A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Colt Recall

Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC has determined that the Slide Lock Safety and the Recoil Spring Guide Pad in certain Colt model pistols were not manufactured to Colt specifications and must be replaced. All of these Colt models were sold after March 2007 and the range of serial numbers affected by this product recall is as follows:

1911 WWI Replica (O1911) From: 4597WMK To: 5414WMK
1918 WWI Replica (O1918) From: 1001WWI To: 3431WWI
New Agent (O7810D) From: GT01001 To: GT04505
Combat Elite (O8011XSE) From: CG10000E To: CG11293E
Defender (O7000D) From: DR33036 To: DR35948
Talo Night Defender (O7000NDF) From: NDF0001 To: NDF0400
It seems the thumb safties and the recoil guide rod pads are a bit soft.

Damn. My WWI Reproduction, my Defender and my New Agent all fall within that range.

More information here. At least I don't need to send the Defender in.........

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Monday, June 29, 2009


Last week I researched and ordered a tripod to last me for the rest of my life. What I recieved is a tripod I will surely hand down to my son or daughter. The Manfrotto 055X Pro is one solid piece of equipment. The three section legs are aluminum, with positive locking lugs. The center support quickly goes horizontal if desired.

The Joystick head (322RC2) is the cat's meow. It postively locks in any position when the trigger is released, and it has a quick release to attach onto the bottom of the camera. A locking cam secures the quick release, and a pin lock secures the cam.

The price from Amazon was extremely competitive, and the free shipping was lightning fast. Count this as one of the best investments I've made.......

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ugly Gun Sunday

Smith & Wesson actually marketed this hotrod Model 36 as a limited edition.

What have we become?


Friday, June 26, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shooting Rifling

Ever want to photograph the bore of a gun? Go here and read.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More on Jerome Ersland

The victim tells his side of the story.

One thing is certain. Antwun "Speedy” Parker would be alive today if he had stayed at home playing with his X-Box. He's dead because he decided to rob a pharmacy.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Ersland Case Updates

Updates on the Jerome Ersland case available here.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ugly Gun Sunday

For people who want to pay extra for extra ugly......


Saturday, June 20, 2009

The 1912 M1911 and other Heirlooms

"This sounds like a setup...don't go alone !" commented C4.
I wasn't worried, the email came from an friend since childhood. When I got off work yesterday, I drove the 40 miles necessary to visit my old friend.

After the usual Southern pleasantries, talk turned to the pistol at hand, and my friend removed it from an old bank money bag. Click to enlargeI looked the M1911 over, and found it to be 100% original except for the magazine. The rounded rear sight and the ball cut slide are two features that I really like on the old M1911s. Sadly, my Black Army gun lacks both. The old war horse being offered had not seen much actual firing; the rifling was still sharp (if dirty) and the gun had the original barrel. Most of the finish wear was the result of time, not carry, and not abuse.

My friend was simply acting as a broker to facilitate a deal, and I soon learned that the owner was not uninformed. I had cash in my pocket, but I could not pay what he hoped to get for the pistol. I gave a couple of combination offers, trades of firearms and the ability to buy the M1911 back at the same price in the future, and I left it at that. Perhaps the owner, knowing that my word is my bond, will take me up on the offer in the realization that it gives us each the opportunity to own and regain a bit of history we could not otherwise afford.

Talk turned to catching up on each other's lives, and my friend's son Lee brought out his prized possession. Lee has an appreciation for fine firearms, and is a responsible shooter who never turns down an opportunity to blast away steel or paper. For a year before his twenty-first birthday, he would wistfully rhapsodize about the AR he wished he could build. Lee and his AR 15 Click to enlargeLittle did Lee realize that his father and a gunsmith friend were taking notes. On his twenty-first birthday, Lee was presented with a gift that is destined to become a family heirloom. A gift from a father that unequivocally recognizes his son as a responsible man.

