Saturday, October 31, 2009

5PM Halloween Eve... sign of the Walking Dead yet. Secret Hidden Bunker is locked down, and we're cocked, locked and ready to rock...Alf the Wonder Beagle is already in her chain mail coat to protect against bites from zom-coyotes. Have prepared garlic/silver oxide/holy water cookies, just in case of Satanic trick-or-treaters. Stakes are sharpened...crossbows cocked...pray for dawn!

New Shoulder Holster!

Got the shoulder holster from SURVIVAL SHEATH SYSTEMS for the S&W 329PD .44 liteweight and I've been wearing it around the Secret Hidden Bunker as a fashion statement, I also wore it on today's hike with Alf the Wonder Beagle, who revels at rabbiting through deep snow. As usual, there's a bunch of strap adjustment necessary, but on the whole I'm very happy with it.

As I mentioned, we designed the rig with a knife sheath for a CRKT Ringed Razel and 2 Tuff Products QuickStrips for .44s on my strong side, with the horizontal holster for the 329 on my weak side. If you recall, the rig was designed as my universal travel gun kit. Included in the pack will be the revolver, the SSS shoulder holster, the Tuff Strips and a couple of HKS SpeedLoaders with extra ammo, a Hoffner's Mirage IWB for the N-frame and a SafePacker. The idea is that I have all sorts of options for carry and all sorts of options for ammo. The baseline ammo will be Corbon DPX .44 Specials for the gun and the speed loaders, backed up by Black Hills 240-gr JHPs in one Tuff Strip and Buffalo Bore 255-gr Keith loads in the other. That oughta cover most eventualities!

The sholder holster concealed well under a Carhartt jacket on the hike and was comfortable to wear — the big plus of the 329 is that it doesn't weigh anything.

Saturday Sleep In...

RE: overworked, I was probably overly affected by an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem (okay, I was trying to impress a girl) when I was being tortured in high school English class:

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends —
It gives a lovely light!


I do feel moderately human this AM, almost enough to retreat to the basement and pull the lever on the Dillon for an hour or so, then ride the Spinner and pretend winter is almost over instead of several weeks away. I did want to get to the range because I've got a bunch of guns stacked up to shoot, including a couple of Macs, a Para Tactical Target Rifle, etc.

BTW, the gun pictured above is my Hamilton Bowen custom Ruger .30 Carbine 3-screw, by popular demand from the DRTV Forums. It's a pretty basic custom — barrel cut off at the ejection rod, an action job, fitted a tighter basepin, Hamilton Bowen's excellent "Rough Country" sights, and a wonderful almost-black refinish job. The grips are the fake ivory polymer grips that came on the gun, which I'm always meaning to replace with Tru-Ivory faux ivory grips, which look a little more like ivory, especially the "aged" version.

.30 Carbine (those are WW110-gr JHPs in the picture) is a better round than it's given credit for, IMHO. Think of it as a modernized 32-20, which it matches ballistically (110-gr bullet at roughly 2000 fps). I've never spent any time working on handloads for the round, although it's on my Cosmic List of Things to Do. I have dies, bullets and components in the gun room, waiting for me to launch myself into the dark and void of a new cartridge. In his wonderful book THE CUSTOM REVOLVER, Hamilton says, "The cartridge is capable of astounding performance, and every one known to the author has been wonderfully accurate with appropriate ammo." I have it as a backcountry packing pistol, a role currently occupied by "Thumper," my much-modified and much-shot Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Punk Out!

As much as I want to shoot the Wild Bunch match in Ft. Collins tomorrow, I am SERIOUSLY SHOT. I gotta rest before I leave town again and I've spent the last two days shoveling snow, putting on snow tires, etc. I feel like I've fallen into a blender. So I'm going to punk and sleep in under a huge pile of blankets and probably Alf the Wonder Beagle.

UPDATE: Match cancelled due to snow! Now I can sleep in without guilt...

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I made it to Denver and, as expected, my flight to St. Louis was cancelled so I ground my way home...took about 3 forevers. There were some scary moments on twisty mountain roads. We got someone to plow the driveway and got the cars back up it once the chains were on. Tomorrow I will — about three days too late — put the snow tires on.

Meanwhile, Sebastian has an excellent analysis of the NJ Superior Court ruling that flies in the face of Heller.

Tam talks about the huge rise of NFA guns, especially suppressors...something I meant to blog about before I got just crazy busy...I am sorry about the sporadic blogging travel is schedule has been hellish for 6 weeks now, and I have 2 more weeks to go before the worst of it breaks. I am pretty much shot, so one extra day this week at home is a blessing, even if I had to shovel global warning off the driveway.

Embarrassing Revelation Moment

Yes, I confess...I've been reading Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME fantasy series since it's inception in 1990. In fact, a couple of years ago I went back and read all 11 volumes and the prequel, on anticipation of the climactic 12th volume.

Then Robert Jordan died...

Now 3 more volumes are on the way to finish the saga...the first, "The Gathering Storm," written by fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson from notes and outline from the master.

It should be waiting for me if/when I get back to the Secret Hidden Bunker...honestly, I can't wait, even though J only remember 3 or 4 of the zillions of characters!

-- Post From The Road

Snow Bunny

Gonna try to make Denver this on only non-cancelled flite out of Salt Lake...expect 3 feet plus snow at Secret Hidden Bunker (now it's *really* hidden!)...

