Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fire Up the Dishwasher!

On a morning where I burned the toast...of course, as a guy, I cut off the charred parts and ate the rest, although the house totally smells of immolated designer bread...I am now officially a Certified Glock Armorer, courtesy of a one-day Glock Armorer Class taught by Glock-ee Chris Edwards for a whole slew of police armorers in Ft. Collins yesterday.

I have a mallet, a Sawz-All and a certificate! Bring on the Combat Tupperware!

In truth, Alf the Wonder Beagle could probably become a Glock armorer, because there's not a heck of a lot that can go wrong with the things. The Glock is a brilliantly designed gun — thank you, Mr. Glock! — standing as a testament to the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" philosophy. The gun disassembles by removing three pins — most of the gun can be overhauled with a pin punch and a ballpoint pin — there are no carefully fitted parts that can be reassembled in one of 25 different orientations, replacement parts are interchangeable without fitting, dirt cheap and readily available.

In fact, most of what usually goes wrong with Glocks falls into one of two categories — Lube Monsters and Assault Wiith a Deadly Dremel. If you gunk a Glock up, it will stop running. Especially, if you manage to get enough gooey stuff in the firing pin channel, said firing pin will slow down and fail to make the primer go bang. The Dremel Assault is self-explanatory and the reason why Dremels shoudl be strictly controlled by federal fact, you should take mine away from me right now, before I finish grinding up the trigger on my ancient S&W revolver that's presently on my bench.

Besides, Chris Edwards — you've seen him on several SHOOTINGGALLERYS — is always entertaining. After 15 years with the company, he could probably gnaw a Glock frame out of a block of virgin (and yummy) polymer. He can also shoot a Glock amazingly well...much better than I can, in fact. Years ago, Chris told me the secret of shooting Glocks well was shooting Glocks to the exclusion of other pistoles, mostly, and learning to ride that long Glock trigger out to reset and no more. The first point is a function of the Glock grip angle...for dedicated 1911 shooters, the grip angle makes the Glock point high when the shooter changes guns.

Of course, the reverse is also true...take a guy like Dave Sevigny, Glock's world champion competition shooter, who has shot Glocks his entire shooting life, and other grips seem weird. BTW, if you get a chance, jump on a class from Dave. Like my buddy (and COWBOYS' host) Tequila, Dave is self-taught. Years ago, he bought a Glock for self-defense, then decided he needed to learn to shoot it. So he went out to a gravel pit in the Northeast and taught himself the Glockenspeil. He decided to shoot a local IDPA match to keep his skills sharp, and the rest is history.

I have a huge amout of respect for Dave, because as he rose in competition, he continued to shoot the same guns from the same plastic holster — one of Dave Elderton's Kytac creations. These days, it's pretty much acknowledged unless he's having a very bad day, Dave is unbeatable with a Production/out-of-the-box gun. Besides, he's a nice guy.

The one thing I learned in the class that broke my heart was that Glocks are NOT dishwasher-safe...maybe. Chris tells the story of a small department armorer who ran his departments' eight disassembled Glocks through his wife's dishwasher regularly for three years before they stopped working. Three years! And they only stopped working because the dishwasher powsder detergent he used clogged uo the firing pin channels. HMMMMM, said the police armorer sitting next to me...can you spell "liquid detergent?"

BTW, the Glock armorers' class is hopefully the first of what I think of as a year of "in-service training." I know 1911s and S&W revolvers, but I want to bring myself up to speed on the broad range of firearms out there. In my spare time...haha!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Back in the Harness

I'm shaking myself out of my vacation-in-place-holiday lethargy with a big stack of rough-cut VHS tapes of next season's shows. We've made a bunch of basic changes — tightening up the opening of SHOOTING GALLERY and slicking up the graphics, juggling the overall style of the hi-def cameras (which appears little short of magic to me) and some minor editing changes. The net result — hopefully — will be faster, slicker shows.

Tomorrow, I'm going to spend the day in a Glock armorers' class, trying to finally learn which parts are NOT dishwasher safe! I'm bringing my biggest mallet, some vice-grip pliers and a tube of K-Y jelly, universal tools for disassembly and reassembly of everything from a jumbo jet to a mastadon.

Over the holiday, I did finish re-reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time fantasy series, including the latest installment, Knife of Dreams. I've been reading the series for 15 years, I decided to go back and re-read the 10 books and the prequel to figure out WHAT THE FRIGGIN' HELL WAS GOING ON! There are about a billion characters with incomprehensible names, enough plotlines to gag a soap opera writer and a fascination with thrusting bosoms that would do Robert Heinlein proud.

Still, Robert Jordan is a brilliant writer and a master plotter. Heck, I've hung in there for 15 years, and since each new book debuts at number one on the NYT best-sellers list, apparently I'm not alone. I write novels, and I can't even imagine the plotting processes that would yield 15 years of interlinked plots! I stand in awe.

So now I've got to sit around and wait for the next installment — according to the fan sites, tentatively titled A Memory of Light — which will wrap the series up.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Shopping, and the Lust for Legitimacy

When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til
I satisfy my soul
— Steely Dan
"Black Friday"

I can feel my credit card throbbing in my, you dog! the economy and get a new iPod to boot! Well, keep throbbing, Evil Demon! I'm going to spend Black Friday — the day when retailers traditionally go from the red into the black — finishing up a complex ground system for a VHF antenna, overhauling the insides of an N-Frame S&W revolver and changing the water in my goldfishes' aquarium.

But before I start this wild cycle of revelry, I want to toss off a couple of largely irrelevant comments about the blogosphere, the MSM and the lust for legitimacy. My comments are bought on by upheavals among the Powers-That-Be in blog-world, where Open Source Media, the largest and apparently best funded of the blog aggregators has morphed back to its original identity as Pajamas Media. The idea is the creation of a portal for people looking for an alternative to MSM reportage. Here's a part of their mission statement:
Readers unfamiliar with blogs are sometimes puzzled by the concept, thinking that they are mere online "diaries," where egoists and sentimentalists record their thoughts and feelings. But the phenomenon of blogging is much more than that; it’s the modern equivalent of the Gutenberg revolution, a way of putting not just published material in the hands of the public—but publishing itself.
They put their pajamas — a reference to snide comments from the MSM on bloggers — back on after a number of the big gun bloggers felt Open Source was headed hell-bent in the wrong direction, down the same path as the MSM. That's an oversimplification, but fair enough.

There is within the blogosphere a huge lust for legitimacy...oh please, oh please can I have a press card? I recall a picture of the "ideal blogger rig" for reporting from location, the idea being that hordes of bloggers would do a better job of reporting than the mainstream guys. That's also probably true, but my question is, "Who cares?"

I've been a professional journalist — i.e., paid to report and write stories — since 1968. Lede from my first story: "Checked your student ID card lately?" On such drek careers are made!!! From my standpoint, the problem is not that MSM reporters do a bad or inadequate job of reporting the news; rather, that the entire concept of reportage is fundamentally flawed. Reportage is the accumulation of data and the transmission of that data to the generic entity of "the public."

But as the nerdy boys and girls noted in the last "Information Revolution," data is data, but information is power. I'm getting a little bit bored with all this "citizen journalist" stuff...smacks 'way too much of the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again." Meet the new boss...etc. It doesn't matter who's manning the shovels on the data-crap brigade...the minute you start thinking of yourself as a "REPORTER," an outsider filtering data, you lose your hold on what it is you're bringing to the party.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Quick Thanksgiving Note...

To those I love...

To those who love me...

To those who put up with me...

To those whose lives touch us all...

To you guys who read me patiently hoping for something intelligent...

To my brothers and sisters who stand between those of us enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving dinner at home and the chaos of war and anarchy...

Thank you all, and may the Light shine on you this day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

An Old Left-Over WSJ Piece...