These are the admirable qualities of the gun culture. It's a world where people are recognized by what they do, their actions makes them who they are. The honor among men (and women) is what makes the gun culture what it is. And it is that small fact, that honor, that is lost on those who would try to destroy the second amendment. Of course, what would they know of honor? If they trusted their fellow man, they wouldn't be worried about his guns.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Interesting email

"I know you to be a colt man Zav. This is a 1911 colt 45 issued to U.S. Military in 1912 Serial # 8345. He says good condition. I am not up on that sort of thing. If you are interested I can have at it at my place next week. I'm not a pistol guy , just wanted to give you a crack at it if you wanted to look at it. I've not seen it I 'm just relaying . Not mine but an old buddy I'm sure you'll know."
More later, I'm certain........

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Nikon Coolpix S52

Several people have asked me (as if I would know) what point & shoot digital camera they should get. Really, it's kind of like asking what gun to get. It all depends on the person and the job they want the camera to do. I just upgraded my Canon point & shoot digital camera to a Nikon. I had purchased the Canon Powershot A520 in a pawn shop for around $89, and it has been a good camera. It is, however, a 4 megapixel camera and I was wanting more performance and portability.

I wanted to be able to shoot large, sharp images that could be printed if desired, or cropped down if needed. I wanted a point & shoot camera that could take discreet candids. I did not want a telescoping lens that would give away the fact I took a photo. I wanted a camera that would allow me to turn off the beeps and clicks, and possibly the LCD screen. I wanted at least eight plus megapixels so I could crop as needed, and I wanted it all to be pocketable with no fuss.

I found all this in the Nikon Coolpix S52. It comes with Nikon's vibration reduction system, a 9.3 megapixel CCD digital sensor, and an aluminum body. The light hits the sensor through a 6.3-18.9mm f/3.3-4.2 lens, equivalent to a 35mm film format of 38-114mm. The Nikon S52 has multiple modes and programs, and can be set to run however the photographer desires. The image size selection ranges from 3456 x 2592 to 640 X 480. The ISO range is from 100 to 3200. The images are stored on a SDHC card. The Nikon S52 allows the photographer to select their own white balance. It will shoot continiously at 0.9 fps, record WAV movies, and it has a timer function. Prices for a new one seem to fall between $280 and $400 for this little powerhouse camera.

However, the best thing is Adorama.com has Nikon factory refurbished S52 cameras for a hundred bucks each. $100. One Franklin. Free shipping. Refurbished? Damned right. That just means it got past the Nikon quality inspection process twice. To make my new candid snapper even more discreet, I blacked out all the chrome with electrical tape and black paint. I put black tape over the flash just in case. I have considered a sticker, or maybe a label of some sort to disquise it even further. Perhaps a MP3 player type control on the front along with a set of headphones, or maybe a Blackberry looking cover. We shall see........


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lomo Photography

A Conciliatory Request Denied

District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure has denied a request that Jerome Ersland of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma have access to weapons while he is out on bail for defending his life in an armed robbery attempt. Mr. Ersland, a pharmacist, shot and killed a teenager, one of a pair, who burst into his workplace demanding drugs and money at gunpoint.
"District Attorney David Prater asked the judge to allow Ersland to have access to a gun at work in case the pharmacy is robbed again. The prosecutor said his position "sounds crazy” but he insisted that under the law Ersland has the right to defend himself and others at the pharmacy. At one point, spectators in the courtroom clapped in support of his statements.

The district attorney said he worried crooks now will know it is "open season” at the pharmacy if Ersland is there. He also said Ersland could be fired.

Prater said the pharmacist would not be in court if the two robbers had not come into the drugstore. The judge said, "Then, why did you charge him, Mr. Prater?" The district attorney replied that Ersland went too far."
Prater was referring to the video tape evidence that makes it appear that Ersland returned to the pharmacy, picked up a second handgun, and shot the wounded robber five more times before calling 911. "I’m the one who filed the charge so my butt’s on the line," the District Attorney declared in court. Prosecutors maintain the wounded teen was unarmed and unconscious on his back when he was shot five more times. Mr. Ersland states he acted in self defense when the suspect tried to get up. The actions of the criminal at the time the shots were fired are off camera. The coroner has determined the initial head shot was not the mortal wound.

