Friday, August 31, 2018

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #171...

Glock 19X testing continues.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Danger Close

So, there was an armed robbery in daylight, in an alley fairly close to the house the other day. The robber gratuitously shot his victim in the leg before running off, too.

Partly this story illustrates the steepness of the crime frequency gradients in 21st Century urban America. Here, a gentrified neighborhood where mothers on maternity leave from jobs at Eli Lilly or Rolls Royce push their infant children on porch swings in the half-light of pre-dawn is only blocks away from one where gang bangers do drive-bys on business rivals.

In the mornings, I wake up and put my feet on the floor when the alarm goes off. Then I watch the local news while consuming coffee, soda, bacon, and the cocktail of pills I'm still taking to repair my shoulder. After the first ten or fifteen minutes of the national news (which comes on at 0700) I head out around the block for my walk.

This morning, in light of recent events, Bobbi replied to my "I'm headed out" with "Do you have a gun?"

She was asking out of genuine concern, and so I did not reply sardonically with "I'm wearing pants, aren't I?" or "Am I in the secure area of an airport?"

But I'm not carrying a gun because I'm afraid. I'm carrying a gun because carrying a gun is what I do. If I'm dressed, there's a Gen4 Glock 19 on my person, whether I'm at home or out and about.

I carry a wallet in case I need to buy something. I carry a flashlight in case I need to see something. I carry a knife in case I need to open something. And I carry a gun in case I need to stop someone from trying to grievously harm me.

This doesn't mean that I walk around thinking everyone's trying to grievously harm me, any more than it means I think everyone's a dark place that needs a flashlight shone on them.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


I've gotten serious trigger time on...and feature-length SI reviews out of... commercial analogues of three of the four serious MHS finalists. The P320 in several varieties, the M&P 2.0, and the FN 509. So it's kind of karmic that I'll be reviewing this one for Shooting Illustrated, too.

Hey, look!

My review of the Charter Arms Bulldog XL is live at Shooting Illustrated.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Today was the third day in a row with highs in the nineties, our thirtieth of the year. Plus enough humidity to take the starch right out of you.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Target discrimination, Part Deux...

I disagree a little bit with Claude at this post, in which he references the dude who mistakenly put a bullet through his stepson when he whirled and fired at what he thought was an animal closing in behind him in the underbrush.

Claude lays the blame on the internet's emphasis on speed in draw time.

Personally, I doubt the guy's draw was very fast in the grand scheme of things. What I blame is the fact that he apparently made the decision that he was going to turn and fire...and then did so...without first gaining visual confirmation that there was something that needed shooting there in the first place.

It doesn't matter if you draw and shoot blindly in 0.99 seconds or 9.99 seconds if you don't first ascertain that there is something there that legitimately needs shooting and that you can, in fact, shoot it without inadvertently shooting something that doesn't need to be shot.

Draw speed, like a number of other skills, is one of those things that isn't usually important, except when it is.

Things I wish they made...

I wish Magpul made their .300BLK Pmag in a 20-round configuration.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Pro Tip...

Better late than never?

So, Nikon announced their new Z-series cameras the other day.

"It's a full-frame mirrorless camera that can use the existing Nikon F-mount lens library with the use of an adapter!"


I'm being a little unfair, since the Nikon adapter will allow the Z-series to communicate with existing F-mount autofocus lenses and control focus and aperture and even use the VR image stabilization functions without having to perform the translation work that occurs when using  kludgy third party adapters to use Nikon AF lenses on a Sony. (Personally, I only use old manual focus lenses on "dumb" adapters.)

These look like fantastic cameras and are probably what Nikon should have released in the first place, rather than the Nikon 1 series that were designed to chase a market that doesn't exist. Instead, they wasted half a decade trying to market an interesting interchangeable lens camera to people who were happy with their cell phone cams, and let Sony get three generations into establishing itself as the de facto choice in full-frame mirrorless.

It's a strange modern world.

I wasn't sure if we were going to go to a ham radio swap meet thing in some far off corner of the state  today or not. I was meaning to ask Bobbi, but I just read her blog and it appears that we are not.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Danger close, t-shirt.

"I'm feeling personally attacked, here."

Overheard in the Dining Room...

RX: "Apparently Bishop Chatard* sends the short bus to sporting events. I was following a couple little buses with the Bishop Chatard logo on them the other evening." 
Me: "You can't say 'Chatard' anymore, you have to say 'Chamentallychallenged'."
*A local Catholic school

I've always wondered...

In the various fora and social media circles in which I run, there's a self-selecting bias toward literacy. Thoughts tend to be expressed in complete sentences with reasonably correct grammar and punctuation.

