Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

For all who serve, our undying — and far too inadequate — thanks...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

R.I.P. Dennis Hopper

One of the greatest scenes in the movies, from True the link...


5 days; 5 cities; home again home again jiggity jig...

-- Post From The Road

Friday, May 28, 2010

Randi Rogers... on her tan at Bianchi 2010!

-- Post From The Road

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sorry, All...

...for light traveling, filming at Bianchi Cup for SHOOTING GALLERY, etc. BTW, here's the post on Jessie Abbate's newest home:
Professional shooter Jessie Abbate has signed with Team Smith & Wesson. Ending months of speculation, Abbate joins a multi-disciplined team of experienced professional shooters. Abbate is considered by many to be the rising star in the shooting sports and is expected to take women's shooting to a new level.
I talked a few minutes to Jessie today, and I have a meeting with her agent, my old friend Russ Thurman, tomorrow AM. Mostly we're filming Randi Rogers from Glock defending her Woman's Production championship from last year, but I want to get some film tomorrow with Dave Sevigny, BJ Norris and Phil Strader on production stuff.

It is hotter than the third level of hell...hotter than San Antonio, as a matter of fact. Heat wears on you when you're no longer used to it.

BTW BTW, the guys at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio would sell me my shotgun!'s a pix of one of the new Winchester Select 101 Sportings from Guns America:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Odd Thing Happened... the benefit sporting clays shoot in San Antonia...the clays just hung there in the air and I shot them. Hmmmm...finished up with 80 out of 100...nothing short of amazing for me. I should buy the.borrowed Winchester 101, right????

-- Post From The Road

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Day with ACR

Lots of rounds at 25 to 100 yards...great little carbine! Liked 10-inch suppressed version...more when I land in San Antonio...

Me bludgeoning an ACR back together...
-- Post From The Road

Monday, May 24, 2010

First Look-Lipsey's .44 Special Vaquero

Just picked it up...think very cool .44 Special Montado...same hammer; same opened up rear sight on plane...more later!

-- Post From The Road

Friday, May 21, 2010

Beautiful Spring Day!

Going to try and get in some road biking today! Also want to finish stitching my second Schofield revolver holster. I can use the 2 holsters on an old Kirkpatrick Leather money belt I haven't used in a while, but I have also cut the leather for a matching belt for the holsters. I ordered some unique conchos for the belt yesterday!

SayUncle notes that the Freedom Group has taken the preliminary steps with the SEC to go public. This is something we've all been predicting for a long while. When you start aggregating companies the way Cerberus has been doing over the last few years one of the few plays that made sense was rolling out a big public company.

The bloggers did an excellent job of covering the NRA sure to check out Uncle, Caleb at Gun Nuts Media, my pal Joe "Boomershoot" Huffman, the Breda Fallacy (thanks for the dinner invite, Breda!) and follow their links.

I also note that the titular leader of the failed narco-state immediately to our south, a.k.a. Mexico, yesterday called on the U.S. Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban.  The best response to that pathetic leader's pathetic whining came from Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who said, "The Second Amendment is not a subject open for diplomatic negotiation with Mexico or any other nation.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

OK, Now I Have Seen Everything...

...a 1911 made out of...paper...and it cycles...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Fair Question...

