Blog

Handgun Accuracy
1/14/2016

I’d say I am a fair shot with a pistol. Not great, but OK.  I certainly ... Read More

Well done
11/ 2/2015

New aquarium coming together
1st fish in, lighting mounted | 9/11/2015

Light mount in... Over exposed cell phone pic.  

More Blog Entries

Handgun Accuracy

1/14/2016

I’d say I am a fair shot with a pistol. Not great, but OK.  I certainly know guys that are far better.  Having been asked several times over the last few months how I got to be such a good shot, it’s starting to occur to me that perhaps I’m better than I thought I was.  Anyway, I’m always ready to help, where I can, so I thought I’d put fingers to keyboard and write something up.  It this helps you, great.  If it doesn’t well, I’ll provide a full refund J  So, without any further attempts at humility, here’s my thoughts on accurate handgun shooting.

Shoot. Shoot lots.  There is no substitute for putting rounds on target if you want to improve.  I fired more than 2200 rounds of .40 S&W last year, all from one Smith and Wesson M&P.  I didn’t keep track, but somewhere north of a thousand from my old Colt Detective Special, along with several hundred rounds from half a dozen other handguns.  If you only pick up a handgun twice a year, you’re not likely to hit what you’re aiming at.  Simple, huh.  Just like anything else, practice makes you better.  I guess an article on reloading is going to be next… I couldn’t shoot near as much as I do if I didn’t roll my own ammo.

Grip:  Anyone reading this, if you’ve ever taken a class on positional rifle shooting, hearken back. A good solid prone position, forearm resting gently in your hand, indexed to the same point every time, elbow under the rifle, nice tight sling, good body position, buttstock tightly in the pocket, good, solid cheek weld on the stock, handshake grip on the wrist, nice ‘C’ shape curve, trigger engagement always in the same place... bringing back memories?  Good.  Now, on a handgun, you’ve got your two grubby mitts on the grip, and that’s it.  I’m not going to try and teach a handgun grip by describing it, watch a youtube video, take a class… the point I’m trying to make is that the grip is absolutely essential.  It must be stable, and (keyword) CONSISTENT.  Grip the same way, every time, and practice it.  I keep a bluegun replica of my M&P next to the couch, and practice my grip while watching TV (yeah, I’m a geek, get over it).  Get a good grip, and practice it until it’s automatic.  The same grip, every time.

Targets:  Aim small, miss small.  I’m as big a fan of shooting steel as the next guy, but really, you put that IDPA size steel plate out there, hits are easy, but _where_ are you hitting it?  Who knows.  Get yourself some 4” circle plates, spinners, something of that nature.  Then, when you’re practicing, you’ve actually got to AIM to make it react.  Paper targets work too, but reactive targets are more fun.  I really like bowling pins for pistol targets, from 10-20 yards. Save those big targets for doubletap and speed drills.  Small targets help improve accuracy.

Drills:  There are as many pistol drills as there are instructors.  We’ve all come up with something that we like.  All of them are valuable.  I like to keep things simple.  Set up 8 bowling pins or 4” plates, walk back to 10 yards, and work from a holster.  Draw by the numbers, AIM, fire, re-holster.  Over and over and over.   Same grip, same draw stroke, same sight picture, same trigger squeeze… consistent.  Getting to where you can’t miss?  Great!  Back up some, or switch to a smaller target.  No rush, remember, we’re working on accuracy.  Speed will come, right now, concentrate on smooth, consistent hits.

On the off chance that someone reads this who has never had a class in basic handgun, or rifle marksmanship, I highly encourage you to do so.  Take a look at the United States Rifleman Association (http://www.usrifleman.org)  They (we, actually) offer excellent basic rifle and pistol marksmanship classes, along with some more advanced classes.  Check it out, you won't regret it.

Stay safe!


Well done

11/ 2/2015


New aquarium coming together

1st fish in, lighting mounted | 9/11/2015
Light mount in... Over exposed cell phone pic.
 
Full Tank Shot

Base rock is in

7/20/2015

50 lbs from ReefCleaners.  Nice stuff.  Just an initial 'stack'... to see what I could do with it.  Slow and easy :)

 


Aquarium update

Love it when a plan comes together | 7/15/2015

Much like my original design :)  Tank is in place, sump, plumbing, return pump, electrical supply... That's just tap water, I wanted to run the pump for a while, test the plumbing, see what I can do to reduce noise.  It's not bad, there is a vacuum relief hole in the top of the return line that makes a bit of splash... I've got a plan to silicon a bit of PVC in as a guide that should quiet it down without increasing the risk of an overflow.  The sump, an EShopps R100, has a couple of problems... 1, the return pump compartment is 3.5" wide, which severely limits your choices on a return pump.  I bought a cheap Chinese DC pump that will work for now.  The 2nd problem is the splash down area of the sump.  Needs a bit of a redesign, to keep the gurgling down. I'm working on it :)  

Next step, rock formation.  I've ordered 50lbs of dry base rock, and will begin sculpting as soon as it arrives.

