A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Being On Call

I am on call again, and I will remain on call for two hospitals until Monday. Many people who are not nurses or physicians don't really understand what the unrelenting stress of being on call means.

For me, it means remaining in my scrubs for the duration. If I take a shower, it's with my pager and cell phone outside the curtain. I don't go out to eat where I might have to wait for ten minutes to get food. I don't go shopping where I might have to wait in a ten minute line at the register. Any social engagement where getting up and leaving gracefully presents a problem is out of the question. No activities where exiting a grid locked parking lot might be a problem. No church. No funerals. No theater. No school functions for my child. I don't even watch movies on DVD. No wine or spirits. None.

I try to catch up on my sleep when I can, and I keep something to eat pre-prepared and ready on the kitchen counter. Preferably something pre-prepared that I can eat while driving through the night to the hospital. Something like a burrito or a chicken wrap. I keep my car's gas tank full of fuel.

I have to stay within a thirty minute radius of the hospital at all times. When my pager beeps, the clock starts ticking. I have thirty minutes until I should be starting the case. It is not very different than when I was in the Navy, being called to General Quarters again and and again. As I drive towards the hospital, my cell phone hums. I am getting as much information on the patient as possible from the ER staff. I am fielding calls from the doctors and my team, everyone wanting to know what is going on and what needs to be done. I do this because some person desperately needs us.

Call is supposed to be for life threatening emergencies. The truth is, it is frequently abused so physicians can meet (or avoid) the demands of their spouse's social agenda. It is not uncommon for me to be roused out of a deep sleep only to rush to the hospital and start a case that could easily have been done the next morning. I have learned to expect to be called out at any time, with no regards to when I was last called out. There have been times that I have turned into my driveway at 2:00 AM only to have my pager go off again. Keep in mind that while this is going on, I still have scheduled cases that start at 6:30-7:00 AM. Sometimes I just stay at the hospital and sleep on a gurney in a dark room.

I usually do not take five days of call in a row. Doing so brings a person to the brink of total exhaustion and irrationality. The most I usually take in a row is three days, a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I am doing five this time because other people took call so I could spend Christmas and Thanksgiving with my family. Unfortunately, my scheduled call weekend fell right after New Year's Day, so I get five days in a row.

My pager just went off............


Allen Shooter's Carry All Range Bag

The Allen Shooter's Carry All Range Bag, available from Midway USA for $43.49 (and often found in Wal-Mart for a bit less) is an inexpensive, durable range bag that can hold a lot of gear. Click to enlarge
"Featuring 2 removable cases, this case is great for transporting your favorite handguns or use it for taking your glasses, muffs and ammo to the range. Contains external zippered pockets for smaller items. Made of heavy-duty canvas. Dimensions 13" Long x 9" Wide x 9" High."
The Allen range bag is available in green or black nylon canvas. A nylon sling handle encircles the entire bag to provide protection from a handle ripping off under the weight carried.

Underneath a center zippered flap resides a void waiting to be stuffed with ammunition, muffs, safety glasses and more. Click to enlargeInside a pocket on either side of the interior rests a fleece lined nylon handgun rugs. These rugs lack zippers, however, and are not usable independent of the bag.

I have carried as many as six full sized pistols (one on either side of the two pocketed gun rugs, and one inside each rug) in this bag, as well as a snubbie or a 22 pistol in a holster inside the center void with the ammunition. Shoot N See type targets also fit easily beside the gun rugs. On the exterior end of the Allen range bag is an open pocket. This pocket isn't good for much, but it can hold a snub nosed revolver, a point and shoot camera, or small paper targets.

Because of the number of handguns this bag can accommodate, I find myself using it frequently. I like the Allen bag when I am taking a neophyte shooter to the range. It allows me to carry two sets of muffs, two sets of safety glasses, along with an array of handguns and ammunition for the new shooter to try out, all in a compact, albeit heavy package. At least the bag weighs half as much on the way out of the range. Over the past six or seven years, it has stood up to steady abuse. It has never failed me.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Coming Back

"I want charges. I want him to be charged with murder. This is murder," said Michelle Jones, a dead man's mother. Over the weekend, three men entered a watering hole in Timmonsville, South Carolina. According to police, Reggie James, the proprietor of Reggie's Nightclub had tossed Cornell Mack out of the club earlier that night. Police say Mack returned and pointed a gun at the bar owner. The bar owner shot and killed the young tough guy.
"Shot my brother dead in the head. I saw everything," said Roshone Simon, 26, Mack's brother. He said he witnessed the shooting, and police aren't being told the truth. Roshone said his brother was never at the club that night, and it was his cousin, Cedric Young, who was asked to leave Reggie's.

"They told me to get out, and don't come back to the club," Young told NewsChannel 15. Cedric says he did return to the club, with Roshone and Mack. He said Mack did have a gun in his pocket, but never drew it. "He ain't never got the chance to do nothing with it," Cedric Young said.
Damn. Isn't that the idea? Strange how Reggie James shot the only returning man who had a gun in his pocket. Mr. James must have gotten all telepathic to know where the concealed gun was.