...included in a less-then-pleasant email, but since I've been talking about how happy I was with all the accolades, it's only fair you get to see the other side:
Mr Bane, How and when did you become a authority on all things concealed carry?? I watch all of the show [I'm assuming THE BEST DEFENSE...mb] and up til now have been able to keep my mouth shut. Its obvious that you have NO idea how and why concealed carry options work. I live in [the Deep South] where the heat reaches over 110* degrees for months on end. On the latest show you said that a side holster would be the best option for beginners (OWB). Larger clothes would need to be bought. A vest is a good option. How stupid could you be.? Not only are your options ridiculous, their heat unfriendly and fashion unfriendly. Where and when did you become such a authority??? You need to sue your instructor and slap yourself for being so arrogant and ignorant. When is the last time you have seen someone in this heat wear a vest or wear a OWB holster with a light shirt???? Try bending over in a store with a OWB holster with a full or compact gun. You need to stop preaching your egotistical ideas and leave those to the experts.
Fair questions, which I'm answering because he signed his name:
1) I lived in Florida where it was hot, hot, hot...much of my experience in carrying concealed weapons I learned in the miserable heat/humidity of the Sunshine State.
2) When I'm in Florida or the other blistering hot southern states, I routinely carry with an OWB holster (usually a Blade-tech) underneath a vest or a loose shirt. Does it conceal was well as an IWB? No. Does it provide adequate concealment in most situations? You bet. My standard wear in Florida is shorts, sandals, t-shirts and Duluth Trading summer weight vest with a J-frame on an OWB. Works for me and has since the 1980s. BTW, I learned this from my good friend Scott Smith back when he and I were running for USPSA President. I was staying at his house in western Pennsylvania and fretting about IWB carry...I noticed Scott, who had on shorts and a t-shirt, just clipped a Blade-tech on his Wilderness Tactical belt, threw on a vest and we went to dinner. Hmmmmmmm...I thinks....easy is better.

The correct way to wear a Hawaiian "concealed carry" shirt!!! 
3) There are scores of Hawaiian-style shirts designed for concealed carry from Wilderness Tactical, EOTAC and others. Heck, I have logo'ed Hawaiian shirts from GUNSITE, for heaven's sake, I wear all summer with shorts and an OWB, and the only comment I've ever gotten was people asking where they could get one of the shirts.
4) Bending over in a store? One of the first things you learn when you start carrying concealed weapons is that there are some unconscious movements you have to unlearn...and bending over from the waist is one of them. Hooking your hands in the front of your jacket and pulling back...anything that makes the gun print through your clothes. Hey, sorry, you wanna CCW there are going to be some changes in the way you act.
5) I have said repeatedly that there are always off-body carry options, including the super good SafePacker from Wilderness Tactical (who has never given me one penny of ad money, BTW). Off-body comes with different challenges, which we'll get into in Season 3.
6) As far as fashion, dude, I can't help you there. As I've said repeatedly (and on TBD many times) everyone's situation is unique. If fashion is important to you, you're going to have to figure out how CCW works with what you're willing to wear. OC gets quite literally hundreds of requests from people who want to know where I buy my utterly tasteless Hawaiian/rodeo shirts...go figure... 
Hope that answers your questions.

Range Day???

Maybe maybe, if the rain holds off. Wouldn't mind tuning up for Sunday's cowboy match, and maybe work the Ruger SR9c from the N82Tactical IWB, which I plan to try over the next few weeks.

Be sure to check out my steampunk goggles I use on today's video podcast, which will be up a later this afternoon. They were a 60th birthday gift from old friend and regular DRTV contributor Paul Erhardt. Thanks, Paul...perfect for those impromptu zeppelin trips!

BTW, the Indiana Jones fedora I wear is a one-off custom from Colorado Mountain Hat Company in metropolitan Fairplay, Colorado, home of one of Colorado's more notorious hangings in 1879. I've talked about this style of hat before, but the Indy-style fedora has a long and strange history and is even "period authentic" for SASS. The original fedora was from the Herbert Johnson hat shop in London, where the clerks recommended their "Poet" fedora because it had been in production longer than any other hat in their line (except, of course, for Toppers). Dating from the late 1800s, the Poet's genesis is lost in time, but the hat nerd-boys over at the Fedora Lounge speculate the soft felt hat was a favorite with artists, poets and other ne'er do wells as a "statement" in a culture where the stiff top hat reigned. BTW, here's my favorite iteration of the Poet, on the head of the sublime Tom Baker, the greatest Dr. Who of them all.

I wept — wept, I tell you! — when Dr. Who was forced to leave his beloved mechanical dog, K9, behind...

There's a flood of Indy hats out there, and overhauled Poets are even available from New Zealand. I decided to go with an "homage," rather than a dead-on copy, from a cowboy hat maker, because I like to support the people who support my sport.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In the Studio Today...