I find myself enjoying the process... Not really in a hurry to get it 'done'... despite my wife and daughter asking when I'm going to put fish in it.  Slow and steady :)


Erasing History

Attacking the civil war | 6/24/2015
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” 
― George Orwell
 
That's what is happening... an all out attempt to rewrite history, to erase the civil war, purge reminders of it from our memories.  People are calling to cut down the stars and bars, rename Robert E Lee Park, destroy the statue of Jefferson Davis... even a ban on the song 'Dixie'!  
 
This is _supposed_ to be a free country.  Eliminating what is obviously political speech, regardless of how repulsive you may find it, is never acceptable, or shouldn't be.  The right to burn Old Glory was upheld by our courts.  If people can do that, there is no question that there is a right to display the stars and bars, or sing Dixie.  
 
No matter how you feel about these symbols, the events that they symbolize happened.  Trying to purge them from the public record is pointless.  The manufactured outrage we're seeing today is political... an attempt to exploit a tragedy in order to further divide this nation, racially, regionally, and philosophically.
 
One more quote:  “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." 
― George Santayana

Getting back into the Reef Aquarium hobby

I think... | 6/14/2015

Planing out a new reef tank.  Took my old one down nearly a decade ago... and I miss having one around.  

Initial concept:

Tank Rendering


Sarah Brady

On the passing of an enemy | 4/ 6/2015

I'm seeing a bunch of pro 2A folks posting about how happy they are that Sarah Brady has passed.  Wrong, folks, just wrong.

In my opinion, she was dead wrong on the issue she dedicated the last half of her life to, but this is a person we're talking about.  Somebody's daughter, wife, mother... I don't care how much you disagree with her, dancing on anyone's grave is just wrong.

Her husband was permanently disabled by an idiot with a gun.

I've had a similar event in my life... my nephew and namesake, who I loved dearly, committed suicide with a handgun that I helped him purchase.  I assure you... something like that will make you sit down and really think through your position on guns.  I disagree with the conclusion that Sarah Brady made... strongly... but I can understand it.  

I'll continue to fight against the organization that bears her name, and any other groups or individuals who attempt to disarm the people of this nation.  You want to challenge the positions she took? Good.  I'm right there with you.  Celebrating her passing?  Nope.  Not going there.  Neither should you.


Common Sense

and why it's not... | 3/24/2015

Common Sense

Sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.

Noticed lately how every call for more gun control laws are labeled as ‘Common Sense’?  It’s the latest rhetorical device, designed to make all those who disagree look unreasonable.  By labeling their arguments as common sense, they are declaring that their argument is valid, without the tedious process of actually presenting their case. In high school debate, this would be called Informational Fallacy.

Gun control proponents can’t win on facts, so they rely on emotional arguments and intellectually dishonest tactics to promote their ideals.

Don’t let them get away with it.

You labeling something as ‘Common Sense’ does not make it so.  Common Sense was the argument used to prove that the earth was flat.  The verdict at the Scopes Monkey trial relied on the ‘Common Sense’ of 12 jurors.

If you look at the facts, none of their agenda items are anything of the sort.  There is no evidence that anything on their agenda will reduce criminal use of firearms in any way.  Over the last couple of decades, concealed carry laws have swept the nation… and crime rates have fallen drastically. As John Lott has been saying for 20 years now… more guns, less crime.

Those facts don’t fit the gun control crowd agenda, so… shut them up.  Call every draconian gun ban ‘Common Sense’.  Tell the world that a huge majority supports their ideas… never mind that it’s all a lie, doesn’t matter, nobody is going to call you on it.  Make the other side out to be nutcase, extremist, knuckle dragging cavemen.   Not true… the fastest growing segment of people purchasing guns today is women, but that truth doesn’t fit the agenda, so ignore it.

As the old saying goes, if you have facts on your side, pound the facts.  If you have the law on your side, pound the law.  If you have neither, pound the table.  The gun control crowd has lost the argument on the facts, they’ve lost the argument on the law, all the ‘Common Sense’ argument shows is that they have been reduced to pounding the table.


Lowering firearm death rates, a pro-2A perspective.