If you get thrown out of a juke joint, don't come back with a gun and a couple of friends.

In March of 1997, Timmonsville police charged Reggie James with one count of murder. A jury acquitted him of that charge a year later. The results of the present police investigation will be submitted to the solicitor, who will then decide if charges will be filed.



Food Fight


Monday, December 29, 2008

Roper Stocks

When I first saw this old Colt revolver on a pawn shop shelf, I salivated. The revolver itself wasn't all that special, Click to enlargealthough it was chambered in 22 long rifle, unusual for a Colt Official Police revolver.

The rear of the cylinder was engraved with a number beside each chamber, and the cylinder lock was cut away to reveal the number to the shooter. Even that was not what interested me the most. What caught my eye were the grips, properly known as stocks on a revolver. I immediately purchased the Colt Official Police for $350.

Advertisements for Roper stocks peppered the gun publications of the 1930s. Ropers were also offered from the factory on Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers of the time. Roper stocks were marketed by Walter Roper, a marksman from the time of Skeeter Skelton. However, they were actually handmade, one set at a time, by an old world artisan named Matheis Gagne. The rough stocks were first hand chiseled from a single piece of circassian walnut to achieve a tight frame fit. Next, Mr. Gagne would work from a mailed in outline of the purchaser's hand to design the form of the stocks. Click to enlargeHe would use a file to shape the wood to provide support of the handgun on the shooter's second finger, and to fill the hand with an individual palm swell.

Mr. Gagne used an old v-notch cutting tool to carve the exquisite three lobe checkering with a solid ribbon running through it. The stocks were finished with linseed oil with shellac added to give the wood a sealed effect and a slight sheen. Roper stocks were available for all common revolvers of the day, as well as popular pistols such as the 1911 and the Colt Woodsman. The stocks could be ordered with or without a thumb rest. In the 1930s, Roper stocks sold for eight to ten dollars, depending on the variation. Today, they commonly change hands for well over three hundred.

To broaden his market, Walter Roper hired W.D.H. Nichols to specialize in stocks for pistols. Later, when demand peaked, machine checkered Roper stocks were offered for a few dollars less. Often, if a set of stocks is missing the characteristic ribbon or three lobed pattern that is so representative of Gagne's work, a collector may wonder if the stocks are really of Roper design. Authentic Roper stocks exist that are fully checkered. They are either very early or later, machine checkered stocks. Many Roper pistol stocks do not have the ribbon because they were carved by Nichols.

Each set of Roper stocks is as unique as the hand it was designed for. They rarely appear on the market, and when they do, they command exorbitant prices. As a result, there are several grip makers, most notably Keith Brown, hand crafting revolver grips in the style of Matheis Gagne. Click to enlargeThese craftsmen are not attempting to deceive collectors, indeed they should be recognized for the beauty of their own work.

One way to identify genuine Roper designed stocks made by Matheis Gagne in Walter Roper's shop is to examine the inside of the grip panels. Stocks created by Mr. Gagne will have two small rectangular indentations put here by the jigs used to hold the panels while they were checkered. The modern day craftsmen working in the style of Matheis Gagne do not use the same type of jig, and those indentations are absent. Oddly, another way to identify genuine Ropers is the grain of the walnut is rather pedestrian. Roper stocks were crafted to be carried and shot, not exhibited.

As a period aftermarket S&W revolver accessory, Roper stocks have no peer. I have been known to casually wander a gun show floor with my Colt Official Police grasped in my hand with the stocks exposed to view. It never fails to attract attention from the grizzled old sellers behind the tables as they elbow each other and beckon me over. No, it's not for sale.



I spotted these single action cowboy revolvers from USFA over at Michael Bane's place, and I almost felt my retinas flicker. There is something wrong, very wrong about even a reproduction SAA revolver in baked on Coyote Tan, Sage Green, Forest Green, Federal Brown or Sniper Grey. Black Graphite is somehow tolerable, but not this.......

I went to the USFA website to confirm, and alas, they had no pictures up yet. Now their weathered finish "Gunslinger" is sweet, and their new twelve shot single action 22 caliber hog leg is inspired, but spraying an oven baked modern finish on these revolvers is as incongruent as catsup on ice cream.

All this tacticality, and they don't even come with Trijicon sights! I guess that's next.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

From Beneath the Cushions

Charles 'Johnny' Johnson purchased his 38 special revolver decades ago. As he watched his neighborhood disintegrate around him, he and his wife of seventy-two years found themselves in a hard earned home with bars on the windows. After he retired, the 91 year old man began keeping his revolver between his sofa cushions, just in case.

Johnson's wife, Berlie Mae, was watching the television on December 23, 2008 as Johnson rested on the sofa. Suddenly a masked man entered through the back door. "What are you doing? What are you doing?" shrieked Berlie Mae from her wheelchair as the man advanced and put a gun to her head.

