Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What's going on with .357 Sig? Conclusion

Sorry for the delay, but I have been waiting for responses from several ammunition manufacturers, and not one of them has gotten back to me. That's disappointing, but I do have one more tidbit of information that I learned while at the NRA Convention. Two more major manufacturers will still be supporting this caliber although one in more of a limited capacity. These two manufacturers are S&W and Glock.

The S&W booth was very busy and it was hard to get to talk to anyone. The rep that I did pin down was very short with me, and seemed to be interested only in any direct questions about the firearms they brought to the show. He did take a minute to ponder what I asked him and said this: S&W will be discontinuing regular sales of the .357 Sig caliber in their M&P line, but will continue to sell this caliber in large contracts to law enforcement agencies. They will of course support any previously sold .357 Sig models that are under warranty. He had no information about conversion kits. I'm not sure if this means that they won't be selling this caliber straight out of the box, but will have the conversion kits for later purchase. I found this both semi-reassuring and puzzling. Why would S&W stick with the large volume contract sales if HK and FN - who are mainly concerned with those types of sales - are pulling out? Maybe S&W has more volume in police sales?  Maybe they have a lot of remaining departmental interest in switching to it? Possibly they have a lot of .357 Sig pistols out there to support. Your guess is as good as mine.

And now for the better news. I went to the Glock booth after all the whoo-ah had settled down from Gunny's visit and tried to talk to some of the marketing people there. To my surprise I was able to speak to several of them, and they were very interested in talking about all the calibers that they offer. They said Glock would continue to sell and support .357 Sig and there were no plans of dropping it. They didn't think it was exactly selling like hot cakes but they thought sales were steady. I didn't arrive to their booth with any real appreciation for Glock, but I left with a much better attitude about them. The reps were very nice, they answered all my questions and were knowledgeable about their products. I thought about this as I walked away. You see, I'm not a fan of their pistols. I think they're well made and relibale, and I have nothing against them, but they're just not for me. I now have a new respect for them. You see, Glock has sort of become a catch all for calibers. They still make and sell pistols in a variety of not so popular calibers. The more I thought about it the more I realized I really appreciate that. I appreciate a company that provides choice. Maybe they do it because they make so much money off their 9mm sales that they don't care if they only sell a few in the other calibers or maybe they actually care about the consumer.

As a side note, I made a quick stop at the Springfield Armory Booth. The do sell XD pistols in .357 Sig. Other than the reps saying yea we have those, they didn't have any other information about sales or plans to keep or drop the caliber..just "Yep we have em."

So what does it all mean? Without the ammo sales information I don't feel I can make a resounding conclusion. I will of course follow up, if they ever do get back to me. I think .357 Sig is here to stay. I don't think it's the hot ticket any longer, but I don't think it falling off either. It may have reached a plateau and I think it's going the route of 10mm. It's generally accepted and not an obscure caliber. Ammo is expensive, but not hard to find, and seems to be made by most manufacturers. The pistol choices may be limited more in the future, but right now there's still full support from several major manufacturers, and as many of you pointed out there's always conversion kits.

Monday, May 30, 2011

(borrowed from here)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's time.

I hit the road today.

Literally.  With my feet.  Because I'm sick of being a lardass.

I'm going to join one of those 24-hour no-commitment $9/month gyms - my neighbor goes every day, said I should go with him.

I'm gonna kick this thing in the posterior.  My goal?  Eventually, I'd like to get back down to 140 or so.  I know carrying's gonna be a pain once we start since I'm such a danged tubbo right now.

I've got a minimum of 40 pounds to lose.  I'm gonna do this right.  I'm not gonna quit.

I can't quit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An AR-style shotgun? Really?

One of the ... wierder ... firearms I spotted at the Meeting was the AKDAL MKA-1919 SBS.  It's a Turkish 12ga shotgun that uses the AR15 platform design - AR furniture fits it, and it's magazine-fed.  Mags are limited to 5+1 but if it gets popular enough here, I'm sure other companies will start making larger magazines for it.  RAAC will be importing it to the states.

