Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dissecting Stephen King

Recently, Stephen King (author of It, Cujo, and that book about the dead cats that starred Herman Munster in the movie adaptation) wrote an essay railing against the culture of gun ownership in America. It was titled, simply, GUNS.

In reading it, there are a few statements I feel the need to make here.

  1. First and foremost, I'm going to mention this because it irritates the living shit out of me and just about everyone else I know that is into shooting, collecting, or hobby gunsmithing. All clips are magazines, not all magazines are clips. “Clips” are used to hold ammunition in place, and do not contain a spring to aid in the feeding of ammunition. Box-type magazines, the type used in the majority of semi-automatic firearms, contain at least two components besides the ammunition and box. These are the spring and the follower. The follower sits between the spring and the ammo, the spring provides force from the floorplate of the magazine to aid in feeding ammo to the action of the firearm. A “clip” merely holds the ammunition together, and a spring inside the firearm itself guides ammunition from the internal magazine into the action. 
  2. You referred to Adam Lanza's Glock handgun as a “Glock .10”. As the owner of several Glocks, and having read the Gun Digest unofficial history of the Glock firearm (as well as having some basic knowledge of mathematics), I know that Glock has never made a “Glock .10”. The model you are referring to would be a Glock 20, chambered in 10mm Auto. Interestingly, it is amongst the rarest of all mass-produced semi-auto Glocks in America, because the cartridge never took off. You claim that the cartridge is “so large that it is used for hunting”, but it is actually smaller than that used by the standard-issue M1911A1 issued to the US military prior to the adoption of the 9mm. It is, in reality, no more than a .40-caliber handgun with slightly more velocity than a .40S&W currently issued to most modern police departments as a standard service pistol. Surprisingly, Lanza was able to wield it, considering that the FBI turned it down because the frame was too large for most grown men.
  3. You speak of how one Jeff Cox of San Gabriel CA was able to purchase a Korean-made .223 rifle for $400 at a gun shop, and referred to this as “easy-peasy”. Well, good sir, either Mr. Cox had quite a hefty allowance, or he had one hell of a job. $400 today isn't much, but minimum wage in California was $3.35/hour at the time...before tax withholding. Not including taxation on the labor (or the actual purchase), that's three weeks' worth of wages for the average recent drop-out. I'd also like to add that Mr. Cox was above the age of 18, and had no prior history that would have prevented him from enlisting in the military of these United States, where he would have had access to full-auto rifles.
  4. You cite the fact that over 8k guns have been purchased by the LAPD as part of their “buy-back” program. You do not, however, mention that there are over THREE MILLION PEOPLE in Los Angeles. You also didn't bother to mention how many of these “guns” were stolen, how many of them were non-functional, or even how many of them were simply air-powered pellet rifles bought with tax money and used as photo props to convince the unknowing such as yourself about the “success” of these gun buy-back programs.
  5. You claim that media such as video games, televison, and movies do not have any impact upon the impressionable youth and the mentally disturbed within our society, and yet, you still pulled your novel “Rage” from publication because you didn't want to leave “gasoline near a firebug” or some such drivel. That's just a bit contradictory, especially when you cite the numerous violent criminals who either cited your story as inspiration, or made direct quotes from it.
  6. I found your mention of America's first PG-13 movie “Red Dawn” particularly peculiar, as you state that it portrays gun violence as “wholesome fun” while failing to show the effects upon a human being as he or she is killed with a firearm. Maybe you missed the “death scene” of Jennifer Grey? Or when Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen argued over the prospect of executing a traitor? What about when Swayze had to pull his bleeding and wounded brother, portrayed by Sheen, into the playground? Did you ever actually SEE this movie, or are you simply following a script of your own here?
  7. I found the section in Chapter 5 insinuating that people are more likely to kill an innocent than a criminal, with a firearm owned for home defense, laughably absurd. Yes, tragic accidents do happen, but these are not the end result of the majority of shots fired by people defending their homes. “Burglar alarms” are a valuable tool, and I have one. He's brown, about 60lbs, and goes absolutely apeshit crazy when anyone or anything walks through our un-gated front lawn. He scares mailmen, meter-readers, and hood rats. To get to me, you must get through two locked doors and a barking dog. That will give me more than enough time to wake up and start yelling “who's there?”, and I know this from experience. An alarm system, on the other hand, will beep. I may or may not hear it. It will dial 911 for me. I can pay a hundred bucks for installation plus a monthly monitor fee and a yearly permit fee for the alarm, and have a plastic box that brings a man with a gun to my house, or I can pay a few hundred bucks for a gun and buy dog food every month...and have a security system that doubles as a family pet, as well as a “man with a gun” that shows up in seconds instead of several minutes. What makes more sense?
  8. No one wants to take away your revolvers, and no one wants to take away your automatic pistols, as long as said pistols hold no more than ten rounds.” Bullshit, I say. Even though no legit military has used revolvers since the Nagant of the Soviet Union during WWII, the United Nations' HQ in New York City still displays a Colt Python revolver with its barrel twisted into a knot as a display of what “common-sense gun control” is about. Recently, the state of New York has outlawed any magazine holding more than SEVEN rounds, which effectively criminalizes even previously “Assault Weapon Ban”-compliant 10rd magazines. Essentially, nothing aside from old-school 1911 .45s and “pocket pistols” are legal without a permission slip from the government.