But sometimes I'll find myself looking at the posts of a Facebook friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend and I see these random aggregations of misspelled words. They have the occasional capital letter or punctuation mark thrown in, as though the writer knew they were supposed to include those, but not how or why.

And I find myself wondering "What's it like inside their head?" I mean, you'd probably be going through life slightly angry, thinking everybody was secretly laughing at you behind their hands, that there was some arcane code of keyboard use you were violating. The whole internet would be like one of those fancy restaurants with too much silverware and you never know which implement to use to eat which dish.

Thursday, August 23, 2018



Today I went out into the pistol bay at Indy Arms Company, and the first thing I saw as I set foot on the range was that the guy shooting in the lane to my left had this weird stance, with his strong-side foot dropped way back, combined with an aggressive tactical turtle crouch. And he was shooting a CZ P10.

Oh, boy,” I thought, “This is gonna be an exotic form of f$ckery...

And then I heard a timer beep, and he started shooting. A failure drill on his five yard target.

And it wasn’t bad.

A timer, on a public range.

And then he recovered after the string and, as he looked down to check his time, his trigger finger went into a hard register in the P10’s ejection port.

Madness! This guy’s stance is goofy, but he’s hitting stuff and actively working to get better. And he had a timer.

A timer, on a public range.

And then the guy on lane three asks his buddy on lane two “What’s a Bill Drill again? Is it five or six shots? And fifteen or twenty-one feet?”

“Hang on,” says his buddy, “Let me look that up,” and consults his cell phone with one hand and hands his friend a target printed out from Todd’s blog with the other.


There were three fellow range patrons and I was the only person out there not using a timer today. And nobody was engaging in crappy gun-handling, and everybody was reliably hitting their targets, even when they were shooting at speeds that normally have me asking my fellow range patrons to please stop shooting the ceiling.

I have never before seen the like in my entire shooting career, outside of a match or a class.

Last shots, first shots...

Yesterday morning saw me at Indy Arms Company, putting the last few rounds through the Charter Arms Bulldog XL in .45 Colt before writing up the review for Shooting Illustrated.

I also put the first hundred rounds through the Gen5 Glock 26, which I'll be writing up for the same outlet. The G26 was my first time shooting with both hands on the pistol since the accident back in May. It's going to take a while before my support hand is contributing to the performance like it should, but at least I can keep it on the gun now.

The single cylinder of .45 Colt Winchester Silvertips was fired strong-hand-only at five yards. Lots of muzzle flash, but you can see it shot pretty well POA/POI at that distance.

The hundred rounds of Winchester (Winchester 124gr NATO FMJ and Ranger 124gr +P FMJ) was also fired at five yards, and trying to build up a little speed in my shooting again. The difference in shooting this 26 and the Glock 43 is like night and day. I need to try shooting some drills on the clock with both guns side-by-side.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Vintage Glass...

The Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 is a classic, and since Nikon hasn't changed the basic mount, vintage manual focus lenses will fit on the newest Nikon F-mount DSLRs. (Or my Sony, with the right adapter.)

More State Fair pics...

The big Keck-Gonnerman steam engine from an earlier post was being used to power this late 19th Century thresher.

I didn't get the details of the thresher's manufacture, but the steam engine was made right here in Indiana.

 A hideously complex array of leather drive belts obviously take skill to arrange and tension properly.

The thresher probably dates to the 1880s, while the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was still some ninety years in the future. Even today, working around farm equipment is dangerous, and the price of inattention can be traumatic amputation.

Monday, August 20, 2018

From discussion elsewhere...

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Happy Photography Day!

Hope those of you who are shutterbugs had some good times with a camera today!

General Gripes...

  • Collarbone still hurts plenty, although it's a more manageable level of pain than initially. It's still enough to make me pretty grouchy.

  • Those spots on my Battleship Cove photos actually mean that I am about to learn how to clean the sensor on my Sony a7 II.

  • The doctor cleared me for two-handed pistol shooting again, and said that there was no danger of re-fracture, and pain would likely be my only limiting factor. So...yay? Back to work. I'm going to consider it as rehab for my shoulder.

Took a knap.

There's a gentleman who sets up in the Pioneer Village at the State Fair every year and demonstrates flint knapping. Every year I tell myself I'm going to buy one of his pieces just for the cool factor, but I never got around to it until this year.

This is some lovely rainbow obsidian from northern California that's been knapped into a broad blade about 3.75" long and affixed to an antler handle.

What caught my eye was the fat, asymmetrical antler handle that fills the fist nicely, the right hand in a forward grip and the left in a reverse. It feels kinda like a clinch pick.

The rainbow obsidian is translucent and, when the light hits it just right, has the multicolored internal shimmers that give it its name. (Also, I'm kinda just got by how pleasant the bokeh is on this Zeiss 32mm f/1.8.)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Peak State Fair

The Smallest Minority needs our help!

