Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review: The Prepper's Blueprint by Tess Pennington

I've been around the survivialism/prepping thing long enough that every time I see a book that purports to be, as the cover of this one puts it, "step-by-step guide to help you prepare for any disaster", my bullshit meter pretty much pegs.

The reason is simple.  Unless you are only preparing for that "3 days until FEMA arrives to put everything back together for you" scenario, prepping is simply too broad a subject to cover in a single book.  Even something as relatively simple as drinking water can easily run a few hundred pages if you go all out with covering well digging/drilling, filtering systems, the various sorts of pumps, power systems and what have you.  It ain't all 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water (I don't give a damn what the EPA thinks).

So when I saw Tess Pennington's "The Prepper's Blueprint" favorably mentioned somewhere (and I honestly don't remember where) on the Intertubz, I figured that it would be yet more of the same.  However, since Amazon allows you to have a look inside the book (got to compete with the brick and mortar book stores), I was able to get a look at the table of contents and the introduction and was intrigued enough to drop $20 to have a copy shipped in.

It's an interesting take on the subject.  Pennington follows more or less the typical organization of most manuals--food, water, tools, medicals supplies and so on, but she has something that is in my experience unique.  She adds the concept of "layers".  So when she discusses food the first time in Layer 1, it's in a very basic way.  Two weeks of food and water, simple meals that don't require a lot of effort (including cooking) to prepare and so on.

Layer 2 broadens the topic by going into water filtration and food preservation, as well as expanding the food supply to a full month.  Layer 3 modifies the one month pantry into a pattern that can be used for storing multiple months of food.  In the course of doing so the discussion expands to cover essential fats, legumes, carbs and so on so that you have a basic understanding of what you need for a healthy diet over the long term.

This same model is used for medical needs, communications, tools, shelter and so on.  As I said earlier, it's a model that I haven't encountered before in the prepping world, and I think that, for someone who is just coming around to the necessity to be prepared, it should work well.  It allows the beginner to get some quick "wins" (face it, if they just do Layer 1 they're more prepared than 99% of Americans) and then continue on as they are mentally able and willing. It's a big scary step to go from "don't get it" to "eyes wide open", and all to easy to slip into "it can't be done".  Pennington's layered approach may be just the thing to get people past that hump.

Based on her own citations, Pennington appears to rely on others for much of her information in many areas.  In most areas, that serves her well, but in a couple, communications and defense, she could have picked better sources.  It isn't so much that the information is wrong as it is woefully inadequate.  She could have used some better advice in these two areas.  Fortunately, by the time the beginning prepper gets to the serious parts of these in Layer 3, it will be easy enough for them to do their own research and find their own trustworthy sources.

Overall, I'm going to say that this book is a keeper.  The inexperienced will find it a good initial guide to beginning preparedness--just remember that it is a beginner's manual and that you will need more in depth texts in each subject area (and to her credit, Pennington usually notes this).  Those who have made being prepared a part of their life will find a very different use for this book--it's great for loaning out to family, friends and acquaintances who, having finally realized that milk doesn't come from a grocery store, decide to take some responsibility for their own lives and want to begin prepping.  Rather than having to sit down and spend hours going over this and that, you can simply hand them this book.

Just be sure you get it back so you can loan it to the next person.

("The Prepper's Blueprint by Tess Pennington, 458 pages, ISBN-13 978-1496092588  For the information of whatever Federal nitwits might happen by, I bought this book with my own freaking money, OK?)

Doin' it old school

I'm not a big AK fan, but I do appreciate craftsmanship whereever it's found.  In this case it's Bosnia.

Monday, December 15, 2014

What might have been

(Via the Drudge Report)

I would ask if it would not have been better if the hostages had been armed and allowed to defend themselves when a terrorist came calling, but being that this was Australia, such things are not allowed.

Try that shit here, Achmed.

Friday, December 12, 2014

So sue me

I've been trying for weeks to come up with some novel peice of news that I could rif off of to use this link I found.  But I simply can't find one.

So if you find freeze-dried foods too expensive for your prepping budget, you might want to talk to a few friends and go in together on a personal freeze drying machine.  Yep, it's pricey, but split 4 ways it will set you back the price of a nice AR.  And able to dry 2 #10 cans per 24 hour batch, this thing would allow 4 families to put back some serious food in a hurry.

Something to consider once you're squared away in most of the basic areas.

When the hunter becomes the hunted

(Via the Mississippi Rebel)

I'm not a hunter.  I haven't been hunting in 40 years.  I have nothing against the sport, I just have nothing for it in particular.  I can tell you this--I would likely not have fared as well as this 12 year old girl fared while on an elk hunt.  Because as the hunter, I would not have expected to have become the hunted.

This has applications in self defense.  If you have been through any sort of self defense training, you should have been taught that you must scan your surroundings after you have engaged an attacker.  Yes, you have stopped the threat--and the adrenaline is pumping, you're shaking, your vision has narrowed and you can't hear shit.  You still have to scan around you.  The miscreant you just ventilated may have friends handy.

Don't become the hunted twice in one encounter.  You may not fare so well the second time.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Once again, the date that lives in infamy arrives

This time, it really is Sunday, December 7, though it is some 73 years after the fact.  The men who lived through that terrible day are fewer this year than they were last as time takes its toll.  But we must still remember that day, that "date that shall live in infamy".

It is said that our military has a slogan--"No more Pearl Harbors."  Perhaps they do, perhaps not.  We have certainly had events in recent times that have had similar impact upon us, 9/11 in particular.  However, we have reacted to that event so differently than we reacted to Pearl Harbor.  Instead of working together to defeat our enemy, we have become our own enemy, passing laws such as the mis-named "Patriot Act", surrendering bits and pieces of our freedom for a bit of temporary safety--or at least, that's what we think we are doing,

I have to wonder what the 2,403 men who died in the Pearl Harbor attack would think of that?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Tagua Gunleather Holster for the Ruger LC9 with Crimson Trace Laser

The Tagua Gunleather Holster for the Ruger LC9 with Crimson Trace Laser is a well made paddle-style holster.  The materials are top-notch.  The fit and finish are excellent.  Out of the box, the fit to the pistol is quite good, and the quality leather tends to lead me to believe that it would only improve with time.

Unfortunately, the holster is useless.  See the picture below.

I trust you can read that red text.  No, you can't get a finger into that tiny gap between the pistol grip and the leather.  If they had angled the leather down a bit, or swapped the stitched area to the front (visually odd looking, but it could be done), it would be a different holster.  As is, in order to retrieve the gun from the holster, you have to get it in a pinch between the thumb and index finger, up at the web, and then wiggle it up.  Once up far enough, but not so far as to fall out of the holster, then you can shift to a proper grip and complete your draw stroke.

I found that awkward as hell standing in my house on a Sunday afternoon.  I can't begin to imagine how it would feel in the middle of a critical incident.  Somehow, I don't think it would engender a lot of confidence in any concealed carrier..

I'm going to rate this model and only this model as a Do Not Buy.  However, as soon as I figure out which pistols I have that need a holster (hm-m-m, I think that Luger may need one) I'll try another one and see how it works with a larger pistol.  I'm betting that with a larger gun the problem will disappear.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Well heck

I have been trying to come up with something useful to toss out here.  I've got a number of things rolling about in my currently migraine-addled skull (woke up with the damn thing this morning and the meds are barely keeping it in check), so you're going to get a bunch of random thoughts on random shit.

The Recent Election
Well didn't the Democrats take a serious ass whippin'?  With a few exceptions, Democrats across the county were unelected in droves and Republicans put in their place.  This is a clear mandate for Republicans and their ideas on How Things Should Be Done.

Or not.  As has happened before, I think this is more likely a statement by voters across the nation that they didn't care for the shenanigans of the fools in power, so they voted the only other available fools into power.  Since these fools are, in realistic terms, pretty much the same as the fools that just got voted out, nothing much is going to change other than the rhetoric.  In a few years, the voters will get fed up with the new fools, and will elect a different group of new fools from the other side.

