Friday, November 30, 2007

R.I.P. Evel Knievel

Dead today at the age of 69.

You rocked, dude! And in the end you were the coolest one of all...

Ah, the Pecadilloes of Moronic Youth!

This from the Harvard Crimson, the newspaper of those little college weasels who aspire to rule us all someday:
Pulling the Trigger
The Second Amendment is an anachronism in need of repeal
Published On Friday, November 30, 2007 1:15 AM

Written in an age in which minutemen rose to dress and fight at a moment’s notice, the Second Amendment was no doubt motivated by a young nation’s concern for its own safety and stability. But now, when the United States is protected by the most powerful security forces on the globe, the Second Amendment is neither relevant nor useful. Rather, it has become an impediment to vital public policy, and it should be repealed and replaced with nuanced federal legislation.
Only a painfully naive college student could write "nuanced federal legislation" without breaking up in gales of uncontrollable laughter. As usual, the staff of the Crimson repeats the Brady talking points without bothering to even fact-check them. As usual, we get down on our knees and thank the Benevolent Spirits of Whatever Universe You Presently Reside In that college students are taken less seriously than personal pets.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stealth Living

The nail that sticks up will be hammered down...
— Japanese proverb

I seem to have touched off a minor firestorm by mentioning the piece in Gabe Suarez' newsletter a couple of days ago. The piece on stealth living caught my attention because when I was traveling extensively in the Third World, I considered stealth living a fundamental survival skill. It wasn't that I slavish imitated the dress and mores of wherever I was...rather I focused on being invisible. I spent time observing people and making note of what stood out to me. Then I consciously tried to eliminate those "flags."

When I'm out of the country, I still aim for that goal. When I was in Milan on business, for example, I wore conservative Italian business wear, mid-line, nothing flashy. I stepped into a conference room and all the men were dressed pretty close to how I was...perfect.

I don't apply the same rigorous standards here at home, although when I travel to someplace I haven't been, my goal is to be nondescript. If I've been there, I generally know how the "natives" dress and pack accordingly. The first time I took my Sweetie to NYC, where I used to live, she admonished me, "You could have given me a heads-up that the only acceptable color here is black." I, in black slacks and a leather jacket like every other New Yorker, apologized profusely.

I've talked and written about how my goal in concealed carry is to have nothing on me that stands out. I don't buy into everything Suarez said, but it made me think. My car doesn't have stickers on it by design — I carry guns — (although I may have to put a Fred sticker on it just to fly the flag). I do occasionally wear t-shirts with gun logos, but so does the woman at the local ironism is a wonderful thing!

I realize I'm in sort of a differet a "professional communicator," I'm not looking for my voice. Reminds me of a friend of mine who was a big proponent of dance, an enthsiasm that I as a middle-aged white guy with two left feet, did not share. "But don't you want to express yourself?" she blurted one day. I replied that I was paid to express myself, thus rendering dance to an affectation. I'm a proud member of SASS, USPSA, IDPA, the NRA and several other organizations, but I usually put the stickers on my computer instead of my car.

This goes against my other inclination to highly visible as a gun owner and shooter. I do interviews and give talks on gun rights and the shooting sports, occasionally teach and work with new people at the range, but when it comes to my home and family, less visible is better...much better!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Democratic Presidential Candidate Sighted!

Just joking! Actually, this is a sheep dyed by rock star really..."Baaah Ram Ewe!"

Bitter Bitch
is doing a good job of blogging the Republican debates...I'm sitting this one out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Nod of the Head to Gabe Suarez

If you've been around a bit, you're probably familiar with firearms trainer Gabe Suarez and his Suarez International. I've never trained with Mr. Suarez, but a while back I signed up for one of his newsletters, which I have found to be thoughtful, articulate and very useful. The December Training Update #1 on "Too Much Information" was particularly insightful:
Watch what you say in public. Think the worst of those within ear shot. You want a private conversation, don’t have it in a public place. And if you must, then keep your voices down so only those involved in the conversation can hear it.

A stranger asks you for personal information? Tell them to pound sand. Or if you must provide it for some reason, make a “mistake” and give them bad information. Yes, lie. Change the numbers of your address or give them a different address. Same for phone numbers, dates of birth, and social security numbers. If you must give out the true information, be as guarded about it as you would be with your pin number to the ATM.

Look at your daily dress. Sometimes the job will determine the clothing, but if not, then avoid all the gun school wear and CCW Gucci gear as it will mark you for scrutiny or for targeting. If you don’t care, then keep doing what you are doing. What I will say is the casual construction worker look or the moderately paid office worker look will not get any attention, while the pressed and starched 5.11 CCW vest with matching pants and gun logo hat will get stares from everyone.

Look at your car. How many unnecessary stickers describing you or your family appear there. My favorite OpSec faux pas is the stencil cartoon of all family members along with their names and ages sharply detailed on the back window.

Come on guys. How many of you would walk into the “soon-to-be-released” ward of the local mental hospital for the criminally insane and give a 30 minute briefing on your family and where they can be found? That is in effect what you are doing.
A lot of excellent information here! It's scary information for me because I am, by definition, a "public person." You know a lot more about me than I know about you. Which is weird, because in my previous career as a journalist, I was relentlessly private...comes from prying personal information out of people for a living. I knew how much info people like me could extract from non-pros; accordingly, I didn't give interviews, my numbers weren't unlisted, etc.

Strange how things change...

Anyhow, you can sign up for Gabe Suarez' newsletter here...I strongly recommend you do!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Nyle Leatham Passes...

I note with sadness the death of of my friend, photographer extraordinaire Nyle Leatham, after a short bout with pancreatic cancer.

Nyle was, of course, father of the great Ron Leatham and a chronicler of the history of practical shooting. I can recall with perfect clarity sitting in Nyle and Carol Leatham's little trailer at so many different matches on so many different ranges, looking at his photographs, drinking ice tea and talking about this wonderful world of practical shooting we'd discovered.

You can read the tributes on Brian Enos' forums.

I am sure that whatever afterlife is out there, Nyle will document it with his signature exquisite grace and style.

Rob and heart is with you.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sportsmen For Fred!

