Saturday, December 31, 2005

Resolution Time!

"Untutored courage is useless in the face of educated bullets."
— General George S. Patton

My New Year's Resolution is to get more training. Yours should be that, too. And send the NRA more money, because 2006 is an election year!

Friday, December 30, 2005

A Little Last Minute Humor...

...from One of Those Days...

• This AM, my dentist, Dr. Joseph Mengele, explained that I have another week of excruciating pain before my jaw "turns the corner" — probably to go to the bus station to take the 10:15 to Detroit...he did, however, give me yet another prescription for pain medication. I now have enough various flavors of codeine pills to open my own concession off 8-Mile in Detroit, as soon as my jaw gets there...

I'm your Mama
I'm your Daddy
I'm that nigga
In the alley
I'm your doctor
When in need
Want some coke?
Have some weed
You know me
I'm your friend
Your main boy
Thick and thin
I'm your Pusherman
Lord, Lord
(—Brother Curtis Mayfield, of course)

• At noon, the computer repair place called with the extra good news that fixing my iBook, which like Mr. Bojangles' dog Teddy "just up and died" the other day would cost me $980, or approximately $20 more than I paid for it new in the box 18 months ago. No problemo, I need a new doorstop!!!

• Later, I'm standing at the Barnes and Nobles looking at the hot new book from the hot new woman mystery author who once told me that her protagonist amazingly resembled my protagonist...although my book sort of came out a year earlier before she started work on hers...when my glasses fell apart, as if zapped by a Klingon death ray. I picked up the pieces off the floor and headed for the nearest eyeglass emporium, which was, not surprisingly, packed by nearly blind people. As I walked toward the counter, the strikingly attractive young woman behind the counter took one look and me and my glasses and said:

"Well, you look like you could use a screw!"

Before I could manually disengage my "speak" reflex, I replied, "More than you can possibly know..."

Which caused the woman standing next to me at the counter to spew her mouthful of coffee; the manager to jump up and run toward the desk, in case I was fishing around in my pocket for one of those little blue pills, and the entire store to come to a screeching standstill.

"I'm very sorry," I said to the beet-red counter woman, who was still pretty hot, "but it's New Year's and I feel festive."

They fixed my glasses gratis, hustled me out of the store quick like a bunny and I went home and ordered a new PowerBook! And took a handful of pills so my jaw will hang in a little longer. Tomorrow night, champagne!

Lawman Phil Strader joins the SG CHALLENGE!

In a frenzy of last-minute voting on the Brian Enos competition list, Washington D.C. LEO Phil Strader has snatched the coveted invitation to the SHOOTING GALLERY CHALLENGE.

As the 5PM voting deadline approached, Strader, CZ's Angus Hobdell and Glock's Julie Goloski were in a virtual dead heat. ALthough a relative newcomer, Strader came within seconds of snatching an overall victory at the 2005 Steel Challenge from the denizens of the Super Squad.

Congratulations, Phil!


Without further ado...

The SHOOTING GALLERY GUN OF THE YEAR FOR 2005... the Taurus Gaucho single action revolver.

The Taurus Gaucho shares the legendary handling of a Colt Single Action Army, the accuracy and trigger pull of a custom tuned gun and the production values and quality of a 21st Century gunmaker with a breathtakingly reasonable price tag.

I've lived with this gun, a Sundance Blue/Color Case-Hardened framed .45 Colt 5 1/2-incher, for more than six months, and I like it more every time I handle it. It is fiercely accurate with Winchester .45 Colt Cowboy loads, and I LOVE the four clicks when you pull the big hammer back. The slightly tapered front sight and wide rear notch gives a perfect sight picture for fast and accurate cowboy shooting.

More importantly, the Gaucho has the undefinable feel of a bank vault, the sense that this is a substantial gun built for the long haul.

Here's the bottom line...I'm lucky enough to shoot lots of guns in the course of the year, a fact my shooting friends take ready advantage of when we're at the range. One of my secret, sneaky tests is to watch which guns my friends come back to and want to shoot more. The Gaucho wins that competition hands down. No matter whether they're cowboy, IPSC, three-gun or law enforcement shooters. I've invariably been asked if I had more ammo, "...for that new cowboy gun..."

My hat is off to Bob Morrison and the Boys from Brazil.

You got this one exactly right!

BTW, we'll be making a formal presentation to Taurus at SHOT.

Honorable mention goes to:
• Ruger Alaskan
• SIG Mosquito
• Para-Ordnance Warthog

The State of the Industry

My friends, it has been a spectacular year for handguns!

It seemed like every month we were presented with another amazing piece of hardware. And for the first time the industry was truly committed to filling all the various and sundry niches. S&W introduced not only another plastic gun, the M&P, but blue steel "retro revolvers" in .44 Special and .45 ACP, not to mention their harry-chested ultra-velocity .460. SIGARMS not only expanded their already impressive 226/228/229 "Classic" line, but added an equally impressive .22, the Mosquito, that looks all the world like a 226 that went through the dishwasher and shrank. Freedom Arms added a new .50 caliber, the .500 Wyoming Express...Ruger downsized the Vaquero, granted the wish of hundreds of shootists by reintroducing the .357 Blackhawk Flat-Top and shocked the shooting world by delivering the World's Greatest Big Game Back-Up Gun, the .480 Ruger Alaskan Redhawk snubby.

It practically rained 1911s — you can now get everything from a magnificent US Fire-Arms 1910 Commercial replica to duplicates of WW1 and WW2 warhorses — the Auto Ordnance WW2 Parkerized is exceptional — to multi-thousand dollar masterpieces of the pistolsmiths' art. You can get 'em little, like Para-Ordnance's Warthog, or big, as in .50 GI, from Guncrafter Industries. An old friend — Detonics — returned from the dead; companies like Nighthawk Custom continued narrowing the gap between production guns and full-house customs; Kimber continued its policy of introducing what seems like 100 (or 1000) new 1911 models a year, dominating 1911 sales with their new Desert Warrior series; SIGARMS overhauled their GSR series and began offering a Chinese menu selection of guns; S&W jumped into the void left by Colt to produce a GUNSITE 1911 Commander-sized gun with a lightweight Scandium frame; Springfield offered the TGO "Legend" model, which includes (for an extra fee, of course) having Rob Leatham actually move into your home for a week and cook for you...WHEW!

What am I leaving out? Glocks in green; HKs in beige; Rugers in red...any color is the new black! Taurus' 50 or 60 new models, including the sterling 9mm snubbie I-frame 905 revolver.

If you couldn't find the handgun of your dreams this weren't looking hard enough!

Powerful Words to Live By!

Well, it's off to the dentist again in a few soon as I get home, THE SHOOTING GALLERY GUN OF THE YEAR Post!

In the meantime, I received a missive this AM from ace pistolsmith Hamilton Bowen regarding my good pal Mike Daly's and my commitment to custom guns:
Allow me to reinforce the morality of acquiring custom revolvers that you and Mike Daly so preciently divine.Western Civilization depends upon it. Without custom revolvers, life as we know it will cease on earth. If nothing else, do it for the children for they are our future.
Words to live by!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rumors of My Death, etc.

Well, it's Thursday and I'm still not dead, although I am in the throes of substantially reduced performance specs...

