Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
  • Somewhere in the crusty outer layer of small towns surrounding the warm creamy center that is Oklahoma City.
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    Saturday, May 31, 2008

    Glock 30 Range Report

    I just got back from renting a Glock 30, to make sure that it's all I want it to be in a carry gun.

    The range guy was a little weird to me... handed me the gun and said, as though cracking a joke, "bring it back to me like that, with the action open, so's I don't get nervous." I smiled and said "yep, I definitely wouldn't want to make you nervous." Then he gets all serious and says "yeah, because mine's loaded," referring to the gun on his hip (all gun store employees around here carry on the job).

    This sort of threw me for a loop. I'm being all friendly-like, and he's pullin' out the muscle? Holy crap dude, chill a bit. Maybe customer service ain't his gig. Or maybe it's just more of that SSES that's always going around. (Specialty Shop Employee Syndrome -- you see it on display at every small store, where the employees act like they're doing the customers a favor just by talking to them.)

    Anyway, I put the guy out of my mind and trotted into the range area. Now for those who don't know, Glocks come with a magazine loading tool that's almost essential if you want to save your thumbs. Unfortunately, rental guns are not generally provided with all the accessories, so after cramming 10 rounds into the magazine 5 times, my right thumb is completely raw. It's almost enough to say that if you plan on renting a Glock, either load the mags light, or buy a tool to use while you're renting. I don't know how Glock thumb compares to Garand thumb, but it's probably pretty close.

    I warmed up the pistol, then let Mrs. Curmudgeon and my shooting buddy each put a mag through it. After randomly spraying a few targets with the 30 and Mrs. Curmudgeon's custom Colt, I decided to put up the last target in our inventory and run a magazine rapid-fire at 10 yards, pulling the trigger as fast as I could settle the sights. I was afraid it would look really bad, given that I haven't shot regularly in years. Here's the result:

    After that, I'm thinking the Glock 30 will do just fine. Some practice for me, and it should tighten up pretty nicely.

    Posted by Tom, 5/31/2008 9:24:56 AM (Permalink). 2 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Quote of the Day

    "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. "
    -- George Orwell

    ...inspired by this comment.

    Posted by Tom, 5/30/2008 7:00:28 AM (Permalink). 1 Comment. Leave a comment...

    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    More ditch stuff

    So back on the subject of the flooding of my garage and the ditch and all that...

    Here's the little divot that I dug out a while back and mentioned, but never photographed.

    Here's what the city engineers had in mind:

    The little divot is near the utility pole on the right.

    I hope this means the permanent drain solution is on the way, though they haven't mentioned anything to me about needing to move my fence.

    Posted by Tom, 5/29/2008 8:09:00 AM (Permalink). 1 Comment. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    The Ultimate Man Room

    Yep, that's the way it was advertised in Guns magazine. The QuickRange, by Advanced Interactive Systems, is a complete modular shooting range, apparently built from structures very much like cargo containers. Choose a configuration (2 or more lanes, 40 to 120 feet long), and they'll bring it out to your house and set it all up. What could be cooler than that?

    Each QuickRange® is a complete, self-contained, two-lane shooting range in a bulletproof container, complete with shooting stalls, target-retrieval system, bullet traps, lighting and HVAC system. QuickRange® is available in lengths ranging from 40 to 120 feet and is customizable for style and convenience. With QuickRange®, everything is ready to go, right out of the box. We deliver it, you use it. Just like that.

    I'm thinking this definitely needs to be on my long-term wish list. No prices on the site. I'm guessing $30k for the base model. Anybody else, before I write and ask?

    Posted by Tom, 5/28/2008 6:53:07 PM (Permalink). 1 Comment. Leave a comment...

    Why carry a gun... a national park?

    In 2006, the most recent year available for statistics, the National Park Service says there were 116,588 reported offenses in national parks. That includes 11 killings, 35 rapes or attempted rapes, 61 robberies, 16 kidnappings and 261 aggravated assaults. a bar?

    "I saw (Villagomez) shoot one guy, come back around and shoot the other guy," Hayes said.

    Villagomez then started walking toward the middle of the bar before suddenly collapsing to the floor. Hayes later found out that Villagomez was shot by a 48-year-old customer from Reno who was carrying a concealed handgun. Authorities declined to release the Reno man's name, only saying that the man had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon. The man was released after authorities ruled the death a justifiable homicide. church?

    "It seemed like it was me, the gunman, and God," said Jeanne Assam, describing her feelings as she confronted a man who charged into her Colorado Springs church Sunday firing a weapon.

    Assam, a church security guard with law enforcement experience, fired her own weapon at the invader and stopped his attack, police say. school?

    On October 1, 1997, 16-year old Luke Woodham stabbed his mother to death. He then took a rifle to his school, Pearl High School. He shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and another student while maiming another seven. Six other boys were later arrested for allegedly conspiring with Luke in the school shooting, although all save one were cleared of all charges. The assistant principal of Pearl High, Joel Myrick, pulled a gun from his truck, intercepted Woodham and held him until police arrived.

    I'm occasionally criticized for wanting to have my gun with me everywhere I go. It's seen as "paranoid" or "extreme". Yet I can't remember ever reading a story that said the murderer phoned ahead and announced his intentions beforehand. You know, so the "reasonable" people could run home and get their guns.

    Criminals are so inconsiderate.

    Posted by Tom, 5/28/2008 5:15:15 AM (Permalink). 2 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    Clearly a product whose time has come

    I was flipping through the latest Guns magazine, and in their "new products" section, they've profiled a new company that sells zombie targets. All civil-defense-minded shooters should obviously run right over to and order up a pack of these things for practice. Don't forget your zombie hunting permit, conveniently sold at the same site.

    Remember folks, only headshots count, so practice hard and practice often.

    Posted by Tom, 5/27/2008 6:54:04 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    Memorial Day

    I've been a critic of the so-called "War on Terror". I've been rather outspoken about my views of the Bush administration and it's handling of the war. I cringe every time someone refers to our soldiers' activities as "fighting for our freedom", when the administration's policy has been to clamp down on freedom in every way it can. Fundamental rights have been denied to the people of this country and other countries, while the government seizes more powers not explicitly granted to it by the Constitution, in violation of the 10th Amendment. The administration truly makes me sick.

    However I may feel about the policies of our government, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to acknowledge the bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers who do the jobs they're assigned to do. They are not the decision-makers or policy-setters. They're doing a hellishly dangerous job, and far too often they give their lives in service to this country. So while I think it is perfectly appropriate to criticize the fact that they're being asked to do this particular job, it is also appropriate to applaud them for the fact that they do it, even though it may cost them everything.

    So while I do believe that it has been quite a while since a soldier really "fought for our freedom", I also believe we should be appreciative of the fact that they've signed up and pledged their very lives to doing just that. I only wish that we could find better things for them to do, and better ways to solve the world's problems than by applying violence as a panacea.

    To any soldiers who may come across this blog: thank you and may God bless you.

    To any members of the administration: get bent.

    Posted by Tom, 5/26/2008 9:43:46 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    Driving me crazy

    I don't know why it is, but it really bugs me when a company makes a product but doesn't say anything about it. Case in point: the Glock 30SF. The "SF" stands for "Short/Slim Frame" (there seems to be some dispute on the meaning of the S) and denotes a frame that's been shaved down and re-contoured for smaller hands. The part that drives me nuts is the fact that according to the above website (which is a retailer, not Glock Inc.), Glock makes the pistol, but if you go to there's nothing mentioned about it. I've seen and held the things, and the frame certainly looks like a factory Glock. So why doesn't Glock talk about it?

    More importantly, why do I care? I've found all the information I really need, and I've handled them in the store. I know it's one of the guns I want, but for some reason I keep getting all obsessed with the idea that Glock ought to make some mention of it in their official literature/website.

    This has happened in the past with other products... usually electronics. A lot of manufacturers drop all mention of their older models the moment a new revision comes out. Or they'll have significant differences between revisions and not mention the one I care about. It just seems to me that if you're going to make a product and sell it, you ought to at least admit doing so.

    Posted by Tom, 5/25/2008 5:29:10 AM (Permalink). 4 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Opening weekend

    One of our favorite activities is going to see movies at the theater. It's great seeing things on the big screen, with the big sound, and having that larger-than-life experience. But for some reason, a fair number of those around me seem utterly enamored with the idea of going to a big movie on opening weekend. They apparently revel in the crowd, the excitement, the electricity in the air. As the recent viewing of Iron Man has once again confirmed however, I am not that sort of person.