This from the Thompson campaign this AM (colored emphasis mine!):
November 24, 2007
For Immediate Release

Thompson Campaign Announces Sportsmen for Fred Steering Committee

McLean, VA - Today the Fred Thompson campaign announced its Sportsmen for Fred Thompson leadership and steering committee. Iowa State Representative and NRA Board Member Clel Baudler, Gerald Stoudemire, Michael Bane, Bill Bunting, and Lee Ann Tarducci will serve as Co-Chairs of Sportsmen for Fred Thompson.

Clel Baudler has represented the 58th district of Iowa in the state legislature since 1998. He currently sits on the Judiciary, Natural Resources and Oversight committees and is the ranking member of the Public Safety Committee. A retired state trooper, State Representative Baudler also sits on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association.

"Fred Thompson has been an unapologetic supporter of the Second Amendment throughout his career and I am honored to be on his team. He is somebody that Second Amendment supporters, hunters, and sportsmen will have as an ally in the White House," said Iowa State Representative and NRA Board Member Clel Baudler. "He has the experience, commitment to conservative principles and understanding of the rule of law that we need leading this nation."

Gerald Stoudemire is a 15-year member and current President of the Gun Owners of South Carolina. The owner of a gun store in Little Mountain, SC, Stoudemire is a NRA Benefactor Member. He has served the Little Mountain community for over 40 years as a volunteer firefighter, including 22 years as the Volunteer Fire Chief.

"I am so pleased to be serving as Co-Chair of Sportsmen for Fred," said Gerald Stoudemire. "Fred Thompson can be trusted on the Second Amendment. He is the only candidate with a consistent record that reflects an understanding of the protection provided under the Second Amendment, and will go to the mat to defend it. I am pleased to offer my support to his campaign and will do everything I can to help Fred win."

Michael Bane is in his eighth season as the host of Shooting Gallery, one of the highest rated shows on the Outdoor Channel. He is the founder and executive producer of Down Range Television, the largest firearms-oriented community website that receives more than 250,000 individual viewers per month. The owner of the Michael Bane Blog, he is a contributor to Outdoor Life Magazine. Bane is the author of 21 books and has been chronicled in numerous publications including Men's Journal, National Geographic Adventure, and Men's Health.

"The so-called 'gun culture' is in fact the mainstream culture of America, and Fred Thompson is the only candidate who understands that simple truth," said Michael Bane. "Through our license fees, our purchases and our contributions, we represent billions of dollars in annual commerce; through our willingness to accept personal responsibility for our safety, we have seen our fellow citizens benefit as crime rates have fallen across our country; through our resolute belief in the Founders' intentions, we have moved toward a better, stronger America. Fred Thompson understands these things because he is more than a candidate...he is one of us."

"I am so honored to have the support of these leading 2nd Amendment advocates, hunters, sportsmen and gun collectors from across the country," said Senator Fred Thompson. "These folks know the real effect of gun control measures is to place onerous restrictions on law-abiding citizens who use firearms for legal activities such as hunting, self-defense, sport-shooting, and collecting. I am committed to fighting for the rights assured to law abiding citizens under the Second Amendment."

Senator Thompson visited with voters today at the Land of the Sky Gun Show in Ladson, South Carolina.

The Sportsmen for Fred Thompson Steering Committee includes:

National Co-Chairs
Clel Baudler (Iowa), Iowa State Representative and National Rifle Association Board Member
Gerald Stoudemire (South Carolina), President, Gun Owners of South Carolina
Bill Bunting (Florida), Chairman, Governor Charlie Christ's Second Amendment Rights Coalition
Lee Ann Tarducci (South Carolina), Board Member and Operations Director, Second Amendment Sisters of South Carolina
Michael Bane (Colorado), Host and Producer of "Shooting Gallery" on The Outdoor Channel

South Carolina
Kirkman Finlay, Columbia, South Carolina City Councilman
New Hampshire
Stephen Lee, Endowment Member of the NRA (18+ years) and member of Gun Owners of America
Paul Erhardt, Firearm Industry Executive
Wally Beinfeld, Shows Director, Beinfeld Productions MB
John Bianchi, Author, Blue Steel and Gun Leather
Ronnie Barrett, Founder, Barrett Firearms Company
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Tennessee Lieutenant Governor
Jerry Patterson, Texas Land Commissioner
Scott Moore, Firearm Industry Executive
*Affiliations listed are for identification purposes only

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Brady Bunch Shows True Colors

Take a look at this from Arms and the Law...the photo is of Judge Laurence Silberman, who penned the pro-Second Amendment verdict for the D.C. Circuit. The cartoon is from Brady, and it features the classic anti-Semitic cariciture of Jews. Whoops...just a little slip-up, huh Sarah?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

When Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road...

Steely Dan
Black Friday

Okay...I considered getting up at 3 AM, weaving my way down icy canyon roads, standing in line as the doors open and spending my entire post-Thanksgiving day buying second-rate plastic Chinese crap that probably wouldn't survive the trip back up the canyon. However, I decided finally to sleep in. Maybe I can order my quota of second-rate plastic Chinese crap on-line. Is it true that you can buy a Chinese stuffed panda toy that when ingested gives you a rush like a combination of ecstacy and NyQuil if you can survive the diarrhea?

Well, true or not, it should be.

This, however, is true (from Drudge):
'Girls Gone Wild' founder alleges torture while in Oklahoma jail

CHICKASHA -- The founder of the "Girls Gone Wild" franchise has accused Grady County jailers of going wild and torturing him during a brief stay at the facility.
He probably refused to pull up his shirt and show his man boobies...this is an example of one of those data points that actually goes nowhere, except maybe proving that the Great Spirit has a wicked sense of humor. Or not. I'm feeling a little low this AM because my lemon merengue pie tanked...our Kitchen Aide mixer turned itself into a Kitchen Aide barely mechanized spoon...yet another overpriced, overrated Kitchen Aide appliance to go south here at Festung Bane...and I had to hand-whip the merengue (sounds like one of those videos the guy from "Girls Gone Wild" makes, huh?). So my merengue ended up not firm enough and immediately started deconstructing. I was humbled. The lemon custard was still good, though.

