This Won’t Be Very Popular For Long

July 9th, 2016

Thanks to long time reader Greg for the heads up on a really stupid fashion accessory.

gun shaped phone case

Click on the link to read more, but the genius who owned the phone case was caught trying to pass through security at London Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom.

You know, the UK.  Where selling even a plastic toy molded to look like a real gun is a serious crime.



Choo Choo

July 4th, 2016

At one time, this was the fastest mode of travel on the planet.

That picture appeals to me for some reason, probably because I spent many years running the Call of Cthulhu role playing game.  The original rules are set in the 1920’s, when personal automobiles were first becoming widespread but there were few roads between cities.  If you needed to travel any significant distance by land at something faster than a walking pace, you had to buy a train ticket.

Old technology though this is, for some reason people nowadays assume that outdated tech was simple.

Not hardly!


(Click pic for bigger version, picture source.)


UPDATE:  Many thanks to Ritchie for supplying us with an account of the good hard work needed to get a steam locomotive ready to move.

You Kind Of Have To Pick And Choose

July 4th, 2016

On June 11, 2016, a mass shooting occurred at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.  A single individual was responsible, one who had carefully planned the attack.

Since that time, I have encountered numerous articles online from security experts that discuss what someone should do if they should find themselves in such a situation.  All of them contain useful tips, but only about avoiding a mass shooting event.  None of them have actually addressed what to do when confronted with an armed murderer in a public place.

The primary thing to keep in mind is that the articles in question start from the premise that the reader is unarmed, because the logical thing to do if one has the means to fight back is to do whatever they can do force the shooter to stop.


What do the experts recommend if you should find yourself under the gun?  Depends, really.

Some of them suggest that you try to hide.

hiding under an office desk

Some of them suggest you try to find some sort of room where you can barricade the door so the crazed gunman can’t get in.

high school kids barricade door

The last suggestion is the most impractical.  You are supposed to attack the gunman, from ambush preferably.

attack gunman as he enters room

The reason why all of these suggestions are almost probably useless is due to the fact that most of these killers take a great deal of care planning the attack. They pick the time and place, and ferret out all of the possible hiding places long before.

The reason why they go to such great lengths is because this is going to be their big moment, they are going to go out in  blaze of glory!  They aren’t about to let someone get close enough to bonk them in the head with a shopping bag full of soda cans.  One might as well go ahead and give it a try if they are going to die anyway, but I really don’t see too many active shooter situations which get resolved by someone grappling with the criminal.

So if expert advice can’t really help when one is up close and personal with the shooter, what part of these articles do I find useful?  The section that discusses running away.

mall shooting stampede

This all boils down to the old saw about being aware of your surroundings.  Keep an eye on the flow of the crowd.  Look for anyone who catches your eye as being out of place.  Figure out where the exits are, and keep as close to them as possible.

exit door

Just about every survivor of an active shooter situation describes the opening salvo as sounding like firecrackers.  “I thought it was firecrackers!” they say in interview after interview.  The obvious thing to do is, should you hear firecrackers and you weren’t aware of a fireworks display that had been scheduled for that day, is to grab the loved ones and boogie out the exit door.

Or you could just refuse to frequent public spaces that ban legally carried self defense tools.  That is what I do, but I have to admit that it is a pretty easy thing to do since I moved to Texas.

Keeping It On The Down Low

June 20th, 2016

Some weeks ago, I discussed my new self defense gun.  One of the things I revealed was the odd, gimicky holster I use to keep people from knowing that I am armed.

sneaky pete holster front

px4 storm in sneaky pete holster

This prompted long time reader knirirr to ask a question

“That holster looks like it does a good job of concealing the contents. But, it seems fairly large compared with a mobile phone holster – does anyone ever mistake it as that, or ask what’s in it?”

knirirr’s question was answered very well by Siergen, another long time reader, who said that he would tell curious people that it held a tablet or other electronic device.  This is a great bit of misdirection, as it leads onlookers to start imagining what kind of Internet capable gadget is nestled inside the square box, while banishing images of firearms that might otherwise dance in their heads.

But the exchange started me to thinking.  You see, I have never experienced anyone asking me what was inside the box.  In fact, it would appear that no one has even harbored suspicions that I was carrying a gun.

This is due to three very deliberate steps that I have taken to minimize the characteristics that people usually associate with advocates of armed self defense.


I am not a fashion plate by any stretch of the imagination.  There are no bespoke suits to be found in my closet, and all of my clothes were purchased in big box bargain chain stores.  But what I put on in the morning is just a tiny bit higher quality than the bottom rung.  The best way that I can put it is that all of my shirts have collars.

What do I mean by that?  Consider the difference between a polo shirt and a T-shirt.  One has a collar, and one does not.

black t shirt

black polo shirt

Please note that I also don’t wear anything with logos or pictures, and I certainly don’t advertise the fact that I am an advocate for armed self defense.

smith and wesson polo shirt

There isn’t anything wrong with such garments, of course, but the very essence of carrying a concealed self defense tool is concealment.  This purpose is defeated if one becomes a walking advertisement for their favorite firearms manufacturer.

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You Don’t Have To Be Freud To Figure This Picture Out

June 2nd, 2016

pretty girl with really large japanese sword

Hers is bigger.

