Tripping The Lights Fantastic

Tripping the lights fantastic

Ever since Guffaw wrote about his flashlights, I’ve been wanting to do a side-by-side comparison of the various and sundry flashlights I have around the house.

So I did. 

I don’t have any Tier-1 tactical lights in the house: I just can’t justify spending $50 or more on a AA-powered LED “tactical” light” when there’s good flashlights to be had for half (or a third) of what I’d pay for a “name” brand.

Flashlights

That’s my well-loved 4-D Cell Maglite up top, and then left to right, a Photon Micro-light II, a Fenix E01, an Insight MX3, a Coleman 3AAA LED, a AA Maglite and a Pelican AA LED light

The testing setup is the same I used for testing the Insight light: I set up my D70 with my 24-70mm lens set at 35mm about 12 feet away from the cinder-block fence in my backyard. The exposure this time was 1 second at f5.6, ISO 400. As a comparison, that’s about 1/1000th the exposure needed for taking photos in daylight. 

First up, the Photon Micro-light II

Photon II

Then, the Fenix E01.

Fenix E01

And the Coleman 3 AAA LED.

Coleman 3AAA LED

And the Pelican AA LED.

Pelican AA

And the Insight light

Insight MX3

And now the Maglites. First, the AA version

Maglite AA

And now the 4 D Cell thumper

4 D Maglite

Conclusions: 

1. That little Photon is pretty astounding. It’s TINY and at under $10, relatively cheap, yet it kicks out an amazing amount of lumens for its size. 
2. Either the Pelican or the Coleman are a good choice for someone who wants the lighting capabilities of a Surefire without the Surefire price tag. I’d also add that both of those lights have AA/AAA lithium batteries in them, giving me the long shelf-life advantages of lithium with the flexibility and low-cost of alkalines if needed. 
3. The day of the Maglite is over. I’ll still carry that big ol’ 4D Cell mamajama in my car because it comes in handy in other (defensive) ways, but it’s not king of the candlepower hill any more. 
4. As a comparison, I took a shot illuminated with my iPhone’s Flashlight app

iPhone App

Yeah that didn’t work…

Rebuttal And Update

Rebuttal and update

To the half-dozen or so people who came to my blog this month via the keywords “Open carry is stupid“: 

No, it’s not. 

Look, just because I don’t open carry myself (in a state that’s had legal open carry since Padre Kino wandered through Sonora) doesn’t mean I think open carry is dumb. 

I support the right of others to do it, I just don’t do it myself. And the post title was a joke, much like most anti-rights activtists. 


Oleg’s post on the RMR-30 had me rabbit-trailing for more info on .22Magnum as a defensive round. The verdict? Not bad

“Winchester 40gr JHP (part #X22MH), impacted at unknown velocity, penetrated to 13.5″ (corrected) and expanded to 0.311″ average diameter. Recovered weight was 29.1gr.”

Yeah, that’s going to leave a mark.

That makes me want that little RMR-30 even more. Team it up with a lightweight low-power optical or red-dot scope, and you’ve got a perfect little bug-out gun that’s super-easy to carry around.

Want.

More …

I’ve Said It Before And I’ll Say It Again

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again

There are three, and ONLY three times it’s ok to have a picture of yourself while holding a gun.  It’s ok when, and ONLY WHEN…

  • …you are a current member of the military posing with your buddies in some godforsaken corner of the world
  • … you are actively engaging in shooting said firearm.
  • …you are posing with the trophies from either a hunt or shooting competition.

Note that “Taking a picture of yourself with your cousin’s gun so you look all cool and stuff on Facebook” is NOT on that list.

Smickle happened to be spending the night at the apartment when officers came looking for his cousin. Smickle thought it was thunder.

When officers burst in, he was on the couch in boxer shorts, tank top and sunglasses, a pistol in his left hand and a laptop computer in his right, apparently taking pictures of himself looking “cool,” court heard.