Global warming, where art thou???

-- Post From The Road

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Bank Job

Active shooter in a bank...

-- Post From The Road

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Get Ready for the Weekend!

Check out Zombie Tools, blades for the profoundly disturbed. I'm going to order a Zack Ax...wait...does that make me, uh, profoundly disturbed...well, never mind! You can never have enough blades! And check out the Great Zombie Invasion of 1865 in the Gallery section! Next season on COWBOYS...LOL!

Monday, October 26, 2009


...the cherubs and seraphim whisper to me that a private equity firm has purchased a big chunk of perhaps the foremost long-range rifle company in the world...the whispers tell me not to expect any big changes, but one never knows, doesn't one? More when I know more...

Must-Have for Tactical Tommys Everywhere!

Yes, it's a Tactical Beer Mug! From Hero Gear, who say:
Battle Mug starts as a 13.5 pound solid block of 6061 T6 billet aluminum before it enters a state of the art CNC facility in Huntsville, Alabama. This facility produces specialized parts and equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense, major weapons manufacturers, NASA, and a host of other companies working at the U.S. Rocket and Space Center.

Built to military specifications, Battle Mug features a M1913 rail interface system which allows the operator to mount a standard issue M4 carry handle, tactical light, laser device, holographic sight (we call them “beer goggles”) or even a bayonet for close quarters, high risk operations.

Each individually serialized Battle Mug features Mil-Spec Type III anodizing and a crenelated base and is built with the operator in mind.

Whether you are fighting drug lords deep inside the jungles of Colombia, stomping out Al Qaida terrorists in Falluja Iraq, or eradicating no-good hippies in Berkeley, California…
I so couldn't make this stuff up! Meanwhile, from Tam at View from the Porch, an intelligent view of the "loaded chamber indicator:"
What's it supposed to do? Encourage people to think "Well, it's okay if I point this thing at Cletus over there because the loaded chamber indicator says it's empty..."?

Its very existence betrays a bad mindset to have around guns, which is the idea that "This one's loaded, so I'll treat it with extra special caution!" The problem is thinking that way implies the unwritten corollary that "I don't think this one's loaded, so I can handle it sloppily..."
I agree totally.

I was about half paying attention to a Fox News piece on the NJ Governor's election, where there's a 3rd party spoiler, Chris Daggett, between the Dem Corzine and the RINO Christie. So Christie's sitting there on TV saying how he is in favor of "responsible gun control" and "there will never be concealed carry in NJ." Politics confuses me.

Pee Wee's Big Adventure 2 - Enter the Dragon

Janich practices for his screen debut as "Pee Wee Too" in the self-funded remake of Pee Wee's Big Adventure...the theater scene will bring tears to your eyes!!!

Videographer on the ground in Salt Lake!

We're Poised For ACTION!

-- Post From The Road

Another Weird Day at the Office

It's a Diamond Dave song..."I Ain't Got No Body"...except the top part....

Trapped in Utah...videographers stuck somewhere due to weather...Pincus trapped in Denver...lights missing in target stands...have 1911 & going back to bed...

-- Post From The Road

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Snowing Again...

...and a power blip while I was gone whacked last week's SONS OF ANARCHY episode, which isn't up on the Web yet, on my DVR. Am I pathetic or what? Are these not post-modern complains? Should I go reload until it's time to go to the airport? Inquiring minds want to know...I suppose it won;t kill me to go put a couple of hundred rounds downrange in the snow...I really want to start debugging the Retr0-Para 1911 (especially since I plan to compete with it next Saturday, no doubt in yet another snowstorm). I'd also like to shoot the Para Tactical Target Rifle that showed up week...then I look out the window...

Well. there's a bit of blue sky off to the northwest, so there's hope yet!

Meanwhile. over at Snowflakes in Hell, Sebastian has found the one person who proves categorically that I'm wrong about firearms being a 100% polarized issue! Okay, snarky comment aside — and hey, I haven't made any snarky comments in quite a while...sigh — believing in the standard distribution curve is probably more valid than believing in the Easter Bunny, and there is a constant need for contrarian opinions...remember, speak truth to power! My opinions are based on decades of time in the trenches, which doesn't necessarily translate into me being 100% right 100% of the time.

I would like to point out that in the first few decades of the battle against the antigunners, the pro-gun strategy was to "prove" to the uncommitted middle — the 80% bulge in the middle of the curve — that we were sane, responsible, thoughtful citizens deserving of our gun rights. How'd that work for us? The problem was that we kept giving incremental ground to prove we were "reasonable;" the amazing thing to me was that the other side has never given one single inch, not even the smallest increment.

I tend to believe in the words intoned by John Houseman as the crusty contracts professor in the Paper Chase movie years and years ago: "Contracts are the basis of all civilization." And a contract is a meeting of the minds, where the parties involved have discussed/argued/whatever the issues and moved to mirroring positions of agreement. At any point in the past 50 years, including now, we could have come to a meeting of the minds with the other side, had they been willing to modify their positions in the slightest. They haven't done such, because this is a religious, rather than a political, war. It is and always has been not about guns, but about control.

As far as the great bulge in the middle, it is better understood as a weathervane, blowing first right, then left, driven by prevailing winds in the media, in entertainment, in the fleeting currents of popular culture. Ted Nugent's unrelenting, entertaining, line-in-the-sand personality has done more to sway the middle to our side than all the thoughtful reasonableness of the last 50 years. Again, my opinion...your mileage may vary.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One Cold Day at Home...