"Be quiet. Don't say a word. Don't move," hissed the intruder.

As a second masked man entered through the back door, Johnson pulled his revolver from it's hiding place, where it had laid ready to face trouble for years. "You don't think, man. You do what you have to do," Johnson recalls. The second intruder saw the gun and turned tail back out the door.

Johnson focused his revolver at the intruder holding a gun to his bride's head. Center mass. One deafening shot resounded through the room. It was from Mr. Johnson's gun.

"I think I missed," says Johnson, describing how the hoodlum leaped and ran from his home. Police responded after Johnson walked to a neighbor's home to call them. His own phone had been disconnected by the home invaders. Authorities have requested that local hospital emergency rooms report any patient with an unexplained bullet wound.

"We want to get a message out to other people. Be prepared. Keep your doors locked. And be alert," Mr. Johnson said.

"And have a gun ready," declared Berlie Mae.


More on Digging

It seems Mossberg is now offering a shotgun in a can. Along with a pistol grip 18 inch Mossberg 500 sealed in a re-sealable clear bag, the buyer gets an olive drab "heavy duty" waterproof synthetic carrying (burying?) tube complete with re-sealable top and nylon carrying strap. They are calling this their JIC (Just In Case) line of shotguns. MSRP for the Cruiser version is $422.00. The Mariner and a tactical tan version are also available. Way to cash in Mossberg!

I'm kind of thinking a chunk of sealed schedule 40 PVC with a rifle that will fire a common military round packed in cosmoline might be a better choice. But then what do I know? I lost all my guns in a boating accident on Lake Manigottapee.



JR links to a post about covertly preserving and securing firearms in long term subterranean storage.

Bury a Gun and Ammo for 15 Years (and be assured everything still works when you dig it up) by Charles Wood

One thought though........ If it's time to bury them, it's time to dig them up.


Christmas Gun Instruction

Yesterday, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office of Rapides Parish Louisiana offered a free course in basic firearms safety to anyone who received a firearm for Christmas. Chester “Bud” Carpenter, hunter education youth coordinator for the Sheriff’s Office, said the course was something he had long considered. "I thought it would be a good program. It’s just the basics, how to load, how to unload it and how to store it safely in the home," he said. The course also included supervised range time.

Only 20 people had shown up by 9:30AM, but people continued to filter in throughout the day. They were not turned away. More here.

Sometimes I'm just damned proud of Louisiana. I think I will initiate a similar program at the range I frequent.


Link Spam

It looks like I am getting a lot of link spam on my blog posts. Anyone know how to limit the spam without limiting legitimate links?


Ugly Gun Sunday

Click to enlarge
"A rancher friend of mine decided that he needed a real cheap and beat up shotgun for his truck. Sound familiar?

Anyway he told one his hands to find him one, and the hand came back with a real $25 doozey. Click to enlargeIt's a Savage bolt action on which some one had carved the left side of the stock with the word Catdaddy.

We all howled when we saw the gun. It is the ugliest gun I've ever seen. Upon closer inspection it was evident that something had been carved on the right side of the stock, but later covered up with a substance not entirely unlike bondo.

Since I do some minor smithing for some friends I was assigned the task of cleaning up the shotgun. Click to enlargeWell, after an hour of careful and painstaking archaeological excavation I discovered (as I suspected) that Catdaddy's girlfriend's name had been carved into the other side.

My guess is that Catdaddy broke up with Linda after he saw what she did to his favorite shotgun. Maybe he even used it on her..."


Saturday, December 27, 2008

The New Agent versus The Defender

Two of the finest carry pistols yet designed, in my opinion are the Colt Defender and the Colt New Agent. That's a pretty bold statement. Before I receive hate mail, let me explain that I am ruling out revolvers, which are not pistols. Let me also say that I believe the 1911 pistol is the finest fighting pistol ever designed. Quick, accurate, powerful. In a world of competing designs, almost a hundred years later, it remains the gold standard for the disciplined shooter, not the good enough gun for the lowest denominator.

When Colt finally decided to produce a true concealed carry 1911, they went whole hog with the Defender. Colt's new product was so different from their previous 1911s that they bestowed a new series designation on it, the Series 90.

The Colt Series 90 pistol is a three inch bushingless 1911 style pistol with a lightweight aluminum frame. They are designed for carry and self defense, not target practice. The Series 90 pistols have the Series 80 firing pin safety, but that is the only similarity.

The Colt Defender is not a particularly flashy pistol. It bears a stainless steel slide and a big rubber Hogue wrap around grip. The sights evolved from upright three dots to low profile swept back units. It has a three hole trigger, and a beavertail grip safety that morphed over time along with the sights. The Defender uses the Officer's ACP magazine, allowing for seven plus one capacity.

