Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
7/27/2011: Anchorage fire kills child, likely because of ammunitionhttp://www.adn.com/2011/07/27/1987707/house-on-fire-in-mountain-view.html I’m sure that gun owners are very sad today because they are feeling at least partly responsible for killing this little child. The smart ones are, anyway.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
- Arrest for Murder 1 and Assault 4 (back in 2004!!!)
- Domestic Violence protective order
- Malicious Destruction of Property charges (misdemeanor)
- Substance abuse charges -- open container, drug possession
- Drug dealing charges (Class B Felony)
- A long litany of traffic violations and a fishing violation
Sunday, July 24, 2011
18.20 The chief surgeon at a hospital treating Norway's victims said the killed used special 'dum-dum' bullets designed to disintegrate inside the body and cause maximum internal damage.
Dr Colin Poole, head of surgery at Rinriket Hospital in Honefoss, northwest of Oslo, said surgeons treating 16 gunshot victims have recovered no full bullets.
These Bullets more or less exploded inside the body... These bullets inflicted internal damage that's absolutely horrible.
In all seriousness, it sounds like those kids did everything right in the aftermath of the attack. Good for them, and hopefully all of them will recover from the injuries.
ETA: A lot of people at the ADN and at some blogs are commenting that this group was foolish to go out into the woods without a gun. What they are forgetting is that these were teens and all from out of state. While Alaska state law is fine with kids being trained with guns, how well trained do you think that sixteen year old from CT is in firearms handling? I don't know about you, but I don't want some kids who've never held a gun before packing grizz medicine!
The group had bear spray, they were making noise as instructed. The attack seemed to come too swiftly for them to use the bearspray, much less a gun. It does happen sometimes. In the history of this organization it is only the second bear attack and the first grizzly attack. This particular class has been happening for 40 years in Alaska. Sometimes shit happens.
Bottom line: neither bear spray or guns are magic talismans against bear attacks (or people attacks for that matter). You have to be trained in how to use them, mentally capable of using them, and have the time to use them.
I don't know what sort of training they had with the bear mace so I cannot comment on that aspect. I will say that they should have EACH had a bear spray.
Another Update: From the new story up on ADN, some of the teens apparently ran when the bear attacked. That seems to have been their only mistake though. Sometimes smart people forget the right thing to do, especially when a great big bear is trying to nom your face.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
For free instruction, I was VERY impressed. It was just me and the instructor and fifty rounds of birdshot. The first thing we did was get me shooting right handed. He also corrected my shoulder mount, cheek weld, and other posture issues. According to him, my stock is maybe an inch or so too short, which was initially surprising until I thought for a minute and realized that here I was shooting in just a t-shirt whereas all of my previous times with the shotgun had involved several layers of fleece and jackets. Definitely something to consider!
The next thing we covered was sight picture. Go figure, I'd been doing it wrong. He gave a very clear explanation and I immediately started breaking birds. Funny how that works!
I certainly wasn't breaking everything I shot at, but when I had my posture correct and my sight picture correct, the clays were dust. Even better, when I missed, I was able to say to which direction I missed, by how much, and why, giving me the confidence to go out and shoot more on my own, knowing that I won't just be turning money into noise.
This is why training is so important, and particularly training specific to the platform you are using. Sure, all my pistol training gives me some basic skills with shotguns and rifles, but each has its own quirks and tricks which may not be intuitive. I'm doing some more handgunning over the next month to get my NRA instructor certification, but once I've got that knocked out the first thing on my priority list is a good shotgun class. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm excited to get out there and learn it!
Friday, July 22, 2011
Of particular note is the first sentence: "Norway's peace was shattered twice Friday when a bomb ripped open buildings in the heart of its government and a man dressed as a police officer gunned down youths at a summer camp."
Emphasis mine. Some people who support increased police powers, no-knock warrants and cops being able to do anything because they are cops need to remember that the bad guys can yell "POLICE" just as loud as anyone.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
- Additional prohibited person categories. Some states like Oregon have implemented additional categories of prohibited persons who are not allowed to buy guns. The only want to enforce this is to run your own statewide background check system.
- Access to new databases. NICS only checks a few national databases. The States may be able to access things like mental health records more easily. Of course, the states could also just be more diligent about keeping the NICS database up to date.
