Saturday, March 31, 2007

Did Taurus buy Colt?

Last September, alerted by an email from The Shooting Wire, I wrote an article about Colt's attempt to attract a buyer for their Civilian Firearms Division.

At the time I was a sometime-guest-blogger at a somewhat larger and more popular gun blogger website, so instead of posting it on my own blog I posted it there. I thought it was a sufficiently important occasion that it deserved the much wider distribution.

To my surprise, the owner of the blog wrote me to explain that it wasn't really possible to post THAT article there. The owner had ties to the firearms industry, and was concerned that it would lead to frayed relationships. I replied that I understood, and suggested he had three options:
  1. Let it run and see what happens
  2. edit and republish it in an acceptable form
  3. delete it, and I would publish it on my own blog.
His reply was:
"No problemo...I just need to go through it and de-libel it. Ironically, every word you say is true..."

So I left it up to him. To my not-very-great surprise (it was a rather long post), the article disappeared from that blog, so I re-published on my own blog as:

Cogito Ergo Geek: Black Beauty Is Dead

There it sat for six months, having received very little attention at the time.

This week I read the rumor that Colt had been bought by Taurus. As of this writing, I haven't made any effort to track it down ... even the March 30, 2007 edition of The Shooting Wire (which I consider an Industry Authority) failed to comment. So if you're looking here for difinitive confirmation or refutation of the rumor, I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint you. Because the news hit the blogosphere late on Friday, even the NSSF website has no news yet, nor does the NRA website (although they have a March 31, 2007 editorial about Animal Rights by Wayne LaPierre). There's not even any information avaialble from the Colt Manufacturing Company, LLL website, and I suspect that this is the division (not the entire company) which would have been sold.

So the story is, as yet, only an Internet rummor.

Still ....
On the blog where I first read about the rumor, I left a short comment with a tinyurl link to my original article.

Someone on the AR15 forum picked that up, and posted the link (you can see the AR15 discussion in either of its manifestations, either here or the satellite version here.)

In the 24 hours, I have received over 1000 links to that article from readers of that forum.

(Welcome, AR15 Forum Members!)

The comments on that forum are, perhaps, representative of the reaction of most firearms owners to the rumor. There's incredulosity that an intrinsically American firarms manufacturing company can be best represented by a foreign owner ... as if that was a new situation.

Other than that, nobody seems to question the idea. You can hear the faint sound of "D'oh!" in the wind, implying that it's not surprising that the company is in trouble, it has been offered for sale, and that no American company is willing to buy Colt for the price offered.

Most of us, I think, have many more questions and observations than answers about the sale of Colt (or at least its civilian division).

Why is it for sale? Why can't a company which is arguably the premiere firarms manufacture in the United States make a profit on the sale of civilian firearms?

Is it because the increasing pressure on the firearms industry from gun-grabbers of all stripes (including our congressional representatives) has resulted in the 'demonization' of firearms?

Is it because the failure to introduce our children to hunting, competition and other free-time enjoyment of firearms usage has resulted in a much lowered market for firearms in this generation?

One thing I think we'll all agree on, when we think about it.
We've all seen the trend toward conglomerization of industry in this country. One company will buy another company and form a conglomerate, or larger corporate entity. This continues as corporate buy-outs swallow up the smaller companies, even eating the companies which focus on 'niche' markets.

But this has not happened in the firearms industry. Nobody wants to buy the problems that increasing governmental regulations, civil suits and criminal legislation, and bad Public Relations brings with the acquisition of a firearms manufacturing company.

This may be a symptom of a basic sickness in the American culture.

There is no such thing as a 'healthy' firearms industry today. The general opinion seems to be that the only reason for having a gun is to kill people. With the growth of the egregious PETA, it is no unacceptable to kill animals for meat or for sport.

As a Liberal Legislature and a Liberal Judicial system lead us closer and closer to the Socialist "European Model", the United Nations gains power in their drive toward Globalism ... a recent aspect of which is the attempt to enforce non-American values on individual liberties on all the citizens of the world. This is especially evidenced in the attempted infringement on civilian ownership of firearms.

Yet we sit quietly, expecting that these attacks on our civil rights will somehow fade away because they are obviously such an abomination that they can't possibly prevail in an American Free Society.

Think again.