  9. If you can’t kill a home invader (or your wife, up in the middle of the night to get a snack from the fridge) with ten shots, you need to go back to the local shooting range.” Sorry, Steve-O. On average, police officers across America land only one round for every five rounds fired during officer-involved justifiable shootings. These are the “trained professionals” you want us to call upon, instead of keeping our own guns at the house...the same “professionals” who recently shot up a bunch of innocents outside the Empire State building, because they didn't spend enough time at the range.
  10. You mentioned Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, as having 19 “clips” holding 15 rounds. I'm assuming you meant “19 magazines”, but I'll let that slide for now. Just a bit farther up the page, you stated that such pistols were okay if they only carried 10 rounds. You also noted that he killed 32 and wounded 17, for a total of 49. The magazines only carried 15 rounds. Assuming it takes one round to kill and/or wound, that's 49 rounds. With 15rd mags, he would have started with one mag and reloaded three times. With 10rd mags, he would have reloaded four times. Or maybe he missed a bunch, and reloaded a bunch...which goes even further to illustrate how asinine your call for limiting a handgun designed for 15rd magazines to 10 rounds really is.
  11. I have nothing against gun owners, sport shooters, or hunters (as long as it’s varmints they’re after, or, in the case of bigger game, they eat what they kill), but the weapons noted above are not used to shoot skeet or kill deer. If you used a Bushmaster on a deer in anything but single-shot mode, you’d turn the poor thing into hair-covered meatloaf. Semi-automatics have only two purposes. One is so owners can take them to the shooting range once in awhile, yell yeehaw, and get all horny at the rapid fire and the burning vapor spurting from the end of the barrel. Their other use — their only other use — is to kill people.” Mr. King, I am a hunter. I do not own a “Bushmaster”, as that is but one brand of AR15 rifle, and both of mine were home-builds on receivers manufactured by the Rock River Arms corporation...who, ironically, is also a major contract supplier for the Drug Enforcement Agency! That said, you made it abundantly clear that you know absolutely nothing about firearms. Your common “deer rifle” was not designed to kill deer, it is invariably based on the Mauser '98 action, which was designed as a weapon of war. The AR15 rifle, likewise, was designed as a weapon of war. Aside from those lucky enough to be able to spend over $20,000.00USD on a legal transferrable “machine gun” as defined by the ATF, we have no choice but to use our semi-automatic rifles in anything but “single-shot mode” pull of the trigger, one round expended. A semi-automatic has no other “modes”, other than “safe” and “fire”, just like your grandpa's bolt-action deer rifle. And yes, I killed my first deer with an AR15. One single round to the head with pinpoint accuracy, and not a single ounce of his meat was wasted.
  12. Autos and semi-autos are weapons of mass destruction.” You continuously write as if both are available at the local Wal-Mart. While a great many people (including yourself) refer to semi-automatic rifles as “automatics”, that “semi-” prefix is there for a reason. There is a world of difference between the two. It is unlawful in these United States, for a person to manufacture or possess any full-auto firearm manufactured after a specific date almost THIRTY YEARS AGO, unless that person is a government agent or a licensed manufacturer or dealer selling to government agents. The M16 that fires ten rounds per second is not the same as the AR15 that fires a single round per pull of the trigger. Yes, you and I may lawfully own an M16 in this country...if we pay a $200 tax stamp, get fingerprinted, get a permission slip signed by the chief of police, and undergo an FBI background check. If you own one without these things, it is an automatic ten years. If you commit a crime with an M16, federal law provides for an automatic life sentence. You're a writer. It might help if you'd fucking read a bit more.
  13. Background checks DO NOT “entail a waiting period”...unless you count that 10-15 minutes that a federally-licensed gun dealer spends on the phone, verifying that the buyer is not a felon or mental-defective. You state that “even 48 hours” might have prevented the Aurora CO shooting. How long had he been planning it? How long had he owned the rifle? I'm guessing he didn't buy it that afternoon.
  14. Ban the sale of assault weapons such as the Bushmaster and the AR-15” In yet another case of “He didn't really just say that, did he?”, I have to ask myself why you are even offering an opinion about firearm policy in these United States when you obviously know so little about the issue. As stated earlier, Bushmaster is a manufacturer and AR15 is a model. All Bushmasters are AR15s (the modern ones, anyway...they used to produce a proprietary model of rifle 20 years ago, no longer in production), but not all AR15s are Bushmasters. 
  15. Your mention of the Australian firearm ban is quite peculiar, seeing as how you mention their ban of pump-action shotguns...while previously mentioning how AR15 rifles (or “Bushmasters”, as you call them) aren't good for shooting skeet. Call me crazy, but I don't know too many people who shoot skeet (or hunt fowl, or even hunt deer where rifle use is prohibited) with anything other than pump-action shotguns, simply because most single-shot or double-barrel shotguns are either antiques or super-expensive luxury items. The most common shotgun on the face of the earth is the Remington 870, a pump-action shotgun, and the model I own is marketed as the “Wingmaster”...specifically designed for bird hunting. Maybe you DO really want to see all firearms banned from private ownership?
  16. Getting back to Australia, you mention a ban resulting in a 60% decrease in firearm homicides. What you DON'T mention is how many of that nation's homicides were committed by weapons other than firearms. You also don't mention how the rate of robbery, rape, and violent assault happened to skyrocket after the ban went into place. But hey, we stopped selling guns, so people kill people with baseball bats and tire irons...and victims of home invasions, robberies, and rapes had better make that one shot count! We won't mention that last part, because that would get in the way of your “Arithmetic, honey”.

