Friday, June 30, 2023

Stumped.

I swear I had at least a dozen Wilson 47D magazines at one time, and now I can lay hands on precisely two...the one in my Pro and the one in my CCA custom gun...and the rest have gone air soluble.

I have no idea where they are. I've looked in the Rubbermaid tub of 1911 crap in the attic, and it's got plenty of old Para Ord factory mags, Metalforms of uncertain provenance with no bumper pads that won't work in the Pro, a few 10-round 'stendos of assorted manufacture (some quite dubious), a dozen or so 9mm mags, and even a CMC Power Mag loaded with...of all things...Cor-Bon Pow-R-Ball...but not a 47D in sight.

Dammit.

It's not that big of a deal since I hardly ever shoot the old .45AARP guns anymore, but still... Dammit.

At least I found my copy of In the Gravest Extreme that I was looking for the other day. It was under the tub of 1911 stuff.




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Stormy

The derecho that blew through Indy yesterday left us without power for some three and a half hours, just one of 70,000+ AES customers in the dark from downed trees and blown transformers.

We were fortunate, though. This morning's 6AM news reported 50,000 were still juiceless.

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Thursday, June 29, 2023

Throwback Thursday


I've had this thing twenty-two years now. It was my main carry piece for almost eight of them. It had the "idiot mark" when I got it, but all the rest of the wear is from me.

I got it long before I kept logbooks so I have no idea how many rounds have been through it. Conservatively, somewhere between fifteen and twenty kay. Everything is still stock except, obviously, recoil and firing pin springs and those VZ grips.

I still wouldn't hesitate to carry it. In fact, I did carry it on that one trip to Gunsite a couple years back.

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Thoroughly Postmodern Apocalypse

My friends, the entire country to the north of us is on fire and blanketing us in smoke, while our heartland is beset by literal shit storms.

And yes I know what "literal" means.

Behold the turd tornado:

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #241...


Every time someone does a review of the Pedersen-designed Remington Model 51 and its "hesitation lock" design (which is not locked at all) they talk about how the separate breechblock allowed Remington to make the slide lighter and more compact or whatever.

I mean, I suppose that's a side-effect of the design, but it's certainly not the reason for it.

It's because when the Model 51 was introduced, Colt's Browning patent for a one-piece slide and breechblock that extended forward to enclose the barrel had yet to expire. That's the real reason why.

That's also the reason for the baroque method of attaching the 51's grip panels to the frame. That little pin at the heel of the grip gets pushed in to one side or the other and the grips are then slid down off the frame. Screws would have been much easier and cheaper, but the greatest firearms patent troll of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries had got there first.

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Space Opera

Bobbi went ahead and sprung for the third season of The Orville.

This is the dilemma of the Age of Streaming, it seems. We had enjoyed the first two seasons immensely...but not enough to subscribe to another streaming service when the show moved from Fox to Hulu last summer.

Anyway, the third season became available via Amazon Prime video and Bobbi and I have been watching it.

We're four episodes in and really quite impressed with how well the show's grown into its own skin. It's still got that occasionally-lighthearted Star Trek fanservice vibe, but it's filled out its own universe now, and given it a backstory. Plus the whole Kaylon war thing from the latter part of season two has provided a rich vein of plot ore to mine.

Sadly a fourth season remains in limbo; it hasn't been officially cancelled or renewed as best I can tell. I'm cautiously optimistic, as Seth MacFarlane has a fair amount of industry pull, and if he really wants to make it happen, he can probably make it happen.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2023

In search of America's Gun Cultures...

David & Sandy Yamane are taking a leisurely cross-country vacation to Yellowstone by camper trailer and, ever the sociologist, the good professor is taking some side trips along the way to look in on the various gun cultures of America.

For instance, on Monday they stopped in Broad Ripple for lunch!

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Snub Noir


My Classic Carry piece on the Smith & Wesson .38 Terrier, "A Gat for Gumshoes", should be on newsstands now, in issue number 33 of RECOIL: CONCEALMENT.

Speaking of noir, I seem to have been Tuckerized as the femme fatale by Kelly Grayson in his short story in the collection Pinup Noir. It was actually a pretty good story, very noir, and there are 1911s.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Reload...

Taurus 327 with Tuff Strips QuickStrip & Dark Star Gear Apollo

 Attentive readers will have noted that I mentioned that I carry .32 H&R Magnum LSWC loads in my Smith & Wesson 432PD and the Taurus 327, but that the rounds in the speed strip are Hornady Critical Defense.

While I'm not as fond of the Hornady 80gr FTX projectiles as the heavier, non-expanding semiwadcutters, due to the fact that the latter penetrate more reliably, they do have one advantage as a reload: Those pointy bullets find their way into the cylinder's charge holes like they're radar-guided.