Any more than a day at home and I get confused as to where I am...picked up a couple of Ruger LCRs tonight for THE BEST DEFENSE concealed carry segments; got CT lasers for them while I was up in Portland. Am thinking of jumping on the Widener's Relaoding deal on South African .50BMG ammo $600 for 200 rounds of 690-gr ball. Both Dillon and Ten-X say their progressive reloaders for the Big .50 are moving toward the marketplace. Heck, at least you can get .50BMG primers! On the Dillons, maybe as soon as the end of next month, with Dillon dies...prices in the $1000 range. I presently have a Hornady set-up, which in my VERY limited experience works just ducky, if one at at a time...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Before I Zipped to the Airport...

...I spent some time with my friend Travis Noteboom, who's one of the directors of HAVA, Honored American Veterans Afield, talking about what we can do to promote that very worthwhile organization. We came up with some good ideas, and of course, you'll be hearing about them soon.

Meanwhile, back in the gun-free paradise formerly known as "Great" Britain, those rollicking Bobbies are now rolling with MP-5s:
Police officers armed with submachine guns are to be deployed on routine patrol of Britain's streets for the first time.

A hand-picked team from CO19, the Metropolitan Police's elite firearms unit, will walk the beat in gun crime hotspots where armed gangs have turned entire estates into "no go" zones.

Local politicians and anti-gun campaigners have reacted with anger at the news that the officers will carry Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns – capable of firing up to 800 rounds-per-minute – and Glock semi-automatic pistols.

CO19 currently provides armed support in volatile situations like sieges and terrorist attacks, with its officers on constant call in vehicles around London.

But this is the first time that armed officers will be sent on permanent foot patrol anywhere in the country outside Northern Ireland.
Gosh, that gun-free thing has worked out pretty well, hasn't it? What next? Tanks?

Anyway, tonight I'm sitting around watching B-rated horror movies...hoping to get to the range Sunday for a little while...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Cool Stuff I Can't Tell You About...

Yeah, you know the drill. I did have a spectacular king salmon dinner at Jake's in Portland! That's something, right? So anyway, I'm too tired to blog much...take a shower and call it a day...4 AM came real early this morning!

Meanwhile, notes that the Winchester 1894 will be returning...if you want one, consider beginning the paperwork for a mortgage now. As I mentioned on the pod last week, my next lever gun purchase will be a Browning BLR Take-Down in .308.

Also, check out Threat Dynamics, "immersive" firearms training...heck of a training set-up. I think you're going to see these guys on SG next season!

Night night...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Great OC Day at the Range!

Big Fun, with The Cowboys — the uber-cowboy action club — jumping in to do a half-day of cowboy instruction for the folks from OUTDOOR CHANNEL, with me and several others coming in in the afternoon for modern gun instruction. It all went super, and I think everyone had a great time.

For the record — attention Chris Edwards — I instructed with a Glock 19 and a California-legal AR-15 clone...

Off to Crimson Trace in Portland at O-Dark-30!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Up, Up & Away!

I'm considering leaving competitive shooting, starting to build UFO-shaped balloons in my front yard and take up defrauding the media as a hobby. After all, I live in Colorado, so I'm halfway there! Anyway, I spent yesterday not blogging, and since that gave me some extra time I was able to save more than 30,000 jobs across America. I also was able to once again guarantee that there are no Siberian tigers roaming the Rocky Mountains...okay, so prove me wrong...

Actually, my Sweetie and I took Alf the Wonder Beagle on a long hike up high near an old ghost town and shuttered silver mine. It was snowy and muddy, but amazingly beautiful. After record cold, we got some almost record heat, but with a brisk wind blowing off the Continental Divide. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon in the gun room reloading. I've recently switched to Alliant Red Dot powder for my light cowboy .357 loads, which are hotter than a lot of other cowboy loads...I sort of modeled my load on the old .38 Long Colt loads from the late 1800s. I figure I'm safe as long as I don't have to deal with any fanatical Philippine insurrectionists, in which case I probably ought to change to a 1911.

I never really spent any time with Red Dot before, but some of the more popular powders I usually use — most notably Hodgdon Titegroup and VV 320 — remain in short supply. Red Dot seems to be readily available, and the accuracy with 158-gr LaserCast bullets has been superb. I'm saving my last 4 pounds of Titegroup for my Sweetie's .32 H&R pistols, were it seems very much at home.

While I do note that ammo is generally more available (especially 9mm, 5.56, 7.62), at least on the Internet, primers remain in desperately short supply. Most of the big Internet sellers, including Midway USA, limit purchases, which means that we competition shooters spend time "foraging" for enough primers to feed the machines (I reloaded 1500+ rounds Sunday). I always used to buy primers in 10K lot to get the price discount. If this ever lightens up, I swear I will save my pennies and dimes and buy 100K of small pistol primers!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Love It When a Plan Comes Together!

So, the 2-day Evil Roy and Wicked Felina class went great, but the proof is in the proverbial pudding, isn't it?

I just got back from the Pawnee Station 5-stage monthly cowboy match outside of Ft. Collins. My times for this month were approximately 8-10 seconds per stage faster than my last match, and despite the speed I shot the match clean.

