Monday, October 6, 2008

Usefull Idiots

From the Lady Breda we get this. A former KGB agent, interviewed in 1985, speaks of the wonders of the Marxist-Leninist state.

He states openly: all the useful idiots will be rounded up and shot, because after they find out that a) in the New Marxist-Leninist state they will not be in power and b) its not a very nice place to live if you aren't in power, they will revolt. And former useful idiots make very deep enemies for a Marxist dictator. So they get shot first.

And the money quote: "If this happens (the Marxists come to power) there will be no where for you to defect to like there was for me. Unless you want to move to Antarctica and live with the penguins".


Wednesday, October 1, 2008


The Norfolk County Rifle Range hosts 3 IDPA club matches every month. I've made it too three of them since moving down here. The matches are well run, and consist of four indoor stages, often with one low/no light. The first thing to note is the SO staff: they're quite helpful and have a good system in place for getting new shooters up to speed, and keeping the rest of us in line.

For the size of the range four stages is impressive. The down side is moment is limited on a couple of the stages, and the round count is low on all. I have yet to need more then 50 rounds of ammo for the night. This is made up for but devilish stages that require a good plan, and careful execution.

Front site, press. Just keep repeating that.

The club is very well equipped with props and moving targets, and puts them to good use. This is good practice for big matches, where you will have to shoot at such contraptions.

My performance has been very satisfactory by my own standards, and not bad in the overall rankings. My times have been getting faster, and my points are staying very low, which is what needed to happen.

Match videos from last week:

You'll note how the black plastic 'wall' is moving when I shoot in the beginning of this one. That was seriously getting in my way seeing the targets. The tac-load is to have a full gun for engaging the popper and single exposure mover, then another on the way forward because I could, and it saves a slide lock load on the clock latter. Also note my attempt at a procedural error leaving cover too soon.

This one went great, except for the swinger at the end. In the end I got the points I needed on the target, but getting there was ugly. Also note in the beginning: there is a no-threat moving up range at the shooter, its only in the picture for a few frames, but this use of the 'normal' range wires added a very interesting dimension to the stage.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kill Bill

The TNT bowdlerized version doesn't suck as much as you might expect, but that's a bit damning with faint praise.

The part of the movie that appeals to me isn't so much the over-the-top Tarantino violence, although I'd be lieing to say I don't enjoy it, its the cinematography he stole for the film. The end of the film is my favorite: he manages to capture the feeling of Anime Japan, and the style I love, with out the annoying shit so many of the actual anime directors end up using. The best example is the arrival sequence in Tokyo.

From there on out its pure gravy.

Incidentally this is the major complaint I've heard about the movie. Perhaps its my love of good fan-fiction that makes this movie appeal to me so much. Of course part of the appeal is then going out and finding the sources, to watch the original and see how it compares to the retelling.

Edit to Add: Dr. Paws gives it a paw of approval for a movie to sleep through curled up next to me.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another Week Down

Well, another weekend down, and I haven't spent more then half an hour on the computer or teh interwebz. I suppose this is a good thing, but it does mean less writing then I'd hope.

We've got a new cabinet for the TV and Tivo put together and stained. The electronics can be moved some night this week, after the stain finished drying. Since Sr. Paws has managed to leave the electronics alone in their current state (sitting on the floor) we have high hopes that a Tivo cage will not be needed in the new set up.

While I was working on that LadyElf managed to get all the crap scattered around the house cleaned up. I'm impressed, given the number of times I've tried and failed at that task.

Last night was dinner with some folks from the Basenji forum (LadyElf maintains the web presence there, I handle the gun forums). A good time was had by all, except the dogs, who were left at home in the kennels.

The road bike made another appearance: 22 miles today. Riding in the flat lands here is (gasp and shock) much easier then the hill country around Worcester. I'm going to need a longer loop, or to go harder, or both.

Tonight LadyElf's parents stopped in for dinner on their way back from SC. And now I'm cooking super garlic meatballs: 1/2lb of hamburger, 2 bulbs (not cloves) off garlic, a pan of tomato sauce to cook them in, and other spices to taste (for me this includes 2tbls of Daves Insanity). Make the meat balls, and use one bulb of garlic in the meat, make the sauce and use the other. Cook for an hour or longer.

Don't expect a kiss after eating.

Welcome to the excitement that is my life. Coming up this week: a write up of the Norfolk County Rifle Range IDPA match last Thursday; an update to the Open Carry Files; LadyElf's first day at her new job; Hopefully something interesting to both of you.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


As the url suggests its a flash animated spider. Mostly posted for my own amusement.


h/t To Marko for the link.

