
The "minimum force" bill, which surfaced in the Assembly last week, seeks to amend the state penal codes' "justification" clause that allows an officer the right to kill a thug if he feels his life or someone else's is in imminent danger.

The bill -- drafted in the wake of Sean Bell's controversial police shooting death -- would force officers to use their weapons "with the intent to stop, rather than kill" a suspect. They would be mandated to "shoot a suspect in the arm or the leg."

Look, Albert, one reason we aim for the middle of the bad guy is so that if we miss our point of aim by, say, six inches in any direction, we're still hitting something that deserves to be shot. Namely the bad guy.

Another reason is that, contrary to popular belief, the gun is not a magic wand. You can't guide the bullet to its final resting place with mind waves. In most shooting situations, you should be glad when your officers hit the suspect at all, let alone some specific part of the suspect.

Lastly, you need to rid yourself of the damnfool notion that there's a "nice" way to shoot somebody. If you blow apart a knee joint or a wrist with a bullet, or puncture a femoral artery, is that somehow kinder than putting one right in the boiler room? All that Hollywood make-believe crap where the good guy just "wings" the bad guy, and it's "only a flesh wound" is just that: Hollywood make-believe crap.

Go write laws about topics you understand well, like graft and corruption, and leave the shooting to the shooters.

The weather was backwards.

I have done the drive between Indy and K-town at least twenty times and yesterday was maybe only the fourth time that I had no need to make use of the windshield wipers for any part of the journey. I'm thinking of hiring myself out during droughts.

Whoever designed the interchange between I-64 West and I-65 North in Louisville should be horsewhipped through the public square. Vigorously.

Speaking of Kentucky, they had a "Revenue Enhancement Zone" stretching from just north of the Tennessee border seemingly halfway to Corbin. Not a worker in sight, just the occasional forlorn-looking orange barrel and 55-mph signs everywhere, along with the ominous "Double Fine" warnings.

Dear Slob in the Toyota Tundra: How you got your truck all beat up and that much trash blowing around in the bed in only three years I'll never know, but when I'm forced to trail behind you in the left lane at 69MPH for miles on end, wondering when your nasty collection of styrofoam takeout trays and McDonald's bags was going to wind up on my hood, and I finally pass and hit "resume", it takes a lot of gall to start tailgating me at 80, that's all I'm saying.

It was 80 at high noon in West Knox when I left; when I arrived home at 5:30, the thermometer in the Bimmer was reading as high as 91 humid, sticky degrees Fahrenheit in some places here in Indy. Somebody needs to inform Gaia that it's supposed to be cooler up here than down there.

A rose by any other name...

Since it was the state dinner being thrown for Calderón that the Salahis were maybe/maybe not trying to sneak into, does that make them party crashers or "undocumented guests"?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Longitudinally Cracked Revolver

I've often thought that Bill "No Honest Man Needs A Handgun Smaller Than A Canned Ham" Ruger Sr. would spin in his grave at some of the stuff being released from his old company these days. Not only because he didn't believe in CCW and scary black hi-caps for the serfs, but also because some of them seem... well... decidedly non-Ruger.

Rugers have long had a reputation for ruggedness and durability, thanks to Bill's design maxim of "Never use one ounce of steel where two ounces will do the job just as well."

The first time I handled an LCR, my initial thought was that they're going to have to amend the 'Ruger Only' sections of a lot of reloading manuals; it just didn't sport that overbuilt feeling, y'know?

Now that I've seen pictures of my first LCR ka-BOOM, it only reinforces my dislike.

Well, this is kinda exciting...

A chopper has been circling overhead for the past 30+ minutes, and the sleepy streets of quaint Concord, TN are full of so many cop cars running their full suite of blinkies that you'd think the "HOT NOW" light had just been lit at Krispy Kreme.

I thought about wandering outside to find out what's up, but it would A) set off the little self-propelled burglar alarms, and B) stumbling into the middle of a manhunt is #7 on my list of Dumb Things You Probably Shouldn't Do.

I'll be tucking myself in shortly...

...with my heater close(r) at hand.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What gun lethal injection for bear?

Apparently the Great Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park had signs up along the trails near Laurel Falls telling hikers to keep an eye out for bears, since one had been reported getting frisky after folks had been feeding it from their pic-a-nic baskets.

On the 17th, a hiker spotted the bear and, since it looked all cute and nature-like, decided to stick around and get some pictures.

Now, this was a southern Appalachian black bear sow, which means that she did not tip the scales at 1,600 pounds or even 600 pounds, but only weighed about 60 pounds. She was still a wild animal, albeit a short one, and when the budding Ansel Adams was trying to get her to make love to the camera, she did what short wild animals do, and bit him on the foot.

Unfortunately for the bear, aggravated tourist biting is a capital offense for bears in National Parks, and the bear, despite its five thousand fans on Facebook, was sent to the great Jellystone In The Sky last week.


Interpol issues global alert for stolen art

Right-o. If anybody offers me any suspicious Picassos (Picassi?) at a crazy-good price in the next few weeks, I'll be sure to give Interpol a call.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Went to the gun show in Knoxville today.

It was good to touch base with so many old friends. After being in a new city and trying to find my feet there, coming back to where I can't go three tables without someone pulling me aside to ask how I've been, what I've been doing, did I get any cool guns lately? (and how's my momma 'n' 'em?) was pretty neat.