The single bright spot I see is that liberty-minded voters did get some ballot initiatives passed here and there, and Libertarian and other third party candidates polled well in many states.

The big dark spot is that anti-gun initiatives passed in Washington state.  The anti-gunners are going to start going after us even harder at the state level now.  Rather than a big national battle, we're going to be fighting them in every state legislature, county commissioners meeting and city council chamber in the country.

Oh, and Obamacare isn't going to be repealed.  They will amend it, tweak it, rework it, but never repeal it.  Too many people stand to make too much money from it for it to ever be repealed.

The Economy
If you believe the government, inflation is nearly zero, as are interest rates for savings, and unemployment is down.  If you, as I, believe Shadowstats, inflation is around 10% and unemployment is 24-ish%.  At least gas prices are down, as are silver and gold.  Real estate may be getting ready to crash again, and the stock market is running like an old steam boiler with the pressure relief tied down.

Lower fuel prices are good for consumers, bad for the shale oil and fracking-based natural gas producers.  I believe they are down simply because demand is tanking as economic activity slows.

Grocery prices, on the other hand, are going insane.  One thing to bear in mind is that hungry people do stupid things.  Very hungry people do very stupid things.

A corollary to this is that the food in restaurants, especially fast food joints, is going up in price and decreasing in quality in a hurry.  It's getting to be difficult to go out and have a decent meal these days in my area.  This seems to be showing up in the number of patrons at restaurants.

The smartest thing I've heard on interest rates is that they are being held down because if they go up, governments who are now all busily monetizing their national debt will suddenly find themselves using 75% or more of their annual budgets for debt service.

I still think that at some point that can't be predicted, we are going to see an economic collapse of epic proportions.  What it will look like and how it will play out are anyone's guess.  All we can do it prepare, try to arrange our lives to be as flexible and resilient as possible, and hope we survive it.

The Springfield XD Mod 2
Great Bleed Ghu.  I've watched Rob Pincus's shill piece for it.  I've looked at the ads and the web site.  I haven't see one in person yet, but I'm going to try to.  But I have to ask, "Really?"  I'm mean, did you have to actually mold "Grip Zone" into the freaking grips?  Somewhere, there is a marketer who needs to be unemployed.

While it may be an incremental improvement over its predecessor XDs, I doubt it's good enough to make anyone who likes their XDs rush out and trade them all for Mod 2s.

And the grips are ugly.  Have I mentioned that?

By this, I mean the kind you mount on your guns.  My eyesight is getting bad as a byproduct of getting old.  Getting a sharp focus on my front sights is almost impossible.  This is a concern when you carry a pistol for protection.

Lasers are a big help in this regard.  Whether red or green, they move the point of focus further out to a place where I can focus.  It's taking a lot of practice to use both the front sight and the laser at the same time, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

They are expensive, but I'm putting them on every pistol that I carry on a regular basis.  I prefer the Crimson Trace products over anything else I've tried, mostly because of how they are activated (turned on).

The Holidays
I've been reading a lot of stuff from folks on why the upcoming holiday season sucks for them.  They've lost family on or near a holiday, been kicked out of their family (always wrongly from their point of view), they are far from family, they are in a tight position monetarily, soon and so forth.

Hey, I get it.  I've spent a few sucky ones myself.  Everyone does.  One particular Thanksgiving at Ft. Knox, KY springs to mind.  And then I consider my Dad in World War II spending several Thanksgivings and Christmases much further from home and probably unsure if he would see the next day, more or less the next holiday, and that sort of puts it in perspective.

Folks, the holidays are only going to suck if you let them.  OK, you're by yourself.  Money is tight.  Like I said, I get it.  Been there, done that.  It won't kill you--really, it won't.  It's all in how you chose to look at it and how you choose to take it.  In all but the smallest of places, there are going to be Thanksgiving get-togethers at recreation centers, legion halls, churches and other places for those who are alone for one reason or another.  Some are bring a covered dish, others are show up and let us feed you.  All of them will let you share the day with others, and I'm betting that if you approach it with the right attitude, you'll leave knowing a few more people than you did when you arrived.

The secrets are in finding them (they advertise, but it's PSA sort of stuff), putting on your game face and going and allowing yourself to get into the swing of things.

You're only going to be miserable during the holidays if you want to be.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it's winter.  I know the calendar hasn't quite gotten there, but screw the calendar.  The time has changed back, plants have been brought inside, firewood has been carried up to the house, the wood stove is burning, the trees are bare and it's damn chilly outside.  By my definition it's winter.  Another year is going to flip off the calendar soon.

As I get older and know for a fact I have fewer years ahead than behind, I wonder how the scorecard of my life looks.  I believe I've raised a couple of good kids.  I've done some good work.  I've helped out a few people here and there.  Have I made a difference in the world?

I don't know.  It's not me filling in the scorecard.  I know that history is made up of millions upon millions of people like me, who will be essentially anonymous after we're gone.  I've seen the world change a lot since I was a kid, and I expect to see more before I take my leave.  I wonder what the far future holds for my kids and grand kids.

One thing is for certain--I'll not be around to see it.  Best thing I can do is enjoy what I have left.

Well, that is probably enough randomness.  If you've read this far, you're probably a glutton for punishment, bored beyond belief, or stuck in an airport waiting for your flight to be called.  But if you have stuck with it, I appreciate your doing so.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

History Lesson

(Thanks for the pointer, Hugo.)

Lawrence Joel is one of those real, certified hero types--and he has the Congressional Medal of Honor to prove it.  How he earned it is, as it usually is with winners of the CMH, an awesome and amazing tale.

What makes his story special to me is that he is from Winston Salem, North Carolina, a town not far from where I write this post.  There is a coliseum named in his honor there, though I doubt one in a hundred have any clue who he was or why it is so named.

Lawrence Joel earned his medal on November 8, 1965 in the green hell of South Vietnam.  There's a song about it...

And a documentary as well...

It's going to take you a while to watch both.  Settle in.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Speaking of M1 Carbines

It seems that Inland has risen from the dead and is going to bring us new commercial production near mil-spec M1 Carbines.  (There are some minor differences so that they can't be mistaken for the "real" WWII era item.)  Given the $1000 price point and the fact that they are coming from MKS Supply, home of the Hi-Point,  you've got to wonder a bit about the ratio of quality per dollar.

I think I'll keep an eye open for some reviews and a stocking dealer before I get too enthused about this development.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Here I go again

Apparently, it is my place in this world to provide a home for abandoned cats and mistreated guns,  This time it is a mistreated gun, in particular, the Plainfield M1 carbine you can see in pieces to the left.

I am not sure how I wound up with this job.  What does one do in a previous life that makes one's karmic destiny "savior of Gandpa's unwanted firearms"?

At any rate, I'm pretty sure that I bought another of Grandpa's guns at the recent Dixie Knife and Gun Show in Charlotte, NC.  I noticed a pair of folks who were about as out of place at a gun show as I would be at the opera, wondering around sort of randomly looking at things.  Seeing the M1, I decided to ask him to dance.

"Are you selling the M1?"

Blank look.  OK, then.  I pointed this time.  "Are you selling the M1 Carbine?"

"Oh yes!  $250."  We stand there.

"May I have a look at it?"  Thankfully I had Daughter with me, so I had an extra set of hands who could relieve me of the 7.62x25 ammo I was already carrying (a story for another time).  I took the gun from him and examined the customary location on the receiver.  Blank.  Huh.  I looked a little more, and found the name "Plainfield"  on the front of the receiver near the barrel along with the manufacturer's location and the caliber information.  What the heck is a "Plainfield"?  Never heard of that one.  It has a little surface rust on the barrel.  Well that's not a surprise.  Bore is dirty, but not too.  Rifling is distinct.  Crown is in good shape.  Can't function check it, security has the works tied down so we can all be safe and secure.  Wood is decent, one nasty spot on it, no cartouches in sight.  Gr-r-r.

