Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why scumbags always gotta be scumbagin' up in this piece?

You may remember hearing about a dude with a CCW getting jumped at a gas station by two scumbags in Dayton, Ohio sometime last year, and he blasted one of the morons twice in the guts with a .45 caliber Glock. There's a huge thread on it with input from the man who blasted the moron at Ohioans For Concealed Carry, which also details the shenanigans that went down after the shooting by the moron who didn't get shot, along with his inbred family. Well, it appears that that second moron done gone and got himself shot too at another gas station over what looks like a drug deal gone bad.

This is a clear indicator of the fact that most people who are shot with handguns survive. Moron #1 who was shot twice last year survived, and from what I've heard is serving time somewhere. Moron #2 was shot in the neck, and one of his accomplices was shot in the legs. Both encounters were filmed, so we get an inside look into the scumbaggery.

If you want more details on both shootings, either go to the one OFCC thread above, or check out the Shooting of Moron #1 and Shooting of Moron #2 at ARFCOM.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who says torture isn't effective?

Last night I was setting dinner on the table for the kids and was short one fork, so I went to the drawer to get one, but there were none. Remembering the dishes in the dishwasher were clean, I reached in there to fetch one and when I did, a tine from one of the forks slipped about a quarter of an inch up under my thumbnail. In the space of about ten seconds afterwords, I confessed to all sorts of things, though I'm reasonably sure I didn't give up any cuss words. I had an audience of impressionable people, and I've been making a genuine attempt to not swear anymore. I could have done better with my temper, though.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Walking Dead roundup

I just finished up season 2 last night; and believe it or not, my wife and I didn't even start watching the show until early last week, but we're caught up now. There's plenty of reviews and threads out there that cover everything well, so I thought I'd collect some links and drop them off here.

***Spoiler Alert in case you record shows and haven't finished yet. Just a friendly Spoiler Alert here. (Ace of Spades ruined it for me. Thanks jackass!)****

My favorite - College Humor: 10 Reasons Why The Walking Dead Should Just Kill Carl. Spot on. I would have had serious words with worthless Lori after the first time that stupid boy went wandering off, and after the sixth or seventh time Lori would be sporting irish sunglasses and both of them would be handcuffed in the basement. I get that boys wander about to do boyish things - I did when I was a boy - but that isn't acceptable behaviour during the zombie apocalypse. Really this one all boils down to poor script writing, in that Carl is only a facilitator to get everyone isolated in small groups in the woods.

Castra Praetoria: The Walkind Dead: There's No Crying In The Zombie Apocalypse and Thoughts On The Walking Dead, Season 2. America's 1stSgt points out that the scavenging and security abilities of the survivors are shit-in-a-brown-bag (thanks, Dad!). All the M16s and M4s laying around haven't been picked up, and the main character's weapon of choice for two whole seasons only holds six rounds. What does that tell you? The gun handling and weapon expertise in general in the show is terrible, and the show's execs need to find a competent firearms trainer and fix it. That would go a long way towards satisfying some of the estimated hundreds of millions of Americans who actually know a thing or two about guns and security.

Cracked: 5 Reasons 'The Walking Dead' Has to Get Better. I especially note the part about Dale; every time he started talking I treated it like it was a commercial. Who cares about morality in the zombie apocalypse? Seeing him ripped apart was such a relief. If the show is going to keep a stockpile of zombiefood characters to add occasional sadness and tension, the least they could do is not let them speak (Carrol). And yes, the farm was a terrible place to film the show.

ARFCOM Walking Dead season 2 thread. This is just for general entertainment. At 230+ pages, there's a lot to read if you're in to that sort of thing.

I didn't read the comic books, but I dig the show. I do think season 2 started to get really dull about halfway through, and hope that somebody does something about the laughable gun handling for the 3rd season. Pity the 2nd season had all those lush fields for someone with an AR rifle and a couple ounces of skill to pick off tons of zombies, and they missed the opportunity because the script writers decided to let Carl wander off for the 19th time. And Lori needs to get eaten, or lose her footing and stumble into a running wood chipper. Seriously, now that Dale is dead, she's hands down the worst character, and on top of that she is now relieved of having to choose between Rick and Shane, meaning that her presence on the show is now pointless. What kind of drama can she drum up now? Her character sucks and she should be the first to go. Even clueless Carrol is capable of picking one dude to want to be with, and mostly keeps her mouth shut.

I do like the zombies though. I'm more in favor of the slow, mindless zombies instead of smart zombies who are quick in their feet. Early into the first season I told my wife that I would have a sword, which means that I would have to make one, probably out of a leaf spring from a car. The cutesy Gerber machete thingies would do fine for one engagement, but there's a reason the Spartans and Romans didn't make their edged weapons out of eighth inch steel - longevity and toughness. If you're going to make it picking off small groups of zombies for months on end, and don't want to attract giant herds with gunfire, you need a substantial piece of hardened steel so you can save your ammo for shooting food. I'd also want a sword for close in encounters that are typical of the show, and not a pistol that holds a finite amount of ammo. That's my take.

