Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Clone Correct...

Looks like Sig is bringing the .mil version of the P320 to the commercial market as the P320-M17.

That's kinda cool...

Magpul has gotten into the sunglasses biz.

They seem to offer blue mirrored lenses, which I'm partial to, and my Wiley X AirRage sunglasses are about wore out. (Sunglasses that rely on tension in the temples plus friction from rubber pieces on the temples to hold on to your noggin eventually get un-tense and non-friction, it turns out. Based on my experiment, this takes about five years.)

I use ballistic-rated sunglasses because I don't want special shades based on whether I'm planning on going to the range that day or not. This way I always have eye pro with me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What They Think Of You...

Indiana is bracing for a hotly contested senate race this fall, with incumbent Joe Donnelly (D-IN) facing GOP upstart Mike Braun, who won one of the nastiest primary mud-wrestling contests it has ever been my misfortune to live through.

With control of the senate teetering on a knife edge, this race is attracting national attention and a lot of out-of-state dough. In fact, the Senate Majority Project ad below complains that "out of state billionaires" the Kochs...are buying ads to smear our beloved "Indiana Joe". (A recent pro-Braun ad accused Donnelly's family printing business of off-shoring south of the border and dubbed him "Mexico Joe".)

The thing is, the Senate Majority Project has received a couple million from Bloomberg, as well as at least $10M from Newsweb Corp, which is Chicago billionaire Fred Eychaner's company.

So an ad complaining about out-of-state billionaires buying ads was paid for by out-of-state billionaires.

But they think you're too dumb to know that. You know how I know this? Well, this ad was no doubt produced by some LA or NYC agency, and look at who they think will convince those on-the-fence blue collar union worker* Hoosiers who voted for both Obama and Trump, Lugar and Donnelly. They assembled this People of Walmart cast of Totally Not Actors to convince us confused hilljacks of flyover country that people just like us were standing up for Indiana Joe.

There's a tiny chance I'd vote for Braun, because the dude's SoCon mouth noises he made for the primary seemed about as convincing as the visual effects in the original Star Trek series, but I'm insulted enough by this ad to guarantee it'll be a cold day in hell before I vote for Joe Donnelly.

*Did you catch the patch on Do-Rag Dude?

Some is good, more is better, too much is just enough.

Shootin' Buddy's theory on redundancy for your carry gun was that you should "find a gun you like, and buy five copies." That way you'd have:
"One on your hip, one in the safe, one at the local gunsmith, one at the manufacturer being overhauled, and one stored off-site at a trusted, safe location."
Commander Zero seems to have a similar eye toward redundancy, and explains it here. Go read.

Monday, July 16, 2018

RIP 9/21/2011-7/11/2018

I think it was about six years ago that Bobbi and I walked into Target's camera department...well, it was just like an aisle or an aisle-and-a-half by then...and saw a display for a new and unfamiliar camera from Nikon.

It took interchangeable lenses, but not regular Nikon lenses. The back and top of it were nearly devoid of controls, like a compact camera. There was what looked like a mode dial, but it was mostly unfamiliar hieroglyphics instead of the normal "PASM".

There was a position with a movie camera icon, so that was video. And there was a green camera icon, which I guess would be automatic scene selection? Program mode? Who knew?

There was a video display playing a looped commercial showing the cool burst photography tricks, and high speed video. I remember the price tag seemed gobsmackingly expensive, as much as an entry level DSLR kit, maybe a few bucks more.

And some parts of it didn't impress 2011 me, who didn't know much about cameras.

The lens that came with it only had three zoom X's, while the Kodak EasyShare pocket camera I was using at the time had that many and cost me a fraction of the price. They both had the same number of MP's, too. (2011 me didn't know much about sensor sizes and crop factors at all, and only had a half-forgotten grasp of apertures and ISO's and other such things.)

In retrospect, it's like the Nikon engineering department had been dragged kicking and screaming into building a mirrorless camera with the sole directive that it not steal a single sale from Nikon's meanest entry-level D3100. The result was a camera that seemed oddly frivolous to camera nerds and yet frighteningly expensive to people who wanted to move up from clipping plastic magnifiers to their iPhone lens...or from Kodak EasyShares.

The last new bodies in the series had been released back in early 2015, and everyone knew that the Nikon 1 was dead, so the announcement a few days ago was pretty much pro forma.

That being said, the early ones like the J1 I'm playing with this month are available dirt cheap as refurbs or used, and even the J5's can be found as NOS in some places for decent prices. Last of the Nikon 1 line, the J5 had a much more normal camera interface, but it was too late to save the line of quirky cameras.

