A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Black Devil

I went to the hospital early this morning to knock out the last two elective cases on the calendar. All other elective cases are on standby, emergent stuff only. There are three official evacuation shelters in my area, and they were filling up at six this morning. By the time I stripped off my surgical scrubs around 11:00, they were all full to overflowing, and people were feigning heart problems and other assorted ailments so they could get themselves and their families into the hospital. This is one time I am thankful I do not work emergency anymore*.

Once home, I began to take inventory of all the items my wife had purchased the past couple of days. Fifteen days worth of toilet paper.....Check. Beaucoup canned goods..........Check. Cigars.........Check. Distilled water to keep the saltwater tanks at a correct salinity for the fishies........Check.

Getting a generator at this late date is a lost cause. Instead, I am going to rely on minnow bucket aerators to keep the tanks going if need be. The neighborhood is full of live oaks that shed limbs on power lines without discrimination. If we lose power though, I don't expect it to last more than a day or two. Judicious use of battery power will more than cover the fish, I believe. Food, water, toilet paper, a crank 'em up radio, buckshot, and a good charge on the cell phone, and I should be good.

Of greater concern is the additional people who are out and about. Last night, as my wife slept and as I was publishing the "Locking and Loading" piece, Ilsa was asleep at my feet. Suddenly she perked up, jerked up, and sauntered to the front of the house with a purpose. That's not unusual, really, she usually inspects things and comes back to snooze some more.

This time was different. I heard her snort at the front door, and suddenly start barking with determination. I placed the nearest loaded gun at hand, a nickel Model 10 snubbie into my pocket and went to see what was the matter.

Ilsa was not giving up. I placed her leather quick leash over her head and without turning on the porch light, I took a look through the peephole. Nothing. Ilsa was insistent, still barking, and snarling gutteral growls.

I quickly opened the front door and Ilsa lunged forward on the leash, white teeth flashing and barking into the darkness. Two dark figures bolted away from my wife's car, shouting "Diablo! Diablo!" In a flurry of feet they were down the street, without looking back. Ilsa strained at her leash, standing up on her hind legs to get at them. To calm her down, I took her around to the areas where they had been, and let her urinate on all the spots she wanted. My wife's car was still secured. After that, the night was quiet.

*Scratch that....... In the middle of typing this post, I got called back to the hospital because of some jughead in the convention center.

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"I was just thinking, this Gustav is proof that there is a God in heaven. To just have it ... planned at the same time, that it would actually be on its way to New Orleans for Day One of the Republican convention, up in the Twin Cities, at the top of the Mississippi River."----Michael Moore
Michael Moore thinks God is playing a joke on the Republican party.

Let's wait for the dead to die before we dance on their graves, OK?


Ugly Gun Sunday

Not really an ugly gun, just an ugly reminder of what can happen if you don't take them with you. If you are leaving the Gulf Coast, take your guns with you.



The routes out of NOLA went to contraflow at 4:00 AM. this morning. Camera of I-10 at Power Blvd

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
This is the 2008 contraflow map out of New Orleans. Click to embigginate as needed.

Estimated evacuation drive times from New Orleans to: Click to go to other highway cameras
Alexandria-- 16 hours
Baton Rouge-- 8 hours
Lafayette-- 8 hours
Lake Charles-- 16 hours
Shreveport-- 20 hours
Hattiesburg-- 8 hours
Jackson 24-- hours
Meridian-- 16 hours
Travel time during an evacuation is four times longer than in normal conditions.
Click the photo at right to go to other traffic cameras.

State Emergency Alert Broadcasting System

Greater New Orleans WWL 870 AM & WLMG 101.9 FM
Baton Rouge WJBO 1150 AM & WFMF 102.5 FM
Lafayette KVOL 1330 AM & KTDY 99.9 FM
Lake Charles KLCL 1470 AM & KHLA 99.5 FM
Shreveport KWKH 1130 AM & 94.5 FM
Alexandria KZMZ 580 AM & 96.9 FM
Monroe KNOX 540 AM & 101.9 FM

Download the 2008 Louisiana Citizen Awareness & Disaster Evacuation Guide (pdf)


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Locking and Loading

Gun, ammo sales are brisk ahead of storm
By Chris Kirkham Times Picayune
Saturday, August 30, 2008

On what would normally be a slow summer weekday, the three employees at Gretna Gun Works Inc. frantically tended to a crush of customers admiring the racks of shotguns and rifles lined up behind the glass counter.

Among the patrons: a jewelry store owner from eastern New Orleans with plans to stand guard through Gustav; two uniformed Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office deputies inquiring about additional firearms; and an avid hunter who was in to pick up a 12-gauge he dropped off for cleaning. "It's hurricane season, you definitely want it back now, right?" employee John DeRosier said with a grin as he handed the Beretta shotgun back to the owner.

In yet another sign of hardened sensibilities in post-Katrina New Orleans, managers of gun shops and sporting goods stores across the area report a spike in gun and ammunition sales this week. As Gustav inches closer to the Gulf of Mexico, the stark images of looting and chaos in Katrina's wake remain fresh on residents' minds. Fears of property damage after a frustrating, three-year rebuilding process have some considering staying behind and taking security into their own hands.

Firefighters and other emergency personnel required to stay behind are among the more frequent customers, store managers said. "I just don't think people want to be caught with their pants down," said Robby Lack of Destrehan, who was walking out of an Academy sporting goods store this week with ammunition for the shotgun and two pistols he owns, along with gasoline containers and other hurricane supplies.

Lack plans to stay behind unless Gustav strengthens to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane, although he's quick to admit that his quiet suburban subdivision likely won't see much crime. "I'm not one of those crazy kind of people that think we're going to be at war with ourselves, but you just never know," Lack said. "I have all the faith in the world in our law enforcement, but they can't be at every place at every time."

Charlie Marshall, a towboat captain who plans to watch over his home in Gretna, had a bleaker view of local law enforcement abilities. "If the cops are looting, who's going to protect my ass?" he asked.

After Katrina, some police officers were spotted taking basic supplies from stores, and, in isolated cases, items that didn't appear necessary for survival. Though frustrated after having his purchase of a .22-caliber rifle delayed by a routine background check, Marshall still had several boxes of bullets and buckshot for his shotgun and 9 mm pistol. "Any man that doesn't stand up to protect their own assets doesn't deserve to be here," he said.