It's too cold to do much of anything except sit in the house and try to trick Alf the Wonder Dog out of her premium place in front of the fire. So far, the dog is winning. I'm going to bludgeon myself into a half-hour of dry-firing with cowboy guns and maybe a little with a 1911. Spend the rest of the day on the stationary bicycle and peddle off the turkey...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Best SCOTUS Compilation So Far

From Classical Values:
It's very easy for sophisticated people to sneer at the rights of "gun nuts." I grew up here on the East Coast, and watched the phenomenon evolve. In fact, I even saw it first hand, applied in a very petty way by a very "sophisticated" neighbor, when she told my mother that she didn't want her son to come over and play with me as long as my mom allowed me to have toy guns (which in her view needed to be shunned by mothers who knew better). This was shortly after the Kennedy assassination, when I was around eight years old and into the "playing soldier" phase. My mom was quite disturbed by this, because the woman (whose family was headed by a famous New Deal aristocrat) outranked her socially, and I remember my parents discussing it at the dinner table. My father took the "boys will be boys" line and advised my mom to ignore it, but I did lose a friend, and it wasn't really his fault or mine.

It was the new "sophistication." Little did I know that I was witnessing the emergence of one form of what I now call "manufactured morality."

Then as now, the ruling class snobs knew what was best.
BTW, Jim Shepherd of the SHOOTING WIRE and I will be taking steps Monday to clear our press credentials for Washington in March. It is history, and we will be there!

More Updates

Been trying to keep up with the SCOTUS commentaries. I strongly suggest you take the time to hit Glenn Reynolds' InstaPundit on a daily basis. He is a legal authority on the Second Amendment and a relentless aggregator. Check out his column in the New York Post this AM: taking this case, the court has ensured that the gun-rights issue will move to the forefront this election season, at both the presidential and congressional levels. This is probably bad for Democrats, given that most Americans believe they have some sort of right to arms under the Constitution.

It's also probably bad for Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, who have generally been less supportive of gun rights than the other GOP contenders. But maybe Hillary Clinton will prove flexible: Bill Clinton said that the gun issue cost the Democrats control of Congress in 1994, and Hillary no doubt remembers that.
You should also check out he and his wife's podcast, which features an interview with Bob Levy of Cato. Here's a creepy thought from Bill Quick at the Daily Pundit:
By the way, what a stinker of an issue this is for the Democrats and the left, eh? I think Hillary will have a Sister Souljah moment and come out in support of an individual rights interpretation. In my leftist days, the New Left certainly felt that way. None of us supported disarming the Black Panthers. And, frankly, Kos isn’t exactly a hotbed of anti-gun fervor, given that a strong stream of opinion there believes they will have to take up arms to protect themselves from us Fascists.
Wouldn't that be a brilliant shocker? I mean, Hillary doesn't actually believe in anything except power, and coming out in favor of the individual interpretation could drastically blunt the gun voter sword slash that's building for 2008...I think such a move would probably guarantee her the White House. The, of course, she would go right ahead and do whatever she wanted.

And BTW, do NOT miss this one from NRO Hollywood correspondent David Kahane...hysterical!:
No, the big news that has everybody jazzed is the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to grant cert to District of Columbia v. Heller — you know, the one where an overreaching D.C. Circuit Court fascistically ruled that residents of the District — mostly poor, and non-white — are in fact covered by the Second Amendment and thus by the entire U.S. Constitution. Can you believe that? Talk about legislating from the bench!

Well, thank the deity of your own personal belief system, or none at all, for Ruth Buzzi Ginsburg is all I can say — if she’s not snoozing on the bench during oral arguments, she and her compadres on the Left (“Fighting the Power Since 1776”) will drop-kick this sucker back across the Potomac and set off a wave of state-legislative rewrites not seen since Roe v. Wade. And America will be a safer, saner nation because of it.
Well, my phone is ringing off the hook upstairs in the office...I guess I gotta suck it up and face it...

I will definitely be in Washington D.C. when oral arguments are heard, probably in March, and will be blogging as quickly as I can.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Volokh on "The Security of a Free State"

From The Volokh Conspiracy blog:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” the Second Amendment says, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” But what did the Framing generation understand “free State” to mean?

Some say it meant a “state of the union, free from federal oppression.” As one D.C. Circuit judge put it [dissenting in the case that the Court has just agreed to hear -EV], “The Amendment was drafted in response to the perceived threat to the ‘free[dom]’ of the ‘State[s]’ posed by a national standing army controlled by the federal government.” Or as a lawyer for one leading pro-gun-control group wrote, “Presumably, the term ‘free State’ is a reference to the states as entities of governmental authority. Moreover, the reference to the ‘security’ of a free State must have something to do with the need to defend the state as an entity of government.”
What the scumbags at the Brady Center are saying:
If the Supreme Court does not reverse the Court of Appeals's decision, sensible gun laws could be at risk...from the long-standing machine gun the Brady criminal background check local and state gun laws like the ones in California and New Jersey banning military-style assault weapons.
Say, what great ideas!

Excellent Analysis from David Hardy... Arms & the Law:
The Supreme Court obviously wanted to be very precise. That likely explains why it skipped announcing last week, they had to work on it, perhaps negotiations between Justices on the precise wording. I suspect the wording is the result of a lot of careful thinking.

The reference to "Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated
with any state-regulated militia..." is good. Implicit in that is that the old collective right theory (that Second Amendment rights are rights of states only) is off the table. We're down to sophisticated collective rights vs. individual rights. And I might even venture a guess that the Court is showing favor for individual rights here. The sentence presupposes that there are "Second Amendment rights of individuals." There's no "if any" language in there. Read literally, it presupposes that individuals not in such a militia do have second amendment rights... the only question is whether the laws violate those rights. But that may be reading too much into the wording... then again, it was probably the result of some careful thinking, and negotiation.
Read the whole thing!

Rudy Weighs in (And get's on board quickly)

This from the Giuliani campaign minutes ago:

"I strongly believe that Judge Silberman’s decision deserves to be upheld by the Supreme Court. The Parker decision is an excellent example of a judge looking to find the meaning of the words in the Constitution, not what he would like them to mean."

BTW, by popular request, here's the whole article by Mike O'Shea that Glenn Reynolds referenced a few posts back:
How many Americans would view District of Columbia v. Parker as the most important court case of the last thirty years? The answer must run into seven figures. The decision would have far-reaching effects, particularly in the event of a reversal.
It isn’t hyperbole to compare Parker to Roe v. Wade in its potential impact on American politics. Indeed, while the "estoppel by Establishment Clause" argument I just gave is intended to be elegant, persuasive and troubling to legal academics (after all, I ripped it off from Akhil Amar), there is a way more straightforward comparison that a whole lot of average Americans would be making. That's a comparison between the Court's handling of the enumerated rights claim at issue in Parker, and its demonstrated willingness to embrace even non-enumerated individual rights that are congenial to the political left, in cases like Roe and Lawrence. "So the Constitution says Roe, but it doesn't say I have the right to keep a gun to defend my home, huh?"