Response to an article by Jarvis DeBerry | 2/ 4/2015
According to a VPC report, Louisiana has the 2nd highest number of deaths by gunshot, per capita (19.15/100k). Jarvis DeBerry, a writer for the NOLA Times-Picayune, asked to hear from pro2A people on how to go about lowering that number. I don’t know how serious Mr. DeBerry is… many times, folks asking for input from the other side of an issue are less than genuine, but in this instance, Mr. DeBerry seemed earnest enough, and even if he’s not, it’s an interesting exercise. I’ll bite.
 
In the interests of full disclosure, here is some biographical data. I’m not a resident of Louisiana, and don’t regularly travel there. My home is in rural Missouri… number 13 on that list you refer to, so we’re not so far apart from that perspective. I am, as requested, firmly in the pro 2nd amendment camp. I’m an NRA certified firearms instructor, competitive and recreational shooter, gun collector, concealed carry permit holder, and member of a plethora of pro2A groups, both national and local. I’ve been politically active on pro2A issues for a couple of decades.
 
Before I talk about gun safety, I want to address the source of your statistics. The VPC is an anti-gun organization. To the VPC, there is no such thing as a positive use of a gun. Guns are themselves evil, and no civilized person should desire to own one. Data from this source is suspect, simply because of the source. For instance, you’ll never see information from the VPC showing that the gun homicide rate is down 50% since 1993, or that non-fatal violent crime is down 70% in that time, despite gun ownership rates rising dramatically. Trying to use their propaganda as a basis for a civil discussion is in itself problematic, but I’ll do my best.
 
The first step in solving any problem is in understanding the problem. 19.15 deaths per 100,000 people. Looking at Department of Justice statistics (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fv9311.pdf), the numbers are a bit different. According to the DOJ, US average was 3.5/100k, with the south being the worst region, at 4.4/100k. The VPC is including accidents, suicides, police shootings, etc., and no doubt using the highest estimates they can find to support their pre-defined position. The DOJ is only counting homicides, as reported by police agencies.
 
A quick word on suicide: I have been personally touched by suicide, on more than one occasion. I have lost family and friends. On this subject, I would just say that guns don’t cause suicide. The highest suicide rate in the world is in a nation almost totally devoid of firearms in the hands of civilians. People who have come to the regrettable decision that their problems are so bad that there is no other recourse but to kill themselves will find a way to do so. I’d love to see suicide just go away, but I wouldn’t have any idea how to go about making that happen, so I’ll leave this tragic subject alone.
 
As I mentioned earlier, homicide rates have fallen dramatically since the 80’s. Continuing that trend is a noble goal. Personally, I don’t see any difference between someone committing homicide with a gun, and someone doing the same with a knife, baseball bat, hammer, or their bare hands. If I remember correctly from Sunday school, Cain killed Able with a rock. It’s simply not possible to ban every object capable of inflicting a fatal injury. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that the leading factor in homicide rates for a given area is probably poverty. Agreed? NOLA has its share, as does St. Louis, and every other city in this nation. The highest murder rates are, in fact, in locations where gun control laws are at their most restrictive. I believe Chicago is still at the top of that chart. Gun control, in my humble opinion, isn’t going to do much to reduce poverty, gang membership, illegal drug usage, etc. The only thing I can think of that might lower homicide rates would be punishment for those that have been caught.
 
The latest stats I can find for time served for violent crime is from 1995. (http://www.iapsonline.com/sites/default/files/Prison%20Sentences%20and%20Time%20Served%20for%20Violence_0.PDF) According to that report, the average term of imprisonment for a convicted murderer is 71 months. Just under 6 years. I’d be interested in looking at more up to date stats, but I can’t find any. I have no reason to believe that the average time incarcerated has changed. Seems to me, if that average were higher, it might serve as a better deterrent.
 
Accidents: I have an 18 month old grandson living with me. We are well aware that, in a normal household, there are all sorts of things around that could injure or kill my grandson. Heck, we have a swimming pool… statistically far more dangerous to my grandson than my guns are. At all times, my guns are either (A) under the direct control of a competent adult, or (B) locked up.
 
While we’re on that subject, I don’t believe that so called ‘safe storage’ laws are a good idea. I’ve got teenage daughters and grandkids. We have friends with young children. Keeping my guns locked up is a reasonable precaution. If I lived alone, in a higher crime area, perhaps having a loaded revolver in my nightstand where I can get to it might be a good idea. It’s an individual choice, dependent on conditions, and should remain so.
 
