Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bring on the Legions of the Dead!

My good friend Tom Gresham, host of Gun Talk Radio and the new Personal Defense TV, took this photo last week at GUNSITE. You can see that I'm clearly ready for the Armies of Darkness (significant cultural reference: "Good? Bad? I'm the one with the gun!").

This is, BTW, just about my all-time favorite AR set-up...16 1/2-inch barrel; retractable CAR stock, flat-top receiver with red-dot optics, in this case an Aimpoint M3 and the 3X multiplier right behind it; SureFire Scout Light mounted directly below the barrel with pressure switch mounted on the right side of the handguard for weak-hand use and the SureFire Suppressor.

I was running this gun against a 50-yard Pepper Popper and worrying it to death, just about as fast as I could pull the trigger. Unfortunately, this is not my personal AR. Right now I have two ARs, the one we built on Season 1 of SHOOTING GALLERY (the one I'm holding on the SG website) and my JP Enterprises competition rifle.

The yellow AR is a plain-vanilla version with a carrying handle, built on an excellent DPMS lower. I think of it as a house gun — light, maneuverable, quick to bring on close-up (inside 25 yards) targets. The JP is a racehorse...it's currently equipped with an Aimpoint M2 I got from a friend of mine who used to be in one of those unnamed special ops groups, and it shoots a lot better than I can.

Based on my week at GUNSITE, I'm going to set-up the new S&W M&P-15 like the gun above, with one change. Instead of the two-part Aimpoint set-up, I'm going to go to a dedicated tactical scope...a Leupold Mk-4 1-3X CQ/T, methinks. The reason for this is my pathetic right eye, which is still in free-fall. I spent a long afternoon yesterday at the opthamologist's office, where he confirmed that I've lost about 30% of the vision in my right eye over the last four months (and that I now have, oh joy, "secondary glaucoma" in that eye as well). The good news is that this type of glaucoma is controllable, and my vision is still correctable to close to 20/20, once the various eye problems are under control. Adjust & adapt!

The vision stuff isn't an issue with the handgun, because I shoot with both eyes open. The left eye picks up the slack. With a rifle, though, especially at distances beyond 50 yards, it's just too much stress on my right eye without some magnification. The Leupold is a fine scope, and about 50% of the cost of an ACOG, another potential choice. I'm thinking of going to a higher power Leupold Tactical scope on the JP Enterprises gun, maybe the 2.5-8X. I need to talk to John Paul of JP and 3-gun champion Mike Voight about that choice.

And, yes, I think I'm gonna suck it up and jump through the hoops for the suppressor...I might want to use my ears again after firing this thing in a contained space!

The S&W already has a Wilderness Tactical single-point sling fitting, via a Brownell's sling adaptor, and my plan is to fit the same adaptor to my other ARs and my pump shotguns. No, a single point sling isn't as fast as a full-blown 3-point Giles sling, but hey, it doesn't require a memory card and ballet training to get into, either!

I'm half-way considering converting the little DPMS carbine into a dedicated 9mm gun, since I always have many thousands of rounds of 9mm lying around and it'd be a good gun for training. My good friend Alan Samuel, who you've seen several times on SG, has a really nice magazine block and has done some excellent conversions. Maybe with el-cheapo Sten magazines...I'll keep you informed.

You all know I've issued a BUY HI-CAP MAGAZINES RIGHT NOW alert, in case of a Dem debacle in next week's elections. If the Dems sweep, think the price of hi-caps will go up??? I feel a little better about our titular friends, the Republicans, holding onto at least a piece of the government, but it never hurts to be prepared. I've bought fresh, clean AR, SIG, Glock and Para-Ordnance mags, and I'll probably add a couple of factory Mini-14 20-rounders (the only Mini hi-caps that work 100%, BTW!) just to round things out.

I do have an AR MAGAZINE SHOCKER for you...who do you suppose supplies most of the AR magazines to the boys at SOCOM? Try Brownell's!

The Brownell's 30-rounder is the mag of choice for the special ops community. I had a long and really illuminating talk with Pete Brownell about the whys and wherefores of the success of the Brownell's mag. Pete emphasized that the Brownell's magazine is made to the current military spec. He told me that mil-spec is constantly changing; the specs for the magazines have changed seven times this year alone, mostly driven by Real World experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. So when you go to El Cheapo Magazines and buy "mil-spec" green follower magazines, the question is, "Which mil-spec?"

Yes, the Brownell's magazines are more expensive, $17.95 MSRP, versus a more-or-less $12 MSRP "on "current green-follower mil-specs." You tell me what a 100% magazine is worth! I've standardized on the Brownell's; you might consider doing the same.

ALSO BTW, I tried to give you all the links for this stuff to stave off the "where can I get that?" emails. It always irritated the hell out of me when I read about something that I thought I needed, only to find that the publication didn't bother to tell me where to find it!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Physics of Pole Dancing

Unlike you, I did not sleep through my physics classes either in high school or college, where I was (bizarrely, considering my life trajectory) a Dean's List student in physics and math. Luckily, I discovered that I could in fact major in movies, which allowed me to eat popcorn, drink beer and get laid.

Still, I think I am carrying the torch for physics...so in an effort to spread the gospel, I offer you Popular Science's excellent analysis of the force vectors affecting a crashing pole dancer. Go see the video here, then ponder this:
She now has a sizeable amount of angular momentum moving counterclockwise around the pole, and this can be halted only by an external force...
If they had had this kind of analysis when I was in college, I might have stayed in physics, discovered commercially feasible cold fusion, bought Bill Gates' house and started my own rock band with Steven King, George Smoot*, John C. Mather*, Angelina Jolie and that nerdy guy on NUMB3RS.

(*Winners of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physics for — and let me get this exactly right — "their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation." Anybody who can discover that can rock!)

A Fading Flash of Pink

Even as my cherubs and seraphim report that a major firearms company is negotiating with a cartoon character — a very hot cartoon character, to be sure — to act as spokesman, word comes that one the most important cultural icons in America is headed for the recycle bin of history.