I would expect to see large public demonstrations in Washington during the pendency of Parker, and political candidates being forced to take sides on the litigation (as is already beginning to happen). The case would cast a long shadow on the national elections in 2008 and beyond.

Fred Thompson on the Supremes & Heller

Just emailed to me:

Fred Thompson Commentary on DC Gun Ban Case

McLean, VA - Senator Fred Thompson issued the following commentary about the United States Supreme Court agreeing to decide whether the District of Columbia’s sweeping ban on handgun ownership violates the Constitution’s fundamental right to keep and bear arms:

“Here’s another reason why it’s important that we appoint judges who use the Constitution as more that a set of suggestions. Today, the Supreme decided to hear the case of District of Columbia v. Heller.

Six plaintiffs from Washington, D.C. challenged the provisions of the D.C. Code that prohibited them from owning or carrying a handgun. They argued that the rules were an unconstitutional abridgment of their Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, provides, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The District argued, as many gun-control advocates do, that these words only guarantee a collective “right” to bear arms while serving the government. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected this approach and instead adopted an “individual rights” view of the Second Amendment. The D.C. Circuit is far from alone. The Fifth Circuit and many leading legal scholars, including the self-acknowledged liberal Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, have also come to adopt such an individual rights view.

I’ve always understood the Second Amendment to mean what it says – it guarantees a citizen the right to “keep and bear” firearms, and that’s why I’ve been supportive of the National Rifle Association’s efforts to have the DC law overturned.

In general, lawful gun ownership is a pretty simple matter. The Founders established gun-owner rights so that citizens would possess and be able to exercise the universal right of self-defense. Guns enable their owners to protect themselves from robbery and assault more successfully and more safely than they otherwise would be able to. The danger of laws like the D.C. handgun ban is that they limit the availability of legal guns to people who want to use them for legitimate reasons, such as self-defense (let alone hunting, sport shooting, collecting), while doing nothing to prevent criminals from acquiring guns.

The D.C. handgun ban, like all handgun bans is necessarily ineffectual. It takes the guns that would be used for self protection out of the hands of law-abiding citizens, while doing practically nothing to prevent criminals from obtaining guns to use to commit crimes. Even the federal judges in the D.C. case knew about the flourishing black market for guns in our nation’s capital that leaves the criminals armed and the law-abiding defenseless. This is unacceptable.

The Second Amendment does more than guarantee to all Americans an unalienable right to defend one’s self. William Blackstone, the 18th century English legal commentator whose works were well-read and relied on by the Framers of our Constitution, observed that the right to keep and bear firearms arises from “the natural right of resistance and self-preservation.” This view, reflected in the Second Amendment, promotes both self-defense and liberty. It is not surprising then that the generation that had thrown off the yoke of British tyranny less than a decade earlier included the Second Amendment in the Constitution and meant for it to enable the people to protect themselves and their liberties.

You can’t always predict what the Supreme Court will do, but in the case of Heller and Washington, DC’s gun ban, officials in the District of Columbia would have been better off expending their efforts and resources in pursuit of those who commit crimes against innocent people rather than in seeking to keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens who would use them only to protect themselves and their families. And that is why appointing judges who apply the text of the Constitution and not their own policy preferences is so important.”

Supremes Take Heller!

This just in from Fox:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the District of Columbia can ban handguns in a case that puts justices squarely into the right-to-bear arms argument. Here's the order itself:

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted limited to the following question: Whether the following provisions, D.C. Code §§ 7-2502.02(a)(4), 22-4504(a), and 7-2507.02, violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes?
Whole story now up on Fox.

This from the SCOTUS blog.

This from the Second Amendment Foundation:

BELLEVUE, WA – For the first time in United States history, the Supreme Court will hear a case that should, once and for all, decide the meaning of the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights, and the Second Amendment Foundation could not be happier.

“We are confident that the high court will rule that the Second Amendment affirms and protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “Previous Supreme Court rulings dating back more than a century have consistently referred to the Second Amendment as protective of an individual right, but the case of District of Columbia v. Heller focuses on that issue, and we expect the court to settle the issue once and for all.”

The court announced today that it will hear an appeal of the case, in which seven Washington, D.C. residents have sued to overturn the district’s 31-year-old gun ban. In March, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the ban is unconstitutional because it violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The court further ruled that the amendment does protect an individual right. The ruling set off a firestorm, in which gun control proponents, who had frequently claimed to support a right to keep and bear arms, dropped all pretenses and publicly acknowledged that they do not believe there is such a right protected by the Second Amendment.

“An affirmative ruling by the Supreme Court will probably not be the death knell for the extremist citizen disarmament movement,” Gottlieb said, “but it will properly cripple their campaign to destroy an important civil right, the one that protects all of our other rights. The insidious effort to strip American citizens of their firearms rights, while at the same time permanently harming public safety must end.

“The Washington, D.C. gun ban has been a monumental failure and the crime statistics prove that,” Gottlieb said. “For almost 70 years, gun banners have deliberately misinterpreted and misrepresented the high court’s language in the U.S. v Miller ruling in 1939. It is long past the time that this important issue be put to rest, and the Heller case will provide the court with that opportunity.”

Second Amendment Blog Bash... the NRA Show in Louisville next May.

I am so there, and if I can get it worked out with the organizers I'll be live-blogging from the event.

I'd also like to throw in one my regular plugs for SayUncle, the most relentless of the gun bloggers. You should be checking his site at least once every couple of days!

Tiptoeing Toward Turkeys

I Thanksgiving recipes this year...not even my much-admired oyster dressing (although celeb chef Robert Irvine's version isn't exactly chopped turkey giblets, either).

Yesterday I toured the site for the proposed $25 million High Plains Tactical Center outside of Denver. Wow! Ten thousand acres of wooded, rolling hills and spectacular views, with more than 3000 acres devoted to what amounts to a Jurassiac Park for shooters, After last week at the $14 million world-class U.S. Shooting Academy in Tulsa, I have to call big-dollar shooting facilities an interesting and important national trend, essentially recognizing the recreational aspects of the gun culture as a wildly underserved market.