Basic Shooter Instruction

JayG has asked for input on teaching new shooters. Rather then try to fit this as a comment over at his place, here's my answer:

For brand new shooters, or those who haven't shot in years, I try to go as informal as possible. My goal is to take them out for a safe and fun day. Unless asked, I avoid getting into the hows and whys of self defense shooting, or great depth on any particular portion of the fundamentals. The one exception is safety.

We go over the four rules several times: first when they approach me about going shooting, then in the car on the way to the range (I like to have the student ride with me so we can talk more about what they want to get out of the day, and what their concerns are), finally we go over each of the four rules as the guns come out. This means having them identify the safe direction(s) at the range (floor good, ceiling bad, sky worse), talking about how we specifically manipulate firearms when they are loaded (remember they always are), and how its safe to walk down range of the empty but still 'loaded' guns, so long as they are left alone on the table. Rule four we talk about while walking down range to see the target hangers and set up anything not left out on the range. Finger off the trigger will be a constant discussion with most new shooters, who while very conscious of muzzle direction will often lapse on trigger finger discipline.

From my safety perspective muzzle control, control of other shooters on the range, and the student's trigger finger are the biggest issues. In that order. You never know what the Fud three bays over will do, even at a private range, and I have taken guns from other club members (and nearly drew down on another) because they were waiving guns at or near my students. This makes an impression, and not often a good one. Also be ready to pre-emptivly correct other shooters near you, and explain why to your students.

A side note: I always carry concealed while teaching, and while I will some times (in a discussion of self defense with firearms) reveal my primary carry, the BUG always remains concealed.

Back to intro to shooting: You and your new shooter are at the range, time to set up targets, and unpack guns. I like to do it in that order. Reactive targets are key. Some paper is okay, especially for the first few shots, and defiantly have them shoot up a couple good targets to take with them, but most of the time steel or clay pigeons are the most popular. The instant feed back, and just plain fun, of dinging steel or breaking a clay(even a stationary one on the back stop) turns most people on allot more then punching perfect holes in paper.

Once the targets are up, the guns and ammo come out of the car. I'll break with Xavier on this one: I bring lots of guns for the new shooter. We start with .22lr, and move up from there. Assuming sufficient range time I'm happy to have a new shooter try every gun in my collection, at least for a few rounds.

This does two things: first it keeps the excitement level up and second it puts some perspective on the different guns. They have doubtless heard and seen plenty of things on TV or other media that just aren't true. Having them try out a shotgun and see how narrow the patern is can be a great eyeopener, and makes them wonder what other things they 'know' are wrong. That leads to some great discusions, and puts it on their terms, rather then our rant on a topid dejour. The one down side is they may never get as good a group as they would have shooting .22 all day, but they do get a wider exposure.

This sets them up for trip two: where they know which guns they liked, and can shoot them in more depth and learn in greater detail about them. Greater then half of the range trips for 'new' shooters I've run have had at least one person returning from a previous one, often with a friend in tow who is brand new.

As for the actual skills taught:
Dominant eye.
Grip (Two handed)
Stance (modified weaver or isosceles, as comfortable to the student)
Sight alignment.
Trigger squeeze.
Breath Control.
Basic operation of each firearm.

I'll spend no more then 5 minutes talking about all of those, before getting the student blasting away with a .22 pistol or revolver. Then we focus on sight alignment, trigger squeeze and breath control (usually in that order) to tighten up their groups.

If the sight alignment is inconsistent there is no group, its a scatter pattern.
If the trigger squeeze is bad the group will be offset, usually down from jerking, or to the left from too much trigger finger.
Lack of breath control is least obvious, but likely smears the shots in a vertical line on the target. I honestly don't worry about this one too much.

Finally: your students will put groups in odd places on the target, especially those with corrective lenses (and if you wear corrective lenses even those with out). This is a parallax issue and is fine: explain that if it were their gun they could just adjust the sights and 'walk' that group right into the bulls eye. I try to avoid adjusting sights for students, but have on occasion. This is also a good chance to teach Kentucky windage.

As for safety gear: I try to get students to bring their own eye protection (usually in the form of their own sunglasses) but I do have several sets in my range bag, and I try to shoot outdoors the lessen the noise. However I do provide both foam ear plugs (home depot has the best ones) and muffs for students, I also encourage them to use both of they are concerned about the noise.

