Monday, April 18, 2022

A Review of Self-Defense Basics: Shotguns

 I don't worry about myself.  If you do, read the Bible, or the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.  Death and bad outcomes are natural, expected, and inevitable.  Adjust your opinions and quit fretting.  

That said, the country is being run by the worst people imaginable.  They are evil or stupid, if not both, and are determined to hang onto power at all costs -- especially to the rest of us.  I suppose power gives some people a thrill.  Conversely, I don't want anyone to tell me what to do any more than I want to tell other people what to do.  Sadly, it's getting harder to get what I want, which is mainly to be left alone.  

Several years ago, I talked a little about the firearms you want to have and the effectiveness of various handgun calibers.  Since that time, I have expanded my collection a little, as have many of you all, no doubt.  I'm going to update and summarize a little of what I have discovered.

Shotguns are still hard to beat at close ranges.  Use buck or at least heavier shot (e.g., #2 or BB).  Some buckshot loads are better than others and have more range, and some of that will vary based on an individual shotgun.  The supply situation for defensive loads is better than it was six or eight months ago, and the prices aren't too bad considering the overall inflation we have.  

In using a shotgun, we need to not only be familiar with the way it operates but how a full-power load feels when shooting.  Adrenaline will help with recoil and muzzle blast, but I don't want to count on that alone.  I want to pattern my chosen loads.  And practice.  I work on developing my sense of distance, especially within my house.  If it becomes necessary to repel boarders, I must know where every pellet is going to go.  

Shooting, done right, is like driving.  When we are learning to drive, especially, with a manual transmission, we're thinking about everything, all the fundamentals.  After years of driving, how often do you think about when to accelerate, where your wheels are, where other cars are, how hard to brake?  Not often.  All the basic, fundamental actions required to safely operate a motor vehicle occur almost automatically.  Sure, you can be surprised into acting incorrectly, but it has to be something really unusually or where you were caught looking at a text or some other unforced error.  

The same is true of shooting.  Most of us don't shoot nearly as much as we drive, which is part of the problem we have.  I'm never going to shoot like Jerry Miculek, 22Plinkster, Kirsten Joy Weiss or some Olympian.  I don't have the innate talent to begin with, but I will also never have the amount of time and ammunition the experts have burned perfecting their passion.  I can live with that.  

With the shotgun, we don't have to shoot live ammo all the time to develop the Zen mind.  Dry-firing will probably not hurt a pump or autoloading shotgun.  But snapcaps are cheap or virtually free if we want to make our own.  (Cut an empty hull off about half way down.  Knock out the primer.  Shoot some silicone in the primer pocket and let it dry.  Cut it off smooth if necessary.  Fire away.)  The other advantage of a snapcap is that we know we didn't mistakenly loaded a live round.

Anyway, dry-firing lets us practice shouldering, sighting, manipulating the action, and trigger technique.  We need to practice loading and chambering, too, but that should be done at a range with live ammo.  Dummy shotgun rounds are available on Amazon, of course.  Midway has a variety, also -- for example (select 12 gauge or whatever in the cartridge dropdown).  Those let us practice at home.  

We need to practice, either out somewhere actually shooting at stuff or doing dry-fire drills.  Not everybody is going to have time to do it daily.  But we can hit it as often as possible.  It's better than playing video games.  Probably.  I'm not a gamer so I don't know if there's some virtual substitute for setting off a 3-inch Remington Nitro Turkey load of #4s.  I should also mention that some loads are more punishing in some shotguns than others, or even with different barrels on the same shotgun.  Case in point, that aforementioned turkey load in my 870 with the 28" barrel and an extra-full choke is noticeable but not excessive.  If I switch to my 18" barrel with the fixed modified choke, the same load becomes a bear -- or nearly unbearable.  Slugs, buckshot, and other Nitro Express loads are fine, but that one is brutal.  That's why it's important each of us find our own comfort zone.  

I hope this summary helps.  Think local and keep your powder dry.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Learn To Grow Taters

I didn't watch The Martian. I have, however, spent a lot of time planting, cultivating and digging potatoes.  Potatoes are relatively easy to grow.  If you live more than 800 feet above sea level you can keep your own seed potatoes.  If space is limited, container potatoes are a possibility.  

There are lots of sites and videos on the 'net to tell you how to grow taters.  Avail yourself of instructions if you are a tuber newbie.  

I'm just here to encourage you to do it.  Potatoes will keep you alive.  They are calorie-rich as well as being nutrient rich.  I would put potatoes near the top of the survival garden hierarchy, along with beans, peas, or chickpeas.  Sweet potatoes and squash are good choices, too. 

