Saturday, May 19, 2018

"Heavy is good, heavy is reliable..."

Thursday morning's goal through the Model 5906 was 180 rounds downrange to bring the total to the  2,000 round goal. I brought the 100-round box of TulAmmo from home, and picked up a box of the cheapest ball ammo at the range (Magtech 115gr) and a couple 25-rd boxes of JHP.

The only failure of the test occurred on round number 1,876. It was a round of TulAmmo 115gr whose primer would not pop no matter how many good licks it was given by the firing pin. I'd say this qualifies as a dud primer and I'm not counting it against the gun.

So that's the end of the test for the Model 5906.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 2000 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with one failure to fire caused by a dud primer on round #1876.

Look for wrap-up posts on both this and the CZ-75B Omega, complete with dirty gun pr0n, in the immediate future.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Tab Clearing...

Almost there...

I drove over to Indy Arms Co. on Wednesday morning to put another two hundred rounds of TulAmmo 115gr FMJ through the poor long-suffering Smith & Wesson Model 5906.

The lower 8" circle is the first hundred rounds, and the upper 3x5" is the second hundred. You can see what the fatigue did to my grip.

The gun, on the other hand, continued to run without any issues.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 1820 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 180 rounds to go.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

This is for the birds...

Can you kill a dude with birdshot from a 12ga? You sure can. Most of the cops I know can tell at least one story of some bad guy laying in a spreading puddle, having had a rathole chewed through his middle by a close-range blast from a low-brass #7.5 target load.

But when I say "close range", I'm talking three to ten feet from the muzzle. Which is damned near gun-grab distance in a long-gun fight.

These shots were from less than twenty feet. Birdshot is for birds.

The distance at which birdshot turns from an instantly-lethal .72" Glaser Safety Slug to an ugly and enraging flesh wound is closer than you think it is and is less than the longest possible shot in your home unless you live in a refrigerator box. You can also miss with a shotgun in that distance. Put a sight on that splattergun and learn to use it.

Fun Fact...

It's really cool having an Introductory Self-Defense Shotgun class at your local indoor range. Especially when it's a quick intro 4-hr class that runs from 6-10PM, and you can jet over there in five minutes from your house.

The downside is that, like all classes involving multiple people, it's gonna run a little over. It doesn't help that I hung out a little to gab and stuff, but for a host of good reasons, I arrived home at close to eleven PM having put quite a few rounds through the tubular repeating claymore over the last hour.

Firing a box of birdshot and some serious social loads in a class environment will get the adrenaline going, and make it hard to lay down for a good night's sleep immediately on arriving home.

A detailed writeup will have to wait for later, but here's my favorite picture from the ones I've curated so far...

A fellow student...and one of my coworkers from when I worked at putting a borrowed 20ga Remington 1100 through its paces.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Disposable Gat

Commande Zero on buying another Ruger P95DC:
If someone I cared about showed up on my doorstep with not much more than the clothes on their back, I like to think I’d be able to gear them up in a manner that would not embarrass or shame me.Guns such as this one allow me to do just that. On the other hand, I have, literally, no people I am close to who do not already have enough guns in their own stashes to do this sort of thing. But Fate is a fickle and unpredictable thing…so you never know.
I have thought about this before, not necessarily in TEOTWAWKI terms, because despite having an actual face colander hanging on the wall in the office, I'm not too keen on doing any Wasteland Warlording.
But say you wind up with a friend or family member who suddenly finds themselves in a life circumstance where they realize that they need a better way to protect themselves than 911? A crazy ex, a stalker, a neighbor making threats, or just one of those violent criminal incidents that happens close enough to home to be a wake-up call...

If you're the "gun person" in your family or social circle, this has probably happened to you at least once already. Lately, seeing the occasional sub-$300 fire sale prices on Smith & Wesson Shields and SD9s, I've more than once thought about buying one to set aside for just this sort of occasion. "In case of crisis, remove unfired-in-box gat from safe."

I'd feel better being able to give somebody some advice and maybe a lesson or two, and then hand them an adequate pistol with a box of 124gr Gold Dots rather than entrust their well-being to the ministrations of a random gun counter minion.

Purely tangentially, I need to get my hands on a lightly-used 9mm P-series Ruger to do the whole 2000-round thing with, the way I am with the 5906.

While it's Wednesday morning...

...the writing actually did begin on Sunday morning, and the first paragraph and photo have languished in an open tab for a few days until I found myself with some writerly mojo this morning.

Behold: A Sunday Smith at the other blog! And it's not the one you were expecting! (That one's still forthcoming.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I'll see myself out...

Groggy cat.

Huck had to have some anesthesia at the vet this morning. He's still groggy, and I'm hanging out at home for a bit to make sure he's okay.

He's managed to hop up onto the table that serves as his window seat, and that's a good sign that he's snapping out of it, though..


 Friday morning was another trip to Indy Arms Co. with 200 rounds of the 115gr FMJ TulAmmo.

The gun continues to function normally, completely free of drama.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 1620 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 380 rounds to go.

Monday, May 14, 2018


So, purse dump time.

It was easy to be rail thin in my 20s. I led a pretty active life and, even though I didn't exercise, I was generally poor and didn't have a huge appetite.

By the time I was in my thirties, a sedentary lifestyle and improved income saw me gain a little weight, but not enough that it bothered me much. I lost a bunch of it while working at CCA, but gained it back after moving to Indy.

When I quit smoking, I gained a bunch of weight, enough to actually bother me. For at least the last five years or so, the long-sleeved "gun burkhas" I wore were worn to cover more than just the gun.

Having lost enough weight to carry AIWB under an untucked t-shirt was handy, what with today's high temperature here in Indianapolis smashing a record dating to the 1880s.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

This is what I was looking for...

The original a7 takes great pictures, but the polycarbonate body just wasn't doing it for me. The a7 II has a magnesium shell that feels more camera-y, as well as 5-axis in-body stabilization.

So the a7 II will be my main work camera with the a7 serving as the backup. Hopefully between now and SHOT next year I'll get a full-frame macro lens and then I won't have to take a Micro 4/3 body to Vegas with me other than the Lumix GF3 that lives in my shirt pocket.

Currently I'm camera bag shopping. The Hazard4 Photo Recon is a great camera bag but it doesn't hold a laptop, and the Maxpedition Testudo is a great laptop bag, but it doesn't hold a camera. If I'm going someplace for a couple weeks, like New Hampshire or New Mexico, it's not a big deal because they're both carry-ons and I don't really need to haul both laptop and camera around while I'm there. At home...or at SHOT &'d be nice to be able to take the MB Air and camera kit with me while I'm on walkabout.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Every time...

...I hear about someone experiencing a negative outcome in the form of a mistaken identity shooting in the home, I think about this picture, the concept for which I stole blatantly from Claude Werner:

(Alternatively, you could call out "Who's there?")

And don't give me that nonsense about "giving away your position", we're not laying ambushes on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Rambo; we're trying to discern what or who is making the bump in the night down the hall.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Dirtier and dirtier...

So, first of all I'd like to thank the contributors to my Patreon account. This month's total was just about enough to cover a case of TulAmmo from Lucky Gunner, which will be more than enough to finish the 5906 test, as well as 500 rounds of Winchester NATO FMJ for the next project in line.

Y'all rock.

On to the shooting part: With the gun already dirty from 1,220 rounds of assorted ammo, I decided to get it really filthy with steel-cased East Bloc stuff: 115gr FMJ TulAmmo. Two hundred rounds of that stuff came to the range with me Thursday morning...

The X-ring on a B27 is in the wrong place. Unless I'm shooting for score, I don't aim there.
...where the 5906 chewed through it like popcorn without a single hiccup of any sort.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 1420 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 580 rounds to go.

Cultural Appropriation

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The deed is done.

