Monday, February 27, 2012

Reloading Range Report

This weekend I started on load development for the P30, and it went great. I started out by researching all the load data that I could find in books and online and then picked a place to start. Considering I'm using VihtaVuori 3N37 powder, I checked out Lapua's loading data for 9mm, and their test barrel is 4", which is close to the P30's 3.85" barrel. Lapua got velocities higher than I did though.

I'm using once fired nickle plated CCI/Speer Gold Dot cases that came from factory Speer Gold Dot ammo, which is my carry load, and which were fired in my gun. I'm also using the exact same bullet -- Speer Gold Dot 124 grain, part number 3998, and I'm touching the powder column off with a CCI small pistol primer, the same one that Speer uses in their factory load. Even my overall length is the same as the factory ammo: 1.129". Exact same case, length, bullet, and primer; the only difference between my handloads and the factory Gold Dots that I have in my gun right now is the powder, for all I know; there's no way of telling what CCI stokes the Gold Dot line with.

Disclaimer: Do not try to duplicate my load data. If you want to do the same thing, you must must MUST start at a low powder charge and work your way up, and my firm advice is to consult with a loading manual first to know where to start. I did, and I measured the water weight capacity for the cases that I used that have been fired in the chamber in my gun and plugged that into Quick Load, which predicted the performance of these handloads and assured me that shooting them would be blissful.

I loaded the cases with VV 3N37 powder from 6 to 6.8 grains in .2 grain increments, five rounds of each charge. I was shooting off sandbags on a heavy bench at a range of 25 yards, and I started out by firing a group of the factory 124 grain Gold Dots through the chronograph so I know what velocities I need to be working with. Here are my targets:

As you can see, the factory Gold Dots hover at just under 2", which is typical of this load in this gun from my past groups. As for the handloads, I'm liking what I see from the 6.4 and 6.6 grain charges; If you take away the one high-left flyer, the 6.4 grain charge yeilded a 1.194" group. If you check out my workup sheet below, you'll notice that the average velocity from the factory loads matches the velocity from those two charges, which I don't think is a coincidence.

Here's the breakdown:

Factory average is 1,169 fps
6 grain 3N37 average is 1,113 fps
6.2 grain 3N37 average is 1,142 fps
6.4 grain 3N37 average is 1,168 fps
6.6 grain 3N37 average is 1,174 fps
6.8 grain 3N37 average is 1,221 fps

Notice from the increasing velocities that the 6.4 and 6.6 grain charges are very close and don't jump as rapidly as the rest. This is an indicator of an accuracy "node", and it matches the factory ammo results. Now I'm going to do another test from 6.4 to 6.7 grains in .1 grain increments, and then follow that up with a seating depth test. Once I settle on a load, I've made up my mind that I'm going to use it as my carry load instead of the factory ammo. I'm also playing with the idea of Optimal Barrel Time, and now that I have some data I'm interested to see if I can predict the smallest groups from the next tests.

Some people frown on using carrying handloads in their defensive arm for fear of an overenthusiastic lawyer playing the "killer ammo" card if they're ever involved in a shooting. Whether that has merit or not is irrelevant to me, as I'm not building ammo with any more punch than the factory stuff. I'm using the exact same components and matching the velocity to the factory stuff, which cops all over the world use in their service weapons, but I'm looking at making my handloads more consistent and with better quality control than factory. If you look at the extreme spreads from these handloads, some of them being only 10 fps, and compare them to the factory extreme spread of 43 fps, you can see that my ammo is more consistent. Add to that that I personally handle each and every component, and personally measure each powder charge to the hundredth of a grain, and you can see why my quality control is much higher than mass produced ammo from the factory. Also keep in mind that modern hollow point bullets are callibrated to perform withing a very specific velocity window, and driving them faster than they're designed will result in poor performance. Read up on the 10mm Auto and .357 Sig cartridges to see how they drove bullets faster than they were designed, and the performance was poor.

After I finished my test, I dragged out the Ruger 10/22 to see how the Wolf Match ammo did. I was impressed. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures, but I had one group that -- despite one called flyer -- shot the nine others into a hole the size of a pencil eracer at 50 yards. Sick! Here's my brother shooting it yesterday:

I'm going to have to take the 10/22 out again and do some more shooting with it. I'll be posting another P30 range report in the near future, hopefully.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Perpetual anger for anger's sake

If you didn't see what I did there with the post title, "anger" can't have a sake, because anger is an action committed by a being, and not an actual thing that's capable of committing action. Why that is important in this post is relevant to this quote by some perpetually angry muslims:

In an e-mail message, the Taliban accused "the invading infidel authorities" of trying to calm the situation with two "so-called shows of apology, but in reality they let their inhuman soldiers insult our holy book."
That is my emphasis there, as I note that a book made from glue, leather, and dead trees cannot be insulted. Insult is a feeling that is felt by a being, and as such a book is incapable of feeling insulted because it is a book. It was crafted by men's hands. That fact seems to be lost on some of the people who read it who have more extreme views. I mean, I love the bible more than any other book, but I'm also aware that the Word is not restrained to ink and paper, and thus it can't be destroyed. Do you know what I do with a worn out bible? I toss it in the trash, because it's worn out, that's what. Is it an insult to God? Absolutely not, because if a book fashioned by man's hands (or a machine in this day and age) is treated like it's the Thing, and not merely a means for us to see the Thing (the shadow of the Thing), than the book is elevated to being more important that the Thing, and thus an idol. I know I can't destroy God's Word because it can't be destroyed, so the act of tossing a trashed bible away is insignificant; I intend only to find another in any form that my physical body can use.

Wasn't this a hidden lesson in The Book of Eli? If the Taliban can send email, surely they can find that movie on Netflix and straighten themselves out. Then again, if they're so ignorant to put dead trees ahead of their chosen religion, than they probably aren't smart enough to catch the message.