In short, while he hasn't succeeded in capping my butt, the friggin' quack dentist has managed to put me in the hospital. "Best in Boulder"..."Expensive, but worth every penny"...blah blah blah...

Meet the new quack, same as the old quack!

Am out of hospital, where I ended up for "excruciating pain," but so far everyone's strategy on my botched jaw surgery is to throw painkillers at me and wait to see if I get better. I hate painkillers.

Painkillers slow down my own already painfully slow mental processes, essentially bumping me down the evolutionary scale from "monkey" to "tree sloth." Unfortunately, with a chunk of live, exposed jawbone in my head that nobody seems to know what to do with, the pain ranges from "HOLY JESUS!" to that sort of horrible white-light flash where you see dark things scrabbling in the corners of the room, you can't recall your name and you have graphic fantasies about ripping out huge sections of your mouth. So I take the drugs, which don't stop the pain but at least excise those things from the corners of the room.

Amazingly, here's the crack medical advice I received when I mentioned that the pain is non-stop — "Take more of the medication. Eventually, you'll pass out."

Just what I wanted to do for my time off the road!

However, the good news is that the pain is now cyclical, so I have an idea when I've got to scurry off and drug myself into the Twilight Zone. In the meantime, I can get some work done.

Tomorrow, I promise:


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Still Suffering Piteously...

...resulting in reduced blog output. Still, I feel obligated to chip in my $0.02 for something. So, for all you post-Christmas shopping fanatics — and you know who you are — who follow the blog and collect garden gnomes, the one's for you.

There should be a friggin' season on dentists! No, let me rephrase that...vermin should be taken at any time. Jeez, I finally get some time off and a Hockey Mask Jason clone with a dental hygenist assistant tries to kill me. He's sorry, though. Hell, they're always sorry...didn't mean to cut off your leg there, buddy! The ole Dental Dremel slipped a bit! By midnight, when the pain gets really cranking and I can't concentrate enough to even read the ads on, I envision flaying him and the lovely Ms. Assistant alive, then using them as the secret ingredient on Iron Chef America, where Morimoto turns him into Pounded Dentist Tartare along with a delightful dessert Pureed Podiatrist Brulee. Morimoto uses the torch on the brulee...hehehehe....

Monday, December 26, 2005

SG Challenge Update & Poll

Well, we've got two slots available for the SHOOTING GALLERY Challenge in February. One of those slots I'm reserving for our own choice. However, I've thrown the other slot open for a vote on the Brian Enos competition forums. You can go here and vote if you're a member of the Enos forum (or, of course, you can join the Enos forum).

For the record, Todd Jarrett has a work-related conflict, and Rob Leatham never responded. I listed 10 names on the Enos forum, any one of whch we'd be honored to have at out event!


Hi all;

Today marks the beginning of Season 5 for SHOOTING GALLERY and Season 3 for COWBOYS, and I wanted you all to have the season line-ups.

AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU ALL FOR WATCHING! Your viewership makes everything we do possible.

We’ve made some production changes for this season that should result in some of the most spectacular photography we’ve ever done. As you know, we film all in high definition, using the same movie cameras Hollywood uses for such movies as COLLATERAL. In fact, we were recently featured in both a professional video magazine and an online professional video list as “textbook examples” of how hi-def could be used in the field.

This year, COWBOYS swept the NSSF “Best Commercial Television Show of 2005” awards, as well as the SASS Woolly Award for best cowboy television show of 2005. We’re anxiously awaiting the results of the 2005 Telly Awards, essentially cable Emmys.

Maybe more importantly, The Outdoor Channel has continued to put its money where its mouth is.

In 2005, we continued our support as a sponsor for the prestigious Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships, and just to keep things interesting, we put up an additional $10,000 check (quickly matched by SIGARMS) to any shooter who could break 72 SECONDS for their overall score. Well, three shooters came within a hairsbreadth of winning the money, so for 2006 we’ve decided to DOUBLE THE BUCKS, $20,000, plus whatever other companies contribute.

We’re also actively moving forward on the SHOOTING GALLERY Challenge, scheduled for February, where seven top shooters face their toughest challenge ever…the real top shooters…not the “resume racers!” Watch for updates here on the blog and on Brian Enos' thoughtful forum of competition shooting,

We’re also working with our pals at Ruger to create a .22 rimfire two-gun competition based on practical courses that’s going to provide both a great entry into competition and tremendous fun for veteran competitors — I'm definitely looking forward to competing in it!!!

All times Eastern.

Monday 4:30PM
Wednesday 3:00AM (there’s a winner!)
Friday 8:00PM

Wednesday 7:00AM
Friday 4:30PM
Sunday 12:00PM

Shooting Gallery Season 5 Lineup
# Episode Title/Synopsis Airs week of
053 Search for the Top Cops/5.11 Challenge
The 5.11 Challenge which pits two man teams from around the world in a series of shooting competitions has becomc the premier police shooting match. We visit the finals, along the Big Horn River in Montana. 12/26/05
054 IBPO 3 Gun (International Brotherhood of Police Officers.)
The International Brotherhood of Police Officers 3 Gun challenge provides the duty officer with a dynamic testing ground for their shooting skills. 01/02/06
055 Point Shooting
Master instructor Michael Janich, sheds light on the lost art of point-shooting as taught by the late Rex Applegate. 01/09/06
056 Birth of a New Machine
New military and police requirements have opened the floodgates for firearms innovation. Here’s our first exclusive report on Smith & Wesson’s groundbreaking M&P. 01/16/06
057 The Testing Ground (ITRC2)
Synopsis: The International Tactical Rifle Championships in Gillette, WY, is one of the toughest tests of men and their firearms. Two-man teams face targets from zero to 1000 yards. 01/23/06
058 Mastering the Production Gun
Having trouble with that out-of-the-box semiauto? Let David Olhasso, one of the top Production Gun shooters int he world, help you out! 01/30/06
059 Zen of the 22
Synopsis: The lowly .22 is the secret to becoming a better shooter — you can shoot more, have more fun and NOT break the bank! Not only that, but they're available in designer colors... 02/06/06
060 The Tommy Gun rises again
The venerable Thompson had fallen on hard times until the company was purchased by Kahr Arms. Now the Thompson’s ready for the 21st Century — and you can own one! 02/13/06
061 Steel Challenge #1 — The Iron Sight Challenge
Day One of our exclusive coverage of the Steel Challenge, the Superbowl of the shooting sports, focuses on Limited guns, guns with iron sights. 02/20/06
062 Steel Challenge #2 — The 72 Second Challenge!
Our exclusive coverage of the Steel Challenge continues with The Outdoor Channel/SIGARMS “72 Second Challenge” — can one of the best Steel Challenge shooters in the world break an overall time of 72 seconds and win the biggest payday in the history of the shooting sports? 02/27/06
063 SIGARMS Aims High
With the U.S. military handgun contract looming on the horizon, veteran military and handgun manufacturer SIGARMS is making plans to once again enter the fray. 03/06/06
064 Art of the Revolver
Meet Hamilton Bowen, the greatest custom revolvermaker in the world, as he takes you step by step through the creation of a custom revolver. 03/13/06
065 Michael Goes Cowboy
Break out the hats and holsters as host Michael Bane proves you can teach an old cowboy new tricks…sometimes.