Where other three inch 1911 style pistols failed, the Colt Defender quickly gained a reputation for being a pistol reliable straight out of the box. Many shooters who had shied away from the smallest 1911 pistols, indeed shooters who had stated that any 1911 beneath Commander length would likely need professional gunsmithing to run reliably, were shown that reliability could come in small packages from Hartford.

The basic Defender formula was a good one, and the little pistol that could became the best kept secret of the 1911osphere. Typical of Colt's modern advertisement campaign, the pistol received little fanfare, and next to no mention in the gun rags. Across the internet though, buyers were raving about Colt's new product. They were buying it in droves and trading out the Good Year grips for slim slabs of wood.

Thus when Colt decided to produce a similar Series 90 pistol, one even more dedicated to concealed carry and self defense, they had their ear to the ground. The Colt New Agent debuted at the 2008 Shot Show and suddenly shooters were debating point shooting versus sighted fire for self defense again. The New Agent was similar to the venerable Defender, but with a significant twist. Conventional sights were absent. The top of the slide was as slick as Charlie Brown's head. Rather than dovetailed sights, the New Agent received a sighting trench, often termed a "gutter sight" along the top of the slide. The slide of the New Agent was blued, and the aluminum frame was black anodized. Other small differences abounded. The slim wooden grips that shooters were screwing on their Defenders came from the factory on the New Agent. The front strap had serrations. The slide was lightened in the front with a profile similar to the Browning Hi Power. The New Agent thumb safety was a GI style unit with a nubbin of a tab. The grip safety was reminiscent of the upturned grip safety found on some Commanders.

The reception for the New Agent, while initially enthusiastic, became more sedate as shooters contemplated the sighting system. Some preferred the black pistol to the stainless, and wished Colt had simply produced a blued Defender. Others decided to put sights on their New Agent. Over the course of a year, I purchased both pistols.

My New Agent stayed basically the same as it came from the factory. Click to enlargeMy Defender underwent some changes. Most notable was the addition of slim wooden grips, and the modification of the grip safety to achieve the spartan profile of an early Commander grip safety. I installed a Nowlin Speed Demon hammer on the Defender to complement the austere grip safety. Both pistols received trigger jobs and solid triggers.

Both pistols retained the polymer mainspring housings. While I routinely swap out the Colt polymer mainspring housing for steel, adding a heavier part just did not make sense on a pistol designed to be lightweight. The polymer housings are durable, and light. I kept them.

At the range, each pistol was stone cold reliable, and sufficiently accurate for self defense. Each pistol carried so easily in an OWB holster on a good gun belt that I forgot it was there. The real difference was in the sighting system.

Today, I decided to take both my Colt Defender and my Colt New Agent to the range and shoot them side by side. They have become remarkably similar pistols with the exception of the sights. I alternated between the pistols with each magazine, to prevent fatigue from creating the illusion one pistol was outperforming the other. At ten yards, I shot fifty rounds through each pistol into two targets, side by side, on the same frame.

Point shooting would have given similar results, so I used the sighting systems on each pistol. Click to enlargeI shot by raising the pistol from low ready to the sights, squeezing off two or three shots of sighted fire, and back to low ready. After a magazine in one pistol, I moved to the other. I did not "warm up" with another pistol, and I made certain I shot when I was hungry and full of coffee, allowing hypoglycemia and caffeine to simulate an adrenaline dump.

The results were interesting. The New Agent target is on the left. It has rounds concentrated in the lower left, usually indicative of anticipating recoil. The Defender target on the right had considerably more rounds in the ten ring, but the flyers indicate I was breaking my wrist either up or down. While it wasn't my best day at the range, it is undeniable that every shot would have been center of mass. Either pistol would be a worthy sidearm in an armed confrontation. At the end of the day, when the pistols are put to their intended use, I think whether the buyer wants a blued or stainless pistol may be more important than what is on top of the slide.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Kolpin Rangetector Range Bag

One of the range bags I use is the Kolpin Kolpin Rangetector, available from Midway USA for $47.99. Click to enlargeThe product ad says:
"Constructed of durable Rhino Hide material, and with internal cargo space measuring 14" x 7", the Rangetector range bag is great for hauling your gear to the shooting range. It features multiple pockets for accessories, movable hook & loop storage compartments, reinforced handles, shoulder strap and Mud Guard® zippers that block outside debris from getting into the case."
I have found this bag to be well designed and durable. Click to enlargeI have used mine for about four years now. The front pocket is just the right size for carrying four boxes of Winchester White Box 45 ACP. Of course, you could just put in 200 rounds of Col. Cooper's favorite, along with come compact muffs and specs, or any variation of ammunition you may choose. I have never had the Mud Guard zipper spring apart on this bag, regardless of the weight jammed into that pocket. There is a small snap ring on a short lanyard inside this pocket. I'm not certain what it's purpose is.