I'm not sure what I think about it.  Moving away from the old tube-fed shotguns might not be a bad idea, and the AR/M4 platform is incredibly popular.  This might be a smart move...might not.  Only time will tell once it becomes available to the public.

ETA Chris's input:
I remember the guy at the booth saying the big difference between this one and the Saiga was that this uses a standard semi-auto shotgun gas system and not the AK gas system. It was pretty cool and I remember it being very light like a standard synthetic stock sporting shotgun.
So,  that much is interesting.  It WAS really light.  If the action is smooth, and if the price is right, it might be worth checking out.

Unfortunately RAAC doesn't appear to have any information on their site about it, so for now more information about it can be found here.

Charter Arms - my thoughts.

So the big reason we went to the NRA Annual Meeting was to scope out all the pretty shiny things the various manufacturers brought for the general populace to manhandle...and manhandle, we did.  I had a couple of brands I specifically wanted to find while we were there, though, and made a point to go looking for them.

Charter Firearms was one of the companies I was looking forward to finding at the Meeting.  Jay had mentioned they were eager to talk with him at last year's Meeting, and I wanted to check out their other revolvers, so on day 2 we hoofed it to the first floor to find them.

We found them off in a little booth near the end of the hall, and immediately approached them.  Chris wanted to mention how much he likes his Bulldog (he also wanted to show them his holster), and I wanted to check out their .357 and .38 offerings.  I'd already perused the site a bit and familiarized myself with what they had for sale, so nothing was a huge surprise, but it was still nice to see the firearms in person.  I like to see firearms and handle them before I order my own - I'm weird like that.

So, they had everything laid out all nice and pretty, and here I come with my camera and mess everything up.  I was amused, y'see...they had a Chic Lady on the table, and I really wanted to see the pink on polished stainless. (Photos are here.)  I know there are plenty of folks who are against the pink gun, but living in a state where I can't carry, I can't justify avoiding something pretty due to practicality.  Confession time: I love this pistol.  It's cute and girly, and I WANT ONE.  They also had the Pink Lady and Lavender Lady on hand for viewing which were equally cute, but neither come with the crocodile-pattern case that comes with the Chic Lady.  If anything, they're the only revolver company making items directed at women...that aren't going to cost an arm and a leg.  My only complaint was the lack of "feminine" colors in higher calibers, but this is apparently due to cost: the higher-caliber firearms are stainless, and therefore can't be anodized like the aircraft aluminum .38s.  Though disappointing, this makes sense (and also explains why the Tiger Stripe Bulldog was given the Cerakote treatment instead of some other finish). 

I also got an opportunity to talk to Lissa McCarthy, who was easily the most enthusiastic woman at the show.  Companies really need to have representatives who actually know and care about their product at shows and conventions if they're going to thoroughly engage a potential customer.  I met just one woman out of all the other big name booths who knew what she was talking about, and she wasn't half as enthusiastic as Ms. McCarthy.  Ms. McCarthy was enthusiastic and excited about the products at Charter, and she and I gabbed like friends about pistols, holsters, holster purses, and boys (heh).  Even if I was on the fence about buying a revolver from them, she'd have pushed me over to the Charter side.

Edited to add: I recently rediscovered this post.  I've gotta say, I'm glad Charter opted for "Pink Lady" instead of "Pink Bitch."  It's a bit more appealing with the more palatable name. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tea and Targets - Maryland women taking aim.

A member of a local forum shot and edited the video for this piece for the news down around Bowie, MD.  Go, watch, and be as happy as I am that more women are getting interested in shooting - and shooting safely.

My favorite line?  The elderly lady saying "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"  Amen to that!  Now I want one of the clubs up around me to have a shoot like this.

"Hipster" hunters?

Chris found two articles that I found interesting.  He's not yet sure how he feels about it, but I figured I'd share my thoughts.

