I Have Arrived

December 6th, 2015

The trip from Ohio to Texas is complete.  1333 miles total (2133 kilometers), and the only wrong turn found me suddenly descending an off ramp on to the mean streets of East St. Louis.

burned out building in east st louis

This made me extremely nervous, and not because I found myself in yet another high crime area.  It was due to the fact that I was unarmed at the time, and couldn’t defend myself if the need arose.

I am currently licensed to carry concealed firearms from two states, Ohio and Arizona.  Below is an interactive map from usconcealedcarry.com which depicts the places where CCW licenses are honored.  Blue is where carry a firearm for my protection is legal, and red is where I would be committing a felony.

 

The quickest route took me through Illinois, where the state government pretty much never saw a private citizen with a gun that they didn’t want to throw in jail.  (For my readers who do not hail from the US, I started from the area marked OH, and was traveling to the part marked TX.  Illinois is the red area marked IL on the map.)  I avoided any potential unpleasantness with the law by stopping right at the border in Indiana (IN) in order to disarm myself.  The plan was to stop at the first rest area I encountered after crossing into Missouri (MO) and rearm.

Bottom line is that my guns were in the trunk of the car, inside locked cases, while the ammo was in the cabin with me.  Felt rather odd for me to be helpless, but I suppose that is the way most people live their entire lives.

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Sounds Like They Had Plenty Of Money

December 4th, 2015

The LA Times has some info on the San Bernardino shooters

“Police discovered a veritable armory when they searched Farook and Malik’s Redlands home, recovering a dozen pipe bombs, 2,000 9-millimeter handgun rounds, 2,500 .223-caliber assault rifle rounds and “hundreds of tools” that could have been used to make additional explosive devices, Burguan said.”

(snip)

“During a news conference Thursday, Burguan said the suspects had 1,400 assault rifle rounds and 200 handgun rounds in their car as they fled from police.”

Let us ignore the AR style rifles and handguns the couple had with them.  How much do you guys think all that ammo cost, anyway?

Looks like the claim that poverty causes terrorism is pretty thoroughly debunked!

(Tip of the hat.)

Load Up The Right Ammo For The Job

December 4th, 2015

Most people of a certain age remember a movie titled Logan’s Run (1976), a science fiction tale of a dystopian society where everyone is only allowed to live until they reach the ripe old age of thirty.

logans run firing gun

The police in the futuristic domed city used odd ray guns, firearms that spurted a burst of flaming gas while whatever they were aiming at downrange exploded.  Certainly cool to see.

What most people don’t know is that the movie was adapted from a rather crappy novel, also titled Logan’s Run.  In the book, the police don’t use some sort of blow-stuff-up raygun, but are instead equipped with oversized revolvers.  Each cylinder of the sixgun is loaded with special ammunition.  One round is lethal, but there are also gas cartridges and even a net thrower.  Pretty wild stuff!

police using net gun

Military science fiction author David Drake published a short story in 1976 titled The Hunting Ground.  A giant extradimensional scorpion teleports to a small town on our planet in order to collect living humans to act as a food source for it’s larvae.  The natural armor of the space arachnid is proof against conventional ammo, but a highway patrolman had also loaded two chambers of his revolver with armor piercing rounds.  Bug be gone!

dead scorpion

Fast forward three decades or so, and a student was all hot to give this a try.  She had read Mr. Drake’s opus, and was entranced with the beauty of the idea.  Standard ball, then a hollowpoint, with a Glaser Safety Slug as a chaser to that whoop ass cocktail.  Repeat the recipe until her magazine runs out of room.

bersa thunder 380

She wanted to know: Would it work?  Will the next violent criminal attack be foiled?

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To Shoot More Or Shoot Harder. That Is The Question!

December 3rd, 2015

Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to armed self defense.  To understand my own habits, one must keep a fact firmly in mind.  I have never been in a fight where only a single criminal was involved.  They have always come at me in a bunch.

outnumbered-again

I was drawn to autoloaders very soon after starting in the shooting sports.  Greater ammunition capacity than a revolver, and they can be reloaded much faster?  Sign me up for that!

autoloader with 15 rounds

This has worked very well for me.  I always make sure to carry one or two reloads when I am legally armed, and it certainly has fit in well with my own concepts of self defense.  In fact, I have always wanted to have even more ammunition with me when it seems that I might have to draw my weapon!

700-rounds-in-a-glass-bowl-with-a-handgun-resting-on-top

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Gone To Texas

December 3rd, 2015

The phrase was once popular among people trying to dodge paying their debts.  That isn’t something I’m trying to do.

I’ve lived my entire half century in Ohio, but it is pretty much played out for me.  Time to head for new horizons.

I’m going to be driving down to Big Spring, a little town in the middle of a very big scrub desert.  It is such a teensy place that they don’t even have a shooting range, the nearest being 45 miles away in Midland.  There is, however, a whole lot of desert.  I’m sure a cheap plastic bucket full of dirt placed at the base of a hill will suffice.  If your shot goes home, a puff of dust emerges to let you know.  Pour out the bucket and take it home to throw away after you run out of practice ammo.