- Additional denials or failures to approve. This POC setup allows the state to not give approvals as readily as NICS might. For example, for many years Georgia apparently gave a reject or a "fail to approve" to anyone with a previous arrest for felony/drug/DV charges. The failure to approve meant that the transaction was up to the FFL; most FFLs chose not to proceed at that point. Whether this keeps guns out of the hands of bad guys or whether it is a convenient way to disenfranchise certain groups of people is up for debate, I'd say. TN and CO still work this way.
- Allows the state to have its own criteria for fixing errors. For example, if you were wrongly denied in Georgia, the process to fix it is expensive, time consuming, and requires a lawyer and action by a court. However, the POC office regularly overturned "many" denials using an informal process that circumvented the expensive legal route. Whether this is the bureacracy actually helping people out, or a way to deny redress to certain groups while allowing "good old boys" to be grandfathered in is up for debate.
- Jobs Program. Obviously the state POC employs people. This office can be entirely funded by gun owners. It probably doesn't require any state appropriations to run, and I doubt that gun owners are organized enough on this particular issue to really bring significant political heat to bear. So, this serves as a way to create some cushy jobs for political appointees or unionized bureaucrats. Oregon and Georgia each spent on the order of a million bucks each year to run their programs.
- State Records. The state POC gets the full information for each buyer as well as the type of gun being purchased. I am unclear on whether or not they are required to destroy this information like NICS is supposed to. In theory it would be trivially easy for the state to build records of who has bought guns.
- Limit times of sales. Sales can only occur when the state POC office is open. If you want to prevent gun stores from operating during nights or weekends this is a great way.
According to Georgia, there has never been a formal appeal of a denial filed, perhaps because of the court-based requirements; rather, the Georgia POC handles them informally and a relatively large number of reversals occur, especially for open arrests which later result in non-prohibiting convictions.
- Cost/Benefit: Is it worth a million dollars a year in order to prevent 0.25-1% of prohibited persons from buying a gun from an FFL? If so, why should this cost be borne by law abiding gun owners, when any benefit to society is being shared by everyone?
- Discrimination: In particular, the Georgia experience seems like it could be rife with abuse. The policy of denying large numbers of people then using an informal process at the POC to resolve the denials seems like it could be easily twisted. I'd be very interested to see if there are patterns of discrimination in the denials, and in the arbitrary and informal reversal process.
- Effectiveness: The question isn't "how many bad guys did we turn down that NICS would have missed?" The right question is, "how many bad guys did we successfully prosecute for straw buys?" or "how many bad guys did we prevent from getting firearms?" Given that a prohibited person could just drive across the state line to a non-POC state and perjure himself on the 4473 or illegally buy a firearm in a private sale and commit a felony, I'm guessing that the number is pretty small.
Politically, a state’s attitude toward gun ownership may also influence its choice of status. Many POC states have enacted prohibiting legislation that is stricter than federally-mandated regulations.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Time to Prepare
Likelihood of Doom
Hope you know where the gas line shutoff is
Can you swim?
It probably doesn't help that Jurassic Park and Twister were popular movies when DW and I were at a formative young age, so we are both unusually concerned about dinosaurs and tornadoes.
If you get hit with a direct hit from a tornado, you're pretty hosed unless you happen to have a school bus which has been converted into a bunker. However, a lot of the damage comes from flying debris. It is easier to protect against that. Materials like kevlar are often used in safe rooms that actually work to protect people in real disasters. It makes sense; if a material can handle a .44 magnum round then it can probably stop splinters and nails too.
So, with all this in mind, DW and I bit the bullet and ordered some body armor. I have personally worked with body armor before and am a believer in its ability to save lives. The stuff works. There are really two options out there for the budget consumer.
The first is US Palm's defender series. The defender is a pretty darn good idea. It is a ready to go chest rig set up for a pistol (chest holster + 3 mags), AR-15 (mag pouches), AK-47 (mag pouches), or molle. I believe all the vests also have room for a light. They come with varying levels of protection, but the entry level has a soft 3A plate in the front. Price? I've seen them for $200. This is a great "off the shelf" solution for someone concerned about home invasions. If your game plan is to hunker down in the master bedroom and call the cops, then you only need armor in the front. I really like the idea of having a "grab and go" pistol set up; that's basically what I had when I was downrange and it was very comforting when the alarms went off to have to toss on my chest rig and know that I had armor, a sidearm, some mags, a first aid kit, and a light. For $200 off the shelf the US Palm is a great solution. You can upgrade later with a hard rifle plate.
