Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Has anyone been paying attention to Iceland?

Actually, I have a better question: Why can't we do this here?

Monday, August 29, 2011

So, we survived.

As everyone else is saying, this hurricane wasn't as bad as we were expecting. Chris and I were pretty much prepared for whatever it could toss our way, but we were really hoping we didn't lose power. Sadly, we did, and we've hit Hour 32 of no 'lectric to the house.

The worst part, though, isn't that we lost power. It's that my block is the only block in the neighborhood to lose power, and it's all because the city sucks horribly when it comes to maintaining trees in the easement behind us. Last year, after over 10 years of letters and phone calls from Chris and other neighbors, they finally came out to trim the trees. They left a limb hanging on the lines, and we're pretty sure that played a part in killing power to the block. I'm told there are tree people in the neighborhood (currently lounging on the side of their truck, if twitter photos are any indication), so hopefully power will be restored sometime today.

My fish will be happy. So will I - I have lots of baking to do.

DISCLAIMER: yes, I know, we should have had a generator. We'll be rectifying that soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I hate living on the east coast.

I'm supposed to be driving to New Jersey for a friend's wedding reception right now, but instead Irene decided to rain on my parade. The winds aren't what's keeping me's the fear of getting lost and stranded somewhere in NJ, and I'm really not down for that.

So I'm home, and being home allowed me to help get the house ready for the Smackening (and potential crazy power outages to follow).

I got gas on Thursday, and was absolutely amazed at the amount of people at Costco. The place was so packed they were spilling over into other parking lots just to park their cars. I heard they still had water as of yesterday morning, but I'm sure their shelves are now bare. The milk, eggs, bread, and TP are surely gone, as well. People have to make their TP casseroles, you know.

It made me wonder...just how few people actually know how to handle extreme weather in this stupid state? I'm somewhat used to the panic from a potential snowfall, but we really don't deal with hurricanes all that often so the idiots are even more frenzied than they would be in the winter.

Anyway. Those of you in the path of this thing, stay safe.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What happened to customer service?

I started looking at some polymer 9mm pistols and one of the pistols I was interested in was the Walther P99. I checked out Walther USA's website and there wasn't much information on different models or accessories. You see I'm a lefty and although I have seen and fired Walther p99 pistols with right side slide locks and safeties I did not see any reference to them on the website or in the product catalog. For those of you that don't know Smith & Wesson distributes Walther pistols in the US. The pistols are still made in Germany they're just imported and sold through S&W. I did find exactly what I wanted on the Walther Germany website and so after checking various boards and sites on the web with no luck on model numbers I decided to email customer service an ask. I sent

After looking at the website and current catalog I am still having difficulty finding the correct model of one of your handguns. I am interested in the Walther P99 AS 9mm shown here

I have heard of, and seen pictures of this handgun with an extended, right side, ambidextrous slide stop and long magazine release for lefties but I cannot locate the model on the website or the catalog. I do see the model listed on the German Walther site here:

It shows additional codes for various features

PS = steel sights with phosphor 3-dot
AM = elongated ambidextrous slide stop
LM = long magazine release

Is a pistol so equipped available, and if so what would the model number be that I would tell my gun shop to order?


After about a week I received this reply.
the models you saw are only available in Europe and are not available in the states. Thank You

While it directly answers my question, he doesn't go any further at all. Not, but we have this model, or this kit is available for it, or anything. Just NOPE, sorry. I do believe Walther has a pretty recently released similar pistol that even has ambidextrous controls on it. I don't think that's asking too much to expand on an answer or make an alternative suggestion. I guess this might be a partial explanation why you don't see a lot of Walther sales. It even makes me wary of buying a S&W now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Even Woot is selling gun stuff?

This was a pleasant surprise this morning. Apparently even a immensely popular site like is now selling occasional gun-related items.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Gun Funny

Would be better if he spell checked!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our ARs finally work!

Or: Why I can't recommend Del-Ton to anyone.

To recap -
I ordered two AR15 uppers from Del-Ton on 1/31/09. This date is important, so keep it in mind.
Between February and the end of November, I made the following posts about it:
Sigh, backorders
Great googly moogly!
Yet another Del-Ton delay
Good news, better news, and bad news
Good news, everyone!

Chris's upper showed up in September, and mine showed up the first week of December of that year. I neglected to post about the upper showing up due to my grandfather's passing, but it did show up that first week in December. By the time mine showed up I was just thrilled to see anything. So: Ordered everything at the end of January, and the second upper showed up almost a YEAR later. In that time, I received absolutely no information from Del-Ton - I had to waste my time and call THEM to get the same answer over and over and over. I don't care how busy a company is, a form email does NOT take much time to write and send out to customers. Thanks to the beauty of technology, said email could have been drafted while someone dropped the kids off at the pool. Anyway, moving on...

