FRIDAY SURPRISE: Horology – what it sounds like isn’t what it is.

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You may recall that in my teens I was a licensed watch and clockmaker (an odd thing, given the fact that today I refuse to wear a watch! I come by my curmudgeonly ways naturally, though – my father, who worked for the telephone company, hated the idea that anyone in the world could wake him up in the middle of the night just by dialing a few numbers.) Because of my experience, it seems a little odd to me that many ...

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Some people should stick to Glocks: a review of a bad review.

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In the September issue of SWAT Magazine is a review of the Wiley Clapp special edition Ruger GP100. I’ve mentioned this gun previously; it’s a mix of some good things, some mediocre things, and a surprising omission or two. Overall it’s a nice treatment of the old warhorse, and I’m glad to see attention being paid to something other than hunting revolvers at Ruger.

It’s this article that I find a little odd. Written by Todd Burgreen, it’s your typical gun ...

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Is appendix carry for you?

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I received an email last week, to which I’ve finally managed to reply, asking my opinion regarding appendix carry. For those who don’t follow this stuff, the appendix carry has become quite popular over the last few years, being touted by many trainers/schools and serving as something of a trademark for some of them.

The carry method usually employs an in-the-waistband (IWB) holster positioned on the front of the body, between the hipbone and the navel. The holster is usually of ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: When in Rome…

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I’m fascinated by a lot of things. This wide, wonderful world is so full of interesting people and places and events and happenings that I find no need to read fiction. In fact, many people are amazed that I don’t read any fiction (save for the occasional Poe or Chandler tale, the latter being a guilty pleasure in which I indulge simply because of the colorful dialogue.) I find that real life is ever more interesting than any made-up story, ...

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“Stand Your Ground” and Zimmerman: no relation.

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I’ve received a surprising number of emails from people who don’t understand, and are quite confused about, the concept of the “stand your ground” (SYG) law in Florida. (Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)

First things first: Zimmerman’s attorneys did not invoke SYG in his case and it was in no way part of his defense. This is important to recognize, because the media (and Michael Bloomberg) are trying their best to convince everyone that ...

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On the Zimmerman trial: the verdict is in, now we can look for lessons learned.

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I’ve avoided discussing this until the trial was finished, as I knew that we’d not gotten all the facts in the matter. Today we at least know that the jury saw no reason to convict him of a crime, and at this point he is a free man. That may change, as the federal government is making noises about a civil rights indictment, but so far it’s just saber rattling.

There are three aspects of the case which interest me, because ...

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Not many people in this business will tell you the truth. This guy does.

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Over the weekend Rory Miller (if you don’t know who he is, check out his author page on Amazon) put an interesting post on his blog. You should go read it before continuing here.

Back already? Did you read all of the article? (Promise?)

Miller makes a number of good points in his article, but there are two that I think are incredibly important in terms of defensive shooting training. First, that no one has had ...

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Why are we so resistant to learning from our mistakes?

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Last week I became aware of a YouTube video of a fellow shooting himself in the leg after making ready during a match. He starts the video off by proclaiming that it wasn’t his fault – it was his gun which malfunctioned and was in the hands of the maker’s service department for analysis of the “failure”.

I knew, ten seconds into the video, that it wasn’t the gun. I knew, just due to the fellow’s demeanor, that he’d had his ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Great Gear + Great Creativity = THIS.

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In case you’ve missed it, a revolution has occurred in cinematography over the last few years. As cameras have gotten smaller, lighter, cheaper, and yet increased in resolution and capabilities, film makers have been pushing the equipment to the limit. Combined with relatively inexpensive editing software and hardware, it enables professional results on an amateur’s budget. The result? Superb videos that either couldn’t have been made, or would have been cost-prohibitive to attempt, before this all happened.

Here’s one of those ...

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Are all gunwriters idiots?

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That’s a loaded question. (Sorry, but I just couldn’t resist the pun.)

That’s a question I ask every time I read yet another ridiculous article. Convoluted (or completely absent) logic, factual errors, reliance on outdated or inappropriately applied data are all issues with far too many writers. The “old days” weren’t much better, either; I can find articles from some of the past luminaries in the gunwriting game which aren’t exactly paragons of research or fact. They were, however, far more ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Want your own drone? It’s easier than you think.

