Monday, August 31, 2015

I have nothing to add.

This list is great.

*checks watch* Only twenty years to go, thank God.

This is the emoting that passes for thinking these days:
Sure, those fans shelling out $300 a ticket in the box seats may initially balk looking through a netting, but if they don't like it, they can reserve the right to stop coming to games, too.

It's no different than the airlines. You may hate taking off your shoes, your belt and putting your laptop in a bin, but if you don't like it, stop flying.

You can get used to inconvenience.

You never become immune to tragedy.
It's uncomfortable watching a grown man doing this in public. There is no virtus there. You want to throw a blanket over him so the kids don't see. Maybe spare a shred of what's left of his dignity.

My only remarks on that subject.

First, on the phone the other day with staghounds, he remarked that it's a thousand wonders we haven't had one of the narcissistic nihilists wear a GoPro while committing their heinous acts yet. I'd say that last week's events make it a near certainty that one will in the near future, and news directors across America will practically decorate their cupcakes at the thought of airing the footage while simultaneously wondering aloud why such things happen. After all, some clueless yayhoo at NBC actually wrote the following headline:
--------------, Virginia TV Killer, Vowed on Day of Firing to Make 'Headlines'.
I swear, self-awareness is so uncommon these days it should be considered a f%$@ing super power.

Right now, what do you think the easiest way would be for the average American schlub to get their very own Wikipedia page: Win a gold medal at the Olympics? Write a best-selling novel? Or shoot five or six people in a moderately telegenic fashion? Incentivize something and you will get more of that thing.

Meanwhile, on gun fora threads mostly full of endless dreary chest-beating about MAH SITUATIONAL AWARENESS*, Glenn Meyer raises a point that was all too quickly drowned out by the ritual chanting but bears a repeat out here:
If you had some knowledge of the attentional and alertness literature, you would not be surprised. In all kinds of critical incidents, even with highly trained personnel, cues are missed.

There is a trace of blaming the victim in the proclamations of how one is always on the alert and ready to go. It serves to make you feel better than there is a just world and it is the victim's fault for not being the steely eyed dealer of death that you are. It also reduces your anxiety as you feel so much better as you are a warrior and it wouldn't happen to you. You sit on your toilet, scanning the environment, wearing a vest with a ceramic plate! Add the Dunning-Kruger effect, as to your superb ability.

Since you go around armed with significant firearms and have lots of training (as most of us here probably do), you expect a 24 year old newscaster to have a Glock 19 on her at all times and blame her for not doing so. Yes, I believe in being prepared but I'm not going to rant and blame a young woman for being killed by a monster. It is the monster's fault.

*Remember: Chanting "SITUATIONAL AWARENESS" with your fellow congregants at the daily virtual prayer meetin' prevents criminal assaults just like chanting "FOUR RULES" and "BOOGER HOOK BANG SWITCH" prevents safety lapses.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #133...

M1877 "Lightning" from Colt. The mug is from
Colt 1877 "Lightning" .38 Long Colt double-action revolver, made in 1882. It's a basket case, but was too cheap to pass up. This is a "shopkeeper's model", with a 3.5" barrel sans any ejector rod assembly. I might make a quixotic attempt at getting it restored, or at least mechanically functional, but even if I don't, it'd be fun to fiddle with while watching Young Guns or Tombstone. After all, it was made the same year Jesse James was killed.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Derp sells. Especially if it's New, Improved Derp.

Behold, the "Handgun Sling"*:

A learning-impaired tree sloth should be able to spot a number of glaring errors here. For instance, the handgun is carried right on the lumbar spine, which is practically an invitation to future hobbies like wheelchair basketball and getting to compete in 5k fun runs while sitting down.

Second, the dude orients the grip incorrectly for a handgun carried behind the back. Observe how the best-known small-of-the-back holster, the Galco SOB †, rides. This is so that if you just have to carry your gun in the wrong place, then at least when you draw the firearm in a big hurry, you don't flag your own frickin' kidneys with the muzzle. Blowing your own giblets out your belly button when trying to throw down on an ATM stickup artist is a pretty serious party foul.

But the pièce de résistance, the derp cherry on the suck icing of the giant failcake, is the blindfolded hand jive one must go through every morning just to holster up:

If dude could somehow get his strong-side traffic finger a little further into the trigger guard, he'd be a shoo-in for today's "How Many of the Four Rules Can You Break at Once?" contest.

Don't fall for this stuff. It's stupid.

