Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Heller Resistance

In August of 2009, "[a]n appeals court in Chicago ... ruled that the federal, state or local government can require all citizens to register their firearms under penalty of law."

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of appeals decided that the Heller decision does not affect the 'right' of local (Cicero) officials to mandate firearms registration. "[T]he Second Amendment is no obstacle to mandatory gun registration."

"There is a critical distinction between the D.C. ordinance struck down in Heller and the Cicero ordinance," the court said in an opinion written by Judge Diane Wood, a Clinton appointee. "Cicero has not prohibited gun possession in the town. Instead, it has merely regulated gun possession under Section 62-260 of its ordinance."
Apparently, the 7th Court (in a 3-0 decision) feels that "regulated gun possession" falls well within that inconvenient "shall not be infringed" thingie.

And in October of 2009,
A New Jersey appeals court has concluded that Americans have no Second Amendment right to buy a handgun.

In a case decided last week, the superior court upheld a state law saying that nobody may possess "any handgun" without obtaining law enforcement approval and permission in advance.

And ...
... New Jersey Appellate Division Judge Stephen Skillman wrote on behalf of a unanimous three-judge panel that Heller "has no impact upon the constitutionality of" the state law.

That's because, Skillman said, the Supreme Court did not strike down the District of Columbia's de facto handgun ban but instead simply ordered the city to issue a permit. In other words, while Americans may have the right in general to possess arms, the exact contours of that right have not been mapped, especially as the Second Amendment applies to state laws. (The court's majority opinion last year said: "We therefore assume that petitioners' issuance of a license will satisfy respondent's prayer for relief and do not address the licensing requirement.")

Now, in November, 2009;
... a Maryland appeals court has followed suit. A three-judge panel ruled last Thursday that the Second Amendment does not interfere with a Maryland law that generally restricts state residents from carrying handguns.

That's not much of a surprise. What is remarkable is that Judge Albert Matricciani went out of his way to write that even if the Second Amendment applied to state laws, Maryland's statute would be perfectly constitutional in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court D.C. v. Heller decision last year to invalidate the District of Columbia's handgun ban.
[Emphasis in the original CBS report]

If you're confused, it's probably about whether the involved judges are taking the narrow view to preserve States Rights, or they're deliberately interpreting Heller narrowly because they are loath to give up pre-existing personal bias in favor of Gun Control.

It would be nice to believe the former.

The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Most of us are for States Rights even when they may walk a fine line between various Constitutional issues.

The American Constitution is unique among all nations in all history in that it recognizes the pre-eminent rights of "the people".

[Delete digressions pertaining to "rights of the people" and purported predations upon these rights by various presidents and branches of The Legislature.]

The Judiciary has been especially active in the past few years.

For example, in Roe v Wade the Supreme Court interpreted the constitution to allow for abortion ... although it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. The argument was that
"The Court held that a woman's right to an abortion fell within the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision gave a woman total autonomy over the pregnancy during the first trimester and defined different levels of state interest for the second and third trimesters. As a result, the laws of 46 states were affected by the Court's ruling."
(One wonders where in the American Constitution they found a citation to "the 2nd and 3rd trimesters" of a pregnancy.)

Moving quickly to 2nd Amendment interpretations, U.S. v Miller established the basis for disallowing 2nd Amendment protections, specifically in that a court case which was not even contested results in the prohibition of short-barrelled shotguns (and thus other 'special case' firearms restrictions; it's a 'slippery slope'.)

Essentially the decision was based upon the violation of a tax law., which required payment of a tax and acquisition of a 'tax stamp' on certain firearms. This has not changed in law.

Roe V Wade established the ability of the Supreme Court to interpret the constitutions however they wished. Perhaps more importantly, U.S. V Miller established the ability of a District Court to establish a precedence, under less than optimum conditions ("No appearance for appellees "), which attenuates the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Now we see a new movement by local and District courts to undermine a finding of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

Your personal opinion is probably a reflection of your personal bias. Yes, you are biased. Me too.

I like the Heller decision, although I don't think it went far enough.

I don't like the recent court decisions pertaining to Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. (I note in passing that these are among the states which, a year or two ago, proposed bills in favor of Microstamping Ammunition.)