Your elected representatives are happy to pay lip service to the 2nd Amendment, but they're just biding their time until you relax your vigilance. Then they take another bite ... or only a nibble ... out of your constitution. They don't even have to write a constitutional amendment. All they have to do is re-interpret it, and to attack the market economy that supports the people who make the firearms, and the ammunition, and the rest of the support industry.

They don't worry about someone buying Colt and continuing an American enterprise.

Sell Colt?

I'm doubtful.

Hell, they can't even give it away.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"French" Military Missile

I can't vouch for the authenticity of either the attached (4mb) video, or the accompanying text. I found it ... interesting. You may, too.

H/T to D.C., who use to shoot with us before he moved out of state (hope he comes back some day) via Paul the Soccer Coach:

A freind [sic] of mine sent this to me... Very interesting

This is a clip of a French-Canadian infantry soldier firing an Eryx anti-tank missile.
The Eryx came in to their inventory about ten years ago. The Eryx is made in France.

A lot of people poke fun at the French military but this may give you a better appreciation of their capabilities.This is PROOF POSITIVE!!!

Either cut&paste the two halves of this URL into your browser window ...

... or click here to go directly to the movie download.

(1:05 minutes, starts slow; apologies to the originator of this video -- I have no way to provide attribution.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Toyota Prius is less ... everything! ... than a Hummer

The Recorder

Last weekend I was telling SWMBO that the Prius Hybrid car is less econonimcal, and less environmentally friendly, than the Hummer. I based this on a short article I heard on the Lars Larson show.

It has taken me four days to find the reference artice, but I finally did it. Here is it.

Money Quote(s):
Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.

“The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn’t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce ‘nickel foam.’ From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?

Wait, I haven’t even got to the best part yet.

When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer - the Prius’s arch nemesis.

Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” the total combined energy is taken from all the electrical, fuel, transportation, materials (metal, plastic, etc) and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime of a vehicle. The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles - the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles. That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use less combined energy doing it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Follow-up: The Brits Lose Another Subject

Last August I wrote an article titled "The Brits Lose Another Subject", detailing the circumstances under which a young Londoner was assaulted (slashed repeadedly in the head and neck with a knife) only to have the Bobbies do absolutely nothing to apprehend the assailant ... even though they knew who it was and where he lived.

Six months later, the same 22-year old Peter Woodhams was again accosted on the street in front of his home and shot dead. This in a country where guns, especially handguns (which was the weapon of choice here), are forbidden to law-abiding Brits.

The punks still have guns. Only the law-abiding are forbidden the means to defend themselves.

After Woodhams' death, the police finally got off their dead butts and stopped by the punks house. Eventually they arrested him and put him on trial for murder.

This week, the punk was convicted of murder despite his strong defense that "he only meant to scare his victim."

How had he intended to scare his victim?

At the Old Bailey, Tucker [the murderer] said he believed the gun he fired would only "go bang".

He said he was on his mobile phone when he saw an angry Mr Woodhams coming towards him swearing.

"I put my phone in my pocket and pulled out the gun and started shooting," he told the court.

He said he fired the weapon "to scare him, make him go in the other direction", but then noticed the blood on his chest.

Very observant of him, 'noticing' the unexpected blood on the chest of his (unarmed) victim. One wonders what he had THOUGHT the logical outcome would have been. I can picture him now, looking down at the gun in his hand and scratching his head with the other hand, muttering to himself "Sonovabitch, how the heck did THAT happen?"

Here's the punch line, and this one will just kill you:
Nine police officers are now facing a misconduct inquiry after claims they did not carry out a detailed enough investigation into the incident.
Talk about bloody british understatement.

UPDATE: March 29, 2007

The Bobbies must be truly desperate for 'good press'. This from the London Daily Mail:

A peeping Tom has been banned from going out at night without a fluorescent jacket on.

Stephen Cooper, 24, has been ordered to wear the high-visibility clothing so he can be spotted by potential victims.

The pervert, who has pleaded guilty to voyeurism, received the order after being caught creeping into a woman's garden and staring through a crack in her curtains.

Great. They can't do anything about assault, very little about murder; but they're great on controlling Peeping Toms.

The Brits must be really unimpressed with the priorities of their police, right?

Welllllll .... maybe. Maybe not. Here's a comment attached to the article:

It's not often I'm left speechless but truly after reading this article it did happen.

I'm so pleased he will be highly visible - that should put everyone's mind at rest. Thank goodness for British justice.
"British Justice." Right.

It's unclear whether this comment should be taken at face value, or the British gift for sarcasm still lives.

