Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Wednesday Afternoon

Got home this afternoon and spent an hour working on the pool.  It's starting to look pretty good now, I'm not ashamed to let someone swim in it.  Of course, even a dirty pool is cleaner than the lakes, streams, rivers and bayous we swam in as kids.... but still.

Then, I got out the revolver and decided to work on my draw.  I was watching and learning from the Top 10 in Fort Worth and picked up a few pointers.  I went out to 10 feet and started re-learning how to draw and shoot a single-action revolver.  I expected the group to be low on the target because I'm closer to it, and the center is set at 50 inches.  It looks like the group is a little to the right, so I'll have to adjust for that.

When I came in, my son had sent me a picture of the long-gun holster he's building for me.  The kid is turning into quite the leather-smith.

That's a very nice looking Slim-Jim holster.  Now, I'm going to crack a bottle of Jim Beam and have a cocktail.

Mental Tab Clearing

Long Day yesterday.  No problems to speak of, but it's been a while since I worked a sixteen.  Tired.

It looks like Trump is the last man standing in the Republican clown show.  No links, because it's all over the news.  Now, the games begin.  Wonder who he'll pick for Veep?

I've got a holster coming.  What I see so far, is looking pretty good.  Full story here.

Working on a flyer for the Fast Draw club.  I had one made, several months ago, but I can't find it on hard-drives, computers, or flash memory.  The darn thing fell down the memory-hole.  No problem, I needed to update it anyway.  This time I made sure I saved it.

When you start buying wax bullets in bulk (like 10K) at a time, you know you have a problem.  But it's a good problem to have.  The order should be in for the weekend.  I'm down to my last thousand.

The weather is beautiful here in central Louisiana.  In just a few minutes, I'm going to get up, strap up and go out to the practice range.  I need to totally re-work my draw.  I picked up some tips in Fort Worth, and it's time to start over.  After I get it down, 10,000 practice draws should set the muscle memory.

After practice, I'm going to crack a bottle of Jim Beam.

Monday, May 02, 2016

More Fast Draw

Video is starting to come out from Texas State/Southern Territorials.  You've seen my pictures, but the video will give you some idea of how the game moves.  This one is from a lady who hangs out with the Big Thicket Bushwackers.

If you listen tot he times being called, behind the music, you'll note some very fast times indeed.

The Brady Campaign, and Other Lying Democrats

The Brady Campaign is one of my most detested organizations.  Their premise since day one was built on a lie, and they've continued to build on that lie.  They have failed, over and over, to win in the legislatures and in public opinion, and now they're attacking an act that was passed in Congress in 2005.  The act is fairly simple in it's premise.  As the Wiki page explains.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) is a United States law which protects firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products. However, both manufacturers and dealers can still be held liable for damages resulting from defective products, breach of contract, criminal misconduct, and other actions for which they are directly responsible in much the same manner that any U.S. based manufacturer of consumer products is held responsible. They may also be held liable for negligence when they have reason to know a gun is intended for use in a crime.
That's pretty simple.  It seems like common sense legislation. If the product is not defective, the manufacturer can't be held liable for criminal misuse.  But, the Brady bunch wants to repeal the statute so that they can sue gun manufacturers who's guns are used in crime, or in accidents.

Hot Air gives good coverage of this particular debate, and draws a parallel to another industry that might be held liable if their product is used in a criminal matter.
 If you purchase a properly functioning toaster which regularly produces slices of toast without catching fire, exploding or causing any other damage, you’ve likely gotten yourself a perfectly acceptable appliance. But let’s say you get in a fight with your girlfriend. Afterward, you go draw a relaxing bath and lay back to soak for a while. And now let’s say that your angry girlfriend walks into the bathroom, plugs in the toaster, pushes down the handle and tosses it into the bathtub with you. You’re dead. Do you really think your family should sue Hamilton Beach? After all, they knowingly produced a toaster with live electrical wires inside of it which are exposed to the atmosphere and potentially the water in your tub.
Some might say that we're stretching the point.  Toasters are not designed to kill people and handguns are designed to kill.  Regardless of the fact that millions of handguns will never be used in a criminal manner, regardless of the fact that strict legal regimes exist to minimize the transfer of handguns to the criminal element, regardless of the fact that there are strict licensing requirements on manufacturers and dealers, regardless of the fact that those manufacturers and dealers can be held liable if they commit an infraction of any of the myriad laws and regulations that govern the trade.