What these guys are saying by getting worked up over this is that the pages the Koran is written on is more important than its content. The book is not what's important, but what's in it; getting angry about the destruction of the book is a de facto way of admitting that the content cannot survive being outside of perishable materials constructed by an underpaid worker pulling the handle of a machine. That's not the sort of idea that I would want associated with my religion.

Now I have to ask, is there like a publication or regulation telling you what to do with a worn out Koran? People do wear them out, I presume, and if not, than they have no business getting bent out of shape about it, as they're not demonstrating that their religion is of such importance that they can give it the same or more attention than the average law student gives to a law book. Is every Koran that has ever been made still in existence? What happens if you destroy one accidentally, like if your house burns down while you're out firing rusted rockets at US Blackhawk helicopters, and you come home from a hard day's jihad to find the ashes of your Koran in your mud hut? Is that. . . . . .a sin?

I'll tell you what. For discussion's sake (snicker!) I'll concede to the Taliban that the Koran can, in fact, be insulted, if they will concede that the Koran can also be insane in the membrane, or hot for teacher, or horny. There, Taliban. I've anted up; now it's your call.

Yes, I'm mocking this whole thing with humor, but while you're nodding your head in agreement, hopefully laughing Cheerios and milk through your sinuses, know that this is no different whatsoever with Americans getting mad about flag burning. "It's an insult to the flag!" Sure thing, buddy; but maybe you should let that flag be destroyed because I overheard it coveting your wife and bearing false witness against its neighbor.

**ETA: I forgot to add this:

***ETA: Holy smokes!! This isn't a group of angry muslims we're talking about here; it's a full blown riot! It looks like half the country has shown up at the US embassy in Kabul to burn the Americans over 70 burned books. This fiasco looks strikingly like when Oaklanders burn the town to the ground because the Raiders lost yet another game. And I love how the protesters are chanting that we have no respect for them or their religion when we've spent over a decade dying on their soil so that they can have a country where the world will respect them and their religion. Awesome.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sharing is good

I've had these for awhile now, but only recently uploaded them to my photobucket account. These are targets that I made for various purposes, and they have 1 inch and/or 1/4" markings to help you measure the horrific groups from your shooting. I made them using GIMP -- that's the program I use to print them, and the lines subtend correctly. I'm not sure if they will print correctly from whatever garbage imaging software Microsoft puts on your computer these days, but when your priviledged 30 day trial is up, I recommend GIMP (it's free).

Click on the targets to make them bigger, and then save them. If that doesn't work out let me know and I'll try to modify them so they can be saved and printed.

Anyways, here's my favorite 100 yard rifle target:

The green diamonds make it hard to see your groups from a 9x optic, which for me is a good thing as I don't get all excited and blow my group with the last shot. Walking down to check the target is like opening a Christmas present (unless the groups suck, then I throw a fit).

Here's the same target in orange, which I can see the shot holes with a 9x scope:

Now, for those with high magnification optics and super accurate rifles, here's the same targets with smaller diamonds for you to miss:

I also have this one for 200+ yard shooting, and it can also double as a handgun target:

Lastly, I use this one as a handgun target to test different factory self-defense ammo:

If your printer is a hand-me-down from Adam and Eve that no longer prints magnificent colors, you can stick the orange dots from Wal-Mart on the diamonds, which helps a bunch.

Optimal Charge Weight and Optimal Barrel Time

For the OCD handloaders out there, there's a thread at 6.5 Grendel forum about these two theories that deal with internal ballistics (what goes on inside the barrel/chamber when you fire a gun), and there are good links to some lite reading on the matter. Some smarty pants weighs in with pictures, links, and all sorts of convoluted nonsense in an effort to explain why OCW and OBT go together like peanut butter and Nutella. Mmmmmmmmm. . . . .Nutella!

Go check it out!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

By the numbers:

President Obama has been a more successful gun salesman than president Clinton ever was.

News roundup

Much of this is from Drudge.

First up is that Detroit is trying to pass a law against removing the markings from toy guns in an effort to prevent cops from shooting gang bangers who haven't yet robbed enough people to buy a real gun. I guess Detroit has finally settled their criminals-with-real-guns problem and can focus now on other things. I'm with one of the commenters who notes:

"If you point a gun with or without an orange tip at a cop, expect to be shot. Not sure we need a law, sounds more like natural selection.."
Sounds about right.

Next, a woman pushing her baby in a stroller in El Paso, TX was shot in the leg by a bullet that originated in a gunfight in Juarez, Mexico. No confirmation yet on whether the weapon the bullet came from was illicitly sold to a Mexican criminal by the ATF, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. The El Paso mayor has told the masses to not be alarmed, because getting shot in one country from a gunfight with automatic weapons in another country shouldn't prevent you from going out and getting that new iPhone.

A call to the police for help in Berkely, CA was not entertained because the cops were needed to intimidate smelly people at a protest instead; the end result was a man was beaten to death with a flower pot. It has been noted ad nauseum that you are your 1st line of defense against danger, and that the police have no duty to protect you. Having said that, police shouldn't have a duty to intimidate smelly protesters, either.

Husbands, be good to your Kentucky women because you may get shot in the satchel if you cheat on her. Right or wrong, I've got no dog in that fight. My policy is I don't chance to find out if my wife would shoot me in the crotch for infidelity by not committing infidelity. I can tell you that it has been a winning policy so far!

In New Hampshire, a homeowner gets arrested for firing a warning shot at an intruder. Really, we have to do a better job at getting the word out that warning shots are very bad. Says the homeowner:

""I didn't know it was illegal [to fire into the ground], but I had to make that guy realize I was serious,"
My thought is that if the scumbag doesn't take the pointed firearm as fair warning that you're serious, then if he still comes at you you can raise things up a notch by sending a round through his chest. Last I heard, that's lawful and sends a strong message.