Kevin Baker, author of the blog The Smallest Minority, has had a serious health issue pop up that has him in the hospital and unable to work. His loved ones have set up a GoFundMe to help defray some of the costs since he's exceeded his paid sick time already. I've already kicked in a few bucks.

Please help him if you can. He's a good dude.

1913 Avery tractor

I find this tractor mechanically intriguing, especially because everything about it is out where you can see it. Shot with Sony a7 II and 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 lens.

This is usually under a tent awning in the middle of the tractor park, and is a dark object, so it's usually been tricky to shoot. In 2014 it was parked under the sky, however.

That State Fair was when I was still using the EOS 20D and the 18-135mm zoom as my walking-around setup. I took a lot of my favorite pictures with that body and lens.

Friday, August 17, 2018

State Fair!

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

You know what's voodoo? Snapping a pic with your cell phone and then post-processing it in Adobe Lightroom right there on the phone.

Skull sweat.

Some reviews are harder than others. The one I'm working on now is really hard.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

What I hate...

...about the license model of software "purchasing" is encapsulated in the picture below:

I am positively swamped under deadlines, and Microsoft has decided that it can't remember if I have an Office subscription on this machine or not. Never mind that I was using Word as recently as last night.

So, I have to re-purchase everything because I simply don't have time for lengthy phone holds today.

Kids, once upon a time, you would buy a box with some things in it that were shaped like the "Save" icon, and you would stick those in a slot like a giant thumb drive, and you would load the "Program"...which was like an App, except it didn't constantly tie up your machine with unwanted bloatware updates...onto your computer, and there it would reside. It would function until you decided to sell the machine, at which point you could stick the "Save" icons into the next computer and install the "Program" on it and keep using it!

QotD: Overabundance Edition...

From a brilliant interview with Penn Jillette:
"For 50 million years our biggest problems were too few calories, too little information. For about 50 years our biggest problem has been too many calories, too much information. We have to adjust, and I believe we will really fast. I also believe it will be wicked ugly while we’re adjusting."
Go read the whole thing. I've always liked Penn's take on things, and he just keeps getting better over time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Not my bag, baby.

I used to painstakingly link and annotate and generally write as if every abbreviation and technical term needed to be explained to my readers.

Then I decided that took too much time and that I'd rather write to an audience of smart, curious people who knew how to use search engines, anyway.


Shooting Illustrated has a thumbnail review up of the Taurus Spectrum with an included Viridian laser.

I've made some fun of Taurus's Spectrum before, but not for the concept.

It's a gun for non-gun-people, for non-hobbyists.

I have friends who are in IT, who are programmers, who build PC's for fun, who root their Android smartphones, and then I have friends who just, you know, want a phone.

Similarly, people who don't make firearms a hobby...or even have much interest in them as objects in and of themselves...have Second Amendment rights, too. These are people who are going to own the one gun and never belong to gun fora or gun groups on Facebook any more than they belong to garage door opener or lawnmower groups.

There's a definite place in the market for an iGun. A gun marketed to people who want to buy a self-defense appliance maybe because it looks cool and they can personalize it and that's okay.

 But from all I can gather, this disappointment (the latest in a long string of disappointments) from Taurus ain't it. See, the thing about an iGun is it needs to run reliably without the attention of a hobbyist owner or trips to the manufacturer.

Monday, August 13, 2018

All Linky, No Thinky...

In lieu of me having to come up with something creative to post today, allow me to direct your attention to other people's creative posts:

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Inner Life of the Cat.

Bobbi's post this morning is wonderful, as are the comments on it.

The social software of the domestic cat is still very much in beta, and is mostly built on a kludge of kitten-mother relationships. This is why a full-grown cat will nip you on the back of your ankle while you're cooking at the stove. That's how a kitten signals its mother to lie down and let it nurse.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Skin In The Game

We prefer Justice to be kinda squint-y.

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "Alexa, is the president of the United States insane?" 
Alexa: "The president of the United States is Donald Trump. Did that answer your question?"

Alexa is sometimes unintentionally hilarious.

Busted gear.

I flew home from New Hamster on Wednesday and didn't set my gaming laptop back up again until last night. (I've been pretty desultory with my unpacking schedule since everything involving luggage is such a pain in the butt to do with only one load-bearing hand.)

Anyway, my long-serving Razer Naga was wedged in among my clothes where it was nice and safe from rough handling in the baggage compartment.  But something took all the starch out of the left mouse button, which no longer *clicks* when pressed. Now it's more of a...well, there's not really an adjective that springs readily to mind. The button still functions, but now there's almost no tactile feedback.

And of course the Naga like mine has been discontinued and replaced by a more expensive V2 with a button layout I don't like as much. I'm torn between the new Naga or buying the equivalent MMO mouse by Corsair.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Git some!