Hillary is attacking the gun industry because it appeals to her base.  In a debate, she made the following statement while attacking Bernie Sanders, her opponent.
Hillary attacked, saying, “It was pretty straightforward to me that [Sanders} was going to give immunity to the only industry in America. Everybody else has to be accountable, but not the gun manufacturers.”
Never let anyone tell you that the Democrats aren't out to take your guns.  Their record is clear, and the talking points they use in debates are clear.  They're out for your guns.  They want to take them.  They want to bankrupt the manufacturers with frivolous lawsuits, they want to ban every gun they can ban, they want to adjudicate, legislate, and regulate our hobby completely out of existence.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Dilbert, Again

Scott Adams, over at Dilbert, reveals why many of us do not trust electronic voting machines.  You can click it to see a larger version.

Louisiana has electronic/digital machines with no paper trail, and I always wonder, after I vote, if my vote is really counted, properly, for the candidate of my choice.

Voting should have a paper trail, but that would leave insufficient opportunities for graft.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Saturday Family Shoot

We're lucky, my clan, we always manage to find a place to shoot.  My son lives out in the country and has a little place where it's safe, so we met there today to work the handguns.

Just a sampling of what was available.  From .380 to .44 magnum.
Last month, Widener's told me about some new powder that Alliant has out, especially for handgun loads.  I told them I'd like to try it, and they sent me a pound of powder, with some bullets to try.

It's called BE-86.  I had never used it, but Alliant claims that it's good for handgun use.  I asked my son to load some 9mm with it and the bullets that Widener's sent.

The family uses Hodgdon HS-6, and Alliant Unique for handgun rounds.  Neither of those powders need any introduction to handgunners.  They're both proven performers, indeed, two of my favorites.   So, I was happy to try out a new (to me) powder.  Widener's also sent some bullets in the package, the very familiar Gold Dot that everyone knows.

So, with targets installed, pistols out, lots of ammo available, we all made sure that we had hearing protection and eye protection, and got to shooting.

Shooting is a great way for family to bond.  It teaches self-reliance, it creates memories, and if your family is like ours, there is a good deal of light banter about each other's skill and competence.

And, of course, when you've got a selection of handguns available, everyone tries out the newest acquisitions.

Plus, of course, the old favorites.  Any day is a great day to shoot, and when we get a change to shoot with family, we take it.

Some one even dragged out a 9mm carbine, so we gould pretend that we were first-tier operators.  LOL!

One think that I noticed about the BE-86 is that it is a very clean powder.  We  normally shoot a lot of Unique in several calibers, and it seemed that the BE-86 was much cleaner.  Lots less smoke, less residue in the barrel.  Nothing will replace Unique in on my reloading bench, but BE-86 is certainly a powder I'll consider in the future.

Thanks, Widener's, for the tip and the opputunity to try a new (to me) powder.  If any of my readers need reloading supplies, give Widener's a chance.

Target, and Bathrooms, and Such

Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

About the time I was prepping for the Fort Worth Shoot, the bathroom brouhaha erupted, but I really didn't pay much attention to it.  You see, at my house, we have three unisex bathrooms.  You go in, lock the door, and do your business.  Or, don't lock the door, your choice.  I've got straight family, gay family, grandkids who need help, it's a bathroom.  Use it.  Don't make an issue out of it.

Evidently, Target didn't realize the crap-storm they were starting by letting anyone use any bathroom in the store.  It's causing problems, according to Peter in the link above.  Go read if you must, but it looks like predators are taking advantage of Target's good nature.  This may bode ill for them in the short term.

I have one piece of advise for Target.  Police the bathrooms yourself, just like I police the gender-neutral bathrooms at my house.  If a predator comes in, it won't bode well for him in the short term, and he may not have  a long term to be concerned about.

I note that some folks are boycotting Target.  That's okay.  I suppose I've been boycotting Target too.  I haven't been in their store in a year or two, simply because it's a not a place that's convenient for me to shop.

