Hook, Line And Thinker.

Hook, Line and Thinker.

Speaking of the media narrative on guns, I have (note the past tense) been impressed with Lois Beckett’s reporting on the give and take when it comes to the right of self-defense in America. She took the time to approach gun owners with an open mind, and turned in some terrific, balanced reporting on the issue.

Past tense.

This tweet, though, shows that despite her willingness to approach and engage with NRA members, she still doesn’t get it.

What does the fact that NRA-supported candidates won in Florida have anything to do with the Parkland shooter? Was the murderer an NRA member? NO! So why involve the NRA with this? As I said in my response to her,

The NRA is NOT the “gun lobby.” The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) represents gunmakers on Capitol Hill, not the NRA. However, the NRA is feared and reviled by progressives because it registers people to vote, and those voters tend to vote Republican. If the issue was truly about “gun safety,” progressives would welcome and embrace the world’s largest firearms safety training organization and support efforts like Eddie Eddie and Project Childsafe.

Instead, the reverse is true: Bloomberg’s minions were outraged when the Department of Justice teamed up with the NSSF to promote firearms safety, and oppose the world’s largest gun training organization teaching firearms safety.

No, I don’t get that either.

It’s not about safety, it’s about making sure you know your place and making sure your vote doesn’t count.

Make sure it does.

Everyone’s Concerned About Industrial Disease.

Everyone’s Concerned About Industrial Disease.

David Yamane and I were guests on the “In Sickness And In Health” podcast, which is an attempt to deal with gun-related violence in America from a medical point of view. In her previous series, Dr. Celine Gouder, the host, did a pretty good job dealing with the increase in opioid addiction in America, so I agreed to be on her podcast.

However, in this episode, Dr. Gounder incorrectly characterized my stance on universal background checks: I don’t support them at all, and I definitely do NOT believe in required training for firearms ownership. I believe the dojo model should be voluntary because after all, you don’t need a license to throw a punch, and fists and feet kill far more people than AR-15s do. 

Update: Dr. Gounder has changed the podcast and the transcript to correctly state my belief that training should be encouraged, not required. I applaud this effort, and she deserves praise for correcting this issue.

Also, in my opinion, she gave too much time to a military veteran who not only refuses to own a gun in civilian life but also believes that the military’s rules on firearms management and safety is an excellent model for civilians.

Not. Happening. Not unless I can get my hands on an M163 Vulcan Air Defense System if I do so. Then we talk.

The fact is, the military’s purpose for using firearms is far different than my purpose for owning a gun. The military is issued guns for specific purposes, like taking a hill or storming a beach, and unless you’re an MP standing guard or you’re doing overwatch at a firebase, you’re disarmed if you’re a soldier relaxing in a barracks. Not exactly the same reasons why I carry a gun. The idea that the mission drives the equipment is built into the strategy and tactics of the military, so by the military’s own rules, my reasons to carry a firearm are far, far different than a helicopter pilot’s reasons to carry a firearm with him on a mission. Therefore, the military’s rules on how and when a gun should be used really aren’t my rules.

Nor do I want them to be.

To a larger point, though, we are not going to move the needle on how guns are viewed in America if we don’t try swing that needle in our direction. Andrew Breitbart taught us that politics is downstream from culture: It’s time for gun owners to send an expedition to the headwaters of American culture and change where the river is flowing. Yes, I realize, my words may come back to haunt me, but I refuse to be a REMF in the culture war on guns.

History boils over, there’s an economics freeze
Sociologists invent words that mean ‘Industrial Disease’

Earth To Hunting Shows… Come In, Hunting Shows.

Earth To Hunting Shows… Come In, Hunting Shows.

Ok, Gun Culture 1.0… now that you’re realized that your recruiting methods suck and they are not bringing in new hunters like you thought they would, maybe it’s time to look at hunting shows as well. Do we really want another “whispering in the hunting blind” program that’s nothing more than “Hey, here’s the sponsor’s product, here’s me shooting something with that product, thanks for watching!”?

Bor-ring.

Hog hunting is an obvious in-road, maybe one that focuses on bringing in shooters who are non-hunters into the sport, something like, say, a 3 gunner, or maybe a tactical Timmy of some sort. And then there is the obvious tie-in with Big Buck Hunter, one of the most-popular stand-up video games out there, so why not take high-score winners in that video game out on an actual hunt?

Media On The Move.

Media On The Move.