Jerome Ersland is out on $100,000 bail which was posted by his supporters in gun rights organizations and veteran's organizations. He is a disabled veteran from Desert Storm who wears a back brace and has his back pain controlled with morphine. He is being charged with first degree murder.

A legal defense fund has been set up for Mr. Ersland. Donations can be made to the "Jerome Ersland Defense Fund" at First National Bankd and Truct of Chickasha, 302 W. Chickasha Ave or P.O. Drawer 1130, Chickasha, 73302.

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More Charges in the Ersland Case

Two adults have been arrested and charged for their role in the robbery that led to Jerome Ersland having to defend his life. Fourteen year old Jevontia Ingram has been identified as the second teen involved, the one who actually carried a gun into the pharmacy.

Emanuel Dewayne Mitchell, a thirty-one year old felon who was released from prison last Summer has been arrested, along with forty-three year old Anthony Devale Morrison. The two adults, known by the teenager's mother, gave the boys a gun with no ammunition, and instructed them on what drug to demand during the robbery.

The two adults as well as the fourteen year old are charged with first degree murder. More here. Don't watch the video without a bottle of Pepto Bismol at hand. I have embedded it here at the request of a couple of readers.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Five Bucks

Elliott Firby was driving home from his job as a night shift letter sorter at the post office when he noticed two teens in a black truck. The truck slowed to let him pass, and then began following him. It was 2:45 AM. "Something is fixing to jump off," stated Mr. Firby at a press conference.

Mr. Firby continued to his home, and after he parked in his driveway, he got out to open the gate. The black truck reappeared and a man with a shotgun hopped out and confronted the postal worker. "Give it up sir'" the armed criminal said politely as he pointed the deadly weapon at the innocent man. Mr. Firby fell to his knees and reached towards his wallet, which only contained five dollars.

A mere five dollars would no doubt only infuriate the criminal with the lethal weapon. Elliott Firby's life was being threatened, and would likely be extinguished over five dollars. His wife, asleep inside their home would likely find her dying husband in a pool of blood because some punk was too stupid and sorry to get a job. Rather than give up his life for under an hour's wage at minimum wage, Mr. Firby did what he had to do.

A year prior, Mr. Firby and his wife had applied for and received their concealed carry licenses under Florida's shall issue legislation. Elliot Firby pulled his .380 pistol from behind his back and began firing. He shot the criminal in the abdomen, and then fired again as the felon ran towards the truck. The bandit made it to the truck, and it sped away into the night. "You have to do something to protect yourself," Mr. Firby says. "The police can’t be there all the time."

911 was called, and a police investigation began. Later in the early morning hours, a sixteen year old appeared at Sarasota Memorial Hospital with a bullet wound. Brandon Ellis was dumped at the emergency entrance from a black pick-up truck. Surveillance cameras captured the black pick-up truck on film. The partner in crime, Cadareus Ray was arrested as a result. Of course, the media is making note of the fact neither criminal had a previous record, and both were star athletes. I'm sure their relatives will appear soon to relate they were on their way to church to feed hungry lepers when the cruel Elliott Firby began shooting at them for no good reason.

There was blood in the Florida streets, but it was not the blood of innocents. Mr. Elliott has not been charged. Under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, he is a free man. He is also a man who still breathes. "He was looking at dying," stated Sarasota Police Captain Bill Spitler, "and he has every right to defend himself."

Damned right he does.


A Comment to comment On

A quick note: this is not my story. It appeared in my comments, and I thought it deserved a more prominent place on the blog. It was obviously written shortly after the occurrence, when the adrenaline was still coursing through the writer's veins. I have reproduced it here as it was in my comments. Follow the links to the gentleman's blog for more.
Xavier -- First time I had to draw my gun in self defense tonight. just posted at Infidel Bloggers Alliance:

I've never had to draw my gun in potential self defense.

Until tonight.

11:30 p.m. EST I'm in the family room watching 300. Daughter #3 (11 yr old) fell asleep on living room floor watching a DVD. Her mom dozing off on the couch. Daughter # 2 (21 yr old) in her bedroom getting ready for bed.