Today, we have local and district courts passing decisions which seem to modify the 'original intent' of the Heller Decision. But do they? These courts don't think so. They think that the Heller Decision was itself a 'narrow definition' of a fine part of the law; in this case, a Constitutional Interpretation.

The points they make are:
  1. The Heller Decision only applies to Federal Districts;
  2. It does not apply to registration ("regulation"), but only to absolute refusal to allow ownership of a firearm; or
  3. Heller permits ownership, but does not address 'possession' under all circumstances (carry outside one's own property).
Those are the three main points of the issues raised by these points, and should come as no surprise. When the Heller Decision was published, there was much discussion about the issues which were deliberately not addressed by the Supreme Court.

In effect, the Right to Bear Arms folks then, and do now, consider this our own 'slippery slope'.
  • If DC can't prohibit possession, can any other locality or state?
  • If a locality or state can't prohibit possession, can it 'regulate' possession by requiring registration and/or issue of a 'permit' to possess a firearm?
  • Does the interpretation applies to 'firearms', are the laws equally applicable to 'handguns'?
  • Does the 2nd Amendment then allow 'carry' or 'concealed carry' of firearms? And if so, to what extent and under what conditions?
  • Can private businesses (and shopping malls, churches, schools/universities, court houses, restaurants which serve alcoholic beverages, etc.) prevent patrons/visitors from carrying firearms on the premises? If so, under what circumstances?
These are just a few ... a very few ... of the questions which must be addressed before we really know what the 2nd Amendment means, and how it is applicable in all circumstances of American society.

Brother, we have a long way to go before we have defined exactly what the 2nd Amendment means in Modern Society.

We who espouse a 'loose' interpretation of the 2nd Amendment can expect to lose a few, some, perhaps many of these contests. Most of them will probably be contested in the courts for decades.

And at first we should expect to lose more than we win.

But today, because of the Heller decision, the shoe is on the other foot.

Before, we could not afford to lose a single court contest. Now, we may lose a few decisions, but as more decisions accede to our "Right to Keep and Bear Arms" philosophy, it may be possible to revisit the 'lost' issues and win new interpretations of our rights.

We cannot win until specific decisions --- which restrict our rights --- have been brought to the courtroom. Having local and District courts find against the Second Amendment (under various interpretations) only provides us with the opportunity to appeal, and appeal, and appeal.

The Gun Control folks find themselves on the other side of the battle now. Depending upon the political make-up of the Supreme Court (and one is reluctant to depend on a trend toward 'Originalism' in SCOTUS), it may be possible in this century to prevail against "miss-interpretations" from the last century.

The bottom line here seems to be that we need to elect an Executive who is predisposed to seat Federal Judges who are Original Constitutionalists, rather than those who view the Constitution as a "Living Document".


Unless we can recover control of the Executive Branch, we are so screwed!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Exploding Targets from Tannerite

Tannerite™ Exploding Targets from Tannerite™ Explosives Corporation - Manufacturer of High Explosives, Low Explosives and Fireworks

H/T Lawdog

I have never heard of Tannerite until tonite, when I read LawDog's post on "The Best Blogmeet Ever!", in which he mentions it as one of the fun-shoot aspects of the Blogmeet.

Looking at the website, and the included video, it looks like great fun if you have a rifle capable of hitting a two-inch target at 100 yards.

Practical? Maybe.

Fun? I think so.

Check out the website (link at the top of the page) and view the 8-minute instructional video.

Happy 234 USMC!

Today, November 10, 2009, is the 234'th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
(see Commandant's Marine Corps Birthday Ball, scheduled for November 14; and History of Marine Corps Birthday.)

And then there's the following missive, which was sent to me by Randomly Hitten' Witten. I have no idea if this is an actual letter from a Marine in Afghanistan, or something made-up for effect. I suspect the latter, but I prefer to believe it is the former.

Still, it's colorful and interesting, and it makes a good read.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

Happy Birthday to the Marines!


From a Recon Marine in Afghanistan.