However, there are some issues with it. First, the armor plate is small. It stops well above the abdomen and may not cover the breadth of the chest on many people. There is no back or side protection, which could be an issue if you ever need to check the house or if you are concerned about flying debris in the tornado scenario.
The other option is to get some used police surplus armor. There are many vendors on the internet but I personally chose BulletProofMe. It is a bit more expensive than the defender and you're not getting a new kevlar vest (you're getting used). However, you get much more protection for your money. Additionally, BulletProofMe will work with you to ensure that you get the right size. DW and I are both very pleased with how carefully they worked with us on the measurements and how well the vests we ordered fit. They take into consideration things like male vs. female body shapes, if you'll need to be able to sit comfortable (size to account for that), if you wear duty gear on your belt or not, how much of a wrap vs. ventilation you want on the sides, etc.
The vests are just standard police surplus which means all they have for upgradeability is a 5x8" trauma pad pocket. This is perfect for adding a light steel and ballistic impact pad for a bit of stabbing protection. You could also add a 5x8 SAPI shoulder plate to get some rifle protection. Or, you can layer the vest with a plate carrier.
I would really like to have an option to affix some mags, a chest holster, a light, a phone, and a first aid kit so as to have a "grab and go" rig but that is the downside of police surplus. My compromise is to have a set of pants all "set up" next to the bed. If I whip on the pants then everything I need is in the pockets. I can have the pants on, the vest on, and the pistol in hand in around a dozen seconds. Given that there's two of us, the game plan is for one to immediately cover the door while the other gets dressed, then switch, then grab the long guns and call the police. All told it will be under a minute.
I've seen armor in the field and it works. I don't understand why people will spend tons of money on combat handguns, an AR/AK/12 gauge shotgun, and premium defensive ammo and not consider armor. After all, if there is a bump in the night, the goal isn't to ventilate the bad guy -- the goal should be to not get hurt yourself while you hold the fort until the police arrive. For less than the cost of a Mossberg 500 or a few boxes of premium handgun ammo and mags, you can get soft armor that gives you substantial protection in a "worst case" scenario.
Armor also works to protect people in many less nefarious scenarios, like a natural disaster where there's a lot of debris. That's why we wanted the full side and rear protection that the police surplus vests give. There's a reason why many first responders wear armor, after all. I can see there being a use in many other fields for it: heck, when I was a security guard in college, it would have been a good idea. I was naive and in condition white at the time and didn't consider the risk I was taking. Even low-paid security guards who work in gun free zones and who aren't authorized any defensive tools like mace can benefit from armor. So can cabbies, bouncers, and many other "normal" people.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
- BCM Mid-Length Upper Group ($500 w/ shipping). I selected this because it has an excellent set of features including M4 feedramps, gov't profile barrel, fully chrome lined bbl and chamber, 1:7 twist, 556 (vs 223) chamber, and a few others. I thought the price was screaming good at first, but then after ordering I realized it lacked a charging handle and bolt carrier group. Ouch.
- Phantom 5C1 Flash Hider ($30). Somehow, BCM was out of pinned A2 flash hiders. I need a pinned flash hider on the 14.5" bbl to get it over 16" and avoid NFA/SBR issues. So, I ordered a seperate flash hider and will have to get it welded on locally.
- Bolt Carrier Group (~$60). I haven't ordered one yet as I didn't realize that it was needed. The BCM BCG is a good value, given that many of these run over a hundred bucks. Regrettably they are out of stock, so I may have to settle for the DPMS which is running $55. I'm just not willing to spend over a hundred bucks at this point on it.
- Charging Handle ($25). I'm going with the Noveske. There is a DPMS for about ten bucks left, but I think another ten bucks is probably worth it. The BCM Gunfighter and Gasbuster handles look nice but again I'm getting cheap...
- Daniel Defense 1.5 Fixed Iron Rear Sight ($65). A simple fixed sight, nothing fancy.
- Stag Ambi Parts Kit ($85). DPMS was on sale for $55, but I think the Stag LPK will get me higher quality. Given that I was going to pay $25 for an ambi safety anyways, this was a good deal. I want a BADASS 45 degree selector but am unwilling to pay the asking price right now.