    A crowd in the theater means there are more people talking, more babies crying, and more un-silenced cell phones going off. Not only that, but it feels downright claustrophobic to have all those bodies around me. I know real claustrophobes who get jittery in elevators and tunnels. Such things have never bothered me. But put me in a room bigger than my house, then fill it with people, and my skin begins to crawl. There's a constant perception of a sort of awful weight pressing in on me from all sides. If I dwell on it too much (and I try not to), the perception tends to lead to a feeling very much like panic.

    I've tried to explain this to my opening weekend friends, but the message never seems to get through. Going to the movies in a packed theater is a decidedly unpleasant experience even if I love the movie, as I did Iron Man. I much prefer to be in a theater that's at 50% or less capacity, as it is the second and subsequent weekends that a movie is open. In fact, I tend to think of weekend #2 as "opening weekend" for me.

    Even if we discount my little hang-ups, I believe it's an objectively superior moviegoing experience as well. There are lighter crowds, fewer babies, fewer cell phones, easier trips to the bathroom if necessary, and a greater chance that my friends and I can all sit together instead of being scattered all over the theater.

    This summer promises to be a banner year in the kinds of movies that I like to see. It also promises to be a banner year in requests for opening-weekend crowd-alongs. I went to Iron Man, now I need a break. The request for seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, not just on opening weekend, but -- horror of horrors! -- at the Thursday opening, was politely declined. I'll be seeing Prince Caspian instead. Indy can wait a week, and will bump another movie, which will bump another, and so forth, all through the summer until the summer movies dry up somewhere around Labor Day. I may see them later than some of my friends, but I'll enjoy them more than I would otherwise. Given the price of tickets these days, I think that's pretty important.

    Posted by Tom, 5/19/2008 6:14:04 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, May 16, 2008

    Boren vs Boren

    OK, this has gotten a little to weird for words... According to Tulsa World:

    U.S. Rep. Dan Boren on Wednesday announced his appointment to the National Rifle Association's board of directors.

    "The Second Amendment is an important part of Oklahoma and this nation's heritage, and I pledge to uphold it for all who wish to keep their families safe and for sportsmen, shooters and hunters everywhere,'' the Oklahoma Democrat said.

    According to Wikipedia:

    Boren was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma to Janna Lou Little and David Lyle Boren, current University of Oklahoma President

    This would be the same OU president who said he'd "get down on his knees and beg" the Oklahoma legislators to kill a bill that would have allowed concealed carry on college campuses. So the son of one of Oklahoma's biggest anti-gunners is now on the board of directors for the NRA.

    I'm not saying he's not his own man...

    ...I'm just saying I hope this particular apple fell a good distance from the tree.

    Posted by Tom, 5/16/2008 8:29:27 AM (Permalink). 2 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Quote of the Day

    "You are too old to NOT work out."
    -- "Bodyhard", an internet forum user

    Posted by Tom, 5/16/2008 6:44:22 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Working the back

    One of the hardest areas to exercise seems to be the back. It's involved in a lot of exercises, and is probably one of our largest muscle groups, but we don't use our backs consciously. If I do a bicep curl, I can focus on the entire movement, both mentally and physically, but the back muscles are a different animal altogether. My early attempts, it turns out, really went into shoulder and arm development instead.

    We don't often pay much attention to how our back muscles are moving, and it's hard to move them consciously. I discovered that my attempts at chins and pullups were all largely shoulder and arm strength. I couldn't figure out how these translated into back exercises. The dead lift and squat certainly put pressure on the back, but it's really not a matter of truly flexing those muscles as much as the legs. About the only exercise that really seemed to be working was weighted hypers, and even that felt more like a butt workout than anything else, until I tried changing my position on the pad to try and take my rear end out of the equation.

    In my new routine, I've been doing a lot of bent-over rows. At first, these also translated into arm exercises, before I discovered that taking a wide grip on the bar forced me to use my back muscles instead. Now I'm actually feeling it in the right place. I don't know if I've gotten to the point of knowing how to use my back muscles consciously for a pullup yet, but I'm getting there.