A threee year prison term for felony stupidity might be in order here, but not a jail sentence for holding someone else’s gun in their own residence. An idiot’s home is still his castle, after all.

The Brainpower Behind The Firepower

The brainpower behind the firepower

When John Lott, the author of “More Guns, Less Crime” teams up with Gary Mauser, you know the results are going to be good

“To repeat, during these seven years, there were only 62 cases — nine a year — where it was even conceivable that registration made a difference. But apparently, the registry was not important even in those cases. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Chiefs of Police have not yet provided a single example in which tracing was of more than peripheral importance in solving a case.” 

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Five Guns O’ Fun

Five Guns O’ Fun

Ok, Robb, since you asked… 

Special bonus entry: An M134 Vulcan Air Defense System. Why? Do you have to ask

5. A Deagle. There’s just something about owning Agent Smith’s gun that I like. And not a gold, engraved one either, just a regular ol’ Desert Eage.

4. Bren Ten. Don Johnson. Jeff Cooper. Josef and František Koucký. Need I say more? 

3. An HK53. I’ve liked these since before I graduated high school. Hating HK is cool now, but I still want one. Speaking of high school…

2. A Ruger AC556. No, not because of the A-Team. I wanted one since Dirk Benedict was Starbuck, not Face. 

1. A Beaumont-Adams revolver. The gun that won the West. The Canadian West, that is. 

The Good, The Bad, And The TTAG

The Good, the Bad, and the TTAG

I’ve tried to stay neutral on the Truth About Guns v. Gunblog battle because I try to stay neutral on internet spats in general. 

Yes, TTAG stole content. Yes, some of the people there pick fights when they don’t have to. But let’s face it, who amongst us isn’t also guilty of similar actions? To quote Mark Knoeffler

When you point your finger ’cause your plans fell through
You got three more fingers pointin’ back at you

But. 

I left this comment over at TTAG as a response to an incendiary article about who should and should not have the right to defend themselves. 

“Short version of this article: “I’m ok, you’re seriously messed up”.

Slightly longer version of this article: “Look, I’ve had 20 people look at me cross-eyed, so I know I can handle a gun in an emergency. The rest of you can’t, and I know this because I am better at this than you are. Just ask me, I’ll tell you. And even though I give a great example of someone like you who handled things correctly, he’s the exception to the rest of you brain-dead schmucks. And he’s the exception because I say so. The rest of you guys can’t handle things as well as he did. So there.

Look, I understand that this site needs a certain amount of, ah, stimulating conversation, but some editorial oversight is necessary, lest TTAG become TMZ with guns.”

The problem is, that’s not how the article appears on the site: The critique (offered up in good faith) was edited out

Bad form.

Editing out critical comments is a no-no. That’s Blogging 101. Heck, that’s covered in Remedial Blogging 090. Blogs are only effective when they listen to and respond to user comments. Blogs that don’t do this are echo chambers, not centers of honest discussion.

One of three things will happen in the next few days…

  • I’ll get a profuse apology from the site owner, claiming that it’s not their policy to do such things and it happened without their knowledge and gosh darn it all we’re sorry. 
  • There’ll be a flame post show up that steals my banner graphic. 
  • This post will be ignored. 

I’m ok with any of that. I do this for me, for the love of shooting, not to pay people and stir up hornet’s nests.

Update: Already got an email saying it was to halt any “digression” in the comments.
Sorry, but blog posts are for blog owners, the comments belong to we the readers. 
For the record, blast away at me in the comments. I’ll only edit out harsh language, as I want to keep this PG-13. 

They rely on pageviews, links, and search results to drive traffic. As such, I’m not visiting there, not commenting there, they’re gone from my blogroll, this is the the last time I’ll talk about about them and the link in this post is the last link TTAG will get from me.

I encourage others to do the same. After all, the best way to neutralize an SEO whore is to ignore him altogether. 

 

Threats Analysis

Threats analysis

I’ve been thinking more about the comment I left in a post last week.