I do want to see how the high-speed video and burst shooting does for action shots at the range...

I bought it for the lenses...

QotD: Not Fellow Travelers Edition

Trivial Pursuit...

On the top of the stack in the Reading Room is Osprey's US Cold War Aircraft Carriers: Forrestal, Kitty Hawk and Enterprise Classes.

I was idly skimming the section covering CVN-65, the Mobile Chernobyl, and noticed that it named the ship's skipper at the time it was commissioned: Vincent P. de Poix. Dude was a fighter pilot in the South Pacific with VF-6 for a little over a year in '42-'43.

Think about this as a metric of the speed of technological advance in the 20th Century: The first captain of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier got his primary flight training in a fabric-covered open-cockpit biplane. When he was born in 1916, the unofficial air speed record was 134mph in a British S.E.4 fighter plane, which is likely rather slower than the first plane to land on the Enterprise was going when it trapped the wire.

As far as the ship he was skippering, it remained in service until the end of 2012. To put that in perspective, the Enterprise's first captain was born during the Wilson administration, before commercial radio was really even a thing. The youngest sailor on her last deployment was born during the Clinton administration, about the same year as the letters "www." started popping up on billboards and in magazine ads.

Sunday, July 15, 2018


Finishing up writing a piece and trying to come up with delicate ways to tell the reader that they're likely wrong about something...

Meanwhile, have a pretty picture from my 'hood:


Friday, July 13, 2018

From Elsewhere...

Wait, that goober in Illinois saw a woman wearing a Puerto Rican flag on her shirt and started yelling “Are you a US citizen?”

Has that ignorant spoo-bubble been asleep since 1897?

Hey, Jasper, here’s a surprising telegram from President McKinley.

Photography Is Not Terrorism

So, okay... Lesson learned: When I'm out semi-surreptitiously photographing people and stuff on the street with small cameras, I shouldn't look all Arabic while doing it. And I definitely shouldn't wear one of those radical-chic keffiyeh scarves either.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Range day...

Rushing along with the P365 review, today was an outdoor trip with Mike Grasso to get some chrono numbers.

I was going to grab some pics for an online sidebar while I was at it, but I left my camera bag at home. Fortunately there was a camera in the pocket of my gun burkha, a Samsung TL500...

This is a .jpg straight out of camera. I remember shooting with my previous Leica D-Lux 3 (nee Panasonic LX2) under very similar conditions...

I just wasn't as happy with the results. The slightly newer Samsung seems to do better in the shade. That's probably why the Leica got sold.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018



Posing with a trophy from a gun "buy-back", a police sergeant shows off a deadly Hi-er Point LUL-Z Mk.XIII "Ghost Gun".

One more assault weapon off the streets!

(h/t to

Coarse Idjit Filter

Freakout Fatigue

So the announcement of the president's SCOTUS nominee was greeted by choreographed raucousness on the steps of the Supreme Court.

I'm assuming the whole thing was planned ahead of time, because of the four rumored short-listed candidates, Kavanaugh is the one least deserving the hysterical overreaction ("very confirmable", in the words of Chuck Todd).

I guess Bernie and Liz didn't want to waste the chance to get a bit of photogenic grandstanding in as politicking season ramps up toward November, and 2020 beyond that.

I have to say that I don't get the spaz-out over the idea of a GOP president nominating the replacement for a justice who was selected for the high court by Ronald Reagan.


Monday, July 09, 2018


A couple of shots with the Nikon 1 J1 and the 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 prime lens. Thanks to the crop factor of the 1" sensor on the CX-format Nikon, this has the field-of-view of a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera.

 It handles daytime indoor available light shooting pretty nicely if it's not super dark.

I love the tap handle for Fountain Square Brewing's "Hop for Teacher" IPA. It's the one that looks like a paper airplane.


The P365 test is, of necessity, on a short schedule. I normally have bunches of range visits spread out over a couple months, instead of a couple very high round count ones sandwiched into a week.

I'm hoarding my remaining pain pills for really bad nights or weather fronts, and I don't want to take them on days I'm planning on going to the range, so it looks like I'll just be gutting out some pain this week.

Even if I weren't shooting, I'd need to be parsimonious with them because all the drug-seeking yahoos who can't hold their dope are making it hard for people in legit pain to find relief. ("I don't have 'overactive nerves', Doc, I have a fractured clavicle. Are broken bones common drug-seeking behavior?")

