Showing posts from 2013

Hiyo Silver, run away!

So I took this crazy online survey to find out what sort of Dungeons and Dragons character I would be, if I were such a thing. You can try it here: There were some questions about spending time in the woods, which is something I like to do, and so I can see why I ended up a Ranger, but the rest of my characterization seems to derive from left field. I dunno, give it a whirl and see what manner of creature you are. Stats on the sidebar indicate that most visitors to the site score as humans, which is I suppose reassuring. Also, most people rated themselves high in intelligence. That is rather an awkward point; most people think they are above average in that way, but it can't possibly be true. In fact, half the people you meet are below average. Appears I am a Neutral Good Human Ranger (7th Level) Ability Scores: Strength- 15 Dexterity- 12 Constitution- 14 Intelligence- 16 Wisdom- 15 Charisma- 14 Alignment: Neutr

The Illustrated Ozymandias

Suggested by an essay at DiploMad2.0 OZYMANDIAS By Percy Bysshe Shelley I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things, The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Nothing beside remains: round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Riot gun part 2: Pattern size

Personally, I like a wide open pattern.The whole reason for preferring a shotgun over a rifle is its hit probability and I don't intend to compromise that. Is it better if your gun throws a broad, open pattern of shot or a small tight one? It isn't a simple question. The shotgun's hit probability, which is superior to any other small arm's at close range, owes to the spread of the shot. If you reduce the spread, you reduce the shotgun's advantage. Things get more complicated, though, when you consider that a pattern that is too wide increases the number of pellets sailing past the target, doing you no good. Since pattern size increases with distance, a loose pattern loses effectiveness rapidly with range as the pattern's density degrades. What to do, what to do? As a sort of baseline to the discussion, the riot gun for its first hundred years or so was almost always cylinder bored or Improved Cylinder choked, and threw open patterns, firing shells concoc

Riot gun part 1: What ammo is best?

My thinking is that #1 buckshot is the best choice most of the time, though #4 buck has a lot to recommend it some of the time. Today I'm launching a series that will be ongoing for some time. As I noted previously, my posts here will  be on a now-and-then basis. But I have a number of things to talk about on the topic of defensive shotgunning. Expect this to take a while. For years and years, the 12 gauge riot gun has been my preferred 'preparedness' weapon, for potential use during some sort of hypothetical societal crisis, such as a general breakdown of law and order, or perhaps a zombie apocalypse. It is also what I keep on hand for home defense. I like the shotgun for its outstanding hit probability at short range. Since nearly all lethal force encounters, apart from the battlefield setting, are at short range, I don't worry very much about the shotgun's uselessness at long range. I will be writing up a series of suggestions on how to use a riot gun ef

Navy Yard shooting -- and mental health

To my profound lack of surprise, it now appears that  the Navy Yard shooter had mental health problems  of a serious nature and an obsessive interest in  violent video games . As I blogged previously, this country's high profile, big headline mass shootings have  a common denominator in the mental infirmities of the perps. A possible exception is the crime of Maj. Nidal Hasan; his motive may have been religious. Or crazy. You decide. Following the Navy Yard shooting there was a rush in the news media to blame the AR-15 , the 'evil gun' scapegoat du jour of the gun ban chorus, though at this point it is highly doubtful whether such a  weapon was used; if it was, it was obtained by the killer from a victim . No matter, Dianne Feinstein decried the "military-style assault rifle." These shootings form  a convenient pretext on which to hang calls for gun bans and other infringements. But what we need here is not more gun control laws, of which we have more than eno

Colorado recall successful

John Morse, ousted president of the Colorado Senate, was quoted this way by the New York Times: “We made Colorado safer from gun violence,” he said afterward, as his supporters trickled away from a hotel ballroom here in his district. “If it cost me my political  career, that’s a small price to pay.” The thing is, pushing through a packet of anti-gunner laws did not make anyone safer and everyone knew it. Coloradans saw the gun control push as funded from out of state and an imposition on their rights, a feel-good measure that burdened the innocent while skirting the very problem it supposedly addressed. I hope the rest of the country's Democrats are paying attention. Less than half the states have  recall election laws, but all of them have elections, and siding with Nanny Bloomberg against the Second Amendment is perilous. There is an undercurrent of resentment out here in the electorate, not just over ill considered gun laws but over a wider perception that we are seeing

Eyes up during reloads

Here is why they tell you to keep your eyes up and looking around while you reload your gun.