Front door is mostly closed but open enough to let cool night air in until my own bedtime.

Daughter #1's Good Infidel Dog (feisty little fox/rat terrier) is visiting for a couple weeks while said daughter is taking late night classes in Philly.

Suddenly that dog goes absolutely apeshit.

Groggy wife thinks he needs to go out and do his thing. Leashes him up, opens the door. . .

and is face to face with someone getting ready to come in. As she describes him a light skinned male wearing a hoodie with hood up. Best look she can get in the dark.

She let's out an "Oh Jesus Christ!" and slams the door. Daughter # 2, who came to the living room when she heard the dog, screams at the top of her lungs. Daughter # 3 keeps sleeping.

People, this is where training with your weapon, rehearsing in your mind over and over again what you would do if this then that comes into play.

I'm out of my lazy boy, drawing my gun from my hip (ok, for those of you who want the details, tonight it was a Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight loaded with Cor-Bon 38 SPec. +P hollowpoints coming from a Don Hume J.I.T. Slide Holster). Up the steps my arm clearing the stairs wall gun eye level pointed at the front door.

There's my wife and daughter, screaming and staring at the closed door.

For anyone who has heard that in such a situation you get extreme tunnel vision let me assure you it is true. My focus is on that door, wife & daughter just to the side.

Training training training.

No apparent threat gun still drawn right to the bedroom flip on the light. Dammit missed the switch knocked the cover off the thermostat (more training needed) grab the shotgun (again -- for those of you detail minded - Remington 870 Wingmaster 20 gauge pump action 22 inch barrel loaded with Remington #3 buckshot). Back to the living room.

All in under 10 seconds.

My wife calls 911, since we don't know exactly where the foiled intruder has gone nor whether he had any friends lurking nearby. The police are here within 5 minutes, take the information, don't question the gun on my belt, and tell us there had been a breakin across the highway a little earlier this evening. They will be patrolling the area.

So. Lessons learned/reinforced:

Know your weapons, Know where they are and how to get to them. Go over it again and again in your head. If this then that. Practice drawing them until it becomes reflexive.

Despite their quick response a gun in the hand is STILL worth more than a cop on the phone.

Be prepared to pull that trigger. Strangely I felt no fear during the incident and knew I was ready, had I seen someone within my home, to counter that threat. Of course the adreneline rush I'm experiencing right now is like no high you can get from any drug. Might be awhile before I can get to sleep.

Little dogs making big noise are worth a million bucks.

Can't stress the training enough. I remember when I first handled a sidearm, shaking as I tried to load it. Now it's second nature. But had I just bought a gun and never practiced with it I would have been far less useful in this instance.

Gun control statistics are bullshit. This is one drawn gun incident that will never be reported as such because no shots were fired. How many more like this for every time a shot is fired in self defense?

In truth, my wife was the one who scared off the perp, though we didn't know it at the time. She did exactly the right thing by slamming the door, screaming and getting my attention. But it could have played out far differently with a more determined intruder. Might not have had time to get to the shotgun.

In the house, that sidearm on your belt is your first defense but also primarily intended to buy you time to get to something far more substantial if possible.

In an event like this, pandemonium and chaos will ensue.

The rest here.


Holga Lens on a Digital Camera

Sunday, June 14, 2009

45 Auto

I know it's greedy, but for the first time in months, I found 45 ACP in Wal-Mart. Winchester white box is my target ammo of preference. The boxes were still priced at $31.98 a box, but there were Xeroxed signs up stating there was a limit of six boxes a day per customer on ammunition. I asked the saleslady for some "45 Auto." She opened the glass case while asking how much I wanted.

"As much as you will give me," I replied. She had nine boxes on the countertop when a manager arrived and curtailed my joy. I purchased six and took them to the car. Then I put on a windbreaker and cap from the backseat, and I went back inside. She sold me the other three boxes.

Happy day!

An email

Click to enlarge


Ugly Gun Sunday


Friday, June 12, 2009

Tripod Shopping

When I started to consider the type of photography that interests me the most, portraiture, still lifes and landscape photography, I realized that it might be time to upgrade from the aluminum tripod that I purchased years ago at the Navy Exchange. The Velbon tripod I bought back then was barely adequate, and it became a learning experience in what I wanted in a tripod.

