Thursday, April 21, 2011
(I'm really quite excited about being shy, and retiring)
But I have a plan for my retirement.
First I have to work on my "people skills"; then to cure my stutter. Then I have to work on my Anger Issues. These are all problems for people of "my generation".
Hope I don't blow it. (Watch the drums, Sparky!)
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Top Shot — History.com Videos (Season 2 Semifinals)
Since I realized last week that I could see Full Episodes of the History Channel's popular "Top Shop" show via the internet, I decided to try tonite to see what yesterday's show looked like.
This was the penultimate show of the season. The competition had been winnowed down to the last 5 contestants, and this show was to eliminate the last shooter --- leaving four challengers for the $100,000 prize to be awarded on the April 29, 2011 show.
The main test was to use a Glock 17 to shoot 10 balloons. The trick was, the shooter was suspended from a 125' tall crane, and then dropped .... there were only a few seconds to actually engage the targets.
The winner got 5 balloons, the loser got 3 balloons.
Then they went to the challenge to see who would be voted the Weakest Link. Or whatever they call the guy who got voted off.
Two people were chosen, and they had to do a shoot-off using a Benelli M2 against 8 Clay Pigeons. The trick was, they were riding in the back of a truck driving 25 mph down a dirt road.
The winner got 5, the loser got 3 targets and was dropped.
I know, it sounds pretty ho-hum but the show is beautifully produced, the props are professional, and the production values (and editing) are surprisingly well done. It's no wonder this television show is so popular. For a minute there, I was tempted to have Cable Television installed here in Geekistan. Almost.
Which is just my saying ... I think this is MUCH more interesting than watching "Dancing With The Stars"!
Well, except of course I do kinda miss the Lady Dancers.
You can click on the link at the beginning of the page and see the whole thing yourself. It runs about 40 minutes.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
You remember David Olofson, don't you?
Short version: He's the U.S. Army Vet who loaned his AR15 to a friend, who took it to a shooting range where it malfunctioned by firing several rounds 'very quickly'. Someone heard this, thought it sounded like a "machine gun", and since full-automatic weapons were not permitted at this range they called the police. Police went to the "friend's" home and confiscated the weapon. Six days later they arrested Olofson at his home and he was eventually convicted in Federal Court of "... knowingly transferring an unregistered machine gun".
BACKGROUND IN DEPTH: Gunowers.com has a decent summary, and links to MANY supporting documents to the Olofson Case.
Olofson has completed his 30 month sentence in prison and has been released. Now he's trying to make some money to pay his expenses and get back to his life. GOA's press release asks for people to check an online website to see if they want to buy anything that Olofson is trying to sell.
There has been a lot of commentary on the Olofson case over the past 3+ years, much of it generated by Snowflakes In Hell blog.
(1) At first blush, this is seems to be a situation where bad judgment and bad mechanics combined to put a man in prison and ruin his life; a man who has honorably served his country and not only has NOT committed a violent crime (such as robbery with assault, which would probably get him about the same sentence) but arguably has done NOTHING wrong, or even illegal. It's just a Bad Thing all around, and the least we can do is shake our heads sadly and say "There but for the grace of God ....". Because, conceivably, any of us could be ensnared in the Nest of Vipers that is our legal system today.
(2) One of the most egregious enforcers of that legal system is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ["ATF"]. This agency is part of the Treasury Department, and was essentially established to enforce laws which were created to regulate "noxious substances" by forbidding their use without paying applicable taxes .... and then refusing to accept the taxes (if payment had been offered) because they just didn't want you to HAVE the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms or Explosives. Yes, this is a gross oversimplification.
The point, though, may be that the Federal government has chosen taxation as a means of justifying regulation. The agency committed some very strong offensive moves against people who tried to sell alcohol during Prohibition, and now they are committing some very strong offensive moves against people who try to sell (or in the Olofson case, merely "lend") firearms. Is ATF a governmental over-reaction? Is it an "Out Of Control" governmental agency? Is it really necessary that the Federal government should be empowered to define what inanimate objects we may possess, and is this constitutional? Or, in this more "civilized" era, do we need the federal government to protect us from our own excesses?
(As a side note, GOA just documented disturbing news about ATF efforts to ban the importation of several brands, makes and/or models of SHOTGUNS because they include features which make them look 'military'; and “military shotguns, or shotguns with common military features ... are unsuitable for traditional shotgun sports.” Who defined "traditional shotgun sports", and what does that have to do with the Second Amendment?