The fact is, Mr. King, that you know fuck-all about firearms. Yes, I'm dropping the F-bomb here, because you had no qualms in using it. Maybe if I stooped to your level, you might understand what you read. I write a blog, but I do not consider myself an “author”. My future wife (an actual published author, professional writing tutor, literature student, and former newspaper reporter) jokes about how bloggers such as myself aren't “real writers”, and we have a laugh.

What I am, sir, is an avid shooter. I own firearms. I collect them. I study their mechanics, the way some people do with muscle cars or motorcycles. I pride myself in having been able to hit a dime from one of those rifles you refer to as a “weapon of mass destruction” from the other side of a football field, after having assembled it in my bedroom using basic hand tools...on a serial-numbered receiver purchased from a federally-licensed firearm dealer, which required a background check, of course.

Just as it is my God-given right to own a proper firearm for personal defense, it is also your right to not own them. Hell, you don't even have to like them. Just do us all a favor and stop pretending to know what you're talking about, and get back to writing ghost stories about dead cats and killer clowns.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Letter to Dennis Bonnen, 14JAN2013

Representative Bonnen:

Throughout your legislative career, you have been leading the charge in this state to outlaw various things you felt went against the sensibilities of the majority of your constituents.

Unfortunately, every instance of these occurrences has come at the cost of personal liberty to every citizen of the State of Texas. The time to correct this, Mr. Bonnen, is now.