* I have downloaded the video, so in case the guy goes dark, we can put it back up elsewhere.
If I had a dollar for every minute of my life I have spent on a sales floor, explaining the "why" behind the orientation of the Galco SOB to an uncomprehending audience, I'd buy myself... well I don't know, but it'd be something pretty nice.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Unintended Consequences...

Look for the costs of opening a McDonald's or Burger King franchise to rise in the future, because the order-taking kiosks and burger-assembling robots will add to the front end costs significantly, although they'll be less expensive over time than unionized New Minimum Wage workers.

A Good Sign

Indy Arms isn't open-open, as such. We did a "soft open" before the scheduled Grand Opening, with limited hours from noon to five on weekdays and no publicity. Nevertheless, people have been turning up. We had a fair number of customers in yesterday, people who stopped by on the way to the post office or one of the other local businesses when they noticed the gates were open on the front door.

I sold a guy a shotgun, just a basic synthetic-stocked Remington 870. It'd been a while since I slung a gun across the glass. It felt good.

As it ticked down to five o'clock and time to tidy up before going home, I stepped out front with the Windex and a paper towel to shiny up the glass, and noticed this sign...

Your 92D is okay here.
We approve.

EDIT: It pains me to have to spell this out for the Hard-of-Reading and the Perpetually Offended, but the sign doesn't say "No open carry." It says "Firearms must be concealed, holstered, or cased."

If a sign said "Pizzas must have pepperoni, sausage, or bacon," would that mean all pizzas must have pepperoni? No. No it would not. Just don't come in waving a gun around in your hand. It needs to be concealed, holstered, or cased.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Tab Clearing...

Isn't this where we came in?

Ten years ago I started this blog. Some things haven't changed, like my opposition to asset forfeiture laws or the looming threat of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Others have; for instance I'm a lot less opposed to the idea of the local po-po at least having access to some sort of bullet-resistant vehicle than I was. (Although in most smaller communities it would probably make a lot more fiscal sense to talk the bank president or car dealer into taking up an interest in WWII surplus armored cars and then handing him one of those auxiliary deppity holster-sniffer badges in exchange for a spare set of keys.)

I was working in a gun store & indoor range at the time and that seems to have come full circle, too...

"Do you want to interview?"
"Er, I really don't have much time for a job."

"Part time is fine!"
"I'm out of town a lot for gun school."
"Let us know ahead of time! Wanna interview?"
*scuffs toe* "I guess. Employee discount and free range time?"

Blogger says 12,103 posts. From 2008 to 2010, I was a postin' fool, it looks like. Since that time, I've gotten published in dead tree rags, largely because of this blog. I'm told that it's more usual for writers to have to shop article ideas and column proposals around than to get approached by editors and asked to write stuff. Being almost morbidly shy, I'm glad the latter route has worked for me.

Anyhow, I'd ramble on more about this stuff, but I've got today's blog post to write. Thanks for reading and for all you awesome readers have done for me. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog, already in progress...

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #132...

Some glamor shots of Bobbi's stainless Colt Government .380...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

...and finally Part Two.

So two things remained to do with the BG380 test.

First, determine how much of Monday's fiasco with the ignition problems on the Sig Sauer FMJ ammo was the gun and how much was the ammo. Second, would the BG380 return to some semblance of reliability when returned to a diet of the Fiocchi FMJ from Lucky Gunner?

This obviously required a second .380 as a control, and since all the other pistols I own in the caliber are antiques of questionable reliability themselves, I used a Colt Government .380 thoughtfully provided by Bobbi to double check the Sig ammo.

Above are the nine rounds of Sig .380 and the one Remington that qualified as "duds" in Monday's testing, each showing the marks of multiple primer hits from the BG380.

When fed into the Colt, they all fired normally on the first try. Obviously, despite being a hammer-fired gun with a stout mainspring, the BG380 had reached a point where it was having ignition problems after going a thousand-plus rounds with no cleaning or lubrication.

The second part was to re-try the Bodyguard with the Fiocchi. To this end I ran another hundred rounds of the Fiocchi through the gun. All fired. However, four of them did not go on the first try. This time, though, instead of ejecting the round, photographing the primer, noting the round number, and reloading it in the magazine, I took advantage of the true Double Action Only trigger mechanism and just pulled the trigger a second time.

All four ignited with a second trigger pull.

Obviously the BG380 had reached a point where the increasing amounts of propellant residue and lack of lubricant were affecting its reliability. I decided to call the test done at a round count of 1335 rounds total through the gun.