From the Sand Pit It's freezing here. I'm sitting on hard, cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains , along the Dar 'yoi Pomir River , watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave. Stake out, my friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles.

I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I've actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but them scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like a bastard. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.

The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat food and drink water.. That requires couriers and that's where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy. I track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage facilities, type the info into the handheld, shoot the coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air commanders where to drop the hardware. We bash some heads for a while, then I track and record the new movement..

It's all about intelligence. We haven't even brought in the snipers yet. These scurrying rats have no idea what they're in for. We are but days away from cutting off supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin.

I dream of bin Laden waking up to find me standing over him with m y boot on his throat as I spit into his face and plunge my nickel-plated Bowie knife through his frontal lobe. But you know me, I'm a romantic. I've said it before and I'll say it again: This country blows, man. It's not even a country. There are no roads, there's no infrastructure, there's no government. This is an inhospitable, rock pit shit hole ruled by eleventh century warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs.

Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his family: join the opium trade or join the army. That's it. Those are your options. Oh, I forgot, you can also live in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu, if that's your idea of a party. But the smell alone of those 'tent cities of the walking dead' is enough to hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs for eighteen hours a day.

I've been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and Turkmen and even a couple of Pushtuns, for over a month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure: These guys, all of 'em, are Huns... Actual, living Huns.. They LIVE to fight. It's what they do. It's ALL they do.. They have no respect for anything, not for their families, nor for each other, nor for themselves. They claw at one another as a way of life. They play polo with dead calves and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend the family honor. Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless beasts who feed on each other's barbarism. Cavemen with AK-47's. Then again, maybe I'm just cranky.

I'm freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap warmer is running out of juice, and I can't recharge it until the sun comes up in a few hours. Oh yeah! You like to write letters, right? Do me a favor, Bizarre. Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the Taliban 'smart..' They are not smart. I suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is 'cunning.' The Taliban are cunning, like jackals and hyenas and wolverines..They are sneaky and ruthless, and when confronted, cowardly. They are hateful, malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy everything else. Smart.. Pfft. Yeah, they're real smart.

They've spent their entire lives reading only one book (and not a very good one, as books go) and consider hygiene and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil. They're still figuring out how to work a Bic lighter. Talking to a Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen; eventually he just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it.

OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back to my hole. Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of practice, but I'm good at it.

Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with your lives. The story line you are getting from CNN and other news agencies is utter bullshit and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep you glued to the screen through the commercials. We've got this one under control The worst thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what we're doing over here, because you have no idea what we're doing, and really, you don't want to know. We are your military, and we are doing what you sent us here to do.

You wanna help? Buy Bonds America .

Saucy Jack

Recon Marine in Afghanistan

Semper Fi

"Freedom is not free...but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share"


One source is a January 7, 2009 post in Free Republic.

An interesting expansion on the theme is available from BlackAnthem dot com Military News. (October 12, 2009)

Also a similar source at The Military Family Network.

Finally, dates this at 2001 in it's 2002 post. Worth noting is that this website is unable to establish that it is either Truth or Fiction:

We have not found any origin or validation for the message. No identity is given.

Some versions indicate that the message was read on a radio program in San Diego. That is true, but the producer for Sully and Scooter at KOGO radio says they do not have any information on the identity of the Marine or whether the letter is authentic.

Last updated 02/4/02

Monday, November 09, 2009

I'm Only Gonna Say This Once ...

... so listen up, troops!

By now you have to be a troglodyte to be unaware of the Fort Hood Massacre. A freaked-out Psychiatrist, whose job seemed to involve helping soldiers from The Sand Box deal with their PTSS (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) found his own resolution to the dichotomy of "I am a U.S. Soldier" and I Am A Muslim"; he got a couple of guns and went out to shoot soldiers who were either rotating to, or rotating from, the previously mentioned Sand Box.

I remember the good old days of the Viet Nam War, when the returning veterans had to deal with sputum-expectorating hippies who accosted soldiers in airports and accused them of being "Baby Killers".


I never thought I would say this, but -- those were the Good Old Days.

SO I'm dropping my Geek persona, and moving back 40- years to when I was Sarge.

Guys, Nadal Sand Loser was just another candidate for Suicide By Cop waiting to happen.

