Thursday, May 31, 2018

Reply hazy, ask again later...

Went down to the IU orthopedics clinic yesterday.

Exchanged my janky emergency room sling for a better one. Apparently the figure eight braces are uncomfortable and don't promote any better outcome than a good sling. Doc said it didn't look like it was going to need surgery, but took another set of X-rays to confirm that opinion.

We set an appointment for four weeks to make sure everything was healing apace.

There we go...

Scratched an itch I didn't even know I had. #TeelKamera

A matter of perspective...

Neat video. It's a good explanation of the "why" behind why we don't use wide-angle lenses for portraiture (and it's not because of "lens distortion".)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tab Clearing...

Today's the day...

Ortho appointment scheduled for 2PM today.

Here's hoping they can just set it and put me in a figure-eight brace and send me on my merry way.

I haven't the time, money, nor inclination for surgery.

QotD: Japanglish Edition...

Bobbi commenting on how translations sometimes cause futon mouth:
"* We don't use the word "futon" in English the same way it is used in Japanese, I'm told -- for them, the fluffy soft mattress is the futon, and the futon frame has its own word. Possibly "spanner.""

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Those who know, know.

Is that a rail or a radiator?

Only half-kidding, because cooling fins would definitely be a worthwhile addition to the dust cover of an HK P7. The gun was not designed with 1000-rd/2-day pistol classes in mind. Folks I knew who took P7s to gun school usually had two or three of them and rotated through them as they got too hot to stuff down your trousers.

I like the traditional Heckler & Koch magazine setup, as well.

Via TFB...

Monday, May 28, 2018

Happy Birthday!

It's Bobbi's birthday today. Go wish her a happy one!

Tiny Tankies...

PzKpfw NbFz V advancing through Roseholme Cottage's back yard.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3, Olympus M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ

Char B1 bis lying in wait for advancing Neubaufahrzeuge in the ambush at Patio's Corner.

Pentax Q10, Pentax 02 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5

Oh, put a sock in it, Diamond.

So, one Michael Diamond recently wrote a chiding little piece about the dysfunction of American civilian gun culture, by comparing it to the hard-nosed serious firearms professionalism he'd acquired in the Army.

I mean, thank you for your service and everything, Mike, but from what you've written, you were an intel officer in the reserves for seven years. I'm hard pressed to think of a gig in the United States Army that would give you less exposure to firearms that doesn't require a degree in medicine or divinity, and frankly I'm coming up empty.
"Although I had fired countless live rounds over the years on various military weapons ranges..."
As a matter of fact, Mike, I'm pretty comfortable making the statement that I probably expend more ammunition in any given month than you did in your entire seven year career, since you likely never busted a cap outside of required qualifications.

As has been brought up by fellow blogger McThag, the U.S. Army pistol qualification is barely a sobriety test, let alone any sort of marksmanship challenge.

Mike also references the Army's neurotic clearing barrel culture:
"Even without any ammunition, before entering a building every soldier had to demonstrate his or her weapon was empty by pointing it down toward a barrel of sand and pulling the trigger, causing it to make the “click” sound of an empty weapon (hopefully)."
Fortunately the Army appears to be taking baby steps toward getting over its fascination with all that unnecessary administrative gun-handling in the name of "safety".

Since you seem to like to harken back to stuff you learned from your part time gig twenty-five years ago to make you sound authoritative, Mike, here's a phrase you might remember from back then:

Memorial Day 2018


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Decent sale this weekend...

MassAmmo has 50-rd boxes of Federal Premium 9x19mm and .40S&W jacketed hollow point ammo, including HST, for under $20/box. And $12.99 flat-rate shipping!

I'm not being compensated for this in any way. Indeed, I'm pretty sure they don't even know I exist, and I only alerted you guys after I'd snagged a slight re-stock for testing ammo in anticipation of hopefully being back to shooting in three or four weeks.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Thank you for choosing IU Health Physicians Orthopedics! 
In order to speed up your check-in for your appointment on Wednesday, please fill out these three pages of question-dense forms and have them with you when you arrive. 
Question One: What problem can we help you with today?"
Well, I broke the shoulder ON MY GODDAM WRITING HAND.


Putting larger sensors in smaller mirrorless bodies isn't necessarily a cure-all answer that creates the magically portable camera that still has awesome image quality. Whether it's in a giant Nikon pro body or a comparatively svelte mirrorless Sony, a full-frame sensor is still going to need a full-frame lens hung off the front of that camera.

