Odds And Sods.

Odds And Sods.

I spent a bunch of my ill-botten gooty from the Amazon links on the site and bought a few things to make my life easier. Thanks for your support, everyone, now on to some quick first takes:

SOG Folding Entrenching Tool 

I’ve been needing to get shovels for the back of our family’s cars, so when these came on sale, I snatched up two of them for just just over fifteen bucks.

Not bad.

It’s a basic aluminum entrenching tool, with a twist-lock handle and saw-blade edge and pick on one side and shovel on the other. Nothing fancy, but it’s a tool that infantrymen have been using for decades now, so it should work for us civilians, too.

Gosky Universal Cell Phone Mount

I bought this because I thought it looked cool, and hey, you never know, it may come in handy someday. Because it’s a “universal” mount, however, it’s a little awkward to use with my spotting scope, and it doesn’t work too well with my rifle scopes either because the eye relief is too long.

Image quality from the mount is below par, probably because the optics needed to make a clear image on the back of the eye are different than the optics needed to produce an image on a camera sensor. Still, for just $19, it’s a lot of fun to play around with.

Esbit Folding Stove

I love these little stoves. No, they are not going to cook up a five-course meal for fourteen, but they’ll heat up water for coffee or a freeze-dried instant meal. I’ll have a more in-depth look at this stove when I test it out with this gadget, but for now, I likey.

The Short, Happy Life Of Tactical Timmy*.

The Short, Happy Life Of Tactical Timmy*.

Maybe one of the things that makes the SpecOps lifestyle so attractive to we in Gun Culture 2.0 is because they tell really, really good stories, and that’s important to us.

We need heroes. We need to aspire to be something that’s more than we are right now, and let’s face it, there are very few really extraordinary armed civilians out there. Most of them are schlubs like me, and that’s totally cool. I’m not all that extraordinary, and quite honestly, neither or most of my friends.

But Green Berets, MARSOC, Navy SEALS? Them’s extraordinary people who tell extraordinary stories.

Gun Culture 1.0 had extraordinary hunters who went to far-off strange places and turned out some great hunting stories from their exploits.

Is it any wonder, then, that we in Gun Culture 2.0 idolize the men of today who go off to far-off strange places and do extraordinary things in order to keep us safe at home?


* Bonus points if you got the literary reference in the title…

I’m Sucky And I Know It.

I’m Sucky And I Know It.

45 out of 50. Not too shabby.

Why is the Dot Torture drill so beloved of “serious” (aka “hobbyist”) pistol owners, even though we suck at it so much?

We do it because shooting a Dot Torture drill is a sign that you’re willing to say that “Rather than do the things that I’m good at all day long and tell myself I’m a good shot, I am willing to do a drill that I suck at in order to learn where my weaknesses are.”

To borrow from Tam’s excellent article from earlier this month, THAT’S the difference between a hobbyist and everyone else. A “hobbyist” understands they’re not good at something, and has the willpower, means and lack of ego to get better at it. Most gun owners couldn’t tell you what’s wrong with how they shoot a gun, and they have little desire to improve.

And that’s actually really, really ok, because they are having fun while they shoot, because they shoot for fun. The thing is, though, I don’t really shoot for fun all that much anymore. Pretty much every time I go out to a range now, it’s to shoot a match or test a gun or work on a skill. I’m a hobbyist. It’s what I do.

Now, can we get people to work on a skill while preserving the fun?

Do we even want to?

Formula Firearms

Formula Firearms

It’s been over a year since I bought a myself a hot hatch, and I really want to learn to drive it better. I know that some kind of auto racing is going to help me with deal with rapid decision making under stress while I’m behind the wheel, and it will help me see a clear course of action while dealing with all the complex inputs that come with driving a car in traffic.

So naturally, the best way for me to do this is is to ditch my car because it’s not good enough and spend a bunch of money on a Rousch Mustang with racing slicks and join the SCCA, right?