The right to bear arms became a flash point of controversy after Katrina, when police officers seized guns from civilians. The outcry from Second Amendment activists led more than a dozen states -- including Louisiana -- to pass laws restricting local officials from confiscating firearms during disasters.

Louisiana requires a concealed-handgun license, but no permits for other guns purchased in the state. Before selling a gun, dealers in the state are required to run the purchaser's name through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check system. Within seconds, the system tells dealers whether the person can purchase a gun, or if more information is needed. The FBI collects those inquiries on a statewide basis, so no data for the New Orleans area was available. This month, there have been 16,968 inquiries throughout the state, compared with 17,062 for August 2007.

Corporate spokeswomen at both Academy Sports and Outdoors and Wal-Mart declined to comment on the rate of firearms or ammunition purchases this week. But traffic through the ammunition aisles at the West Bank Academy was brisk, and lines at the gun counter remained steady this week. Kevin Griffin, a manager at the Jefferson Gun Outlet in Metairie, said crowds in the store this week resembled the first day of hunting season. Even though the storm's path is still up in the air, residents are buying ammunition just like necessities such as batteries and water, he said. "It's just like any other hurricane supply," Griffin said. "People are getting ready."

Inside the dimly lit, wood-paneled Gretna Gun Works, a 60-year-old mainstay for new and antique firearms near the Gretna riverfront, workers have seen nearly a twofold increase in business this week. A black-and-white framed photo of former Sheriff Harry Lee, surrounded by two stuffed pheasants, looked down on the store workers as they enjoyed a rare pause in business. DeRosier stood in front of a bumper sticker that read, "Gun control means using both hands," as he matter-of-factly gave his analysis of looting after Katrina. "They didn't break in where the people had shotguns," he said.

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A Humble Request

Clean out your freezers.


Getting Ready........

Things are about to get real busy for old Xavier in the next few days. Blogging will be sporadic, if at all.

If you live on the Gulf Coast and are just waiting and wondering, I urge you to spend a little time at Listening to Katrina. Instead of sitting like a dazed zombie before the weather channel, use this time wisely.


Friday, August 29, 2008

You Got Me.

I don't usually discuss politics on this blog. There are plenty of blogs for that. I like to consider my humble offering an oasis from the shrill harping of politics. This November held an unavoidable issue though.

I had two damned good reasons not to vote for the Obama/Biden ticket. Gun control and socialized medicine. The reasons for voting against Obama were clear, but even more clear with Biden on the ticket. As a Navy man, I had my leanings, but I lacked a reason to vote for McCain.

That's over. Sarah Palin. Governor of Alaska, on the ticket as VP. The choice between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin is crystal clear. I have a reason to vote for McCain now.

I came home from work today with Gustav on my mind. Thoughts of evacuees filling the hospital, and the need to provide critical medical and nursing support. I am on call for the usual emergencies this weekend, and on standby for evacuation support, but it is difficult not to raise a glass in support of this decision.


Yep, It's Coming.......

We are getting prepared to accept the first wave of evacuees this weekend. Louisiana has already declared a State of Emergency and has mobilzed the National Guard.

As of this time, forecasts show Gustav approaching New Orleans as a Category 3 hurricane by Labor Day.

Forget about the levees guys........


Thursday, August 28, 2008

1911 Sizes

I got away from the hospital around noon today After biking home, I realized I had time to go to the range. Click to enlargeI packed up a menagerie of firearms, and then realized that all I had was the 1911 platform. No matter, suits me.

It was hot and humid at the range. Even though Gustav is still near Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, the humidity can already be felt in North Louisiana. That's going to be a bad one, and it looks like it's planning to check Bobby Jindal's resolve. At the hospital, we are already planning to take in evacuees from down South.

I shot OK, but the heat was getting to me. As I was waiting out a target swap, talking to another shooter, I realized that I had the means of demonstrating the different 1911 sizes right before me. I waited around until everyone had left except myself and another shooter I knew. Then I broke out the camera. The 1911 comes in three basic popular versions, the Government, the Commander, and the Officers. If you have ever wondered just what those names mean, but were afraid to ask, here we go.

The Government Model

The Government Model is the original size of the 1911, as mandated by US Army stipulations for the M1911 and in 1924, upgraded to the M1911A1. When the pistol was placed into commercial production, it was simply called the Government Model. It has a five inch barrel, and a full sized grip that carries a single stack seven round magazine, or an eight round magazine of modern design. Click to enlargeThe Government Model is the timeless 1911, the one most people think of when old slabsides is mentioned.

The "Gubmint" is a balanced handgun with an optimal ratio of grip length to slide length. It shoots easily, transmitting a push like recoil to the shooter's hands. The full sized 1911 was meant to be a pistol carried on the hip. It can be concealed rather easily due to it's slim profile. Many find that the longer slide helps keep the butt of the gun tucked into the kidney region, making it disappear underneath a jacket.

Virtually every manufacturer of 1911s makes a Government Model. It is the standard by which other 1911s are judged. It comes in target sighted versions, fixed sighted versions, and almost any permutation a buyer could imagine. Springfield calls their version the "Full Size." Kimber does not have a specific designation, nor do other manufacturers, except Colt, who still uses the term Government Model. The Government Model just is.

The Commander

The Commander was introduced in 1952 by Colt. It has a four and a quarter inch barrel, and a full size grip. The original Colt commanders had an aluminum grip frame. They were chambered in .45 ACP, 9mm, and .38 Super. In 1970, Colt introduced the Combat Commander, which was basically the same pistol, but with a forged steel frame.

Because the Commander has a full sized grip frame, it shares grips, magazines, mainspring housings and grip safeties with the Government Model. Click to enlargeAll parts with the exception of the barrels, slides bushings and recoil springs, plugs and guides swap out between the two. Although on a quick inspection, it appears a Commander slide can be placed on a Government Model frame to convert the gun, the dust cover of the Commander frame is shorter to correspond with the shorter slide. The slide will fit, but the dustcover will be too long. If the reverse swap is done, the recoil spring will be exposed.