Pictured below are some roughly comparable midrange zoom lenses for three different size sensors:

At left is the Olympus M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, which is the basic little kit zoom for Olympus Micro 4/3 cameras. It's collapsible to make it more portable for carrying, but it's shown here in its ready-to-shoot state.

In the center is the Pentax 02 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5, which was the kit zoom for the Pentax Q system. It's a teeny little thing, barely the size of a shot glass.

Lastly, the right-hand lens is a Sony 24-70mm f/4 Vario-Tessar, which is a zoom for a full-frame Sony sensor. Being a constant-aperture f/4 lens makes it a little bigger than a cheaper variable-aperture lens of the same focal length range, but even its 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 stablemate is still the size of a middlin'-size coffee mug.

Thanks to the magic of equivalence, which has both upsides and downsides, all three of these lenses have pretty much the same field-of-view range.

Small Victories.

Lawnmower dude showed up.

It's crazy expensive as a one-time service, but it looks like it could be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly for a non-prohibitive sum. Depending on what I hear at the doc's on Wednesday and how things develop with Bobbi's knee over the next week, we may wind up having to do like the bourgeoise do and schedule someone to cut the grass this summer.

I'm not generally in favor, but what're you gonna do?

Friday, May 25, 2018

So over this.

On the one hand, I separated the fracture twice again today. Once trying to use a keyboard at my normal keyboard height and again cleaning up a ******* cat turd on the floor. I don't have the energy to try to put it back together again.

On the other hand, I'm only on ibuprofen today, because I've been trying to stretch the three day's supply of hydrocodone I was prescribed so it will last the week and a half until I see the osteopath to find out if it can be set or if I'm going to need surgery or what. I figure it's best used to make sure I can fall asleep, and so during the day I just rub some Vitamin I in it and walk it off.

On the gripping hand, the lawnmower dude still hasn't shown.

I've had better days, y'all, not gonna lie.

QotD: Bad PR Edition

Some people have no clue how awful they come across, especially if 95% of the people they spend their time with are dependent upon them for a living and therefore inclined to tolerate a certain amount of asshole-ishness. Take Michael Bloomberg, for instance...
Smartest strategic move Everytown has made is pushing [Bloomberg] into the background and using him as a wallet rather than a face. What we need to do, conversely, is make sure everyone knows Everytown is Mike Bloomberg. I won’t mention them without his name if I can help it.

Urban Privilege

So with me being laid up for the nonce and Bobbi not getting home until 7:30-8:00PM on weekdays, we're having to explore alternate solutions to common errands.

Between Amazon and Wally World, we haven't discovered much we couldn't get delivered (indeed, staples such as dish soap, detergent, paper towels, and TP were already being handled with Dash Buttons.) Bobbi did need to fetch cat litter, as our preferred brand isn't delivered by Amazon.

We're in a food jungle, or food swamp, or whatever the opposite of a food desert is. There are grocery delivery services we haven't bothered trying, and as far as prepared food goes, we can get pretty much any kind of cuisine delivered from about 10AM-Midnight seven days a week. My next-door neighbor has been good about calling when she was going to the grocery and asking if I needed anything.

The front lawn, which rain had kept me from mowing last weekend when it started to need it, is looking pretty jungly, but it turns there's an app for that: Plowz & Mowz is apparently like Uber for your lawn. It's supposed to conjure up some cat who will buzz-cut the front lawn any minute now. I'll let y'all know how that works out.

I miss a lot about living in more rural environs, but there are some upsides to city life, too.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


From Facebook at about 2AM this morning:
Pretty sure I reduced the fracture today. There was a kind of grinding pop and I got all sweaty and light-headed for a bit. Oh, and the gap in my collarbone went away. 
Seems my sling was too loose and I’d been pulling my shoulder in the wrong direction for the last couple days. 
So when it popped into place, I held my arm in that position until Bobbi got home and asked her to take the slack out of my sling. 
Now I’m sitting here worrying about finding a good semi-sitting sleeping position. 
I just wanna get told I don’t need surgery on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sensor Sizes...

When the Nikon Coolpix P7000 finally ground to a halt, I went for a while using a Ricoh GXR with the P10 lens/sensor module installed. I'd never really meant to try using the GXR as a shirt pocket camera; I'd only bought it to use with the A12 module and Leica M-mount lenses, but I'd bought the spare body on eBay and it came with the P10 module, so...

On paper, it should have been at least a wash. The Ricoh interface and control layout on pocket cameras is handy and easy to use, both cameras had nominal 10MP resolution, both could shoot in RAW, and I was going from an equivalent 28-200mm lens on the Nikon to a 28-300mm equivalent on the Ricoh.