We did not get any opportunity to test either upper until 7/4/10, and on that range trip both rifles had consistent issues. I posted about the problems we had here. We did not get another chance to really test anything until last month, when Chris's friend helped him diagnose the problem. After swapping bolts, uppers, lowers, and magazines they were able to determine there was an issue with the gas system in both uppers. Please note, I was quite angry...I expected better of Del-Ton. I suppose I should have used the lack of communication from them as a sign regarding their build quality.

By now, it's well past any warranty would be in effect, so this weekend we took the uppers to Dan over at Gun Connection. Dan was able to diagnose and repair both uppers while we waited. What he found, though, was a bit distressing...both because Del-Ton sent defective parts and because neither Chris nor I knew what we were doing with these rifles. I spent much of Saturday fuming at Del-Ton's shoddy build quality and my own stupidity, and I have since learned my lesson.

So, the problems: On Chris's upper, the gas block was so screwed up there's no way he'd actually get anything to cycle properly. If you take a close look at the photo, you'll see where the hole inside it was poorly almost looks like the person who worked on the part used a small explosive to get that hole in there.

That's pretty freaking bad. It also wasn't on properly, as we could jiggle it without loosening anything. No wonder there was an issue with the gas system!

Dan replaced the gas block with one from Daniel Defense and put everything back together. On my upper, the gas tube was off by about 15 degrees and it was clogged (user error - it wasn't properly cleaned before we took it out the first time). He reseated everything and did a particularly thorough cleaning for me. A little over a hundred dollars in parts and labor later and we left with two functioning rifles, though we were charged with testing both over the weekend to make sure everything worked.

Yesterday, during a break in the nasty weather, we took them out...and they worked beautifully. Chris had some difficulty with his optic, but that's user error and will be rectified once he reacquaints himself with the instructions. I, on the other hand, landed almost every shot where I wanted it once I figured out how to use my scope. Overall, I'm glad this ordeal is over, and I'm especially glad we now have two functioning rifles that are quite a bit of fun to shoot.

To sum up:
boo Del-Ton
yay Gun Connection
thoroughly educate yourself about a firearm if it's known to be finicky
thoroughly educate yourself on a retailer before spending a significant amount of money.

The final result of two mags through my rifle (while also learning the particulars of my optics - the low shots were the first few i took, and i aimed for each box at least once to see how well i could do):

...Yeah. I'm happy now.

In other news...

Remember when this happened?

The officer who shot the marine in question was sentenced today. I don't think 5 years is enough.

You know what makes me sick?

It isn't the fact that "flash mobs" are now organizing to steal things from stores. It's not even the fact that this is happening in Maryland.

No, it's the fact that the police don't care enough to investigate. How, exactly, do they think dismissing this incident is acceptable?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Confidence or Stupidity?

A video that Breda posted with a posed question about firearms raised several other concerns from Weer'd , SaysUncle and Mike about the particular training observed in the video. These concerns specifically addressed how the training is bad advice and ineffective. I'll go farther and say it's stupid, misleading, and will probably get someone seriously hurt or killed.

I've met countless women that tell me they feel more confident after taking a self-defense class or tae-bo class at their local gym. I tend to ask what they learned and why they feel more confident. The most common answer is, "because I feel like I can defend myself." I usually say something to the effect of, "no you can't, but if you'd like to practice the techniques or learn some new ones I'd be happy to work with you." That reply almost always incites RiotGrrl bravado about empowerment or, "I know some stuff now and I don't have time to practice more." Both answers illustrate why this type of training is bad; it gives people confidence in nothing. It takes long hard practice to get proficient at self defense of any kind, much less unarmed self defense. This is usually the part of the conversation where I get uncomfortable. I am torn between feeling like a preachy, lecturing asshole and feeling like if I'm not, this person is not going to realize that what they learned is only going to get them seriously injured or killed. "I know, but wait!" you say, "You were already an asshole with what you said before." I just can't help that initial reaction. Before you judge me, though, let me tell you an interesting story and take from it what you want.

I have a background in martial arts and I've had several instructors, but one in particular was entirely different from the usual sort of instructor. He was in fact a little strange and mysterious. For this story I'll call him Bob. Bob was a very good instructor and teacher and he knew the techniques very well like the other instructors, but after he taught you something he would say, "So how do you think you'd actually use that technique in a self defense situation? Let me show you." He would then start a sparring match with someone in the the class and emphasize the usefulness (or lack) of a particular technique in a real world situation. This truly was odd. Other instructors would show you techniques and how they worked accepting that they were good, but they'd never make you prove it nor point out their weaknesses. This really set Bob apart. He was also mysterious in discussing his past experience outside of class, yet if you ever saw him fight or move through techniques you knew he was good and seemed to have a lot of experience fighting. He really looked like he knew what he was doing.