Cowboys Season 3 Lineup
# Episode Title/Synopsis Airs week of
027 Smoke in the Valley (Black Powder)
Black powder shooting is the heart and soul of the cowboy experience…but make sure your guns are dishwasher-safe! 12/26/05
028 Here come de Judge
Meet the man who invented the booming sport of Cowboy Action Shooting, Harper Creigh – a.k.a. Judge Roy Bean, “The Law West of the Pecos” and SASS #1 01/02/06
029 Teach em Right
More and more people are looking for a way back to the 19th century to join the cowboy revolution. Tequila shows us the way with his cowboy shooting camp. 01/09/06
030 Meet the Carolina Belles
Series Synopsis: Meet the Carolina Belles, four lovely ladies who mix authentic period dress and gunpowder with powerful results. Their motto: “it’s not how good you shoot, but how good you look shootin 01/16/06
031 The Cowboys and Cowgirls of Western 3 Gun
Western 3 Gun brings together the best gunhands in all of cowboy shooting; this week, we find out what makes them tick. 01/23/06
032 Training a Gun Horse
In the booming sport of Mounted Cowboy Action Shooting, it’s not just the cowboys and cowgirls who need special training. Training a “gun horse,” horse who is not only used to the gunfire but loves the game. 01/30/06
033 King of the Cowboys
The Roy Rogers museum in Branson Missouri holds a treasure trove of memories from the” King of the Cowboys” 02/06/06
034 Remembering the Alamo
Cowboy mounted shooters run hog wild during the reunion of cast and family members of the original John Wayne ALAMO — on the set of that classic movie! 02/13/06
035 Hunting the Prairie Buffalo…in Period!
Tequila joins firearms restoration expert Doug Turnbull and National Firearms Museum Curator Phil Schreier for a period buffalo hunt on the Kansas prairie. 02/20/06
036 Young Guns
There’s a whole new generation of cowboy action shooting champions — they’re fast, they’re committed…and they’re young. Lead Dispenser and Badlands Bud have set a whole new standard for cowboy action shooting, and here are their shooting secrets. 02/27/06
037 SASS Convention
Once a year, thousands of cowboys gather in Las Vegas to mix with the rodeo fans, find out the newest and best of cowboy action shooting and party like it’s 1899! 03/06/06
038 Building a Rifle “Old School”
Gunmaker Jim Fleming believes the best way to build a 19th century rifle is with 19th century tools. 03/13/06
039 From Cow to Cowboy…Holsters, that is.
Cowboy action shooting has led to a resurgence of classic leather holster-making, and leading the pack is the venerable Laredo, TX, holster-making family of Kirkpatrick Leather. 03/20/06

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Merry Christmas day, y'all!

Here at the Chez Bane Redoubt, we luckily don't have a lot going on — several friends coming over for desert, but Christmas dinner is just me and my Sweetie. We're making lobster tails and herbed rice. The mortgage on the lobster tails should be paid off by June!

Lest you think I'm not paying attention, take a pause from the festivities to read what the Washington Post op-ed writer has to say about gun control:
Wouldn't it make more sense to define the ultimate battle as one for a national ban on handguns -- the sole gun-control measure that promises to save tens of thousands of lives? With an endgame that can actually achieve the ultimate goal, perhaps we'd acquire the logical and moral authority to win more of the smaller battles.
They may not think very well, but, like rust, our enemies never sleep.

Meanwhile, it's back to my Amaretto chocolate mousse, which is every bit as good as it sounds!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

...and to all, a Good Night!

FRODO: "I wish the ring had never come to me! I wish none of this had happened!"

GANDALF: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time given to us."

Merry Christmas from myself and from the people who make SHOOTING GALLERY and COWBOYS.

Sleep well.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Delightful Alternative to the Traditional Red Poinsetta!

Instead, try a red gun, just like this wonderfully festive Ruger .22 from Tactical Solutions in Boise, ID.

A lovely anodized firearm makes a thought-provoking alternative centerpiece to any holiday table. Imagine this Pac-Lite surrounded by red and green Christmas tree ornaments, topped by a sprinkling of artificial snow and a few .22 cartridges with their tips dipped in brightly colored paint. And what other centerpiece is capable of match accuracy at 25 yards? Should the holiday turkey rise from its stuffing to make a final last stand, a Pac-Lite centerpiece could prove the difference between leftover turkey sandwiches and a trip to the hospital after a bad pecking!

If you have a large home and correspondingly large tree, consider using a brightly colored firearm in place of that ratty stuffed angel you've been duct-taping to the treetop for heaven knows how long. That way, the crowning ornament could do double duty if your Christmas Iron Chef party featured a Secret Ingrediant that was still alive and kicking, like, say, a marmot! When was the last time you attended any Christmas party that included catching, cleaning and cooking a marmot as part of the festivities??? You won't find that in any of Martha Stewart's lousy books!

Or you can...wait wait...I think I need more painkillers...and to lay down a while longer...

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I was right...HAMMERED BAT DOOKEY...


Got dental surgery today...anticipate feeling like HAMMERED BAT DOOKEY!

Meanwhile, this, from MSNBC:
Kilt-wearing teen seeks dress code change
Principle sparks debate after telling student to wear pants at school dance

JACKSON, Mo. - Nathan Warmack wanted to honor his heritage by wearing a Scottish kilt to his high school dance. Then a principal told him to change into a pair of pants.

What began with a few yards of tartan has sparked an international debate about freedom, symbols and cultural dress. More than 1,600 people have signed an Internet petition seeking an apology for the high school senior.
They don't have no stinkin' kilts in Missouri!!! I've thought about wearing a kilt to the SHOT SHow Outdoor Channel soiree, except that the Clan McBane tartan appears to have been designed by a drunken pimp...very possibly the case, as our most famous fighter — other than the McBane of McBane, Ghellis, who fell at Colloden Moor in 1746 fighting the Damned British — Donald McBane, has this as his biography:
Donald McBane was a soldier, pimp, thief, gambler and duellist. He was also a natural genius with the smallsword, the lighter successor to the rapier...
There you are! I have Brother Donald's book on the shortsword. I wish I had his steel for the Damned Dentist!

'S coma leam, 's coma leam cogadh no sith,
Marbhar 'sa cogadh, no crochar 'san t-sith mi.

"It's all the same to me war or peace,
I'm killed in the war or hung during peace."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Beep Beep...BANG!

I'm going to ramble a little today — yeah, right, like I don't ramble every day!

I've got a lot of questions recently about my background, so I thought I might suck it up and spill some early beans...Most people in America, and probably 95% of the media, think of "target shooting" as a bunch of guys standing on a line firing at round bullseye targets all in a line downrange. That's what I thought target shooting was. My father was a big-time hunter, but my mom was a bullseye shooter. Once a week, she'd get together with "the girls" and her .22 Colt Target Woodsman. Sometimes she'd come home with trophies. The assumption was that since I was a guy, I'd follow my father into the woods. I did, and it bored me to tears. Back in the 1950s & '60s, when I was growing up in Tennessee, the quacks hadn't yet discovered "Attention Deficit Disorder," so nobody doped me up with Ritalin (ironic, since my dad worked for the drug compapny that made Ritalin!) or forced me into therapy. Instead, they just figured I was a pain in the ass and left it at that.