The pink flamingo is dead.

This from the Florida Sun-Sentinel:
RIP: Pink Flamingo, 1957-2006

The pink plastic flamingo, a Florida-inspired icon that has been reviled as kitschy bad taste and revered as retro cool, is dead at age 49.

The pop culture symbol met its demise after its manufacturer, Union Products, of Leominster, Mass., was socked with a triple economic threat -- increases in costs of electricity and plastic resin combined with loss of financing. Production ended in June, and the plant is scheduled to close Nov. 1, according to president and CEO Dennis Plante. Union Products made 250,000 of its patented plastic pink flamingos a year in addition to other garden products.
Sigh...sure, change is inevitable, but it certainly pains us here at the Mountain Redoubt to see such an enduring, and inspiring, image pass into the mists. Somewhere in an alternative universe, Travis McGee is staring at the dreadful lemon sky, a tear slipping from one fearful yellow eye. Meyer laughs quietly in the background, fixing yet another Boodles on ice...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

AHHHHH, Halloween...

WARNING: SEXIST POST! Cover your eyes!

I got home late last night from GUNSITE, and, as it happens, drove across the University of Colorado campus around 1 AM. Apparently, Friday night was a big Hallowween party night, and I have to say the wee hours campus scenery was...impressive.

"Bondage Slut" seemed to be a particularly popular costume. I saw two — count 'em! — Little Miss Muffetts to whom I would happily pay money to see them eating their curds and whey. And that's not to mention the anime-tinged Catholic schoolgirl who actually caused traffic on Broadway to swerve as if under the influence of a powerful wind.

If I had a teenaged daughter, I'd probably move to a different planet. Since I don't, I'm only sorry I didn't have my camera...

ADDENDUM: My Sweetie suggested that if didn't straighten up, she'd dress up as an attorney and I'd be sorry...

Friday, October 27, 2006

One More Before Nite-Nite...

...after all, I got a show to film tomorrow! Above is answer to life's most vexing question, i.e., what's the crummiest thing about a 1911. The answer, of course, is the grip safety, which often appears to have a mind of its own. As a person cursed with grily man hands, I have occasionally found myself standing on the line in a competition dutifully pulling the trigger while nothing happened, leading me to perform a TAP-ROLL-RACK clearance drill like a well-trained puppy. Far too often, the culprit is not a stoppage but a slightly less than fully depressed grip safety. In the Real World, the consequences of such are potentially much greater than just looking like an idiot in front of all your friends and having your Custom Doo-Dah 1911 Master Blaster shrivel with embarrassment.

My old friend Wayne Novak, Lord High King of the Novak Sight, has the answer, which he cleverly calls The Answer...a single unit combination mainspring housing/beavertail. Viola! You can't miss the grip safety, because it's no longer there!

I believe these are going to find their way only most, if not all, of my 1911s...at least the ones I shoot a lot.

The super cool grips, by the way, are one-offs made in G-10 for gunwriter Gary Paul Johnson, bearing his trademarked 1*, a simple reminder that you have only "one ass to risk." a point well worth remembering!

I'm going to save my overall reviews of the M&P pistol and rifle for a long treatment on the SG site next week. I bought both guns, and in response to one commenter, I shot several of the rifles, and while they did a "mil-spec" trigger, it was fine for anything but target work. I have had SUBSTANTIALLY MORE PROBLEMS with alledgedly "trick" AR triggers — including some very well know aftermarket brands — that just don't hold up to a lot of pounding. I'll take a mil-spec trigger that works all the time every time. I've looked at a lot of ARs since I decided that I desperately needed another one, and the S&W with the Aimpoint M2 was dead bang what I was looking for.

Now, before I pass out, I gotta watch the SOUTH PARK Halloween special, because intellectual stimulation is very important!

You Didn't Hear It From Me!

This is the new SOCOM version of the 4X ACOG gunsight from Trijicon, the TA-31 ECOS (Enhanced Combat Optical Sight, one presumes). It's anodized brown, so it will got well with that suit from the Sears rack; note the Docter red dot pistol sight on top for up close and personal encounters...remember dat ole demon parallax. the battery on the Docter — the only battery on the sight — is rated for two years if you keep the cover n the little bugger, which shuts it off. BTW, I've always wondered about that fiber optic light gathering tube on the top of the sight, like, how easy was it to break. The answer, according to Trijicon's experts is residence, is damned hard to break. I didn't get to pound it up and down on concrete, but hey...

Expect to see this premiered at the SHOT Show in January.Meanwhile, keep it under your hats.

Mary Poppins Gets Real!

Okay, the Mary Poppins Sniper Team is a fantasy from Blade-Tech holsters founder Tim Wegner. It has to do with his fetish for umbrellas, or something like that. I'm sure he'll be fine once he gets some rest!

Anyhow, there's a bunch of new Blade-Tech stuff I wanted to give you a heads-up on. Second picture down is the new Training Barrel. Slip your real barrel out of your piece and pop in a brightly colored Training Barrel...suddenly, no live ammunition can sneakily crawl into your gun! This is a really big deal when demo'ing guns (like we do every week on SHOOTING GALLERY) or in high-speed training scenarios. Nothing feels as much like a "real" gun as a real gun. You get to dry-fire the gun to your heart's content and your television set gets to remain in one piece. I am 100% on this product, which is presently available for Glocks (19/23 family), with 1911s, SIG-229s and the S&W M&P on the way. It's cheaper than a blue/red plastic training gun — and believe me, I've bought a bunch of them! — and I suspedct you can carry it onto a plane with setting off alarm bells thoughout the western world. If your gun has lasers or trick sites or is bondo-formed to your big fat paw, so much the better. Seriously, I hope Tim ends up making these for all of the most common duty/carry guns, because I think EVERYONE should have one! Go to the Blade-Tech site and check 'em out. If you've got the right Glock, buy one immediately! Your television will profoundly thank you...

