A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, February 29, 2008

Pawn Shop Circuit: Hi Power

I went to visit Neil after work today. He was reading over the classifieds and gnawing on his unit cigar as I walked in. He raised an eyebrow and inquired "Where you been? I tried to save one for ya........'

"Really? What?"

"A Colt pistol, in nine millimeter," replied Neil.

Dadgummit........."Did it look like the last one I bought?"

"No, it was better, a double action," replied Neil. "That's Ok though, I still have this one." Neil removed a Browning Hi Power from his case to show me. I know next to nothing about the Hi Power, except that some of the guys in my Navy days preferred it, and it is an old, reliable, double stacked single action 9mm handgun.

The Browning that Neil was trying to liquidate had a Pachmayr wrap around grip and a couple of magazines. It was a glossy blue, a nice pistol. I could not tell if it had been refinished, not knowing the level of polish the Browning metal should have beneath the bluing. The fittment of the pistol was excellent, and the bore looked good.

Other than the 1911, the Browning Hi Power is perhaps the most duplicated pistol design in the world. A few years back, surplus Hi Powers from Portugal were selling for $350 to $399 through importers. I could not bring myself to order one then. I always thought if I ever purchased one, it would be a Belgian Browning, in 9mm, not 40. This one was Belgian, but I still knew nothing about the pistol. I was unable to assess whether the deal was good or not. Neil wanted $550 for the pistol. He said he would take $500 when I handed it back to him. He rarely changed the price that easily on a gun I looked at. I let it go. I really do not need to open another gun accumulation door, and that is likely what I would be doing by buying the Hi Power. I decided to hold my money for another 1911 or maybe a Smith & Wesson or a .22 pistol. I wonder if I made a mistake........I'll see what Kenny has tomorrow.

What to Look for if Buying a Used Hi Power by Stephen Camp


A Mouse Growls

A mouse growls at Breda. Read it.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008


I'm sick of my blogroll not being functional. Rather than continue to fight it and wonder, I want a list of links to the blogs I read for easy use. Unfortunately, I have no guideline but my memory, as I can't access the blogrolling website either.

Thus, I am hardlinking my blogroll. To hell with the Blogrolling website and their program. If I inadvertantly left your blog off, send me a note.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gun Free Zones

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The King's Bushing Wrench

It's not uncommon for even a skilled 1911 mechanic to have an embarrassing airborne moment when field stripping their version of Browning's masterpiece.........assuming, of course, the recoil control components are as John Moses intended.

One of the tools that can prevent you from looking all over your gun room for wayward projectiles is the King's bushing wrench. Made by King's Gun Works, this steel wrench is no ordinary bushing wrench. If you are tired searching for flying recoil plugs, or of plastic tools wearing down and slipping, this chunk of parkerized American steel is the tool for you. It used to be available from Brownell's, but alas, it has been discontinued. It has a protrusion on the side to keep the recoil plug under control. For what it's worth, genuine GI recoil plugs have a notch to catch the recoil spring on, preventing the search and rescue missions common with 1911 field stripping.

The King's bushing wrench is a superb tool for those with lesser recoil plugs though. I have yet to find a 1911 bushing to tight for it to turn. I have yet to have a recoil plug launch while using it. I have yet to have it mar a gun's finish. I do not know if King's still makes this tool, but if they don't, they should. Somebody should! If you see one for sale at a gun show or on ebay, grab it. It's a purchase you will not regret.

King's Gun Works does indeed still make this tool. It's right there in the King's catalog, page six. Bushing wrench item # 403A, King's Deluxe Gunsmith Bushing Wrench. $14.95. Order yourself some extra stuff while you are at it and save on shipping. King's is a top drawer outfit.
Kings Gun Works Inc.
1837 W. Glenoaks Blvd.,
Glendale, CA., 91201
Phone: 818-956-6010
Orders: 800-282-9449

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Vintage CCW

Smith & Wesson Model 1&1/2Gun Blast has an interesting article with nice photos of vintage hide-out guns up. This is one of those oddball areas of collecting that I enjoy.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

The Cocoon Nebula

What creates the colors of the Cocoon Nebula? The Cocoon Nebula, cataloged as IC 5146, is a strikingly beautiful nebula located about 4,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Swan (Cygnus).Click to enlarge Inside the Cocoon Nebula is a newly developing open cluster of stars. Like other stellar nurseries, the Cocoon Nebula holds, at the same time, a bright red emission nebula, blue reflection nebulas, and dark absorption nebulas. Given different mixtures, these three processes create a host of colors in this image taken recently by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) in Hawaii, USA. Speculation based on recent measurements holds that the massive star towards the left of the picture opened a hole in an existing molecular cloud through which much of the glowing material flows. The same star, which formed about 100,000 years ago, now provides the energy source for much of the emitted and reflected light from this nebula.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oh My God!

Words fail me. A man receives a sunningly perfect Remington Rand M1911A1 from his father in law. His wife's grandfather had carried the pistol in WWII. He admits he is not a "gun person". Along with the pistol, he is given many artifacts from the era, photographs, a helmet, web gear, uniforms, knives, and even two Winchester made M1 Garands.

The gentleman takes the Remington Rand to a gunsmith gun hack who looks it over and does not tell the fellow to preserve it as it is. Oh no........The hack nickel plates a pristine M1911A1 pistol, installs a three hole trigger, a Commander hammer, an Wilson drop in beavertail grip safety, and an extended slide stop. Then he charges the idiot for his work! But wait.......The idiot decides to improve things further. He gets a damned Dremel tool and grinds off the rear of the hammer and the beavertail. He then stencils a "rack number" on the grips. Dear God! Please, someone tell me it is a joke!

This has got to be a joke. The recipient might be that stupid, but no gunsmith is that ignorant. For those who do not appreciate such things, this is how you convert a $1800 collector's piece into a $500 piece of crap.

Of course the owner can do what he likes with his property, but dear sweet John Moses on a sugar sprinkled flap jack........This can't be real. A gunsmith would have offered a new Kimber in trade.........The idiot would not know about rack numbers and, and........damn. Just damn it all.

OK, It's a bogus story.......Whew....

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I have no idea why my blog roll isn't showing up. Any ideas?


Ugly Gun Sunday

Click to enlargeLast Sunday, I showed off the Vietnamese M1911. It was a study in what a determined man can make out of schrapnel. This week, I present the Belgrade Beretta, a study in what a deranged Serb can make out of a piece of pipe, melted soda pop cans, tin foil, and goat dung paste.

Necessity is the mother of ugly imitation.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Xavier's Gun Photography

I was updating some of my gun photos today, and I realized I never really wrote about taking pictures of firearms. To me, firearms photography is a form of still life photography. It is easy to recognize the gun photographs of those who shoot a lot of them.Cowboy Guns Click to enlarge Ichiro Nagata, Oleg Volk, Digitshots, and DHart. All are accomplished photographers first, who just happen to also shoot guns. I fall beneath that.

