After The Hunt.

After The Hunt.

The article on hog hunting for American Hunter is written and sent to my editor. Here’s some stuff that didn’t make it into the mix.

  • A hog hunting school like I attended is a really great way to get into hunting. If you’re like me, (and I know I am), the biggest problem with trying something new is that I don’t know what I don’t know. As such, having one day set aside to sight in our rifles and learn a little bit about feral pigs, how they live and how you hunt them made the hunt itself a lot easier.
  • Watching the skinning/quartering process is essential to the experience. I spent my summers on a farm that raised chickens for market, so I know just what it takes to make the food we eat. It’s my sincere belief that Americans have no idea of the amount of effort needed to raise the food we eat, which is why we have a problem with obesity: All it takes for us to eat is money. A hunt will set you straight on such things right quickly, as you’ll so find out it takes WORK to stalk, shoot, quarter and then butcher a hog.
  • Jeff Cooper believed that hunting was essential to understanding self-defense, and he’s right. There is just something about knowing that you need to take a shot to end another creature’s life and you need to take that shot NOW that can’t be found on a stage at a match or in a bay while training. There isn’t that sense of urgency at a match, or even shooting a qual at a class. If I blow a stage, there’s always the next one. If I blow a qualifier while training, it’s only my ego on the line, not my family’s supper.
    Hunting, though? With hunting, you begin to realize that the stakes are truly mortal.
  • I was initially leery about hunting on a private preserve with a guide because I thought it’d be one step up from bear baiting. However, hunting with a guide was a lot more active than  I thought. It wasn’t a “Ok, pig there, shoot now” sort of thing: In reality, I spotted my critter first and led the stalk and helped in the chase afterwards. Yes, I’d get a lot more of the “outdoors” part of thing if I tramped around a wildlife preserve for a day or more chasing hogs, and that’s fine, I like the walking in the woods, and I’ll try that soon as well.
  • I was also a little dismissive at first about the gear that one of my fellow hunters brought to the hunt. He was using a budget .30-30 with a UTG scope on it rotated 90° so that elevation is now windage, a setup that doesn’t exactly scream “Competency!” to me. You know what, though? Dude used that effed up budget gun to make a 50 yard headshot on his pig, dropping it with one round right behind the ear.
    Serves me right for judging a book by its cover.

The haul? I ended up with two racks of ribs, two five pound hams, five pounds of backstrap and pork chops, six pounds of italian sausage and a pound of ground pork.

Pork products

On the whole, as I said in the article, (which should be published next month) I’ll do it again, and soon. It was too much fun not to go again.

Vertical Integration.

Vertical Integration.

Let’s connect the dots, shall we?

  1. Acusport, one of the largest wholesalers of firearms and shooting accessories in the nation, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
    Now this in and of itself is a big frickin’ deal, because Acusport is HUGE. We have heard over and over again that there’s no “Trump slump” in gun sales, and while that’s probably true, this bankruptcy is an indication that while sales may be good, profit margins probably aren’t (and margins already sucked on gun sales before all this happened).
  2. They’re selling their gun distribution to Ellett Brothers (which is good, because Ellett Brothers runs a tight ship) and they’re selling their gun store Point Of Sale (POS*) system to GearFire, aka The National Firearms Dealer Network.
  3. Gearfire is the backend that drives pretty much every Mom and Pop gun shop’s “online store”. Ever notice that most stores’ shopping carts look and act the same? That’s because they all use Gearfire to stock and sell stuff online for them. Gearfire sets up the store and manages the inventory and buying and then the shop takes a smaller cut of the profit in return for not having to deal with the hassle of setting up an e-commerce site**.
  4. By buying Acusport’s POS business (stop giggling), Gearfire can now integrate the online shopping experience with the brick and mortar shopping experience.
    This has the potential to make the life of your average gun shop owner a LOT easier, because special orders are the bane of a gun store owner’s existence. When someone comes in looking for, say, a Ruger Charger .22 pistol with a green laminate stock, the amount of time it takes to chase down that gun, get a price, confirm the price with the customer and then place the order eats up all the profit you’d make on the sale.
    Now, by buying Acusport’s sales system, it’d be child’s play for GearFire to roll out a tablet-based kiosk for gun shops that directly interfaces with the cash register inside the store. Order your gear online using the kiosk in the store, and blammo, you can pay for it at the register without hassling a sales manager for hours on end.