My upgrade requirements for the legs were three section aluminum legs that could support 11 pounds of camera and glass without a shiver. I wanted to be able to shift from a vertical to horizontal arm with ease. The portability of the tripod was not as much a concern for me as stability. I am not one to hike for a day into the wilderness or about town with a tripod on my back anymore. I am, however, likely to set things up where it might be bumped by someone not paying attention. After reading reviews all over the internet, I chose the Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs by Bogen for my legs. I found the best price on amazon.com.

Professional quality tripod legs do not routinely come with a head. I was used to the old twist 'em and pan 'em rod sticking out the rear of the Velbon tripod, and my technique had adapted to it. Even though I tend to erect the tripod, attach the camera, line things up and shoot, I wanted a head that adjusted easily, was compact, and functioned similarly to what I was used to. The Manfrotto 322RC2 Horizontal Grip Action Ball Head with a RC2 Rapid Connect Plate seemed to be just the ticket. I was concerned about quality of construction though. I surfed through numerous online reviews again, and when I found it was constructed of magnesium instead of plastic, I was sold. I added it to my order at amazon.

With guns, I often tell people that the sting of the price disappears long before the regret of a cheaper, inadequate choice made on the basis of price. I also tell people that putting a cheap scope on an accurate rifle results in an inaccurate rifle. The same holds true for photography support equipment. I'm still feeling the sting, but I have a feeling that it will go away as soon as I start using this set-up.

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Frankenstien Cameras

Pawn Shopping Secrets

Quite a few people have emailed me about my pawn shop circuit, wanting to know which shops I frequent, and how I do it. Pawn shopping is a lot like fishing. When you leave home, you never know what you might catch, but the catch is only half of the fun. If a person does not enjoy garage and estate sales, they will not enjoy pawn shopping. I'll list a few secrets.

First, like a good fishing spot, you must know where to go. Maw & Paw shops are seldom lucrative for firearms. Frequently Paw is a collector on the side, and the shop simply feeds his habit. Nicely priced pristine firearms will never make it to his shelf. He will have a nice selection of Lorcins and other crap guns though. Maw and Paw see a pawn shop as a means of making money both by loaning money and selling collateral. Thus their Lorcins will be priced above market value. Paw expects everyone to spend twenty minutes negotiating price. Even if he acts like he doesn't, Paw enjoys haggling. It makes him feel superior in his dusty fiefdom. I will occasionally stop in one of these shops, just to look, but I never expect much.

The best pawn shops for gunshopping will make money primarily off loans. The collateral is merely a means of loss prevention in these shops. These are frequently the larger franchise pawn shops. Look for one that has a motivated manager who is not a gun guy. These fellows will usually be late twenties to early thirties in age. In these shops anything used as collateral must be placed up for sale if the loan goes sour. The prices are set by the amount loaned on the item, which may have been determined by Blue Book value, or simply by how much the customer requesting a loan needed. Usually, in a franchise pawn shop, there is a 7-14 day waiting period before an employee can purchase an item just out of pawn. Thus, if you are checking their shelves a couple of times a week, you are likely to see goodies.

If you are an old gun connoisseur, finding a manager who uses an out of date Blue Book and who does not appreciate the subtle variations in models can yield big catches. $199 S&W K-22This is how I managed to find a S&W Model of 1899 for $69, a SW1911 for the price of a Springfield Mil-Spec, and a S&W Pre-Model 10 for $89. I do not try to haggle on these deals, I just smile and buy. Of course, I also find guns like Neil's S&W 455 HE that are overpriced in my opinion. I simply let those lie. If the manager makes a bad decision on collateral's worth, then I want that pistol in the case looking at him when he starts to price the next one. I will simply look it over and try to educate my eye. If the manager or salesman seems to be receptive, I will let him know what I see. Being able to see the silk purse in a sow's ear is a skill worth developing, but so is recognizing a sow's ear priced like a silk purse. One thing I never do, however, is bring a gun back in after it has been cleaned up. Even if asked, I remain evasive about what I think an item is worth after refurbishing. That's my business. I do not ask what they paid. That's their business. I consider what a gun is worth at the time of purchase only, not what it might turn into once refurbished.