I highly recommend the Evil Roy Shooting School!

And thank you, Gene & Karen!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meanwhile, Back Here in the Tundra... didn't snow yesterday! I guess we have to take our small victories where we find them. I've been playing catch-up this week, whipping out my column in The Cowboy Chronicle, finishing up the bullet point outline for THE BEST DEFENSE segments on concealed carry (which I also want to tun into a stand-along 90 minute video package) and working on the basics of a new production company I'm setting up.

I of course spent yesterday afternoon in breathless fear for the kid in the balloon, although I apparently misheard the breathless announcer and thought the balloon held all 8 kids from that wretched reality show "Moron & Bimbo Plus 8!" Had that been the case, I was hoping the balloon would be blown to Somewhereistan where all 8 little wretchettes would be adopted by a peasant farm family and forced to pull a plow for the next decade. Now, that would be a reality show I could get into!

Here's the skinny on the Bushmaster/Remington ACR civilian version, from Adam Heggenstaller at the SI Guns & Hunting blog.
The ACR, or Adaptive Combat Rifle, has been an ongoing collaboration involving Bushmaster, Magpul and Remington for the past two years. A quick rundown of features includes: a two-position (suppressed and non-suppressed), short-stroke, gas-piston system of operation; modular, interchangeable bolt heads, barrels, magazines, buttstocks (one of which is a six-position side-folder) and handguards; an aluminum upper receiver and a polymer lower receiver; a cold hammer-forged, free-floating barrel; and ambidexterous controls. In short, it's innovative and badass.
From a consumer viewpoint, unless you just like current military hardware and wanna be firstest with the bestest, it's hard to rationalize the higher price tags (most above MSRP) that are going to be attached to the next-gen black rifles. No doubt they'll be coming down as the pipeline fills up.

My friend Caleb over Gun Nuts Media has an interesting take on point shooting:
Have you ever seen the sights on a pistol from the 1930s? They barely even exist on a lot of guns. The sights on a military issue 1911 from back then were among the best sights in the game, and they’re not even close to what I’d consider an adequate sighting system. So it actually makes sense that for close range combat shooting you’d adopt a school of thought that taking the time to acquire the itty-bitty-teensy-weensy sights isn’t really worth the effort, because the sights were just awful.
The issue of course is that times have changed, and we have modern, quality sight systems for handguns that allow the shooter to rapidly pick up the sights and place accurate hits on target just as fast as someone using a point shooting method of looking over the gun. Teaching the flash sight picture isn’t even that difficult for most people, especially if you’re using a gun set up with Express sights.
I don't necessarily agree with this viewpoint, although it has its merits. I think "point shooting," that is, non-visual body index shooting (okay, so that's my definition) works perfectly within context, which is close-in reactive shooting. It works because monkeys can point real good! You can try it yourself right now at home! Stop reading, pick something in your environment — say, a wall switch — and point at it. I'll bet that 99.99% of you were able to successfully point at the object. Wow!

Back when I was cave diving, my primary instructor used to say, "Never train against the operating system." What that means is as primates we're wired a certain way, and while yes indeedy there are people who juggle running chain saws for a living, I'm willing to bet you (and certainly not me!) are not one of them. So when we rigged out cave diving gear, we tried to make sure the rigging accommodated primate reactions like the flinch. When startled or scared, monkeys flinch — they crouch, pull their hands up and in to protect their heads and eyes and get the chemical "flee or fight" injection...and so do you. Here's a "dummy" example of rigging to accommodate primate response — on deep wrecks I carried multiple knives and rescue tools, but I always had a net-ripper knife bungied to the left front harness strap and a rescue knife on the right front harness strap. When I got tangled up in old fishing netting invariably found on a wreck, I was a scared little monkey...but my post-flinch hands rested on the tools necessary to extricate myself.

One other hard-wired primate function is look at the threat! We have the forward facing binocular vision common to predators, and that type of vision comes with software that drives us to fix our focus on the prey/threat. The closer the threat is, the more our visual focus zooms in on the threat. That's why lasers like Crimson Trace work so well...if we're hard-wired to focus on the threat, it's handy to have a red dot to show where the bullet will go regardless of where the gun is. Here's how the late Col. Rex Applegate described it in Bullseyes Don't Shoot Back:
Point shooting relies on the body's instinctive ability to point at nearby objects with reasonable accuracy...It is so natural and so well engrained that it is not greatly affected even when the body is suffering reactions from extreme stress...
Again, I believe point shooting is limited (as, indeed, are all tools). But I have proven to my own satisfaction that I can reliably hit a close-up target from a retention position and/or from any point on the drawstroke as the gun is driven out and upwards toward eye-level.

Shooting is, I believe, a continuum, a series of different skills lumped together under the one terminology. It runs roughly from body-indexed point shooting (which is by any definition "aimed" fire) to target-focused shooting with the sights (what an IPSC shooter means by looking "through" the sights...this can also be defined as a "flash sight picture") to more traditional aimed fire, with a sight picture appropriate for the distance to the target. Rob Leatham can get a flash sight picture at a 50-yard popper...I can't. I need the hard sight picture.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Hero Jayne — Rough & Ready

I haven't done anything Firefly related in a long time, and since the only two things worth a crap on television these days are Sons of Anarchy and good ole crotchety House, I'm hitting my compete collection of Firefly episodes starting this week.

