Quote of the day

January 31, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Quote of the day 

“If I had a visa to anywhere, I’d join them. But that’s not going to happen. Right now, I’d settle for a gun, but I can’t even find one of those.”
Mohammed Khaled, 28-year old Egyptian doctor, describing the situation in his country.

Training idea

January 30, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Training 

I’ve been spending time lately getting in shape for my trip out to Gunsite for 350 pistol in April.  When I took 250 last year, I think I did pretty well, all things considered.  I found out that my basic marksmanship needed work, and over the course of the week and subsequent practice, I’ve become a pretty competent marksman.  I’ve gone from “I wonder if I can make the shot?” to “I KNOW I can make the shot.”

(An aside, and I know that I have said this before.  All over the internet people have asked if spending money on a high-dollar shooting school is worth it.  I can only speak for Gunsite, but the answer is an unqualified yes, absolutely.  Five days improved my shooting and confidence with firearms more than the previous five years.  I think that everyone who carries a gun for self-defense should make that investment.  I KNOW now that I am competent in the use of my gun.)

I know that the next thing that I need to work on is efficient gun handling.  One of the things that annoyed me about my  Gunsite experience was my performance on the “El Presidente” drill.  For those who are not familiar, “El Presidente” features three targets at 10 meters.  The shooter starts facing uprange.  On the signal, the shooter turns, draws, puts two shots on each of three targets, reloads, and then puts two more shots on each target.  Misses add time to the score.  A score of 10 seconds is considered “par” for the drill.

When I ran the drill for score on the last day of class, I did pretty well, but I fumbled the magazine change.  Then, when I put the magazine into the gun, I drive it home, then slapped it on the bottom to make sure it was seated.  That action cost me a second, and it cost me par on El Presidente.

In order to ensure that doesn’t happen again, I’ve been practicing my gun handling and my magazine changes.  My method is to start slow, and make sure that I do everything perfectly.  Little things like that “butt slap” are bad form.  If you do your magazine change properly, you slam it home.  There’s no need for the additional slap.  This video illustrates what I mean:

Which, at long last, brings me to my training idea. One thing that I have been struggling with is dealing with is reacting to stimuli. I wanted my drills to be in response to something. I tried using a shot timer, but that doesn’t really work very well. You have to reset it, and there is really only one stimuli, a buzz. But I recently found this app from Rob Pincus’ ICE training.  It allows you to program the timer to respond not with a beep, but with commands.  You can also program a delay time (short, medium, long) and number of repetitions.  I’ve been putting it to use in dry fire.  For example, after taking standard dry-fire safety precautions, put three pieces of paper on the wall, numbered 1,2,3.  Program the timer to call out commands “1,2,3”  You can also program the command “UP”, which is Rob’s draw command, and specify the number of “UPs” per interval.  On hearing the number, draw and dry fire at the target indicated.  If you hear an “UP”, perform a mag change.  You can mix it up with colored pieces of construction paper.  It’s an amazing dry-fire tool, and very good at teaching you to react under stress.

UPS to require ID to send packages?

January 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Security Theater 

From the UPS website:

The safety and security of our customers, business partners, and employees is of utmost concern. Our approach is a multi-layered approach to security, implementing additional security precautions to protect people, shipments, or our facilities.

As a result, UPS is enhancing security measures around shipments that originate at retail shipping locations worldwide.

Effective December 7, 2010, consumers who originate and tender a shipment to any retail shipping location will be required to show a government-issued photo ID as a form of identification. The photo must match the person tendering the shipment.

Am I the only one who finds this objectionable? Looks like I am using Fedex from now on.

North Carolina mobilization day

January 26, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Activism 

Grass Roots North Carolina has sent out the following call to support a General Assembly mobilization day on February 1st.   I’ve reproduced it here.

Update: February 1st, not 2nd.  Stupid Newbie.

Mobilization Day at the G.A.
You have waited for this day and it has come.  The time is now to let the politicians know where you stand.  In this interest, GRNC is holding a Grass Roots Mobilization Day at the General Assembly Tuesday February 1 and we want you there.  Legislative Director, Jeff Rau is assembling his team and he needs extra hands.  For this day, no experience is required.  You see, it is imperative to let the new folks in the General Assembly know that they will be held accountable.  Will you help send this message?


We know, Tuesday is a work day for most of you, but please ask yourself a question: Is your freedom worthy of taking a vacation day?  Politicians count on your not paying attention so they can continue with business as usual.  Will you allow this, or are you going to show up to put them on notice?

Paul Valone’s Response to News and Record
Whistling past the graveyard, gun control activists like Roxane Kolar of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence (NCAGV) insist Tucson’s tragedy couldn’t happen here. Unlike Arizona, they contend, our handgun purchase permit law requires background checks and gives sheriffs discretion in denying permits to unstable applicants. Unfortunately, Kolar is wrong about both the law and the possibility of mass homicide.