I do not expect to be able to negotiate on price much at franchise pawn shops. The store manager might be able to knock off taxes, but the corporate management follows them pretty closely, especially on guns. Once an item is entered into the computer system, the value is pretty much fixed. That occurs long before I see it on the shelf. If a store manager discounts prices again and again with the same customer, he appears to be doing sweetheart deals to the upper echelons of management. He will soon lose his job. I want that manager with the 1999 Blue Book and no interest in guns to keep his job. I'll gladly pay his prices. Having him pricing guns is worth more than $20 off some pistol.

Another key factor is checking the shops with regularity. I have tried to leave my pager number at several pawn shops, but I have never been paged. Leaving pager numbers works better for estate liquidators and gun shops. Pawn shops tend to follow a simple routine of removing the item from hock and placing it in the sale inventory and waiting. I make it a point to check my favored spots several times each week. Pawn shopping is truly like fishing in that regard. The man with the most time on the water will likely bring home the most fish, simply because he has found the best spot and he was there when they were biting. I am thankful to have a job that allows me to drive past my favorite shops each day. Some days, I just have a feeling, like ESP. I get to know the managers, and they know me too. I will walk in, take a quick look at the gun case, and say a quick hello. On days when the manager is engaged with another customer this can take less than a minute or two. If he sees me pause and call him over, he knows he has a likely sale. Otherwise, I leave him alone unless his shop is empty and he is lounging around.

Finally, know the value of guns in your area that grab your interest. Like any used gun shopper, a successful pawn shopper must learn to independently appraise a gun's worth to himself. This means more than simply finding it among Blue Book listings. Most guns are not unique, and prices can vary widely according to which region of the country the gun is in. Blue Books give a national average. I keep a journal of interesting guns I have found in my area, as well as their location, prices and condition. I include used guns I have purchased and also those I left behind at pawn shops, gun shows, and private sales. A well kept gun journal can become a very good supplement to the Blue Book, and it can even prevent you from making purchases you may later regret. Often simply writing a find down in the journal instead of buying prevents "gottahaveit" fever. My journal has seldom steered me wrong.

So there you have it, a successful pawn shopper is like a successful fisherman. He has gone fishing often enough to learn where to go. He goes to places where the fish are. He has learned through experience the places that will waste his time, but he keeps an eye on them anyway, just in case they should change. A successful fisherman does not go fishing for a 4 pound largemouth bass. He goes fishing for what he can catch that day. Sometimes it's bass, other times it's bream. He will also jug for catfish. He goes fishing frequently, and when he comes home empty handed, he tries again. Yep, pawn shopping is a lot like fishing, and almost as much fun.

Related page: Xavier's Gun Show Rules (they apply to pawn shopping too!)

This blast from the past is republished at the request of readers.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Giotto Rocket Blower

Giotto Rocket BlowerI'm a confirmed skeptic about many things. When I needed to get the dust off my DSLR sensor, I followed the instructions in this video, and had fairly decent results. I still had a couple of specks on my camera's sensor, so I gave it another go, and the results were the same.

I had made a substitution for the recommended blower though. I was using a bulb off a blood pressure cuff as a homemade air blaster. I decided the price of a Giotto Rocket Blower ($12.95) might be a risk worth taking. I placed one on order. It arrived today.

This rubber rocket ship moves more air than a Rush Limbaugh at a burrito festival. One pump of the bulb is enough to send my daughter's hair flying. One quick squeeze is enough to make Ilsa stop in her tracks and slick her ears back. A few puffs of this thing and my camera's sensor was spotless. I suppose the Giotto Rocket Blower could be used for a lot of things, but for this purpose it is the cat's meow.

Just in case anyone wants to know.........

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Portrait Mosaic

For those readers who have been missing my gun posts, and for those who have been enjoying my photography posts, here is a bit of what I have been working on.

