Friday, March 28, 2008

New Shooters: Personal Note to Peter

Peter, I know you're out there and that you're reading this article.

Buy the gun from Mac. Come shoot with us. Learn the real meaning of Humility.

We've all been there, we've all learned that brassing (picking up expended cartridges) for the other competitors in our squads is part of the experience.

But we encourage you to share the competitive experience, because IPSC/USPSA competition is so much more than just shooting.

There is an element of 'etiquette' involved, and if seems like "hazing" I assure you, personally that it is not.

We ALL brass for our brothers (and our 'sisters'), and our priority for new shooters is to teach them the safety rules, and to teach them how to be accepted by your fellow shooters.

Safety, first.

Then Etiquette.

Then the other stuff, such as being aware of how squads share the work (Taping, Brassing, and resetting Steel Targets).

We enjoy the company of new friends.

Five Myths of Ammunition Encoding

A couple of days ago (March 25, 2008), Kim DuToit wrote about the "Encoded Ammunition" phenomena which has been the 'Media Darling' of various State Legislatures for the past two months (and more).

(See here for a summary of "Encoded Ammunition" articles on this blog.)

Note: The Ammunition Accountability website currently (as of 3.28.08) lists 16 states in which Encoded Ammunition bills have been introduced. By the time you read this, the number may have increased ... but so far more than 20% of the United States of America have elected legislators who are ready and willing to sell out their constituents in the interest of appearing to be "Strong on the Gun Violence Issue". Do not, ever, vote for any state legislature who sponsors these bills. They are Not Your Friend.

As I read the Kim article, I was impressed by the unjustifiable confidence of both Kim and the people who commented on the article. They seemed to assume that if these bills were enacted into law, it would be 'easy' to undermine its enforcement.

This leads me to present the "Five Myths of Ammunition Encoding":

1: These laws only apply to factory produced ammunition; if I'm reloading, I don't have to abide by these laws.


The role of "Ammunition Manufacturer" is not defined in these bills.

If you reload your own ammunition, there is nothing in these bills to exempt you from being classified as an "Ammunition Manufacturer". The implication (easily interpreted by the Legislator or Executive who has no love for firearms) is that you must abide by the same rules as, say, Federal, Winchester, Remington, etc. You must encode every bullet, and if you don't manufacture the bullet you must buy encoded bullets from bullet manufacturers.

And if you do cast your own bullets, they must still be encoded.

2. If I do reload, I can buy encoded bullets and, by using only these bullets, I am in compliance with the laws.


In the majority of bills presented in the (so far) 16 infected states, the bills require that not only the bullet, but the cartridge case as well must be encoded with the same identifying number. Do you have any idea how expensive this is? Not only for Federal, Remington, Winchester et al but for you?

If you reload, assume that the cases you reload already have encoding numbers. If you have two numbers in the case (assuming you have the manufacturing facilities to meet the law) are you in compliance? Probably not, which implies that you can NOT re-use cases which have already been encoded.

3. These laws will not be enforced, because it's too costly and too time-consuming of LEO's (who have better things to do) to be contemplated.


Any state Legislature which would be so mis-guided as to enact these bills into Law would be willing to require the existant police forces to enforce them.

The administrators of the police have no compunctions when it comes to mis-use of their officers. At the highest levels, it is easy to conclude that politics assume a higher priority over the solving of crimes. Do not persuade yourself that the police will embrace a higher moral value than do the law-makers; they are of the same family, and are willing to subsume civil responsibilities to political realities (in their political perspective). The people who reach administrative levels of Police Politics are those who embrace personal advancement rather than the support of the Common Good. When you assume moral priorities of governmental administrators you fool only yourself

4. The legislators who vote these bills into law are determined to use them for the purpose of solving crimes.


These are political issues, not civil. Not Crime Prevention, not Crime Solving, not Defense of the Common Good. If you assume the high moral values of Legislators, remember:
They're all Lawyers, and Politicians.

There is no lower common denominator to be defined within the definition of Civil Service.

5. These bills will never be passed into laws, because they are so obviously unworkable.


"Obviously unworkable bills" are the epitome of targets for Politician.

That a bill is infeasible means only that the legislators who enact them, and the administrators who service them, are held to no higher moral standard.

That the enacted law is infeasible means only that the Legislature is absolved of responsibility, because it is obvious that their moral stance has been undermined by trifling practical matters. They have assumed the moral high ground; that Technology is unable to meet the standards which they have promised is NOT the fault of Legislature. The Senate/Assembly/Whatever has done their part, and if the (single-vendor) business which the legislature believed proves to be unable to meet their bloated promises, the Legislature had Done Its Part.