We hope it's the latter. Otherwise, there is no hope at all.

BUT WAIT! There's Still Hope!

According to The Telegraph (UK),
Children Face Criminal Checks From The Cradel!

Checks will be made on all children to identify potential criminals under an extension of the "surveillance state" announced by Tony Blair.

A Downing Street review of law and order also foreshadowed greater use of sophisticated CCTV, an expanded DNA database and "instant justice" powers for police.

The review is intended to chart a course for the next 10 years by focusing more "on the offender, not the offence".

Most crime is committed by a small number of offenders who could be identified almost from birth, ministers believe.


The Government believes children can be prevented from becoming offenders if early intervention is targeted at those who displayed certain traits. These include having a short attention span or living in a deprived environment.

Here's a list of "features" of the proposed action:

• Universal checks on children to see who is at risk of becoming an offender.

• More support for problem families.

• Expand DNA database to include people who "come into contact" with police.

• More summary powers for the police to hand out instant justice.

• Better use of more sophisticated CCTV.

• Prolific offender orders for repeat offenders.

• Seizing non-cash assets from suspected criminals.

• Special units and courts for mentally ill offenders.

• Tougher community sentences.

• More drug rehab in jails.

• Review of police service to reduce red tape and put more bobbies on the beat.

Great. The bobbies they already have 'on the beat' are demonstrably incompetent, lacking in initiative and notoriously lazy. What's the solution? Certainly not to thin the ranks of dickwads. Instead, they're going to hire more dickwads.

And they're going to target your children as "bad boys" before they graduate from nappies. Whatever happened to the concept of "Crime AND Punishment"? Now they're going to punish 'potential' criminals, but now word on getting proven criminals off the streets.

Sorry, Great Britain.

Soon there will be only incarcerated maybe-wanna-be's, and Yobs.

We in the civilized world are gonna miss you.

Texas Star - The Most Evil Star In The Heavens

I got this from the Brian Enos Forums.

I hope this array never shows up at a match where I have to shoot it. It's evil.

Sorry, it's not available on YouTube and it's only viewable using IE; Netscape doesn't display the image (and I am guessing that FireFox wouldn't display it, either.)

H/T to Steve Z.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Big Clunky ... what?

For years, literally, I have tried to talk Paul the Soccer Coach into replying to The Unofficial IPSC List instead of to my personal email when he had comments about something I had posted there.

Last night I wrote about Rule 2.2.1
, an incident which happened on Paul's Watch at a Dunde match. I was obviously pushing the envelope in an attempt to make a point, and Paul was perfectly comfortable letting me dig my own grave.

Here is his comment in reference to the "$100 Arbitration Fee" (posted to The List), which not only explains his response but illustrates just WHY I wanted his comments to be publically posted:
As the MD for this match under discussion I had it all under control and figured out. Someone else mentioned the $100. I just followed another shooters direction, 'what's all the whining about' and firmly held my ground and asked the shooter to show me the rule. My plan was to keep Jerry on the fidgety edge for a bit, no arbitration fee it was just if he was wrong I was going to toss him from the match and make it so he could come back until he was wearing smaller boots! You see the size of the boots were the problem! Any way I think we messed around long enough to get into Jerry's head enough to mess up his reshoot.
We survived the situation and the day and all the other shooters had a great time and we didn't get rained on. But it's always the shooters problem especially when they wear BIG CLUNKY BOOTS!!!
Paul, you still crack me up.

I didn't realize you were considering my Big Clunky Boots. I thought the problem was my Big Clunky Mouth.

Thanks for the clarification. I shall take the issue under advisement.

Zumbo - Poster Boy for the Gun Grabbers

03-20-2007 - A Bit of Truth about Assault Weapons : Senator Carl Levin: News Release

Remember The Great Zumbo Uproar of a few weeks back, when Jim Zumbo spoke out of ignorance about "black rifles" and destroyed his career?

Remember that he took a close second look at his insular prejudices and spent two weeks sending apologies to every media outlet which would still accept his material?

Did any of us think about how the anti-gun fanatics would jump on his words and turn them against the RKBA principles which Zumbo supposedly embraced?

The legacy of Zumbo's ill-advised opinion has hit bottom and went [splat!]

Read the article. Don't spit into the wind. It didn't work for Zumbo, and now ... if there was anything left of his so-called career ... it is toast now that he is now the official poster-boy for the Gun Grabbers.

