A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Comedy of Errors

"It's 2 o'clock in the morning! You need to go home to bed!" shouted Judie Martel. As the snow drifted through the night outside her home, Mrs. Martel had fallen asleep on the sofa. She was jolted awake by a pounding on her front door. "My first thought was, 'Is that thunder?'" she said, "The windows were rattling."

The noise was not the weather. Mrs. Martel confronted a man entering her shattered door with all that she had at her disposal......a tongue lashing. Then she shoved the man back through the door and barricaded it as best she could. She peered out the window to see if the intruder had left.

Through the darkness she could make out the shape of the man walking through the snow to the other side of her home. He held a bag in his hands. Judie Martel immediately regretted not locking her kitchen door that night. She knew without checking that the kitchen door was unlocked. She seldom locked it, after all, this was Kennebunk Maine, not Detroit Michigan. Rather than locking the door however, she ran upstairs to awaken her husband, a Vietnam vet.

Now, one would think that a Vietnam vet would know what to do. I have to give John Martel credit. He grabbed his shotgun. Then he grabbed the one, the only shotgun shell that he kept in his home. Thus armed, John Martel ran outside towards the shadowy figure in his snow covered yard. When the intruder saw the homeowner with the shotgun, he turned to run.

John Martel fired his one and only shotgun shell over the running man's head. Intentionally. On purpose. Blam! An effective home defense tool became a club. "I was going to shoot to kill," Martel said. "But I've had enough of killing. I shot over his head and he ran up the road."

The police arrived with the radios crackling. Neighbors had called 911 and reported the gunshot and two men running through the neighborhood. The first intruder, Sean Barker, was captured almost immediately while attempting to enter another home. It took a State Police K9 unit to track his buddy Eric Wallace down. The dogs found his backpack, which contained his ID. Although both men were in their early twenties, they each had criminal records and a history illicit drug use. The footprints in the snow showed the men had cased several homes before selecting a victim.

I am happy this couple survived their home invasion, but I have to think it was by Divine providence. The couple is shopping for dead bolt locks, and are considering a large dog to protect them. Judie Martel, a social worker, is trying to view the experience in the most positive framework. "We are very blessed," she says. Her husband is also seeking to reconcile the experience.

"If they had harmed her, I wouldn't have shot in the air," he claims. Well, Mr. Martel, if you have one damned shotgun shell, what the Hell do you plan to do if they decide to harm you and her after you shoot your wad in the air?

It's news reports like these that frustrate me the most. They lay seed to the illusion that blind luck and "blessedness" will save a life. Luck does play a part, to be certain, but Lady Luck favors the person who is prepared. Those deadbolts? They are not going to work if you don't use them. A dog? How about learning to protect yourself? Go buy a box of shotgun shells and quit playing Barney Fife.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Stay or Go?


To Shoot or not to Shoot

One of the dilemmas of owning a historical firearm is whether to shoot it. In the thread about my Colt "Black Army" M1911 at the 1911 Forum, I brought up shooting it. Click to enlargeThe responses ranged for cringing at the thought to allowing that risk was minor.

M1911s were not heat treated as 1911s commonly are today. They are know for cracking at the dust cover of the frame, and the ejection port and recoil tunnel of the slide. My M1911 has none of these issues. Once cracked, an all original M1911 becomes either a paperweight, or a mix master after the owner is forced to substitute parts.

I am thinking that the usual cracking occurs from stress fatigue as the parts batter each other. If I do shoot the pistol, it will be in conservative amounts with conservative ammuniton, and I will install a (Lord help me) recoil buffer.

I highly respect several of the members of the 1911 Forum who urge caution. Click to enlargeEven though this particular pistol is weathered on the outside, the gun is 100% original. Evidence inside the gun shows it has been shot very little in it's lifetime. As has been pointed out, losing that to regular shooting is a loss in and of itself that can't be replaced.

Perhaps I should just make my Colt WW1 Reproduction a shooter, and let the Colt "Black Army" rest. The WWI Repro has all the hardening of a modern shooter, and once it begins to show appreciable wear, I can send it in to Colt to have the flats polished and re-blued to more closely approximate the real deal.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recruit Training

"These are my recruits. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Marines, thoroughly indoctrinated in love of Corps and country. I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill."
USMC Drill Instructor's Creed
What the heck am I going to do with this recruit? What am I? Do I look like a Gunny? New recruits need discipline, but I think Daddy must have brought home Gomer Pyle! I have never seen such a wiggly squiggly dog in my life!

ilsa ilas ilsa ilsa ilsa ilsa ilsa ilas ilas ilas ilas ilas ilsa
I have to say the kid has spunk. She bounces back from anything. I caught her this afternoon chewing on one of Daddy's bicycle tires. He's not going to like that at all!


The Smith & Wesson Model 438

I am very happy to discover that Smith & Wesson has brought back the Bodyguard frame style in the Airweight Model 438. I had the opportunity to examine one hands on at the past gun show, Model 438 Click to enlargeand the +P rated pocket revolver seemed to be a good choice for the concealed carrier who is looking for a brand new pocket gun.

The Model 438 is the modern incarnation of my beloved Model 38. There are, of course differences that do not appeal to my old fogey sensibilities. The integrated locking mechanism is of course, one of the new features that I do not like. Beyond that, I was quick to note the MIM trigger and hammer, and the exposed nubbin of the hammer seemed to be smaller and less well finished than that of the Model 38. I also did not care for the rubber boot grip, but that is easily swapped out. If the revolver had come with the rubber grip that is on the Model 640, I would have no complaint. The matte black finish is a plus in my opinion.

