Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Walpurgis Night!

Satan's minions are rising around the world; the Hellbore is fully open; what rude beast slouches toward Bethlehem...etc.

Place your stakes by the doors; do NOT invite anyone in, even if she's really really hot and looks like Lindsay Lohan; hang garlic bulbs in the windows, dip the 230-grain FMJs in Holy Water; make sure you have a sword, machete or Zombie Tool handy to separate the head from the body of the various undead minions of Satan. If you have a pet goat, do NOT let it outside tonight! The night is long and full of terrors!

Tomorrow, we'll get back to guns, assuming we make it thought the night.

Good luck!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nice Bike Day!

Did a long mountain bike along Switzerland Trail above Boulder, pretty aggressive for us this early in the season. Big fun! Then my Sweetie and I went to Home Depot and bought a new kitchen faucet. Well, slightly less exciting than Winchester Highwall, but necessary nonetheless. Did you know there's about a gazillion faucet choices? I almost had to lay down for a few minutes...finally, I was able to spell "Kohler" and managed to survive to fight another day.

I've put together all the reloading pieces for the 45/70, which is putting the cart before the horse, of course. Have even getting expert advice from "Happy Jack," who routinely shoots his Highpower at 1000 yards ( and actually hits things!). He's recommending a 535 gr. Lyman bullet from Montana Bullet Works for the longer range stuff, using XMP5744 powder. I also want to work up a 100 yard load with the 405-gr Laser Cast bullets and maybe Trail Boss powder.

Now all I need is a gun...and some sights...and maybe some talent....

Friday, April 27, 2012

Be Ready!

Monday night is Walpurgis Night!

I suggest buying your garlic for the doors and windows as soon as possible, and I expect a run on holy water over the weekend.

When the stubble yellow, green the grain.The rabble rushes - as 'tis meet -To Sir Urian's lordly seat.O'er stick and stone we come, by jinks!The witches f..., the he-goat s......The broomstick carries, so does the stock;The pitchfork carries, so does the buck;Who cannot rise on them tonight,Remains for aye a luckless wight.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Act of 2012

Hearings began today. No Lawyers has the info here.

It has been a decade since I first walked onto a stage at a huge hunting convention and called for the modification of Pittman-Robinson to allow more money to go to ranges. I was lucky to get out with my life. I said then that taxation without representation, which was clearly the case with the vast majority of excise tax money coming from shooters but going to wildlife conservation, was still tyranny.

I supported CO Senator Mark Udall, who is a Democrat, in his first attempt to modify P-R a few years back, which bought me hate mail from conservative bloggers. Sen. Udall has introduced this bill, which has the full support of NSSF, who has come around to my point of view.

Thank you, Senator, and thank you NSSF.

I believed then and I believe now this is a battle we have to win.

Congrats to K.C.!

Got a note from Glock this AM that K.C. Eusebio will be joining Team GLOCK...good for Glock and good for K.C.! You've seen him many times on SHOOTING GALLERY, and you no doubt will be seeing him many more times. He is a great guy and one of the most brilliant shooters I've ever seen. Now, if I could just get him to stop calling me, "Mr. Bane!"

And speaking of Gary Paul Johnson (as we were Monday), he has an excellent article in AMERICAN RIFLEMAN on the "Fitz Special," the cut-down big bore revolvers made by John Henry FitzGerald when he was at Colt in the early years of the 20th Century. As a kid I was absolutely enamored with the Fitz Specials and, as a consequence, am probably going to hell for carving up 1917 Colts and S&Ws back when they were cheap and readily available. Gary mentioned the iconic Fitz Special, the Colt that Fitz made for Col. Rex Applegate. Back in 2005 I was lucky enough to be able to handle that gun extensively. Here's my report from Back Then.

I still have the custom S&W 1917 I snagged back then. It's not a Fitz Special...note its unaltered trigger guard, but it is a superb implementation of the big bore belly gun.

My S&W belly gun is a good example of why I wish guns could talk (we wish that all the time on GUN STORIES). Somebody put a lot of money into building this little blaster...the barrel's been correctly restamped with the caliber perfectly reentered, the action is superb, the sight are dead-on for 230 grain ball and the gun came with a set of Roy Fishpaw custom grips numbered to the gun (yeah, I put those grips on my S&W M-21 .44 Special). Then it ended up in my local gun store for about a quarter of what it was worth. Wonder howcum...