    It occurs to me that maybe the reason we have so many back troubles in this country is that we just don't know how to use those muscles. Other than what comes unconsciously as a result of standing and walking, we don't really try to work them. There's a lot of jokes among bodybuilders about how some guys will come to the gym day after day and work nothing but their biceps, developing huge guns but being puny everywhere else. It makes me wonder what someone would look like if they did nothing but their back.

    Not that I'm about to try it, mind you. I'm here for strength, and that requires everything to work together. In fact, I've found that the best exercise for handgun gripping strength is the dead lift, with a double-overhand grip instead of an alternating one. Sure, I'm working those huge leg and back muscles, but I'm attached to the bar by some of the smallest muscles in my body -- my fingers. After trying it that way once, the added focus required to keep the bar from slipping out of my grasp made the lift a lot more entertaining. Can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

    Posted by Tom, 5/14/2008 4:25:25 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Sunday, May 11, 2008


    As I prepare to make my shift in carry guns, the subject of how to carry them naturally comes to mind. And since I've been carrying a gun for about 10 years now, I've tried quite a few different modes of carry, some better than others.

    My first holster was a $10 piece of crap by Uncle Mike's. It was essentially a neoprene pouch with a plastic belt clip on it, an inside-the-waistband (aka IWB) thing that did little more than keep the gun from sliding down into my pant leg. I carried for far too long in that thing, and in hindsight was very lucky that it didn't fail at a worse time than it did. At some point, I don't remember exactly when, I was out in public, I think at a store, and whatever I was doing required a bunch of bending and reaching and stretching. In the midst of this, I heard a clattering sound, and looked down to see my 9mm bouncing on the floor. I quickly grabbed it and stuffed it in my pocket, looking around to see if anyone had noticed, then ran to the bathroom and put the thing back where it belonged. Since then, I haven't been a fan of Uncle Mike... their belt holsters (outside the waistband) are fat and clunky, and none of their holsters are really anything more than a pouch, perhaps with a retention strap.

    At the time I got my 9mm for carry, we also bought a Walther PPK/S for my wife. We had a small IWB holster for it as well, but it had a metal clip and a retention strap, and was made out of cheap leather. I can't remember if it was made by Bianchi or Galco, but it probably cost about $20. Anyway, I carried the PPK a time or two, and that holster worked very well for that gun. (UPDATE: it may have been one of these, or something like it.)

    I also have a fanny pack holster, but it's just not that great. To properly use a fanny pack, you're supposed to put all your other pocket items in it, such as wallet, keys, and cell phone. This hides the fact that you're attached to this thing just to have a gun. Unfortunately, having all this crap in that one spot makes it all seem twice as heavy. Rather than distributing the weight around your body as happens when you put stuff in various jeans pockets, it's all focused in one spot and pulling on your back at the opposite side.

    Some time later, I bought a Para-Ordnance P13 for carrying, and toted it in a Galco Jackass Rig. This is a shoulder system with an angled gun holster on one side and a double magazine pouch on the other. It is the most expensive (and best) holster I've ever owned. It was very comfortable, concealed easily under a jacket or open-front shirt, and being a shoulder holster, had a retention strap that also eased my nerves a bit about carrying a 1911 cocked and locked. I'm not saying that 1911 safeties are prone to swipe off, or that the grip safety won't stop it from firing in any case, I'm just saying that it can feel a little... "edgy"... to be toting one for the first time, and I really appreciated the extra safety of having that retention strap between the hammer and firing pin.

    Unfortunately, my P13 had "issues" that made it less reliable than I would have liked. The double-stack magazines were nice for their capacity, but I could not get them to feed reliably, even with return trips to Para-Ordnance for repair and tuning. I gave up on the gun and traded it for a Glock 19.

    The Glock is an equally nerve-wracking gun at first, because even though you don't really carry it "cocked and locked" the way you would a 1911, it has no external safeties. Pull the trigger and it goes bang, end of story. I figured I needed some good holsters that completely enclosed the trigger guard, because even though I'm rather fanatical about the "finger off the trigger" rule, I didn't want anything else to work its way into place and pull the trigger for me.

    For some reason, the Glock seems like a perfect gun for these newfangled Kydex (aka plastic) holsters that everyone's turning out these days. I bought a paddle and an IWB, one by Blade-Tech and one by Fobus (can't remember which was which). The Glock clicks into place rather solidly, and both holsters did a great job of retention even without a strap, due to the way they grab the trigger guard. Once in place however, the gun had a tendency to rattle in the holster, which can be annoying.