Still, as gun shows go, the Indy 1500 has me spoiled. The one here in K-town is maybe a third of the size, and the pickings are limited in proportion. I deliberately brought no cash money, figuring that if I saw something I absolutely could not live without, I could always whip out the checkbook or hit an ATM, but even if I'd had ten grand burning a hole in my pocket, I might have walked out with a French 8mm Ordnance Revolver and a Remington Model 8. Well, there was a .25 ACP Mauser that was cute and within negotiating reach, but it needed grips...

I guess I'm getting pickier.

Somehow, I thought you'd be taller...

I don't know how I missed this post at Way of the Multigun, where they had a grand ol' time dissecting a video by a "combat shooting instructor". Longtime posters at TFL or THR will recognize this guy's name.

Frankly, I’m embarrassed for the poor guy. For years, he’s touted his point-shooting technique as the bee’s knees in defensive shooting, much to the incredulity of those who’ve spent time training with various military organizations and legitimate defensive trainers like Pat Rogers, Louis Awerbuck or Rob Pincus. And now that we have video of his shooting, the only thing I can say is that Matthew Temkin is abysmally bad with a handgun.
If you're going to boast of your mad 1337 ninja skillz on the internets, you shouldn't put videos out there that make people wonder to which end of your clothing the microphone was clipped.

Spend your gun school dollars wisely.

Check the definition.

So, in an effort to appease both its teeming masses of illegal residents and its teeming masses of tofu-breathing bolshevik natives, the Los Angeles city council has, with almost Bloombergian arrogance, announced that it will be boycotting Arizona over the latter's decision to enforce federal immigration laws.

Let us check our Webster's:
boycott ('boi-kät) v. : to engage in a concerted refusal to have dealings with (as a person, store, or organization) usually to express disapproval or to force acceptance of certain conditions.
The government of the Grand Canyon State, in turn, pointed out that one of the dealings that Los Angeles has with Arizona is the purchase of electricity, and they would be happy to assist the city council in their efforts at moral purity by not selling them any. It turns out that the LA council didn't really mean a, you know, boycott-type boycott.

This reminds me of a child announcing that she is on a hunger strike and therefore refuses to eat her spinach and, by the way, what are we having for dessert?

Overheard in Front of the Television:

Visiting Knoxville, watching a Braves game on the telly. One of those new FEMA commercials comes on:
Voiceover: "Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed. Be"

Me: "Oh, I'm ready, .gov."

Gunsmith Bob: "Question is, is .gov ready?"

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pistol fix.

I was all up inside the guts of that little Dreyse 1907 yesterday.

I learned a few things:
  • A CZ Duo striker spring with a few coils cut off makes a handy substitute Dreyse striker spring.
  • The striker was not, in fact, broken. The cocking indicator was a separate piece, which had gone missing some time in the near-century since the gun was built.
  • Shannon is a nice guy who is quite capable of turning a piece of steel into a new cocking indicator.

Dry-fire debate.

In the comments section of this post, there was a bit of discussion about dry-firing. One of the participants, Og, expanded on his views on his own blog:
In comments at Tams, some knucklehead mentions that he habitually dry-fires his firearms.
Let me now confess that I am one of those knuckleheads.

I'll focus mainly on pistols here, and note that a lot of older deigns (and by older, I mean pre-WWII) may not be particularly amenable to dry-firing; ditto for most rimfires. Others, most notoriously the CZ-52, have issues with the quality of the materials used. It is, however, my considered opinion that the dangers of dry-firing to a modern centerfire firearm in serviceable order are vastly overblown.

In the field of revolvers, there is a subset of the conventional wisdom which states that older S&W revolvers, with their floating firing pins riveted to the hammer, will break when dry fired. If the pin is prevented from floating and is trapped in its downwardmost position by rust or gunk, then this is a possibility. I will also state that in all the untold thousands of job tickets for busted firearms I filled out between 1993 and 2007, exactly four were for broken firing pins on S&W revolvers. I have a few that have been dry-fired many, many thousands of times.

As a matter of fact, my daily routine over a period of several years was to dry-fire my pocket J-frame, at first a 442 and then a 432, fifty times as rapidly as possible with each hand and then, while my fingers were good and worn out, try to hold the dot from the laser steady on the backstop through the normal double action pull. Now, both these guns had the newer frame-mounted firing pin, but still... Call that 150 dry snaps a night, pretty much every night, for a five year stretch, and you have a wheelgun that has been dry-fired well over a hundred thousand times. Last time I was under the sideplate, nothing was out of sorts, although I'll note that the bearing surfaces of the lockwork were shiny.

Similarly, I couldn't tell you how many times my two current carry 1911s have been dry-fired, except to note that I religiously replace the firing pin springs whenever I replace the recoil springs.

But in the end, my experiences are merely anecdotal. And I certainly wouldn't dry-fire another person's weapon, unless given permission, because other people obviously hold differing opinions on the topic.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.

Happy comments from Volcker:
"I don't remember any time, maybe even in the Great Depression, when things went down quite so fast, quite so uniformly around the world," Volcker said.

I have, amongst my stuff someplace, a German 200 Mark coin from the early 1920s; it is made
of aluminum. It's the same size as another, later, coin in my collection, a 5 Reichsmark piece. The latter is made of silver.

Hey, did you hear? There's a new coinage proposal being floated in the US:
Those pennies and nickels in your pocket cost more to manufacture than they are worth. That's why the Obama administration wants to use cheaper materials -- possibly an aluminum alloy -- to make the coins.
No news on whether the new C-notes indeed have an adhesive backing...

(H/T to SurvivalBlog.)

Shun the outsider!

I accidentally caught part of Fox News Special Report tonight, and watched with a tinge of nausea as Kristol and Krauthammer cheerfully shivved Rand Paul in the liver over his comments on the applicability of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to private business owners.