(3) Was this a simple case of "Presecutorial Zeal"? The Supreme Court definition of a machine gun includes the phrase " ... a firearm that shoots automatically more than one shot by a single function of the trigger until the trigger is released, or the ammunition in the magazine is exhausted". The judge's instructions to the jury had been to accept the
S0 ... was it a 'full-automatic" weapon, or was it a malfunction?
And WHY was the prosecutor so determined to get a conviction that he deliberately changed the definition of a full-automatic weapon to suit the facts of the case?
(4) As for poor Mr. Olofson, it may very well be that his life purpose has been only to serve as a Bad Example to the rest of us, "pour encourager des autres".
Here's a Lou Dobbs TV commentary on the Olofson case, after Olofson had been imprisoned. The video is dated January 22, 2009. I think that the commentary does a very good job of making point (3):
The Bottom Line:
I'm glad he's out of prison --- finally. It probably comes as no surprise to the reader that I think Olofson should never have been put through this ordeal in the first place.
In the spirit of "Full Disclosure", I've had a firearm malfunction and fire multiple shots with one pull of the trigger, also.
It was at the 2001 Area 1 USPSA match in Washington. I had given my STI Edge 2011 pistol to a gunsmith-wise friend a week before the match, asking him to do a thorough cleaning and function-check of the pistol, in preparation to this Major Match.
Unfortunately, I neglected to provide him with magazines and ammunition so he could function-test the pistol. And when I received it back, 10 minutes before the beginning of the first day of the match, there was insufficient time for me to check the pistol.
When I started the first stage, I engaged the first target and the gun Doubled. The Range Officer stopped me, because I obviously had an "Unsafe Gun" (according to the USPSA Rules of Competition.)
I looked up my friend, who was also competing at the match. We retired to a Safety Area where he disassembled the gun and discovered that the Three-Finger (Sear) spring had been incorrectly installed. The Sear 'finger' had been installed over, rather than under, the sear. (Or the reverse, I can't recall just now.)
Having no tools with us other than a small screwdriver, he used a rock as a hammer and the screwdriver as a punch to drive out the mainspring retaining pin, and when the grip assembly was removed he could tell that he had installed the spring incorrectly. He re-installed it, checked it, and re-assembled the pistol. I paid a dollar to test-fire the gun at the Function Test stage (monitored by a Range Officer), and it functioned correctly.
Cost to me? One dollar. Penalties? None ... I actually was allowed to reshoot the stage, due to a technical glitch in the Stage Range Officer handling the problem.
However, if the ATF had been present, chances are that I too would have been accused, charged and convicted (under the rules of the Olofson case) with having "...an unregistered machine gun".
Michael Bane and his DOWNRANGE TV website helped introduce the RUGER SR1911 pistol this week. (Michael has been taking some heat on his weblog lately for "Dissing" the pistol ... which he didn't even identify or comment upon before it was announced by the manufacturer.)
Until we have our hands on the gun, it's going to be difficult for any of us to speak to the quality of the pistol, so it's not reasonable to comment on Bane's description of the product or its functionality.
Bane's description of the pistol sounds .... about as swell as any shooting-magazine writer would present when a manufacturer cooperates in the publication of a "first release" article on any kind of firearm or associated equipment. That is to say: if he gives a bad review, that will be the LAST time when that manufacturer allows him first-day access to the product. It's not that Bane, or any gun-writer will deliberately down-rate a new product. However, unless there is something majorly wrong with the product, you won't learn about it here.
That's not a comment on Bane or his show; it's just a comment on the industry. That's the way it works.
Accepting, temporarily, the above caveat, Bane's evaluation of the pistol sounds both positive and fair. Ruger (a surprise tome) has, Bane says, been producing 1911 pistols for some years. I assume this has been as a sub-contractor to some other manufacturer .... there's nothing new about this; I simply was ignorant of the fact.
And the accoutrements, for example, include Novak 3-dot sights. As Bane says, if you dont' like 3-dot sights, you don't have to have them.
All the specifications are available on the Ruger website, so you don't have to rely on me to 'get it right'. Which is a relief, because there have been rumors about this product since December, 2009 (perhaps earlier ... I didn't bother to research the rumor mill further back than that.)