...that I decided to post after some discusions over at The Gun Zone on journalists with guns:
Hopalong Geraldo


Pity the hapless Geraldo Rivera. It’s not enough to dodge bullets and bombs in pursuit of that perfect sound byte, but to also suffer the slings and arrows of—unarmed—fellow journalists...well, it’s enough to ruin even the best hair day.
But, strangely enough, I come here not to bury Geraldo—except, of course, for this teeny-tiny problems with the truth—but to praise him. And to confess my own dirty little secret:
I am a journalist, and I carry a gun.
And I am not alone.
First, a quick story. I’d been sent south by the Sunday magazine of a major daily newspaper to spend some quality time with the Ku Klux Klan. First stop was a Klan “paramilitary”—and I use the term loosely—training camp where the boys, and a few girls, were preparing for the Next Race War. The location wasn’t exactly listed in the telephone book. Instead, it was one of those, “Be in the K-Mart parking lot at midnight with a flower in your lapel” arrangements, followed by a long, blindfolded ride in a Ford pick-up sans shocks. When the blindfold was finally pulled off my head, I found myself crammed into the truck cab with someone clearly sent over from Central Casting, overalls, Styrofoam spit cup and all. As we rolled down a long, narrow highway, my host reached under his seat and hauled out a bumper-chrome bright Colt .45 1911 model, just like the Doughboys carried, with shiny plastic-looking mother-of-pearl grips. I seemed to recall that George S. Patton once said that only a pimp would have mother-of-pearl grips on a gun. My host slapped the big Colt on the seat between us.
“What you say to that, boy?” he said.
“I say I’ve got one just like it on my belt,” I said, with a good bit more braggadocio than I actually felt. “And I’m better with it than you can imagine.”
“You bluffin’, Yankee boy?” he asked, staying in character.
“I don’t bluff,” I said, assuming my best Woodward/Bernstein demeanor. “And I’m not a Yankee.”
“Hell,” said my host, spitting a gob into the cup, “I guess you ain’t.”
The punchline actually came a couple of days later, when I’d talked myself into an interview with the High Exalted Whatever—who later proved to be an undercover agent for the Feds—at his bunker in the piney woods. I walked up to the massive steel door, taking note of the gunslit window shutters, to be met by one of those bright-eyed, Aryan Nation-tattooed, skinny guys who populate made-for-teevee movies. He told me to stop right where I was. I stopped, right where I was.
“Mr. Bane, Mr. Bane, Mr. Bane,” he said, his ferret grin firmly in place. “We done heard all about you...”
Behind him, in the darkened doorway, I heard the unmistakable ker-chunk racking of a pump shotgun.
“This here door’s got a metal detector,” Ferret-Face said. “And we don’t want to hear it beep. So why don’t you go back to your car and reconsider your position?”
Ah, I thought, the limitations of hardware. I did what Ferret-Face suggested, and the interview went off just fine. I never did see the shotgun man.
The point of the story is that journalists carry guns for the same reasons other civilians carry guns, to wit, bad things occasionally do happen to good people, and the police are only around to sweep up afterwards. It only makes sense that, if you’re paid to occasionally go into harm’s way, the likelihood for bad things happening to you increases geometrically. And war zones are, by definition, in harm’s way.
But if they have a policy at all, most media I’m familiar with make possession of a firearm on company time or on company property a firing offense. Based on the number of reporters, cameramen, editors and photographers I’ve counseled over the years on carrying a firearm, I’d say a substantial number of journalists simply ignore the policy. As one photographer told me, “I got $50,000 worth of video gear hung off me like a Christmas tree. I might as well have a blinking neon sign over my head that says, ‘Rob Me First!’”
There are, of course, hypocrisies to be savored. I once got a call from the editor-in-chief of one of the most relentlessly, unabashedly anti-gun newspapers in the country. Seems he and his wife were going on a Caribbean cruise in the new sailboat. Since this was at the height of the Great Florida Drug Wars, when hijacked sailboats were the delivery vehicle of choice for incoming drug shipments, the editor needed some advice on which AR-15—the semi-auto civilian version of the military M-16 battle rifle—he needed to purchase to repel boarders.
I pointed out to him that only recently he had written quite eloquently that the days when civilians had any need, or even any rationale, for owning firearms was long past, and the United States needed to wake up to that fact and do something about that darned Second Amendment.
“For god’s sake, Michael,” he snapped. “I’m a journalist, not a complete idiot.”
So my hat’s off to Hopalong Geraldo, who has the good sense to not leave his personal welfare to the tender mercies of Taliban bandits. We can only hope that when he gets back to the World and resumes his position behind the desk that he remembers the cold comfort of steel (or plastic, as the case may be) on those long Afghani nights and chooses to throttles down his anti-gun rhetoric—or even (shudder!) comes over to my side. Remember, Geraldo, we’re journalists; not complete idiots.

Slouching Towards Turkey Day...

I'm trying to decide whether to go outside and drive 8-foot copper grounding rods into the semi-frozen tundra or simply sit in my office and stare at the aquarium. In short, my brain is not getting any traction this morning. I can't think of a single snippy thing to say about anyone, not even Anne Curry. Rather than deprive you of the morning dose of sarcastic thought, I searched the internet and came up with some nasty words about NYT columnist Maureen Dowd that I thought fit the bill. From Fred Reed:
I read with ashen resignation that Maureen Dowd, the professional spinster of the New York Times, will soon birth a book, no doubt parthenogenetically, called Are Men Necessary? The problem apparently is that men have not found Maureen necessary. Hell hath…. Clearly there is something wrong with men.

I weary of the self-absorbed clucking of aging poultry.

Why is Maureen hermetically single? For starters, she is not just now your classic hot ticket. She’s not just over the hill, but into the mountains, to Grandmother’s house we go. She probably gets more daily maintenance than a 747, but she still looks as though a vocational school held an injection-molding contest and everyone lost. That leaves her with only her personality as bait. The prognosis is grim.
Damn, I wish I'd said that, although in truth I can't say I've ever given Maureen Dowd that much thought. Thanks to the whack jobs at The Gun Zone for the link; this week, TGZ also includes the worst whorehouse joke ever it here.

Since I'm clearly brain-dead, I've also decided to do some experimental SHOOTING GALLERY audio podcasts [YES! SG In Your Pocket!]. I just ordered the appropriate audio stuff for my iMac from Amazon, so hopefully I'll be able to offer up the first version in December. Somewhere down the road, I'm thinking of a video podcast that adds details to the show...that's right after I get my first CLONE!

BTW, got my gen-u-wine official amateur radio callsign from the F.C.C. this week — KC0VLH. That kinda sucks, doesn't it? I'll apply for a vanity call sign after I pass the test for the top-tier Amateur Extra license, hopefully in December, depending on when I get my brand spanking new dirt cheap scientific calculator from HP so I can figure out the square root of -1 without becoming nauseous. BTW, the letter from the FCC gave my Sweetie a brief jolt..."Oh no," she though, "What has he been saying on that show of his?"

Finally, I'm waiting around for some rebound springs from Brownell's before I start deconstruction my S&W 1917 with the sticky trigger. Speaking of Brownell's [how'z dat for a slick transition, Bubba?], back when I was talking about my most recent trip to GUNSITE for the S&W 250 class, I failed to mention that Pete Brownell, the third generation of that legendary firearms family to run Brownell's, absolutely smoked the class. Go order some gun parts so he can buy more ammo!

Friday, November 18, 2005

There's Got To Be a Morning After...

"How many of you who sit in judgement
Have walked the streets of Bakersfield?"
— Buck Owens
The Streets of Bakersfield

Well, not me, except to hike down to a sushi place near the could probably have told me this, but perhaps Bakersfield isn't the optimal place for sushi. I probably won't die from it, but that's as far as I'm willing to go. I wonder if the Hilton has a stomach pump?

In the meantime, I need to address a couple of issues:

• First, SOUTH PARK. I believe in SP the way my aunts and uncles believe in the Gospel, a font of truth in an uncertain world. Kyle and Stan represent the various warring parts of our psyche, with Cartman as the embodiment of the Dark Side. Kenny, of course, dies, and Chef gets laid. What else do you need?

