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.