A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shooting the Bodyguard Cold

I was back at the range this afternoon, and I intended to shoot my Smith & Wesson Model 649. I purchased the 649 to alleviate some of the wear on my old aluminum framed Model 38. They shoot pretty much the same, but the Airweight 38 is much easier to carry in a pocket holster.

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I had been shooting the Model 649 for a bit when I realized that my Colt Defender was still holstered on my hip. I unholstered it and put it on the table.

I ran 150 rounds of Winchester White Box through the 649, enough to turn the barrel blue with soot. I like having a snubbie in my pocket. Such a carry arrangement allows me to converse with a person with my right hand placed casually in my pocket, in a firing grasp on the weapon.Click to enlarge The potential threat never knows it is there, unless I need it. That is a decided advantage. It gives a person time to assess the threat and make an accurate determination on whether lethal force is warranted, and have the gun into play in the blink of an eye. Or, if the conflict can be de-escalated, a person using pocket carry can do so with a gun in hand and nobody is the wiser.

One of the oft disregarded advantages of a snubbie in a pocket is speed. The short barrel of the snubbie revolver is frequently thought of as an aid in concealment, but it also enables the shooter to clear leather and bring the muzzle to bear quicker. While peak muzzle velocity may not be reached with a snubbie, clearing leather first and getting hits on target first has it's benefit.

I alternated shooting the snubbie with shooting the Ruger MKII. I wasn't so much working on marksmanship with the Ruger as I was attempting to decondition any advantage I gained from firing the Smith over and over. I wanted to shoot each cylinder cold, as though I had just drawn it from my pocket after a week or two of not shooting. I would draw and put two on target, then three. Other times, I loaded four rounds only. Click to enlargeWhen I clicked on the empty chamber, I had to make a quick decision to pull that trigger again for another shot.

Shooting a snubbie revolver accurately in double action is demanding shooting. Shooting a snubbie revolver double action to get controlled couplets or trained triplets with holes where you want them to be, as fast as you can pull the trigger is a skill that eludes many shooters. Many shooters eventually move on to easier guns to shoot in a search for greater accuracy. I can not place the holes as close to each other with a rapidly fired snubbie as I can with a Government Model. But I can place them close enough with a snubbie for government work. The other advantages of a snubbie frequently out weigh the more difficult shooting, and the more difficult shooting presents a challenge.

I have given some thought to dropping this revolver off at Clark Custom when I pick up my Colt Commander. A couple of years ago, Jim Clark had a matched set of S&W 629 snubs that he had melted and bead blasted for a customer planning on going into Kodiak country. That brace of pistols was one of the sharpest best thought out sets of guns I have seen. I'm thinking that a Clark Meltdown and bead blasting on this little pocket pistol might just make it ideal.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Eddie Eagle Under Attack

A Garland Texas mother believes the NRA's Eddie Eagle program is inappropriate for five year old children. "Not only do I think it's inappropriate to provide this information to my five year old, but this is a program published by the NRA," blathered Nicola Howe.

When Howe's daughter brought home an Eddie Eagle coloring book, Ms. Howe was shocked to discover outlines of children encountering dangerous guns for her daughter to color in. "Having pictures of guns that children color in I think is sending the wrong message," said Howe.

Howe's little girl, Samone also watched an Eddie Eagle video as part of the school district's curriculum centered around teaching children to protect themselves. The children were also exposed to life jackets, bicycle safety, car safety and instructed on appropriate action to take if confronted by a stranger. All that is fine and dandy with Ms. Howe, but pictures of evil guns and instructions on what a child should do if they encounter one have no place in the school system according to Ms. Howe. "At five years old, anytime you tell a child not to touch something, that's exactly what they do. It's in their nature to be curious and to touch and handle things," she says.

That's why you teach them what not to do, Ms. Howe. I suppose you avoid the subjects of drinking bleach, playing with matches, handling rattlesnakes and sticking your head in the sand as well.


Scared and Uncomfortable

John Wahlberg was at work one night when he received a message that the authorities "requested his presence". Being a good citizen, Wahlberg went to the police station. Inside, he was questioned and officers began to read a list firearms that were registered under his name, wanting to know where he kept them.

Sound like fiction? It happened at Central Connecticut State University. Wahlberg had unfortunately given a presentation on school violence as an assignment in a communications class. He talked about the Virginia Tech killings of 2007, and went on to say that had concealed carry been allowed on the Virginia Tech campus, Seung-Hui Cho might have been stopped before he killed thirty-two people.

"I was a bit nervous when I walked into the police station," Wahlberg said, "but I felt a general sense of disbelief once the officer actually began to list the firearms registered in my name. I was never worried however, because as a law abiding gun owner, I have a thorough understanding of state gun laws as well as unwavering safety practices."

Wahlberg's instructor, Paula Anderson, reported Wahlberg's presentation to campus police claiming it caused a "scared and uncomfortable" atmosphere in the classroom. So much for the free exchange of ideas, or even reasonable discourse in academia. "If you can’t talk about the Second Amendment, what happened to the First Amendment?" wondered Sara Adler, president of the Riflery and Marksmanship club at CCSU.

Paula Anderson has written a response and declined further comment. Her email at the university is andersonpau@ccsu.edu

More: Professor Takes Heat for Calling Cops on Student Who Discussed Guns in Class

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Colt M1991A1 and Springfield GI45 Comparison

"Xavier, What is the real difference between the parked Colt 1911 and the Springfield GI 45?"
Well, not much really. The Colt has the Series 80 firing pin safety, but the Springfield comes from the factory with an integrated locking system. The Springfield's lock can be easily removed by replacing the mainspring housing. A shim can be obtained from Brownells to remove the Series 80 firing pin mechanism.Click to enlarge However, a gunsmith I highly respect advises against using the shim long term.

Little things like lanyard loops and such make up the bulk of the difference. The Colt does have more visible sights. The Springfield has a two piece barrel in contrast to the Colt tube. A used Colt M1991A1 with the old style rollmark and parkerized finish is generally priced a bit less than a comparable new Springfield GI45 with a parkerized finish. The Colt will hold resale value better, but the real difference is in the shooting. Or is it?

I took my Springfield GI45 and my Colt M1991A1 to the range for a comparison. Each pistol has some bits and pieces that were added by myself, but each one retains the original sights, barrel and bushing. Neither pistol has been tightened. Both have trigger jobs.

I shot at ten yards, alternating between the two pistols. The Colt target is on the left, the Springfield target is on the right. The accuracy of the groupings is about equal. The Colt was pretty much on target for me. The Springfield shot a bit high. I attribute that to the Springfield's arched mainspring housing. I learned long ago that I shoot better with a flat mainspring housing and a long trigger. Click to enlargeMy Springfield GI45 is set up to resemble a military pistol, while the Colt is set up to my preferences. I suspect a swap in parts on the Springfield would put me in the ten ring.

