2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christian Bale visits Aurora victims

OK, got to give the actor props for showing up on his own initiative in Colorado to express his condolences and visit victims of the shooting at the hospital.  That is a good gesture from the man who has redefined Batman in popular culture and he apparently did this with style and did not have any press conference or anything along with his visit.

I have to ponder though, on which side of the gun control fence will he end up on, if any, after the hype dies down.  Googling "Christian Bale gun control" or anything similar now only brings up articles about this visit for many pages.  About the closest thing I could find is he is linked in a story on The Huffington Post speaking out against the shooting in the same article that the father of the late Heath Ledger calls for more gun control. Given the Ledgers are from Australia I take his concern as invalid and not relevant to our internal laws in this country.  I like him as an actor, and hope he stays neutral instead of ending up on the anti-gun side that harbors the likes of George Clooney, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg...all actors that have made millions portraying characters using firearms as major props in their movies.

Christian Bale starred in what is arguably one of the most violent movies of all time, Equilibrium.  In the film he plays a character called a Grammaton Cleric who uses a martial arts style based on firearms called "gun kata" to great affect in the movie.

Anyway, I would hope he would not include himself with the legion of Hollywierd actors that openly oppose our 2nd Amendment while using firearms and violence to increase their personal wealth.

And by the way, while on the subject of anti-gun actors; Jason Alexander, you're an asshole, I will never watch another episode of Seinfeld in syndication again.  Also, Dunston Checks In sucked ass too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The New York Times got the story without errror

Not quite....

That right there just makes this so much more funnier....and sadly accurate I guess...

Surplus Firearms magazine kaput

Picked up the latest, and last, copy of Surplus Firearms magazine by Guns&Ammo last night.  I have come to love this trove of historical data over the past few years and have picked up most issues that I have found on the shelves.  Apparently, my patronage and that of others was not enough to keep it in print any longer.

Where else could you find out about the 1911's baptism of fire in the American Punitive Excursion to Mexico and the fact that the Japanese Arisaka rifle had ladder sights with lead indicators to engage aircraft all in the same issue?  More importantly, it opened my eyes to the world of C&R collecting and for that I will be forever in debt to the publishers and writers.

I still have other resources on the web for info on these historic weapons (abet few, far between and getting fewer and fewer as time goes on), but it was always great to have a print copy to have to read in my chair at the end of the day.  I hope some of the other "gun rags" decide to include some of these types of weapons going forward.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Spreading the love M1 style

Went up to Camp Perry to meet my friend Tom and help him pick out his surplus M1 on Saturday. I got to say, I love that place. The racks are still pretty full, mostly of the same Greek lot that I picked through a couple of years ago , although the throats gauged a bit larger than last time I was there and there are not as many non M1 firearms for purchase like last time.  The M1 carbines have dried up and the 1917 Eddystones are almost gone.  There were a handful of Krag's there and some pellet guns as well. They are out of the 192 round cans of Greek .30-06 ammo on clips in bandoleers and instead are offering 200 round cans of loose ammo for $90 (got 2 of them, spitting the cost of one with Tom).

We picked out a fairly decent HRA for Tom from 1954.  It gauged a "2" and "3" on the muzzle and throat respectively.  This means that the end of the barrel at the muzzle had approximately 2/1000th of an inch of wear and the begging of the barrel at the chamber had approximately 3/1000th of an inch there.  How does this wear happen and why is it important?  Well the wear happens over time with use as hot gasses and bits of microscopic metal are forced into and out of the barrel at both ends under tremendous pressure of the ammunition firing.  Also, careless use of metallic or otherwise abrasive items like cleaning rods and such can accelerate the process over time.  Why is it important? One word: accuracy.  The more wear at either end, the more you accuracy will suffer.  In the chamber the erosion and wear produce a gap that the bullet must "jump" in order to reach the rifling in the barrel.  The bigger this gap the more pressure that is lost behind the round and more vibration in the barrel as the round "slams" into the grooves of the rifling instead of being "handed to them" by the chamber.  At the other end, the muzzle is the last part of the rifle to grip the bullet before it leaves the weapon.  Any uneven wear there that is not uniform across the entire crown can cause a wobble to the spin imparted to the bullet by the rifling and make for a unwelcome result at the target.  In use, these rifles would be gauged for serviceability.  Generally, anything at 5/1000th and under of wear was considered "good enough" and utilized as a working rifle.  At CMP, the barrel erosion is used to partially help grade each rifle for sale (rack grade, field grade, service grade, ect).

Anyway, Tom was pretty excited about his purchase and got a surplus leather sling for $5 (guy must of liked us because he pulled a decent one from under the counter when we said we wanted a new cotton one instead when he suggested the leather) and a 10" bayonet as well.  Like I said earlier we split a can of ammo so he has 100 rounds for it.  I gave him an empty bandoleer and clips from my collection so he'd have  a place to put some of his ammo.  All in all, he loved his new rifle and I loved getting to share the experience of buying it with him.  Now all we got to do is get together and shoot it!

A couple of old guys with even older rifles! 

There's a while elephant in the room...

Alright, lets get this over with...

I speak, of course, about the recent shootings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 dead and dozens wounded, some seriously.  First off, let me express my most sincere condolences to those affected by this act of madness and evil.  Secondly, let me add this to the crescendo of discussion following this event...

STFU eveyone.

You heard me right.  Just be quiet for a moment everyone.  This is not the time yet for discussion about gun control, whether you're pro or against it.  It always seems that its a rush to promote or defend gun control immediately after something like this happens.  That's not the time in my book, too much emotion taking the reigns over common sense or logic in times like this.  We need to take a moment and reflect on both sides and ask "what is the real tragedy here?".  If your answer is that guns caused this, you're wrong.  The tragedy here is that there are 12 families missing loved ones right now, that's all.  Everything else is a detail of the tragedy, not the tragedy itself.  It would of been a tragedy if the shooter had instead decided to ram a truck full of explosives and gasoline into the theater rather than how he did indeed accomplish his act. The fact that he used firearms to accomplish this cowardly deed is just another fact to the tragedy, and not the most vital issue as some would have us believe.