In short, a reliable gunmaker has jumped on the 1911 Bandwagon, and I'm glad they did.
I'm also glad that Michael Bane is there, right on top of things to provide us with a reliable "First Look" and an old reliable.
7-round vs 8-round Magazines:
The only negative thing which came to mind when I watched his video was purely peripheral ... Bane's mention of the fact that Ruger had decided to include both a 7-round magazine and an 8-round magazine with the new gun. Bane stated that the 8-round magazine did not feed as reliably as the 7-round magazine.
I don't know why he said that.
I've only been shooting 1911's in .45 acp since 1997 (Not counting several thousand rounds I fired in Vietnam in the late 60's / early 70's from 7-round magazines), so I cannot count myself as an expert on the care and feeding of the pistol/magazine combination in that caliber. However, I have to say that the only failures to feed have been from failure to load the ammunition to specifications (usually too short), when the magazine was improperly maintained (eg: magazine spring old and weak, like me; or the feed-lips were not adjusted properly) and when the handgun had not been adequately maintained.
And again, when the ammunition was not re-loaded appropriately; usually due to not full-length sizing the cartridge correctly, crimping them correctly or using the 'wrong' bullet.
On the other hand, the quality of the magazine is ALWAYS suspect. The military issue 7-round magazines I used in 1969 were, in my experience, "questionable" using Military Hardball ammunition. But those magazines, and probably the ammunition as well, had probably been created during WWII ("The War To End Wars To End Wars") and most likely had been over-used and under-maintained.
Put a new quality magazine spring in any "name brand" 8-round magazine and tune the feed lips, they'll perform as reliably as any 7-round magazine that has ever been made.
This is my opportunity to say "Thank You" to my readers.
Generally, based on the number of comments submitted, it's easy for me to assume that my "regular readers" are but a handful. However, the following statistics from my Stats-Counter Service suggest that there is, indeed, a "Silent Majority". And they're not just out their to stab Bill-Hilary (or Nixon) in the back!
This week was a milestone; over a quarter of a million page loads, total, since the blog was started in December, 2004. That makes it "pretty old" and "Pretty Slow", which seems appropriate, since I demonstrate the same virtues. (To which those who have seen me shoot may attest.
And the week past when I am STILL not writing regularly, demonstrate an increased audience if only I can get out of bed and write for an hour or two in the morning. Or the evening.
|First Time Visitors||103||88||57||84||63||71||72||538||77|
So I thank you "unique visitors", be you returning or first-time. You encourage me to indulge in one of my favorite activities. Writing.
You ARE an odd bunch, aren't you?
Thankfully, most of the people who send Nasty Comments to me are personal friends, or they otherwise have my email address.
Due to these informal communications it has become increasingly clear that the options which I added in 2005 and 2006 for the convenience of my readers have overwhelmed the original purpose of this blog.
In other words, the Progressives are taking over my website!
I tried last month to take care of the few 'most popular' WEBRING sites by commenting out the code from the Template, but either it didn't actually work or the ones I 'removed' were not those which were causing problems.
I've lost patience, and it may be too bad that because of one badly-programmed function I've lost several similar functions which may not have been causing problems.
However, in fairnes to me few but faithful readers, I have today DELETED all WEBRING connections, including those which I only (tentatively) "Commented Out" ('deactivated').
That's right. I dumped them, for now and for always. They will not be available in future versions of this website. I've discarded the code; even I don't know how to get them back.
As it happens, they probably not only did harm, but did no good either. I know that I never received a comment from anyone that they were grateful for the WEBRING access; only (recently) that they could not access THIS website because they were always redirected to another WEBRING sight. It was 'vended code', Folks, and I had not access to correct their programming ... only sufficient parameter detail to join and participate in the 'community'.
I hope this clears it up for everyone. If not, I hope you will let me know at jerrydgeekblog (at) comcast (dot) net.
In other words:
"Can you hear me now? NO? Okay, then send me an email!"
PS: Latest H/T: BigDawg
Today I received an unsolicited email from Rabbitt Boyett, the Marketing Director of STI, who very kindly and generously helped me to better understand their new current marketing plan.
I will reproduce his email in total in a moment, but the main point is that STI current leadership has no intention of paying less attention to it's Competition Market. In fact, as Rabbit says:
"we are planning to offer MORE support than ever".