It seems people are piggybacking on the Paleo diet craze that's picked up recently, and taking it to a degree I've never seen before.  The idea of truly primitive hunting is ... well, it's interesting.  And a bit nuts.  I'm not 100% on board with either idea, but I'm all for getting close to food, admitting food had a face, and acknowledging the origins of what they eat.  People need to take back responsibility for what they eat - that's how we got ourselves into the GMO crop and abused food animal problem in the first place.  If that movement gets more people hunting?  Awesome.  I'm all for it.

I guess my only real concern is that this will be another fad, and it'll die off in 6 months to a year...and my only hope is that some folks will get past the fad stage, find they really like it, and stick with it.  I can deal with it if they need justification for hunting - they can claim it's so they eat healthier, are getting back to their ancestral roots, or whatever.  Hell, dress up in silly clothes, dance around a fire, do whatever the hell they need to do to make themselves feel better about it.

Whatever they do, though, I hope they do these three things: Eat better.  Live better and don't be a douche about it.  And don't feel guilty for enjoying it, either...why else would we be alive, if not to enjoy the time we have?

Monday, May 23, 2011

You know...

After the month I've been having, I've got a hankering for a few of these.

Seriously, I was unaware one could make a classy Jello shot.  And now I need to make many.

Friday, May 20, 2011



Well this is interesting - attention Maryland people!

Every morning I get deals in my inbox from both Groupon and LivingSocial.  Today's "deal" from LivingSocial is particularly interesting.  Apparently you can get a package deal for Horst & McCann, up in Harford County.

Now, I've never used LivingSocial, and I've never been to Horst & McCann, so I can't vouch for this one way or another...but this might be a great idea for those people who've never been to a range before and want to learn how to shoot.

Who'dathunk we'd see package deals to the local shooting ranges on a deal site?  I sure didn't...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Knife News

I am going to make more of an effort to cover things slashy and stabby. I have been collecting knives for some time, and previously worked in the cutlery business. Talking to people with interest in sharp tools I've found, like anything else, I know what I like, but your milage may vary. Hopefully I might turn you on to something new or different.

So, without further ado, Spyderco announces The Schempp Rock -FB20FBK According to the website it's "Designed by renowned custom knifemaker Ed Schempp, the Schempp Rock is a purpose-designed “camp” knife that combines highly evolved ergonomics, exceptional edge geometry, and light weight to yield an incredibly easy to use tool."

It looks like a good all around design to me. It has a blade length of 6 3/4 inches, and the kukuri influence can clearly be seen. I'm sure that will assist you, adding leverage to your camp chopping chores. The MSRP on the site is $234.95

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's up with .357 SIG continued

So, in my earlier post we heard from SIG. They are concerned, but not in a panicky way…more like a “how do we get this cartridge and our name out there?” way. I moseyed across the floor past the Ruger Booth and its multitude of people trying to see their new 1911 when I spied a whole herd of 5.11 tactical pants and vests. I figured I must be close to my next target. Sure enough, I looked up and there it was: the FN USA sign. I tracked down a rep over by their FNP pistols and gave my spiel about the .357 SIG. I asked him if they were dropping the caliber and why. He kind of smiled and half laughed. He said they had indeed dropped it from their pistol lines and that the reason was pretty simple. It didn't sell. He said it was more of a “try out” for them. They wanted to be ready if it did catch on big, but it hasn't. I asked if there were plans for conversion kits for their remaining pistols and he responded with a resounding no. FN would, of course, service and support the existing .357 SIG pistols they had out there, but no new pistols or kits would be available. He finished by saying it really didn't sell at all. I thanked him for his candor and realized he didn't have anything else to say. He was very matter of fact, .357 SIG was no longer at FNUSA.

