Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mystery Pistol

According to The Firearm Blog, there's a mystery machine pistol showing up across Europe.

Evidently it's marked "MADE OF USA TEC-9 FOR HOLLAND & HOLLAND" and I snorted coffee across the desk when I saw that.  It's not a Tec-9, and I doubt seriously that Holland & Holland wants anything like that associated with their name.

Interesting.  I had heard of firearms made with no markings, to be untraceable back to a given country.  I get that, but what good does it do to mark a firearm so ridiculously that no one believes the marking in the first place?  Only the most idiotic dullard would believe that this is either a Tec-9, or was made for Holland & Holland.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Watching Bullets

The post yesterday got me to thinking and reminiscing about the few times I've seen bullets fly.  That post yesterday was the first time I watched a bullet fly all the way to the target, but there have been other times that I've seen bullets fly.

Of course, tracer rounds, from every caliber from 5.56 to 120mm.  Tracers don't count.

Back in 1974 I was at Fort Riley, KS, and went through an artillery familiarization, to show non-artillery types how a firing battery works  We worked the Fire Direction Center, then went out to the guns, reviewed the sighting system, then did a crew drill on the guns.  On firing one round, I happened to look at the muzzle, and watched a 105mm round leave the gun.  For just a second I followed it as it sailed across a cerulean blue sky.

And mortar rounds, of course.  I used to be fairly adept at seeing a 4.2" mortar round on it's terminal plunge.  I'd ask the other soldiers if they could see the round just before impact.  Some of them could, some of them couldn't.

Studying long range riflery, many of us have seen the "trace" of a bullet as it displaces the air around it, especially on a humid morning.  We're not looking at the bullet, but we're seeing the air around it move.  It's pretty cool if you've never seen it.

Once, years ago, a bunch of us were qualifying for the yearly police quals, and we were on an outdoor range in north Louisiana.  The weather threatened to be hot, as Louisiana summers are, and the folks wanted to get done early before heat exhaustion became an issue.  We got started early, and as I was watching the line, I noticed sparkling downrange.  I realized that the targets were oriented to the west, and the rising sun was coming in over the shooters left shoulder.  What I was seeing was the sun glinting off the base of the bullet as it flew to the target.

Pretty cool stuff, sometimes.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sparkling Clarity

In CFDA shooting, we shoot two-person matches.  At any given time on a six-lane range, there are three individual matches happening simultaneously. As the match progresses, you'll inevitably find a time where there is an odd number of shooters, and the solution is a Bye round.  Three shooters are called to the line, and it's a one shot match.  The three shooters stand there together and when the light illuminates, everyone goes together.  Whoever hits the target the fastest wins that round and sits down.  The other two shooters continue with a standard match.

Sunday in Gainesville was a wonderful day.  Good weather, great friendship, and good shooting.  I had a good day, won some matches and lost some matches, and coming up on noon, I was still in the shooting.  Late in the morning, I was called to the line and found my competitor to be Red Rock, out of the Big Thicket Bushwackers.  Red Rock is a helluva competitor, a lot faster than I, and a good friend.  The match director stopped us before the first shot and announced a BYE round.  He called another shooter to the line.

We got the command to load, and the three of us stood together.  I was in lane 1, and the sun was shining over my shoulder, perfectly illuminating the target. I took a breath, got the Line command, then the Set.  Then time stood still.

I've only experienced this a couple of times in my life.  Not the shooting, but some weird mental condition where time seems to slow down and everything around me is in sparkling clarity.  I was waiting for the light, and perfectly focused on the target, and everything was in slow-motion.  I saw a breeze ruffle the leaves in the trees beyond the targets, I heard a bird chirp, and I saw the light illuminate.   I started my draw, still in slow motion.  Felt the hammer click, one, two, three, four times as it cleared the holster.

Everything slowed to a crawl.  I heard a boom to my right, probably Red Rock letting fly, then another from the guy beyond Red Rock.  My finger went into the trigger guard and I tapped it.  I never heard the report, but saw a puff of smoke from just under my vision.  Then the damndest thing happened.

I watched that bullet fly to the target,  That little piece of orange wax, It didn't float downrange, it moved with purpose, but I watched it.  I saw it streak all the way to the little piece of lucite covering the light where it shattered into a dozen tiny pieces, the orange wax luminescent in the sunshine.  The light went off, then started blinking, and the moment was over.  My mind snapped back into normal time.

I wish I could tell you that I won that Bye on speed, but the simple fact is that I was the only guy to hit the target.  Both of the other shooters fired before I did. I unloaded to show clear, then put the  hammer down and holstered.  The match went on and I was eliminated two rounds later, shortly after lunch,

The shoot at Gainesville was a hoot, and I thank our hosts for a memorable time. For me, for just a tiny second or so, the experience was absolutely awesome.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Banquet

CFDA shoots have banquets.  A time to get together, share a meal, and enjoy the fellowship of like-minded people.

Tonight, they also gave out the category awards.  Our own Big Mark of Thorn Valley took first place in the Shootist category, a category reserved for folks who shoot revolvers with 7.5" barrels.

It's a poor picture,and I'm sure that we'll get a better one, but this was Mark's first time out with the long gun, and we're awfully proud of him.

Turning to more mundane matters, when traveling with Zachary, I have trouble knowing what he likes best, the travel, the shooting, or the restaurants.

That was billed as some sort of spicy shrimp fettuccine  He seems awfully pleased with it.

We're shooting the main match today and we'll be home sometime tonight.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


We got to Gainsesvile, TX last night and eventually found our way to the range this morning.  (Texas frontage roads drive me crazy.  They're unlike anything I'mused to .)