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Classic Carry

Thank you so much to the friend who hooked me up with a classic Milt Sparks Summer Special for my Smith & Wesson 3913's.


A classic pistol in a classic holster. Makes me want to put on some Wayfarers and maybe shop for an ankle rig for my Model 37.

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Post-Apocalyptic Versatility


In my recent review of the Taurus Model 327, I mentioned the versatility of revolvers in the .327 Federal Magnum chambering, noting that they'd fire four different revolver cartridges, as well as .32ACP in a pinch.

Now, while you can shoot semi-rimmed cartridges in these things, as a general rule you shouldn't. There's enough rim to headspace, but not enough to eject reliably, and you'll often wind up with cases under the star needing to be pried out with tools.

On the other hand, if you're roaming a post-apocalyptic wasteland and are completely out of actual .32 S&W, .32 S&W Long, .32 H&R Magnum, and .327 Federal Magnum ammo, and you stumble across an old, half-empty box of .32 ACP Winchester Silvertips, it's not going to blow the gun up or anything; even .32 H&R has a higher SAAMI maximum pressure than .32 Auto. Just don't expect much in the way of accuracy, what with the bullet having to jump all that freebore.

I remember a dude coming into Randy's Guns & Knives way back in the day and asking if Taurus was going to make a .38 Super version of his .357 Magnum Tracker.
"Unlikely."

"Well, can your gunsmith make me an interchangeable .38 Super cylinder?"

*I waved my hand at his beltline* "POOF! There you go. Now you have a .38 Super cylinder."

"But..."

"Why do you want a .38 Super cylinder?"

"You know, for the versatility. Like in a zombie apocalypse or whatever."

"Dude, in what possible zombie apocalypse would you be unable to find any .38 Special or .357 Mag, but be able to score .38 Super? You can hardly do that now, without a single zombie around. There are umpteen cases of .38 and .357 on those shelves over there and, like, six boxes of .38 Super."
Definitely, though, avoid trying this trick with .32 S&W Long revolvers. Maximum pressure on the .32 Auto is significantly higher than the older Smith cartridge, by something like 33 percent.

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Automotif CCCLXXXVII...


Because of the fact that they were constructed by coachbuilders, I'm having a hard time nailing down the exact year and model of this mid-1930s Packard Twelve. I think the rear suicide doors mark it as a '34-'36?

These were among the deluxest cars of their era, especially considering that the Depression was still a thing at the time.


Monday, June 26, 2023

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #240...


We're fixing to take a good look at slide-mounted mini red dots, and specifically the evolution of the little ones intended to be mounted on subcompacts and single stacks, which basically started with the Shield RMSc and evolved from there. We'll also examine the slow-but-accelerating trend toward a small set of industry standard footprints which is allowing a move away from adaptor plates and toward direct mounting right from the factory.

Pictured is an FN Reflex large-capacity micro compact with what is pretty near the industry standard subcompact dot at the moment, the Holosun 507k.

Stay tuned.

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Psychologists and Gun Owners

In this video, Professor Yamane shares a few things he'd like clinical psychologists to know about firearms owners.


Gun owners are a subset of humans with no particular factor in common other than owning guns, so any trait exhibited by people in general will of necessity be represented among the subset of people who own guns. As the good professor repeatedly states, "Guns are normal. Normal people use guns."

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Marked Safe

All the weather that was really sporty passed Indy by to the north and south.

All that happened here at Roseholme Cottage was about twenty minutes of rain like a cow peeing on a flat rock and some ominous thunder booming.

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Sunday, June 25, 2023

History can happen fast.

So Prigozhin has had all charges dropped in return for hieing himself off to exile in Belarus, with Lukashenko apparently vouching for his future good behavior.

Well, it looks like the ex-hot dog vendor-cum-mercenary commander has a future life of indeterminate length that will involve wearing gloves to open doors, staying on the ground floor of buildings, and wanding his tea with a geiger counter before drinking.

Meanwhile:
There's been a lot of renewed attention on what would happen if the world's largest accumulator of strategic nuclear warheads should slide into civil war or splinter into a bunch of rump states.

Thing is, it's already happened once, so we have a partial roadmap of what it might look like.

There's one big difference between Then and Now, however.

Back when the Soviet Union broke apart, deals were cut with former Soviet republics to turn their nuclear weapons over to Russia, aided by promises of security and territorial integrity backed by both Russia and the USA.

Now, after events in Ukraine and Georgia and Moldova, do you think some hypothetical future Republic of Karelia or Free State of Primorsky are going to turn over any nukes to some rump Rus in Moscow, no matter who pinkie swears to do what? Fat frickin' chance. If there's one thing that recent history has taught everyone, it's that nukes mean people won't mess with you.