I have owned and regularly shot my Springfield GI45 since 2003. The two piece barrel (which I think may be a Storm Lake barrel) has been a non-issue. The pistol has been durable, reliable and accurate. The Colt is new to me, but frankly, I don't envision it being any different. The fact that many top notch 1911 'smiths keep a Colt barrel in a custom 1911 instead of routinely replacing it with a Barsto speaks volumes for Colt's barrel quality.

It was difficult impossible for me to determine whether one pistol actually shot better than the other. The groups were remarkably similar, except the pistol with the arched mainspring housing and short trigger shot higher for me. If you want a Colt, and are concerned about resale value, a used Colt M1991A1 is a perfectly adequate pistol. If you want a new gun and the Colt name is meaningless to you, the Springfield is a very fine substitution.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No Choice

"There's been a whole bunch of emotions, from joy to being alive to remorse and sadness for the loss of anybody's life. I send my condolences out to the family. They have lost someone," says Heath Miller of Wellington, Florida. Heath Miller"It has been a journey involving me and my wife laughing and crying, and crying and laughing. Bits of depression and bits of joy just to still be here. Every day is a new thing. There have been so many things that have been overwhelming that we just have to breathe and keep going."

Mr. Miller, a soft spoken middle school band and chorus teacher, doesn't wish to discuss with the media the events of the night when 22 year old Robert Tomlin broke into his home with a gun. He does affirm that his dogs, Riley and Jordan, were the real heroes. "They were truthfully heroes. And I owe my life to them, we owe our lives to them," he says. "Normally, if there's something happening on the street or in the neighborhood they'll bark and go to the blinds. You'll hear the blinds rattling. But this particular night they didn't. They started backing up into the bedroom. And that was what really started everything."

On the morning of February 16, 2009, Robert R. Tomlin entered Millers' home wearing a black mask and carrying a .40 caliber pistol. Tomlin had been using a cousin's home several houses away as a mail drop. Robert R. TomlinIt is not known for certain why he entered Miller's home in the dark of night wearing a mask and carrying a gun, but it's fair to say he wasn't collecting letters from his pen pal, and he wasn't impersonating the Lone Ranger. Tomlin had a violent police record. He had been arrested for domestic battery two times, once a with pregnant woman. He had assaulted a police officer, and he had numerous violations of probation.

As the dogs backed up in front of the intruder, Miller saw a silhouette carrying a gun in the doorway . Miller grabbed his own gun, and the two men exchanged gunfire. Tomlin was mortally wounded and collapsed at the back door. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Miller and his wife are returning to work and are getting counseling. They had found a home in a safer neighborhood, and had finalized a lease after meeting several unexpected requirements concerning their dogs. Now, the owner of the house has backed out of the contract and moved back into the home they wanted. Oddly, the realtor had asked Mr. Miller about the home invasion he suffered the day before the owner took his property off the market. Unwilling to remain in the home where their security had been violated, the Millers are now living with relatives.

Often the actual shooting is only the beginning of the tribulations in a righteous defender's life. I hope in the coming weeks, months and years that Mr. Miller remembers that he is a good man, a solid man, a righteous man. It was not his choice to take a life. It was his choice to save his own life, and the life of his wife. Robert R. Tomlin forced that decision on Mr. Miller, and he had absolutely no right or justification for doing so. In the end, Heath Miller had no choice.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Colt M1991A1

"Hey Xavier, would you be interested in a Colt?" We were getting ready for a case, and the x-ray technician's question was music to my ears.

"I dunno. What kind is it?" I asked.

"A M1991A1," replied Ralph, as he maneuvered the C-arm past my back table. "I took it to the gun store to trade in on a Smith & Wesson M&P, and they only offered me $300."

"That's too bad. Is it in decent shape?"

"Yeah. It's a bit beat up, but not bad," replied Ralph. "I have some custom grips on it."

"How's about $450?"

"Sounds good. Meet me after work?"

"OK, but the deal is dependent on whether it shoots reliably."


So it was that I met up with Ralph after work to take a look at another Colt. When he took the blue case out of his truck, my mouth began to water. Click to enlargeThe Hogue wrap around "Good Year" grip stopped my Pavlovian response though. I hate those things.

The Colt M1991A1 is actually a 1911 manufactured by Colt to meet a certain price point. It was first introduced in..... 1991, and the gimmicky new name was emblazoned across the slide like a big bumper sticker. The finish was parkerizing, and the pistol contained the Series 80 firing pin safety. It was a basic gun, not glamorous, but reliable and effective. The factory installed a plastic trigger and a plastic mainspring housing to meet the price point desired. The model designation is still used, but today's version of the 1991 pistol is brushed blue with sandblasted rounds, and the pistol comes with nice wooden grips. It also sells for seven hundred dollars or so.

Ralph's pistol had some finish wear, and on field stripping it, it appeared as though he used 3 in 1 oil and WD-40 for lubricant. Other than the outer finish wear, it hardly looked to have been fired. "You shoot this much?" I asked.

"Nah, I just had it to have it," he replied.

I went through my process of checking a used 1911 prior to purchase. Click to enlargeThe thumb safety did not ping when the hammer was pulled back. The feed ramp had not been touched. The bore was like new. The barrel fit well, as did the slide. The magazine was a no name stainless steel mag, but it looked decent enough.

The 1911 wheels in my head got a quick kick start. In my spares box at home, I had a solid black aluminum trigger. I also had a checkered aluminum mainspring housing. I had walnut double diamond grips. This pistol would take very little to turn into a very nice, serviceable 1911. In fact, I would have to put no further money into it.

"I tell you what Ralph, I'll give you three hundred today, and the remaining one fifty after I shoot it," I offered.

"Fair enough," said Ralph. I placed the Colt in its blue box, snapped it shut, and drew three Benjamins out of my wallet.

Once home, I took out a few tools and began to detail strip the Colt. Everything was dry and in good shape, except both bushings unscrewed with the grip on the left side of the pistol. Click to enlargeI used a pair of vise grips and a screwdriver to free the trapped bushings from the fat rubber grip, and then I set them back into the receiver with red LocTite.

I used brake cleaner to dissolve the gummed up oil inside the pistol. Digging through my spares box I found the trigger, mainspring housing and grips. It would take a lot to get me to change my mind now. I did a trigger job on the pistol and installed the parts. I removed a little metal from the tab of the grip safety to make it more responsive in my hands. I deepened the plunger recess in the thumb safety so it would engage and disengage with more authority. I dressed the extractor. Finally, I went to my range bag and retrieved a blue Shooting star magazine and stuffed it in the bottom. The pistol was starting to look like a clean, no nonsense pistol.

I was sold. Over time, my tastes in handguns has meta morphed from a love for large capacity European 9mm blasters, to plastic fantastics, to 1911 trend setters. Back in 1991, when this Colt pistol first hit the market, I was wrapped up in the 9mm wonder gun scene. Click to enlargeI had passed them by at $400. Now, it is a fortunate man who finds one for that price, in almost any condition. I stuffed the Colt M1991A1 and some ammo in my range bag for a trip to the range.