Improvised targets aside, what is the appeal of a small town baking in the Texas heat?  I’ve got a good friend there who says he will take me in until I find my feet.  I took him in many years ago when it looked like he was going to end up on the street, and he says he is glad to return the favor.  And so the worm turns.

I’m leaving tomorrow to make the long drive.  24 hours in the car with the dogs and all my worldly possessions.  Unusual for someone of my age, I will admit, but somehow the unusual seems to follow me around.

Keep an eye out.  I might be passing through your neck of the woods.

big spring state park

(Picture source.)

TV Review: Blindspot

November 23rd, 2015

A friend suggested I check out  new action show on television called Blindspot.

“You’ll love it!” she gushed.  “It has the most gunfights of any show I’ve ever seen!”

Oh, okay.  But I thought Westerns weren’t popular anymore?

old west gunfight

“It isn’t a Western.  It takes place in modern times.”

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - September 10, 2015

Alright, I decided to give it a go.

The premise is that a naked woman is discovered in Times Square, suffering from amnesia and covered in tattoos.

The tattoos hold clues to serious crimes and conspiracies, so the FBI race to decipher the tats in order to prevent such things as terrorist attacks and the like.

Okay, fine.  Interesting premise.  Shows promise, I’d say.

The problem I had right out of the gate is how an extremely small team of three FBI agents are dispatched to investigate clues that are gleaned from the ink, and they let the amnesiac woman tag long!

Hell’s bells, people!  Her skin is covered in clues about crimes and conspiracies!  Doesn’t it occur to anyone that she most likely is complicit?  And, when they discover that she has had extensive weapon and military training, no one seems to think that is a bad thing!

Okay okay.  Let me just take a look at Episode One an see what they do with it.

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Trouble Brewing

November 12th, 2015

trouble Brewing

An old picture, but one I enjoy anyway.

Pop That Pepper

November 6th, 2015

It was way back circa 1990 or so.  I was working for my local police department as a fingerprint technician, and just about every law enforcement agency in the country was urging their officers to use pepper spray.

magnum can of pepper spray

Tear gas had been in use since just after World War I, but a number of suspects had died while in police custody after being sprayed.  Wrongful death lawsuits were being filed, and most departments were tying to find ways to keep the lawyers at bay.  Maybe they could find some measure of immunity if they switched to a kindler, gentler form of persuading the bad guys to give up and come peacefully.

police officer with defensive spray

It would eventually turn out that the suspects which died had serious medical problems which killed them, mostly heart attacks brought about by the drugs they had gulped down before the cops arrived.  But it took some time for that to be determined, and police officers were urged to give up their tear gas sprays for pepper.

I would be the last person to claim that pepper spray is useless, but the sad fact of the matter is that it just isn’t as potent and effective as the good ol’ tear gas sprays.  While some departments made the switch, most law enforcement agencies in the United States decided to keep the good stuff on hand.  What ain’t broke….

There was one aspect to this whole issue that tuned out to be very interesting.  Dried pepper compound can be loaded into common paintballs, and paintball guns can be used to deliver the burning goodness.

pepper paintballs

If there is a protest or riot in a built up area, the crowd can be peppered with pepper paintballs.  That way only the violent mob can suffer the sting of police largess, while using traditional tear gas bombs would inflict innocent and guilty alike as the clouds drifted where they may.

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Ammunition Upgrade

November 4th, 2015

The FBI was involved in a deadly shootout in 1986.  They decided to shun handguns chambered for the 9mm Parabellum round afterwards as being too ineffective.

pile of 9mm parabellum cartridges

Bullet technology is like any other technology.  If there is money to made by developing an improved product, someone is going to put on a lab coat and try to build a better mousetrap.

scientific study

Seems that advances in ammunition design has prompted the FBI to switch back to the good old 9mm.  (Hat tip to Glenn.)  Load up with the new and improved, and the same guns which fell short in 1986 will now get the job done.  A big reason for the change is the impressive capacity that comes with carrying a 9mm autoloader.

beretta p92fs magazine with 17 rounds of ammunition

Okay, so a huge Federal law enforcement agency is going to use more effective ammunition.  Why should you care?  It isn’t like you have access to easily understood test data so you can make an informed choice about your own defensive loads.

Well, actually, you do!

The good folks at Lucky Gunner, an online ammunition seller, have conducted the tests you need.  They also tested other calibers besides the 9mm, so you can see how each round stacks up.

lucky gunner gelatine ballistic test

Simple, easy to use, and with every step of the testing process explained so you can decided for yourself if they know what they were doing.  What is not to like?

James says check ’em out.  The FBI aren’t the only people who might have to clear leather in order to save innocent lives.

 

“All You Need For A Movie Is A Gun And A Girl.”

October 31st, 2015

 

(Please click on all pictures to see the animation.)

noir revolver fire

noir revolver fire 2

girl fires revolver

more noir revolver fire

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