Mailed the box of APS-C sensor Sony E-mount goodness off to California today and ordered a Sony a7 II body from KEH.

Thanks to the recent release of the a7 III, the price on used a7 II's has taken a drop and used a7 bodies have, at least relatively speaking, cratered. You can get into full-frame cheaper than ever now.


At Indy Arms Co yesterday morning with the 5906 again. I brought a box of fifty 124gr standard-pressure Federal HST from home and bought a fifty round box of 115gr S&B FMJ and a 100rd pack of 115gr Federal Brass FMJ from the range.

The gun went through the normal cycle of operation for all two hundred rounds with what is becoming a boring level of reliability.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 1220 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 780 rounds to go.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Outsider populism still selling well in the heartland.

So we just wrapped up a hotly contested GOP Senate primary here in Indiana, where the candidates vied to see who could paint themselves as the more Trumpian outsider.

In the end, Mike Braun beat two congressman by painting himself as a businessman outsider and them as "the Swamp Brothers":

Of course, this being politics, there's some prevaricatin' goin' on, since Braun's not a businessman innocent of the taint of politics as he claims, but rather a longtime state legislator. But he is a Washington outsider, so he's not lying there.

Meanwhile, incumbent Democrat Senator Donnelly (who won his seat by nine points in the same state that saw Trump take the win by a nineteen point blowout) is campaigning hard well before the election with a theme of "Hell, I'm practically a Republican myself!"

If I could trust him not to knife me in the back on gun stuff, I might be more inclined to buy it.

Incidentally, for those not attuned to Hoosier politics, the RV is a big dog whistle to the northeastern industrial part of the state, which is where those things are made, and which was hit hard by the Great Recession.

Going, going...

Auction ends today!

Here's what this stuff is selling for, used:

  • NEX-5T body at KEH: $168
  • 16-50mm PZ lens at KEH: $149
  • 18-105mm f/4 G power zoom at KEH: $499
  • 55-210mm lens at KEH: $182
  • 50mm f/1.8 lens at Amazon: $214
  • Sigma 60mm f/2.8 Art lens at Adorama: $159
  • Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN lens at Amazon: $299

That's almost $1700 worth of stuff. Trade-in to a camera store, of course, would be about $700, but I'm hoping to realize at least $900, so I can buy a second used Sony full-frame body. Anything over that would be gravy.

The NEX-5T and both the 30mm and the 55-210mm have done yeoman duty at Blogorado and Paul-E-Palooza. It's a tiny body, but a full APS-C 16MP sensor. That 30mm Sigma is a fantastic lens, and almost good enough to make me not want to give up APS-C just to keep using it, but having the two different Sony sensor sizes was making packing for trips weird.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Comparing apples and roller skates...

More gun owners than you'd think...

...but fewer than we'd like.

Sadly, though, these days when I hear "A rifle behind every blade of grass!" my first thought is usually either "Don't worry, they aren't sighted in" or "Those are some wide blades of grass."


I am having such a hard time writing. It's like my head is full of cotton batting.

I have ideas and outlines for blog posts, columns, and articles, but stringing sentences together into coherent paragraphs is like trying to push a rope uphill.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Over the Hump...

Last week the 5906 crossed the halfway mark of the 2,000 round test, with a hundred rounds of Winchester 124gr NATO FMJ and twenty rounds of standard velocity 115gr V-Crown JHP's from Sig Sauer.

Despite being labeled standard pressure, the V-Crown stuff felt pretty authoritative for 115gr ammo. I should chrono it to see what the velocity is out of the 4" Smith barrel.

Again, the pistol went through the complete cycle of operation on every round.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 1020 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 980 rounds to go.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

The word "problematic" is triggering.

Danger! Giraffles!

So, a giraffe killed a dude on a nature film set in South Africa. Hit him with its neck, which is how giraffes fight.

Well, they have two kinds of neck-fighting, actually. There's a low-intensity kind where they just shove at the other giraffe's neck with theirs, trying to force the other off balance. The "high intensity" kind is where they haul off and whack each other with their necks.