I shot 230 hardball, 185 grain hollow points, and a couple magazines of reloads. I shot the pistol right side up, upside down, and on it's side. I let my thumb ride the slide and I limp wristed it. No matter how I tried to induce a failure, the Colt gobbled anything I had to stuff into it's magazine. It was accurate, more accurate than I was.

It looks like I'll be taking $150 to work in the morning.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Home Defense Shotgunning

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"There is a lot of bullshit out there in the home defense shotgun arena. A lot of money can be made in the plastic tactical whizbang market, and it leaves the newbie wondering if the shotgun itself is really a necessity if he has all that extra junk to throw at an attacker. The truth is, a combat shotgun needs very little to be a devastatingly effective weapon, and they can be bought on the used market very cheaply. There is no reason for any home not to have one."
A few years ago, I published my thoughts on shotguns for home defense, and I haven't cranked out much about the subject since. I figured I had said what I wanted to say, what I had learned over time, and that was that. Still, the lure of the dark side is strong. I continue to see people adorning their scatter guns with more mongo bongo black tactical secret squirrel crap than a high school kid with a new job, a beater Nissan sedan, and a J.C.Whitney catalog.

Now, Carteach0 takes on home defense shotgunning. First, he writes about selecting and equipping your shotgun of choice. Click to enlargeGood stuff there. Probably the most important bit is to have spare ammunition on the gun itself. Much of the high speed black plastic stuff can be done away with. Keep it simple. Don't even think about a pistol grip. I tend to agree with him concerning slings as well. Next, Carteach0 provides a few drills and thoughts on it's use.

He makes some good points. First, you can miss with a shotgun. It is not a magic gun. You have got to aim the thing. A 12 gauge is a devastatingly effective fight stopper....... if you hit your target. At home defense distances, the buckshot will pattern very close together, even out of a cylinder bore. It will not be an impenetrable hail of lead in your hallway. If you fail to draw a bead on the threat, you will likely fail to stop the threat.

Shotguns empty quickly. Reloading with the bead on target, especially while moving is a skill that takes training to acquire. You simply cannot expect the tactical Tam fairy to wave her magic wand and sprinkle survivor dust all over you in a fight for your life. If you don't train for it, you will not be able to accomplish it under pressure. Hell, if you do train for it you may still fail.

Training at the range with your home defense weapon is an imperative. Shoot at realistic distances for home defense, from cover, and while moving. Click to enlargeAlso important is learning to move about your home with your shotgun.

To avoid scaring the neighbors, do this when your home is empty, with the blinds drawn. Make absolutely certain your shotgun is empty. Check the magazine. Finger the follower. Then open and check the chamber. In that order. Then do it again. When you are absolutely certain your shotgun is empty, go though your house with it shouldered. Then go through doorways and halls slicing the pie over the barrel. Learn for yourself just how difficult it is to negotiate your home in this fashion. Think about where you have cover, or concealment. Then imagine doing it in the dark with the stack of books by the door that your wife or girlfriend left there for you to trip over.

Finally, decide whether house clearing or taking a defensive position would be in your best interests in a home invasion. All families and homes are not the same. The best course of action may not apply in all situations, even within the same home. Have more than one option, and when needed, chose the best one you have.

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Cat Fence


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Seeing Red, Shooting Black

For some reason the range was deserted when I met Cassie this afternoon for a bit of shooting. Click to enlargeIt was a little chilly, but not enough to keep most people away. I don't know what was going on. I was just happy for the good fortune of having the range to ourselves.

We shot at seven yards, and Cassie decided to stick with the Ruger MKII. That was fine with me, she was familiar with it, and comfortable shooting it. Cassie naturally assumes an Isosceles stance. All I had to do was ask her to spread her feet just a little farther apart for stability. She had brought along 550 rounds to enjoy shooting. I would be her magazine loader and coach/cheerleader.

As each bullet pierced the target, I either said "Good," or I kept quiet. Hits in the red merited a response. Hits in the white were ignored. At this point in Cassie's shooting, I am striving for confidence, and fun. Precision can come later. If she doesn't have fun shooting, then she will eventually give it up. If she doesn't feel confident, she will eventually move on to something else.

Click to enlargeDuring a break in the shooting, I talked to Cassie about focusing on the front sight. "Your eyes can not focus on the target, the front sight and the rear sight. The distance between them is too great. Rather than trying to see all three, bring the front sight into focus, and let the rear sight and the target be a bit blurry," I said.

Cassie shot a bit more, and then confessed. "I can't see the front sight," she said.

Since I wasn't shooting, I had not noticed the orange front sight and the red target. Cassie was staying in the red by the process of elimination. When she saw the front sight, she placed it back in the red to make it disappear and pulled the trigger. A novel solution, but not what I was looking for.

I dug into my range bag and found a black Shoot 'n' See target. Click to enlargeWe affixed that over the red spot, and went back to the firing line. With the next hot range call, Cassie picked up her pistol and aligned her sights. "Wow, I see what you mean!" she exclaimed.

"Can you see the green rings in the black?" I asked.


"That's OK. We're shooting for the center. Just imagine two lines across the black spot intersecting in the middle. Line your front sight up with that point of intersection right on top of the front sight," I instructed her, "Then, squeeze the trigger without pulling the front sight off that intersection."

With Cassie's first, second and third shots, I was pleased to see green craters appear in the center of the black void. Then her accuracy began to suffer. After the first magazine was fired into the Shoot 'n' See, we talked some more. "You have sight alignment now Cassie," I told her, "But any monkey can do that."

"But why don't the bullets go where I point the gun?" she asked.

"They do. Click to enlargeWhat you are not seeing is that you are pulling the sights slightly off target with your trigger pull sometimes. Compressing that trigger without moving any other fingers and without changing your sight alignment is the key to putting a hole precisely where you want it."

"It's not that easy."

"No, it's not. That's why it's called a skill. But truthfully, that is all there is to it. When you shoot, discard anything that causes you to move the sights off target while pulling the trigger. Keep everything that helps you accomplish that task. Don't lock your elbows. Don't anticipate the shot. These are things to discard," I told her. "Pull the trigger at a steady rate straight backwards. When you are waiting in the check-out line somewhere, don't just day dream. Instead, practice moving your trigger finger straight back with the rest of your fingers held perfectly still. Being able to control that finger independent of the rest is key."

"It takes a lot of practice," she responded.

"It does," I said. Click to enlarge"It's not like the movies where somebody picks up a gun for the first time and scores bulls eyes. It takes dedication and practice, but if you focus your practice to achieve your goal, you will arrive there quickly."

"I'm not sure I have that dedication," she said.