    The paddle holster was my favorite, as it was the most comfortable. I don't know who the manufacturers think they're kidding, but Kydex is NOT a good idea for IWB holsters. It chafes like crazy, and the shape is such that it really doesn't feel good against your body. For those who haven't tried it, it's rather like trying to conceal a PlayStation controller in your pants. There's always something poking you in the wrong way.

    Paddle holsters, on the other hand, are generally great pieces of equipment with one big flaw. Something about the way they're built seems to dictate a lot of extra material between the paddle and the holster, so the gun feels like it's hanging off into space rather than being snugged up against the body. It tends to sway as you walk, and bounce all over the place if you try to run. I still have one, but don't use it much for this reason. On the good side, paddle holsters are great for slipping on and off if your day dictates that you'll need to spend some time in a criminal empowerment zone (aka "gun free zone").

    I eventually sold the Glock to pay off some debt, and went back to my original S&W 9mm for carrying. It now rides in a Bianchi Accumold belt holster (about $30) with a retention strap. This is a decent setup, though the holster only has one belt loop, so it still feels a little floppier than I'd like. I've got my belt cinched up tight enough that you could use it to put a saddle on me, but this holster's weak attachment point remains problematic. If I could find a good leather belt holster for the gun, I'd buy it, but the 908 is the unwanted stepchild of the holster industry, near as I can tell. It's very difficult to find holsters made specifically for it, and the slide is squared rather than rounded like on its sister gun the 3913, so holsters made for the latter may or may not fit.

    And this brings me to my currently planned purchase. I've carried a 4" 1911 before, and that's what I'll be getting in a Kimber. I've decided that retention straps are definitely good things to have, as I like the extra margin of safety with a cocked and locked pistol as well as the "oops prevention" capabilities. As I've practiced drawing, I've noticed that once the technique is known, disengaging a retention strap takes absolutely no extra time for the draw, so I'm not worried there. Stability and comfort are also very important, especially since the Kimber will weigh more than the 908.

    I plan to get another Galco Jackass rig, just because I really loved that holster. After some searching, I've also decided on a Galco "Fletch" holster, which is a belt model with a retention strap. It also has two widely-spaced belt loops instead of one directly behind the body of the holster, which should greatly improve stability. I'm still looking for a good IWB model. I'm not necessarily married to the idea of a retention strap, but I at least want one with extra protection on the "skin side" for things like the safety lever and so forth, which I imagine will dig in to the skin just as bad as the Kydex IWB did. Maybe I'll save IWB carry for the pending Glock 30SF or 36.

    I also plan to order all holsters in black. My logic is that with so many cell phones and PDA's and other gizmos being toted around in black belt pouches, any "peekaboo" moments where my holster might become visible below the hem of my shirt are likely to be dismissed by onlookers as a cell phone case or somesuch. Brown leather on the other hand might say "gun" a little louder. And black tends to not catch the eye in the first place. At least that's the theory.

    Anyway, you non-gun people are probably bored out of your minds. Moving on...

    Posted by Tom, 5/11/2008 5:04:54 PM (Permalink). 2 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Thursday, May 8, 2008

    Sounds easy...

    After yesterday's post, I decided to call up Continental Airlines and find out what the policy is on transporting firearms. Turns out it's not as bad as I thought. Basically, I have to buy a hard-sided suitcase that can be locked, declare my handgun at the counter, and ship it unloaded in said suitcase. Ammo is also not a problem, much to my surprise.

    I asked if anything had to be done beforehand, like getting forms or pre-clearance or anything like that. The lady said nope, just show up at the counter with luggage and weaponry, declare everything, sign a form, and off you go. Groovy!

    The main disadvantage is having to check luggage, which I'll be doing anyway for the Alaska trip. Weekenders to Missouri or Ohio might be less wonderful, since I would normally just take a carry-on, but I've got a nice large case that would do the trick in that situation as well.

    I'll have to blog about the experience with the Alaska trip. I'm intensely interested in how all this goes down in practice. If it's as smooth as the brochure, I might start looking for more opportunities to fly. The more you know...