- Troy Ambi Bolt Release ($30). I want the ambi controls so I can start shooting this left handed with my dominant eye. I did pass on the ambi mag release as it is expensive ($90) and because the odds of me needing a fast left handed mag change are pretty low.
- JP Enterprises "Yellow Spring" Trigger Kit ($10). I considered a nice Geisselle trigger. This is a fraction of the price for a significant improvement in the stock mil-spec trigger.
- MagPul MIAD ($30). I wanted a set of nice matching OD green MagPul furniture.
- MagPul MOE Handguard ($30). This is also OD green. Additionally, this handguard is one of the simplest and lightest handguards which suits me fine.
- MagPul MOE Vertical Forend ($20). Ok, I'll admit that I don't have any need for a Forend. However, they are kind of handy for maneuvering in close quarters. It also looks like an "evil" feature that will piss off a gun grabber. I'll probably end up taking it off but wanted to try one out for less than twenty bucks.
- MagPul CTR Stock ($85). I thought this was a bargain. $85 for an upgrade to a MagPul? Sweet! I've also heard great things about them. However, I didn't realize that I also needed a buffer, receiver tube extension, castle nut, etc.
- Stock Kit with H Buffer ($77). I'm picking up one of these to support the CTR. It is $10 more than just the hardware (without the M4 stock). I figure for $10 having an M4 stock that is guaranteed to work might be nice in case the CTR doesn't work out. Had I done this a bit smarter I would have ordered a package with the MagPul which is an easier and cheaper way to do this. Or skipped the MagPul altogether right now.
- Blackhawk Sling ($7). I have nice single point sling as well as a nice three point sling packed away. For now I figure a cheap sling will be convenient.
- MagPul MOE 5-slot Rail ($5). I don't plan on hanging lots of crap on my AR. I do have a Surefire X300 that is currently on a pistol, so I'd like a short rail to have the option to affix a light.
- Noveske End Plate ($24). I figure while I'm assembling the stock I may as well throw one of these on. They're apparently a bit of a pain to go back and do later.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
- Norgon Ambi Mag Release: $90
- BAD-ASS 45 deg selector: $90
- Geissele 3 Gun Trigger: $220
- MAGPUL MIAD: $22
- MAGPUL CTR: $72
- ASAP Sling Plate ($37), NoMar Sling Plate ($22), or QD plate
- MAGPUL MOE Stock: $54
- MAGPUL MIAD: $22
- DPMS Mil-Stock Parts Kit for the Innards: $53
- "Yellow Spring" Trigger Upgrade: $8
As you may have heard, a grizzly bear killed a hiker in Yellowstone this week. This does not surprise me in the slightest, given the picture above that I took just a few weeks ago, less than a mile from the trail where the fatal attack took place (yes, I know that's a black bear in the picture, but do you think the tourists knew?). One of the things that really boggled our minds while we were in Yellowstone is just how people-accustomed the bears are.
Now, from the reports given, it appears that the bear was defending her cubs. What is not known is how the hikers acted. Did they do anything to aggravate the bear? Did they have bear spray? Did they know how to react when the bear did attack? Some of these questions we might never know the answer to.
What does concern me is that nothing seems to be being done about the bear. Yes, the bear was just being a bear, but when bears become accustomed to humans, problems happen. When bears become accustomed to eating humans? Bigger problems happen. I'm not an expert by any means, but doing nothing doesn't seem to be the best choice here.
Update: Apparently they saw the bear once, continued hiking, saw it again, then it attacked. They ran - not necessarily the right choice. I don't know about you, but if I'm hiking and see a grizz with cubs, I'm not continuing unless I'm armed with something. Also seems like the wife reacted well by not moving while the bear grabbed her. Usually that's enough to stop a cub-defensive attack from a grizz. She didn't see what her husband did. Maybe he did the right thing and was just unlucky.
These are the risks we take when hiking in the woods. But it pays to be more aware of the risks, particularly in National Parks, where bears are not hunted and have absolutely no people fear. Yellowstone is a particularly bad place for this, due to the sheer amount of traffic it receives. With that many people, more and more bears, things are going to happen.