It is my contention that the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard is one of the best pocket guns ever devised. As a revolver, it will not be thrown out of battery and refuse to fire when jammed into an attacker's ribs or under his chin. It is the ultimate "get the hell off me" gun.

I am fortunate to have a collection of five Bodyguards in several variations. In the Airweight variation, the J framed revolver barely weighs more than the five rounds it carries. Pictured left to right: Model 38, Model 49, Model 649, Model 49, Model 38, Click to enlargeOnce loaded, it can be stuffed into a pocket holster and carried in a front pants pocket all day and forgotten about. The hump on the back of the Bodyguard frame helps the gun stay put in the carrier's pocket.

Another often uncited advantage of the pocket revolver is that a citizen can have their strong hand on their concealed gun in a firing grip while assessing a potential threat. The gun remains concealed, and the element of surprise is maintained until de-escalation options are exhausted and the introduction of the weapon is deemed necessary.

The other benefits of a pocket revolver for a person new to firearms and concealed carry are many. A round is always chambered and ready when the gun is fully loaded. There is no safety to disengage when presenting the handgun. Pull the trigger, and it goes bang. Maintaining concealment is as simple as finding a pocket large enough to contain a holster that will obscure the shape.

It will need some dry firing to smooth out the trigger, but I am happy to see that Smith & Wesson is producing a modern version of the Model 38. I have long maintained that the S&W Model 38 is the ultimate pocket revolver. If a person wants a new Smith & Wesson, the Model 438 may well be the closet they can get. If I can find one used I might just add it to my Bodyguard collection.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Browning Meme

Gunnies everywhere owe a toast to John Moses Browning, innovator and inventor of multiple firearms. The Expert Witness has proposed a meme for real firearms enthusiasts, collectors, acquisitors, and tinkerers. Copy the list. Embolden the firearms you own. Place an asterisk next to the firearms you once owned, but own no longer.

Single Shot Rifles:
Winchester 1885

Bolt-action Rifles:
Winchester 1900

Lever-action Rifles:
Winchester 1886
Winchester 1892
Winchester 1894
Winchester 1895

Slide-action Rifles:
Winchester 1890

Recoil-operated Semi-automatic Rifles:
Remington Model 8

Blowback-operated Semi-automatic Rifles:
*Browning .22 Semiauto

Double-barrel Shotguns:
Browning Superposed

Lever-action Shotguns:
Winchester 1887

Slide-action Shotguns:
Winchester 1897
*Remington Model 17 (later the Ithaca 37)
Stevens 520

Recoil-operated Semi-automatic Shotguns:
*Browning Auto 5 / Remington Model 11 (+ Rem 11-48 revision of same action)

Blowback-operated Semi-automatic Pistols:
FN M1900
Colt 1903/1908 Pocket Hammerless
FN 1906 Vest Pocket/Colt 1908 Vest Pocket
FN 1910
Colt Woodsman (Browning Buckmark is a direct descendant)

Recoil-operated Semi-automatic Pistols
Colt 1902
Colt 1903 Pocket Hammer
U.S. M1911
FN G.P. 35

Gas-operated Machine Guns:
Colt M1895
U.S. M1918 BAR

Recoil-Operated Machine Guns:
U.S. M1917/M1919
U.S. M2 Heavy Machine Gun

Automatic Machine Cannon:
Colt-Browning 37mm


CCW Choices

One of the docs I work across from recently completed the preliminary process for his concealed carry application. He's got his prints, his passport photo, and his CCW class out of the way. He's just trying to decide who to apply to and which license to obtain. We discussed his options over patients yesterday, and I gave a few of my own opinions. I'll present them here.

Doc was first contemplating a Florida non-resident CHL, due to the longer (five year, soon to be seven year) period of licensure. Mas Ayoob advises getting a non-resident permit in every state contiguous to your own. He often recounts a story of a student of his, who didn't see the necessity of doing so. When visiting his dying father in a neighboring state, the student forgot that he was packing. In the neighboring state, the student was attacked by an assailant with a blade. He was forced to draw and shoot to defend his life. The criminal died. The student was charged with Manslaughter. Click to enlargeAlthough he was eventually acquitted of manslaughter, the student was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, and was sentenced to a mandatory one year jail sentence.

That's a powerful reason to obtain a out of state license if you travel to states other than your own. Florida's non-resident permit allows the holder to legally carry a concealed handgun in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming.

The counter argument is that such widespread non-resident reciprocity is likely to be one of the first items on the agenda of an Obama administration attack on CCW in the next four years. If a person obtains a non-resident Florida CHL, a license in their own state should also be obtained in the event the powerful Florida non-resident license is legislated away.

Next, Doc and I discussed carry guns. He presently owns a KelTec P32 and a Smith & Wesson Model 38, both good choices in my opinion. Doc spends a lot of time in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, sweating away in shorts and a T shirt. Click to enlargeWe discussed some of my hot carry solutions, and moved on to caliber. I expressed my view that a citizen should be able to reliably stop an attack with as few rounds as possible to block the "overkill" argument if their self defense case goes to court. I believe the best choice is the largest caliber that the carrier can get shots on target with under stress, and effectively conceal.

Pocket pistols such as the Model 38 and the KelTec are great for hot N'awlins carry. I have been known to carry either one at times. They are not the best option once to have to stop someone from killing you though. A faceful of .32 bullets might be effective. Chances are, a 45 slug in the same spot will have better incapacitation abilities with less risk of the prejudicial "overkill" argument. Thus, my choice, when I can conceal it effectively, is a 45.