They were barely able to conceal their glee as they clucked their tongues in mock concern over the libertarian loose cannon who had dared to win a GOP primary without being anointed by the inner sanctum.

I'm reminded why I don't watch Fox.

(For the record, I'm all in favor of letting idiots showcase their prejudices. It helps prevent me from accidentally spending money with someone whose pockets I'd rather not line.)

The difference between the monkey and the media?

Click here to find out.

(Frank James would point out that the difference between the monkey and the "New Media" is that the monkey will own what it says.)

Bring the noise.

It seems that the Kentucky Democrats are providing all the good sound bites for Rand Paul's Senate campaign:
Kaine said Paul "represents the most extreme elements of the Republican Party - a candidate who has vowed to abolish the Departments of Education and the Federal Reserve; who vows to oppose, oppose, oppose at a time when we need constructive solutions to the challenges we face."
Yeah, well, Mr. Kane, didn't that Barry Goldwater guy say that extremism in the defense of something-or-other is no vice? It's "constructive solutions" that keep getting us into messes like this.

Paul shot back with the money quote:
"You know, the debt is spiraling out of control and I'm proposing things like a balanced budget and they think that's an extreme idea? What I tell to the national Democrats is bring it on and please, please, please bring President Obama to Kentucky. We would want him to come and campaign for my opponent [Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway]. In fact, we'll pay for his plane ticket if President Obama will come to Kentucky."
Heh. Makes me want to get my Wookie on.

Building the perfect beast.

Over time, I have accumulated a few things here and there... A Rock River 1911 frame, a set of Cylinder & Slide lockwork, a Videcki trigger, odds and sods like that.

I've got to the point where I have the whole bottom end of a 1911, in pieces, and all I need is the top end. I figured I'd leave it with the folks at CCA on this visit, to be assembled into a complete pistol.

I know I'm going to go with a Kart barrel.

Thing is, they're fresh out of slides at the moment. I know I'm going to have to order one, so which one should I get? This whole gun is going to be pretty top shelf, and I don't really want to go with Caspian...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My baseball money's worth.

I've only watched two Braves games this year so far.

Last night was a bottom-of-the-ninth squeaker against the hated Mets.

Tonight, after a Billy Wagner blown save, rookie phenom Heyward doubled in the runner from first with two outs and a full count.

Nothing like having to watch the whole game to see how it's going to turn out.

The search for meaning can ruin your entertainment.

While I watched Iron Man 2, my subconscious noted the fact that it was going to be excoriated by humorless prudes from both the feminist and the men's rights wings of the overarching Grundy movement that is afraid people might be having something as selfish as an angst-free good time.

Feminists will be displeased that leering drunk Tony Stark uses his love interest to run his company while he runs around getting wasted and beating up supervillains, while Black Widow is shamelessly ogled for being hot, plus has to do the heavy lifting of beating up a kung-fu army of security guards while her male companion stands by helplessly.

Meanwhile, men's rights activists will be displeased that leering drunk Tony Stark uses his love interest to run his company while he runs around getting wasted and beating up supervillains, while Black Widow is shamelessly ogled for being hot, plus has to do the heavy lifting of beating up a kung-fu army of security guards while her male companion stands by helplessly.

Larry Correia launches a rebuttal that I'll just link, rather than plagiarizing it shamelessly, except to note that this line made me laugh out loud:
Not only am I a wise Latino, I am also a writer. Trust me lady, nobody wants a weepy pansy villain. Plus, Ivan was a RUSSIAN. Badass Russians only have three emotions: Revenge, depression, and vodka.

You keep using that word...

CNN ran a piece about a hippie in Florida who is so much more self righteous than you or I that, like some New Age version of a Fifth Century Stylite, he swore a mighty oath to live without oil.

The article leads with a picture of his electric bike, with its lead-acid batteries in their plastic cases and a great big plastic tub on the back.

Apparently these are made of a special kind of plastic, consisting of a mixture of unicorn fur and smugness, or something.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Night of the long bowcasters.

Rand Paul hands Grayson a stomping in KY GOP Senate primary.

We need more crazy in Congress.

C'mon America, get your Wookie on! You know you want to...

(At Knob Creek this Spring, you could have walked from the pink liquor store to the firing line, stepping from Rand Paul sign to Rand Paul sign, without your feet once touching the ground.)

You're doing it wrong.

Did you know that there is no prize for being the first person with their gun back in the holster? It's true.

And yet you'd be hard-pressed to tell that fact some days at the range, watching the elaborate kata some shooters go through as they jam their heater back into the holder.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is one of the major causes of unexpected loud noises. These noises are bad enough with a holster carried in a traditional position on the hip, where the shootee might find themselves awarded a "racing stripe", but with other forms of carry, such as the increasingly popular appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB), it's even more important to do it exactly right:
Think of all the stories you’ve read online in which someone shot himself in the foot, leg, thigh, or buttock while drawing or holstering. Now imagine if those stories all involved someone getting a self-induced lightning fast ballistic vasectomy, instead.

Get good training. Use good gear. Practice. Think about why you do the things you do. "Because the other kids are doing it!" is no more a valid answer now than it was when you were five.

The ____ Rules.

When I was still a teenager, I took a hunter safety class and had to learn the Rules Of Gun Safety, as promulgated by the NRA. I have since forgotten them, but I think they were
  1. Never, ever load a firearm unless you are about to shoot a deer.
  2. Never climb a fence or gate with a loaded firearm.
  3. Don't spill your gin & tonic on your Perazzi.
I don't know what it is about climbing fences, but they sure seemed to discourage it. In fact, I seem to recall that the safety rules stopped just short of telling me to leave the gun in the safe and take up crocheting instead.