Congratulations, everyone! We’ve gone from ZERO tv shows on basic cable about guns to…. ONE tv show on basic cable that’s about guns.

Oh, and by “guns,” I mean flintlocks and the like.

Oh well, I guess you gotta (re-)start somewhere. Go watch it, and record it and watch it on your DVR, because Discovery Channel, A&E and others ain’t gonna make more shows about guns unless people are watching them.

Speaking of which, A&E is coming out with a new show on November 20th, “Brothers in Arms,” about “two Army veterans who are experts at historical military weaponry.”

If it’s historical weaponry c. 1495, I’ll give it a hard pass… “Forged In Fire” fills that niche for me. However, if it’s Forgotten Weapons mixed with “American Chopper,” I’m in, and I’m in for the long haul.

Either way, it’s nice to have gun-related shows on TV again.

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

This is why you need something in-between harsh words and a gun.

The ATF giveth, and the ATF taketh away.

Brazil’s new President wants to arm victims to reduce crime. That idea’s so crazy, it just might work!

Before your next vacation, use the TripIt App to scope out potential dangers in and around your hotel.

What good are you rights if there is nowhere to shoot?

The NSSF is starting up a class-action suit against Google for firearms-based AdWords restrictions. Good, now do Facebook next.

A woman’s view on everyday concealed carry.

Guns Are Serious Business.

Guns Are Serious Business.

There are two types of gun shops near me… the ones for the local rednecks, and the ones that are there to take money from the rich Republican retirees here. The local redneck stores don’t know crap*. The rich people’s gun stores know a lot about rich people’s guns. There are, however, two good gun store/range combinations near me: One of them I refuse to deal with because of their crooked, crooked ways, and the other is one of the best shops in the business. It’s not only making a living, but thriving, and they’re looking to open up a second shop in the future. It’s clean, well-lit, has good retail branding and a 15 lane air-conditioned range that goes out to 25 yards.

This situation reminds me of the old days of the computer industry, where there was a Bits N Bytes Shop (or some other cheesy name) store in every strip mall, run by local people who were into computers but not into business, and they spoke the language of computer nerds. Then Computerland came along, and because they were first and foremost a business, they spoke the language of business, and they sold a metric buttload of computers to businesses.

It’s worth noting that with advent of a more computer-literate workforce, even the Computerland model has gone away**, and companies are either have their own IT departments and buy direct, or they outsource that to the same kind of mom and pop shops that were around in 1983. The big computer store didn’t kill off the local Bit Shop: Those stores survived by nibbling away at the edges of the bigger market for information technology.

For the last 10 years (maybe even the last 25 years, since the AWB…), the only marketing a local gun shop (and for that matter, gun makers as well) have had to do is just say “Look, it’s in stock… You wanna buy it, or what?”

The stores that are thriving are adapting to a new market. The ones that don’t adapt are goners.

 

* To give you an idea of how little they know, I had one good ol’ boy behind the counter tell me that an FN FiveSeven was “an AR-15 you can carry around in your pocket.”
Uh-huh.
** From the linked Computerland story above: “(computer) Retailers still are amateurish enough to consider themselves competitors … They are just too immature to realize that they’re complementary, not competitive.”
That pretty much describes today’s retail gun market as well…

Shooting By The Book.

Shooting By The Book.

Much fun was had last week talking on social media about what we’d do with the outrageous amount of money we’d have at our disposal if we won Mega Millions.

What would I do? Like you have to ask

However, two friends of mine suggested independently of each other that they’d use the money to help build shooting ranges in areas of the country where there are none.

What an interesting idea.

There is precedent for it. Literacy in the poorer parts of the nation was vastly improved by the creation of Carnegie libraries where there were no libraries, and Rosenwald Schools where there were no schools. If the right to self-defence is an inherit right enshrouded in the Constitution, (and it is) isn’t it the government’s business to ensure that right can be used? After all, it ain’t private businesses that are used as polling places, it’s schools, churches and other community centers.

Along with people like myself who support the NRA with our meager donations, there are wealthy people out there who are donating scads of cash to advance gun rights. This is good, and it should continue. However, donating a gazillion dollars to advance gun rights means squat if there are no places to shoot. Maybe it’s time for a program, funded much like the Carnegie Libraries were, that will give people a place to exercise the Second Amendment rights we’ve fought so hard for.