Saturday, June 24, 2023

Sixgun Saturday


Here we have a Smith & Wesson Model 19-5, circa 1988, in a very uncommon configuration: A 4" barrel with a factory round butt frame. The 4" RB configuration and AYY serial number prefix matches the one used for the 680 guns shipped to the U.S. Department of State in March of '88.


With a 4" barrel and a round butt, it can be carried concealed IWB or OWB without too much trouble, provided care is taken with holster selection. Being able to handle a range of cartridges from .38 Special shotshells all the way to 158gr .357 Magnum loads (I'd avoid some of the more esoteric heavy hunting loads in a K-frame) makes it extremely versatile.

There aren't a lot of problems a competent shooter couldn't solve with this thing.

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Big Facts

Yesterday's armchair epidemiologists, today's...



Great Thinkers of 2022


I mean, in fairness, almost nobody in February of '22 realized just how jacked up the Russian military was, but Benny was wrong with such smug confidence.

You gotta love it.

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Friday, June 23, 2023

Akin to Godwin's Law...

We now have a new measurement of time on the internet.

Pocket Popper Days

I remember my Beretta pocket popper days. Here's a photo from late 2001...


I carried a Beretta 950BS Jetfire in the flap pocket on the front of my leather bomber jacket back when I used to commute on motorcycles. Looking back, it was probably largely a "ballistic rabbit's foot", since I carried it hammer-down, necessitating thumb-cocking on the draw. That's always an iffy proposition when in a hurry, especially with such a tiny gun.

Further, .25ACP is pretty much the only handgun cartridge that deserves all the bad press it gets. There isn't any really "good" load in the chambering, just some that are less bad than others. If you gotta carry a deuce-five, load it with ball.

I replaced it with a Beretta 3032 Tomcat, one of the early skinny-slide models. I sometimes get nostalgic for the Tomcat, but if I were to get another one, it would definitely be a newer stainless "Inox" model with the chonkier slide.

If you want a real otaku-like deep dive on the history of the Tomcat, there's one at this link.

I still have that little CRKT K.I.S.S., and it still has the scuffs on the pocket clip from that motorcycle wreck on Peachtree, those twenty-three summers ago.


(I still have that Kershaw Chive, too, but it lacks the emotional significance that the scars give the CRKT. Plus I got to meet Ed Halligan at BLADE Show back in '02 and show him the K.I.S.S. and the scuffs on the clip.)

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Thursday, June 22, 2023

Gas Gun

"Smith calls it the “TEMPO” operating system, but it is really a classic gas-operated, locked-breech operation, except the barrel itself is the op rod and piston. When you have the barrel out of the sleeve, you notice there are six radial fins on the barrel that act as piston rings, three skinny ones out by the muzzle and three fatter ones toward the breech. There’s also a gas port out toward the muzzle end of the barrel. When the bullet passes this port, gas passes back into the space between the barrel and the sleeve, driving the barrel rearward until it meets a lug in the frame which causes it to rotate through 90 degrees, unlocking it from the slide."
The whole review is online at the link, no punches pulled.

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Wish in one hand, poop in the other...

One thing I've noted when visiting Marko in New Hampshire is the difference in the scale of politics between here and there.

The Granite State has just shy of 1.4 million people and a state legislature with 24 senators and 400 state representatives. The City-County Council here in Indianapolis/Marion County has 25 members for a population of over 977,000. 

So, by comparison, the municipal government here is really...streamlined. Things can happen fast when it's just the mayor, backed by an overwhelmingly Democratic-controlled council.

Due to the levels of violence in town (which are still pretty sporty, but down from 2020-'21) there's a lot of pressure on the mayor and city council to Do Something, and so the Something the mayor wants to do is gun control.

The mayor presented a package of proposed city ordinances to the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee of the council, including the following:
  • A ban on "semiautomatic assault weapons" in the city.
  • Raising the age for all firearms purchases to 21.
  • Ending permitless carry in Indianapolis/Marion County.
Which is entirely a theatrical gesture, since Indiana state law says that no political subdivision of the state can pass its own gun control laws. These ordinances would be toothless and unenforceable and Mayor Hogsett admitted as much:
“If state preemption is overturned by the legislature or by the courts, there will be no delay in implementing the most basic safety measures," Hogsett said. "That is why, today, I am announcing that we will submit to our City-County Council a package of gun safety measures that, if passed, will immediately become law, should state preemption be abolished for the city of Indianapolis.”
Considering the legislative makeup in the statehouse, with its Republican supermajority, and the judicial climate in post-Bruen America, Hogsett might as well have wished for a gold house and a rocket car while he was at it.

The proposed ordinances sailed through the Public Safety Committee and are probably a cinch to pass the whole council...in a purely meaningless symbolic gesture, since any attempt to enforce them would just be a jobs program for Guy Relford.

However there were a few items in the mayor's proposal that weren't entirely dumb.