While it's quite understandable that STI is going to work harder to broaden their appeal to the "Self Defense Market", it's impressive that they intend to put another serious effort into growing another market. I don't know where they're going to find the resources in R&D and new manufacturing, but it sounds as if they have an infusion of cash and are willing to spend the money designing and developing new market lines. And I'm assuming that the manufacturing will be moved from Georgetown, Texas, to The Philippines.
(I have to say, I'm not so happy with that. But SWMBO and I visited the Georgetown facility in 2005, and even then they were running out of room in their SteelBarn building ... and there wasn't much room, either, to expand in their current Industrial park.)
I'm impressed. I know that they have spent a lot of time, effort and money lately in developing:
- the GP5 (Polymer Frame, exposed hammer, double-action in 9X19 w/3.25" barrel)
- the GP6 (Polymer Frame, exposed hammer, double-action in 9X19 w/4.25" barrel)
- and the GP6C (Polymer Frame, adjustable sights, exposed hammer, double-stack,double-action in 9X19 w/4.25" barrel)
What can we expect to see in future Self-Defense pistols from STI?
the following are just my guesses, and yours are as good as mine, but I can identify a couple of niche markets which are becoming more popular, such as:
- Sub-compact double-action with fixed sights in 9x19, Very Short Barrel (2"?), and 6-7 round single stack magazine;
- Sub-compact in .380, similar to Compact or Kel-tec P3AT;
- Mini-Compact in calibers larger than 9x19;
So ... yes. This is, indeed, a Marketing War and STI is late in getting into it. Can they develop their own niche? I don't see it.
Can they bounce early entry manufacturers? Well, Ruger has (this month) the hottest of the hot in their LC9, and it seems as if they have already set the standard; can STI make up for ergonomics and power with excellence of manufacturing ... and if so, can the set a competitive price? Can they beat $433 for the LC9? Or will they go for the larger frame/length/weight etc and compete against Ruger's SR* series?
We don't know, but it's an exciting Next Chapter in the Never Ending Story of STI-World!
(Full text of email follows.)
I read your post about Tim Dillon taking over as President/CEO here at STI and while that is true, there’s a little misunderstanding about just one thing: when you say “he is going to move the company away from the ‘Competition’ market toward the ‘Self Defense’ market.” While we ARE going to be expanding our CCW/LEO offerings, we are NOT going to be diminishing our support of the competition market. We fully understand that it is our competitors who put us where we are today and we are not EVER going to turn our backs on those customers and friends- quite the contrary, we are planning to offer MORE support than ever: better guns, better options, better lead times, better customer service, and better communication between us and the public. The changes will be a little slow initially as Tim is using his experience in logistics and efficiency to improve processes around here (without sacrificing ANY of the quality people have come to expect from us, btw. I’m sure you can see how that might take a little time…) Some of those changes won’t be noticeable at first to anyone that doesn’t work here, but I promise you that in a year or two everyone will be able to tell how much better we’ve gotten as a company. Tim has a very clear vision of what STI is capable of and I speak for all the other employee owners when I say that I am just thrilled to be a part of helping this company to live up to its full potential to benefit ALL shooters- competitors, LEOs, self defense folks… everybody! Thanks again for noticing, Jerry, and if you or anyone else wants to weigh in you can always reach us at Feedback@STIguns.com
Employee Owner | Marketing Director
512.819.0656 | Fax: 512.819.0465
Monday, April 18, 2011
No? Why not? You read this blog, think guns are neat and monsters are awesome (as I said ... you read this blog).
Larry Correia published Monster Hunter International in 2009. It wasn't a really major publishing house, but it sold like the proverbial condom at a nymphomaniac convention, and impelled Correia to stardom!
Well, sort of. Those of us who DID buy and, and DID like it, also bought his next book THIS year (okay, late last year if you were into pre-buying books)
I got into the swing of it after buying Book #2, Monster Hunter Vendetta, and decided that this was a series that I wanted to follow.
It doesn't hurt that he has already got a pre-release date on Book #3 in the series, Monster Hunter Alpha. No, I don't have the date it will be released, but I HAVE already pre-ordered it because .... well, it's like eating Caramel Corn.
And because he's still a 'small name' writer, they're being published in soft-cover for the low-low price of $7.99 -- not even previously owned by a little old lady from Pasadena, but entirely new with that new-book smell inside every cover.