We talked about the need to shoot the Model 38 defensively, and the ability to fire a revolver with the muzzle jammed into the aggressor's ribs. Doc admitted that he was not a good double action revolver shot. We made plans to hit the range together in a couple of weeks when we are both off call.


S&W Model 24 at CDNN

Word has it that CDNN is liquidating the Lew Horton Smith & Wesson Model 24. This .44 special N frame revolver was a limited run of 250 guns. It sports a three inch barrel and a target hammer and trigger.

Original MSRP was $1149. CDNN wants $599.


Sick Day

CoffeeI just couldn't make it into work today. Sudafed, Contact, Tylenol. Lungs filling up, sinuses draining. A face full of snot behind a surgical mask with the inability to wipe it away is not my idea of a pleasant experience.

Stay home. Medicate. Push fluids, rest, eat, and yeah, probably blog through it..... I don't like calling in sick.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Nurse is Sick

Draining nose, watery eyes, swollen oropharnyx, bad attitude.

Blogging will be light until I heal myself.

Here's a picture.


Monday, January 26, 2009

The Colt "Black Army" M1911

In May of 1918, to meet the demands of the US Army in the war to end all wars, Colt changed the way it finished the Model of 1911 pistol. The Army wanted production increased, and requested that Colt eliminate the final polishing process prior to bluing the M1911. As a result, the surface of the pistols would be left with a rougher appearance, unlike previous Colts. In addition, Colt began using a gas fired oven blued process. Between these two factors, the appearance of the M1911 changed from a lustrous blue to almost black. Collectors have since coined the term "Black Army" to denote the last of the M1911 pistols, with the finish phased in after serial number 312000.

To be sure, Hartford was cutting corners to produce as many pistols as possible. Many of the small parts such as the slide stops and thumb safeties were outsourced or previously manufactured, and were still polished and blued in the previous manner. Over time, the weaker "Black Army" finish wore off many of the slides and frames while the small parts remained blued. After ninety years, the uneven appearance from different rates of wear often gives the impression that all original pistols were put together from scavenged parts. Click to enlargeBecause of the mix master appearance when weathered and a greater chance of wear on these wartime pistols, many collectors are still seeking the elusive Colt "Black Army" pistols with a high amount of finish. When such a pistol appears on the market, it can command high prices.

All "Black Army" pistols will have the rampant Colt in the center of the slide. The prancing pony moved there sometime between serial number 275000 and 290000. They will also have the typical characteristics of a M1911, a smooth flat mainspring housing with a lanyard loop, an early M1911 slide stop, and a wide spur hammer with an itty bitty spur on the grip safety. Walnut double diamond grips are de rigueur.

I was fortunate to find my Colt "Black Army" walking into a gun show at a fair price. Although the wartime expedient finish is mostly absent on the exterior of my pistol, it has seen very little actual use. Click to enlargeThe interior parts are still as new, and the bore is bright. Prior to being accepted by the US Army, this M1911 was given the nod by Springfield Armory inspectors. The eagle proofmark is visible above the magazine release. I am happy to have an all original M1911 that can be handled without hesitation.

While the "Black Army" pistol is often viewed as a World War One pistol, it must be remembered that the Great War ended with the armistice signed on 11 November, 1918, a scant seven months after the "Black Army" variation began. Thousands of Colt "Black Army" M1911s languished in the armories of the US military, where they sat ready until war was again declared in 1941. The "Black Army" Colts were a common sidearm in the combat theaters of WWII until 1943, when production of the M1911A1 reached it's zenith. It's ironic that many pistols often associated with WWI finally saw combat after Pearl Harbor, and were brought home by the GIs of WWII.

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Fighting With a Shotgun

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gun Show: Mags and Old Guns

At the gun show this afternoon, I was able to scrounge up four genuine US GI 1911 magazines. One was a Scovill mag, two were made by M.S. Little, and the last was a General Shaver magazine, easily recognized by the welded seam on the back.

USGI magazines, the real ones, are some of the best magazines available. John Moses Browning knew what he was doing when he designed the feed lips and put a dimple on the follower. If a 1911 is in spec, the genuine GI magazines will feed as long as the spring is able to push ammo up. A thorough analysis of 1911 magazines can be found here. In my experience there are three choices for reliable 1911 magazines: Wilson Combat, Chip McCormick and USGI. I purchased two of these USGI magazines from a dealer, for five bucks each. Thirty minutes later, he had another two on his table. He made another ten bucks and I took home twenty dollars worth of reliability.

I continued to meander about the show, and I eventually sold the Browning Auto 22 for $275. While I had gotten a good deal from Kenny on the little rifle, and I had always wanted one, it was chambered in 22 short. I simply did not want to deal with another cartridge for plinking around.

As I wandered around with the SW1911, I spied a brown revolver cylinder and some black rubber grips making their way through the crowd. I gave chase and finally caught up with the fellow by the beef jerky. "What kind of revolver do you have?" I asked.

He turned and displayed a long barreled Smith & Wesson. "A thirty-eight special," he replied, "It'll shoot too." The revolver was devoid of any finish except a brown patina of oiled metal. The front sight was rewelded, a wide disc of metal globbed on the muzzle. I opened the cylinder, and began to check it out. It was an old gun, definitely early in the M&P line, but with the 1905 action. The grips were intact, although appropriately worn.