What happened?

He killed a baker's dozen Good Guys, and seriously screwed up another 30 of them ... including the lady Rent-A-Cop who returned the compliment by punching his ticket in the most effective manner. Good on her, and I think she should receive a Major Medal plus Congress should give her a munificent Pension For Life.

Hell, they did that for John Murtha, didn't they? Its a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card for a congressman; it's a Job Well Done for a cop. (After they plug up the bullet-holes in both legs, which in my personal opinion should earn her a bourbon with a beer-back in any bar in the country, and I would be proud to buy her around and tell my grandchildren about the honor.)

But what's the real story here?

Gun Free Zones -- that's what we're talking about.

In a world of Brass (officers), the only Brass demonstrated was that expended by the Bad Guy's Five-seveN with the mucho-round magazine.

How come we have an army post with 40,000 troops, and they are nothing more than targets?

Looking back to the late 1960's, I recall that when the troops went on stand-down in the base camps, the first impulse of the Brass was to require field soldiers to disarm and store their weapons and ammunition in locked ConEx containers before we could even hit the luke-warm showers, let alone enjoy a single night hitting the EM clubs and NCO clubs. Yes, it didn't matter what rank you held; if it was Stand Down, America did not trust their troopers to carry weapons in a base camp.

Why? Because the Brass were then, as they are now, reluctant to trust their soldiers with weapons in a Base Camp (or a Fire Base ... the difference being a Division vs a Regimental fortification) while they were drinking.

Hmm ... well, maybe that wasn't such a bad idea. If the troops weren't disarmed on Stand Down, they might do something radical such as frag unpopular NCOs.

Oh, wait! That happened, didn't it?

But if the NVA or VC hit the base camp, they could be assured that the field-experienced troops had no way to defend themselves; they had to depend on the expertise of REMF soldiers on guard duty.

Hence the near-success of the Tet Offensive, if the Brass hadn't figured it out within a short 24 hours and armed the field soldiers to defend the bases.

(In the actual event, Field Soldiers on Stand-Down were more likely to be fodder for REMFs who would roll the field soldiers on their Drunkards-Walk back to the barracks.)

But I digress.

As Disney had the Crows say in DUMBO: "I've seen a Horse Fly, and I've seen a House Fly, but I've never seen an Elephant fly."

Well, these folks had been been around the world and They Have Seen The Elephant.

Now they have seen the Elephant fly. Or more accurately --- they have seen the Elephant, and they have fled the field, with various degrees of success.

All the time, Major Nadal Malik Hasan was shooting them in the back as they scrambled ... often unsuccessfully ... to exit the Kill Zone.

Nobody charged the murderer despite their training which ground into their psyches the basic Infantry Aphorism: "Run away from a 'far ambush', run toward a 'near ambush'".

Their training presupposed that they would be armed when they were ambushed. Their command had deserted them; they were subject to a 'near ambush', but they were dis-armed. What part of Military Training could possibly have prepared them to be ambushed when they were dis-armed?

It's preposterous. They weren't expecting to be attacked in their home base, in their DEROS station, on American Soil.

"I didn't read this in The Manual! What am I suppose to do now?"

Those soldiers in Fort Hood found themselves in the Kill Zone, when they thought they were safe. And they had every reason to belief that they were safe.

Didn't they?

Their commanders thought they were safe ... although there were no steps taken to ensure their safety. Nasal End Zone knew that he could bring firearms on base with no fear of detection.

Their commanders let them down.

Loyalty up, Loyalty down. That's the way it should be. That's what they were taught.

So, who's going to find their ass in a grinder over this. Certainly not their commanders. Certainly not ... well, how long is it going to take before someone begins blaming the victims?

Today, the base commander -- the egregious General Robert Cone -- described the attack as "... an isolated incident..."


You have a maverick Islamic Officer who has protested being assigned to "fight his brother Muslims", who is a unanimously described 'loner', who has visited mosques where the imam was a Radical Muslim, and who the CIA knew had been attempting to contact Al Queda, who has publicly stated that Suicide Bombers were "right" to kill Americans, who spend the morning of the attack giving away his possessions (and a few Korans) to his neighbors, and upon whom you didn't even bother to watch closely ... and you call this "an isolated incident"?