For one, there was a proposal to increase the pay of IMPD officers. In an era where departments are hemorrhaging good cops, every little bit helps, I guess, but what would help even more is better training and convincing them they won't be hung out to dry after any use of force.

The other good proposal was freeing up city money to pay three federal prosecutors to go after local felons when they violate various federal firearms statutes. Maybe if there were an actual chance of catching hard time for some of this stuff, word might get around.

It's a long shot, but hey, it might help.

Sunrise, Sunset

Today is the first full day of summer, since the solstice occurred yesterday morning, shortly before noon local.

Days are getting shorter from this point. According to Weather Underground, tomorrow will have four seconds less daylight than today.

Paradoxically, however, the sun will set ten seconds later tomorrow than it did today. In fact, sunset will continue getting later in the evening. Here at roughly 40ΒΊ North latitude, the latest sunset happens about a week from now in late June. The days are shortening, but they are shortening for now because sunrise is starting to happen a few seconds later each day.

The days don't really start contracting noticeably from both ends until early July.




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Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Sorry…

Taking a sick day here.

Got kinda banged up yesterday.

I’ll try to get back to normal content tomorrow.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Hey, look!


The big difference between the regular Defender 856 and the T.O.R.O. variant is the two large, threaded holes milled in the sight channel on the topstrap, and the contents of a little plastic bag included in the cardboard box from Taurus.

The contents of the bag include an optics mounting plate, a pair of screws to secure it to the topstrap of the revolver and replacement screws to attach a Holosun 507k optic to the plate, since the Holosun factory screws are an incorrect length for the plate.
The entirety of the review is at the link.

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About that missing sub...

Someone quipped that if these sorts of deep-diving sub expeditions continue as expected and become even more frequent, it won't be long before the sea floor around the wreck of the Titanic turns into a waterlogged version of the upper slopes of Everest, strewn with the corpses of well-heeled adventure seekers.

Going back and looking at the CBS reporter's junket on the sub, the whole thing becomes a huge "Oh, hell, no" in my book. Especially reading some of the tweets that David Pogue made recently. Pogue's set himself up for some subpoenas if the sub's passengers are, in fact, croaked.

I am shocked, shocked!

French investigators searched the headquarters of Paris Olympic organizers on Tuesday in a probe into suspected corruption, according to the national financial prosecutor’s office.
Corruption related to the Olympics? Clutch the pearls!

Dude, if FIFA and the mafia had a baby and gave it to Bernie Ecclestone to raise, it still wouldn't grow up to be as corrupt as the International Olympic Committee.

The entire host city selection process is nothing but an extended festival of palm-greasing and log-rolling that would make Jimmy Hoffa's corpse blush. (Source: Lived in Atlanta in the '90s.) 

The IOC so sleazy they make Ken Paxton look like Fred Rogers.

David Burge has a bullseye in this tweet:

Monday, June 19, 2023

Automotif CCCLXXXVI...


Without a look at the VIN plate, this one is tough to call for certain.

It certainly could be a de-badged 1968 Pontiac GTO ragtop.

Far more likely, though, someone has added an Endura nose, scooped hood, and GTO taillights to a 1968 Pontiac LeMans or Tempest. Ethical people who do this (especially if they go whole hog and add GTO badging) will call the resulting rides "GTO Tributes". Unethical people will try and pawn them off on unsuspecting buyers as real Goats.


These shots were taken on Saturday with a Nikon D7100 & 16-80mm f/2.8-4E lens, probably the best crop-sensor general purpose zoom that Nikon's yet made.

Training opportunity...

Next month, on the weekend of the 15th & 16th, John Johnston of Citizen's Defense Research will be teaching his Contextual Handgun: Tests & Standards class in Denver, Colorado.

This is a two-day class with a ton of individual coaching. It's not a tactics class, but a pure shooting mechanics class. John's an excellent coach, and I recommend this class highly.

You can sign up here.

Individual coaching is the core of this class.


Picking nits, large and small.

The "Large Frame vs. Small Frame" post from the other day got a lot of really...interesting feedback. 

One reader asked if I would consider Beretta 92-type pistols to be "Large Frame". Another asserted:
I think of "small frame" and "large frame" more from the perspective of the gun's overall dimensions. To me, a Glock 17 is a "large frame" and a Smith & Wesson 4516 would be a "small frame." Similarly, a Government-sized 1911 in 9mm would be a "large frame" and a Para P-12 in .45 ACP would be a "small frame".
I can see where the confusion stems from.

The whole large/small thing only applies to pistols where the same basic gun was made in two separate frame sizes, one for shorter cartridges and one for longer ones. The most notable example there would be the Glock. 