There is too much hype in the media as it is to get "the story" or flash some menial detail of the even as a "new bulletin" to justify us as a whole to add to the drama on either side.   I head today some big news, the shooter had a batman movie poster and mask in his apartment.  You got that right, a movie poster....that's what passes as critical information in the news these days.  We have become so accustomed to being force fed tidbits of information electronically from the media 24/7 that they now fight like dogs over table scraps for whatever information is available before jamming it into our lives, whether that info is relevant, or even correct.  In the hours after the event ABC tried to make a connection between Tea Party activists and the shooter by a name on a FaceBook page but it turned out to be irrelevant.  Here locally, some news stations grabbed onto the info provided by the father of one of the victims from Ohio that said he was shot by something "1/2" wide and 2" long"...hmmm...don't seem to see anything about a M2 or Barrett being used.  Its a shame, you need to be licensed to practice medicine, drive a car, act as an attorney or accountant, even carry a CCW...but anyone can just claim to be a journalist and propagate misinformation and fan the flames of frenzy and its fine and dandy.  Hell, by the definition what I do here is considered journalism, although I would not dare claim what I compose here is worth of that title.

I don't think the news story was 12 hours old and the subject of gun control was brought up already in the media with many high profile anti-gun advocate heads on TV showcasing their rhetoric about how all of this could have been avoided by not having guns in society. As expected, the pro-2A side rallied and fired back in fashion about how the gun is a tool and its the person that creates the tragedy, not the gun.  While I may prescribe to the second theory more than the first, neither is appropriate in the mass distribution less than 72 hours after the tragedy and before the first body had yet to be laid to rest.  Hell, the media was more concerned about what type of guns he used ("AK style" reported, it was an AR I believe) before it was concerned about the victims.  I think it shows a deep disrespect to the families of the victims and even our society in general to take a tragedy of this magnitude and convert it to an argument point, pro or anti-gun, this soon after the event.  I got on a local radio station Saturday morning (ironically, while driving to Camp Perry to help a friend buy a surplus M1 rifle) and got the opportunity to try and get this point across.  Unfortunately, I did not come across with it as eloquently as I had hoped.  As much as I wished I could speak as well in public as the show's host, Dirk Thompson, or others on the radio. I don't seem able to get the core logic chipset in tune with the audible release valve and what comes out of my mouth and what is in my head don't always coincide at the right time.  Hence the reason some of my videos lean towards sucktastic. My part starts at around 20:45 and goes on for a few minutes..(sorry about the Oakley commercial, the do make some good stuff though)

Video streaming by Ustream

I bring up again that both the left and right sides of the discussion are as much to blame for the hype around the event and looking to tie it into their view.  Yes, I will say that the anti-gun folks are much more likely to fire the first shot in the exchange (OK, that came out much more ironically than I thought - going to keep it in there).  I am especially troubled that when this battle for ideological supremacy begins, many on both sides offer up info or data that simply is not correct or is misleading.  Of course data is often and most likely always manipulated to support a position during an argument, but sometimes I just have to scratch my head at some of the nonsense propagated.

The anti-gun crowd immediately seized on this tragedy (I have read in many places since Saturday the phrase "never waste a tragedy" - that sickens me) as an example of how the proliferation of guns in society was a cause of this tragedy.  There was even a local spokesperson for an Ohio anti-gun group that was shocked that a 24 year old could get access to an assault rifle.  One of the news outlets had a reporter go in an buy a AR in a shop (of course they passed NICS) to show how easy it was to buy one.  Of course they fail to mention the thousands of transactions that are denied every year due to the system and mindful shopkeepers (that is unless of course the Justice Department and BATFE is allowing the transactions to occur for some sting operation...like that has ever happened...or backfired).

The pro-gun crowd immediately come back with that if there had been a CCW friendly policy in effect someone at the theater could have stopped the attack.  Dare I say that if someone had actually been carrying and stopped this guy that the cry would go out for more expanded CCW laws nationwide (don't get angry with me here, playing Devil's advocate).  Yet, armed with a pistol against a rifle, in a dark room with the noise of gun shots fired indoors and flickering light, after the attacker had exploded some type of tear gas and explosive devices, people scurrying for cover....would you be able to identify and engage the target?  The shooter chose an location where his targets would be penned in closely by each other, in the dark and (thanks to the theater's policy) most likely unable to defend themselves.  That is a lot of information to assimilate and process in the heat of the moment.  I know a lot of you are saying yes, but how many of you (outside of you "operators" ) have actually trained in low light and those same conditions against a target that is not right in front of you and marked but also has the ability to fire back?  Not many I would supposed.  So I state here that I don't know if a CCW would of done much to impact this event.  I would say though, that at this time you would indeed find out whether at your core you are a sheepdog (again, Ram in my case) or sheep when you find a wolf in your midst.

I would also say that why I can state a CCW enabled individual may not have been able to make a difference in the outcome, the total lack of one being there did surely ensure the one that ensued.

I don't have all the info in this story yet, much of it is still yet to be discovered.  But from what I have gathered it was an act of planned madness.  Don't try and understand madness for if you do find yourself trying so hard to do so that it makes sense, than you yourself have then gone insane. In truth, a gun did not cause this incident and a gun probably would not of made a major difference in the lives of the first few people killed in the massacre. What would of made the difference is the people involved.  If the shooter had not decided to commit this heinous act in the first place we would not be talking now.  If the first responders had not dedicated their lives to that type of service to their communities the cost in lives may have been much greater.

Dirty Laundry

Don Henley got it right 30 years ago with his song "Dirty Laundry" about how news outlets sensationalize and tabloidize events. But why?

Its because of us.

They produce what we, the consumer, want to hear, read and watch.  The Mad Ogre spoke of the violence inherent in the human species a scant 48 hours prior to the tragedy.  Its a good read and shows why we may have such a blood lust for stories such as these.  We are seen as a more violent nation than others by many in the world.  Yet, we do not possess the history of mass genocide and murder by our government to the degree that some of European "betters' do (with all due regard and respect to the callous treatment native Americans received at the hands of our government, before my time but I recognize the injustice).  Others in the world (and lately the UN) are aghast at the sheer number of firearms that are in the possession of "mere" citizens in this country, yet millions and millions of those privately owned weapons did no harm nor posed no threat yesterday.