Okay, Koch brothers. There’s the idea. Now hire me to run it. 🙂

Flash Site Pictures

Flash Site Pictures

If you’re looking for a way to shorten the length of your AR Pistol, I’d take a long, hard look at the Maxim Defense CQB Brace, which also came with a JP Rifles Silent Capture Spring. I’m a big fan of that spring because it’s very reliable, easy to use and completely eliminates the “SPROING!” of the buffer spring recoil next to your ear.

I also did the review of the DoubleStar ARP-7 AR Pistol, and I loved the darn thing. Accurate little sucker too… I managed a few MOA and sub-MOA groups with it using SIG Sauer 77gr ammo.

And because there are very few articles on this topic, I wrote up five skill building pocket pistol drills you can shoot on an indoor range.

I’ve also found a lot of articles that showed you HOW to move on a USPSA stage, but darn few about WHY you wanted to do so, so I wrote a beginners guide to stage strategy for USPSA.

Gun sales are starting to flatten out. Am I surprised? No, not really.

Ten tips for starting out in competitive shooting.

How to talk with a violent criminal so you don’t get your a$$ kicked… or worse.

USPSA stage strategy for Production versus Open.

A cost breakdown of shooting at a public outdoor range vs. a private indoor range.

The Vacuum Speaks For Itself

The Vacuum Speaks For Itself

Greg’s not wrong… there are a lot of flaws in this article, one of the very first things that I wrote for Shooting Illustrated.

But.

It’s also the #1 article in the history of Shooting Illustrated, and by a ridiculous amount (as in 10x the traffic of anything else they’ve posted, ever), because at the time, it was one of the first articles out there to say that maybe, just maybe, a .38 with pink grips isn’t the best gun for a women. That article flew around social media, and I honestly can’t tell you how many women commented with “Thank you! I’ve been waiting for years for someone to write an article like this!”

Now, was my methodology off and were those gun choices very flawed? Yeah, probably. I was new to the gun writing game, and those guns were the guns I had access to at the time. If I were to do it again, I’d add in some caveats about the carry gun, and toss in a G19 or the like.

However, five years after it was published, there STILL isn’t another article out there which covers women choosing their own guns, but yet I can find hundreds of articles on the best way to transition from your AR to a pistol.

Seems to me we have our priorities mixed up a bit…

Colt 2000 .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge – Rounds 1796 – 2005

Colt 2000 .45 ACP 1911 2000 Round Challenge – Rounds 1796 – 2005

Okay, first the bad news: The Colt Competition that I’m torture-testing really crapped the bed on this outing, with four Failures To Feed with Federal 230 grain JHPs in the first 100 rounds.

But a thought hit me: I’ve not cleaned the magazines on this gun in over a  thousand rounds, and we all know that the magazines are a big choke point with the 1911 platform, and a dirty magazine might just have something to do with a gun failing to feed. To test out this theory, I shot the gun for the next 50 rounds using the mags that shipped with the gun, mags that I’ve used only for Barney-ing up the gun before a stage, and it went the next 125 rounds without a hitch.

Colt Competition 1911

Now that the test is over, it’s time to refurbish this gun and tune it to my specifications, so I’ll be sending it up to KGB Customs to have some work done on it. First up will be new springs pretty much everywhere and I’ll also be checkering on the front strap to give me a better grip. I have a literal boxful of 1911 parts from STI and other manufacturers like hammers and triggers and other parts which I’ve won off of shooting match tables that I’ll send up with the gun as well, just in case they’re needed. Sights-wise, I’m actually quite happy with the Novaks on the gun, so those won’t change, and the grips are also quite good, but I’ll probably add a magwell for faster reloads.

Overall, I’m very happy with the 1911 as a platform and this gun in particular. To be honest, if it weren’t for the word “Competition” in its name and the legal hassles that would come along with that name inside of a courtroom, I’d be 100% confident in using it as a daily carry gun. There are those who say that day of the 1911 has passed. I’m not one of them: I think the 1911 has more than a few years left in it, and I’m looking forward to shooting this gun for years to come.

Colt Competition 2000 Round Challenge

Rounds Fired:
200 Rounds American Eagle 230 Grain FMJ
20 Rounds Hornady 200 Grain XTP JHP

Results:

2005 Rounds Fired
One Double Feed, Round #1347 (Remington UMC)
One Failure To Feed, Round #1568 (MagTech Defender)
One Failure To Feed, Round #1574 (MagTech Defender)
Three Failures To Feed, Rounds #1820, #1863, #1894 (American Eagle FMJ)