From the introduction of the G20 and G21 in '91 until the launch of the little .380 G42 in 2014, Glocks only came in two basic frame sizes, which Glock referred to as "Large" and "Standard". While they used a large number of common parts, certain things like firing pins* or magazine releases were specific to the .45/10mm guns or the 9mm/.40 guns. (There was the  quasi single stack G36, but it was just an asterisk; a large frame gun that couldn't use the magazines or magazine releases from the other large frame guns.)

This same situation applied to other recent families of handguns like the Springfield Armory XD and the Smith & Wesson M&P line, where there was a whole group of 9mm/.40/.357SIG pistols that were all dimensionally identical, and then a bigger brother chambered for .45ACP.

The granddaddy of this would probably be back during the Second Generation era of the Smith & Wesson traditional double action autos, when the Model 645 debuted as a scaled-up Model 639 for the classic .45 caliber. From then, all the way through the Third Generation of Smiths, you had one set of pistols in .45 and 10mm, and then another in 9mm and .40. If you were shopping for anything from grips to holsters, that was the first, most basic division in Smifs.

With SIG Sauer, this whole era came to an end with their current era of polymer-framed pistols with removable lockwork. All P250's or P320's, regardless of caliber, use the same chassis. The P365 uses another.

Glock, who traditionally tried to make as many different sandwiches with as few ingredients as possible (back during the Gen3 era, the G17, G17L, G22, G24, G31, G34, G35, and G37 all used the same recoil spring assembly) must be itching at the number of variants currently in their catalog and aching to consolidate things back down again.


*Yes, you know it's a striker and I know it's a striker, but Glock calls it a "firing pin".

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Sunday, June 18, 2023

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #239...


I normally do my chrono testing at Marion County Fish & Game by setting my chronograph on a table in one of the pistol bays. Alas, the pistol bays are closed for maintenance and I was despairing of getting the chrono work done for the Reflex article in time. There was just no way to set up a table out on the main range.

Then I remembered that the chrono I use, an old Shooting Chrony Beta, has a standard camera tripod socket on the bottom, and Bobbi got me a lovely portable tripod, a 3 Legged Thing Travis, for my birthday a few years ago. Problem solved, especially since nobody else was using the main range on Friday morning, so it was easy to trudge over to the chrony to scribble down the data after each string.

I really need to get one of these self-illuminated ones that are compatible with use on an indoor range.

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Death and Resurrection

Seecamp resurrected .32 ACP, Kellgren killed it again.

Seecamp killed the .380 Auto, Kellgren (with a big assist by Ruger) resurrected it.

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Saturday, June 17, 2023

Automotif CCCLXXXV...


Tooling down Central Avenue on the way to the range yesterday, I had to pull over to the curb, hop out, and stand in the middle of the street to grab some shots of this 1973 Pontiac Bonneville in Buccaneer Red.

The row of gauges atop the dash, the big Sun tach on the steering column, and the B&N floor shifter tell us this owner likes to party and that the 400 cube motor under the hood is likely way healthier than the 230 SAE net it was rated at when new.


It's certainly got enough meat under the rear to get the power to the pavement.

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QotD: End Of The Internet Edition...

"We are living through the end of the useful internet. The future is informed discussion behind locked doors, in Discords and private fora, with the public-facing web increasingly filled with detritus generated by LLMs, bearing only a stylistic resemblance to useful information. Finding unbiased and independent product reviews, expert tech support, and all manner of helpful advice will now resemble the process by which one now searches for illegal sports streams or pirated journal articles. The decades of real human conversation hosted at places like Reddit will prove useful training material for the mindless bots and deceptive marketers that replace it."
Go and RTWT.

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Dead Letter

I was an enthusiastic user of .40S&W in the 1990s.

My first "name brand" pistol, which I bought in 1993, was a stainless double-action-only Ruger P91, and I pretty quickly traded it in on a Glock 23, still a fairly new pistol back then.

I largely carried one variety or another of the Glock 23 for the next ten years. I eagerly bought into the "stopping power" hype and could quote the percentages of various loadings from the Marshall & Sanow books faster than your eyes could focus on the page to check my answers. I was pretty sure that a hot 155gr .40 caliber bullet was the next best thing to Mjolnir when it came to flattening bad guys.

Ah, youth.

As it turns out, the thing that .40 cal is best at is prematurely wearing out pistols that had originally been designed for 9mm. That and making Major in USPSA.

The revolution in tiny high capacity guns like the Reflex and the Hellcat is because manufacturers no longer feel constrained to make them compatible with .40 cal, which is rapidly becoming a cartridge used by nobody other than gamers and by people who enjoy being different for the sake of being different, like .38 Super has become. There's something poetic about that, since .38 Super was originally designed as a sort of ultimate law enforcement cartridge as well.

I carried 155gr Hydra-Shok because of its 93% OSS rating. Seriously.


Friday, June 16, 2023

Big Gun, Little Gun

For the longest time, in the realm of duty/service pistols, I've been using "Small Frame" and "Large Frame" in a specific fashion.