"For you, ze var is over."
My hypothesis, and I'm just guessing here, based on the slightly off-center primer hits on the "duds", is that the gun had reached a point where it was sometimes stopping just a tiny fraction of an inch out of battery, and the fall of the hammer would push the gun the rest of the way closed. This, however, was absorbing enough energy to keep the primer from popping. This is why they went off, four-for-four, when I just pulled the trigger again, instead of cycling the round out of the gun and back into the magazine.

Regardless, the gun still shoots fine. And all the trigger practice on this thing has been a big help! I was standing there Tuesday shooting 20-yard steel with a tiny mousegun with a 10+ pound DAO trigger like it was the most normal thing in the world. This is not something that was in my skillset not all that long ago.

I will clean the gun, give it a good lube, function fire it, and resume carrying it with more confidence in the gun than I had before I started this program. (Do note that there was not a single failure to feed or failure to eject over the course of 1335 rounds.)

I am not a Wally World shopper, generally...

...largely because the one nearest us has atrocious service. However, they are an invaluable resource when I am on the road. If you're in a far-off small town for gun school or house-sitting for a friend in another state and find yourself in need of bug spray, a cyalume stick, shooting glasses, beef jerky, bottled water, tube socks, shotgun shells, and toothpaste, you know where your one-stop shopping experience is to be found.

The only two Wally Worlds whose gun departments I've paid any real attention to in the last couple years were the ones in West Lebanon, New Hampshire and Salem, Ohio, and both of them were almost 50% AR-15 variants in the long gun department. Given the latest news, it would not surprise me to find out that Wally-World belatedly went long on AR-15s late in the panic and is now sitting on a several year supply at current purchase rates...

Words I never thought I'd use...

"The Mercedes team boss Niki Lauda…
Well there’s a name I never thought would make me blurt “You cowardly sniveling weasel!” It’s a shame to find out that lead foot was really clay all along.

Pusillanimity, thy name is Niki.

(Over in comments at WM, someone asked how posting video of shooting a different kind of rifle at a target range was "insensitive" to the victims of the train attack, to which I replied "It's an Herbivore Thing. You wouldn't understand.")

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Range Trip Part One-and-a-Half

I know I promised a Part Two of Monday's range trip yesterday morning, but that's been sort of overtaken by events. I went to the range again yesterday and that means that Monday's "Part Two" was turned into "Part One-and-a-Half" of a bigger story.

So, where were we? Oh, yes, I had just finished shooting the Remington and was about to start in on the Sig Sauer Elite Performance FMJ, provided for testing purposes by Sig...

The Sig Sauer offering features a flat-pointed 100gr FMJ bullet. I haven't yet chronographed it, but it sure felt like the zippiest FMJ offering I've yet tried in the little gun. It's certainly the heaviest bullet, with all the rest of the test ammo thus far being either 90 or 95 grain projectiles. Sig claims 910fps in their advertising, but doesn't state the barrel length from which that velocity was obtained.

Anyway, I settled down to loading magazines and shooting. It didn't take long for the BG380's new nemesis to raise its ugly head...

*BANG* *BANG* *click* Round number #103 of the day didn't ignite on the first try, but popped on the second. Then round #109 didn't go, and didn't go on the second try, either. Same with #113... and then #114... Before long, I'd covered the back of a Pet Supplies "Plus" receipt with my tale of woe. Was it the gun? Had it just gotten that dirty? Was it the ammo? Were the primers just harder than woodpecker lips?

"I was told there wouldn't be any math!"
Four rounds into the second box, having experienced a dozen light strikes, nine of which didn't respond to a second trip through the magazine, I threw up my hands in frustration and went home. This was going to require two things to diagnose properly: Another .380 pistol to give the Sig ammo the all-clear, and the previously reliable Fiocchi from Lucky Gunner to see how much of it was the BG380's fault.

This made 1235 rounds through the gun without cleaning or lubrication.


Jay's post I linked to yesterday, the one in which he came close to being cleaned off his stationary motorcycle by an Acura in the throes of a NASCAR-grade single vehicle accident, was extra sphincter-puckering for me in that it recalled a very specific incident almost fourteen years ago.

So, once upon a time, very shortly after I got the Z3, when Marko and I were still roommates...

Google "The Grove at Deane Hill" on Google maps. That was where our apartment was, in the top floor of the southwestern most building in the complex, overlooking the intersection of Morrell and Deane Hill. We got to see some pretty spectacular wrecks there as Morrell was downhill to the traffic light from both north and south, and people sped right along.
A: Normal, civilized place to watch wrecks, on a third-floor balcony. B: Bad place to watch wrecks. C: Wreck.
I was heading south on Morrell, coasting up to the traffic light in the turn lane with the top down on my shiny new roadster, when a Ford Ranger heading down the hill from the other direction apparently didn't notice they had a red light and clipped the front of the car making a left turn from Deane Hill.

I was then treated to the sight of a Ford Ranger going ass-over-teakettle, doing two complete bumper-to-bumper endos in midair before coming to rest maybe a dozen feet from my front left fender.

If it had landed in my lap, I don't think the fates would have given me bonus points for leaving the bike home that day.

The thing that sticks with me most was the time dilation effect. As that truck was flipping lengthwise through the air in my direction, a view we don't normally get unless it's being projected in two dimensions on a theater screen, I had plenty of time for a whole cascade of thoughts to run through my head. "Wow, they look bigger when they're vertical like that. Jeezis, his front bumper's gotta be three feet off the ground. He's going over a second time. How fast was he going? He must've been hauling ass and clipped the dude just right. He's gonna land on his wheels. Wonder which side he'll bounce over on?"
...and simultaneously the realization that the whole thing was happening so fast that by the time any processed information was converted into physical action by my hands and feet and then into motion by my vehicle, the whole thing would be over. I was essentially just a very interested spectator until physics finished having its way with its new play toy.


This new Trijicon sight intrigues me. I've had Aimpoints on my carbines for years now, a Comp M2 on my older one and a PRO on the newer gun. They're great optics but I've thought about switching to the smaller T1 because of size and bulk. But ai yi yi! The price!

Aimpoint PRO (top) and M2 (bottom)
This new Trij, with its MSRP in the mid fives, bodes a street price at your more competitive sellers that should go head-to-head with the PRO, which is pretty much the current bang-for-the-buck champ in red dot optics.

Trijicon's known for good gear, and life is too short for junk optics... It's tempting to start rolling my pennies and watching the longer term reports from Steve Fisher and Pat Rogers and others whose opinions I respect.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Overheard in the Hallway...

Me: "You mean you don't turn the boxes of Doo Dads upside down on the grocery store shelf so they read 'Spep Oop'?"

RX: "Tamara, that's childish."

Me: "Yeah, and...?"

RX: "I am adultish."

Tab Clearing...

  • Jay has a close call on his motorcycle that was enough to raise goosebumps just looking at the pictures.

  • Two Fields: Spring and En.

  • Mad props for the post title.

  •  One of the highlights of Paul-E-Palooza was getting to put faces with names you've known from the intertubes for years. For instance, I finally got to meet Tiffany Johnson.

Overheard in the Dining Room...

Me: "I really would like to go to that shotgun class, but even though it's a one day class, it's a five hour drive to Alliance, Ohio. That means that even if I can figure out an angle to get the class comped, we're talking two nights in a motel plus gas there and back and I just don't have that in the budget right now with everything else coming up..."

RX: "Plus, when's the 1500?"

Me: "That's this weekend, but I don't need to buy no more guns..." *my eyes bug and my hands fly to my mouth, accompanied by a horrified, high-pitched intake of breath* "Oh my God, what did I just say?"

RX: "Are you feeling okay?"

Range Trip Part One

Well. The wheels came off yesterday's range trip just a little bit, and so I'm going to divide the write-up into two parts.

First, of the 1090 rounds through the BG380 thus far, 750 of them have been Fiocchi. In fact, the bulk of the remainder will be Fiocchi, too, thanks to the generous donation from Lucky Gunner. However, in the interest of testeing a variety of ammo with the gun, when I left the house yesterday I grabbed a hundred rounds of Sig Elite Performance 100gr FMJ that had been donated by Sig Sauer and a hundred rounds of Remington 95gr FMJ that I'd purchased from TDS.

The Remington first...

Remington's ammo used pretty conventional round-nosed 95gr FMJ projectiles. Everything fed and ejected fine, however there was a light strike on the 15th shot of the day (1105th of the test) and another on the 40th shot of the day (#1130 of the test). Both rounds fired on the second try.

The gun had experienced light strikes before, but the most recent had been 'way back on round #628. This was disappointing. Then came round number eighty-four of the day, which didn't go on the first try, nor on the second. Or third. Or fourth. I'm not counting that one against the gun. So that's two strikes against the Smith and one against Remington.

