When The Bloom Is Off The Relationship

January 10th, 2017

(Picture source.)

Is It “Autoloaders Yes, Revolvers No”?

January 9th, 2017

I have not been shy in stating that I prefer autoloaders over revolvers.

The main reason why comes down to the number of shots available.  Most autoloaders already carry more than 6 rounds in their magazines, and are quick and easy to reload if you have another loaded magazine with you.  Revolvers, on the other hand, traditionally have only 6 rounds, and it takes more practice to reload them quickly even if one carries speed loaders or other devices to aid in filling the cylinder.

A new reader asks if I actively discouraged the use of revolvers by my students.  After all, if I exclusively accepted people unskilled in firearms as students, and I think autoloaders streamlined the training requirements so far as reloading is concerned, then it would make sense if my purpose was to impart the skills to safely and effectively use a firearm for defense as quickly as possible.

Well, it is true that I wanted to get people up to speed so far as armed self defense is concerned.  And it is certainly true that I had more people asking for my help than I could ever possibly aid.  But it is not true that I discouraged my students from choosing revolvers as their main defensive tool.  I am sure of this because I am well aware of my own biases, and was extremely careful to show enthusiasm and support no matter which design they settled on.

However, there is one particular design that I did actively campaign against, and it is an autoloader.  This is the famous and well regarded 1911.

The 1911 design is extremely popular amongst most serious shooters, and the reasons are legion.  Popularity aside, three aspects of the gun kept me from being anything other than a big wet blanket when it came to this design.

The first is that they generally are more expensive that other designs right out of the box.  As I made sure to only accept students who were in extremely constrained financial circumstances, they would be better served by purchasing a more modern design.  The sticker price for a new 1911 would often be enough to cover a perfectly adequate Taurus or Ruger, with enough money left over to purchase plenty of practice and defensive ammo.  It just made sense to maximize the bang for their meager bucks.

The second reason is that it has been my experience for unmodified 1911’s to be rather finicky when it comes to ammunition choice.  They are usually fine when loaded with standard ball ammunition, but turn into jam-o’-matics when modern defensive ammunition is used.

Not true of every 1911, it can be said, but enough do have this problem that it would be best for new shooters to avoid this design until they gained enough experience to know what work they needed to have done to their gun in order to make it a reliable feeder.

The third reason dovetails into what was said above, mainly that it takes an experienced shooter to be able to get the most out of their 1911.

One of the main advantages to the 1911 design is that it is very ergonomic as well as being friendly to customization.  The reason why those who are extremely serious about the shooting sports in general and self defense in particular drift towards 1911 designs is that one can get a gun that feels like it was built from the ground up for that particular person.  That is great, but it takes a lot of experience to know what one needs as an individual, and it takes even more money to get the gun tricked out as necessary.  Until that level of experience is reached, time and money would be better spent on other designs.

The 1911 design aside, are there any other guns that I would be down on?  No, not really.  THe only reason I would try to change a student’s mind about their choice. as long as it was a firearm in good working order, would be dependent on what caliber the gun would be chambered for.  But that is a subject for another post.

Makes A Riot Shield Look Like A Booger

December 26th, 2016

(Click on pic for larger version.)

I came across this picture at this website.  “Bristol City Police practice their cutlass drill“, the caption partially reads.  The officer in the center of the picture, the one with the beard, seems to be really enjoying himself!

So why cutlasses, anyway?  Did they think they would have to board a ship and take it from pirates?

Probably not.   I think a major justification of such training was tradition, but it was also probably their main method of riot control.  In times of major unrest when the mob was, as they say, “running riot” and there was no tear gas, water cannons or riot gear armor for the police to employ, then I can certainly imagine them forming a skirmish line and going choppy on the maddened miscreants that were burning and looting their way across town.

If you think cutlasses are cool, then you might find the following to be of interest, as the inestimable Matt Easton debates the finer points of choosing a cutlass as a sidearm with the formidable Mrs. Easton.

Posted on Christmas Day, no less.  Most families like to watch an uplifting holiday movie as the tradition that binds their hearts together, but there certainly is nothing wrong with each hauling out their favorite slashing blade and holding forth on their relative merits.

A Holiday Favorite!

December 25th, 2016

My favorite tabletop game of all time is Call of Cthulhu.  I gained a reputation as a crackerjack game master, and Tuesday night gaming was my main source of social interaction for about 20 years.

The cheerful holiday ditty above is from the good folks at the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, a group of LARPers who also produce some really clever media.  One can find movies, CD’s of song, and even old timey radio plays.  Worth checking out.