Still, we made it to the range and got set up for some specialty shoots.  The first was Texas Hold'Em, where a shooter sits at a table with cards in his hand.  At the light, he drops the cards, grabs his revolver off the table, and engages the three targets before him.

Here's our own Big Mark from the Thorn Valley Shootist Society engaging targets at Texas Hold'Em.

Lots of old friends and new friends.

That's Red Rock in the red shirt, and Part-Time in she shades.  Good friends from the Big Thicket Bushwackers in Silsbee, TX, and it was good to run into them.

Ever time I go to one o these shoots, I earn something.  Part-Time is a pretty good Vaquero gunsmith and when something went sideways with Zachary's Vaquero, he diagnosed it, got out his dremel tool, and fixed it.  As it turns out, there was a problem with the pawl ratchet, especially on guns that are dirty.  Part-Time put a reliability fix on it, and it's running smooth as silk now.  I also had him put the same reliability fix on Milady's revolver while he had his tools out.  Fifteen seconds putting a bevel on the pawl and life is good.

We're having fun, cutting up, telling lies and laughing a lot.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday News Dump

Pretty interesting Friday.  It  seems that John Boehner is resigning from Congress at the end of October.  I tend to agree with Insty, when he says:
This is a sign, I think, that the GOP establishment has finally figured out that the root of Trumpmania is the failure of the Boehner-McConnell Congress to deliver despite the big electoral wins of 2014. But is it too late?
There is that, but there are some major things happening in Congress right now, not the least of which is the budget problems that have to be addressed in the short term.  Look for Boehner to align the RINOs with the Democrats and give Obama everything he wants.

I'd like to be wrong, but I see no reason to believe that I am.  We gave them huge wins in both houses in 2014, but the Boehner-McConnell team can't seem to deliver a bill to Obama's desk.  They're afraid he'll veto it.  Well, so what if he does.

In other news, Milady and I are leaving this afternoon to go to an invitational shoot with the North Texas bunch in Gainesville, TX.  We've arranged a house-sitter to watch the dawg, so he'll get his kibble ration and plenty of scratching.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy Dance

It seems that a goblin in Warren, MI forgot that an armed society has a habit of policing itself.
A thief walked into a Warren bank expecting to rob it at about 4 p.m. Monday.  But a concealed pistol license holder shot the bank robber three times once in the leg and once in each arm. He is recovering in serious condition at St. John Providence Hospital.
Not a very good grouping, but certainly effective.  The goblin is expected to recover, at which time I'm sure that he'll be locked up for a while.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

True Love

If anyone wonders why I love Milady, and am dedicated to her health and happiness, let me give you one simple example.

We're going through a living room re-arrange and easy remodel, and look what she dragged home today.

That's a Vizio 55" smart TV.  She went and bought it all by herself.  I'll probably be able to see it from my easy chair.  I don't care how she re-arranges the living room, I bet I'll be able to see the TV.

All you mistreated husbands out there, show your wife how a loved husband brags on his wife.

Wednesday Tab Clearing

The Lonely Road Ahead for John Roberts.  I fart in the general direction of the Roberts court.  He's certainly not a conservative, and claims to be guided by judicial restraint.  Letting an unconstitutional law stand isn't restraint, It's malfeasance.

Hillary's Empire of Dirt.  "The more she castigates others, the more she convicts herself."  I don't think she'll be perp-walked, but her hypocrisy knows no bounds.  UPDATE: Her latest hypocrisy?  She was for the Keystone XL pipline as Sec State, now she's against it.

More people have died by taking selfies this year than by shark attacks.  Darwinism at work.

Yogi Berra has passed away.  A living legend is gone. Yogi was one of my heroes when I was playing baseball as a kid in the '60s.  We were both catchers and he taught me that  it ain't over until it's over.

Sensitive records of over 5 million people hacked from government servers. The country is in the very best of hands.

Political news is just one bad item after another.  I really need to concentrate more on my shooting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cancel Oktoberfest?

Not likely, although I've heard that Muslims are asking the city government of Munich to cancel Oktoberfest because it is un-Muslim and against the teachings of Islam.
We understand that the Oktoberfest is a yearly German tradition, but we, Muslims, can not tolerate this Un-Islamic event, because it offends us and all Muslims on the earth.
Yeah, I can see the Germans cancelling a major cultural festival because it offends folks who showed up two weeks ago.  If I were the event organizers, I'd tell them to either adopt the local culture and dress codes or go back to their third-world hellholes.

But that's just me.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Uncommon Valor

What must it been like to serve with men such as this?
"We had been walking through piles of dead men when the general gave a sudden start, and then stepped over to the figure of a man who was bent over the barrel of a heavy machine gun. Very quickly, almost before I saw what he was doing, the general took out a knife and cut the Red Cross brassard from Ben Salomon's arm. Then he straightened up and looked around. There were ninety-eight Japanese bodies piled up in front of that gun position. Salomon had killed so many men that he had been forced to move the gun four different times in order to get a clear field of fire. There was something else that we noted, too. There were seventy-six bullet holes in Salomon's body. When we called a doctor over to examine him, we were told that twenty-four of the wounds had been suffered before Salomon died. There were no witnesses, but it wasn't hard to put the story together. One could easily visualize Ben Salomon, wounded and bleeding, trying to drag that gun a few more feet so that he would have a new field of fire. The blood was on the ground, and the marks plainly indicated how hard it must have been for him, especially in that last move," Love wrote.
From all accounts he was defending the withdrawal of a medical unit as it moved out of active combat.  Captain Salomon was a dentist assigned to the hospital.