Since then I have generally used the Four Rules a la Cooper
  1. All guns are always loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and you are ready to shoot.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Which are handy and easy to remember and you have to break two of them to really ruin your day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ten out of ten for style...

...minus twenty for the Rule Three violation.

Still, he seems to hit all the right notes. If I lived in Alabama (and knew nothing of the candidates other than their TeeWee commercials,) I'd vote for him.

I'd like to see a television commercial here in Indiana where a state-level candidate even got close enough to a gun to make a Rule Three violation.

(H/T to Unc.)

SWATing flies with a hammer, and not doing it well.

In the wake of several high-profile incidents in the late '60s and early '70s, culminating in the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, nations around the world began developing specialized military or paramilitary police forces to deal with armed, dangerous terrorist-style threats in the middle of crowded urban spaces filled with innocent bystanders.

Outfits like Germany's GSG-9 or Britain's 22nd SAS Regiment scored high profile successes in Operation Feuerzauber and Operation Nimrod, and by the opening of the 1980s, most large law enforcement agencies had units trained in storming a building to resolve a hostage crisis, from the early pioneers of LAPD SWAT to the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. And when the LAPD and FBI sneeze, the Anytown Police Department catches a cold. Soon, pretty much any agency that issued badges had some form or another of a SWAT team.

All issues of right and wrong aside for the moment, there are a couple of colossal problems with this situation.

First, a dynamic entry is a complex and dangerous ballet. Friendlies with guns, innocent hostages, and armed bad guys are all packed into a small space. Training to perform this evolution with any degree of safety for all concerned is a full-time job. A high-level tactical team is going to spend all its time practicing so that when it has to go into action, all of this complicated footwork will be executed with the precision of familiar routine. Smaller departments, however, simply don't have the manpower to dedicate officers to this job on a full-time basis, and so their SWAT teams are much more ad hoc affairs, with levels of skill and training varying all over the map.

Secondly, there just aren't that many "Barricaded Armed Suspect With Hostages" callouts in most jurisdictions, and when you have a hammer in your toolbox, you have to start looking for nails to pound.

The net result is that, using various rationalizations from "officer safety" to "preventing the destruction of evidence", tactics and techniques originally developed to allow professionals to resolve a hostage crisis are being used by part-timers, sometimes for reasons as trivial as recovering a bag of dope, often with predictable results.

We need to take a long hard look at why we bought this hammer in the first place.

Who'll stop the rain?

It has been a pretty wet month of May thus far. We've seen pretty much every variety of non-frozen precipitation, from drifting mist to Texas toad-strangler, and one form or another has appeared, however briefly, every day for the past week or so.

It's probably got something to do with the fact that my roomie installed that bit of gutter on the eaves over the back door...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

.32 Issues.

  • The Dreyse M1907 had some issues with light primer strikes. This is because the aft section of the firing pin (which protrudes from the rear of the weapon when the arm is cocked) appears to be missing. Seeing as how this section accounts for maybe a quarter of the firing pin's mass, its absence has a deleterious effect on reliability with the S&B primers, which are hard as woodpecker lips.
  • Speaking of not busting caps, the H&R was barely leaving the faintest kiss on the primers. I need to strip it down and see what the deal is. I have yet to field strip the H&R, so for all I know, despite its nearly pristine exterior, the striker channel may be full of almost a hundred years' worth of congealed 3-in-1.
  • The rounds that didn't go off in the Dreyse or the H&R? Why, I loaded them in one of my Colt 1903s and sent them downrange. Help me John Moses Browning, you're my only hope!


Thus far, I have managed to go to the range with a couple of .32 caliber pocket autos and no ammo, and I have also managed to go to the range with a couple boxes of .32ACP and no pistols.

Today, however, I have a separate MTM Casegard case with four vintage pistols stowed therein, as well as a hundred rounds of 7.65 Browning already in the range bag, right next to the ear pro.

I even went back and looked to make sure.

I am now ready to venture forth. Except I'm out of zombie targets. C'est, as they say, la vie.

Dear parents of the world:

"People who force their toddlers on others in enclosed public spaces like fine restaurants (and airplanes) are even more selfish than those who insist on talking on cell phones in such places,"
I am very happy that you have successfully managed to swim upstream and spawn. It is the efforts of you, and those like you, that ensure that the human race will continue on this globe, at least for the next threescore and ten. Were it not for people like you, I wouldn't be here.

Further, I understand that you cannot get a sitter every time you need groceries, and that it is occasionally necessary to transport your sprog by airplane, bus, or train; to visit grandma, for example.

However, when I am enjoying my rare solo steak dinner in a moderately classy dead cow eatery, and your loin fruit is performing her air raid siren impersonation while doing a Jimmy Lee Sudduth with her mashed potatoes on the tablecloth, it kinda harshes my mellow, you know?

Look, I like children. I earned my book money in high school by babysitting children. I enjoy seeing children in public places. But there are places that grownups sometimes want to go and enjoy an absence of children. Movie theaters that aren't showing Shrek, for instance. When I pay money to go sit in the dark and watch grownup people act out grownup situations in grownup ways, I don't appreciate doing so to the accompaniment of ululations from a peanut gallery too young to grasp the concept of "inside voice".

I understand you couldn't get a sitter and that this is the only night the two of you could tear away to Steakhouse L'expensif and the 8:15 showing of Robin Hood, but that's not the rest of society's problem, okay? You should have thought about that before you laid off the Ortho-Novum.