The Commander was originally designed to be a lighter pistol of military issue for officers, but the military never proceeded with the idea. Instead, Colt pushed the Commander into commercial production, and one of the finest carry guns ever designed was born. The Commander carries extremely well, with all the favorable aspects of the Government Model, with less weight and more importantly, a shorter slide/barrel combination that makes sitting with the pistol on your hip effortless. Many shooters find the Commander to be quicker out of the holster and on the target.

The Commander has a bit more snap to the recoil than the Government Model, but the recoil is not excessive. Springfield calls their version the Champion, Kimber calls their's the Pro. Kimber's version is an even four inches.

The Officer's Model

The most diminutive of the 1911 pistols is frequently called the Officer's ACP or "Officer's Model." The original Officer's ACP was introduced in 1967 with a three and a half inch barrel, and an attenuated grip frame housing a six round magazine. Click to enlargeSubsequent versions would have the barrel length trimmed even more, to three inches total.

Because the grip frame is of a different length, the Officer's Model uses it's own magazine and grips. It has it's own mainspring housing. The grip safety thumb safety and fire control parts are the same as that of other 1911s, however. Many of the three inch 1911s have proprietary parts that do not swap over to other pistols, even those 1911s of similar size. To achieve a functional pistol of this size, each manufacturer had to incorporate their own tricks, and the parts interchangeability reflects that. Also, as the barrel length falls below the Commander's length, the timing of the recoil cycle is altered and the reliability becomes more hit and miss. Some versions will be reliable, others will not.

Springfield calls their little 1911 a Micro or an Ultra, while Kimber designates it the Ultra. Colt's version is the Officer's ACP, the Compact or the Series 90. Each manufacturer has had varying degrees of success with the mini 1911s, but it seems as though Colt has discovered the right formula in the Series 90. The smallest 1911s are concealed carry guns meant for dep concealment. They have a recoil impulse that can be too stiff for some shooters. Many have lightweight frames to enhance carry, and this, too, increases perceived recoil. They are not pistols to acquaint a new shooter with the 1911 or the .45 ACP.


There are other combinations and lengths of the 1911, although they are not as pervasive. Click to enlargeOf note is the six inch "Long Slide," and the Colt CCO, a combination of a Colt Commander slide on an Officer's frame. The three size combinations here are the most common though. Each decrease in barrel length shares common characteristics, benefits and detriments.

If a person new to the 1911 were asking which pistol to buy, my first advice would be a Government Model. If they were planning on carrying the pistol concealed, I would suggest a Commander, with the caveat that they should learn the 1911 platform well first. Only when they are familiar with the pistol, and only if they need a gun that can be deeply concealed would I suggest the smaller pistols.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bicycle Attacks

These kind of stories hit home to a bike commuter:
May 16, 2008, The Seattle Times:
The recent mugging of a man who was riding his bicycle through the Interstate 90 Mount Baker Tunnel has prompted police and the Cascade Bicycle Club to urge bicyclists to always be aware of their surroundings and travel with others.

Bob Cornwell was pedalling home from work through the Mount Baker Tunnel last week when he was attacked by three teenagers who knocked him off his bike, slammed him against a wall and stole his wallet, money and bike bag. The Seattle University professor said he was lucky to escape with only a few bumps and bruises. Initially, he didn't want to report the incident to police. "I didn't want to make a big thing of it," he said.

But a colleague and fellow member of the Cascade Bicycle Club encouraged him to call police, and warned others of the May 7 assault through a posting on the club's message board. The posting was forwarded through the local biking community. According to a police report, the strong-arm robbery occurred shortly before 5 p.m. near the entrance of the tunnel from Sam Smith Park, on the lid of I-90 at Martin Luther King Jr. Way South.
As a group of people, bicycle commuters are used to enduring the scorn of drivers, often having curses and even trash hurled at them as they pedal down the street. With the increase of people taking to pedal power, a more significant crime is certain to increase, however. Muggings of cyclists will no doubt increase both in frequency and severity.

To decrease the likelihood of being victimized, it is imperative that the cyclist understand the motives for these attacks. A cyclist may be attacked through road rage, as juvenile entertainment, or in a strong arm robbery attempt. Only rarely is there a personal vendetta.

Criminals do not attack randomly. They select victims after formulating a plan. Frequently it is a plan that has worked for them in the past. They set up an ambush site and wait for a likely target. The victim may have been chosen beforehand, or the victim may be an unwitting target of opportunity.

If you are targeted before hand, the attack will likely come as you have your back turned, kneeling down and your attention taken by the task of locking or unlocking your bike. Situational awareness is crucial at this time. Choose a well lit area with frequent passersby to mitigate the risks. Scan the areas for loiterers. Have an alternate site to lock up at if conditions do not seem safe at the primary spot. By locking up where you are secure, the bonus will be your bicycle secured in a more theft resistant location.

Attacks can occur while riding as well. It is difficult for a cyclist to divide his attention between the traffic around him and the potential threats that lurk between parked cars. Get the iPod out of your ears. Listen to what is going on around you. Watch the movements on the sidewalks, as well as the traffic ahead of you. A cyclist can be brought to an abrupt stop with a broomstick jammed into the spokes of his bike. After getting up from the pavement battered, he will be quickly beat down again in a robbery attempt. Cyclists can be tackled from the side, clotheslined from the front, or beaten across the back with bludgeons. The key to surviving such an attack is to recognize it in it's infancy and avoiding it all together. It will originate from the sidewalks as you approach. Avoidance of attacks and the potential confrontations that may precede an attack is crucial. If the cyclist is brought down while riding, he will be forced to defend himself while already injured.

The bicyclist has the advantage of speed. If speed and maneuverability are combined with situational awareness to keep distance between potential attackers and the cyclist, evasion is academic. Knowing how to bunny hop curbs, how to maneuver through traffic, how to use traffic as a screen and how to evade approach without getting smacked by an automobile are all tools in avoiding an attack from street thugs.

Of greater importance is having several routes that can be taken, both to eliminate patterns and also to escape an attack. Territorial disputes between gangs and road rage from drivers demand that the cyclist use his knowledge of the areas traveled to take the path of least resistance. It is far better to take an extra four or five blocks pedaling than accept twelve hours on the pokey and a court date, much less an endotracheal tube and a ventilator for support. Avoid conflicts and altercations. Ride where your attackers cannot go. If you must pass through an area or situation, keep to the center of the streets. Force any attacker who may be on foot to enter the street to get to you. Be willing to pedal through stop lights if a safe opportunity presents itself. The key, after avoidance, is to keep moving but know when you must stop and defend. Maneuver around those who try to stop you. If, regardless of your efforts, you can not avoid contact, get your feet on the ground and your hands off the handlebars. You do not want to have to physically defend yourself immediately after taking a fall from your bike at speed.