The video is of a Trace Adkins song, Rough & Ready, set to clips of the irrepressible mercenary Jayne Cobb in Firefly, doin' what he does. Enjoy!

BTW, here's my favorite Jayne quotes from Firefly, with him in deep conversation with Shepherd Book:

Jayne Cobb: It ain't impossible! Saint Jayne, it's got a ring to it.
Book: I'm just trying to remember how many miracles you've performed.
Jayne Cobb: I once hit a guy in the neck from 500 yards with a bent scope. Don't that count upstairs?
Book: Oh, it'll be taken into consideration.
Jayne Cobb: You made that sound kinda ominous.

BTW BTW, I cribbed the video from Brigid's wonderful Home on the Range Blog...visit it daily!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Workin' For a Livin'

Lot of running around and catching up today after 2 days on the range! I have to say the Evil Roy Shooting School 2-day class was superb. Gene Pearcey, who you've seen often on COWBOYS (and whom you'll see in every show next year as our Chief Instructor), has the world-class instructor ability to see straight to what the student is doing, why the student is doing it and what steps the student needs to take to change. Neat trick. For example, we were dealing with a very narrow-cut issue of how tightly the strong hand needs to grip the gun on the draw, which is slightly — and I emphasize the slightly — different for cowboy versus, say, IPSC shooting.

I'd also like to mention that Karen Pearcy, "Wicked Felina," who works with Gene, is an excellent instructor in her own right and often brings an excellent elaborating/expansion point of view . If you get a chance to sign up for one of Gene's classes, grab it!

DPMS and are teaming up for a pink DPMS AR-15 auction, with proceeds benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure of breast cancer. This is a very good thing...breast cancer has written its ugly signature on people close to me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 1 With Evil Roy

As always, any day at the range is a great day...I'm focusing on small issues that I can't seem to get beyond, and Gene is helping tremendously. Listen to Wednesday's podcast for the details and how Evil Roy's techniques can help you with your shooting. Today we'll be working mostly with the long guns.

I wanted to catch up with the on-going issue of open carry, which has been keeping the gun blogs hopping. Start with Say Uncle's excellent summation:
Rightly or wrongly. I don’t think it’s effective marketing. Simply, I don’t think the plan of acclimating folks to handgun carry by exposure will be effective. That’s based on my own experience with open carry. My experience seems to indicate that most folks won’t even notice. Or, if they did, they didn’t say anything. Conversely, no one flipped out either.

That doesn’t mean I think it should be banned. Or that I think you’re stupid to do it. Or that you should stay in the closet.
Follow the various links, especially the one to Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell. Start with today's post and work your way though his comments. He is easily the most articulate of the "moderate voices." I don't necessarily agree with him because my experience in media has shown me almost exactly the opposite...our first big successes in media came when we stopped carrying about what the other side thought of us and quite literally got "in their faces."

I also strongly think that the whole open carry movement has already yielded benefits on concealed carry...just a few years ago inadvertently "flashing" your concealed weapon was a huge issue (and still is in some places)...I think open carry has but a well-deserved nail in that coffin.

I also think guns are a 100% polarized issue, like my experience there is no great uncommitted middle that we can sway to our side. There's certainly a "middle," but it's a middle that worries whether Michael Jackson's crypt should be open to the public and if poor Lindsay Lohan will ever get her life together. That middle cannot be swung reliably on the long term in any direction. Anyway, read Sebastian's comments...they're worthwhile. Then check out Rob at Sharp as a Marble.

Also zip over to The Firearms Blog and read Steve's excellent analysis on the M4 controversy we've been covering. The interesting point is that by spec, soldiers aren't supposed to run more than 4 magazines rapidly through an AR. As is far too often the case, the wars were fighting refuse to pay any attention to the specs. I have been told repeatedly by commanders just rotated out of the field that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are generating huge, and sometimes extended, firefights, with thouusands of rounds per soldier being expended.

Also, I've witnessed several times Dave Lauck's brutal "proving ground" competition, where military teams run thousands of rounds through their ARs without problem.

BTW, "white-hot" is indeed an exaggeration, but I have seen and filmed AR barrels going red hot...and yes, some rounds did cook off...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

School Daze Coming Up!

Going to spend a couple of days with my friend Gene Pearcey, "Evil Roy," in one of his cowboy shooting classes. Sort of a busman's holiday...get a couple of days off, take a shooting class! Heck, I'd take a class every month if I could. Probably wouldn't help me be a better shooter, but it'd be fun, wouldn't it?

Over on The Firearms Blog they note Zel Custom, makers of the Tactilite .50BMG AR upper have a third generation version getting ready to roll out. I really like the idea of their 18 1/2-inch barreled Ultralite thumper, but it's 'way hard to rationalize a second .50!

Coming Back Around...

The failures of the M4 in a desert environment has been s theme that comes around and around. This time, it seems to be coming around with a vengeance. From Breitbart this AM:
Which raises the question: Eight years into the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, do U.S. armed forces have the best guns money can buy?

Despite the military's insistence that they do, a small but vocal number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has complained that the standard-issue M4 rifles need too much maintenance and jam at the worst possible times.
Complaints about the weapons the troops carry, especially the M4, aren't new. Army officials say that when properly cleaned and maintained, the M4 is a quality weapon that can pump out more than 3,000 rounds before any failures occur.

