What Is The Big Deal?

A long as I have been alive, it has been legal in my home state of Ohio to “open carry.”  This phrase means nothing more than it is not against the law to carry a loaded gun around in public, as long as it is neither concealed from view nor brandished about in a threatening manner.

That means one could do this ….

hip holster

But one could not do this …


It has been this way for my entire half century, even before licenses to carry concealed firearms were issued.

Oh, there are other restrictions.  You couldn’t drive around with a loaded gun in the car, couldn’t try to enter courthouses or certain places of business, etc etc.  Stuff like that.  But the main point is that it never caused a problem, and I’m somewhat at a loss as to how it could cause any sort of crises.

Now that I have moved to Texas, I was a bit surprised to find that the Lone Star State does not have legal open carry.  This is going to change in a week or so as soon as 2016 starts, but news articles like this are a bit of a surprise.  As the author states, …

“… the prospect of seeing armed citizens walking down the sidewalk, driving in their cars, eating at restaurants, or even depositing a check at the bank has some Texans—including police—on edge.”

So the good people of Texas are far more criminal and violent than those in Ohio?  Have I relocated to a savage land populated by a savage people?

Um, no, probably not.  I’m thinkin’ that the author of the news report was just trying to be a bit dramatic in order to add interest to the story.

In fact, it would appear that Texas has a few more restrictions on carrying firearms than Ohio.   According to Wikipedia, only those with concealed carry permits are allowed to carry openly.  Seems odd to me, but there you go.

well dressed man with dual shoulder holsters carrying 1911 handguns

Anyway, I’m not at all concerned by this development.  I think that concealed carry provides a greater societal benefit, as criminals tend to be warier when they don’t know if someone can resist their violent attentions, but I also don’t see why there would be any problems with open carry.

All Things Must Pass

I have long said that I prefer autoloaders to revolvers when choosing self defense tools.  The main reason is ease of reloading an autoloader over a revolver, and the fact that most wheel guns hold less to begin with.

My main carry gun for the past 15 years has been a Taurus Millennium Pro chambered in 9mm Parabelum.

taurus millenium pro

taurus pt111 with magazine

A polymer frame design which boasts a 10-round magazine.  I’d always carry an extra magazine, belted against the opposite hip from where the gun would ride.

The handgun has seen some use, as I would use it in my charity self defense course.  Was it finally showing some wear after a decade and a half?  Nothing really noticeable could be seen on the outside, but I started to have trouble when reassembling all of the parts after cleaning.


(Picture source.)

Everything had to be lined up juuuust right, or else the slide would scrape to a stop about halfway through the cycle process.  It was a real pain to get everything pulled apart so I could try again.

What was wrong?  Beats me.  My guess is that some small protrusion on the polymer frame had been worn down a little bit over the years, just enough so it was tricky to get all the parts lined up correctly, but I really can’t say.

Does this mean the gun was completely unreliable?  No, as it would function flawlessly just as long as I got everything in place.  Taurus has a lifetime no-questions-asked repair warranty, so I just went ahead and sent it in and let them take care of the problem.  It came back and seemed fine.

But we are talking about my primary self defense tool!   Even though it seemed to be working just fine and dandy, and even though it had always worked as soon as it was successfully assembled, my confidence was gone.  I started to have nightmares about the gun failing to cycle as the hordes closed in!

fail to feed jam

Okay, time to retire this old warhorse and go to something else.  But what, exactly?

I’ll discuss what I decided to do in the next post.


The Path We Take

I once knew a guy named David …

He was a nice fellow, a member of my Dungeons and Dragons gaming group.  One day he announced that his fiancee dumped him, he had a crappy job that paid peanuts so he couldn’t afford his own apartment, and his stepmother hated him so he couldn’t move back in with Dad.  He asked for help, just a couch to crash for a few weeks, but no one stepped up.  Looked like the streets for him.

sad guy sitting on curb

So I took him in, but I bet you had already figured that was going to happen.

He got his own room, and no bills.  The deal was that he saved up six months take home pay before he found his own place so he would never be that kind of helpless again.  Then he would walk his own path.

The arrangement lasted about a year.  Then David took to coming home pretty well lit from the cheap beer he would buy at cheap bars, which didn’t bother me in the slightest.  What irked is that he would have these massive (ahem) movements while drunk, so massive that the pipes couldn’t gulp it all down in one go.

fancy toilet

He would refrain from taking care of the problem for fear that his drunken lack of coordination would make pungent matters worse, which was probably a good idea.  But that left me to tend to the stinky stew, which was not a good idea in any way.   I eventually got tired of plunging another man’s stool, and informed David that it was time for him to get his own place even if he had yet to save up the target amount.  We parted amicably, and kept in touch.

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I Have Arrived

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

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.”


“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

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!

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.


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!


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Gone To Texas

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.)