Next up is Blade-tech's foray into Molle gear connectors. Molle gear is great for hanging things off of, but sometimes the hangers leave a lot to be desired. The new B-T system offers precise on and off, a la a Molle-ized version of their famous Tek-Lok. Clips on; clips off. Simple, ingenious and what you'd expect from a company that also makes pink sniper sweatshirts.

Finally, watch for a simple, elegant retention holster (4th pix down, on left) — guaranteed to be popular with police and military — and...big drum roll here...a new series of reasonably priced holsters that should do with molded holsters what Kydex did for carry holsters in the first place. The only real drawback to Blade-Tech holsters has been price...they're great, but they will cost you a couple of bucks more than their competitors. Basically, the company has scored a breakthrough on molding technology, and the resulting holsters are really nice...and slick. That is, a higher lubricity factor, terminology usually applied to K-Y Jelly for sure, but it works just as well with holsters — makes for a quick holster that doesn't eat your gun's finish up quite as fast. Watch for them...they're on the way.


Sorry about Blogger slipping in that podcast-that-wasn't-there link yesterday! Computers are sneaky that way.

I thought I'd start with a test question...how many firearms experts does it take to hammer a SureFire Scout light onto a M&P-15? Well, the short answer is at least two, if one is SureFire VP Dick Williams and the other is NRA Queen Sandy Froman. Dick actually knows how to install these thing, and he didn't even use a mallet once! He did, however, cry out piteously for duct tape.

Seriously, it's great to see Sandy Froman at an event like this, because it eases my mind that there's somebody in our firearms organizations who shoots pistols (very well; she a multiple GUNSITE graduate), likes black rifles and collects machine guns. She never once brought up duck hunting, and she may well have the only pink GUNSITE hat in existance.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Machines That Work

No, she's not a machine that works; she's the lovely Shirley Steffin from Harris Publications, who publish COMBAT HANDGUNS and GUNS AND WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT. I know you guys, and you're thinking, "What's that she's holding?"

Okay, it's an S&W M&P 15A rifle fitted with an Aimpoint Comp M3 with 3X Magnifier, SureFire combat light and, even though you can't see it, a SureFire suppressor...a really sophisticated poodle shooter, so to speak. Seriously, we spent all day on the M&P 15, which is indeed a superior AR platform gun.

To sum it up, it's a machine that works...no quirks, no weirdness, nothing that breaks or falls off. Damn, not much more you can ask for! Like the M&P pistol, I'll be pulling together a more comprehensive report for the SG website.

In the meantime, a couple of happy tidbits of information:

S&W corporate attorneys have cleared the way for the company to begin manufacturer of Series 70-style 1911, sans that annoying firing pin safety system that never added an iota of safety, amde the gun quantums harder to disassemble and in general screwed up the trigger pull and grip safety. It was a stupid idea to begin with, and I hope other manufacturers follow suit and make us all happy.

SureFire suppressors for the AR platform guns, which we featured in an early episode of SHOOTING GALLERY, are now available for sale to civilians in states that allow silencer ownership. I've always thought the SureFire was a superior system because of the excellent way the suppressor attached to the barrel, which yielded a shorter overall package without a great big fat sausage hanging off the end of the gun. Check them out here and see what I mean.

Tomorrow, transitions!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Quickie Before "When Good Pets Go Bad II"

Okay, not the greatest picture in the world, but I wanted to get a first look out to you. This is the new S&W M&P Compact 9mm...seriously cool! Three-and-a-half inch barrel and a super concealable butt. I don't have the specs in front of me, but I was really really impressed with the ergonomics of the little gun. My biggest problem with most small semis of the double-stack variety is they're fat little piggies! What makes a gun really concealable is the width, not the length of the slide or even, within reason, the length of the grip.

The M&P series of autos is surprisingly svelte for a double stack, which makes it a better handler than a fatter semi. This is perfect for a small carry gun. Hopefully, I'll shoot the little guy some tomorrow. Figure availability in a month or so, and a .40 and eventually a .357 Sig will follow.

We spent all day running drills after a morning of armorer info on the S&W. From my standpoint, the M&P has held up very well as we increased the pace. Part of that reason is the 18 percent grip angle...S&W says they spent a million bucks studying grip angles and eventually concluded that Saint John the Divine was right. So, for a class full of old 1911 hands, the M&P is an easy transition. It doesn't hurt that the guns have an extremely well designed beavertail, that contributes to spreading out the mild 9mm recoil.

Gotta go to sleep now...Buzz Mills, GUNSITE's owner, hosted a dinner for us at his spectacular home with a sweeping overlook of the whole of Prescott Valley. I ended up swapping lies with GUNSITE Rangemaster Ed Stock, Sheriff Jim Wilson from SHOOTING TIMES and my friend Dick Williams from SureFire and/or SHOOTING ILLUSTRATED...the BS was, in fact, deep enough to drown in.

Got some very cool new developments from the holstermeisters at Blade-Tech, which I'll try to get up tomorrow. You already know that I'm a huge fan of Blade-Tech's kydex holsters...I probably have one or more for all of my "working" guns, especially range and competition guns. Blade-Tech founder Tim Wegner, who started out making holsters in his kitchen, I think has some paradigm-rattling stuff coming up. Tim also knows I have a real jones for knives, so he bought me one of his Wegner Pro Hunter folders with my name engraved on the blade. OFFICIALLY TOO COOL FOR SKOL! Pixs tomorrow...now I gotta finish watching "When Good ets Go Bad II..." and sleep...

Monday, October 23, 2006

The S&W M&P 9mm

Hi kids...I spent today at GUNSITE working with the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm semiauto, and so far it has been a lot of fun. If you saw the SG where we went to the S&W factory in search of the ill-fated military trials pistol, you'll recall I was pretty impressed with the M&P .40s, which I shot in production prototype. Ergonomically, it's a very well designed gun, and the 9mm version certainly follows suit.

I'll have a more comprehensive report after I put some more rounds downrange tomorrow...and YES, I'll bring my camera!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Friday Gun Porn on Saturday!