That's 1190 rounds in the books with no cleaning or lubrication. There have been five light strikes on primers (#140, #357, #628, #1105, #1130) and one dud primer (#1174), but otherwise the pistol has gone through the complete cycle of operation with each pull of the trigger. 910 rounds to go.

Part 2 to follow...

"Hang on, I gotta call you back."

This reminds me that I have a couple of old phones to sacrifice to the cause of finding out what they do to frangible pistol bullets...

They say that Google is personalized...

I was looking to make a witty bon mot on Facebook and wanted to make sure I had my line right and, hand to God, all I typed into the search box was "no cyril" and it autofilled the rest of the line...

You know how some people say that the suitability of Earth for human life is proof that the whole universe was created so they could be comfortable in their jorts while watching football on the sofa without needing a space suit or being a giant amoeba that eats Doritos by enveloping them with its butt? The anthropic principle? Well Archer is proof that the entire medium of televised audiovisual entertainment was created so I could laugh myself to tears on Thursday nights in the Twenty-Teens.

Automotif CV...

Seen in the Arby's parking lot in Speedway on the way to the range today: A 1969 Pontiac Catalina ragtop.
That's not a 2-golf-bag trunk, that's a 3-Hoffa trunk.
In the late Sixties, the Catalina was the cheaper of Pontiac's full-size rides, below the deluxe Bonneville. The base motor was a 2-bbl 400, but the options list included several more potent offerings, including a 390-horse 428 H.O. mill. Of course, this motor had to propel a car that stretched a whisker over ten feet between the axles* and which cast a shadow a full ten inches longer than a Hummer H2's.

*In other words, this car's wheelbase is half a foot longer than a Smart ForTwo's overall length.

Monday, August 24, 2015


The circled video in the sidebar is from early June, 11% of the market ago...

The Ceremony of the Season

When I first moved to Indianapolis, I was a little skeptical at the enthusiasm with which Bobbi discussed the State Fair. You know, not really my cup of blood and brimstone, but I guess if people wanted to go ride Ferris wheels and gawk at cows, it was a free country.

I don't think we went until 2010 or so, and it managed to endear itself to me almost instantly, to the point where it's one of the most important rituals of my year. This year, a last-minute chance for me to attend Paul-E-Palooza put a last-minute scrub on our plans to attend the Fair that Friday. However, as the last day of the Fair dawned yesterday, I realized I would not be able to face the coming winter without having performed what have become the Ceremonies of Summer. (People who have read Hogfather will perhaps grasp this.)

I had a couple hours before I needed to meet Brigid for lunch, and that was enough time to pedal to the Fair and do what I needed to do.

First the three rituals...

The ritual of the feeding of the animals.

The ritual of the photographing of the tractors.

The ritual of the gawking at the engine of the grist mill.
...and then the three sacraments...

The sacrament of the ice-cold Hoosier Red Gold tomato juice.
The sacrament of the lemon shake-up.
And the sacrament of meat on a stick.

 There. Now all is right with the world and the seasons can turn properly.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Long Day

After inflicting Meet the Press on myself this morning, I hopped on my bicycle and pedaled down the Monon to about 38th street, because it was my last possible day to complete the most sacred ritual of Summer...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Attack the Train in Vain

You *expect* a couple 0311's to put a beat-down on Johnny Jihadi. If it turns out that it was some USAF clerk-typist and a bandsman from the West Dakota Army National Guard, that would be frickin' perfect.

"Watch out, Hadji, or next we're going to step it up and turn combat support troops loose on you!"

This tickled me...

...and what's beyond it.

"Martin, 60, camping with his family, was killed by a stray shot, possibly fired a mile away. What Healy only mentions very, very late in the article, is that five shooters questioned by Bureau of Land Management police voluntarily allowed their weapons to be tested. None of them fired the fatal shot. The investigation continues.

This is less a problem here in New England where we’re acutely conscious of the borders of our small parcels of land, and there aren’t that many large swaths of land owned by the Federal Government and managed nihilistically by BLM’s Luddite urban environmentalists. But what happened to this poor fellow Glenn Martin was no less than the predictable consequence of a shot fired over a backstop, and we shooters as a community earn the opprobrium Healy and his readers heap upon us, any time we let one go like that."
Backstops and what lies beyond them are a thing in which I am acutely interested. The range where I shoot the most is the opposite of being out on BLM land. When the topic of banning .500 S&W Magnum came up recently, I was initially opposed, on the idea that there's not really much practical difference ballistically between a 240gr .429" bullet and a 375gr .500" one once they've gone parabolic. What got me to reluctantly agree was the fact that the long-barreled S&W .500 will actually double in the hands of inexperienced shooters, making it that much more likely for one to get over the berm in the first place.