GearFire is pretty smart. Let’s see what they do with their new acquisition.

* Yes, I know, it’s also an acronym for something else. Grow up.
** Gearfire got started literally across the parking lot from Scottsdale Gun Club, who for years ran SGCUSA.com as a successful online store. Now, however, SGCUSA is a re-branded GearFire store. That says quite a lot about the marketshare that GearFire has managed to acquire. 

Flash Site Pictures – Friday Edition

Flash Site Pictures – Friday Edition

Interesting stuff I found on the web, some of it written by me, some not.

What’s the difference between a flash hider and a muzzle brake?

Your car is your castle.

The really critical question is, ‘What have you learned?‘.”

Gun owners know which companies stand with us, which companies act like Dick’s.

Comparing the Ruger LCR to S&W J-Frames. Me, I kinda like the LCR, but that’s why they make Pepsi AND Coke.

If you’re incapable of violence, not being violent isn’t a virtue.”

Well duh. Way, WAY past time for this, IMO. And no, more rallies are not “going on offense.” Taking someone to the range is going on offense. Signing up voters is going on offense. Asking for Top Shot Part Deux is going on offense. Screaming at an empty statehouse? Not so much…

Lollapop-pop-pop-looza

Lollapop-pop-pop-looza

Speaking of events and culture, It’s been almost 27 years since the first Lollapalooza concert in Chandler, Arizona*. I went with a bunch of my friends who were also into alternative rock, and it was life-changing.

This is before Nirvana made it big: Nirvana’s “Nevermind” wouldn’t be released in September of that year, and “grunge” was something you scraped off a dirty dishpan. Big hair metal bands ruled the rock world, and the music I listened to, The Smiths, The Pixies and New Order was sequestered to a late-night two-hour show on MTV. Alternative music was still, well, alternative, and just wasn’t being played on FM radio where everyone could hear it.

It was, however, being played on a small low-power AM station, KUKQ. KUKQ was everything to me and my friends, because prior to this, I was the weirdo for listening to cutting-edge rock rather than banging my head to Ratt or listening to old Led Zep or Pink Floyd cuts. With today’s a la carte media, where even the most obscure track is out there on YouTube somewhere, It’s hard for people of this day and age to understand what it was like to have a rallying point for people of like interests to come together and share a common experience.

Lollapalooza was all that, and it was all that on steroids. Me and literally thousands of other people who shared a common passion were all in one place, enjoying our music and all that went along with it. Lollapalooza wasn’t just a concert: There were tattoo and piercing parlors (neither of which were mainstream at the time) and side stages and a host of other events that were meant to compliment the music and reinforce the culture of alternative music.

Which brings me to guns. Pick up everything I just said, and drop on top of Gun Culture 2.0. The closest thing we have to the Lollapalooza experience is the NRA Annual Meeting, but if you listen to something other than country music, you’re kinda (T)SOL when it comes to culture at that event, and it’s the same with the USCCA’s Concealed Carry meeting as well.

It’s not just about guns, it’s about music and sport and life and… everything. Jerome Griffin mentioned to me recently that DropZone Gunner, an event that mashes up 3 Gun with obstacle racing, was designed with Lollapalooza in mind, and I think he’s on to something there. Gun ownership is being pushed to the side of American culture, and anything we can do to push it back to the middle is a very good thing indeed.

 

* 27 years is also the same amount of time from Lollapalooza to Beatlemania. Egad, I’m old.

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 351-450

Colt Competition .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 351-450

In addition to calling an end to the Ruger LCP2 test, I also put one hundred rounds of Lucky Gunner’s .45ACP ammo through the 1911 during that same trip to Shoot Center, working on one-handed shooting and reloads. Not much to report here: Everything worked, nothing blew up, the gun just ran.

Bor-ing. So far, this entry-level 1911 is doing what you want a gun to do: Shoot, shoot accurately and shoot all the time.

My reloads are noticeably slower than with my double-stack guns, which I attribute to a combination of the smaller mag opening in the grip of the 1911 and the forgiving triangular prism shape of the top of a double stack mag. I’m going to work with a timer a bit to see which is faster for me on my reloads: Hitting the slide stop release with my thumb, or going over the top and reaching the slide. I suspect that as it stands now, they’ll be pretty much the same, but hitting the slide stop faster will be better for my times in the long run, although running the slide is the more useful of the two as it applies to just about every gun out there.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:

100 Rounds Sellier And Bellot .45ACP

Results:

No issues.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1751-1850.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 1751-1850.