I walked away and tried not to jostle any operators as I contemplated what I had just learned and its meaning. I walked over a few aisles and became disoriented by the huge crowds at the Glock booth waiting to see R. Lee Ermey. Due to the congestion I figured I would hit them later and pushed onward. As I stumbled ahead, there it was: my next target. At an undisclosed, central location in the exhibit hall, under huge black and red signs I had found HK. Of course it had to be away from FN and Glock. You don't want to bunch up your operators, do you? I thought I was going to have to give the secret Gecko45 password to get in, but I was allowed access with nary a sideways glance. After making it through the ring of tactical force, mall operatives contemplating the insurgent stopping capability of the HK lineup I was surprised to be greeted by smiling friendly representatives. I looked at them a little puzzled; I asked where the stern looking German engineer types were. The sales rep chuckled and said, “We keep those in the back next to strike team Zulu, just in case we need them. How can I help you?” I explained again my quest and he nodded and said yes, HK will be discontinuing the .357 SIG pistols by the end of the year. He gave me pretty much the same story the rep at FNUSA had, .357 SIG is not selling. He went on to say he wasn't sure of any conversion kit offerings, but of course they will continue to support exiting pistols. He said that was about all he knew and that he thinks while the caliber is interesting and has some following, it just doesn't sell. That, as they say, was the end of that.

So what had I learned? Two very large companies are discontinuing their pistols in .357 SIG. What does it mean? I'm not sure. These 2 companies are primarily interested in contract sales, usually military contract sales. Due to regulations, agreements and sheer number of existing pistols owned by their usual clients, I can't see them successfully selling a whole new pistol caliber there. Because of this I'm not sure these two are good indicators of the calibers popularity or success. Maybe they were going to push harder into the law enforcement market and decided to try .357 SIG due to interest there, but then changed marketing plans because of poor sales. FNUSA has definitely dropped the caliber, but HK still has it listed. Perhaps they will change their mind and keep it around.

Whatever the case may be, it appears the people interested in this caliber are going to have fewer choices of pistols in the future.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Working on a backup blog...

Since Blogger crapped the bed this week, I've got a backup blog over at Wordpress.  Working on setting it up, importing everything, etc.

That's all I've got to say at the moment.  Have a few posts in the works, but I'm a busy bee in meatspace.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wilson Combat Youtube Channel

Just a heads-up for those of you not on the Wilson Combat email list: they have started a Youtube Channel and have posted a bunch of free gunsmithing videos on their 1911 model pistols. Of course this info is pretty much the same for any 1911. So if you're a new 1911 owner or you were just wondering how "that part" comes out, they're pretty good, and free!

Self defense redux.

Back in February, I posted this.  Today, I had a situation reaffirm what I discussed in that post.

This morning was bad shortly after I woke up.  I got up late, had cat mess to clean up, was distracted, left the pepper spray and belt knife upstairs.

By the time I hit the highway, I realized I wouldn't just be late...I would be RIDICULOUSLY late.  Highway was backed up for at least a couple of miles.  Insert groan here.

By the time I neared work, I realized I'd forgotten to pack food...so I stopped at the grocery store nearest my office.  I have done this so many times before it's nearly second nature - pull in, grab food, pay, go.  It usually takes me 5 minutes, tops.

Today, however, something was definitely off.  Someone was following me around the store.  He was a white male, about 6'2" tall, maybe 200 lbs.  He apparently decided I was interesting, and decided to follow me around the store.  The guy didn't look at anything or anyone but me.  By the time I was midway through the store, I was fed up - screamed at him to get the hell away from me.  He took off running, and I completed my shopping.  Turns out, the guy was waiting for me on his scooter outside the door.  He waited until I exited the store to start his scooter.  I screamed at him again and called the police - fortunately, at that point he took off.

So, in summation: idiot decides I'm a tasty morsel of cowflesh.  I prevent him from doing anything.  I'm safe and at work, and he's...who-knows-where.  The police never showed up (which isn't surprising, really, in this town) and no one in the store reacted.  I'm angry with myself for leaving home the two things I own for situations just like this, but I'll be more vigilant tomorrow.  At least I HAVE a tomorrow.  At least I know that if someone tries to sneak up on me, it's like sneaking up on a goose - I'll be noisy and defensive, even when I'm not quite awake.  Hooray for gut reactions actually being appropriate.