At any rate, Merry Christmas to all my readers!

Self Defense For The Fashion Obsessed

December 18th, 2016

My job recently took me to a small boutique, which is defined as “a small store that sells stylish clothing, jewelry, or other usually luxury goods.”  As this is Texas, some of those luxury goods met with my approval.

Click on each pic to get a larger version, and please note what the display carousel proudly announces.  “SUPER SPARKLY SAFETY STUFF“.

The carousel was placed next to the cash register, so anyone making a purchase would be sure to get an eyeful.  The company selling the sparkly self defense items is called Blingsting, and one of the catchy phrases they use to try and entice potential customers is “Buy pepper spray so cute it hurts!

The other item for sale at this store was one of those personal safety alarms, a device that emits an extremely loud shriek when a pin is puled.  Sort of like a noise grenade, I suppose.

Perusing the website, I see that they also offer a line of emergency escape hammers in case one should ever be trapped inside a damaged car.  Note, if you will, the name of the product.

If super sparkly appeals, you should check them out.

Not Placid At All

December 18th, 2016

The United States is home to the Great Lakes, which can be described as vast inland seas filed with fresh water.  Over 20% of all the fresh water on the planet is contained in those five lakes.

Lake Erie has the distinction of being the shallowest of the Great Lakes, which means that it was also the most volatile.  As it was a mere few hours drive from my home when I lived in Ohio, I spent a fair amount of time around that lake.  It never ceased to amaze how fast the water would start to churn and crash when the wind would get up.

A perfect illustration of this can be found here, which leads to an article that showcases some of the work of professional photographer Dave Sanford.  It seems that Mr. Sanford has a certain fascination for the Great Lakes, and he spends time in the turbulent storm season photographing what happens to Lake Erie.  A lot of his shots remind me strongly of famed Japanese woodcut “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa“, some of them have an even more sinister cast.  Below is an example of what I mean.

That isn’t photoshopped, by the way.

Click on this link to check it out.

(Hat tip to Glenn.)

Scattering The Heathen

December 12th, 2016

(Click for larger.)

I have not been shy in voicing my opinion that physical fitness is the cornerstone of hand-to-hand defense.  Train hard, build muscle and endurance, and one will probably prevail if set upon by a violent criminal intent on robbery.

A reader sent me the above picture, which I think is from 2011 when Occupy Wall Street protestors were confronted by members of the New York Police Department.  She points out that the police officer is hardly a vision of vibrant physical conditioning, and yet he seems to be rather effective when it comes to convincing would-be rioters to disperse.

Absolutely true.  I think it would be a different story if the officer pictured above was squaring off against someone with a stout club of their own, particularly if his opponent was younger and better conditioned, but the man in blue seems to be getting the job done.

Lip Balm Not Buckshot

December 5th, 2016


I love what the bottom of the package says.  “Non-Lethal Dispenser”

This Is Good News!

December 3rd, 2016

My adopted state of Texas is considering passing a law which would make a license to carry a concealed firearm free!

well dressed man with dual shoulder holsters carrying 1911 handguns

Keep in mind that this is just the licensing fee itself, as training would have to come out of the individual’s pocket.  Another point to consider is that the Texas state legislature won’t be in session for two more months, and a lot can happen in that time.  But signs are hopeful.

(Hat tip to Glenn.)

Looks Like A Training Video To Me

December 2nd, 2016

The protestors seem to be awfully sympathetic to what the police are doing.  Not one of the filthy hippies tries to flank the blocky formations assumed by the cops, they are rather ill-equipped when it comes to protest signs stapled to stout wooden staves, I don’t see any rocks being thrown, and all the flame weapons they use never seem to be much of a threat to any police officer.

So far as the police are concerned, where are the police dogs and water cannons?  How come they didn’t deploy tear gas or pepper spray?  Come about 03:00, some of the rioters closest to the camera actually start slashing at the police shields with some sort of plastic whips.  I’ve never known any police force that would take that sort of abuse and still say “We better not gas ’em, as there are only a few bad apples in this seething mass of hatred and bad behavior.”

But what clinches the deal for me is that there aren’t a bunch of reporters intermingled with the hippies, all hot and eager to get some footage of a rioter getting a well deserved beat down.  Guys with camera rigs on their shoulders should pretty much outnumber the unwashed heathen.

Still, obvious signs of a staged show aside, it is a pretty performance of cop competency.  All we need is some John Philip Sousa and it would be a real crowd pleaser!