In recent weeks, there have been numerous calls for everything from “Common-sense gun controls” to outright gun bans, and even confiscation of firearms and ammunition. This is your moment to take a stand, sir.

Will your legacy as a Texas legislator be known as “That guy who pushed to outlaw a mint plant they used to sell at Wal-Mart”, or “That guy who stood up to the federal government to protect our right to bear arms”? You have the opportunity to provide for Texas citizens the two things we have desperately needed from our legislator.

First, we need protection against the federal government's regulations regarding items manufactured in and sold in Texas. Our federal government is using the “Interstate Commerce Clause” as the basis of its unconstitutional regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of ALL firearms sold in the State of Texas, regardless of whether they were manufactured here or not. According to existing federal regulations, any piece of raw material having 80% or less of machining or finishing processes necessary to function as a firearm is not considered a firearm. It would stand to reason that if a raw material is not a “firearm” for purposes of firearms regulation, it is not a firearm for purposes of interstate commerce. I see no reason why we cannot statutorily declare that any item (firearm or otherwise) made in Texas and sold in Texas is not subject to federal regulation.

Second, we need protection against federal intervention and prosecution under unconstitutional firearms laws. If the federal government is not constitutionally permitted to regulate anything that does not meet the “interstate commerce” standard (such as firearms, ammunition, magazines, etc) manufactured and sold within the state of Texas, it would likewise not be constitutionally permitted to interdict, arrest, or prosecute based upon such unconstitutional regulations. According to Texas Penal Code Section 20.04(b), Aggravated Kidnapping involves the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon to knowingly abduct another person. Considering that an illegal arrest by any federal agent would almost certainly involve the use or exhibition of that agent's issued sidearm, I can see no reason why the statute could not be clarified to allow for a charge of Aggravated Kidnapping in an instance such as a federal agent using a firearm when effecting an unconstitutional arrest.

The rest of this is completely up to you. Will you uphold your duty to the People of the State of Texas, or will you allow yourself and the rest of us to be subjected to the whims of the federal government? Will you sponsor this legislation, or is there some other pressing issue requiring too much of your time?

Beer, boots, and bullets?

There's been a lot of talk about major firearm/ammunition sellers no longer wanting to sell such items due to political pressure, wanting to score points with the administration, being part of some hidden back-door anti-gun agenda, etc.

Most recently and notably has been the photo floating around involving the Wal-Mart smiley and a caption stating that their managers have been “forbidden” to re-stock the ammunition supplies currently on their shelves.

As much as I detest shopping at Wal-Mart (not for political reasons, but because I can't stand wading through the sea of fat stupid people buying Cheetos with food stamps), I will come to their defense here.

Ladies and gentlemen, the simple fact of the matter is, Wal-mart doesn't have their orders placed by store managers. I know, I used to work for Wal-Mart in Distribution Center 6092, Spring Valley IL. I loaded the trucks on their shipping dock, and I have witnessed first-hand how their logistics system would make the US Military cringe and cower due to sheer inferiority. At the Distro Center, there is a huge conveyer belt circling the ceiling of the shipping dock. Connecting the main belt to the individual truck (each store in the district has its own shipping lane) was a smaller belt. A mechanical arm would “kick” items off the main belt, sending it down to the truck so the loader could stack it.

The decision to place certain products in certain markets, at certain supply amounts for certain stores, is made by a team of research analysts that MIT wishes they could have. HQ determines how much stock of each item that an individual store should have on-hand, based on a variety of factors including population of the area, average income level, etc. The individual registers are all tied into the central server in the back of the store. When it becomes known that an entire case of shampoo of a particular brand has been sold, the server relays via satellite to the Distro Center that the store needs another case.

The case lot people are given a list of how many That's where the barcodes come in...ever notice how, on large items, Wal-Mart will have their own barcode sticker that typically has a yellow stripe? That's the code that shows what store it goes to. Items such as televisions, furniture, etc that is often shipped individually will have the barcode still on the box, while smaller items shipped in case lot will have the code on the outside of the case that is discarded by the night stocking crew. Case lot has a big sheet of barcode stickers. They go round up stuff off the shelves, slap the corresponding barcode on it, and get it moved to the big belt.