***ETA: Check out IMFDB thread on the guns of The Walking Dead. The gun that Sheriff Woody Rick Grimes uses is a Colt Python, and there are also Sigs, Glocks, Brownings, Mossbergs, and a plethora of other guns. I note that T-Dog's Glock is a Glock 19, not a Glock 17. You guys are slippin!!

All hail my dorkiness

Dorkiness isn't recognized by spellcheck, by the way. Anyhow, because I have very little shame, I give you some pictures of the epi-pen holster I made:

In the wild:

The 1/4" holes in between the two epi-pens are for one half of the rivet dies to pass through, which sandwiches the neoprene support between the holster body and a flange that rests against my sock. The holster is reasonably comfortable, at least for the next few weeks or months until I have the time to make a better one. This one was done on the fly, with little to no planning, but now I have a better idea on what would work. Retention is by the way of friction (no screw to tighten), and it's very secure. It stays put and doesn't wander around my ankle; that's more than I can say about my old method of sticking one of the pens in my sock.

The important thing is that they're both on me at all times, so my main requirement is met. There's lots of "stuff" in between the liquid medicinal goodness and the 98.6 degrees of my leg -- epi-pen cartridge, case, kydex holster, neoprene, kydex flange, sock -- so I should be within the temperature excursion requirements. It's secure, so I won't lose them, so that's another requirement met.

I don't suppose that there's a market for such a device, especially since I didn't make it out of platinum and hang a bunch of charms and stuff from it, or border it in faux barbed wire. People can be so fickle. Hey, why are you laughing? Are you laughing at what I just said, or are you. . . . oh. . . .right. Yes, I'm a dork. But where are your epi-pens?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Range Report

I left work on Friday and headed straight to the range to shoot. I wanted to try out the latest batch of handloads in the P30. So how did it pan out? Well, as usual I clicked off five factory Speer Gold Dots, 124 grain +P, just to get another data point under higher temperatures (81 degrees), and my velocity was 1,191 fps, with an extreme spread of 34 fps. A nine round group of my 124 grain Gold Dot handloads gave me - 1,191 fps and an extreme spread of 24. I can't do any better than that.

The tenth handloaded round went into denim clad water jugs to find out if they do as well as the factory rounds I water tested, and I don't have a picture but the expanded bullet looks identical, and measured almost the exact same -- .55" at the widest point. Denim has a way of slowing the expansion process a bit, but it doesn't seem to be able to stop a Gold Dot.

Also, the handloads shot to point-of-aim at 25 yards and 50 yards, just like the factory rounds, so no sight adjustment is necessary. Something I've never tried before until a few days ago is sealing the primer and case mouth, and I did it because CCI/Speer seals the primer/case mouth on the Gold Dot line. I've read that it doesn't make a bit of difference in real world testing, but I found out from my testing that it certainly does. I submerged three rounds each of non-sealed and sealed handloads for five days; one round of each tip up, tip down, and on its side, and I had two of the non-sealed rounds give me lower velocities than normal (801 and 851 fps), and one of the sealed rounds gave me 1,018 fps. Since the sealed rounds were my very first attempt and my technique sucks, I'm giving it another try against factory Gold Dots to see if I can match or beat their standard.

While I was there my brother and I ran another 250 rounds of Federal 115 grain loads through the P30, and he shot his M&P Pro at the plates. That puts my trouble-free round count at 1,798 rounds, and my brother's somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 rounds he reports. Plastic guns are super reliable these days.

Saturday I was home with just me and my two youngest sons, basically kidless for me, and I took the time to wash approximately 4,000 9mm cases in preparation for some bulk reloading. I've decided to cast 147 grain bullets for this gun, so that's going to be underway here very shortly.

I also got a chance to make a double epi-pen ankle holster, a picture of which I didn't get a chance to upload yet. My wife halfway mocks me on the matter, considering what a huge dork that I am, but I'm not out to win any fashion shows and I remind her that I am now carrying both epi-pens with me at all times. My next move is to make that medical ID bracelet I've been bitching about.

That's what I've got for the moment. Anyone else have a ranger report to share?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spacial profiling

Old NFO has a post regarding a LEO's instincts and perception while looking for scumbags, and something from that conversation with said LEO brought back a memory of mine from a few years back. The quote from Old NFO's post that provoked the memory:
"Another point he made is he picks out a lot of CCW people by their attention to their surroundings and having one hand free at all times. He said paying attention will, many times 'cue' him to that person, and he goes down his mental checklist, then goes back to scanning for the perps. He said the perps tend to be much more furtive, and once he sees one, he starts looking for others (as most gangbangers tend to run in groups of at least three or more)... "

I am hyper aware of my surroundings when I'm out and about, and I didn't get that way because I get a kick out of it. I learned to instinctively, and this is a total recall of a non-incident that I feel would have gone differently had I not been paying attention to my personal space that led me to be this way:

It was approximately five or six years ago, because I recall only being out with my wife -- no kids. I was armed to the teeth, as per the usual, and my wife and I had stopped at a McDonald's for some grease induced sickness before heading out to who knows where. This particular McDonald's is the oldest one in town; really, Adam and Eve used to get McFish sandwiches and apple pies from this place, it's that old, and the local vagrants that live in the nearby woods come out to panhandle in this area now as it's in the center of town.

