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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Regarding the Boston Marathon bomb attack: ramifications and defenses.

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I’m still mentally processing the information coming out of Boston about the attack at the Marathon. There’s so much to say, and so much that could happen as a result of this horrendous act, that I can’t possibly do it all justice. So, if you’ll forgive me this rather informal bullet-point treatment of the subject:

– Once again, the news reports during and in the 24 hours after the attack were wildly inaccurate. The problem is that raw intelligence is by ...

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How to de-Cosmoline a gun.

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If you’ve never had the pleasure of dealing with Cosmoline, you don’t know what you’re missing! Cosmoline is the sticky, nasty, smelly but highly effective rust prevention grease so commonly used on military arms.

Some people really get addicted to the stuff; me, I hate it. I admit that it does its job remarkably well, however, and even though I generally admire things which work well I still can’t work up much enthusiasm for this!

Everyone has their own little tricks and techniques ...

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Reactions to a recent article: coming to terms with not being armed all the time.

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Most of the interaction we have here happen in the comments, but some folks prefer to send emails expressing their thoughts. Some of them are interesting enough to talk about.

On the recent topic of not carrying all the time (which I should have called “everyone does, but very few will admit to it”), I got quite a few emails thanking me for expressing a non-macho point of view. Glad to do it, though it’s not so much anti-macho as it is ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: What a woodstove teaches about life.

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I’ve mentioned, I believe, that we heat our house with a woodstove. It’s not a decoration or a supplement; we have no other source of heat. It’s the woodstove or nothing.

Our woodstove is very efficient, and it’s no problem to heat our house to the mid-70s at any time of the year. We’ve grown very accustomed, in fact, to that temperature range since we moved here some years back. After a while, 70 degrees seems downright cold!

Our previous home was ...

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On not being armed: the discussion continues.

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Monday’s post precipitated a number of comments; here, on Facebook, and in my email box. Some of them were complimentary, some weren’t, while others were in the middle somewhere.

Many, I think, missed the point of the discussion. Allow me to illustrate with a question.

If there is a place where you cannot have your gun (because the law says you can’t), do you avoid that place altogether? I’m not talking out of principle – that’s another discussion entirely – but simply ...

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Do you carry a gun all of the time? I don’t, and you can’t if you want to have a life. Get used to it.

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Every so often I’ll get together with other people who are in the business of defensive shooting training. Invariably they are shocked – sometimes to incredulity – when I tell them that no, I’m not carrying a gun (whether I am or not – I just like to see the look on their faces) and no, I don’t carry 24/7 (nobody can, unless the never go anywhere.)

From their reactions you’d think I’d violated some sacred oath, or was insanely irresponsible, for ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Backwards.

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You’ve no doubt seen a lot of videos where the action has been reversed – run backwards – for effect. What if you made a whole video intended to be viewed backwards, but with actor going backwards while you were filming?

That’s what filmmaker Messe Kopp did, and the results are really cool. Check it out!

-=[ Grant ]=-

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Two new revolver holsters from Crossbreed and DeSantis.

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I’m always looking for good revolver holsters. It seems we get the short end of the stick from everyone! This week, however, there are a couple of new holsters I’d like to bring to your attention, as they both offer something unique.

The first is the DeSantis Ammo Nemesis. It’s a synthetic pocket holster for a small revolver (J-frame, possibly a Detective Special.) The outside of the holster has a very grippy rubber covering, which should help keep ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: You’re gonna need a bigger boat. OK, maybe not.

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A few days ago, the Maersk shipping line posted a cool video of the construction of their newest – and largest – ship. This new vessel, dubbed the “Triple E Line”, is in fact the largest ship that currently exists: over 1,300 feet long, 193 feet wide, and nearly 240 feet tall. By way of comparison, the Titanic was only 882 feet long!

The video is a 76-second time lapse of some 50,000 photos that were shot over the space of ...

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Some machine gun goodness.

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Truth be told, I’m not really much of a fan of full auto weapons. It’s not that they’re not a whole heap o’ fun, and it’s not that I believe people shouldn’t be allowed to own them. No, it’s simply that I’m way too cheap to buy one!

Start with the insanely high prices, then add in the $200 tax stamp, and THEN factor in how much it would cost me to feed one (even with the cost savings of reloading), ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Of Space And Time.

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Many of you know my background in watch & clockmaking. People who’ve met me might not think the avocation fits my personality, but in reality it does. As a youngster (heck, even as an oldster) my view of the universe was conceptually very much like that of Aristotle: ordered, unchanging. No, I didn’t believe in crystal spheres, but I did have a rather linear view of things; chaos, in the entropic sense, was something foreign to my existence. Watches and ...