I took the gun up to Shoot Center to do some indoor range work with the Crimson Trace green laser I have on the gun. I can see the dot during the day, but it’s indoors where it really shines.

Yes, I meant to write that.

The MagTech and Fiocchi ammo I had been using in this test caused this gun no end of troubles, so I loaded up my mags with Federal Premium .380 from Lucky Gunner, and I headed off to the range, where something interesting happened: I couldn’t hit crap with the laser, but did ok with the minimal iron sights on that little gun. Here’s the same target, shot at 10 yards with irons vs. laser.

While neither target is a shining example of marksmanship, something happened when I saw that green dot show up on the target, and BLAMMO, I jerked the trigger. However, when I lined up the sights, I took my time and pressed the trigger and managed to deliver acceptable results for a .380 pistol that’s slightly bigger than an index card. I’m *used* to the lousy sights on this gun, what I’m not used to is the green dot. More work on this is needed, but at a later date because I’m calling an end to the test.

Yep, that’s right, the 2000 round test of the LCP2 is ending 250 rounds short of the goal. On the 87th shot of my session, the pistol threw a Failure To Eject malfunction at me, and I’ve had enough. The gun was reasonably reliable through the first 500 rounds, but boy howdy did things go downhill from there.

Ammunition-wise, this was the tale of the tape. From what I’ve seen, if you get a change to shoot MagTech in an LCP2, don’t.

RoundQuan. ShotFTEFTF
Hornady Critical Defense 90 Grain JHP24
Tula Ammo 91 Grain FMJ12
Speer Gold Dot 90 Grain JHP6
Winchester White Box 95 Grain FMJ5062
Hornady Custom XTP 90 Grain JHP2
PMC Bronze 90 Grain FMJ85021
Magtech 95 Grain FMJ1004
Fiocchi 95 Grain FMJ1002
Federal American Eagle 95 Grain FMJ1001
Blazer Brass FMJ95 Grain 50

The LCP2 is a pocket pistol, not a service pistol. It’s not built to the same standards as, say, an S&W M+P or a Glock, and it turns out there’s a reason why they’re called “service” pistols… they’re meant to stay in service and not barf up ammo after 500 rounds.

Now, does this mean that the LCP2 is a bad choice for a defensive gun? No, not at all. Pocket guns just are not designed to take the same abuse as a service pistol and are rarely have even 500 rounds put through them over the course of their lifetime (although I was kinda hoping this one would go further into the test than it did).

Bottom line is if you have an LCP2 is that unless you’re as dumb as I was and took things to the extreme, you little gun will serve you well. Put 100 or so rounds through it a year to maintain competency, and save the torture tests for the guns that can take the abuse.

Ruger LCP2 2000 Round Challenge Results

Rounds Fired
100 Rounds Federal Premium FMJ 

Total Rounds Fired: 1750
One possible failure to eject on round 116
Failures to eject: Rounds 400, 489, 974, 993, 1277, 1323, 1359, 1737
Failure to feed: Round 873, 1526, 1534, 1556, 1583

Upcoming Training: Florida Firearms Training Hog Hunting School.

Upcoming Training: Florida Firearms Training Hog Hunting School.

As I said before, I’m going on my first-ever hunt this weekend, a two-day hog hunt with Florida Firearms Training, and I’m really looking forward to it, as it sounds like something I’ve been searching for, namely, an on-ramp into hunting for fat, middle-aged white guys.

Plus (if I’m lucky) I’ll be ridding central Florida of an invasive species and harvesting some free-range, organically-grown, antibiotic-free bacon for my family to enjoy.

Win-win-win!

You Never Forget Your First Drive.

You Never Forget Your First Drive.

Remember when you first learned to drive? How did you feel behind the wheel… were you aggressive, ready to dodge in and out of traffic like Ricky Bobby on the last lap at Talledega, or were you kinda freaked out over the fact that you yourself were in charge of this machine that could cause a world of hurt to you or someone else if you screwed up?

Me? I was in the “freaked out” camp, and so were most of my friends. Somehow, we instinctively knew that being behind the wheel of a car meant that we were literally in charge of our own destiny, and that responsibility weighed heavy on our minds and influenced our every action.

Which dovetails nicely with what Kathy Jackson says here. Honestly, if you think the point of carrying a gun is to impose your will on others, brother, you have no idea what carrying a gun is really about.