In our class Bob had a star pupil - I'll call him Dan. Dan was very good: he held 3 black belts in various disciplines and obtained the last one by embarrassing a higher level figher so badly in a tournament that he was promoted on the spot. This guy wanted to be a martial artist. He wanted his own Dojo and did nothing but practice and teach on the side to make extra money. He was fantastic to watch in action. Dan is a very nice guy and was a great assistant instructor, but once in a while - usually after a tournament - he'd get a little cocky. Bob would pick up on this in the following classes and arrange a little match.

While Dan was Bob's star pupil, I was his favorite demonstrator model. This led to me obtaining many aches and pains and bruises but I also learned a lot. I guess it was because I was the biggest guy in class, and hey if you can do it to him it just might work.

So Bob's match would be set up between Dan and I. Bob would say, "I just want to see what you guys can do." I'd like to point out that at this time Dan had 3 black belts and about 8 years of constant experience, and was about 5'10 and weighed about 165 or so. I had no black belts and about 2 yrs experience. I was good, but also nowhere near the level of Dan's technique. I was about 6'4 and 250. So we'd suit up and go not quite full contact. I'd catch a lot of punches and kicks in the face and body usually, but eventually I'd get close to him and we'd lock up. When that happened 7 times out of 10 I'd get Dan into a position where he'd have to give up or risk serious injury. How could I possibly beat this guy? The answer is simple: the size difference gave me the advantage. He was in great shape, had all of the technique and practice, but the leverage and mass of my size with a little bit of knowledge allowed me to win. Not that I didn't pay for it, mind you. As Bob would always say, "No one ever wins a fight, there's only degrees of losing." That was indeed the case after our battles.

After a few matches Dan finally picked up on what Bob was trying to teach him and his after match cockiness went away. We did continue our bouts so we could get better and the more matches we had, the more the outcome would favor Dan. He adapted, he pulled techniques I had never seen and he got smarter about his fighing. He had to practice very hard to even out the size difference and it took a lot of trial and error and time. The initial outcomes were not flukes - it was purely due to the difference in size and weight. Keep in mind that this was a pair of guys who weren't really trying to injure, maim, rape, or kill each other. Think about that when your self defence confidence is high after your hour long class. How well do you think you stack up to a guy with 3 black belts and 8 year experience against an attacker twice your size with real intent to hurt you?

I'm not against training and technique, but make sure you don't kid yourself as to your effectiveness. Please think about this.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another Freestate visit...I'm getting a lot of practice lately...

Yesterday I met up with an old friend, who I finally met in person for the first time. Thanks to the powers of the internet J and I have known each other for quite a few years and finally got our schedules coordinated enough to meet up for a shooty evening.

I brought the Bersa and the Rock Island, he brought a PX4 Storm in .40, a Buckmark (with a suppressor), and two SIGs (with a suppressor on one of them). Neither of us are newbs, so this wasn't like my normal range visit.

First, I'd like to make a confession: I made my first Really Dumb Mistake at the range. Somehow I forgot to put on my shooting glasses before walking into the range, and J had to remind me. Apparently my mind was elsewhere. Thankfully, my stupid mistake was corrected without incident and we continued on our evening of killing paper.

Anyway, my impressions:
1 - The Buckmark. I like this a hell of a lot better with the can OFF the front, though it was neat as hell to shoot a .22 with literally no recoil and almost no sound. The backpressure from the suppressor was distracting, however, so I took it off after the first magazine. Overall, it's a nice little .22, and that might end up on the short list.
2 - The Beretta. I asked J to bring this since I'm in the market for a PX4 Storm in 9mm. I wanted a feel for the real thing, rather than the testers they had set up at the NRA convention. My overall impression is good, but I can see why people truly hate this gun in .40 - my trigger finger went numb after two magazines. Apparently this is a common complaint of the .40 PX4. Controls are where they need to be, the slide release isn't too much of a pain in the ass, and the rotating barrel definitely helps with recoil. This was the first .40 I've had the opportunity to shoot, and while I don't see myself buying a .40, I don't really understand why people hate it. It's alright. Definitely liked the pistol, though.
3 - The SIGs. At least one of them was in .45, and this was the suppressed gun. Again, I have no love for the suppressor. I'm told they're more pleasant to shoot outdoors, and maybe he'll give me an opportunity to test this at a later date. Right now, though, do not like.

He seemed to like the Bersa despite his big bearpaw hands, and I think he's got 1911 envy. :D Thanks, J, for hoofing it all the way up to my range. Next time I'll head down your direction.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Who says women are weak?

This lady would like to have a talk with you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's raining in Baltimore...

so here's a funny.