...with the video podcast and wrapping up the audio podcast. One thing that really struck me at the NRA show was how many people who's primary contact with Down Range is through the audio podcast...interesting!

I wanted to mention that my good friend Larry Weishuhn now has a signature Thompson/Cener Encore package with his name on it. Here's the press release from Ammoland:
The new Encore pistol bears Weishuhn’s signature on the right side of the blued receiver along with his personal antler logo created in gold inlay. The esthetically pleasing handgun remains true to its original platform with its single-shot break open design and interchangeable barrel capabilities. The blued frame Encore Pro Hunter is chambered in .308 and is standard with a 15-inch blued barrel with fluting. As part of the package, each Encore pistol will be shipped with a new Nikon Encore pistol scope, Pachmayr grips and a soft carrying case. The pistol features Thompson/Center’s patented automatic hammer block safety with bolt interlock and a highly accurate precision barrel. The Larry Weishuhn Signature Series package will have an MSRP of $1,199.
I ran into Larry for a few minutes and he was pretty stoked about the gun. It got my attention because I've had Contenders for, like, 30 years — mostly to experiment with stupid calibers...I was the first on my block with 10-inch 45-70 barrel from J.D. Jones back when 45-70 was still obscure. I shot a .308 Encore at Boomershoot and it reminded me of what big fun it was to lob big pistol calibers at distant targets. Might be something single-shot-ish in my future.

I wanted to answer a comment from yesterday's post on the utility of 12 gauge Quick Strips for pumps and semiauto shotguns...I see the utility mostly in 3 pretty specific areas — ammo sorting and ammo storage. As most of you know from the podcast, I'm more a fan of single round reloading than long tubes on defensive shotguns. My primary defensive shotgun is a Vang Comp 870, which does come with a tube. Once the tube is empty I don't care about it one way or the other...rather, I'll simply single-load the pump. IMHO, it is faster to single-load than trying to stoke the tube (and if I was taking a shotgun class, I might pull the tube to take some of the weight off the gun). The reloads are loose in bag on my left side. I now have 6 slugs in the Quick Strip in the bag...that way I can tell the slugs from the buckshot by feel and I don't have the added weight of 4 or 5 slug rounds in a carrier on the gun. Ammo storage should be self-explanatory...I keep ammo with my stubby Super-Shorty 870, for example. Six rounds of TAPS buckshot and 6 slugs should get me home. Having the ammo oriented on the strips makes it wasier to carry than loose shells in a pocket as well...

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Can't Believe It's Monday Monday...

Post-NRA in at 1 AM; just finished a pot of ears are still ringing from the noise!

Anyway, I'm going to try to pull my thoughts together for Wednesday's podcasts. Meanwhile. take a look at these IWB holsters from N82Tactical:

I met the designer, who was walking the floor, and I thought these things looked exceptionally comfortable. There's a layer of neoprene between the soft side that contacts your body and the main body of the holster. I got one to fit the Ruger SR9c and I'll be trying it out over the next few weeks.

Speaking of holsters, I finally got to see the Tactical Solutions Kydex holster for the Ruger Mark-whatever series of .22 rimfires. I liked it...the Ruger semiauto rimfire pistols are so ubiquitous that they sometimes get left out of modern trick holster development. The Tac-Sol unit remedies that situation.

With the caveat that I haven't shot it yet since the production versions are still about 60 days out, I really liked the Tac-Sol Glock .22 version. The slide is steel, so the gun with conversion looks and feels like a, duh, regular Glock. A second absolutely critical issue is that Tac-Sol has designed their own magazines, which will be manufactured by Black Dog. The weak link for every .22 conversion unit is the magazine...Tac-Sol and Black Dog have proven conclusively that they know how to make 22 magazines that work. The new Glock mag will be 15 rounds, and the first conversion units will be for ehte G17/22 platform. There's already a waiting list, so all you Glocksters need to get your names on it ASAP. 