The M4 is a shorter, lighter version of the M16, which made its debut during the Vietnam war. Roughly 500,000 M4s are in service, making it the rifle troops on the front lines trust with their lives.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a leading critic of the M4, said Thursday the Army needs to move quickly to acquire a combat rifle suited for the extreme conditions U.S. troops are fighting in.

U.S. special operations forces, with their own acquisition budget and the latitude to buy gear the other military branches can't, already are replacing their M4s with a new rifle.
There are rifle tests going on right now, my little cherubs and seraphim tell me, and I've heard of a bunch of high end troops training with SCARs.


The Firearms Blog is talking about Remington's upcoming new product announcements this week, which may include a civilian version of the ACR:
Don't quote this as fact, but I think there is a good chance we will finally see the launch of the civilian Remington / Bushmaster / Magpul ACR at this seminar.

Why do I think this?

Firstly, Remington unveils their exciting new products at this event. In October 2007 we saw the launch of the Remington R-15. October last year was when the .30 Remington AR cartridge was launched.

Secondly, a few months ago Magpul said we would see the rifle unveiled late this year.

And my final reason for thinking it will be unveiled this week is that a semi-automatic version of the ACR is already in the hands of a civilian. At the recent AAC Silencer Shoot, AAC (now owned by Remington) auctioned off an ACR. The proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Breakdown ARs

There's starting to be an interest in quick-remove barrel systems for ARs, as I mentioned in an earlier post. The photo. above is from the MGI QCB System; at Blackwater earlier this week Rob Pincus had a breakdown from a different firm.

Obviously, ARs of all type break down pretty easily — pop the two pins and separate the upper and lower receivers. The advantage of being able to remove the barrel from the upper receiver is, as you can see from the MGI pix, the overall package is much smaller and can easily fit into a normal-sized briefcase.

Last week on the podcast, we talked about dedicated firearms, both handguns and long guns, for chronic travelers. I had talked about a breakdown Winchester '92 in .44 Magnum. For my own case, I had rules out any semiauto because I travel a lot of states with their own archaic "assault weapons" ban, e.g., California. However, if my travel didn't include CA, CT, NJ and MA, a briefcase-size AR would be a compelling choice.

My only caveat would be for a dedicated travel gun that was going to be broken down a lot and schlepped hither and yon, I worry about bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsam ending up in the lower receiver and gumming up the trigger mechanism. I might look at a unitized trigger such as a Timney or Pact as a bit more durable system and still cover the lower receiver.


The break-down AR Rob Pincus had at Blackwater was from the Dry-Fire Training Pistol Company. You can see a video of it in action on the page:
The system is designed to use a low-profile gas block, and allows your AR15/M16 to be broken down into three major components, for quick barrel changes, as well as covert concealment (DISCREET CARRY), or storage. A 16-inch barreled AR15/M16, with a collapsible stock, red dot sight, and two 30 rd. mags. can be carried in something as small as a briefcase. Full assembly and loading to firing condition can be accomplished in less than 30 seconds, with ease. This conversion replaces the existing barrel nut and fore end.

The Changed Paradigm

Thunder Tales does an excellent job of highlight the changed paradigm on rifles, something we've been talking about for a couple of years:
Which leads us to the new paradigm. The AR-15 model is so popular for so many reasons that we are now seeing it available specifically in "hunter" versions--AR rifles in calibers that are great for North American big game hunting. We've had ARs in .308 (7.62 NATO) for a long time. We've added things like the 6.8mm SPC, the .243 Winchester, the .338 Federal, 7.62x39, .450 Bushmaster and there are more lurking out there.

The options to equip your AR make the old hunting rifle choice of "what kind of scope" look like the amateur hour. Worrying about rings and bases to mount that scope? Not with an AR. A simple mil-spec rail system lets you take any of the menu of optional pieces out of the box and clamp it on the rifle securely and ready to take to the range. Choose a lightweight variable power scope designed for the combat rifle and you've got great optics with the plus of an illuminated reticle that doesn't need batteries. "Light" years ahead of that old scope. Smaller too.

Nobel Prize!

I was shocked — shocked, I tell you! — that President Barack Hussein Obama won the Nobel Prize. All my money was riding on Larry the Cable Guy, although I thought that Paris Hilton had a legitimate outside chance, as well as scoring highly in the swimsuit competition. Hey, it was an honor just to be nominated!

The format of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation dinner seems a little abbreviated this year. Usually I get a little more of a chance to schmooze with pro-2A legislators, but this year it didn't seem to work that way. Maybe it was just me, and I was glad to have a few words with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar...I expect we'll be talking again as the U.S. Forest Service reignites its war on sport shooting on public lands in the West. New signs have gone up that intentionally misrepresent the current laws on shooting on public lands, and the Rampart Range outside of Colorado Springs — probably the largest and most active shooting area in Colorado, remains closed, despite queries from Colorado Senator Mark Udall on reopening the range.

USFS is insisting on a totally unrealistic set of prerequisite for reopening the range, which was closed after a death from a negligent discharge that had nothing to do with the range itself. USFS's contention is that, "The closure of the SRSR does not impede the ability of sportsmen and women to prepare for hunting season." Apparent head USFS exec Rick Cables has a limited understanding of the Constitution.

A couple of years ago USFS execs stood up in a public forum and gave their word that they would abide by the existing laws on shooting...over the next few months we'll be seeing how good their word actually is.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Survived the Politicians!