Being in more-or-less constant pain from this busted clavicle has made me super cranky. Plus I have a lot of shooting and writing to do on stupid-short deadlines, which makes me stressed.

I just wish I could teleport ahead in time a month or so and have this all behind me.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Current Project...

Working on a quickie range review of the new Charter Bulldog in .45 Colt for Shooting Illustrated. It's new enough that the instruction manual included with the gun doesn't even mention the .45 Colt Bulldog, only the .44 Special version.

Being a big-bore small/medium-frame revolver, plus being a Charter Arms, fills me with both nostalgia and also very mixed feelings. The first hundred rounds went okay, but it had a hard time with the primers on a few rounds of the Magtech. The range didn't have any rental guns in .45 Colt, so I was unable to check and see if it was the gun or the ammo.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Lemme tell you 'bout 8 Mile...

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #170...

EAA Witness P Match Pro in 9x19mm. Review coming soon.

Lesson learned...

Since I made the rookie mistake of not checking and wiping down my filter before shooting all those battleship pics, all of them looked like someone had sneezed on the lens.

The upside of that is I've gotten a crash course in Lightroom and Photoshop spot removal. Also, I purchased a container of wet lens wipes and put it in my camera bag, to supplement the microfiber cloth.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #169...

The aft gunhouse of BB-59, USS Massachusetts, features three 16"/45 caliber Mark 6 guns.

Monday, August 06, 2018

This is timely...

I don't really see anything there I disagree with.


If you outsource quality control to the end user, just think how much money you can save!

The Winchester white box 9mm round above brought an HK P30L to a screeching halt.

Further, that lip on the bullet's heel, which is what caused the case to look like that, meant the bullet was wedged snugly enough in the chamber that when the firer attempted to clear the malfunction, the bullet stayed in the chamber and only the case was extracted. The powder was dumped into the magazine. This would have been a fight-ending malfunction.

Saturday, August 04, 2018


The collarbone is still all jacked up. I guess you just don't knit up as fast at fifty as you do at thirty. (Funnily enough, I remember complaining after my big motorcycle wreck eighteen years ago that I wasn't bouncing back as fast as I did when I was twenty.)

Putting on a tee shirt involves laboriously threading it over the bad wing all the way up to the shoulder, poking my head in, and then wriggling the other arm up and in. It's an awkward process.

Another thing I noticed is that I apparently habitually put open-front shirts and jackets on with my right arm first. For the first month and a half, when I was religiously wearing the sling, this was no problem, since I'd thread my right arm into the sleeve of my gun burkha and then shrug it over my left. Now, though, nearly every time I put the shirt on, I reflexively put it on the wrong arm first, then have to take it off and start over.

Were I a profounder person, I'd insert something here about "training scars".

Thursday, August 02, 2018


Statistically speaking, you already know the person you're most likely going to need to pepper spray.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Consistency, how does it work?

So, you think that there's a bumbling madman in the White House who is Literally Hitler, and that the military is made up of reactionary goons who swear fealty to this guy, and the police of the nation are engaged in a coordinated conspiracy to straight-up murder oppressed minorities...and also those are the only people who should have guns.

Your worldview is wack.

Sad but true.

So, if you go to any public range, you can see the marks from bullet impacts all over the place downrange. Some of the target carriers will be dinged. The tiles covering the ceiling baffles will have holes. There'll be divots in the floor and walls.

The vast majority of this is because most people just can't shoot worth a damn, but some of it is for a different reason.

It turns out that some folks...usually people who just come in to rent a gun, but sometimes even people who you'd think would know better...think that it's like a BB gun shooting gallery: that anything downrange is fair game to be shot at. They'll get bored with missing their target and deliberately shoot at the wall or floor or whatever until yelled at by range staff. Some people's kids, I swear.

Look, pretty much all that stuff downrange is, of necessity, bullet-resistant to a greater or lesser degree, but the only part of the whole ensemble that's actually designed to be shot is the backstop. Try and ensure all of your bullets land there, okay?

Also, although it pains me to have to point it out, there's a Rule Four angle here, too. Y'all remember Rule Four, right? "Be sure of your target and what is beyond it"? This means that if you're five foot one and you hang a B27 target at five yards and try and shoot it in the noggin, your bullet is going to impact the range ceiling just a few yards behind it. Similarly, almost anybody trying to shoot a Casino Drill on a standard target is going to wind up skipping bullets off the floor.

There's a reason that in a class like this on an indoor range, all the shooting is done with the targets right in front of the backstop.
So please, when using a public indoor range, be mindful of where your bullets will impact after passing through the target. This helps keep maintenance costs down and keeps the place from looking like hammered crap.