This isn't hard, peole.  If everyone would use a little common sense, common decency, and crack down hard on predators (which is also common sense), this thing would work out fine.

Stolen from Angel

I stole this picture from Angel.  It reminds me of a conversation I had several years ago.

I was standing on a corner, in uniform, watching some crowd disperse after an event.  Some dude approached me and asked if I supported LGBT.

"Sure do," I told him.  "Best damn sandwich I ever had."

He looked at me funny, so I continued.  "First ate one in Vah Horn, TX.  It was a sandwich with lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato.  I still remember how good that sandwich was."

He wandered off, muttering to himself.  I still think it's a great sandwich.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Charlie Daniels

Charlie Daniels did an NRA commercial.

Go ahead, Charlie.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Aircraft In The Range Fan

It was a beautiful spring morning in 1977, I recall, on the range at Fort Knox, KY.  I had eight tanks lined up on the St. Vith range.  M60A1 Main Battle Tanks, the fabled M1 was still five or six years in the future. (I didn't see my first M1 until 1984) I was the platoon leader of 2nd platoon, Co C, 4/37th Armor.  The tanks were loaded with 40 rounds of main gun ammunition, mainly training HEAT-T and sabot TPT (APFSDS-T).  I was the range safety officer, sitting in a M151 Truck, Utility 1/4 ton.  (A jeep, okay?).

St Vith range was a beautiful tank range in the hills of Kentucky.  On both sides of the range, tall ridge lines dominated, because the range was situated in the valley, a perfect spot to conduct live-fire training, because the ride lines helped in keeping the tank rounds in the range fan.  The diesels engines were idling, awaiting a bus-load of brand-new lieutenants from the Armor School.  Our company had been tasked with shepherding them through the first of the main gun tables

In the tower, the range officer was conducting coms checks with the tanks while being overseen by our ancient company commander.  He was a mustang, with Vietnam service and was probably in his early 30s.  We called him The Blade, because he cut young lieutenants deep, wide and continuously.  He hated us on a rotating basis and this morning he was screwing with someone else.  I was okay with that.

The bus arrived with the students, and I watched them gather in the bleachers behind the range tower.  I got out of the jeep, sloshed the dregs of my coffee out of the Thermos cup, and walked over to the bleachers, where I gave my Standard Safety Briefing.  I was followed by the 1st platoon leader, who gave his standard Firing Briefing, and we broke the students down into crews for the exercise.

The students climbed up on the tanks, settled in, and we had just began the first engangement, a borsight exercise at 1200 yards, where they fired at boresight panels and adjusted the sights for zero.  I was back in my jeep, about fifty yards behind the line on a small knoll where I could watch the frivolity, when I suddenly noticed four small spots in the sky, directly downrange, about 200 feet AGL, getting bigger by the second.

I picked up the radio handset "Cease Fire, Cease Fire.  High performance aircraft in the range fan. All Tanks unload guns and display a green flag."

I heard The Blade key his mic.  "2-1,(my radio call sign) what the hell are you talking about?"

Just about that time, the flight of what I had now identified as F4 Phantoms screamed past the range tower on full burner.  I looked up at the tower, and saw The Blade step out on the balcony.  He looked like he was about to have a hematoma.  He grabbed the telephone to range control, and I couldn't hear what he was saying, but I bet it was both profane, derogatory, and impressive.
The F4s made a wide turn, went back downrange till they were little dots in the sky, just over the trees, then turned and came around again.  Burning right down the middle of my range fan.  They screamed past us again, broke left, then came around for another pass.  On the third pass, they waved at us.  By this time, I thought The Blade was going to have a stroke.  They waggled their wings, lifted up over the ridge line, and were gone.

It was a surreal moment.  Everything was quiet, too quiet, then I heard the range officer key up his mic and start giving firing commands.  The tanks displayed red flags, and the training resumed.

The Blade came down about fifteen minutes later to tall me I had done good.  He had talked with Range Control.  The flight of Phantoms was from the Ohio Air Guard and were practicing tank-killing.  They had another range set up about three miles away with some derelict tanks for dry runs, had gotten lost and came down on our range.  They were sorry.