The Marine Corps is in the final stages of source selection for a new .45 ACP handgun. It sounds like it's going to be a 1911, but there's only rumors of what manufactures are still in the game. Colt and Springfield Armory are mentioned in the article, but it's noted that they had previously submitted 1911s to the Marines. At the last Modern Day Marine Convention, I saw Colt and Smith & Wesson both were making railed 1911s, and Springfield Armory has had the Operator for quite some time.

Take your lady(s) shooting and post pics. A splendid idea!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Running late

I had a great time this Saturday at the blog shoot at the NRA range in Fairfax, Virginia. Though I've lived about an hour away most of my life, I've never been to the National Firearms Museum there; I consider anything North of Stafford, Virginia to be indian territory, so I rarely travel that far. Shooting at the range and browsing the museum with fellow gun bloggers was good to go, and I finally got to put faces to names/blogs:

My Muse shanked me

The Miller

In Search of the Tempestuous Sea

United Conservatives of Virginia (cargosquid)

Excels at Nothing (who I missed because I had to leave)

And also AJ and his wife

I wish I could have stayed for lunch, but I had friends driving up from Georgia to stay at my house for the weekend, and there were things that needed to get done around the house before they arrived. Fortunately, we all live relatively close (except for AJ, who drove down from New York, ouch!), so we can do a lunch or another shoot sometime in the future.

Pretty women

. . . . .who hunt tasty animals. Awesomeness!

Did you get the feeling that they were compensating for something? I sure didn't. It seemed to me like a group of women who loved to hunt various animals with all sorts of weapons. The giant alligator with a quiver of arrows in its head was hard core, but I think my favorite part was seeing the deer mounts in their cabin with fluffy scarves and such on their necks. Nice touch!

My wife frowns on dead all things dead animal. Years ago when we lived in a small apartment, my wife found a set of antlers that I had mounted on a plaque and brought home to hang on the wall in the spare bedroom. She insists that dead animal mounts are a no-go, but I have high hopes that she'll change her mind one day when I bring home a beautiful hog mount or something. Or maybe a bison. We'll see if she notices.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Don't tempt the savages

Fells testified that the female victim, whom he did not know personally, got out of her vehicle, “came up to me and spit in my face. She was cursing at me."

Fell’s cousin, Austin Morris, whose charges were dropped in this case, stated that the spit landed in Fells’ eye and “was enough to see it drip and run down his face."

The victim was shot in the back by Fells for her stupidity. Before you say it, I'm not condoning what Fells did in any way shape or form; by his own admission he's untrustworthy and deserves his 12 year sentence. What I am saying is that if you don't want to win stupid prizes, than don't play stupid games. There is no reason in the world to spit in somebody's face, and if you do it and don't get shot by some jackass, then you will more than likely get a brutal beatdown at the very least. Same goes for arguing over parking spaces and throwing insults about people's mommas at strangers; you don't know if John or Jane Q. Public is wrapped real tight, so it's best to not provoke the savages.

Fortunately both morons survived this encounter. Hopefully some of this area's more high-strung residents read the article and take the lesson from this and apply it to their day to day lives. I'm sure it's no different in other parts of the country, but folks around here are fed up, and because of that they tend to disregard the "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and instead resort to all sorts of tactless behaviour. So stop flipping the bird, insulting, spitting, ramming cars on the interstate with your dumptruck, ***ETA: stabbing drunks and fist fighting, and generally acting like you don't have any sense, take a breath or two and calm down, and your chances of getting maimed or killed by a psycho will fall dramatically.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tiger snake has balls

Or. . . . had balls. Ouch!

As Jackson Scott crouched in the dark at a remote Tasmanian farm, a highly venomous tiger snake bit his testicle, The Sun reported today.
No one offered to cut an "X" into his skin and suck the poison out, fortunately. Lesson learned: don't poop in the bushes in Australia.

Future plans

I should say near future plans, since I'm itching to get back to cranking the press handle:

My goal is to match a handload with these bullets to the factory Speer Gold Dots that are my carry load. I can manufacture them to a higher standard of quality control than factory, and keep the costs way down, too. What that means is that I can practice with a ballistic match to my carry load cheaper than I can if I bought boxes of it from a store. How's that for savings?

My plan is to load them in the fired nickle coated cases from Speer under this here Vihtavuori powder, which I've heard is so spectacular that it's lovingly plucked off Finland's shores by elves as it falls from the heavens. We'll see about that.

Sparsely populated, beautiful scenery, low prices

I think I found a big piece of uninhabited land that I'm sure would sell for next to nothing. Here's some pictures taken by a recent visit this past spring.

Is it me, or is it getting all Call-of-Duty up in this piece?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Epic forum threads and how to win at the internet

I read ARFCOM's General Discussion threads, which is like preschool for internet gun people. There's more stupidity and poo-flinging than you can shake a stick at in this forum, and it's hugely entertaining. Such was the case here in the vile thread about the prepper chick from the National Geographic Channel's show Doomsday Preppers; a bunch of leg-humping gun owners with zero tact discuss disgusting things about her - her name is Megan - and low and behold she comes wading into the frey swinging a cheerful attitude like Darth Vader.


Putting the little children in their place with a smile is good to go.

As for Doomsday Preppers, so far I dig the show. Lots of good ideas, and also lots of bad ones. What I think gives the most value though is that the show covers a very diverse selection of lifestyles: not everyone who prepares for the end of the world lives off the grid in a remote section of desert in the mid-West, storing tons of vegetables in jars, dancing with rattlesnakes, and tauting their sovereign citizenship. Some of them live in apartments and prepare however they can, and some don't plan on going anywhere if the SHTF, choosing instead to live I Am Legend-like right in the midst of a major city.