If a cyclist is unable to avoid conflict, and is brought down by force, he will be fighting while already injured. His helmet and gloves will take on new importance in allowing him to avoid significant injury so that he might fight for his life if need be. If one must fight, knowing how to fight with non-traditional weapons is beneficial. Do not use a bike as a weapon, it's too unwieldy. Carry a U-lock, it's a great defensive weapon, as is a bike mounted tire pump. I solidly recommend Marc MacYoung's Guide To Improvised Weapons For Self-Defense for learning how to use a U-lock or a tire pump to best effect. Get the backpack off your back and into a basket on the bike. One reason I do not wear a backpack is I do not want it strapped to me if I am forced to defend myself.

Pepper spray is an effective non-lethal weapon. I currently carry Fox Lab's Mean Green spray with a cone nozzle. The cone gives me the advantage of being able to spray predatory humans and aggressive dogs on the fly if need be. I carry it in a clip on holster secured on the bike's basket behind me. Carried there, it cannot spray me in an accident, yet it is readily available for dogs of all types. If the cyclist has a CCW license, a firearm can be carried in a fanny pack, in a belly band, or even in a converted knee brace. Lycra riding clothes are generally out if a person wants to conceal a firearm. I have found pocket carry (one of my preferred modes of carry) to be too risky on a bicycle, unless the pocket has a zipper to close it. Smith & Wesson J frame revolvers and the KelTec P32 make good portable biking firearms.

If you are going to carry a firearm on your bicycle, it is imperative that you train with it. Train with it on your bike. Learn how to take a fall, how to keep your bike between you and your target, and how to get hits from the ground, wearing your cycling gloves. Find a range that will allow you to practice, or if that is impossible, practice the maneuvers through dry fire in your garage. Being able to draw safely and shoot quickly and safely from your back with your lower body towards the target is crucial. If you have the opportunity to observe bicycle police training, learn all you can from watching them.

Finally, if you are assaulted on your bicycle, report the crime. Carry your cell phone. Do not fall victim to the embarrassment that Bob Cornwell felt. You were victimized, and it was not your fault. If you were forced to employ pepper spray or a firearm, or even if the presence of the device deterred the attack, report the attack. You do not want your attacker reporting you as a crazy person threatening them with a weapon.

Roughstuff´s Guide to Cycling the World´s Dangerous Places

Commuter Self-Defense…For Real This Time

Then again......Bike Kwon Do.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Flying Pigeon

David has penned a review of The Flying Pigeon at Bikes For The Rest Of Us.
"You should never, I repeat, you should NEVER wear lycra, or "cycling clothing" while riding a Flying Pigeon. The full chaincase should be a good indication that business attire is welcome on board, as are bell bottoms, and palazzo pants, whatever those are."
I like the double bar black version myself, with a Brooks style saddle, of course.

Imported and sold by Flying Pigeon NYC.


Bicycle Repair Man

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wet Armadillos

The remnants of tropical storm Fay had drenched the streets before I left work for home this afternoon. Thankfully, the precipitation had dwindled to a minimum, but the streets still glistened with an iridescent coating of water and oil.

I had been cautioned that the Specialized Nimbus Armadillo tires I had mounted on the commuter bike might not perform too well on slick streets. I was eager to try them out, so I put on my gloves and began to search out puddles and manhole covers on the way home.

I pedaled at my usual pace, not a speed demon pace by any means, but still a notch above a relaxed spin. I hesitate to estimate my speed, but it was a speed that would give me confidence regardless of the surface conditions or tires. I was thankful for the full fenders, they kept me dry as the narrow red wall rubber sliced through the water.

At the speeds I was riding, the Nimbus Armadillos were capable and certain. Transversing manhole covers, metal grates, painted sections of the pavement made no difference. Perhaps I was not going fast enough to reach the outer envelope of these tires, but then, I would not have ridden that fast anyway considering the traffic I negotiate on my commute home. If I was pedaling for time, I might have found the limits of the traction afforded. I was, however, pedaling to get home in time for dinner, hopefully before the skies dumped another deluge, without exceeding the limits of my brakes. The Specialized Nimbus Armadillos were plenty safe for that.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Saga of Stephanie Morosi

In July of 2006, she purchased a pistol for her own protection. In August, she removed two of her boyfriend's handguns from her house because she was scared. He had been in the agonizing grip of depression, with suicidal and homicidal ideation. She began going to classes for victims of criminal domestic violence. Stephanie Morosi had known Jason Truitt for about five years, but had been dating him for only a short time when he decided to move in with her. The relationship quickly became volatile, and she threw the 270 pound six foot Truitt out. She began eviction proceedings.

Then, on September 14, 2006, while Morosi was painting shutters in her brick ranch style home, Truitt burst inside through an unlocked door. He was wearing a hunting knife on his belt, and he demanded money.......and to move back in. "I think he went to my house desperate, he was penniless and broke," said Morosi.

An argument ensued with Morosi standing her ground and Truitt becoming more enraged. Morosi retreated to her bathroom to calm herself. "Please leave and be gone when I come out," she pleaded.

When she opened the door, Truitt was still there. Stephanie Morosi grasped for her telephone. Truitt grabbed a steak knife off a counter and snarled "You're not calling the police."

The 108 pound Morosi ran to her bedroom where she kept her Bersa Thunder .380 pistol hidden in a pillow. As she ran around the bed, Truitt leaped on top of it. Pulling the firearm from the pillow, she shot Truitt three times, in his abdomen, neck and head. As her attacker lay dying, she dropped the gun, and ran to a neighbor's home to call 911.

The neighbor wrapped the girl, who was still in shock, in a blanket. "The shock, the blood just drains from your body," says Morosi. She cooperated with investigators, telling them she had shot her attacker in self defense. Before they left, Stephanie Morosi was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Neither knife Truitt was carrying was taken into evidence.