Final thoughts:
The goal is to have a safe trip and make some noise. NOT to convert some one to the path of being a Gun Nut. Plenty of them will jump at the chance to become a Gun Nut, and ask all sorts of questions and demand to be shown the way. However it has to be at their pace, and this is not the time for a rant on MA gun laws, or other politics.

The amount of shooting skill required to have fun is not very high, so I don't let perfect marksmanship get in the way of fun. Latter lessons, or a more formal class, will be there to teach that stuff and get them hitting at 50ft with a pistol. Get them on the target and watch the fun.

The only thing to do different for ladies is make sure they wear a shirt with a high neckline. In my experience they don't want different treatment, and are often better shots and less recoil sensitive then the guys. More ladies then men have wanted to try the 3" mag 12 gauge shells, and several ladies have shot up all that I brought, after their husband/boyfriend declared the round too powerful.

To contradict myself: always make sure the lady or girl gets to shoot the AR-15. The combination on noise, looks, and light recoil has left many a husband leaving the range cursing my name, knowing that the next gun bought will be an AR, for his wife.

Take a couple shots yourself. I try to get in at least one mag or cylinder very trip. This makes it more fun, and avoids the trap of being at the range all the time, and never shooting.

If you are in MA: make sure your students check their clothing for spend casings, this includes shoe treds and pants cuffs. The possession of which is a crime unless they have an LTC or FID (ammunition components). Have them wash hands and face after shooting, before leaving the range. I also council them to wash again before eating, just to be sure.

I'd appreciate any feed back or insults on this one.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Open Carry Files (1 of many)

This will (hopefully) be a recurring feature here, where I talk about what happens when you open carry in Southern VA.

Here's what got me thinking about it:
"I'm beginning to think that you could walk through the middle of the mall with a neon-pink STI Open Class racegun in a drop thigh rig, wearing a tee-shirt that says, in four inch fuschia letters "I AM CARRYING A GUN", and maybe one in ten people would pause their cell phone conversations long enough to notice..." ~ Lady Tam

While I have none of that equipment I do have a Govt. Model 1911 and an IWB holster. LadyElf prefers the Sig 239 (.357Sig) she liberated from my safe, and a JIT slide holster.

In shopping for furniture this weekend (isn't being a grown up exciting?) we wandered through a good dozen shops so attired.

A few people noticed, but made no comment. I'd say maybe 15%.

Two people made comments:

One furniture store sales guy asked LadyElf why she was carrying a weapon, and when told: "Because I'm a citizen and I can." Stated to ask about shooting, lawfull use of deadly force, and what sort of sofa he could sell us. I must admit it was a good transition back to the business at hand.

In the grocery store an older gentlemen in an NRA ball cap walked up and asked me: "Do you need a strap or something on your holster to Open Carry in Va?" I replied that I sure hoped not, as my holster has no retention features (other then my pissy attitude about people grabbing for my gun, and some training to back that up). We had a nice chat about his new concealed carry permit and how few people seem to care about open or concealed carry around here. Then our wives returned, and we both moved off in search of food.

At the dog park on Friday I got more comments then I have everywhere else combined. Almost everyone took it as an invitation to ask me about shooting, guns, why their husband was so into guns, what sort of safe to get... You get the idea. Honestly I'll be sure to open carry there in the future, as it makes the experience much less boring (watching dogs play chase, and picking up dog poo: not my favorite hobby).



I have a confession to make: I'm one of those cyclists who wears brightly coloured spandex for riding. My shorts are WPI cycle team surplus, and my shirt is a shade of flourescent yellow most comonly seen on low pipes and unexpected steps in the industrial environment.

I don't wear this get up to look cool, or because I have some perception of being a competition grade cyclist. I know I'm not, and frankly have little desire to be. However looking like I'm moving fast will hopefully lower the number of idiots who pull out of driveways in front of me (this is advice from a couple of actual competition cyclists, I'm not sure how true it is). And when I do end up on the ground the spandex really comes into its own.

At 20MPH road rash sucks, allot. The last time I wiped out the exposed skin that hit pavement didn't heal for two months(did you know that road rash down to the fat doesn't blead imediatly? Neither did I.), in the areas covered by trendy cycle cloths the bruises faded in a week or two and the scratches were gone in days.

Now before JayG threatens to run me over with his truck, I do stay on the side of the road, not the middle, and if you see me in the middle or left lane of a road, its because I'm turning left, very soon. I'm also a big fan of hand signals, although I try to make my manuevers when there is no one back there to see them any way.