Interesting new law

In South Carolina, there's a bill in the House aimed at stopping home invasions:

The bill provides for punishments of 20 years or more for a home invasion and would open the door to a death penalty case if someone dies during the invasion.
The bill distinguishes between a burglary where there's nobody home at the time, and home invasions where people are home. It also covers a drive-by shooting under the notion that bullets and projectiles are an invasion. This is in response to invasions where scumbags rape and murder the homeowners, and is understandable to a degree. I don't disagree with making the perpetrator in home invasions and drive-bys serve longer sentences, but I don't have a good feeling about applying the death penalty for such things. For one, the powers-that-be have a tendency to throw the book and the kitchen sink at criminals for non-violent crimes, and the idea that a burglar who breaks into a home thinking nobody is there when they in fact are, and statutorily gets the death penalty is beyond extreme. Second, it can't be said with certainty that state governments always send the guilty scumbag to their death; it generally can't be proven, but I don't know anyone who, in their heart, isn't convinced that innocent people at times are executed. Adding another reason to give someone the death penalty doesn't sit well with me.

For the violent scumbags who do rape and murder, there's already the death penalty available for that as far as I know. Maybe though the risk of being killed by the state if you're caught breaking into occupied homes will be enough to convince criminals to take up panhandling or something. Who knows. It's unknown whether the law takes grey areas into consideration like squatters and drunks. You may shake your head, but drunk people do some weird things, and just because they find their way into your home doesn't mean that they should automatically be killed for their stupidity, though getting shot in the dark by a scared homeowner is a different matter.

What a tool

Hhhuuuuuuggggghhhhhhh. . . . . tooooooooooooolllllllsssssssssss. . . .

Just like knives and guns, pliers and side-cutters are tools too! I loves me some tools! Check out this video on how they're made at the Channel Lock factory:

I love videos like this. Lately, I've scrapped what few Teevee shows I watch in favor of the show How It's Made. I feel it's a better use of my time.

Friday, February 10, 2012

An unfortunate series of events

I found this story of a trial in the wake of a bizarre shooting in Atlanta off the ARFCOM GD. Whoa, dude!

Long story short is that a man who was just ambushed in a gunfight ended up shooting a responding cop who thought he was a bad guy. The comments in the article are against the man who is being charged, though I note that they are all cops. The main argument is that the guy charged - the one who shot the cop, named Thomas - is a scumbag because the cop was in uniform and he should have known that he was a cop, not a badguy.

While I don't support people who shoot cops, based on the information in the article I have give the benefit of the doubt to Thomas because it does sound to me like this was a case of "fog of war" mixed with unusual circumstances. Think of these key items:

- Thomas has no criminal history, and was in the process of conducting a lawful business transaction while legally carrying his sidearm for defense.
- He considered that he was in danger of a coordinated attack, and very shortly afterwords was ambushed by several men, one of whom had a firearm and engaged him in a gunfight.
- He was fleeing from armed scumbags when, moments later and while he was in the process of summoning law enforcement for help, a man appearing in a police uniform jumps out of a personal vehicle -- not a police cruiser(s) with flashing lights -- and points a gun at him.
- The man in a police uniform had visible tattoos covering his arms.

The tattoos aren't indicting on their own, sure, but ask yourself this: Would a reasonable man -- who was actively fleeing from a coordinated armed attack where he exchanged gunfire, and that he believed was still in process -- think that a man suddenly appearing, in a police uniform, before the police are even called, be in fact police? The cop was a really real law enforcement officer who happened to still be in uniform after his shift was over, and he was almost right on top of where the shooting was and heard the gunfire, but instead of being in a police cruiser with a partner and/or backup he was in a shiny Tahoe with tinted windows. What would you think? Have you not heard of scumbags impersonating police officers in order to rob and kill their rivals and victims? I have; and that's why, if I were a juror on this trial, I would see reasonable doubt.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Don't let your children become a meal

***ETA: The dad used a Spyderco Cali. Pics of the bloody knife at the link.

A six year old boy was physically pulled out of his mothers arms by a mountain lion at a National Park. The boy's dad attacked the cat - who had his son's face in its mouth - with his pocket knife and drove the animal off. The kid is fine.

When outdoors, you're still at the mercy of mother nature, so act like there's a good reason humans are the dominant species on the planet. What puts us at the top are handy things called tools: knives are tools, and are great to have around because of their utility, and because they can be used as weapons in rare occasions like when some starving beast grabs your kid by the face. I'm going to put this out there: having a knife on you does not mean you're a sociopath waiting for the chance to massacre a tanning salon full of meek people. Neither does carrying a firearm. In fact, I'd say that carrying a gun further removes us from our alleged neanderthal roots. What did they carry to protect their gift of life? A stone club and a rape whistle made of bone?

People go out into the world entirely unprepared to deal with problems that have existed since this world was created. Right outside my door are woods chock full of hungry critters, and it's not a good idea to go there without the means to keep them at bay. Fortunately, the dad that saved the day had a simple knife on him, but in many parts of this world even a knife is unlawful to carry. I hope people wake up and realize that it's not the tool, but the man, that has the capacity to be evil, and evil people are way more rare than good people. It is a dishonor to bar people from carrying the tools that will prevent them or their family from being eaten by savage creatures.

Rules #1 and #2!!!!!

There's a firestorm going on over the pictures of a police sniper at Super Bowl XLVI. If you did not know, there are snipers at most major sporting events; but the brouhaha is not over the snipers so much, but that the guy in the picture is using a rifle as a pair of binoculars, which violates two of the four firearm safety rules.

I have to side with the folks who have their panties in a bunch: being tasked with protecting a stadium from an active shooter -- a rare occurrence -- does not make you so high speed that you can arbitrarily point a rifle at people. Being highly trained does not make one infallible, so the idea that one sudden sneeze can cause a marksman to sympathetically squeeze the trigger and lobotomize a wasted fan is just as plausible in a sniper's hide as it is on a police training range. That is why we have the four rules, which is why we don't point weapons at people.