I meant to post this pix of my overhauled S&W M-21 .44 Special yesterday, but I got tied up putting snowtires on the trusty Honda Element in anticipation of last night's snowstorm. Sigh..it's not even Halloween and we got another foot of white stuff!

Anyway, I've had this M-21, a de-blinged version of the Thunder Ranch Special of a few years back, since they first became available. I liked it a lot, but found that when I had my druthers, I'd end up shoot my 1917 snubbie (built by who knows who) .45 ACP or my custom Hamilton Bowen .44 Special L-Frame "Mountain Gun."

Here's the original blog post of my gun tests and some of my conclusions:
I ran 100 rounds of the 240-gr Cowboy through the gun double action on IDPA targets at 10 and 12 yards. The Cowboy loads were printing maybe 2 inches high, centered, at 12 yards. I could definitely feel the 240 grain bullet; the DA is still (12-14 pounds) but very smooth, and it kept smoothing up the more I shot.

Interestingly enough, I've been shooting my 1917 Fitz Special .45 ACP N-frame snubbie, which has a world-class action job and really nice Bear Hug grips, so initially the M21 felt a little rocky to me. The factory M-21 grips were almost there, but not quite the equivalent of the custom grips on the Fitz. In drills, I didn't feel like the M-21 was handling as well as the Fitz, but the groups were right on par with the .45.
I decided to get the M-21 to where I really liked shooting it. First it went to Jim Stroh at Alpha Precision for one of his excellent action jobs and thinning the front sight. Jim's done the action work on a lot of my big frame revolvers...he just does super work! Right now, he's got my S&W 329 ultra-lite .44 Magnum hand-buster for a little TLC, and I'm going to let him massage my ancient and much-shot M-29 .44 Magnum 6-inch, which I did a half-assed action job on back in the 1970s.

The action came back silky smooth in both SA and DA — I do most of my revolver shooting DA only. I had the front sight thinned...as a legacy of my competition days (and my Aging Guy eyes) I prefer a narrower front blade...it's quicker and easier to pick up.

Still, I wasn't totally happy. One of the things I really love on the 1917 snubbie is the set of signed Bear Hug Grips, custom fitted to the reworked frame of the old S&W. As you know, the maker of these great grips passed on years ago, and while the factory Ahrends are nice and skinny, they felt like to much of a less-than-hand-filling compromise on a non-CCW big fat revolver.

Amazingly, a set of N-Frame round butt Bear Hugs came up for sale in the S&W Forum Classifieds a couple of weeks ago for the FINE price of $75. I snapped 'em up (thanks, Lou!), and they made all the difference in the world. The gun went from a B+ to and A+. I think it's because the Bear Hugs mimic a set of regular S&W Magnas smoothed out and fitted with a Tyler grip adapter, which is actually a pretty comfortable grip for someone with less-than-ham-sized mitts.

I'm going to query Brother John Taffin, the world's greatest expert on sixguns, to see if he knows any grip-makers who are copying the Bear Hugs, because I'd like a set for my square-butt N-frames. I delegated the factory Ahrends to my current revolver project, a currently disfunctional 3-inch .41 Magnum I'm thinking of turning into a titanium-cylindered .44 Magnum (second pix).

Isn't it amazing that old Bear Hugs and new Ahrends can fit any N-frame no problem, but equally expensive Eagle Grips don't even come close to fitting????

Thursday, October 19, 2006

CNN Posts Video of Terrorist Snipers Killing American Troops

How low can these MSM scumbags go?

The answer is, as low as it's humanly possible to get. Go to CNN.com and click on their "CNN Exclusive...U.S. troops in sniper's line of fire." Or go here to check out the "promo," courtesy of James Taranto at OpinionJournal.com.

WAtch the video, where you'll get to see an Iraqi terrorist kill an American soldier. That's right...it's just darn good news! If it bleeds, it leads. And what could be more heart-warming than than seeing someone's son, someone's brother, someone's husband killed by a mindless religious fanatic and video'ed by someone lower than the lowest whore, someone who, IMO and if the videographer was an American, needs to be on trial for treason, or, if not an American, considered an enemy combatant.

The editors at CNN, though, are definitely American citizens...treasonous American citizens!

Yet the Mainstream Media venerates these whores and traitors...gives them awards and lots of money. Here's what James Taranto says:
We have long argued that America's mainstream media--because of what they see as the "lessons of Vietnam"--are actively working to promote American defeat in Iraq.
By airing this video, CNN is participating in what it acknowledges is "a P.R. campaign aimed at influencing the American public" in ways favorable to America's enemies. And the network does not even seem to realize what a shocking admission this is.

Secret Dem Strategy Revealed!

The Contract With American Hillbillies, courtesy of Dr. Howard Dean...
Dear Valued Potential Customer:

As the leader of one of America's premier political parties, I know firsthand the importance of building bridges to the various communities and constituencies we serve. Unfortunately, when serving as many diverse communities as we do at the DNC, sometimes an important relationship can inadvertently fall through the cracks. Frankly, I realize we have not always brought our "A Game" when it comes to the concerns of conservative-Americans. That's why we would like to take this opportunity to start a dialog with you, the conservative "values voter," by addressing an issue of vital importance to all of us -- the growing Republican homo menace.

Despite what you may have heard on Fox News, we Democrats know what issues are on the minds of heartland conservatives like you. We know that your number one concern of is the safety of your children -- whether they are plucking their banjos on the back porch, speaking tongues to snakes at Jesus Camp, or torching crosses at your local Nascar racing contest. We also know that the number one threat to your children's safety is the scourge of international homo-ism. That's why we at the DNC have created "The Contract With American Hillbillies," a new multipoint investigation program to identify and root out conservative stealth homoism before it threatens you or your precious little inbreeds.
Read the whole thing and have a laugh...heaven knows we need it with the upcoming election!

STI Article Up on SG Site!