• Next, George Clooney. Wasn't GC a nice guy back when he was playing with his pet pot-bellied pig and didn't open his friggin' mouth? Don't you wish he'd JUST SHUT UP? Or go hang himself? Naw, I guess that would be too much to ask for. Maybe he'll have sex with Paris Hilton and contract some alien-based sexually transmitted disease that'll turn him into a deaf-mute Puggle crossbreed. We can hope! Good night and good luck, moron!

• The Poseideon Adventure remake. It's wrong...just wrong! Where is Shelley Winters? Gene Hackman? Maureen McGovern? The morning after? Jeez, it makes me feel old. It gives me an urge to take a cruise...maybe to New Orleans...

• The morning show style of interviewing. Where Katie "Look at MY Legs, Dog!!!" Couric gives the interview subject the answer to the question..."so when your stepfather locked you in a tiny closet after the false wedding ceremony, were you thinking that you'd like to kill him, like, twice?" The reason they're called INTERVIEWS is that you're trying to ascertain what the interview subject actually thinks, as opposed to what you tell them they think. The only exception to this rant is Anne Curry, who is so dim it's like watching a squid trying to interview Stephen Hawking, and, thusly, entertaining!

Democrats. Which is synonymous with quisling. I can't say I'm all that happy with W, who seems to be channeling FDR in the worst possible way. But Democrats are, as a rule, nauseau-inducing lower lifeforms. Or maybe it's just Democratic politicians...what can you say about a group of people who choose Teddy Kennedy as their guru and spiritual leader? Learn to swim? Don't make him the designated driver? Lock up the Irish whiskey?

Okay, I feel better now...except for my stomach, whch may be terminal, and the undeniable fact that I'm trapped in Kalifornia without a piece of any kind. Maybe I should put some flowers in my hair...

Uber-South Park

If you missed last night's new episode of South Park, you owe it to yourself to walk across steaming lava to see it next time it's on! It rocked, a viscious send up of Scientology, Tom Cruise, John Travolta and rampant B-S. Make sure you watch the closing credits!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Suicide is Painless...

...not really, but that line is an Obscure Cultural Reference, which all you Old Suckers will recognize immediately. Still, here's a fascinating paper on suicide rates in Canada and their relationship to firearms:
It is time to stop using the term “gun deaths.” The term is being used to distract the reader from understanding what firearms have to do with homicide or suicide. “Gun deaths” is a potpourri of suicides, homicides, and accidents. The supposed link is that these deaths share a common cause: a gun was accessible. But the mere availability of guns doesn’t make ordinary people commit murder, or suicide, or have accidents. This term perpetuates this pernicious myth...
Two of the biggest successes of the gun control movement have been lumping suicides into "gun death" false term and gaining the widespread acceptance of said false terminology as a legitimate term in the media. Suicide rates are fascinating things. There have been numerous studies over the years that the rates are apparently culturally determined and are amazingly resistant to change. An NYT article a few years back (that I have NOT been abole to fiind on the internet) noted that the huge amount of attention paid to suicide prevention over the years had had no apparent effect on the suicide rate in the U.S. In short, a certain percentage of people in a given culture will kill themselves, and we really don't have a clue why.

Why that's important to us in the gun culture is that our enemies routinely tout "reduction in gun deaths" in regard to suicides, the implication being that a lessened availabiliiity of firearms leads to a reduction of suicides. Except that it doesn't...people just kill themselves a different way. Remember, a certain percentage of people in a culture are going to kill themselves regardless. How many times have you heard brainless nits like Sarah Brady talk about, "saving just one life?" Now you know that whenever she says those words, she knows it's a lie from the ground up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Side Note on Country Music

Having said nasty things about the CMA Awards. let me say that the special on Johnny Cash that's on tonight is everything the CMA's weren't.

I am lucky enough to have sat at the kitchen table and listened to Kris Kristoferson, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson exchange stories. I am lucky enough to have experienced June Carter Cash's hospitality and graciousness. I am lucky enough to have walked in the presence of giants.

And I have to say that Alison Kraus' (dressed tonight) duet with Dwight Yoakam on "If I Was a Carpenter" is honest to god what country music is all about, despite the fact that it was a pop song.

Despite my cynicism, I suspect the circle is indeed unbroken.

More on Women with Guns...

...seems to be a hot topic this week! This courtesy of Tim Katz via email, from Boston Magazine:
Girls With Guns
Alexandra Hall

Forget lipstick, Fendi bags, and Wonderbras. A local group of young women has elected the .22-caliber Smith & Wesson as its most powerful accessory. Is this simply more progun lunacy, or could it possibly be the next face of feminism?

Christie Caywood is feeling good. Really good. She's been at the firing range for less than five minutes, and already she's hit a bull's-eye. Brass shell casings from her .22-caliber Smith & Wesson are piled around her feet, and her long, red hair shakes as she reloads. Keeping her fingers clear of the trigger but tight along the muzzle, she slides each bullet into the pistol's magazine and snaps it into place. Then she readjusts her stance and pushes the button that, with an abrupt and heavy hum, mechanically sends out a fresh paper target. She retrieves the used target it replaces the way the rest of us handle an old family photograph — with light fingers, and at the edges. And for good reason: It will soon hang proudly on the wall of her room back in the dormitory.

At the Smith & Wesson Shooting Sports Center in Springfield, an indoor shooting range, the stink of carbon from gun barrels is unmistakable, even to the untrained nose. Even through earmuffs, and even from a piece as low caliber as the .22, the noise of every shot is firecracker-loud. At each discharge, bits of flame spark from the gun's nose, and Caywood's hand jumps back with the recoil. Larger guns are going off all around her — .44s and .45s powerful enough to shake the floor.

Women & Guns

Nice piece on Fox News from Wendy McElroy from on women and guns:
Whatever the cause, a grassroots movement toward self-protection is quietly growing; in short, people are arming themselves. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, some 60.4 million firearm transactions were approved between 1994 and 2004. According to the National Rifle Association, a gun advocacy group: "The number of NICS checks for firearm purchases or permits increased 3.2 percent between 2003-2004."

The personal trend is paralleled by a political one.

The number of "Right-to-Carry" States has risen from 10 in 1987 to 38 currently. Generally speaking, the term 'right-to-carry' refers to the right of responsible people to carry a concealed weapon. provides a good overview of the differences between states.

Pro-gun women have gradually become more prominent in both the personal and public arenas, though the evidence is largely anecdotal. Statistics on this trend are difficult to locate and confusing; they have become a source of controversy in-and-of themselves, as gun control advocates argue that claims of female gun ownership are often inflated.

Times Square Hangover

I have to admit that this AM I'm suffering from a brutal hangover, sadly not from drinking single and seeing double, but from watching most of the Country Music Association awards from New York City last night. I've never seen country trying so hard to be country — Jesus was evoked so many times I thought he'd be popping onto stage to take a bow with Garth Brooks — and failing so miserably. Yeah, the songs had all the right licks, including appropriate use steel guitars, words about whiskey, cheatin' and the aforementioned Big Guy Upstairs, tributes to dead people, and tears, but surrounded by a smug, self-congratulatory miasma — "See, we're really just like everyone else, except we sing country music instead of paublum pop or that hippy hoppy...nudge nudge wink wink say no more!"

Speaking as the one-time editor of Country Music magazine, primary author of the Random House Encyclopedia of Country Music, biographer of Hank Williams Jr., Travis Tritt and Willie Nelson, and friend to the likes of Randy Travis, the late Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, etc., all I can say is snore nod.

It's not that country became pop; It's that country became self-conscious. Modern country music takes the elements of country and mixes them together as cynically as a fat old guy with a bad rug putting together a new boy band. You got your liquor and you got your Jesus and you got your first ex-wife, delivered by a guy with a hat and no shirt or a woman with big hair, a navel ring and Manolo Blahnik slingback f&%k-me shoes.

I would argue that the most heartfelt song of the evening was when the Fruit of the Loom underwear fruits did a number about loose cotton least it lacked post-modern irony!

I understand it's about money, and heaven knows I don't begrudge Lee Ann Womack or Keith Urban the bucks — I am certainly not without sin myself. I guess it's that I miss the old days...great art comes out of turmoil, not irony.

That said, I like country music. I just don't believe it anymore.