Stephanie Morosi would spend three months locked up at the Berkeley County Detention Center in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, but she was alive. During that time, it became public that she had worked as an escort. The local media sensationalized her primary source of income. Her sister came from Virginia and sold their childhood home so Morosi could obtain funds for her $75,000 bail. In December 2006, she made bail. Still, she realized the people around her everywhere in Charleston were whispering. She was able to find employment at an IHOP restaurant, but left after it was twice robbed.

It took twenty months for Stephanie Morosi and her attorney, Paul Thurmond to have their day in court. When they appeared before 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, Morosi's charges were dropped. The Ninth Circuit Solicitor's office released a statement declaring the evidence showed Morosi was protecting herself and that she was in fear for her life. No kidding. She was a victim. Even in subsequent interviews, it seemed the media wanted to focus on Stephanie Morosi's work as an escort rather than her right to self defense.

Paul Thurmond said police would not have been so quick to arrest Morosi had she been in a different line of work, say, a school teacher. "I don’t think a reasonable person would say she would receive less scrutiny than the teacher," Thurmond said. Self defense does not end when the attacker is incapacitated. Protecting oneself in the legal jungle is sure to follow.

Today, Stephanie Morosi is living on a friend’s sofa. Although she has been a published writer since the age of twelve, she does not want to write about this experience. She fears the wagging tongues will claim she committed murder in order to write a book. Instead, she hopes to set up a support group to help women escape domestic violence. She is putting the remaining funds from the liquidation of her home to good use. She is attending Trident Technical College. She hopes to become a registered nurse. May she reach all of her aspirations. Good Luck Stephanie.


Ugly Gun Sunday

What do you get when you cross a Liberator with a 1911? A severe case of ugly.

This stamped sheetmetal pistol was a .45 caliber experimental gun produced by Colt in 1947. Less than 20 were produced. John Moses can roll back over now......

Bonus ugly for the chrome plated Liberator beside the M1911A1X


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Weekend Envy

This afternoon, I riveted some mild steel splash guards on the rear fender of the commuter bike. They ought to keep my ankles somewhat dry clean if I have to ride in the rain. Even if they don't help, they give the bike a more finished look.

I have more items on my agenda, cleaning tank filters, laundry, cleaning a couple of guns, maybe doing a pawn shop run and going to the range..........

Oh yeah..... Going to the range. Several lucky gun bloggers are shooting at Blackwater with Todd Jarrett this weekend. How about a report or two folks....... Video? A little vicarious viewing for those keeping the gun blog fires burning....... You know you can do it from your laptop in your room........


ParaUSA Gun Blogger Summer Camp

Gun Bloggers shoot some steel plates with Todd Jarrett at the ParaUSA Gun Blogger Summer Camp at Blackwater USA in North Carolina. August 22nd, 2008


Friday, August 22, 2008

Crabs Urchins & Triggers, Oh My!

The Arrow Crab (Stenorhynchus seticornis) looks like something from another world. Scaling the rock work sideways on long, stilted legs while probing the substrate with their bright blue pinchers, the arrow crab methodically rids a saltwater aquarium of bristle worms. Their protruding eyes and striped bodies accentuate the utter weirdness of the critter as it lifts worms to it's mouth.

Yesterday, I added an Arrow Crab to the docile tank. He is already hunting bristle and flat worms, but he has demonstrated that he will eat almost anything, including flake food.

Another great scavenger that I added yesterday is a Tuxedo Urchin (Mespilia globulus). The Tux Urchin is a beautiful little blue puff ball with venomous spines. Like a hobo, it covers itself with bits of algae, kelp, shells and rocks it finds as it travels about the tank. The Tux Urchin consumes all types of algae, including the nasty purple cyano.

I have several urchins in the Docile Tank now. Three are Long Spine urchins, and one Pencil Urchin keeps them company. Urchins are supposedly sensitive to water quality, but I have not had that issue. I am hoping the Tux Urchin will follow suit, and flourish in my Docile Tank.

If ever there was a fish that could be called a thug, it would be this one. The Undulate Trigger (Xanthic undulatus) has a reputation more vicious than Clyde Barrow. Graced with vibrant green and orange stripes, this fish doesn't take crap from anything,or anyone.

Trigger fish are unable to be kept in a reef aquarium, or an aquarium with ornamental crustaceans. Thus, I have an aggressive tank reserved for Triggers, Puffers and other fish that would find a reef tank to be an appetizing buffet. Hardy and inexpensive Damsel fish join the more unusual Triggers and Puffers. Over the past three or four months, a brown Rectangulus Trigger of indeterminate origin has dominated this tank. Today, he got introduced to a new little friend.


Back To The Bike

The call schedule converged with the weather, and I was finally able to bike the commute again today. It was good to return to the bike, and hard to believe I had missed it. It massages my "kiss my ass" devil may care rebellious not going to comply with societal expectations bone.



Thursday, August 21, 2008


It was going to be a tough case. "Don't worry, we have enough dope to put down Secretariat," I said.

After the case was over, and the patient in recovery, one of my scrubs inquired......."What's a secretariat?"

Could it be? How is it that Secretariat is unknown to the younger generation? Voted one of the top 50 athletes of the twentieth century by ESPN, Secretariat was like no other. Here is the American hero of 1973, the one who gave us inspiration through Watergate, the one who gave us hope after Wounded Knee, and the one who gave us solace during the end game of Vietnam. For those readers too young to remember Secretariat, here he is in all his majesty.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Standing on the X

After I encountered the story of Keith Labrozzi, and that of Stephen Swan and Matthew Butler, I felt compelled to share a few of my lessons learned. I don't know it all, I am no self defense guru, but I have been in and out of some damned spooky places and situations both in the States and third world countries of the Orient. I had the advantage of learning to protect myself through avoidance in countries where I did not speak the language very well. Advantage? Yes. I did not respond to the verbal tactics used to bewilder a victim and place them off guard. To remain safe, I had to study the body language and tactics of those who would do me harm. I found that criminals share many commonalities as they go about their business. There is a lot of bad information, assumptions and beliefs out there, only one of which is the gun being a magic talisman. Hopefully, I will address a couple more here.

Sometimes, because of events I have experienced in my life, I have a fatalistic point of view. When your number is up, when you are standing on that X,......Well, everyone has to die sometime.