"How much do you want for it again?"  Can't hurt to see how desperate he is.

"$250."  Not desperate, but $250?  M1 Carbines are selling for a minimum of $650 hereabouts and can range over $1000 depending on exactly what model you have.  I figure at $250, I can part the thing out and more than make my money back if it doesn't shoot.

"Will you take $225?"

"No, I need $250."

Well, I don't know the maker, so it's a bit of a header, but I see enough GI parts I'm still confident in my assessment.  "OK, $250."  I hand the man $250, the gun show loophole is exercised again, Diane Feinstein gets another mysterious goose, and we're both on our respective ways.

Daughter arches an eyebrow but asks no questions.

Did you know that carrying an M1 Carbine at a gun show is the surest way to meet people known to man?  Well, it is.  How the previous owner managed to get as far back into the show as he did without selling it started to concern me.  So I danced the dance with a couple of dealers, was offered $350 for it both times and decided that it was some sort of dumb luck.

I now know better,  The gun was looking for me.

The next day, I Googled "plainfield m1 carbine" and learned all about the Plainfield Machine Company of Plainfield NJ and their foray into the production of commercial M1 Carbines.  Further searches got the usual gun fora posts of "they suck, they misfeed, blah, blah" and a few "never had any trouble with mine", reminding me yet again why I don't go to gun fora any longer.  Searches on Gun Broker and Gun Auction got an idea of the going price.  Nope, didn't get hurt if it shoots.

Time to get to work.  On the workbench, I pulled the barreled action from the stock.  The barrel band screw is not peened, which is unusual.  The whole works that couldn't be seen is gooey.  Grandpa liked 3-in-1 Oil, I see.  At least not enough to screw up the wood, so that's good.

Cleaning the barrel took maybe 10 minutes.  Using Eezox, I first scrubbed the barrel a few times with a brush, then started running patches.  Maybe 20 patches later, it was clean.  Nice.

The outside got 0000 steel wool and Eezox.  That took the rust right off.  At first I thought I had misread the rust and that the surface was pitted, but an examination with a magnifier showed that it was simply a less than great quality original machining job.

After this, I took the gun down to pieces, took the pieces outside and took the brake cleaner to it.  A can and a half later, it was de-gooeied.  Shit.  There was surface rust all over the place, hidden under the goo.  I guess when the oil had dried out enough, the rust managed to start.  Nothing pitted, but man, rust, rust, rust, rust, rust.  Nothing for it but steel wool, a brass brush, Eezox and elbow grease.

I have heard, but never actually seen, guys talk about steel soaking up oil.  Well, I've now seen it, or something that looks like it.  Not sure if the steel actually soaks it up or not, but when I put a light coating of lubricant on a part and let it dry I did not have not a properly lubed part, but a dry metal part instead.  Some parts took 3 applications, and heavy ones at that, before they began to appear to have a proper application of Eezox on them.

At any rate, that is the story to date.  Mrs. Freeholder rang the supper bell, so the gun is lying in pieces, just as it is in the picture.  It will probably stay that way for a few days, my work being what it is these days.  But with some luck I'll get it back together and get to the range in a week or two and we'll see if I have a gun, a project or some parts I need to sell.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

As we are in the midst of gun show season

How about a public service announcement?


 Because everyone could use a good M1 Garand.

Friday, October 17, 2014

10-year-old shooter: "I want to be an inspiration"

(Found on Teh Facebookz)

I'd say she already is.

Apologies for linking to the Communist News Network, but it's where the video is.

Ripped from the headlines

(Via Ars Technica)

FBI director to citizens: Let us spy on you

Encryption will “lead all of us to a very dark place,” FBI director says.

Citizen to FBI Director: Fuck off, you statist asshole.

Never been a big Apple fan, although I have owned and used some of their products.  They keep this up, I'm going to own and use a lot of their products.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another new bullet design

(As found on Teh Facebookz)

But this one may have possibilities.  Made from solid copper bar stock, the Lehigh Defense Maximum Penetration are designed to maintain weight and shape while achieving deep penetration.   How deep, you ask?  Have a look for yourself.

Monday, October 13, 2014

It must hurt when someone sticks a finger in your eye

(Via Frugal Squirrels)

It seems that Everymom for Bloomberg's Safety (or whatever they're going by this week)  has once again botched their numbers when discussing crime statistics.  Work from the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that 92% of mass shootings between January 2009 and July 2014 took place in gun-free zones, rather than the 14% they cite.

92%.  For a practical purposes, that may as well be all of them.  And while correlation does not always imply causation,  it's just got to make you wonder if there is something behind those numbers.

It does explain why more and more folks I know are simply quietly carrying in places where they technically (legally in many cases as well) aren't supposed to.  The old saying "Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6" is ringing too loudly in their ears to be ignored, just like the gunfire in all those "gun-free zones".

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Evil corporations

(Via Frugal Squirrels')

How dare those evil corporations!  Why, they think they can just go around, butting their big noses into people's lives, helping them stay safe from Ebola!  There ought to be a law or something!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Seeing as how Ebola has reached our shores

And who could have ever predicted that *roll eyes*?

Let's go over the symptoms, shall we?  Early on, Ebola looks distressingly like about a zillion other viral infections, with symptoms including high fever, headache, joint/muscle aches, chills and general weakness.  As the disease progresses, you may add diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and unexplained bleeding from pretty much every orifice on the victim's body to the list.  (That last one seems to be the gold standard symptom, by the way.)

Symptoms can occur from 2-21 days after exposure, with most people falling in in the 8-10 day range.  (All information from the Centers for Disease Control.)

Ebola is transmitted mostly from the, ah, fluids, from the bodies of its victims.  Standard protocols for infectious disease control, applied rigorously, should keep transmission to caregivers to a minimum.  That means gloves, masks, disposable over-garments, eye or face shields.  Proper disposal of used protective gear is also a must.

I wouldn't panic and start buying nitrile gloves and bleach by the case just yet, but this is definitely the sort of thing to keep a really close eye on.  I wouldn't trust our government to tell us the truth, especially in the early stages of a big outbreak.  They'll try to hide it to avoid panic.  Keep up with the news, and cross check your sources.  If you know people in the affected area, they might be your best source of information.

And let's hope this all comes down to a big fat nothing, shall we?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

If all police officers

(Via The View From The Porch)

Were like Chris Hernandez, we'd have a much more pleasant country.  And a lot less cop-bashing on Teh Facebooks and Da Blogz and elsewherz.  All of which would be a Good Thing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Still stealing

Probably will be for a while.  But with stuff that is this good, why not?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hey, when you got nothing to say, steal from others

For a number of reasons, it's been a heck of a week, and the next week or three promise to be the same.  I'm beginning to wonder where I go to get my life back.

At any rate, via War History Online, here's a fun video of a guy shooting an M1 Carbine at 250 yard targets--in a heavy wind, no less.  If you watch carefully in the latter parts of the video, you can actually see the bullets in flight they are moving so slowly by that point, and I swear that I can actually see them arching in flight.  It's one of those totally useless things, but fun to try.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why the heck not

I wasn't going to add to the collective 9/11 word play on the Intertubz today, but here at this late hour, I've figured "Why the heck not?"

The terrorists have won.   Srsly.

If you don't think so, let's take a little tour.