Large frame and small frame compact Smiths

I used "Large Frame" to refer to the pistols designed around the cartridges with a ~32mm overall length: .45ACP, 10mm Auto, and .38 Super. "Small Frame" was for pistols built around the ~27-29mm OAL: 9x19mm, .40 S&W, .45 GAP.

So a S&W 4516 would be a "compact large frame single stack Smith" and a Glock 17 would be a "full size small frame double stack Glock".

In general, manufacturers spun all their guns off their duty-size guns. The aforementioned compact Smith .45 was essentially a full-size 4506 with the slide and grip shortened, while Glock created the subcompact small-frame 26 by essentially shortening the 17 likewise. The little guns would even eat out of the magazines from their larger siblings.

But starting with the P365 and now extending to most manufacturer's catalogs we now have a category of even smaller small-frame guns, ones that don't share magazine dimensions with their duty-size catalog mates. To further confuse things, there are now upsized versions of these guns, like the Hellcat Pro and the P365 XMACRO.

My terminology gyros are tumbled.

I have no idea what to call this.




Automotif CCCLXXXIV...


One of the all-time most beautiful automobiles, a Series 1 Jaguar E-Type in British Racing Green. Simply gorgeous.

A dual overhead cam 4.2L straight six with triple SU carbs, back in the early Sixties when twin camshafts in the head was still pretty exotic race car tech, would push the E-type to 150mph, which must have been exciting on those tires. Fortunately it also had power-assisted four-wheel discs to haul you back down, something that was also super high-tech for the era.


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Changes Over Time

Looking back over the years, do you find that your opinions on firearms or self-defense-related things are still fluid and changing? Or did you finally reach that point where you have things pretty well figured out?

Like on things like tritium sights, or ambi safeties on 1911s, or 9mm versus .40/.45/10mm/whatever?

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Automotif CCCLXXXIII...


Super clean 1969 Chevrolet Camaro. I think that color was called "Garnet Red"? I'm not sure. Fender badges say it's got a 327. Seeing as how the exterior has been kept looking all fairly factory original, no reason to assume that's not what's under the hood.

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Unsafe Dreams

I've participated in a fair amount of force-on-force training of the "sims guns and dull knives and inert pepper spray" variety, but I'm certainly not qualified to conduct any. Not only do I not consider myself an instructor, I have absolutely zero desire to be one.

Yet in my dream last night, I was conducting this force-on-force scenario for a group of people, and it was a fairly complex one. There was a narrow street, lined with shops and cluttered with market stalls and populated with role players, and the participants would navigate their way from one end of the street to the other, with a couple role players who would interact with them in varying levels of annoyance, insistence, and even aggressiveness if sufficiently mishandled.

All fairly normal, except people kept wandering through the middle of the scenario. Various TV reporters and their camera crews would come traipsing in, or people who wanted to watch the class, or whatever.

Now, if you've done this stuff, at least with a reputable instructor, you know that the scenario area is supposed to be completely sterile, with nobody in it who hasn't been patted down and had their pockets emptied of anything even vaguely weapon-y. Yet here I had people just wandering through and I kept having to call the whole thing to a halt and shoo them out and try and restart the scenario.

I woke up feeling maddeningly frustrated and the day hadn't even started.

"Whaddaya mean there's someone behind me?"


Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Concealing a Cannon

Carrying a jumbo-size blaster like a Glock 21 or the new FN 510 discreetly can be a chore, especially since concealment-oriented holsters for large autos are sometimes difficult to find.

One solution has been to use light-bearing holsters that index on the light and thus accommodate a wide variety of pistols.

The FN 510 is actually too big for the Bawidamann Gotham, which will swallow a P220 or Brigadier-slide Spaghetta with ease.

It works in the original PHLster Floodlight with the shock cord set at its loosest. We're fixin' to give it a whirl in the Floodlight 2.

FN 510 Tactical with Holosun 508 & Surefire X300U


Counterterrorism

As the Global War on a Noun wound to a close, US defense priorities swung back toward conventional fights against near-peer opponents and counterterrorism funding was cut back.

However with the Great Game heating up in the global South, this is having some foreseeable consequences:
"As Washington pulls away from counterterrorism, the Kremlin has leaned in to fill the resulting void and reap benefits outside of the terrorism domain. Russia used the guise of counterterrorism support to justify its meddling in Libya, for instance, while actually pursuing other objectives in the country and on the African continent. In April 2019, U.S. forces withdrew from Libya after defeating the local Islamic State branch—but just over a year later, Russian fighter aircraft were in Libya alongside 800 to 1,400 Russians linked to the Wagner Group and other Russian private military companies (PMCs). Today, these forces are concentrated around Libyan oil facilities where Russian state-backed oil and gas companies own stakes.