Captain Salomon was initially denied a Medal of Honor because he was a medical officer and had been wearing a Red Cross brassard.  He was finally granted his Medal by President George W. Buch in May 2002.  He had no family to accept the Medal.

I am in awe of men like this.

Hat tip to Firehand.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Our club, the Thorn Valley Shootist Society, is planning and hosting an invitational match for Saturday, November 14th.  We'll have a shooters meeting and gun check at 8:00, with shooting to begin shortly thereafter.

It's going to be a "NO X" match, which means that everyone gets to shoot all day.  Toward the end of the match a group of shooters will emerge and we'll have a shoot-off for trophies.  Depending on the interest, we may shoot Sunday morning in some informal matches.  Our venue is the Lucky 4B Ranch in Melder, LA.  Bunkhouses and cabins are available.

For reservations, call the Lucky 4B ranch at (318)659-4414 or (318)659-3332.  We're planning a great wend of fun, fellowship, gunfighting, and lie-telling.  We're also planning to feed the assmblage.  As it is scheduled for November in Louisiana, I'm betting that gumbo will be on the menu.  PawPaw is planning pulled pork sandwiches and chips for lunch on Saturday.

Y'all plan to attend.

Sunday Morning Dawg

It's feeding time at PawPaw's zoo, and the dog is awaiting his kibble.

Hang on, Pup, Milady's getting it.  God forbid that the dawg doesn't get his ration.

Yeah, he eats his kibble directly off the concrete.  He prefers it over eating from a bowl.  In fact, he's got kibble in a bowl inside the house, and spurns it over kibble served on dirty concrete.  Go figure.  The cats eat their ration out of the bowl on the rattan table.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Old West Gunfights

I was surfing around this morning, bored at my duties and Googled for a list of Old West Gunfights.  I found this list over at Wikipedia.  I'm sure that it's not inclusive, but it's certainly illuminating.  Among the fights covered were the Hickock-Tutt fight which is considered to be the archetype of the gunfighter legend.And, of course, the gunfight at the OK Corral.

I started clicking on some other links and came upon The Frisco Shootout.  It's a short little article, and hard to excerpt, so I'm going to post it almost in it's entirety.  This gunfight may have set the record for elapsed time and rounds expended.
Shortly after the arrest was made, Baca was confronted by a large number of the cowboy's friends. Baca took refuge in the house of local resident Geronimo Armijo. An intense shootout ensued, during which the cowboys increased in number to around eighty men. Legend has it that the cowboys fired more than 4,000 rounds into the house, but there is little way of confirming just how many rounds were fired exactly. Baca was not wounded by any of the rounds fired, but did return fire killing four of the cowboys, and wounding eight others. The standoff ended when the cowboys were unable to acquire more ammunition. With their ammunition supply depleted, they simply withdrew. The fight had lasted thirty six hours.
A thirty-six hour gunfight.  The odds were 80:1.  4000 rounds expended.  The lawman was unharmed, but he accounted for four dead.
The cowboy that had been originally arrested by Baca served his time in jail for disturbing the peace and drunkenness, and was released. The cowboys pursued Baca through legal means, attempting to have him imprisoned for the killing of their four comrades. In May 1885, Baca was indicted for the killing of one of the men. However, when the door of Geronimo Armijo's house was introduced as evidence, having over four hundred bullet holes in it, Baca was acquitted. Baca went on to become a licensed attorney and a Deputy US Marshal.
 The list of gunfights is pretty interesting, but what I'm struck by is the trifling predicates that led to lethal outcomes.  Of course, today I'm surprised at the trifling circumstances that lead to fatal outcomes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

All You Win, Really, is Respect.

I'd like to apologize to my regular readers.  I'm going to talk about some obscure rules from the CFDA, and sportsmanship, and governing bodies.  Trivia, actually, about the rules of the game.

There's a discussion going on in the CFDA right now about sportsmanship, time limits, and recovery shots.  As I understand the rules today, recovery shots are allowed, but a competitor can only fire once per lit target.  The problem comes in when a competitor "slips" the hammer.  This is an unintentional mistake when the thumb slips and the revolver isn't fully cocked.  The current rules allow the shooter to fully cock the revolver and fire his shot.

However, ours is a game of speed.  If we have two competitors on the line and they're going fast, and one competitor fires his shot  but misses, the other competitor can take his time, aim at the target and hit it for a win.  Some claim that this is poor sportsmanship, that a competitor should not take advantage of another shooter's missed shot.

When you're going fast, you're going to miss.  We should all strive to hit the target, and that's the only way to get a score.  Still, mistakes happen, and occasionally some of us will slip-cock a hammer.  It happens.

We have Marshals in our sport, and occasionally they get together and talk about the rules and changes to the rules.  One of the items on the agenda is entitled Should There Be a Time Limit For a Recorded Hit? - Discussion (CFDA).  This discussion should be spirited, and although I'm not a Marshal, I have a forum.   Some are recommending a 1.25 or 1.5 second limit for a recorded shot.  Here's my two cents worth.

The goal of the game is to hit the target and to hit the target faster than the competitor next to you.  The match system that we use tends to bring the faster shooters to the top of the rankings, but sometimes weird things happen.  I was at a club shoot in Texas last June, and was privileged to be shooting with some great shooters.  At one stage of the match, one very fast adult shooter was paired with a brand-new 12-year-old.  As the individual match progressed, the sub-4s adult shooter was beaten handily by the 1.5 second youth shooter, simply because the kid was hitting the target.  There were no trophies on the line, just two shooters of wildly differing ability standing on the line.  The kid won that little match, and afterwards they talked about the game and the intricacies of drawing a Colt revolver.  Respect, really, is all we win.