And if institutional paranoia about opioids wasn't bad enough, well, there's hardly anything you can't make worse by getting the government involved...

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Back to work...

Yesterday saw me at the range for the first time since the accident.  Gonna be doing some shooting with a new test gun for a Shooting Illustrated article...

Saturday, July 07, 2018


Earlier I made this comment about the Nikon 1 J1:

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

Which in turn spurred this...

For those who haven't been bitten by the shutterbug, "PASM" (or an anagram thereof) has become a quasi-standard array of settings on the control dials of cameras that offer the photographer control over some of the basic camera functions.

  • "P" = Program: The camera analyzes the scene through the lens, references the current light sensitivity setting of the sensor (or film speed, in the old days) and sets what it thinks is the best combination of shutter speed and aperture diameter to get a good image.
  • "A" = Aperture Priority: The photographer sets the aperture diameter, which gives them control over the depth-of-field (how much is in focus) and the camera then adjusts the shutter speed to get a good image.
  • "S" = Shutter Priority: The photographer sets the shutter speed, most likely because they're worried about freezing motion, and the camera adjusts the aperture to let in enough light for the shot.
  • "M" = Manual: The photographer takes full manual control over shutter speed and aperture diameter.

There's also a setting, usually colored green, that's labeled "auto" or has a little green icon of a camera or similar. In that setting, the camera takes control of pretty much everything, including ISO (light sensitivity) and turns your DSLR into a two-pound Point & Shoot the size of a shoebox but with the potential for really good image quality if you accidentally point it the right direction when you press the button.

It's generally an indicator that a camera has pretentions to being used by serious hobbyists when these settings are easily accessible via a control dial on the camera and it was one of the things for which Sony's higher-end NEX series of mirrorless cameras caught some flak. They had well-laid out controls and all the technical chops to be serious hobbyist cameras, but switching back and forth between, say, Program mode and Aperture Priority mode required a dive into a menu.

This was understandable with Sony because maybe the guy who did the camera interface had just gotten transferred over from the DVR remote control or car stereo head unit division the week before and only knew cameras as an added feature of his cell phone.

But the "PASM" dial on Nikon's 1 series was initially buried one layer deep in the menus, too. And Nikon doesn't have an excuse, since they practically invented the modern serious camera interface, or at least stole its various components and integrated them.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Telephoto zoom & fast prime...

I've been trying out a couple of different lenses on the Nikon 1 J1 to see how they handle.

The above shot was taken with the Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 run all the way out to 110mm. These are flowers in the neighbor's garden photographed from probably 15 or 20 yards.

This one was walking home from lunch yesterday in the gaps between thunderstorms. I was using the Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 prime, which is compact and very light.

I don't know what it was...

...maybe the front that came through yesterday, skidding a line of thunderstorms ahead of it and dropping the temperature by twenty degrees in a couple hours, but my collarbone hurt bad yesterday. As bad as at any time since the first week after; not the dull ache I've grown accustomed to, but the jagged stab of broken glass.

It's been enough to make me wonder if somehow the fracture hadn't become mobile again.

It was better today, but only by comparison. If it's still sharp & stabbing on Monday, I may see about getting an X-ray someplace for a second opinion on just how well this thing is knitting.

Thursday, July 05, 2018


In rather a lot of pain today. Yelling at the cats when they bother me and then immediately feeling badly about it.

I'm not concentrating well enough to follow the complicated plot twists of the Dr. Phil show, let alone write anything coherent.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018


Hey, look!

There's a column I wrote up at Shooting Illustrated.

It's got some tidbits I picked up from Claude Werner's snubbie classes at TacCon '17. Claude's one of the best thinkers in the training industry. If you get a chance to take a class from him, you should.

Happy Independence Day!

I hope all y'all have fantastic and very 'Murrican day on this Fourth of July.

Go and tell some royalty to piss up a rope.

Pocket knives...

I have a bunch of pocket knives, and I used to rotate through them but for the past several years now I'd pretty much settled on a plain ol' Spyderco Delica, albeit one with the Emerson wave opener on it.

At some point in the last few days, though, I lost it, either at the movie theater on Saturday or at Fat Dan's for lunch on Monday.

So I spent some time this morning pawing through my knife roll, trying to decide what to put in my pocket to replace it.

There were some unexpected memories in there, too...