The National Parks in Alaska have pretty good strategies for minimizing bear-human encounters. Katmai requires everyone to listen to a lecture on bear safety as soon as they arrive. Denali's road access is limited, and back-country campers are again required to watch a video on bear safety. I don't know how well these could be applied in larger parks like Yellowstone, but it might be worth thinking about.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
- AXTS is offering a "true" full ambi lower which is being sold through AR-15.com nicely equipped for $850 bones. Pricey but once you work out the cost of the premium components the lower is coming in around $200, which is a good deal as AXTS sells them for $420 MSRP and AR-15.com sells them for $275.
- Knight's Armory. The SR-15 lower runs $750 but comes equipped with everything you'd want, including a trigger group that doesn't suck. Also has the nicest roll stamp of the bunch.
- Spike Tactical. About a hundred bucks cheaper ($650) than Knight's with decent furniture. I don't care for the roll stamp offered in this one though.
- Sun Devil. Their claim to fame is a tension adjusting screw that will ensure a tight fit with any upper.
- Tactical Innovations. A newer entrant but looks like good quality. Comes stripped. Cheap, at right around $200.
- And a thread with a few more....
Monday, July 4, 2011
Of course, it might be a trojan horse. But when one of the most anti-gun Presidential Chiefs of Staff in history is supporting an ordinance allowing gun ranges in the most anti-gun city in America, I think it is hard to say that we're not winning. As a note, I think it is a smart idea to push this as a money maker. Carrots: Tax revenue from shooting activities in your city. Sticks: More expensive lawsuits to fight.
It also hasn't pleased opponents of gun ownership. Tio Hardiman, executive director of Cease Fire Chicago, told MyFoxChicago that bringing gun ranges into the city will encourage more people to start shooting.
“It's going to make our work a little harder because people are going to start looking at it like saying guns are ok, they have a gun range here now and it's ok to just learn how to shoot and that's what we're fighting against every day of the week,” said Hardiman.
These people don't want anyone to take up shooting for any reason. Their goal is suppression of the shooting sports and elimination of private firearm ownership, but it is refreshing to have them come out and admit it. I'm going to tag this as Brady related because Ceasefire Chicago is almost certainly affiliated with them in some incestuous way.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
http://www.ktuu.com/news/ktuu-breaking-news-shooting-at-assisted-living-home-20110630,0,5688955.story It’s been a busy summer, and clearly, the gun owners haven’t been preventing crime. I’ve simply been busy to comment on it. In any case, a lady was shot in the head tonight because someone decided that owning a gun was a good idea. Was it, gun owners? Or are you only thinking that it wasn’t a good idea for this guy to own a gun now that he’s shot someone in the head? You are a too late to the argument.
Tags: Anchorage, Alaska, Guns, Firearms, Republican, NRA,Crime, Pistol, Palin, Hunter, RickRydell, Handguns, GOP
- Substance Abuse: You will find a misdemeanor arrest for underage substance abuse. This of course is not conclusive. People are arrested for all sorts of things. A single underage drinking citation is not indicative of an alcoholic. But it does indicate that there might be more to it, especially given correlations between substance abuse and mental illness.
- Felonies? We don't have any violent crimes on record for the shooter, which is unusual as most people who attempt murder have a long rap sheet. In fact, ADN reports, "The charging documents say McEvoy had no known criminal convictions in Alaska." Of course, who knows what is in any juvenile records which I assume are sealed.
- Mental Illness: There was definitely a history of mental illness. The shooter was previously a resident of a mental illness "halfway house" type facility. Of course, because it isn't a licensed or registered facility, he could not be committed. Because the folks who run it want to keep people out of the traditional mental health system, he wasn't be entered onto the NICS list of prohibited persons like he would have been had he been committed to a facility.
- Age: It is unlawful for someone under the age of 21 to buy a handgun. The shooter turned 21 about a year ago. Either he bought the handguns BEFORE entering the halfway house program (unlawfully as a minor) or he bought them AFTER (when he should have been flagged on NICS as having been committed to an institution).
Saturday, July 2, 2011
- Extends the tactical reach of a pistol out to 50-100 yards.
- Gives you a shoulder-mounted platform that may be more easily operated under high stress, especially by someone with limited training.
- Allows easy mounting of accessories (lights, optics, etc).
- Gives you an impact (bludgeoning) weapon if things get really close.
- Lighter recoiling than basically any other option.
- Ability to mount a light
- Ghost ring sights
- Adjustable stock to fit male and female users
- Pistol grip (to retain with one hand while the other is busy with, say, a 911 call)
- Short "riot" barrel to manuever around inside the house