1. Nikon F

2. Portrait

3. Red for Burma

4. Alvin

5. L.J. "Boots" Hinton

6. Cowboy in the City

7. William

8. One More Round

9. Duff

Go to the links, give me some views. If you are a member on flickr, hit me as a contact. I'll be back to guns soon....... I appreciate your patience.



Old Military Arms

From a reader:
"Lately, due in large part to your blog, I have taking a shinning to 1911's produced during the war years especially by companies that are not associated with firearm manufacture. One of the things I admire about the greatest generation is how so many dropped everything to become part of the war effort.

So I come to you in order to ask a few questions. Do you think that there may be a time before the end of the current administration where 1911 pistols of the variety I seek will be more reasonably priced? Do you think in the future, on a relative basis that they will maintain parity with the current pricing taking in to account inflation? It seems to me that they have over time proven to be more reliable hedge against REAL inflation than treasury inflation protected securities. I wondered if there was a way to commingle the desire to own a few with my desire to not loose out to inflation over time. Let's not take into account the cost of shooting, cleaning, club membership, etc. as they are expenses I would incur regardless.

Then also, given that it seems that when the 1911's started entering the marketplace they did so around $30-$60 from surplus sources. Given price performance over time, do you think we could expect the same of the current standard issue Beretta?"

I don't think the US military will ever be allowed to sell surplus firearms to the public again. I seriously doubt we will see real M9 pistols on the market.

The M1911A1s and M1911s got a huge boost when Clinton had the remaining weapons in military surplus destroyed. They stayed between $30 and $50 for years before that. It's just supply and demand. With the interest in the "greatest generation" the anniversary of D-Day, and the movie Saving Private Ryan, the M1911A1 pistols got an added boost. The irony is that most of the pistols involved in WWII were M1911s not M1911A1s!

Historically, guns have been poor investments. The rise in prices of M1911s and M1911A1s, however, have caused many to believe there is potential for making money. Even though some have profited, the people who really saw the increase were the collectors who bought the surplus weapons for $30-$50, kept them as they were, and appreciated them because of what they were. They did not buy for investment, they bought because they loved the guns.

There is something to be learned there.............

Do I think the prices will go down? On the run of the mill complete and original guns not commanding stellar prices such as Remington Rands US&S and Ithacas? No. I believe the prices they command today will hold fast and potentially still slowly increase over time.

Regarding the Singers that sell for $25,000? Perhaps. Not many people can afford these kind of prices on collector's pieces. I would expect them to take a tumble, or at best remain stable.

But then, I'm speculating too. Time will tell.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Casual Conversation

"Xav, I heard there was a pharmacist up in Oklahoma that killed a kid who tried to rob him."

"Yeah, I heard about that........"

"Seems a lot of folks want to convict from what I hear. I can't believe the DA is prosecuting that. I mean two punks come in to rob the place, for crissakes. The guy was just defending himself," Doc said indignantly.

"Well, you know Doc, the pharmacist came back inside after he chased the other guy away. Then he shot the kid five more times."

"The punk got what was comin' to him. He deserved to die for what he did."

"I dunno Doc. I guess a jury will have to sort that one out."

Rightly or wrongly, what we say in casual conversation can come back to bite us if we are ever in a lethal encounter with a criminal. I don't like it. I don't think it should be that way, but I recognize it as a cold reality in the world in which we live.

It sometimes amazes me that people who are brilliant often fail to measure the statements they make. Doc got his CCW license about six months ago. He packs almost everywhere he goes now. He is no fool. He is no loose cannon, and no vigilante. Yet it is statements like those that could be used to crucify him in court if he is ever forced to defend himself.

The wise man carries a gun not with ill will, but with a determined will to survive. He does not carry a gun to kill. He carries a gun to live. Our words must reflect that. What we say in casual conversation months prior to a shooting can be used against us to destroy our character and integrity in the inevitable court proceedings that follow. Even more significant, our words can be used to establish mens rea in court.