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I’ll admit a simultaneous fascination with, and revulsion to, the march of technology. It enables me to do certain things, like sharing neat and important information on this blog, but it also means that others can find nefarious uses for the information on the ‘net.

Sometimes the reverse happens. While drone technology presents real threats to our safety and security, the downward slide of technology means that you and I can have our own drones to use as we please. That’s ...

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Another automatic revolver – and boy, is this one weird!

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Ian at Forgotten Weapons has done it again! This time he’s got the scoop on the oddest revolver ever made: the Norwegian Landstad Model 1900.

I won’t steal his thunder by saying any more, but will instead urge you to click on the link and read his article. It’s like going to the freak show: you can’t believe such a thing exists, but you can’t stop staring in morbid fascination!

-=[ Grant ]=-

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How did you spend your weekend? I spent mine teaching! Here’s what I learned.

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Father’s Day weekend is usually a bad time to schedule a class, but we did it anyway. Back in the old days when I ran shooting matches at our club, Father’s Day weekend always had the lowest participation. Mother’s Day weekend, however, usually had a very good turnout. This was consistent over a period of six years; I’d have expected the opposite, and to this day have no rational explanation for the phenomenon.

The students who did show up provided me ...

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“A hit with a .22 is better than a miss from a .45” – how true is that?

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An interesting confluence occurred last week: I got an email from a fellow asking about the .380ACP as a defensive cartridge, and this rather myopic article on the .22 Magnum rimfire came out in American Rifleman.

As a teacher of defensive shooting it’s my job to make my students as proficient as I possibly can. Part of that job is helping them to pick a gun/cartridge which allows them to make the bad guy go away using the least ...

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Stop defending stupid gun owners. And get training so you wont’ be one.

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While I was in Connecticut the last few days, I read two stories of stupid people using guns: one in my own state of Oregon, where a fellow had his gun confiscated because he fired a warning shot at a suspected burglar; and another in my neighboring state of Washington where someone shot and killed a thief who was taking his car.

In both cases the shooters were quite obviously uneducated as to the responsibilities that go with ...

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Even I learn something now and again: an odd automatic revolver!

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an over at Forgotten Weapons has done it again: come up with a gun I didn’t know existed. In this case, it’s a revolver I’d never heard of.

He recently posted a picture of the three commonly known automatic revolvers – that is, revolvers that rotate the cylinder and cock the hammer after every shot, as opposed to having the shooter’s trigger finger do that work. Most people have heard of the Mateba Unica, or the Webley-Fosberry, but ...

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How’s your situational awareness right now? It may not matter.

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I have a quick homework assignment for you. Watch the first minute-and-a-half or so of this video (you can watch the rest later, but now we have work to do!)

You see what your knowledge tells you you’re seeing. You apply whatever base comprehension you have to explain or make sense of whatever it is you’re observing. That’s what the truth is, really; an explanation or a point of view that fits what you observe. Whether ...

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A revolver from Savage?

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I’ll admit to occasionally being surprised, but when I saw a headline over at Forgotten Weapons about a Savage revolver, I scratched my head just a little. I couldn’t recall any revolver made by Savage; autoloaders yes, and of course rifles, but a revolver?

Turns out that the Savage Model 101 isn’t really a revolver at all; it just looks like one. The ‘cylinder’ is fixed to the barrel, and the entire assembly pivots out from the frame ...

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There are talented designers all over the world.

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In my book “The Shooter’s Guide To Handguns” is a short chapter on famous (and some not-so-famous) handguns and their designers. Once you get beyond Colt and Browning, most people’s knowledge ends, and that’s a shame; there’s more to life than just those two!

As Americans we tend to believe that all of the great gun inventors were American, but that’s simply not true. From the earliest firearms history to today, there are great – and important – ...

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If it’s not relevant, why are you doing it?

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I’ve written before of the need to match the training you get and the equipment you use to the life you actually lead, not the life you fantasize about leading.