Tonight was, incidentally, the first actual ride I've taken on my road bike in a couple years. Its a bit different then riding on the trainer, and the bad habits gained from having the bike supported definitely show. An almost 7 mile ride on a cool fall evening certainly made the day better, and the combination of quite and solitude is one I quite like.

I almost grabbed my iPod on the way out the door, but decided against it. Mostly to keep better situational awairness. About two minutes later I was far to busy listening to the birds, then wind in my ears, and the pleasant creaking of an ancient race bike to want or care about music blasting in my ears.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

STI Escort: Round Two.

After a second range trip I did a full detail strip of the pistol. The wear patterns were minimal and as expected. All the internal lockwork is tight, and well machined. I don't know enough about custom or semi-custom 1911s to know if these parts were as they should be, but all looked very good to my eye. Additionally the quality of the fit and finish is notably tighter then my Kimber (at least 10K difference in round count may influence this too).

This time out I was at the NRA range, where I could shoot at longer ranges. The gun is definitely more accurate then I am, but I was able to hold a 4" group at 100 ft with it. I didn't have the Kimber with me for direct comparison, so I'll have to go back.

I have two complaints with the gun: first is that the trigger is a 'long' length, instead of the medium I prefer; second is the plastic mainspring housing.

On the issue of trigger length: I fail to understand why all manufactures seem to be using them at this point. The only people I know who's hands actually fit this length trigger are the men with gorilla hands. Every one else I've seen shoots better with a shorter trigger, myself very much included. I'll be getting a 10-8 flat trigger when I have a chance.

The mainspring housing is purely one of preference and style. I'm not aware of any technical advantage to the metal ones, but I just don't like plastic parts.

The function of the pistol is near flawless. The slide stop is slightly too long on the internal face, where it should engage the magazine follower. This causes the slide to lock open on the occasional cartridge that is slightly too long. A little work with a file, and the problem is likely gone. Next range trip I'll bring a file with me to be sure though.

Overall I'm quite happy with the piece, and carrying it in a 511 holster shirt is very comfortable. The gun also disapears with the holster shirt under a fitted dress shirt.


Friday, September 19, 2008


The wedding was a great success, as was the reception. LadyElf's parents know how to put on a good party, and honestly most of the credit goes to them, the part that doesn't goes to LadyElf. My main contribution was to stay out of the way and bring drinks for those doing the work.

The honeymoon was a similar success, three days and two nights backpacking in the Shenandoah National Park. We had to cut the trip short a day and a night because Dr. Paws foot pads were beginning to crack from the rocks. We've gotten his feet taken care of (and really his condition bothered us much more then it did him), and are going to be working to get him boots he will wear.

On the first day, at the first trail intersection we saw a black bear cub, safely up a tree. The sow was no where to be see, but we did not delay unnecessarily in that are. Much to our consternation the first night we heard several large animals moving around very close to our camp site. In the morning Dr. Paws lead LadyElf directly to a still sleeping deer, while when I poked my head out of the tent another walked almost close enough to pet. This was inspite of both of us talking to either the dog, or the approaching deer. I guese they know its safe in that hollow.

The second night we camped on the porch of the the Corbin Cabin because it is locked, and you have to mail off for the key. Its a mighty fine View, but not easily accessable. The verdict there is that we will be back.

Once back to civilization, or at least some where with running water and a hot tub, we enjoyed cold beers, and said hot tub. For the record LadyElf does not consider water 'running down the side of a mountain' to count towards the 'house must have running water' requirement. I'm not at all surprised by this verdict.

On a final note: we gave the trip a 4 out of 5 on the Bilbo Baggins scale. This measures the quality of a given outing based solely on the quality (assuming sufficient quantity) of the food involved. To score a perfect 5 fresh, and tasty fish or game must be procurred along the way, and this is highly discouraged in national parks.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


LadyElf and I will be getting married this Saturday. Honeymoon to follow.

Blogging will be lighter then usual until we return next weekend.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

STI Escort Range Report

At the advice of Mr. Correia I got an STI Escort. After taking it shooting once my only complaint is that I didn't bring more ammo.

I had oiled the gun up a couple days before heading out, and there was still oil in all the places I put it when I got to the firing line. After a hundred or so rounds, about as fast as I could reload the mags, I saw 2 failures to feed. The cartridge was not quite making it out of the feed lips. Another squirt of MachineGun lube, and that was solved for the rest of the day.

Those were also the only failures seen, and may have been the mag, not the gun.

My initial impressions were good: out of the box the gun was very tight, and the trigger has some take up, breaks like glass (about #4) and has no over travel.

Shooting was no less impressive: it holds tighter groups then I can appreciate, and the narrow front sight makes shooting at 25 yards easy. Up close the three dot sights are easy to pick up and use.

I'll have to try an IDPA match to really get a feeling for how fast the gun is, but my suspicion is that it will do anything I can, better then I can.

Compared to my Kimber: the recoil is much harsher. The weight savings of the aluminum frame take the big push of a full size 1911 and turn it into more of a snap. Its still not as snappy as a Glock or my Sig, but defiantly more recoil then the Kimber. That one gripe aside, it makes a very nice little sister to the Kimber.

Bottom line: I'm happy with it, and suspect LadyElf will be stealing it from me sooner then latter.

Cleaning report and view of the funky STI take down system to follow after I get some work done.


Breaking News

A man walked into a Suffolk area Farm Fresh market with a gun this afternoon.

He proceeded to buy some lunch meat, soda, and a cold drink.

The only other person in the store at all interested in his pistol was an elderly gentleman in the checkout line wanting to know what kind of 1911 that was.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mr. The Plague (Is living in my lungs)

Apparently my trip back to MA last weekend resulted in my getting sick with the fall Plague.

However LadyElf and Dr. Paws are safely moved into the new apartment, which appears to be getting good reviews from both. The second floor porch is particularly popular with The Dr, who likes to sit and watch every one going in and out of the complex.

The trip to MA also included my bachelor party, in preparation for the wedding next weekend. It started in the morning, with Sporting Clays; and ended in the evening with dinner and a gentleman's club. Everyone had a great time, and really how can any day that involves guns, steaks and 'entertainment' not be a good time?

The STI Escort ordered long ago from FBMG has finally arrived, so there will be pictures and a range report tomorow.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bridges and Tunnels

We have many bridges and tunnels in the greater Norfolk area. Its a bit like Boston would have looked like if no one had filled in all that inconvenient water in down town.

This causes no end of traffic problems (as any choke point will), but its made much worse by accidents _in_ the tunnels, or on the narrow parts of the bridges. My commute (very deliberately) does not even get on the highway, but the morning traffic always has at least one tunnel closed, or two tunnels down to one lane for accidents.

To quote Clarkson: "How hard can it be?'

You keep the car off the walls of the tunnel, that's the grey/brown stuff just over the white line, keeping the water out, and you in, for those in the back of the class.

Don't drive faster then the car in front of you, or slower then the car behind you. For those in the back: that's all the other boxy things on the road with you. If those two contradict each other match the speed of the car in front. The guy behind you will follow suit (and if he doesn't hopefully the damage to your car won't include anything too important).

It is no harder to drive in a tunnel then on the open free way, think of it as a freeway with a roof.

Either there is a respawn point for 'clueless fools' just before the tunnel, or they pump stupid gas into them, because I have a hard time believing that this rate of accidents is sustainable in the long term (although I'm told by my coworkers that it is).

I'm just dreading the day we move into a house, and have to deal with one of the above tunnels or bridges.


P.S. While scheduling draw bridge openings and announcing it on the radio is a great idea, who the hell thinks that opening a drawbridge at 08h00 is a good idea? Are they _trying_ to screw up the morning commute?


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two Steps forward, One Step Back

I've moved to a 'free' state.
Have a valid CHP, with the only limitation being no concealed carry in a place that serves alcohol.

So far so good. Work, of course, does not allow employees to carry 'fire arms, other weapons, or any other instrument intended to injure or terrify other employees'. Given that I'm required to show up in business cloths I will have several items readily available to cause plenty of injury should I need to, but they all make it through airport security. To cut off the 'concealed means concealed' crowd: I will soon have a security clearance, violating company policy like that means you have to disclose it (or lie to a federal investigator), and that means no clearance, and hence no job.

But it gets better: It was just pointed out to me that our customer site(The DOD) where I can expect to spend most of my time after getting my clearance, is located on a federal reservation. So now I can't even leave the shooting iron in my car.

That snickering you hear is the universe laughing at me. And I suspect a few of you too.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cool Car Man

While driving today I saw possibly the coolest car, driven by the coolest guy, in all of Norfolk, possibly all of VA.

I'm just guessing on the year, but I'd say it was a 1998 or so, Honda Accord. That's not so cool you say? But here is the list of 'extras our dude had included:

'Sport' muffler that makes the car sound like a riding lawnmower in need of major work.
Spinner rims, over sized to use very low profile tires.
Lowered suspension, so low that the tires touch the fender well when he hits a seam on the highway. The extreme camber on the rear wheels from having the ride height so low is a free extra.
Rear Wing fit for an F1 car, because we all know how Front wheel drive cars need extra down force.
Sound system ready for the next Rolling Stones concert.
Seat back set in 'ultra recline' so even a relatively tall guy can't see over the steering wheel.

But the best, and most important part:
Aftermarket Turbo with Boost Overflow Valve vented to the atmosphere.
Giant NOS sticker on the back window.
Oversize sunglasses, at night.

Now here is how we know he's the coolest guy on the road: He passed me, on the right, weaving through heavy traffic, yelling insults out the open window at the people in his way.

Then something gave out under the hood of his car, loud enough to be heard over the sound of his exhaust line, and the entire car filled with rich, white smoke. When I passed him, he had escaped the car, which seemed to be very close to 'on fire'.

I think the fire and smoke damage will be a nice touch to that rig, don't you?

Stay safe, and remember: Boost pressure is set by the factory for a very good reason.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free State Politics

While out driving around trying to defrost myself at lunch the other day (the AC works really well in my office) I stopped at Bobs Tackle and Guns. He's in Norfolk, and seemed to have good prices on guns, a bit below MSRP, but not too much.

I managed to walk past the rack of Kimbers, and the couple Wilson Combat models, with out drooling (on the glass) or asking to handle any guns I don't have the cash for.

Then I got to talking with one of the guys hanging out in the store. He asked how Mass was, because everyone down here knows (generally) how bad the laws in MA are. At some point he opined that 'Shall Issue' permits aren't a great thing, because _AnyOne_ can get a CHP.

That floored me.

He was seriously arguing that 'some people shouldn't have guns' and not the 'felons and insane' argument either. That I (mostly) agree with, but after living in MA I can't conceive of how permits at all are a good thing, never mind may issue permits.

I suppose, as I try to wrap my mind around his statement) that if you have a decent on unobtrusive government, 'reasonable restrictions' sound well, reasonable. And as long as the government is harassing other people you're free to do as you please.

If I start arguing that some restrictions make sense some one come take my GOAL card, as I clearly don't deserve it any more.

I think its time to find the local VCDL chapter and get involved, because I have zero time or patience for people like the above twit.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another Week Down

I've survived a second week at Big Defense Contractor. I should come up with a better name for them, but that will have to wait for me to get a better feel for the place.

So far I have been given Actual Work, which is good, and its interesting stuff to. Sadly that's about all I can say about it; Actually its fortunate for both of you, as you would either be bored to tears or start looking for ways to cut off your own limbs to escape.

On the house front everything is moved in, except LadyElf and Dr. Paws, who are still in Massachusetts. I'm going north to collect them this weekend. As a result: if you want to go shooting with me in Worcester this Friday Night (around 10 or 11PM) will be your last shot for a while.

LadyElf's father rocks for helping haul all our shit up to the second floor. That was not a fun morning, and now I have to unpack it all. I'm not sure which activity I like less, so I'm blogging instead.

Hopefully next week I'll have a computer at home, so I can get online at times other then when the business office for the apartment complex is open.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Update Content to Follow

I have an apartment down here now, nicer then the previous place, and about the same in rent. Still no intertubes at home though, so updates will remain sporadic.

I've found an IDPA chapter, who run a 4 stage indoor match 3 times a month. I suspect their chairman of being crazy, but have not met him yet. Last week's match as a good show though, we'll see how my times add up some time this week.

Jay_G has a post open carry, which I'm sure everyone reading this has already seen and commented on. I generally agree with him, from a tactical perspective, and was certainly glad I had my piece concealed the other night (I'll post the full story later). Suffice to say it made de-escalating the situation and dealing with hotel management much easier with neither the aggressors or the manager knowing I was packing.

On the flip side: not having to worry about flashing my piece as I get into/out of the car at a gas station is damned nice. I still have the 'Massachusetts Panic' when the wind blows wrong and my jacket lifts though, or when I am taking my jacket off to get into the car. Like many forms of mental trauma though it seems to be fading, and hopefully will continue to do so.

More content, and a write up on the above mentioned incident, and blog role updates, to follow.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Still Alive

I've made it to Norfolk, the job Does Not Suck.

Open carry is a new and different feeling, but mostly people don't seem to notice.

More to follow when I have my computer set up.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


I'm moving to Norfolk VA this weekend, the job search has ended, and that's where I'm fetching up.