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Where can you find news about the gun world?

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There are an endless number of sites here in the intertubes where you can read about guns, shooting, self defense, and the politics which surround all of those. Most of what you’ll find are from individual bloggers (like me!), full of opinion (again, like me) but usually a mixed bag for actual news about shooting and self defense. When I want news, here are some of the places I check.

The Gun Wire is sort of like the ...

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Special Tuesday Edition: Rumor busting – the Feds aren’t holding up powder shipments.

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The latest internet rumor, apparently from the proprietor of a gun store back east, is that U.S. Customs is holding up containers of imported smokeless powder on the orders of the White House. This, it’s claimed, is the reason that powder – for both reloaders and ammunition manufacturers – is in such short supply.

Ed Harris, who many of you will recognize as one of the longstanding voices of sanity in the gun industry, has access to people the rest of ...

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Protecting yourself after an injury.

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In most areas of the country, it’s generally held that you may use lethal force to protect yourself if you are in immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily injury. One of the factors which can contribute to that perceived danger is known as “disparity of force”; that is, a marked difference in the ability of the parties involved to inflict injury.

If your attacker is much larger than you, or if he’s much stronger, or if he ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: Is it time to revisit the concept of a library?

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Fast Company recently published an article about a best-selling author who believes that public libraries have outlived their usefulness. According to him, they waste taxpayer dollars and deprive authors of royalties.

As you might guess, I’m more than a little interested in this discussion due to having books currently in print myself. The article makes a good point: libraries are a drain on public resources and certainly do deprive authors of a certain amount of revenue. The question ...

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Is the Caracal dead in the water?

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I’ve been a little hesitant to talk about the woes of the Caracal pistol, largely because it’s a gun I really like. Why? Well, for starters it’s just a nice gun to shoot! That’s largely due to the incredibly low bore axis and well designed grip.

How low is that bore? I’ll put it this way: it’s the only gun since the HK P7 which gives me what I call the “Monitor feeling”, in reference to the Civil war ship that ...

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The rationale of “no sales to police” and what it means to the RKBA fight.

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There is a growing list of gun companies who are refusing to sell to any government agencies (police departments, etc.) in states where their products are not allowed to be owned by the general populace. I’ve applauded this practice, and have taken more than a little heat from both friends and enemies for my stance.

Their arguments against industry-government boycotts are generally based on efficacy: the “it won’t matter, so why bother?” school of thought. I think that’s short-sighted, and ignores ...

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How subjects in the UK get around their draconian gun laws.

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As you may know, the United Kingdom banned possession of handguns for the general populace some time back. This action was precipitated by a spree killing at a school in Scotland, and in an incredibly strong knee-jerk reaction the UK simply declared handguns to be illegal. Confiscation and destruction followed; the loss of many historical artifacts resulted.

The law exempts muzzle-loading handguns, however, and so some enterprising souls convert double-action revolvers into muzzleloaders. The Firearms Blog has the ...

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A new source for old books – and a special discount to boot!

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I love old shooting books. Not necessarily because the information is strictly correct or useful (many times it’s neither), but simply because they’re interesting. They give us a glimpse into how shooting technique and equipment have evolved, and more importantly they document the characters who brought us to where we are today.

For instance, I’d never recommend “No Second Place Winner” as a book on good defensive shooting technique. Even so it’s still worth reading to see how a great shooter ...

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New DVD: Using the knife as a defensive weapon.

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As I pointed out a few weeks back, I’m not a believer in the idea of a knife as an adjunct to a handgun. By that I mean I don’t see it as a less-lethal defensive tool in the way that many do; the knife is a lethal object, and use of one will be prosecuted as such in just about any court in the country. It’s lethal force, just a less efficient form of lethal force than the handgun.

That ...

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What are “gun rights”?

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On Sunday, I tweeted this:

If there is no such thing as “gun violence”, there can be no such thing as “gun rights”. Be consistent – owning a gun is a HUMAN right.

Let’s delve into what that means.

I noticed that those in the shooting community bristle at the term “gun violence”. It’s the term used by gun control advocates and much of the media (but I repeat myself) to focus attention on the object rather than the person who ...

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FRIDAY SURPRISE: A piece of Oregon history in song.

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It was the summer of 1974. Our school district, overcrowded but short on money to build new facilities, had a couple of years earlier come up with an idea to stretch the useful life of our elementary school building: go to a year-round schedule, with students split into four staggered ‘tracks’ in a 9-week-on, 3-week off pattern.

As a result I spent most of the summer of ’74 in a classroom, getting to and from home via the district’s buses. Our ...

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