As a nation, we have always existed with firearms and the firearm has been a crucial tool in the history of our country as a means of expanding our borders and protecting our population as well as tool for its intended purposes.  More importantly as a nation of gun owners its important to remember why we are.  Its our right.  The people that forged our Constitution had just fought a war of oppression against a omnipotent government and did not want their descendants to have to do the same.  The entire Bill of Rights is to ensure that the individual retains their rights of liberty over a government.  It has been said that the 1st Amendment is the most important because it allows free ideas to be expressed, hence the cornerstone of liberty...a free mind leads to a free body.  It has been also said that they put the 2nd Amendment there to protect the first, and the rest.  A lot of people get hung up on the "well regulated militia" portion of the wording.  I, and most other free men (and women) under the clause are part of the recognized, unorganized militia as defined in the USC.  So go suck it antis.

I have ranted long enough and strayed off of my intended course.  The original point of this post was this, I don't care which side of the gun control argument you are on, shut up.  Give the families that grieve at this time the opportunity to process their losses without finding their loved ones being used as political agenda fodder for either point of view.  There will be a point in the near future that discussions will surely ensue over this tragedy.  For now hold your tongues, posts and witty internet meme for later. We are all Americans, we owe this common respect to them for the time being.

Friday, July 20, 2012

USMC gets a "new" pistol

Meet the M45 Close Quarters Battle Pistol...

Its a 1911 in .45 ACP, of course, by Colt.  Its being procured for the USMC Special Operation Command (MARSOC) and the various MEU-SOC (Marine Expeditionary Unit - Special Operations Capable) forces.    MEU-SOC units are part of the USMC deployable assets that while not fully special operations forces by "normal" measurement, are capable of missions outside the scope of normal infantry missions and thus, have some specialized equipment requirements that this pistol meets.

Overall, a decent gun by the sound of it.  It uses a dual spring recoil system an stainless steel internals and has a tan cerekote finish and accessory rail.  Overall this should ignite any smoldering embers in either the 1911-vs-the world or .45-vs-9mm debates out there.

Thanks to guns.com for the info.

In related news, I came close to working a trade for my G34 for a Ruger SR1911...so damn close.  Well, better luck next time I guess.

WTF is a "Bronie"?

There is apparently a group or social culture of grown men that grew up watching the 80's kid show "My Little Pony" that call themselves "Bronies".  No shit.  I don't get it, but what the hell, that's their business.  Like other hobbies and interests they attend conventions that feature these multi-colored horses and stuff.  Again, whatever floats your boat...

Again, WTF?

And apparently from the 2,000+ "likes" on a Facebook page entitled "Military Bronies" show that there are more than a few in service as well.  Again, whatever.  The military is made up of a diverse group of individuals with different tastes and hobbies.  What is important is that when it comes time to work as a TEAM, everybody is on the same page and puts the mission first.  Anyway, the following pic is making the rounds on the internet....


Unless the 42nd "Rainbow" Infantry Division, New York Army National Guard, has modified its patch, I would say that is an unauthorized patch on his uniform.

Definitely NOT a bronie patch!
Now, there's this book in the Army, its called AR (Army Regulation) 670-1.  It covers all sorts of stuff on the wear and appearance of the US Army uniforms and personal appearance.  Its been a few years since I had to look up anything in it, but I seriously doubt if the wearing of such a patch is authorized.  No, I am pretty damn SURE that it isn't.  Now, some online are calling for this kid's head on a silver platter.  I think that is a bit overkill.  Maybe some old fashioned "woodshed" counseling...or at least some formal written counseling is in order here for sure.

But before we jump to conclusions, a few questions need to be asked...

  • Was this guy an actual member of the Army in any active or other TPU status?  I have not been able to find anything denying this guy was, but that "Free Speech over Stolen Valor" decision still means any meat head can grab a uniform and put it on....although the lack of typical poser uniform candy leans towards authenticity.
  • Whats the story of the pic itself?  Was the guy an actual "Bronie" or was he just taking his daughter there directly after drill and slapped a patch on for a quick picture that got blown out of proportion on the internet?

Screw that....just looked it up some more.  Our boy "Darius" here is in the National Guard and went there in uniform with a friend with the patch already affixed.  I am sure there are multiple violation of 670-1 here now.  Not enough for an Article 15 (non-judicial punishment, the step below the "courts martial" everyone is familiar with) I think, but definitely needs to be addressed by his chain of command I hope.

You know, since the introduction of the ACU and the velcro patch policy, there have been a lot of "joke" patches created that have been slapped on uniforms from time to time.  There is a big difference though between putting a "drive it like you stole it" or "pork eating crusader" patch on your uniform for a few laughs while on duty for a minute and then taking it off to presenting yourself in public in uniform like that.  Sorry, Darius, you lose.  I am all for personal expression, even in the military, but one of the things that keeps all of you (I would say "us" but being a member of the retired reserve isn't the same) on that same page when the times comes to work as a TEAM and put the mission first is adherence to regulations.

Just to show you I am not afraid in my glass house,
I have posted this before of me with a "BOHICA" tab
on my ACU sleeve, NEVER worn in public though..

Thursday, July 19, 2012

US Army dropping sponsorship of NASCAR...NOT

***Had this scheduled to post today.  After I wrote it news broke that the house voted against the cuts....so NASCAR will continue to be supported by the Army as well as National Guard.  Story here.  Still, I wrote the damn post so its still here for you to ready my original thoughts on it. ***

...other horsemen of the apocalypse expected soon....

The Army is dropping its decade long, multi-million dollar support of its NASCAR racing team next year after congressional concerns that spending money to promote the service through sports marketing might be wasteful.  Full story from The Washington Post here..