Maybe he just fell through the cracks, eh?

Yeah, and the Grand Canyon is only the crack in the wall which you covered by hanging a big mass-printed reproduction of "The Scream".

I have no expectation that General Cone will ever be indicted for his failure to exercise his command efficiently. We can only hope that he will be quietly retired six months from now, which will be reported on Page C-13 of The New York Times as "choosing to seek new challenges in the Public Venue" and he will take an advisory position in some Washington Think Tank and be paid about a half-million bucks a year.

Bbecause I know, and maybe you know, that General Cone was only exercising the policies handed down to him from his commanders, which explicitely include not allowing soldiers on American soil to be armed on base.

We've talked before about Gun Free Zones:
  • Why would anybody need to carry a gun in a shopping mall?
  • Why would anybody need to carry a gun in a Church?
  • Why would anybody need to carry a gun at a University?
  • Why would anybody need to carry a gun at a Child-Care Center?
  • Why would anybody need to carry a gun in a Restaurant?
  • Why would anybody need to carry a gun at (fill in the blank _________________)
The sad fact is, people who feel the need to carry a gun in ANY situation are thwarted by Liberal Nanny-Staters, and yet people still get the shit shot out of them in all these, and many other venues.

Why don't they carry a gun?

Because the Nanny State thinks It's A Bad Idea.
What if somebody who is allowed to carry a gun in a "gun free zone" happened to shoot somebody? That Would Be Bad, right?

What if that person they shot was someone who was trying to kill as many civilians (or troops!) as they could in the shortest time possible?

Oh, well .... that would be bad, too.

That's what the police are for; To Protect and to Serve.

This is the second massacre in the past year which was stopped by, essentially, a Lady Rent-A-Cop. Thank God we still have a few of them left.

My solution: arm the ladies. They're Hell On Wheels when it comes to protecting The Flock.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Spelling is VERY important!

Piano Stairs

IN Scandinavia, they're experimenting with the idea of encouraging people to use stairs (to exit from the subway?) rather than the escalator. The results are shown here.

Not a bad idea, I guess, if the escalator is typically crowded.
But here's how it COULD work ... the Tom Hanks keyboard scene from the movie BIG.

(Sorry, this is obviously a dubbed version from a non-english version, dubbed back to english by actors who were not in the original ... well ... version. It lacks something without Robert Loggia's gravel voice.)

Intro to USPSA Class: November, 2009

We had six new shooters and two 'observers' show up at the November, 2009, Introduction to USPSA class on Saturday, November 7, 2009, at the Albany Rifle and Pistol Club.

The class was scheduled to run from 1pm to 4pm, and when I showed up on the range around 12:30 to begin setting up I was a little nonplussed.

All of the 7 bays on the North Range already had the little orange highway cones marked "In Use" place at the entry door to the covered bays, indicating that it was not available to anyone else. In recent months this class had been held in Bay 4, which shares an overhead covering with Bay 5 except that there was a plywood wall inside the 3-walls-with-a-roof steel construction, and a concrete barrier forming an eight-foot high wall between the shooting bays. Mac, the USPSA/Action Pistol director of the club was not easily found; but I talked to a couple of guys who had driven onto the range immediately before me and they said they had asked around and bays 5, 6 and 7 were reserved for a match and bay 4 was reserved for a class.

Bays 5, 6 and 7 were semi-set up for some sort of Action Shooting match, and there was someone (Jim P. who is a USPSA shooter of my acquaintance) using Bay 4.

The other bays were either being used by people practicing, or reserved for a "Introduction to Pistol Shooting" or "NRA Basic Pistol" class.

I talked to a revolver shooter who had taken my Intro class a few months ago, and he told me that the "match" for which 3 bays were reserved was an ICORE (Revolver) match.

The two guys who had arrived at the match just before me said that one of them had just bought a new pistol (Springfield XD) and they wanted to function test the pistol.