American Tactical Imports had a couple of interesting surprises. They made their bones with the .22 versions of the H-K and AK platforms. They're adding a whole line of .22 1911s (a BIG category at the NRA show this year!) and, surprisingly, a whole line of 1911s in .45 and at least 1 9mm. The 1911s are from the well-regarded manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, and the versions they had at the NRA were very slick, very well done. BTW, my understanding is that all the ATI .22s, including the 1911 pistol, will run with the new more reliable 100-round .22 drums that are starting to show up on the market.

 My pal Steve Hunter, whom I didn't even get to wave at across the floor, emailed me about the little Kimber 1911 Super Carry .45 with aluminum frames and the rounded mainspring housing. Here's Steve's note:

BTW, the coolest new gun I saw was the Kimber concealed carry with the sliced-off backstrap. Man, did that li'l baby feel good in the hand. Must acquire one. 

Dwight Van Brunt, the King of Kimber, showed me the gun earlier in the show, and I loved the neato scaled serrations on the slide...sort of a one-way grip, exactly what one would want on a slide:

I'll be putting together a round-up of the commemorative edition 1911s for 2011 a little later (Kimber's is heartbreakingly beautiful), but they one I'm going to have to take home is the Colt Model of 1911-2011, modeled on their hugely successful 1918 retro configuration. Figure about $1300 MSRP.

BTW, the guys at Tuff Products have added a 6-shot Quick Strip in 12 gauge.  Quick Strips are wonderful things...the advantage for the defensive shotgunner is that the strips can hold specialty rounds, and since the strips are available in 2 colors you can sort out the slugs from the buckshot from the field loads. I just "updated" the bedroom Vang Comp 870 ammo stash with 6 slug rounds in the yellow Quick Strips.

Gotta go make another pot of Caffeine Delivery System!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Big Paw Prints

I leave home for a weekend, and my Sweetie starts consorting with bears! Apparently, B'rer Bear is awake and checking and checking out the Secret Hidden Bunker where, yes, it is still snowing. The other foot is my anonymous Sweetie's. Of course, the other print might be a Yeti, which would erxplain why my rimfire ammunition keeps disappearing...Yetis are big rimfire shooters...of course you knew that...

And speaking of big paw prints (how's that for a cheesy transition?) I had dinner at Breda's blogger dinner last night with attorney Alan Gura — fascinating guy! Glad he's on our side. I also talked a bit with Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, who asked me to head up a panel at the 2010 Gun Rights Policy Conference in September on Gun Culture Ver. 2.0.

Also planning to me with Dave Kopel later this morning...oddly enough, Dave and I live near each other, but we're never in town at the same time.

Gunwise, I going over to Tactical Solutions for see the production version of the Glock .22 caliber conversion unit, then stop by S&W. I'm actually going to get a chance to walk the floor later today! The one thing I missed big time yesterday was Steven Hunter and Major John Paster's standing room only talk on modern sniping. Of course, both Steve and John are friends...I talked to John briefly yesterday, and hopefully I'll bumble into Steve sometime today.

Okay, off into the fray...even though all I can think of is arming, what a crappy pun!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Amazing Day!

Momma played the guitar then, and daddy made the saw blade bend,
And raindrops played the tin roof like a drum.
But I just kept on dreamin' that a song that I was singin'
Takes me down the road to where my name is known.

Now I'm gone, and it's a long hard road
Yes, I know, it's a long hard road.

— Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
"Long Hard Road"

You know, when you do what I do for a living, you need a pretty bullet-proof ego. The blows come with the territory, and you roll with them or you get out of the kitchen.

And then, if you're lucky, you have a day like today, when so many wonderful people tell you that yes, you made a difference in their lives. It is a profound and humbling experience, and I don't think I can adequately thank so many of you for the day of a lifetime.

My life is blessed. Thank you.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Minor Surprise...

I'm good with the Ruger LCRs in .357 — although, in truth, I'd shoot .38s in 'em and won't trade in my .38 LCR  — and I liked the shorter version of the SR-556 gas piston gun...the Remington 1911 R1 is, at $699 MSRP, a keeper and a steal for a platform for a custom 1911. I ran into my old friend Larry Weishuhnd late this afternoon at the Streamlight booth, and I'm going to spend some time with him tomorrow so he can show me his Signature Series Thompson/Center Encore package.