At least I'm alright.  If the guy had a gun and decided to use it, however, I wouldn't be...and because the police didn't bother to show, I lack any sort of real record of this incident.  Not that it would be enough to get me a carry permit anyway...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tactical Sammich!

One of the things we were hoping to get at the Meeting was a can or two of Tactical Bacon from the folks at CMMG.  Turns out they decided to leave the bacon at home because it weighs a crap-ton, so I can't really blame them.  They did, however, deliver something equally awesome and amusing:
I give you the Tactical Sammich.

Chris bought a few, mostly for the giggle factor, and I assumed it would just be something for the Meeting.  Well, to my surprise, the crazy monkeys at ThinkGeek are ALSO selling it.  AND they have a video.  It seems to be edible, so woo for that...and the guy in the video uses proper firearm handling (on what is likely a toy), so double woo.

Anyway, with a 2 year shelf life the sammiches make a fun/silly gift for the prepper in your family/circle of friends.

This was not paid for by anyone, I just think it's a neato idea and I happen to love ThinkGeek. The CMMG guys seemed pretty neat, too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What's up with .357 SIG continued

As I interviewed the various reps from gun manufacturers I found some were reluctant to talk and some had definite things to say, but no one wanted to be directly quoted. I also got the impression that manufacturers don't get a lot of direct questions about the actual business aspect of their companies. I explained to them that I wasn't doing a hit piece, or trying to malign the cartridge, I just wanted to see what was going on with its popularity, and that seemed to ease the tension a bit.

Let's start with the company whose name the caliber bears, Sig Sauer. The person that I spoke to in their booth seemed to know a bit about their marketing and he seemed very concerned about the companies image as it relates to this topic. I could see he was choosing his words very carefully. He said, I think it's very popular with the "informed consumer". By that he means people that research what they buy, and are concerned with getting the most from their handgun. He went on to say that he thinks the caliber is gaining popularity with law enforcement as they realize it's benefits, and they were currently working with several law enforcement agencies to schedule try outs. I asked, What did he think about some of the other companies dropping their .357 SIG models this year, and how was it doing for them? He stated that he was sorry to see them dropping it, but with a little bit of SIG pride, seemed to indicate they weren't major sales competition for them normally. He continued and said for SIG it's been selling OK initally, but as commenter Alan observed, SIG is selling lots of conversion kits. In fact they are going to concentrate on sales of conversion kits, especially marketing them as a way to inexpensively update to something better for some law enforcement agencies and "informed consumers". I got the impression from the way he said this, that they may have just had a recent marketing meeting about it. Overall he was a nice guy to talk to, a little wary, but I got the impression SIG is going to try and push more sales in the upcoming months. We must remember like any other company, gun manufacturers are trying to make a profit. If they have something new or different of course they will sell it. Especially if that thing has part of their name on it regardless of who manufactured it.

I don't think .357 SIG is going anywhere. That wasn't my intention writing about it. I was just interested in why we aren't seeing more of it, and in fact if SIG decides to push it hard this year we may. Up next, what the manufacturers that are dropping it said.

Still writing...

Have a few more post-NRAAM posts to write.  Haven't forgotten to post them, have merely been busy with real-life stuff.  Will be back to it shortly.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quote of the day

MikeW shared his opinions of the intolerance the anti-gun crowd shows those with limited/reduced mobility:

If you only have one leg how the hell are you supposed to run away?  If you're wheelchair bound how are you supposed to duke it out with someone ablebodied?  Anti-gunners don't care.  In their world perhaps Americans with physical impediments don't exist or don't matter, but in the real world those people are frequently victimized.
Read the whole thing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

What's going on with .357 SIG?