From this point on, the failure to meet objectives is a Business Decision, not a Moral Imperative.

Because the Legislature doesn't do Moral Imperatives.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


(NTSF: (Not Safe For Work)

Or Home.

Or anywhere.

Fifteen minutes of shame.

Geert Wilders finally found a host.

UPDATE: 28-MAR-2008
I didn't see this coming: Live Leak has removed the FITNA film, and replaced it with an explanation.

That is, they had received so many lethal threats that they felt compelled to remove the film. They had intended its presentation to be a strike for freedom of speech, but "... in the end, the price was too high".

I'll let you imagine the source of the threats. My personal opinion is that the Radical Islamists in Britain and around the world reacted in what may be considered a by-now-predictable manner.

The result is that the statement of Geert Wilders has been silenced by the outrageous actions of a barbaric mob.

No, I was wrong. That was the effect. The result is that his implied condemnation of their barbarism has been proven by their own actions.

My greatest regret is that I had the opportunity to download the film, and it never occurred to me at the time that it would so speedily be censored by the murderous mob.

... so I went to You Tube, and found 'another version' of the film.

This is not identical to the LiveLeak version I presented here yesterday. I noted some significant differences.

First, although this version is identified on You Tube as 'the official English version', it is not. It's titled in a Germanic language, with English titles superimposed.

Also, the scenes are not as I remembered. There was much more footage in at least two segments ... the 9/11 sequence at the beginning, and at least one clerical rant half-way through. The beheading scene actually includes the raising of the decapitated head, which was mercifully absent in the earlier version (and I do wish I had not been exposed to that abomination.) The film was 5 minutes shorter than the earlier version, and some other scenes were also longer. I can't tell you what was absent, because I only watched the earlier version a half-dozen times during composition of this article.

Finally, the last few minutes were different. The earlier described the sound as 'ripping a page out of a telephone book' while this version describes it as 'ripping a page out of a book' with no more attempt to emphasize that it was NOT the result of actually damaging a Quaran. (sp)

I would rather have found an exact copy of the version I presented earlier, but I will be satisfied with this version.

And I DID download this version, before it can be 'removed' from the host.

You can download the 24MB 'FLV-format' ("Flash Video") file here. You may need to download FLV (free) or Real Player software (not so free) to play it. (You may need to download and install Java to play it too, if you don't already have it installed.)

But play it you can, and as of now the Radical Islamists can't shut down your right to hear speech which they would deny you.

UPDATE: 31-MAR-2008
Yuri at The Real Gun guys was more a realist than I was; he downloaded the original English version of the video. You can see it here.

I'm not sure that this film would ever have been considered very important to anyone, until the Islamists made it an issue by their insane rhetoric and death threats. They have, once again, made themselves more despicable than any "blasphemy" which may or may not be contained in the video. (Actually, there's nothing new in the video ... it's just a recap of the atrocities, threats and barbaric behavior of which we are already too aware.)

If you choose not to view the video, you might drop by there anyway and read the few comments.

AK-47 "types"

H/T The War On Guns:
ENNER, La. The cake had been served and the children were jumping up and down in a big, inflatable castle when the birthday party turned to bedlam.

Clarence McGraw's jaw dropped as he saw the visitors coming, guns drawn. The screaming began.

Children ran everywhere in the courtyard of the low-income apartment complex; adults fell to the ground. Bullets flew. The killers wounded three youngsters, but for reasons police can't explain, it was 19-year-old McGraw they were after.

As McGraw lay in the center of the green square, the gunmen stood over him and fired again. He was shot 15 to 20 times in all.

A tragedy, no question.

How does the Media handle it?

On Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Glenwood Apartments in Kenner, Trinioucka Martin rose early and cooked all morning for her twin boys' birthday party — meatballs, fried chicken, baked macaroni, sandwiches. She had already ordered a cake with the youngsters' picture on it, hired a DJ, and rented the inflatable castle and house.

McGraw woke up at his aunt's house across a highway from the apartment complex and had a hankering for something sweet. He wanted some cake.

At the party, after the crowd had dispersed and the officers arrived, McGraw lay dead on the ground near a sewer grate, his torso and lower body riddled with bullet wounds. Balloons still floated from ribbon; the "Happy Birthday" banner still hung.

No arrests have been made. McGraw was buried in a $450 grave against a chain-link fence in a crumbling New Orleans cemetery. The mound of dirt above his casket is littered with rocks and bone fragments and teeth. There was no money for a marker.