One surprise was as I wandered past the Colt booth and saw my old friend Wiley Clapp perched behind a table with one gun on it. The gun was a Colt "21st Century Commander," a Talo exclusive spec'ed by Wiley (who, yes, is one of the most knowledgeable 1911 guys on earth). The gun is a Series '70 action (no nitwit firing pin safety) lightweight Commander, "original" style — small safety, slide lock, mag catch; no ambi safety to get clicked off on holstering. Beautiful 25 lpi front strap checkering from Pete Single, a great set of Novak sights with Wiley's "Old Geezer" wider rear notch and a gold bead front, flat S&A mainspring housing and one of the neatest set of grips, called "Tactical Oval," that I've ever seen.

Damn, this is a nice 1911! I told Wiley that more than anything it reminded me of Col. Jeff Cooper's carry gun of choice, a lightweight Commander with S&W revolver sights, and he agreed — except that the Novaks are better sights. Wayne Novak, who was also standing there, agreed with that sentiment! At $1379 MSRP, this is a gun worth owning. Nicely done, Wiley! Sigh, I so don't need more 1911s...maybe if I take a deep breath and put my head between my knees...

...okay, so I did buy a gun today, that Featherlight Ithaca 20-gauge vent-rib pump shotgun I've been mooning over...I just couldn't go on without it...really.

I'm going to do some sporting clays lessons later this summer, and this is the gun I want to use. The action is just amazingly smooth, and the gun practically floats in your hands...

I have more time tomorrow to walk the floor...maybe I should leave the credit cards at home...


-- Post From The Road

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Remington II

Okay...sorry. On the whole I was very impressed with the Remington R1, and here's why. When I picked the gun up, it felt like an old friend. One thing I've said repeatedly is that 1911s have the ability to be more than the sum of their parts. I've built 1911s from parts, and while they all launched bullets, none of them were what I think of as keepers. My Heinie Springfield or the Wilson Master Grade ot the C&S guns feel like an extension of my hand — just point and click and all the bullets go right where you want them. the Remington R1 felt that way. 

My old pal Dick Williams asked me what I'd add to the gun, and I said, "Nothing." The trigger's good; the high vis sights are not as perfect as Novaks, Heine's or XS, but they're perfectly serviceable. The short trigger felt just fine to my finger. I stood in place on the line at 7 yards and put 80 rounds (with a couple of called fliers outside the main group) in a great big ole jagged hole. I could have kept pouring 230-grain rounds into that hole all day long, no big deal.

The gun looked good, handled good, shot good. I told Linda Powell at Remington that I'd give her my credit card number next week for my own R1...a great addition to the collection! I think the Remington R1 is a home run.

Remington 1911

-- Post From The Road

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On the Way to Charlotte!

Leaving the snow-encrusted bitter cold of a Colorado spring, 1 foot of lovely white sunshine so far, for Charlotte, where I used to live a thousand years ago. My old pal Doug Marlette, rest his soul, talked me into moving there back in the early 1970s because he had a gig as cartoonist for the Charlotte Observer and he figured I could get a job there. Short story is that I was already drifting away from the concept of "a job," but they did buy freelance from me. Also wrote part of a book with Frye Gaillard, then at the Observer, who went on to become something of a celebrated Southern writer. I could tell you about a crazed driving trip me and Frye and Marlette made to Nashville for Country Music Week (which was then known as the D.J. Convention), but suffice to say we were young and the statute of limitations has now run out.

