Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Are you a backpacker, camper, survivalist, or prepper?

An essential item for all of the activities is the ability to heat both food and water.  I've got an MSR Pocket Rocket which works great.  But it's fuel dependant and in a grid down/survival situation that could be a problem.  Plus it's more weight to carry. 

In comes the lovely and enchanting Erin with a review of multiple natural fuel burning camp stoves.  I'm going to be picking up one of the Solo Stoves in the near future as a result of her excellent rating of it.  I want to do a lot of camping this fall and winter and hopefully this will be making some trips with me.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Not happy.

Remember when I installed an ambi safety on my AR a couple months back?  Yeah, well, less than two hundred rounds later the lever on the side for my left hand thumb (which is the right side) popped off when I was doing a little fast paced shooting late yesterday afternoon.*

This really pisses me off.  It wasn't that expensive, but still.  I've used it A LOT.  Sure, I've shot less than two hundred rounds since installing it but that safety has gone on and off every time I've gone from ready to on target, every time I've dry fired, etc.  It was held on by a little plunger so I'm not sure how/why it popped off.  I don't believe I installed it incorrectly because I doubt it would have lasted this long.

Oh well.  It happened early enough that I had to get used to operating the safety as a right-y only.  I'll be getting another to install, but I may go with someone else this time.  

*I got all tacticooled up just to see how well I could run around in the stuff I've bought (a leg rig for two AR mags, a dump pouch which is wonderful, and my DSG holster and mag holder...not a bad set-up, actually).

Gun Want: Ruger GP100 Wiley Clapp

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Special Edition Robert's Picks; Music

"What kind of music do you like?"

I hate that question because when I answer it honestly I sound like I'm being a smart ass.  That's because the answer is, "The good kind."  My music taste are pretty eclectic and I though my recent purchases would show that fairly well.  Here they are in no particular order:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Very positive article on guns in Brimingham.

b Metro is 'the magazine of Metro-Birmingham Living.'  I've flipped through it a couple of times in waiting rooms, but today was the first time I bought an issue.

I bought it because after skimming Loyd McIntosh's article "Ready.  Aim. Fire." I had to read the whole thing in detail.  What followed was a very positive (for pro-gun types) article on guns which the focus on the Birmingham Metro area.  The article is definitely written by someone who favors less gun control, but the author was careful to get the opinions of the other side as well.

I really enjoyed this quote from a Pell City Police Officer:

 “I can’t think of a law enforcement officer that I know of that isn’t in favor of Second Amendment rights, or of private citizens not just owning firearms, but carrying on their person,” says Herron, of the Pell City Police Department. “The reality is most people that follow the law are always going to follow the law, whether they have a weapon or not.  Criminals, they couldn’t care less.

“In the opinion of most police officers I know, a private citizen having a firearm is a very good thing, because private citizens have come to the aid of police officers throughout the history of law enforcement. Giving them a weapon as a responsible gun owner is really a wise thing, because they’re more likely to defend someone, defend themselves, defend a police officer,” Herron adds. “We already know the bad guys are going to have them.”

I'm often critical of police mistakes.  I'm critical because I do believe that as enforcers of the law they should be held to a higher standard.  Officers like this make it easier to see them as the allies that I, and I think they, want them to be in making a safer society for everyone.

I found the article to be very balanced, though as with all works of journalism this author has his bias.  Too bad for the anti-gunners this one is on my side.  He talked to everyone:  a local resident who was a contestant on Top Shot, a pro-gun LEO, an 'only one' LEO, victims of gun crimes, a dyed in the whole anti, a collector and gunsmith, and a trainer among others.

I've actually recognized the trainer interviewed from the times I've been in the gun shop/shooting range he works at.  I've even spoken with him a few times.  

I really recommend reading the whole article.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fire Birds, or the origin of "Oops, you blew it."

Not too long ago I started using an 'Oops, you blew it' tag when someone screws up in some royal fashion.  I particularly like using it when someone has an acute failure of the victim selection process.  Anyway, the line comes from a movie that I loved when I was a kid, and still enjoy, called Fire Birds.  Here's a video of the "Oops, you blew it" scene:

The movie stars Nic Cage and Tommy Lee Jones and was basically the Army version of Top Gun.  I recommend it, especially if you like helicopters.  Lots of Apache porn.