Because everyone knows that my lowly family grocery-getter isn’t a serious car for dedicated, hard-core hobbyists. Boy, did I make a mistake buying a car that fit my budget and my needs outside of racing. I shoulda saved up my money and bought something from a dedicated racing brand that the serious gear heads around me approved of, rather than a four-door hatchback from a mass-market manufacturer that also makes delivery trucks and minivans. I should embrace the race car lifestyle and change my life to fit my car, rather than figure out which car fits best with my family and with my desire to drive fast.

What was I thinking?

It’s obvious that I will never, EVER be a serious driver if I don’t get a hardcore sports car. I’m pitiful. I should resign myself to this fact just leave the car in the garage all day. Clearly, driving fast is NOT for me.

Fortunately for me, that’s not what actually happens in the car world. There are events that are set up to let people like me who want to get better learn how to do high-performance driving without emptying our wallets, and I’ll probably go to one within the year, because race car.

Think that this was allegory for getting new gun owners out to a competition or a training class?

You’re right, it was.

What So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love And Gaming The Crap Out A Stage?

What So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Gaming the Crap Out A Stage?

One thing I’ve noticed about the practical shooting sports is that people consider them to be Very Serious Endeavors and Should Not Be Taken Lightly.

I swear, some people look at a pistol bay like it as if it was a church, and we’re not playing  a game, we’re meditating and seeking to unite our souls with the spirit of St. Cooper.

And then we wonder we newcomers seem to feel intimidated when they come to a match.

Why not embrace the gaming element every once in a while? Better still, go full happy fun run and gun in an event that serves as introduction to the sport, and leave the target overlays and rules lawyering for another day.

Simple, easy, lightweight stages with a low round count, lots of steel and no timer are perfect for this. The point isn’t get people thinking about their time, it’s getting people thinking about what they’re doing on a stage, and how much stinkin’ fun it can be to shoot well on a stage. The emphasis shouldn’t be about the score, it should be about the fun.

Everything But The Bang.

Everything But The Bang.

One of the biggest differences (if not THE biggest difference) between a Harley rider and every other obnoxious person on two wheels motorcycle rider has little, if anything, to do with the motorcycles themselves. What makes a Harley rider a Harley rider is the mythos that you’re an individualist.

You, and millions and millions of people just like you.

There is a culture that’s built around Harley Davidson owners that has little, if anything, to do with the motorcycles themselves, and it’s a culture that offers events tailored to different levels of engagement into the culture. From “Learn To Ride” events to poker runs to Sturgis, you can find some way to meet your fellow enthusiast and have fun together with your motorcycles.

Is there a culture built around concealed carry? Of course there is.

Are there entry points and events that can handle new gun owners as well as experienced gun owners?

Maybe.

Kathy Jackson turned me on to a new group called Action Shooting International, and I really, really like what they’re doing:

Here at Action Shooting International, LLC, we’re focused on giving you a chance to practice in a way that’s fun, and builds social connections with other gun owners. ASI shoots are competitions, but we’re more concerned about having fun and learning something along the way than fighting for every point. Each shooting problem you’ll face (called a “stage”) focuses on a particular experience or skill — such as reloading, shooting around an obstacle, or shooting while moving.

And the good news is, the rules are lightweight, holsters are optional, .380ACP is the minimum caliber and round counts look to be very low. If you shoot at a range that doesn’t have a competition, this might be right for you to get involved with.

Ruger LCPII 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 736 To 836.

Ruger LCPII 2000 Round Challenge: Rounds 736 to 836.

100 more rounds of Lucky Gunner’s PMC Bronze .380ACP ammo went through the LCP][ last weekend, and nothing happened except loud noises were made and 100 holes appeared in a piece of paper.

100 rounds of lucky gunner ammoJust like the previous occasions when I shot this gun, I’m not wasting my time trying to shoot one-hole groups with this pistol. That’s not the purpose of this gun: This gun is meant to be used to quickly put as many rounds into a target that’s well within the Tueller scheme of things, and it does that job very well.

Most of these rounds were shot as fast as I could get the sights somewhere near center of the target (or as you can see, sometimes, I shot a little bit before that actually happened…) from a distance between three and seven yards, and mostly two-handed, with a few rounds shot strong hand only / weak hand only.