To take good photographs, decent equipment is essential. I once used a Sony Mavica camera for my digital photography. The floppy disc made it easy. I also had an ancient monitor. I thought I was doing pretty good.........Until my monitor gasped up it's last pixel, and I replaced it with a modern flatscreen. Damn.......those low resolution photographs sucked. I immediately went to the pawn shop and purchased an inexpensive camera with a greater memory and higher resolution. I chose a Canon A520. It's a point and shoot camera that has controls that enable the user to manipulate the camera's performance. It is a 4.0 megapixel camera, and is about the minimum pixel requirement for modern internet photo sharing. I honestly don't know much about pixels and digital cameras. To learn about megapixels, this is a good tutorial. All I know is the new camera makes higher resolution photos that look a lot better on my new monitor. That's good enough for me. I'm an image man, not an equipment maven.

A lot of notable gun photographers use a lightbox for their images. Control of the light in a still life is as important as the items depicted. William Michael Harnett. 1890. The Faithful Colt. Oil on canvas Click to enlargeYears ago, I earned a degree in fine art. I was a painter and printmaker. I studied under a nationally known still life artist and became engrossed in the work of Chardin, Peto, Wyeth, Harnett and Vermeer. While modern photographers often seek to manage and even generate the light in their imagery, the first photographers worked with what was available, as did painters. Natural light. There are many types of natural light. Painters wax poetic when discussing morning light, noon and evening light. North light is considered the finest by many painters, as it changes less frequently. Painters such as Monet often painted the same subject matter in different paintings, under shifting natural light. These paintings, the foundation of Impressionism, were studies of light and how the human eye deciphers it, not studies of imagery. I relished the work of these painters. Thus, it was only natural that I should chose natural light for my photography.

I take my gun photos outside. I often use a neutral, natural background of weathered and grey wood. I have found that this background appears most appropriate aesthetically, is often a textural contrast, and enhances the image without overpowering the subject matter. On a clear day, I have approximately one and a half hours of the type of light I favor at my chosen location. This light is filtered, but still has a directional, warm quality. To better manage it, I will sometimes use white Foamcore panels to reflect light into shadows and define that which needs illumination. I often shoot thirty or more images from slightly different angles to arrive at a photo with reflections and shadows that characterize the form I desire. Of these images, I chose one.

To place the firearm at the angle I want, I will use erasers or empty shell casings to prop it up. Click to enlargeModeling clay also works well for this, and will not scar the finish. As a still life artist, I dislike the common convention of inserting something through the triggerguard to support the gun. That technique is only seen in gun photography, and as a result it appears odd to me. I do not want my images to appear "posed" even though they often are. I want them to appear as though I happened upon them at the range, and took them serendipitously. A lot of work goes into making my images appear happenstance.

Composition is extremely important to me. Composition is best defined as how items are arranged in a fixed image, preferably with the knowledge that the viewer's eye will travel about the image taking it all in. Poor composition can destroy otherwise technically beautiful photographs. Likewise, good composition can make up for a deluge of technical deficits. Ideally though, the composition should be non-apparent, quietly supporting what the photographer wants to depict. Everything should be considered, from the horizontal or vertical orientation of the image, to associated shooting equipment used to visually lead the viewer's eye throughout the image.

Photography of multiple guns in one image increases the problems challenges to solve exponentially. Each firearm must be attended to as a primary subject. The visual and mental comparison of similar subjects can often lead to a more interesting image however. Click to enlargeFor this reason, I frequently photograph similar firearms together. Firearms often have an interesting "good" side and a drab side. In most cases, the visually interesting side is the side with the controls. Often one side will depict the essence of what the photographer desires better than the other.

Highly reflective surfaces offer unique challenges and solutions. I frequently use Foamcore panels to control and manipulate reflections in nickel guns. Nickel guns can appear rather cold and sterile in a photograph. I will often use colored items outside the frame of the photograph to interject reflected color into photographs of nickel guns. Doing so adds to the overall beauty of the image, and can help set the mood in the photograph.

Weathered and finish worn guns must be assessed for interest differently. The photographer must decide what he wants to depict......A beautiful old survivor of time, or a remnant of what the firearm once was. There is a natural inclination to present a treasured item at it's finest, concealing flaws in a quest for perfection. With weathered firearms, this is often counterproductive. Click to enlargeThe photographer must remember he is not producing a beautiful firearm, but rather a beautiful photograph. The texture of time and the scars of use help show the gun for what it is, whether a captivating relic of a bygone era, or a tool of self protection that is carried daily. A lower, raking light helps accentuate this quality, as well as delineate the markings on the gun.

Often with old guns, a simple, stark and empty photo will achieve the photographer's goals nicely. Bare gun steel, worn walnut, and faded bluing on top of a weathered surface is a study in intriguing textures and subtle variations. Other items in the photo would distract the viewer from what the photographer feels is the essence of the firearm. When an image is pared down to the essential subject matter, the elements of design take on a prime importance. Orientation of the image boundaries as well as the firearm itself, the quality and direction of the lighting, along with the colors and textures available are the only tools at the photographer's disposal. If he does not know how to use them, the image will be clumsy and uninteresting. Used well, the result is sublime and engaging.

Years ago, when I studied still life painting, I committed to memory a quote by Max Ernst that is with me still. Click to enlarge"The association of two or more apparently alien elements on a plane alien to both is the most potent ignition of poetry." The contrast between disparate objects, whether leather, wood and steel, or guns and flower petals presents the viewer with a mental sandwich to chew, contemplate and digest. Photographs of a handgun, a wrist watch and a pocketknife are common and expected. I have not yet tried photographing a Colt 1911 on a buffet of newspaper and crawdad tails, but I'm thinking the result would be as interesting as it would be unusual. When crawdad season opens, I just might have to try it. Maybe a HK USP, a harmonica, and a fried egg. The possibilities are endless as they are beguiling.

Manipulation of a digital photo in a photoshop type program can remove small flaws in the photo that distract from the photographer's intent. I have found, however, it is best to remove the flaws prior to opening the shutter. A chamois rag sprayed with oil will remove dust and fingerprints from the surfaces. A whisk broom will sweep the background clean if desired. A discreet repositioning of the firearm can conceal defects that would distract from the image. S&W Model of 1899 click to enlargeMany people fear revealing the firearm's serial number in a photograph. A photo shop program can be used to subtly alter the serial in the image by a digit or two, mitigating the concern without making a glaring change.

A quick word about safety is in order. The four rules should be followed any time a person is handling firearms, including photographing them. Placing live rounds in a revolver, and then cocking the hammer back and leaning it on an eraser while you snap photographs is foolhardy. If you want brass to show between the cylinder and recoil plate of a revolver, use empty brass. If you want bullets to peek out of the front of a cylinder, use inert rounds. Triple check the status of the firearm, each and every time you handle it. Your mind is preoccupied with the photography you are enjoying, and your hands may do things you otherwise would not allow. The circumstances are ripe for a negligent discharge. Engage the Four Rules.

Finally, enjoy what you are doing. Gun owners love to look at images of the objects of their desire. Strive for quality work, and share your results. For information on how to share your photographs, go here. While different from the usual gun photography tutorial, I hope this article has been of benefit. Now go shoot some photos as well as targets!