  • As a nation, we have collectively surrendered huge swaths of our civil rights to laws with warm and fuzzy names like the "Patriot Act".  
  • We have sat unknowingly by while shadowy government agencies built surveillance networks that the Stazi only dreamed about in their wettest of dreams--and we only found out about them when one guy bravely came forth to expose them, and was hounded to the ends of the earth by that same government for revealing their secret.
  • We have allowed our police agencies at all local levels to arm themselves as if they were invading Fallujah on a bad day--and then we're all surprised and butthurt when they actually make use of their new toys.
  • We have allowed agencies at the federal level to form their own police agencies, just in case the EPA needs a SWAT team to visit your farm to check out a mud puddle that they think is a wetland.
  • We parade through airports in our stocking feet, wearing sweatpants and t-shirts so minimum-wage goons can line us up to do things that would be considered sexual assault in any other venue.
Do I need to keep going?  I can, but it does get wearying, so I won't.

We did all these things because we are, collectively, failures at one simple task--we cannot take responsibility for our own lives and our own safety.  We can't collectively "man up" and handle reality.  We want someone to step in and do it for us, because it's hard.

Of course it's hard, you morons.  Do you think that it was easy for the men and women on the Mayflower?  How about the first Americans--the ones who crossed the Bering land bridge?  Do you suppose the Vikings had it easy?  Or the Romans, or the ancient Chinese or the Incans?  It's always been hard, and it will always be hard.  Even with all our technology, it is hard to buckle down and deal with the ugly reality that the world really doesn't give a single shit whether you live or die.  It's up to you to go out and take your living.  You have to work and you have to earn it.

At least you had to.  Now, we have a population where half the people have learned that they can vote to steal from the other half, and there are no--zero, none, nada, zilch--ramifications to doing so.  This situation won't last long, of course, but while it does, let's party!

And while many of these things started long before September 11, 2001, the events of that day have moved those trends along at a break-neck speed that few would have believed.  I remember when the Berlin Wall fell and so many of us thought "Well, damn, now what?"  And we sort of coasted through the 80s and the 90s, and then BLAMMO!  2001 showed up and we had burning buildings collapsing and a whole new war to deal with.

Except it wasn't the war we were sold on September 12.  Not by a long shot.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Monday, September 01, 2014

What? No books? No bikes? No boom sticks?

Nope.  Tam of The View From The Porch has decided to call it quits as far as blogging goes.  She's fine, but fed up with some real world nonsense that revolved around that portion of her literary efforts.  Damn shame, because she was always worth reading.

Getting to be a little lonely in the old blogosphere these days.  Maybe some of those pundits are right, and maybe blogging is a dead end street in a dying neighborhood of the Internet.  Oh well, at least my house is paid off.  :-)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Merger? Hostile takeover?

If you're interested in the hard core of Second Amendment advocacy, then you keep up the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.  Founded by the late Aaron Zelman, this is a group that could make Gunowners of America look wishy-washy.

In between everything else going on in my life, I've been trying to keep up with what at first seemed to be a BS little story that the Second Amendment Foundation was going to, for lack of any better term, "buy" JFPO.  I have to admit I pretty much blew it off as someone's fevered imagination having a particularly bad night.

Turns out that I was wrong, and that this is really happening.  While I don't have as negative a view of SAF (or the NRA) as some folks, I am quite aware that they are not uncompromising in their positions.  Both have been, at times, a bit too ready to play politics with our inalienable rights.  Having been around for a while, I know that it's something that tends to come and go, right now more on the "come" at SAF and "go" at the NRA.  I also know that having groups like JPFO around helps keep them honest when the chips are down.

Claire Wolf, long a friend of JPFO, has probably the best information on her blog.  Right now, it seems that there is a group, perhaps a sizable group, that is trying to keep JPFO moving along the path its founder set for it.  I have to wish them well.

This is something to keep up with.  Seriously.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Real danger or "Wag the Dog"?

If your one of those who keeps an ear to the ground, listening for the rumble that would presage an event that means The End Really Is Near, I've been paying attention to ISIS or ISIL or whatever you'd care to call them.  Obviously, within their sphere of influence, they are well armed, quite dangerous and apparently exceeding blood thirsty.  The news media and our politicians have missed no opportunity to tell us in grim and excruciating detail just how dangerous and bloodthirsty they are, complete with stills and video.

Now, we're told that they are planning on taking out a major American city, and fingers point at Chicago.  (Apparently they decided no one would notice it they attacked Detroit. )  We're told that they may have slipped operatives over our porous borders.  Heck, they may have moved in right next door to us and we wouldn't even know it until it's too late.

While I have no real doubts about the existence and danger this current bunch of Islamic fascists pose, I'm not so sure that our politician on both sides of the aisle are not taking advantage of the situation to shore up their flagging fortunes.  Face it--we have an idiot of a President who would rather play golf than stay in the Oval Office and work, a Veep who could easily double for the village idiot and a Congress with the lowest approval rating since two days before dirt.  Even the sycophantic media has had to acknowledge that the American public is fed up and that those wicked L/libertarians are starting to get some traction with their nutter ideas.  That alone is enough to scare our professional political class into soiling themselves en masse.  A viable third (well, second) party cannot be allowed to come into existence!


 And so, forgive me if I wonder if, in time-honored tradition, we are not setting up another bogeyman.  With a son and daughter of prime draft age, I have skin in this game in a manner of speaking, and I do not want to see them die in some war brewed up to protect our political class.

As I age and see more and more of our government in action, I understand better and better just how naive and foolish I was in my younger years--even when those younger years were only a decade or so ago.  I understand better and better why the Founding Fathers went to great lengths to attempt to ensure that the central government was weak and the state governments strong, and why they attempted to restrict the franchise.  We have strayed from their wisdom, and we are daily paying the price.  Our children and grandchildren and great and great-great grandchildren will be paying it as well.

We need to stop making that price increase.  Before we attack another enemy, let's be sure they are really a threat to us--our country, to all of us--and not just to the interests of of some sub-group of us.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Where was Jack when the lights went out?

(As heard on the Survival Podcast)

Most often, the answer to that line is "In the dark!"  However, that doesn't necessarily need to be so--not even if you're facing a long-term power outage, or you're one of those fortunate folks who are able to move out back of beyond and live the prepper's dream lifestyle of self-reliance.

While the concept of wood gasification is hardly new, (in WWII the Germans used a lot of wood gasification, although coal gas was produced in even larger quantities), the folks at Tactical Wood Gas have developed some very high tech, high output wood gasifiers that you can use to power a small engine for a virtually unlimited time--well, at least until you run out of lubricants, spare parts for the the thing or it or the gasifier simply wears out.

The significance of this is huge.  In a bad situation, those with a high-wattage source of electricity are going to be far ahead of those without.  In my recent brush with darkness, having just a 2 kilowatt generator meant that we kept the refrigerator and freezer cold (irony alert, in the middle of an ice storm), the blower on the wood stove going so that the entire house remained toasty warm (rather than just a room or two) and we had TV and movies to keep folks entertained (and if you don't think that's important, try making your family do without it sometime).  We could also have ran lights, a hot plate, power tools, computers or any of the other goodies of modern life if we had needed to.  Try doing that with AA batteries recharged with solar panels.

Tactical Wood Gas's Big Dragon unit can run a 6.5 HP engine--in the Honda EU generator line, that's roughly an EU3000, one size up from mine.  Are your mental wheels starting to turn yet?  If you do some prior planning, you can do a lot with 3000 watts.  Considering an EU generator is quiet to start with, a little "sound engineering work" will allow you to quiet one down to a whisper--very important if things happen to go all Mad Max on us.

While the $1000 price tag may seem a bit steep, with all the engineering done for you, all the parts tracked down and supplied, I suspect most of us would be hard pressed to duplicate it and have as efficient a unit for that price.  Just looking at the size holes that need to be cut, a decent set of metal cutting hole saws will set you back a substantial part of that sum.

Looking at it from another angle, try to buy 3000 watts of solar panels, mounts, inverter, batteries and so on for that price.  Don't think it will happen any time soon.