I'm paranoid of McDonald's anyways because when I was in High School I worked at a little McDonalds for about two months, and my old manager was shot in the back by two scumbags who held up another McDonalds across town the same week I quit. She was in the process of emptying the cash drawers when they shot her, and fortunately she survived.

Anyhow, we're waiting for the food to cook as we have already paid, and there's only about half a dozen people in the restaurant at the moment, when this thuggish looking teenager comes in the door on the East side of the building. He doesn't look at the menu or even enter the store at all; he walks just inside the door and steps one step to the side and with a poker face watches the two or three people ordering at the register for a couple of minutes. I noticed him immediately and didn't like the look of him, and I thought I had seen him with two other teens walking around outside when we first got there. Well, as soon as I thought it one of the other teens walks in from the West door, a female, and she quickly makes her way to the restrooms. A minute or two later the third teen -- also thuggish looking -- comes in the West door and steps off to the side like the first kid and is watching the people in line.

The alarm bells are so loud in my head I wondered if anyone else could hear them. Both teens stood there like statues at the doorway for about three minutes, the whole time closely watching the people at the registers, and I was trying my hardest to burn holes through their skulls with lazer beams from my eyes. I had been sitting down when they first came in but then stood up, and they both noticed that I was gazing right at them the whole time, back and forth like a dog watching a tennis match. I didn't stop looking at them until they remembered that playstation tourney at their friend's house that they were late to, and they turned right around and went out the doors they had came in from, almost at the exact same moment. About thirty seconds later the chickeedee finished whatever she was doing in the bathroom (loading her frickin' Uzi, I'm convinced), and joined her buddies and left. My firm belief is that they were going to rob the place, and noticed that I wasn't one of the grass eaters like in all the other places they had robbed.

I can't say whether I would have been able to save the day or not, but the very second one of those kids pulled a weapon it would have been the Matrix lobby scene all over again. Since then I make it a point to watch what's going on whenever I'm outside of my house. LEOs like in Old NFO's post are perceptive because they have to be, but there's no reason at all why anyone else can't pay attention. That isn't an excuse to be a vigilante, but it does mean that you should know what's happening in the public space where you're at.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Carrying with kids

This video is the first I've ever seen on the subject of carrying a firearm while out and about with kids, which is something I deal with almost every day. I'm not about to make a video, but I'll take a minute or two to pour out my thoughts.

When most folks consider being armed in public and mentally rehearse how they would act if a squad of jihadi-joes in full shemagh attacked the Piggly Wiggly they're shopping in, they no doubt think their reaction is going to be all VTAC and highspeed. That's all fine and great, and practicing the tactical reload stuff with that drop leg rig while maintaining cover and full magazine retention is awesome, but the reality is that a great deal of folks are not in the realm of any of that. I'm a full on walking arsenal when I go out for the day with my family, and train fairly often, and I can say with absolute certainty that I have zero use for the Jack Bauer stuff. But I live in a different world.

First thing to point out about being out with kids, especially little children or toddlers, is that your sidearm may not (probably won't be) accessible at all times. You can have the finest and fastest kydex that money can buy concealed with an awesome Arc'teryx jacket, and you won't be able to get to it when the arm you typically draw with is holding a 20 lb bag of drool. You can carry your kid on the opposite hip from your weapon, but sooner or later you're going to switch arms for some reason, probably when you're fishing for your keys three steps from your car (when you're potentially the most vulnerable to predatory scumbags), and there you are basically unarmed. Practicing drawing with your support hand is good to go, and I would encourage learning to do that, but having a separate small auto or revolver available for your support hand would be even better. It's almost as if J-frames and Kel-Tecs were designed to ride comfortably in a pocket for this specific reason; I don't know and I can't say for sure.

To complicate things: you're holding your kid with your support arm so that your shooting arm is free to access your heater in case the Hostiles decide to make your day, but didn't you walk into that store to buy something? Which hand were you planning on carrying that case of Keystone Light in? Where are your car keys? Are you alone, or do you have a spouse or family member with you? Do you only have one kid?

