Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Catch-Up

I'm a little puzzled why we're going to give small arms to Al Qaeda in Syria without requiring universal background checks on each one of those so-called "rebels." I mean, it's for all those little Middle Eastern children, isn't it? And is there gong to be a registry of the serial numbers of all those small arms so we can trace them back to the individual terrorist we gave the guns to when those guns are used against Americans — as they inevitably will be? And I'm concerned that those containers full of small arms being shipped Al Qaeda Syria may all feature magazines with a magazine capacity greater than 10 rounds! And real assault weapons! Have you seen any of the Syrian videos? Hell, they don't even aim! Where is Michael Bloomberg on all this? Why isn't HuffPo up in arms? It's only common sense!

I'm sorry, but we've dumped enough blood into that sand, and I don't see any flowers blooming. And am I the only person who thinks it's time to box up Senator John McCain and have him UPS'ed to Uzbekistan, the Moon, or anywhere as far from the United States as possible? I was backed into a corner to support him for President, but he's like some aging rogue elephant crashing into trees, farms, cars, everything.

And speaking of training, this from my pal Steven Hunter on yesterday's post:
Let me add one element that I think has been crucially undercovered in all the dogmatic gunmag guru stuff, and that is: hands! You cannot and will not shoot well if your gun does not fit your hands well. And hands vary spectacularly. Mine, for example, are relatively small and thin. I cannot shoot a S&W with those Coke bottle target grips to save my life; I can't even shoot ANY .40 because the recoil is too sharp and I have no excess flesh aboard the mitts to stop it from stinging.  
In fact, I would think that a well-received piece for any gun rag would be to assemble a number of shooters with varying hand profies: fat, short fingered; thin, long-fingered; thin, short-fingered, etc.--and find optimal choices for each one. But then, that would be useful and so they'd have no interest. I seem to be shooting a Steyr M1A a lot these days, because the first time I picked it up it felt like a velvet glove. On the other, er, you know what, I will never ever in a million years even consider a Desert Eagle.  
Just thought I'd rant.--Hunter
Rants are always good, and of course he's right. Sort of dovetails with the recent memes on 1911 grip safeties, which I, like every other human with girly-man hands, think suck. Before the various shooting organizations mandated operable grip safeties, you probably couldn't find one in the U.S. that hadn't been pinned...mine included.

I was also thinking that hand in hand with training goes firearms "evaluations." You'll note that when I talk about guns I usually do so in terms of "my impressions," as opposed to "definitive reviews." The reason I do that is the one thing that I am categorically certain of — and that I am categorically qualified to give — are my impressions and observations. Both are know who I am; you know my background; you know my prejudices; you know the time limitations/rounds's what struck me about this particular gun; here's how this specific gun shot under these specific conditions with this specific ammunition.

I question whether there's any such thing as an "objective" review. You can...and everyone has...criteria for testing, but none of us has the resources of, say, the U.S. military to conduct comprehensive trials with multiple examples of the guns and numerous different tests over a long period of time. There's also the questions of "observer bias" and a sort of "paradigm paralysis," which for an individual (or heck, the U.S. military for that matter) are tough get beyond. For example, we can say that using a specified set of ammunition our T&E gun shot groups of the following sizes...that is an observation, not an evaluation. I could, and occasionally do, go on and on.

The Cliff Notes' summary is that more is better....the more you shoot, the more examples of a specific model or type of gun you shoot, the larger and more in-depth your base of knowledge, the more interesting (I hesitate on using the word "useful") your observations and opinions become. From a consumer standpoint, the way to get around "observer bias" is to read a lot of different evaluations from a lot of different people. Ditto on the pesky issue of paradigms...the people labeled as "fanboys" are classic examples of being stuck in a paradigm, or a very specific worldview. Also beware of extrapolating from a small set, especially a set of "1:" 

"I just got my first Mini-Plastic Megablaster CCW from the Acme Gun Company...I got 4 failures to feed in 50 rounds, and that shows me the Mini-Plastic Megablaster CCW is a steaming pile of horse crap and the Acme Gun Company should be boycotted, it's executives kidnapped and tortured, the factory razed to the ground and the earth salted, and every time I see a single mention of Acme on the Internet I will go screaming bonkers crazy and launch post after post into the ether damning Acme to Eternal Damnation!"

C'mon...admit it! You've read that before!


ELIMN8U said...

A fine example of why I like reading your posts! Looking forward to the new seasons shows as well!

_DonWorsham_ said...

Well, I can't comment on the copy you got, but my Mini-Plastic Megablaster CCW from the Acme Gun Company shoots like a dream. Recommended! For women too!

Michael Bane said...

OHHHHHHHHHHHH...that's because you have the THIRD generation! Yu can tell because it's in Flat Dark Earth.


BTW, did you know an AK-47 will fire when wet? That's what I learned on TV tonight!

Anonymous said...

Sort of dovetails with the recent memes on 1911 grip safeties, which I, like every other human with girly-man hands, think suck. Before the various shooting organizations mandated operable grip safeties, you probably couldn't find one in the U.S. that hadn't been pinned...mine included.

My hands further your general thesis on the terrific variability of people's hands: the M1911 fits them like a glove and I can shoot them very well, and no grip safety, Original Formula Argentine on my father's or modern with a bumb on mine bother me in the slightest.

Hmmm, don't have any "excess flesh aboard the mitts" but 230 grain standard velocity .45 ACP doesn't bother them at all; never have tried .40 S&W.

Will said...

Massad Ayoob had a very informative magazine "The Complete Book Of The .45", some years back (drat, I know it's around here somewhere...) that covered the historical background of the thumb on safety/grip safety issue.

Frankly, I think he didn't look into it deep enough. I agree with his conclusion it is a bad idea to leave it on top. However, what he didn't cover is all the mods that people do to try to regain the physical control of the gun that is lost by stretching your hand out of shape to keep your thumb on the safety, especially with a beavertail/frame that is undercut (which is all of them, I think).

And then people bitch about the Army forcing JMB to add the grip safety. HA! He put that on most of his designs. It was the THUMB safety the Army decided they wanted added, after the successful conclusion of the trials. Check out the surviving Army Test guns. No thumb safety in sight. In fact, JMB kept one of them for personal use (#89, IIRC)

And then the military decided to mandate hammer down on empty chamber carry, which negates the use of the thumb safety anyway. Typical military decision making. Idiots.