It also spits in the face of the antigunners, who have had their programs and their principles — if you can call that sad, sordid collection of mistruths, misinformation, spin and outright lies principles — increasingly rejected. While I like the trend, it still doesn't do anything to stem the loss of shooting areas around the country, although I am hoping for something of a "trickle-down" effect. The rationale for not building new, expanding old or sometimes even maintaining existing shooting areas has been essentially a reflection of antigun disinformation.

We are not a small, declining fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. The shooting sports and the self-defense market is vibrant, growing and full of potential. The building of such facilities as the U.S. Shooting Academy and. hopefully, the High Plains Tactical Center, along with other datapoints such as the multimillion dollar refurbishing of GUNSITE in recent years and the explosive growth of training as a major industry, signify that mainstream culture is moving closer to our core beliefs; that, hopefully, we are moving away from the seering indictments in the classic 1993 essay A Nation of Cowards:
Gun control is a moral crusade against a benighted, barbaric citizenry. This is demonstrated not only by the ineffectualness of gun control in preventing crime, and by the fact that it focuses on restricting the behavior of the law-abiding rather than apprehending and punishing the guilty, but also by the execration that gun control proponents heap on gun owners and their evil instrumentality, the NRA. Gun owners are routinely portrayed as uneducated, paranoid rednecks fascinated by and prone to violence, i.e., exactly the type of person who opposes the liberal agenda and whose moral and social "re-education" is the object of liberal social policies. Typical of such bigotry is New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's famous characterization of gun-owners as "hunters who drink beer, don't vote, and lie to their wives about where they were all weekend." Similar vituperation is rained upon the NRA, characterized by Sen. Edward Kennedy as the "pusher's best friend," lampooned in political cartoons as standing for the right of children to carry firearms to school and, in general, portrayed as standing for an individual's God-given right to blow people away at will.

The stereotype is, of course, false. As criminologist and constitutional lawyer Don B. Kates, Jr. and former HCI contributor Dr. Patricia Harris have pointed out, "[s]tudies consistently show that, on the average, gun owners are better educated and have more prestigious jobs than non-owners.... Later studies show that gun owners are less likely than non-owners to approve of police brutality, violence against dissenters, etc."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Winchester Grabs Fed Contract

This from Walt Rauch via email this PM:
November 19, 2007
Winchester Wins FBI 40 S&W Ammunition Contract

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has awarded Winchester® Ammunition the single largest ammunition contract in the history of federal law enforcement worth a maximum of $54 million for ONE year.

Winchester Ammunition will produce 40 S&W service ammunition, training ammunition, reduced lead training ammunition and frangible ammunition for the FBI for one base year, with four, one-year renewal options.

"The innovation behind the enhanced 40 S&W bonded service round is a testament to our Winchester engineers and the quality of our manufacturing," said Dick Hammett, president, Winchester Ammunition.

Winchester's enhanced 40 S&W service ammunition is a 180-grain, bonded jacketed hollow point round and was selected over all other rounds that were tested. The FBI tests the terminal ballistics of each round by shooting a specific test
protocol through various barriers such as heavy cloth, wallboard, plywood, steel and auto glass into ballistic gelatin.

In addition to the FBI, the contract affects many agencies both inside and outside the Department of Justice, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. Marshal Service.

"On behalf of Winchester, we are extremely proud that our nation's premier law enforcement agency has selected Winchester ammunition to use in its mission of protecting and defending the United States," said Hammett.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Supremes Sing Next Week?

According to Glenn Reynolds (sorry, Glenn!) at InstaPundit, there are rumors that the High Court will rule next week on whether they'll consider District of Columbia v. Heller. In the meanwhile, I strongly urge you all to read Reynold's 's paper with the unlikely title of Guns and Gay Sex: Some Notes on Firearms, the Second Amendment, and "Reasonable Regulation." It reaches some very interesting political conclusions, which, if I may butcher them into lay language, addresses the potentially explosive issues of how the Court might rule and the legitimacy of the federal court system as a whole.

I'm also going to reprint this whole essay from Marko over at the Muchkin Wrangler blog because it is a magnificent and eloquent statement of our beliefs. Nicely done, Marko!
Why the gun is civilization

Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.

In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.

When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat--it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn't work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation...and that's why carrying a gun is a civilized act.
Be sure to visit the site and read the comments!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stag Notes...

Started working with the new Stag Arms carbines far, so good. No problems at all...hauled them out of the box and started pulling the trigger. Both are 100%. I sent most of the day working with the one with the Aimpoint M4 with the 3X magnifier, one of my favorite sighting systems.

I also got a chance to shoot the super cool S&H suppressed .44 Magnum Ruger 77/44 bolt gun...superb gun and totally fun to shoot. No recoil to speak of with subsonic .44 Special ammo, and not much noise with a .44 Magnum 240-gr screamer. Those guys build excellent can see the whole report in a couple of weeks on DOWN RANGE!

Sleepy now...more later...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A few Notes on the NRA...

...from NPR, who featured that scumbag Richard Feldman, author of Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist. I talked briefly to Feldman once; then I went home and took a long hot shower to get the stench off. I'd sooner associate with Norwegian rats. Interesting comments at NPR, though, and worth reading through!

Heavn knows I have occasionally had my differences with the NRA, but I send them money every year. The NRA carries the freight for all of us, and all those gun owners who tsk-tsk the organization should be kicked on their butts for getting a free ride.

Alphecca has a nice wrap up on the book.

Monday is National Ammo Day, and as Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit notes, now you can finally buy something made by the Chinese that's supposed to have lead in it! I'm thinking it would be a good day to buy 1000 rounds of .22 ammo, just for fun fun fun.

I note the surprising number of comments on the Detonics press release...setting aside the issue of the press release itself, I have gone on record as saying the Detonics was a superior 1911 pistol, and I'd like to see the little CombatMaster back in production. As to any writer's competence to run anything but a word processing program, well, that's a whole 'nutha can o' worms!

I tend to agree with the questions about IL. I don't think it's a great idea to give money to economies run by our enemies, because it tends to foster the idea that we don't put our money where our mouths are.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Thought from the Master

A friend sent me this quote from Robert Heinlen that I'd forgotten:

"Always listen to the experts. They will tell you what can't be done, and why.
Then do it."