That last point is crucial for folks like me; I have three toddlers and a baby, and when I'm alone with them it can be really tough. When I go to the store, I have one shopping cart completely dedicated to kid transport, and I still have one on the ground holding my hand. If I need to pick up lots of stuff, I'll have two carts. Two or three kids is basically just as hard because you have to look after them first and foremost. And to further muddy the water, all that "grabbing cover" and "limiting your exposure" that you learned about during that weekend gunfighting academy -- are you really going to break from your stroller to find cover, leaving your heathen spawn crying in the middle of the parking lot or medicine aisle? Oh yeah, we can't do that, huh? Now think about this hard: if you are unfortunate enough to end up in a gunfight with some banger while you're near your kids, are you going to cover them with your body or move away to try and draw fire away from them (assuming that in the moment you have mental ability to calculate the choice)? I've thought about it, and in the end I find the answer to be in what bodyguards do in a protective detail. They put their body in between who they're protecting and whatever the biggest threat is. I was watching a show on the Secret Service on NatGeo or something the other day, and one agent explained how they were trained to "get big" when taking fire in order to catch more incoming rounds with their body; and sure enough, while showing the video playback from when Hinkley tried to shoot Reagan, one agent did just that at the first crack of the assassin's gun, making himself a larger target. Amazing. That agent absorbed a round that could very well have ended Reagan's life. I note too that "getting big" is the opposite of military and other doctrine on surviving a gunfight, which teaches you to "get small." So there's that to think about.

Next up to talk about is awareness. This is even more important when you have distractions, like the screaming thing in the stroller you're pushing. I always always always have a plan when I leave a store, and the car keys are already out and in my hand before crossing the parking lot or wherever. Standing there in the dark next to your car is not the time to be fumbling with anything, so be ready before you walk out. The kids are the very first priority; get them in the car first, and then load your stuff. If there's some sort of danger, you can drive off without your stuff. It's just stuff and can be replaced. Pay attention to your surroundings. One good thing about having kids is that no yayhoos approach me anymore to ask for smokes or money; I guess they assume I have none because I just spent all mine on the visible boxes of diapers.

When I go out with the kids without my wife to say a mall or large store, I park right next to a shopping cart return with at least one cart, and I typically park way out in the middle of the parking lot where there's no other cars around. Scumbags use cover and concealment, and I'd rather see them coming from far off. Being next to a cart return means I don't have to wander away from the car to return it when I'm done. If I'm carrying a kid in one arm and stuff in the other, the kid goes on the support arm side because I'll drop whatever is in my strong side hand if I need to. When getting gas, or at any time when the kids are in the vehicle and I'm not, all the doors are unlocked, that way I can get in from any part of the vehicle if I need to. I will not get into an argument or pissing match with anyone when out with my family (or by myself; it's good policy). I don't need to prove that I'm a man, so I'm not going to risk getting into a fistfight where I can potentially be knocked out, allowing the dude who hit me to ride off in my car with my kids. This is doubly true if you have a kid in one of the slings the lady in the linked video has. I know there are some who have their heart set on knife fighting their way through the Tangos because they ran their FDE pistol dry stacking bodies, but try that with your son in an ERGO and you'll be sorry. The fist fight scenario is a heavy argument to throw at naysayers who tell you you don't need a gun because a real man only needs his hands. A real man would see clearly that fighting while holding a child is a no-go. On top of that, I know highly trained, physically fit, bona fide badass and very large men that have been maimed by one lucky punch that got through and connected, and that ain't gonna be me.

Violent flash mobs: I haven't heard about any of these in awhile, but they present a challenge if you have kids. With one kid, you can probably pick them up and run off -- hopefully. If you're alone with two or more kids, that's not going to be an option, so I'm of the opinion that my kids are going to get stuffed in a closet or car or off the beaten path somewhere while I try to fend off any savages. If it comes down to it, I hope one shot would be all it takes to disperse the crowd, but I think being prepared for the worst is important. That definitely wouldn't be the time I'd want to be standing there with a J-frame and five extra rounds on a stripper clip. A good fighting auto is a must, with at least one spare reload; two if I'm going out for the day and I have adequate time to prepare.

Lastly, unless I'm in the store, you won't finding me dickering around with my cellphone. I'm paying attention to everything, and I don't tarry in parking lots to browse facebook on my phone or call my mom about the burn on my finger. I can do that at home. I think when my kids are a little older, we'll discuss how to work as a team when out and about, with a "code word" or other indicator that there's danger or to leave the area. By then at least some of my kids will be a bit more useful. Right now, my oldest is the only one who can get the seatbelt clicked on her own, while everyone else needs help for everything.

(H/T The Firearm Blog)

Who knew pop videos could be tasteful?

Katy Perry's new music vid leaves out the dancing sluts, doesn't paint the Marine Corps as a bunch of baby killers, and Perry herself doesn't look like she slathered herself in Elmer's Glue and ran around the Hobby Lobby, adorning herself in random shiny things. Some bigshot media exec must have called in sick that day. There's still the weird Horus eye thing near the end though:

I got a kick out of the ARCOM thread on this one, with the Marines picking out the flaws in the video. I say it's a more accurate depiction than anything Hollywood has come out with. Someone showed her how to put cammie face paint on correctly (despite the use of black). Hopefully this is a new trend from the music industry? I doubt it, but whatever.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Whoa, dude!