The Cutting Edge Gets a Little Sharper!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dealin' Friends

"Oh, and it’s a hollow feelin’ when
It comes down to dealin’ friends
It never ends"
— The Eagles
"Tequila Sunrise"

You've all put up with my rants about the implications of the increasing split between the hunting and the shooting markets, especially in the light of the coming elections. Here's the Cliff Notes version for those of you who slept in:
I believe the hunting and shooting markets, long considered a single entity, have been diverging, which would be no big deal except that the firearms industry has 100% allied itself with the hunting side of the market to the exclusion of the shooters. As the markets have diverged, so have the things in our best interest split. In some cases, those interests are in direct conflict; for example increasing hunting access versus building shooting ranges. More troubling is the fact that the hunting side of the industry focuses on traditional hunting arm, rifles and shotguns, while the shooting side of the industry is overwhelming interested in self-defense handguns, "black" rifles and competition firearms.
Mostly I've focused on this issued from the Boston Tea Party — no taxation without representation — side of the table. The firearms industry collects money from us in the form of an excise tax on guns and ammo, plus membership in various trade organizations, plus contributions, etc., then uses that money for RKBA issues, lobbying, new programs etc.

I have no issue when our money is used to "fight the good fight." But more and more of that money is going into a hunting market-related agenda. As I've said before, one major honcho in the industry told me recently that "hunter access" was the single biggest issue facing the firearms community, and that hunting was the future of firearms, period.

Let me show you where that thinking ends up...

Charlie Meyers, the Denver Post Outdoors Editor and a very well-respected hook-and-bullet writer, this morning weighted in on the Colorado governor's race, which is a mess. The column's not up on the Denver Post site yet, so I'm going to have to do some fill-in for you.

The Colorado governor's race between Democrat Bill Ritter and Republican Bob Beauprez is as nasty as they come. Both men have accused the other as being Spawns of Satan who sacrifice babies every full moon...and those are the "nice" ads! Here's what's interesting from our perspective...

The Democrat Ritter moved quickly to blunt the "gun vote," which in Colorado (as in much of the U.S.) is the swing vote. He jumped on "my" issuesomebody in his office reads this blog — the U.S. Forest Service's on-going antigun campaign to shut down shooting in the national forests and pledged to fight for more ranges, blah blah. NRA gives Ritter an "F" as the man behind Denver's assault weapon ban.

Beauprez — depite my urgings in the early months of this year — took the gun vote for granted. I spoke to a Beauprez insider back in April, who asked me what the candidate needed to to to "nail down" the gun vote. I talked about the USFS issues, but mostly I said Beauprez needed to simply talk to us. I said I realized that the social conservative wing of the Republican Party looked at us, especially the "shooter" side of the vote, as somewhere between a necessary evil and looney Uncle Fester locked in the closet. All the candidate had to do to turn us out was tell us, publicly, that he was willing to work with us. That never happened, despite Beauprez's "A" rating from the NRA (which his office probably figured would carry the day).

Okay, here's where we are this AM with Mr. Meyers' column in support of the Democrat Ritter:
...Ritter has been attacked by the National Rifle Association as a threat to gun ownership, a reference to his stance against certain radical firearms as an article of public safety when he was Denver's district attorney.

The notion that Ritter, or any other Colorado politician, could or would take away our shotguns and hunting rifles is absurd. Last time I checked, nobody went hunting with automatic assault rifles or Saturday night specials.
Sort of takes your breath away, doesn't it? Let me just highlight a few phrases..."certain radical firearms"..."take away our shotguns and hunting rifles"...nobody went hunting with automatic assault rifles or Saturday night specials"...

Okay, just like you I have a reflex urge to correct the man...ARs are on the way to becoming one of the most popular hunting rifles in America, just like they took over long-range competitions...self-defense handguns are the largest sellers in the country...black rifles are no different than hunting rifles...there's no such thing as a "Saturday night special"...blah blah...

But that is not the point!

Let me give you one more quote from Mr. Meyers' column for you to chew on:
This wrong-headed election rhetoric from the firearms lobby consistantly ignores the reality that it doesn't matter how many guns we own if there's nothing left to hunt.
And that, folks, is where our industry's obsession with hunting leads us!

Good lord, I own a lot of guns that I use constantly, and I don't hunt at all any more. The shooting sports are growing while hunting is shrinking. Firearms training is a booming industry, and a vast majority of states — including Colorado — allow CCW. The Second Amendment is not about duck hunting! But ..."it doesn't matter how many guns we own if there's nothing left to hunt."

Think about it, boys and girls. We're coming to a crossroads...I've been severely criticized by some traditional firearms groups for supporting a "dangerous division" within the gun lobby. I do no such thing; I want our voices — the voices on the side of the growing market segment — to be heard and our issues to be addressed.

We — sport shooting, self-defense, training, collectors — are the future of firearms in America.

We all know it, and the numbers prove it. I stand hand-in-hand with my hunting brothers and sisters, as long as they stand hand-in-hand with me!

I have no illusions that the majority of those on Mr. Meyers' side of the argument are perfectly willing to sell us out if the other side guarantees them "hunting rights." I am voting a straight NRA ticket, including Beauprez, in November, but I am not a fool. There is a limit to how long I will support a lobby that marginalizes what I do in favor of a shrinking "old guard." And I suspect I am not alone here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Helpful Home Gunsmithing Tip

Laser bore-sighters have revolutionized how we sight in our guns. Stick the laser into the end of the barrel and you get a precise red-dot point for us to adjust our scope. However, as these photo forwarded to me by ace competition shooter Bruce Piatt — and no, it's not is rifle! — clearly show, remember to take the laser bore-sighter OUT OF THE BARREL before pulling the trigger!

Bullies & the Left

I'm going to post on my field trip to STI International tomorrow AM — so if you're in an anti-expensive gun mood, you might want to sleep in!

In the meantime, I wanted to post a bit of Peggy Noonan's superb column last Friday on OpinionJournal.com:
On "The View" a few days earlier it was Rosie O'Donnell. She was banging away on gun control. Guns are bad and should be banned. Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who plays the role of the young, attractive mom, tentatively responded. "I want to be fair," she said. Obviously there should be "restrictions," but women have a right to defend themselves, and there's "the right to bear arms" in the Constitution. Rosie accused Elizabeth of yelling. The panel, surprised, agreed that Elizabeth was not yelling. Rosie then went blank-faced with what someone must have told her along the way is legitimately felt rage. Elizabeth was not bowing to Rosie's views. Elizabeth needed to be educated. The education commenced, Rosie gesturing broadly and Elizabeth constricting herself as if she knew physical assault were a possibility. When Rosie gets going on the Second Amendment I always think, Oh I hope she's not armed! Actually I wonder what Freud would have made of an enraged woman obsessed with gun control. Ach, classic projection. Eef she had a gun she would kill. Therefore no one must haf guns.
I hadn't really hammered Rosie any more than usual because it's so damned hopeless...she is a vile human being with access to the MSM. But Ms. Noonan managed to put not just Rosie's most recent outburst, but the steady attack from the Left on the First Amendment, that of free speech, into a sort of clarity:
It is not only about rage and resentment, and how some have come to see them as virtues, as an emblem of rightness. I feel so much, therefore my views are correct and must prevail. It is about something so obvious it is almost embarrassing to state. Free speech means hearing things you like and agree with, and it means allowing others to speak whose views you do not like or agree with.
Read the whole thing!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Warning Signs for the New World

This from the Lifeboat Foundation, thoughtfully providing us with warning signs for the world of tomorrow. I need one of these immediately for the door to my office!

Finished the second day of our COWBOY 101 special event and tomorrow am off to STI. I'm a little surprised at the level of venom in the comments on yesterday's post. Oh well...

Me and "Lefty Longridge" — aka Joe Alesia — stopped by the Cabela's store in Buda, TX. Let me put this into perspective...it's as big as a friggin' planet! The store has its own mountain, enough stuffed animals to fill the Field Museum, with sufficient leftovers for the Gillette, WY, airport, and, heck, for all I know, its own gravity.

Joe and I made a run on the gun department, which is about the size of your average warehouse. Two things caught my eye, both oldies...a Marlin 1894 lever gun in .38-40 in great shape for under seven bills and a refinished Winchester 1892 in the same caliber for about $100 more. I'm a big fan of the .38-40 for no particular reason. I could tell you that it's "better than this cartridge or that cartridge," a la the gun rags, but I'd be lying. Think of it as an early .41 Magnum level cartridge that's a bitch to reload 'cause of it's bottleneck. Its an acquired taste, like kimchi.

Cabelas also had a couple of nice 1st Gen Colt S.A.A.s for about the price of a used Honda Civic — thanks, but no — and some shotguns that would require one of those tricky mortgages. Personally, I was almost overcome by the idea of cammie everything. I'm not totally sure, but I though there was a special area for having your spousal until spray-painted in digital cammie, your choice of woodland, winter or desert.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Cactus Plants Are Tough on the Pants...

...deep in the heart of Texas, where I am doing whatever it is one does in Texas, aside from eat BBQ and wear hats. We've got a day of filming COWBOYS tomorrow, then up to Georgetown and my pal Dave Skinner at STI International for SHOOTING GALLERY.

Any questions you wanna ask Brother Skinner and I'll be sure to ask 'em. And, yes, I plan to shoot the Texican Single Action Army clone and get some posted on the SG site ASAP!

Meanwhile, before I drift off to Dreamy-Land, I leave you with this item from our brethern and sisterns (?) Across the Pond, from the ubiquitous Daily Mail:
Nurse 'savaged' by enraged giant pig

A nurse has spoken of her terror after she was attacked by a giant pig which charged the horse she was riding and then savaged her after she was thrown to the ground.

Suffering from broken ribs from the fall, Carolyn Robinson feared for her life as the enraged pig hurtled at her.

The ferocious beast, which she describes as "huge", mauled the 51 year old and snapped at her legs as she tried desperately to fight it off while lying prone in a quiet country lane.

The pig was eventually driven off by Mrs Robinson's worried teenage daughter, with the help of passers-by.
The animal is believed to still be on the loose in Hampshire's New Forest and police are urging people to be cautious and report any threatening pig incidents.
Heaven help her if she had had the wherewithal to cap the porcine marauder...she'd be doing time while the pig appeared on The View for an exclusive interview with Rose O'Donnell to discuss anger management issues.

Anyway, I gotta get up early...remember, report any threatening pig incidences, especially if they involve Rosie! As to whom, I was thinking maybe Al Gore. He invented pigs, you know...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Gift That Keeps on Giving!

Go here...watch this.

Have your credit card ready!

Know Your Enemy Redux

Here's an article that all of us in the gun lobby should read. It's from the Chronicle of Higher Education, via the High Road, and written by Kristin Goss, whose book Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America, is the operating "play book" for our enemies:
What the movement against alcohol, as well as the movements against abortion and tobacco, managed to do that the movement for gun control didn't -- at least until recently -- was figure out a message that would trump the classical liberal assumption that liberty is paramount. That message: Regulating liberty is necessary to protect children. The gun-control forces didn't embrace such maternalistic rhetoric until 2000, when a coterie of suburban women organized the massive Million Mom March in Washington and nearly 70 cities around the country.
The 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, near Denver, and the Million Mom March a year later helped change that thinking. While the press branded the march a flop -- because Congress didn't respond and because the march's organizational shell imploded -- the moms actually succeeded in two core ways. They helped persuade national gun-control leaders that local organizing was viable, and they laid the groundwork for a nation-spanning gun-control movement. In late 2001, the nation's largest gun-control group, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, adopted the struggling Million Mom March chapters, giving the national lobby an organized network of grass-roots activists for the first time in its 27-year history. The other major gun-control lobby, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (formerly the Coalition to Ban Handguns), likewise turned its attention to raising money for and working with state gun-control groups during the 1990s and beyond.
This is the shape of the war we may indeed face after November. Local gun control organizing has been in some areas successful...the U.S. Forest Service actions that I helped bring to light are a good example.

Kids & Guns the Right Way

This from Corpus Christi's KRISTV.com:
It happened Monday afternoon at a home in the 4200 block of Ocean Drive. A 14-year-old boy shot and killed a man who broke into his family's home Monday and threatened to kill him and his mother, Police Chief Bryan Smith said.

Smith said the man, confronted a woman as she was carrying groceries into her home shortly before 1 p.m. The man forced her inside and tied her and her son up. Smith said the woman was able to loosen the binding and free her son, who got his father's revolver from a security box beneath a bed.

As the man tried to break into the room where the two were and threatened to kill them both, the teen fired a shot through the door and hit the intruder in the head, Smith said.
Funny, but you probably haven't heard anything about this story in the MSM, since it's an article of faith that young people are only marginally more competent that a parakeet. There was a letter in this morning's Denver "ECHOES OF COLUMBINE!!!" POST wailing and moaning about the very idea that young people should learn self-defense skills as a part of their phys-ed program. Much better to have them polishing their jump-rope skills, which will serve them better later in life.

Not to jump around content-wise, but I thought today might be an excellent day to purchase some more "normal" capacity magazines for my ARs, as well as some 20-rounders for the SIG-226 and 33-rounders for the 9mm Glocks. We're 30 days out from the election...lots of things can happen in 30 days, but if things go south and the Dems pull off a 1994-style sweep, I believe a brand spanking new Assault Weapons Ban will be right at the top of the "new, gun-friendly Democrats" agenda. And remember, Bush said he'd sign an AWB is Congress passed it...

At the very least, a Dem sweep will probably be reflected in high-capacity magazine pricing...it has before, remember. Besides, we all really need more magazines, and magazine prices have never been lower! The darn things wear out...or at least mine do when I step on them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I've been reading John Maeda's The Laws of Simplicity, and I find it pretty interesting, if flawed. I mean, simplicity ought to be simple, but it is anything but. That's because as a culture we're hypnotized by "features" and "functions." Consider your computer, which could easily serve as the brains for half-a-dozen Space Shuttles but which you use for answering e-mail and surfing trashy Eastern European porn sites because there's simply too many functions to learn. I'm still trying to figure out the "tabs" in Safari, but that's just me. A good friend of mine designed the Dashboard/Widget features of the current Apple OS, and I think it pains him that for the life of me I can't figure out how to use the Widgets to do anything but waste time.

Anyhow, Maeda postulates 10 Laws of Simplicity:
1) Reduce
2) Organize
3) Time
4) Learn
5) Differences
6) Context
7) Emotion
8) Trust
9) Failure
10) The One — simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful
Well, that's about 6 laws too many...4 is cool...10 is complex...and Maeda does like his mumbo-jumbo a bit too much. But I've been thinking about his first 4 laws, and it occurs to me that they can and should be applied to self-defense training. I expecially like the concept of REDUCTION as defined as the balancing act between simple and complex:

How simple can you make it
How complex does it need to be

We're in an era of "branded" training, and part of the branding process is adding proprietary complexity. My classic example is the trainer who breaks the draw stroke into 8 or 9 separate components...in a real confrontation, you're on Step 4 when you get capped by a 'banger who just pulled out his piece and started blasting.

The 'banger's lack of full understanding of the mechanics of the draw wasn't a hindrance to blowing your sorry butt away.

When I taught more than I do now (which is, like, never) I used to start out by saying shooting was simple; those of us suffering from testosterone poisoning went to some lengths to make it complicated. The gun "wants" to shoot straight, and your job as the person holding the gun was to not get in its way.

It's an article of faith with me that analysis — the disassembly of an action into increasingly smaller component parts — can only get you so far. To go back to our example, if we continue our analysis of the draw stroke we'll probably find that it's made up of a lot more than 8 or 9 separate components. There's probably a thousand teeny-tiny muscular arrangements that make up a good draw stroke, and if we break them all down into the smallest controllable parts then analyze each individual part to minimize wasted motion, well, we'll get faster, won't we?

Here's where the balancing act comes in...

Do the Real World benefits to us outweight the negatives of adding complexity to the system?

In the case of the draw, no. Shaving hundredths of a second off a draw may well be a fine activity if you get sponsorship money from gun companies for winning matches, but in the Real World the time is best spent elsewhere.

Good food for thought!

Excellent Piece on Preventing School Shootings

...from our friend Dave Kopel at the Independence Institute, via NRO:
...I simply suggest that teachers and other school employees be allowed to carry if they obtain a handgun carry permit. If a school wants to require special additional training for school carry, that’s fine.

Some people who do not like the idea of teachers being armed to protect students simply get indignant, or declare that armed teachers are inconsistent with a learning environment. I suggest that dead students — and the traumatic aftermath of a school attack — are far more inconsistent with a learning environment than is a math teacher having a concealed handgun on his body.
Dave's article is by far and away the most comprehensive and thoughtful piece I've read on the subject. Just as interesting is the fact that Dave makes some closing points that all of us need to consider:
Our nation has too many people who are not only unwilling to learn how to protect themselves, but who are also determined to prevent innocent third persons from practicing active defense. A person has the right to choose to be a pacifist, but it is wrong to force everyone else to act like a pacifist. It is the policies of the pacifist-aggressives which have turned American schools into safe zones for mass murderers.
The antigun movement in most Western cultures has ultimately proven to be more anti self-defense rather than specifically antigun. Certainly we see the clearest expression of this in the hapless Great Britain, where it is now illegal to even use harsh language against an attacker. Or the equally sad case of Scotland, where in the 1700s my distant ancestor Donald Bane wrote the standard text on fighting with a claymore . Draconian restrictions on possessing and purchasing knives are going into place, no doubt to be followed by rigid restrictions on possessing sticks and stones.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The END of Skeet Shooting as We Know It!

This is just priceless! Go watch this video right now.

I gotta get this guy on SHOOTING GALLERY. And what an Olympic sport! Kim Rhode will eat this one up...

PS: Thanks to David Hardy from Of Arms & the Law, proving that not all lawyers are stuffy!

Name That Head!

And no, it's not Al Gore!