Cheers me up, to be sure. Have I mentioned the 1897 Winchester project gun? it's still in the evaluation stage, but basically a year or so ago I picked up a 1903 vintage '97 pump 12 gauge at my local gun shop — I walked into the shop and the owner said, "Hey Bane, there's a piece of crap over in the corner you're going to take home."

The '97 was actually in okay shape for a gun more than 100 years old, so I took it home for kibbles and bits. Do they have me pegged, or what?

I was gonna cowboy it out just to have it...not as many original '97s around as there used to be, but it lay in the safe pretty much unscathed until recently, when I hauled it out to the range and put a few rounds through it. It got me thinking that it would be cool to have a vintage '97 for trap and even sporting clays...sort of the shotgun equivalent of self-abuse.

I sent it off to Tom at Old Western Gun Repair for the basic safety work and overhaul — extractor, extend forcing cone, ream chamber, install screw-inc choke, etc. If Tom vets the Old Dog, it'll go for wood refinishing at the Stockfixrs, then onto to Doug Turnbull for charcoal bluing. Finally, Ill get it professionally fitted, and I'll end up with a gun that is not nearly as good as a new Remington 870, but a lot cooler. At least, I think so.

Of course, it's one of those "cash available"'ll stay in the safe until I have the spare cash for each step. Tom Knapp need not start worrying yet...

...and while I'm putzing around with guns, NYU students are pondering what they would take to give up the right to vote. Read all about it:
Most at NYU say their vote has a price

Two-thirds say they'll do it for a year's tuition. And for a few, even an iPod touch will do.

That's what NYU students said they'd take in exchange for their right to vote in the next presidential election, a recent survey by an NYU journalism class found.

Only 20 percent said they'd exchange their vote for an iPod touch.

But 66 percent said they'd forfeit their vote for a free ride to NYU. And half said they'd give up the right to vote forever for $1 million.
Reminds me of that old Harvey Danger song "Flagpole Sitta:"

Been around the world and found
That only stupid people are breeding,
The cretins cloning and feeding,
And I don't even own a TV

New Democratic Presidential Candidate Sighted!

From DRUDGE this AM:
Small Town Overcome By Mysterious Ape Sightings

GLEN ST. MARY, Fla. -- Mysterious ape sightings are bringing excitement to a sleepy Florida town.

The local newspaper even ran a story about the sightings.

"There is kind of that 'I've seen a bigfoot' type of feel to it," said resident Eric Lawson. "They said it made a nest in that tree, so it's probably somewhere here in the area."

Some believe the mysterious animal is an orangutan -- one local family had found what looked to be an orange ape up high in a tree.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigator who answered the original complaint call on the orange ape said there was definitely something up in the top of the tree, but he really couldn't be sure what it was.
So it could be a new Democratic contender...or Bill Clinton. If I were Fish and Wildlife, I'd check under the tree for waffles...or interns.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Details on Detonics Sale

I mentioned on the podcast last weeks that Detonics had been sold. I just received this via email from old friends Jerry & Sharon Ahern:

Detonics Press Release
November 13, 2007

In the fight for Democracy, John Moses Browning’s Model 1911 weapon system is arguably one of the most important technologies of the 20th century. Better known as the Government Model .45, Browning’s 1911/1911-A1 pioneered break-through weapon technology, bringing forward a weapon platform that enhanced the mission capability and survivability of military personnel and peace-keepers world wide. In fact, Browning’s 1911 was instrumental in the heroic actions leading to multiple American military personnel receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Browning’s 1911 weapon system remained virtually unchanged for the next 60 years, until the team of Pat Yates, Sid Woodcock and Mike Maes joined together in 1973 to develop the first fully functional true compact 1911. The innovations needed to bring this concept to market were spearheaded by Sid Woodcock, a weapons and explosives engineer who was a World War II veteran and security specialist and consultant to numerous government agencies. Woodcock and Maes would go on to form Detonics Manufacturing Corporation, Inc., with Woodcook leading an engineering team that produced a battery of innovations that created a new 1911 industry.

In 1986, Detonics Manufacturing Corporation ceased day-to-day weapons manufacturing and licensed their intellectual properties to a series of start-up Detonics companies, the most recent being Detonics USA of Pendergrass, Georgia.

In a two party transaction, Double Nickel, LLC, acquired Detonics Manufacturing Corporation as well the assets and inventory of Detonics USA. Double Nickel is owned by Bruce Siddle of Millstadt, IL, and Dr Steve Stahle of St. Louis, MO.

Siddle is best known as the founder of PPCT Management Systems, Inc., and Homeland Security Corp, where he is the CEO. Siddle is also recognized internationally as one of the leading experts in Combat Human Factors, the study of how combat/survival stress impacts performance. His research into the triggering of the Sympathetic Nervous System during combat is considered pioneering and has influenced a whole new generation of firearms and combat skills instructors.

Dr. Steve Stahle, a nationally recognized sports internist whose clients include a wide spectrum from professional athletes and Olympic athletes to families of the greater St. Louis area, is an expert on performance conditioning and performance human factors.

Siddle (who also owns five patents, four of which are law enforcement technology oriented) and Stahle bring forward a very unique leadership team in this acquisition. “The firearms industry is rich with tradition, and has been growing rapidly over the last five years in all sectors – sporting, competition and peace keeping. We are very proud to be part of this industry, although our focus will be on developing stress compatible and combat oriented weapon systems specifically for military and law enforcement applications.”

The acquisition of the Detonics Manufacturing Corporation provides Siddle and Stahle with a platform that was created upon the “…combat driven legacy as developed by Sid Woodcock, who, we are very proud to announce, will be part of our team. And, while we will continue the successful 1911 platform, everyone can expect some truly innovative technology which will enhance combat accuracy and weapon safety to emerge from Detonics within the next several months. Our goal is to restore Detonics as the leader in weapon system innovation, creating the next generation weapon platform for peace-keepers.”

Siddle will be leaving HSC as the CEO the week ending November 17th to assume the leadership of Detonics. Siddle will be handing off his current CEO duties to Joseph Johnson, who is the Chairman of The Board. Some of HSC’s headquarter operations will be relocated to Washington, DC.