Seasonal merchandise such as Christmas decorations, fad items such as particular styles of clothing, etc are handled in much the same way, with the exception that they are allocated to the store in specific quantities before any purchase by the end consumer has ever taken place. The barcodes are applied to the cases by receiving for immediate placement on the main belt, and kicked off to the trucks for disbursement to each individual store.

While ORM-D products such as ammunition and heavily-regulated items such as firearms are likely not sent via standard truck shipping, I'm honestly not certain about this. DC 6092 where I worked was, of course, in the not-so-great state of Illinois. You cannot even have a single-shot rimfire rifle or a break-open long-barrel shotgun without getting government approval, and it's my understanding that purchasing ammunition has to be done at a dedicated gun store. I could be wrong about it, but that's my understanding of the situation. Ironically, while you can't buy ammo at Wal-Mart, you can buy Jose Quervo off the shelf...which warped this Texan's mind the first time he saw it in person. I was just looking for a can of Tony Sachere's, and stumbled upon an aisle of expensive booze!
Anyhow, the point I'm getting at here is that there is no policy forbidding store managers from ordering ammunition or firearms for their stores. Even if Wal-Mart were to clandestinely stop selling firearms and ammunition, it would not be handled in such a manner because their store managers do not place such orders.

More likely, it is being caused by manufacturers of ammunition and firearms simply not having anything to sell. Having also spent a considerable amount of time working with a local FFL gun dealer, I do realize how few firearms are produced every year in a given configuration by a given manufacturer.

Smith & Wesson dominated the AR15 rifle market, with over 98,000 domestic-use (not exported) rifles sold in 2010. Their next nearest competitor was the DPMS/Panther Arms corporation, with just under 47,000 rifles sold that year. Both corporations make models that are “AWB Compliant”, meaning they can be sold in states that ban the possession or sale of so-called “assault weapons” because they lack specific features. The numbers compiled here are for AR-15 rifles sold in every configuration made as a standard “production rifle”.

By way of comparison, the General Motors corporation sold a combined total of over 550,000 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks in 2011. I have combined the sales figures of both trucks because they are produced by the same parent company and, other than aesthetics, are essentially the identical product. I do not have the production figures of rifles for 2011 or the truck sales figures for 2010, but we can be assured that they are relatively close in number.

While there are countless other AR15 rifle manufacturers in this country, it should be noted that the FBI statistics I got my figures from were showing the largest eight manufacturers of the past ten years. They are Armalite, Bushmaster, Colt, DPMS/Panther, Olympic, Rock River, Smith & Wesson, and Stag Arms.

Now think about how many people you know that purchased a brand-new truck last year. At MINIMUM, this will be an expenditure in the neighborhood of $15,000 for a stripped base-model truck, with the average price being somewhere around $28,000. There were over five times as many GM pickup trucks produced, as there were AR15 rifles of every brand and manufacturer, with the average price being in the neighborhood of $1,000.

The average person is a lot more able to afford a thousand dollars, than he is twenty-five thousand dollars...but the supply of rifles is a lot smaller than the supply of trucks.

Now, let's look back at the Wal-Mart situation. Most people who go to Wal-Mart don't go there for the purpose of buying an AR15 rifle or a box of ammunition, for the specific reason that their selection has been extremely limited for at least the past 20 years when compared to dedicated gun shops and even big-box sporting goods stores such as Academy or Dick's. While Wal-Mart may get a shipment of 1,000 rifles to distribute throughout the entire state of Texas, Academy may purchase ten units of a given model to stock an individual store.

The same holds true with ammunition. Take, for instance, the very popular-selling 420rd ammunition cans of 420rd Federal 62gr 5.56mm M855 ammunition. I purchased one of these cans at Wal-Mart about a year or so ago, it was one of three cans on the shelf. The other two cans at there for more than a month. That ammunition was packed in cases of three cans per case. While your local mom & pop shop might order four or five cases of this ammunition, the local Wal-Mart ordered a single three-can case of it. It was never seen again, mainly because the manufacturer (Federal's Lake City ammunition plant) had not been able to produce civilian ammo of this type until it had fulfilled all of its government orders.