The people who are defending this violation are under the impression that operators operating operationally in an operational environment are so Tier 1 that they can use their rifle as a spotting scope up in a skybox where nobody can see them. I say that a rifle is a rifle is a rifle. Treat it as if it were loaded and don't point it at anything you do not intend to destroy, including drunk fans and blue painted bewbies.

He must have been reading my blog

Former Tucson Drug Enforcement Administration chief Tony Coulson lays out some damning information in the Fast and Furious debacle. I'm going to quote a big piece of this article because it sounds an awful lot like some of the stuff someone you may know has wrote about in the past, almost word for word:

Coulson also said most other law enforcement officials in Arizona knew Newell had a gun control agenda behind his actions with Fast and Furious and other operations. “Whenever Bill would make those [anti-gun rights] statements [with inflated gun trafficking statistics], everyone would roll their eyes and say, ‘when is someone going to call him on this?’” Coulson said. “That’s because it was only weapons which the Mexican government seized which they chose to trace back to the United States.”

“[Newell] is trying to make this political statement that there is this river of guns, which then the Mexican government picked up on, and said ‘it’s your guns, that’s why we’re having all this violence here,’” Coulson added. “And there’s never any accounting for the fact that probably a majority of the guns, in terms of what law enforcement generally knows, are coming up through Central America and they’recoming from other countries. The 90 percent figure has been debunked as you go along the way. It’s actually something considerably less. … They’re just picking a figure and saying 90 percent of the weapons they seized come from the U.S. Well, really, it’s 90 percent of the weapons that they choose to do a search on results in it originating from the U.S.”

Weird. It's like Coulson is telling the truth or something. I've pointed out before that Agent Newell is almost always the guy in the news harping on gun control, and that he has to know the information he's passing to the public is BS. I've also pointed out that the real military hardware used by the drug cartels is coming from Central and South American countries in the form of US weaponry that we gave those governments, or from the Mexican government itself. Though it's not something I'm usually concerned about, it does feel good to be right!

Prepping in the news

Very surprising to me that this article and video doesn't smear the idea of preparing for a world without functioning ATMs and Food Lions, though I caution the use of the word "arsenal" to describe a 12 gun battery of .22 rimfires, shotguns, and a lone AK clone. There's all sorts of good ideas to be seen in the 5+ minute video, such as keeping a small trailer loaded up with equipment that can be used when the power grid goes down during the Red invasion. Keeping honey bees is one of the most practical ideas for a bona fide survival situation that I've seen, but sadly, I could never keep them because I'd be constantly fighting the urge to toss a burning five gallon gas can onto the hive to KILL THEM ALL WITH FIRE!!! I hate bees.

I'm sure there are naysayers out there that mock the idea of prepping; their plan in the wake of a devastating earthquake is to hide out in their therapist's office, living off the bowl of yummy lollie pops from the lobby until men with uniforms and guns rescue them. That's also a very smart idea -- the faster the unprepared die off from starvation, the more furry faced resources are left over for the screwy Mormons who stockpiled 7.62x39 for their assault thingies.

The luxury bunker thing is interesting. Without getting into details, I can tell you that being below ground when a large nuclear device goes off will give you a much better chance at survival, but I question the need for such a structure when you live 150 miles from the nearest city that anyone would consider attacking. It's like keeping tools, manuals, and provisions for an exotic car you will never own. I mean, who's really going to attack Bismarck, North Dakota? You guys up there don't need a bunker. Spend your money on ammo or board games or something.

I appreciate the idea of being prepared. I don't have room in my teeny little house for cans of chicken with 15 year shelf life and a high quality reverse osmosis system. Hell, I don't even have much room for ammo! My food plan for the end of the world is to live off the abundance of squirrels, rabbits, and labradoodles in my crappy subdivision, cooking them on my MSR Dragonfly stove until we can bug out to somewhere with less of a population. That basically rules out 90% of Virginia; everybody and their brother has decided this is precisely where they want to live, so in the apocalypse you can expect half the country's population to meet their demise here when Starbucks sells out of vegetable paninis.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I got an award!

Kevin at Misfires & Light Strikes has honored me with an award!

The rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on our blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who gave us the award.
3. Pick our five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs.

This meme has developed a theme, and that is that some folks are skipping on rule #3, which I am proud to say I am going to continue. Why should this award be limited to the number of followers? Here we are:

Mike's Spot. Here's a guy that likes to test new things and post about it. Helping your fellow man with reviews is good to go in my book.

Aaron at Sharp Tactics. Knife and gadgetry reviews are his deal, and he tells it like it is.

Haji at Haji's Place. Another tester of firearm stuff, and he posts range reports. Do you notice a trend here?

Andy at In Search of the Tempestuous Sea. A blogger I have met, Andy also is a tester of Gun Things. I dig that because I like to read about it, which influences my choices on ammo, guns, and gear. It's also entertaining!

James at Hell in a Handbasket. He posts about gunnish things, and also about history, non-firearm weapons, and lots of cool stuff. He also helps people in need with a total self defense strategy, all at the bargain price of. . . . .free. That speaks about the quality of the man.

Tag, y'all!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Testing. . . Testing

I finally managed to test some self defense loads through the Kahr PM9 this weekend. I've taken it to the range a half dozen times or so with that intent, but never got around to it. I tested the same four loads as I did for the P30.

Despite the little blaster's 10 yard accuracy, it is not for self defense at ranges of 25 yards or more; my five shot groups (if you can call them that) were tough to keep on a sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper with all of those loads, fired slowly off sandbags. I shot five of each, except the HSTs of which I fired ten. That is the load for that gun, which conveniently is the one for the Glock 26 as well. Perfect.