Its no secret that NASCAR taps into one of the primary pools of new recruits for the military.  Just check out how many young men walking around military posts wear their favorite drivers hat while off duty or have his number on the back window of their POV (privately owned vehicle...their car).  Matter of fact, if you didn't already know it, NASCAR is HUGE, tapping into many different demographics across multiple age and economic classes.  I am not a huge fan of racing.  I have watched some of it and appreciate the skill the drivers have and the technology involved in getting those cars to go that fast, that long and within such tight tolerances under track conditions.  I also appreciate the fact that the "average" race fan seems to be more of less patriotic and the sport definitely does support warriors and their families through various programs and charities.
Some Army leaders are trying to push for a more
economical sponsorship of a  "smaller team"
The National Guard (my "alma matter" so to speak) is not dropping its support of its driver, Dale Earnhardt, JR.  He is the son of the late and legendary driver Dale Earnhardt, who died on the track and in so many ways personified the sport to many who otherwise would not have known about it.  I can look at this a couple of way.  First that the guard knows a good deal when it sees it in staying in the public foreground with people all across the country walking around with hats, shirts and jackets with National Guard all over them. Secondly, with the war in Iraq "over" and talk about the Afghanistan mission nearing an end, a decade long trend of voluntary service due to patriotism to "get in the fight" might be nearing an end with no fight in the future.  During this time, especially with the economy as it is, the active component still offers many a way to better themselves economically without much fear of "downsizing".  The guard and reserve on the other hand, often have to fight with not on the stigma of being a "second tier" service branch, but also not being able the same monetary incentives to joining that the active duty does.  I know that there have been a lot of folks in the guard that have "made out" due to the war on terror as the guard has been given financial resources since 9/11 that we could only dream about in years prior to that.  Much of that financial bounty will be gone when this conflict winds down, including some monies used to offer significant financial incentives to join.  It makes sense that you would keep a key marketing and promotional tool nearby to counter this possible threat on the horizon.

Me with one of the retired National Guard chassis outside the NASCAR Cafe at Universal Studios, Orlando, this past winter. 
My question is this, if this spending is so wasteful and non-productive, why has it taken a decade for anyone in congress to notice?

X-ray marks the spot...

You may remember (probably not) that I did a very favorable review on the Ruger SR9 almost 2 years ago...  I really liked the way the pistol felt in the hand and it shot well. I basically see it as a improvement on the basic Glock design that is way more comfortable to shoot....matter of fact...somebody remind me again why I don't own one?  (You know, being a Ruger whore and all).  I guess maybe if I wasn't already investing in Glock pistols due to my cost on them and magazines I had already bought I might own them.
The SR9 in its "natural" state

Anyway, over at We The Armed, member Jesse (yes, that Jesse!) had access to an X-ray scanner and his SR9 that he carries at the same time...the results are pretty awesome!
And the SR9 "naked" as seen on film after being bombarded with X-rays...

What you should take from this is the degree to which polymers are used in modern pistol design.   Also, you can see how some of the metal parts that are normally hidden in the frame line up in use.  Pretty damn cool pic.  I asked Jesse to X-ray a whole bunch of stuff, I hope he can deliver!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Walking Dead Season 3 preview from Comic Con

New Season begins October 14th...

Looks good, more zombies, less drama..

Our "uniform" in the 2A arena....

I saw a guy walking my way while to the truck the other night.  I noticed right away that he was dressed rather "tactically" and observed him as I walked for a few minutes before introducing myself in the parking lot.  Opened up by saying "hey bud, you shoot too, right?"  Of which he answered he did indeed.  Nice guy, former Marine ("USMC" tattooed on his forearm) who just got back from Afghanistan a bit ago.  Talked for a minute and then we parted ways.  Guy, if you see this somehow I was not stalking you or anything, just making an observation here on "our people" in general.

As with any cultural segment of society, those of us whom are gun owners tend to have some general habits of dress or clothing items, while not exclusively ours, are generally seen as signs of a person in the culture.  Just because one owns a gun does not automatically mean he is a member of the gun culture.  For some gun ownership is by default of their profession (police officer, military, rancher, park ranger) or necessity (home owner in a high crime area) and to them a firearm is nothing more than a tool to accomplish a task.  This is true enough for members of the gun culture I speak of too. We identify guns as tools and not machines of destruction or evil and malicious intent, we just place more emphasis on the style and substance of what we shoot as well as the task it performs.  Just like a "car guy" can tell you minute changes and differences between (and I am just making this up off of the top of my brain, please not sharpshooting) the V-8 engine in a 1967 Camaro as opposed to the 1974 model; a "gun guy" can tell you the difference between a Series 70 and Series 80 1911.  Even within our own culture we have many subdivisions and schisms...here are but a few that I have talked about before...
  • The Fudd:  Traditional hunting enthusiasts that generally do not gravitate to "tactical" weapons and view them as excessive and wastes of money. 
  • Mall Ninjas:  People who buy excessive amounts of tactical weapons and gear without having any real used for them other than taking pictures.
  • Preppers:  AKA Survivalists, these are the folks that they have shows about on TV, the group that prepares for the end of the world or SHTF and use weapons as a cornerstone of defense, security and acquiring resources.
  • Weekend Warriors.  Casual owners (like me) that have no formal professional used for firearms but own and shoot them as time allows as a primary hobby above and beyond casual use. 
  • Cruffers:  Guys (like me again) that have a Federal C&R license for the collecting of curio and relic firearms. 
  • Operators:  Folks that either pursue paramilitary occupations such as in security and private contracting or act like the would be of this occupational class even though they may do some other career. To them the  use of the firearm is important for their survival.  They like to train and shoot constantly and take the "sport" very seriously.
Of course these are generalizations and this is not an all inclusive list.

In each of these categories there are general conceptions - prejudices if you will - of what a person in each category would look like.  When I saw this individual walking down the street I immediately recognized him as a member of what I call the "Operator".  Several things about him marked him for me walking down the street of a major US city:

  • Camo Camelbak hydration system pack.
  • Tactical/Cargo Chino pants
  • Hiking shoes
  • A darker colored shirt that complimented the slacks while still giving some form of detection prevention in low light
  • Tan ball cap with US flag
  • Outdoor style watch
  • "Tactical" sunglasses.
  • He had another bag over his shoulder (not visible) he carried with his arm cradling/protecting like one would do if it had something "valuable" inside. 
  • Once we walked past his vehicle and I looked back over my shoulder he had several stickers and such that marked him as a gun owner (duh)
Now, one or two of these items by themselves or maybe even combined may not send much of a sign.  But put them all together and I think many people could come to a conclusion that he is either armed or has ready access to firearms. Yes, this is profiling.  But its not without merits.