The heart of the Kolpin Rangetector is it's ability to carry and protect two handguns of almost any configuration and size. Click to enlargeBetween the securely stitched and bar tacked nylon sling handles are two padded and zippered compartments. One wall of each compartment is lined with Velcro loop material. Provided with the range bag are four pads and eight pouches, all with Velco hook backing. The result is a compartment that can be quickly customized to accommodate almost any handgun along with it's accessories. With a bit of ingenuity, it would be possible to accommodate a total of four moderate sized handguns, two in each compartment.

On the rear of the Kolpin Rangetector is a fold out drawstring net bag. To be honest, I don't know what this bag is supposed to be for. Click to enlargeIt is accessible with a zipper without folding it out, and when folded out, it can carry a great deal of spent brass, targets, or other lightweight items.

All edges of the Kolpin bag are bound with heavy nylon piping. The carry handles wrap all the way around the center portion, ensuring they will not rip loose. A shoulder strap is provided if you prefer to carry the bag that way.

All in all, the Kolpin Rangetector is a great bag if you are the type of shooter who carries two or three handguns to the range along with 500 or so rounds of ammunition. If Kolpin made a bag with an ammo pocket on both sides, that would be my choice. As it is, this one fills the bill neatly for a light range trip.


Shoplifting Dog

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Yellow Dog

Oh my goodness..... Daddy left and came back home today. I smelled dog all over him. I didn't know what he had been doing, but he scratched me behind my ears to let me know I had not been betrayed. He's pretty cool that way. Then, he put me in my crate and he went outside. I started to pout because he had not been home long, and it just wasn't fair. I heard him unlock my our Jeep outside, and then close my escape hatch in the back. The next thing I knew, he came back inside with a....... DOG! Darla and I started barking furiously.

I don't know what Daddy thought he was doing, but he walked that dog right past our crates and into the back yard. I heard the back door open again, and he came inside. I barked again, and he came to my crate to let me out. Bam! I was right to the window and I saw a yellow fuzzy dog outside in my yard. Then Daddy let me out the door.

I bristled and strutted around and went to pee in twenty different places. I wanted that dog to know who was boss and who owned that yard. She was pretty cool though, she said she was just hanging out and didn't mean any harm. She didn't really know why she was here. She said she was put in jail by her owners and didn't know why.

I didn't know there was a doggy jail, so I asked her about it. She said it was an OK place, but you didn't get to run and play much. The floor was concrete, and there were a lot of terriers named Jack Russel there. She said that Jack must have been as prolific as his mate was unimaginative. I guess so if all she could think of was Jack for a name.

I asked the yellow dog what her name was. She said she didn't know, but there was a red tag on her cell in the jail. That didn't sound good. She asked me what this place was. I told her it was my back yard. "You like to play?" she asked.

"I work....." Dadgummit! She nipped at me! "Hey!" I barked. She took off. I wasn't going to take this! She went crashing into the palms. "Stop! There's boogie cats in there!" I barked. She came crashing out the other side and I grabbed her and wrestled her to the ground. "You had better pay attention!" I growled. She whimpered. "Look, I know you're young, and you're new here, but at night boogie cats come out."


"Boogie Cats. Freakin' ring tailed jabbering boogie cats!"

"Can you eat them?" This girl was dumber than a rock. You would have to pour a five gallon bucket of stupid on a rock to get a rock this thick.

"NO! But they might eat you. They travel in packs and if you don't keep your guard up, they can be vicious!"

"I could help you with that......"

"You? What do you know about boogie cats?"

"They're ring tailed, vicious, and they jabber."

The kid learns quick. "All right. You get to stay. I will teach you. You had better be on your toes though, because when they come again, I might not be able to keep them from killing you."

"All righty then."

"You mocking me?"

No, I'm just keeping an eye out for those boogie cats........"

I'm starting to think that this could be the beginning of a great friendship.

Merry Christmas

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Night Before.......

It's Christmas eve. There have been a lot of people in and out, and I've had to inspect them all.

I wonder if Christmas is just for people........ Or will I get something....... A scratch on the head? A bone? A new Kong?

It doesn't really matter I guess. I have a job. Vigilance. I will remain vigilant for that fat man coming through the chimney. They say he will bring me something. How do I know if it's really him? I hope I don't mistake him for a booger bear. If I do, I wonder if he will still leave me anything......


The Overture to The Messiah

Clark Pin Model

Available at Cabelas:
Colt 1911 Series 70 "Clark Pin Model"Click to enlarge
Cal./Gauge: .45 ACP
Barrel(s): 6"
Weight: 41 OZ.
Sights/Scope: Bo Mar Adjustable Rear

Jim Clark Custom "Bowling Pin" 1911A1 .45 Auto. This is a highly customized Colt Series 70 Government Model. Custom built from the ground up by the legendary Jim Clark the obverse of the slide is marked “Clark Bowling Pin Model,” and, as the name implies, Click to enlargewas made for bowling pin matches popular in the 1970’s involving quick draw and shooting at actual bowling pins.
Price: $999.00
Kind of hard to believe, but a very fair deal on a great bowling pin gun.


