Archive for May, 2016

I Have A New Carry Gun

Tuesday, 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

Sunday, 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

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

royal throne

Purple is the royal color, right?

Living In Cloud Cuckoo Land

Sunday, 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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Even The Wild West Wasn’t That Wild

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Anyone out there remember Wyatt Earp (1994)?

kevin costner in the 1994 movie wytt earp

It was, probably, the most realistic movie portrayal of what is, probably, the most famous gun fight in all of American history.

The film did poorly at the box office, my own opinion being that it would have fared better if it had been much less true-to-life.  One example which springs to mind is how the action screeches to a halt right after the famous gun fight, as the scene shifts to a courtroom.  History records that the survivors on the losing side filed assault and murder charges against Wyatt Earp and those who were with him on that day.  A local Justice of the Peace held hearings for 30 days to determine what had happened, and then turned the case over to a grand jury to see if there were any grounds to bring the accused to trial.

court gavel with scales of justice

Hold the phone!  Court proceedings?  Justice of the peace?  Month long hearings?  Even a grand jury to see if there was to be a trial?

This certainly doesn’t sound like the Wild West that is famed in song and story!  Wasn’t every man an island, armed to the teeth and a law unto themselves?  Hair trigger tempers cause the use of hair trigger guns?  No consequences or rules that spell out when lethal force is acceptable, and no one to say that gunning down a ne’er-do-well is murder most foul?

cowboy action shooter with two guns

The historical record is very clear.  Virtually at the very instant that permanent settlements were formed, the residents turned their attention to imposing law and order on everyone involved.  County sheriffs were elected, town marshals were hired, and court houses were built as soon as possible so local judges could hand down punishments to those who violated the law.

modern western lawmen

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the legality of protecting your beloved pets when they are attacked through the use of lethal force.  The fact of the matter is that the law considers animals to be property, not people, and the general rule is that shooting someone to protect property is strictly against the law.  This applies just about everywhere, except under a very narrow set of exceptions.  This is true even in my adopted state of Texas, even though the conditions where lethal force is legal are broader than those found in other parts of the US.

After writing about protecting pets, I received an email from a long time reader concerning the essay.

“I thought it was a general purpose acception in most “firearm friendly” states like Texas and AZ ,was that thar were no given rules of engagement…”

No, not so.  And it wasn’t even so more than 130 years ago.

Before anyone takes our friend to task for his erroneous impression, let me remind you that it is a very easy misconception to acquire.  The majority of people working in the American news industry nurture a bitter and unrelenting hatred of any private citizen who dares to arm themselves against violent criminal attack.  They strive at every turn to depict decent, law abiding people who want to protect innocent lives as racist, misogynistic, in bred killers who are hell bent on finding a legal way to kill someone.  The wonder of it all is that there are some people who don’t fall for the line of bull!

So he has a wrong impression.  But he comes here along with all of you, my dear readers, so it looks like the best efforts of the gun control advocates have failed this time around.