Since we would have all the major players in one place I decided to actually do some investigative reporting while we were at the NRA Annual Meeting. I decided to find out what the story was with the .357 Sig handgun cartridge. I'll spare you all the details about it, but since this cartridge was developed in 1994 I've been hearing it's quite good. A serious up and comer, adopted by many law enforcement units with more looking into its benefits. Usually, when this happens to a particular caliber there is more acceptance into the mainstream, yet the .357 SIG seems to be dropping in popularity. So much so I caught wind of some reports that several major manufacturers were dropping their firearms chambered for it. Are we seeing a new 10mm, destined to the same obscure fate, or is it's adoption slow and steady with a hardcore group of supporters? What do you think?

I'll be posting what the manufacturers had to say in parts as some of them were quite long winded, but feel free to give your opinion at any time.

Pardon the squee...

This weekend was fabulous...not just because I got to meet tons of blogpeople, many of whom I've wanted to meet for a good long while, but because we got the opportunity to see or meet a few of the more famous members of the NRA.

First, MikeW and I encountered The Nuge.  While we didn't get a chance to talk to him, he certainly seemed like a super nice guy.  He was merely inundated with people, so we backed off.  Got a few pictures, though - Chris posted one over the weekend, so if you missed it, go look.

We then encountered R. Lee Ermey at the Glock booth, and he was equally inundated with people.  He seemed pretty darned nice, even after people tried following him out to the smoker's deck. Again, we avoided approaching because the guy HAD to be exhausted from talking to so many people over the weekend.

After that, I encountered a guy whose shows Chris and I watch every Wednesday night, and whose book is on the list of stuff to read: Michael Bane.  I'll admit, I'm a fan.  His shows make him seem approachable, funny, kind, and absolutely in love with the shooting sports...and from what I've seen, he isn't putting on an act.  We found him at the Tactical Solutions booth on Sunday and had a great conversation - he gave Chris some pointers on SASS stuff, too, which will come in handy.  Oh, and he seemed particularly interested in making sure I keep writing.  Yes sir!

Mr. Bane, thanks for taking the time out to talk to us.  We both appreciated it greatly.  Also?  Happy birthday!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

20 pictures from the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

20 pictures from the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh

Coonan Inc. Announces Custom FAL Recievers (Breaking News!)

While at the NRA Annual Meeting I had a great chat with Dave Neville at the CoonanInc booth. He is an incredibly nice guy who was eager to answer all my questions and give me the scoop on what Coonan is up to these days.   He showed me his current crop of .357 Magnum 1911-patterned pistols and talked with me about his FAL offerings.

If you are unaware, Coonan produces precision machined, investment casting, Type 3 upper receivers and ejector blocks for FAL pattern rifles. They call the two parts precision fitted together the FAL Receiver Type 1C . Starting this week the Type 1C receivers will be available with authentic markings and, in addition they will match the serial number to your lower receiver. MSRP is $435. This is great news for collectors trying to put together an authentic, numbers-matching rifle!

Photos of Coonan's offerings past the cut:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hey brownie lovers!

Here's the recipe, as promised.  Make them tomorrow.  Or today, if you're going home today.  Make them ASAP.

I'm like a crack dealer.  First hit's free...


I will attempt (and fail) to list everyone I've met tomorrow/later today.  There's a TON of you!

Thots from twoday

Holy wow am I tired.

Saw lots of things.  Bought grips for the Rock Island.  Chris bought a kukri from Cold Steel.  Walked my feets off, THEN proceeded to go to the Gunnie Prom in heels.

Yes, heels.  And a dress.  Then Weerd(Weerdy!) made me laugh hard enough to squeak.  I haven't laughed that hard in awhile.

Got a hug from Breda's mom (woo!) and looooooooooots of others.

Old NFO, you're an awesome guy.  Seriously.  If you ever find yourself in Baltimore, look us up. :)

More later, when I'm not swaying in the chair in an attempt to fight the sleep monster.