Blogging activity (like finishing setting up the blog roll :) will be non-existent until I'm down there and have a place to live and such.

More to follow when I know more.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting the Mrs. to go shooting

In a comment a while back LadyElf's opinion was asked for how to get your wife or lady friend to go shooting. Here is her response:

(1) Try to arrange a girly day at the range (sans any boys) sometimes
its more fun to shoot around with the ladies at first. I know a
great many women who don't feel comfortable shooting with their men
for one reason or another. Me personally...I like to try different
silly things to see if they help. Positions other than the
"standard" prone positions, sitting, etc. and what I have found is
that sometimes your guy or the guys with you want to "help" and they
end up making you feel awkward.

(2) On the same vain, try not obsessing about guns. When I go to the
range or a class with the guys I will usually get hours and hours of
talk about guns, and different cool things, and what super duper
coolio thing they are going to try, or have. Sometimes I just want
to go to the range, do my thing and leave it behind, or talk about
some of the more simple elegant aspects of shooting. The way the
perfect shot feels (not physically), how to watch the clays fly for
maximal hits, etc. but I don't want to be super intense about it just
sort of be flowy about it.

(3) Taking my pistol and shooting at a piece of paper all
day...boring. Shooting at clay, steel, stuff that moves, taking the
art of rifle and trying to perfect the positions, etc. for an hour or
two excellent.

So really what I am suggesting is, ask your girl what she likes, let
her direct the conversation once in a while, and try to back the
intensity off. When she looks as if she is doing something weird,
but doesn't ask for help...let her go and maybe later ask what she
was trying get more info instead of trying to correct a perceived
mistake. Try different things, maybe suggest she go to a women on
target those are cool. But everyone is different, maybe you are lax
about shooting and she wants to be intense who knows. Hope this

My comments:
1) Don't try to teach her to shoot. Period, then end, full stop. Have her take a class from Jon Green at GOAL. He is the best instructor I know, and if she doesn't like shooting after his class, probably won't ever like it. If thats not an option get a mutual friend who she likes and can deal with to show her the basics.

2) When you do go shooting togeather do it on her terms, not yours. Don't plan to do your regular practice, or your regular plinking or what ever.

3) In the same vein: pay attention to her, but let her have as much space as she wants. Read: don't go talk to your buddy and ignore her until she tells you to get lost and let her shoot.

4) Do something she likes after the range trip. She is likely humoring you until she gets into the shooting sports, so return the favor.

Finally: Once she does get into shooting, and starts to learn what she likes, expect to have some of your guns claimed as 'hers'.

Good luck,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Which Gun should you shoot?

PBD has been ragging on 1911s in a series of posts.

He makes a very good point: your choice of guns matters less (with in reason*) then your choice of training. Spending money on a 'better' gun will not get you as much as spending that money to learn more about shooting**.

*The difference between a 50$ pistol and a 400$ pistol is hugely different then the difference between a 400$ pistol and a 750$ pistol. I would be suspicious of a gun costing less then 200$ or so. It might be great, it might be crap, but there is a reason its so cheap. That said: any modern production pistol from a Named manufacturer is probably going to meet the basic 'goes bang when I press the trigger' test just as well as any other.

**Once again not all trainers are created equal, and each style has strong and weak points. My feeling is that you will get more for your training dollar if you study with multiple instructors then if you spend all that money to become a 'master' in any one instructor's style. This is based on my background in open hand and edged weapons, I haven't had the time and money to confirm it in the realm of shooting instructors.

There is one great big but coming after all that, and its not what Opra sits on: you must like to shoot your gun. If you don't enjoy shooting your defensive gun you wont practice. If you don't practice regularly all the training classes in the world are waisted. You're not going to perfect the techniques in a class during the 3 or 4 days of the class, your going to perfect them over the next 3 or 4 months on your range.

This is why choice of gun is so important: its not the technical .45ACP is better then 9mm, or JMB's guns are better then Mr. Glock's (both are true, but I don't expect any 9mm Glock toting heathens to take it from me:). Its pure preference.

Does the gun fit your hand comfortably?

Does the trigger feel good when you press it? Does it at least not hurt when you press it?

Can you actually conceal the bloody thing on your person? And then carry it around all day?

Can you afford the gun, holster, and ammo to feed it?

Those are the questions that determine which gun you should carry, not the opinion of some crazy guy on the internet.