While it isn't going to be for everyone (for example, if you live in a high desert environment, this wouldn't be worth much since you'd have no wood to gasify), for a lot of the prepping class, this would make a lot of sense at a certain point in their career.  It's worth the bookmark, just in case.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Going back--w-a-a-ay back

You can live in a place all your life and fail to know everything about it.  A few years ago I came into the knowledge that the area of North Carolina where I grew up and live in today, known as the Piedmont, was once home to a rather large number of celebrated gunsmiths who made long rifles.  I had never heard of that.  I knew about a lot of historical things from this area, like the Battle of Guilford Court House, but long rifle makers?

That makes the piece in today's Salisbury Post on long rifle makers of the Rowan school just that much better.  That one's pretty much in my back yard.  How cool is that?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Economic geekery

John Mauldin makes a point that Gross Output may be a better indicator of economic growth than Gross Domestic Product.  And no, we really aren't discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin here.  While a bit dense for those without an interest in economics, this is Pretty Important Stuff, because these are the things by which economic policies are set.  Seeing as how governments aren't too good at that sort of thing,  these sorts of discussions are important.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Book Review: Prepare For Anything Survival Manual

If you're looking for that one book that will tell you everything you need to know in order to "survive", then this book will be a disappointment to you.  Then again, so will every other book ever written on the subject, because there is no such thing.  There can't be; the breadth of knowledge required is too broad.  I have roughly enough books to fill a bookshelf 3 feet wide and 7 feet tall on various survival subjects, and that honestly is probably inadequate to cover everything one could possibly need in a worst case scenario.

However, this book does one thing quite well.  It catalogs all of the major subject areas that you would need to know about in order to survive most survival scenarios, including long-term grid down scenarios.  In its 338 short articles (nothing is longer than a page, making this a perfect bathroom book), author Tim MacWelch covers all the areas you would need to know about--food, shelter, medical needs, defense and so on.  As a sort of bonus, a number of those 338 articles are indeed stand-alone nuggets of knowledge, with the ones on using a pressure canner to distill water and the recipe for hard tack standing out in my memory.

I would think of this book as a sort of "executive summary" on survival topics.    The tone definitely doesn't wear camouflage, eat MREs and live in a bunker while waiting for The End Of The World As We Know It.  It would make an excellent gift for friends or family who are curious and receptive to information on what can be an off-putting subject.  You could loan this book to coworkers who have questions, curious neighbors or skeptical family.  Anyone in those audiences could take this book and begin their own journey to a prepared, resilient lifestyle.

(Prepare For Anything Survival Manual, Tim MacWelch and the editors of Outdoor Life Magazine, ISBN 13: 978-1-61628-839-6  Hardback, $31.95)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Time to piss some people off

(Found on Facebook.  Damn but that place is turning out to be useful after all.)

I've never made much of a deal of it here on the blog, but I'm pretty heavily pro-Israel.  And that's why I find this video both funny as hell and something that all the pro-Palestinians here in the US ought to be forced to watch.  Because this is what a suicide bombing looks like.  I find it funny because this time it was Palestinians bombing themselves (through their own stupidity).  Anyone who watches this and then looks up how many of these the Israelis have endured over the years will never--ever--doubt their right to defend themselves against such as these.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Adios, Maryland

(Via Facebook)

Beretta has announced that, in the wake of Maryland's latest excursion into anti-gun territory, their manufacturing arm is bailing.  Management is staying, but I suspect they will follow at some point.

I'm shaking my head at the stupidity of it all.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fallacy? I'm not so sure...

(This has been in an open tab waiting on me to turn it into a post of my own I've forgotten where it came from.  Whoever you are that pointed it out to me, you have my thanks, anonymous though they are.)

Since long before I got my concealed carry permit, I've been a prepper.  Before that, I was one of those evil survivalists.  (Yeah, I've been walking this path in one direction or another for a while.)  As I became more and more ready for "come what may", I noticed an interesting thing happening.

Nothing much was happening.

Now, it's not that nothing bad ever happened in my life.  Stuff happens to me like it happens to most people.  But when it happens to someone who is prepared for it, it isn't a big deal.  You handle it and move on.  A good example is my family's run in with Old Man Winter earlier this year.  Sure, it wasn't fun (Mrs. Freeholder was quite put out), but at the end of the thing, it really wasn't a huge disaster.  But imagine if there had been no wood stove, no generator, no insurance--oh yes, it would have been a disaster indeed.

I've distilled the whole thing down into a saying:  "Trouble seeks the unprepared."

I'm not the only one to have made the observation.  John Johnston at Ballistic Radio has noticed the same thing when it comes to self defense training.  While he notes that you don't need training to defend yourself, the training not only enhances the likelihood that you can do so successfully, but that it also reduces the chances that you will have to.

Yep.  As one trainer told me, "This stuff changes the way you live."  He was right, it does.  You look at people and situation differently, and you look at yourself and the decisions you make differently.  You keep you temper.  You don't return the favor to the driver to flips you off in traffic.  You don't take the shortcut through the sketchy neighborhood.  You go to this store rather than that store.  Dozens of things subtly change when you carry a gun and when you've trained in self defense.

In essence, you become a part of Heinlein's polite society.  Not a bad thing at all if you ask  me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How about that gun show?

Yes, your intrepid reporter has once again ventured into the very jaws of evil and wickedness, the gun show.  This one was the Concord, NC, Gun Show featuring the NC Gun Collectors Association.  I always try to get to shows where the NCGCA is going to put in an appearance, because they have such cool stuff to look at.  I'd never seen harpoon guns before.  Amazing things, harpoon guns.

And I made it out alive, and with encouraging words of ammo availability and lower prices (on some items, you mileage may vary, void where prohibited by statist bastards).  Oh, and I did buy a gun, as if that is a surprise.

The good news is that AR prices, along with the prices for the parts to roll  your own.  Ammo, in what I think of as "the standard calibers" of 9 mm, .40, .45 ACP, 5.56/.223 and 7.62 x 51/.308 were in very good supply from various manufacturers at prices approaching pre-panic levels.  That's not bad when you consider how much the dollar has inflated since then.  Even .22 LR was available, although not in great quantity and at pain-inducing prices.

Components were also present, although powder was still somewhat hit or miss.  It was there, but not in large quantity.  Prices were reasonable for the most part, with bullets being the most expensive items I bought.

The bad news is that in the less popular calibers, such as .380, .38 Special, .357 and .44 magnum, 8mm and so on are still hovering around nose bleed territory for reasons indeterminate.  .44 magnum, which I was especially interested in, was difficult to find and when found was $35-40/box.  I took a pass and bought components instead.  I've got powder and primers, it was brass and bullets I was lacking.  And time, always time.

Oh, and the gun (and the reason for the .44 magnum search in the first place).  For some reason I've been on a bit of a magnum kick for some while.  You may remember that back in February I bought a S & W Model 69 Combat in .44 Mag.  I have a habit of wanting some sort of long gun in each pistol caliber I'm serious about, and I've been looking for one for a while.  I finally found one of the ones I considered acceptable, a Henry Big Boy chambered in .44 magnum.  Nice gun and the price only hurt when I counted out the money.  If we get a non-rainy evening, I want to get it to the range and see if it performs as nicely as it's built.  It hasn't rained in nearly a month and what happens when I get a new gun?  It monsoons!

The story of my life.  lol

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Sharp objects

Usually, when one gets a gunny talking about sharp objects, the subject will be knives.  However, we aren't talking about knives, we're talking about razors.  Yep, as in shaving.  And yes, you are on the right blog.  Bear with me a bit.

As I'm getting older, I find myself going back to a number of old values and old ways.  I think I'm doing this partly because it's a way for me to flip the bird at a lot of change for the sake of change and partly because it gives me a touchstone to a time when things were (allegedly) slower and simpler.  A place where I find level, steady ground on which to stand, if only in a mental way.