For one, as I have stated before, the first step in being a prepared and ready CCW holder is to always be aware of your surroundings and potential threats.  While this guy was obviously no threat to me, like most of you I would assume, you want to know where EVERY potential firearm may be in your immediate area, threat or friendly.   While I try and be mindful of this as much as possible my head is not on a swivel 24/7.  But when I see somebody dressed like this where I don't expect them to be (we were in a major city and not at the range) I do take notice.  Hence my second point, why do we seem to want to point ourselves out as potential CCW carries to the general public?

There is an entire debating segment of the gun culture dedicated to the question of open vs. concealed carry and the benefits and disadvantages of each.  I myself, I fall into more of a concealed carry favoring type of guy, although I fully support open carriers as long as they do it lawfully.  The wearing of such associated clothing and items as above may be contrary to the "intent" of trying to navigate society as a concealed carrier.   I am as guilty of this as the next guy, especially on the weekends when my headgear usually consists of one of the following caps (and I have others as well)...

hey, there's that "operator" cap in the back row, tan with a US Flag...
...and every day I drive around in a truck with the back window decorated as such...
Yep, I'm one of those guys....

That brings up a side point.  I think its time I took off those decals from the truck.  I remember a year or so ago Dave Sevigny had his truck broken into while traveling when he was still a member of Team Glock.  He had no stickers purposely on his truck as to not make himself a target but thieves broke in anyway while he was in a resturaunt and stole several of his custom guns.  Crap, I got a freakin' Glock sticker right on the window.  Going to take the truck traveling to North Carolina later this summer and might not be a bad idea not to advertise that there may (or may not) be a G19 in the vehicle.  Off to get a razor I now go....

Back on topic....I guess what I am saying here is that there are certain "tactical" considerations to be made when deciding what to wear and gear to carry when we venture forth armed.  I am not saying not to wear your favorite S&W shirt, Ruger hat or NRA jacket.  Quite the opposite, by all means show your pride in our 2nd Amendment as much as possible and never be ashamed that you are a gun and freedom loving American who is not afraid to exercise their rights.  Just be cognizant that how we may tend to show this pride may project to certain other individuals that we may indeed be carrying, and not every individual we come across in society we may want to give this piece of information so freely to in some circumstances.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A chop job you can appreciate...

George "Mad Ogre" Hill posted this video on chopping down the grip on a Glock on his FaceBook page earlier today.  It features Rob Pincus who is one of the premier trainers out their today in pistol defense. He has taught at nearby Blackwing Shooting Center in Delaware, Ohio and its one of my goals to take a course from him.

He talks about chopping a G23 grip length down to that of a G27.  The purpose of this is to allow greater concealability while maintaining more mass (weight) in the pistol to help reduce felt recoil and a longer sight radius to improve accuracy.  As he shows the length of the grip is more apt to print on an individual than the length of the barrel.  Being a "plus sized" guy appendix carry is really not an option for me, but the same logic applies to those with a 3 or 6 O'Clock carry method as well.

George himself had the same idea, and chopped his G22 grip down to the size of a G23.  He custom stippled the grip himself and the result was pretty damn good to look at.
Ogre make a pretty.....
Now as for myself, although they are quite large and manly looking, my cohones are not big enough for me to start chopping on my Glocks.  For one the G34 has no need for it as a "fun gun" and for the other the G19 is not a carry piece for me for when I would wear clothing that the grip length might matter.  

The other thing I noticed from Rob in the video is that he professes his preference for the 9mm over the .40 for self defense.  This is a view that I also share and have talked about from time to time on this blog about.  For me, it comes down to the power of the 9mm is "good enough" for what I expect it to have to do and I get a few extra rounds to boot in the magazine with it.  Rob talks about his preference in this article and echoes my sentiment plus adds some good points to it.

I think regardless of what caliber you like, its better to be able to shoot well what you carry, than rely on caliber to carry you.   Also, use decent bullets developed for the task assigned them....New Jersey exempted of course, shoot what is legal for your use.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Some tidbit ramblings for you...

A few smaller posts I just kind of strung together for you here...don't have too much to say on each topic so maybe this will be a better read together.

US Olympic Uniforms

OK, so Ralph Lauren designs the uniforms for our Olympic athletes and has them made in China.  Harry Reid  goes ape shit and demands that we burn them because they are not made in America.  Many others follow suit.  I see the point, and its a valid point mind you, but give me a break.  By that logic we should send troops into every Walmart and burn each and every non-USA made product in there.  Hey, we can dispatch tanks and Bradleys on the highways to pick off Honda's and Hyundai's as well. Everybody on the web posting on FaceBook and Twitter about this on your Samsung and iPhones...quick, where was it made?  AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!

Ralph Lauren has already come out and said next Winter Olympic uniforms will be made in the USA, end of story.  Oh, and by the way...Ralph pays for these himself, the US Olympic committee does not reimburse him.

I am more annoyed at the fact that they apparently let Samuel L. Jackson design the headgear....nothing says "America"..like a French beret...
Parlez Vous American...
While we are talking Olympics..

..Then this terrorist says to me "Allah Akbar" and tries to blow himself up...I say
"Bloody hell you will!" and rip his fuckin' arm off with the detonator and shag his
own arse with it! Good show that was, then me and my mate went down to the pub
grabbed some fish and chip and a pint....terrorists...fuckin' wankers!...
I see that Britain will be providing somewhere around 17,000 troops to beef up security in and around Olympic avenues for the upcoming games.  That's a lot of soldiers.  I also see that there are more than a few Londoners that are upset with the military presence in their city.  Excuse me, maybe I missed something...wasn't there a known terrorist just arrested there scoping out one of the Olympic avenues a week or so ago?

The F-22 Raptor makes me dizzy...and its pilots too..

The F-22 Raptor is the air superiority fighter that is supposed to lead the US Air Force into dominance for the next 50 years, or so we would be told.  Its combination of speed, stealth, maneuverability and avionics were second to none and could counter any foreseeable threat in the future.  In reality right now they do dominate...anywhere within 30 minutes of an established airbase and under 44,000 feet.  Apparently the plane has a issue with causing pilots to get dizzy. A inflatable vest designed to provide pressure against the chest of pilots to keep their lungs from exploding if the cockpit depressurizes (shattered by shrapnel I guess) is actually pressing hard enough in high G maneuvers to keep the pilots from breathing correctly.