"You don't have to," I replied. "You are shooting well enough now to accomplish your goal of self defense. Think of it as a zen thing, a meditation. It's a zone you want to be in, where you can pick up a handgun and place the shot exactly where you want it to go. Your goal when we arrived today was to stay in the red, and for the most part, you accomplished that. Shooting is a skill that involves stripping away all the hindrances to the basic skills of aligning the sights and pulling the trigger."

"A zen thing," Cassie mused, "I could get into that."


Condition One

No, not that Condition One.

Ugly Gun Sunday


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lantern Light

It was late when I finally managed to go shoot. As a result, I did not shoot much, but afterwards an old friend and I got to brainstorming. Such activity can be fraught with peril.

If we do night practice, what is to stop us from using floodlights to illuminate the area downrange? Obviously, we would be using a berm, and we would use regular target frames. SW1911PD Click to enlargeThe floodlights, however, could be used as a visual signal for short durations of illumination to have the same effect of pepper poppers while dealing with with constricting pupils. The problem, of course, is how to make absolutely certain the area down range is closed.

I decided to research it a bit further. We traded a few more stories, and it was time to go. As I drove through the night, I remembered some of my boyhood camping trips. We would sleep out under a sky as black as a coal mine, with stars twinkling overhead. We would use the same type kerosene lanterns to cast light through a forest of pines and dancing shadows. Dark spectres were seen among the shadows as ghost stories were swapped about. All I wanted to be was a hobo back then. Ah the aspirations of a twelve year old boy.

Later, as a college student, I went on a float camping trip with a buddy from North Carolina. The gates were open at the dam of the spillway we launched at, but we had come too far to turn back. Everything downstream was inundated with water, and dry ground was scarce. After paddling through an afternoon of never ending treetops, we finally found a patch of dry land to make camp. We would have to share with raccoons, 'possums and armadillos. As we sat drinking Coors in the lantern light, I told Carl that D'arbonne Creek used to be called something else. He fell into the trap. "What's that?" he asked innocently.

"Boggy Creek," I replied. The movie had been released few years previously, and along with The Town that Dreaded Sundown, a huge impact was still in the mind of youth unaccustomed to Blair Witch type movies. Carl, hearing the local creatures rustling through the leaves on the soggy ground could not take it any longer. I had a hammock. He had a sleeping bag. He took his sleeping bag, climbed into the aluminum john boat and cast off to tie up among the tree tops for the night.

When I awoke Carl was surrounded by what appeared through the morning mist to be bicycle tubes hanging in the branches. As my crusty eyes adjusted, I realized they were snakes. "Carl! Don't move! No! Move slowly! Don't shake the branches!" I yelled. It took a lot to get Carl to go camping again.

The world seems so different now. Or maybe it's me. Age will do that, I suppose, but by the light of kerosene, in a black tar night, it seems very similar.

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The Wonderful World of Cable

"Wake up Xavier, the guys are here to install the cable."

"Huh? What? Cable? We don't need no stinkin' cable!"

It's just nine dollars a month more for basic cable. It's my surprise for you."

"Darling, I don't want a bunch of guys rootin' around the house, tacking cable to the outside and tearing stuff up."

"Xavier, they are waiting outside. Ilsa is barking at them."


It's hard for some to believe that I have survived for forty-five years without entertainment being routed into my home on a co-axial cable. Frankly, other than local and national news, and occasional DVDs, I just don't watch it much. I never saw the point of paying to have the stuff pumped into my house.

Still, with analog television going the way of the dodo, I wouldn't be watching it at all without a converter box. So, yesterday, when my wife surprised me with a couple of guys ready to tack coaxial cable around the outside of my house, I sent them away and decided to run it myself.

The obvious route was through the attic, as the exterior source is on one side of our home, and the television is on the other. So, this morning, I climbed into the attic to detach the antenna cable and add an extra 60 feet of cable to reach the other side of the house.

Once inside the dusty attic, there were other chores to perform, of course. repair the screen on the gable vent. Reattach the heater duct to Little Darling's bedroom, and seal it off. Finally, after an hour's diversion, I joined the additional cable to the antenna cable, and I ran it across the attic, down through the roof in the heater compartment, and through the exterior wall where I wanted it hooked up. I sealed the hole with the cable running through it with caulk, and told my wife-mate to have the cable guys come and hook it up at any time.

It's time to go to the range.


A Dog's 10 Commandments

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

Hat tip to Mr. Completely


Friday, February 20, 2009

Doing the Right Thing

It didn't matter that his DeKalb, Ill., High School basketball team had ridden a bus two and a half hours to get to Milwaukee, then waited another hour past game time to play. Didn't matter that the game was close, or that this was a chance to beat a big city team. Something else was on Dave Rohlman's mind when he asked for a volunteer to shoot two free throws awarded his team on a technical foul in the second quarter. His senior captain raised his hand, ready to go to the line as he had many times before.

Only this time it was different.

"You realize you're going to miss them, don't you?" Rohlman said.

Darius McNeal nodded his head. He understood what had to be done.

Find out why here. Take a Kleenex.

I'd like to welcome Rick 9mm Ector to my blogroll. Looking forward to more Rick!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ruger MKII Cleaning

The Ruger MKII "beginner gun" had started getting a sticky sear return, so I disassembled it for cleaning tonight. While I will totally detail strip the gun if necessary, this is as far as I need to strip it for a thorough cleaning.

A blast of aerosol brake cleaner into the lock work, work the mechanism to allow it to seep in, and wipe away. Then a bit of powdered graphite and a touch of grease on the hammer notch and the pistol was ready for reassembly. The blast shield was working well. It had an eigth of an inch thick layer of black soot caked on it. There was no gritty trigger. Underneath the blast shield, the trigger was as clean as a whistle. However, around the hammer and sear, so much crud was built up that the trigger reset was sometimes delayed. My usual Ruger MKII post shooting clean-up consists of a poke around the chamber with a bronze brush and patch, a bore snake and a wipe down. It takes many, many rounds to build up the residue of shooting in the rear of a MKII.

Far too many people believe they must field strip these pistols every time they shoot them. I know several shooters who have continued to shoot MKIIs with no cleaning what so ever. The MKII design allows for a minimum to no maintenance. It is truly one of the most durable and simple pistols ever built.

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Another One

Caitlin Trask and Darren Mackie
Sailor says he didn’t know gun was loaded

The Associated Press
Wednesday Feb 18, 2009 9:56:45 EST

Milwaukee — A Wisconsin sailor told police in Virginia he didn’t realize his gun was loaded when he pointed it at his girlfriend’s head and pulled the trigger, killing the woman. Darren Mackie is charged with second-degree murder in the death of fellow Navy sailor, 20-year-old Caitlin Trask.

A report in the Newport News Daily Press says the 22-year-old Mackie, from Chippewa Falls, told investigators he was playing with his gun at his Navy apartment in Newport News, Va. Thursday, walked up behind Trask, pointed the weapon at her head and pulled the trigger. A criminal complaint says Mackie then called 911.