Steel Is Real

French gendarme places his Sig in oven.
Oven set at 210°c / 400°f for 20 minutes.
French gendarme talks on telephone.
Sig Pro fails torture test.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Stopping Power

2008 Retrospective
DC Defies Supreme Court
CCW in National Parks
Plaxico Burress
Stopping Power

From Syd at Front Sight Press


Snubbie Shooting

A snubnosed revolver is perhaps the most demanding handgun to shoot accurately in a defensive mode. Click to enlargeThe snubbie is not blessed with a long sight radius for accuracy. Instead, it's three and a half inch sight radius is made for concealment. The speed with which it comes to sights is a bonus.

If a person carries a revolver, they should shoot beaucoup rounds down range until they are sufficiently accurate firing double action. With only five or six rounds on tap, the need for an incapacitating first hit is increased dramatically, and the time needed to cock the hammer for a single action shot will likely be unavailable.

Along with my Ruger MKII and Kimber Pro Carry, I took my S&W Model 649 to the range to work with. I shot at seven yards, squeezing off two shots, then three more shots. My targets are a vivid illustration of the skill needed to harness the snubbie's accuracy. Click to enlargeThe Model 649 target is on the left, the Kimber target is on the right.

The key to shooting a revolver accurately in double action is trigger control. Often the longer a shooter takes to pull the trigger back, the worse the targets become. Trying to "stage" the trigger, or trying to anticipate the hammer falling is a recipe for poor accuracy. If a shooter has the time to do that, then they should just cock the revolver. A relatively rapid, consistent pull to the rear at a steady rate is what works for me. Good quality revolvers, even snubbies, are usually very accurate guns. Blame for holes outside the black falls on the shooter's inability to keep the sights on target through a long trigger pull.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Knives at a Gunfight

Fort Smith, Arkansas. On the interstate between Kelley Highway and the Arkansas River bridge a woman was driving along when two men pull alongside and signal that she had a rapidly deflating tire.
"When she pulled over to check her tires one of those persons in that other car got out and attempted to rob her at knife point," said Lt. Steve Coppinger of the Arkansas State Police. The woman was prepared. She had already made the commitment to not be victimized. She was a concealed carrier, and she was armed.

The woman pulled and presented her handgun, and the old chestnut of not bringing a knife to a gunfight fell into play. She did not have to fire a shot. The knife wielding attacker got back into his vehicle and vacated the scene with his partner.

Whether the men wanted to rob rape or kill the woman is unknown. They escaped in a black Toyota Camry with Oklahoma plates. Police are releasing few facts in the case at this time. Lt. Coppinger says if you are pulled over by someone you don't know, don't get out of the car. Use your cell phone to call 911 and ask for assistance.

Apparently, the outcome of this social interaction is lost on him. The woman did not survive unscathed because she called 911. She survived because she had a gun and the willingness to use it.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jeanne Assam - One Year Later

On Dec. 9, 2007 Jeanne Assam was forced to shoot Matthew Murray after he killed two sisters at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Once shot and cornered, Murray turned his violent rage on himself. Jeanne AssamWith her valiant actions, Ms. Assam ended a murderous crime spree that took the lives of four people in two cities.

She found herself an instant focal point in a debate over the legitimacy of concealed carry for collective defense. She was an armed citizen to be taken down by the Brady Campaign, painted as a security guard by the mainstream media, and the darling of internet gun forums. Through it all, she remained a quiet, introspective person. A year later, in this article, she reflects on the action she was forced to take. "He didn't start off to be mixed up and confused," Assam said of Murray. "He started off to be a good person but he went down a wrong path."

While watching the children's Sunday school area, Assam heard shots in the parking lot, and then saw Murray coming down the hall with a rifle. "I saw him, it seemed like the halls cleared out, and I saw him coming through the doors, and I took cover. I waited for him to get closer, I came out of cover, and I identified myself. I engaged him and I took him down," Jeanne Assam said at a news conference afterwards. Jeanne Assam fired 10 shots from 63 feet away. She hit the gunman once in the wrist and twice in the leg. Unable to continue his rampage, Murray then committed suicide.

"I don't feel bad about what I had to do," Assam says today. "I'm sad that people died. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. It still feels a little surreal for me for some reason."


The Three Inch Wheelgun

It is rare that I find myself coveting another man's gun. The three inch Smith & Wesson revolver is one such handgun though. I have yet to find a used one, pinned and recessed, in the wild.

Marko, who owns the blued wheelgun pictured here has written extensively about the three inch S&W revolver. The three inch barrel is the perfect compromise between a revolver short enough for concealment, yet still possessing an ejector rod long enough for full ejection of the empty cartridges. The heavy barrel makes up for the weight differential between the same revolver with a four inch tapered barrel.