So my friends and I scraped up money for ammo and spent time in the woods inventing games to play with real guns. I coulod run through the whole thing — the only "hippie" at Florida State University with a .38...shooting sessions in the Florida piney woods with my friend's first job and my first gun purchase — a Ruger Single Six, on layaway and paid out over six painful months. My first year freelancing and my first "big bore" handgun, a Colt New Service 7 1/2 -inch in .38-40, $75.00 and bought on layaway, a week at a time.

Smartest purchase I ever made...I was looking for a hook, a way to get into big time magazine journalism. I was writing little front-of-the-book shorts for Country Music Magazine, $25 a pop, and newspaper features for the Charlotte Observer for $50 each...not exactly what I had in mind. But I heard that a country music star, Hank Williams Jr., had fallen off a mountain in Montana, was severely injured, in seclusion at his home in Alabama and unable to support what should have been his breakthrough album. That sounded like a real story to me, so I conned the CM editors in New York City to get me an address; then I got in my car and drove to Alabama, with the car doubling as a handy motel room because I couldn't afford even a sleazy motel. When I showed up at Hank Jr.'s door, his friend, songwriter Merle Kilgore, told me Hank didn't want to see anyone. I said okay, I understood. But I knew that Hank was a gun guy, and I had this really cool old Colt .38-40 in the car with almost a full box of ammo, so maybe he'd like to help me shoot it all up. On such flimsy scrap careers are made...

New York City and joining a bullseye shooting league on Long Island...shooting "combat" for the first time at the underground range at 20 West 20th Street in South Manhattan, must have been around 1977...refusing to bribe a cop to get a NYC pistol permit...writing for Rolling Stone, the Village Voice and New Times, the bastions of liberal rock-and-roll journalism, while shooting bullseye on the office door at Country Music Magazine, where I had stumbled into the editorship by then, featured the inner liner of a Warren Zevon album, a lifesized photo of an S&W M-29 .44 Magnum, resting on a plate and the inevitable hand-lettered sign that said, "Go Away!" My own S&W .44 — $275; one year on layaway — was waiting for me in Tennessee in my father's guncase.

I bailed out of New York right about the time my friend and sometime running buddy Lester Bangs died of an OD..within a year, all of us flash "new journalists" had abandoned New York and scattered to the four corners, as if Lester's death might be catching. I went to Florida, and as soon as the moving van had finished dumping my stuff in my first house — $20,000 in a gang-controlled fading neighborhood — I went looking for a gun store. Eventually, I found one across the bay from Tampa in Pinellas County, a qwirky store people with the strangest cast of characters — Vienam vets, cops, wannabees, very strange women and people with lots and lots of machineguns. "What," one of the regulars asked me, "did I know about combat shooting?" It was 1979.

Hell, I said, I did that in New York. The next thing I knew I was standing on top of a camoflaged-painted two-story building in Clearwater wearing a rappelling harness and some ex-Ranger-type guy saying, "It's okay after you step off the edge."

And it was. Most of the other stuff has been published here and there...hammering out our own Southern brand of practical shooting based on snatches we read in the gun magazines. Eventually hooking up with the guys who would found the United States Practical Shooting Association — I helped draw up the beginnings of the bylaws for USPSA at a strip joint in Orlando during a break from the first Florida Invitational of the first really big practical matches. People present included Walt Rauch and Dave Arnold, who would be the two formal founders of USPSA, Jake Jatras, second only to Jeff Cooper and the editor of a new rag he was calling The Combat Shooters Report (he was also the only one who had a credit card with enough credit to rent a car, a huge boat of a Cadillac convertible...we were like Hunter Thompson, who I'd hung with in NYC, except better armed and better shots), Dave Cirillo, who would found the National Range officers Institute and Tom Campbell, then from S&W's research and development (Tom had the only 1 3/4-inch barreled .44 Mag revolver around back was a Big Whoopie to shoot).

Monday, December 19, 2005

SHOOTING GALLERY Challenge/Big Dawg Invitational Update

Here's where we are now, kiddies, and what will be THE shooting event of 2006!


Three Special Episodes of the hit Outdoor Channel television series SHOOTING GALLERY, to be aired in July 2006, repeating October 2006, with a potential audience of more than one million viewers per week.

CONCEPT: Six stages; seven of the top shooters in the world; $5000 to the last man — or woman — standing. Six of the hardest stages ever put together, designed to test every aspect of handgunning from run-and-gun close-ups to long-range precision work. Shooters will be required to shoot multiple handguns in multiple calibers, with the guns selected by the match organizers. All stages will be blind — that is, the shooters will not get a chance to see the stages beforehand or to see other competitors run the stage. All targets will be reactive steel targets, custom-designed for the SHOOTING GALLERY Challenge by Action Targets. The winner of the SHOOTING GALLERY Challenge will be promoted by The Outdoor Channel and SHOOTING GALLERY as the “Top Handgunner in the World.”

PRODUCERS: Michael Bane & Robin Berg, Producers of SHOOTING GALLERY, COWBOYS, AMERICAN RIFLEMAN and other Outdoor Channel specials.

HOST: Michael Bane, host of SHOOTING GALLERY, SHOT SHOW TV, NRA SHOW TV, author and veteran competitive shooter.

COLOR COMMENTARY: Richard “Tequila” Young (host of COWBOYS on The Outdoor Channel and 5-time cowboy action shooting world champion) and Il Ling New (GUNSITE instructor and competitive shooter). There will be special guest commentators as well.

MATCH DIRECTOR: Dave Arnold, co-founder, United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA); founder, International Range Officers Institute; match director/organizer for 5 IPSC World Championships; match director/organizer IPSC North American Championships; law enforcement firearm trainer.

PRIZE MONEY: $5,000 minimum to the winner; stage money for winners of individual stages.

MATCH DATE: February 18 & 19, 2005

VENUE LOCATION: The legendary GUNSITE Academy outside of Prescott, AZ. Originally founded by Col. Jeff Cooper in the mid-1970s, GUNSITE is acknowledged as the finest firearms training facility in the world. With more than 40 ranges spread over some 2000 acres, GUNSITE has opened its doors to the SHOOTING GALLERY Challenge, and the Challenge will make use of several of GUNSITE’s “signature” ranges. Col. Cooper has been invited to “throw out the first bullet.”