Mackie is stationed aboard the amphibious assault ship Kearsarge. Trask, of North Andover, Mass., was stationed on the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Darren W. Mackie is charged with second degree murder in the death of his once live-in girlfriend, Caitlin E. Trask. "Mr. Mackie advised that he was playing with his firearm and walked up behind the victim and pointed the weapon at her head and pulled the trigger," Police Detective J.T. Williams wrote in a criminal complaint on file in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. "He further stated that he did not know the gun was loaded." The complaint went on to say that Mackie then called 911. IT3 Trask was found shot once in the head. She was deceased. Newport News police have charged Airman Darren Mackie with murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Darren Mackie is being held without bond.

"It was just a terrible accident and she was only 20 years old," said Mary Trask of Haverhill, the mother of Caitlin Trask.

No. It was not an accident, It was stupidity. Caitlin Trask died because her boyfriend was an idiot. Don't point a gun at something you do not wish to destroy.

If you think a gun is unloaded, you don't know it's unloaded. OPEN THE CHAMBER and verify it. If you don't know how to open the chamber, then put the damned gun down and step away.

If the gun is truly unloaded, then STILL don't point it at your girlfriend and pull the trigger. If you do, you are an idiot, and you should not be allowed to breed. Instead you should be behind bars where you cannot infect the human race with your own special brand of chronic cerebal vaccuum.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Agglomeration

Oblivious soccor moms lit up by cell phones in SUVs. Dangerous dachshunds on snap leashes. Arf araf arf araf arfa arf! A syncopated symphony of white dashes popping off the blacktop. A white reflector in the distance approaching, and a quick smile and hello as another cyclist becomes illuminated by my red blinkies.

I wasn't the only one out tonight on a bicycle. I'm not surprised, really.... The night was gorgeous. Dry. Unlike Louisiana. Just the right temperature to put on a T shirt and have the breeze wick the sweat from your head through your helmet vents. A sky glistening with stars and a route unencumbered by any objective other than the sheer enjoyment of being.

Another cyclist closes in on me, a homie in a black watch cap on a blue Murray mountain bike. A quick wave and a "What's up?" In the distance, three time trialers furiously churn away at their gears. With all of the wet and cold I had taken to the comfort of a dry vehicle for the past few months. I had been missing the wind on my face and the tight ache in my legs, and I didn't even realize it.

For a moment, I was embarrassed by my thrown together commuter bike, with it's array of flashing lights, refectors and kiddie bike handlebars. The British fenders and the gym basket zip tied to a book rack on the back made the whole affair appear to be an agglomeration of disparate parts.

But you know, that's me too. I'm an agglomeration of disparate experiences, from Hong Kong's Cat Street to Pensacola's beaches to Ayers Rock in the Northern Territory. My life has ranged from that of a boy to an artist, to a soldier and sailor, to a father, husband and nurse. I'm still evolving, and so is my life.

A coed pedals towards me, and a white smile flashes, "Good evening!" I wave back and turn for home. I'm comfortable with who I am now, and satisfied with the winding journey it took me to get here. I just need to get back on the bike and ride and enjoy it.


Defender Dump

Click to enlargeI have decreased the amount of time I am shooting my Colt Defender now. While I have experienced 100% reliability, and the pistol has shown no signs of failure, I am cognizant of the lightweight aluminum frame. I am shooting it enough to remain proficient, all the while monitoring it for any sign of frame cracking.

Click to enlarge

I continue to be amazed at just how accurate the little three inch 1911 can be with slow fire.

Today, I took the Defender to the range and shot off both magazines of carry ammunition. It was time to rotate it out.


On the Second Amendment.

To Hell with it. I wish I had cranked that out. Go read.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Clark Meltdown

I have finally garnered the time to take a trip back to Princeton Louisiana with one of my Commanders. My plan for the pistol is a mild Clark Meltdown with a refinish in hard chrome. Click to enlargeI say mild because I do not want the big bushing or the full length guide rod that generally comes in the Meltdown. My preference for a fighting 1911 is the original bushing and guide rod.

I remember the last time I was at Clark's with the pistol. Jim Clark Jr. looked it over, said he could do it no problem, and then checked the chamber and dry fired the pistol a couple of times.

"Who did this trigger job?" he asked.

That kind of open ended question from a gunsmith is always dangerous. "I did," I replied.

"That's good....." was Jim's response.

Last night I took off the cocobolo grips for storage at home while the pistol was being worked on. I screwed on some old Pachmayr rubber grips instead. Click to enlarge (Serial number digitally altered in photo)I also pressed out the orange insert in the front sight and placed it in a zip lock baggie with the grips for secure storage.

Other than the trigger and reliability work, a lot of small details have been performed on this pistol to make it unique. The port has been lightly flared. The slide stop pin has been inset. The mainspring housing has been switched out in favor of a flat aluminum checkered one. The hammer is a Nowlin Speed Demon, which works great with the stubby Commander grip safety to eliminate hammerbite. Lastly, the sights have been swapped for a ramped front sight and a rear sight that predates the Yost Retro unit but resembles it closely.

It's raining this morning, but as I load up the Jeep, I'm looking forward to a drive back to Shootout Lane.


Beware the Zombie Chimp

Tam leads me to a story about the face eating zombie chimp of Stamford, Connecticut.

A 200 pound chimp vs a 70 year old woman a shovel, a butcher knife and cops with how many tasers and handguns? Poor monkey. He was probably misguided by high school athletics, saggy pants and wine. Typical result of a foster home environment. It wasn't the monkey's fault, he was oppressed. He was just trying to make a get away.

Seriously, medication for lyme disease? A different hairstyle? Come on CNN. It was a wild animal with opposed thumbs. Luckily he didn't get his hand on a Glock.


Dispaches From The Planet of the Apes....

A transcript of the 911 call.
DISPATCHER: Stamford 911 where's you're emergency?

HEROLD: Inaudible...241 rock, Rockrimmon Road (chimp begins screaming) send the police!

DISPATCHER: What's the problem? (chimp screaming)

HEROLD: Send the police (chimp screaming)

DISPATCHER: What's the problem there? (chimp screaming)

HEROLD: The, that the chimp killed my, my friend

DISPATCHER: What's wrong with your friend? (chimp screaming)

HEROLD: (gasps, breathing hard, presses button) (chimp screaming)

DISPATHER: What's the problem with your friend? (chimp screaming)

HEROLD: Oh, please!

(Chimp heard screaming in background)

DISPATCHER: What's the problem with your friend, I need to know. (chimp screaming)

HEROLD: Send the police up with a gun, with a gun, hurry up! (chimp screaming)

DISPATCHER: Who has the gun?

HEROLD: Please hurry up! Please hurry up! He's killin' my girlfriend

DISPATCHER TO POLICE: 241 Rockrimmon Road they're sayin' someone has a gun and trying to kill somebody.

HEROLD: Hurry up!

DISPATCHER: They're on their way, but I need you to give me more information, who's doing this?