A lot of people will ask, What about corn?  Corn is good.  You can probably grow a significant amount of corn in an 8'x8' plot, especially if you plant pole beans and squash in the same area.

Think about it and plan to do it come spring.  We're going to need it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Term Limits

 Nancy Pelosi got a little bad press for going to a salon to get her hair done when the "little people" are still locked out.  Of course she blames the salon for "lying" to her about the law.  I'm thinking Nancy should know the law.  You want a poster child for term limits?


We have term limits in Missouri for our state reps and senators. We've become a better governed state over the last fifteen years or so it's been in place. Politicians would like to see it repealed, which is a sure sign that it's a good law.

I'm not picking on Pelosi because she's a Democrat. I'm picking on her because she has been in Washington for forty years. I don't think this is a political issue. Simply as an American, we need term limits. I would like to see an amendment to the Constitution, like the 22nd that capped the number of terms a president can serve. I don't expect that to happen. I doubt we can get an Article 5 convention.

We still have the power to do something about it. If your Congressional Representative has been in his or her position for more than three or four terms, vote for their opponent. Come primary time, vote for anybody running against them. Demand your United States Senators and Representatives take a pledge to leave office after two or three terms. That's 12 to 18 years for a senator and four to six for representatives.

They will try to argue about "experience". Experience in Washington, D.C., means you know all the right lobbyists. Experience means you're friendly with all the big-business paymasters who funnel money to you for pushing regulations to handicap their competition. It means you're in the pocket of defense contractors who want more war. In other words, experience is just another word for corruption. That holds true whether the politician is right, left, or center, Republican, Democrat, or Independent. If they stay there long enough, they end up representing, not their home Congressional District or their home state, but the Beltway.

Vote them out!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Narrative vs. Information

 I was wrong about something.  I wrongly thought the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake made a mistake.  He did not.  I made the mistake of watching the television news and accepting the narrative the newscasters assembled from carefully selected facts.  

Fact:  There was an altercation on the street in a neighborhood in Kenosha, WI.

Fact:  Jacob Blake was involved in trying to settle the dispute peaceably.

Fact:  Police arrived on the scene.

Fact:  One of the police officers shot Blake seven times in the back.

Fact:  Blake's three children were in the car at the time.

Even if all these facts were true, only a couple have any material bearing on the story -- cops were on the scene and shot Blake.  The rest are "scene setting" and cause viewers to define what they see in the video in terms of the narrative the corporate news wants to convey.  This is one of the reasons I prefer to read my news.  

Several facts were left out of the narrative which has resulted in rioting, destruction of property, injury, and, possibly, death.     

Fact:  Blake was wanted on an outstanding warrant related to domestic abuse.  This was conveyed to the police officers enroute to the scene.

Fact:  Officers were going to arrest Blake on that warrant.  He resisted.

Fact:  Officers deployed a Taser on Blake which proved ineffective.

Fact:  Officers claim Blake was armed with a knife.  They repeatedly told him to "drop the knife".  

Not A Fact:  I have looked at a still from the video.  He does appear to have what is known as a karambit knife in his hand.

Fact:  He turned his back on arresting officers and attempted to enter a vehicle.  The officers could not have known whether or not he had a firearm or other weapon in the vehicle.  

Not A Fact:  Given the circumstances, it is not unreasonable for an officer to assume Blake intended to go for a gun.  

Back to what was conveyed by the corporate newscasters, Blake was shot seven times in the back.

Now I am going to tell you what I think.  You can decide whether or not you believe that I am still mistaken, that the officer did or did not do the right thing.  

Should they have tried physical restraint on Blake?  If he did have a knife in his hand, the answer is no.  A knife is dangerous in close contact even for someone wearing body armor.

Right or wrong, the person who could have stopped all this is Jacob Blake.  Blake acted like a fool.  Maybe he is a fool.  Maybe he was having a bad day.  Maybe he's a low-IQ thug.  Maybe he's an upstanding, peaceful, productive citizen who was the victim of an ex-girlfriend's jealousy.  None of that matters.  Blake could have cooperated.  He would not have been shot, and Kenosha would not be burning.  

Here's another possibility.  The last few years of narrative pumped by the press has so terrorized people like Jacob Blake that they assume arrest is a death sentence.  Kind of like how the media has convinced Americans that a strain of influenza that has killed 0.05% (at most) of the population is the Black Plague.  We can give him the benefit of the doubt there.  If he watched the cable channels' with their 24-hour hysteria, I can see where he would be worried.  