At a large match in Odessa in July, I collected my Xs early and sat to watch the show.  I saw two nationally ranked shooters on the line and one of them slipped his hammer, then took his recovery.  He won that shot with a 1.8.  No one accused him of unsportsmanlike conduct.  It was a fair shot, fairly taken within the rules.  Yet, under the proposed rule, his shot would not have counted.

Many of our shooters are slow by championship standards.  I'm abysmally slow, shooting in the 7s, but I try to hit every target. Some of the youth and female shooters are slower than I.  Yet, even those slow shooters like the sport, and sometimes the sun shines on them, like this little clip from that shoot in Odessa where my lady won her minor prize, shooting against a noted champion.  Hitting counts.

Her shot, if you listen to the audio, was a 1.271.  It was also her fastest shot of the day.  She's slow, but she hits.  Her opposing shooter, who I won't name, will be recognized by the organization as a very big name in the game.  We talked later, and she told Calamity that she decided to shoot her draw, to play the game wide  open and let the timers tell the tale.  I have enormous respect for that lady, and I cheer for her every time she comes on the line.  All we win, really, is respect, and I respect her for her accomplishments, and for her sense of sportsmanship.

The tale may be apocryphal, but Wyatt Earp is widely quoted as saying "Speed is fine, but Accuracy is final."  While the spirit of the game is to go fast, the timers only record a hit.  Our goal should be to hit the target.  The association may set a time limit on a recorded shot, but should be careful to not set the limit so fast that we exclude shooters who love the game but are slow.  Lots of folks who love this game never intend to win a prize, but when they do, it is all the sweeter.

Let's take a moment to realize that we're not all championship shooters.  The match format will  normally drive the faster shooters forward.  Remember the several thousand of us out there who are slow, but still  love to play the game.

All that you win, really, is respect.

A Serious Candidate

I'm looking for a serious candidate in the presidential race.  These are serious times.

The US National Debt is about $14 trillion dollars.

ISIS is on the march.  The Middle East is in a catastrophe, bleeding refugees and asylum seekers like never before.

Iran is about to become a nuclear power.  Likewise, North Korea.

Our cities are burning.  Race relations are worse, nationwide, than they've been in two decades.

Our government is increasingly lawless.  The IRS has proven itself to be politically motivated, our FBI refuses to prosecute government officials who commit felonies, The EPA pollutes rivers.

Europe has a tidal wave of immigrants, and we have an immigration crisis of our own.

I'm looking for a serious candidate, and at this stage of the game, I have no idea who that might be.  We live in serious times, and I can't identify a single candidate who seems to be able to manage all these challenges at the same time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Armed Counties

I've seen this map before, and it makes its way around the internet occasionally.  Orignally put up by Reddit user Ramesses Deux, it purports to show the most armed counties in the US.  Surprisingly, the state with the most red spaces on the map doesn't have counties at all.  Louisiana has six parishes on the list, though.

Coming in 5th in the nation is my home of Rapides Parish, LA with 126,337 residents, and 52.8 of them report as owning a gun.  That doesn't surprise me at all, and if anything, I suspect that the count is a little bit low.

You can see the whole list here, and the article from Wide Open Spaces is here.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Thousand Words, etc

Yesterday at the Sunday Family Shoot, I was working with grandkids and didn't have the time to get behind the camera.  Unbeknownst to me, my daughter was taking pictures.

Working with Dylan, the grandson of a friend, I was trying to show him some of the basic points of Fast Draw.  Not that I'm any expert, but he's got to start somewhere, and I strapped up and got on the line with him for a little informal shooting.

Dylan is the little fellow with the big revolver, and PawPaw is the fat man in the background.  yesterday was a beautiful day in Central Louisiana with temps in the low 80s and very little humidity.

Looking at the picture, I notice that Dylan is having a little trouble with that big Uberti.  The next time he comes over, we'll have to adjust that holster for a better draw stroke.

Of course, a still photo doesn't tell everything, so here's a video

With a little work, he'll be just fine.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Vintage Leather

Last week sometime, I was surprised to find an email in my inbox from a fellow I've never met.  Jim and I are members of the same forum and he goes by the screen name Old Grafton (an alias that I think is very cool, in a poetic fashion.)  He told me that he had come upon some vintage leather from the '60s and thought that I might be interested in it.

Vintage leather appeals to me and when he told me that it was from the old Lawrence company, I was intrigued.  I thanked him kindly and asked him to send it on.  I talked with my leather-working son, who told me that when it came in, to treat it carefully.  That old leather might need preservative techniques so that it wouldn't crack or split, and that if I had any questions, to get with him before I did anything.  That's good advise.

Lawrence Gunleather used to be a huge name in the gun-leather industry.  They made saddles and leather goods of all kinds.  A complete history is here.  They made very good leather products, and when I was growing up in the '60s and '70s I saw lots of ads for Lawrence leather products in the various hunting and fishing magazines I read.  To say the least, I watched for that package with great anticipation.

It came in on Friday, packed in a Boyd's gunstock box.  Milady asked if I had ordered a stock and I told her "No, but someone sent me a gift."  Like an archaeologist opening a tomb, I gently opened the box wondering what I'd find.

Great Jumping Jehosephat!  This leather is in  great shape.  Supple, well preserved, it looks almost as good as it did when it came out of the box a half-century ago.  Let's take a look, shall we?