When you work in high tech, this can be pretty important.  My business is change and driving change.  At my level, you look for ways to introduce change to benefit your employer.  Change is your friend and companion.  You do change or you do unemployment.

But at home, in my life, I'm getting a bit tired of change.  Sure, I'll buy a new whatever when I need it, but I find myself getting a bit amazed at all the new features that have been added in the decade or so since I bought the last dishwasher.  Buying a new car is about like watching the hillbillies go to the big city, since that happens every 13 years or so.  About the only things that don't throw me are electronic gadgets, and that's a spill-over from work.

I'm also pretty much over our love of disposable this and disposable that.  A bit over a week ago, I needed a new razor--the old disposable was dull.  Being thrifty and a prepper, I buy the things in quantity.  However, there are 4 of us in the house now who use them, and with two of them female (which means they only seem to get 2-3 uses from one), I got a bit of a shock--that last 36 pack was down to 3.  I got more of a shock when I jumped on Amazon and saw how much the things had went up.

Being thrifty and a prepper who is over our disposable culture, I have previously considered ditching disposable razors, but always gave in to the convenience.  This time, something in me was pissed off enough to say "No".  I had inherited my father's and grandfather's Gillette butterfly double edge razors, but honestly, those razors had seen many mornings and were fairly well worn.  I decided that thriftiness aside, I liked my skin in one piece and a new razor might be the best choice.  Some research later I wound up with an Edwin Jagger DE89Lbl Lined Detail Chrome Plated Double Edge Safety Razor (say that fast three times) and an inventory of blades suitable for a novice with a double edge razor. So for about 1.5x the price of 6 months of razors for the family, I have a year's worth for me.

OK, maybe it doesn't completely satisfy the thrifty thing.  It satisfies the rest of it.  And I've found out something else--it's a better shave in many ways.  I remember back to when I was a kid and I'd sit on the laundry hamper and watch my Dad shave in the mornings when he was home from traveling.  I can think a bit about the day that's starting--but just a bit, because you better pay attention to that sharp steel sliding across that tender skin.  I reconnect to generations of men who performed the same ritual in the same way with the same tools (well, they used a mug and a brush--those are my next moves, once I'm more confident in my ability) every morning of their adult lives.

In some small, almost weird way, I feel a bit better about things.  Yep, things are still going sideways, but it seems a little more manageable with a good, close, clean shave.  The ritual grounds you in place and time while reaching back through time to your ancestors.

Yeah, this is a plus.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Not bloody likely

A Charlotte, NC man is partially paralyzed after being struck in the head with a bullet on the 4th of July.

Family members won’t know how much permanent damage there is until after the swelling has gone down, she added. “The police are saying it’s an accident. It came from somewhere outside the temple,” Wilson said. “It’s just unfortunate that it happened. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

With all due respect to the Char-Meck PD and the Yam family, I disagree.  It wasn't an accident.  He wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time.

An idiot violated all of Col Cooper's 4 Rules.  Every freaking one of them, and now a man is fighting for his life.  We, as responsible gun owners, not only have a duty to obey these rules ourselves, but to do our best to see to it that others within our sphere of influence do so as well.

Do your part to see to it that anyone you teach to shoot learn the 4 rules and applies them consistently.  Promote them to those who don't know them.  Yeah, it's kinda the boring drudge work of advocating for the Second, but it's damn important anyway.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Walther Volkspistole

(OK, I don't want to tread on Forgotten Weapons turf, and don't get used to me posting every day again, because I don't know if this will keep up.  But I got this via email from the NSSF's "Pull the Trigger" newsletter, and it's too interesting to not pass on.)

During a war, no matter which side you're on, the push to produce more war material faster and cheaper is inevitable.  Things get used up, blown up, lost and otherwise destroyed.  The Germans during World War II were no exceptions to this, and near the end of the war, when the push was on to arm more and more men for the defense of the Reich, they turned to Walther with the request for production of a "volkspistole".  While few remain and probably none of us will ever see one, it makes for some interesting reading.

It's also interesting to note that so many of the things commissioned by the Nazis were "volks" this and "volks" that.  Translating to "people's", it sounds distinctly socialistic to me.  Maybe that has something to do with their full name:  the National Socialist German Workers' Party.  Amazing how so many these days accuse those of conservative and libertarian bents of being "Nazis".  But those who don't read their history are doomed to repeat it--and drag the rest of us along for the ride.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stay in touch

One of the topics any prepper will run into is that of communications.  While there are differing schools of thought on the necessity of maintaining radio silence lest the mutant cannibal zombie bikers hunt you down and steal your stuff, I don't care to go into that just now.

For now, let's assume that you need to talk to someone who is at some short remove from you.  Further than one of the ubiquitous FRS radios will reach, but not so far as to need a full-on ham radio rig.  You don't want any of those big, goofy CB hand-held radios, either.  Every yahoo in 3 counties has one, and they'll all be jabbering on them come The End.  And it needs to be inexpensive.

Don't ask for much, do you?

Well, your first step is to get a Technician Class Amateur Radio License.  It isn't hard--do a little studying, mostly on the rules and proper operating procedures, pass a 35 question test and you will shortly be an anointed Tech.  If you need to buy a study book, you're going to be into this about $50 including your testing fee and a bit for gas to drive to the test site.

Then you need a radio, what is know in amateur parlance as a handy-talky or "HT".  It's possible to pay as much as $600 for one of the better known name brands, and they are Cadillacs.  I have a Kenwood TH-D72, and it will do most everything including diapering the baby.  But it's a spendy item.  We were looking for inexpensive, remember?

Well, love 'em or hate 'em, here come the Chinese to the rescue.  There are several brands ranging from inexpensive to cheap.  Which one to buy?  The Signal Corps has some words of wisdom.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nope. still here

Just busy with work, family and life.  Plus still too burnt out to get overly wound up about any of the continuing idiocy in the world.  As far as I'm concerned, our trajectory is nominal, and we are still on course for a hard landing in Deep Shitistan.  It's still possible that we could change course, but each passing day makes it less and less likely that we can do so successfully.  Prep like your lives depend on it, folks.

That said, I read something on Teh Facebooks today that I thought was very profound.  I've said something similar here, but not nearly so well.  The writer is a crime victim (rape, I believe).  The context is in a long-running and highly entertaining argument between several conservative/libertarian science fiction writers and any number of liberal/progressives (known in that circle as "libprogs") who have, in essence, taken over a lot of the sci-fi world.

I'm quoting it in its entirety, as it was quoted on Larry Correia's Monster Hunter Nation blog.  (If you haven't read any of his work, do yourself a favor and start with Monster Hunter International.  Don't blame me if you miss out on sleep and/or meals.)

But do rape victims, or, indeed, any other victim of a tragedy or any other trauma, suddenly become sainted, that they become unquestionable? Are they suddenly elevated beyond the rest of us, that their words – especially if they’re incredibly harmful ideas -can no longer be tested or confronted in the arena of ideas? Do people who have been traumatized in some way gain a special knowledge that makes them unimpeachable and beyond criticism if they espouse a point of view that is not only hypocritical, but one that actively will create more victims, encourage social if not actual vigilantism, and remove the protection of innocent until guilty?
No, they’re not. They’re still people, and being a victim of a tragedy and a person who espouses harmful ideas are two separate things, even if they reside in the same person. They are just as capable of having lethally bad ideas as the rest of the population. They are still capable of being hypocrites. And their ideas are just as eligible for testing on the arena of ideas, not automatically segregated from it, nor are these ideas entitled to being given smacked with wifflebats of sympathy instead of swords of reason and scrutiny.
If pointing that out makes me bully, that is no worse than being an enabler who allows the spread of the idea by refusing to confront it simply because the person spreading that idea is put in a special class of social perception of Saint Victimhood.