Todd Jarrett* — 9-time USPSA National Champion; the only USPSA “Triple Crown” winner; IPSC World Champion; more than 60 state and regional practical pistol titles; Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Champion. Shoots for Para-Ordnance & Blackhawk.
Doug Koenig* — The most decorated handgun shooter in history, including the Masters International (10 championships), the Bianchi Cup (10 championships); the Steel Challenge (3 championships); IPSC World Champion; World Action Shooting Championship (2 championships). Shoots for S&W.
Rob Leatham — “TGO, The Great One;” unarguably the greatest competition shooter ever, with 16 National titles, 5 IPSC World Championships, 6 Steel Challenge Championships and multiples of every other shooting title in the world. Shoots for Springfield Armory and Safariland.
Max Michel* — The “rising star” of practical competition…winner of the 2005 USPSA Nationals and the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships. Shoots for the Army Marksmanship Unit.
Jerry Miculek* — The greatest revolver shooter ever; 6-time revolver World Champion; 3 USPSA national championships; Sportsmen Tea Challenge winner, multiple world record holder. Shoots for S&W.
Dave Sevigny* — 5-time USPSA National Champion; 5-time IDPA National Champion; IPSC World Champion; 2-time World Speed Shooting Champion (IDPA class); the best production gun competitor ever. Shoots for Glock.
Randi “Holy Terror” Rogers* — Acknowledged as one of the greatest women shooters ever, “Holy Terror” has won 2 Cowboy World Championships, multiple national and regional championships. She is the only woman shooter to ever win High Overall in a national championship in any handgun discipline.
(* denotes accepted)

TELEVISION NOTES: SHOOTING GALLERY is the only dedicated shooting show presently filming in 100% high-definition. Our crews use Panasonic VariCams, the same cinema cameras used to film such movies as Michael Man’s Collateral. The SG Challenge will be a “full court press,” utilizing multiple cameras, sophisticated sound and state-of-the-art electronics and television techniques. The show will be structured along ESPN sports presentation lines. Producer Robin Berg was a color commentator for the ESPN2 X-Games; Producer Michael Bane was a consultant on the first ESPN2 X-Games and the ESPN Great Outdoors Games.

THE FORMAT: Each shooter will shoot three stages a day for two days. Scoring will be “time-plus,” that is, the shooter’s actual time plus any time penalties for steel targets left standing or bonuses for engaging specially designated targets. A firearms malfunction is an automatic do-over; shooters will have a chance to shoot the guns for each stage prior to that stage. Pistolsmith of the Year for 2005 Bill Laughridge of the Cylinder & Slide Shop will be on hand to vet the guns for function and to answer questions or mediate hardware-related issues.

THE STAGES: Each stage will be designed to test several different aspects of handgunning. The stages will also honor the depth and variety of the handgun sports. Although the final stages, including the design, number and distance measurements of the targets, will not be revealed until the match itself, several general stage designs have already been identified:
An El Presidente stage, honoring the sport’s founding father, Col. Jeff Cooper.
• A stage from the Steel Challenge, the Superbowl of the shooting sports and the World Speedshooting Championships.
• A hunting simulation stage.
• A run-and-gun stage.

Each stage will feature a different firearm(s), including single-action semiautos; double action/safe action semitautos; single-action revolvers and double-action revolvers. Calibers will range from .22 rimfire to some of the most powerful rounds that can be shot from a handgun. Distances will range from contacts distance to 70-plus yards. Stages may require some athletic ability, and shooters will be expected to load and unload each of the handguns safely.

THE GUNS: Companies currently participating include Glock, Ruger, SIGARMS, Smith & Wesson and Taurus International.

SPECTATORS: We encourage spectators and will be making arrangements for transportation to and from Phoenix to the GUNSITE facility.

Major Roger Sherman AF Athlete of the Year

Of course, you saw him first on SHOOTING GALLERY, competing in the USPSA Area 6 Championships (which was rerun last week, as a matter of fact!). This from the Air Force Services Agency:
Maj. Roger Sherman, a special assistant to the commander of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the 2005 Male Athlete of the Year. He is a member of the Air Force Action Pistol Team, which is comprised of some of the Air Force’s top shooters. They compete internationally in the sport of practical pistol shooting.
It’s great to be recognized for something you’ve worked so hard for,” Major Sherman said. “I was overwhelmed with gratitude to my wife and son for all the sacrifices they made, allowing me to work toward my goals. I couldn’t have done it without their love and support.”
Roger shoots for SIGARMS, BTW.


UCLA Stunningly Discovers Media Bias!

Well, who'd'a thouoght it? UCLA, not exactly a bastion of conservative thought, does a study of the media and discovers...that the media really is biased!
While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."
I've written pretty extensively about media bias, especially as it relates to firearms. I think the key point to remember is that bias is a function of the lack of intellectual diversity in newsrooms. Media outlets have gone to great lengths to guarantee their newsrooms exactly mirror the ethnic breakdown of the United States. But intellectually, newsrooms are as homogenous as a loaf of Wonder Bread.

Ironically, the white-breading of American journalism is, IMHO, a function of the professionalization of the media. When I started as a copyboy/junior reporter back When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, many of the journalists had come to the media from other professions, and they tended to fairly crosssectional in their politics and their knowledge base. As journalizsm professionalized itself and began drawing baby journalists almost exclusively from J-schools, it began a process of pre-selecting incoming "fodder" based not on their knowledge base, but on their ability to perform well in a liberal academic environment.

I tend to view baby journalists — and over the years I've worked with a lot of them — the same way seasoned attorneys view newly graduated law students...they're not really lawyers; they're the seeds lawyers may grow from. The problem is that, unlike baby attorneys who ideally go to work for a firm or the public defenders office, etc., baby journalists don't actually ever live in the world they report on — they go straight from the safe intellectual womb of college to being "objective," to "reporting" on the Real World as opposed to living in it.

That's why so much reporting, especially in local outlets, seems so vacuous or naive. When young reporters start out, the only standards they have to apply to their work are the standards of their liberal college professors...and remember, those who can, do; those who can't, teach. I did some guest-lecturing on journalism at several universities. One thing that struck me was that there were whole programs training kids to be magazine writers run by a large number of earnest men and women who had never written — or sold — an article to a commercial magazine and who were, in fact, in contempt of the business of magazines. They were fonts of misinformation.

Anyway, bias is — it exists, and it is a cancer at the heart of the Mainstream Media. Even UCLA thinks so...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Home Sweet Home Revisited

You've simply got to read this story about my hometown, Nederland, Colorado, in yesterday's Rocky Mountain News. It's really pretty good, and should give you an excellent idea why I live here, next to the Frozen Dead Guy:
In a town full of oddballs, it's hip to be 'Ned Head'
But many in Nederland say community gets a bad rap - Frozen Dead Guy aside

NEDERLAND - For years, as one bizarre story after another emerged from this mountain town, people up and down the Front Range have asked themselves, "What is it about Nederland?"

Nederland residents often ask themselves the same thing.

Last month they turned on their television sets to find one of their local characters, Bob Dougherty, being interviewed live by Katie Couric on the Today show.

Dougherty has alleged he was glued to a toilet seat in the Louisville Home Depot for more than 20 minutes while store employees ignored his calls for help. He has sued the company, saying he wants $3 million in damages.

That was hardly the Boulder County town's first turn in the spotlight.

Nederland got used to visits by reporters from the BBC and other international media outlets in 1994 when an eccentric Norwegian decided to have his dead grandpa frozen and stored in a Tuff Shed near Barker Reservoir, where he could await regeneration at some later date.

As other believers in the cryonic approach to immortality began making pilgrimages to Nederland - threatening to bring their deceased relatives with them in a parade of icy devotion - Nederlanders argued over whether the town should be a refuge for the flash frozen.

Eventually, the town made its peace with the dead, even launching a Frozen Dead Guy Days festival that draws thousands to town every March to dance at Grandpa's Blue Ball and marvel at an Ice Queen beauty pageant.