For me, it was just another day on the range.  I managed to get an "Attaboy" from The Blade, but you know what they say about "Attaboy".  One "Aw Shit" wipes out a thousand "Attaboys".  With The Blade, it was my Karma to get another "Aw Shit".  But, as I sipped a hot cup of coffee from my thermos, I basked in the fleeting feeling of an Attaboy.


I was reminded this morning this morning in the pre-dawn darkness that I let an anniversary pass with no fanfare.  In April of 1981, I first put on a badge and strapped on a duty belt as a police officer.  Thirty five years as a peace officer.  I'm now in the autumn of my career, and it's been a good one.

What reminded me of the anniversary was a comment thread on The Book of Face talking about gun fights.  The guy posting said that they are generally short, fast, and lethal.  For years, gun fights fell into what we call the 3-3-3 rule, which meant that the majority of real-world gun fights happen in 3 seconds, with 3 shots, inside of 3 yards.  They're very fast, close and personal. You can google it yourself, and while some of the gun fights that make the news fall outside of those parameters, we compile data and we compare averages, and those hold up fairly well.

I've been in two real-world gunfights in my 35 years.  Neither one of them met the standard. In one, no shots were fired, in the other, only one side did any shooting.  Weird, but I consider them my closest to being in a gunfight.

The first, my partner and I were serving an arrest warrant at a home on the edge of town.  The house was a stick structure, an off-the-ground frame house.  We knocked on the door, we heard moving feet, a woman answered the door and, visibly distraught, told us that our perp had just run out the back door.  And that he had a gun.

I was first in the door, and saw the screen door on the back of the home, swing shut.  My partner bolted around the house and I went through the back door.   The only thing in the back yard was a clothesline and a small storage building, so I drew my revolver, saw my partner come around the side of the house and we closed on the storage building.

My partner gestured to me to look behind the building, so I started "cutting the pie" around the back of the building and saw my perp, looking toward where my partner was approaching.  I took a good sight picture on his spine between his shoulder blades and calmly told him that I was about to shoot him down if he didn't surrender.  I don't remember my exact words.  The perp surrendered.  We cuffed him and stuffed him, and I consider that my first gunfight.  I had cleared leather, identified a target, and he surrendered before I had to shoot him.  Everyone went home safe.  Except for the perp, who went to jail safe.  I still remember his name, and I'm pretty sure that he's through serving his sentence.

The second gunfight is more problematic. I didn't even realize I was in a gunfight until it was over.

I had stopped to help a fellow officer with some task (honestly, I don't recall, probably a traffic accident).  Several of us were standing nearby, when we heard a Pop, Pop, Pop. I heard a bullet whistle past, and we ducked.  Some jazzbo had decided to do a drive-by on the Po-Po. Another officer who was responding took him down about 100 yards away without incident.  I consider that my second shooting-related incident.  No one was hurt, and I don't even remember that guy's name.

In the intervening years, I've shot IPSC, USPSA, the standard police training. I've been on two SWAT teams.  Now I'm shooting Cowboy Fast Draw. It's a heck of a lot of fun, but don't confuse it with a real-world gunfight.  What you see in the movies, or on TV, isn't anything like the real world.

As far as I know, the 3-3-3 rule still applies.  Training is good, training is great, training keeps your skill-set sharp, but don't confuse it with the real world either.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

One More

Just one more picture from the Texas State/Southern Territorials shoot.

Me and my gal.  Ain't she pretty?

So, I'm Wondering

It looks to me like Donald Trump has a good chance of winning the Republican nomination, after his sweep of five primaries on Tuesday.

We'll see if Cruz stays in the race.

So, I'm wondering if we've ever elected a president who has stepped into the Oval Office without ever having held elective office, and the answer is Yes.

Zachary Taylor, for example, was a career military officer, rose to the rank of Major General, and comanded US forces in the Mexican conflict.

We can't forget US Grant.  Also a career military officer who commanded US forces during our Civil War.

Then there is William Howard Taft, who was Secretary of War, Solicitor General of the United States, and Governor-General of the Philippines.

Then there is Herbert Hoover, who was Secretary of Commerce.

And last, but not least, Dwight D Eisenhower, another career military officer who was instrumental in winning World War II.

So, yeah, we've elected presidents who have never before held elective office.