If this Apache pilot had pulled this off it would have been way cool. From the caption, everybody came out of this alive, but I don't know how!

***ETA: I found the Apache video at this thread on ARFCOM, and this video was also on it:

I play inverted :(

Monday, March 19, 2012

Long weekend

I left work on Friday with full intentions of hitting the range while it was sunny, but that never happened. This asshole I've reluctantly known for half my life, who lives in dilapidation on the corner of L-5 and S-1, decided to come and stay with me for the last month or so, against my wishes, and had annoyed me to the point that I instead raced home to hang out with my friend Jack - a true Gentleman. Jack brought me much needed comfort, and I know I'll be hanging out with him for some time until I get this problem with said asshole sorted out.

On top of all that, all of my kids have the latest sickness to be making its rounds in the form of high fevers and super-snot. Things went bad last night when the kids' fevers spiked without warning within an hour's time, and as I was imersing them in semi-lukewarm bathwater to quickly cool them down, I had a sudden nasty allergic reaction to the turkey burgers I ate a half an hour before (I've made them exactly the same since the begining of time). I was alone, so I'm frantically swallowing all the meds in my tactical pillcase while texting my brother to please please please get here quick so that if Ana breaks through my defenses and knocks me out, there will be somebody who can pull the kiddos out of the tub. I'm done with this sickness stuff, and I'm done with the damned allergies. And it's not just that my kids are sickly; everyone I know has been fighting the sickness in their kids since fall, and we all bitch about it. I don't remember being in a constant state of sickness when I was a kid, so this has got to be either a government experiment gone horribly wrong or we are in fact in the end times.

Despite all this, I managed to crank out over a hundred beautiful Gooooooooooold Dots over the course of two days, two rounds at a time. My handloading doctrine has been so fine tuned over the last four years that I can maintain a high degree of consistency and quality control even with the constant interuptions from the kids.

6.6 grains of sweet sweet Vihtaviori goodness per 24 carat gold nickel plated case:

There's no chance of double charging a case, either; in order to have the room to seat the bullet over one charge, I have to lightly tap the case with my finger for a few seconds to get the powder to settle, kinda like a bag of potato chips.

1.129" is close enough. The varience from one bullet to another can be as much as .008", so you have to accept that you won't get that last digit right where you want it. I'll accept .004" inches of variation in total, or .002" in either direction.

Loading cartridges makes a mess on the bench. Being the neat freak that I am, I have to accept that there's going to be stuff laying around everywhere for awhile.

I learned that my oldest son enjoys watching 24 with me while I'm at the press, which is way cool. My boys also like to help pull the press handle down to seat booooolets, which is good to go as well. In time, I hope to teach them the secret art of accurate cartridge making so they can go forth and win shooting matches.

Lastly, my wife and I started watching The Walking Dead on Netflix this weekend, and we're hooked. Ever since 24 ended, there's not been a whole lot to get my attention on TV, but I'll make an exception for this show. Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When it all goes bad

It has been said that practice makes perfect. I agree, and note that some people practice perfect, meaning that they practice things in an environment that doesn't include the chance that something might go wrong. When it comes to defensive shooting and the practice thereof, it's helpful to learn to shoot not only while standing upright with a functioning weapon, but also while moving, walking, crouching; while kneeling and prone; on your back and on your face; with your right hand and your left. The reason is because you may wind up in a precarious possition if ou are ever unfortunate enough to be attacked, and having the skillset to defend yourself like this may save you.

Another aspect that I've rarely ever seen practiced outside of the military is failure drills. Because, if you haven't heard, firearms can fail you at the moment of truth, and being able to deal with it could potentially be helpful. What do you do if your trigger mechanism fails, or a badguy's round disables your weapon? Hopefully you draw another gun! If you do that than you're not only a big dork, but you're a prepared big dork, and I like you. If you don't, than I hope you've tried to incorporate some failure drills into your range session so you have some idea of what to do if you draw your weapon and the slide and barrel stay in your holster.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into your swim trunks

Along comes the Girl Scouts and their stupid (and yes, delicious) cookies to completely and utterly destroy your waistline. The cookie boxes should have a BMI chart on the side so you can quantify the damage to your body, that way you would at least be informed.

It's bad enough that the calorie count in the nutrition facts label is measured in metric tons instead of grams, but the serving size is between 2 and 4 not-even-bite-sized cookies! I mean the things aren't even the size of a single Doritos chip! Lookie - the appropriately named Thanks-A-Lot wields 150 metric tons of calories for every two (2) cookies. Did you know a grown man can easily manage three cookies per bite?