Since the 3 bays were not completely set up for the match (the target stands and sticks were in place, but the cardboard targets were not yet mounted), I invited the 2 shooters to use the plate rack set up in bay 5 to test their pistol, and I hung around while I was changing boots and putting on my gear. It was almost 1pm when the ICORE shooters showed up, and by then the 2 shooters had sighted in their laser sight and were convinced that the XD would work for me. They were very good about sweeping up their brass and leaving the bay clean for the match.

Then I went back to Bay 4 and informed Jim P. that I needed the bay to set up for a class. He wanted to know if I would be off the range soon, and I sadly informed him that the class would take three hours. I hated to boot him off the range so arbitrarily, but I had a schedule to keep and I needed to set up the stage props for the class.

By then my class members had begun to show up. I had six participants at one time, but one of them (Donald) had originally arrived for the ICORE match. He was reluctant to drop out, and I tried to make it clear to him that there was no penalty involved; he was welcome to come to the December class, or any later class. Bummer: he had already read the manual, and completed the test. (I still have his test; I'll bring it along for the class when he can make the time for it. This is one of the problems which arise when a club is so active that there is no alternative but to schedule two attractive events on the same day, in the same time period.

Eventually we sorted ourselves out. I asked a couple of the guys to pick up a Bianchi Barricade from the rack on Bay 7, and then took a few more guys to the Prop Room on Bay 6 to pick up our props.

For this course, we needed a 3'x3' steel starting box, 3 target stands, six sticks, and three cardboard "Metric Targets". Besides the Bianchi Barricade, we needed a U.S. Popper and a Pepper Popper, plus a 'stand' for each. We also needed the Army Surplus Locking Container with included stapler (our out of staples, we ended up using my stapler), timer (the battery was low, we ended up using my timer), brown target-tapes, and various consumables associated with setting up a stage. I also grabbed two more Metric Targets as demonstration aids, which I used to (1) demonstrate and mark out the scoring zones and their scoring values for both Major Power and Minor Power, and (2) a separate target where the participants entered their names with a black Sharpie Pen to simulate the squad shooting order.

After a short wait while the last participant was guided onto the range and through the coded gate, we ended up with three shooters: Shawn, Clint, Brendon, Andrew and Wil.

We also had two observers: Aaron-1, whom I didn't know and was just there to observe his friends, and Aaron-2, who has demonstrated a remarkable ability to steer friends and acquaintances to the Introduction to USPSA course over the past year.

Aaron-1 helped move the Bianchi Barricade from Bay 7 to Bay 4.

Aaron-2 helped as a 'demonstrator' for most of the stages. My training technique is the classic "Tell you, Show you, Let you, Critique you" style.
First, we explain each training exercuse.
Second, the demonstrator goes through the course of fire being sure to make each movement slow and easy to follow.
Third, each participant performs the functions being presented in the exercise.
Fourth, we discuss the events illustrated by each participant. Emphasis on the 'good things'; mention of the alternate approaches elected on each run; finally, discussion of 'errors' demonstrated, and why they are less than optimal.

Aaron-2 has helped me in this capacity in previous classes, and I was pleased that he showed up at this class because he is conscientious and talented. On one stage, when we presented two cardboard targets partially obscured by a No-Shoot, he put his first shot into the no-shoot. I'm not yet convinced that he didn't deliberately mis-place the shot, but it offered an excellent teaching opportunity to illustrate why it is a bad idea to hit a no-shoot, why it is a good idea to make up such an error, and why it is common not to notice that a shot has gone wide of the intended targets.

Shooting in Inclement Weather:

It's not unusual for a match day in Oregon to be marred by bad weather. Either Rain or Snow can make it more difficult to compete.

Today was an excellent example. Although the morning was almost Indian Summer clear, it was not warm. But during the oral presentation (the first hour of the 3-hour class) a severe rainstorm hovered over the ARPC range for about 20 minutes. I announced that we were going to extend the 'classroom discussion' for a while, in hopes that the rain would relent later. And I pointed out that we had deliberately declined to mount the cardboard targets so we didn't have to get wet, and the targets didn't have to get too wet to paste tape over the bullet holes in the targets. And I also mentioned that in an actual match, we wouldn't have this luxury.