BTW, loved Alison Kraus' see-thru dress, which even drew a surprised comment from my Sweetie, and, no, I couldn't find a picture on the internet! Alison's come a long way from the nerd girl with a fiddle...I think Elvis Costello's been good for her!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Dear George...

This is a political rant worth reading, from GunGuy:
When Republicans lose control of the House and Senate in 2006, and possibly the White House in 2008, they may want to ponder the following:
▪ Campaign Finance Reform Act (McCain-Feingold).
▪ Kelo vs. New London (property confiscation by the State).
▪ Free prescription drugs for seniors.
▪ No new domestic oilfields (eg. ANWR).
▪ No Social Security reform.
▪ No income tax reform.
▪ The abnormal influence of “moderate Republicans” (ie. really Democrats) like Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chafee on the conservative agenda.
▪ Supporting moderates like Arlen Specter in the Republican primaries, for fear of alienating them. Yeah, that worked well: Specter hasn’t exactly been a stalwart defender of the President’s agenda since, has he?
▪ Outrageous growth in government spending, in a Congress controlled by Republicans.
▪ Unchecked illegal immigration, and talk of “amnesty” for illegals.
▪ Harriet Miers. Did GWB really think that this blatant cronyism would fly? And if this choice was not cronyism, but an attempt to avoid a fight with Democrat senators, did GWB not realize that we conservatives want a showdown with these socialist scum?

Here’s the thing. Almost all of the above give conservatives a simple message: passivity.
Read the whole thing!

Very Sad News

I received a note from Bill Wilson last night that our friend Larry Bullock of Buffer Technologies was killed in a a car accident Saturday afternoon on his way home from a business trip in South Africa.

Larry was instrumental in the creation and growth of practical pistol competition in the United States, both IPSC and IDPA. He was one of the first great match designers and directors, a great friend of the Second Amendment and a man of unquestioned honor.

He also cooked a mean barbecue.

When I felt USPSA had jumped the rail seven or eight years ago and ran for the top slot in that organization, Larry was one of my first and staunchest supporters. I know how proud and honored he was that the products he conceived and his company made were being used by our soldiers to stay safe.

Later, brother...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Crying Game

As Boy George once said, "I know all I need to know about the crying game..."

This from my old alma mater, the Tampa Tribune, presented without comment:
Cheerleader Says She Was Crying, Not Having Sex

TAMPA - One of two former Carolina Panthers cheerleaders arrested in a Channelside nightclub bathroom said Thursday she was crying over an ex-boyfriend - not having sex with her teammate - when a fracas erupted over the women sharing a stall.
Well, at least she wasn't glued to the toilet seat.

As Soon as They Become Available iin Colorado...

This from Playboy, coutesy of the Carnival of Cordite, which you should be faithfully reading every week!

I'd be in line for the first one of these in Colorado, if for no other reason than to terrorize the the hand-wringing fraught-with-liberals community of Boulder!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Cool Piece on In-Line Muzzle Loaders

I love this article...elitist that I am, I always thought muzzleloader season was for seriously retro outdoorspeople, and god bless 'em! In-line muzzleloaders are, well, tacky:
See, a long time ago, there was a group of dedicated hunters who were very interested in re-creating the experience of hunting as it was done back in the frontier days. So they used replicas of old-fashioned firearms, like Hawken rifles or Kentucky rifles like Daniel Boone used."

"Did Daniel Boone's rifle have a fluted, chrome-finish barrel with an integral ported compensator to reduce recoil, like that one?"

"No, sweetie, that came later. Anyway, in most states, hunters were granted a special season in which they could hunt deer only with these old-fashioned black-powder firearms. You had to be a very good hunter, and sneak in very close, because you only got one shot and it took forever to reload. And those old weapons weren't nearly as accurate as a modern rifle."

"Oh. So that's probably why they mounted that Redfield illuminated-reticle variable-power scope over the existing fiber-optic sights."

"Yes, but that came later, too..."

One More Thing...

...only my PLAY guns ever get taken to the full 100%!

My working guns are limited to basic functionality tuning and a basic "street" trigger (no less than 3 pounds!).

That's because I may have to defend every single modification of the basic gun in a court of law!

For a carry gun, I want it as close to ready to go from the box as I can get. I want any modification of the gun to be "defensible" — trigger smoothing to make the gun easier to shoot precisely, but not anything that could be described by an unscrupulous attorney as a "hair trigger;" higher visibility sights to assure that my sight picture is as good as it can possibly be in an extreme situation; functionality tuning (usually called a "carry package") to guarantee that the gun works properly and reliably; grips that fit my hand.

The perfect example of this is my carry gun, the SIG 225. I bought it from my local gunstore, put a few hundred rounds through it and put it in service. While I was up at SIG, I had the master gunsmiths at the factory replace the fading nightsights with current SIG nightsights, smooth out the SA & DA trigger pulls (and they did a MAGNIFICENT JOB OF IT!!!) and do a quick functionality tune-up (keeping in mind that the gun has NEVER had a single malfuction).

I also got a beautiful set of Nill walnut grips for the gun. If you recall, it had Nills on it when I got it, but that set was 'way fat (as well as 'way phat, for that matter). If I wanted 'way fat, I'd carry a 228 hi-cap as opposed to the 225 single stack. These Nills are virtual copies of the plastic grips and fit my hand perfectly. I'll put a hundred rounds through it and put it back in service (my LS-9's been picking up the slack).

I'd be comfortable walking into court and explaining that I was carrying the same style gun and ammo as half the Feds in the country, the SEALs, the guys from Homeland Security, blah blah, and that all work on the gun had been done AT THE FACTORY by factory technicians.

The only thing I hate about the 225 is that Crimson Trace DOES NOT make Laser Grips for it, because it's an out-of-production model! I've got Laser Grips on my bedside 226, and I am an unconditional supporter of those red dots!!!

The Difference Between 90% and 100%

Okay, only because you asked!

I said yesterday that Bill Laughridge at Cylinder & Slide had suggested that he take my two competition New Blackhawk .357s to "100%." I got an email last night that asked, quite reasonably, what's the difference between a 90% gun and a 100% gun?

We all have different's mine:

The devil is in the details, as usual. Most guns that you get out-of-the-box are, essentially, 80% guns. They are usually 100% reliable, although they may be sensitive to ammunition or designed around specific bullet configurations; trigger pulls are set by company liability lawyers, serviceable but probably heavy for an experienced shooter's taste. Most modern guns will shoot 5-inches at 25 yards or thereabout, which is fine for any Real World useage.

That's why all the gun rags do those silly tests, where they discover that the newest bestest MAXIMUS GLADIOUS BLASTER "prefers" WW ball and will consistently shoot 4.756 inches at 25 yards from a rested position. I don't mean to sound snooty here, but for most of the shooters out there, that's just fine. A few years back one of the major gun manufacturers set out on a quest to see how much they're guns were shot in their "working lives." The average was — brace yourself — less than 100 rounds a year. Believe me, if you're shooting 100 rounds a year, you profoundly NO NOT need a lighter trigger, unless you're excited about shooting yourself in the foot.

The reason the gun companies deliver 80% guns is not because they cynically think you're not going to shoot it; it's because of Criteria #1...100% reliability. You may be betting your life on these things, and the gun companies are aware that the guns must go "BANG!" when you pull the trigger. Since all guns are ultimately compromises, balances between differing sets of tolerances, the "default compromise" is reliability at the expense of other operating issues, because addressing those other operating issues while maintaining 100% reliability starts jacking the gun's cost through the ceiling (which is why you get what you pay for, suckah!!!).

When we take the gun to 90%, we essentially adjust the trigger pull and a few of other other operating controls while maintaining 100% reliability. We might change the grips, or, on a 1911 platform, change the mainspring housing and replace the sights with something more to our liking — although most modern handguns have sights that are just fine as-is. But still, Dick Heinie and Wayne Novak gotta eat, just like buzzards (homage to Clint Eastwood!)!!! A 90% 1911 might have a tiny bit of accuracy work done, usually revolving around the link/barrel lock-up, but if we go further, we're heading into the real slick-up region.