HEROLD: Inaudible...with guns!

DISPATCHER: Who has the guns?

HEROLD: No! Bring the guns! Ya gotta kill my chimp...inaudible

DISPATCHER: What's the problem there?

HEROLD: Hurry up!

DISPATCHER: I need you to talk to me, I need you to calm down. Why do you need somebody there?

HEROLD: What? Please, God!

DISPATCHER: What is the problem?

HEROLD: He's killing my friend!

DISPATCHER: Who's killing your friend?

HEROLD: Chimp, my chimpanzee

DISPATCHER: Oh, your chimpanzee is killing your friend?

HEROLD: Inaudible...yes he ripped her apart. Hurry up! Hurry up please!

DISPATCHER: Inaudible...there is someone on the way.

HEROLD: With guns, please just shoot him!

DISPATCHER TO POLICE: Inaudible...the monkey is beating up on somebody.

HEROLD: Shoot him! Please!

DISPATCHER: OK, OK, I need you to ...

HEROLD: Inaudible...down the driveway

DISPATCHER: Where are you, outside?

HEROLD: Inaudible...hurry please, please! Hurry! Hurry.

DISPATCHER: What is going on? What is the monkey doing? Tell me what the monkey is doing.

HEROLD: He, he ripped her face off!

DISPATCHER: He ripped her face off?

HEROLD: He tried, he tried trying to attack me! Please! Please! Hurry!

DISPATCHER: OK, I need you to calm down a little bit. They're on their way. Can you put yourself away? I want ... inaudible ...

HEROLD: I can't! Please hurry up! Listen to me!

DISPATCHER: They're on their way ma'am.

HEROLD: Inaudible...guns! They got to shoot him please! Please, hurry hurry! Please!

DISPATCHER: Ma'am ma'am, I need you to calm down. They're already on their way.

HEROLD: I can't, I can't ...

DISPATCHER: I know, where, how?

HEROLD: Please please!

DISPATCHER: Is your monkey still with your friend, or is your friend still on the floor?

HEROLD: Yes he ... he killed her ...i naudible ... please ...

DISPATCHER: I need you to ... inaudible ... Ma'am are you there with your friend?

HEROLD: Inaudible

DISPATCHER: Ma'am I need you to calm down, so you can help your friend. Okay?

HEROLD: Inaudible ... he tried to attack me! Please hurry! Hurry! Please!

DISPATCHER: Are you there with your friend? I need you to help me with your friend. Ok? Are you there with your friend?

HEROLD: Listen, listen. Please.

DISPATCHER: Are you there with your friend?

HEROLD: Inaudible ... how fast, how fast can you get them here? Hurry!

DISPATCHER: Are they, you there with your friend? I need you to help your friend. Can you go help your friend?

HEROLD: I can't! He tried to attack me now.

DISPATCHER: Is he still there with your friend?


DISPATCHER: OK, so then back of then. Don't get any closer. OK? They're already on their way.

HEROLD: Please!

DISPATCHER: If the monkey moves away from your friend, let me know OK? So we can try to help your friend.

HEROLD: I ... inaudible ... no, no I can't, she's dead! She's dead!

DISPATCHER: Why are you saying that she's dead?

HEROLD: Inaudible ... he ripped her apart!

DISPATCHER: He ripped what apart, her face?

HEROLD: Everything ... inaudible.

DISPATCHER: He ripped her apart?

HEROLD: Yes ... inaudible ... I think I'm going to faint. I think I'm going to pass out!

DISPATCHER: No, no, no, just breathe, OK? I'm going to stay with you on the phone until they get there.

HEROLD: Listen to me! Please ... inaudible ... please please hurry. Oh my god, please, please hurry.

DISPATCHER: They're on their way. Ma'am i need you to calm down now. OK? I don't want you to say anything. OK? Do me a favor, breathe.

HEROLD: No, I ...

DISPATCHER: Just breathe, just breathe. I'm going to stay with you on the phone, OK?

HEROLD: I can't, I can't, I can't ... inaudible

DISPATCHER: They're already on their way, just breathe.

HEROLD: No, listen to me. I can't breathe.

DISPATCHER: I know, OK? I need you to calm down a little bit. I know its hard, but I want you to breathe.

HEROLD: Inaudible ... Please, listen to me please.

DISPATCHER: They're on their way I have a lot of officers already going on the way and I have a medic going. OK?

HEROLD: Inaudible ... Please hurry please, please, please ... inaudible

DISPATCHER: Just, they're on their way, OK? They're going as fast as they can.

HEROLD: Oh, my God!

DISPATCHER: I need you to breathe for me, OK?

HEROLD: Inaudible ... she's dead, she's dead. Oh my God, she's dead. Oh my God, he ripped her apart. Please, God, hurry! Please, please! Listen to me.


HEROLD: OK, please, how soon? How soon? Where are they? Where are they?

DISPATCHER: They're on their way. I have a lot of units going your way as fast as they could get there. OK?

HEROLD: Listen, please ... inaudible

DISPATCHER: Where is the monkey now? Is he still with your friend?

HEROLD: No, no he went to attack ... inaudible

DISPATCHER: Where is the monkey now?

HEROLD: He's outside.

DISPATCHER: He's outside?

HEROLD: Listen to me! He just ... inaudible

DISPATCHER: Is your friend also outside?

HEROLD: Yes, yes! Yes, please dear God, please, please, please get them here fast! Please! Hurry! Please hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

DISPATCHER: OK, I have the police, the fire department, and the medics on the way, OK?

HEROLD: Please hurry!

DISPATCHTER: Where are they? Outside? On your driveway?

HEROLD: Yes at the end of ... inaudible ... please! Please hurry, please! I can't, I cant hold on much longer! I can't hold on I can' t... inaudible ... I'm sick, please. Listen to me!

DISPATCHER: I'm listening to you, I'm listening to you.

HEROLD: Please where are they? Where are they? Please! Oh my God, please!

DISPATCHER: Is the monkey still there with your friend?

HEROLD: He's screaming. He killed her ... inaudible.

DISPATCHER: OK, is the monkey still there with your friend?

HEROLD: Yes, yes!


HEROLD: Yes, please where are the squad cars? Where are they?

DISPATCHER: They're coming, they're coming your way. I even have an engine going your way and a medic going your way.

HEROLD: Inaudible, oh my God, oh please make them see, please!

DISPATCHER: They're going as fast as they can, OK?

HEROLD: Inaudible ... is there anyone closer? They got to have their guns out! They got to have their guns out! Listen to me! Oh my God!

DISPATCHER: Is this your monkey, or whose monkey is it?


DISPATCHER: It's your monkey?

HEROLD: It's mine.

DISPATCHER: How, how, do you know how big heavy ... inaudible.
HEROLD: Yes ... inaudible ... Pounds.


HEROLD: 200!

DISPATCHER: 200 pounds?

HEROLD: Listen to me, please! Where are they Where are they?