Maybe Kenosha should sue CNN.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Panic and Pew

Fear's a good thing in the sense of prudence, i.e., when it keeps us from doing egregiously dumb stuff on a consistent basis.  As we get older, we tend to get a little more cautious and prudent, and this is wisdom.

Fear is a bad thing if we allow it to drive us.  Fear can make us foolish, like irrationally buying large quantities of toilet paper just because we see others doing it.  People who  know nothing about firearms are now trying to buy weapons and ammunition.  Weapons are a part of my religion, true enough.  However, I've been carrying and using firearms for a good many decades -- since I was a little kid.  I'm not an expert, but I am familiar with what makes them go "bang" and the subsequent damage potential.

A friend of mine contacted me a couple of days ago talking about her husband's sudden desire to buy a gun.  He is apparently thinking things are going to get ugly where they live.  Their town is relatively small, probably 35,000-40,000 -- I haven't kept up on it, though I used to live in it, and a good two or three hours drive from nearest the big metropolitan areas.  I can't imagine there will be any kind of breakdown there.  But I love my friend and her family.  I offered to drive up there with one of my spare handguns and a sufficient amount of ammunition.  She wisely declined my offer since her husband -- who is a good guy despite the fact that he's a golfer, knows nothing about firearms.  I suggested that, in that case, he'd probably be better served with a baseball bat.  It would be tough to train him right now.

My friend grew up in the country in a family that hunted.  I'm pretty sure she has handled shotguns.   I was kind of shocked that they had no weapons.  It's a foreign concept to me.  While I am happy to see more people realizing they might need a gun of some kind, I'm a little concerned as well.  I don't think you have to be Jeff Cooper or Elmer Keith to benefit from owning a firearm.  Knowing the basics of operation and safety is a good idea, though.

Pay attention to the people you know who have a sudden interest in guns, and, when things get a little more normal -- as they will, take those folks out shooting.  Let them know how much fun it is when done safely.  We can use them on our side.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Interesting Times, Interesting Guns

OK, no one is making fun of preppers lately.  A couple of weeks ago, news outlets like CNN were labeling those talking about stocking up on food and basic household items conspiracy theorists.  Today they are suggesting you should "stock up".  It's a little late.

I guess it's always too late to panic.

Anyway, the power's on.  I have propane, water, and plenty of coffee, vitamins, Spam, canned chili, tuna, beans, frozen vegetables, oatmeal, even butter, eggs and tortillas.  I have toilet paper to get me through a couple of months -- might be an opportunity to use up that batch of single ply I bought by mistake a while back. 

Yesterday, I got in an extra 1100 rounds of handgun ammunition.  I'm not hoarding.  I'm going to shoot a bunch of it.  And that brings me to the subject of firearms, handguns especially.  I have expanded my collection over the last few years.  I have 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 magnum/.38 Special, .44 magnum, and, of course .22 LR and .22 WMR. 

What I usually carry is a Glock 9mm, either the Glock 17 Gen 3 or the Glock 26 Gen 5.  I wasn't sure I'd like the Baby Glock -- the 26, but I picked up a couple of 12-shot extended magazines for it, which gives me a little more to hold on to, and I find it shoots very well.  Plus, I can carry a fullsize 17-round magazines for it as a backup.  Shoot, I could even stick my 33-rounder in there.  I think that's the advantage, for me, of the 26 over the 43 or 43X.  I've accumulated a large number of Glock 17 magazines, both Glock factory mags and Magpuls.  The Magpuls are outstanding, by the way. 

I've had a Springfield XDM .40 S&W for ten or twelve years.  I like it.  I don't shoot it as much because .40 is not as economical to shoot as 9mm, at least it hasn't been.  Too, .40 is kind of snappy, not quite as much fun to shoot, though it is a very effective round with noticeably more power than Nine.  Is it a good gun?   Absolutely, I'd have no problem carrying it for self-defense.

Not too long ago I broke down and added a genuine 1911 .45ACP to my safe -- because I wanted to be a real man and everything.  Is it a good gun?  Yes, it is.  Am I going to carry it?  No.  No reason to.  It does have a great trigger, especially for someone used to striker-fired autoloaders.  The .45 cartridge itself looks impressive and obviously has a long track record of effectiveness for combat and self-defense.  It's really fun to shoot, and I can shoot it well enough, though there was a little bit of an adjustment period before I felt comfortable operating it. 

I am not knocking anybody for preferring a 1911.  I still shoot single-action revolvers and love them.  It is a somewhat archaic design, though less so than the SA revolver.  The 1911 is a reliable and effective weapon.  It's good.  It's just not what I like.  But I do have one, at least for now. 