Meanwhile, let me link you to a couple of interesting reads. From a letter tot eh editor in the Oneida, NY, daily rag (thanks to Say Uncle for this one):
Let me get this straight. A terrorist bought a car off of Craigslist, fireworks in Pennsylvania, and inflammable fertilizer, parked his dud-car-bomb in Times Square, got onto an international flight, and was only caught at the last minute as the plane was taxing to the runway. Mayor Bloomberg’s solution to this is to call for stricter gun-control laws?
Mayor Bloomberg needs his head examined.
Amen to that! One thing you can say about antigun zealots is that they're consistent...the solution to everything is to ban guns.  Global warming? Ban guns! Teen pregnancy? Ban guns! Obesity epidemic? Ban guns! Entertainment Tonight renewed? Ban guns!

Quick, let's go to the Ted-ster for some Nugent-isms just to clear the air. From the Washington Times:
My name is Ted Nugent, and I profile. And it is good.
Read the whole thing, by all means. And I look forward to seeing Brother Ted later this week!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Big Doin's in Valhalla Tonite

I note the passing of Frank Frazetta, whose women of fantasy populated many an adolescent's fantasies...

Oh Boy! ANOTHER Snow Storm!

The spring-that-isn't grinds on and on. Supposed to have as much as 2 feet of the white stuff when I leave for the airport to Charlotte for the NRA.

BTW, I will be signing autographs at the OUTDOOR CHANNEL Booth Saturday, 3-4PM! Please drop by to talk!!! Don't leave me all alone at the booth!

Had a great but absolutely crazy day the studio all day cutting the podcasts for tomorrow. Did get in a range session and a mountain bike ride on Sunday. As I mentioned earlier, we focused on marksmanship — a 6-inch plate and an 8-inch plate, starting at 10 yards. More details on the drill and a bunch of information on steel targets on tomorrow's DOWN RANGE Radio podcast.

Didn't want to leave the guns in the car so my Sweetie and I donned fanny packs to tote the cowboy blasters on the bikes. I would say that 4 5/8-inch single action Rugers don't lend themselves to CCW in fanny packs. Kind of like carrying a hammer in a fanny pack...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sunday Sleep Late!

For the first time in what seems like ages! Had a mixed-lot cowboy match in Boulder yesterday...all my fault, to be sure. I bought out a new old shotgun, a 1901-vintage Winchester '97 I picked up a few years back at the LGS for $100. It laid around for a long time, then I sent it to Tom at Old West Gun Repair to see whether it'd blow up if I shot it. In what shouldn't have been a surprise to me, it took a hellish amount of work to undo 109 years of brutal abuse...Tom discovered the old solid frame gun was a special order from Winchester, with lots of little surprises waiting for him as he overhauled the old dog. I got it back at Winter Range and have been traveling ever since.

I decided to take it out to the match and shoot it without putting a few rounds through it first. I believe I repeatedly say never, ever do this. Well, never, ever do this!  Doom on Mikey! In the first stage, the old '97 fought me to a jammed in several ways I've never seen a '97 jam, and I thought I'd seen them all over the years. I had hit it with a little oil the night before the match, but I took the gun and re-oiled everything. On the next stage, I focused on running the old gun the way it wanted to be run...1897s don't run like, say, an 870 (or, god forbid, a butter-smooth old Model 12)'s all blunt trauma. You've got to work the pump like it was a hand pump on a 500-foot well, very definitely, and with feeling. I'd apparently shot my Coyote Cap Chinese knockoff, a far more forgiving gun, so long that I'd forgotten how to run a real, manly '97.

Needless to say, a little more oil and a lot more wham-and-slam turned the old beast into one of the nicest shooting '97s I've ever operated. The little bit longer barrel (24 inches) made it point like a German Shorthair on crack, and with the light target loads I didn't even notice the 19 Century-vestige steel buttplate. Makes me want to put a couple of more dollars in it and get the wood more or less restored...probably less than more.

I was on my way to a clean, fast match until the last stage, which is when I started thinking I was on my way to a clean, fast match. I responded to this thought by pulling the trigger on one of the .44 Specials when the sights were CLEARLY not on the 7-yard gigantic steel bear target, which I could have hit with spit. Once again, I proved conclusively that if your sights are not on the target, the bullet will not hit said target despite the focusing of a huge mental tractor beam to warp the lead back into line.