First up, we have an absolutely marvelous Lawrence Model 120BN holster for the Ruger Super Blackhawk.  It's fleece lined and absolutely pristine.  I don't think that it's ever been on a belt, indeed my SBH may be the first gun that has ever been in that holster.

Next, we have a box from the period.

Cool graphics, and reminiscent of the boxes I remember from my youth as I'd drool over those magazine ads.  Of course, you can click on the picture for a better look.  I think that the box is cooler than hell.  But wait, there's something inside.

It's a Lawrence Model 79 holster for what looks like a Colt Single Action.  Of course, I immediately grabbed a cowboy revolver and tried to  holster it.  That didn't work, the holster is simply too small by a degree to hold the Model P.  So, I look at the fitment chart on the back of the box.  This particular model is designed for the Ruger Single Six or similar sized revolver.  I don't own one of those, but this holster is pristine, supple, and looks like new-old stock.  I'll keep it in the box and I'm sure that eventually we'll find a home for it.

Then I found a gunbelt at the bottom of the box.  Stilll supple, it feels like it was oiled regularly.  It's tooled with cartridge loops, and just beautiful.

The stamp on the inside of the belt says that it's their Sportsman model and that it's cut for a 40" waist.  The cartridge loops are adjustable and it is 1-3/4 inches wide.  I may set it up for .45 Colt cartridges and see if I "lock" the adjustment in place.  Either way, it will go in my spares bag as a trying belt for new shooters, grandkids, or other folks who need to borrow a belt.  My tape measure tells me that it will fit from a 38" to a 42" waist, but the way we wear our belts in the cowboy game, it will likely be a good fit for someone with a 36" to a 40" waist size.  It's a size that I don't have in the bag right now, and it's a really beautiful belt.

Thanks, Jim, for thinking of me.  We'll use them for sure.

Sunday Morning Dawg

After the club shoot yesterday, Milady and I went out on the porch to cocktail for our afternoon wind-down and the dog decided to join us on the porch.  He's obviously in need of a hair cut and we'll see about that this week.

With temp in the low 80s and humidity down around 50%, we had a nice breeze blowing and it was altogether pleasant sitting in the shade.

You'll notice Milday's stylish boots behind the dawg.  We had a lot to talk about at the club yesterday.  We're planning an invitational shoot for the second weekend in November and we had two new shooters with us today.  Before they left, they bought brass, primers and wax.  We gave them all the info to join CFDA and links to such things as they might need.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Little History

A reader pointed me to a fascinating article by John Taffin in American Handgunner magazine that talks about the history of the fast draw game.  The game has been through changes and evolutions that formed the basis of several organizations today, including World Fast Draw, CFDA, CAS, and SASS.  Some of the earliest folks in Fast Draw are fairly common names to us today.

Left to right:  Ray Chapman, Eldon Carl, Thell Reed, Jeff Cooper, Jack Weaver.
If you look at the picture above, you'll note that this group, known as the first Combat Masters, are all using semiauto pistols, except for Jack Weaver.  Weaver, of course, is the originator of the Weaver Stance, taught for decades at police academies all over the world.  Next to him is Jeff Cooper, who needs no introduction to my readers.

And ad from Andy Anderson's shop in California.  Legend holds that Marty Robbins saw a revolver in Anderson's shop that captured his imagination and was the basis for the song Big Iron.  That holster and belt rig would be completely at home on the line at a CFDA competition today.

It's altogether a fascinating article.  Click over on the link above and go read the whole thing.

Friday, September 11, 2015

9/11 Threats

We come to the anniversary of 9/11 and I remember where I was that day, as most Americans do.

But, never able to let a good memorial service rest, we see that the Black Lives Matter folks are making threats against the police.  That's not a good idea.
An Internet radio show purportedly tied to “black supremacy” and “black liberation” groups recorded a segment that included threats of violence toward police officers, the Daily Caller reported. One caller on the show said, “When those [expletive] are by themselves, that’s when we should start [expletive] them up.” That caller later said, “’Cause we already roll up in gangs anyway. There should be six or seven black [expletive], [who] see that white person, and then lynch their ass. Let’s turn the tables.”
Actually, if we look at felonious police killings over time, 2015 is on schedule.   While each police death is a tragedy, felt keenly by the family and the agency, we're pretty well on track.  The whole "War On Cops" narrative seems to be over-blown.  It's a pretty silly war when the casualties as so low.

Over at, they've got a pretty good article, looking at the data, and data is what drives reasonable people. If we look at felonious gun-related deaths of police officers over time, we see that for this year, we're above 2013, but below 2014.  However, if you look at the spike back in the '70s we've made quite a bit of progress

Of course, you can click on the chart for a better look, but gun-related police deaths have been declining since then, and is lower than it's been since 1870.  But, the chart above is adjusted for population, so let's look at another, not related to population, but with actual numbers of police officers killed by guns.  We see much the same trend.

Again, after that spike in the late '70s we've seen the number of cops shot each year decline.

The simple fact is that most shootings against the police are unrelated.  They are individual events that are fueled by the individual incident.  Usually caused by fear, paranoia, mental instability, or drugs, each police killing, while regrettable, is an individual event, totally devastating to the family and the agency involved.  But, there really doesn't seem to be a "War on Cops".

Y'all be careful out there.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pawn Shop Crawling

While on my lunch break today, I went by my favorite pawn shop to put some money on a layaway.  The counter guy took my money, then asked me if I was interested in vintage police leather.  I told him I might be, and asked him what he had.

It's a Buchiemer police belt.  Buchmiemer was a big name in gun leather in the 1950s-70s.  This one is in pretty good condition and comes with a Jordan thumbsnap holster from the same time peiod.  The holster, of course, is hopelessly outdated for a police rig, but it fits the K-frame Smith and Wesson revolver, and it might be good for a woods cruising holster.  The gun belt is in fairly good shape and might have some life left in it.  If my measurements are correct, it will fit a waist from 37-42 inches.

The price out the door was $20.00, mainly  because the pawn broker didn't want to deal with it.  He said that it came in with some other stuff he wanted, and he bought it all to seal the deal.

Interesting, the stuff I find in that pawn shop.

Not Feeling It

Searching about for something to talk about, and I'm just n not feeling it.  The middle east is in chaos, the Europeans are in the midst of a refugee crisis, the presidential politics has become a clown show.  It's like we're living in an insane asylum and no adult is in charge.

Then I look at the White House and realize that there are no adults in charge.  We have an immigration crisis of our own and this administration wants to bring in Syrian refugees.  Have we lost our frigging minds?

It appears that our president and his foreign policy team is foundering helplessly in  a crisis of their own making.  After over six years of not standing by our allies, and the same six years of kow-towing to our enemies, no one believes the administration or our president when he makes a statement.  It's as if the leaders of the world hold him in contempt.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Ten Years

Going through my blog, I notice that I've been blogging for over ten years.  I started in 2005, and in September, we were going through the throes of Katrina and Rita.  On this day in 2005 , in New Orleans, the Chief of Police, Eddie Compass issued instructions to confiscate firearms in the stricken city.

The residents of this good state were outraged and in days, Compass had resigned in disgrace.  In the aftermath, Louisiana passed strong laws forbidding the confiscation of firearms, even during an emergency.  Later, the Louisiana voters approved a state constitutional amendment that makes possession of firearms a fundamental right, subject only to strict scrutiny.  The elected officials of that time are gone.

The then-Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin is in federal prison.  The then-governor, Katherine Blanco is retired from politics.  Our US Senator from that time Mary Landrieu, didn't survive her next election.The Katrina/Rita debacle pretty much made a clean sweep of the Democrats in office. Now, Louisiana is a bright-red state and we've made dramatic reforms in our gun laws to make sure that in an emergency, The People have the ability to defend themselves.

It's been ten years, and I'm still blogging.  How about that?

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Single Actions

My son wanted to take a picture of my Single Actions yesterday.  I thought it was a good idea, because even though they're on my inventory, it's a good idea to have a picture for evidentiary purposes in case it's needed.

Every gun I own or have bought to give away is on my digital inventory.  I update it occasionally to note where certain guns are.  For example, if I loan a gun to a family member, I make a note of it on the Excel spreadsheet.

Even so, when I started this cowboy game in March, I didn't own a single revolver in .45 Long Colt. Shortly after we started the game, I decided that two revolvers were simply not enough, and we started modestly adding to the collection as we found a good deal on a revolver.

That's our current battery, and we'll talk about each one, top to bottom.

First, we have Milady's new Traditions Liberty edition.  Tastefully engraved with wfite PVC grips, Milady bought it at Bass Pro Shops in August.  When she asked to see it, I could see her face as she grasped the grip frame.  It fit her hand perfectly.  We did a hammer job on it to reduce the force needed to cock the gun, and she's very happy with it.

Second, we have the newest heater in the battery, a Uberti 1873 Cattleman.  I picked it up this weekend from a local merchant.  Yesterday we did a hammer job on it, because the action was stiff as a board fence.  It's much nicer now.  Milady tried it, and announced that it fit her hand as well, and with the hammer job, she can cock it easily.

Third, a Ruger New Vawuero.  This is the first .45 Colt I ever bought.  Akarate Zach shoots it now, until he can get a gun of his own.  I remind him regularly that the gun isn't his, it belongs to me, but he's certainly welcome to use it.  We lightened the cocking force by clipping four coils from the mainspring. Now, it wears Ruger bard-rubber Gunfighter grips.  I still have the rosewood grips that came on it, in case I ever get my revolver back.

Fourth, a Uberti Hombre, with the brass grip frame.  This is my go-to revolver for Cowboy Fast Draw.  This one is bone-stock, just like it came out of the box.  After a couple of thousand rounds of our wax bullet ammo, it slicked up nicely and is the gun in my holster when I step to the line.

Fifth, on the bottom of the photo, is another Ruger New Vaquero.  This one, Milady customized after we gave it a hammer job (by clipping four coils off the mainspring). The gun also sports Ruger hard-rubber Gunfighter grips, but we sanded them down to better fit her hand, and she painted them with fingernail polish before clear-coating them.  This is the revolver she used to win in Odessa in July, and her turquoise grips are known all over the Southern Territory.

I believe that I'm through buying cowboy guns for a while.  We seem to have plenty.  However, my son missed one Single action that I've had for several years, long before I started the gunfighter game.  It's my woods-cruising gun, the Super Blackhawk.

It's barked and roared in the game woods, and it has introduced new shooters to magnum handguns.  It's not technically a cowboy revolver, but it certainly evokes the aura of the late 9th century.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Labor Day Carpentry

I built my large deck in 2009 to accommodate my daughter's first wedding.  It's all treated lumber, guaranteed to last fifteen years.  Except if you put a flower pot on the wooden deck.  After three or four years the constant moisture under the deck rots even treated lumber.  A couple of weeks ago, Milady and I learned this lesson when we moved some flower pots and found that the deck underneath was rotted.  So, I had to replace four deck boards and decided that this morning would be a good time to accomplish that task.

At about 8:00 I hied myself to the lumber yard and picked out four nice, 16' deck boards, treated lumber.  I specifically inspected each board to make sure that it was straight and relatively free of knots or other inclusions that would limit its useful life.  I had to go through about 24 boards to find the four I wanted, but I checked out, loaded them in the truck and took myself home.

After ripping out the old boards, I commenced to installing the new boards.  Two of them had warped on the way home, simply from the difference in temp and humidity from the time I took them out of the lumber yard to the time I got them home.

Luckily, just about the time I got to this stage, second son Matt came over to let his young'un swim in the pool.  So, I enlisted his help and with a crowbar and some screws we were able to work the warpage out of the board and make it look like it is straight.

That's better and the deck is safe to use now, structurally sound and ready to entertain family and friends.  We've gotten a lot of use out of that deck, and I hope I've done all the maintenance I need to do for the next year or so.

May Grace Disintegrate

It's September, and the height of the hurricane season, so we keep watching the National Hurricane Center, where Tropical Storm Grace has appeared in mid-Atlantic.

She's not a big storm, as tropical storms go, and from the discussion, it doesn't appear that she'll make hurricane status:
Given the strong southwesterly upper-level winds expected near the eastern Caribbean late in the period, it is quite possible that Grace will degenerate to a tropical wave before it reaches the Lesser Antilles.
We can hope that the models are correct and Grace becomes a simple line of thunderstorms.

As for PawPaw on this Labor Day, I have a simple little carpentry project to take care of, then I'll enjoy the rest of the day with Milady.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Family Connections

My daughter's wedding was  in a small little church in northern Rapides Parish.  I had never been inside the church before yesterday, at the rehearsal, but I noticed something that said family, in a strong and familiar way.

My grandfather was a woodworker, among other things.  All manner of marvelous mysteries came out of his shop, and in his later years he started making toys and small knickknacks to give away.  One piece that he made hundreds, f not thousands of was a simple little piece of wood that he painted brown, then with natural wood strips, glued those strips to spell the word JESUS in reverse relief.  There is no telling how many of those things he made and gave away and I'd put the number somewhere in the high hundreds, if not the low thousands.

So, when I noticed the little wooden knickknack on the alter I knew immediately who had made it.  I don't know the story of how it got to that altar, but I am as certain of the shop where it originated as I am of my own last name.

The horseshoe nail cross is a nice touch as well, but I felt comforted seeing that little plaque on the altar.  It was a connection for me that was simply touching.  I'm glad to know that the church she attends has a little piece of her great-grandpa inside it.  I feel like he would be pleased.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Uberti 1873 Cattleman

The Uberti 1873 Cattleman is a fair reproduction of the old Colt Model P.  Uberti makes a dozen or more models, but the basic revolver, the Cattleman has been around for a while.  It's a staple of SASS and CFDA shooting, well regarded by both organizations.  The basic model has a steel grip frame, color casehardened receiver, and blued cylinder and barrel.

Louisiana, twice per year, has a tax-free weekend for hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities.  It's a 2nd Amendment holiday, and lots of gun shops staff extra people to handle the flood of customers.  Hunting season starts today in this area, in the form of dove season, and lots of guys and gals wait until this weekend to make major purchases.

Out in the woods, near Woodworth, LA, on a forest service road, there is a shop called Boone's Hunting and Trapping.  Mr. Boone has been selling guns out of this shop for years, and he's known to keep a nice selection of the guns that people like.  On the way home from the wedding, we stopped by Boone's as he was just six miles out of the way.  When I walked in the door, I asked if he had any cowboy revolvers, and he told me that he had a few, but that the NICS checks were running behind, about two hours, because of the volume of calls they were getting from Louisiana and Mississippi (which also has a tax free day today) .  Still, I wanted to look at the revolvers, and found this little jewel that begged me to take it home.

It's the Cattleman Steel, new in the box.  He had several other versions in stock, to include the Hobre and the El Patron, but I went with te Cattleman steel.  That casehardened receiver talked to me.

I think that's just as pretty as can be, and while I was filling out the paperwork, Milady fondled it and said that it seemed to fit her hand.  The grips seem to be just a little smaller than both the Hombre and the Ruger grips.  The action is as stiff as a wood fence, and I'll have to do some tweaking, but that's not terribly hard to do.  It will become a spare, I'm sure, just in case we're at a shoot and have mechanical problems with one of the guns.

I told Mr. Boone that I had never had a problem with NICS checks, that when I bought a gun, the problems cleared up and the sale was approved immediately.  He scoffed, and handed his wife the phone.  Within ten minutes I had the gun tucked under my arm and was out the door.  Oh, the price was under retail for the gun.  Any time I can buy for under retail at a local merchant, I feel like I've done a good deed.  The money stays in the local economy and the profit goes to local merchants.  

Goin' To A Wedding

PawPaw's been pulling pork and cooking brisket, and in about fifteen minutes, we're going to load the goodies and head out the door.  My daughter is getting married this morning, and while it's a second marriage for each of them, it is a wondrous joy.  Her fella is a family friend, the kids grew up together, so we know each other pretty well.

My daughter is happier than I've seen her in years, and that makes a father feel good.

I'll talk with y'all later.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Gator Comes A'Calling

A bit of a palate cleanser for a Friday afternoon, it seems like in the town of LaPlace, LA, a big gator climbed out of a storm drain and caused a stir in a neighborhood.  It seems like a nice place, and the video is narrated by the fellow taking the footage.

One wag on the Book of Face, commented simply "sauce piquante", which is possible in that part of Louisiana.

Y'all have a great weekend.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Spider Lillys

Spider Lillys, or Lycoris, is a plant that grows in these latitudes.  Often seen in the red variety, I was able to find a patch of white a couple of years ago, and snagged a couple of bulbs.

Look what I saw when I pulled into the driveway this afternoon.

Lovely, just lovely.

We have the red variety too (Lycoris radiata) planted in the front yard around an oak tree.  I'll have to keep an eye out for them too.

Thursday Thuds

HILLARY'S IT FOLKS TAKE THE 5TH.  A former aide to Hillary Clinton who helped set up her private email server has told at least three congressional committees that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying against his former boss, Fox News has confirmed.  When your IT people start taking the 5th, it's not a good sign. Offer him immunity and compel testimony.

FBI STARTING PROBE OF HILLARY'S SERVER:  ESPIONAGE. The FBI has begun a probe into whether foreign intelligence services compromised Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server during and after her tenure as secretary of state, according to U.S. intelligence and Congressional officials.  Espionage is a word that used to get people shot, or hung.  No wonder her IT guy is taking the 5th.

WILL EMAILGATE BURN THE WHITE HOUSE? Will Hillary Clinton’s Emails Burn the White House?  Some are asking how far up this went, who knew, and what the damage is.

KENTUCKY CLERK JAILED.  A federal judge ordered a defiant county clerk to jail for contempt Thursday after she insisted that it would violate her conscience to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.  Just exactly how did she think this would turn out.  If she doesn't want to issue marriage licenses, that's her prerogative.  If the judge want to jail her for contempt, that's his prerogative.  Maybe she should just resign and let someone else have the job.

And some folks wonder why I quit following politics at the national level.  There is just so much suckge that one man can cover without losing his sanity.

Professor Reynolds Gets It Right

If you don't read Instapundit, you're missing something.  Today, he gets it exactly right, while talking about the relationship between police and the criminal class.
Burglars would be hung from lampposts, and shoplifters would be beaten and tossed into the gutter if there were no police, as in fact happens in countries where there isn’t a reliable justice system and a civil-society culture that restrains vigilantism. Reminder to the criminal class: Ultimately, we’re not stuck in this country with you. You’re stuck in this country with us.
Police tend to restrain good people from acting on their baser instincts.  Instead of  hanging a burglar or a child molester from the nearest convenient tree, a civil society calls the police.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Pawn Shop Crawling

In 1950, Smith and Wesson introduced what was destined to become an iconic revolver, the Chief's Special.  A five-shot, small frame revolver in .38 special, it was introduced at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Colorado.  Derived from the old Hand-Ejector, the frame was beefed up to handle the new .38 Special cartridge and the new frame was called the J-frame.

It was marketing genius to introduce it at the IACP conference, but the simple fact is that the J-frame revolver makes a lot of sense for a lot of people  The .38 Special is a wonderful old cartridge, a cast-bullet dream, but the newer loadings from the ammo manufacturers today make the .38 Special into a perfectly capable defense package.  Combine the light weight and small frame of the Chief's Special with the good ammo we find today and the little revolver is perfectly suited to defensive carry.

I've owned and carried several J-frames over the years.  I like the little guns, and indeed, I carry a J-frame today, in the form of an Airweight Model 38, another revolver built on the J-frame.  But, like most revolver fans, I like the Model 36.  The Model 36, is of course, the basic Chief's Special, renamed when Smith and Wesson went to model numbers rather than names.

Yesterday, I walked into my favorite pawn shop.  A family friend had asked me to look for a small handgun.  I had an hour to kill between assignments and decided to see what Jimmy had in his gun case.  He had the usual semi-autos and a few revolvers, but all by itself, over in the corner, lay a gun that caught my eye.

It' s a nickeled Model 36, but it has the heavy, 3" barrel.  And Pachmayr grips.  I asked to look at it, and the counterman handed it across the counter.  It felt good in my hand, and those big grips may cover either the square butt or the round butt.  Smith made the little gun with both grip styles.  The little gun seemed tight, as most of them do.  J-frames are guns that are generally carried much and shot little, and even the survivors from 50 years ago are normally pretty tight.

I looked at the price tag, and it seemed about right for a used revolver, but pawn shops are places where the price is flexible, and I've been buying in this shop for more than a decade, so the counterguy and I began the dance.   Then along comes the shop owner, the world famous Cajun Pawn Star, and we started talking about other things. We walked toward the back door, and I shook Jimmy's hand and crossed the street to my parked truck.

I climbed up in the truck, started the engine, and realized that the counterguy and I had not finished our dance regarding the price.  I texted my son and asked him what he thought, then got the checkbook out of the console and walked back in the shop.  In a few minutes, the counterguy and I had come to a conclusion, so I wrote him a check to hold the gun on layaway.  I'll get it out in a month or so.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Another One Gone

We lost another police officer this morning, gunned down while chasing fleeing men.
The officer radioed in Tuesday morning to tell dispatchers he was chasing three men on foot, but communication was lost shortly after, according to Covelli.  "His backup arrived shortly thereafter and found him injured with a gunshot wound," Covelli said. "The officer has succumbed to his injuries and passed away."
This one, Lt  Joseph Gliniewicz of the Fox Lake IL police department was a 30-year veteran of the department.  As always, my thoughts and prayers to the survivors.

A manhunt is going on right now for three suspects, two white males and one black male that the officer was chasing when he was shot.  The area of the manhunt is described as "wooded and rural".

More information at the link above.

This subject is getting damned monotonous.