Of course I also have several other big bore belly guns, including a wonderful 3-inch .44 Magnum built by Jim Stroh at Alpha Precision. It's been my off-and-on car gun for years. Talk about the Golden Age of Handguns! Back in Fitz' day, it was a big deal to make one of these they're readily available, from the Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special to a whole slew of S&Ws (I especially like the 329 and 325 Night Guard series, which I believe are very true to the Fitz concept) to the bruising Ruger Alaskan, the perfect big bore belly gun for defense against, say, garbage trucks. I would so love to see Colt do a retro Fitz!

One other thing this AM...This morning's New York Red ran an op-ed on a meme we've seen before...over and over and over...a variation on "I'm a gun owner but I hate hate hate the NRA!" Today's flavor is "I'm a New Hunter and I Have Guns but I Hate the NRA!!!" 
I’m a hunter and a sportswoman. I own guns, but not for self-defense. I support gun control laws. I would happily vote to repeal the Stand Your Ground law in my home state of Oregon. In other words, the N.R.A. does not represent me.
Where do they find these dweebs? Do they run an ad in the Dweeb Weekly News..."if you're a gun owner and you've never given the slightest though how it is that you're still able to own and use guns after 4 decades of brutal antigun propaganda, misstatements, outright lies, confiscatory legislation and a demonization campaign second to none, give us a call! We'd like to publish your story!"

The writer, Lily Raff McCaulou, notes that for real hunters like herself, "it's not about the gun." Well, it damn well should be, Ms. McCaulou, unless you fancy hunting with stone-tipped spears and burning branch.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Well, There... still brutally pounded with on earth did his happen? Last week we were doing the ultra high-speed photography and the trick video stuff for Gun Stories Season 2 out at GUNSITE. My good friend Gary Paul Johnson took pity on me and came out with his AA-12 full auto 12 gauge, a 20-round drum, a Kel-Tec KSG bullpup and a LOT of shotgun shells, which we proceeded to run through like there was no tomorrow. I read on he Internet recently that the shottie no longer was "necessary" since he invention of the AR-15. Yeah, whatever...

We got some Phantom footage of me and the AA-12, which we'll get up on DRTV ASAP. We also got some freakin' amazing footage with the Browning 1919... You guys are gonna be so blown away!

I'm thinking we need to film some long range cowboy rifle stuff, which involves me rounding up a long range cowboy rifle. SG Producer John Carter has already gone for a 45/70 High Wall repro from Cimmarron; Marshal Halloway went all traditional with a 32-inch Sharps 45/70. I'm thinking this High Wall 45/70 from Taylor's, Montana Vintage Arms tang sights, some kinda load worked up with Laser Cast 405-grain bullets...I've got some lying around, I think. Be a fun project to work up...something I've never done before. I have to say I considered a Trapdoor Springfield like this Uberti....I had a cut-down Trapdoor when I was a kid and I put about a bazillion 45/70 405s through it, as many as I could buy with my allowance. Still, the High Wall is just so graceful.

I'll keep you informed!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Not Dead!

Swamped doing high speed photography for GUN STORIES...more whenI get to the airport..

Monday, April 16, 2012

Great Read!

From The Truth About Guns:
In my post Dennis Henigan on Chardon: Clockwork Edition, I did an analysis of how many lives were saved annually in Defensive Gun Uses (DGUs). I used extremely conservative numbers. Now I am going to use some less conservative ones. 
The Kleck-Gertz DGU study estimated that there are between 2.1 and 2.5 million DGUs a year in the U.S. The Ludwig-Cook study came up with 1.46 million. So let’s split the difference and call it 1.88 million DGUs per year. 
In the K-G article Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun, 15.7 percent of people who had a DGU reckoned they almost certainly saved a life. Ignoring the ‘probably’ and ‘might have’ saved a life categories for simplicity, 15.7 percent of 1.88 million gives us 295,160 lives saved annually.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Here at the NRA Show

...and swamped. Really like the Colt .308 bolt gun, the M2012 built on a Cooper action. Heavy sucker, but just screams cool. We'll be getting one for Ed Head to wring out ASAP. S&W Shield 9mm single stack does feel like a shrunken M&P. Heizer 2-shot derringers are the hit of the show (now available in Apple white, sort of an iGun)...Crimson Trace LaserGrips w/green laser drawing big crowds, too. The Ruger 22/45 Lite will be my new Ruger Rimfure Challenge pistol.