My posts about gun safety  draw only small numbers of readers, though the topic is among the most important I write about here. I suppose that people see a title about rules of gun safety and figure they know all about that. It is apparent, though, that not everyone does know, as witnessed by the gun accidents we read about in the news. If everyone really knew about safety such news stories would cease, or be so exceedingly rare as to be remarkable man-bites-dog stories. I want to challenge my readers to do something today or this week to promote gun safety, but be warned. There is some chance that you will be ignored. Order some pamphlets. Distribute my safety screeds, or someone else's if you prefer them, or have a frank talk with a shooting buddy. The gun safety problem won't go away until we recognize that it is a problem that belongs to all of us.

Gun rights: the more things change...

Gun rights advocates always find themselves plowing ground that has been gone over before. Consider the following passage from a very old book. Though from the eighteenth century, it presents a line of reasoning highly relevant to gun control arguments in our time.      A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniences, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, who dares say to reason, ‘Be thou a slave;’ who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.      The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the law

King George's Revenge

Among the complaints lodged against King George in the Declaration of Independence, we find this one: He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. We are no longer ruled by England, but we have managed to institute new swarms of officials using home grown replacements. The government in Washington feels no motivation to limit the numbers of public employees, but the reverse. The  millions of  positions  in government service, overseeing regulations that in some cases we do not need, comprise a reliable voting bloc for the status quo. Big government makes out their paychecks. Why would they ever feel that big government could be a problem? The Constitution is a brief and fairly straightforward document, thus its requirements could be met with fewer than the millions of workers, more numerous than all of our military, now employed at the task. At that, much of the citizenry feels that "govern

Decline of America

America's dream of prosperity is now unsalvageable. The country will continue down the rabbit hole of economic folly. Instead of learning from Europe's mistakes we are repeating them.  The situation is unsalvageable because so many voters and politicians see our present course as a good one. When moral inversion sets in, a culture is doomed to play out the result. By moral inversion I mean calling things good that are actually bad. The government in Washington occupies itself with everything but solving the country's central financial problem, which is parasitism by the public sector upon the private sector. There are too many takers, not enough makers. The political will to tackle that is not to be found in Washington. Too many citizens like and support the idea of a giving government. They always vote for the giveaways to continue and increase. What we have today is, obviously, a vote buying scheme. Political support is secured by promising government largess to this

I will still be posting here, just not as often

Some other writing opportunities have presented themselves and I am following up on them. That is going to mean less gun blogging, but never fear. If you will scroll down and look over to your left you will see my blogroll, which is a selection of the very best blogs about guns, shooting, law and politics. I find it yields several good reads every day. See ya at the range.

Larry Potterfield's S&W revolver inspection

Bookmark this blog entry if you are a Smith & Wesson revolver kinda guy. Review the video before you go shopping for a used Smith; it might save you time and money. You might also find the video useful when it is time to function check a gun you already have. I do a thorough check periodically just to make sure that things are still in good order. And... if you need accessories, parts or tools, Mr. Potterfield will be pleased to help you out at Midway USA .

The Pedro Vargas murders: roid rage?

From the Miami Herald: Jorge Bagos, who also worked out with Vargas, told the Associated Press that Vargas had mentioned exercising as a way to release his anger. Bagos said Vargas complained of bad experiences with women, and blamed his hair loss on steroid use. Although police said Vargas asked for his girlfriend while speaking with a hostage negotiator in his final hours, neighbors and associates never saw Vargas with a woman or heard of him having a girlfriend. Hair loss from steroid use? Problems with anger? Fantasy indistinguishable from reality? That paints a picture, doesn't it!? Other details about Vargas emerge in the Herald's background piece, and I encourage you to read the whole thing if you are following the case, but those who have seen guys abuse steroids and start to lose touch with planet Earth probably have the crime figured out already. So we have, sadly, another spree shooting apparently attributable to the shooter's twisted mental state, the

Bears for Bloomberg

Yet another reason why magazine capacity limits are stupid: It took sixteen shots to drive off the the attacking bear, which later died. Fortunately the outdoorsman attacked was not a New Yorker, limited to seven round magazines, or a Coloradan, limited to fifteen. Alaska man kills charging bear with assault rifle | Fox News : 'via Blog this'

The doubletalk of gun control advocates

The Daily Caller has a good piece about Orwellian use of language by the gun ban leftists. Translating 10 anti-gun propaganda phrases into English | The Daily Caller : 'via Blog this'

Who is too weird to own a gun?

We have long had laws against deranged people keeping and bearing arms. That must be counted as a reasonable limitation. It may be that we do too little, sometimes, to limit the gun rights of disturbed people; recent mass shootings have their common denominator in mental health issues. But there is a fine line there, open to abuse by the authorities. They may go too far in the other direction. I do not think the following case is an instance of abuse, for the judgment seems reasonable, but it gives us a look into a grey area. Gun rights advocates are right, I think, to be concerned about a possible future in which nearly everyone is deemed a bit too strange, or minor peculiarities are used arbitrarily to abridge the gun rights of some. The comments below the presentation are interesting because of their variety. The Volokh Conspiracy » The Right to Keep and Bear Arms and People Who Appear to Lack “Emotional Stability” at a Court Hearing : 'via Blog this'

On topic for a change: WWII German infantry squad tactics

The political crap storm going on these days has led me somewhat astray from my intended topic of arms and their use. Here, though, is something that I think will interest the readers who don't care about politics, but who like weapons, tactics and history. The video is brought to you by YouTube user The Digital Implosion (H/t). On my monitor, at least, the video shows up a little bit dark. I see more detail if I punch up the brightness a notch. YMMV.

Obama on "stand your ground." Things just turned really weird.

From John Lott's Website -- President Obama vs. state Senator Obama on Stand Your Ground laws : "Illinois is one of the states that don't demand that people retreat as far as possible before defending themselves. Little did I know that Obama was one of the people who helped push for this change to become law." Wow. I said previously that as a lawyer, Obama ought to know that he is misrepresenting the law in this matter. Turns out I was righter than I thought. For those new to the subject, "stand your ground" is legal shorthand for no, or very limited, " duty to retreat ." When you hear the one you should think of the other, for they are paired concepts. Imposing a duty to retreat whenever someone is attacked raises more problems than it solves, in rendering fair judgement later, which is why most states and federal precedent too have some or other recognition of the "stand your ground" principle. As  Justice Oliver Wendell Holme

Obama on being Trayvon and on "stand your ground" laws

"Trayvon Martin could have been me, thirty-five years ago." Somehow I don't think so. Obama is a child of privilege, Martin was not. There is more difference between the two people than Obama credits in his remarks. Indeed, the difference is greater than any skin-deep similarity. Let's see... Obama was schooled at Punahou, Occidental and Harvard and somehow became a political insider rather quickly... The above picture is being circulated on Twitter as a photo of Obama being profiled 35 years ago. The tragedy of Trayvon Martin's death is overshadowed and cheapened by using it for political grandstanding. Obama's full remarks: The President said some high-toned and thoughtful things, brought out some well worn and reliable platitudes about race, and even said some things that I agree with. But he slipped a poison pill in amidst the Skittles: I know that ther

Some are more equal than others

I have in mind, here, two contrasting news stories. The first is the IRS targeting of Obama's opponents. The second is the inexplicable matter of Holder's Justice Department dropping the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panthers. If you line them up side by side the contrast is clear. If you are against Obama, we'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too. If you are for Obama, you get a free pass. Evidently, some people are more equal than others. More examples could be found where justice has been shaded by politics, the truth hidden for the sake of expediency. Allegations and denials of voting irregularities have been going on for a long time, and it is one side, not the other, that works vigorously against measures to clean things up. Makes you think. Notice, for example, this vituperative and non factual attack on voting reform:   If there is a good case to be made here, why ma

Hoodie Obama

This picture is making the rounds of the Interwebz. I find it creepy, in a Big Brother kind of way. I conjecture that it was 'shopped together to bolster the identification of Obama with Trayvon Martin, an identification Obama has fostered and encouraged, first by saying Trayvon was like his son, then by saying Trayvon could have been him 35 years ago. Oh, it bolsters all right. It is a powerful symbol. Look into Trayvon's hoodie, see the prez looking back out at you. See the U.S. Department of Justice For Trayvon single out George Zimmerman with an informant tip line of his very own. See a tragic but hardly singular event in Florida turned into the new national centerpiece for race grievance politics and a new drumbeat for gun control. See the news media's attention instantly diverted from numerous scandals surrounding the administration. Here, of course, is the iconic photo of Trayvon that is the basis of the above Photoshop job. See the resemblance? No? Me neit

Justice for Trayvon

"Justice for Trayvon" has been done. If you don't like the verdict, that does not mean it wasn't justice. I waited until the verdict was in before commenting on George Zimmerman's trial for killing Trayvon Martin. I have been on a couple of juries and know that a lot goes on in a courtroom that isn't well reflected in news reporting. In this case, I further felt that left-leaning news outlets were whipping up the story , playing on racial tensions and politically correct memes, and in general being a bunch of jerks. I figured I would have a clearer picture of the case after the jury spoke. It looked to me like Zimmerman was not guilty of what he was charged with. He looked guilty of first degree stupidity maybe, not murder, but I was not sitting in the jury box. The media circus was the least of it. I sensed, or suspected, a political overtone to the prosecution. If  the case was as insubstantial as it appeared to be, then it looked to me as if the defen

Compromise? There is no compromise

I direct your attention to David T. Hardy's very fine article over at, " Why Gun Owners Are Right to Fight Against Gun Control ." The history of the anti-gun contingent shows that compromise measures aren't really what they want. A compromise needs two sides to it. See also my own look at what it is we are being asked to "compromise," in " What is infringement? " There really can't be dialectic around bedrock principles, unless the idea is to dig up the bedrock.

A practical lesson of the Zimmerman case

Any time you are carrying a lethal weapon you should have a less-than-lethal one as well. This whole affair would have ended much better, for everyone, if Zimmerman had successfully used a stun gun, or pepper spray, or a kubotan or what have you, instead of his pistol. He was clearly outclassed in the fistfight; when that happens and all you have is a gun, the outcome is always going to look bad, whichever outcome that is. One possible outcome is that the person beating you up takes your gun and shoots you with it. That did not happen in this case but has happened numerous times in the past. In this case the unarmed fellow got shot, and would that he had not. The incident has stirred up a storm of ill will that now even involves the highest levels of government. I may have more to say later about the social activism aspect of the case and the political climate that permits it to go on and on after Zimmerman's acquittal. For now I thought I would point out a short lesson that all

Improving upon Burton's saber method

I previously critiqued Sir Richard Francis Burton's A New System of Sword Exercise for Infantry . In that posting you can find links to his book, free online and in print for money. There is much that I do not like about Burton's system, but some parts of it stand out as meriting further attention and the honest form of flattery, imitation. I here offer what I think are improvements to the method Burton published back in 1876. Burton wanted to scrap the old and well-proven method of teaching soldiers to use their sabers, in favor of something quite different. The sturdy old system of five parries (or a few more) did everything that was asked of it, for as long as men wore sabers, cutlasses and hanger swords. It is still in use in today's sport of saber fencing. This fine old method, which Burton sought to replace, is good because it is defensively oriented. The parries are the main things; it is then a matter of discovering practical ripostes from these very secure pa

Okay, this is funny

No surprise, of course, that it is. Ramirez is perhaps the most perceptive political cartoonist of this present unfortunate era.

What is infringement?

Infringement of the right to keep and bear arms I define in these categories: 1. The citizen cannot buy, in lawful commerce, weapons suitable for Second Amendment purposes. The purposes in view of the Amendment are your personal defense, defense of your home and hearth, participation in a defense force (a county posse or a state militia) when lawfully summoned to serve, and resistance warfare against a hypothetical tyranny. Weaponry includes, obviously, all the things needed to make weapons effective, such as magazines of suitable size, spare parts and effective ammunition. On the matter of magazine restrictions, of course the right to effective arms includes the right to load them, and load them in a way that is consistent with their purposes and design. 2. The citizen cannot keep suitable Second Amendment arms he lawfully obtained before, because of a confiscation or buyback order from the authorities. A 'no transfers' provision in law serves a similar purpose: He ma

Simplified swordsmanship: Burton's "New Exercise"

Sir Richard Burton (not the actor, the other one) was hardly the first man to discover something clever and mistake it for something profound, and surely not the last.  So then we need not blame him very much, but would be better and more charitably advised to learn from his mistakes. When closely analyzed, his "semi-moulinet" technique, which forms the heart of his saber system, consists of a clever flip of the wrist, allowing whiplike snap cuts to be made promptly from any parry, and a parry to be made at once, following any cut. There are some advantages that are worth knowing about in this scheme, but the method brings along with it some difficulties and disadvantages that Burton does not fully acknowledge. Burton's cuts. Cuts 1 and 2 are the same as 3 through 10, except for their height. The   New System of Sword Exercise for Infantry ,* published in 1876, radically simplifies the foundation of saber fencing, reducing it to just two guards and what amounts to

Combat handgun shooting as it is not now done: The FBI crouch

This is quaint. People used to teach and learn this method. There are good reasons why they stopped. Better methods are now available. This video teaches you all about the "FBI crouch", a pistol technique that involves violations of safety rules  two and three and firing without looking at the sights. H/t to Youtube user nuclearvault for this bit of nostalgia. There are noticeable similarities between this ex-FBI method and the  Fairbairn-Sykes shooting method . While I am unaware of any formal connection between the training programs, Fairbairn's and Sykes' ideas were popular and widely known in the early post-WWII era. My own opinion on using the sights is that I like to. At the very least, I like to see the front sight. Very fast shooting can be accomplished by holding the gun slightly lower than you would for normal aimed fire, so that the front sight is seen standing proud of the rear sight. Then you use the front sight as you would a shotgun's bead.

NSA scooping in your gun ownership info too?

Senators Ask if NSA Collected Gun Data Potential to construct gun database, senators say | Washington Free Beacon : Interesting story. Because no one who knows anything is forthcoming about secret projects, no one else is sure just how far this business of scooping up everyone's private data extends. 'via Blog this'

Old TV documentary: "To Keep and Bear Arms"

Here we have "To Keep and Bear Arms," an episode of " The Big Picture ," a TV documentary series that ran on ABC in the fifties and sixties. It is inconceivable that ABC would run an episode like this today. But thanks to Youtube user nuclearvault, we can watch it still. It's a pretty good basic rundown on the history and significance of the right to arms and the role of the NRA. Show it to kids if you get the chance, for they certainly do not get any such information in school these days, and see nothing of the sort on TV. It is as if one particular civil right has disappeared from the liberal lexicon, and if the NRA is portrayed on television, it is now in a bad light not a good one.

Video: Reassembling Ruger's .22 automatic pistol

Here is a well done Youtube video by one danielp59. Ruger's otherwise excellent .22 pistol has one annoying characteristic. It can be difficult to reassemble once you have taken it apart. I found this video helpful and so I am passing it along. The .22 pistol was the first product Ruger offered and its success put the company on the map. It is an accurate gun and dependability problems almost always owe to poor quality ammunition or a dirty mechanism, rather than to any fault in the gun itself. The fiddly nature of the task of putting it back together is the only real fault it has. For about sixty years, people have been having trouble getting the hammer in the right position during reassembly. Watch this video to learn the right flick of the wrist to get things back together properly.

Penumbra? We don't need no steenking penumbras!

I got retwittered for saying Fear the man who says, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." This saying struck a chord with some people. Let me strum that chord for a minute. Let me parse the reasoning. The speaker is key here: Focus upon the one who says, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."  He decides. He decides! He thinks he has a right to know your business and then to judge, after the fact, whether you had anything to hide. But what gives him any such right? The thing spoken implies a forceful person speaking, who will take anything he is denied. That is not America. That is, indeed, what each and every word in the Bill of Rights seeks to avoid. Legal questions of the right to privacy are somewhat complicated by prior rulings, which sometimes make things more complicated than they need to be. "Hard cases make bad law." But in principle you have, supposedly at least, the right to be left alone, absent

The saber: Corbesier's manual

Thanks to the Internet Archive, this excellent little book is available for free in many digital formats  at this link . It will prove of interest to hobbyist fencers and those interested in historical weapons. If you prefer a real book you can get one  from Amazon. The saber became the most common type of sword in Western military use and retained that position up until the time when swords were no longer useful in war. Its universal popularity owed to the manner of its use. A straightforward and highly logical method for saber fencing arose; no one is sure exactly where it originated. Somewhere in Eastern Europe is a good bet. With only minor regional differences, the saber fencing method became established everywhere in the Western world as the right way to do it. Military manuals show this when looked at side by side; the methods are substantially similar from one country to another, the convergence increasing over time. A plate from Corbesier's manual By the nineteen