.. The Media presupposes a charnel yard .. "littered with ... bone fragments and teeth."
I sincerely doubt it.

This is yellow journalism at its best. Or at its worst.

It causes the reader to doubt the veracity of the rest of the article.

UPDATE 28-MAR-2008:
The author of the article comments, swears that the "rocks and bone fragments and teeth" are indeed more than mere hyperbole.

I apologize for my skepticism, and strike the statement. (But not the statement of doubt ... it does have that effect.)

What about the Encoded Ammunition bills?

The NRA is doing its job ... as defined by the NRA:
TALLAHASSEE - Without debate, the Florida House gave the powerful gun lobby a major victory today by passing a bill to allow employees to take their guns to work - as long as the employee has a concealed weapons permit and the weapon is left in the car.
... as defined by the NRA.

(The most recent comment regarding Encoded Ammunition bills from NRA-ILA is dated January, 25, 2008.)

Has the NRA been bought by the UN?

UN Human Rights Council Maintains Standard of Excellence

To the sound of cheers, and by an overhwelming majority of 40 out of 47 votes, the UN Human Rights Council today elected Jean Ziegler, the co-founder of the "Muammar Khaddafi Human Rights Prize," as an expert advisor representing the Western world. And for its new Palestine expert, the council chose Richard Falk, who, like Ziegler, accuses the U.S. of being responsible for many of the world's ills and describes Israel in Nazi terminology.
[Emphasis added ... redundantly]
"Even within the benighted UN Human Rights council, today was a dark day for human rights," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights monitoring agency. "The very credibility of the UN human rights system is now at stake."

Well, there's nothing new about this.

Why in the world do we need these 'tards cluttering up Turtle Bay? For $29.95 we could throw the bastards diplomats out of our country and turn the neighborhood into a Saturday Market.

I'm in for $20.00

The Michael Bane Blog: TSA Stupidity Puts Pilots At Risk!

TSA Stupidity Puts Pilots At Risk!

Did you read the news articles about the armed airline pilot who put a round through the bulkhead while supposedly 'flying' the airplane? (Here is the original news story.)

Were you confused? Did you wonder why the Main Stream Media (MSM - you know, the newspapers and their internet equivalent) didn't give us enough information to properly evaluate the news? Did you jump to the conclusion that the pilot was mucking about with a loaded pistol, and was completely responsible for his negligence?

So did I. In fact, so did one of my most respected 'favorite bloggers', Xavier, as is noted in excruciatingly embarrassing detail here.

I give myself no credit for restraint; I might easily have been as critical of the pilot had I been swayed by the paucity of information available from the MSM.

Leave it to Michael Bane to wade through the incomplete early reports and uncited references to dig out the truth of the matter.

That is, that TSA regulations requires armed Flight Deck Officers to holster weapons AND PUT A PADLOCK THROUGH THE TRIGGER GUARD to secure the weapon. (Click on the link at the top of the page for the full Bane treatment.)

Bane rightly compares this with IPSC/USPSA safety regulations, and the absolute need to keep pistols (especially DAO) in holsters which completely cover the trigger. Instead, TSA encourages holstering a pistol with a round in the chamber and then attempting to insert the hasp of a padlock through the trigger guard to insure holster retention.

Look for a big shake-up in TSA ... again. Now that they have allowed Flight Deck Officers to carry weapons during flight, they need to start listening to people who know something about carrying loaded pistols and the best ways to keep the bang-switch protected.

In the meantime, consider this scenario: The FDO was holstering his pistol and locking it in place, as is required by the TSA regulations. Insertion of the padlock hasp bears upon the trigger, and the gun goes off ... resulting in a hole in the bulkhead.

What would have been the consequences if the pistol, rather than being pointed toward the port bulkhead, had been pointed at the controls or the pilot who was engrossed in the actual pre-landing piloting?

I think it speaks volumes for the FDO who knew enough to watch the muzzle.

And I wouldn't want to be responsible for the consequences if I had to (mandatory) put a padlock through the trigger-guard of a pistol cased in a (mandatory) exposed-trigger holster.

It can't be done ... safely.
UPDATE: 31-MAR-2008
Xavier has this short article, accompanied by a video which shows just how EASY it is to cause a Negligent Discharge using the "Holstervault" holster for pistol retention.

The conclusion by Xavier is that " ... The problem with the shot that was fired through the skin of an A319 Airbus over Charlotte North Carolina is the responsibility of the man who caused the firearm to discharge. "

Well, yes. And no.