Going by to see the FNH pump shotgun today...BTW, Stoeger tells me they can't keep up with the demand for the double barrel "tactical" shotguns...

This place is just mobbed!

More later...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Still Gearing Up for NRA!

Narrator: There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
— Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Radio Shows, 1978

I just don't feel like The Force is with me today...for example, I keep thinking my suitcase is going to pack itself, and yet despite my most intense thoughts, nothing ever seems to happen. As a consequence, I bought a weird-looking shoulder holster. I'm not sure about the cause and effect there. Maybe if I took a nap.

I got notice that the much-anticipated Heizer .45 Double Tap derringer should be on its way to me end of the month...I expect this thing to be a monster sales wise, not to mention relaunching the apparently endless debate on DERRINGERS— Effective Self-Defense Tool or Spawn of Satan?

I come down on the side of anything that goes bang as being more effective than harsh language, or even a sharp stick. I consider my Bond Arms .45/.410 as an excellent, albeit beefy, dog-walking gun and have used it as such for years. As I've gotten older, I've become more of a proponent of 2 guns for CCW holders, largely because of the ability to hand the second gun off the a spousal unit or a friend who is not carrying. New York Reloads, as Jim Cirillo called them, are also quick like bunny.  

Gearing Up for NRA!

I'll be at the NRA Show Friday and Saturday...unfortunately, Sunday I've got to head out to Arizona for high-speed filming on GUN STORIES Season 2.

I'll be signing autographs and generally making a nuisance of myself SATURDAY AFTERNOON, from noon to 2PM, in the cafeteria level, so please don't leave me standing there like a complete dweeb!

Otherwise, feel free to grab me for a few words. Marshal and I will be doing podcast material from the floor of the show...usually that works out okay! I plan to spend some time at the Decot Hy-Wyd Sport Glasses booth as a "thank you" for the magnificent job they've done with my shooting glasses over the years...I must have a dozen pairs from the many changes in my eyes, and these guys have worked with me every step of the way. Decots are the only shooting glasses I wear, and they don't pay me to say that!

I meant to link this earlier, but the LA Times did a cool article titled "Way of the Gun" last weekend, essentially having fictional characters explain their choice of hardware. The article includes characters written by Stephen Hunter, Elmore Leonard, Michael Connelly and one of my long-time favorites, Robert Crais. This is from Crais' character Joe Pike, detective Elvis Cole's partner:
“The best semiautomatic combat pistol made. The lowered ejector port, full-length guide rail, beveled magazine well and superb tolerances give outstanding out-of-the-box accuracy and reliability. The big .45 ACP bullet is heavy and slow, but that’s what you want. A lighter, faster bullet will punch through a man, carrying its energy with it. A .45 hollowpoint flattens and dumps its energy into the target like a truck T-boning a Prius. You don’t need to double-tap with the .45. One shot will knock a big man off his feet. LAPD SWAT uses the Kimber. USMC Special Operations Command (Force Recon) uses it. I use it. That’s all you need to know.”
That Joe Pike...some cool character, huh? As most of you know, when I was just starting out on this strange journey, I fell in with a genuine character who could have been the model for Mr. Pike, right down to the distinguishing tattoos and trademark grey sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off. He taught me a lot of what I know about guns, not to mention how to repeal of buildings, the joy of night vision optics and what fun it is to be a professional aggressor for police teams. He dropped off the grid years ago, but I got a message last year, "Watch your six." Of course...

I was sorry Raylan Givens from Justified, an Elmore Leonard character, wasn't on the list. Justified wrapped up its season last night, and it was...disarming...LOL!

I've actually thought about doing a SHOOTING GALLERY episode focusing on the guns of famous detectives...that'd be a hoot! One of the most fun things I've done was be a guest firearms instructor at a Mystery Writers of America convention...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

IDPA Booming!

I note that IDPA is going through a pretty spectacular boom, adding 800-900 new members a month! You'll also see in the release over on DRTV that they've added my good friend Paul Erhardt to handle their communications chores. Paul is quite simply the best marketer in the shooting sports...he and I have worked together for more than a decade, and his work speaks for itself.

As I've mentioned before, I'm also hugely impressed with Joyce Wilson, who heads up IDPA. She has done nothing short of an amazing job in guiding the organization through its growing pains.