"It won't fire double action," the man said. He was wrong about that. The hammer retracted easily with the trigger as long as you held back the cylinder release. The gun needed a thorough cleaning.

"How much do you want?" I asked.

"One hundred fifty," he said.

I dug into my pocket and pulled out four twenties and then opened my wallet to reveal a five and three ones. "Will you take eighty-eight?" I asked.

We made the deal.


Sunday Decisions

I have finally acquired one of my last "holy grail" guns, a Colt M1911. The question this morning is.... Do I return to the gun show? I have not managed to sell the Browning 22 Auto, nor the SW1911. Selling either would make the purchase of my M1911 less.

The crowds were larger than during past shows, with obviously new gun buyers pouring in. I was surprised to see black rifles at reasonable market prices, and used 30 round AR mags in plentiful supply for between 10 and 15 dollars each. New AR magazines from Brownells were twenty bucks. Yes, they are eighteen bucks each from Brownells. The thing is, the same mags were for sale at reasonable prices. There were no whispered rumors of another AWB. It seemed the dealers were not trying to feed on hysteria this time around.

I still have to do weekend chores around the house, and it remains cold and dreary outside. I could just cradle myself in a wing back chair by the fire and research my new old Colt.Click to enlarge If it doesn't rain, after I get my laundry done, I could take it to the range for a bit of shooting and a photo session. To really get a good idea of what I have, some high resolution photos on the 1911 Forum's USGI section will be illuminating.

Thus far, I've been able to ascertain the pistol is a 1918 gun, likely to have left Hartford with a "Black Army" finish. It was inspected by Springfield Armory. I have not yet found anything amiss.

I suppose I will go back to the gun show. There are things to see, people to meet, magazines to stock up on, and laughter and camaraderie to be had. After all, a gun show is "the last bastion, the last gathering place, of a free people." The doors open again at 11:00.

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Ugly Gun Sunday

No, it's not photoshopped. I'm not certain if this weapon fires four at once or sequential shots.

Multiple barreled handguns are not that unusual, they span the range from the "Duckfoot" percussion to the Mossberg Brownie and the COP. This is the first one I've seen that resembled a bumper jack though.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Good Scrub Down

I had to go to a Burns Supper with my wife this evening, but when I finally arrived home, I took out my BreakFree, and assorted tools to detail strip the Colt M1911.Click to enlarge The barrel bore the P on the hood as it should. The interior of the pistol looked like it had been lubricated with dirty motor oil. There was a bit of rust underneath the mainspring housing.

Once I cleaned the barrel, I was amazed to find sharp rifling. The sear, disconnect and trigger bow looked to be hardly used. The hammer hooks were perfect. The barrel and slide lugs were sharp. This pistol had not been fired much at all.

I used brake cleaner to dissolve the oily gunk. Then a copper penny as a scraper, along with a bronze brush and a liberal application of BreakFree to remove the rust. Once the pistol was clean again, I lubricated and reassembled it.

This pistol is going to be a sweet shooter indeed.

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I Always Wondered About That....

Two Hundred More

Gun shows are a lot like flea markets and garage sales, just more specialized. The same characters haunt gun shows. At the local gun show, a grizzled old coot that I chose not to deal with is always present to sell mix master M1911s at inflated prices. All of his guns are sacred relics, if you believe the stories he tells. In the past, I might have purchased one, but the money he wants is astronomical. I don't mind a mix master M1911. I just want a fair price.

As usual the doors were late to open this morning. Several men were in front of me, and a couple of them had gun rugs. I watched as their handguns were checked by the police officer at the ticket counter. The first fellow looked promising. He was a tobacco chewing gent past Medicare age, with a Brookshires sack. I watched as he reached inside and pulled out a.... Glock. So much for stereotypes.

The fellow in front of me was a bald headed guy in a digital BDU jacket. He held a black leather gun rug. When it was unzipped by the police officer, the bare metal beauty inside caught my eye like a pirate gazing on a chest of doubloons. Click to enlargeHe had a Colt M1911. My uneducated eye saw it as being correct. I stepped around him, paid my entry fee and waited.

As soon as he placed the old WW1 pistol back in the gun rug, I tapped him on the shoulder and said "See me after you pay your entry fee." He smiled and paid his six bucks.

"Do you mind if I look at your pistol?" I asked.


I am not an expert on M1911s, but to me, this pistol appeared untampered with and 100% correct. The wear on the grips was consistent with the gun's finish wear and age, and the small parts looked to be correct to my neophyte eyes as well. "I bought this one from the son of a vet," the man said. "His father paid for it when he left the Army. It's a 1918 gun."

Dadgummit, I thought, he knows the gun. This won't be cheap. "What do you want for it?" I inquired.

"What will you give me for it?" he countered. I knew how much I had total, in three different pockets, and I knew it was still low. I told him anyway. Cash.

"Ive got to have two hundred more than that," he said. He was right, the pistol was worth what he was asking.

"Would you take a Smith and Wesson 1911 and some cash?" I asked.

"No, I really just want to get cash."

I had not seen a M1911 walk into a gun show in over seven years. "I'll have to make a run to the bank," I said. "Here's twenty bucks to hold on to it for the next hour. If I don't make it back in an hour with the money, the twenty is yours and you can sell it to whoever you like, deal?"

"Sounds good to me," he said. "I really want to take it over to Joshua and see what he thinks anyway." I knew he was referring to the mix master monger.

"I'll be right back," I told him, and I walked quickly back to the Jeep through the misty cold rain. I dialed my wife to see if she had two Franklins on her. She would not pick up her cell phone. I don't use ATMs. If the bank wasn't open........