I'd like to think that people are responsible enough to police themselves, but the fact remains that, despite a pretty clear policy on what type of firearms are allowed, we occasionally find 7.62x54R brass out there.

Over the Hump

Another range trip today with the BG380. Wanting to push over the halfway point on this excursion, I grabbed four boxes of the Lucky Gunner-provided Fiocchi .380 FMJ.

I hung the target up on the 10-yard berm mostly just to have an aiming point. Nonetheless, all 200 rounds landed in an acceptably small beaten zone. I think I'm getting the hang of the trigger on this thing.

All two hundred rounds were fired in the space of about 45 minutes at the range. It probably took as long to keep stuffing the four little six-round mags full as it did to do the actual shooting. As it turns out, after about 175 rounds or so, the snappy recoil starts to get to the palm of my hand. I wound up firing the last three magazines weak-hand-only to give my dominant hand a rest.

The two hundred rounds went off without a hitch, with no malfunctions of any type to report.

That's 1090 rounds in the books with no cleaning or lubrication. There have been three light strikes on primers (#140, #357, #628), but otherwise the pistol has gone through the complete cycle of operation with each pull of the trigger. 910 rounds to go.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Stuff That Fills My Head At 0130...

Okay, I'm going stream of consciousness here for a sec, so feel free to tune out the TL;DR...

People buy into safety. It's important for people to feel safe. For some reason, people view safety as a binary state and not an ongoing process. Therefore, when something comes along to remind us that we might not be as safe as we think we are, or there's an optional activity we could undertake to improve our safety, it rustles our jimmies and we get all upset and fling poo at that thing and wave branches at it until it goes away and we can return to feeling safe. It's why people who ride without helmets come up with all kinds of BS excuses about hearing and wind drag rather than just admitting "Hey, I'm comfortable with the extra risk of skull fractures in order to feel the wind in my hair."

This is why, for instance, carrying a gun gets on the nerves of people who don't. It's not necessarily that they're even scared of guns, it's just that the person carrying a gun is a reminder that there are bad things that could happen for which they, the non gun carrier, are unprepared. Since they can't make the bad things go away, they want to make the gun-carrier go away so he stops reminding them of the bad things.

This is why some people have a rabid reaction to the Gadget. They've worked long and hard to convince themselves that they are Safe (safety is a binary state, remember?) with the gun carried inside the waistband of their trousers, and then along comes this thing to remind them that there are additional precautions they could be taking. Their choices at that point are to admit that they're comfortable with the level of risk where they are, despite this additional level of safety; buy in and admit they had room to improve their level of precaution; or throw poo at the additional level of safety until it goes away and stops reminding them of the bad things.

And this guy who got jumped the other day in Philadelphia? Same thing. He's a cold wind blowing down the back of the neck of everyone who carries a gun, reminding us of the guy who got really close behind us in the checkout line at the Kwik-E-Mart last night. So our choices are to throw poo and beat our chests and wave branches and yell "MAH SITUATIONAL AWARENESS!" or to admit that maybe we're not as safe as we thought we were, that maybe our lucky rabbit's foot doesn't deter everybody, and go out and spend money on training instead of stuff. Or admit that we're comfortable with the idea of not being able to do much if some real hardass decided they wanted the free gun we were offering. And that's hard. Owning up to our deficiencies and going out to do something about them is frickin' hard. I know. I'm trying to do it right now.

And here's the thing: It's okay to not wear a helmet. It's okay to not carry a gun. It's okay to not like the Gadget. It's okay to open carry and not take thirty-eleven years of BJJ and weapons retention training. It's still (mostly) a free country... *but own the types of risk you're assuming*. Don't hand-wave them away and shoot the messengers who point them out. Say "Look, I'm comfortable with these risks and don't want to make the life commitments it would take to mitigate them" and most people will totally understand that.


A reader who sent me a camera also sent along several rolls of Agfapan 25 film. It was very expired but had been in a freezer, and so I threw it in the freezer here at Roseholme Cottage until curiosity got the better of me a couple months ago.