I was really impressed with IDPA's growth when we filmed the very first IDPA Worlds for Season 12 of SG, a show that proved to be our highest-rated of the season...I only wish my shooting had been up to that standard! LOL! You can expect to see much more IDPA on both SHOOTING GALLERY and DRTV over the coming months...

Friday, April 06, 2012


Have you ever had one of those days when you just wanted to lock yourself in your bedroom with 2 quarts of chocolate milk and a month's prescription of antianxiety pills, pull your jammies over your head and read all five books in the Game of Thrones series, one right after the other? Then again, maybe I should just go north to the Wall and take the Black. What can I say?

OTOH, it's Friday and tomorrow I'm shooting  cowboy match in Cowboy World, Wyoming, and I will feel better. LOL! "Your fingers would remember their old strength better... if they grasped your sword..."

Made some chili-rubbed ono tonight, with a nice salsa of my own design. My Sweetie cooked up a superb cauliflower dish, and I cracked a Rodney Strong pinot...still sunk in depression, but it will no doubt pass. And the food and wine is good. So there.

Just signed off on my Panteao Productions concealed carry video...I'm very pleased with the way the rough cut came out...Panteao does excellent work! I'm planning the second video for later this guys will love it! My plan is to put 4 DRTV videos up for each 2-hour Panteao Production. Still working on a DRTV discount on videos...will let you know.

Be cold tomorrow AM, but darn it, looking forward to it!

BTW, was looking at ratings' date today for Season 12 of looks like the IDPA World Cmpionships were our biggest week...what do you guys think?????

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Favorite Headline of the Week


Rocker gets rabies shots after bat urinates in his eye

This is the kind of news we need to know! I hate bat piss...


Once again looking out windows at mountains and snow. Every time I visit NYC I get a strange sense of all my memories of living in Manhattan, I'm young, which I am demonstrably not...anymore. Loved my time in NYC, but for the life of me can't remember how I did it.

Couple of YIKES points after the past couple of days comments...

1) RE: AMMUNITION...first, you guys drastically overestimate my influence. I can't cause or stop any sales event, especially the tsunami that's coming. I am, however, in a pretty unique position...I have sent a month traveling to gun companies, walking the production floors, talking to both executives and manufacturing managers, looking at orders, backlogs, production planning, etc. Because I am a very lucky person, I have been talking to quite literally the smartest people in the industry

I am in the position I'm in because for my entire career I have been an expert at analyzing trends. I was trained early on by masters in the last years in college, when I was thoroughly sick of physics and math as a major, I was assigned a "professor/advisor" with dual PhDs in statistical analysis and mass communications...he was happy to have a student who didn't get queasy looking at equations and I was fascinated by the concepts of predictive analysis. Trends are what they are...they don't care about me at all.

Secondly, consider my mindset, which is laid out on a regular basis for everyone to see (and debate). I created and produced THE BEST DEFENSE /SURVIVAL, I served as an expert for the landmark History Channel special AFTER ARMAGEDDON, I live up in the mountains in the Rocky Mountain West and am working on plans for a new, completely off-grid Secret Hidden Bunker, and I am writing a book titled The New Survival Guns...what might my mindset be on "stocking up?" Again, feel free to disagree. If you don't want to stock up on ammo and components, by all means, don't. Keep in mind that there are 2 competitive shooters here at the Secret Hidden Bunker...we routinely maintain a stockpile of components.

I was staggered by the current flood of gun orders (and the resulting backlog, of which about 70% will "disappear"). Yes, it is the leading edge of the coming bubble, but it also represents a flood of new people coming into our culture (and keep in mind that I and Paul Erhardt predicted this flood, Gun Culture Ver. 2.0 years back by, duh, analyzing trends). Even a straight-line extrapolation says:

more guns in the market = more ammo sales

This isn't going to change until we return of a peacetime economy and the big ammo manufacturers divert a larger portion of their manufacturing resources to the civilian market.
2) Modern post-assembly line manufacturing techniques are aimed at reducing the human component of manufacturing, which is expensive, lowering the cost per piece and increasing throughput speed. As it happens, those things tend to have a positive effect on quality, but quality is not necessarily the primary driver.

As I have said over and over, based on my own crash study of manufacturing while working with the manufacturing consultancy R. D. Garwood, Inc. for a decade, appropriate technology need not be the bleeding edge of technology. CNC machines are indeed magic, but you do not need that kind of horsepower to manufacture a widget. Now, you might need that horsepower to produce a lot of widgets, especially if there is significant variations between different types of widgets.