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Looting in Serbia

First part of this video happened in store on Slavija. I accidentally taped that two girls. Two hours later I met them again on Terazije where they were stealing. Since I was astonished whit[sic] their persistence to get new cloth on "total sale", I decided to continue following them. I want to say that these persons are just extremes and that they don't represent Serbs as a nation. Citizens of Serbia are mostly normal and honest and I am proud because I'm one of them.
I thanks to everyone who supported me.

The extremes of lawlessness bring out the best and the worst in people, whether in New Orleans or Belgrade. Race and economic status has nothing to do with it. Character does.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Balloon Man Visits The Nursing Home


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rogue or Sell-Out?

Former Shreveport police officer Wiley Willis had received at least two other excessive force complaints prior to allegations that he beat Angela Garbarino to a bloody, unrecognizable mess during a DUI arrest. An unrelated lawsuit, filed in Caddo District Court in 2006 by Shreveport resident Darlene Atkins, alleges Willis put his service weapon to the head of her son, Dillon Freeman in 2005. Atkins claims Willis threatened to shoot Freeman if family members came closer to the pair. Her lawsuit states the incident happened after Willis pursued Freeman, who was riding a scooter, to the family’s home.

Another lawsuit, filed in 2006, alleges Wiley Willis arrested Shreveport resident Tomeka Bush and had her car seized as retaliation for a complaint filed against him about the incident involving Freeman. Bush’s lawsuit says she’s related to Atkins and Freeman. The lawsuit states video shot by Willis’ patrol car camera was available to the Police Department for review. Bush said the department investigated but didn’t discipline Willis.

Both lawsuits are pending. The city has denied Willis acted inappropriately in either case.

Willis, a four year veteran, was placed on paid administrative leave Jan. 24, 2008. Willis was fired during a predisciplinary conference with Police Chief Henry Whitehorn. "Officer misconduct will not be tolerated within the city of Shreveport. And all allegations of misconduct will be thoroughly and completely investigated," the police chief said during a news conference. "We will not tolerate violations of departmental policies and procedures." The Shreveport Police Department did not file charges against Willis. Willis is appealing the action.

Bill Flanagan, first assistant U.S. attorney for the Louisiana's Western District has stated federal law on police officers' use of excessive force gives the U.S. attorney and FBI authority to investigate. The Caddo Parish district attorney and the U.S. Justice Department will investigate the case.

Police union President Michael Carter asserts "This investigation is rather unorthodox. We wondered why there was a firing if there is no criminal case. You're not talking about some rogue cop. We ask for people to keep him in their prayers."

Whether this is a case of a rogue cop losing his composure, intimidating and beating the citizenry, or a case of a police chief selling out his officers who were performing their duties with professionalism and competence is a matter that only a few know for certain. What is certain is it is a polarizing incident that often tells more about the viewer than that which is viewed.

Update: A $400,000 settlement has not settled whether Shreveport police officers violated Angela Garbarino's civil rights. More.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Blood on the Floor

This is tough to watch. November 17, 2007. Shreveport Louisiana. An upset Angela Garbarino repeatedly asks Officer Wiley Willis to use the telephone. She states she is glad her booking for DUI is being videotaped. He turns the camera off. When it is turned back on, Garbarino is seen lying in a pool of blood, being assessed by another officer, and finally being taken away on a stretcher. Willis was recently fired. His lawyer, Eron Brainard, claims Garbarino tripped and fell. In the process she cut her face, broke her teeth, broke her nose, and gave herself two black eyes. He states the video tape was turned off "in accordance with normal practice."

Perhaps this is normal practice for the Sheveport police. They have refused to file charges against Willis, stating nobody really knows what happened because the video tape was turned off.

It is true that Angela Garbarino was being booked for DUI after an automobile accident, circumstances unknown. It is true that a broken nose may occur as the result of two separate impacts, one significantly later than the first. It is true that eyes are blackened after a severely broken nose.

The president of the Shreveport police officers' union, Michael Carter, is defending Willis' actions. "He followed what I can say is over a decade of standardized practice inside that room. Why did she force a police officer to handcuff her; physically restrain her? That officer did not depict her behavior. He did not script or choreograph her behavior that night; she did. If he was trying to cover something up, why would he turn it back on?" Carter wonders, referring to the video tape.

What is peculiar is the tape was turned off, not that it was turned back on. Yep. It's tough to stomach as well.

The Live Leak video is abridged. The total video can be found here.

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SCCC's Scott Lewis Debates
Paul Helmke on Fox News

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bruce Willis

Today, I had a fellow nurse tell me I looked like Bruce Willis.

What does that mean?


Helwan Brigadeer

In November of 2003 I purchased a Helwan Brigadeer from Southern Ohio Guns. I wrote a review on my experiences with this pistol, and I've dredged it up from the old files on my hard drive. For those who may be interested in this 9mm Beretta copy, here it is.
For many years I have been interested in Berettas. One derivative in particular has fascinated me, the single action Egyptian Helwan Brigader. The Helwan is a 8 shot 9mm copy of the Beretta 1951, much the same as a Sistema is a copy of a Colt 1911. Beretta set up the factory and trained the workers to produce the pistol in Egypt. Of course, that was a long time ago.

Helwans have often been derided in the US as a cheap pistol with no real value. Click to enlargeRecently Helwans have once again become available for $159 at SOG. I placed an order. I figured for that kind of money, I could take a chance.

When the pistol arrived, it was NIB, and a pretty flimsy box at that. It came with a manual, two single stack magazines, and a brush. The fit and finish was OK, but not up to Beretta standards by any stretch of the imagination; not even close. The serial number and importer's marks were the typical CAI buzzpen job. The slide is obviously cast. The sights are pure itty bitty military. The magazine release is on the bottom of the grip, Euro style. The barrel locks up with a falling block, like the 92FS. The safety is a button that runs though the frame at the top of the grip. Left to fire, right to safe. Cocked and locked is an option. The safety blocks both the sear and the hammer.

I began to clean the pistol, and lube it in preparation to go to the range. I found that the grips do not like Gun Scrubber. "Ah well, it's a cheapo pistol, and a bit of spray paint will take care of it" I thought. The trigger was heavy, and the underside of the slide was corrugated with machining marks, but it slid easily along the frame rails. The barrel locked up tightly. It is about as narrow as a 1911, with the length a bit longer than a Commander.

The next day, after the grips had hardened up again, I took the pistol to the range. I also carried 300 rounds of Winchester White Box, 100 rounds of Wolff, and a gallon bucket of 9mm reloads. I did my usual load one shoot one, load two shoot two, load three etc routine and had no unintended double taps. I ran a target out to 25 feet and loaded up a full magazine. I began to shoot 4 inch groups, and as I settled into the heavy trigger, they began to shrink down, finally averaging around two inches.