"I think Grandpa enjoys the festival," said Amy Bayless, a former town trustee who moonlights as a ghost buster, helping area residents rid their homes of negative spirits. "He likes the notoriety and the attention. Why wouldn't he?"

Bayless, who has lived in Nederland since 1993, recently moved into the hills outside of town. She was disheartened by a nasty political fight two years ago that led to the ouster of most of the town board.

Nederland, she says, has too many bizarre people...
Ghost Buster Bayless used to be the town board person in charge of the police department. There are so few communities where anyone with the title of "ghost buster" swings any real weight! Nathan the Rabbit Guy is pretty cool, too.

I have a special place in my community — the nut on the hill with the guns. But they always say it with a sense of humor, since I've got the high ground overlooking the town...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Note from the Sandbox...

This is from Jeff Cooper's Commentaries from late November:
The following quote is from the father of a Marine recently returned from Iraq:

"According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. We are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see s - - - like `Are we losing in Iraq' on TV and the print media. For the most part, they are satisfied with their equipment, food and leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say this, there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren't enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Iran and Syria. The Iranians and the Syrians just can't stand the thought of Iraq being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there)."

Jordan reports on weapons in use in the sand box. This is his evaluation of the 45.

"The .45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol round out there. Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one. With few exceptions, can reliably be expected to put `em down with a torso hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it. The old government model .45s are being reissued en masse."
Well golly...there's a surprise...the .45 works against heavily dressed Muslin fanatics...wait wait..we've heard that before!

Leopards & Spots...

This story in one form or another has run everywhere over the last year. Here's the latest iteration from the Boston Globe:
Democrats recast gun control image
Party eyes inroads in the West

WASHINGTON -- The Democratic Party, long identified with gun control, is rethinking its approach to the gun debate, seeking to improve the chances of its candidates in Western states where hunters have been wary of casting votes for a party with a national reputation of being against guns.
''On gun rights, we've allowed the Republicans to paint us in a way that just doesn't represent our values," said Damien LaVera, a Dean spokesman, noting that Republicans have repeatedly portrayed Democrats as hostile to the Western way of life.

''It's all about not letting the Republicans define our values," LaVera said.
Yeah, right. I have said before that there are times I wish I had a local pro-gun Democrat to vote for, since too much of the Republican platform is as nutty and utterly vacuous as a Boulder City Council meeting. However, nationally, you've got to be kidding...anyone with one eye and a half a grain of sense knows the national Democratic Party is owned lock, stock and barrel (is that enough cliches in a single sentence?) by the various Moonbat interests. If Nancy Pelosi voluntarily moves to Iran, her spiritual home; Howard Dean launches himself into space, where he apparently lives anyway; Al Gore and Jimmy Carter move to Guatamala and become subsistance hemp farmers, Teddy "A ROUND FOR THE HOUSE!" Kennedy turns himself over to a Crimes Against Humanity tribunal for trial and subsequent execution; MoveOn, Inc. names Ann Coulter it's CEO, Bubba Clinton signs into the Betty Ford Clinic for Sexual Abusers without pinching a nurse on the butt on the way in, Hillary apologizes for lying and tells a screaming crowd of supporters what she really believes in, and Michael Moore surrenders himself to the Japanese to be rendered into whale oil, I might think the Democratic Party had truly reformed.

Until then, leopards, spots, etc.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Chronicles of Narnia

Went to see Chronicles tonight...okay, it's not LOTR, but it's pretty good. I will say that Tilda Swinton as the White Witch (above) was SCREAMING HOT. I believe one of the reviews referred to her as "the ultimate fascist Ayran goddess Goth." I'll buy that. If you must be sacrificed, hey, she's the E-ticket ride.

I was surprised that the Christian imagry was not particularly overpowering. In fact, my Sweetie completely missed it. "So the lion's a Christ figure?" she asked. "Seriously?" The lion's also one heck of a piece of CGI, too.

All in all, a fun experience. But I'm hang on until January 6 for BloodRayne.

Friday Friday...Can't Trust That Day

Well, I spent the morning singing Christmas carols to the parrots. Ripley, our gray parrot, really loves Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He puffs up and chirps along, making little baby noises. His all-time favorite song is the Road Runner cartoon theme, to which he knows the words. Ripley also likes opera, thanks to my Sweetie — he'll occasionally break into some nameless operetic theme in a flawless tenor, into which he inserts his name. Sort of "La la la Ripley..."

The macaws, on the other hand, mostly like songs with animal noises in them, which pretty much rules out most Christmas carols. They will sing along, however, which in macaw-speak consists of two "LAs" shouted out at top volume. Cleo, our blue and gold macaw, also like to make sheep noises — "BAAAAAAs" — which she considers appropriate in all situations. Thankfully, Alf the Wonder Beagle sits quietly.

I did leave out a gift idea the other day...from J. Crew, the Tie of the Month Club. That's right, for a paltry $475, which includes shipping by the way, you get a new tie every month! I think if that's what I had to look forward to, I'd use the March tie to hang myself. Either that or wait until July, tie all the ties together and use them to escape.

I''m probably being influenced by the Firefly boxed set, which my Sweetie and I have been watching each evening. The series' relentless liberterian philosophy, along with its casual acceptance of occasional violence as the price of that lifestyle, is a perfect year-end antidote to things like the Tie of the Month Club. I notice that a few lines from the Firely theme has become, in effect, shorthand for libertarian on some web-lists:
Burn the land
Boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me
I'm going to do my best to contact producer Joss Whedon and invite him on SHOOTING GALLERY, or at least on one of the celebrity shoots that I'm hosting in 2006.

We sent in our entries for the Telly Awards — essentially the cable Emmys — yesterday. From SG, we sent in the Jeff Cooper and the International Tactical Rifle Championships episodes; from COWBOYS, the Wild Mustang and the Czech Cowboys episodes.

We're looking at a spectacular 2006 for SG and COWBOYS. There's the SG Invitational we're filming in February, where you'll get to see the best shooters in the world as you've never seen them before. I also just got off the phone with the legendary Mike Dillon about an episode or two featuring Mike's other business — miniguns. We'll also be filming advanced concealed carry force-on-force simulations at Valhalla (with regular Walt Rauch and novelist/Detonics resurrector/concelaed carry expert Jerry Ahern), not to mention Bill Murphy's sterling combat shotgun class at GUNSITE. COWBOYS is also getting kicked up a notch, with probably another trip out of the country on the schedule.

New season for both shows begins 26 December.

Finally, I actually learned something on morning television yesterday that STONE COLD amazed me — Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, one of the GODS of rock-and-roll guitar, is presently working as a self-taught defense analyst for varous and sundry Congressmen, specializing in missile defense. This from the Wikipedia bio, which heaven knows is probably wrong:
The guitarist-turned-defense-consultant does regular work for the Department of Defense and the nation's intelligence community, chairs a congressional advisory board on missile defense, and has lucrative consulting contracts with companies like Science Applications International Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. He says he is in increasing demand for his unconventional views of counterterrorism.
My god, there's hope for us all! And even though he wears occasionally wears a suit, I'll bet Skunk doesn't belong to the Tie--of-the-Month Club! Rock on, brother, and watch for that invitation to be on SG!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

All RIGHT, Already!