What does this mean? It means that if you’re training with a full-sized tricked-out autoloader on the weekends, but the majority of your waking hours are spent with a 5-shot revolver in a pocket holster, your training isn’t going to be congruent with your expected use. Training done under such false ...

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The home made gun isn’t a new thing, despite what you hear on the news.

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There’s been a lot of angst amongst the gun prohibitionists this week, and the latest comes from the revelation that the first firearm made entirely with a 3D printer was successfully test fired just a few days ago.

The reaction from the gun-grabbers was hardly surprising: they’re moving to make 3D printed guns illegal. Of course we all understand how meaningless such a law would be, but they have to do something, by golly!

You may not be aware ...

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Rob Pincus enrages America. And England. Is France next?

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In case you missed it, the biggest news event to come out of the NRA Annual Meeting and convention this last weekend came from an unlikely source: a seminar on home defense concepts by Rob Pincus. (Those who know Rob may say it isn’t all that surprising he’d make headlines, but with the election of a new and indiscriminately vocal NRA president intent on reliving the 1990s it was surprising the press would focus on Pincus instead. Probably just as ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: The Mighty Saturn V rises from the deep.

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It’s no secret that I’m enamored with the Saturn V rocket. For my generation (read: old fogies) the Saturn V defined the United States; it was big, bad, and cemented our belief in our technical superiority over the Evil Empire (read: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.) To this day it is the tallest, heaviest, and most powerful rocket ever to be deployed and holds the record for launching the heaviest payload into space. It’s also the most reliable, because in ...

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The toolbox metaphor, continued.

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Occasionally I’ll run into an instructor who is actually teaching appropriate, plausible skills – but who insists on calling them “another tool for your toolbox”. Why would he or she intentionally handicap the material in that way?

Sometimes it’s because what’s being taught lacks internal consistency. The skills and concepts don’t relate to each other well, or perhaps the plausible skill contradicts another less plausible one. This happens when the instructor has no overall philosophy for the course as a whole, and ...

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Tools for the toolbox: my least-favorite phrase!

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In many of the classes I teach one phrase (or a variation) comes up with disturbing frequency: “another tool for the toolbox.” Not because I say it, but because sooner or later a student will say it.

Then comes The Lecture.

As many of my students will attest, I hate that term. When it’s uttered in class I take the time out to explain why I hate it, why it’s nonsensical, but most importantly why it’s dangerous from the standpoint of learning ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Quick – how many B-29 bombers still fly?

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B-29 In Flight

Several years back I told the story of my Father and his history with the famous B-29 Superfortress bomber. He loved that airplane, and never missed a chance to read or watch anything and anything about Boeing’s first modern strategic bomber.

As it happens he and I went aboard the only flyable B-29 in existence, the Commemorative Air Force’s ‘Fifi’, when it visited Oregon many years ago. Of the nearly 4,000 B-29s ...

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Determining how and what we train.

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A question from a student in the class I taught last weekend brought up an interesting dichotomy in the defensive shooting world: what we prepare for often doesn’t match what we actually face. Many people prepare for social violence, but actually face asocial violence. The difference between the two affects how and what we train.

Social violence is that which occurs between people engaged in a ritualized struggle for status or prestige; it can also be applied to groups vying for ...

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I spent my weekend teaching, and what I learned from doing so.

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I’m tired. I always am after teaching a class, but it’s a good tired. Knowing that my students emerged from two days of training with relevant, evidence-based defensive shooting skills is a wonderful feeling.

One of the interesting things that came out of this class was a confirmation of the need to consider the student when we teach sighted fire, and by that I mean how we use our sights when we need to use them. In this class I had ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Eyewitness News – Twitter takes center stage.

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I watched something amazing last night: the running gunfight with the Marathon bombing suspects in Watertown, MA. The interesting thing is that I didn’t watch it on CNN; I followed it on Twitter.

I’ll leave it to you to look up the details; what I want to talk about this morning is how breaking news information was being shared in this age of New Media.

I got wind of something happening outside of Boston at about 10:45 (Pacific time) last night. Just ...

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