Ammo is largely considered a “seasonal” item amongst big-box retailers, meaning they do not typically warehouse mass quantities of ammunition for disbursement to stores when stocks run out, this is mainly due to governmental regulations regarding storage of mass quantities of ammunition. They'll ship it out when they ship it out. Wal-Mart, even being the largest private employer on the planet with stores in six of the seven continents, still sells considerably less ammunition than most wholesalers and sporting-goods chains, due to a variety of reasons.

The ratio of customers vs customers who go specifically to purchase ammunition at Wal-Mart is likely in the 5,000:1 range, while it's probably closer to 500:1 or smaller at places like Academy. As such, it would be bad for business if Wal-Mart were to spend a considerable amount of money building an “ammo dump” in every distribution district, when the majority of their money is not made from ammunition sales. On the other hand, a retailer such as Academy can move two pallets worth of ammo every month per store and that would be the normal course of business. As such, manufacturers of ammunition are going to be fulfilling their orders to these buyers first.

Manufacturers of ammunition, like all other manufacturers, are going to concentrate on making what they are needing to make so they can fulfill orders. Our government is currently engaged in the longest-running war in our nation's history, and wars require ammunition. Unlike rifles that are issued from the armory and then turned back in at the end of the tour, ammunition is expended on a regular basis.

In the course of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, US troops have expended an average around 250,000 rounds of ammunition per enemy confirmed killed by ALL combat action. The situation is so bad that in 2011, the United States was actually forced to import 5.56mm rifle rounds from the nation of Israel because NATO manufacturers could not keep up with demand.

One also has to remember that there are “ammunition manufacturers”, and there are “ammunition component manufacturers”. As in the clothing industry, most manufacturers do not weave their own textiles, but procure them from companies who do nothing but weave textiles and sell to people who make shirts. Likewise, a select few of the major manufacturers produce their own components, but most purchase them from other manufacturers. Because the number of component manufacturers is smaller than the number of finished-product ammo manufacturers, the supply chain is bottlenecked at the component level.

When the nation's military is in the midst of a major ongoing war and the civilian population is going through the largest firearm and ammunition buying frenzy in our known history, the producers of ammunition components simply cannot keep up with demand, even though the production is being run non-stop.

There is a massive backlog of orders for every link in the firearm chain, at every level. Ammunition, firearms, and even firearm accessories such as stocks, magazines, etc are backed up so far that it is estimated the firearms industry will need at least a year to catch up on just the current backorders. The majority of manufacturers are backed up to the point where they are not even accepting orders at this time, due to the fact that they are uncertain about fulfilling the orders they currently have.

This, my friends, is why you can't find bullets at Wal-Mart.

Monday, January 7, 2013

An open letter to Piers Morgan

Mr. Morgan:

Congratulations on your very effective use of propaganda this evening.

First, you used an emotional "relative of a victim" who erroneously stated that an M16 rifle and an AR15 rifle are "the same rifle with a different designation".  Anyone with any knowledge knows one is capable of full-auto fire, while the other is a semi-auto rifle.  Of course, because you allowed a guest to say it, you can escape the claim that you are releasing fraudulent information.

Second, you chose to bring out Alex Jones to debate gun control, instead of someone from a firearms organization such as the NRA or Gun Owners of America.  You intentionally chose to bring out a "shock jock", instead of someone who would easily beat you in a rational and civilized debate.

Third, your use of irrelevant statistics was brilliant.  When speaking of "gun murders" in England, you know full-well that the average person (and even the average street hoodlum) cannot afford them.  They can be had, but are not economically viable.  Meanwhile, the United States manufactures more firearms than any other place on the planet and there are over two hundred million privately-owned firearms in this nation alone.  Your tactic here is no different than comparing US drunk-driving fatalities to drunk-driving fatalities in Saudi Arabia, where both liquor and female drivers are outlawed.