I say a Christmas card is in bad taste, and everyone wants to see it! Fine...the originals are long gone, and I couldn't do the phallic Christmas tree justice, but here's a reasonable fascimile!

HO HO HO! And don't e-mail me to tell me it's tasteless!

As If New Orleans Wasn't Enough... remind you that sometimes Mr. Policeman might not be your friend, this from the New York Daily News, on the widespread availability of "hollowed-out" ammunition [my emphasis on the quote!]:
Hollowed bullet easy to get & hard to survive

Hollow-point bullets like the one used in the slaying of Officer Daniel Enchautegui are much deadlier than ordinary bullets - and nearly as easy to get.

Cops favor using the hollow-point bullets because they are less likely to pass through a target and ricochet into a fellow cop or bystander.

But they want their public sale banned to keep them out of the hands of thugs like Enchautegui's alleged killers, Steven Armento and Lillo Brancato.

"Our mission is to stop violent felons," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch. "There is no reason for anyone else to have that ability."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The SHOOTING GALLERY Gift Guide for 2005

Once, in a fit of post-modern ironism, I designed a Christmas card that was in such stunning bad taste — which I failed to notice — that people actually returned them. Rather than describe this travesty, which featured a quote by — eeech — Kurt Vonnegut, I'll continue trying to do better this season.

To wit, I present the official SHOOTING GALLERY GIFT GUIDE, featuring gifts, useful and not so, that anyone in your family, if your family is even slightly like mine, would froth at the mouth to find under the tree Christmas morning.

"Froth at the mouth..." I like that. Anyway, without further ado: STUFF TO BUY!

1) FIREFLY: THE COMPLETE SERIES — Producer Joss Whedon's magnificent follow-up to Buffy the Vamprie Slayer was quirky, Libertarian, gun-friendly, sexy and far, far too good to remain on network television. Believe me, you will absolutely love this show — and pine for its demise. It'll cost you $29.95 from Amazon. Then, of course, you'll need the widescreen version of Serenity, the recently released theatrical movie wrapping up the characters. It's another $16.98, but worth every penny. Watch the series first!

2) Spyderco YOJIMBO folding knife — This is the Michael Janich/Michael Snody-designed folding version of the Ronin fixed blade knife. Yeah, it looks weird, but it's Wharncliffe-profile balde makes it stunningly efficient in cutting tasks. Buy it quick, because Janich has moved on to Masters of Defense Knives, and it's unlikely to have a long stay in the Spyderco catalog. MSRP is $179.95, but shop around and you can find it for about $110. Alternately, the Roninthe best neck knife ever made — is being discontinued and blown out at $79.95.

3) The Non-Tactical Tactical Vest from Outback Trading Company — The oilskin Outback Overlander Vest is the ideal garment for CCW carriers who balk at photographer or "tactical" vests as cover-ups. I wear the heck out of mine, and I actually get compliments on it. It's expensive, around $100, and relatively hard to find (it's not in the current Outback catalog), but worth it. It also allows you to have Aussie fantasies, but we won't go there.

4) The SIGTAC Concealed Carry Jacket — The absolute easiest, least obtrusive way to carry a gun when the weather gets chilly, a nicely designed jacket fitted with two generous pistol pockets, right and left, with built-in holsters. Man, I use mine every day! This jacket is the solution to the "I'm running to the 7-11 for milk and I don't want to go upstairs and put on the holster" dilemma. My SIG 225 fits perfect. Not only that, I actually wear the jacket as a jacket. The tobacco color looks suspiciously like the ubiquitous working man's (and pretentious university student's) Carhart jacket, which makes it darn near invisible in the West!

5) The Custom Revolver Book, by Hamilton Bowen — This book cost me a friggin' fortune...forget the $39.95 cover price! You but this book, and you start thinking, HMMMMM, I'd really like a revolver just like...the next thing you know, Hamilton Bowen (or Dave Clements or Jim Stroh) has your credit card number and you're running up a tab that looks like a New York City taxi meter on crack!

6) Cheesy SHOOTING GALLERY Logo Apparrel — Yeah least I refused to do a SG thong, mostly for fear that someone might actually order one!

7) Goddess Kali Lunchbox — I always thought there was something profoundly...disturbing...about putting a manfestation of the Goddess Kali somewhere you carry your peanut butter sandwich. Kali, as you know, kicks ass...there are vintage paintings of Kali (I have one) that are breathtaking in their violence. I guarantee you NOBODY on your gift list is going to get one of these puppies from anyone else!

8) Girls With Guns Action Figures (see photo above) — Gotta love Japanese anime's obsession of little girls with big guns. Since you can get manga at Barnes and Noble these days, I thought the next step would be collecting anime figurines. The one above is Kirika from Noir, which is pretty good as mangas go. I looked far and wide for action figures of my favorites, Rally Vincent and Minnie-May from Gunsmith Cats, but to no avail. The most sought-after anime models are from sculptor Hiroki Katayama, who apparently figured out where the money really was. Probably the only one that's readily available is Kasumi from the Dead or Alive video game. Check out Godzilla, too.

Well, that's a start!

Happy shopping!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

21st Century Woman!

Here's a wonderful article from (of all places) the San Francisco Chronicle on GUNSITE's Il Ling New:
The teacher was New of San Francisco, a Yale grad with a master's degree in business who ran the Pacific Rim operations of one of the world's largest advertising agencies. She now teaches self-protection, how to handle guns, and big-game hunting. Her clients include CIA and Secret Service agents, SWAT teams and Navy SEALs, as well as hunters, housewives and children. She also freelances as a self-protection specialist and hunting guide across the country.

Her smile could melt steel, yet New, a petite 5-foot-4, with a miniature handgun in her palm, can pop two shots in three seconds at 100 yards into an 8-inch pie plate -- or your head.

Il Ling is a marvelous instructor...we filmed her Hunting Prep class at GUNSITE for SHOOTING GALLERY, and she was an instructor in the 250 Pistol class we filmed for next season.

She's also going to be joining me as the color commentator at the SHOOTING GALLERY INVITATIONAL at GUNSITE in February!

Focus on Front Sight...Break Icicle off Nose!

I just had to post this picture from Bruce Gray's class at the SIGARMS Academy (courtesy of Paul Erhardt @ SIG)! After they finished this drill, I hear they went out hunting penguins...

Boy, I'm glad I missed this one!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Liberals & Image

I missed this when it came out from Josh over at South Park Pundit. It is, however, an excellent analysis of some of the issues we face as part of any gun outreach program:
The conclusion that I came to is that image matters to the liberals and gun grabbers. It isn't the content - it's the image. Hence the AWB "Scary Looking Weapons Ban" that sunset last year. Hence the .50 ban in CA. Hence half of the "feel good" legislation these idiots keep trying to shove down our necks. And they do it because they're scared of that which they don't know and that which they see as the norm.