I did not advise Doc against such statements. He knew better. Knowing there were other ears in the suite, I changed the subject and kept my opinions to myself.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

DSLR Sensor Cleaning

Ugly Gun Sunday

No compromises Baby!

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Opteka Wireless Remote

Late last week I received my Opteka radio controlled shutter release in the mail. I actually purchased mine off ebay for $49.95 including shipping. Over the past week, I have been trying it out.

The Opteka release uses a CR2 lithium battery in the receiver. A watch type battery powers the transmitter. Click to enlargeIt has 16 different channels that can be utilized. The unit uses dip switches to change channels if needed.

The Opteka remote both focuses the lens with the camera's auto-focus system, and then releases the shutter. If the camera is set to take multiple exposures, simply hold down the remote button as you would the shutter release on the camera.

I have not tested the long range ability of the Opteka remote. The manufacturer claims a 100 meter range, but frankly, 10 meter range is all I need. One interesting bit of information is that the remote will fire the shutter through glass, through cardboard, and also from within your pants pocket with the camera slung over your shoulder.

Construction of the Opteka remote is generally OK. The housing is polystyrene plastic, with a matte finish. The cord is reasonably heavy, and the plug fits the camera well. There is no need to screw the plug into the camera, but a threaded coupler is on the cord if desired. I placed a bit of velcro on my camera, tripod and the receiver to hold it in place.

When I first bought the radio controlled remote, I almost choked on the fifty bucks it cost. I can say I am pleased with the purchase though. It works well for portraiture, candids, street photography, macro photography, and of course, it saves beaucoup time on self portraits. Like the S&W Model 17, it's a purchase I do not regret.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Morning Coffee

Thursday, June 04, 2009

How Not To Do It

Remember those picture games as a kid where the challenge was to find as many things wrong with a photo as possible? Here's one for gunnies.

For advice on taking better gun photos, take a click to this link.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009


For some reason, I am asked fairly frequently about what I like in a 1911 pistol. My usual response is that what I like only matters to me. Each shooter is unique, and the beauty of a 1911 style pistol in today's world is that it can easily be customized to a shooter's own preferences, assuming such a pistol is not available off the shelf. The real question is what a shooter has decided works for themselves. Still, to answer the question in another round about way, I found this photo in my archives which shows several features I don't like. These features are not inherently bad, they just don't work for me. I would not turn down this Colt Commander if it were offered to me at a fair price. However, it would not last 24 hours without a few modifications.

First off would be the Hogue wrap around rubber grips. I detest them. They are fat, sticky, and they do nothing to help me control the gun. What would I screw on? Wood or rubber double diamonds. The down turned "duck bill" grip safety would have to go. I would either install an Ed Brown grip safety with the speed bump removed, or I would go with a smoothed out GI style grip safety.

The rear sight would be the next thing punched off this gun. A Commander is a carry gun. Carry guns deserve a fixed rear sight. If I could get a Ted Yost Retro rear sight, that would be my first choice. If not, something similar. Finally, it would get a long trigger and a trigger job. My preference is a flat mainspring housing and a long trigger.

So for those who have asked, that is how I would immediately alter this particular pistol if I purchased it. Oh, one other thing. I would check the chamber, and place the the thumb safety in the up position.


Fine Art

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Repentant Robber, Forgiving Victim



Howard Nemerov examines two pharmacy robberies, and the actions taken to defend lives.

It's an excellent article of contrasts.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Peter Odighizuwho?

Have you ever heard what happened on Wednesday, January 16, 2002 at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia?

Have you ever heard of Peter Odighizuwa?

Then visit Gordon Hutchinson's latest blog post.


Moo Cards

I received my Moo cards today in the mail. I have to say that these are a well done and well packaged product. Moo cards are available online, with your own photography or artwork on one side, and your blog or web URL on the other. I had mine made to direct people I meet and photograph to my flickr account.

It only takes a couple of hours to set up a series of ten or more cards. Less if you intend to only have one photo used. I chose the "Mini Cards" primarily due to the cost. $19.95 per 100. They come printed faithfully on a thin plastic. Logos and typography are available for the reverse. For ease of ordering and set up, it's hard to beat these cards.