In a moment of weakness, I smashed through the better part of a box of Samoas right after dinner last night, and it took me not even thirty seconds to condemn my flanks to several extra pounds. I might as well have swallowed a shoebox full of 1 oz. fishing weights and chased it with four cases of Stella Artois; at least I wouldn't have felt so sick afterwords. And before you judge me, I'm not the one that orders a cord of them every year; but when they're sitting there on the counter all vulnerable and defenseless, all the willpower in the world can't keep someone from devouring them with total abandon. I'm serious when I say that Girl Scout cookies need to be heavily regulated, with red-light districts put up all over town full of establishments that serve them so that those who must have them have a place to go and eat, and the rest of us who know well enough to avoid them won't be tempted.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hunting buffalo with Cold Steel

I admit to finding Lynn Thompson's self defense handgunnery to be not only laughable, outright dangerous, and foolish, (go to 7:30 mark to see his technique of firing as soon as the muzzle leaves the holster) but there's no denying that the man pushes the limits of his world.

Here a buffalo goes all ninja on Lynn's well aimed spear throw and tries to take him out. He's pretty handy with a double action .454 Ruger, and fortunately doesn't take his own advice by firinghalf of his rounds into the dirt while getting the front sight on target:

Too close for comfort!

I love GoooooooooolllllldddddDots

I was fortunate enough to escape the melee at my house for a quick range session to test the next batch of handloads for the P30, and I have settled on a load. But first, check out the expanded Gold Dot that was shot into water jugs, the second one from left:

The one furthest to the left is a 147 grain HST, and the 124 grain Gold Dot expanded just as much - .708" at the widest point, and I didn't bother to get the average because it was so uniform. The third from the left is the same 124 grain Gold Dot bullet that I fired through denim, and thinking about it now so is the HST. The bullet to the right is a .45 caliber 230 grain Remington Golden Saber that I recovered from a bucket of damp dirt that I was firing into a couple of years ago. I haven't put calipers on it yet, but to my calibrated eye its expanded diameter is the same as two of the 9 millie bullets sitting next to it. Here's the back end where you can see what I'm talking about:

Now you can see why, with modern self defense loads, the 9mm performs in the same league as the .45 ACP. When bullets for the most popular defensive handgun cartridges - 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 Sig, and .45 ACP - are all calibrated to expand while penetrating to the same depth in ballistic gelatin, why not go with the round that has the least recoil and most capacity? It makes sense. If we were all stuck with ball ammo, mind you, I would chose the .45 ACP every time. That's a bit different.

As far as the Gold Dot handload I've settled on, the 6.6 grains of VihtaVuori wins the day again with a 1.692" five-shot group at an average velocity of 1,193 fps and a 17 fps extreme spread. It matches up close with the factory Gold Dots that gave me a 1.565" five-shot group at an average velocity of 1,182 fps and a 27 fps extreme spread. The last time the 6.6 grain VV charge gave me a 1.421" five-shot group, so I know this isn't a fluke. I'm also not going to dicker with the seating depth as I'm quite happy with inch-and-a-half 25 yard groups from a sub-compact length barrel. Also, I have to workat it to get that much powder settled in the case so the bullet can seat down all the way.

My brother also put some rounds through his M&P9C while the chronograph was up and the sun was shining. He thought the 147 grain HST +P rounds in his gun were recoiling a little excessive, and after shooting it I have to agree. You could feel a hitch in the slide when it went back, like it had some overtravel and was going back further than it should. Fortunately, the 124 grain +P Gold Dots did well in his gun, so he's switched to those under the promise of a steady supply of free ammo since I can make them so cheap.

Also of some interest, I broke down and added some duct tape to my home made appendix holster this weekend:

To go the extra mile on my trashiness, I couldn't locate my roll of duct tape and, because I was in such a hurry, as always, I had to use the duct tape from my Glock AIWB holster. This time though I'm using some soft gel and a synthetic shammy cloth to pad the holster, and I'm content with it at this point.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A blow to my community

Some of my earliest memories on this earth were of hearing Brian Strobel on the radio in my dad's truck in the morning while riding in to school. As a young man working to help my dad in the family business, hearing him on the radio while we sweat in the sun was an everyday occurance. We never missed Brian's radio show; in fact, one day while my mom and I were cleaning out dad's old Izuzu pickup to sell it, we tried to change the station from WFLS where dad had set it the day he got the truck, and even though the dial would show different stations coming up, it wouldn't stop broadcasting WFLS. That show was a part of my family for over three decades, and I'm sorry to hear that Brian Strobel was killed; he will be missed.

Farewell, sir. Thanks for the memories!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hump Day roundup

US Special Operation Forces operating in an operational training exercise. Jumping out of planes with all that gear on in the dark of night is bad ass. And, it's good to once again confirm via pictures that Marine Special Operations types are still being issued 1911s. Way cool.

Cannon fodder: a drunk dude uses a home-made assault thingie to shoot his girlfriend to death through the walls of their trailer. It sounds like the children made it out OK.

The contents of a can of Whoop-Ass poured out for the NorK's viewing pleasure: Countless F-16s sitting ready for war on the flight line in South Korea. That's a whole lotta mean sitting there!