I thawed a roll and loaded it into the EOS-1N to test it out. Dang this stuff is sharp. Razor sharp. And nice and contrast-y, too. Too bad it's been gone with the wind since '00 or so.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tab Clearing...

Lose Your Illusions

Remember what happened to Hitchbot in Philadelphia? Well, it's apparently not an isolated incident.

Dude is standing at the register in a deli, with his gun "concealed" under a tight t-shirt on his right hip when he gets jumped by the guy behind him and the whole fight is recorded for posterity. Go watch the video, I'll wait here.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, I'm just going to republish what John Johnston at Ballistic Radio wrote, with his permission:
"This is of great interest to me.

Bad guy spots Sheepdog™, concealing poorly with a shitty holster/poor cover garment at 3 o'clock, while standing in line to pay at the Deli.
Bad guy initiates contact by trying to disarm Sheepdog™ and then proceeding with a takedown from behind. (But the interwebz told me just having a gun is a deterrent? Did the interwebz lie to me?!)
Sheepdog™ loses his gun in the ensuing struggle due to:
1. Apparent lack of any combatives/retention training
2. Aforementioned shitty holster.
3. What I'm beginning to consider as a sub-optimal carry position.
4. Failure to commit immediately to an all out response.

Sheepdog™ then proceeds to almost get capped with his own gun before bad guy decides that he doesn't actually feel like killing anyone today and un-asses the area.
Some takeaways.
1. No one is aware 100% of the time. Sometimes the first hint of trouble is when the attack begins. If you as a concealed carry think otherwise, then you're kidding yourself. If you interact with the rest of the world in a socially acceptable fashion, then you're sometimes vulnerable.
2. Buy a quality holster that will not dump the gun during a struggle. You do not want your holster to give it up easier than your prom date after a couple of wine-coolers and a near fatal dose of teenage hormones. Which leads to point #3.
3. Go get training outside of "This is how I shoot things". There are a lot of self-defense problems that are not shooting problems. This is a good example of that.
4. Pressure test your gear in training situations similar to this. BUY GEAR DESIGNED BY PEOPLE WHO ATTEND SUCH TRAINING. Dark Star Gear, JM Custom Kydex, Keeper's Concealment, and many others offer purpose built stuff that addresses areas of concern specific to these problems. While there are other incredibly popular holsters coughincogcough that fail miserably in such environments.
5. When it's time to get down, GET DOWN. If you're not prepared to go from "I need to remember to get napkins and mayo after they're done making my sandwich." to "I will fucking kill you motherfucker, die die die DIE." Then maybe you should rethink your personal protection plan?"
It's amazing how many people responded to this with "BUT MAH SITUATIONAL AWARENESS!" to which I can only call bullshit. Unless you stay in your home 24/7, interacting with society has you standing at cash registers all the time. Use your head for something other than a hat rack.

I really need to get to an ECQC class...

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "And why are they called 'contrails'?"

Me: "Because they're the opposite of protrails. Protrails go in front of the plane."

Genetically-modified vaccines for Jade Helm chemtrails...

The Mighty Eighth, laying down some nano-particles on Nazi Germany.

In case you're wondering why I engage in a bunch of eye-rolling when you email me that link to Zero Hedge, here's why.

I realize that most people have one or two whackadoodle beliefs. We have powerful organic computers in our heads that are massively overevolved in the pattern-seeking department because there is an evolutionary benefit to seeing lions in the shadows; the australopithecine who ran away from the occasional imagined lion had more baby australopithecines than the one who didn't notice the real one. That's not some evopsych Just So story.

It's when you have a whole raft of whackadoodle beliefs (and crankeries tend to cluster in people; it's rare to find a Truther who's not, say, a Nazi apologist or on the watch for chemtrails) that your advice on more mundane matters, such as investments, gets called into question.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Nearing the halfway mark...

This morning I grabbed the partial box of the Fiocchi FMJ from Lucky Gunner that I had left over from the class on Saturday as well as two full ones and headed to the range.

A hundred and thirty five rounds later,  the gun had properly functioned every single time, with no malfunctions of any type to report. I have to say that I really thought it would have packed it in by now; it's a safe bet this thing's probably already got a higher round count than most BG380s that aren't in rental showcases.

Ejection remains extremely forceful and it throws brass anywhere in about a 160° arc from dead ahead/straight up to back over the shooter's right shoulder. The nested recoil springs have not reduced in length any, however, and they don't feel like they've lost any tension. I'm going to prophylactically order a replacement assembly, though.