Was touch & go, to be sure!

Went back to Blackwater and am now on the way home!

-- Post From The Road

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Three More BIG Reasons to Visit DRTV!

That's's giveaway time again! And this time we have just the tricks for both all you tactical kids and cowboys as well. We're giving away a superb FNH FNAR 7.62 semiauto AND a brace of Ruger Single Action Shooting Society Vaqueros AND.... custom made knives by Chuck Stapel!

Here is one of the intro videos....

Check out the other videos and the giveaway pages.

I Am Here!

Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation banquet...talked to Sec of the Interior Ken wearing a out of focus

-- Post From The Road

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Okay, I Lied!

I didn't get a chance to get pictures of the take-down rifle today because we were assaulting appliances, books, and one overstuffed chair. We did a new series of penetration's a quick many hardback books in a plain vanilla pressboard bookcase will be needed to stop a 5.56 ball round? 230-gr .45 ball? #00 12-gauge buckshot? What happens when you shoot buckshot through a refrigerator full of waterbottles?

HA! You have to wait until nest season's THE BEST DEFENSE!

Meanwhile, a couple of interesting gun developments. SureFire has a couple of mini-suppressors for 5.56. This from Military Times:
Surefire snuck out two new 5.56mm suppressors at Modern Day Marine Expo. The Mini and the Micro are stubby little suckers that add barely 3.6 and 2.6 inches to a weapon’s muzzle but cut down weapon signature and improve unit communication.
This is interesting, since SureFire's regular-sized 5.56 suppressors are in short supply — at least, for civilian buyers. On the subject of suppressors, Advanced Armament Corp. has been acquired by Remington, part of the Cerberus/Freedom Group monolith. From Defense Review:
Remington’s decision to purchase AAC stems from recognition that future military weapons selections will almost unilaterally require sound and/or signature reduction. Our military has been at war for over 8 years now and experience shows that there are significant tactical advantages associated with suppressor use; hence the military’s interest in adopting this new requirement.
Rumors about this have been flying around for months and methodically denied by AAC and Remington.

Gonna film in the AM, then head to D.C. tomorrow for the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation banquet...

Monday, October 05, 2009

Too Tired to Blog

Got up at 2:00AM to make an 0-Dark-30 flight...filmed all day and into the night on east truly shot...did see a totally cool accessory set up that turns an AR into a nifty break-down rifle...more on that (with pixs) tomorrow...sorry...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Today's Cowboy Match... Wyoming with the Cheyenne Regulators was my second clean — no misses! — match in a row. This gives me some confidence in bumping up the speed a bit and take a few more risks. Was a very good match, and it was great fun shooting with COWBOYS and SG producer John "Picyune" Carter, director of photography Gene "Grizz" Moffett and my Sweetie, who also had a very good match. We had a GREAT posse!

Meanwhile, The Firearms Blog wonders whether Beretta is getting ready to roll out a velociraptor whacker with their Xplor ad.

Well, works for me, but I'm obviously twisted when it comes to Big, I'm up for the Jurassic Park solution to the shrinking population in the midwest...cook up some dinos and let 'em rip!

And if you can's wait for Beretta, NeanderPundit has just the ticket (and I gun I was immeditaely seized with gun lust over), an Italian 45-70 double rifle:
Let me talk a little about my love for doubles, for a moment.

I have, since I was old enough to remember, loved fine rifles, and especially doubles. I had read ‘Use Enough Gun” at the local library at ten or eleven and was hooked. I started my collection of firearms, the first firearm I ever purchased, was a double shotgun. I took it afield and took shots at birds, imagining i was Ruark, holding a fine english double on the ear-hole of a grazing elephant with tusks the size of my calves. I looked at every book that had guns in it. I read every article about double rifles I could find. It wasn’t exactly an obsession, but no double ever escaped my gaze. From the 9.3×74r cartridge in “Snows of Kilimanjaro” above, to the 450 nitro express in “Ghost and the darkness” I lusted after fine doubles. Figuring I’d never have one, I looked constantly at large bore bolties and single shots,. and have been looking at a Ruger #1 in 458 Lott or an Enfield 1917 in 416 Rigby. I’m a recoil junkie anyway, and these just seemed fun.
Amen, brother! Why I have a Ruger #1 in 450/400 3-inch Nitro Express. And $4K for a double seems imminently fair (and attainable) to me. For an extra grand you can sign up for my good friend Jim Clark of Clark Custom Guns newest blaster, a handbuilt double rifle that can be had in a number of calibers, including 45-70 and 450/400. Jim called me up a couple of weeks ago to fill me in on the project, which he tipped me off to at the NRA Show a couple of years ago. Now this gun would be an heirloom!

Clark Double Rifle

Friday, October 02, 2009


Had 2010 production meetings today and there were lots and lots of points to be covered...then had to whip over to Boulder to pick up a prescription to keep my pathetic right eye from popping out of my head. Strongly urge you all to get the simple vaccination against shingles. It was shingles that whacked my right eye, destroying the vision in about a week. Which was how long it took the medical "professionals" to figure out what was happening (and it was a nurse, not a doctor, who correctly pegged shingles). Since I pretty much marinate myself in stress, I have to keep careful check on the shingles firing up again.