I've had this CRKT K.I.S.S. longer than any other. Back when I first got a job in a gun store, I bought a Spyderco Delica Clipit that I wore around the store hanging from a belt loop and used for opening & breaking down boxes and such. When I started commuting on a motorcycle, I traded the Clipit for the K.I.S.S., because the Clipit would scratch the tank on my GPz.

That means I've had this knife something like twenty years or more.

Those scratches on the pocket clip are from the asphalt of Peachtree Street, when I had my catastrophic wreck in the summer of '00.

I was carrying this knife at my very first Blade Show, and I met Ed Halligan and chatted with him for a while. He was a kindly old dude, and we compared wreck stories. He rode his bicycle some sick distance every day, like thirty miles or more. One day, a couple years before our meeting, a hit-and-run driver knocked him off his bike and he rode home, a dozen miles or so, with a busted clavicle. Guy must have been tough as nails.

Marko got me this Kershaw Blackout as a "welcome to Tennessee" present when I moved up to Knoxville, late in 2000. I think having the K.I.S.S. and the Blackout at the same time was the first time in my life I'd ever owned more than one half-decent pocket knife at the same time.

I've got knives that are a lot fancier these days, but these have seniority.

As far as what knife to carry now, however? Well, I might as well just carry the waved Spyderco Endura. I'd only switched to the Delica from it because when I put on all that weight, the bigger Endura was uncomfortable in my pocket. Having lost the weight, I can carry it comfortably again.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018


It happened as I was taking a picture of a flower. The picture above, as a matter of fact.

The photo below shows the location, although it was taken a month or two earlier. I was down near that stop sign you can see in the photo, just past the parked car. The flower was in the landscaping of the house on the corner, to my right.

Now, this was literally two or three days after the daytime armed robbery I referred to in an earlier post. That armed robbery occurred two blocks south and one block west of the the flower in the photo...

Anyway, while the neighborhood we live in is on the northern edge of what could be described as "Midtown Indianapolis", the side streets are quiet enough that you hear cars rolling up. Even Teslas and Leafs.

While I don't know the folks that live in the corner house, we've nodded at each other plenty over the years, I know they have a son about high school age, and they've patronized Indy Arms Company while I was working there.

So when I heard the car rolling up behind me, I turned in that direction not only out of simple curiosity, but also to see if it was my neighbor pulling into their normal on-street parking spot.

It wasn't.

The car that was slowing and swerving toward the curb wasn't the older 3-series coupe or the new Honda compact SUV driven by the residents of the house, but a white Dodge Cirrus or Plymouth Breeze hoopty that had been hit everyplace but the ashtray. Driver and passenger were neck-tattooed dudes dressed like extras from the "Worst Part of Indianapolis" video and both were looking right at me. Meanwhile, I'd unconsciously (and not necessarily smartly) exhibited a classic "picking" motion, with my camera now cradled in my left hand and my right thumb coming to rest on the OC canister in my front right jeans pocket, elbow pushing back my gun burkha just a little bit.

The car stopped its arc toward the curb and returned to the center of the lane, made a rolling stop at the sign, and turned right.

Were they slowing down so dude in the passenger seat could bail and snatch a camera quickly?

Were they the guys from the previous day's robbery?

I'll never know.

Weights and measures...

All the Pentax Q stuff is so tiny and light. In the Event Messenger 100 (a small, purse-sized bag) I'd carry the 01 standard, 03 fisheye, and 06 telephoto zoom lens, with the 02 standard zoom mounted on the camera. If the camera wasn't in the bag, it felt empty, the lenses are so light.

The Q7 and the four lens kit weighed barely an ounce over the one pound mark. I have full-frame autofocus zooms that weigh more than all of that combined.

The Nikon 1 J1 is small and light, but the bigger 1" sensor means it needs bigger lenses. It all still stows in the Lowepro bag with ease, but just ten ounces makes a noticeable difference in the weight of the bag.

Monday, July 02, 2018


I didn't blog yesterday or this morning because, frankly, I didn't want to subject y'all to another several paragraphs of whining about how my shoulder hurt all the time and it was crazy stupid boring being stuck in the house all day every day.

Eighteen summers ago I spent the summer in a wheelchair with three out of four flippers deadlined for repair with less whiny angst than I've managed a busted collarbone this year.

Saturday I went downtown with Shootin' Buddy and watched Sicario: Day of the Soldado. That was fun, but an achey shoulder cut into staying downtown for the Taco & Tequila Festival. Sunday I ran errands with Bobbi, but what started out as a pleasant afternoon out was soon turned grim and complain-y by shoulder pain. I'm about over this.