So, how about accidents? Education. My wife and daughter are already educating my grandson on how to stay safe in this world. It’s called ‘parenting’. A recent lesson for him was that the stove may be hot. It was taught without burning the kid, and he seems to have learned the lesson. At this point, firearm safety education is more for the adults watching him. As he gets older, we’ll start educating him more directly. Kids see guns on TV, even the Bugs Bunny show… If a kid sees a gun lying around, looks like a fun toy to them… as does just about anything else they can pick up. Hiding them doesn’t work. I’m fairly certain that my parents didn’t have any hiding places I didn’t find while I was growing up… We must teach our children.
 
The current educational philosophy seems to be that, since guns are bad, no child will ever encounter one, so they don’t need to know anything about them. They live in a ‘gun free zone’, after all. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t working (look back at those statistics!). Guns exist. They’re not going to go away. Every person, including kids, needs to know what they are, and what they should do if they find one. It’s every bit as important as teaching our kids not to touch the stove. I would propose a very simple first step… add the NRA’s ‘Eddie Eagle’ program to every public school curriculum, grades K-3. (http://eddieeagle.nra.org/)
 
You might note that I’m not recommending more laws. That’s because more laws can’t reduce gun violence. Laws are about punishing criminals. They only deter crime when the criminal weighs the possible repercussions of their actions and decides against committing the crime. All gun crimes are already illegal, with very serious penalties. Any criminal who picks up a gun and commits a crime with it
realizes fully that if they get caught, they’re going away. Extending the time they spend incarcerated may help, I honestly don’t know. I do know this, making something already illegal even more so does not prevent crime… unless of course, we were to make guns unavailable to the criminal.
 
It’s already illegal for a criminal to purchase a gun. They either steal them, or buy them from someone else who did. The whole ‘gun show loophole’ is a fallacy… you can’t buy a gun legally from a gun dealer, gun show or not, in this country without undergoing a background check. It’s a federal law. It’s also illegal for an individual to sell a gun to a felon… but there’s no easy way to verify that. I would support opening up the current NICS system to allow private citizens to verify that a person is allowed to own a firearm. I would not support making it mandatory… I don’t need NICS to tell me that it’s OK to give a gun to my daughter. If I were selling one of my collection to a stranger? Yeah, I’d run a NICS check, if I could. Current law won’t allow me to do so. If I want to do that now, I have to go to a dealer, and pay him for the privilege. Most of my gun-owning friends use a concealed carry permit these days to verify that a stranger has the right to own a gun.
 
Really, the only way to get guns out of criminal’s hands entirely would be to get rid of guns. Do you think, if we gave the VPC and their ilk exactly what they want: To quote Sen. Feinstein, ‘Mr. and Mrs. America turn ‘em all in.’ Could we possibly be as successful in riding our nation of guns as we have been in ridding it of illegal drugs? I doubt it, really… Drugs are a perishable commodity. They must be produced in huge quantities to feed the demand. A firearm made a hundred years ago is just as capable today as it was when it was new. Also, you should know that guns are not terribly complicated machines… given a moderately well-equipped workshop, I could build one from scratch in a few hours. Like it or not, the genie is out of the bottle, and there is no way to put it back. Guns are here to stay. The only possible effect of banning guns would be to take them out of the hands of law abiding citizens.
 
Even if that were not the case… say, for instance, that Harry Potter came up with a spell that would make anything capable of launching a bullet just disappear. Would that lower the violent crime rate? Probably not. If you look back at history, the era just prior to firearms becoming commonly available was not exactly a time of peace. Before firearms, the strong preyed on the weak. Women, being physically smaller than men, were particularly at risk. When the common weapons were clubs, knives, and swords, the big, strong, experienced fighter had a huge advantage in any conflict. Firearms, like ‘em or not, are indeed the great equalizer. It’s the only tool ever invented that gives a smaller, weaker person the ability to defend themselves against a larger, stronger attacker.
 
That brings me to my next point. The VPC and their cohorts would have us believe that guns are without redeeming value. There is nothing good that can come of owning one, no reason for civilized people to want one. They’re patently and demonstrably wrong. According to the latest CDC study, guns are used far more often to stop a violent attack than they are in committing one. (http://www.nap.edu/catalog/18319/priorities-for-research-to-reduce-the-threat-of-firearm-related-violence)
 
Even discounting sporting, competitive, and recreational shooting, something which countless millions of Americans enjoy, guns have a net positive effect on our civilization.
 
Education is the key. Sticking our kids in a ‘gun free zone’, where even forming a pop-tart into the shape of a pistol is a grave offence (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/examiner-recommends-school-board-uphold-pop-tart-suspension/) is not helping to reduce gun violence. Ignoring a problem seldom helps to make things better, and an enforced head-in-the-sand attitude towards guns in our schools is doing a grave disservice to our children.
 
Original Article: