Showing posts from June, 2013

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

NRA Spotlights Safe Gun Use and Storage The NRA endorses a slightly different list of safety rules than the Cooper-inspired Four Rules I usually promote. Actually, though, I'm easy. I promote the NRA rule list in settings where that is what is familiar and what people have heard before and will hear again. There is no sense in confusing the issue. The different rule sets are consistent with one another in identifying the problems and warning against them. We know what the problems are because people who disregard the warnings have the same problems in incident after avoidable incident.

9mm versus .38 Special, women and guns, plus a little bit of history

The Daily Caller has an interesting story  about what happened when a woman, one of their reporters , went shopping for a personal defense handgun. The story shows that several of the gun shops she visited did a good job, paid attention to what she wanted and what she would use it for, and talked with her about getting a gun that fits her hands and fits her needs. The recommendation from multiple sources: She should buy this or that high quality 9mm pistol. The Caller editor remarked, and I agree, that it was surprising that not one shop mentioned the .38 Special as an alternative. I have seen an article somewhere or other, written by some woman or other, to the effect  that recommending revolvers to women is somehow condescending, as if women cannot learn to handle automatics properly. Maybe the salesmen in the shops read the same article. I think it more likely, though, that suggesting a revolver never entered their minds, because auto pistols are so much more popular these days.

We always lie to pollsters

Rasmussen has a poll result out today, 57% Fear Government Will Use NSA Data to Harass Political Opponents I am pretty sure that  the true number is underreported in this poll. There are some poll questions that have built in tendencies to underreporting. If you think the NSA is busily prying into all the data they can find on private citizens, you might think twice about saying so over the phone. The Feds assure us that they are not listening to actual conversations (except when they do), but even if you grant that, your answers still go into the pollster's database. Where do they go from there? Does anyone know? Some people may understandably want to keep their thoughts to themselves, and say "Oh, it's likely no problem" or "I'm not sure." Another example of a self-sinking poll number is the question of how many households in America have guns. That poll number has been dropping, causing the anti-gun contingent to crow that the numbe

In a PRISM, darkly

The NSA scandal did not take me entirely by surprise. You could infer that something big was going on by reading the techie help wanted ads. Very large databases, metadata, interoperability, cross-database searches, security clearance required. The surprising part is just how big and intrusive the thing is, sweeping in information about, potentially at least, any and every American. The line from Washington is not to worry. They're only looking for terrorists. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. The trouble, though, is in the blanket warrants and the blithe assumption that everyone's data is fair game. Why is that a problem? If you're not plotting to blow things up, why would you worry? Jim Yardley, blogging over at the American Thinker website, has a germane observation about that. The system is only looking for enemies, looking for terrorists? We are investing a whole lot of trust in the people who are defining who is an enemy and who is a terrori

Hatred of guns and gunners

There is seething hatred at the bottom of some people's anti-gun, anti-2nd Amendment feelings. I have touched on that in prior posts, for example here and here . Kill the NRA! Pro gun? That makes you an accessory to murder! Since I cannot peer about inside other people's brains to see how they work, I can only guess at where the hate comes from. It's something I have not yet figured out entirely. I was startled when first I met with it. Years ago, an otherwise promising romance was poisoned when she found out that the guy thing I like to do on weekends is to take my gun case, proudly emblazoned with the insignia of an NRA Life Member, down to the local gun range to pop off a box of practice rounds and hang out with the bubbary (the class of the citizenry composed of Bubbas). The matter seems to involve class consciousness and something else besides, perhaps a deep mistrust of the idea that anyone should on his own recognizance wield such power. But there must be more

Classic gun review: First generation Thompson Center Contender

Including a pictorial on how to change barrels The Contender is a break action single shot. You can set up the gun as a pistol or carbine, depending on your tastes. Barrels are interchangeable and available in many calibers. The gun reviewed is an older model, made in the seventies. There is a more recent "G2" second generation model with numerous changes to the mechanism. In between the early model shown and the present G2, there were several variations in parts and design, most significantly a redesign of the barrel latch to make the gun easier to open. The review gun lacks the easy-open feature. More about that later. The Contender figured in a  Supreme Court case , which established that having a pistol and parts to convert it to a rifle did not amount to possession of an illegal short barreled rifle. Thus in a small way the Contender has a place in gun rights history. Of course, it is still illegal to assemble the pistol barrel to a receiver which is at the

Single issue voter? Not exactly!

Because the right to keep and bear arms thus closely relates to the question of the place of the individual in society, anyone who is consistent in his thinking will have views on gun control that are indicative of his views on the larger question. I am not exactly a single issue voter myself; there are many political matters that interest me. However, as others have observed before now, gun control is a pretty good indicator of how a candidate really feels on a variety of other issues. If he is for strong and intrusive anti-gun measures, it is nearly certain that he likes the nanny state and is okay with the surveillance state. Why is that consistent? It relates to how that politician views the individual and the power of the state. If you do not think the individual ought ever wield deadly force on his own behalf, but should wait for the cops to arrive, that indicates a specific relationship in your mind as to the individual's safety and where decisions about it are properl

Secure gun storage

The Guardian Express, a web outlet that covers the US news beat, today has an opinion piece entitled " Handguns and Their Irresponsible Owners ," written by James Turnage. I dislike the tone of the piece, and take issue with one or two minor points. But I agree with the big point of it. If you have a gun, you must store  it safely. It is something I have preached for years. Unless the gun is under your direct and immediate control, which means carried on your person or placed within reach, it should be rendered inert, inaccessible or preferably both. My logic on this point is airtight. If you really need a gun, you need it ready to hand. If you really do not need it, it should be secured. It's all quite simple to manage. Take, for example, the double action revolver. Swing open the cylinder and snap a sturdy padlock around the top strap. The gun will not work, and an attempt to twist off the lock will wreck the gun before the lock gives way

Thinking about arshins

This obsolete unit of distance may be better than yards or meters. Old Imperial Russia had a unit of measure called the arshin (ahr-SHEEN) that was equivalent to 28 inches or  71 cm. The Revolution and the subsequent conversion to the metric system were both mistakes. One arshin is about the distance a man covers when he takes one step forward. There are variations from one man to another, based on how long his legs are. Typically a man's step is nearer 30 inches than 28, in our day, but 28 still falls within the range of variation. Perhaps 28 was nearer the average  formerly . I started thinking about arshins and their uses after seeing an elderly Russian Mosin-Nagant rifle with its sights calibrated in arshins. Thinking the matter through, I found that I am more confident in guessing distances when thinking "how many steps?" instead of how many yards or meters. That is natural enough. A step is a familiar distance that we experience every day, strengthening o

Gun safety's Four Rules: Don't get your name in the newspapers

I do something that is perhaps peculiar. When I read the news I look for stories about gun accidents. Each time I find one, if the reporting is clear at all, I can figure out which gun safety rule was violated, or which rules, for often it's not just one. Colonel Cooper's Four Rules of Gun Safety are the distillation of what you need to know, a short simple set of precepts that anyone can remember. Cooper, as likely you know already, revolutionized shooter training in the last century by clearly stipulating, step by step, the skills needed to shoot effectively. For example, he identified five steps in drawing and leveling a pistol, then he coached people until the gun came out and got trained on the target the same way every time. He turned the same analytical skills to the question of how to handle a firearm safely. Here's the thing: In every accidental shooting for which I've gotten a clear news account, it is clear that at least one of his four safety rules was ig

Reflections on the pump shotgun

A 12 gauge pump is the nearest thing yet devised to an 'anything, anywhere' firearm. You see this gun in its many variations in duck blinds and in cop cars, in deer camps and in war zones. It is a recommended arm for rabbits and for grizzly bears. The pump gun's reliability in all kinds of awful conditions afield and its ability to use various types of ammunition without needing adjustments make it a generally trouble free companion no matter what you are gunning for, or where. The biggest caveat about the pump gun: There is a type of user-induced stoppage that needs to be guarded against. That is the short stroke jam. As the name suggests, it results from incompletely cycling the gun. To avoid it, make it always a point to work the action vigorously. SLAM it open. SLAM it shut. You won't break the gun; it's designed to take five and three quarters tons of firing pressure. The Incredible Hulk couldn't break it. Although I may be mistaken, it is my impressio