When we could no longer put off the Live Fire Exercise, the rain was still heavy, so we decided to just shoot the stages and temporarily ignore the scoring-and-pasting efforts which are part of a 'real match'. I also avoided the small-step-at-a-time approach which had typified previous classes. We went right to a modified exercise which taught proper responses to range commands, mandatory reloads between targets, and indexing between targets.

The guys didn't seem to have any problems with the rapid transitions, which implies that I have been codding earlier classes.

In this class, we finished the basic scenarios in an hour with 5 participants.

Since we had an hour left in the allotted class schedule, we went into more advanced technicues.

First we set up a two-string stage. With two IPSC targets and two steel targets, we described a stage where the two paper targets would be engaged using one-hand (defined strong-hand or weak-hand), and then a second string in which the two steel targets are engaged one-handed using the other hand.

After a short discussion, all participants chose to engage the cardboard targets with their weak hand.

The second string (two steel targets) were universally engaged with the strong hand. After all, the targets were smaller, thus more difficult to hit.

Surprisingly, most participants elected to engage the US Popper first, rather than the larger Pepper Popper ... both steel targets were set the same distance away, at the same distance as the IPSC targets.

When we discussed this, it was after we realized that participants (most of whom had handguns most commonly used in Production Division) were just as comfortable using the much more difficult Double-Action mode as the Single-Action mode -- even Clint, who was competing with a Beretta 92, with the absolutely awful double-action trigger. (I didn't try the gun ... Beretta may have made some improvements since I last tried a Beretta 92 a couple of years ago.)

No criticism here. Everyone did an excellent job. The possible exception was Wil, who shot the stage AFTER I pointed out that I would have shot the bigger Pepper Popper first. He tried it that way and took 3 shots to take down the Pepper Popper, then got the smaller U.S. Popper on the first shot -- strong hand.

I asked him why it took him 3 shots to knock down the Pepper Popper, and he admitted that he was shooting too fast. That's a remarkable admission, considering that Wil had no problems at all hitting his targets during the rest of the live-fire exercises.

We still had a half-hour to shoot, so the class found a plywood board which had six very small ports through which they could shoot. I regret that I didn't use my camera to illustrate the challenge. We set up the two steel targets, and three IPSC targets. The rain had stopped by then, so we included the necessity to score and tape the paper targets, besides resetting the steel. The object of the exercise was to engage each of the 5 targets through a different port. I should mention that the participants set up the vision barrier with ports so that they would have to engage targets through ports which were ALL below waist level. This was an excellent test of their ability to engage targets from an 'uncomfortable' position.

One student even went prone, then proped himself up in a semi-push-up position with his weak-hand, and fired strong-hand-only through the lowest port. He did fine on it, but I pointed out that he had mud smeared on his hand when he finished -- and transferred much of it to the slide of his pistol when he unloaded. I encouraged everyone to be certain to clear slippery mud from their equipment after shooting a stage, because that could negatively affect subsequent stage performance.

That took us to the 4pm quitting time. A few participants were willing to continue, but a couple wanted to go to the Main Range bench-rest facilities to try out a new AR rifle. So we returned the props to the appropriate storage area, exchanged emails, and everyone went their separate ways.

All in all, this was another positive experience for me. I enjoy meeting new shooters, and try to not only teach them the many ways in which they can avoid violating safety restrictions, but also let them see that USPSA competition is not only free-style, but challenging and fun.

Before I released the class, I asked for a show of hands of those who didn't have fun during the class. Nobody raised their hands. I asked Aaron-1, who was only an observer, and he said "Hey, I was just watching and *_I_* had fun today.

That's the way it should be.

I love this game.

Speaking of "shooting in Inclement Weather", I include this video from the January, 2007, ARPC match. Lots of white-painted steel targets. which do NOT show up well against a background of snow ... especially while the snow is still falling!

1911 Assembly and Re-assembly

YouTube - brentnowell's Channel

While surfing YouTube, I happened upon a series of videos by an Ontario resident named, apparently, Brent Nowell.

I was impressed by his casual approach to firearms assembly and disassembly. If one goes by the author's on-camera demeanor, this is nothing more than a trip to the neighborhood bodega for a quart of milk.