Perhaps I am being too persnickety in my search. A couple of years ago, I purchased a Smith & Wesson Model 65-5 Ladysmith for three hundred bucks. I shot it a bit, and ended up selling it to Peter to pass on to one of his students. It was a lucky find, in great condition, but the lack of a pinned barrel, the stainless steel, MIM action and the Ladysmith inscription turned me off. That was a mistake. I'm glad the student got a great gun at a fair price, but I sometimes wish I had kept that one. I have not seen another three inch Smith & Wesson revolver since.

I suppose there is a reason for that....... People who own three inch revolvers know shooting. They seem to be people who have settled on the wheelgun whether for reliability, simplicity or both. They then set about finding the best compromise between concealability and the potential problems inherent in using a wheelgun for self defense, such as a reload slowed by partially ejected brass. Through the process of elimination, they arrive at the three inch revolver, and when they find one, they buy it and keep it for life.


Ugly Gun Sunday

Regrettably, I do not have an art quality photo of this morning's submission for an ugly gun. Click to enlarge Perhaps that is best, the retinal abuse might be excruciating without the filter of poor photography.

There are many who think the Hi-Point is perhaps the ugliest handgun ever mass produced. However, the ghetto Glock's predecessor was even more abhorrent. A Hi-Point is just a Stallard JS 9MM that has been to finishing school.

Someone is actually bidding on one of these things at Gun Broker. Here's another one that failed to sell for $79.

So, the next time you see a Hi-Point and feel the urge to mention aesthetics, realize that the firearm you are about to razz is the new improved version of something worse!


Saturday, December 20, 2008


A seven month old Golden package of exuberance abandoned at the Dog Pound for the crime of digging up flower beds. A photo taken with the cell phone.

Should I or shouldn't I?

Darla is a domineering matron of a dog. Ilsa needs a friend.


Getting on Target

After several nights of dry fire practice from my pocket holster, I took the two Bodyguards back to the range to have another go. Click to enlargeI had lost some of my smoothness of drawing, and I wanted it back.

My goal is to get shots on target as quickly and efficiently as possible. Always. That is what allows a person to survive a lethal confrontation. I want to get shots on target before my attacker shoots me.

Drawing a gun and firing it is a gross motion comprised of many smaller movements. Smoothness of the draw is important, but so is getting behind the sights quickly. I draw to a quick elbows up position, with my right arm almost as though I am drawing a bow. This allows the handgun to be shoved forward in my line of vision which is already on the target. My finger goes onto the trigger when the handgun is shoved forward towards the threat. As soon as the front and rear sight are aligned on the target, I smoothly pull that trigger whether my arms are fully extended or not. Click to enlargeMy goal is fluidity. I do not want any discernible pauses in the motion from the removal of the gun to the pulling of the trigger.

Yes, I pull the trigger. This is double action shooting, getting hits on target as quickly as possible and I don't trouble myself with semantics. I wrap my finger around that trigger to the first knuckle, and I pull it to the rear at a consistent steady rate. I have found that getting my elbow up and shoving the gun forward in my line of vision gets shots on target for me faster than raising my handgun into my line of vision from my side and having it bob up and down. It also allows for better retention of the handgun.

I am certain that some will say "My God, what about the cylinder blast?" That concern is valid. The risk of cylinder blast to my face and eyes is the reason my finger does not go onto the trigger until the gun is shoved forward. Click to enlargeMy goal is to get a first hit consistently on target, to shoot an attacker before I am shot. I have found that this draw allows that.

The difficulty inherent in this draw stroke is that the arm must change direction as the elbow reaches it's apex and the gun is shoved forward. To change direction, the arm must stop movement for a split second. This is where jerkiness can enter the equation, making for an extension with the sights not aligned with the eye. One must think of the motion as singular and curvilinear, not a collection of straight motions. Flowing, not spurting. Xingyiquan, not Muay Thai. Violins, not drums.
"Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate."
~Sun Tzu
This draw is not always the best solution, but it is a good technique to have in one's repertoire. A competent gunman should practice different draw strokes, to allow for maximum flexibility and advantage. The most important criteria in a gun fight though, is to get shots on target before your target gets shots on you.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm Human!

Guess what? Blogger has recognized me as a human!

Finally, finally Blogger has recognized that I am not a robot and my blog is not a spam blog. They have turned off the random letter verification that I was forced to endure to post and maintain Xavier Thoughts.

This first began around September 23. It's about time!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Walking the Dog

Walking the dog is a solitary activity for most people. Walking the dog is a responsibility that builds a bond between man and animal. When I walk Ilsa, I sometimes think that she is the most perfect defense against a mugging. An attacker might doubt whether I am armed, or whether I might resist, although they would be wrong on either account. They would not doubt that the large black wolf-like creature with me would sink her fangs into their flesh if she felt I was threatened. Ilsa is a deterrent. Then, I read stories like this one from Terrell Texas.

On December 17, 2008, at approximately 10:20 PM, a citizen carried his legally concealed firearm while walking his dog in Ben Gill Park in Terrell Texas. He suddenly found himself surrounded by a pack of four teenagers intending to mug him. When one of the attackers pulled out a gun, the armed citizen responded with a gun of his own, and the willingness to use it to save his life.