Unfortunately, you have one slight problem.  This is the United States of America.  If you don't like the way we run shit here, what's keeping you here?  I don't recall asking you to renounce your UK citizenship, nor do I recall you offering to do so of your own volition.  If the "English Way" is so great, why did you leave the UK?  Oh, that's right.  You had no journalistic credibility left in that country.

If you would like to change the constitution of these United States, please feel free to write your congressman and demand that he or she put forth legislation to repeal the 2nd Amendment.

Oh, wait.  You can't.  You're not an American citizen, therefore you cannot vote in our elections.  Essentially, your opinions are meaningless.  Run along, you limey fucktard...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

For those of you who are buying new gear...

Today, I went to my local academy looking for some random stuff (that I was unable to find...go figure!), but ended up snagging a pair of 8rd mags for my 1911. 

Shortly after returning home, I did what needs to be done with each and every piece of new gear that gets acquired.  TEST IT.  When you buy a new mag (yes, even premium-quality gear like Magpul, Wilson Combat, HK, etc), they need to be tested.  In addition to testing on the range during actual firing conditions, they need to be checked to ensure that the proper number of rounds will fit.  They need to be function-checked to ensure that they feed properly.

Using proper safety precautions, load them up to capacity.  Rack the slide.  Does it feed?  Does it feed smoothly and not hamper ejection, when you rack the slide again to feed another round?  Does it feed every round in the mag?  If the answer to each of these questions is "Yes", then your mag should function properly.  All that's left is to take it to the range the next chance you get, and make sure it works under firing conditions.

The same holds true with all gear, of course.  That holster you bought?  How smoothly will it allow you to draw your weapon?  When you are wearing your LBV and walking or running with it, does it reasonably stay in place?  Are you comfortable in it?  Is your gear set up where everything is easily-accessible?  Is it making a lot of racket when you walk?

Just as important as function-checking your gear, you need to be function-checking your set-up.  Just as important as function-checking your set-up, you need to be function-checking yourself.

There is an old adage that I've stolen from somewhere else on the interwebz, and I'm going to share it here once again...

"Amateurs train until they get it right, professionals train until they can't get it wrong." 

Then again, we also have the saying used by Little League coaches every season throughout this nation...

"You're gonna play how you practice."

In other words, make sure your shit works.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Them "killer" guns

So here's the situation. I know a guy who knows a guy who recently purchased an AR15. The poor man didn't exactly have a whole lot of experience with them (none at all, actually), and bought himself a 6.8SPC rifle. I helped the guy get it sighted in, showed him the disassembly procedures, etc and then advised him to buy a proper 5.56mm upper if/when he could find one.

In the meantime, a certain someone got on the phone with a close friend of hers to ask about reloading dies for said 6.8SPC rifle, since the rifle's owner had been saving his brass and the .270 projectile was relatively easy to find.

“I'm a hunter, I don't mess around with them 'killer' guns”.

Well, I'm sorry, Joe Bob...but even if you're hunting with a goddamned sling-shot, you're still hunting your game with something that was originally designed to kill a human being. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. The Chinese invented what we know as “gunpowder” for making fireworks, and it wasn't long after when someone decided to strap a bunch of rocks to it and make a missile.

From that point on, EVERY single technological advancement ever made by mankind involving gunpowder was made for the sole purpose of killing another human being. Your grandpa's bolt-action hunting rifle was descended from the Mauser, and his lever-action “cowboy gun” is invariably based upon the Winchester '94...if it isn't an actual Model 94. Both of these rifles were built by military contractors hoping to sell their designs to the armies of the world for no purpose but to kill human beings.

Can you kill a deer with these rifles? Of course you can. Were they designed to kill a deer? Nope, they were designed to kill a two-legged enemy on the battlefield at distances farther than a man could accurately fire a pistol.

EVERY modern hunting rifle using a brass cartridge is modeled after a weapon designed by a man trying to sell such a weapon to someone trying to kill his fellow man. The fact that they were inevitably adapted to what we refer to as “sporting purposes” is, of course, completely irrelevant to this discussion...except for, of course, bringing up the fact that sportsmen have adopted them.

At the end of the day, if you can put brass shells in it, it was designed to kill a man. Period, the end. Get off your high horse, cowboy.