Now, a giraffe neck has the same number of vertebrae as your typical mammal neck, which is seven, but a giraffe's neck is some seven feet long, which means a chain of big ol' foot-long neck bones. A bunch of muscle is involved in holding that thing up, too.

Turns out there's a lot of weirdness in your anatomy when your brain is ten feet above your heart. A giraffe's heart is about two feet long, has muscular walls three inches thick, and beats 150 times per minute. This means a giraffe has a blood pressure double that of a human's.

There are also a bunch of one-way valves in the veins leading away from the head, so that de-oxygenated blood doesn't rush back to the brain during drinking. And a special complex of blood vessels to moderate pressure changes so the giraffe doesn't faint raising its head after drinking.

It's interesting that the giraffe didn't kick him like they would a pest or predator, but necked him like they do to rivals. Or at least that's the way I'm reading they use the two defense techniques. I could be wrong. Giraffologists feel free to set me straight via email.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Tab Clearing...

You Light Up My Life

So, I love my Surefire EDCL2-T. I've been carrying it since I got it. It's hella bright, bank-vault solid, and the switchology is, I think, ideal for a tacticool CCW-type flashlight. It's reminiscent of the original non-clicky SureFire switch, where you push for momentary and either tighten or loosen the whole tailcap for constant-on or lockout. Additionally, a light push on the button gives a 5-lumen working light while a complete press releases all twelve hundred lumen-hounds.

But to get a continuously on light, you have to either keep holding the button down or tighten the tailcap, which some might find a bit fiddly. Also, while I'm the kind of gear nerd who thinks $175 for a flashlight is just hunky dory, that's a little chi-chi for a lot of folks (yes, this one was a free review copy, but I've paid more than that for SureFire lights in the past and will in the future.)

So I've been spending the last few days with the G2X Maxvision flashlight, to see how it does in comparison.

The switching is different, less tactical and more oriented towards the way normal Earth people use flashlights. One click on the tailcap gets you a 15-lumen beam, which is adequate for most tasks for which people use flashlights: finding dropped keys, walking down sidewalks without stepping in dog poop, finding your way to the outhouse on a camping trip, that sort of thing.

A second click gives 800 lumens of light, using SureFire's Maxvision beam shaping technology. The light is extremely even from one edge of the beam to the other, rather than a very bright hot spot in the middle that tapers off rapidly the further from the center you get. The high beam on this thing will let you find out what made that noise in the yard, because the high beam will light up the whole yard.

You don't have to hold the tailcap down to keep the light on, should you need to set it down and do stuff with both hands.

Its one real downside as an everyday pocket flashlight, to me, is that it didn't have a pocket clip. Without one, they wind up down in the bottom of the pocket of my mom jeans, getting dimes jammed  in the lens and the tailcap switch inadvertently pressed.

Fortunately I had a Switchback 2.0 lying around that had come in a package of stuff from Thyrm, and I installed it.

Once I realized it was supposed to have the clip to the rear and the ring forward, which allowed it to lie flat in my pocket, it made sense. It's comfortable and doesn't snag on stuff while in my pocket, and I now wish they made a version that would fix my EDCL2-T.

So for fifty bucks less than the current king of pocket tacticool flashlights, you could have the G2X + Thyrm Switchback 2.0 setup, and have a flashlight that may be more useful in day-to-day flashlight use.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Brakes and Boycotts

The Zed Drei needs front brakes, but it's probably going to be a week before I can get to that, so I plan on using my city-dweller privilege as much as possible for the next couple days and just bicycle around.

Bobbi had left letters to be mailed that she wanted dropped in a mailbox rather than wait for our mail carrier to service the box on the front of the house (our carriers tend to the dilatory and peripatetic.)

So I saddled up the Broad Ripple SUV and pedaled over to the box at Locally Grown Gardens. There's one out front of Sam's Gyros, too, about equidistant from the house, but it requires waiting for the light to cross College Avenue and I seemed to recollect it has a crazy-early pickup time.