It's actually art, from Petroc Sesti, who seems to be having a good ole time at it. This wax bust shows the results of a 20mm shell through the forehead.
The figurative sculptures encloded here were made in collaboration with the British Military, the male and female nude busts are made of 'hard wax' revealing the science of human self mutilation, through the impact of real military 20mm ammunition flesh wounds into the 'temporarely preheated to body temperature' wax busts. The calm meditative posture of the figures are altered only by the frozen moment of impact.
Now that is a splitting headache! It would look good in my office, too. [Thanks to the BitchGirls for the link]

Sunday, October 08, 2006

ESPN and the Urge to Be Loved

Okay, I'm trying hard to get back into the daily posting, as opposed to the daily bicycling, routine again...gimme a couple of days, and I'll be back to my normal, over-caffeinated frothing at the mouth!

Anyhow, I wanted to make a couple of notes on my previous post about ESPN as the primary sponsor of the State of the Industry gala at SHOT next year. No, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with taking money from folks who air hunting and fishing shows even if they're not 100% with us, and it wouldn't bother me in the least, if only...
The industry supported handguns, the handgun sports, black rifles, the black rifle sports, .50 BMGs, the .50 BMG sports the way they supported hunting.
The industry didn't try to hard so pretend that the sport shooting, self-defense and training side of our culture didn't exist.
The industry didn't spend 99.99% of our money trying to shore up the hunting accessories market.
So, in short, I'm more worried about us than about them. Hard times are coming, folks. I have been on the front lines during hard time, and I can assure you it is not a laugh riot. It is hard, ulcer-inducing, at time scarifying work. I do not like the idea of heading into hard times with the tail wagging the dog, which is the case with our hunting-obsessed industry. Remember our answer to Bill Clinton's and John Kerry's tales of daring-do in the game fields — the Second Amendment isn't about hunting. It still isn't.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shining New World of the Future!

O'Hare Airport.

That's the model for the Shining New World of the Future...perfectly dehumanized with bright shiney posters that bear as much relationship to your life as hieroglyphics...constant announcements of security conditions...dozens of food kiosks manned by unsmiling refugees from Someplace Else, serving food from many lands that all tastes the same...lots of neon and flashing lights, random checks, overlapping cellphone conversations, critical failures of deoderant...I could go on and on, but I'm home now.

Am looking forward to the carbine class at GUNSITE in a couple of weeks...going to spend some time with the new S&W AR clone. I'm also hoping to get a carbine class in at the SIG Academy with the 556 when it becomes available.

In checking back through roughly a billion messages last week, I discover a bulletin from one of the cherubs that certainly bears repeating...next year's festive State of the Industry Address and gala at the SHOT Show in Orlando will be sponsored by ESPN. Ah yes, there's nothihng like getting back in touch with us hunting and fishing consumers, especially for a network that will not show any sport that includes handguns or "black" rifles, nor will it accept advertising from same if said advertising shows the dread handgun or black rifle.

Golly, that's not sleeping with the enemy, is it?

I was trying to remember which network it was that showed the handgun sports, black rifles, .50 BMGs, high speed training, for-real self-defense training...and hunting and fishing...that would be...us?

Friday, October 06, 2006

And the Hunter, Home From the...Red Barn?

Yes, it's true:
• 155 bicycling miles
• 3 1/2 bicycling days
• 1 hiking day
• 3 dreadfully expensive country inns
• 8 Harpoon IPAs
• 2 Creme Brulees
• at least a gallon of maple syrup, amber/fancy variety
• 500 scenic red barns
• 3 covered bridges
• 1 raving asshole woman
• 1 apricot scone, with Creme Fraiche
• 5 sets of stinking bike clothes
• 2 appetizers I couldn't pronounce
• 2 Backroads water bottles
• 16 fellow travelers
• 2 all-suffering guides names Anna and Heather
• 1 really chintzy maple syrup museum featuring noble Native Americans, dugouts, big iron pots, trees and some other stuff that blew right past me
• 1 hot fudge sundae
• 1 brazed tuna with wasabi
• 2 authentic Vermont flannel shirts, gauranteed made by Native Vermont women chewing the hide of a flannel, or something like that
• 1 snake in the road
• 1 Abe Lincoln top hat
• 6 gnomes later...
...my Sweetie and I have survived our vacation — a Backroads bicycling tour of Vermont — and are back in harness! The pix is me with a gnome, who kept trying to give me stock picks. I told him to shut up with the insider information of it was back to the Mines of Moria for him. As usual, my Sweetie biked me into the ground.

I had a wonderful time!

Anything happen while I was gone? Did I get any instant messages from Republican Congressmen looking for hot chat with a 16-year-old hottie? Has North Korea destroyed the world? Is Kenny still dead? Is it true that Sienna Miller said Pittsburg sucks, which is pretty much self-evident, then had to apologize? Damn, there's a lot to be said for being out of touch!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gotta Be Said!

Am on Tinker Toy dial-up out in the provinces, but some things gotta be said after this week. Since on one else was saying them, I thought I should post:

1) Arm teachers. Works in Israel. Only way to stop this crap.

2) Hound the Mainstream Media in Acting like Friggin' Adults! It's time to call a whore a whore...hear that, Denver Post? YOU HAVE COMPLICITY IN THESE EVENTS, you miserable blood vampires.

3) Death for ALL Child Molesters...no deposit; no return. Hey, I don't care if you're a Congressman or not...no "rehab," no "reduced sentence." Death.

More later...

Gotta Be Said!

Am on Tinker Toy dial-up out in the provinces, but some things gotta be said after this week. Since on one else was saying them, I thought I should post:

1) Arm teachers. Works in Israel. Only way to stop this crap.

2) Hound the Mainstream Media in Acting like Friggin' Adults! It's time to call a whore a whore...hear that, Denver Post? YOU HAVE COMPLICITY IN THESE EVENTS, you miserable blood vampires.

3) Death for ALL Child Molesters...no deposit; no return. Hey, I don't care if you're a Congressman or not...no "rehab," no "reduced sentence." Death.

More later...