Perhaps we could come up with some societally agreed-upon rules of thumb. For instance, if a restaurant has any two of the four following:
  1. Table coverings made of actual cloth that are not checkered.
  2. Candles on the tables that do not require batteries.
  3. An average entree price over, say, twenty bucks.
  4. Some faux foreign word in the name.
...then you must be this tall to ride, okay?

Overheard at the Art Fair:

Chick at Writer's Center of Indiana booth: "You look like writers!"

Me: "I'll be a writer when I've got a check stub in my hand."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hippies in the mist.

Today we planned to bicycle to the Broad Ripple Art Fair, after a bit of pedaling about on the Monon.

Knowing that we were going to be in Patchouli Fume Central, I dressed for the occasion in my Filthy Hippies t-shirt and my faded and sweat-stained Blackwater hat, since they make such lovely conversation pieces amidst the Obama buttons and "Coexist" bumper stickers.

The sky was constantly threatening rain while we put probably twelve miles of asphalt under our tires. At one point we stopped in a bike shop, where a young guy on a Surly fixie called out "Does that hat say 'Blackwater'?"


His chin went up a little. "You're kinda... far from home, aren't you?"

"Uh, no. Actually I live here in Broad Ripple."

As we pedaled on down the trail, Bobbi, Turk, Shootin' Buddy, and I came up with possible alternative answers to his question. Some of the droller ones:
  • "No. Actually the secret meeting is here in Indy this month."
  • "You're not cleared for the answer to that."
  • "No. We're doing security at the Art Fair."
  • "Gotta wash the blood off someplace."
  • "Actually, I'm here to give a class on waterboarding to the IMPD."
Ah, l’esprit de l’escalier...

A whole new meaning to "Human Resources".

"The nation that has the schools has the future." -Otto von Bismarck.

Well, isn't that a cheery quote? The gruff old Prussian was in favor of teaching poetry and art and making sure everybody had an ethnic awareness program and good basic math skills...

Only that's not what he meant. He looked at schools as the primary molders of the "Nation-in-Arms"; turning out students that would enter adulthood already trained to obey. The very notion of this should be repulsive to any right-thinking American, to whom individuality is a sacred birthright. In the United States, the nation exists at, and ultimately for, our pleasure; we are not born merely to serve the hive. Life, liberty, and the purfuit of happiness are enshrined in our founding documents and are about the only things worth getting shot for.

Somebody needs to point this out to a few nominal Americans:
"Since 1995, the proportion of recruits who failed their physical exams because they were overweight has risen by nearly 70 percent," said Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The answer? Come up with a program called Mission: Readiness that will generate terabytes of PowerPoint presentations demanding Congress pass laws about what schoolkids may eat for lunch, in order that they may make a more effective "Natural Resource", as it were, in the future.

Can you imagine Alexander Hamil... okay, wait... Can you imagine George Washington leaning over to James Madison and saying "Prithee, put somethynge in Article I about Congrefs having the power to regulate the lunches of all small childryn so that their bodies may be more fit to absorbe ball and shotte when they grow up."?

Overheard in the Kitchen:

Roomie is skimming an article about Barry's feelings on the leak in the Gulf:
RX: "The President called the oil spill a 'ridiculous spectacle'. When did he get his PhD in mechanical engineering?"

Me: "If anybody would know a ridiculous spectacle, it'd be our Ridiculous Spectacle In Chief."

In the presence of mine enemies.

Apparently Paul Helmke actually showed up for a spot of debate with Alan Gura and some folks that might look familiar.

Joe Huffman has notes and photos.

Friday, May 14, 2010

If a gun could talk...

...this one would sound like the Tower of Babel.

It's a Russian 1905/10 Maxim that was captured by the Jerries early in the '14-'18 war and issued to the machinegun troops of Grenadier Regiment 211. And then...
Later in WW1 this Machine Gun ended up in Turkey, perhaps as Imperial German aid during the conflict and was subsequently recaptured by the Russians before the close of the war. The Gun then, presumably with the Turkish mount was then captured by the Finns in the Winter War with the Soviets of 1939/40 as evidenced by the Finnish Arsenal and inventory date added in 1943. The Finnish Army later sold the weapon as surplus to IMA in 1996.

And here I thought my Remington-made Russian contract Finnish-issue Mosin-Nagant '91 had collected some stamps in its passport.

Like a happy tick.

I am feeling pretty well-disposed towards the human race right now, because I just got back from seeing Iron Man 2 and having dinner at Eddie Merlot's with Shootin' Buddy, where I ate a rare filet the size of my head. I mean, yeah, there was French onion soup and an ahi tuna appetizer and some asparagus, but mostly the steak.

And it was good.

I am going to go bask on a warm flat rock to digest my meal now.

Building a religion...

I got a chuckle from this:
Think about the life that a truly conscientious environmentalist must lead! Compared with it, the devout Muslim’s five daily prayers and the pious Jew’s carefully regulated diet are a cakewalk.

(H/T to Shermlock Shomes.)

Where the cool kids aren't.

Since all of the cool kids are in Charlotte for the big NRA to-do, those of us uncool enough to be stuck here in Indy will just have to entertain ourselves.

Guns in Books.