The young thug with the gun, Markee Lamar Johnson, was shot in the head. His three cohorts turned tail and ran. They escaped in a black pick-up truck. The victim remained at the scene and called 911 on his cell phone. "I shot one guy. I think he's dead. He hasn't moved at all," the victim said.

Responding police found Johnson sprawled on the ground with incapacitating head injuries. His stolen handgun was near his body. "There's the gun right there that he had. He's moving, he's breathing still," said the victim, his cell phone connection with 911 recording his conversation with officers at the scene. The dog could be heard barking in the background. Johnson, a basketball player at Terrell High School, was transported to a local hospital. He was subsequently transferred to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where he was pronounced dead.

The black truck, which belonged to a family member of one of the thugs, was discovered abandoned about two miles from the crime scene. Ryan Scott Patterson, 19, of Terrell was apprehended and charged with aggravated robbery. The other two offenders, while identified by police, are not yet in custody.

The citizen who faced a lethal threat while walking his dog was not injured. Police are not filing any charges. "I think in this particular situation, it would be a clear example of someone exercising their rights to protect themselves under the law," Captain A.D. Sanson said. The case will be referred to a grand jury.

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Government Model Box

I don't think I've ever seen a pre-war Colt Government Model box up for sale, but here's one on ebay.
This is an original prewar Colt 1911A1 Commercial, Government box. Also comes with orginal paper work! Box is very solid. Guaranteed Original! Will be shipped in hard plastic case......
Current bid: US $500.00 (Reserve not met)
Buy It Now for US $1,260.00

Good grief! It's a freakin' cardboard box!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sheldon Brown Bike on ebay

If you are into bicycles and are on the internet, chances are you have heard of Sheldon Brown. A life long bicycling advocate, guru, and expert velo wrench, Sheldon died last year, and the bicycling world mourned his passing. Now one of his prize bikes, the Raleigh Competition "Superbe" is up for grabs on ebay.
This Raleigh Competition "Superbe" is intended to be an interpretation of the classic Raleigh Sports/Superbe 3-speed, only with higher-quality materials and with improved modern technology. The frame is a classic Raleigh Competition, originally a 10-speed racing machine. It appears to be a 1976 model, all Reynolds 531 butted tubing, with Huret dropouts. It is equipped with a Shimano Nexus 7-speed internal-gear hub, and a Shimano Nexus generator front hub. Assorted gold anodized parts accent the gold trim on the black frame.
Winning bid: US $882.19


A Fighting Chance

The 21 year old University of Wisconsin-Madison coed wanted to be a physician. She had altruistic goals of healing the sick and infirm, not of living a country club lifestyle. She was living with her fiance'. They had plans to marry in Hawaii. When he arrived at home, on April 2, 2008, he found her dead.

Brittany Zimmerman had been beaten and stabbed multiple times in her chest. She was finally strangled to death as she desperately clung to life. Her door showed signs of forced entry. Her cell phone was shattered. Amazingly, Brittany had notified a sheriff's 911 dispatcher of the vicious attack. The 911 tape revealed screams, gasps and the sounds of a struggle, according to court documents. Her call for help was ignored because "the dispatcher did not hear any sounds that would signal an emergency." After her murder, a Marquette Tribune headline had the audacity to declare that the cause of Brittany Zimmerman's death was still unknown. Her killer is still at large.

Here's a snippet of reality for those who still believe the cause of this young woman's death is "unknown." She was murdered. She bled out while some predatory animal in human form squeezed the last breath out of her collapsing, blood filled lungs. She died a horrible, unjust and unnecessary death. Police failed to respond in a timely fashion. It took them 48 minutes to arrive at her home to "investigate" Brittany Zimmerman's death, only after her husband-to-be found her dead body.

I have yet another reality snippet. The failure of the police to respond in a timely fashion is irrelevant. The lethal attack was already in progress when they were notified. Unless officers were already on patrol on her street, a 911 call was but a futile notification that a homicide would soon be investigated. The only way that Brittany Zimmerman could have been saved at that point was by having the ability to effectively fight off an attacking predator. It is evident that she did not have the physical strength or know how to do so. Thus, she needed a tool. She needed a gun.

A gun is not a magic talisman against evil. A gun is not some mystical device that saves lives any more than it is an evil device that takes lives. A gun is an inanimate object. A tool with which we can protect ourselves. A life preserver. A gun might not have saved Brittany Zimmerman on April 2, but with the proper training and effective ammunition, it would have given her a fighting chance. If only she had a gun.

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The Best of Times

"They are the last bastion, the last gathering place, of a free people."

That is the way it was for years, indeed decades. That's the reason why the opposition is so rabid about closing gun shows down. If the free people can not gather, they can not meet. If they can not meet, they can not organize. If they can not organize, they can not resist.

Except now, there is the internet. It is the worst of times and the best of times.

Give the Sipsey Street Irregulars a look.

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