Moscow has likewise leveraged its military and PMCs to woo other African governments struggling with growing insurgencies. They offer military hardware, training, and even mercenaries to help with no restrictions on use nor lectures on civilian harm in exchange for gold, natural resource concessions, or other forms of payment. As in Libya, Russian troops help secure these resources rather than actually fight al Qaeda or the Islamic State. Moreover, the combination of human rights abuses by Russian and local state security forces, authoritarian rule, and bad governance often inflames rather than suppresses a local insurgency. Russian counterterrorism assistance ultimately has little to do with terrorist threats and much more to do with sanctions evasions, buying votes at the UN, and otherwise securing Russian interests abroad.
"
China, too, is hip-deep in subsaharan Africa, of course, and not even bothering to use mercs as a cutout.

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Overheard in the Office...

So I'm pretty addicted to the Spelling Bee game at the NYT, and I was playing this morning...
Me: "What do you mean it doesn't know 'wadi'?"

RX: (from down the hall): "'W-A-D-D-Y' or 'W-A-D-I'?"

Me: "The latter. I know it's a foreign word, but it knows 'tatami'."

RX: "The Times like Japanese better than Arabs."

Me: "They sell tatamis at Ikea, but not wadis."

RX: "They sell wadis in California."

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Bully Boy

In cameras with two card slots, I generally have them both set to record RAW. That way if one card takes a dump, I have a spare.

There's one exception, though. Fujifilm's digital cameras will record files that emulate the look and feel of various Fuji films, and so on my X-T2 I have one slot set to RAW and the other to a save faux film JPEGs.

Lately the emulation setting has pretty much just been left on "Fuji Acros B&W film with a yellow filter" and left there.

Black & white, after all, is photography's mother tongue.


 

Monday, June 12, 2023

Strange and Unusual...

"There’s a large slice of the shooting demographic that just loves something a little novel, a little different. Internet phenomenon Ian McCollum has basically made a career out of catering to this interest in the unusual with his blog and Forgotten Weapons video channels.

If you really want to perk up the attention of these folks, a firearm that’s a little off the beaten path is a sure-fire way to do it. Whether it’s revolvers that fire from the bottom chamber or work with shotgun shells, pistols that fold, or derringers with an unusually large number of barrels, you’ll find enthusiasts for it. Unusual operating systems are also a guaranteed crowd pleaser here.
"
Some gun hipsters are hipster-er than others...

photo by Oleg Volk


Ducking Autocucumber

Predictive text on my various iThingies is really quite good at analyzing my frequently-used phrases. 

For instance, on Facebook I can type "Still waiting on that eyeroll react, Zuck" entirely using predictive text just by typing "Sti".

On the other hand, while I have never in my life typed "ducking shirt" intentionally, autocorrect would have me doing it twice a day if not manually overridden.

Supposedly, though, the latest updates to Autocucumber are going to fix that.
"In 2014, Naomi Campbell congratulated “malaria” on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. (She might have meant “Malala.”) According to Wired, employees at Goldman Sachs were upset that Microsoft Word corrected their company’s name to incorporate a profanity. The phrase “autocorrect made me do it” has become a way of explaining away embarrassing substitutions such as “sex” instead of “sec.”

Jillian Madison, who curated a website of autocorrect blunders, released the book “Damn You, Autocorrect!” in 2011. “If you say, you know, ‘I’m going to run and pick up the kids,’ it often turns into, ‘I’m going to run and pick up the LSD,’” she told NPR.
"

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Automotif CCCLXXXII...

Honey Beige convertible, photographed 6/23 with Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

1958 was the 50th anniversary year of General Motors, and they commemorated it with special anniversary versions for each division.

Chevrolet's was the Bel Air Impala, which became the first iteration of the long-running Impala nameplate at Chevy. From then until 2020 (with short gaps from '86-'93 and '97-'99) there was an Impala somewhere in Chevrolet's catalog. 

Sport Coupe, photographed 9/21 with Nikon D800


If the earth is flat and space is fake...

...then this guy's got some weird looking dust flecks in his lens.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Automotif CCCLXXXI...


1976 Pontiac Grand Safari. Last year of the full-size GM wagons before downsizing.

455 4-barrel, nineteen and a quarter feet long, 5200 pounds of road-crushing weight.


These had the funky power-operated tailgate where the lower part would retract into the floor and the glass would slide up into the roof.


Thursday, June 08, 2023

"Are you a gun hipster?"

This piece is laugh-out-loud funny...
"Where others embrace threaded barrels, modern optics and tactical pants, you may feel a strange attraction to cold war battle rifles and cleverly engineered fixed-barrel actions. In extreme cases, you may have even considered purchasing a DSA FAL or an HK P9S.