So I'm all about Correia's fun-fantasy schtick about professional monster hunters, festooned with 1911's and M5's or whatever ... who hunt and slay MONSTERS for a living. And yes, it's really hard to get through a chapter without either reading or thinking about the phrase "Target Rich Environment".
When I found a link to the (previously unknown to me) blog that Correia has been writing for who-knows-how-long, I put off trying to eat my burned pasta for just a while longer to read the latest 3 posts at Monster Hunter Nation.
I've rewarmed dinner 3 times so far, choosing instead to pour another small glass of Crown Royal (cheap-price courtesy of snow-birder Hobo Brasser) and warm up the pasta for one minute with a few stirs of the pot to keep from burning it even more than it already has.
My advice: Check out the books (not forgetting that he has OTHER books, such as Dead Six, co-written with Mike Kupari ), and also read the Monster Hunter Nation wordpress blog. Check above for the link, okay? 'Cause it's late and I'm tired.
The think about the blog is that it seems to kind of wander down the road barely keeping between the fence posts, but every article shows the kind of verbose enthusiasm that makes me think "Gee, I write long articles; why can't they be as interesting?"
I know that unless you're not sitting at home with an hour to kill before it's late enough for you to go to bed (which implies that you don't have a television), you probably won't want to go read a blog written by someone who had the #27 "new book" on the market.
So I won't say "Go, Read The Whole Thing" (or RTWT, as bloggers say when they don't tend to overwrite).
I'm just saying, the guy can write and he has some interesting things to say.
It's not like watching a rerun of Cheer's, for Goodness Sake!
I started dinner tinite at 8pm, and by a quarter after I was ready to let my pasta-with-meat dish simmer for 25 minutes. I knew I needed to stir it a couple of times, but while I'm waiting it seemed reasonable to run upstairs to the computer and check my mail.
Uh huh, Mom's out of the hospital ... turned out to be nothing.
Uh huh, Digger has a "Gun Free Zone" video to show (I've seen it, posted it here last year)
Uh Huh, Walt has a link to Steve Ricciardelli's "ON-LINE MANUAL FOR EVERY GUN ON EARTH" page (as Walt referred to it). I just HAD to go check this out at http://stevespages.com/page7b.htm
It was an impressive looking website, with a HUGE list of links to manuals which the website-owner has compiled from .... well, all over I guess.
When I tried to right-click on one of the links, though, I got an error window "FUNCTION HAS BEEN DISABLED".
Ha Ha, good joke. It's a gag page. Right?
Wrong. I browsed back through the list and noticed that I had already viewed the manual for KEL-TEK P3AT. I just hadn't bothered to share this find with anyone else at the time ... which was 2 years ago. So I did a little checking. Turns out that the manuals are THERE, you just can't right-click the links to bring it up on another tab or window.
The website home page is http://stevespages.com, and if you follow that link back to the main webpage you will learn that there are many other resources available, not including firearm-related pages. For example, there direct links to about a dozen different on-line news websites.
One thing on the home page you need to note, though, is Steve's warning:
The pages you encounter inside ARE NOT for the hit-and-run user, nor are they for the hit-and-miss user. If you are in a hurry, then don't even bother entering.I read that and laughed, then started to surf the website.
Forty minutes later I realized that I had not even stirred the pot, let alone shut off the burner, let alone stopped long enough to eat supper.
I think maybe there's some sauce and pasta on the top that I can skim off and it won't taste too burned. I've been a bachelor for a couple of decades, so I'm not entirely unaccustomed to eating burned dinners.
So, I turned off the heat, stirred the pot a little, put the lid back on and came back to warn you: as much as I recommend this site to you --- before you go check it out, please ensure that you don't have your dinner on the stove when you start reading.
I should have posted this on BUY-A-GUN-DAY! But I didn't, so I will add it to my website under "RELOADING SOURCES".
But I'll go eat my dinner first. Even if it will be cold by the time I get BACK to the kitchen
[PS: H/T Walt]
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I was in The Caribbean, specifically the Cayman Islands, when the last CHEERS show was broadcast. I and my then-Amore' watched the final show. Then we left our bungalow, walked hand and hand barefoot along the white sands of the Grand Cayman shores, found a good bar and got snookered on Rum and Coca Cola.