Here's a rundown on velocities out of the PM9's 3" barrel:

124 grain Speer Gold Dot +P
- 1,145
- 1,115
- 1,135
- 1,149
- 1,122
- Ave 1,133 fps

124 grain Remington Golden Saber Bonded +P
- 1,082
- 1,069
- 1,059
- 1,051
- 1,053
- Ave 1,062 fps

147 grain Winchester Ranger-T
- 942
- 934
- 928
- 916
- 910
- Ave 926 fps

147 grain Federal HST +P
- 1,001
- 969
- 966
- 987
- 968
- 982
- 967
- 971
- 960
- 977
- Ave 974 fps

There were no stoppages. All of these rounds were unpleasant to shoot from such a little gun, with the Ranger-Ts being the less painful. None of them were any more accurate than the other, and none of them hit right to point of aim, so I should have fired them at 15 yards for that. Too bad. One day I'll put night sights on the gun, and then I'll check those loads and hopefully some other ones for accuracy at 15 yards and post my results.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

SmartCarry Holster Review Illustrated

I've had a SmartCarry holster for the P30 for over a month now, and I have enough data to give a good review. There's lots of reviews out there, but I wanted to make it as inclusive as I could. For ~$50, there's not a lot of risk in buying this holster, and I think for the price it's a smokin' good deal.

I ordered a standard model from their website; I didn't go through a 3rd party to order it, and it took three days for it to get here from Florida. The SmartCarry is made from denim with a waterproof backing and seams made to prevent snags.

For the magazine pouch, to adjust for the height of your spare magazine you use a safety pin. That's all it takes. Fishing down the front of your britches for your magazine when you're at slide lock is another matter, but we'll get to that in a little bit.

This holster is worn below the belt. It works so well at concealing because it has its own belt built in; it's made from elastic and fastened around the waist with velcro. Because of this, there's no clips or loops on the belt around your pants, so there's no trace that you've got anything on you, and on top of that you can tuck your shirt in. Also, because it's in front of your body, there's no printing when you bend. Here's what it looks like hiding it under your pants:

Now, the directions say to secure the SmartCarry's straps around your "hips" so that when you pull up your pants, your belt line sits around your "waist." That is probably correct for some folks, but that's not how it works for me. I do not have an ass to speak of, so my belt and pants slide down until it stops on the only structural part in that area, which is my hips. That is what I consider to be my "waist." The gut that I have accrued over the past few years has formed a shelf above this waist, meaning that I can't make a new waist any higher than that. What I do is strap the SmartCarry straps just below my hip bones, and pull my pants up over them and I'm good to go.

In these pictures I'm wearing 5.11 Covert Cargo pants which work nicely with the SmartCarry. If you look closely under my belt loop on the right side of the picture as you see it (It's on my right as well. The pictures were all taken in the mirror) you can see the only printing you can expect with this holster with a full sized handgun, which is a slight bulge. If your pants sag down throughout the day this bulge will be more apparent as the entire grip will be right up against the belt. I give my pants a quick hike when I stand up from sitting for awhile, and it's good to go. If you're wearing this holster at work with an I.D. badge, clip it to the belt loop above the bulge and it's not an issue.

If you wear a tucked in shirt, definitely wear an undershirt because the velcro on the straps in the back will chafe. Tuck the front of your overshirt behind the SmartCarry, and I would advise tucking the back of your overshirt OVER the strap in the back because it has a tendency to ride up throughout the day, especially when you sit down.

You wouldn't want someone to notice a huge black strap sticking up!

Yeah, I've got the pregnant belly-hold thing going on there in that last picture. So sue me.

They make smaller SmartCarrys for the micro pistols. For fun I thought I'd show you how well this holster would conceal a mouse gun: here's what it looks like hiding a Kahr PM9 9mm with its 3" barrel:

There's no bulge at all. I could wear this holster with the PM9 to the gym under running shorts and nobody would have a clue.

Something most of the reviews on the internet don't mention is that while this holster works great with the right pants, it can go all wrong if you wear the wrong ones. Trust me on this. You have a lot going on in this region of your body as it is: a shirt, undershirt, underwear, pants, and belt are competing for room with a holster, magazine, and pistol. Make sure there's enough room for everybody or some of your softer bits can get mashed when you sit down, and your skivvies will bunch up when you walk.

First, you don't have to go out and buy pants with a larger waist size; keep the pants you already have and use them. Definitely try all your work pants on with this holster beforehand to find the ones that work best. What you need to be concerned about is that your pants have a deep enough crotch. If the distance between the top of your pants and the crotch is short, when you sit or bend down the muzzle of your gun will print this massive, blocky bulge that is sure to startle your co-workers at the water cooler:

Sorry about the mega crotch shot, but somebody had to do it. I don't recall the brand of pants in the above picture, but I got them from Kohls. The front of your pants shouldn't be tight or you'll end up looking like you're wearing a diaper. Or a gun down your pants. Pleated pants do help to get rid of the bulge, as do darker colors:

I wore this under LA Police Gear Operator pants yesterday in front of my family, who all know I carry, and told them to guess where I was carrying while I lifted my jacket, and they had no idea. A full sized gun just disappears. Somebody mentioned in a forum somewhere that you can wear the SmartCarry appendix style and tuck your shirt in over it:

It works okay that way, but wouldn't be my first choice. I didn't check retention like that either, so I can't speak for how well it would hold my gun while a scumbag was kicking me on the ground. Since there's no retention strap, I have to think the gun would come out in my shirt.

The SmartCarry is comfortable when you sit and when you drive. That's a big question that comes up. For me, if my pants have sagged down some and I don't hike them up before I sit, the back of the gun's slide will hit my belt, and my belt will collide with the shelf that my gut makes, which is uncomfortable but only takes a quick adjustment to fix. To prevent this I hike my belt a tad before sitting down and it doesn't happen. Driving for an hour or two, I don't have any issues or need to make any adjustments. It's like I have a 26 oz. weight sitting in my lap. No problem. When walking, I can feel the edges of the holster slightly, more so while walking up stairs, but it's not a concern. I think I could run comfortably wearing this, but I'd have to test it to be sure before hitting the treadmill at the gym.