Inaccuracies in a recent News & Record article notwithstanding, gun laws in Arizona and North Carolina are more alike than different. In both states (and throughout the U.S.), purchases from gun dealers require federal background checks via the computerized National Instant Check System (NICS) which, since 2007, has included involuntary commitments for psychiatric treatment.(1)

Although NC sheriffs may deny purchase permits to whomever they decide isn’t of “good moral character” (whatever that means), purchase permits are not universally required. Beyond the fact that rifles and shotguns are exempt, since 2003 anyone who passes the FBI background check and takes the training for a concealed handgun permit – over which sheriffs have no discretion – bypasses the purchase permit requirement.

Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) shepherded passage of that exemption(2) because sheriffs’ “discretion” results in arbitrary, even malicious denials. The purchase permit law celebrated by NCAGV, for example, is a Jim Crow law passed in 1919 amid southern racial tension. It was apparently modeled after a 1918 law adopted by Missouri which was itself a reaction to St. Louis race riots in 1917(3). While application of our law remains undocumented, in Missouri the ACLU and others complained for decades that blacks were being unfairly targeted. Missouri’s permit law was finally repealed in


Depending on county, North Carolina sheriffs’ whims include inconsistent residency requirements, arbitrary limits on the number of permits issued(5) (each gun purchase requires a separate permit); requiring applicants to produce notarized character affidavits from acquaintances(6); even checking traffic citations(7). I routinely field complaints about permits denied over personal conflicts. A sheriff could even decide you aren’t of “good moral character” if you oppose his reelection. Having been rendered redundant by

NICS, we will seek repeal of the archaic permit law in the upcoming legislative session.

While some blame the Tucson shootings on Arizona’s law allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns without permits, their argument rests on the bizarre notion that a schizophrenic nihilist capable of murdering a nine-year-old girl would somehow be deterred by laws prohibiting him from carrying concealed firearms.

Nothing in either state or federal law would have prohibited Jared Loughner from buying guns here. Despite being ejected from college for dangerous instability, despite increasing paranoia toward acquaintances, and despite being a clear threat to himself and others, he had committed no disqualifying offense and nobody had him involuntarily committed – even in Arizona, where commitment is actually easier than in most states.(8)

After Virginia Tech, Congress rushed through the “NICS Improvement Act of 2007″ to include mental health data in background checks. But it failed in Tucson because like Virginia Tech killer Seung-Hui Cho and Fort Hood killer Nidal Malik Hasan, Loughner remained free despite being a known menace.

Until we reverse the trend toward “deinstitutionalizing” dangerous psychotics begun in the 1960s,(9) no gun control law will prevent mass killings from happening anywhere, including here.

Footnotes to Valone Article

footnote_11. “NICS Improvement Act of 2007″:


footnote_22. House Bill 817:


footnote_33. Kopel, David B. The Samurai, The Mountie, and the Cowboy:

Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies? Prometheus Books, 1992, page 337. Attorney David Kopel is Research Director at the Independence Institute.

footnote_44. Ibid at note 3, page 367.

footnote_55. Avery, Chatham and Durham counties, among others.

footnote_66. Durham County.

footnote_77. Guilford County, rescinded in response to GRNC complaints.

footnote_88. “Arizona tragedy: Little could have been done before shooting,

experts say,” Arizona Republic, January 14, 2011:


footnote_99. Torrey, Dr. E. Fuller, The Insanity Offense: How America’s

Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens, New York, W.W. Norton, 2008. Review available at:



Help Out At G.A.
Contact Legislative Director Jeff Rau and let him know you care about your rights and will be there:


Sign up for the Legislative Calendar (Please note: They have recently purged old emails, so even if you have been signed up, do so again):


Give the gift of safety

January 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Chicks with Guns 

Gunsite is running special Valentine’s day pricing on their Ladies Pistol class.  Great gift for the one you love!

Your ignorance is showing

January 22, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Bigots 

My favorite RINO, Peggy Noonan, opines in her most recent column on how Obama can make a great State of the Union speech:

Here are three things he can do in the speech that would be surprising, shrewd, centrist and good policy. The first may seem small but is not. Normal people are not afraid of a lowering of discourse in political speech. They don’t like it, but it’s not keeping them up nights. Normal people are afraid of nuts with guns. That keeps them up nights. They know our society has grown more broken, families more sundered, our culture more degraded, and they fear it is producing more lost and disturbed young people. They fear those young people walking into a school or a mall with a semiautomatic pistol with an extended clip.

What civilian needs a pistol with a magazine that loads 33 bullets and allows you to kill that many people without even stopping to reload? No one but people with bad intent. Those clips were banned once; the president should call for reimposing the ban. The Republican Party will not go to the wall to defend extended clips. The problem is the Democratic Party, which overreached after the assassinations of the 1960s, talked about banning all handguns, and suffered a lasting political setback. Now Democrats are so spooked that they won’t even move forward on small and obvious things like this. The president should seize the moment and come out strong for a ban.