I can't stop watching it!

Remix of the Florida defensive gun use video.

H/t JayG

On The Range #71: Rifle, Pistol, and IDPA

This one is going to cover my last three range trips but I'm going to keep is relatively short.

I picked up a box of Hornady Steel Match 55gr .223 JHP for the AR and did a little shooting with that about two weeks ago.  This stuff is super accurate and very affordable.  I didn't do any shooting past 50 yards, but I think it will hold up even further out.  I want to get into a little tactical rifle competition at some point and I think this stuff will be what I'll use.

Last Friday I got myself out on the range for some pistol shooting with the Glock.  I did a bunch of Bill Drills and Mozambiques using my shot timer.  I took the best five of each and come up with some averages.  All shooting was done from cover using a Galco Royal Guard IWB holster. 

Bill Drills
  • Time to first shot 2.76 seconds
  • Split time 0.51 seconds
  • Total time 5.64 seconds

Mozambique Drills
  • Time to first shot 2.61 seconds
  • Split time 0.94 seconds
  • Total time 4.10 seconds

My average time to draw and put the first shot on target was 2.67 seconds (average of 12 draws).

Yesterday evening I shot my third club level IDPA match.  Once again, it was a lot of fun.  I was the third shooter in my squad all night.  We only shot four stages but it went kind of slow because we had a lot of CDP shooters, three of which were rocking Nighthawk Custom 1911s.  Those three pistols probably accounted for $6k worth of craftsmanship, if not more, and would you believe one of them was being carried in a Fobus?  It made me a little sick.

Anyway, it was not my best match to date.  I shot the first stage clean (after fumbling and dropping my magazine on 'load and make ready'), so I started out well if just a bit slow.  On the second stage I took a big time hit when I had a failure to feed on a reload.  I think I induced it because I had no other problems and I know I used the magazine again.  I don't think it was the cheap Monarch steel cased ammo, but I'll be watching out for it in the future just in case.  I'm going to try to stick to Winchester white box for my match ammo from now on.

I ended up finishing 5 of 12 in SSP/unclassified and overall I was 17 of 35.  I had 17 points down which was the same as the guy who finished best overall...he was just about twice as fast as me!

It was a fun match and I'm already looking forward to the next one.  Hopefully I'll get to shoot a classifier soon and get to one of the Saturday matches.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's not my fault you make poor choices.

Behind every bitch is a woman who has made poor relationship choices and chooses to take it out on everyone else rather than examine what may well be a poor decision making process on her part in choosing mates. 

Placing blame in the wrong places.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir when I reiterate that guns do not cause people to go on mass killing sprees.  Nor do they make such sprees easier.  Had Sideshow Bob used a lighter and Molotov cocktails or some kind of bomb he'd have probably killed more, and faster.   The latter two are just a little more dangerous to use, but no matter what he's going to be killed or go to prison for the rest of his life so does the method really matter? 

Inanimate objects don't hurt people.  Bad people who want to hurt people hurt people.  And they do it whether they have access to tools or not.  We understand that it is the person who does the deed, not the object.  Otherwise our prisons would be full of guns, knives, and crack pipes rather than people.

So it bothers me when I see people turn around from correctly defending firearms to instead point the blame at violence on tv or in the movies.  Violent television and movies are no more to blame for the actions of murderous goblins than guns are.  TV is no more a magical talisman causing an individual to lose all self control and start attacking and murdering people than an AR-15 or a machete is.

At the same time tv and movies have supposedly becoming more violent,* violent crime rates have been dropping overall, not rising.  Normal, well adjusted people can watch even graphic violence without in turn becoming irrationally violent.  The same goes for video games.  I can even watch extremely graphic BDSM pornography without becoming a rapist.  I don't even lose respect for women!

I think what is often termed 'increased violence' is just a more accurate portrayal of violence.  We don't just see the good guy shoot the bad guy once and the bad guy fall to the ground.  We see the good guy forced to shoot the bad guy multiple times with the resultant blood and gore before the bad guy gasp out his last bloody breath and collapses.  Forgive me if I prefer the realism. 


