Any Neal Stephenson Fans Out There?

August 1st, 2016

He is in here.  Just keep scrolling.  Use the arrow keys.

Something For Steven den Beste

August 1st, 2016

Steven den Beste would love this picture

b&w anime girl

one eyed anime girl with sword

anime girl with knife and gun



Annals Of The Iron Throne

August 1st, 2016

the iron throne

I once considered writing a book about how I gained The Iron Throne, but reconsidered when I realized it would stink.

Over Extension

August 1st, 2016

I received an email with a question.

“I’m thinking of increasing the firepower of my carry gun.  What about extended magazines?”

Okay, extended magazines.  What is the question, exactly?

Just so we are all on the same page, autoloading handguns are designed to have magazines of a certain length.  The idea is to have the bottom of the magazine flush with the bottom of the grip.

beretta m9

There are some exceptions to this very broad and general rule.  Smaller guns designed for easy concealed carry often have little pinkie rests on the bottom of the magazine in order to help in controlling the firearm.

What in the world am I talking about?  You can see it in the pics below.  First there is a magazine with a flat floor plate, which is what the bottom part of a magazine is called.  Then there is a magazine with a floor plate that forms a finger rest.  The last picture shows one of my old guns fitted with such a magazine.

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Old technology though this is, for some reason people nowadays assume that outdated tech was simple.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