A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stark White Backgrounds

Zack Arias gives a tutorial on shooting into a stark white background. It's not how I did it , but I might use it in the future.

For the image at right, I used a white cinderblock wall and direct sunlight. It did not take much to blow out the wall when the jacket was properly exposed. At any rate, Zack Arias is blogrolled. Good stuff there.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Springfield Mil-Spec Mud Test

Foul language warning.......


Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Question of Purpose

Original question: practical snub nose range?
I've been praticing 10 yards. very humbling shooting a snubby for first time. i would like to stretch out to 25 yards by summers ends.

This question was asked in an online forum that I help moderate. It received the usual responses of how 25 yard accuracy was possible with a snubnose revolver. I finally had to say something. My response, for better or worse, is below. Oh, and the illustration is not me. It is FBI Agent Jelly Bryce proving he can drop a silver dollar and have his Model 27's sights on target before the coin clatters to the floor.

I'm aware that the snubbie is capable of making 25 yard shots. There are some guys that make amazing shots with snub nosed revolvers at great distances. If I work at it long enough, I might be reliably accurate at 25 yards with it myself. That's not the thing though.

For me, a snubbie is a close in weapon. It's a fighting gun, and a darned good one. It has stood the test of time for a reason. It's a weapon that fits the problem. It has some great attributes. It conceals well, is extremely reliable, fast on target, and it will fire with the muzzle jammed into the ribs of a man beating the snot out of you.

And you see, that is the issue, really. Almost all fights, and most lethal encounters start at a range of ten yards or less. Conversation distance. I carry the snubbie for personal protection, not exhibition shooting. I figure the chances of someone standing in the open, shooting at me from 25 yards is pretty remote. By contrast, having to defend myself from a range of fists and lead pipes to 20 feet against a moving aggressor while I am moving myself has a higher probability. As a civilian, having to defend myself from my back after being hit in the head from behind is also fairly high. Thus I train in that fashion. I practice at ten yards, often less. I practice from concealment against a timer, while moving. If possible, I use a target that moves as well. I practice shooting one handed, weak handed, and from the supine position.

The most important consideration for me is five shots to a reload, and a cartridge that is on the relative low range of effectiveness. I want shots in my target fast from concealment. I want this done before he gets shots in me. I want to be getting myself towards cover for a reload or an escape at the same time that I am defending myself.

If I am forced to deal with a maniac with an AR at 25 yards, then for me it's a question of tactics. Take cover. Either advance behind cover to a more effective range, or draw them in to effective range and ambush them. But...... at 25 yards in most environments that an attack would occur in, escape is a more healthy option than engaging the aggressor.

But then, fighting is always a question of tactics, in theory at least. Maximize the effectiveness of your weapon of choice while diminishing the VA's effectiveness. The subject is engaging to discuss, and it provides a guide of action and training. Mike Tyson once said everyone has a plan until they are punched in the mouth. He was right about that, and he knew fighting pretty well. Thing is, Iron Mike wouldn't want to face a maniac with an AR at 25 yards with only his fists. He would die if the maniac had only an ounce of skill or luck. If Tyson could take cover behind a brick wall and ambush the maniac when he came looking for him though, he might stand a chance. If he could stay inside the arc of the AR's barrel as he beat the maniac's face to a pulp, he would likely live. I strive for the ferocity of Tyson when attacked, but I don't have his strength, endurance or skill with my fists. So I carry a gun instead. Chances are, a snubbie up the nose will be a passable substitute.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blues Man

I photographed a local guitar player for a soon to be released CD last weekend. Gary Ferguson once played in South Texas on the Rock & Roll and Blues circuit. He has slung riffs with the likes of Billy Gibbons, Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Kenny Rogers once borrowed a dollar from him.

Gary's favorite instrument is his 1956 Gretsch Duo Jet. The photos I took last weekend were for what may be the last album Gary will record. He has contracted Alzheimers, and is slowly losing his ability to play. I tried to capture the fragile slice of time that remains of his musical creativity for him.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Trek Commuter Update

I received the Specialized Armadillo tires and mounted them on the Trek 970 commuter bike. This is not the Trek.... It's just a recent photograph with a bike frame........My tastes have evolved to the right combination conglomeration of parts and ingenuity for me, and the Trek will be very similar to my Raleigh commuter bike.

Because the Trek has no fender eyelets on the front forks, fenders may be a challenge. Also, I had to go with 26X1.95 tires, the more narrow Nimbus Armadillos were no longer available. Beach cruiser style fenders would fit. A commuter bike needs fenders, so I guess I'll fit the cut down fenders that I had on the Raleigh at first.....

This afternoon I am off to photograph a local guitarist for an album release.