As I pulled up into the banks parking lot, the green OPEN light over the drive beckoned through the haze like the beam from a lighthouse. John Moses was smiling on me. I wrote the teller a check, got my cash, and tried not to speed on the way back to the gun show.

The crowd was thick as I strode across the convention center floor again. Finding the fellow in this crowd would be a chore. Finally, I saw him showing the pistol to Cowboy Bob. I could see the disappointment in his eyes as walked up.

"You know, Joshua offered me what I'm going to sell this to you for," he said. "Bob says it's worth more." I looked unconcerned. I knew what I was willing to pay, and I had the money. Click to enlarge

"Well, that's up to you," I told him, ready to walk.

"This one is a fantastic shooter," he said, "It's been my baby."

"Yeah, that's why I'd like to buy it. I want a M1911 that I can shoot, not just oil and fondle," I replied. I asked if I could field strip the pistol to check it out. He agreed. Inside, as far as I could tell, it was correct. There were no cracks. The bore was good.

"Like I said, this one is one hundred percent," he said. I reassembled the gun and counted out the hundred dollar bills on a bare table area. The seller was hesitant. He held each note up to the light to verify it wasn't counterfeit. Finally, when he saw that I was not going to offer more, he said OK. We shook hands. The M1911 was mine. I zipped it back in the black leather gun rug and thanked him for a fair deal.

More later........

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Gun Show Morning

Gun show this morning...... I am taking my newest SW1911 and my Browning Auto 22 as trade fodder. I usually go in without any particular plan to buy anything nowadays. I just take a couple of trade items and some cash and am receptive to what seems interesting.

I'm always in the market for a M1911 at a fair price, or a vintage concealed carry gun at the right price. The guns that have been modified or show use appeal to me. If I can find a flat latch Model 38 or Model 49, I will be a happy camper. If the trader will accept a Browning 22 rifle for his Bodyguard, I will be ecstatic. I would also be happy to find a 1911 with a Colt, Kimber, Wilson, or Marvel 22 top end conversion. If the trader would be willing to swap it for a SW1911, I will have one more 22 caliber handgun.

I guess I should review my gun show rules, get some breakfast and load up the Jeep.


Friday, January 23, 2009

The Pistol Bayonet

I've shown a few new products from SHOT2009 that I thought were neat, or at least somewhat innovative. Now, I present the ridiculous, the stupid, the woefully cataclysmaly useless. At the top of the list is the Laserlyte pistol bayonet.

Truth be told, when I first saw this item, I thought is had to be a parody. I was shocked to discover that a manufacturer would make such an item. I was even more dismayed to read that some shooters and writers have endorsed the pistol bayonet as "cool" and a "gotta get one" accessory.

Here are my thoughts...... Knives don't belong on pistols. Knives do not need grips placed at a 70-90 degree angle to the blade. Such designs do not enhance the use of the knife in real world applications. Even bayonets on rifles are seldom used except for intimidation, and last ditch weapons. Last ditch? Give me a fresh magazine and a malfunction drill.

Maybe I'm not the high velocity mambo jambo ninja warrior princes that some folks are. Maybe I'm just a fuddy duddy old guy with an exposed scalp and a few bygone war stories. I'll be honest folks, I don't see the purpose of this accessory, and I would not want to be seen using it, lest my fuddy duddy friends think I'm a crack smoking idiot. I wouldn't want to holster such a thing in a IWB holster, nor a thigh holster, and I wouldn't want to have it inserted into any struggle involving a handgun. I damned sure wouldn't want it held up in front of a jury attached to a firearm I was forced to use to preserve my life. Not every new product is inspired. Some are repeats of old ideas, and some are ideas that need to be called what they are. Stupid.

edited to add: Ogre takes a look........


Gas Prices

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Secret Handshake

When I was younger, I enjoyed shooting different calibers. I enjoyed the trip to the gun counter to pick up 22 Rem Jet and debating the esoterica of caliber. I shot .44 special, 10mm, .38 super and .41 magnum. I can say I shot the .460 Rowland a few times. I owned a couple of handguns in .38 S&W, and paid the price for the anemic ammunition. Over time I tried out .357 Sig and .40 S&W as carry gun cartridges, as well as the .380. As time went by, I moved away from each of these for one reason or another.

Click to enlarge
Today, except for a few keepsake handguns chambered in those esoteric calibers, I have adopted 22 long rifle, 45 ACP, 9mm, .38 special and .357 magnum. This was not by design, it was an evolution towards simplicity.

As usual, I took a Ruger MKII to the range with my 1911s today. I still consider the 22 pistol to be the best investment towards marksmanship a shooter can make. The cost per shot allows a lot of lead to be sent downrange. The Ruger 22 auto-pistol is my choice for a reliable, durable and accurate handgun to shoot all that lead with. I have several and it's the one I generally recommend to those wanting a 22 pistol.

The only drawback to the Ruger 22 is the trick involved in the reassembly process. The Ruger is like a Chinese jigsaw puzzle. It goes together one way only, although it appears it can be reassembled in several ways. The trick is not allowing the hammer strut to bind. By flipping the pistol over and pulling the trigger just prior to closing the mainspring housing, the strut falls into the mainspring cap, and everything works as advertised. The flip of the pistol is the key, the secret handshake of the Ruger 22 auto-pistol. Watch in the video below just how quickly it happens.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hiding the Facts

JR writes about the anti-gun, anti-CCW bias of the Houston Chronicle.