Bathroom breaks are something to talk about. For a trip to the urinal, just follow the instructions that come with the holster and you'll be fine. There's a piece of the holster underneath the magazine and safety pin that's not occupied by metal, and you can use that to your advantage to gain that extra half inch of comfort. It's the sit down bathroom trips that are easy: again, do what the instructions say - pull your pants down and pull the holster, gun and all, up to your chest and let your shirt come down over it. It takes a moment to do this, and in the slight chance some sicko is watching you do your business, there's nothing showing and you still have quick access to your heater in case Tangos kick in the stall door.

Another concern is how fast the draw is. What good is having a pistol on you if you can't get to it, right? I went out yesterday and did some draws while on the timer so that my dear readers would know. Oh, the things I go through for y'all! While I did forget to bring a standard IWB holster to get some comparative times for (AIWB I average around 1.6 seconds), I managed to get lots of draw times on the SmartCarry, and I was impressed. I've done some dry fire at the house, but this was the first live fire I did with it. I warmed up with 50 rounds from the draw before going for time, and when I started recording times I went for 33 rounds single firing from the draw. My slowest time was 2.95 seconds, and my fastest time was 2.14 seconds, with an average of 2.54 seconds. I was shooting at an 8" steel target at 7 yards with 115 grain Federal FMJ rounds out of the P30, and was wearing the LA Police Gear Operator pants with 5.11 Operator belt, tucked in T-shirt and unzipped jacket.

From my notes, I had one draw that snagged on the front sight which pulled the holster out of my pants. The time during that draw was still 2.59 seconds, so it wasn't critical. I also fumbled a draw - from my notes it was because I'm a moron, and not a fault of the holster. The time on that one was my slowest draw at 2.95 seconds. With the snagged front sight, I found that if I didn't draw the pistol straight up, but canted the butt of the pistol down towards my foot, the sharp edges of the front sight would grab the inside of the holster and pull it out of my pants. Dry fire, dry fire, dry fire. That will keep that from happening. My technique for drawing was to hook the thumb of my support hand into my waistband, minimizing the amount of flesh which would obscure my draw, and then reach down with my gun hand and grab/draw the gun. Keep the grip angled in towards the body during the draw or you'll hit the butt on your belt, which will foul you up. Also, I found it helpful to suck in my gut some so I didn't bang my hand on my gut shelf thingie. A pro tip: before you go to the range for a practice session, trim your nails and file the edges so that they're not sharp or you will tear your gun hand up on your support hand thumb nail.

I did not try any weak hand or strong hand only draws, and I think they would be challenging without a lot of practice. One thing that bothers me about this holster is if I'm holding a child in one arm -- will I be able to draw? It would certainly take longer than a draw from AIWB holster. I'll have to practice that one and find out (not with a living child, of course).

I found two ways to re-holster: pull the SmartCarry up out of your pants, holster the gun, and then tuck it all back in; or, do a reverse of your draw by hooking your waistband with your support hand thumb and reaching in with your gun hand. Just be sure you're watching/paying attention or you can miss the gun pocket on the holster (it's cloth and doesn't stay open) and drop your gun down your pants. Then you can't tell your friends you're a smooth operator. Going for the spare magazine is something that needs to be practiced, as my reloads were an abomination. The hard part is that you have to grab the spare magazine with your support hand, and not with the assistance of your gun hand. Also, your shirt may be fouled up from the initial draw, so there's that to contend with, too. All in all though, you have the option of a reload which is normally not available with deep concealment carry.

In summary, I'm a big fan of the SmartCarry. It's the most concealable way to carry a full sized handgun with spare magazine in comfort if you want to carry without any chance whatsoever at exposing your gun. The draw is obviously slower than IWB carry, but is comparable to pocket carry and you have the option to pull a fighting pistol instead of a mousegun. For me, it won't take the place of AIWB carry, but it works well for day to day carry. There are people on forums who say it doesn't work for them, and that may be true, but for $50 you would be well served to give the SmartCarry a try.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Don't re-chamber your self defense loads

Me personally, if I empty my pistol for whatever reason, the round I eject gets stacked at the very bottom of the magazine so that it will only ever be chambered twice. If I'm at all uncertain I have a drawer where I put them for range use. I don't re-chamber rounds over and over again.

Reason I bring this up is because there's a discussion at on how to cycle duty ammo, and the constant re-chambering came up. Here's a story from that thread that I think may influence people to be more careful:


In September of this year a GCPD officer was involved in a situation which quickly became a use of deadly force incident. When the officer made the decision to use deadly force, the chambered round in his duty pistol did not fire. Fortunately, the officer used good tactics, remembered his training and cleared the malfunction, successfully ending the encounter.

The misfired round, which had a full firing pin strike, was collected and was later sent to the manufacturer for analysis. Their analysis showed the following: "...the cause of the misfire was determined to be from the primer mix being knocked out of the primer when the round was cycled through the firearm multiple times". We also sent an additional 2,000 rounds of the Winchester 9mm duty ammunition to the manufacturer. All 2,000 rounds were successfully fired.

In discussions with the officer, we discovered that since he has small children at home, he unloads his duty weapon daily. His routine is to eject the chambered round to store the weapon. Prior to returning to duty he chambers the top round in his primary magazine, then takes the previously ejected round and puts in back in the magazine. Those two rounds were repeatedly cycled and had been since duty ammunition was issued in February or March of 2011, resulting in as many as 100 chambering and extracting cycles. This caused an internal failure of the primer, not discernible by external inspection.

This advisory is to inform all sworn personnel that repeated cycling of duty rounds is to be avoided. As a reminder, when loading the weapon, load from the magazine and do not drop the round directly into the chamber. If an officer's only method of safe home storage is to unload the weapon, the Firearms Training Unit suggests that you unload an entire magazine and rotate those rounds. In addition, you should also rotate through all 3 duty magazines, so that all 52 duty rounds are cycled, not just a few rounds. A more practical method of home storage is probably to use a trigger lock or a locked storage box.