I've specifically seen the newest Batman movies called out for their over the top violence.  They are violent, but they're hardly over the top.  No worse than The Godfather movies which are considered classics.**  In fact, one thing that stood out when I watched The Dark Knight Rises last Friday was when Christian Bale in his role as Batman stops Catwoman from killing a bad guy and tells her, "No killing."  It's the bad guys who do the killing in the movie while Batman goes out of his way to subdue them without killing them.  For a 'violent movie' there was little in the way of blood or graphic violence.  Most of the fighting was hand to hand and hardly more spectacular that a fist fight from an episode of Have Gun, Will Travel.  In fact, Batman's epic fight scenes with Bane were kind of campy and reminded me more of tv wrestling than anything else.

Contrast this with a gunnie favorite from 12 years ago, The Way Of The Gun.  It is one of the bloodiest and most graphically violent films I've even seen.  It's often praised for its accurate portrayal of gun handling and gun fights.  I love it, yet I've never decided to shoot it out with someone's bodyguards or torture a man with barbed wire and come-alongs. 

Another gunnie favorite is Heat, from 17 years ago.  Very violent, though less bloody than The Way Of The Gun.  People are brutally murdered throughout the movie from the first five minutes to the last shoot out.  The vast, overwhelming majority of people who enjoy that movie have never committed armed robberies or gotten in running gun battles with police.

I know people want there to be a reason why some guy decided to shoot up a bunch of people in a theater, and there was.  Too bad for most people that his reason doesn't fit neatly into any agenda but his own.  The guns didn't make him do it.  Neither did the movies, tv, music, video games, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, either George Bush, little green men from outer space, Twinkies, his dog, his parents, Penn State, the Devil, God, or the voices in his head.  He did it.  He did it because he wanted to.

Realize that.  Realize and acknowledge that there are people out there who will do horrifically violent things 'just because.'  They'll make up a reason if you push them, or if you look you'll find one that you're comfortable with, but the real reason people rob, rape, and murder is simply that they want to.  As soon as you accept that then maybe you can accept that if you want to be safe from that type of person you're going to have to take your safety into your own hands.

Nothing anyone else can do can prevent someone from hurting you 'just because,' not gun control, not censorship, and not wishful thinking. 

*They haven't.  TV westerns from the '60's generally featured a gunfight per episode.  The Godfather and The Dirty Dozen  are extremely violent films and both were made before I was born.

**Except for the third which most people hate, which I in turn thought was excellent because it ties the entire story up without changing what it is at heart, a tragedy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Early to bed.

I woke up at 3:30 AM with assed up sinuses, probably a reaction to all the grass I cut.  I then had a really heavy work day. I was heading home just after 5PM but I was ready to pull over and take a nap.  Add to that two good beers with dinner and I'm ready to hit the sack. 

I'll be up and at it early again tomorrow but then I have two days off.  Thursday I'm shooting IDPA.  I'll probably warm up with Dot Torture Thursday morning. Friday may get devoted to catching up on all my reading, and sometime in the next two days I should be getting that post I talked about yesterday written and published.

Sideahow Bob's 'armor.'

Remember when I said Sideshow Bob's 'armor' was probably a plate carrier with no plates?  I may have been giving him too much credit.

Monday, July 23, 2012

You probably won't read it, but...

Reading a lot of the blogs today I got an idea for a post.  And since I didn't have a computer I wrote it in a notebook while waiting for a customer to get home.  Unfortunately, just now I'm too tired to type it up after working all day and then coming home to cut two foot high grass (a lot of rain lately and not time to do it sooner), but it will go up soon. 

That said it will probably be largely ignored.  That seems to happen when I put a lot of thought into a post.  Oh, well.  It's worth saying, and I want to say it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

This is why I go to the movies, and everywhere else, armed.

"The lambs.  The lambs were screaming."

 At least 12 people have been killed and up to 50 injured after a mass shooting at a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" at a suburban Denver movie theater, police say.

The suspect, identified by federal law enforcement officials as James Holmes, 24, is in police custody. KUSA reports that Holmes kicked down an emergency door at the theater, threw in some type of a smoke bomb and began shooting when moviegoers started to run.