Basic story is this: Deranged daughter of business owner enters business with a toy gun and a real bow and arrow. She shoots man in chest with arrow, injuring him critically. She points toy gun at other employees. Two CCW holders draw and fire on said deranged woman, striking her several times and forcing her to retreat into an office. Police are called. Fifteen minutes later, they arrive.

Woman points bow and arrow at police officer who is trying to convince her to surrender peacefully as other officers attempt to evacuate employee with an arrow still in his chest. As she begins to draw the bowstring, the officer demonstrates why gunpowder trumps the bow.

From the Houston Chronicle:
"Police are still trying to determine the motive for the incident. Officers said the violence erupted after Parker came into the office in the 1600 block of West Sam Houston Parkway with a hunting bow and arrows and what appeared to be a handgun about 3 p.m. Monday. Her father works there and was in the building at the time, police said, but it was not clear whether she was looking for him.

After walking into the company's micro-electronics division, Parker shot Silva with an arrow and then pointed the apparent gun at two other employees, police said. Those employees, who are licensed to carry concealed handguns, fired "numerous" shots at Parker, hitting her several times, investigators said. Parker dropped her pistol, which later was found not to be a real gun, and retreated to an office with the bow and arrow, officers said. Workers at nearby businesses took cover and called police.

Police arrived about 3:15 p.m. and were told the woman was hiding in one of the rooms inside the office building. As the officers tried to rescue Silva, Sgt. M.S. O'Neil saw Parker pointing her bow and an arrow at him and drawing back the string, police said."
JR deftly shows how the Houston Chronicle plays down the CCW holder's role in putting an end to what could have been a very bloody massacre with a deadly weapon on the part of a mentally disturbed person.

What is even more telling is how the Liverpool Daily Post and the Scotsman fail to even mention private citizens stopping a mass killing, nor the quarter hour police response time. We wouldn't want disarmed subjects of the crown to realize how vulnerable they are would we?


Playing With Guns

Bradenton, Florida. — Tragedy nearly struck a group of Florida actors when authorities say a loaded gun was accidentally used during a dress rehearsal. It was the final practice run by a seniors theater group for their production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” One actor picked up a pistol he had borrowed from another cast member and fired it at the head of fellow actor Fred Kellerman.

The bullet only grazed Kellerman’s ear. The 81-year-old was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Just two hours after the shooting, the play went on as scheduled with another actor performing Kellerman’s part. Kellerman plans to be back at rehearsal Friday for a musical the group is putting on. No charges have been filed, but the shooting is still under investigation.
From another article:
"I heard a loud bang. I knew something was wrong. But I never passed out," Kellerman said.

Kellerman said doctors would later find the bullet tore into his skull, ricocheted off bone, then came back out and tore off a piece of his ear. Doctors sewed the piece of ear back on at Manatee Memorial Hospital, Kellerman said.

"It took a chunk off my ear, but I was told it will grow together. I really feel no pain," he said. "I was really lucky."
Damned right he's lucky.

When in the hell are theater groups going to realize that they need to have a stage manager (or an assistant working with him) familiar with real firearms and firearms safety? When will theater groups realize any prop guns to be used in a play should be prop guns? When will theater groups finally begin to take these issues seriously? Failure to do so is reckless endangerment. The entire theater group and their board of directors should be held responsible for this kind of unnecessary danger.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Battle Rifles

I took a trio of battle rifles to the range today. It just seemed the right thing to do. I was not alone at the range. Other shooters, whom I had never met were there. I did not know them, yet I knew who they were. Click to enlarge There was talk of the new administration and the challenges ahead of us as a nation.

The new administration's policy on guns, as predicted by many, was unveiled today. From the White House urban policy web page:
Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.
It is a sad fact that many gun owners voted for the blind change offered by Obama. If gun owners are to preserve our rights, we must come together and oppose legislation that would strip any right away from any of us. It's going to be a long four years.



New SW1911 Pistols

It appears that Smith & Wesson has joined with Colt, Kimber and Springfield among others to produce a miniaturized version of the 1911 for concealed carry. The SW1911 PSc is a three inch scandium framed pistol available in any color you like as long as it's black. MSRP will be $1,264.00

The Officer's frame will also be available with a four and a quarter inch slide and barrel in a two tone version with wood grips. Smith is calling this version the SW1911 Compact ES, or extended slide. $1,264.00

Under the cover of non-descript stainless steel, a 9mm Government is available in the Pro Series SW1911. Stippled grips, wiggly slide serrations, and decent front strap checkering.... What's not to like?

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The Next Generation

They said it was photoshopped, but it appears that the 4th Generation Glock is indeed a reality.
"At the 2009 SHOT Show, Glock introduced a new texture called “RTF2.” Claiming to be the “the new standard for operators working in the harshest conditions imaginable,” the RTF2 features a new style of texturing on the grip frame, and a new serration pattern on the rear of the slide."
Glock is offering the new texture on their Glock 22 as a marketing trial. If it proves popular, other models will follow.

Visit Guns Holsters & Gear for more information.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Sig P238

Another pistol that is turning heads at SHOT 2009 is the .380 Sig P238. It's a single action pistol with an aluminum frame and a stainless steel slide underneath a Black Nitron finish. It wears fluted aluminum grips.
MSRP $ 515.00, or $ 558.00 with night sights.

It seems Sig fans are bemoaning the fact the little shooter is a single action pistol, while Colt fans are celebrating the fact that somebody, even if it's Sig Sauer, brought back the Colt Mustang.