DISPATCHER: And he's a chimp, correct?

HEROLD: Yes, where are they? Where are they?

DISPATCHER: They're going your way. They're going as fast as they can your way. OK?

HEROLD: Please, please go faster! Please, please ... inaudible ... please, please, please, please.

DISPATCHER: Is the monkey still by your friend, or can you get close to your friend?

HEROLD: Yes, he's eating her! He's eating her.

DISPATCHER: He's eating her?

HEROLD: Please, God, oh please!

DISPATCHER: OK, I need you to calm down for me I know it hard, OK? I know its hard, but they're going as fast as they can your way, OK?

HEROLD: Oh my God, please ... inaudible ... oh my God. Where are they? Where are they?

DISPATCHER: I know, I know. It's OK, they're going your way, OK? They're going out as fast as they can. They'll be there momentarily.

HEROLD: Oh my, he's ripping her apart. Please hurry! Please God, oh please. Please have them come faster, please! Please, they got to have their guns out. Please have them please! Please ... inaudible ... hurry. Help me! Listen to me, listen, where are they?

DISPATCHER: I need you to do me favor, OK? Don't get close at all to the monkey. I know he's yours, but don't. I don't want you to get close to him, OK? Stay as far as you can from him.

HEROLD: Inaudible ... listen to me, where are they? Where are they? Where are they? Inaudible.

DISPATCHER: They're coming, they're all coming. I have almost everybody going your way.

HEROLD: Please hurry up! Please. Please hurry up! Please hurry up!

DISPATCHER: Do you know how old the person, your friend is? How old is your friend?

HEROLD: She's, she's dead.

DISPATCHER: How old, how old is she though?

HEROLD: Inaudible ... she's ... inaudible

DISPATCHER: How old is she?

HEROLD: Inaudible ... she's 50.


HEROLD: Inaudible ... I can't ... inaudible ...

DISPATCHER: OK, what's your name? I need your name.

HEROLD: Inaudible

DISPATCHER: I need you to calm down for me OK? I know its hard, but I need you to calm down.

HEROLD: I can't.

DISPATCHER: I know, I know. What's your name?

HEROLD: Inaudible.

DISPATCHER: What's your name?

HEROLD: Sandra.

DISPATCHER: Sandra? OK Sandra. Sandra, I know it's hard, OK, but I need you to breathe for me OK? The last thing I want is for you to faint.

HEROLD: Where are they?

DISPATCHER: Just breathe.

HEROLD: Where are they?

DISPATCHER: They're, Sandra, they're on their way, OK?

HEROLD: No they're not on their way ... inaudible.

DISPATCHER: Sandra, just breathe for me, OK?

HEROLD: Where are they? Where are they, please! They, tell them they got to shoot him because I tried stabbing him and ... inaudible ... it made him worse.


HEROLD: Please, have them shoot him.

DISPATCHER: They will. Sandra we have the fire department close by OK? So as soon as the police get there the fire department is going to move in, OK?

HEROLD: Inaudible.

DISPATCHER: The fire department can't move in yet, but as soon as the police officers ... inaudible

HEROLD: Inaudible ... please tell them, shoot him because he's going to try to attack me now.


HEROLD: And listen, please, hurry! Please have them, please have them shoot him ... inaudible.

DISPATCHER: They will. I already, we already ... inaudible ... put it here on the note, so all the officers going your way know. So ...
HEROLD: Inaudible.

DISPATCHER: Do me a favor there is a police officer out there already ...

HEROLD: I can't go out of my car. I can't.

DISPATCHER: Nope, do me a favor, stay in your car, stay in your car. I don't want you to leave your car. Stay in your car, OK?

HEROLD: Oh my ... inaudible

DISPATCHER: You're going to see the police officer start approaching. Stay in your car, whatever you do stay in your car OK?

HEROLD: Inaudible ... I ... inaudible ...

DISPATCHER: Just breathe.

HEROLD: Please, just have them them shoot it!

DISPATCHER: They, they will. Just do me a favor and don't leave the car. Stay in your car, OK?

HEROLD: Inaudible.

DISPATCHER: Just breathe, Sandra.

HEROLD: Shoot him! Shoot him! He, he ...

DISPATCHER: Sandra stay in your car.

HEROLD: Shoot him!

DISPATCHER: Sandra, I need you to stay in your car. Sandra are you still there with me?

HEROLD: They're here, but they're not shooting.

DISPATCHER: No, Sandra I need you to stay in the car with.

HEROLD: Inaudible, oh God, I'm so afraid ... inaudible.

DISPATCHER: Sandra, I need you to talk to me, OK?

HEROLD: Inaudible.

DISPATCHER: Sandra, just whatever you do stay at your car.

HEROLD: Listen to me, tell them to shoot him, tell them to shoot him, tell them to shoot him, please! I can't talk to the officers...inaudible.

DISPATCHER: No, no, no, don't worry. We're we're talking to them, Sandra. So

HEROLD: Please ... inaudible.

DISPATCHER: We did tell them OK?

HEROLD: They got to shoot him, please! I've tried stabbing him and, and he's hurt now too. So, so, so, he's going to attack anybody. I can't get out of this car!

DISPATCHER: Sandra, just stay

HEROLD: Inaudible.

DISPATCHER: Just stay in your car. Just do me a favor, lock your doors on your car and stay there with me.

HEROLD: It don't matter, it don't matter, it don't matter. He will rip the doors wide open!

DISPATCHER: Sandra just do what I'm telling you to. Stay in the car. The police officers will handle it.

HEROLD: Inaudible ... please tell them to shoot

HEROLD: They got to shoot him, OK? I tried stabbing him and he's hurt now too. He's going to attack anybody. I can't get out of this car.

DISPATCHER: Sandra, just stay in your car. Do me a favor --- lock your doors in your car and stay there with me.

HEROLD: It don't matter, it don't matter, it don't matter, it don't matter, he will rip the doors right off.

DISPATCHER: Sandra, just do what I'm telling you to. Stay in the car, the police officers will handle it.

HEROLD: Please tell them to shoot him. (inaudible) Please tell them.

DISPATCHER: Sandra, I already told them, just stay with me on the phone , stay in the car, OK?

HEROLD: They're not, they're not shooting him and he's walking around here. Please tell them to shoot him. Please.

DISPATCHER: Whatever you do, do not get out of your car.

HEROLD: Please tell them I already stabbed him.

DISPATCHER: I already told them that you stabbed him. I told them that already. I need you to stay in your car until I tell you to leave, OK?

HEROLD: (Sobs)

(Shots heard in background)

DISPATCHER: OK, still stay in your car. Don't leave the car until I tell you to, OK?

HEROLD: (Sobs)

DISPATCHER: Sandra, Can you hear me?

HEROLD: (Inaudible)

DISPATCHER: Sandra, I know that they shot the monkey, I heard gunshots.