Here's Bill's invoice for taking my competition Blackhawks to 100%:
• Recut and polish barrel throat
• Recrown barrel 11 degrees
• Light chamfer on cylinder mouths
• Install Power Free Spin Pawl
• Install oversize basepin
• Competition trigger job 2.5-3 pounds
• Install Wolffe XP basepin latch spring
• Check and adjust timing
• Parts polishing as needed
• Check and adjust timing if necessary
• Refinish as necessary
• Test fire
Essentially, the gun has been blueprinted, with all parts now working to spec. Friction has been reduced wherever possible. Known weaknesses within Ruger single actions (the basepin, for instance, or the need to polish the transfer bar) have been remedied. The triggers are crisp and break clean at a little over 2.5 pounds on both guns. Springs are all beefed up to take the demands of competition. 25 yard test groups are in the 1-1.75 inch range with test ammo. In short, the guns will do their part if I do mine...which, I admit, is highly unlikely!!!

You can get a trigger job on a single action for between $75-150 all day, every day (including new springs). A 1911 trigger job runs from $100-200 or more from a "name" maker, including replacing most of the parts. The most common 1911 trigger job these days includes replacing hammer/trigger/sear/springs with a pre-fitted kit from Cylinder & Slide.

If you want to get to 100%, it's like watching a New York City taxi meter run up. Figure a minimum of $500 for a single action revolver, a little more for a DA revolver and at least $1000 for a 1911 (replace barrel, fire control group, springs, fit).

Can you get cheaper????

You betcha!

Heck, I can swap out parts and do some grinding on a Ruger SA, an S&W revolver or a 1911, easy. You'll notice, however, that I send MY guns out!

Wonder why that is?

Animal House

This morning, we had a visit from Mr. Fox, the red fox who grudgingly shares the hill with us. Foxes are pretty stealthy, but when you have parrots, stealth just doesn't cut it. Cleo, who appointed herself Official Watchbird upon arriving in the household nine years ago, spotted the fox — who looks magnificent in his full red winter coat — and let go, our own personal air raid siren. This, of course, sent Alf the Wonder Beagle into paroxysms of baying, calling all Free Range Beagles to join the Wild Hunt.

Mr. Fox responded to this STAGGERING CACOPHONY by hopping onto the patio, plopping himself in front of the sliding glass door and scratching his muzzle. I don't think he respects Alf as a fellow predator; maybe he thinks she's kinda cute, except for the absence of a huge fluffy tail.

Today is Animal Day...I gotta do some maintenance on the aquarium. The guys are getting the size where you wouldn't throw them back if you caught 'em. Nemo especially has become very demanding, jumping out of the water when he thinks its time to be fed (yes, I keep a tightly fitted top on the aquarium, which he's managed to hit a couple of times). Pooh Ye loves it when I change the water; he gets right under the fresh water outflow and does flips...he's about as graceful as a small concrete block. Fairly weird that those little one-inch goldfish have morphed into actual pets...excuse me, companion animals. My Sweetie says I desperately need a black fish because of feng sui issues.

Yeah, whatever. I haven't done it because I'm now unwilling to risk my tank without quarantining the new fish for a month, dosing it with fishy antibiotics, etc. That comes under the heading of huge pain in butt...I'll probably wait until December, when I'm mostly off the road, to set up the quarantine tank. Also, I can't introduce a little bitty goldfish to a tank with three agressive bruisers...Pooh Ye will bounce the newcomer off the wall until he's sushi. SO I gotta suck it up and mail order a bigger goldfish. Jeez, poor man's koi.

To make matters worse, the Sweetie has been making purring noises about adding a kitten to the home zoo. I don;t suppose it will make that much difference...we had cats for years, so it's an old mix. The parrots — especially the macaws — quickly take control of the proper training of any small animal that comes into the house...sort of trial by icepick. Ripley the gray parrot issues orders that he fully expects to be followed to the letter...when we got him almost 12 years ago, we had an old yellow cat that thought Ripley was the dish of the day. The kitty got to meet Mr. Beak; after a week, the cat responded to Ripley's commands much better than it ever did to ours. When the cat did what Ripley ordered, he called the kitty a "good bird," his highest compliment.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

An Abundance of Riches...and a Drain on the Old Bank Account

C'mon, I'm in the business! At any given time, I've got guns coming, going or out for repair/customization. It may be a gun I ordered months and months ago, or a gun that's been in construction for a year (or current record is a 1911 from Dick Heinie that took 14 years to be completed...honest! It's a very nice 1911, though...). Sometimes it's a gun that got sent out for minor work and ended up a Long March, because the gunsmith thought it needed more of an overhaul than I did (and I defer to the gunsmith about 50% of the time).

Anyway, I'm betting that all this hardware doesn't suddenly arrive on my doorstep the same day, because I only allocate X dollars for gunstuff on any given month. And it never does...usually.

Yes yes, you know where this is going, don't you!?! I got caught out. BOY, did I get caught out! Cylinder & Slide finished my two cowboy guns, New Blackhawks in .357. I sent 'em out for trigger jobs after they irritated me to death at Hell on Wheels in Wyoming. Mr. Bill at C&S convinced me that, since these are going to be my primary cowboy competition guns for 2006, he needed to get them to 100%. My friends, 100% costs substantially more than 90%!!! Worth it? July.

Doug Turnbull tells me my .44 Special US Firearms heartbreakingly beautiful single action is ready to ship...months ahead of my mental schedule. Para tells me my 9mm Warthog, ordered on television at the SHOT now on the way to my transfer guy. Oh yeah, the Hamilton Bowen .38/40, built for an episode of SHOOTING GALLERY and hiding at Patrick Sweeney's house for an article in HANDGUNS magazine, is on the way. And that's not to mention the 1911 S&W and the M21 .44 Special I bought when I thought I had some spare money! Or the .38 N-Frame from Accurate Plating...okay...time for eBay! Maybe move some safe queens...get a second job...take up panhandling — that'd work..."NO DRINK! NO SMOKE! DESTITUTE MAN NEEDS MONEY FOR CUSTOM GUNS!" Maybe I can glue my butt to a toilet seat...hell, this is Nederland, after all! I have a right to glue my butt to a toilet seat! "Well, Katie, not only did I pass the lie detector test, but just take a look at the scars on my young butt...look close...there's one that shaped just like Karl Rove! You think my butt is hot? Hey Anne Curry, come on over here!!! Yep, I'm going to take all the money I get in the settlement and pay off my custom gun bills! Is Rachael Ray on this network? I bet she'd know how to get a toilet seat off my butt quick like a bunny!"

I''ll be cranking out gun tests starting tomorrow!

All Is Illuminated!

From this week's Weekly World News, the only MSM that counts:
Aliens Settle in San Francisco!

Refugees call their new home "Little Mercury!"

Gov. Schwarzenegger invites alien refugees to find their hearts in San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO -- Last week the state legislature set aside a small section in the northern part of San Francisco for the exclusive use of a very special group.

"Aliens will be moving into 'Little Mercury' sometime next year," said a spokesperson for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "It's gotten so hot on the first planet that the state is allowing a small colony of Mercurians to relocate to San Francisco.

"I hope my fellow Earthlings will welcome them, and trust that the governor knows what he's doing. He has had experience dealing with movie aliens. Hopefully, the Mercurians will be less predatory."
I hope the little bastards didn't bring any blasters!

The Evolution of the Handgun Market

I roiginally published this on the SIG Forum as a quickie outline of handgun evolution, and a buddy of mine suggested I transfer it to the blog.

Think of the evolution of the handgun market as something like this:

Post WW2 and the 1950s — "You NEED a handgun, even if you're not a cop, motor-bank bandit or a target shooter!" The birth of the modern civilian market for handguns. (Thank you Mr. Ruger...)

1960s — "Hunters need a handgun to carry along with their rifle!" Handgun market pushes into traditional firearms markets. (thank you Mr. Keith and Mr. Skelton...)

1970s — "No, you need THIS handgun, because it actually shoots well!" Handgun market begins to focus on self-defense; birth of "practical shooting." (Thank you Mr. Cooper...)