This issue has been attributed to a pilots death already and caused the fleet of Raptors to be grounded in the past. This from the same plane that infamously locked one of its pilots inside due to a software malfunction until ground crews demolished the $100,000 canopy to extract him a few years ago.   I guess $211,000,000 per plane does not get you as much as it used to.

In comparison, for the cost to taxpayers for one F-22 you could also buy:

  • 1/10th of a Virginia class submarine
  • 2 V-22 Osprey VTOL transport planes (and have $20 mil for the premium accessory packages on both)
  • 2 F-18 Hornets (which don't make their pilots dizzy BTW)
  • 131 Joint Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles 
  • 49 M-1 Abrams MBT
  • 204,457 M4 Rifles
  • Approx. 811,530,000 5.56mm M855 rounds of ammo.
  • Approx. 29,000,000 MRE's

A "safe" way to end this post...

Its getting to the point that I cannot put it off any longer, I need a bigger safe.  Actually what I have a home is a "locker", not overly secure but good enough to keep my kid away from them and its locked behind several doors.  Collecting a few recent rifles has just proven too much for my current accommodation to hold .  I have been looking at safes in local adds (like above) for a while and while some of these look pretty sturdy, some other info I have found on the web makes me think that these are not all they are cracked up to be.  I guess maybe if I lived in a more "crime ridden" neighborhood I might be more discerning, but for my budget these are the types I have been looking at.  Check out the video below and post any comments or experiences you may have with these safes.  Its a long, but educational watch.  I know the guy is selling a particular brand of safe with this info, but he is very knowledgeable and its a good overview of what I am looking at and there is a price/performance ratio consideration as well.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Defending "Non-Traditional" structures.

Over at When The Balloon goes Up the subject of defending ones castle is discussed when that castle is semi or fully mobile.

Surely (at least in Ohio) it has been found time and time over that a domicile is your "castle" regardless of its composition or nature, and even the right to defense has been extended (again in Ohio, your State laws may differ) to ones vehicle as an extension of your domicile.  Many of us are blinded sometimes by the nature of our own circumstances and don't really realize the challenges faced by many in the act of self preservation with a firearm in the home.  In this instance the writer was faced with an individual who lives in a house trailer with his children's room at the opposite end of it, giving a very bad down range zone for engaging targets in the middle of his trailer (rule #4: be sure of your target and what's behind it).

Like the blog's author, I too am part of the 1%.  I live in a large(r) home in a quiet bedroom community North of Columbus.  Home invasions are rare in my area, but not unheard of.   While I do not have the exact same issue as the person in this article, my child's bedroom is on the opposite side of the stairs to our second floor.  Anyone who came up the stairs in the middle of the night would effectively separate myself and my wife from our daughter.  Ideally I wish we had bought a house with a first floor master and kids rooms upstairs so that if we did have an intruder I would not have to worry about horizontal "red zones" that I could not engage an invader in.  Oh well, a good grasp of using tactical light and my weapon hopefully will avoid any issues in the unlikely instance that this may actually happen to me in Ft. Livingrooom.

I myself know someone through WTA and FaceBook that recently took the plunge and unplugged from permanent housing and now lives out of a travel trailer with his family.  This type of arrangement works well for him and the nature of his work, and truthfully I think only a fool would knowingly try and invade his "castle-to-go" with the large caliber noisemakers both he and his wife employ.

What say you?

So much for patriotism....

Found on FaceBook....

Confirmed here... http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/07/12/flag-ban-at-wrentham-housing-complex-angers-tenants/

Tried to call the number listed on the top of the memo for the place to tell them "shame on you", but the number is not surprisingly busy....

Well, shame on you Wrentham Housing Authority...shame on you....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

OSHP Shotguns not as bountiful as I thought..

One of the more commented on posts as of lately has been about the Remington 870 shotguns the Ohio State Highway Patrol is replacing and are (were) available at Vance's in Columbus for $299.  Got a comment that one of my readers went down to the store for one and they were out!  Apparently he was told they were having a hard time getting the new shotty's to replace the old ones.  I was told that they had over a thousand to sell without any indication that they were not already in possession of them.

To anyone else that may have made a trip for nothing, I sincerely apologize.  I did not intend to be a "Gun tease" with that post and merely wanted to let others know about (what I still consider to be) a great deal on a great gun locally here in Columbus.

You can contact Vance's directly to check on inventory of these guns before you make the drive at the following numbers:

                            Columbus: 614-471-7000
                 Hebron: 740-928-3474

If you can find one in stock at either location I still think that they are a great value!

Ohio National Guard to provide free healthcare to civilians in Ohio

Last time I wore that patch it was called
"Joint Force Headquarters" (JFHQ) for the
Ohio National Guard. 
In a program called "GuardCare", 80 Docs, medics and other medical types of the Ohio National Guard will be providing free health screenings and services in Springfield, Ohio July 28th and 29th to any resident of Ohio regardless of income level or whether or not they have insurance.

In an era where universal heath care regulations and "Obamacare" are center stage this could be seen as another "government freebie".  In fact, I think this benefits the soldiers performing the service as much as the folks getting the treatment.  Despite what many people think, other than the doctors and physician assistants themselves, many of the medical personnel in the guard and reserve forces do not work in the health care field in their civilian lives.  This type of activity allows them to get valuable experience they can then port over to those time where they may be called to help support "hearts and minds" types of operations overseas by providing care to indigenous peoples where ever we may ask them to deploy to. Also, this gives the guard an opportunity to use supplies that may be nearing their expiration date instead of simply destroying them. Everyone always talks about government waste and how we throw away gazillions of dollars of perfectly good stuff, here's a chance to curb some of that.