But then, as a nurse, I know not everyone dies immediately. Some victims of crime are crippled. Some are paralyzed. Some jockey wheelchairs and wear colostomy bags. They develop decubitus ulcers that demand constant care, lest they become infected, creating sepsis and killing the victim, concluding a tragic chain of events years after a victim's bad decision and a criminal's actions set them in motion. Other victims survive on life support, brain dead, unknowingly generating years of agony and turmoil over every medical and nursing decision their loved ones are forced to face. I do not want to do that to my wife and children.

When I worked Home Health, providing specialized wound care in some of the most crime infested areas of a poverty stricken state, I carried redundant guns. One was on my hip under my lab coat, or in a SmartCarry holster if I was wearing scrubs. One was my nursing bag, secured in a middle compartment, velcroed shut. That bag was actually a soft sided briefcase designed to carry a gun. I recommend a similar bag to every nurse or physician I teach. In my pocket I carried a revolver, because I expected the struggle to be in confined spaces, quickly going to the ground, with the firearm jammed in the criminal's ribs. In the back of my Jeep Cherokee, I carried an aluminum baseball bat, my non-lethal weapon.

Twice over a period of eleven years of this type of work, I felt compelled to draw a weapon. Once, I pulled the bat. Each time, the event could have been avoided by better planning on my part. The learning curve was steep, but I was learning.

There are reasons why a grammar school dropout who cannot multiply 26 by 4 is able to outwit and victimize a person who is of demonstrably higher intelligence and social proficiency.

First, the criminal does this for a living. They are not as dumb as many think they are. If you fail to respect their level of skill, you will be unprepared to deal with them. They are not dumb. They just attended a different "school" and studied a different "curriculum". To understand and predict their behavior, you must know a bit of that curriculum as well. Understanding the behaviors and motivations of different types of criminals is the framework with which a wise person protects themselves. Know your enemy. Then practice avoidance if you can. If avoidance is impossible, try evasion. Try both of these tactics prior to defense. You do not have to "win" a dangerous encounter. Nobody wins a gunfight. They simply survive.

The next reason that a criminal can overcome a victim is they have a plan. They are acting offensively, while the victim is reacting defensively. By having a plan in place before contact is made, the criminal has a distinct advantage. They have considered contingencies. They know what they are going to do. They often work in numbers, confusing and surrounding the victim beforehand. They know what's coming. The victim does not. Know how the criminal works. He has a plan, and is looking for a victim to impose the plan on. The criminal has considered, and quite possibly experienced the reactions he will receive from his victim before the fact. Having a plan of action to deal with criminal activities is vital once you have been targeted. There is no one plan to fit every contingency. Having a counter plan is good, but removing yourself from the victim selection process is a far superior tactic.

The active criminal conceals their intent until they have selected a victim, moved in for the attack, and possibly made a couple of probes to assess the victim's responses. Recognizing the criminal's actual intent is vital. That gives you the edge to counter his plan with a plan of your own. The most frequent mistake that a victim makes is the failure to recognize the threat until it is to late. The criminal works with behavioral devices to conceal his actual purpose. The potential victim must see through the veil and recognize the actual intent if they are to counter the criminal. The criminal may be a scruffy crackhead, or they may be an attractive member of the opposite sex. They may be working alone, or in groups, either seen or unseen. They may even be an angry family member.

Once the criminal's plan is set in motion, the victim must seize the initiative. They must place the criminal on the defense. They must force him into the role of the person who is reacting to the unexpected. Your gun may be unexpected, or it may not be. It is your choices, your behavior that must redirect the conflict, not your firearm.

Analyzing when you are most vulnerable is key. Military men know that insertion is not the time of vulnerability. Extraction is. Crimes that occur when a person is entering a building are often crimes of opportunity, the work of amateurs. The criminal is easily disengaged. This is also a time when a more experienced criminal will size you up. They will sometimes make the first contact on your entrance, knowing that an exit is soon to follow. Crimes that occur when a person exits a building are much more likely to be targeted towards the specific individual, and be premeditated. The criminal knows your presence when you are leaving. While you were otherwise engaged, he was formulating his plan, and perhaps gathering allies. He possibly even knows the path you will take, as it is usually the most direct one to your vehicle. These are much more difficult to avoid and disengage from.

I knew that I was most vulnerable when I left an apartment or house in the crime and gang infested areas where I worked. Before I opened the door of an apartment to leave, I would take a look outside the window. The patients understood why, hell they lived there. I always, on the first patient contact, explained that I did not carry drugs, syringes (a lie), money, or valuables. I wore an ugly old Timex. I carried a beat up camera for wound documentation......I actually took sandpaper to it to make it less desirable. I drove a humble Grand Cherokee with a dented fender and ugly rims. I made certain the young men in the home, often involved in illegal if not outright gang activity, knew my purpose. I was there to provide nursing service, not to act as a police informant. I made sure they knew I would pull out and not only let them rot, but impede further care by other agencies if I was threatened. I did not equivocate on these issues. Often, these young men would serve as my protection against the threats as I came and went about my business. I would talk and listen as I worked, gathering information not just on specifics, but on the emotional climate of the area. I made mental notes of who came and went in the homes, the layout of the homes, as well as blankets hung in doorways and doors padlocked shut. One of the odd beliefs in these areas is that law enforcement needed a separate search warrant for padlocked doors inside a home. Thus, a padlocked door indicated illegal activity within the home. All good information to know. Even though young men or women, often seen as criminals, might serve as my protectors in these neighborhoods, I kept my distance and would not allow them to walk me to my vehicle. They knew why.

I would park where I had alternate routes to my vehicle. I would keep open space around me and structures and objects as much as possible. I made myself a difficult target. Still, I had to approach my Jeep. The criminals knew where to lie in wait. Thus, I was careful to park where I would have some room to see my attacker as he approached my vehicle, and where I could observe the vehicle from inside the home. Time and distance were my protection. I had a square convex mirror stuck on the rear glass of the Cherokee's hatch so I could see an approach from behind as I opened it. I had remote controlled door locks, and I disabled the passenger side and rear outside door handles. I kept the batteries changed in the door remote, giving me max power in opening them, and I kept the Cherokee maintained with a full gas tank.

Today, my situation is different, but I still take the time to realistically recognize my vulnerabilities, and to raise my level of awareness when I am most vulnerable. It is the heightened awareness that prevents a person from being victimized, not the gun concealed on their person.