I may go out to the range for a little while today, shoot a few groups and do a little marksmanship training. This spring I want to focus on the basic skills, tighten up my shooting now that I've gone back to shooting with my right eye as the dominant eye. Last season most of my training focus was on gun-to-gun transitions and movement skills for cowboy matches

The guys from Lipsey's called to say they'd get me a Sheriff's Model 3 1/2-inch .44 Special Vaquero — hopefully by the end of the month.  I'm also looking forward to one of the Remington 1911R1s...I should find out when I can lay my hands on one for a longer test by Thursday. If the Remington rocks, I might use it in the Wild Bunch World Championships in August, which we'll be filmIng for SHOOTING GALLERY 2011.

BTW, I think that Walton Goggins (above) has become one of my all-time favorite actors. He rocks on Justified as Timothy Oliphant's nemesis and was masterful as the psychotic Shane on The Shield.

Friday, May 07, 2010

More Lucid This AM

Hopefully you read Sebastian's great answer to the idiots at Brady on "closing the terror gap," that is, depriving people on the government's "no fly" list of their Second Amendment rights. Here's some more crap from Brady shill Dennis Henigan on HuffPo this AM:
First, although we can block those on the terrorist watch list from getting on airplanes, suspected terrorist activity is not itself a sufficient reason under current law to prevent them from buying guns from licensed dealers (the "terror gap"). Second, even if we could block suspected terrorists (and other violent people) from buying guns from licensed dealers, they could evade Brady Law background checks entirely by resorting to private sellers at gun shows (the "gun show loophole").
My problem here is the totally casual way we trample the entire concept of due process. If the people on the no fly list have committed a crime, charge them, arrest them and prosecute them in a court of law. The whole concept of a secret government list which no one know how they got on or how they can get off, no one is allowed to face or even question their "attackers," in fact, no one can even find out whether they're on the list or not is anathema to the principals this country was founded on.

The guarantees of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were, in fact, designed to protect citizens of the United States against exactly this sort of Star Chamber prosecution.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Snowing when we left...snowing when we got home today...filming day tomorrow.

Steve at The Firearm Blog is showing a really great Sig 226 engraved with the Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" flag.

Too cool, and good on you, Sig Sauer!

I really enjoyed the GUNSITE single action self-defense class...hey, what could be more fun? I shot the Lipsey's Flat-Top .44 Special Blackhawk (with a Long Hunter – who was in the class — action job) with Winchester .44 SilverTips, one of my 2 favorite .44 Special self-defense loads. I will say that ammo shot into one of the best groups I've ever shot offhand at 15 yards...4 of the rounds going into a single ragged hole, one round about half-an-inch out of the main group; the final shot opening the group up to a couple of inches. I'll take it walking away!

If I wasn't so whipped I'd talk a lot more about the WaPo column asserting the NRA is a terrorist organization because they actually believe in the Constitution...that pesky "due process" thingie. Also read Sebastian's post.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Class Went Great!

Today it actually looked like I could shoot a couple of times! I was pleased with my performance in the simulators, one inside and one outside.

THANK YOU for all the kind birthday thoughts! We had a cake out at GUNSITE this afternoon and a great dinner with the Usual Suspects.

Full report tomorrow, with pixs...

Still Too Tired to Blog!

Good day on the range...was pleased with at least one of my El Prez runs with the .44 Special Blackhawk. We've got lots of pictures and can see some of it already on the weekly video podcast, which we filmed during a time-out.

BTW, Lipsey's, the big distributor, just announced their .44 Special Ruger Vaquero, a gun much desired by single action aficionados (like me) and cowboy action shooters. Here's the preliminary press release:
Lipsey’s LLC, a leading nation-wide firearms distributor, is pleased to announce several new exclusive Ruger 44 Special Vaqueros. Since the success of the Flattop 44 Special in 2009, Lipsey’s has had numerous requests for a Vaquero in 44 Special. These much anticipated revolvers will be offered in both blue and high polish stainless steel with black hard rubber checkered grips, and fixed sights. Barrel lengths will include a 3-3/4” Sheriffs Model and the classic 4-5/8”.
That blue Sheriff's Model is calling to me! It'd be right at home with the snub USFA and Uberti .44 Specials. Since it's a Ruger, I'd get an extra round and a firing pin I couldn't break. No pix yet...