I agree that it IS the responsibility of the man with the gun in his hand to prevent Negligent Discharges, which is why I term it a "Negligent Discharge" (N.D.) rather than the more common term "Accidental Discharge" (A.D.). The FDO should have recognized that the arrangement was a certifiable POS and should have taken more care in handling the gun ... especially in the process which was obviously, as they say, "fraught with peril". Still, I take exception to the implied assignment of 100% of fault on the FDO, for several reasons.

Not least of the reasons for my seeming forgiveness of gun-handler error is that the pistol/holster/lockup combination was mandated by TSA; any reasonably competent firearms owner would have seen that there were design flaws, but the TSA refused to bend on this decision.

That still doesn't absolve the FDO, and it shouldn't He should have perceived the problematic nature of the combination, and have been more aware ... and therefore, more careful.

Add to this, though, the TSA regulatory requirement that the FDO must secure the firearm every time he leaves the flight deck, and then re-establish the firearm as an easily accessible resource upon his return (holster off the belt, padlock positioned secure the firearm in the holster; conversely, padlock removed, holster returned to belt.)

This feeds into what Micahel Bane has colloquially referred to as the "Futz Factor". Informally interpreted, this is the principle that "The more you futz around with your gun, the more likely that Something Bad Will Happen. (The precise definition of the term "Futz" is left as an exercise for the Student.)

Here we plainly see that the FDO has Futzed Around with his gun so frequently that it has become a matter of habit, and he has lost all sense of danger in this common occurrence. He has failed to perceive that the firearm has been cocked, and has been moved within the holster, and as a consequence he does not take the time or trouble to thoroughly insure that the gun is 'safe' before inserting the padlock. More, it has become a common practice which he feels confident that he can perform while he is flying the airplane.

Clearly, the FDO is not focusing his attention on the gun safety requirements which should be a significant event; instead, he is distracted and complacent.

His failure to properly assign securing the gun as his primary responsibility is inexcusable, but understandable. The TSA's regulations must be assigned some part of the responsibility for the resultant mishap, and it is left to pure dumb luck that the N.D. did not result in the wounding of the FDO, fatal damage to critical instruments in the console, or both.

TSA is responsible for the egregious procedures which are to be followed, and the abysmal equipment which it has mandated. More, it is responsible for the training and the lack of follow-up training afforded to the FDO.

While the individual is responsible for his own actions, the organization is responsible for equipment and training.

Both have failed miserably here, and until that fact is recognized and accepted we cannot expect
that the failure will not recur.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

XL650 comes back from the doctor

You may recall that on March 01, 2008, I wrote "XL650 Goes To The Doctor", explaining just WHY I sent my (15 year old) Dillon reloading press back to the manufacturer for repair and refurbishing.

For those of you who are disinclined to follow the link, here is a summary of the mechanical problems I was experiencing ... not intermittently, but with every darn round:
  1. the shell plate wouldn't index consistently, leading to
  2. the primer plate never lined up with the primer pocket of the cartridge, and
  3. the primer plate wouldn't index anyway, because the primer return cam spring was too weak, and
  4. the killer was that the cartridge slide cam wouldn't move the brass into the next slot in the shell plate.
For every cartridge, I had to manually index the shell plate, push the case into the shell plate, index the primer plate and move the primer index lever to the next hole in the primer plate ... even though I knew darn well that wouldn't make it line up with the primer pocket for the next cartridge.

Well, it's old. I'm old, too, and I wish I could get myself refurbished as easily.

I had been fighting these conditions for over a year, because I was loath to take my reloading press out of service for who-knows-how-long; that would mean I couldn't load ammunition for the local club matches, so we (SWMBO and I) couldn't go shooting.

But when your ammunition reloading productivity degrades from 600 - 1000 rounds per hour to 60-100 rounds per hour, it's just not worth the frustration any more. I realized that I was procrastinating so bad, we were skipping matches anyway, just because I was unwilling to subject myself to the freezing Winter temperatures in the garage (where the reloading bench is located) long enough to load up the 300-400 rounds needed to compete in a club match.

When I called Dillon 3 weeks ago, they said they could complete the job and return the refurbished press in three weeks, and today I discovered that they were right. (There was some time lost in shipping to and back, and Fed-Ex needed a signature before they would deliver so I lost a day in the return when I came home last night and found a "we tried to deliver, but you need to sign this card" note on my front door.)