I stopped counting rounds at 500 (and still had a half bucket of ammo). I had no failures of any kind. No failures to extract, no failures to eject, no failures to fire. Nothing. The recoil was heavier than I was expecting in a pistol this size. I'd equate it along the lines of my HK USP in .40S&W. The pistol will empty a magazine as fast as you can pull the trigger.

The slide release was a bit pointy and could use some smoothing out, and the trigger never did lighten up. All in all though, I have to say that I am happy with the pistol. It is a low buck service pistol. You have to figure that into the analysis. It has the design of a Beretta, the finish of a KelTec, and the price of a High Point. I found this pistol to be reasonably accurate at combat ranges. Helwan Brigadeer Click to enlargeIt is certainly no target pistol, nor was it meant to be. I found it to be easy to aim and shoot despite the small sights.

I will definitely strip this one down and see if I can lighten up that trigger some. Oh, and I think it deserves some new grips. It's a keeper.

Helwan Update:
Today, I tested my trigger job. I had replaced the hammer spring with a 1911 18 pound mainspring. I had also polished up the sear and hammer hooks and applied a bit of Action Magic. The trigger was sweet now, and at the range, I saw some benefit in my accuracy.
After approximately round 1200 though (total round count), the Helwan choked. It failed to extract a shell, and the pistol jammed hard. I was unable to field strip it at the range, so I pulled the magazine, put it in my bag and went to another pistol.

Tonight, it took a bit of work to tear the pistol down, but I was able to do it using my hands and leverage. The front of the frame rails had peened where the slide impacts them, making movement of the barrel very difficult. I could find no cracks. I took a file and removed the burrs from the front of the frame rails. I stoned the rails everywhere the barrel contacts them. After a bit of work, I had the barrel sliding nicely again. I reassembled the pistol and the action worked smoothly. I'm hoping that the original rough machining in the frame rails and slide rails contributed to the burr development that brought shooting to a halt. If so, then beveling these corners should prevent it from reoccuring.

I am thinking about adapting a B92 Shok Buff if I cannot find one specific for this pistol. It's possible the steel may be a bit soft. I tried to fit a heavier B92 recoil spring, but it would not fit.

On another note, the blueing seems to be a bit thin, and is already starting to wear off the barrel. By contrast, my Beretta 92FS that I purchased in 1992 has about the same amount of wear with many more rounds through it.

As of right now, I cannot recommend this pistol to anyone who is not a tinkerer. For the money, it certainly is not a pistol to take to a gunsmith to fix. Because of this failure, I cannot recommend the Helwan as a defensive pistol either. It is not a failure that can be cleared without taking tools to the pistol. On the flip side, If you can find a jammed one used, you might be able to pick it up for under $50 and put it back into range use with a minimum of effort. I am not calling the Helwan a POS yet, as the problem may have been erased for good with a little filework and stoning. Time will tell.
I never did get around to shooting the Helwan very much after that. There were other pistols to keep me interested. I did see a Helwan in a pawn shop for $119. I passed. Today, my Helwan still resides in my gun room, as a lesson learned and a possible bartering bit should I ever need one.


Monday, February 18, 2008

The Black Bike

It certainly looked attractive on amazon.com.......Click to enlargeA retro styled cruiser bike with the endorsement of a company known for quality outdoors products. For $129.99 including shipping, the sum of the parts would cost more if I ordered them separately. How could I lose? I placed an order.

What I received was a cheapo bike assembled from barely tolerable components. The grips were foam rubber, the seat was atrocious, and the coaster brake barely functional. The brown appearing paint was flat black, and the red was cheap stickers so poorly applied I figured an inebriated Chinese crackhead had applied them in the dark. My expectations had been low, but this concoction somehow managed to slip beneath them.

I assembled the bike, leaned it against the garage door, Click to enlargeand let it ferment for a while. When I had the time and inclination to take a look at it again, I stripped off the cheap stickers. That was not difficult, considering there was no clear coat and each one was full of wrinkles. I took a can of flat black bar-b-que grill paint off the shelf, and covered the tan with an even coat of darkness. Much better.

Next, I took off the detestable blob of a seat and installed an Electra Swing saddle atop the seat post. Two hand grips off an old wheelchair replaced the foam rubber trash on the handlebars. Little red reflectors graced their ends. I dug some pedals out of my parts pile to replace the nylon junk the bike came with. Some black dice valve stem caps and reflectors rounded out the bike.

The bike was actually starting to look OK, so I took it for a ride. It creaked and groaned along, but at least the tires held air.Click to enlargeI quickly learned the coaster brake needed rebuilding. I rolled the bike back into the garage and flipped it. Upon removing the rear hub, I saw there was no lubrication what so ever. I removed the front bearings. Same situation. I greased both hubs with wheel bearing grease, and suspiciously removed the bottom bracket to inspect it. No grease. I smeared some more wheel bearing grease on the races and bearings, and reassembled the bottom end. I uprighted the bicycle and did the same to the steering head bearings.

Once I had the bike reassembled and adjusted out to best fit my physique, I took it down the street again. It was much better this time. It was a bit small for me, or so it felt. The bike rides on 26 inch rubber, but the pedals seem to be directly under the seat. I guess I'm spoiled by the forward position of the Raleigh PUB's pedals and the increased height of the Raleigh Passage. I had been wanting a simple, flat black bike, a bike that I did not have much invested in, one that I could just hop on and ride with no worries if it deteriorated or disappeared. Now I have one.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

How Not To Hold A Revolver

It is important, when firing a revolver, to keep all parts of your hand(s) away from the front of the cylinder. Explosive ignition gases exit the cylinder gap as well as the muzzle of the firearm when the cartridge is fired. This safety issue is sometimes illustrated by instructors who place a revolver inside a paper bag with the muzzle sticking out a hole in the bottom. On firing the revolver, the bag explodes.

I recently received an email regarding a shooter who lost the tip of his thumb while firing a S&W 460XVR Magnum. He let his left thumb get in front of the cylinder. The result was not pretty. For the weak of stomach, I have only posted the bandaged photo of his hand. Click the bandaged photo to remove the dressing and examine the wound if you like. Here is his story in his own words...........

460XVR blew my thumb off today!

No joke, about 1/2 of my left thumb is gone ... what's left is a friggin mess.

It's pretty hard to type, and I'm only posting because you never know, it might save somebody else a thumb. I was using a 2-handed grip, fired off a Cor-Bon DPX .460 and the blast came violently out the side of the gun.

At first my thumb was so covered in blood that I couldn't see how bad it was ... and I was full of adrenaline and felt no pain. And honestly it looked really bad, my whole hand was covered in blood and it was kinda gushing.

The blown-off thumb was on my support hand. I'll re-create the grip tomorrow to see where my thumb was, but it's not like I didn't already know not to get any body part near the cylinder gap. And even if I totally screwed up and did, taking my thumb clean off seems a bit excessive?

Just be careful with those 460's. That case operates at such high pressure, it's just asking for trouble.

BTW, I bought my 460 new and had exactly 12 rounds through it. Info about the gun, it's a full-size 460 with the 8 3/4' barrel and factory installed compensator. It's one of the Whitetails Unlimited models.

Ammo was 200gr Cor-Bon DPX.

The gun only had 12 or 13 rounds of the Cor-Bon through it, and 10 .45 Long Colt rounds through it. So it was essentially still brand new.

Saw a hand specialist while there today. Lots of ways to try and save what's left, but first I just have to hope it doesn't get infected in the next few days ... then surgery early next week.

The hand specialist I spent a few hours with last night said that in gunshot wounds there is always a lot more damage than is first visible ...same with things like fireworks going off in your hand. A lot more flesh around the wound is dead, and will rot and fall off over the next couple days. That's why it's so important to keep clean, and that's also why they can't do surgery now. If they wrapped new skin over dead skin it would just puss out, possibly turn gang-green [sic], and they'd have to start all over again.
Having dealt with traumatic gunshot wounds before, I wish him luck.


New from Electra

At last a mainstream bicycle company has caught on to the idea that tanker bikes are cool again. Electra, known for having a finger on the pulse of cool, has introduced four tanker style bikes this year. Pictured at left is the Electra Indy. It features an aluminum bullet tank with retro gold leaf appearing script on an aluminum ballooner frame. Sadly, it has a Nexus internal 3 speed rear hub with all the associated cables and twist shifter cluttering up the picture. They did get it right with the fenders, white tires, block pedals, fork struts and a springer seat though.

Along with the Indy, Electra has put out three similar bikes, the Flying Sue, styled after WWII aircraft; the Vince in flat black; and the Punk is a silly eclectic mismatched black and white and red paint scheme. They can keep those. At $610, they can keep the Indy too. The three speed hub just doesn't get it for me.

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Ugly Gun Sunday

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then today's ugly gun is a testament to John Moses Browning's greatness. Pictured here is a hand made but functional 1911 style pistol that was built from the scrap of war in the jungles of Vietnam. It is one of my personal favorites, showing the inventiveness of a craftsman in need.

While this 1911 was likely worn as a badge of authority, on close inspection, it shows signs of having been fired, at least once.

That took intestinal fortitude, or at the least a quart of Ruou nep.

Several years ago, I first saw this GI bring back Vietnamese 1911 on the internet. I saved the available photos of it since that time. It is still at the top of my list. I want it!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Old Men as Victims

James Pickett was minding his own business on Saturday, February 9, 2008, when Paul and Holden Perry showed up at his door. They had a knife. "He just came through that door, stabbing and beating," said Pickett. The two criminals may have had plans to kill Pickett. They definitely had plans to injure and rob him.

The 80 year old North Texan had other plans. He had a gun. James Pickett pulled his handgun from a pocket and began to fight for his life. The Perry brothers immediately saw they had misjudged their intended prey. They turned tail and ran like the cowards they were. A bullet barely missed Paul Perry's spine. Paul Perry is in the hospital. Holden Perry is in police custody. Both brothers face assault, burglary and robbery charges. They should be facing attempted murder charges.

"The only problem was I run out of bullets," Picket said.

The news media is making a point to say Pickett is "a WWII veteran, former firefighter and lifelong John Wayne devotee." That is well and good. Criminals should be advised that he is no different from many old men. James Pickett has lived his life, he has lived his life honorably, he despises criminal youth, and he has accepted that he will die. He knows it is not a matter of how we die, but rather how we live. And that is a man you do not want to jack with.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

The KelTec P32

It's better to have a mousegun in your pocket than a cannon back home. No truer words were ever spoken. Several years back when the KelTec P32 had staked it's claim, and KelTec had just introduced the first generation P3AT, I wrote this review on my KelTec P32. Now Ruger has introduced a similar pistol, the Ruger LCP. I still carry my P32 from time to time. It is still reliable. Here's a look back to a review from the time KelTec opened a new avenue in the world of concealed carry.

When I first saw the KelTec P32, I thought it was a cheapo .22 pistol. I asked to see it, thinking some kid might mistake it for a water pistol. Indeed it was about the size and weight of a water pistol (at least the ones I had as a kid). Was I ever surprised to learn that it was a .32ACP. I was also surprised to see it was a locked breech pistol. The feed ramp is integral with the barrel, and the barrel has a hood that both locks into the slide and directs the bullet nose to enhance feed reliabilty. The barrel bushing is integrated into the slide similar to the compact 1911 design. KelTec P32 and Beretta M21AThe barrel is enlarged at the muzzle to lock into battery, but is hourglassed directly behind the muzzle to allow itself to pivot and unlock. The barrel lug is a solid block, with no linkage.

The more I studied it, the more I realized that the P32 was not a miniaturized rehash of another pistol, but a pistol that was designed from the drawing board to be concealed when nothing else could be. All corners are rounded. No sights protrude above the slide. It is snag proof, and if the slide were hard chromed, it would be sweat proof. The P32 is DAO with a trigger pull around 5 pounds. There is no manual safety. The outer grip frame is polymer with an inner frame CNC machined from solid 7075-T6 aluminum. The barrel and slide are 4140 ordnance steel. Frankly, it was more compact than my Beretta M21. My extended index finger reached the muzzle while I gripped the pistol. The P32 came with one Meggar magazine and a pouch. The price was $230.

I was still skeptical, so I went home to research the pistol on the internet. I learned the P32 had a loyal following as well as rabid detractors. Much of my research was done on the KelTec Owner's Group website. It was there that I learned about the fantastic KelTec customer service. Service so good that it should be the industry standard. I thought it was unique that KelTec provided a link to the independent KTOG forum from their own website. Now that is faith in your product and service! KelTec representatives frequently answered questions and addressed problems on the forum. At KTOG I also learned about the fluff and buff. I continued to research the pistol, and the more I read, the more I liked what I saw. I made up my mind. I went back and bought it.

I took my new KelTec P32 home and did a fluff and buff. I lubricated the little shooter and headed to the range where I bought 100 rounds of PMC 71 grain FMJ.

The sights on the KelTec P32 are rudimentary at best, with no projections above the slide. Aiming is accomplished by aligning a white dot on the front of the slide with a white dot on the rear. At 15 feet I was able to group seven shots within three inches. At 20 feet I stayed on a 3X5 index card. For those who would sneer at such accuracy, I would submit that coming from a pistol with next to no sights and a sight radius under four inches, it is pretty good. I had no failures. The plastic checkering on the P32 was pretty abrasive to my hands though.

I took the pistol home, cleaned it, and took some sandpaper to the grips to smooth the checkering a bit. I placed a belt clip, a metal guide rod, and a spare magazine on order from KelTec. Next, I set about trying to find a black pencil eraser to make into a trigger stop. I "installed" the rubber eraser trigger stop with superglue and when the parts arrived from Keltec a couple of days later, I put in the metal guide rod. Supposedly you can drift out the frame pin to install the belt clip. I had to carefully drill it out. I installed the belt clip with the supplied hardware and went back to the range.

Once there, I bought 100 more rounds of PMC 71 grain FMJ ammo. Again the pistol performed flawlessly. The grips were less abrasive, but now the head of the belt clip attaching bolt was eating into my thumb knuckle. I struck some making tape on the knuckle and continued shooting. I later touched up the bolt head with a file and a bit of cold blue. The trigger stop allowed me to stage the trigger, and then add just a bit more pressure to squeeze off the shot. This improved my follow up shot time and accuracy substantially. Again, I had no failures. Later, I also painted the front "sight" red to assist in aiming, although this pistol is a natural point and shooter.

The KelTec P32, and more recently the KelTec P3AT (.380ACP and about the same size, but one less round) are all about function. KelTec P32 Click to enlargeThey are really in a class by themselves. The only mousegun that is even close is the NAA Gaurdian, but it is twice the weight, as well as twice the price. The .32ACP is not a known manstopper by any means, but consider that seven rounds of .32ACP is roughly equivalent to a round of 00 buckshot. This is a deep cover back up gun. It was never designed to be a primary weapon, although a lot of people use it as one, or as a means to get to the larger gun if needed.

The KelTec P32 is the only pistol that I can carry concealed in my scivies. A brave man could probably conceal it at a nudist colony. Many people make wallet holsters for it, and carry it in a front pants pocket. I use the clip to carry mine inside my pants or inside a pocket.

I only have two reservations when recommending the KelTec P32.

#1 The new buyer must understand that the pistol will need to be finished by himself. Consider it a starter kit if you will. A fluff and buff really helps make it reliable out of the box. The price is low, and the design money went into research and development. Be prepared to learn a bit of gunsmithing.

#2 The new buyer must understand the limitations of the .32ACP. I will not carry JHP due to the risk of rim lock. Rim lock can shut down an otherwise reliable .32 pistol. The FMJ round will have better penetration anyway. The new buyer must also understand that this is a last ditch pistol. It is not one to try to intimidate your way out of a confrontation with. The person on the recieving end is very likely to believe it is a toy until they start to leak blood. If you pull it, plan to use it. Of course, that goes for any gun, but especially this one. It has no intimidation factor.

I believe that the KelTec P32 and P3AT are on the cutting edge of handgun design. As such, there have been people who were unhappy with the pistol. Thus far, however, I have yet to see a used one for sale. Even with the new P3AT, it seems as if people are keeping the P32. If I were buying today, I might very well buy the P3AT to get the .380ACP cartridge. I have not felt the need to upgrade from the P32 though. I presently have a bit more than 1000 rounds downrange from this pistol with no failures. It still fills it's BUG role admirably.

Despite the usual criticisms, I am including "Marshall & Sanow's Street Effectiveness Figures for the .32 ACP Cartridge" for comparison.

CorBon is conspicuously absent from the data, as are Gold Dot and other "custom" or +P loads. Kel-Tec states the P-32 will manage +P ammo, but recommends not shooting it excessively. Note too, "one shot drop" statistics for this caliber vary.

Winchester Silvertip JHP 60 gr. rates 970 fps, 125 fpe, 63% drops

Winchester FMJ 71 gr. rates 905 fps, 129 fpe, 50% drops

Magsafe Defender JPF 50 gr. rates 1250 fps, 174 fpe, 57%.

Glaser Safety Slug JPF 50 gr. rates 1065 fps, 126 fpe, and 46%

KelTec P32 Specifications:
Caliber: .32ACP
Weight unloaded 6.6 oz.
Loaded magazine 2.8 oz.
Length 5.1 inches
Height 3.5 inches
Width .75 inches
Barrel 2.7 inches
Sight radius 3.8 inches
Muzzle energy max 200ftlbs
Capacity 7+1 rounds
Trigger pull 5 lbs
MSRP $300
GRP (Get Real Price) $230

P3AT Specifications:
Caliber: .380ACP
Weight unloaded: 7.2 oz
Loaded magazine: 2.8 oz
Length: 5.2 inches
Height: 3.5 inches
Width: .77 inches
Sight radius: 3.8 inches
Muzzle energy max: 250ftlbs
Capacity: 6+1 rounds
Trigger pull: 5 lbs
MSRP $305
GRP $250


Oleg Volk's review of the KelTec P32

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Idiots With Guns

Infamous New Orleans gun confiscator Mayor Ray Nagin and infamous New Orleans gun confiscator and Police Superintendent Warren Riley show off the new hardware purchased for a city severly lacking in governmental and law enforcement software.

My what big guns you have........

All the better to snatch your guns with.........

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy St. Valentine's Day

I am a very fortunate man. In so many ways, my life began with you. Each day I thank God it did. I love you.


The engraved Muskogee Chief of Police Colt 1911 I admired here is up for auction here. No reserve. If I were a bidding man.......

Auction closed at $2,136.00


Pawn Shop Circuit: The Neos

After work today, I made a quick trip over to Kenny's pawn shop to see what was on the shelf. Kenny was turning a brisk business in jewelry, he had five men at his jewelry counter. I strolled over to the gun counter to see what was up for grabs. The handgun shelves were empty except for a Beretta Neos. Kenny also had a Winchester 1894on the shelves that looked like it might be an older one. I couldn't tell from across the counter. Kenny was tied up with the line of customers buying a last ditch present for their valentines.

I don't know to much about the Beretta Neos .22 pistol, except that it is of fairly recent manufacture, and it looks like a toy to me. Kenny had it priced at $179. That was attractive. I stared at it a bit through the glass. I thought about all the .22 handguns I already own. I never owned a Neos, and it was rather spacey looking in a Buck Rogers sort of way. A couple of Kenny's jewelry customers walked out, a couple more walked in and began browsing. I did not know how reliable or accurate the Neos might be, but I remember owners raving about them when they were new. Of course folks do that anyway when they buy the latest firearm. I did not know if the price was good, although, if it had been a Ruger MKII, I might have bought it.

I left Kenny's shop empty handed and went to get my valentine some roses and chocolate.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On Call

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

DEM L316

Are these two supernova shells related? To help find out, the 8-meter Gemini Telescope located high atop a mountain in Chile was pointed at the unusual, huge, double-lobed cloud dubbed DEM L316. Click to enlargeThe resulting image, shown above, yields tremendous detail. Inspection of the image as well as data taken by the orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory indicate how different the two supernova remnants are. In particular, the smaller shell appears to be the result of Type Ia supernova where a white dwarf exploded, while the larger shell appears to be the result of a Type II supernova where a massive normal star exploded. Since those two stellar types evolve on such different time scales, they likely did not form together and so are likely not physically associated. Considering also that no evidence exists that the shells are colliding, the two shells are now hypothesized to be superposed by chance. DEM L316 lies about 160,000 light years away in the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) galaxy, spans about 140 light-years across, and appears toward the southern constellation of the Swordfish (Dorado).

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Yet Another Positive CCW Story!

More Women Pack Heat

These days, Kirby Bunch packs more than credit cards in her purse. Bunch carries a gun. In an age of increased awareness about violence, it makes her feel powerful. "The first time I shot a gun was in February. I was a practicing at a firing range and I felt empowered when I held it in my hand and fired," said Bunch, 24, of Canton Township, who added her father was a military man so she was always familiar with guns. "In that instant, I knew carrying a gun was something I wanted to do. I decided to get a personal weapon because of all the craziness going on today. My mother has been armed for many years and because of the times, it's more of a necessity."

Bunch has plenty of company who are locked, loaded and ready to fire. Cicely Howze of Livonia practices her hand position and the pressure needed to pull the revolver's trigger as instructor Cpl. Jim Combs of the Wayne County Sheriff's Office talks her through it during a women-only permit class at a shooting range in Westland. (Bryan Mitchell / Special to The Detroit News)Fueled by crime fears and fading stereotypes about gun owners, she and other women increasingly are opting to carry concealed weapons six years after Michigan reformed laws making it easier to do so. Permit applications have steadily declined among men after a surge in the first two years the law changed. They fell for years among women as well, but are rising again. Women may set a record for statewide applications this year, and they're flooding ranges and prompting Wayne County and other training facilities to host "women-only" permit classes.

Bunch and other women remain the vast majority of the state's 150,000 who legally carry concealed weapons, but their ranks have jumped from 10 percent of permit-holders in 2001 to 17 percent this year. Women are on pace to receive nearly 4,100 permits this year, close to double that in 2003. Some carrying weapons say their motives aren't mysterious: Just read the news.

Detroit last week was named the most violent community in the nation, according to rankings from FBI statistics that city officials vigorously dispute. Some suburbs, such as Troy, Livonia and Sterling Heights, routinely rank as among the nation's safest. "After being bombarded with pictures of women being assaulted and raped, I said now is the time," said Noelle Dobbs, 37, of St. Clair Shores, who recently applied for a permit. She's sharpening her skills and bonding with her father during weekly shoots at Target Sports in Royal Oak. "Coming here and hearing the story of some of these women, drug dealers coming in and people intimidated them makes me want to protect myself," Dobbs said.

Jerry Wrage echoed the sentiment. The owner of Handgun, Shotgun and Training Specialist in Rochester Hills said business increases when crime -- or perceptions -- rise. Nurse Debbie Saari, 52, of Commerce Township listens to firearms instructor Cpl. Kirk Traczynski during a women-only permit class. Debbie Saari, 52, grew up with guns and hunting. Her father, Richard Totten, died in 2000 and left her a Colt .357 Magnum. It was locked away until she took a concealed weapons permit class this fall offered by Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans.

Now, the nurse and real estate agent said she's "hooked" and practicing regularly at ranges. Her permit should arrive soon. "It's the increase in crime and in the bigger picture, with everything going on with terrorism and politics, we need to all take advantage of our constitutional rights," Saari said. "If more people took advantage of their rights, we'd all be better off."

Others argue public sentiments about guns are slowly changing from an exclusively male domain. In the past 20 years, gun manufacturers have changed designs and make smaller firearms that fit easily into purses -- and they're advertising directly to women, according advocates on both sides of the issue.

Nationwide, Americans own more than 200 million firearms, more than 60 million of which are handguns, according to the National Institute of Justice. Figures vary widely about the gender breakdown of ownership, but federal statistics claim 9 percent of women own guns. "It's becoming more socially acceptable," said Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel.

Brian Anse Patrick, a professor at the University of Toledo who studies gun culture, said the reforms on carrying concealed weapons helped change attitudes in part by bringing the issue into the mainstream. Before the law changed, Michigan counties had their own boards whose standards for approval varied.

Click to enlarge"Before the CCW laws were liberalized, the people getting trained traditionally in gun culture were the old white guys," Patrick said. "But after (2001) women said, 'I am a woman and at risk and it's a pretty sensible thing to do.'"

Just ask Laura Herfy. "Being a young female in this day and age, it's great thing to have. You can carry a .22 caliber in your purse," said Herfy, 25, of Troy, who got her CCW permit three years ago. "Before I was pretty frightened, but now I train males on how to shoot. It's something I learned to love. Some people run or jog to relieve stress. I come to the shooting range."

To meet the growing demand, the Firing Line in Westland offers a women's night at least once a month. There is normally a waiting list, and at least 30 show up each night, said Larry Sullivan, a retired police officer who works at the facility. "Few women feel comfortable with a guy showing them how to shoot," Sullivan said. "A lot of the women come and become better shooters than their husbands. Others want to defend themselves."

Other gun ranges report a surge in female customers, including Target Sports in Royal Oak, which has about 100 women at the range each week, general manager Ray Jay said. In Wayne County, a jump from about 200 annual applications a few years ago to nearly 1,000 caused Evans, the sheriff, to host a women-only permit class. Originally only two were planned. But when 150 women showed up, the sheriff offered six classes. "That kind of struck us as being significant," Evans said. "Some of the feedback is that they love the class but it would be nice to have it where women can be in their own peer group, because some women have never been around a gun. Generally a lot of them are women who are out alone at night and they just want to feel like they have that level of protection. There are also a lot of single moms who feel it is important to protect their family and their kids in that regard."

Darren A. Nichols and Iveory Perkins / The Detroit News

It looks like we are winning the public perception problem!
Thank you Darren and Iveory!

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The Rock Island Armory 1911

Interested in acquiring and shooting a 1911 but on a budget? I have not personally shot a Rock Island Armory 1911, but Syd has. He did not intend to like the pistol. After shooting the pistol though, Syd came to this conclusion.
"Well, there’s price, price and did I mention price? For the money, I think this gun is an excellent value. The Rock Island Armory M1911A1 would be an excellent “first gun” for someone who wants to try out the M1911 platform without over-committing resources. Based on my testing so far, it has the reliability and accuracy to serve in the personal defense role. It might be able to go places with you where you wouldn’t want to take the “safe queens.” And, by the way, I still haven’t cleaned and lubed it, and it’s still running fine."
I still have not shot a RIA 1911, and with my stable overflowing with this type of pistol, I don't forsee purchasing one. If a man is wanting to try the platform on a budget though, I trust Syd's recommendation. Here's more.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another CCW Class Presented Positively

Firearms safety course aims to educate

Guns are evil.

That's the myth Don Cole has been trying to dispel, one student at a time. Instead, it's the person behind the weapon that matters, Cole said. "That's what I'm trying to get people to understand," he said. "This is not the deadly item everybody thinks it is."

A certified gunsmith and firearms instructor, Cole has been in business in Sandusky since 1984. "Firearms themselves don't hurt anybody," he said. "It takes someone to pick it up and use it." Cole teaches a Conceal Carry Weapon class, which is required to obtain a CCW license.

After completing the 12-hour class, participants receive a certificate. Then, if they choose to apply for a license, they can take a copy of the certificate to the sheriff's office along with a photo, application for a license and $55. "I'm here to teach you how to be safe. I'm not here to force this lifestyle on anyone," Cole said. "If you choose to get a Conceal Carry Weapon license, that's up to you."

Throughout the class Cole not only addresses how to use a firearm, but a variety of safety issues that come along with that responsibility. The course consists of 10 hours of in-house training and two hours at a shooting range. Cole goes over how to fire a gun, the different types of guns, proper handling and transportation.

The reasons why someone may want a conceal carry license are not limited to personal protection. They also include hunting, competitive and recreational shooting and collecting. "I know people that have a lot of firearms; I don't think they've ever shot them," Cole said. Those who take a firearms safety class are usually not the ones committing crimes, he said.

During the course Cole tries to have a lawyer and a police officer speak to participants about the legal ramifications they may encounter when carrying a firearm. Stu Lippe, a lawyer who practices in Cleveland, advises participants of their rights when carrying a gun and also what the law says about firearms. "The criminals don't go to the store and register and buy a gun legally," Lippe said. "Nobody's going to go through the permit class and go out there and shoot up everybody." Thirty-five states allow gun carrying permits, he said. In Ohio alone there are about 43,000 registered permit holders.

"Until the middle of 2007 not one of them had committed a crime," Lippe said, trying to dispel the myth that conceal carry holders are criminals. Class participants are also made aware of the restrictions that come with trying to carry a gun on someone's person. Government buildings and some local businesses strictly prohibit firearms.

The two major causes of firearm accidents are ignorance and carelessness, said Cole, a Pennsylvania Gunsmith School graduate. But in reality, states that have conceal carry laws tend to have lower crime rates, Cole said. That's one reason Scott Leiter of Clyde was prompted to take the course. "I just did it for a multitude of reasons. One was because of our right to carry arms," he said. "A lot of places that have higher registrations with conceal carry have lower crime rates, too."

Doing heating and air conditioning work on the side, Leiter said having a conceal carry license could prove beneficial when going to jobs. "I have a vehicle with a lot of tools in it and everything else," he said. "If I was in the wrong neighborhood ... I could be made a victim, too."

An avid firearm carrier, Cole said he has never had to fire a weapon in self-defense. "I don't want to see anyone ever have to shoot someone," Cole said. "What I'm trying to teach you here is to be proactive, not reactive."

By Holly Abrams, Sandusky Register

If you haven't gotten your CCW permit, find a class today. Thank you Holly!


Ugly Gun Sunday

Click to enlargeNecessity is the mother of invention, and guerilla warfare is warfare of dire necessity. Here is an assault compact rifle of unknown caliber forged in the fires of a guerilla war. It makes one wonder if it would be the first bolt action rifle affected by legislation in the United States.


Saturday, February 09, 2008


Matt discusses how to uglify your bike as a theft preventitive technique. Here, Bren has some tips.

If you have ever worried that your pride & joy would be gone after you locked it up and walked away, Here's how to make bike thieves puke as they walk by.


Teaching a Dog to Ride a Bike

Teaching your dog to run alongside you while riding your bicycle provides you with an ever ready riding partner, and it also ensures your partner gets adequate exercise, especially if your pooch is a high energy dog like a German Shepherd. Click to enlargeI began training Ilsa to run alongside my bike when she was brand new to our family. We taught each other as we went along, and she is now an accomplished biker dog.

To successfully train a dog to be a biking partner, you need to first start out with the right dog. The dog must be of a breed or mix that demands exercise. They should have a mind for work, and a pack instinct. Your dog must trust you, and you must trust your dog. As soon as the puppy is able to keep up is the time to start training. The bicyle itself must be a large, stable bike. A cruiser style bike works best. Mountain bikes and road bikes tend to have a rake and a riding position that makes them less stable. Springer attachments bolted onto your bicycle are unnecessary, and take away from the bond formed by training the dog to stay focused on a mutual task with his master. The key is to train the animal, not to depend on a mechanical crutch.

The leash used should be a six foot leather type, strong enough to control the dog. Place the loop around your right bicep, and drape about half the leash between your upper arm and the right hand, holding it between the handgrip of the bicycle and your hand. Do not loop it, and do not attach it to the bike. Click to enlarge Secured in this manner, the leash can give you a couple of split seconds of time should the dog lunge after a squirrel without causing you to lose control of the bike.

A chain style training collar works best, as it gives the animal constant feedback and helps them maintain proper distancing from the bike. Far from being cruel, a training collar provides a nudge at the dog's neck, correcting their behavior in the same manner that dogs correct each other by nipping at a misbehaving dog's neck. The collar ring connected to the leash goes over the back of the dog's neck, not underneath. Connected in this manner, a training collar allows a quick tug and release action instead of steady pulling and choking. The tug and release tells the pet a different behavior is desired. Chain training collars should only be worn during training sessions, never in a crate or when the animal is unattended. They should be avoided in dogs with delicate throats, such as Yorkshire Terriers.

Used correctly over time, the dog realizes that the training collar means good things, great experiences, and an opportunity to go have fun working with their master. It is best to train the animal to walk on a leash with the training collar prior to attempting biking. The dog needs to learn to maintain consistent spacing, and to stay alert and focused for potential commands. I have found that a vest is an additional behavior modifier that tells Ilsa it is time to get serious, and fall in line. The reflective strip on her vest provides safety for her, as well as me at night. She looks forward to donning her vest and chain collar. Click to enlargeA bell on your handlebars is a great tool to regain the running animal's attention if they become distracted by cats or other dogs.

Traditional training of dogs involves having the animal walk on the owner's left side. I found that this does not work as well when bicycling. It places the animal between the bike and traffic, making them feel more vulnerable, or in some cases, causing them to revert to their instincts to give chase. I do not want the dog to chase automobiles as they pass! As soon as I saw Ilsa had potential to be a biking partner, I began to train her to walk and run alongside my bike on my right side. It won't gain her points in the show ring, but it certainly makes her feel less vulnerable, and it gives her a view of what's going on to her right as we travel.

Proper socializing of your dog will give them the composure they need to stay on task as other dogs bark at them from behind fences, as cats dart across your path, and as you pass by walkers and joggers. I always ring my bell when overtaking someone on foot. With a dog alongside me, I have much less chance of avoiding an accident if they are unaware of my approach from behind.

When Ilsa and I begin riding, she usually wants to lead, and will run alongside my front wheel. She quickly learned to respect the front wheel and pay attention to it so she would know which way we would be turning. At this point, she requires no commands or corrections to continue beside me as I change course. She learned that lesson at the school of hard knocks, and she learned it well. Click to enlargeWe maintain a spacing of approximately two feet, which allows her to run on the asphalt, and prevents me from obstructing traffic too greatly. As she tires, she will drop back to my sprocket, but quickly resumes her place if I ring the bell. I try to keep my pace the same as her's, adjusting to my four footed friend's needs as she requires.

Riding with a dog is not without dangers. There is always the possibility of an accident with an automobile. We try to minimize that risk by riding at times and places of little traffic. Loose aggressive dogs are a potential problem, as a transient dog and a bicycle are irresistable bait. I carry pepper spray for that possibility. Each time, thus far, keeping a steady pace out of their territory has prevented any untoward aggression from loose dogs. Bicycling is a wonderful pastime replete with aerobic exercise and other benefits. Being able to share it with your four legged friend will bring great pleasure and benefit to them as well.

Update on Leash Routing

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