    Posted by Tom, 5/8/2008 5:03:04 PM (Permalink). 3 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Gun Culture

    It's a running joke in my local circle of friends that if you come to my house, we check you for weapons. If you come up short, we'll loan you one. Honestly though, it's not far from the truth as far as my attitude goes. It's just proper hospitality, if you ask me, and I wonder why it doesn't happen more.

    As I've been reading through Massad Ayoob's book, The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery (6th Edition), I've been learning a lot about all sorts of things. One of the things I just read tells me that the "gun culture" I long for actually does exist:

    In my circle of friends, certain protocols are observed, and when you pick up a stranded friend at the airport, you have more in the car for him than a cool CD on the Boze. Tony knows I'm legal to carry in Pennsylvania, and knew that my weapons were locked in my lost checked baggage, so when I got into the car a couple of things were already waiting for me. One was a neat little Elishowitz folding knife.

    The other was Heckler and Koch's new subcompact pistol, loaded with hot 9mm hollowpoints: the Model 2000SK.

    Now THAT is the kind of hospitality I would love to both provide and receive, depending on which end of the traveling I was on. I recently went to Ohio and drove the whole way in no small part due to the fact that I'd have more headaches trying to get my carry gun into checked baggage if I went by air. It's not impossible, mind you, it's just a hassle. I'll probably do it for the trip to Alaska, but that's a different animal altogether. I think there are prohibitions on taking ammo in any case, so I'd probably need to plan a shopping trip on arrival.

    Anyway, I just think it'd be really cool to be able to fly to these various destinations, get picked up at the airport, and have a suitable carry gun waiting for me. It would save a whole lot of boring driving AND a bunch of messing around with the airlines.

    Posted by Tom, 5/7/2008 5:38:15 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    Quote of the Day

    "One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure--and in some cases I have--that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."
    -- Col. Jeff Cooper, USMC (Ret) (1920 - 2006)

    Posted by Tom, 5/6/2008 6:25:44 AM (Permalink). 5 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Monday, May 5, 2008

    I.E.D. revisited

    I previously blogged about Intermittent Explosive Disorder and its tenuous link to my own life. Now some twit has had the brilliant idea to use this "condition" as a defense in a criminal trial:

    The scion of a prominent Bay State family was jailed last week for a vicious attack on a Cambridge woman after a judge rejected efforts by his well-heeled kin to keep the man free due to a condition his lawyer dubbed “intermittent explosive disorder.”

    Christopher Gardner Beaman, 24, a descendant of Henry Cabot Lodge, was sentenced to a year in jail after his petite former girlfriend told a rapt courtroom about the unprovoked attack that lacerated her liver and temporarily put her in a wheelchair.

    As my brother put it in the comments to the previous post:

    Does diagnosis with a disorder mean that you have a disease process? What I mean is, if I have intermittent explosive disorder, am I "suffering" from an "illness" that needs "treatment"? Or am I just an asshole?

    Appropriately, the judge in this case chose option B.

    Posted by Tom, 5/5/2008 5:53:55 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Slowly but surely...

    ...justice looks like it's coming to Mississippi.

    I previously mentioned Reason's expose on Dr. Stephen Hayne, Mississippi's exemplar of government corruption and incompetence. Their latest update makes me hopeful for the state's future, though of course the various DA's sound like they plan to fight it, given that he gives medical opinions written by prosecutors:

    The Hattiesburg American—Mississippi's second-largest newspaper—asks DAs around south-central Mississippi if they're still using Dr. Steven Hayne to perform autopsies, in spite of the allegations against him to come out over the past several months. Not surprisingly, all of them said they have no problem with Hayne, and plan to keep using him. At this point, I think you could make a pretty good case that continuing to use Hayne amounts to a breach of ethics.

    In a perfect world, continuing to use Hayne would amount to something that would put the DA's in prison for at least as long as the minimum sentence they've inflicted on someone using his testimony. But I'll take what I can get. At a minimum, Hayne needs to burn for his fraud against the people of Mississippi.

    Posted by Tom, 5/5/2008 5:46:05 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    What's so great about Glock pistols?


    I especially love the part where he adjusts the sights by whacking them with a hammer.

    Note that his friend's H&K doesn't fare so well.

    After I get the Kimber, I'm almost certainly going to look into another Glock. I got rid of my first to pay off some debt, and I've got my eyes on either the model 30SF or the model 36.