However the P10 had a smaller 1/2.3" sensor to the Sony's 1/1.7", which generally translates to noisier images at higher ISO settings. And I'd be spending more time at higher ISO settings, since the lens on the P10 could only open to f/3.5 on the wide end, versus f/2.8 for the Nikon, a difference that was exacerbated by the disparity in sensor sizes.

I tracked down the other pocket zoom module for the GXR, the S10. It had a larger sensor, still 10MP but a 1/1.7" CCD like the Sony's. The lens was slightly faster, opening to f/2.5 on the wide end, but it was only a 24-72mm equivalent. I was getting okay results, but as I began getting better with my work cameras, I started wanting better results from my pocket fun cam, too.

This is how I wound up playing with Micro 4/3 format, and eventually settling on a used Panasonic Lumix GF3 with a collapsible lens as my pocket "go everywhere" camera. The Micro 4/3 is generally considered to be the smallest of the large sensors, being about the size of a 110 film negative.

While there are some APS-C sensor cameras very nearly as small as the GF3, the bigger sensor needs bigger glass. Every time I tried to slide the NEX-5T and its 16-50mm collapsible lens into the document pocket of my shirt, the heavy glass would cause it to rotate nose down and I'd start getting bruises on my ribs from the corners of the camera body. The little GF3 doesn't suffer from this malady.

So I thought I was done with small sensor cameras until Bobbi cracked a joke while she was cooking a couple weeks ago:
"I'm surprised Tamara Keel doesn't have a teal camera."
OMG, why hadn't that silly play on words ever occurred to me?

I remembered that Pentax made some bitty little mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that harked back, stylistically, to their Auto 110 SLR from the '80s, and I spent much of the first part of last week down the rabbit hole of the Pentax Q, looking for a teal camera for Keel, Tamara. I took a gamble on one last Thursday, and it showed up yesterday...

The Q10 has a little 1/2.3" sensor, like the Ricoh P10 module, which means that the bitty little kit zoom lens on that camera is a 28-83mm equivalent.

That's "aqua", which is a little too blue, so I guess I'm still looking for "mint".

I'm guessing it's not a common color, but it will provide some happy hunting on eBay for a while to come.

Last night's dinner...

...was delicious.

Bobbi put up a detailed ingredient list at her blog this morning. It's good for what ails you and not all ate up with carbs & sugar.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Misunderstanding Self-Defense: Practical

So as I mentioned, my local gun store/range has started offering an expanding suite of training classes. I was offered the chance to audit a couple of them recently, ostensibly in exchange for publishing reviews on my blog, but also because they wanted my feedback on the curricula, class structure, and so forth.

So I took the eight hour Fundamentals of Armed Self-Defense class a couple Saturdays ago and followed it up with the four hour Introductory Self-Defense Shotgun on Wednesday.

I'll put up reviews of both classes here shortly...especially since I'll have nothing but time on my hands for at least the next couple weeks...but there was something else I noticed that was worth writing about. It involves a pretty common misconception people have about self-defense, and specifically self-defense with shotguns.

There was a dude in the Saturday class who was obviously not your typical gun hobbyist. He didn't even strike me as the sort of person who's always had guns around and just decided to get some formalized training in the legalities and practicalities of self-defense.

Years of working in the retail gun biz have given me a pretty good nose for the customer who has suddenly decided they need a gun because of some news story or incident that hits too close to home. This was that guy.

The first half of the class was all state-specific legal stuff, and the guy didn't seem much interested in anything but the Castle Doctrine stuff and laws pertaining to defense in the home. It was soon obvious that he didn't intend on carrying a gun, but was more worried about someone breaking in.

During the latter half of the class, which covered more practical stuff, as well as dealing with law enforcement in the aftermath, he was more interested and asking questions. When the effectiveness of the shotgun vis a vis handgun ammunition was being discussed, he looked almost relieved, although he seemed a little taken aback when it was mentioned that even errant buckshot pellets will travel through a number of residential walls and the safest backstop was the bad guy.

Sure enough, Wednesday night I showed up to the introductory scattergun class, and he was enrolled in that class, too. A few more facts came to light by his questions and reactions during the classroom portion of the class, where the effectiveness of various loadings was discussed, as well as the effect of choke and load choice on pattern size.