Anyway, it was a lovely day for a bicycle, and I arrived back home fairly happy, but then I remembered I had some other things I'd promised to pick up...

Normally, this would not have been a big deal: Point the bike north and the tiny Broad Ripple Kroger is about fifteen minutes away...

Normally I'm not big on boycotts, but Kroger went after my wallet directly, so they can get bent as far as I'm concerned.

So the Zed Drei got rolled out and errands were run at Meijer instead. They didn't have the current issue of Concealment on their newsstand yet, though.

Feature piece...

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Nine Hunnert...

Tuesday was another range day at Indy Arms Co with the last two hundred rounds of my case of CCI Blazer Brass 124gr FMJ.

I've gotten a little more comfortable pushing some speed with this gun. It continues to run fine, and had no hiccups that day. It's dirty enough that it's leaving pretty noticeable deposits of cack on the traffic finger of my shooting hand, where crud is getting blown through the hole where the trigger passes through the frame.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 900 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 1100 rounds to go.

The single most dangerous thing...

...most people will ever do with a loaded gun is put it in a holster. If you practice a lot, you holster a lot, and it's important to do it right every time, lest you inadvertently wind up giving yourself a pop quiz on your tourniquet application skills.

Kathy at Cornered Cat has an excellent post detailing her holstering method, which I have blatantly stolen from her because it's good. You should read it and incorporate it into your armed lifestyle.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018


Okay, I've decided to pull the trigger on this and ditch my APS-C sensor Sony E-mount stuff and get another full-frame Sony E-mount body and macro lens.

This will get me shut of Sony crop sensor lenses and leave me with full-frame Sony stuff for work and Olympus Micro 4/3 bodies for fun and playing hipster street photographer.

Here's the stuff in the package: Sony NEX-5T, 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 collapsible power zoom lens, Sony 18-105 f/4 G lens, Sony 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 zoom, Sony 50mm f/1.8, Sigma 60mm f/2.8 Art, and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens.

No reserve eBay auction is here.

Chugging along...

Monday was another indoor range session at Indy Arms Co with the 5906 and two hundred rounds of CCI Blazer Brass 124gr FMJ.

I was pretty seriously flouting the range's speed limit with this thing now. Two pounds of steel will pretty well soak up most of a 9mm's recoil.

The gun went through it's complete cycle of operation every time with no issues.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 700 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 1300 rounds to go.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Tab Clearing...

QotD: Mudslinging Edition...

Bobbi has a post up on the debate from last night amongst three guys vying for the Hoosier GOP senatorial nomination, which boiled down to each one claiming to be Trumpier than their swampy closet Obama-lovin' opponents.
It has been an ugly campaign. Each man has been trying to run to the Right of the other two, a process in which shoving your opponent Left works just as well -- and that is, perhaps, good, since they're running out of room on the Right.
It was as nasty a bout of purse swinging and hair pulling as I've seen on a debate stage.

Life Expectancies...

Over at Misfires & Light Strikes, Kevin is nearing the finish line of his 2,000-rd test of the Ruger LCP 2. He observes that all was pretty much well in LCP land up until about the 500-rd mark, and then the problems started occurring.

Similarly, when I was shooting the BG380, things went swimmingly up until 800 or so rounds when the light strikes started rearing their ugly heads. (I'll note, however, that when I called the test at 1,335 rounds, the gun hadn't had any failures to feed, extract, or eject.)

One thing with these little pistols is that the mainspring serves as a major component of the recoil system right along with the recoil spring.

And when you ask companies about recommended maintenance/replacement intervals on guns like the LCP or BG380, they look like you like you’ve sprouted a second head growing out of your shoulder. The vast majority of these little things are unlikely to see more than a box or two of ammo in their lives.

I wanna say that I recall hearing that LAPD armorers recommend swapping recoil and mainsprings on issue BG380 backup guns every 250 or 300 rounds.