Sunday, November 28, 2010

Philosophical Question

I have a Colt Combat Commander Model 70 in electroless nickel. It's a 9mm and was my first "training wheels" 1911 back when I was still intimidated by .45 ACP. It was quite inexpensive as Colt 1911's go, and I know it's not truly a collectible.

It has the classic teensy safety, vestigial sights, and hand-ripping tang, and so is not particularly pleasant to shoot. I only actually shot it a few times before making the leap to .45's, and it's just been sitting in the safe ever since.

My question is, should I send it in to be reworked and refinished as a shooter or keep it an all-original safe queen?


Friday, November 26, 2010

Westroads "No Weapons" Signs Are Still Defective

Just before 7:00 am on Black Friday, there was an armed robbery in the food court at Omaha's Westroads Mall.

After their malfunctioning "No Weapons" signs failed to prevent this, I would have thought they'd fix them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Absolutely Hilarious

Courtesy of Fugly Horse Of The Day, we have the Shetland Pony Grand National:
I could so see Milton The EvilPony™ doing this.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Sights And Level III Class

I got a good chance to test out my new Wilson Combat Ultimate Speed Sights in the Advanced Pistol Level III class last weekend. The class included a lot of low-light work with and without flashlights, and overall I have to say that so far fiber-optic front sights and I just don't get along.

We were working about mid-range and the only ambient light was from the viewing room windows. With light only coming from behind the gun, the front sight appeared totally black. When using my Surefire E2D 200-lumen LED light, the fiber-optic insert became totally academic as the silhouette of the sights stood out clearly against the brightly illuminated targets. Working without lights, my sights were essentially invisible until they picked up my muzzle flash.

In normal light the sights are taking some getting used to, but do work very well. My hits were good from the start and got better as the class progressed despite fatigue and adrenaline. I had some problems with my Wilson not locking open on an empty mag (the same thing I sent it back to have fixed) during the flashlight drills, but I feel I was probably limp-wristing with the gun held in one hand and the flashlight in the other. During all two-handed shooting the gun ran perfectly.

The tactical medicine portion of the class was excellent. We were each given a Tac Med Solutions Downed Operator Kit and hands-on work with training versions of its components.

My CERT training in disaster medicine gave me an edge in the surprise force-on-force exercise that followed. This was the first FoF scenario I've ever done that included administering emergency medical care to a victim. It was a very valuable experience, and more training opportunities in this area would be greatly appreciated. And since the syllabus made no mention of a FoF drill, there was no opportunity to mess myself up psych myself out for it ahead of time. Also very valuable.

One thing I'm noticing after training with multiple training providers is how much of their material can conflict. Exposure to a variety of techniques is great, especially with instructors who explain where those techniques came from and why they work, but it makes for some awkward moments when what you're expected to do in class is diametrically oppposed to a technique you've practiced extensively for months or years.

Oh yeah, and nothing makes you feel more like a doorstop in a training class than a fellow student who's an Army Ranger turned police officer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Zipper Horse 2 And Needle Nose

Last month I had the vet come out to do everyone's annual dental work. Since I always try to get as much as possible out of a barn call, one of the items on the to-do list was examine Sarge's scarring. The vet found a nidus inside a skin button on Sarge's side, so he decided to remove it.

Sarge was on house arrest for two weeks. Thank goodness I only had to do the twice-a-day antibiotics for five days this time instead of ten like Judge. It's amazing how many messy and destructive ways an active four-year-old (of any species) can devise to stay amused.

No sooner did Sarge get sprung from solitary than Milton The EvilPony™ showed up with what looked like a large pimple or small abscess on his upper lip. I found it the hard way when it splurted while I was haltering him. Just dandy: Milton seriously distrusts anything involving physical restraint.

Usually when something like that bursts it drains and heals. No such luck. Instead, Milton quickly sprouted a second oozing hole. I called the vet. Guess what he found?

Those are two huge wood splinters that were buried under the outer skin of Milton's upper lip. An EvilPony™ stick his nose where it didn't belong? No, he'd never do that.

Both equines are doing fine now. My checkbook, not so much. Dentals For Everyone Day ran me $784, quite a bargain considering. I haven't got the bill for Milton yet, but I'm expecting around $300 for that little adventure. Not all that long ago, Judge's tumor removal bill was almost $600.

Which brings me back to one of my perpetual rants. Horses are a huge responsibility. Craigslist and other dumping grounds are overflowing with the helpless victims of people who can't or won't understand that simple fact.

Yeah, I know, hoping that people will take the time and trouble to learn what's involved before they get a horse is probably a waste of time. Look how many don't consider what they're getting themselves into before they buy cars or houses they can't afford. Look how many give no thought at all before they reproduce.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mr. Wilson's Coming Home!

Wilson Combat notified me that they shipped my gun back to my FFL yesterday with a scheduled delivery date of Monday. I can hardly wait!

They said the mechanical work was completely within the lifetime warranty, so my only cost will be for the new sights. They also said they would credit me for the overnight shipping to Berryville, so my out-of-pocket for the whole thing should be negligible.

Their first shipment of production Ultimate Speed Sights isn't coming in until January, so they offered to install a set of their prototypes instead. I said sure, so it will be interesting to see how they turn out.

All in all, Wilson Combat's customer service is second to none.

I'm so glad I won't have to carry the Government CQB any more. It's a great gun, but a (literal) pain when you're 5'4" and carry appendix IWB. And I'll say it again, an Ed Brown Bobtail is the greatest single improvement to 1911 concealability ever devised.

Stay tuned for a review of the Ultimate Speed Sights. I have an Advanced Pistol Level III class next weekend including low-light work, night fighting, and trauma care. Should be a good one.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And Now A Few Words From Joseph Stalin

"I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how."

We're not quite there yet. VOTE!!

Timely Reminder

A friend forwarded this to me. While I couldn't find documentation of the story's veracity, its message stands on its own merits:
"Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way that you can quickly understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic. Someone over there has it figured out. It was translated into English from an article in the Prague newspaper Prager Zeitungon on 04.28.2010.

"'The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president.'"
'Nuff said.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why Bother?

The midterm elections are tomorrow, and I'm hearing a significant number of people say they're so disgusted with the whole mess that they aren't going to vote at all. While those folks may think they're making some kind of statement by staying home, I don't think it's a very constructive one.

Two years ago, Dear Leader was elected by a scant 52%-48% majority. Less than a third of registered Republicans bothered to show up. I'm not saying McCain was a great alternative by any means, but I doubt he could have effed things up as badly as the Demonrat Democrat dictatorship that resulted.

Like it or not, we still have (more or less) free elections in this country. Friends who have become US citizens after escaping truly horrific repressive regimes are incredulous that so many Americans ignore their voting rights.

Just as with the right to effective self-defense, incrementalism works both ways. This country didn't get in the toilet overnight, and it won't get out overnight. Job One is to do everything we can to break the current force monopoly in Congress. After that, we need to hold the replacements accountable, and vote them out if or when they fail.

Linoge points us to an excellent discussion of the resistance continuum. We still have many, many ways to work within the ballot box before the cartridge box is our only recourse. We have an absolute obligation to exhaust every single one of those ways first. Sitting out elections is not the way to do so.

The world is run by the people who show up. VOTE!