I used to own a Colt Mustang. Sometimes, I wish I still did. Hmmmmmmmmmm


In Defense of Others

Ocoee, Florida: On January 5, 2008, as a Kangaroo convenience store clerk was working the night shift, three criminals entered the store intent on robbery. One of the clerk's longtime customers noticed the suspicious activity and left the store to dial 911. Hearing the woman's screams, he rushed back into the store. "Hearing a lady scream to where it sounds like bloody murder, to where I thought she was going to be killed, I decided to help the lady. I've known her for years. She's a friend of mine, and I wanted to go in and help," said the 26 year old young man.

Realizing the woman's life was in immediate jeopardy, the customer identified only as "Chris" had retrieved his 40 caliber handgun from his truck outside the store. As Chris reentered the store, he saw one of the robbers behind the counter brutally beating the female clerk over the head with a beer bottle.

With his cell phone held to his ear, the armed customer fired two shots over the counter, killing Freddie Carson, a career criminal. "911! Yes, there's been a robbery," shouted Chris as he shot the assailant and began to scan the store for his accomplices.

"I just shot him, I just shot him. You're OK. Where's the other one?" asked Chris as he looked outside the convenience store. The other two robbers escaped into the night.

"Yes you need paramedics. A man just broke in. I shot him. I have a gun," Chris told the 911 dispatcher. "He was beating her over the counter and I shot him. I came in and I shot him. You need paramedics. Oh my God, I can’t believe I just shot somebody."

"When I first walked in and he stood up, I thought my life was going to be in danger. I did not know if he had a gun in his waistband, if he was beating her with a gun, if he had a knife. Not only that, he was beating her with a beer bottle. She had a huge knot on the back of her head," Chris later recounts. The clerk was treated at a local hospital and released. Chris was questioned by police and released. The handgun used by Chris was taken into evidence. It was not the only handgun owned by Chris. He retains possession of his other firearms while waiting to determine if he will go before a grand jury. The two criminals who escaped are still at large. Chris, the man who prevented a vicious robbery and quite possibly saved the woman's life has does not have a Florida concealed weapons permit. He does not consider himself a hero. "I feel very shaken. I feel very glad that I was here, that I could help my friend," he says.

See Chris' interview here and another interview here.

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Trade Fodder

Over time, every gun accumulator accumulates a few firearms they eventually let go of. A couple of my guns slated to be swapped off at the next gun show are pictured here. The Browning 22 Auto is one that will travel about the floor in search of a trade. I bought the Browning 22 at fire sale prices. I had always wanted one. It's is one of John Moses marvels. It is accurate and decently reliable. It also has a funky loading method that makes shooting it at a public range a pain.

I found that I prefer the ease and flexibility of the Ruger 10/22 after all. I had a yearning for the 22 Auto until I had one. Now, it's like a $1500 coon dog that just eats and sleeps. If I can find someone to swap a used Smith & Wesson revolver for it, I will pass it on to it's next owner. I'd take a decent Ruger Standard as well.

I purchased the SW1911 with the expectation I would likely trade it off. The SW1911 is a good pistol. I'm a Colt guy though. I got the SW1911 for a decent price, and if I can use it as trade fodder towards another Colt 1911, I will. If I can't trade it off, I may just shoot the hell out of it.


Steve the Lawnmower Man

"My wife said if I didn't get her another beer she's gonna stab me in the face."

"I'm just going down the road to the Oyster Shack. Come on...."

"She hit me in the face with a damned bone!"

Courtesy of Peter


Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Old GI

Thankfully, it warmed up some today, and the sun was out. While the weather here over the past week would have been welcomed by many, any temperature below freezing is miserable. I took my Springfield GI45 back to the range. Springfield GI45 Click to enlargeI didn't take any others, I don't know why. I guess I just wanted to enjoy shooting with a simple pistol.

As I was blithely blazing away, an old gent in khakis, flannel shirt and a ball cap sat on the bench behind me. I wasn't too interested in swapping targets, so during the next cold range call, I sat beside him. "I carried one of those in Korea," he said.

"That one is a new one," I responded, referring to the locked back pistol on the bench. "I bought it a few years back."

"Do tell? I figured they'd a quit makin' 'em by now."

"Well, you know, a unit or two in the Marines still use a version of it. Would you like to shoot it?"

"No, I reckon I'll just watch," he said.

When the buzzer sounded again, I pulled my muffs back down and returned to the line. Between magazines, I would steal a glance or two back at the old soldier, his wrinkled hands arched across his cane. When the range went cold again, he was gone.


Andrew Wyeth

Despised as an illustrator by academic artists and reviled by the avant garde for his simple existence, Andrew Wyeth lived as close to his art as any artist ever did. HelgaBest known for "Christina's World," Wyeth spent his life painting landscapes and people of Pennsylvania's Brandywine Valley and Maine's coast. Through it all, he remained true to himself and his work.

I remember when the "Helga" paintings were made public in 1986. The figurative paintings and drawings were a secretive body of work spanning 15 years. Wyeth's detractors as well as his disciples were stunned. I was not. Andrew Wyeth was never an illustrator or a one trick pony. He was an artist in the classical sense, a modern day Rembrandt. The figure paintings of Helga Testorf were just another chapter in that regard.