    UPDATE: The original "torture test", published awhile back by Chuck Taylor in some gun rag or another, can be found here.

    Posted by Tom, 5/5/2008 5:09:35 AM (Permalink). 6 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Saturday, May 3, 2008

    Range Report

    Today, after a long hiatus, I finally returned to the range. As expected, my skills are rusty as an old wheelbarrow. I still managed to get shots on paper, but my groups were downright embarrassing.

    I've been reading Massad Ayoob's Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery, and I decided that my return to active shooting was probably best done by following the advice from the book. So after reviewing the parts on grip and stance, I went to the range with my small collection of handguns, a bunch of assorted ammo I had lying around, and a friend.

    First up was my tried-and-true Smith & Wesson model 908. It was my very first carrying gun, and as I've been looking at getting a Kimber for toting around, I've been thinking about getting rid of it. I like the idea of being down to just two handgun calibers (.45 ACP and .38 Special), and this 9mm doesn't really figure into that.

    I loaded up each of its magazines, ran them through one by one, then repeated the process. As expected, the gun functioned flawlessly, with holster lint all over the slide, magazine springs that have been fully compressed for at least a couple years, and a mishmash of mismatched ammunition.

    After due consideration, I've realized that I can't get rid of this gun. It's not because I'm sentimental (and I am), but when you've got a gun that's this reliable, functioning flawlessly every single time you step to the firing line, it just doesn't make sense to get rid of it.

    Next, I moved to a Taurus model 85 that I acquired from a friend. I've had this gun for a couple of years, but never really did anything with it other than run a few rounds through it to make sure it worked right. It's just been sitting on the nightstand in case we're home invaded in the middle of the night.

    It turns out I like everything about this gun except the grip. When I try to get a high hold on it, the shape of the grip points the dang thing at the ceiling. Looks like I'll be finding me some Hogue aftermarket grips to make it a little easier to handle.

    I also ran a few rounds through my "summer carry" pistol, a Smith & Wesson Airweight 638. It's light and easy to carry, but of course kicks like a mule since it doesn't have any weight to resist recoil. Ayoob's tips on grip for these things really helped out, and I'm sure that with more practice I'll be able to tighten up those groups.

    Somewhere in there, the guy next to me offered to let me try his Smith & Wesson 340PD. This is a 12 oz Titanium revolver that shoots full-power .357 Magnum loads. Recoil is, to say the least, stimulating. I don't consider myself "recoil sensitive", but even wearing a padded glove, I was pretty much done after 5 rounds. This gun is the very definition of "carried a lot, shot very little."

    Finally, just to keep it in good working order, I ran a few magazines through my wife's Colt 1911, customized by Marianne Carniak. No surprises there.

    Mostly I was knocking the dust off my shooting skills, and I'd say mission accomplished on that count. It was also a dry run of the book, and I've got to say I'm really liking Massad Ayoob's advice for grip and stance, because I'm getting better results from the little .38's than I ever have before. Being out of my comfort zone with my semi-autos shows that I need more practice with Ayoob's system. After having read about 75% of the book, I'd say that anyone who owns and especially anyone who carries a handgun should have a copy of it. It's well worth the time and money, even if a lot of the advice is "old news" to the person reading it. Personally, this book has taught me more about handguns than I ever thought possible, and showed me mistakes I've been making for years that have been costing me accuracy. As I get back into shooting, I'm looking forward to many good practice sessions with Ayoob in my head.

    Posted by Tom, 5/3/2008 9:55:27 PM (Permalink). 4 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, May 2, 2008

    I'm a counselor

    I got a link to this personality test from a friend who's fascinated by such things. I don't know how much stock I put in these things, but I do relate well to some of the descriptions they have for my "type":

    Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs [aka "counselor"] hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists -- INFJs gravitate toward such a role -- are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.

    INFJs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. They often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress. INFJs may fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless. The concept of 'poetic justice' is appealing to the INFJ.


    INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.

    INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates.

    I found this other description interesting as well.

    I don't know if they're accurate depictions of what I'm like, as I tend to think the best judges of such things are usually those in relationship with us. So I'll wait and see what my friends and family have to say. The friend who sent me the link seemed to think it was pretty accurate.

    Posted by Tom, 5/2/2008 5:51:54 PM (Permalink). 2 Comments. Leave a comment...