The primer compound separation is a risk of repeatedly chambering the same round. The more common issue is bullet setback, which increases the chamber pressures often resulting in more negative effects.

In addition to following the guidance provided above of constantly rotating duty ammunition that is removed during the unloading/reloading of the weapon, training ammunition utilized during firearm sustainment and weapon manipulation drills, should also be discarded if it has been inserted into the chamber more than twice. This practice lessens the likelihood of a failure to fire or more catastrophic results.
Of note about the above advisory is that if you do use a trigger lock, do not use it if the weapon is loaded. That's bad.

It's not just the primer that's effected by re-chambering; the seating depth is also effected, which is more critical in handgun cartridges because small movements of a thousandth of an inch can be all it takes to overpressure the load when fired, blowing your gun to smithereens. This is even more so with +P loads that are already running hot. If you're as safety minded as I am, it's not worth the $.50 in savings to keep reusing that Gold Dot, so stick in a range-fodder box after you eject it.

Carry bloopers

A thread at ARFCOM on embarrassing and funny things that have happened while carrying. My contributions are on page three.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The vanity of this silly country will be its ruin

AAAHHHHHGHGGGGG!!! I swear (no really!), the absurd amount of fashion and vanity that is present in this country is depressing!!

Based on Andy's sound advice, I've scoured the internet looking for a medical ID bracelet for the afore mentioned allergy problem that I have, and instead of something simple and functional the market is instead flooded with jewelry. Jewelry. Accoutrement's that make you fashionable. Somewhere along the line some yayhoo decided that simple utility should take a back seat to looking cooooool. When I was a dumb wee lad, the way to look cool was to roll your Camels up in the sleeve of your white T-shirt.

That's all changed now.

Want a life saving medical marker for your wrist? Too bad the EMT looking for one on your soon-to-be corpse will pass over it while admiring your pathetic designer tribal cuff. What is this garbage!?!? Pleaseohplease tell me: What does your conceited, vainglorious, extroverted, bubbly personality have to do with a lifesaving device crafted for the sole purpose of identifying your severe medical condition? That's right, nothing!

It's abundantly obvious that idolatry is here to stay in America. Pity.

What I'm now looking for is a solid, stainless steel band with all my allergy gibberish on it, but with the whole shootin' match ceramic coated bright red. Bright red, as in LOOOOKY HERE EMT DUDE!!! MEDICAL ALERT THINGY!!! SAVE MY LIFE!!!! Not "Looky here EMT dude. I'm a charming thirty something with a fondness for shiny beads, horses, and long walks on the beach. I like taking long showers, and sometimes I get butterflys in my stomach when the cute clerk at Wegmans asks me if I have a bonus card. I'm insecure about the dark birthmark on my finger, and sometimes I cry quietly about it at night."

What I don't need is a leather, barbed wire abomination that some off duty nurse who sprung to help my dying ass will end up too busy laughing herself to death over to administer my epinephrine. Get over yourselves, people!

Dedicatedly medicated

Yesterday I stopped at a friend's house on the way home from work to drop something off, and while we were chatting in his front yard we were swarmed by mosquitoes. In January. While pondering whether this country is in some sort of judgement, one or several of them bit me, no doubt because bugs love my warm blood more than other folk's, and damned if I didn't have an allergic reaction to it. That's never happened before. Funny thing is that it wasn't long ago that there was a discussion at Tam's blog about people who are deathly allergic to everything, of which I am one of, but with a twist: I'm not allergic to any particular thing for any length of time (except cats), but literally moment by moment. As in, I can go from never having an allergic reaction to mosquitoes, to having a nasty fit over a bite, to not being allergic to them tomorrow. Same with food. I reacted once to an omelet that I made one morning, and the very next morning made another from the same box of eggs and I was good. The danger there is that there's nothing for me to avoid in order to not have an allergic reaction (except cats), so my allergist tells me I have to be constantly prepared for the worst.

I've talked about my condition before, which I call Ana, a term of endearment, and have had to make some life changes to cope. First, I must have a brace of epi-pens on my person at all times and that has some unique requirements, such as keeping them within their temperature range, having them located where some poor schmuck who finds me not breathing on the floor of Five Guys can find them, and also having some identifying doo-dad stipulating that the reason I'm blue in color and not breathing is not because I'm throwing a temper tantrum, but because I have bizarre allergies. I haven't met most of these requirements yet; I tuck one epi-pen in my sock in the morning, and keep the other in my jacket pocket. Keeping it against my skin violates the temperature requirements, and occasionally forgetting to tuck it into my sock because I was so sleepy in the morning I left it on the coffee table for my kids to find is not working. Also, nobody would know to search my sock to find the thing if they were to find me in a ditch somewhere. On top of that, I keep a ESEE fire starter filled with several medicines on my keychain, and also some Children's Benadryl in my jacket to get things started. When I went for my Benadryl yesterday, I found many of the capsules to be crushed and ruined, so I need to do something about that.

I have an idea -- now that I've made holster making a serious hobby -- to make an ankle holster to hold the epi-pens and fire starter; I'm thinking of using clear HOLSTEX so that they can be readily seen if my pants leg is lifted up. With some neoprene and soft backing, it would keep them sufficiently off my skin as to keep them below 86 degrees F, would ensure that I have two of them in the same place on me at all times, and would be less likely to be left on the coffee table when I get dressed in the morning. As for an identifying warning that I have an allergy, I haven't figured that out. I'm sure a tattoo artist could place an informative sign on my forehead, but my wife would probably not go out with me in public anymore if I went that route. Maybe a big red sign on a huge platinum chain a-la Flava-Flav would do the trick. I don't know, but I should come up with something fast lest I get into a situation unprepared. As it stands, I have a severe allergy attack about once every other month, so I better get it in gear.