Speaking of old-fashion firearms, the other weapon I carry frequently is a Smith & Wesson Model 65 .357 magnum.  Mine has a 4-inch barrel.  The fixed sights are zeroed pretty well for Remington 158 grain +P Lead Semi-Wadcutter Hollow Points, the old "FBI load", which is what I usually carry.  This DA revolver is a thing of beauty.  The trigger pull in double or single action is so sweet.  It's a K-frame and, with a good OWB holster, conceals well enough on me under a t-shirt or polo shirt.  I don't have to wear dress shirts or anything tucked in 99 days out of a hundred.  This is my going-to-the-country handgun (I kind of live in the country but you know what I mean).  For extra ammo, I put a couple of speed strips in my pocket.  They aren't as fast as a speedloader, but they are convenient.  Along with the +P ammo, I usually have a box of 158 grain .357 ammo in the truck as well.  The 125 grain and lighter magnum loads tend to be hard on the forcing cones of this generation of K-frames.  You can get some gas cutting, or so I hear.  The +P loads will handle most stuff and are easier on the ears if I have to shoot without my plugs in. 

Anyway, my point is any firearm is better than no firearm.  The one you like and shoot a lot is the best for you.  Caliber wars, Glock versus 1911, and the rest are silly disputes that are, or should be, done just for fun.  Make sure, when the world returns to relative normality that you keep up your ammo supply, and have enough toilet paper that you can share.  I'd hate to have a shoot-out over Charmin.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

A Load-Bearing Wall

Nancy Pelosi is attacking those who suggest the impeachment inquiry might be a bad idea

"The weak response to these hearings has been, 'Let the election decide.' That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because POTUS is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections."

God forbid the voters should get to decide on their president. 

The Electoral College is a good idea, and it's a long-standing process.  It has worked, and it's the law.  Trump played by the rules and won.  Whatever a person thinks of Trump, that's the way it works.  A lot of people haven't liked various presidents, but, as Americans -- with notable exceptions in the cases of Lincoln, Kennedy, Garfield, and McKinley, plus some failed attempts, we have lived with them.  It is unwise in the extreme to pursue a different path for at its end lies "le Rasoir national", as the French once called it. 

I do not have to like Trump anymore than I had to like Obama, Bush, or Clinton to realize that trying to overturn a legitimate election is a recipe for disaster.  The Republicans tried with Clinton.  I despised and still despise Clinton, but it was a bad idea.  It is an even worse idea this time.  In Clinton's case, most people looked at the process as a joke, but at least there was a semblance of order about it.  Congress more or less played by the rules with a special prosecutor.  News was controlled by the mainstream media with very little resistance outside of talk radio.  Chaos was minimal.

This time, Trump has direct access to his supporters via the internet.  A majority of Americans no longer trust the national new syndicates.  A lot of us get our information through various channels via the internet.  We are already deeply divided in our attitudes toward the federal government.  The divide is not Republican versus Democrat. 

I, for example, no longer consider myself a Republican, thanks mostly to the Bushes, John McCain, and Mitt Romney.  If those idiots are right, I'd rather be wrong.  I am a nationalist because I'm not a globalist.  I believe in America First and in limited, tightly-controlled legal immigration.  I think there is a deep-state that consists of long-entrenched globalists in positions of power in the federal government.  Their concern is not what is best for the majority of Americans, but what is best for them and their corporate cronies who benefit from all those billions in federal government expenditures.  That includes the defense contractors, the big agricultural conglomerates, investment bankers, and others who love the subsidies they have lobbied for themselves.  Those are the players who see Trump's rise to power while spouting populist and nationalist sentiments as a threat. 

It really doesn't matter that much whether Trump means what he says entirely -- though he does appear to really believe some of it.  What matters is that he has given voice to something a significant segment of the American populace has sensed for a long time.  That's what makes him dangerous.  What they don't seem to understand is that a lot of us see their resistance to Trump as a threat to us, and we would see his removal outside of an election loss as a coup. 

If Trump is impeached, there could well be protests against the House.  If he is removed from office, I honestly think we could see an uprising, and it could get violent.  I would not be surprised by anything at that point because the Rule of Law is the Load-Bearing Wall. 

As entertaining as I might find it to see Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Mitt Romney, and numerous other politicians from both sides of the aisle dragged out of the Capitol and strung up on lampposts, it would not be the best outcome for our posterity.  I do not want that load-bearing wall removed.  It would be the end of much that I have loved and looked to all my life.  Pelosi's attitude is wrong and short-sighted, even from a political standpoint.  I hope she comes to her senses and ends this travesty before the wall falls down and leaves us all in the rubble.