Poking A Hole In The Myth

June 2nd, 2016

Is a katana nothing more than a saber from Japan?  Let us examine the evidence.

Katanas!  And some other kinda katana-ey swords.  And it looks like a replica of a movie prop at the 12 o’clock position.

katanas in a pile

Sabers!  And a cutlass.  And three backswords at the top.

sabers in a row

Looks like it may be so, but this is hardly definitive proof.

I’ve heard that sabers are the most common swords on Earth.  Considering all of the extremely cheap samurai swords I’ve seen littering the landscape over the decades, I’d say that this is true only if one considers katanas to be a form of saber.  If you should insist that Japanese style swords are a breed apart, then I would say to say that all those cheap, crappy samurai swords I practically trip over every time I visit a comic book store win the top spot.

cheap swords on display for sale

I Have A New Carry Gun

May 31st, 2016

I wrote here before about carrying an old .38 revolver as a self defense tool.

snub nosed 38 with six rounds

It certainly did the job, and I didn’t feel unprotected while it was on my hip, but there were a few drawbacks.  It was heavy, and it had very limited firepower compared to modern autoloaders.

So what did I do?  I purchased a modern autoloader.

beretta storm compact

It is a Beretta Px4 Storm, the compact version.

The gun is a polymer frame autoloader with a 15 round magazine.  Nothing particularly innovative about that, certainly.  The good folks at Beretta insist that they have a different wrinkle, though.  It is a “rotating barrel”, something that first appeared about 20 years ago on their 8000 series of handguns.  The idea is that the barrel rotates upon recoil, unlocking from the frame during the cycling action.  Beretta claims that this has the effect of stretching out the time the gun takes to cycle, meaning that perceived recoil and muzzle flip are both greatly reduced.

Well, I’ve seen a whole bunch of gimmicks in my day, and most of them don’t deliver.  I really didn’t expect much when I first hung a target at the shooting range and loaded up.  This whole reduced muzzle flip thing was probably just marketing oil for the masses.

Except that it really seems to work pretty much as advertised!  Surprised me, I must say.

On aspect of the design which might aid in in the whole reduced muzzle flip is that the gun is very top heavy.  The barrel is more robust than most found in polymer guns intended for concealed carry, something which is supposed to contribute to th durability of the handgun.  Beretta claims that the Storm is capable if firing 100,000 rounds without requiring any major repairs.  I don’t know if that is true or not, as I have only fired about 800 through mine so far.  I’ll let you know in 50 years when that particular milestone is reached.

So far as hauling it around, I usually carry the handgun in a belt slide holster with an extra magazine riding in a velcro pouch.

px4 storm and extra magazine pouch

This works pretty well for me, although your own mileage may vary.

I’ve also mentioned that my workplace does not object to me carrying a defensive handgun while on the clock, with the only restriction being that it has to be concealed.  So how does one go about concealing a handgun when the dress code is business formal?

big guy in suit and tie

The shirt has to be tucked in, so belt carry is out.  It is possible to wear a shoulder holster but that means the jacket has to be worn at all times, which would be absolute misery in the West Texas heat.  In most cases, I would recommend either a pocket holster or ankle holster.  Unless someone wanted to go in for one of those gimmick holsters, of course.

So what did I do?  I decided to use a gimmick holster.  It is a design that has served me well in the past.

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Say Hello To My Little Friend

May 22nd, 2016

little friend

(Click on pic to enbiggen.)

What is that machine, and what is it used for?  Haven’t the foggiest, but I could probably guess.

It is obviously used to kill monsters from Hell, should oil drilling go so deep that it releases such horrors upon the surface world.

I mean, what other explanation makes sense?

Royal Throne

May 22nd, 2016

royal throne

Purple is the royal color, right?

Living In Cloud Cuckoo Land

May 15th, 2016

Make something more expensive, and people buy less.

Seems pretty clear, right?  I mean, really FREAKIN’ obvious!

I remember the anti-smoking campaigns in the US back in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Television commercials for cigarettes were banned, movies started to shun scenes showing tobacco use, public service announcements detailing the health risks of smoking flooded the airwaves, and each container of tobacco had to carry a warning.

surgeon generals warning on a pack of cigarettes

Nothing seemed to have much impact, since the percentage of the population that smoked barely changed after each new ad campaign rollout.  It was as if nicotine was addictive or something!

The effect of the propaganda blitz had almost no discernible effect, but the numbers of smokers kept falling.  What was the cause?

Mainly it was the unintended consequences of heavy taxes.  (Last link leads to a PDF file.)  The anti-smoking campaigns might not have convinced people to stop buying cigarettes, but it did change public attitudes towards tobacco.  If tobacco companies were villains, and smoking products weren’t considered cool anymore, then politicians were free to levy ever more taxes on them.  This drove up the price, which kept many people from starting to smoke in the first place.

This is hardly something that is a mystery.  Politicians pushing environmental causes routinely brag about how they are going to increase the cost of gasoline, or bankrupt the coal industry.  The reasoning behind such statements are so clear that no one ever has to bother to ask them what they mean.

Okay, so it is blindingly obvious that we can reduce unwanted acts by increasing the personal costs.  But what happens if we instead reduce the personal costs of unwanted behavior?

When I grow up.....

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