Look, bad shit happens every single day to people who don't deserve it.  That's life.  You have a recognized right to purchase, train with, and carry a firearm upon your person in most states.  In most of them it's just a matter of filling out a little paper work.  It may not save you or anyone else, but it beats running from bullets or hiding on the floor, or screaming like a lamb brought to slaughter.

Good guys out number bad guys in this country.  If they didn't we'd look a lot more like Somalia.  We need more armed and prepared good guys who are willing to combat those bad guys.  The quickest end to a mass shooting is an armed good guy Mozambiqueing the son of bitch.

 "But he had armor!"  Then why didn't he shoot it out with police?  And so what?  Head or pelvic shots.  It was probably just a plate carrier with no plates.  

Buy a gun, I recommend a Glock 19.  Learn how to use it.  Start thinking about what you'd do if bad shit happened as you go through your daily life.  Let it be a little mental agility exercise.  Carry your gun, and keep your eyes open.

Think you don't need to?  Think the police will protect you?  The police were there, but they weren't right there.  I'm betting every single one of them is wishing they had been, but they're no omniscient and they can't be everywhere.

You have to be your own first responder, because you'll ALWAYS be the first one there if something like this happens to you.  

I find it telling, once again, that another mass shooter surrendered when confronted by other people with guns.  These people are cowards at heart and when confronted by others who will kill them generally surrender or commit suicide.

I had planned to go see this movie today.  I'll be keeping those plans, and doing so with my pistol riding on my hip as always.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's not often I'm impressed by a criminal.

I use a relatively small local bank.  One  of their branch offices near me was robbed today (not the one I use).  I was a little surprised by this still from the surveillance video:

Finger off the trigger, pointed in a safe direction, and not a gansta grip.

This is just one still shot and maybe just a fluke but it stood out to me.  This guy probably knows his way around a pistol, at least a little bit.  Looks like a Glock to me, but I could be wrong.  

Hopefully they catch them soon and their success (so far) doesn't lead them to trying it again.  I always carry when I have to go into the bank, and I try to be very alert.  I prefer the drive-up teller, though, so I can avoid assholes like this.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thoughts on using flashlights in defensive encounters.

Do you know what happens when you wake up in the dead of night, have plenty of night vision to get around your home, and then click on that Surefire for a moment to get a better look at something and then click it back off?

You find yourself in pitch black so dark you can't see your hand in front of your face because you've totally fucked your night vision.

I'll be keeping this in mind.  If I turn the light on in a defensive encounter I'll be keeping it one.  Better to be able to see and maybe blinding them with the light than to be blind myself.  If you're like me you have pretty good night vision, especially after waking up in the middle of the night and you can probably see well enough to do what needs doing.  Night sights would help here because it's hard to pick up black on black, but other than that I can generally make out detail pretty well. 

I live alone.  No one has an extra key to my home.  You actually can't get inside with a key because I just interior latches at all times when the doors are closed.  So, if someone is in my home without permission they're are probably getting shot unless they follow instructions very well and very quickly.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I really want to call in sick...

And go shoot my guns all day.  Preferably with a huge group of like minded individuals.  I really need to make plans to get a bunch of people together for some kind of a shoot. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fun Show!

I was supposed to shoot an IDPA match today but it was resceduled due to availability issues with RSOs, so instead I went to the Gun Show in Birmingham.

No money for new guns, but I didn't leave empty handed.

I actually spent most of the afternoon there.  A friend's father had a table for his leather working business so after walking the floor I spent a lot of time talking to her and her friend who had never been to a gun show before or even shot a gun.  I invited them both to come shooting some time.  It was a fun day.

There was no money in the budget for a new gun but I did pick up a couple of new Pmags, a 'Regular Guy' patch, and some stickers.  I need to get a new car already so I have some place to stick all the stickers I'm piling up!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Very late Christmas present: A.R.S. Shanghai Shank

My very good friend Logan, an up and coming gun smith, is an employee of A.R.S. Knives.  If you've ever purchased one of their products you can thank him for the razor sharp edge.  Sometime late last year I was admiring this neat little neck knife he was wearing, which was one of their Shanghai Shanks.