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

An American expat living in Italy for the last 20 years decided to blog a bit about my last post. Mike said:
"Does that sound a little paranoid to you? It certainly does to me. Where is the line between reasonable precaution which constitute preparedness and over-the-top paranoid delusion? Can planning for every contingency to this degree become a trap for some people which itself diminishes freedom? Or, does it make sense to plan meticulously for the extremely rare event of armed home invasion and the even rarer event of home invasion by a team of commandos?"
I typed up a response for Mike, and thought better of it. Chances are, since he did not have the courage to post a comment on my blog, he would simply delete my comment on his. So, I preserved it here prior to posting it. To wit:

Mike, we all form our opinion of the world around us based on our personal experiences. I do not "prepare for violent contingencies as if a squad of commandos is liable to attack at any moment" as you put it. I prepare for a violent and quick moving encounter that has me behind in the OODA loop. That is much more likely to be one or two criminals than a squad of crack commandos. Regardless, if I am behind on the OODA loop, chances are I will be impaired for life or dead unless I have the means of rapidly reversing the unfolding events.

Mike, the reason why a high school drop out failure at life thug can defeat and put down a well trained college graduate in a violent confrontation is not because he is smarter. It is because he has a plan and he is familiar with human behavior in violent encounters. To be able to survive such a situation, a person can depend on luck, or they can prepare themselves through training and education. To adequately prepare, they must understand the nature of a violent encounter and what their inadequacies are when attacked.

A gun does not protect you Mike. The ability to use the gun swiftly, effectively and decisively are what protects you when you are down to your last option. You will note, however, if you took the time to read before you decided to type out your screed, that I advocate first recognition, then avoidance and evasion of threats. To remain safe, the threat must first be recognized.

The fear of appearing "not normal" leads many people walking around totally unprepared for a violent encounter with a criminal. I do not know if you are a person such as this, or if you are a gun owner who simply believes that having a gun is enough. Honestly, it doesn't matter to me. I do encourage you to become a gun owner if you are not, and get solid, professional training in self defense if you are. Your lack of understanding of the nature of a violent encounter is readily apparent.

I took a look at your sidebar, and I saw "I'm an American expat living in Italy these last 20 years." That about sums it up, doesn't it? I'll put it to you this way Mike. I'm a law abiding citizen of a country where I can carry an effective means of self defense. I chose to do so. Because I do so, I invest the time to learn to use it effectively.

Now you can peck away all the you like about it, but that will not change. Am I paranoid? Are you talking clinically paranoid? Paranoia is a term that delusional people use in a derogatory fashion to describe those better prepared than themselves. It makes them feel more secure as they smugly cite statistics and anecdotes. All the while, people continue to die in violent encounters, while others manage to survive. I encourage you to investigate why some victims survive while others do not.

I'll answer a couple of your questions as well. Have I been a victim? Yes. Did it lead me towards gun ownership? No. I already owned guns. It did lead me towards effective, realistic training.

I recently had a friend, a police officer, die as the result of a violent encounter. He was holding a taser on a criminal instead of his gun. The criminal pulled a gun and shot and killed him before his partner could return fire, or before my friend could transition from his taser to his own gun. Should he have tased the criminal? IMHO, yes. However, he followed his training and went for his own gun when he saw the criminal produce a gun. As a result, he was behind on the OODA loop, was shot and killed.

These encounters happen with breathtaking speed. Training is essential, but more importantly, recognizing and understanding the threat is imperative. It is this aspect of self defense that so many people ignore, and if you had taken the time to read a bit deeper, perhaps you would have found it.

Excessive gun fanaticism? It's a gun blog Mike. Oh, occasionally it gets into photography, bicycles and such, but my core readership is gun owners and those who care about defending themselves if need be. I know my readers, just as you know your readers.

Rather than just address your blog post, I went searching through your blog for your true feelings on guns. I found it, I think, at the end of this post.
"Let me be perfectly clear. My own, extremely biased opinion is there are too many guns in the hands of too many people and something should be done about it."
I should have known. Have a good life Mike. Enjoy your blogging. Goodnight.


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Monday, April 05, 2010


Saturday, April 03, 2010

On Tactical Reloads

David Armstrong has some incisive thoughts up on tactical reloads. If you are a reader who carries a gun and contemplates effective personal security including lethal force, I suggest you give David's blog, The Thinking Gunfighter a read. Quick, smooth tactical reloads are impressive, especially when performed running and gunning. But are they a viable lifesaving skill in a real gun fight struggle to save one's life?

A while back, I showed a series of photos on how to perform a 1911 reload in this post, and I am fairly proficient at getting the job done. My preference for a handgun reload though, is the shotgun I fought myself to. If I am still in need of ammunition with the smoking shotgun in my hands, I hope there will be another shotgun nearby, or a half empty firearm on the floor.

My thoughts on David's article are in the comments. Thinking Gunfighter.... an apt name to that blog. I'll still carry a spare magazine opposite of the piece on my belt though. A balanced gun belt is a good thing.

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