Lastly, and this hasn't really been an issue since 9/11, it gives a good opportunity for the guard to be seen in a positive light here in the State of Ohio and may also even end up providing a few referrals or actual enlistments into the guard.  I give today's troops credit.  When I enlisted in 1986 there was no ongoing "hot" conflict.  We has some low intensity stuff going on in Central America and Grenada was still fresh in everyone's mind, but nothing that guaranteed you would be getting sent somewhere with "pointy blanks".  The enemy then was the Russian Bear on the other side of the Iron Curtain and while it was a very real threat , nobody actually ever saw anything flaring up with them (unbeknownst to most of us we came a razor edge on more than a few occasions though), so service in the military was seen as a good job with benefits to many people.  Today, the folks that stand and take the oath know that they may very well face the challenges of combat, whether that oath may enlist you into any component of the Armed Forces, active, reserve or guard.  I respect that.

Pic of 3rd Platoon, Co B 1-148th Infantry, Ohio Army National Guard.
They are currently serving in Afghanistan. I was in this unit (same platoon) 20+ years ago!
I am proud of my service time in the Ohio Army National Guard and military in general.  I am glad to see that they keep up the good work both overseas and at home now that that part of my life is fading in the rear view mirror.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day Z...how long could you survive?

Here's one because I told you I wouldn't get rid of all zombie posts....

Back in "the day" (that is before I concentrated on firearms as a hobby) I used to do a fair amount of PC gaming.  These days my gaming is pretty limited to what I can do on an Xbox 360, Wii, iPad and iPhone.  My PC at home has not been upgraded in years but still serves to surf the web and publish this blog.  My favorite games used to be the EA Battlefield series of FPS games starting with Battlefield 1942, through the Vietnam and modern versions all the way through the ones with mech chasis (I loved the Mechwarrior games to with all of the customization available) and stuff.   I have not sat in front of a PC to game in a long time, that may change though...

A co-worker showed me a mod for a game called Arma2 that turns the world of modern combat in the game to the zombie apocalypse!  "so what?, you may ask, "zombies have been a staple of video games for a long time".  This is true, but what it different in this particular game is how its played out.

The mod is called "Day Z" and what sets it apart is what the developers call "permadeath".  That is, when you die in the game, just like in a real "zombie apocalypse" you don't get to just respawn at the same spot and try again or respawn and go looking for all the goodies that you gathered sitting next to your old corpse like in some games.  With "permadeath" when you die, thats it.  If you want to play again you have to start anew with a new character again and rebuild your inventory and what have you.  That's pretty cool.  I am playing Skyrim on the Xbox right now and before I go into a area with a lot of baddies I do a quick save "just in case", not available here, pick your battles wisely.

Oh yeah, and its not just the zeds you need to worry about.  You are just as likely (or apparently more likely) to catch a dirt nap courtesy of another player in the game that capped yo' butt to steal your stuff.  Brutal, but in many ways, the most realistic part of this game.  Let's face it, take bath salts/synthetic pot out of the equation and I would give it about a 99.98% probability that there will never be a zombie outbreak.  But an outbreak of SHTF type stuff where you have a-holes running around stealing, looting and killing?  Well that's a much better chance seeing that its already happened in many instances in this country (LA riots, Hurricane Katrina aftermath, ect)!

My friend said that the average lifespan in the game is something measured in hours.  That is kind of freaky.

I am pretty sure my antiquated PC will not run this game, but if yours does it seems like a rather fun way to see if you have the chops to fight off not just the zombies but the other survivors as well.

Monday, July 9, 2012

There's big...and there's OMG!

Got to do a little shooting today at a new friend's place here in Central Ohio.  This individual follows the blog and FaceBook page and he and I have other interests in common as well.   He has got a great little range set up behind his house that I must admit causes a case of "range envy" thinking about it.
Its like a freakin' gun orgy....
Another friend of mine from work also knows him and came out to play today as well.  Among the many wondrous things he brought was a Ruger .480 revolver...big ass revolver I should point out.  Seriously, you miss with all six shots and you still have a legitimate chance to club your target to death with this thing.  This is a hunting cartridge capable I would think of taking most large game and surely all medium sized game. It launches a 320gr bullet at over 1,300fps from its barrel with over 1,300 lbs/ft of force.  That will leave a mark!  How big is the round?  Well here it is (on the right, duh) next to a .45 ACP....looks like a .45 next to a .380 in size comparison, doesn't it?
thats a .45 ACP on the left, let your mind grasp that fop a sec...
I got to shoot it and I have to tell you, its got a little something for all you recoil junkies out there.  I mean it really does exemplify the term "hand cannon".

Wanna talk big some more? Check this out...  .338 Lapua Magnum vs. 1/4" steel plate at 100 yards...winner? Do you even need to ask after looking at the following picture?

I remember reading something about 120mm SABOT rounds hitting Iraqi armor and the explanation that at the forces in which these projectiles operated, metal was seemingly turned into and acted upon as a liquid for a fraction of a second due to the extremes forces of heat and pressure caused by the round.  In such times metal would flow around metal explaining the raised edges and almost wave type appearance of the neat entrance holes found on Iraqi T-72's and T-80's encountered by our M-1 Abrams firing these "darts o' death".   Does that not look like a perfect example of this type of power on a smaller scale or what.  Those .338 rounds just push through that steel like it wasn't there.

I like my 9mm...but sometimes bigger is better...and just outright awesome to experience.

RIP Ernest Borgnine

Oscar winning actor Ernest Borgnine passed away this weekend at the age of 95.  He will be remembered as a larger than life character both on and off screen, and for most, as the lovable LTCdr Quentin McHale,  head of a oddball crew of the PT-73 on the TV Show "McHale's Navy".  The show ran in the 60's and was loosely modeled on a combination of the SGT Bilko show staring Phil Silvers and the movie PT-109, which dramatizes President John Kennedy's service as a PT boat skipper in WW2.  The popularity of the movie made the subject of the PT boat quite a hit with a crossover TV show, even if it was a comedy.

PT Boats were at one time looked down on by the regular blue water Navy being that they were smaller, wooden hulled craft not built for large ocean voyages in all weather conditions, lacked serious armor and armament and were more of an "escort" type craft.  As the war went on and more and more of these smaller, faster and more agile craft were introduced their usefulness in bottle necked waterways around the islands that the US and Japan fought over.  Their speed, agility, flexibility and shallow draft made them ideal for not only taking it to the Japanese fleet with their torpedoes, but also being used to infiltrate beaches with Marine Raiders and the like...they were doing black ops for the Navy before black ops were cool.