Powerful words.  While the author, who goes by the name Shadowdancer, is specifically speaking on the subject of something called "rape culture" (feel free to Google it, just remove the breakables from you immediate vicinity first), it is directly applicable to those of us who fight for our Second Amendment rights.  Each time a spree killer plies his deadly trade, we get a parade of weepy-eyed relatives and friends of the dead on the Boob Tube, all of whom are using this exact ploy in their attempts to con the weak-minded into "doing something".  The Million Moms Demanding Illegal Mayors Against Everytown astroturfettes trot it out in industrial strength to gain air time in which to spew their lies (72 School Shootings since Sandy Hook my ass).

Remember--these people do not gain special knowledge because a loved one was killed by a nutjob with a gun.  Their loved one's death does not make them an unimpeachable witness, nor are they above our criticism.  Sure, we'll be derided as heartless and cruel, but let me clue you in on something--they'll say that about us anyway.  Didn't you know that we hate babies and old folks, and want nothing more than to cut down the last tree so we can burn it (contributing to global warming) so we use the fire to roast the last known example of the California Condor?  And tell racist jokes while we lick the grease from our fingers and wipe our mouths on our sleeves?

Oh, the horror of it all.

I'm done fighting these fools by "the rules".  Fighting them by the rules got us where we are.  It got us $17 trillion in debt, Obamacare, wars without end, 13% (or 23%, depending on who you believe) unemployment and all the rest of the baggage that's dragging us down.  I'm going to fight on my own terms.  I'll use Saul Alinsky's methods when it suits me.  I'll use low blows.  Hell, I'll kick them in the balls if I can find them.  Bite, kick, gouge--whatever it takes.  I'm an old guy (well, relatively), and I'm in no mood to spend my "golden years" trying to scrape by in some bullshit post-modern nightmare world.

Think about it.  Do you want to live in that kind of world?  Raise kids in that kind of world?  Grow old in that kind of world?  No?

Then it's damn well time to start doing something about it.

Friday, June 06, 2014

D-Day plus 70 years

There were a lot of "D-Days" in World War II--every assault had one.  But when you mention "D-Day", most people's thoughts will go straight to one particular D-Day:  June 6, 1944.

That particular D-Day seems to have burned itself into the consciousness of a generation, and with good reason--if there can be said to be a single day where WWII in Europe turned, this was probably it.

This year is the 70th anniversary of that great day.  We both celebrate and remember the courage and sacrifice of the men who fought and dies so that others could live in freedom.  This particular anniversary is also especially poignant, since so many of the men who participated have passed on, and for many more, this will be their last chance to revisit the scene of the battle.  A young man of 18 on that day is now 88, and like it or not, has many few days ahead than behind.

To those who have gone on and to those who are still here, I would like to offer my admiration, my wonder and my gratitude at your acts on that momentous day.  None of us and none of the people you saved from living under the boot of Nazism can ever thank you enough, but "thank you" is all there is to be said.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Damn, but I like M&Ms

Over at The Shooting Wire, there is an interesting story of a food company that apparently doesn't care for the word "knife"--it isn't "family friendly".  If you chose to contact them, please try to be friendlier than they were to the folks at Knife Rights.

When the hell did we arrive in the formerly Great Britain?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I'm sorry for your loss

(Link via the Drudge Report)

But it doesn't make you an expert on firearms or firearms policy.

The father of one of the victims of the latest "I'm going to die famous" spree killers has this to say about the ease of buying guns in the United States:

“The kids keep dying. The guns keep showing up everywhere,” Weiss told KING. “It seems like you can buy a gun as easily as you can get a Slurpee at 7/11. That’s just too dangerous.

Mr. Weiss, I'm afraid you don't have a clue what you're talking about.  While I'll grant you that it probably is that easy if you buy your guns in the criminal marketplace, it simply isn't that easy for the law-abiding citizen, and it wasn't for our spree killer, who will forever remain unnamed in this space.  In the state of California, home of some if not the most draconian gun laws in the US, he was able to legally buy guns and legally buy ammo.  Then he used a knife and a car--not a gun--to do the majority of his evil.

He had to provide proper ID, go through a background check and a waiting period for each gun he bought.  He had to buy them at the rate of one per month.  He did just that.  He was patient, because he knew he had all the time in the world to execute his plan.  And knew that his victims would be unarmed and unable to effectively defend themselves, this being California, the Land of Nope when it comes to concealed carry.

He may have been in therapy since he was 8 and seriously mentally ill, but he wasn't stupid.  On the contrary--he had it all figured out.  The residents of the UCSB area are simply lucky that he didn't have more time to work, given that he had 400 rounds available to him.  Perhaps a lot of parents ought to be thankful that he apparently knew no more about guns than Mr. Weiss.

All the gun laws in the state of the union most hostile to the Second Amendment didn't save your daughter, sir.  I'm sorry about that.  However, I'm not responsible for it, and I will not allow you or anyone else to assuage their emotional turmoil by making me a villain to be punished.  Your villain is dead by his own hand, an action that I will note occurred only after the good guys also armed with guns showed up and started shooting him.  My rights are not forfeit for his bad behavior, any more than yours should be because you had a neighbor who embezzled from her employer.

But while I completely disagree with you,  I am truly sorry for your loss.  I have a daughter a bit older than yours was.  I can't imagine what you're going through.  God bless and keep her and you.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

On this day, we acknowledge a debt that cannot be repaid.  Thank you.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

But they'll want to take your guns anyway

Because yet another nut job decided he wanted his 15 minutes of fame with a side of blood.  Even one of our favorite gun banners has said of this incident "This is almost the kind of event that's impossible to prevent and almost impossible to predict."   Yeah, that's University of California President Janet Napolitano talking to reporters.

So, you can't predict it and you can't prevent it.  If a good guy with a gun had been handy it might have been stopped earlier, but this being California, the most gun-unfriendly state in the union, that wasn't going to happen.

They are never going to learn.

Monday, May 19, 2014

And now we know

(Via the Drudge Report)

Well, our darling President said he would take matters into his own hands in order to force action on gun control.  And with a name like "Operation Choke Point", it hardly seems like there is any doubt as to intent or purpose.

Gun retailers say the Obama administration is trying to put them out of business with regulations and investigations that bypass Congress and choke off their lines of credit, freeze their assets and prohibit online sales.

Since 2011, regulators have increased scrutiny on banks’ customers. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in 2011 urged banks to better manage the risks of their merchant customers who employ payment processors, such as PayPal, for credit card transactions. The FDIC listed gun retailers as “high risk” along with porn stores and drug paraphernalia shops.

I've heard it said that the United States has survived bad presidents before, and we have.  Just in my lifetime, we handily survived Johnson, Nixon and Carter.  Hell, I could make an argument to add in the remainder of them as well.  But this one?  I don't know.  The SOB has 18 months in which to do further damage, and no one seems ready to hold him to answer for his extra-Constitutional actions so far, or to attempt to reigh in in further depredations.  Of course, given my opinion that the Democrats and the Republicans are but different sides of the same coin, I don't find this a big surprise.  Statists gonna state.

Bear in mind that none of the things that are being done will be undone.  Obamacare is a done deal--it will be with us in some form for the rest of our days.  The damage to our economy will not be repaired--oligarchy is now The Way Things Work.  The erosions to our civil liberties will remain and the eroded areas will continue to grow.  Our corrupted education system will continue to be repaired with large doses of money and fail.

I anxiously await the construction of coliseums in our major cities.  Oh, wait....

Feel free to mourn the Republic.  But I think our time might be better spent hoping for a competent empire to arise from the ashes.  (Apologies to Jerry Pournelle, from whom I've stolen the concept.  But it seems to fit the times.)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

And it's outta here!

John Lott on gun free zones and why the word FAIL is so closely associated with them.  Because media bias.  Surprise.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Time to clear the tabs

I had hoped to comment at length on these, but it ain't going to happen.  Not even sure where I found them now, so wherever they came from, thanks.