Drawing and using a gun is only a part of one plan. It is a possible counter action, but not the only one. Keeping your back to the wall in a restaurant is only one technique. We plan for crimes that we hear about, the ones that make the 6:00 news. Most crimes do not occur as the spectacular robbery with multiple patrons in a restaurant or bar. They occur when the victim is alone and vulnerable, in a laundromat, walking a dog, or approaching their automobile or front door. These opportunities for criminals to ply their trade must be countered as well. Gunfighting is not about guns, it's about fighting. You must be willing and able to fight, and fighting is about survival. The gun is only a means of increasing your advantage in a struggle for life and survival. The best way to survive is to recognize and avoid or offset the threat altogether. Survive at all costs.

Related: When Being a Good Guy Isn't Enough
A Tactical Analysis of the Tyler Courthouse Shooting and the Tacoma Mall Shooting
By Syd

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The X

"As they walked from the business toward their Chevrolet Tahoe vehicle, Katherine, who was carrying the night deposit from Catfish King, observed a male suspect running toward her from the wood line at the back corner of the property," an arrest affidavit stated. "She heard the suspect yell something, but she did not understand what he said."
The good guys don't always come out ahead. Go here for the story. More later.....


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tactical Granny Chalks One Up

Leda Smith had just arrived home from church when she noticed her exterior door broken. When the 85 year old great grandmother saw a 17 year old intruder in her home, she wasn't going to put up with it. She slipped past him to her bedroom where she kept her gun.

Grabbing her old H&R .22 caliber top break revolver, she confronted the young punk at gun point. Then she marched him out of her bedroom, and into the living room to call police himself. "Dial 911 and don't attempt to throw the phone at me, or do anything bad or I'll just shoot you," she told the intruder.

Next, she forced the intruder to go prone on her living room carpet to wait for police to arrive. State Troopers arrived a short time later, and took the man into custody. Attempted burglary charges are being filed against him and an alleged accomplice.

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Gunnie Frame Repair

"Xavier, the front of this frame came off the back, can you fix it?"

"I don't know Honey, a bit of Elmer's should do the trick. Do you have any clothespins to clamp it with?"


"Heavy duty rubber bands?"


"Those heavy black spring clips that you use at the office to keep your papers together?"


"Well, let me see what I can do........"


Fay's Way

The weather is not looking favorable for commuting by bicycle this week. I'm hoping it will get better, but with Fay blowing over, I doubt it will.


Bicycles in a Disaster Zone

With the opening of hurricane season this year, I was reading an internet article penned by a person considering escaping a hurricane zone by bicycle. The writer listed the advantages, and there are some. However, as much as I love bicycling, I consider a bike to be best used as a secondary mode of transport, one strapped to the exterior of an enclosed vehicle that offers some protection from the elements and from looters during evacuation. Cars can carry more, they can be used as shelter, and if well maintained and used appropriately and in a timely manner, they are vastly superior to a bicycle. Remember, you may be going 300 to 400 miles, with your family in tow, and probably setting up a temporary residence elsewhere. Give yourself the best chance possible.

A bike comes into it's own as a secondary vehicle. It requires no fuel, it can travel over and past things a car cannot. Bikes are great for taking a five mile trip to a gas station, scouting ahead of traffic jams for better places to turn off congested highways(use a partner on the bike and communicate with the FM walkie talkie things), and to get around campsites crowded with evacuees.

If you use a bike to go back into the disaster zone, I recommend a heavy chain lock and a U-lock for when you leave it unattended. A basket is great, and I would run kevlar belted mud grip tires. Roofing nails will be more common than broken glass in the disaster zone. Strap a gallon jug of water to the back. It’s going to be hot and humid. Know your routes.......And alternate ones. Wear gloves and a helmet. Do not travel alone. Carry a gun.
"The debris on Lake Catherine was more interesting and varied as well as more plentiful, to the pile I crossed in Slidell. Besides the usual stuffed animals and TV sets, I noticed a shotgun in a plastic carrying case, bottles of Vodka, Scotch, and J.D., a nearly complete black Naugahide bar with matching naugahide stools, and believe it or not, a dildo. I was in Orleans Parish, after all. They don't call this town the "Big Easy" for nothing."
Here is an informative website about using a bicycle to get around the disaster zone. Remember that you may be the only human life for miles. Give yourself the best chance possible.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Heller Triumphant

Dick Heller exited a Washington D.C. police station victorious today with his handgun permit. It has been a long time coming. As the first person in D.C. to attempt to register a handgun after the draconian laws of D.C. were declared unconstitutional, Heller's application was rejected on two technicalities. The authorities of Washington D.C. wanted to see the 22 caliber revolver and test fire it. Heller's handguns were stored with a friend in Maryland.

D.C. gun laws haven't improved much. The home defense weapons must have a trigger lock, or be disassembled, they must not fall into the D.C. definition of a semi-automatic weapon, and the home owner is prohibited from using it, even for self defense, unless the application is approved. Even then, the approved weapon can be loaded and used only if the home owner reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger from an attacker in the home.

Doesn't sound like much of a victory. Yet. Challenges are being waged, and creeping incrementalism works both ways.


No Safe Places
by Don Myers

Stephen Swann and Matthew ButlerRecently, there were two Christian musicians who were leaving a recording studio and were murdered for two dollars and their car. Initially, I paid little attention to the news reports nor did I listen to the names of the two victims. Three days later, I received an e-mail from a woman friend who had received her CHL by taking my course along with her son and daughter. The e-mail read, "Hi Don, my son, Steve, was murdered Thursday. His funeral is at...."

I sat there stunned. Steve had been licensed through my instruction. I had been to a couple of activities that he and his mother attended - in both cases they were armed. I knew Steve's mother believed as I do that you never go anywhere unarmed if it is legal to carry in those places. I did not know Steve as well as I did his mother, but I found him to be very likable and smart. In fact, I later discovered that he was probably a genius. Of course after getting that terrible news, I couldn't help wonder if he was armed that night. I assume that he wasn't because of the deadly results of his encounter with two heartless thugs. Both criminals were captured the next day. A television interview showed that one of them was almost proud of what they had done. Apparently, he is feeling good about being a "gangsta" now."