HEROLD: No, he's still alive. (Inaudible)

DISPATCHER: OK, don't worry, they already shot him, we'll continue until he's down, but I need you to stay in that car until I tell you to.

HEROLD: (Sobs)

DISPATCHER: OK? I need you to breath for me, OK?

HEROLD: (Sobs)

DISPATCHER: Stay in the car, I'll let you know when to get out of the car to talk to the officers, OK?

HEROLD: (Through sobs) OK. Please tell them to (Inaudible)

DISPATCHER: They did, Sandra. They're shooting at him already, OK?

HEROLD: (Inaudible)

DISPATCHER: I know, they won't continue until he's dead, OK? I just need you to stay on the phone with me and breath.

HEROLD: (Sobbing) He's not dead. He's not dead. Oh God. I don't see any … (inaudible)

DISPATCHER: That's fine, just stay in your car, OK? The officers will do what they have to do.

HEROLD: Oh my God. (Sobbing) Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. I don't even see them.

DISPATCHER: It's OK. They're there, don't worry, I just need you to stay in that car and stay on the phone with me, OK? They'll take care of him. I just want you to stay on the phone with me.


DISPATCHER: Breathe, Sandra, I need you to breath.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Portfolio Calculator

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The Ruger Hand Drill

Many people don't know that Bill Ruger originally designed hand tools before he hit upon the Ruger Standard. Up for auction is one of his hand drills. Recognize the handle?
As shown in the book "Ruger And His Guns"...Bill Ruger produced a line of hand tools prior to his partnership with Alexander Sturm. The facility was in a red barn where later the arms manufacturing began in Southport Conn. The collector book states that the hand tools often bring more than the collectible guns. Notice the near exact shape of the drill pistol grip handle when compared to the Mark I semi automatic pistols. This drill came from an estate sale auction from a New Jersey resident. I very much regret the high minimum bid but I had to pay a small fortune to acquire this item off of e-bay. I have enjoyed owning it and will offer it for others at this time. The condition of the drill is excellent. If it were a pistol we would say less than 5 boxes run thru it...or... blue is 98%
Started at $550.00

Here's another Ruger hand drill.


Delusions of Fitzgerald

Ruger Redhawk 3" 3 inch 44mag 44 special
A custom shop conversion of a redhawk #500 251xx. made 1983. 26 years old and very tight. perfect lock up, bore is excellent. has had mild trigger job done right, not overdone (no pushover). grips are real nice. exterior finish is very nice but has been cleaned up at one time. These conversions, sometimes called FitZgerald, named after the colt employee who pioneered them, are designed for people with large fingers and for circumstances where one might want to fire thru a coat pocket without removing the gun from the pocket but yet have quick and easy access to the trigger. A fun gun, gets lots of attention in the gun case or at gun shows which means they are usually easy to sell.
Yeah, I bet they will be standing in line for that.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thoughts on the J Frame Grip

The small pocketable revolver is perhaps one of the best options for a true concealed fighting gun. The reasons for it's continued popularity are plentiful and sound. The Smith & Wesson J frame makes no pretense of being a he man gonna getcha at 25 yards threat neutralizer. It is a close in hand to hand get the hell off me weapon.

The Smith & Wesson pocket protector is not the gun for everyone. Although available in a wide variety of styles and chamberings, more is not always better. Pictured left to right: Model 38, Model 49, Model 649, Model 49, Model 38, Click to enlargeAs the revolver is chambered in more powerful cartridges, the ability to control it for rapid second or third shots quickly diminishes. The muzzle rise is often extreme and torqued. Returning the sights to target is frequently compromised. In flyweight magic metal versions, the more powerful cartridges are often more than some shooters want to detonate in their mitts more than once. They revert to less powerful loads in an effort to better control the gun. The problem with the Smith & Wesson J frame is often the grip. The rubber boot grips that come on these revolvers, like the older factory wood often leave the shooter's pinky finger dangling uselessly beneath the grip.

Some shooters try to adapt to the recoil by gripping the revolver higher on the grip frame. I have found that this not only allows the gun to squirm around, but worse, it changes the relationship of the trigger finger to the trigger. Instead of pulling the trigger straight back, gripping the gun in this fashion leads to a 45 degree trigger pull and reduced efficiency in double action. The end result is reduced accuracy with a weapon containing only five chances at survival in the cylinder.

Fortunately, the selection of grips can radically change the handling characteristics of the J frame revolver. There are so many styles of grips available that there must be one on the market for every shooter's needs. The problem becomes determining which grip is best for the individual shooter. My friend Stephen A. Camp has penned an excellent piece regarding the differences.

I happen to be a rather large fellow, with big hands and big pockets. For me, a grip which allows me to wrap a third finger around the gun gives the leverage against recoil needed to control the revolver when firing it. Model 38 and Model 649 with extended grips. Click to enlargeMy pockets are big enough that concealability is not compromised.

Unlike Mr. Camp, I actually like the Uncle Mike's grips that extend beneath the grip frame. You can see them on the Model 649 in the center, above. The extra finger on the grip helps me control muzzle flip, and the extra material behind the grip frame allows me to control the trigger without a cramped trigger finger. The result is better shooting, for me. Unfortunately, Uncle Mike no longer makes this grip. It can still be found at gun shows and on ebay though.

An extended grip works for me, but every shooter is different. Our hands are as individual as our fingerprints. Among J frame grips, I divide them into two basic types. Forget about wood or rubber, grip adapters and such. Consider how you hold the weapon. I divide J frame grips by how many fingers I can use to hold the gun: three finger grips and two finger grips. Once separated in this way, each type has selections that fill the area behind the trigger guard, and those that leave it open. The factory wood gives a two fingered grip with the area behind the trigger guard left open. Of course, grip adapters such as the Tyler "T" used with factory scabs result in a two finger grip that fills the area behind the trigger guard.

Beyond that, J frame grips either leave the revolver's back strap exposed or they cover it. I have found that people with shorter fingers generally shoot better with an exposed back strap. The covered back strap simply increases the distance between the web of the hand and the trigger. Finally, if a shooter plans to carry a speedloader, they must make certain that the grip they have chosen does not interfere with it's function. Not all grips are speedloader compatible.

There is no doubt that smaller grips help conceal a J frame revolver. The person who chooses to carry such a fighting gun must first consider the reason they carry it though. They carry it to stop a threat, using accurate and effective fire. If their grip choice does not allow them to shoot the gun accurately and quickly, they might be better served with another choice, either in grips or in the gun itself. The J frame only gives five chances before a reload.

Getting a Grip on J Frames by Stephen A. Camp


Ugly Gun Sunday

Yeah, so the 45 caliber Model of 2006 built by Cylinder & Slide's Bill Laughridge is a $8000 concept gun. A 1911 modified to ressemble a Colt 1903 Hammerless. No question about it. It is an impeccably finished blue and ivory pièce de résistance of the gunmaker's art.

It looks like a damned pretty High Point to me.