But fret not, fervent friend of hammers, decockers and non-tilting breech-lock mechanisms. You are not alone. There are others like you. Others who think, feel and live like you. Others who know German date codes by heart. Others who feel that same sense of rage, loss and emptiness when they see a Beretta 92 with a red dot.

We call ourselves…

Gun Hipsters.
"
You should go and RTWT.

I think my own creds are solid in that department...



Tab Clearing...


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Automotif CCCLXXX...


The DeLorean is one of those cars that is much cooler in the mind's eye than it is in real life.

Build quality was godawful, as cars from boutique manufacturers usually are. Owners of everything from Lambos to Lotuses put up with fit and finish issues that would outrage the buyers of a Camry or Taurus.

It was notoriously underpowered, with a 130bhp SOHC Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V-6 struggling to move roughly 2,800 pounds of car with anything approaching verve. (That's about the same weight as my Z3 with less than seventy percent of the power.) Acceleration was tepid, with Road & Track unable to crack the ten second barrier in 0-60 acceleration, well short of the manufacturer's claimed 8.8 seconds.

Among a host of build quality problems was one unique to long commutes in cold winter climates. Condensation would form on the underside of the engine compartment lid, drip onto the throttle cable, and then freeze. The driver would discover this when they tried to exit the freeway and lifted their foot off the throttle to no noticeable effect on the rate of speed...


You'll note that Indiana's seven-digit license plate left this DeLorean pilot unable to squeeze the entirety of OUTATIME on his vanity plate.

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Heh.

"I don't like the term 'woke,'" Trump said during his speech at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines. "I hear the term 'woke, woke, woke.' It's just a term they use. Half the people can't even define it, they don't know what it is."



Like "fascist" and "communist", it's become a content-free snarl word that just means nothing more nuanced than "someone I don't like".

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Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Change in the Weather

A front moved through last night with a sprinkle of rain and, after a long hot dry spell we get to look forward to several days with low humidity and highs in the Seventies.

It could be like this year 'round and I wouldn't mind. I also wouldn't be able to afford to live here.

Of course, if you really like this weather, you could just buy a mobile home and chase it.



Rocinante has been saddled.

So Mike Pence has officially thrown his hat in the ring.

I'm not sure who he thinks his constituency is, but it's a free country, I guess. Maybe he's hoping that Jack Smith or Ronald McDonald will clear Trump out of the way and then, I dunno, aliens will come take DeSantis back to the homeworld when his human suit malfunctions one time too many.

Still, it's wise not to make too many predictions this early in a presidential race. This time in 2007 I seem to recollect hoping that Fred Thompson could upset front-runner Giuliani for the GOP nomination and go on to defeat sure-thing Dem nominee Hillary in 2008.


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Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Automotif CCCLXXIX...


Dodge has gotten a lot of mileage out of the "Dart" moniker, and not just figuratively. They introduced the Dart name in 1960 for a newer, slightly-smaller Dodge model based on a Plymouth that would fill out the catalog with something cheaper to buy and thriftier to drive than the full-sized Matador and Polara models.

After a quirky-looking second generation that only lasted for one model year, 1962, a new downsized third generation of Dart debuted as something called a "senior compact", a name meant to reflect a car that was slightly larger and roomier than the '61-'62 Valiant/Lancer Mopar compacts.

Unlike the Valiant/Lancers, the new-for-'63 Dart models rode on a 111" wheelbase, which was a four-and-half inch stretch over the earlier car. While 111" was indeed compact by the standards of early Sixties Detroit, where full-size behemoths like the Dodge 880 rolled on wheelbases nearly a full foot longer, by the time the Dart was discontinued after the '76 model year, it was feeling distinctly mid-sized.

Originally introduced with your choice of Slant-Six motors in 170cid  displacement with 101 SAE gross horsepower or the classic 225 cubic inch version rated at 145 gross bhp, an all new engine was added for 1964.


If the fender badges on this super-straight Dodge Dart 270 sedan aren't fibbing, it has the brand-new-for-'64 273 cubic inch V-8. With a 2-barrel Carter carb, 8.8:1 compression, solid lifters, and a single exhaust, the 273 was rated at 180 SAE gross horsepower and gave a noticeable performance bump in these relatively smaller, lighter cars over the regular six cylinder mill.

The 273 was the first in a long line of what were dubbed Chrysler's "LA" series of small blocks. It was produced in 318, 340, and 360 versions and eventually morphed into the fuel-injected 5.2L and 5.9L Magnum V-8's of the Nineties, powering a host of Mopar trucks. It also served as the basis for the 8.0L V-10, which was basically a 360 with a couple extra cylinders.

While the '64 Dart was the first year of the new LA V-8, it was also the last model year of a quirky old Mopar artifact, the pushbutton gear selector. If this car has a three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission, then rather than having a conventional lever on the floor or column, it has a set of pushbuttons to the left of the wheel.