I told my friend I'd probably have to pick one of those up.  He smiled and said, "Wait until after Christmas."  Christmas came and went and to be honest with everything else going on in my life I completely forgot about it.  Then last week I got a call from Logan.  He was near my home and wanted to swing by to give me my Christmas present.  I wasn't home so he left it in the mailbox.

 A.R.S. Shanghai Shank-Ain't she pretty?

This is really a cool little knife.  I've been carrying it in a cargo pocket while at work since I keep my shirt tucked in, but this will definitely get some neck wear this weekend.  It is extremely light, very sharp, and just a cool design.  It wouldn't be my first choice as a self defense tool, but it's great slashing capability and could do some stabbing as well.  It'll make a great utility and survival knife. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Read the damn instructions.

I recently picked up the latest issue of SWAT magazine and found myself laughing at Louis Awerbuck's "Here's Your Sign" article.  In essence he points to the common habit of people to avoid written instructions as if they're the plague, and the ensuing hours pounding of foreheads against walls that could have been avoided if people would just read the damn instructions. 

My only quibble is that he thinks men are most guilty of this (maybe deliberately playing to the stereotype), while it has been my personal experience that women have just as much of a 'I don't need no stinkin' badges' attitude when it comes to reading the instruction manual.

I completely agree with Awerbuck (which isn't always the case).  Unless you have personal experience with that particular piece of equipment you are only hurting yourself by not at least skimming the instruction manual.  This can be literal hurt in the case of anything that has the ability to cause you injury if misused.  At the very least, reading the instructions can save you time and money. 

That said, I've lost count of the times I've had people sneer, laugh, or roll their eyes at me for reading directions. 

Back when I was working for an electrician I used to read the directions anytime I was working with something new.  I got plenty of raised eye brows and it was even hinted that I was wasting time. 

Then there was this one time we did a kitchen remodel for a very affluent customer.  One of my task was wiring the customer's state of the art, touch screen Bosch dish washer.  It was a task which I was given because I was low man on the totem pole and wiring a dish washer means lying on your belly on the hard floor and working in a very cramped compartment at the very bottom of the appliance.  Not fun.

Anyway, I wired this expensive and very high quality piece of equipment.  A few days later, while we were on our way back the shop after a long day, the customer calls my boss and tells him her dish washer will not turn on.  He sighs and says we'll head right over.  He was obviously not happy because he was ready to be home and did not want to pay me and his other employee overtime because someone didn't do their job correctly.

I was sweating.  I knew I had wired the dish washer correctly, and the customer had checked the breakers before calling us, but the damned thing wasn't working so something was wrong.  I liked my boss, had a lot of respect for him, and I didn't want to disappoint or cause problems.

When we arrived at the customer's home I grabbed some a volt meter and the tools I'd need to access the wiring compartment. If I had screwed it up I wanted to fix it and own up to my mistake.  I opened the compartment and everything appeared to be correct from a visual inspection.  I tested the voltage and the voltage was correct.  My coworker double checked and confirmed everything on our end was correct.

We all tried pushing the "ON' button to no success.  Standing around with the customer's husband we were all wondering what the problem was.  It wasn't our fault.  Maybe the dishwasher was DOA?

All the while I'm standing there staring as this damned thing wondering what the hell the problem was.  I was determined to figure it out just to nail the coffin shut on any blame being placed on me.  I'd been the victim of plenty of jibes on the way to the customer's home and I was a little pissed about the whole situation.  So I finally asked the husband, "Where is the owner's manual?"  I've encountered enough high tech machinery to know that some of it requires you to hold your tongue between your teeth, stand on one leg, and chant mystical equations to get the motherfucker to work. 

The husband pointed to a drawer and I pulled it open and took out a stack of papers still neatly wrapped in their plastic wrappers.  I flipped through the various appliance manuals until I came to the correct one.  I tore open the plastic, flipped it open to the instructions for use, and read. 

Then I calmly walked over to the dishwasher, pushed and held the 'on' button for three seconds, and smiled when the screen lit up and said "Congratulations on your purchase of a Bosch dish washer.  Please select your language."