1980s — "You need every kind of handgun, because they've got lots of different calibers, lots of bullets and lots of...everything!" The handgun market overtakes more traditional markets and begins fractionalizing. {Thank you, Mr. Glock...)

1990s — "You need 1911s! Right now! And then you need the expensive ones in purple!" The beginning of "botique" marketing of handguns, essentially primarily marketing on features rather than function. (Thank you, Kimber...)

2000 to present — "You need this year's model, plus that model from 30 years ago!" More sophisticated marketing of handguns on features, ranging from different finishes, specifically branded models, in-line expansions and even retro versions." Welcome to the New World, which is quite literally the Golden Age of Handguns. (Thank you, NRA, for making sure there is a present!!!!)

Handguns were initially marketed on function, because the function varied so widely. Now, in all honesty, virtually all modern handguns are reliable, accurate and will do what they say they will do. If a high level of FUNCTIONALITY is universal, what is the differentiating factor that drives you to buy a specific gun ovr a different gun? Or, put differently, why are there a thousand different flavors of KImber 1911s and a Glock Collectors Club, Little Grasshopper???

Happy Kristallnacht! Well, Yesterday...

Dave Kopel from the Independence Institute reminds us that November 9 is the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, when the city administration of New, that's not right...the city fathers of San Francisco...ooops...I mean, those spiritual soulmates of liberals everywhere, gen-u-wine German Nazis, taught those pesky Jews a lesson, the first of many.

And what event preceded the Kristallnacht Nazi rampage? Well, this will shock you to your core, but the Nazis confiscated their intended victims' guns! Read Stephen Halbrook's old article from AMERICAN RIFLEMAN.

But things will be so much better in San Fran now! Here's a fun look, from
Health Insurance costs are sure to go down. Working conditions will be much better - for criminals.

It is finally easier to identify the criminals. They're the ones with the guns. The victims are the ones lying in the pool of blood.

More good news. Most shootings will now be intentional.

Proposition H pitted two big players. The "No" side was supported heavily by the NRA. The "Yes" side was heavily supported by the Trauma Centers.

Guns are banned to all private citizens, except police officers. Citizens are still allowed to carry Super Soakers.

Note: All Super Soakers must sport a bright orange tip.

Given a choice between disarming a criminal and disarming legal gun owners - it's better to screw the gun owners. They tend to vote republican.

Prop H also changes the city motto to: Make Love Not War.

This is better than the old motto: Participate in cheap sex, not violence.
Happy Belated Kristallnacht! Hope you got your tree up in time!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Nerd Notes & Fun With Words!

Just a little Nerd Note to tell you all that I schlepped down to Boulder tonight, took the test for the amateur radio technicians License and passed 33 for 35 questions. Thanks to a bizarre grandfathering provision in FCC rules, I get an automatic bump up to General Class. In a couple of weeks, I'll be allowed on the airwaves. Thankfully, I have nothing to say!

Also, from our Fun With Words department, I finally found the derivation of the word "SWAG," also spelled "schwag," a term encompassing the various and sundry freebies that accure to people in the media, like the hundreds of baseball hats actively multiplying on the top shelf of my office. According to our ace videographer and director Fernando Orozco, who first heard the term when he worked with CNN, it's an acronym for STUFF WE ALL GET.

So there...another mystery bites the dust!

I'm going to try and get to the range tomorrow and put the tuned up 225 though the paces before it goes back in service. I also just got back my .38 parts revolver, the N-Frame Smith, from Bob Cogan at Accurate Plating & Weaponry, and it's now a bonafide beauty. I'll do pixs tomorrow, along with the range report.

Nice Piece from John Lott

At National Review Online today. I especially like the quote from Bill O'Reilly, not the staunchest gun guy in the world:
But Bill O'Reilly probably said it best recently on the Fox News Channel when he noted: "Once I saw what happened in Hurricane Katrina, I said every American household should have a firearm. If there's a tremendous earthquake in San Francisco and looting, you don't want your family protected? You don't want a firearm in your house? You're living in the world of Oz."

The Sheep Look Up...

That was the title of John Brunner's grim SF apocalyptic version of a poisoned America, written in 1972. I was in college, more or less, when I first read it, and images from that book have stayed with me over the years. Interestingly enough, those 1970s' apocalyptic vision in sceince fiction blended seamlessly into what I was "studying" in school, largely by accident. Like many guys that age, I was being led around by the Little Head Hiding Behind the Zipper. My squeeze at the time, Glenda, figured out pretty quickly that there was a big advantage to having me write her class essays. I'd sailed though college on an inborn ability to write and a prodigious memory, which allowed me to avoid homework, grade drama and learning anything.

Since writing essays was so easy for me, Ms. Glenda reason, would I mind writing hers? And since the easy way for me to write those essays would eb to take the same classes as her, would I mind eschewing the physics, math and creative writing classes and take her classes instead? She was screaming hot, it was the early '70s and I was suffering from testosterone poisoning...what can I say?

Which is how I came to have minors in religion and psychology, specializing in the psychology of crowds and mass movements. At that time. both studies led back to the German experience in World War Two, which is a nice way to say back to the camps, and to a lesser extent Stalin and the first great Russian purges. One of the classes was with a visiting European professor of the "Death of God" school of theology. He had lost everything in the camps and it had — obviousoly — profoundly changed the nature of his faith. So I spent a couple of semesters studying genocides. "Peace, love and flowers," indeed! He was particualry obsessed with the Warsaw Uprising, where 23-year-old Mordecai Anielewicz and the Jewish, with only a handful of smuggled guns, held off the awful power of the German state for 63 days. "If they'd only had more guns..." the professor mused, which tripped a nasty discussion on gun control. After class, I asked the prof why he thought that, even in the face of history, the Jewish community in America was overwhelmingly liberal and overwhelmingly in favorite of rigid gun control.

"Because they're fools," the old European Jew said. "They think they're safe here, that the government will take care of them. They don''t believe that absolute trust in a government leads to ashes and lampshades. I pray I don't live long enough to see them realize their mistake."

So on that cheery note, it looks like the San Fran Handgun Ban is going to pass:
Support for ballot measures seeking to ban handguns and keep military recruiters out of public high schools and college campuses were leading with more than half of returns in Tuesday night.

With 65 percent of San Francisco precincts reporting, 64,676 people, or 57.3 percent, voted in favor of the proposed gun ban, while 48,112, or 42.7 percent, opposed it.

Proposition H would prohibit the manufacture and sale of all firearms and ammunition in the city, and make it illegal for residents to keep handguns in their homes or businesses.

Although law enforcement, security guards and others who require weapons for work are exempt from the measure, current handgun owners would have to surrender their firearms by April.
Ah yes, jackbooted thugs stage right. I would urge my brothers ans sisters in San Francisco to resist, but that's silly. They won't resist anymore than they didn't bother to vote. Well, members of the Pink Pistols might resist, because they already know how much protection the law really offers, even in a city that prides itself on being gay-friendly.

One wonders what the people who voted for this atrocity (which the NRA is challenging in court on Second Amendment grounds) thought happened in New Orleans, a major American city that went from civilization to anarchy in less than 48 hours?

Reminds me of one other comment from my old religion class, when a woman said something to the effect of..."but if nobody had guns..."

He silenced her with a wave of his hand. "The Nazis always have guns," he said quietly.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Yet Another Breakthrough!

Admit it — there are damn few shooting shows where you can see a $1000 SIG smashed with a baseball bat, bounced off a concrete wall and still keep on ticking! Another first for SHOOTING GALLERY! Yes'll see it here first in February. And YES, IT DOES VOID THE WARRANTY!!!!

To be sure, the SIGs are tough guns. You probably can't make them stop working. After a day at the factory, I was really impressed with the 1911 management is committed to a complete line of 1911s...full length, Commander length, steel frame, alloy frame with and without accessory part of the Revolution series. I''ve seen a lot of whining on the SIG forum about the quality of the new guns, but the bottom line is I handled probably 100 guns in various stages of completion, as well as spending time in the deburring and QC department, and ALL I saw was top-of-the-line finishing and polishing. AND I WAS LOOKING FOR THE BAD STUFF!