The laser was working the week before last, but wasn't at Saturday's class. I don't know if it's broken or if the batteries packed it in or what. It doesn't much matter, though, since I never use it and the lens is too covered in schmutz to let me do so now anyway.

That's 890 rounds in the books with no cleaning or lubrication. There have been three light strikes on primers (#140, #357, #628), but otherwise the pistol has gone through the complete cycle of operation with each pull of the trigger. 1110 rounds to go.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pushing the Envelope...

So I took the little Bodyguard 380 to a mini-class from Chuck Haggard of Agile Training & Consulting at Paul-E-Palooza 3. This was moving into uncharted waters for me and the little pistol, running it from a belt holster like it was a real gun. (Well, mostly. Lacking anything like mag carriers, I was feeding reloads from my jeans pockets.)

The class, listed in the program as "Combative Pistol/Low-Light Pistol", was divided into two two-hour blocks of instruction separated by dinner. The first part stressed robust pistol manipulation skills, and was structured to introduce shooters to drawing from the holster, malfunction clearances, and reloads. Chuck explained everything clearly and laid out the reasoning behind all the techniques he taught.

Sadly, the sky had threatened rain and so I left my cameras secured in the tent, only to be taunted by merciless sun when I actually got down to the range. Therefore I don't have any pictures of the first half of the class. Bad blogger! No cookie!

With a slide stop, usable sights, and a conventional mag release, the BG380 functioned like a smaller version of a real pistol, rather than requiring any exotic manual of arms changes that would have been necessitated by a heel release or lack of a slide stop. The largest difference between it and my regular carry gun was the necessity of running the slide with a two-finger pinch rather than an over-the-top whole-hand grab.

Students readying for the night shoot before being split into two relays.
After dinner, the low light portion of the class began. There were a couple fewer students in the second half, as one-handed pistol shooting while manipulating a flashlight in the other hand is a couple notches up the skill tree from two-handed daylight shooting.

Someone whose name will not be mentioned but who looks exactly like the author of this blog post left her clear glasses in her range bag at home, and consequently shot the night portion while wearing Wiley-X shades. I was offered clear glasses, but kept the sunglasses on as penance for my error. Truthfully, I didn't really suffer that much for it, as the flashlight offered enough illumination to see the target and sights distinctly, despite the tinted lenses.

I used the light I carry in my pocket every day, the 75-lumen LED Lenser P3 AFS, which is not the brightest in the world, but clips in a jeans pocket unobtrusively. (I'm actively looking for a replacement light, but until I find the right one, I'm sticking with what I know.) The tiny light made reloads and other manipulations of the small gun pretty easy, since it's easy to hold on to between a couple fingers without being so bulky you can't do anything else with your hand.

Unless you have ISO 1600 eyes, the range was much darker than this.
 The class covered the Modified FBI Technique for searching and the neck index for shooting, as well as introducing the Harries Technique as a possible option when longer shots might need to be taken.

Still ticking...
The BG380 ran like a top, experiencing no malfunctions of any type. I used 115 rounds of the Fiocchi 95gr FMJ from Lucky Gunner. Props for their sponsorship; go buy BBs from them.

That's 755 rounds in the books with no cleaning or lubrication. There have been three light strikes on primers (#140, #357, #628), but otherwise the pistol has gone through the complete cycle of operation with each pull of the trigger. 1245 rounds to go.

Automotif CIV...

The Darkroom just finished processing some film and, although it hasn't arrived back here yet, they put your scans online in a password-accessible library. I thought this was kind of interesting...

Cadillac XLR-V with Nikon P-7000 digital camera.

Cadillac XLR-V with Nikon FM2N with 50mm f/1.4 lens and Fujifilm Fujichrome Provia 100F slide film.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig...

Home from Paul-E-Palooza 3 with my head all crammed full of new stuff and ready to sleep in my own bed again after spending the last three nights in my little Fortress of Solitude.

One internet reviewer described this tent thusly: "A mentally impaired squirrel could assemble this tent using just his teeth." Well that's the tent for me, then!

I pulled it out of its flat, circular case and the thing practically deployed in my hand. Stake it down, hook the corners of the already-attached rain fly if you want, throw your junk in, and bed down for the night.

Buying a tent was cheaper than renting a motel room for three nights, and you get to keep the tent. Even if you had to blow it in place, though, you'd be dollars ahead.

Reports on the conference after a good night's sleep; it's been a couple long days.