Once upon a time, I let friend Marko read a bit of something I'd written. At one point in the piece, the protagonist handles a gun:
Driving back to the all-night diner, he pulled the SIG autopistol from the glovebox and, after checking the load, stuffed it into the waistband of his cutoffs, tugging his shirt down to cover it up.
Marko noted with approval that the passage did not read
Driving back to the all-night diner, he pulled the SIG P-229 in .40S&W from the glovebox, slightly retracting the forged, Nitron-finished slide to see the glint of brass, reassuring him that the 165-grain Winchester SXT was in the chamber. Slipping the piece into his Alessi CQC holster, he tugged his shirt down to cover it up.
Which, while it would pad out the word count for the check from the Men's Adventure novel publisher, would obviously put the story in the category where the protagonist spends all his time grinning wolfishly before either busting caps in improbable numbers of bad guys or ravishing assorted heroines who, for all their alleged skills and supposed romantic attractions are constantly in need of rescue and possess marginally more fleshed-out personalities than fembots.

Friend Staghounds, in the comments to the previous post, complains legitimately that...
Characters drive generic cars to fungible houses wearing undescribed clothes, but every weapon gets a description Sotheby's would reserve for the Pollock on the catalogue cover.
And as a quasi-literate gun nut, I have to agree. Look, if you want verisimilitude, feel free to throw in a brand name or two; make sure the caliber, if mentioned, is correct for the gun and use; maybe even have your character reload at some point; but please don't let the action and character development bog down in a sales brochure for the latest product from HK or Bushhamster, okay?

Overheard on the Phone:

Shootin' Buddy, in an attempt to better understand wookie-suiters, has taken to reading a few L. Neil Smith novels. He is currently reading Pallas, and I got a call last night:
SB: "What is it with wookie-suiters and hand cannons?"

Me: "I don't... Why are you asking me?"

SB: "These are your people."

Me: "What's making you ask?"

SB: "Well, the main character of this book, Emerson, he's 14. And he just escaped from the ant farm, and they just gave him his first pistol, and it's a .45 Wildey Magnum."

Me: "Uh, I think that's more of an L. Neil Smith thing than a general wookie-suit thing. I mean, I've been known to carry a .32 Mag."

Pallas, as a novel, bugged me because Smith kinda squandered a good setting for a story. The low gravity of the asteroid it's set on is generally ignored except where it makes an interesting plot device or clever bit of decor (kind of like the high-pressure nitrogen environment of Crichton's godawful Sphere, which is seemingly forgotten about less than ten pages after being introduced.) The plot gets awfully rushed in the latter half of the the book, too; it has the feeling of having had whole chunks chainsawed out at random to make it fit between the covers. It's a fun-but-flawed read if you're a dedicated fan of El Neil, but I definitely wouldn't use it as an introduction to his oeuvre.

QotD: Politics As Usual edition.

From Borepatch:
I don't think that the problem is the Democrats, and I don't think the solution is the Republicans. The problem is that there's a permanent political class that has increasing contempt for the voters, and who is aided and abetted by their lackeys in the traditional media. If the Republicans are not as bad as the Democrats in this, it's not for lack of trying.
He sucked me in with that post, too. It started off talking about how the early manipular legions of Rome whooped ass on the archaic Macedonian phalanxes. Hey, Roman military history! A sure way to get me interested! Next thing I knew, we were talking about November and it was all incumbents delenda est. Clever, that.

A paper and pasteboard time machine.

The post office brought a big box from Colorado yesterday: The twelve-volume set of the Educator Classic Library. Yesterday afternoon I kicked back on the front porch and settled into reading Swiss Family Robinson for the first time in better than twenty years...
"As I looked at my two young sons, each with his gun, and considered how much the safety of the party depended on these little fellows, I felt grateful to you, dear husband, for having acquainted them in childhood with the use of firearms."
This is the literary equivalent of comfort food.

Thank you to everybody who made that possible.

(True story: It took the USPS seven days to get the box from Fort Collins, CO to Denver, a total of some seventy miles. It only took four days from Denver to Indy. I am presuming it was carried the first leg of its journey on foot, somewhat slower than they could have managed in Pastor Wyss's day. Perhaps we should consider bringing back the Pony Express.)

The Strange Case of Balochistan Bryant.

Some suburbanite kids fall in with a bad crowd and smoke pot or steal car stereos. Others fall in with a bad crowd and join al Qaeda.

I did find this blurb from the article interesting:
With his travel plans made, Vinas seemed happier. Kuilan recalled Vinas' "whole demeanor lightened up."

Acevedo remembered going to a gun range with Vinas.

"We probably shot a good 200 rounds," he recalled. "He just felt free."
Yeah, that's often ominous foreshadowing in my life, too. Usually right after I leave the range, I go join an Islamic terrorist cell and blow myself up. Sometimes twice in the same weekend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

...and this little piggy (should have) stayed home.

New Jovian Thunderbolt has a post up about his buddy's latest feral hog expedition in Texas.

The more I read about pig hunting, the more I want to play.

More thoughts on the mortgage mess...

I don't think it's any of the federal government's business who a bank lends money to. If they want to give a quarter of a million dollars to the guy on the corner with a squeegee and a bucket so he can buy a single-wide on a tenth of an acre of bare dirt in Love Canal Meadows, then that's between them and squeegee guy.

However, the idea that Jane Taxpayer is supposed to stand there and let her pockets get rifled by Congress in order to protect both the bank and squeegee guy from the hard lessons of their idiocy is just shameful.

QotD: Bribery edition.

The funniest thing I will read on the internets today:
In a post at Unc's wherein he announces that some study or another has named Tennessee as the "most corrupt state", Rustmeister said "No way we’re more corrupt than Louisiana. They musta paid somebody off…."
I LOL'ed and LOL'ed.
Wish I'd said that...

Too much television.

So, apparently a Philadelphia cop who claimed he was shot by a pair of "African-American males" had actually gone all Munchausen and plugged himself. On purpose.