Here's a little of this and a little of that from some of the other bloggers. Caleb at Gun Nuts Media takes a look at the plethora of piston guns out there and ultimately comes to the same conclusion I did...well, okay:
On the third hand, I am yet to be convinced that the usual AR shooter requires a piston gun. The only reason I would choose one is if I regularly ran the gun with a suppressor. Otherwise, and this is some gen-u-ine gun-guru wisdom I’m about to drop on y’all, but if you want a truly reliable AR, get a 20″! A 20″ rifle with a rifle length gas tube, a chrome lined chamber and bore, a correctly dimensioned 5.56 NATO chamber, a correctly aligned gas tube with staked carrier key screws, using Magpul PMAGs, and a fresh extractor spring with black insert will be as reliable a rifle as you could ask for.
I'm trying to decide whether to pop the bucks to keep the Ruger gas piston gun...I had myself all pumped up on the FNH bullpup, but when it came right down to it I let it go. Caleb was with Frank James at S&W's annual event at GUNSITE, running the new flavor of their M&P-15. Here's his take:
Okay, I've had three days of high round count training with the latest version of Smith & Wesson's M&P-15 and a few of you are wondering, "What does that old idiot think?"

Since I accept no advertising, my critics won't be able to say I was influenced by dollars. (Well, they can, but they won't have a leg to stand on. I'm still the blunt S.O.B I've always been.) In a short phrase I liked the gun. I put close to 800 rounds through the gun that was assigned to me over a short three day period of time and had zero, to repeat ZERO, malfunctions or any kind or issues with the firearm.
My experience with the older iteration of the S&W, which I bought, is that it runs and runs. Of course, I have to say it's been awhile since I saw anything short of a badly assembled parts gun that didn't run. ARs are seriously debugged technology, which is why I think everyone should have at least one.

There's a movie remake of the A-Team coming, and it's wrong, wrong, wrong! Liam Neesom as Hannibal and UFC fighter Quinton Jackson reprising the Mr. T role of B.A. ("Bad Attitude") Baracus. Okay, let's get down to it...there is only one B.A. Baracus and his name is Mr. T. I pity the fool who thinks otherwise. Think they'll still use those folding stock Mini-14s that never seemed to hit anyone?

Finally, it's a sad commentary when even the Canadians are pitying us. This from David Warren in the Ottawa Citizen on the strange comparisons between Gorbachev and the whole thing :
The comparison between Gorbachev and Obama is apt on few levels. The chief difference is between the U.S. of 2009, and the USSR of 1985; between a huge, decentralized, open economy, and the society it serves; and a much smaller, very centralized, command economy, and the society serving it. These circumstances are not even remotely comparable, and one must be a fool indeed to play with a moral, economic, or ideological "equivalence" between the two old superpowers. Which is not to say such fools aren't numerous.

Nor are the two men, themselves, remotely comparable in their backgrounds, or political outlook. Gorbachev, for instance, had come up from tractor driver, not through elite schools including Harvard Law; he lacked the narcissism that constantly seeks self-reflection through microphones and cameras, or the sense that everything is about him.

On the other hand, some interesting comparisons could be made between the thuggish party machine of Chicago, which raised Obama as its golden boy; and the thuggish party machine of Moscow, which presented Gorbachev as it's most attractive face.
Am shooting a cowboy match up in the cowboy paradise of Wyoming tomorrow...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Stag Arms Piston Gun Marks a Return to New Products

You can tell the market is starting to loosen up when new products start being announced. First up is the new Stag Arms gas piston AR at a very aggressive price of $1175 for a left-hander and $1145 for a rightie. Here are the specs. I handled the production prototypes a few months ago uo at the factory, and given Stag's overall reputation for high quality at a value, expect these to fly out the door as soon as they become available on 1 December.

And, yeah, we'll probably be giving one away as a great Christmas gift!

MSM Grand Slam on Cliches!

TIME Magazine is getting out in front of everyone else in handwringing on the fact that the Supremes will be ruling on incorporation of the Second...they even manage a rare grand slam on cliches, including getting in a pat on the back for hunting guns, "classic" references to the Wild West, and ominous pronouncements that the American people will punish Republicans if the bloated corpse of gun control is finally cremated and tossed to the wind. My favorite part of the article is the gut-wrenching fear that the Roberts Court will rule to radically expand personal liberties before Obama has a chance to stack the Court in the other it all:
The latest example of the Roberts Court's activist ambitions is its quick acceptance, for decision next year, of a gun-rights appeal from Chicago. Last year the Court ruled 5-4 that the right to bear arms flows to and from individuals, even though it is mentioned in the Constitution in the context of a "well-regulated militia." Reading the Constitution in that way, the court struck down a handgun ban in the District of Columbia. But there was some doubt about whether the court's reasoning would apply in a state, as opposed to the federal District of Columbia, and how the enunciation of a new fundamental, individual right should be applied. Now the court will take up the appeal of a case of a handgun ban in Chicago to clear things up.

Expect another sweeping smack down. First, the court has already laid down a new principle -- which, believe it or not, had never been directly addressed. Second, if my sense of the Roberts Court is correct, they are going to seek the most sweeping rulings they can manage to get on what they regard as their key Bill of Rights issues -- gun rights, freedom of the marketplace from federal regulation, corporate rights to free speech and official public religious expression, to name four -- before the arrival of a moment they dread fear: when President Barack Obama get's the chance to nominate an ideological tide-changing justice.