In the spirit of full disclosure: I carry a 1911, not a Glock, because of the questions listed above, when I'm teaching I suggest students answer those questions, not follow either I or Co-Instructor (the glock toting heathen) into one gun or the other. So far we have had an even split between 1911s, Glocks, and S&W Revolvers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Memo To Massholes on 290 West

If I may riff on Jay_G's common thread:

1) Look before you change lanes. While driving your bimbo-box into my VW Rabit will annoy me as much as it does you, driving it under the rear tires of an 18-wheeler (or Jay's truck) will be the end of you cell phone call, and hopefully your driving career. Try not to kill anyone else being a fsckwit either.

As a note: We at GTWTW HW only support highway deaths that involve Porsches flying backwards over cliffs while on fire. Because clearly you've worked for it :)

2) Speaking of Porsches: If I can overtake your Boxter (again in my stock VW) in a twisty off ramp, while you are visibly trying to outrun me (and have just cut me off getting off the highway), YOUR DOING IT WRONG. Give me the keys, and go back to your Prius.

3) Again with the mirrors. Those are the things sticking off the side of your car. If you look, you will see my car, and I, in the lane next to you. While I'm doing my damnedest to get around your Starbucks drinking, slow, ass, I'm going to be there for a few seconds. If you look before wandering aimlessly into the left lane I, and the guy behind me, would greatly appreciate it.

Drive Safe, and check your Six,

Weekend Shooting

This weekend was the Cup IDPA competition. Jon Green and the guys from Metro West Tactical put together an excellent 8 stage, 120 round count, competition. I know some of the work that went into this, and it was not a small undertaking.

Personally I won my my class in my division, despite my best efforts not to.

Here is video and analysis of a couple of my stages.

Notice the speed of the first 6 shots. Those were all down Zero points (meaning 'perfect' hits, in an 8" circle on the IDPA target), the speed is hardly amazing in the grand scheme of things, but good for me. The next three are at a much longer range, and correspondingly slower. Then a reload, and three more shots at a target you can't see. All of this is about the right pace, and I need to work on my reloads to get better speed.

Now I move to the other side of the stage, for 2 more targets. I put the gun in my left hand now, to make shooting from the left side of cover easier. However the range is too far for this technique, and as a result the shots get much, much, slower. While my reload is okay, but not great, the gun fails to fully go into battery (probably my error, not a gun problem) so I have to clear that before continuing. The result is a score 1o to 15 seconds seconds off the pace.

This stage is an example of how it should look. The first 6 shots are at two targets, engaged Mozambique style: two body shots, one head shot. Tactically this is for shooting some one wearing concealed armor who fails to stop when shot twice in the chest. For IDPA its a way to burn ammo and force a reload (by requiring a minimum of 12 shots all divisions must reload at least once, and no one is required to reload twice). Notice the difference in temp between the body shots (8" circle) and the head shots (5" square, with no room for misses). Even at the top of the game there is a tempo change, but its much much faster all around.

Then a reload with retention on the move to cover, this gives me enough ammo in the gun that I wont have to reload while laying on my belly. It may not save very much time, but it reduces variability because I don't have any risk of having my reload blocked by my vest.

Next is a miss, then one hit to make the target fall, and 2 hits on paper. Repeat on the other side of the car(but with out the miss). As a 1911 operations point the safety did go on while I was switching sides.

Finally note the SO's caution in how he has me kneel up and clear the gun. Safety first.

That was my Sunday, how was your weekend?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Introducing the Staff

LadyElf, my soon to be bride:

Dr. Indiana Paws, our professional daemon:

Your humble scribe:

Why I Bother

One of my hobbies is teaching folks to shoot. Lissa explains why.

And no, I can't take any credit for her learning to shoot, she seemed to have a good handle on that by the time we met at Jay_G's blogger shoot. All I did was hand her an AR-15 and a full magazine.


North East Blogger Shoot 2008

JayG organized what was apparently the second, not very annual, North East Blogger Shoot. I was there as a 'commenter' on several of the blogs who's authors attended, and on the ride home decided to take the plunge and start my own blog. We'll see how that works out.

The shoot itself was great: a private range, at our host's house in NH (but only just barely), with more guns then we knew what to do with. Unfortunately I had to leave at noon, so I missed out on the sub guns. Next time I'll make sure the whole day is clear, probably by bringing LadyElf.

I had a great time, and got to meet some great folks.


Monday, July 21, 2008


Welcome to my corner of the Internet.

This will be a blog about guns, cars, dogs, Scotch, and what ever else comes to my mind. Hopefully I enjoy it, and you will too.