Desperate for a transfer or some attention or whatever, Sgt. Robert Ralston put his gun to his left shoulder and let 'er rip, because, hey, in Hollywood the heroes get a little "through-and-through" in the shoulder and just shrug it off like the stoic he-men they are.

In Hollywood, the bullet never takes a tumble and blows the shoulder joint apart in a spray of bone fragments, necessitating amputation of the arm at the shoulder. In Hollywood, the bullet never severs the subclavian artery, leaving the shootee to bleed out in a minute or so. In Hollywood, the bullet never severs the brachial plexus and leaves the victim's arm dangling uselessly.

Hey, Sgt. Ralston: The next time you want to give yourself a dramatic self-inflicted gunshot wound without the risk of hitting anything important, shoot yourself in the head, numbnuts.

Predatory what now?

In all the hoo-hah surrounding the "Wall Street reform" bill that is gradually dropping through the pachinko machine of Capitol Hill, I keep hearing the term "predatory lending practices" which is, from what I can gather, where mortgage bankers would lie in wait in the bushes, and then leap out unawares on poor innocent folk, shoving hundreds of thousands of dollars into their pockets, and then forcing them at gunpoint to buy homes they didn't want.

Well, they should cut that out right now.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The single awesomest gun book I own...

Several Christmases ago, my friend Jennifer gave me a copy of R.K. Wilson's Textbook of Automatic Pistols . Leather-bound, watered silk endpapers, and 300-plus gilt-edged pages of wisdom on the mechanics of self-loading firearms, largely from the pre-war pages of the British periodical, Game and Gun. The volume is incomplete, as the Jerries were impolite enough to attack Poland before Leftenant Colonel Wilson, Royal Artillery, could complete his magnum opus.

There are digressions into the operation and history of various self-loading rifles and machine guns, as well as commentary on the Webley-Fosbery "Automatic Revolver" ("It is, however, no quicker to load than the Service Revolver, and in the hands of the ordinary individual possesses no advantages over the latter; while the action is easily dislocated by mud or grit, and is therefore unsuited to service conditions.")

Some of the quotes are absolute gems.

On the "Broomhandle" Mauser:
It is the ambition of the average Continental officer to possess a Mauser pistol; ideas of stopping-power do not worry him in the least, and he has little use or need for a good fighting weapon; what catches his fancy is a high-speed, long-range arm that he can carry on his belt with ease - and the Mauser fills this bill exactly.

In America, on the other hand, tastes and requirements are exactly different. The American market is a very critical and exacting one, and there is a long tradition behind it which regards a pistol as first and foremost a fighting weapon, which means above all handiness, balance, and the feel of an arm for quick shooting. To-day, in America, as of old, the man who carries the gun, policeman, criminal, or private citizen, carries his life in the chamber, as it were, of that gun; and he must get there first with it if he is to walk the streets again.

On a French pistol:
It is known as "Le Francais", and is of irreproachable manufacture and finish, unlike most French arms.

On WWI-vintage Spanish pistols:
They are one and all of cheap and nasty appearance, of bad material badly made, and very dangerous to use.

I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is an informed, erudite volume that will help you to understand the differences between the various operating systems, calibers, and mechanical histories of many of the great design families of self-loading weapons, written by someone with hands-on experience of the lot of them. Pre-WWII England was obviously a very different place...


There is a big ol' post stuck in my head. I know that if I could just get the first few words out, the next seven hundred would spew out after them like magic.

The funny thing is, I couldn't even tell you what the topic is; there are three or four items just swirling around half-formed in my noggin, any one of which would turn into logorrhea if I could just get that first rock of the avalanche bouncing down the hill...

It's almost painful.

Freudian slip...

So I read this blurb at MarketWatch:
Next up: Kentucky's Republican primary on May 18, where conservatives are hoping to make a red state redder by choosing upstart candidate Rand Paul over Republican establishment pick Trey Grayson.
...and somehow my mind inserted an extra "r" in the descriptor for Grayson, and I thought "Wow, honest journalism!"

Old guns still in the saddle?

How many of you either use, or know someone who uses, an old gun for CCW or home defense?

And by "old gun", I don't mean a 1st Generation Glock or even a Series 70 Colt; I mean a Smith & Wesson Safety Hammerless or a Colt 1903 in .32 or an Iver Johnson "Owlhead" top-break? Something pre-WWII at least.

I'm just curious.

How did I miss this?

When did the Army decide that it'd be a great big morale boost to make our troops dress like AFJROTC cadets from the local VooTee High School?

Going from the snazzy WWII "pinks & greens" to the dull green business suit in the fifties was bad enough, but this new uniform seems expressly designed to make its wearer look a total dork. I'd expect something like this from, say, the Navy or the Air Force, where making servicemen wear clown suits has a long and respectable tradition, but Big Army?

We're down to only one branch of service with a decent looking set of class Bs... This is a serious national defense issue.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cast away.

I've never tried casting my own boolits at home, although it looks to be all kinds of fun and practical.

I'm just worried about having a place to do it that is well-ventilated enough that I don't need to pull my socks off to count past ten after a long session.

There's a man on the radio...

The radio in the gunsmithing shop where I used to work was tuned to the local AM talk station in the mornings for Neal Boortz's show, but it usually got shut off when Boortz went off and Rush came on.

I didn't mind that at all, because I am far from the world's biggest Rush Limbaugh fan. Truth be told, I can't stand him; he's like Howard Stern for guys with mortgages. But when Mark Steyn would guest host, I'd make a point to listen, because I *heart* me some Mark Steyn.

Here he is being all awesome and stuff...

Yeah, it's thirty minutes, but if you're all "Short Attention Span Theater" like me, you can break it down into two chunks.