“My wife, Sandy, and I formed PPCT Management Systems, Inc., in 1980 and grew it into the largest use of force training organization on the planet. We merged the firm into Homeland Security Corporation in 2002, post September 11. Together, the HSC and PPCT teams provided support to our Nation’s security by receiving the TSA contracts to train all of the passenger and baggage screeners at all U. S. airports, a contract to train a classified number of Air Marshals, a contract to provide force protection training for U. S. special forces units, and, today, HSC is one of the companies providing U. S. peace keepers to the United Nations. But, for a former police officer and use of force instructor to have an opportunity to acquire Detonics, knowing we can bring forward innovations to enhance an officer’s or soldier’s survivability, is an honor that deserves 100% of my focus and attention. I leave HSC in great hands with a partner and friend for the last five years.”

Within the next few weeks, Siddle and Stahle will relocate Detonics Headquarters to Southern Illinois. “The logistics of the relocation will take several weeks; but, once completed, Detonics will have a full customer service support unit again. A new website should be up within a very short period of time. The community can expect a series of innovation-related announcements over the next six months.”

In the short term, Jerry Ahern is the designated Detonics media-relations point of contact. Jerry has a long history with Detonics, which includes a position as a former CEO. Jerry can be contacted at 251 747-3742.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day, 2007

I took Sunday off, but I did want to post this today.

To all who have served, thank you.

To all who are serving, I pray you return home safely, and thank you for your service.

You are all heroes.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Am Not on Strike!

I stand four-square on the Right to Work, and at my Sweetie's request I am volunteering to step forward and write episodes of the soap opera Days of Our Lives, which my Sweetie has been following apparently since she was in the womb. I've pretty much got the rhythm down, doncha think:

Argh! How can you say that? You married my Suburban...

I didn't mean to fire the RPG...I love her...she's carrying my gat...

I'm so confused! Who did I marry this week? Whose baby am I carrying? Do I have amnesia again? Swine flu? Am I possessed by Satan? Wal-Mart? Roman? And who is writing this crappy script?

ELVIS JUNIOR (internal dialoge)
I am the least realized character on this show, the soap equivalewnt o of Unnamed Crewman #4 on Star I've been shot and have to lay around in a stupid coma for six months...I can't believe I took acting classes in junior college for this!
What do you think?

See, this is what happens when I get a day brain starts slip-sliding away and I start using ellipses...ellipseses...ellipsomethings...

Anyhow, some real news, and marginally comforting. This from The War on Guns blog, through Instapundit on new AG Michael B. Mukasey:
Take another unsettled legal question: whether the Second Amendment secures an individual right to bear arms. Here is what Judge Mukasey told me: “Based on my own study, I believe that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
Well, that's something and a step up from Gonzales, who apparently believed whatever Bush told him to believe.

Starting to get some Real World data on the Ruger can pick up one of the threads on DOWN RANGE.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Numbah One With Mercs Everywhere!

This from Wired Magazine, who should know better...
You can't call yourself a gun-for-hire if you don't have the right gun. Which is why mercenaries are fired up about Sig Sauer's "Blackwater Special Edition" pistol.
If I was a mercenary, I think I'd like a "Hello Kitty" FNH Five-seveN. And some of those little Dutch grenades with the small kill radius...then I'd paint them something festive...

Floozy Alert!!!

Yes! You've all been waiting for this! TLLF* (*The Lovely Lisa Farrell) in her award-winning floozy costume from Gunfight Behind the Jersey Lilly!

No wait...this is TLLF at her office on a typical work day!

Action Friday

As we, blog...The SCOTUS is considering whether to take District of Columbia v. Heller. I've said this before, but this scares the hell out of me...courts will go where courts will go (which is why the NRA wasn't rolling over with enthusiasm on Parker/Heller going to the Supremes).

Yes, we have a good case to present; yes, we have probably the best Court we're going to get, but still, there is a staggering downside threat. Of course, there's an equally tremendous upside on a win, especially if the Supremes weigh in just before the election in 2008.

We'll see...regardless of how the SCOTUS goes, one thing is certain...the war never ends.

Got two of the well-reviewed Stag Arms AR-style carbines yesterday. One is going to be set up with my Leupold Mark 4 CQ/T; the other with an Aimpoint CompM4, the current issue Army sight, and the 3X magnifier. I'll take the rifle to the range on Monday, then use them in SHOOTING GALLERY episodes filmed at the U.S. Shooting Academy in Tulsa next week.

And speaking of sharp things, I got one of the Cold Steel authentic Scottish Dirks, more of a short sword, really. I figure it will be the ideal companion to the claymore I don't yet have. There's actually some controversy over whether the word "claymore" refers solely to the 2-hand great sword a la Wallace in Braveheart or both the great sword and the more common "back sword," the basket-hilted double-edged sword a la the Cold Steel Scottish Back Sword. I've discussed this with a couple of sword experts, and they confirm that opinions are mixed. For useage, I refer you to my very distant relative Donald McBane's The Expert Sword-Man's Companion, Or the True Art of SELF-DEFENCE from 1728, almost two decades before the Disarming Act after the loss of the great Battle of Culloden Moor.

Before the Disarming, Highlanders were among the most heavily armed people in the world. According to historian Paul Wagner, a roll taken by the Earl of Atholl in 1638 records that 523 men between then owned 448 swords, 3 two-handed great swords, 112 guns, 11 pistols, 149 bows, 125 targes, 9 lochaber axes, 2 halberds, 11 breastplates, 8 "headpieces," 2 "steel bonnets," a pair of plate sleeves and a coat of mail.

...when that doctor asked me
Son how did you get in this condition
I said hey sawbones I'm just carryin on
an old family tradition!"

— Hank Williams Jr.
Family Tradition

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Day is Coming...

...for the Supremes to decide whether they're going to be taking District of Columbia v. Heller and rolls the dice...

Here's a somewhat disturbing article from the ABA Journal on the whole process:
“For gun owners and NRA members, this is the biggest legal battle that we have ever fought, or will ever fight—and its outcome will probably impact every law-abiding American gun owner,” LaPierre wrote in the five-page letter. “It is a battle we simply cannot afford to lose.”

Here’s where LaPierre heads into a wrong turn: It’s not an NRA case. In fact, the gun rights supporters who filed it complain that lawyers working for the NRA, concerned the case could backfire, spent considerable time and money trying to scuttle it. The association finally was dragged kicking and screaming before the Supreme Court after the prospect of review appeared more likely than it has in years.

“They recognized this was a good case and D.C. was the perfect place,” says plaintiffs lawyer Robert A. Levy, a senior fellow at Washington’s libertarian Cato Institute. “That’s what concerned them.”