I signed the card last night, stuck it on my door this morning, and when I got home from work tonite the big box with the press in it was sitting on my doorstep.

When I opened the box and checked it out, I found that the shell plate, the primer assembly and the case insert slide were much tighter than I remembered them being. (Click on image to see the full-size image.)

The parts list takes up two pages.

the cost for labor was $0.00

The cost for parts was $76.95 ... and the "Applied Credit" was $76.95.

The total bill was $00.00, and I have a press that's just like new!

The press looks, at first glance, very like the way it looked when I sent it. There's some paint missing (just as it was when I sent it in), but the frame looks like new because it has all been cleaned much better than I ever managed.

I'm a little excited about this.

No, I'm not going to re-assemble the press on my bench and load 1,000 rounds of .38 Super ammunition tonight. The temperature in my garage at 6:30pm (when I got home) was 39 degrees, and the wind-chill factor was -6 degrees. It's my personal policy, established today, not to reconstruct loading presses and load ammunition when the temperature is within five degrees of freeze-my-ass-off. Maybe tomorrow, maybe this weekend, but not right NOW.

But I'm encouraged by the look and feel of the press, so I'll not likely let it sit in its box on the washing machine for too long.

I need ammo, and I have over a thousand rounds of brass that will be crying for attention as soon as it warms up.

When I get it set up, I'll take more pictures. Then I'll load a batch of ammunition and let you know whether the difference is dramatic or only 'just better'.

Most important, I'm impressed by Dillon's responsiveness. Most folks, I am given to understand, send their presses in for repair and refurbishment during the winter months. I sent mine in just before the Spring, and Dillon did their part well within the estimated time limit.

Of course, the Dillon Warranty is Legend, and they live up to their reputation every time. I have never been disappointed by them. (The only vendor I know, of any type, with as comprehensive and 'No BS' as Dillon, is STI.)

You won't be either, so if your press is as mucked up as mine was, don't hesitate to send it to them before the Practical Shooting Season gets into full swing.

You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Other Side of '43'

Reviewing my Blog statistics, I see that I've received some traffic from 'Mausers, Medicine and Motorcycles' (specifically, this March 10, 2008, post).

The reference is embedded in this comment:

It turns out that there are statistics to back up my surmise. Guns kept in the home for self-protection are 43 times more likely to kill a family member, friend or acquaintance than to kill an intruder, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. As for what’s happening on the streets, Foer quotes the FBI: "For every justifiable handgun homicide, there are more than 50 handgun murders. The expanding right to carry concealed guns make us even less safe."

See Cogito Ergo Geek for the answer to the "43 times" fallacy. And consider this: how many times have handguns dissuaded a violent act without resulting in the death of the potential attacker? Somehow I don't see you being happier if the ratio where 1:1.
I attempted to reply to MM&M in the COMMENTS section, but apparently the comments section was closed (without warning), and so my attempt to expand on the topic were foiled.

I'm a blogger; I am never foiled on the Internet, so I include my response here:
As the author of Cogito Ergo Geek, I appreciate your reference to my research.

Actually, the results of 'my research' are that the original article in the "New England Journal of Medicine" (NEJM) is no longer available.

That is to say, Kellerman's original article is no longer available on the NEJM website, and so those who quote him ... no matter how peripherally ... aren't really quoting him because they are unable to cite the source.

I've made the attempt many times, and I always end up frustrated because the NEJM has removed that article from their archive.

However, several referential articles remain, and these are the sources I've cited.

Generally, these are secondary sources. That is, they 'quote' studies who in turn 'quote' Kellerman ... or paraphrase him.

At this point, we are reduced to citing tertiary sources, which unanimously (as of this date) debunk Kellerman for his shoddy sampling techniques.

Playing the Devil's Advocate, I've attempted to establish the veracity of the original Kellerman study. Nobody seems willing to justify these statistics; rather, the citations are entirely critical of Kellerman and his '43 times more likely' assertions.

If the '43 times' theory was at all justifiable, given the attacks on the study over the past decade, one might reasonably expect the "anti-gun" proponents to replicate the study under conditions which were less vulnerable to constructive criticism.

That this study has not occurred (or that it HAS, but the results were so nonsupporting of the Liberal agenda that the results were never published) speaks volumes of the original 'study'.

If Kellerman's many supporters are unable to definitively defend his assertion, we can only conclude that it is indefensible.

Which is what I (and you) have already proposed.

The next time and every time you see the number '43' in some gun-control context, be secure in your confidence that the author is lying.

That's what they do, and will do, until someone confronts them.