We also took five 1911 Revolutions full-size guns to the range — not guns ready to ship to customers, but guns in various stages of final completion. What can I say? The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I fed 230-grain ball through the guns as fast as I could pull the trigger. The guns "shot light" — their superior ergonomics made them feel easier against my battered hand than say, a P229 .40S&W. Still, I actively dislike the SIG grip's a "speed bump" style grip safety, but with a raised ridge in the middle of the grip safety...sort of like a little bitty shark's fin. That's all well and good, but the purpose of a speed bump grip safety is to guarantee people with small webs in their hands — like, fer'instance, moi — depress the grip safety every time. All well and good, except that to accomplish such a good, the grip safety doesn't need extra meat in the "middle" of the grip needs extra meat across the bottom of the grip safety to make sure smaller webs hit it. I was able to hit the grip safety, but I had to be careful on my grip and presentation. I complained, because I'm incapable of keeping my mouth shut.

That said, all the guns I fired SHOT DARN WELL in speed drills and group shooting. It remains fascinating to me how five guns made on the same line can exhibit such different feels in shooting. There was one 1911 Revolution I badly wanted to keep...a railless version with a blaxck nitron finish. The gun was just super, especially in the speed drills...interesting, because if I'd had to bet in advance, I'd have said that the railed versions, which weigh a little more, would be the easier-shooting guns. Wrong. I would have bought the gun on the spot, but it was already committed to someone else. Instead, I ordered an exact duplicate, which I intend to shoot in the USPSA Single Stack Nationals when we film that match in 2006. I specified Novak sights, a mag well and a gold bead front sight instead of the standard night sights. The laser-logo'ed SIG grips are really beautiful — head and shoulders above what you usually see on production guns — but for a comeptition gun especially I'll replaced them with slimline Aluma-Grips. The gun will go to Bruce Gray ( for minor tuning.

I also carted my daily carry gun, the aging P225 9mm, up to New Hamster for a minor tune-up and to replace the dimming night sights. Amazingly, the pros in the SIG Custom Shop were able to slip it into the queue and tune it up while I was here. They did a beautiful job — god, I love really good custom gunsmithing! My DA trigger pull is now pretty close to the trigger pull of one of the new DAK light action double action guns, and super smooth — as it should be! They also threw in a spectacular pair of Nill walnut grips. These particular grips are exact duplicates, dimensionwise, for the SIG plastic grips. This is really important to me, because the great strength of the P225 is its flawless ergonomics. My P225 had a set of the Nills on it when I got it, but I ditched them because those aftermarket units beefed up the grip, and I reasoned that if I was going to have bigger grips, I might as well have a P228 or P229 high-cap. The new wood grips on the gun don't add anything to the width — really cool — but a lot to both the way the gun looks and the way it feels in my hand. AM VERY PLEASED. I'm sure the guys at SIG would have been much more pleased if I was carrying a currently cataloged gun, but that's the way the blaster crumbles.


Friday, November 04, 2005

A Few Thoughts on Prohibitions of Various Flavors

Let's make a bold statement here and say those of us on the side of the Second Amendment have pretty much won the political wars. We have driven back three decades worth of nitwit antigun laws, we have shall-issue concealed carry, we have legal protections for the firearms industry in place, and hte only person in America who thinks Sarah Brady is anything other than an annoyance in a clown suit and floppy shoes is Katie Couric, the queen of the Manolo shoes school of journalism.I've waxed sort of eloquent about the absence of a

hearts-and-mind campaign on the part of our culture. This morning I thought I'd bikini wax eloquent on one of the new battlefronts we're seeing. This from columnist Jim Spencer and this morning's Denver Post:
Guns are an "in" thing. Liability protection for people who make machines whose only function is to kill people does nothing to discourage that notion. Neither does pushing to let loaded weapons be carried anywhere, anytime, even where people drink.
There's the sneaky part...oh my goodness, people having guns where alcoholic beverages are served! That can't be a good thing! Can it?

Now, I've corresponded with Mr. Spencer before, and it's like trying to communicate with a marmot, which squeaks wildly and loudly, then goes and hides under a rock. The guns/alcohol push, though, is what the gun control "movement" is reduced to. It's sneaky, because we don't really think it through..."even where people drink."

We reflexively think of overheated Irish bars, which smell equally of split beer and desperation. Except that most drinks are served in restaurants; hell, even self-serve alundries serve beer!

Where are you most likely to need that gun you're carting around on your hip? Well, if you don't drop by and visit the criminal underground — that is, buy drugs, including marijuana; frequent prostitutes; buy or sell stolen goods, etc. — your risk is probably a restaurant! But if organizations like Brady and the VPC, plus their media shills like Jim Spencer, can succeed in keeping concealed weapons out of places serving liquor, that's a large percentage of the world outside our doors.

So Michael is saying, heck yeah, take that AR to a bar! Nope...I'm saying that "impairment" is a legally defined term. If you use a gun while impaired, you have a very big legal problem. But if you are not impaired, does it matter where you used the gun?

The effort to demonize guns is starting to slip, but the ever-popular Demon Rum is with us always. Liquor doesn't turn people into monsters any more than guns turn people into crazed killers. What bothers the furry little marmots is that the responsibility NOT to become impaired int he first place is an individual responsibility that cannot and should not be relegated to the state.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ah Yes, My Home...

Customer glued to toilet seat sues Home Depot
Man claims workers ignored cries for help after he was victimized by prank

BOULDER, Colo. - Home Depot was sued by a shopper who claims he got stuck to a restroom toilet seat because a prankster had smeared it with glue.

Bob Dougherty, 57, accused employees of ignoring his cries for help for about 15 minutes because they thought he was kidding.

“They left me there, going through all that stress,” Dougherty told The (Boulder) Daily Camera. “They just let me rot.”

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Paging Lucy Lawless!!!!

Presented without comment:

Rabid vampire bats kill 23 people
Nov 02 2:19 PM US/Eastern

Rabid vampire bats have killed 23 people and bitten hundreds of others in the past two months in the Brazilian state of Maranhao, local media reported.

The latest victim was Valice Santos, 20, who died from a rabies infection on Friday in the northern town of Turiacu, 150 kilometres (93 miles) from Sao Luiz, capital of Maranhao state, according to the state health ministry, quoted by the Brazilian news agency Estado.

Some 300 attacks by blood-sucking vampire bats have been recorded in the town. The rabies virus assaults the nervous system and can be fatal unless treated by a vaccine.

Deforestation of the bats' rain forest habitat has triggered the current spate of bat attacks, the secretary of state said.

Of the 23 who died of rabid bat bites, 18 were minors, mostly bitten on the face or fingers. Children were apparently more vulnerable to the bites because they sleep more soundly than adults, a specialist was quoted as saying by the Globo agency.

The vampire bats, found in tropical Latin America, feed off of insects as well as the blood of mammals and have caused the death of large numbers of farm animals.
Thank heavens the Brazilians still have guns!!!

AMEN Brother Jim!

This from this morning's Outdoor Wire, the daily business update from Jim Shepherd:
The National Sporting Goods Association has released their Sports Participation Survey for 2004. While we hear the continued cry of diminishing participation in the outdoors, their statistics seem to contradict that position - if you remove hunting and fishing, the numbers actually look positive.

Hunting, fishing and power boating, long drivers of the "outdoor" economy's big participation numbers, all experienced declines in NSGA's 2004 numbers (1.1, 3.6 and 5.9 percent, respectively).

There were other areas where the news was better.
And even with a drop in firearms - hunting firearms, that is - there are three areas of growth inside the shooting category. They might indicate a need for the shooting "industry" to look more outside the hunting category to reach -and recruit - shooters.

The now-familiar mantra "we must increase hunting in order to grow the firearms industry" doesn't seem to be borne out when you see double-digit growth in muzzleloading (12.1%), target shooting (7%) and paintball (28%). In fact, their growth just might contra-indicate the wisdom of centering a majority of the firearms industry's recruitment and retention efforts on hunting.