I sure hope Zumbo enjoys leaning over and grabbing his ankles, because that is the legacy which he has created for himself.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Extend Into Infinity

Tigers and Lions and Bears, oh my!

A few weeks I talked about the proposed 2008 version of USPSA rules, with special reference to Fault Lines (which) "... are deemed to extend rearwards to infinity".

I almost lost a very good friend there; the MD who approved a stage with such an assumption. Fortunately, he is a reasonable and thinking man who is unlikely to take criticism personally.

But he did manage to take his revenge upon me this past weekend, and I must say I enjoyed it immensely.

I refer here to the Dundee Practical Shooters' monthly club match, and specifically to Stage 6 ("Guard Shack 47"), which provided the perfect illustration of precisely WHY the current "... deemed to extend rearwards to infinity" clause is the subject of so much objective -- and erroneous -- interpretation.

Our squad ("Fourth Squad") came onto the stage while the previous squad ("Third Squad") was still shooting it. We watched them, and discovered that those last few competitors engaged the stage in the same way; lateral movement, not 'movement in depth'.

A short description of the stage is in order:
The competitor begins in a "guard hut" (a 4' x 4' covered platform, enclosed only in the frontal view which features a 2' square shooting port). Through the front port, you can engage a six-plate rack and an IPSC target on both sides. 3o feet on either side are paired IPSC targets, the view of which is partially obscured by a vision barrier. A Charge Line (note the nomenclature ... there will be a test!) runs laterally from the front of the Guard Shack along the 180 line to a point approximately uprange of the far IPSC target, on each side.

There was no rear charge line behind the guard shack, which would have limited rearward movement (away from the targets)!

Fault lines extend eight or ten feet back uprange from each end of this charge line, and these fault lines are 'stubbed off' with 3' charge lines. These short charge lines point toward the center of the bay, and (according to the Match Director and the Stage Designer, both of which were members of Squad 4, are "deemed to extend to infinity".

Why were these "charge lines" not extended as one contiuous, physical foot-barrier from one fault line to its opposite?
  1. They were defined as "extending to infinity".
  2. The club didn't have enough 2x4 boards to place, representing a continuous charge line.
While we were going through our walk-through, Norm the Ungrateful casually suggested:
Look, all you have to do is shoot the center array from the Guard Shack, then fall back a couple of steps and [plink-plink] shoot the left two targets, move a step to the right and [plink-pling] shoot the right two targets. Why would you want to do all of this running back and forth stuff? It's just a waste of time?
(Or words to that effect.)

I looked at the stage, nodded my head in a manner reminiscent of Clark Griswold when presented with the grandeur of the Grand Canyon in "National Lampoon's 'Vacation'", and decided that this is the way I would shoot this stage.

The strategy offered a number of advantages:
  • It was faster ... because it required a LOT less time during movement;
  • It was risky (because of the hard-cover steel IPSC-target partially covering plates on the plate rack), and therefore a more challenging approach with the potential to reward the bold and skilled competitor;
  • With any luck at all, the Range Officer would be forced to make a judgement call which was completely unsupported by physical evidence if he thought I had violated the 'extended to infinity' but physically absent charge line and ALSO establish the difference between a "Charge Line" and a "Fault Line" in the minds of my friends and neighbors;
  • I would get to request an Arbitration on a club match;
  • Somewhere along the line, somebody (maybe not even me!) would get pissed off, and;
  • The resulting discussion would firmly establish the reasoning why assuming that "fault lines (may be) ... deemed to extend ... to infinity" is NOT sufficient justification for scrimping on stage prop material.
Note the elipses (...) in the last sentence. It's important.

Therefore, when I shot the stage, I didn't make any lateral movement. I shot the center plate rack, and the bracketting IPSC targets, from within the Guard Shack. Then I took too giant steps backwards and engaged the two IPSC targets on the far left side.

Moving one pace to the right, I engaged the two IPSC targets to the right, and I was done.

The first comment from the RO:
Time: 14.63 seconds. Six steel.
The second comment from the RO:
Eight Procedural Penalies.
This is my cue:

"What are the penalties for?"
"Faulting the rear fault line!"
"Huh? What fault line?" (Stomping around as if looking for a Fault line.) I can't see it. I can't feel it. It isn't there. How could I have faulted a fault line that isn't there?"