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Lumbering Toward Bethleham

Every so often I try to throw in some obscure culture references to pretend I'm smarter than I am....didn't fool you, did I?

Anyhow, the Hamilton Bowen/Ruger 56-50 Spencer revolver — Project Ultimate Bulldog — is now officially rolling along. Ideally, I'll end up with a 5-shot round-butt 3-1/2 inch .50 cal snub throwing 350-grain lead softballs at 800 fps. Yes, of course, there's no point to it, unless I'm set upon by feral riding lawnmowers...maybe I'll get a crossdraw holster for it...with floral carvings.

Check out that bad boy in the picture above...the coolest air gun I've run across in a while. It's an 8-shot, CO2 cartridge-fired less lethal system from Security With Advanced Technology. It also fires pellets for force-on-force simulations. Short rocks! Was out putting rounds — er, pellets — through one today. We were using pellets filled with talcum powder instead of a pepper compound, so the whole range smelled like a freshly buffed-up baby's butthole.

Seriously, you'll see more of this blaster on SHOOTING GALLERY...I'm liking it a lot for simulations, not to mention neighborhood critters. There also appears to be some utility in changing infant diapers with the right pellets, but I'm not going to go there.

Detonics is refunded and, I'm told, good to go. That's a Good Thing, since I like the little CombatMaster a lot...hey, if it was good enough for Sonny Crockett, it's good enough for me, being as I am a simple peasant. More when the details are worked out in a week or so.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Crazy Busy Alert!

Will get back to blogging in a day or so!

Meanwhile, get ready for videos of plastic vitamin water bottles vs. S&W .500 Magnum 300-gr JHP hunting loads! Have 'em up in a couple of days...couldn't resist it...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

FORGET the iPhone!

Meet the gPhone, for when you've got to reach out and touch someone...repeatedly!

This from TLLF-SFE* (The Lovely Lisa Farrell, Saloon Floozy Extraordinaire)

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Few Critical Thoughts...

...from the last post on Richard Heinie's collaborations with Nighthawk Custom. I'd like to point out that both Frank James and Walt Rauch — two gunwriters whose reputations are simply beyond reproach — stepped in to talk about their own personal Heinie 1911s.

Think about that...regardless of the field, critics are a pissy lot. I mentioned somewhere recently about my early life as a rock critic in New York City (four most important words in the English language — "I'm with the band"). You become a rock critic because you love music; eventually, you find yourself only talking about rockabilly music recorded at the original Sun Studios in Memphis in 1956 between 3 and 6 AM with Cowboy Jack Clement on the board producing. I called it the "critic's disease."

Part of it is surely a function of volume. In the last 7 days I've shot a suppressed AR-15, a couple of Glock .45s, a Martini-Henry 577-450, a Spencer carbine, a Snider musket, lever actions in 50-90, 45-60, 45-75, a High Wall in 45-120, .22 Ruger Single Sixes and a Henry Golden Boy, shotguns in 12 and 20 gauge, wax bullets through assorted cowboy guns and the new Ruger SR9 service pistol. The ten days before included an American 180 submachine gun, assorted .50 caliber pistols, a 1911 .45, a Krink in 7.62, my S&W M&P 9mm, a prototype Colt SAA clone in .45 Colt, a couple of .50 caliber Brownings, a few more .22s, production versions of the new Sig Sauer P250 9mm and a few rounds through a J-frame. Next week I'll be shooting a full array of cowboy action shooting guns, then USPSA race guns and taking a precision rifle class. Boy...that's a weird month even for me!

Anyhow, it's not that people like me or Frank or Walt know more (although at least in Frank's and Walt's case, they do know more), it's that we shoot a lot of stuff. It's interesting that we've spent money on Heinie 1911s. I'm glad Dick is working with Nighthawk, because more poeple have a chance to own his guns.

Anyhow anyhow, if you're looking for new reading material, check out Whoosh Boom Splat: The Garage Warrior's Guide to Building Projectile Shooters by William Gurstelle. I've always wanted to build a siege engine for the front yard (Gurstelle wrote a previous book on the subject) ever since I read the wonderful book Catapult: Harry and I Build a Siege Weapon years and years ago. I have to say that my Sweetie has been less than enthused for a project that would result in a full-sized trebuchet in the front yard; for reasons I don't fully understand — probably a Woman Thing — the idea of lobbing dead horses onto the main street of the little town I live above holds no appeal for her. She didn't warm up to the 3/4-scale Civil War cannon idea, either. OTOH, she doesn't much care for shoes.

In a fit of SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION, I also strongly urge you to go to the Outdoor Channel page, sign up for the Golden Moose Awards competition and vote for me as your favorite host!!! You can win a free trip to Vegas! Heck, if you win voting for me, I'll throw in a seat at my table at the Golden Moose Awards and a nice...take-home! And pretzals for the plane trip home!

Post Halloween Survival Guide

Okay, after yesterday's podcast, I'm swearing off zombies for at least a year. At least until the WWZ movie...

Hopefully, my new post on OUTDOOR LIFE's GunShots blog will be up tomorrow, a paean to the Martini-Henry 577-450...I thought I needed a break from battle rifles. I sent off a couple of 56-50 Spencer cartridges to Hamilton Bowen to explore the feasibility of a Ruger Alaskan in that caliber...sort of the ultimate Bulldog...

I also want to give a big ole plug to Action Target's "Evil Roy" steel targets. My Sweetie and I have been shooting on them for the last couple of weeks, and they are just great. Just like everything from Action, built like tanks. I bought an el cheapo $23 dolly and some bungee cords to transport them, and the whole system is easy to cart around.

I got a note from Richard Heinie last week mentioning that he was working with Nighthawk Custom on two 1911s — a 5-inch Tactical Carry model and a Personal Defense Package 4.25-incher. I think this is a Very Good Thing...Dick builds the finest 1911s on earth (hey, they said it on "Miami Vice" so many years ago...must be true), and the problem is that he is booked up, like, forever. His involvement in these two guns mean you can once again get a Heinie .45. Yes, they're expensive, but don't pass this up! It took me 14 years to get my Springfield 1911 back from Dick, and yes, it is as close to perfect as a carry 1911 can be.

I'm working with Ruger on Ruger Rimfire Challenge matches for 2008. We definitely want to do a big East Coast match, and maybe one at the Sigarms Academy in New Hamster as well. I'd hoped to pull off the eastern match this fall, but too, too much work!