He doesn't seem to mind if he refers to the Slide Assembly as the "upper", and other apparent 'errors' of firearms nomenclature don't mean that he doesn't know what the parts are called ... it's just that he recognizes that "the map is not the terrain".

He's not a pedagogue. He's just someone who has a useful skill, and sees no reason why anybody can't learn it in one easy lesson.

And he's right.

When I decided that this would make a convenient all-in-one-place online technical reference, I was disappointed that the embedding option had been disabled by request. Fair enough; if the only way you can view the extremely helpful videos is to go directly to youtube and search for them, use the links (see below), or go directly to this youtube album then that's the way I recommend to you.

But to stick closely to ONLY his assembly and re-assembly of the 1911, here's the links to those three specific videos:

Disassembly of the 1911

Re-assembly of the 1911 (part 1 of 2

Re-assembly of the 1911 (part 2 of 2)

I am not a gunsmith, nor do I play one on Television. I'm not sure about the technical background of the author, but I suspect that he fits more into the category of "skilled amateur". His youtube channel profile states that he is a computer geek; well, of course, Geeks often have a surprising variety of interests.

If you want a complete video representation of 1911 re-assembly, this video animates the whole process in a 'theoretical' mode. It demonstrates some of the details not present in brentnowell's videos (for example, mainspring assembly in the mainspring housing) but nothing there contradicts what you can learn from this author. And brentnowell is very good about warning the would-be 'gunsmith' about the little things which can cause you grief ... such as retaining the plunger tube components which are under spring compression.

If you think you have the guts to take apart and re-assemble your 1911, and just want someone to show you how, then I highly recommend this series of videos to you.

However, I even more strongly advise you to view the video(s) several times to make sure you have it down pat, and to test-fire your re-assembled 1911 on the range before you are confident of the results. It's easy when you know what you are doing, but it's as easy to do it 'wrong' as to do it 'right'.

Anecdotal aside:

In 2001 I asked a friend who was familiar with the process to detail-clean my 2011 EDGE from STI. I neglected to provide him with ammunition or a magazine to test-fire the pistol, so when he delivered it to me at the 2001 Area 1 USPSA Match in Washington, he warned me that it had not been test fired.

Sure enough, he had inadvertently installed the 3-finger spring (sear spring) incorrectly, and on the first stage the pistol went full-auto for a coupe of rounds. My score for that stage was Zero, and I was not allowed to continue the match until the problem was corrected.

My friend was embarrassed, and so was I. Using nothing more than a rock as a hammer, and a small screwdriver, my friend dis-assembled and then re-assembled the pistol. After testing it at the "Function Firing Bay", I was able to to re-enter the match and ending up winning the match.

Okay, that last part is a lie. The pistol functioned flawlessly, but I did not. I was somewhere in the mediocre middle in order of finish within my class, which is where I belong because you know what? I'm just not that good.

By the way, in 2008 I wrote an article about "1911 maintenance without tools". The linked videos mention that the 1911 can be completely disassembled using only "a small screwdriver, and a large screwdriver".

The large screwdriver is used to remove the grip retention screws.

The small screwdriver is helpful in removing the firing pin block, the extractor, a few retaining pins (if they are obstinate). Oh, and in re-installing the firing pin block because the firing pin must be depressed. I don't mean 'depressed' in the sense of having a bad attitude; I mean in pressing it into the firing pin channel of the slide so that the firing pin block can be installed.

It's also handy in aligning the extractor pin so that the firing pin block can be installed, depressing the Plunger Pin so the safety can be installed, etc.

Still, it's interesting to note that the removed parts can be used as tools. For example, the slide lock can be used to depress the firing pin. And the slide can be used as a hammer to install retaining pins.

The 1911 was designed to be a military sidearm, and as such John Browning made a conscious effort to make it possible -- if awkward -- to completely disassemble and reassemble the pistol without any tools at all, let alone special tools.

That being said, I have always found it much easier to include a 1/8" punch in my field kit. And of course, my range bag includes some small parts for those which may be damaged or, more likely, lost during field expedient repairs.