"The fault lines are deemed to extend into infinity!"
"But how can you ding me on a foot fault when there isn't a fault line there?"
When the RO was adamant and unyielding on the point, I looked around and found the Match Director, Paul the Soccer Coach.

I requested an arbitration. He said "it's the RO's call".

"Yes", I said, "And I formally request that you call for an arbitration committee under USPSA rules."

Someone suggested that I would have to pony up a $100 Arbitration Fee. (Actually, it's not a fee. It's a deposit; if I win the arbitration, my deposit would be refunded.) "Okay, I'll write a check. I request arbitration."

Then Barsoom Bill, who was NOT the Match Director, asked me under what rule I would protest the call.

"I don't know the rule number, but I know the rule. I don't have a rule book handy; give me your rule book and I'll find it."

Barsoom Bill exceeded all expectations when he disappeared for a couple of minutes and returned with the most decrepit USPSA Rule Book I've seen since the 14th edition (2000) "Toilet paper" rule book version. I was ecstatic. Barsoom Bill, in the three years since it has been published, has obviously worked the current "January, 2004" USPSA rule book hard. I knew at that moment that I was dealing with people who had a complete and abiding respect for the rules.

That was all I needed.

While I was reading the rule book (without my reading glasses) in an attempt to find my mitigating rule, the match continued. The RO had scored my targets, and my score sheet reflected eight procedural penalties; however, it had not been presented for my initials, and so it was not yet accepted.

Three competitors shot the stage while waiting for me to complete my discussion with the MD. Every one of them used the "non-traditional" approach of using 'in-depth' movement (rather than lateral movement) to engage the far lateral IPSC targets. Every time, I commented to the Match Director: "I think he violated the non-existant rear 'fault line'; I protest." (My protest was implied to be on the grounds that the rules were not being imposed impartially; actually, it was a general protest that -- lacking a physical, visible representation of the "CHARGE LINE", it was impossible for the competitor, the Range Officer or even the spectators to definitively determine whether the competitor had violated the non-existant Charge Line ... which was repeatedly and erroneously referred to as a 'fault line'.)

One of the competitors was dinged for 8 procedural penalties by the RO. I said "I don't think he violated the non-existant rear 'fault line'; I protest on his behalf."

Finally, after three competitors had shot the stage, I cited the following to the Match Director:

2.2.1 Charge Lines and Fault Lines – Competitor movement should preferably be restricted through the use of physical barriers, however, the use of Charge and Fault Lines is permitted. Charge Lines and Fault Lines should be constructed of wooden boards or other suitable material and should rise at least 2 centimeters (0.79 inches) above ground level. This will provide both physical and visible references to competitors to prevent inadvertent faulting. Fault Lines and Charge Lines must be fixed firmly in place to ensure they remain consistent throughout the match. Charge Lines are used to restrict unreasonable movement by competitors toward or away from targets. Fault Lines are used to force the competitor to shoot at targets from behind physical barriers. They may be positioned at any angle extending to the rear of these barriers. Fault Lines should be a minimum of 1 meter (3.28 feet) in length and unless otherwise stated in the written stage briefing, they are deemed to extend rearwards to infinity.
Please note the applicability of existing rules as they come into play:

2.2.1 - both Charge Lines and Fault Lines must be represented by physical barriers, to "... provide both physical and visible references to competitors to prevent inadvertent faulting." There existed no "Physical (or) visible reference" for either me or the Range Officer to determine whether I had been guilty of "inadvertent faulting". - defines the difference between "Charge Lines" and "Fault Lines". Because my movement was decidedly not "lateral", the rules for "Fault Lines" clearly did not apply. - is applicable only to "Fault Lines", so a "Charge Line" (limiting movement "... toward or away from targets ...") may not be "... deemed to extend rearwards to infinity."

  • Under the current rules, there is a definitive difference between a "Charge Line" (regulating movement toward and away from targets) and a "Fault Line" (regulating lateral movement, generally understood as defining the area behind a barrier.)
  • The phrase 'deemed to extend rearwards to infinity' is so full of possibilities to misinterpretation AND misapplication that we are better off without its inclusion in the rule book.
  • The proposed 2008 version of the rule book removes the definition of "Charge Lines", and replaces it entirely with a single definition of "Fault Lines". However, in the process it fails to address the topic described in excruciating detail here.

The current confusion between "Charge Lines" and "Fault Lines" is subject to innocent interpretation, as we have seen here.