If you accept the NASG numbers, they would indicate that people are more than willing to give shooting sports a try, they're just not trying areas where industry leadership is accustomed to looking.

That might not be a popular position, but it's hard to argue with the numbers.

Further, using the NASG's numbers, there are one-point-five million (1,500,000) more people target shooting than hunting. There's quite likely some double-counting across these segments, but it would seem to indicate a need for more outreach to the blackpowder and target shooting groups. From a purely business perspective, target shooting - whether with muzzleloader or traditional firearm - would seem to represent a market for sales of significantly more ammunition, cleaning supplies and other "pure shooting" accessories than hunting.
Our own numbers prove that the shooting sports numbers are growing while hunting is flat or declining. Yet NSSF, our industry trade group, continues to focus EXCLUSIVELY on hunting as a way of growing the sport. I am starting to hear grumbling from VERY highly placed honchos within the industry over NSSF's continued obsession with hunting — even some insiders who are themselves very active hunters and proponents of hunting! It's probably not going to help matters that NSSF's latest initiative, presently in production, is a 30-minute "infomercial" on using preserves to introduce kids to bird hunting.

I feel — and I've conveyed this to NSSF — that high-fence "hunting" is a very slippery slope. Right now, we have the public more-or-less with us on hunting as part of our American heritage and, IMO, a slight trend in the positive direction. But when people think of hunting, they think of fair chase hunting — Bambi has a chance to get away, and we have a chance to get skunked. If we shift a portion of the emphasis to preserves — that is, a fenced or otherwise contained area where animals are bred, fed and "managed" exclusively for hunting — that has implications for those already flat/declining numbers, because the public isn't going to stay with us. I've shot on preserves and filmed on preserves; I'm not anti-preserve hunting! But IMO it is the ABSOLUTE WRONG DIRECTION for us as an industry to be headed in!!!

HOT NEW GUN — Ruger .44 Magnum Flattops!

As promised, for all you guys and guyettes with a deep abiding love of retro single action revolvers, by popular demand, this from our pals at Ruger:
Southport, CT – November 2, 2005 – Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) is proud to announce the return of what many shooters and collectors feel is the most handsome of all the Ruger single action revolvers, the .44 Magnum “flattop.” Originally introduced in 1956 when the powerful .44 Magnum cartridge was brand new, the Ruger .44 Magnum Blackhawk set new performance standards for the burgeoning sport of handgun hunting. With its massive chrome-molybdenum steel “flattop” frame and fluted cylinder, precision adjustable sights, and all coil-spring construction, it was a pure hunting handgun, combining power, precision, and elegance in a most pleasing form.


Following the success of the Ruger .357 50th Anniversary New Model Blackhawk in 2005, Sturm, Ruger is proud to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of its original .44 Magnum Blackhawk. The Ruger 50th Anniversary .44 Magnum New Model Blackhawk features the trim “flattop”-style cylinder frame with “micro”-style click adjustable rear sight, a fluted cylinder, and smaller, “XR-3”-style grip frame and checkered black panels with the original black Ruger grip medallions of the very first Ruger .44 Blackhawks. A 6 ½” blued steel barrel with a ramp front sight also gives this revolver the look of the original, while its patented Ruger New Model Blackhawk transfer bar and loading gate mechanisms give an unprecedented measure of security and convenience. The Ruger 50th Anniversary .44 Magnum New Model Blackhawk also has a gold color-filled barrel rollmark “50 YEARS OF .44 MAGNUM – 1956 TO 2006” to commemorate the introduction of the original .44 Magnum Blackhawk. New features include a patented reverse indexing pawl for easier loading and unloading and, to meet various state sales requirements, an unobtrusive internal lock under the right grip panel.

The Ruger 50th Anniversary .44 Magnum New Model Blackhawk comes in a special red case with a unique handsome lens label. A California-approved external locking device, comprehensive instruction manual, and a special commemorative booklet detailing the history of the .44 Magnum Blackhawk complete the package. This special 50th Anniversary .44 Magnum New Model Ruger Blackhawk will only be produced in limited quantities until the end of 2006.
I think the .44 Flattop is one of the most beautiful, most versatile and most "carryable" single actions ever made. The XR-3 gripframe, which mimics the Colt SAA, is perfect for most size hands, and I don't have to tell you all what a fan I am of the .44 Magnum (and .44 Special) cartridge. Yeah, I'd'a liked a 5-inch barrel, but then I'm a picky guy on this stuff. BTW, my orders are already in! Watch for a full review as soon as I can lay my hands on one!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I Smell NERD!

Well, that smell is ME!

I have a total confession to make...I'm nerding out. I was indeed a nerd in high school, albeit a fairly heavily armed nerd. One didn't have to worry about high school hazing when one could demonstrate hand tricks with a straight razor...but I digress...

I decided to once again get an amateur radio license. I got my first Novice license in 1965 — I was in the womb! Well, not really. I was WN4WXG. I upgraded to Technician Class and became WB4DCD a year or so later. Then I went to college, discovered sex, drugs, rock and roll, journalism and per diem expenses. Somewhere along the line my license expired and I didn't even notice.

In the late 1970s, when I was living out on Long Island in the dead of winter writing books, I started building knives and inexplicably decided to go through the amateur test again. I became General Class operator N2AWX, specializing in QRP (very low power) CW (Morse code). Later, after several moves, a cataclysmic relationship break-up, etc., that license expired, too.

After the debacle with the hurricanes and reading the lessons' learned threads on the High Road, I got to thinking that a communications device separate from the Internet and the cell phone service and that could be operated in an emergency might be a pretty good idea. So I started hitting the books yet again, and I'll take the test for another Tech license next week. I'll pass, because there's still a lot of this stuff rattling around in my brain. Plus, I'll get to upgrade to a higher class of license (more available frequencies to use) because of my old, expired licenses.

Learning Morse code in the old days, BTW, was like contracting herpes — you can't make it go away! I learned from a couple of old "fists" from WW2 and Korea, who worked war traffic in Europe and the frozen peninsula. They hammered those dots and dashes into my head so deep that ever after...31 years...I automatically translate billboards and highway signs into code as I drive along! Talk about a freakin' waste of available mental RAM!!!


Saw Hitchhiker's Guide last night on pay per view...I liked it, but then I've memorized the book. I stumbled on this "personality test:"

Personality, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy explains, is often mistaken by lesser civilizations to be a distinction between one sentient organism and another. However, with the exception of the Great Globular Collective of the Aquilan Nebula, this has proven to be a selfish, destructive, and predominantly useless distinction. An organism's character is actually shaped by influential interactions with reality, and, frankly, by how much reality likes you. Personality has nothing to do with the extent of your depressingly vast and inherent isolation from one another, the Guide posits, and everything to do with your depressingly vast and inherent isolation from the Universe.
Go here to take the test.

.45 Auto Rim Comes of Age

For all you .45 ACp revolver fanatics out there (and you know who you are) and for purchasers of the new S&W M22 fixed sight blue steel .45 ACP revolver, primo self-defense ammunition manufacturer Cor-Bon is doing a run of self-defense ammo in .45 AUTO RIM, the rimmed version of the .45 ACP cartridge.

Now, why is this cool?

The function of .45 ARs is to allow you to shoot a .45 ACP revolver without moon clips. The reason it's cool is that, IMHO, sometimes .45 ACPs in moon clips, especially clips that have seen hard use, hang up just the slightest bit, making the trigger pull feel a tiny bit jerky (to be sure, this is worse with some guns than others). For a .45 ACP revolver used for self-defense, I like the first cylinder-full to be .45 ARs, with all subsequent reloads .45 ACP in moon clips. This is the set-up I used to use when I was keeping the Ugliest Gun in the World next to my bed at night. I had .45 AR reloads (230-gr JHPs @ 750 fps) backed up by .45 ACP 230-gr JHPs in moon clips.

Now you can buy the ACPs and matching ARs from Cor-Bon, who make excellent ammo BTW. Thanks to Mike Shovel, the sales manager, for the heads-up!