What is often over looked about Ernest Borgnine is that he was, in fact, an actual Navy veteran of WWII, serving aboard destroyers for 10 years between 1935 and 1945.  That's Pretty cool.

A character to the end, Borgnine made the net a few years ago for this little quip about what he does when he's alone....I love the guy on the show "I just shook his hand!"

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ain't Nothin' Like The Real Thing, Baby...

This few weekends ago, I took a few hours to visit my friend Ranger Pel whom I do not get to see that often. If you are wondering he is a legit Army Ranger, not just a web handle wannabe.  He and I both served in the same ARNG Infantry Battalion as full time Title 32 AGR soldiers for a while.  You will see him post a comment here and there on the blog of FaceBook page. Like me, Pel is a gun guy and lover of various pieces of military hardware available to the shooter and collector.  His wife is too as she owns a surplus M-1 Carbine that I had to put up along side of my Universal M-1 Carbine to compare during our "show and tell" period of the visit.

The Carbines....the Original GI (top) and my Universal copy carbine (bottom).  At first glance very similar
but beneath the surface are major differences.  And yes, I know my front barrel band is on wrong...
Other than the lack of a bayonet lug on the Universal and different wood they appear to be pretty much the same.. Same size, weight, cartridge and so one...pretty much a mirror image of each other...or are they?

The wood on the GI (left) is much more natural in appearance and feel than the
laquered wood on the Universal (right)
While on the surface, they both appear to be pretty much the same carbine with some minor wood and external differences....but looking closely you will see some major differences in the design.  While the Universal company (and others making these in the 60's and 70's) originally used USGI parts for the assembly of these firearms, they eventually started to "tweak" the design and cut a few corners to save some money and keep costs down.  The most obvious example of this on my carbine is the slide on top of the receiver.  Where as in a GI model the slide and charging handle are one milled piece of metal and totally surround the lug on the bolt that they operate against, the Universal uses a stamped affair where the lug on the bolt is visible in the channel in the slide and the charging handle is not nearly as "beefy" as the GI model.  In operation, they both do the same job...the GI parts just look more "tough" to me.

GI (to) and Universal (bottom), notice how much more material is in the operating rod on the original M-1 and how the locking lug on the bolt is fully enclosed as compared to the Universal.
One of the problems with this "open" style slide on some Universals is that it will crack, giving the owner no choice but to try and track down a replacement.  Again, the USGI part is much more durable in this aspect.

Well...that's no good...

Also between these 2 particular carbines, Pel's wife's USGI had the bolt hold open while mine lacks any sort of hold open, other than on the 30 round mag I got with it the bolt will hang on the rear of the magazine follower after the last shot, but the bolt slams forward as soon as the mag is removed.  So, I just run this carbine like I would an AK...shoot until you are sure you are near the end of the mag and then swap.

Top down view of the actions, GI (top) and Universal (bottom).  Again notice how much more material is present on the actual GI carbine and how the charging handle on the Universal just looks "cheap" compared to the GI.  Also notice the bolt hold open on the GI (small button on top of charging handle) , this Universal model has none. 
Another major difference between the USGI models and my carbine is the recoil and piston system.  A GI carbine uses a single "short stroke" piston system to cycle the weapon.  For some reason Universal decided that if one pistol was good enough, well 2 of them must be better, right?  I think that maybe they went to this after getting customers complaining about the cracked slides mentioned above and this was a way to reduce impact on the slide.

The dual recoil springs and pistol rods on the Universal M1
The sights, while outwardly similar, are different as well.  The USGI set is durable and requires a positive nudge of your finger to move them...mine...eh, just blow on them and they will move up and down the slide.  Once I figure out what to zero this thing at (probably at the 250 mark at 100 meters...best eye relief at that setting and I don't really see this thing being used to engage targets out farther than that..still at 200 yards its a 12" drop so a center chest hold will still be a torso hit with about 300 ft/lbs of impact) a couple of drops of red locktite will be used to keep them where I want them.

Again views of the action and sights GI (left) and Universal (right).  Again, although they look similar the sights on the GI model are much sturdier while mine on my Universal move up and down just by looking at them wrong. 
So considering the differences between the two carbines was the Universal a good buy at $300 compared to what the USGI surplus carbines are going for...absolutely.  Although the Universal M-1 has a less than stellar street rep, this particular carbine has worked for me. It has run flawlessly so far and seems to be good to go.  I know a guy that drove a 70's Pinto until the wheels literally fell off.  People made fun of it all the time but that particular one just ran and ran, likewise does this carbine.

Sure the GI is definitely more durable...it was designed for WWII for crying out loud...but while a sledge hammer will certainly kill a fly...so will a flyswatter as well.  If cost and available supply were no option, of course I would choose a USGI carbine over this Universal.  But being that the supply  of these surplus beauties has become scarce and the premium price this has caused in the market, the Universal gives me the same basic bang for a lot less buck.  I see this as a casual plinker as well as a SHTF type firearm to press into my wife's hands with a minimal of training.

Here are a couple of good links to the two best sites I found to find out more about these "one off" carbines. Both have some good info and links to find parts and pieces to these carbines.


Being that Universal made these copies of the USGI M-1 Carbine longer than anyone else, there is a good chance you may come across a few at gun shows or the like. Approach them cautiously with the information I present here and you might just get lucky to get a good shooter at a decent price.

I was going to post the video of Kev shooting the Universal I posted last month again..but then this came up...

Monday, July 2, 2012

So...I guess you folks still like zombies....

Another run away poll somewhat....glad to see about a third of the voters think like me that the entire zombie craze is getting a bit out of hand.  But for the rest of you I will continue to mention the undead from time to time.

The Island of Dr. Moreau Fail....

Here is a pic of British actor David Thewlis in the 1996 film version of the H.G. Wells story "The Island of Dr. Moreau".   Its probably because he's British that he doesn't know not to handle a firearm like this...

Have an itch? Scratch it...

Don't bother trying to find and watch the film, barely worth your time. The film was a notoriously horrible production and the only lingering effect of the film seems to be the late Marlon Brando somehow mentally imprinting on Val Kilmer to start eating everything in sight since then...

Actually, this pic brings another image to mind...