Speaking of warbirds, here's an ARFCOM thread on the F4 Phantom. While I have said before that I believe the Spitfire to be the most gorgeous fighter plane ever, I have to say without a doubt that the F4 is the meanest looking war plane ever devised. Even while sitting perfectly still on the flight line, that sucker looks like it's fed demons to keep it from lashing out at the world.

Do you watch Top Shot? Season 4's Gabby Franco has bravely registered at ARFCOM and has a thread where you can ask her stuff about the show.

Combat AAR by those in-the-know on the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. I'm still not a big fan. I understand the principle of ammo efficiency and conservation in a firefight, I'm not convinced that this weapon is going to give fire superiority against a modern, well trained and equipped army with belt fed weapons. From reading the thread though, it does seem like the Marine Corps intent the whole time was to field a full auto battle carbine and not a replacement for a LMG.

Again from ARFCOM, a 50-some page thread on making Kydex holsters and stuff for the end of the world. It's arts and crafts skills for the crazy gun people!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Needful things

Having owned all sorts of magazine and utility pouches in my time, I concluded that virtually all of them fell short of my expectations, so I thought I'd do something about it. First, to give you an idea of where I'm coming from, I should describe where I find magazine/utility pouches (hereinafter "pouches" or "mag pouches") to not meet my requirements.

Almost every one I've used tries too hard to tilt the top of the magazine in towards the body to aid in concealment. This is great and all, if it didn't cause the corners of the magazine to poke into my flabby bits, making me take the thing off because of discomfort. Only one pouch I've encountered -- a Galco DMC -- does not do this, but instead lets the magazines cant outward, making the fact that I had 34 rounds of ammo readily apparent. The most uncomfortable pouch(s) I've come across was the Fobus paddle type; I have many of them, and every single one of them felt like I was spearing a gladius into my love handles when putting them on. The single Glock mag pouch was fine when it held a shorty Glock 26 magazine, but was unbearable with a tall Glock 17 magazine.

Two mag pouches that work great and are very comfortable are the FIST Double Mag Pouch, and the Bladetech Single Magazine Pouch with Bladetech clip. Both of these beasties do the unthinkable: they hold the magazine completely vertical, so it doesn't rip open your gut or tent your shirt. The only problem is that I don't rock a 1911 anymore, so that's a no go. With that piece of Bladetech praise out of the way, the Tek-Lok mag pouches from Bladetech are an abomination; getting the Tek-Lok clipped on is like trying to feed a mangled fork down in between your belt, and when you get it locked down the mag pouch slides back and forth on your belt. That's a no go. The Safariland Model 74 is an awesome mag pouch, but again stabs the corner of the magazine base plate into my side.

So in the end I decided to make my own to my requirements:

They are fast to put on.
They stay exactly in the spot on my belt I clipped them to.
They are a PITA to take off, so they won't come off when I don't want them to.
They can be worn OWB or IWB.
They are cheap as dirt.
They don't stab me, so they can be worn indefinitely.

My Leatherman Wave pouch came apart like a two dollar watch a few years ago, and I haven't found a suitable replacement since. The one above took me no time at all to make, and is easy to put on and holds the Wave tight.

You can literally order a ~$7 sheet of .093" kydex from and, using your wife's hairdryer (or a heat gun), make ten of your own in about 20 minutes. I cut mine out using a bandsaw, but that's because I'm lazy; a razor knife works fine. I just heat up one side at a time and use something flat like a couple of pieces of wood to make the 90 degree angles. Tweak it with some heat and an empty magazine until you get it to hold like you want.

I have a template from the one I came up with if anybody wants it. Just shoot me an email if you do and I'll send it, or if I can remember I'll post it online this week.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dad World problems

The alternate post title would be: You know you're a dad when . . . .

So my 2 year old is sitting at the table this morning, prosecuting a bowl of Kix for a half an hour; at this point, he's foregone the spoon and has resorted to filling his milk-soaked maw with handfuls of the now soggy cereal, and he's making a mess. A novice parent would treat this problem like you would clear a firearm: immediately take away the source of ammunition (bowl), clear the weapon's chamber (kid's hands), and do a quick function check to confirm all is safe (make sure there's no food left in the kid's mouth that he/she can choke on). Pffft. . . amateurs. The best solution is clearly to add more ammunition! The mess is mostly caused by the excess of milk, which happens because there's not enough cereal left, so the solution is obviously to add a ton more cereal on top to balance everything out! I'm a genius.

When I want silence throughout the house? The answer is not to yell at the kids to shut up, but to hand them what I call 2 minute quiet tokens: Ritz Crackers. Kids love those things. Did you know that when a child's mouth is full of crackers, there's little chance of them screaming or talking? That's a pro-tip. Another option that works wonders on the 1 - 2 year old crowd is to spread Cheerios out on the coffee and end tables, so they have to work at collecting each and every savory morsel, which buys me time for filling my coffee cup.