Interesting piece on Dave Hardy's OF ARMS & THE LAW essentially agreeing on what I've been saying about us finally reaching a tipping point:
I think we're looking at an enormous cultural shift here. It's a reversal of the shift that occurred in the 1960s. In 1960, firearm ownership was quite acceptable. President Kennedy was happy to accept life membership in the NRA. Somewhere in the early 60s, the American Bar Assn gave an award for a pro-individual rights article on the Second Amendment. And you've probably heard we ancients speak of the days when universities had rifle teams and students thought nothing of bringing guns to school. Then came the 60s -- three assassinations in 1963-68, the summer riots, and by the later 60s guns were the source of all social ills, and anyone who would defend their ownership was a neanderthal, a fool, or a selfish social menace.
Fifty years later, we may be switching back.
Read the whole thing.

Okay...gotta go to another hour I'll be 60 years old, and we old farts need our rest!

Monday, May 03, 2010


...from day on range at GUNSITE...

Will blog tomorrow...promise...

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sunday Thoughs...

As the ocean of oil heads toward the Gulf coastline, our thoughts and prayers are with those people who face devastation again. All of us on TBD/Survival were deeply moved by our time in the 9th Ward of New Orleans recently, both by the resilience of the people and the underlying ocean of despair wrought by Katrina. I sat on the steps of a travel trailer next to what had been a thriving retail center with an older gentleman who had poured his life into that little business. "I guess this is what is," he said, "and we do what we can."

Remember too the birds and the animals, who are blameless.

Sadly, it reminds me of the end pages of Albert Camus' classic book THE the city breathes a sigh of relief that the plague is abating, the doctor knows the respite isn't permanent:
"...the plague never dies or disappears for good... that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city."

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Whew! Survived!

No witches, vampires or Ol' Scratch Hisself...not with my doors safely protected by garlic and me safely protected by a garlicky home-made pizza!

Interesting discussion on my yesterday snarky post on Ms. WSJ TV Critic's snarky dis' of open carry that touches on the continued fissures in our culture on open vs. concealed carry. Yes, it is certainly a valid discussion — some folks in our culture think OC is a very bad idea; some think it's a very good idea. I happen to come down mostly on the "good idea" side of the equation, largely because I think there is a huge danger to any right when we begin to define that right based on other people's visceral reactions to our exercising that right.

The simple truth is that rights are really only rights if we're willing to protect/accept those on the fringes of that right. If we believe what we say we believe. then we are obligated to stand up for that belief not just when it's easy. If instead our standard is that no right exists if the exercise of that right makes anyone uncomfortable, then there are no rights, because it's a big world full of diverse people, and everything makes someone uncomfortable.

The question of whether a specific act is "good public relations" or "sends the right message" is a whole other dimension, a dimension full of smoke, fog, dissent and differing personal experiences. There are certainly equally valid schools of thought. I come from a more confrontational school of public relations because 1) I've had very good success with harder-edged campaigns and 2) the most successful society-changing efforts of the previous century were all based on confrontational tactics.

"The center" is always a moving target. I remember my first SHOT Show where I went representing the fledgling sport of "practical" or "combat" shooting. A lot of the responses I got were that, "You lunatics running around with guns shooting at humanoid targets are going to ruin it for the rest of us! So stop it right now!" Needless to say, we didn't, and now practical shooting is "the center." Ditto on the birth of concealed carry in the mid-1980s — by taking guns "out of the closet," the argument went, the huge bulge of undecided people in the middle would suddenly become aware of guns and a percentage, perhaps a large percentage, would "go over" to the anti side. We were in a huge swirl of controversy...and yet concealed carry is now "the center."

I suspect that's why the big players — the NRA, NSSF, some of the other organizations — are keeping OC at arms see how it's ultimately going to play out.