Far too many became wrapped up in the meticulous nature of his egg tempera paintings. Egg tempera, a media from the middle ages, demands accurate draftsmanship and precise brushstrokes. I suppose it was easy to dismiss Wyeth if one never looked deeper. But looking deeper was revealing. Andrew WyethIt was Wyeth's watercolors and studies that absolutely blew me away. The apparent ease with which the man could render form, light and darkness with a single splatter and whip of a brush was unique.

"Artists today think of everything they do as a work of art. It is important to forget about what you are doing...... Then a work of art may happen," declared Wyeth. There is a zen truth there. It is often the drawings, the sketches, the watercolors and preliminary pieces to the revered masterpiece that reveal the thinking, indeed, the soul of the artist.

Andrew Wyeth died in his sleep at his home in Chadds Ford on Friday. He was 91. Wyeth did not take the common path. Like Robert Frost, he took the road less traveled, and it made all the difference.


Ugly Gun Sunday

Click to enlarge

All I can say is at least it's not a Colt. Somebody needs to splash some paint stripper on this poor pistol and give it some 45 caliber love.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

The General Undertaker Gangster Gun

Here's another bumper chrome plated M1911A1 with an incredible speculative story to enhance it's value in the market. I'm quoting the seller's description verbatim, although it is in snippets.

Click to enlarge
"Here is a colt 1911 that has an old nickle finish. The serial #is 134XXX. I believe it to be made in 1917. It has the colt address on the left side of the slide covered over with nickle but the old Colt logo with the horse holding an arrow(?)in it's mouth and a spear(?) between it's legs are still sharp and clear. It also has a stamp mark of a circle with letters that look like a G,H&S inside a circle on the left side of the frame about a half inch above the mag release button. the right side of the slide says: MODEL OF 1911. U.S. ARMY. It has an S on the back of the slide above the firing pin stop. Those are the only markings that I can see on the pistol. The screw slot for the Mag release is buggered up a little and the grip screws have some wear."
Click to enlarge
"I got this pistol many years ago from my sister-in-law who got it from her father's estate. He was an undertaker in Ohio. She said that he could have gotten it from a relative that was in the military who was Brigadere General Edward A. Pagels. I cannot prove this. She also said that he carried large sums of cash and frequently carried this pistol wherever he went. Looks to me like a gangster might have owned this gun at sometime. It has normal wear and tear that any piece would have that has seen some heavy use. The bore has slight erosion right in front of the chamber for about an inch however the lands and grooves are still strong and visible with the rest of the bore ok. Overall the finish is still prtty good with some nicks, scratches and a few speckles(not many or deep)-see pictures. There are erosion marks under the grips panels on both sides but are not deep and don't affect the overall appearance of the pistol."
Click to enlarge
"The grips are worn and dark but complete and the left grip has three notches that are cut in the bottom of the panel that appear to be made a long time ago-obviously has seen some kind of dubious action. The magazine has had the lip removed apparantly so that it would not snag when being pulled from concealed carry. Everything appears to be original to the gun."
Now I really love this, emphasis mine......
"This pistol slides into the hand smoothly and actually feels alive as you grip it. There is something about this weapon that makes it feel warm when it is held in your hand-maybe it's because it's old and has a history or it's just my imagination. It shoots and functions real well I rated the pistol as NRA good even though I think it is better than that just because of the way it looks and feels."
Then the seller tosses in a set of Ajax faux ivory grips to sweeten the deal, and provides the usual disclaimer of the gun being a valuable historical piece with no provenance. Of course, the seller being a mere private collector with an overactive imagination and a Curio & Relic collector's license, doesn't know squat about M1911A1s.

Click to enlarge
"I have Ajax Ivorex grips that I put on it to make it look different-these go with the gun Take a good look at the pictures as I have not tried to hide anything. I am not an expert on colt 1911's so you can tell me anything and I might possibly believe you. This is a great historical piece! I am a private collector and have a C&R license which this gun qualifies as. This gun will make an interesting addition to anyone's collection. As with any gun I sell, I sell "as is" and recommend it be inspected by a gunsmith before firing to protect both you and me. Will ship to FFL and/or C&R. I don't want to get involved with California regulations so I will not ship to California. Make sure there are no laws in your state or community that prohibit this firearm before bidding."
OK. So we have a M1911 that has most of the rollmarks polished off before it was dipped in the chrome tank at Bubba's Bumper Shop. Click to enlargeLet's make up a story that it came from a mortician to give it that lurid quality right off the bat. Next, a vague connection to a general officer, and finally, let's file three notches in the grip. Some sucker is sure to believe those notches signify three kills. While we are at it, we may as well get rid of the screwed up magazine with a bogus concealed carry story too. I understand the seller has Clark Gable's Duesenberg up for bids on ebay as well.

Buy the gun, not the story.

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The Delta Elite is Back!

At the 2008 Shot Show, Colt fans were bizzing like bees over the announcement that hartford would again spit out it's famed 10mm 1911, the Delta Elite. Sadly, it would not come to pass. Colt was trying to do too much in upgrading the pistol with a bushingless barrel. Click to enlargeLike many traditionalist Colt fans I was not overly enthusiastic about the redesigned pistol with XSE enhancements.

News from SHOT 2009 is that the Delta Elite is back, and will be produced as it was originally designed. Colt is still planning on putting out a bushingless enhanced version, but who gives a damn when the original can be had?

Also being displayed by Colt is an enhanced stainless 1911 with an integral rail and a fitted beavertail grip safety. This pistol has been given the unfortunate moniker "Colt Rail Gun." At least they did not name it after a reptile or a hooved mammal. A 22 Long Rifle AR is being shown by Smith & Wesson, and rumored about by Colt.

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