Turn back now.

Joanna discovers the existence of the titanium spork.

Stop, Joanna. Stop now. That way lies madness.

Like an optical illusion...

Have any of you guys not seen the Sbarro hubless wheel? Here, let me fix that.

Trippy, no?

Expensive as all getout because of the giant bearings involved, and not as much weight savings as you'd think, they are totally impractical and yet almost hypnotically cool. It'd be so awesome to troll slowly down main street on that bike with a brace of trained poodles running alongside and hopping through your wheels. Especially if your wheels were on fire. And there was a midget in a clown suit yelling "Verboten!"

Same planet, different worlds.

You know what always cracks me up? When the morning national news programs interview disaster survivors from the heartland. The talking heads always look so surprised to get an earful of inchoate theology from people whose eyes are still wide and knees still a-shakin' after watching their Amy Grant CD collection and entire set of Left Behind books get whisked off to Oz.

When tornadoes Hoovered up vast swathes of the South recently, Today pointed their cameras at a man who had survived the cyclone by taking cover under the communion table of the Second Living Bible Church of Wide Spot, Mississippi. Given the mic, he held forth at some length about what a swell guy he thought Jesus was right at that moment, and how everybody else ought to think so, too.

The NBC talking heads were nonplussed and confused. Hey, less than eight hours before you stuck a camera in his face, this guy had a front-row seat at a Roland Emmerich production while huddling in the very belly button of a church; what did you think he was going to talk about? It wouldn't surprise me at all if the words "...and if You let me live, and don't suck me up like You just did that tool shed over there, I promise I will praise Your name to every news crew that shows up," had actually passed the man's lips at some point the previous evening.

Look, Ms. NBC news reader, we can't all be as stoic and rationally calm in the face of buildings being destroyed right in our faces as you New Yorkers are, okay?

Monday, May 10, 2010

I wrote a Sunday Smith post yesterday...

...but I took the Monday Smith picture this morning.

You know what the difference is between a brand new Uberti Cattleman, Beretta Stampede, or Custom Shop Colt Peacemaker at Cowboy Bob's SASS Store and the faded little Smith & Wesson .32 Single Action top-break at some old guy's table at the gun show?

One of them may have actually been held by a cowboy.

Feeling much better, thanks.

My leg and back are much improved. Like I did back in December, I switched to an OWB holster for a couple days so as to avoid aggravating things.

In this case, I doubled the relief on my back by using the gun I usually keep in my purse. At under 19 ounces when unloaded, the weight is hardly noticed when you're used to almost three pounds of steel and lead in the same place.

I was also reminded of the times I shot some informal action pistol courses with my old Charco Bulldog Pug, also a 5-shot revolver in .44 Special. Even though the stages were set up with snubbies in mind, the limited capacity and slower reload gave zero margin for error. When you've got only five beans in the wheel, you really want to make every one of them count.

Y'know, which is cool and all, because it was a good and concrete reminder that I'm not carrying a pistol because I'm looking to get in a fight. While it sure beats a handful of nothin', only a crazy person would get in a fight with a five-shooter. (Although they make splendid starter pistols for the "Panicky Fleeing Intended Victim 100yd Dash," to paraphrase Mike Irwin.)

Today In History: "You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought."

On this date in May 1940, the Germans launched one of the most audacious airborne assaults in history...

No, no, not the gliders and Fallschirmjäger at the fortress of Eben Emael. That was positively sane compared to what I'm talking about. I'm talking about Operation Niwi.

You haven't heard about Operation Niwi?

This was one of those battle plans that was obviously concocted at about 0200 on a Sunday in the middle of a pile of empty adult beverage containers...

"Hans, I've got an idea. We can speed up the advance of the 1st Panzer if we drop airborne troops on the crossroads in their rear and cut off all their communications. They'll panic and run if they can't talk to their rear areas."

"But Franz, all our airborne troops are already allotted to other attacks."

"So we'll use regular infantry and land them in transport planes. Get a couple of companies from, say, the Grossdeutschland division. They're not fully tasked yet."

"There's not enough room on these little country roads for transport planes to land and take off."

"Well, then use those little artillery spotter planes."

"But they can only carry two or three troops apiece!"

"So use a lot of them."

And so they did.

They rounded up almost every Fieseler Storch in the Luftwaffe and put them in a scratch squadron to train for the mission: 100 tiny planes delivering roughly 300 troops laden with antitank rifles to delay armored reinforcements, in two lifts, landing and taking off again from fields and country lanes. It would require precise timing and coordination. And they pulled it off, too.

On the morning of May 10, everything went down like... well, a whole lot better than you would expect a plan like this to work, actually. They actually seized the vital communications chokepoints in the Belgian rear areas, thus preventing clear instructions from reaching the troops at the front.

Unfortunately, the instructions which they prevented from reaching the frontline troops consisted of things like "Fall back and regroup," and "We need to borrow your anti-tank troops back here because we've got Jerries in the rear areas," and so the Belgian Chasseurs Ardennes held on in the face of 1st Pz. as best they could and even counterattacked a little bit instead of falling back and the German advance was held up a good day longer than if everybody had just stayed in bed that morning.

But that wouldn't have made as cool a story.

Fresh Arms Room content...

I'd been planning a series of Arms Room posts, but accidentally zilched an entire CompactFlash card full of photos in the parking lot at Knob Creek because I r dum.

Anyhow, I got a big post all wrote up for tomorrow, just waiting on enough available light by which to shoot a photo. Meanwhile, here's a teaser for the upcoming stuff on pocket Europellet launchers.