By keeping crazy out of sight - and out of mind, hopefully - the image of guns and gunnies can be changed. I do have a good feeling about that. When I "came out" as a shooter in that classroom, no one was shocked or offended. I don't present that image - I'm not a thug or a gangsta or some neo nazi. I look like one of them, but I shoot guns for fun. I present the type of image that they can relate with better than the stereotypical

Comments on Losing the Culture War

Happy Monday, and kudus to Rafe for losing a million bucks on Survivor: Guatamala with style! You rock, dude!

On a slightly more serious note, take a couple of minutes and read the Comments from Hillbilly and Brian on yesterday's post from the Carnival of Cordite. The particular link in question talks about the gun culture losing the cultural war at the same time it is winning the political war. To which Hillbilly replies:
This "losing the culture war" stuff seems to fly in the face of reality.

Wisconsin just passed its own CCW law this week.....Wisconsin..... after Minnesota passed its CCW law......which happened years and years after all but about three or four of the 50 states passed their CCW laws.

Yeah...we're really losing the culture war when you consider the dismal failure of getting CCW in all but about three states, aren't we?

And oh yeah.....shooting sports are now high school varsity sports that you can earn a letter in in states like Georgia and Tennessee....and this all happened in about the last 10 years....really getting hammered in the culture wars there.

And the AWB is now dead after a stupid 10-year experiment....another huge loss in the culture wars.

And more women than at any point in the history of this country are buying guns......another example of how we're getting absolutely killed in the culture wars.....

And NCAA rifle actually got its first bit of network news coverage this past year, and more and more schools are adding rifle as a varsity sport....yep, another hammering in the culture wars for our side.

And ignore any and all victories we might get in the political arena......politics are strictly separate from culture, you know.......we're losing big time in culture, no matter what might happen politically.....

I'm sorry, but when I hear folks whine that we're losing the culture war on guns, all I can muster is a big fat yawn.......
The boy may be from Arkansas (that's light-hearted banter...I'm from Memphis), but he makes a series of really good points. We have made strides that two decades ago would have seemed impossible.

Let me stake out some ground here, and please keep in mind that I was a card-carrying member of the Mainstream Media for most of my adult life, which has shaped — some would say warped — my views. Take a look at the two most successful culture-changing campaigns of our lifetime — the demise of smoking and the mainstreaming of the gay lifestyle.

Discounting the rightness or wrongness of either, the fact is those two campaigns resulted in profound changes in American culture in very short spans of time. The anti-smoking campaign hasn't eliminated smoking, but it has marginalized smokers; that is, culturally, it simply doesn't matter what smokers think. Actions against smoking and smokers are taken without input or consideration from smokers, because their opinions as cultural pyriahs no longer matter.

Conversely, the gay movement has been amazingly successful in insuating itself into the mainstream. Consider that in 1975 gay culture was virtually unknown, so reviled that calling someone "homosexual" in print was de jure libel (the only other guaranteed libel label was "murderer"), and even rumors of homosexuality was a gauranteed career-ender. Three decades later, we discussing gay marriage.

Both of those campaigns succeeded because they were able to control the media and entertainment — smoking through "blunt trauma" big bucks; gays through brilliant grassroots organizing.

About six or seven years ago I wrote a White Paper on the "normalization" of firearms. I suggested that our goal — an addition to our political goals — within the gun culture should be, to paraphrase Brother Shred's comment, seeing guns treated as ordinary objects, and I outlined a series of strategies. That paper led to the the NSSF Media Education Project and the Hollywood stunt/action director initiatives, as well as providing ammunition for the push to put shooting back in high schools and colleges.

My fear was that the antigunners were extremely successful in three areas — placing disinformation in media and entertainment venues; blocking youth access to guns and shooting, and the elimination of access to places to shoot (note how these strategies are based on thee earlier successful campaigns). Success in those three areas had serious long-term implications for all of us.

We made some major strides in the media, Hollywood and youth when the industry decided to pull in their horns.

Culture has the potential to bite us in the butt when we least expect it. Does it matter that our state is a shall-issue state if 80% of the high school age or younger kids think all guns are evil? When those kids start voting, what do you think the implications will be on gun rights?

My main point is that we know how to win the hearts and minds battle. We've just decided that it's not worth the effort — or the expense. I've said before that we're in the Golden Age of Guns...I'd like to make sure we stay there!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Year End Carnival of Cordite Up

Check it out here. Especially pay attention to Toys in the Attic 's thoughts on how we pay be winning in the political arena, but we're still losing the cultural war:
We’re losing the culture war. Our children are growing up in a culture that hides all traces of firearms and simultaneously makes them into something evil, something that should be avoided at all costs. The unrelenting message that “guns are bad”, coupled with a total lack of positive images, will significantly impact the gun control movement in a generation – as more and more people grow up completely ignorant of firearms, less and less people will be around to fight for gun owners’ rights.
Unfortunately, I believe he's correct. This was, is and has always been a battle for "hearts and minds" — I like Toy's analogy that the other side is playing chess, and we're playing checkers. Think about that when you finally get to view the industry's "huge" dreadfully expensive initiative to lure those kids into hunting birds on preserves!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Dreams of Palm Trees & Suntan Oil

Ahhhhh...a Saurday morning in December, watching the Ted Nugent guest apperance episode of Miami Vice — The Nuge was, of course, type-cast as a hit man — and pondering how nice it would be to be sitting at the News Cafe on SoBe, eating some exotic pastry and watching the temperature rise and all the Beautiful People stroll by. Back in the Drug Wars, when I was writing magazine articles out of the Miami War Zone, I stayed at the Waldorf Towers, a restored deco hotel just down Ocean Blvd. from the coffeehouse, along with obscure Brit rock groups and visiting bicycle racers.

A friend of mine and I were once given the keys to the wrong room at the Waldorf. We bopped up the stairs so he could see my neat corner room with a view of the sidewalk parade. I stick the key in, swing open the door — TA-DA! — and, ta-da, there's a man in a black suit and shades stacking banded $100 bills into a Zero Halliburton aluminum briefcase. In ultra-slow motion, he sets down a handful of bills and picks up a Glock 17 lying on the bed by the briefcase.

I remember my friend starting to say, "What the...!!!" I said, "Shut up." The Glock came up like an adder, stopping with the huge hole at the end of the barrel — and it was bigger than anything I've ever seen befolre or since — pointing at the center of my face from about six feet away. My friend started to say something again, and, again, I said, "Shut up."

"Good," Shades said, the Glock never wavering. "What do you see?"

"I see nothing," I said. "Nothing at all."

"Again," Shades said.

"I see nothing," I say. I can feel sweat pooling at the small of my back. "I say nothing."

There is a long moment where I study the rifling in the barrel of the Glock.

"Get the f$#% out of here," Shades says, without raising his voice. I grab my friend and tow him backwards out the door, never taking my eyes off the Glock.

We clear the door and are down the stairs quick like a bunny. "We gotta call the cops," my friend practically shouts. "For what?" I said. "We gotta go get a margarita." So we did.

And in other strange matters, this from AP, courtesy MSNBC:
MOUNT HOLLY, Ark. - A hunter suffered hypothermia and kidney damage after becoming entangled in his deer stand and dangling upside down 30 feet above the ground in sleet for 8½ hours.
You got to know there were some Far Side deer hanging around laughing. Well, Ted's dead now. Time to go shovel the 4-foot drift from in front of the garage! Lot to be said for Miami...