A couple of thoughts:

Once again, I was amazed at how easy the LCP][ is to shoot strong hand only. I chalk this up to the fact that there really isn’t a whole lot of room for your weak hand to grab onto something as you shoot the gun. Perversely, though, shooting it weak hand only was quite the chore: It felt strange, off-balance and was very hard to shoot well.

No, I don’t know why.

Secondly, just to see how accurate the darn thing is, I tried some hostage shots with the gun from about five yards away. I wouldn’t consider this gun to be a “combat” firearm: It’s not meant for a prolonged two-way exchange of leaden projectiles, it’s meant to be used to get you out of harm’s way from an attacker (or two) who are up close and personal. This this not the gun to armed with if you’re expecting an attack from the Leprechaun Liberation Army: This is a gun you use if you want to give an armed robber the surprise of his (or her) life. I don’t want to be in a situation with this gun where I have to make a precise shot on someone who’d holding a hostage, but it’s nice to know I might be able to do it if needed.

Rounds Fired : 100
100 Rounds PMC Bronze

2000 Round Challenge Results
Total Rounds Fired: 836.
One possible failure to eject on round 116, two failures to eject on rounds 400 and 489.

Getting New Shooters To The Range Is Only Half The Battle.

Getting New Shooters To The Range Is Only Half The Battle.

Getting them to shoot is the other half.

Put yourself in the shoes of a new gun owner. You’ve just bought a pistol for self defense. You keep it safely loaded at home, and you want to start carrying it more often, because darn it, the neighborhood with that terrific sandwich shop is getting rougher and rougher, and the nephew of your friend down the street got jumped by a pack of thugs and beat up pretty badly.

You’re scared. You want to feel safe. You know carrying a gun and using it well might help keep you alive on a very, very bad day. Your CCW instructor told you that competition is a good way to help prepare your mind to think clearly and use a gun effectively under stressful situations, so you go out to the local range with your gun, your holster, a few mags and a couple of boxes of ammo.

What do you find when you arrive there?

Match directors, how do you handle someone who shows up with a Ruger LCR in .22Magnum or a Sig P238 at a USPSA match? Do you turn them away, or do you have them shoot for no score? Do you want newcomers to enjoy the sport and learn from the experience, or do you want enforce the rules above everything else?

And why are competitions that are .22LR only considered to be an effective on-ramp for new gun owners? That new gun owner just spent HOURS of deliberation before buying that Glock 19/Sig P320/M&P/P10C* they now own. Then, when they reach out for advice, we tell them that the best way for a beginner to learn how to shoot under stress is to buy a .22 pistol, something that a gun store clerk has just told them (over and over and over again) is not a effective self-defense tool. It’s like teaching people to ride a motorcycle by handing them a bicycle. Is bicycle riding fun? Of course it is! Is it the same as riding a motorcycle? Well, sorta, but not really.

I’m not bagging on the .22 sports, they are a LOT of fun, and I love shooting my red-dotted M22A. However, the .22 sports appeal to people who already have a .22 they can compete with, not to someone who spent hours and hours agonizing over their first handgun purchase.


* Like I’m NOT going to add in a CZ to that list.

The Dearth Of The Cool.

The Dearth Of The Cool.

Let’s break it down:

  • Awareness of the martial arts started with American servicemen stationed in the Far East after the Second World War.
  • Martial arts became cool in America primarily because of Bruce Lee.
  • Martial arts became cool for kids to learn as a way of exercise / moral guidance because of the Power Rangers.

So why aren’t gun training and shooting competitions cool?

It’s not like we don’t have millions of kids running around in (virtual) environments shooting stuff with (virtual) pistols, rifles and shotguns. We have that already. Boy howdy, do we have that already.

And I find it interesting that you can make more money playing with (virtual) guns than you can competing with real guns. This is not true in any other sport. Real tennis pays more than virtual tennis, real football pays more than virtual football, and yet when was the last time you heard of a match offering a prize pool of $250,000 in cash?

Something is out of whack here, and someone will find a way to fix it.