Everyone wanted to know what the hell I'd done to make it work.  "The owner's manual says push and hold the 'on' button for three seconds."

The reactions went something like, "Oh."  "Well, that's dumb."  "Really?!"   

I don't think it was dumb, I think that's how the damned thing worked.  It was designed so that you wouldn't turn it on except deliberately, and if an intelligent woman would have bothered to read the directions instead of assuming she knew how to operate a piece of equipment she'd never encountered before we'd both have been saved some stress, and my boss would have been saved some time and money.

So, read the damned instructions. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's nothing personal.

My last post got me to thinking of why I am so wary of having anything to do with the government at all, and it's pretty simple:  It's nothing personal. 

What I mean by that is that it's very easy for an individual to be completely crushed by the government in a variety of ways.  And it's not personal.  The government isn't out to get me.  The enforcers of law at all levels have nothing against me.  They're just out to enforce the law.

It's nothing personal.  The problem is that so damned many things are illegal that even the government doesn't know what all is a crime.  The result is that you don't have a legal system based on right and wrong, you have one based on, as often as not, rules for the sake of rules.  The law is right because it is the law, not because of an objective standard of right and wrong.  And to quote Tom Selleck in the Jesse Stone movies, "I'm not in the right and wrong business.  I'm in the legal and illegal business."

I understand that completely.  It's just a job and you've got to do it a certain way to keep.  So no hard feelings, but I'm going to have as little to do with law enforcers as I can because I'm legitimately worried I may do something illegal without even knowing it. 

Still here.

And I didn't have to let the federals go sifting through the naked pictures of my ex-girlfriends on my hard drive.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Not much of a weekend.

My days off are Thursday and Friday so those are the days I usually try to get as much blogging done as possible.  However, Thursday morning I had to be at a meeting at 6:30AM and then I had to meet with a customer afterwards.  I didn't get much sleep so when I finally made it home I decided I'd nap for a little while. 

I wanted to do a little shooting but I also had a couple of movies from Netflix I needed to watch and a couple of books to finish.  I managed that one of each Thursday night and Friday morning.  I did a little running around town yesterday and then went back to the home of the customer I met Thursday to install some equipment I had shipped to him that arrived sooner than expected.

Managed to get home with enough light left to get the push mower out and take care of a little more than half of the grass.  Still have about 45 minutes of work left that hopefully I can get to this afternoon if the rain holds off. 

I've got very little paying work today and quite a bit of non-paying followups on my schedule.  One of the followups is supposed to be handled by the higher ups because it is a repeated issue that never shows up while I am there and I can find no problems with the customers system (which after four trips I've completely replaced).  One is, hopefully, one that I've already resolved by phone on Thursday.  The last is the only one likely legit, and it will either be a very simple fix or a pain in the ass.

On top of all that I've got to pick up some more paying work.  Last week was very sub par and I can't have another like that.  So, yeah, not much of a weekend.  I hope all of you Saturday and Sunday weekenders have a better one than me!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day.

Today is a day ripe for cynicism and sarcasm but I'm actually in a pretty good mood, and for all our nation's faults I am objectively more free today than I would be as a subject of the British Crown. That's worth celebrating.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Althea Paul, writing on Tampa Bay's Channel 10 News website, is a fucking liar:

LARGO, Florida - A Largo teen has died from his injuries after shooting himself while playing Russian Roulette.

Pinellas County Sheriff's detectives say 17-year-old Thorin Montgomery and three teenaged friends were on the back porch of his house along 111th Way North in Largo Friday night, playing with a .38 caliber revolver.

Thorin was the first of his friends to have a turn when the gun fired, shooting him in the head.

The gun DID NOT fire.  He fired the gun.  The gun DID NOT shoot him in the head.  He shot himself in the head.  This dumb motherfucker put a loaded gun to his head and pulled the trigger.  That is no different than sticking your head in the swimming pool and taking a deep breath.  It's not different than putting a noose around your neck and jumping off a bridge.  You don't blame the pool or the rope, you blame the moron that decided he didn't like breathing air anymore.

H/t Captain Capitalism

Lots of traffic lately.

I have the Red Room of Pain to blame.  Should have seen that coming.