I could write all about the errors in facts and logic in this quote. I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader. Instead, I found this interesting:

The Republican Party will not go to the wall to defend extended clips.

I’m not so sure that is true.  It would have been true a year ago.  But this congress is the tea-party congress.  And more and more people are realizing that you don’t need to be afraid of nuts with guns when you are prepared for them.

Using your sights

January 13, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Training 

On of my takeaways from my Gunsite experience last year was the importance of seeing your front sight.  Now, I always intellectually knew that.  But this was highly re-enforced during my training.  I had a nasty habit of firing a shot, looking at the target, then re-acquiring my sight picture for the second shot.  One of the instructors asked me why I was doing that.

“I don’t know…I guess so I know if I hit or not.”

“Why does it matter?  If the shot hit, it hit.  If it missed, it missed, and you need to deliver another one right now.  Just stay focused on your front sight.”

At some point over the week, I came to understand that when they say “focus on your front sight,” they really mean “your front sight should be the only thing in your universe when you make that shot.”  And once I realized that, my shooting got a lot better.  Still not great, but a lot better.

Now, I know that a poor craftsman blames his tools, but I’ve been thinking about replacing the sights on my M&P for a while now.  The three dot system is just too busy for me.  So, as an experiment, before I went to the range today I took a black magic marker and blacked out my rear two dots.  And I put some white out in the white circle of my front sight.

Sight Picture

BTW, that is my interpretation of a perfect sight picture.  Blurred rear sight, blurred target, nice sharp front sight.

Anyway, I took my newly modified gun to the range:

Yep, I’ll take that.

V’s next gun

January 9, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Kids with Guns 

Our successful shooting outing this week (“Dad, that was the most fun I’ve ever had!”) has inspired me to upgrade the Shortest Newbie’s arsenal.  The Crickett is a fine little gun, but the striker hits her thumb if she isn’t careful.  Also, it gets tedious loading single rounds.

My thought is a Ruger 10/22 with a red dot sight.  Simple, rugged, cheap.  She can grow with the gun, and the 10/22 is, after the 1911, probably the most customizable of guns out there.

From Davidson’s Gallery of Guns, I found this.  Purple stock, 16 and change inch barrel.  Length of pull is probably a little long.  Brownells has this, which is about the same LOP as the Crickett.

I still need to find a cheap red dot sight.  She needs to learn sight alignment, but for now, I want her to just enjoy shooting.

Any feedback on my choices, gentle readers?

A horrifying tale

January 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Kids 

Weer’d Beard runs a series on his blog called “Gun Death.” The purpose is to highlight the folly of looking at “gun violence” as opposed to “violence.”

Today’s entry is pretty horrific. I understand the folly of saying “don’t click through”…it’s like saying “don’t think of pink elephants.” Having said that, I’d suggest not clicking, and just accept my explanation that an innocent child was abducted and murdered in a horrible fashion. If you want to read the whole story, it is available here.

One of the hardest things about being a parent is knowing that some day, and probably sooner rather than later, you are going to have to explain that there are monsters in this world.  Horrible, horrible monsters that are just as bad as anything in fiction.  They can’t be reasoned with.  They can’t be stopped.  And in order to survive, we need to identify them as monsters and put them down.

As hard as it is, parents…tell your kids to listen to that voice in their heads.

Why we win

January 4, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Newbies 

“It’s going to be loud.”


I’d been planning on taking V to the range for a few weeks now.  She had gotten big enough for her Crickett.  Since I’m going to be traveling for the next few weeks, I felt that a daddy-daughter-fun-day was in order.  My plan was to get to the range early, be the first ones on the line, and avoid anyone shooting anything too loud.

As we drove to the range, we reviewed the four rules.  We walked in to the range.  “Hey, George.  You here to shoot?”

“We sure are!”

“OK, you get the last lane.”

Oh boy.  I had hoped that we would be alone.  Instead, the range was full, and it seemed like everyone was shooting a hand cannon.

“It’s loud.  We can skip it if you want.”

“No, Dad, I want to shoot.”

I helped her get her eyes and ears on.  We opened the door to the range.  *CRACK*  I looked down…”Are you OK?”


We got into our lane, and I showed her how to load her rifle.

“Finger off the trigger…”

“I know, Dad!”

She brought the rifle up to her shoulder.

“Are you on target?”


“OK.  Preeeeeessssss the trigger…”


“I want to do that again!”

I couldn’t be more proud of my daughter.  I thought for sure we might get five rounds down range.  When I saw how crowded the range was, I thought maybe one.  She finished off the box, and demanded to know why I had failed to bring more ammo.  She even shot my Smith & Wesson P22.  That zombie is dead, my friends.

And this, is why we win. Check out the grin on my girl:

On the way home, she asked: “Dad, can we do that again?”

Um….yeah, I think so, kiddo!

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