I attended Steve's funeral wishing that I could ask if Steve had been armed that awful night, but knew it would be totally inappropriate to ask such an insensitive question. After the funeral service was over, I watched as the ushers allowed the family members to leave the sanctuary first. I couldn't help notice that Steve's mother and sister were carrying handbags made of nylon that were an odd shape. Of course, it was obvious to me why they were carrying those bags and what was in them.

I waited my turn to give condolences to Steve's mother. Then as I approached her, she said in a voice that was a mixture of crying and disbelief, "Don, Steve didn't have his gun! He always carries his gun! When he comes to my house, he has his gun on him under his shirt. He doesn't go anywhere without his gun! Don, he didn't have his gun! In fact, when the police were telling me about the shooting, I asked them where Steve's gun was. They said that they had not found his gun so I told them that the criminals have it. Later, we found it at his home."

I was sick. The tragedy was bad enough, but for him to be killed on one of the few nights where he had forgotten to take his gun seemed to rub salt into the wounds of those of us who cared for him. I am always amazed at how many people who have taken my CHL class do not carry all the time. Some almost never carry a pistol. And yet, here was a case where someone who practically always heeded my advice to be armed at all times was killed while the others who continue to walk around in an un-armed condition, in a mental state of white, don't pay the price that Steve did. No, I don't want those others to pay that price. It's just that they are more likely to be hurt or killed than those who do carry where it is legal. The irony cannot be ignored.

One of the reasons that I became a CHL instructor was because of a conversation I heard during my first renewal class. An elderly gentleman asked the instructor, "I live in a nice neighborhood. My wife and I go walking nearly every evening. Do you think I should take my gun with me?"

Incredibly, the instructor replied, "Well, that's a personal decision that you will have to make for yourself."

I wanted to scream, "Of course, you should! There are no safe places!" In fact, I was so stunned at the stupid answer that I didn't say what I was thinking. I still feel guilty about not speaking up. However, I do speak up now. Throughout the classes that I teach I use examples, many of actual shootings, to show the need to carry all the time. One such example is an appeal to logic. I ask the students if you could turn off and on your fire insurance at will, would you ever turn it off because there was little chance of a fire on a particular day? Of course, you wouldn't! But, that's exactly what you do if you decide to leave your home unarmed. You have chosen to let yourself be vulnerable to a mean world that can take you or your loved ones from this world for two dollars or for your tennis shoes.

There are no safe places! One woman who took my class has for many years worked as a contractor in federal housing, i.e. high crime areas. Unfortunately, her employer will not let her carry her gun in her car (she can't go in the federal buildings armed), but she has never needed a gun in those high crime areas. On the other hand, she has needed a gun for protection three times in "safe areas."

She started carrying a gun at seventeen because the police would not believe that she and her boyfriend had been robbed and that she had nearly raped (she said that she was in her menstrual period or she would have been raped). The police did not believe her because at that time there had never been any crime in the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens (this occurred in the 1960's). This "safe place" soon became a hot spot of rape and murder during the following year causing it to be fenced and closed at night. Fortunately, the gang of youths were caught and convicted of multiple rapes and murders.

Those of you who are instructors have probably had many stories of similar need for a gun for protection told by your clients. I use real life stories as much as I can, but I am still frustrated at how many people have the "it won't happen to me attitude" and don't carry all the time. I have finally decided that few people really take to heart my cajoling and warnings. Fortunately, many have, but I want to be even more effective in getting that point across since not only are they safer being armed, but we are too.

Since many of you who are reading this newsletter are instructors, I invite you to e-mail me if you have found effective methods to get the point across that it is important to be armed. Hopefully, there will be enough information that I can pass it on to others via this newsletter. If you have something that will help, please e-mail me at happydad1@sbcglobal.net. If I do write another article on that subject I will give you credit for your ideas.

I truly believe it is important for us to teach our clients and friends that CHL holders should be armed whenever possible and this safety advice is just as important to teach as it is for us to teach conflict resolution and the use of deadly force required by the state. I hope you agree. Be armed; be safe.

Don Myers
Texas Concealed Handgun License Instructor
North Richland Hills, TX 76180

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Busted Cable

I dropped the commuter bike, and the rear straddle cable was cut between the bellcrank and some railroad ballast. The rest of the bike, including the derailleur, fared fine.

Rather than have the cable at it's bitter end after cutting away the frayed section, I decided to replace it. I rode the commuter bike to the local bicycle emporium, and rolled it inside. As it sat there among the shiny new Treks, Electras and Raleighs, I asked if they had the needed cable in stock.

I was surprised to learn they did indeed stock the piece. I had thought it would be an obsolete part that would require ordering. For three bucks, I was back on the road, headed for home with a replacement clipped in the basket. Ten minutes of wrenching, and I had the new cable on the bike, the cut end soldered, and the brakes adjusted. I will have to be more careful next time I lay the bike down.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Clark .38 Special Long Slide

On Auction Arms is a Clark .38 special long slide Wadcutter gun. This pistol is a M1911A1 that was converted in 1968 by J.E. Clark Sr. into a premium Bullseye gun.

Jim Clark Sr. was not only a pioneering gunsmith, but he was a world class Bullseye shooter, breaking 2600 his third year in competition, only the fifth man to ever do so....... with a borrowed gun. A decade later, he became one of four men to break 2650. Needless to say, this pistol is a bullseye gun built by a man who knew Bullseye shooting.

If one looks closely at the flat of the slide, just beneath the rear of the front sight, a variance in the metal peeks through the blue finish. This is the weld that Jim Clark placed to join two US GI slides together, in order to fabricate a longer slide to house a six inch barrel.

Once welded, the slide was milled on each side to smooth out the surface and to remove the factory rollmarks. The resulting flat top slide serrations are reminiscent of serration variations that were to appear on factory guns years later.

Other modifications abound on this gun. The front strap is stippled with Clark's signature "tiger tooth" texture. The trigger is drilled and tapped to accept an over travel screw. A Bomar adjustable rib sight is attached to the top of the slide. No doubt though, the real magic is inside the gun, in the fitting and the conversion to .38 specials.

I would like to own this piece of gunsmithing history, but at a starting bid of $1,450.00, I'm out of the running. If it was at a local gun shop, I would trade off several guns to get it though..........

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