However, without the distinction between the two lines, we run the risk of even more misunderstandings and misinterpretation in 2008.

The "extend rearward to infinity" clause will obviously not address the situation where competitors are restricted from rearward movement in order to engage several, OR ALL, targets from a single position.

This contradition between intent and rules interpretation is bound to cause problems in future matches.

I was able (perhaps maliciously, perhaps in order to make a point) to delay a simple club match because of this simple misunderstanding.

When, in 2008, there are no rules to guide us ... what delay might ensue from the lack of this simple definition in terms? How many otherwise-acceptable stages might be thrown out because the design is faulty?

If USPSA was unable to avoid this contretemps today, how are they planning to avoid it next year?

In illustration of the advantage of a rear "charge line", I offer this video which clearly shows how a rear "charge line" may avoid these problems.

(NOTE: Squire Tomasie and I both incurred 8 procedural penalties during our original efforts, because we had been judged to have violated rear charge lines; eventually we were required to reshoot the stage after a rear charge line had been added to the stage. Both of us added about three seconds to our stage time on the reshoot, significantly lowering our stage factors.

Final match results are available here.)

The Shooter - not Bob the Nailer

This isn't a 'review' ... I'm just a pencil-necked Geek and have no pretention to critical capability. But I did mention that I was planning to see the Hollywood treatement of Stephen Hunter's initial "Bob the Nailer" movie, and I thought I owed it to myself to fulfill the implied promise (to myself) to voice my impressions.

The book (Point of Impact) was first published in February of 1993, about 20 years after the end of the Vietnam War. That would have made Bob Lee Swagger about 39 years old, and assumes he would still be active and in the prime of his life.

It's now 2007, and if the story were presented (as Hollywood decided it should be) as a 'contemporary' movie, Bob would be over 60 years old and he would look a lot like ... me. Not a terribly intimidating figure of a man, and certainly not an action hero.

So instead of a Marine Sniper in the late Vietnam era, they changed him to a Marine Sniper in an Ethiopian "Black Operation" ... circa approximately 2004.

Okay, I can live with that.

They changed Bob's territory from Arkansas to Vietnam. His spotter, Donny, is married to a woman named "Sarah" instead of "Julie", and instead of being a nurse she is a schoolteacher.

Okay, I can live with that too.

Place names were changed (for instance, the 'presidential speech' takes place in Philidelpha instead of New Orleans). Nick Memphis is not a 10-year veteran FBI failed sniper, but three weeks out of the FBI Academy. You'll see a lot more details, and entire chapters, either changed or entirely omitted.

That only proves that the detail ... including hundreds of pages of explanation and motivation ... is much easier to present in novel form than in book form.

Still, even in this much abridged and abreviated form, most of the essential elements remain. They're merely reduced to two-dimension glossy instead of rich exposition and the glorious, colorful exposition of an excellent wordsmith such as Stephen Hunter.

I have four major complaints, though.

First, Hollywood can't resist taking Liberal digs at the current administration, such as the real Presidential Sniper's comments suggesting that the Abu Grahib affair only prosecuted/penalized the 'little people'. In reality, they relieved a General, so the presumption is that the fault went as far as the White House.

Second, the scene at the country house of the real Presidential Sniper ("Michael Sandor" ... his character's real name is not memorable by Americans who expect fewer consonants in a name) is centered on improvised munitions rather than true sniper ability.

Third, the penultimate denoument of the movie does recognize Bob's defense that the supposed sniper weapon he used in the frame-up is inoperable, but he mentions that he has replaced the firing pin of ALL of his rifles ... "I do that every time I use them". That suggests a level of paranoia which is inconsistent with The Original Bob.

Fourth and finally, the last scene of the movie has Bob ambushing The Senator, The Colonel, and their remaining henchmen in a mountain cabin, in an orgy of cold blooded murder which I find appalling. This lends entirely too much credence to the Liberal image of gunowners as unbalanced, antisocial individualists who are potential murderers.

Go ahead and watch the movie. Stephen Hunter deserves the money, even the movie you see isn't the story he wrote. That's not a surprise; at least, not as much as that the film stars a felon who is forbidden by law to as much as touch a firearm (Mark Wahlberg) and who incidently has made public anti-gun statements, and Danny Glover (who is apparently an outspoken anti-gun spokesman.)

The only real surprise is that they didn't cast Michael Douglas as "The Senator". That would have completed the triumvirant.