The loosest patterning buckshot I've tried out of my 20" 870 is Remington 9-pellet LE Reduced Recoil,  which will still put them all on a pie plate at thirty feet.
The student had, it seemed, shot 3 Position Smallbore Rifle in college, and remembered the difficulty of hitting the tiny bullseye at 25 yards. Because of this, he had wanted a defensive weapon he wouldn't have to aim under stress. Further, due to medical issues, he wasn't able to raise his right arm above shoulder level or effectively shoulder a shotgun.

He'd been sold a shotgun as a weapon that could be fired from the hip and sweep a room or hallway clear with a devastating wall of lead that would knock intruders from their feet, all without having to aim under the stressful conditions of having an intruder in the house.

He didn't stick around for the range portion of the class. Tony, our instructor, was willing to work with him using the vintage "underarm assault position", once taught as the right way to run a shotgun, but it would probably require more one-on-one time to do so than the class structure would allow.

If he had stuck around to observe the firing portion of the class, he'd have seen me fire four rounds of Federal FliteControl 00B at 25 yards, firing as fast as I could settle the sights...

I've fired some pistols that wouldn't do much better with five shots off a bench. Hardly the alley-wide wall of lead Hollywood (or the silverback at the gun store) primed us to expect...

Monday, May 21, 2018


Ugh, getting FedEx to come pick up a call-tagged package is a nightmare. UPS was probably annoying, too, but seemed downright pleasant there on the heels of the FedEx call.

I got pretty frustrated trying to explain what was going on to C3P0, and the basic level human I transferred to was actually dumber than the computer, reducing me to literal tears of frustration. I had to escalate to a supervisor to arrange for a simple call tag pickup.

The $6,000 Man

An entirely spring-powered "bionic" vest that provides support for a worker's arms, allowing them to do overhead labor all day without courting repetitive stress injuries.

I'd imagine a drywall worker with one of these and drywall stilts would be quite a sight.

Misunderstanding Self-Defense: Legal

So I saw a link to a story on the website "The Root" that trumpeted that a shooter they called "the George Zimmerman of Alabama" had been found guilty of manslaughter. Not being familiar with the case, I clicked over to read the details:
"Around 7 a.m. on June 16, 2016, Scott was making a delivery in his bread truck in Huntsville, Ala., when he noticed that the door of his truck was open. That’s when Scott said he noticed Mustafa walking away with his black lunchbox, reports. 
Scott testified that he yelled to the boy to drop the lunchbox but said the young man responded by giving him a “screw-you look.” 
“I told him, ‘Drop it or I’ll shoot,’” said Scott. When Mustafa didn’t comply and began to run, Scott shot at the teen but missed. So Scott shot again. And again. And again. And again. 
On the sixth try, Scott finally put a bullet in the back of the 16-year-old’s head."
Okay, that's pretty much exactly not anything like George Zimmerman, outside of the relative races and ages of the shooter and shootee. Beyond that, there's not a single similarity...legally or morally...between shooting a more physically powerful assailant who is pounding the back of your head against the pavement and backshooting somebody for misdemeanor lunchbox theft.

Totally the same thing as a fleeing lunchbox.
As a bonus,  I read the first batch of comments.

Almost everyone there was shocked he'd been convicted of manslaughter. They thought the charge should have been "Murder 2", because thanks to Law & Order, everybody knows the New York Penal Law, so they must have gone after manslaughter because racist and Alabama.

Rather, in this case, the prosecutor wisely went after the slam-dunk Manslaughter because it took the "heat of the moment" defense off the table and reduced Scott to trying to claim that he unluckily struck the kid with one of the fusillade of "warning shots" he sent after him.

Your carry permit is not a Batman badge. The only person more clueless about the legalities of self-defense than the column writer and his commenters was the trigger happy clown who just got twenty years to think about the error of his ways.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Technical Difficulties...

So, I stayed up a little later than planned last night. My rationale was that I'd already blown off my intended bedtime of 11:30 and so I'd just stay up and surf the intertubes for another 45 minutes or so until my phone finished charging.

Apparently I nodded off at my desk and, when I slipped from REM into deep sleep, I also fell out of my chair. I must have hit the hardwood floor right on the point of my shoulder, because I broke my left collarbone pretty good.

Well, this puts paid to my planned trip to gun school with Gabe White in Columbia, MO. It's gonna ding my pistol shooting for the next month or two as well.

I see that my roommate lit the Beacons of Gondor while I was at the hospital or was sitting on the couch in an opioid stupor. I didn't know she'd done that, but it was a welcome surprise. Thank you so much to all who responded.

And thank heavens for this little flyweight wireless keyboard in my lap so that I can continue to type two-handed.

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.