There are, as I see it, two kinds of violent encounters: Predatorial and Adversarial. 

The “sudden encounter” is a predator attack, be it mugger, rapist or Rottweiler. Those types of encounter require you to be on your game rightthisveryinstant and respond to the attack with enough force to end things.

The Adversarial attack is road rage or the loudmouth in bar itchin’ for a fight or the jealous spouse of a co-worker or the fight between friends that gets out of hand. Those happen on pretty well-defined patterns, and if they get out of hand, they get out of hand in predictable paths that can be countered (or better yet, de-escalated) in predictable ways. 

And as things are now, we spend a LOT of time preparing and training for the Predatorial attack: The mugger, the home invasion, the sexual assault. It’s not that these kinds of attacks aren’t real, it’s that for us law-abiding folk, they are just not that common. 

Predators tend to prey on the weak, and if you’ve taken the steps needed to secure your family at and away from home, you are not easy pickin’s no more. When such an attack happens, there’s little you can do to de-escalate the action, in fact, trying to de-escalate it will probably get you killed dead. Such an attack requires the immediate and swift application of force sufficient to end the threat. Anything less just ain’t enough.

Which leaves adversarial encounters. These differ in that we can and should control the level of force needed to end things. “A soft answer turneth away wrath” ain’t in the Bible because it sounds nice, it’s in there ’cause it works. 

Adversarial encounters can get out of hand quickly if no one choses to de-escalate. Ask any cop who’s had to arrest someone for a barfight or the murder of a friend and he’ll tell you the number one thing they’ll hear from the poor soul who’s now cuffed on the curb is “Why didn’t he just back down?”. 

I turn that around and ask “Why didn’t YOU just back down?”

Is an insult, a bad lane change or a loud remark worth twenty years of your life and the loss of your firearms freedoms? Is it worth not seeing your kids grow up or your friends? Is it worth a black mark on your record that will follow you wherever you go? 

We spend hours on the range and in the dojo preparing for the predator’s attack. How much time do we spend learning the difference between backing down and giving up? 

 

Defence By The Numbers Part II

Defence By The Numbers Part II

Ok, so we know what type of violent enocunters are most likely to happen around us. What about the “Black Swan” moments, or expecting the unexpected? 

Aye, there’s the rub. 

Three examples.

One: Many years ago (too many, if I’m honest…) a group of friends from my church’s college group were camping out on the Mogollon Rim, about to fall asleep, when another campsite erupted wild drunken hoots, hollers and gunfire, with what I assumed at the time were shotgun blasts into the air. 

There were twelve of us, seven college-age men and 5 girls (in a seperate tent. This was a church outing, after all…), and the best defensive weapon we had was a hatchet. If those drunks decided they wanted to “party” with the girls, there wasn’t a whole lot we could do about it. 

Two: My wife grew up on an acreage in the forests of northeastern Arizona, surround by her Dad’s extended family. One night, the black sheep of said family decided to invite Arizona’s most notorious motorcycle gang up to his property for the night. Her Dad spent the entire evening on their front porch with his shotgun in his lap, watching over his family as gang members loudly partied less than a 200 yards away from his house. The gang left in the morning and didn’t come back, but it made for a tense, sleepless night for her family. 

Three: Right after my wife and I were married, a cousin of hers took what I considered to be an unhealthy amount of interest in her whereabouts and well-being. Said cousin was 6’5″, 220lbs with a prior conviction for manslaughter for killing an undercover cop during a drug bust. He has since done the world a favour and killed himself, but it did make for a few tense months in our lives as I wasn’t sure how to handle someone like that if he came to our home with evil on his mind. 

What do all three of those examples have in common? 

1. There was a threat of imminent lethal force. 
2. The nature of the threat is outside the daily routine. 
3. Non-lethal force would not be an effective deterrent. 

We don’t carry because we expect trouble, we carry because trouble happens when we least expect it. If a shootout can start up outside of a quiet suburban shopping mall, it can start anywhere.