Let's look at EDM machining...because in electrical discharge machining, the cut is by spark — the wire doesn't every touch the metal being cut — it can do very clean, very precise cut on complex angles. Ruger uses EDM to cut the 1911 breech face on the slide. That cut then requires virtually no additional "prepping" before use...fewer hands touch the gun, the cost to produce the piece is reduced. Quality is also increased. Does that mean that the first 1911s to roll off Colt's assembly line on January 1912 had inferior breech faces because EDM had yet to be invented? I have examined first day, first hour 1912 production 1911s, and I have spent hours with master gunsmith Bill Laughridge going over the specs for those first 500 guns...they were and are masterpieces.

I have also handled a 1911 built quite literally with raw steel and a flat file by some unknown Pakistani gunsmith...I would't want to shoot it myself, but it would go bang. Look at S&W revolvers front the early part of the 20th CNC...just plain old boring metal lathes, drill presses and milling machines, handled by some of the greatest gunsmiths ever...tell me that a pristine Triple-Lock isn't a breathtaking example of the gunmaker's art!

I don't know everything...hell, the older I get, the less I realize I know...I knew a lot more when I was hanging out at CBGBs in NYC in my 20s! LOL! But I am a student of the way widgets, especially guns get made, and I'm not afraid to ask the stupid questions. I am also very lucky in having a strangely checkered career. I have been in most of the major, and many of the minor, gun manufacturing facilities in America and some around the world, but before I was in those factories I got a crash course in manufacturing working with Garwood.

I am the co-author of the standard text on structuring bills of material and a text on creating new products for a world-class manufacturing environment. I am also very proud of a book Garwood and I wrote, Shifting Paradigms — Reshaping the Future of Industry. In the glory days of personal computers, I was a technology correspondent for the Chicago Tribune News Syndicate, and I got to spend time with the legends of the industry before They ascended onto Mt. fact, it was Michael Dell, who created Dell Computers, who patiently explained to me how factories would evolve beyond building one specific product to general places that built "stuff"— what we see now in China. I got to hang out at the MIT Media Lab (I've never felt so dumb in my life, but they were patient with me...mostly), where the future gets invented, and some of the big think tanks.

Because of what I do, I get to spend a lot of time with people who design, make and market firearms, and because I spent so many decades as a journalist, I tend to obsessively ask questions. What ends up presented here and in my other media outlets is pretty much my opinions...I'm wrong a lot, but I'm occasionally right.

As always, your mileage might vary...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Train Time

You are living a reality I left years ago
It quite nearly killed me.
In the long run it will make you cry.
Make you crazy and old before your time...
-- CSN&Y
"You Don't Have to Cry"

On the Amtrak shuttle to D.C. from NYC. Sorta feel like I'm in a blender. The event last night went really well. am always amazed at how well people take to shooting...of course ,it's a self-selecting set, but impressive nonetheless.

Yep, Charter builds guns with machine tools rather than CNC, which works pretty well with what is basically a late 19th Century design. The metal doesn't care what drills the hole, a ganged manually operated drill press or a 5-axis CNC, as long as the hole is to spec.

You guys saw that ammunition sales are starting to spin up...just saying'...

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A Cool Nighht a tonight & Charter Arms Update

So anyhow, I have a super interesting night tonight...Marshal and I are teaching self-defense concepts to a class of the top women advertising executives in NYC. Neat, huh? They're all actually going to get the opportunity to show a Ruger 10/22 under the tutelage of the excellent instructors of Manhattan's Westside Rifle & Pistol Club. I'll let you know how it rolls...

Yesterday we went over to CT to visit with Charter Arms, makers of one of my favorite snubs, the .44 Bulldog. Charter is cool because it is totally Old Skool, a Gun Valley company making guns like they've been making guns for a century. One of the most impressive things about Charter was their "rework" was almost empty. The "new" Charter Arms is doing an outstanding job of delivery quality revolvers right out of the box.

I was surprised to learn that the colored revolvers have become Charter's best-sellers. Like everyone I've talked to over the last few weeks, snubs are just flying out the door.

I think we'll be going back to film at the factory, then compare it to a CNC-based production facility like a cool way to show people the different ways of producing guns!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Marshal & I Do NYC

..can you spell Mesa Grill? After a day at Charter Arms?