Loaded diapers? The secret is to prep the clean diaper before hand, and to set out two or three doubled-up sets of wipes. You don't want to be staring down the dirty barrel of the kid while trying to open the new diaper with one hand, and the wipes never come out of the box one at a time. Be prepared.

Baby proofing the house is a must, and buys peace of mind. If I'm going to someone else's home, I do a quick kid proofing before letting the kids wander. And I don't worry if the folks where I'm at get bent out of shape or offended; they don't live with the challenges I do. Even at my parent's house -- I've walked in there several times to find a huge meat clever sitting in the floor which they use to chop kindling for the fire place. A meat clever. You can see the danger in my 3 tear old waving that sucker around like it's the toy Thor hammer he got for Christmas. Yeah, ouch!

I remember the exact moment I realized that I was a veteran dad -- I was by myself in a Wal-Mart or other public venue and there was a woman clutched onto a recalcitrant, thrashing and screaming toddler like her life depended on it. I walked right past her without even noticing what was going on, and as I did I saw about half a dozen people standing there staring at the melee with their shocked faces on. . . . it was then that it even dawned on me that there was a screaming kid being dealt with. Pffft. . . . amateur. The best way to keep little Johny/Jannie from a full on catastrophic meltdown boils down to timing. Wait until the signs of pressure they're showing is approaching critical mass, then take them near (not in) the toy section and hand them each the cheapest toy you think they will enjoy and get back to your shopping business. By the time they're bored with the toys you should be almost home. This may not work so well for women because they go into a store not on a mission with an idea of what their target is. Men go into a store to purposely grab the object they want and pay for it and leave, but I digress. . . .

Yeah, these are dad world problems, and they are of my own doing. I love it, but damn I'm tired.

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's not the car, but the driver

Or an alternative is that it's not the rifle, but the shooter, that wins matches.

A man takes 3rd place in a rifle match using a rifle with a barrel made from rebar and scope mounts epoxied and wired on. It's in the March issue of Precision Shooter magazine which I do not have access to at the moment. This goes to show you that all the high dollar equipment in the world doesn't trump good 'ol fashioned talent.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Knives = Assault thingies

In Massachusetts, some 14 year old boy was caught with knives and brass knuckles, which are being called "Assault Weapons" by officer Bullhonkey, or whatever his name is. There was a small throwing knife set as well, and three larger novelty type knives.

Folks who know a thing or two about knives should be quick to point out that these knives are very inexpensive and are of below average quality, and are sold in flea markets and such pretty much anywhere. Want to know the reason they're so readily available and inexpensive? Because men like the look of stabby things, and cheap knives with crappy steel that won't ever see any use can fill that role well just by hanging on the wall. Folks who know a thing or two about youthful boys should be quick to point out that boys have a strong attraction to big gnarly looking novelty knives and brass knuckles. Want to know the reason? Because they're boys! I know it's hard to believe, but boys in today's time love pointy stabby things just like boys two thousand years ago did. Weird.

Didn't some wise dude from some old book say something about there being nothing new under the sun? I think today we use a term along the same lines - "Boys will be boys."

The boy in the article may or may not have said something about using a knife against some unamed somebody (we'll never know; they took down the boy's facebook page), and based on this he's now in a heap of trouble. The question to ask now is whether officer Bullhonkey also confiscated all the knives from the kitchen and then made especially sure to remove anything from the house made of metal. The best throwing knives I've ever had were made from grinding a point onto some of my mother's butter knives (sorry mom!); and I made swords, knives, and metal knuckles from old bed frames and scrap metal around the yard. I made two solid pairs of 'chucks from door chains and hickory that I cut and formed myself; I made a miniature bow and arrow from Constructs, a rubber band, and 1/4" dowel rods from a toy Tee pee and used it to kill birds and rabbits, and I've made things far deadlier than all of this stuff combined that I won't even talk about here.

Looking at those shiny brass stars on officer Bullhonkey's shoulders, I could easily use them make any number of edged assault thingies that would definitely make the day more interesting. Maybe some fangs; they could tear out a jugular vein like nobody's business! OOooo. . . oooo. . . . I know. . . .I could make arrow tips! I bet they would work better than the arrow tips that I made from bone harvested from squirrels I slayed with a slingshot.

Try as you may, you won't stop boys from making cool weapons from any materials they can get their hands on. When you're a boy, the world is your deadly oyster, and all it takes to capitalise on this is an active, youthful mind. Why this is lost on the crazy people interviewed in the article's video is the question of the day. I guess some people lose sight of where they came from (or maybe I'm crazy for making weapons out of anything I see). These days, I'm having a blast making things that hold weapons, like this holster I made last night:

Boys will be boys. . . .

Busy bee

I've been as busy as I can be, y'all. Sorry about the lite posting. To make up for this, please see this video of 9 JDAMs dropped on a compound in Afghanistan at the same time.

After all the immediate splody' stuff, look for all the big pieces of slag from the bombs hitting the water in the wadis several hundred yards from where the compound used to be. Scary.