First, Ten Important Things to Know About Violence.  This isn't about violence in the sense the media uses the word, but in the politically incorrect sense--if someone attacks us, we are going to do violence on them until they stop.  The author takes those short phrases that we are all taught in training ("shoot until the threat is ended", for example) and fleshes them out, discussing each in the context of their surroundings in an actual life or death situation.  It's not a long read, but it's a long consideration after reading it.

Crew 713 is a documentary in the making of a bomber crew in the only heavy bombardment group to be disbanded during World War II.  For 89 days in 1944, a time when many thought the war nearly won, the 492nd Bomb Group flew its B-24s into the teeth of the Nazi air defense over Europe, and paid a high price for their bravery.  If you have a few bucks to spare, there are probably worst ways to spend them.

Remember this picture?  Yes, besides the hotness that tore up the Intertubz, and besides the gun that tore up the American liberals, it raised a great question amongst gunnies--where does she carry her ammo?  Well, I have found out the answer--Zahal Israeli Tactical Gear.  Unsurprising that it would be an Israeli company.  It's not like their country is surrounded by mortal enemies or something.

What really happens to ammo in a fire?  Well, the easiest way to get the answer is to burn some ammo and study the results.  SAMMI has done just that, and they've made a video available so that everyone from us to the various first responders will know exactly what they are getting themselves into if they ever run into a fire in a ammo storage facility, such as a gunny's home.

Sig Sauer instructor Adam Painchaud discusses various methods of pistol carry and how to draw quickly, safely and effectively in this video from the National Shooting Sporst Foundation.

Need to coil cables so that they don't tangle?  Yeah, I found that too.

Three books you might want to have around if you ever need to rebuild civilization.

That does it--tabs are cleared except for what I need to work.  Hopefully Chrome will act a bit nicer now.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Product Review: TruGlo Bright Sight Paint Kit

Getting old sucks.  Your short term memory goes, your knees go, your sex drive goes, your eyes go, your short term memory goes....

Joking aside, your eyes do age, and as they do so, some things become more difficult.  For me, one of those difficulties has been picking up my iron sights, especially when they are the unrelieved black such as those found on my recently purchased Ruger LCP.  On my first trip to the range, I was convinced that something was terribly wrong with the gun or perhaps the ammo, until Son was able to take the same gun and ammo and shoot a respectable group with it.  While I did have the foresight to purchase the version with the Crimson Trace laser, I really would like to see those sights.

Previously, I have used various colors of enamel paint (such as Testors modeling paints) in an attempt to put some color to work for me.  While that has helped, these paints are a gloss enamel, and they can be a source of glare, even on something as small as a front sight.  I wanted to try something different this time.  A little research via Google led me to the TruGlo family of products, and their Bright Sight Paint Kit, which I purchased from Amazon.

For a bit over $21, I got the kit as pictured at left--red, white, green, orange and yellow paints, plus a cleaner to be used before painting your sight.  (You can use alcohol in place of the supplied cleaner.)

Reading the Amazon reviews, it seemed to be a love it or hate it sort of thing, with negative reviews fixating on "The paint was thin" and interestingly enough, "It doesn't glow in the dark!"  I remember thinking that while I had no idea about the first gripe, it didn't say anywhere in the item description that it was glow in the dark, so why would you think it was supposed to?  I suppose the gun culture has to endure its share of derps.

At any rate, once I had product in hand, I performed the obligatory check, check again and check AGAIN to be sure the gun was empty.  Reading the extraordinarily brief instructions, I decided that my basement lair was a bit on the chilly side, so I arranged a small light bulb to provide some heat to the Ruger's slide, selected the orange color for my test and placed it in my pocket to warm.  In the meantime, I got out my 91% rubbing alcohol and cleaned the front sight and surrounding area.

Once satisfied the slide and paint were warmed, I did the triple check of the gun again, shook the paint thoroughly, opened it and carefully brushed on a coat.  The reviewers were right, this stuff is thin.  Very thin, somewhat thicker than muddy water.  Being no stranger to painting (walls and houses, anyway), I decided that we would simply use as many coats as necessary to get the front sight to the level of color I wanted.

The instructions say that the paint needs to dry 24 hours; more if possible.  I allowed it to dry anywhere between 2 and 12 hours between re-coatings and gave it 4 coats in all before it reached the level of opacity I was seeking.  The result was a nice orange sight.  It is not, however, the bright orange of the paint in the bottle, but rather darker.  It is also not a gloss finish, which I appreciate.

In between coats, you can clean your brush with plain water.  That's a nice touch I appreciate.

Weather, work and family obligations have prevented a trip to the range, but I have had time for some dry-fire practice.  I'm happy to report that the front sight is much easier to pick up, even in fairly low light and against light backgrounds.  In more normal light and against outdoor backgrounds, it seems to make an equally big difference.  I'm may also paint the rear sight a different color to see if the contrast improves my acquisition time.

I haven't tried any of the other colors, but I'm looking forward to trying them on some other guns that need a bit of help in the sight department.

For $21, it's a cheap enough thing that you can experiment with it.  I expect from the nature of the product that it is not a "permanent" paint, which would make experimenting with it a simple matter, and the amount of paint you get ought to keep you busy experimenting for quite some time.  I can even see this as a way to test out new sights before actually buying them--just paint up your existing ones to mimic the new ones.

Over all, I recommend it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Paging Quality Control...

I don't remember seeing this many gun recalls, one after another, ever.  This time, it's Remington's turn, with a recall for their Model 700 and Model Seven rifles.  It seems that some of them could unintentionally discharge, making you one of the less popular guys amongst your hunting friends.  If you have one, visit the link and see if it's one of the winners.  Or losers.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Book Review: Barbed Wire, Barricades, and Bunkers

(I'm trying something new here in an effort to have some more to write about.  Since I've tired of ranting about our government, keeping track of what page of Atlas Shrugged we're living on and so on, there has been a general dearth of things to post about.  Sure, there's guns, but given the price and availability of ammo plus my lack of spare time, I haven't been doing much in that area.  So I'm going to try and bring you some reviews of books, magazine and maybe products.  Let me know what you think.)

Barbed Wire, Barricades, and Bunkers, by F.J. Bohan, published by Paladin Press  119 pages

At first, I was a bit put off that I had actually spent money on this book.  Most of the contents are things that one could Google up for oneself.  However, as I read along, it struck me:  "Sure, you could Google for this stuff--if you knew what to Google for."

That's where Bohan earns his keep.  There are literally dozens if not hundreds of ways to fortify a building or a given location.  He narrows it down to 8 items.  They are:

  • Barbed wire
  • Bollards
  • Gabions
  • Revetments
  • Fascine
  • Deliberate Defensive Fighting Positions
  • Trenches and Tunnels
  • Bunkers
That's it.  No tank traps, road blocks (well, not a lot) or booby traps (to speak of).  He has narrowed it down to the basics that he believes will be useful to someone who is facing a Mad Max survival scenario.

For each topic, he explores in some depth.  For example, barbed wire gets an in-depth treatment, covering various types of protective wire in addition to traditional barbed wire and how to employ each type properly.  Bollards also come in for a similarly deep treatment, while trenches and tunnels get a lighter treatment, in part because he refers back to previous sections such as revetments, using that knowledge as a building block.  Fascine gets a single page treatment; almost making me wonder why it was included at all.

I felt that Deliberate Defensive Fighting Positions could have been much better done, and could probably be a book-length subject of its own.  However, he does cover the basics of constructing the basic types, even if he is a bit short on siting, how to tie them together and the more in-depth areas of the subject.

At the end of the book, I felt that, given the $10.50 Amazon price tag, I had gotten my money's worth after all.  Face it, if Mad Max does start riding around, you won't have the Intertubz to Google about on, and any knowledge you have will be in your head or on your book shelf.  Better to have this little book on the shelf than not.