Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Colorado Has Officially Been Sold Down the River

It's official. Governor Hickenlooper's journey to the Dark Side is complete.
For a moment, it looked like a tiny kernel of common sense may have bled through the wad of cash MAIG and the Bloomberg-Biden machine forcibly inserted into our state politics.

If he signs his into law, it will ring the death knell for one of this state's most well-regarded manufacturing icons in Colorado, kill hundreds of jobs, and kiss tens of millions of state tax revenue dollars goodbye.

And for what? Laws proven to be ineffective which only guarantee a growing population of criminals a tactical advantage and the law-abiding public will no longer be able to levy Unfair Advantage (Magpul's slogan) against them.

I feel violated.

click here for the gritty details

Magpul Industries' response? It may be a parting shot, but its a hell of a classy move. You read it here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Corey St,Longmont,United States

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Carry Gun? Put Some Wear On That Thing!

With CCW training classes filled to the brim with folks waking up to the outright assault on our liberties, I'm seeing more new guns than ever cross our door and meeting more brand-new shooters come in for training.

What I would love to see, more than anything, is these folks step up to our next level training course with that same gun, only now it's got a few shiny spots from a couple thousand dry-fire practice draws from a broken-in holster.

If you're among the new shooters seeking CCW training, welcome to the life brothers and sisters! At some point today, go into your training space and do a few reps from the leather or Kydex you'll soon be wearing on a daily basis.

...and find a local IDPA or USPSA club nearby, Spring is right around the corner!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Reasoned Discourse? Nope. Logical Superiority.

I'm sure you are all as tired as I am from hearing the bleating left demand a "reasoned, rational discourse" about the best ways to chip away the moral, logical, and fundamental base of every living being's right to protect himself or herself from injury, death, and tyranny.

I recently read a post on one of my favorite Facebook pages about engaging the other side on their turf with our well-stocked powder keg of legal precedent, Constitutional protection, and common sense. They advised those of us who walk through that looking glass to be polite, and to be professional.

My research into military / combat mindset and experience volunteering with law enforcement finishes that statement like this:

"Be professional, be polite, an have a plan to kill everyone in the room/car."

When I enter into a "reasoned" conversation with an anti-gunner, I am polite. I am courteous. And I just so happen to bring enough firepower to finish the fight. You should, too... just in case it gets ugly.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Enforce Current Laws or Enact New Ones?

I'm reading all across the Intarwebs that the Obama Administration has prosecuted far fewer Federal gun law violations than his predecessor's, who worked to repeal useless the gun laws and enforce those that remained.

And, I memory serves, GeeDub didn't release thousands of illegal aliens back into the wild because we could to afford to keep feeding and housing them...

So, tell me again, why is it we should expect a new batch of gun laws, even more useless than the first, will automagically civilize the criminals, cure the insane, and turn Omerica back into the land of safety and plenty?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 25, 2013

Background Checks to Registration to...


Uncle sums it up quite well, click here.

I had an empassioned discussion at SHOT with my partners about universal background checks for private citizens. Morally, if it shuts down access to those on the "gray" fringes - strangers, the mentally ill, the questionable buyer, the under-21 purchaser of a handgun - who are going to commit a crime with it, then yes. I think we all agree that it merits debate.

However, the rate of crime by those who might prefer the legal private market over an FFL pales in comparison to the sheer volume of violence committed by criminals who bypass the legal marketplace altogether. It is THOSE guns we need to find a way to bring back under legal control, and no amount of legislation is going to stymie the transfer of legal guns between criminals - the DOJ's own statistics bear this out.

So, while the emotional argument tugs the hearts and minds of well-meaning gun owners, I do believe it's the wooden pony stuffed full of legislative Trojans sent in humble concession when in fact it will be hewn from the lumber of countless failed attempts to erode the enamel of the 2nd Amendment and may yet get them in behind our wall.

Currently, the background checks performed by FFLs are there only to verify eligibility and not feed a national registry. But, some legislators are raising the need for a national registry, which dovetails nicely with "reforming" the background check process. Hell, our side snuck carry in National Parks into a credit card reform bill... how hard do you think it will be for them to ramrod this through??

As Uncle mentions and links, there is one true goal is to get our names. Then, history shows what every government with such a list can do in times of "threat to national security" within its own borders.

Ask a Brit.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Do NOT Listen to Joe Biden on Self-Defense

I cannot stress this hard enough.
Joe Biden is offering the most horrible advice - advocating criminally reckless behavior - when he suggested firing a shotgun off into the air to ward off an intruder.

The article below makes me wonder exactly WHEN using a gun to defend yourself in Virginia Beach won't get you arrested, especially since this guy followed Joe's instructions almost to the letter.

Link to the article - click here.

Let's break this down...

According to the report, the victim's dog (who is a fluffy fun security system ONLY on the best of days) starts acting goofy. He follows the dog to the bedroom where he sees two men in black masks crawling in the window. They're armed and tell him to close the door.

Instead of complying, he recognizes a deadly force encounter and retreats to retrieve his home defense firearm, then fires it through the door.

He then opens the door and continues discharging rounds toward the assailants, who flee. No injuries are reported, no additional damage is done, yet the victim is charged with reckless handling of a firearm.

Kudos to the resident for defending himself instead of turning into a puddle of helpless victim, but I can find two big errors in judgement.

"Be sure of your target and what lies beyond." is one of the cardinal safety rules we all must adhere to - without fail. Firing through his door, one could argue he didn't have a clear understanding of the room on the other side of it. The second is the act of going immediately through the door after unloading on it and anyone on the other side, continuing to blind-fire along the way.

However (Devil's Advocate time), if I've got two armed bad guys on the other side of a closed door in my house, they OWN that room and I might assume they don't intend to leave. Tough call, to be sure. Doors are VERY soft cover (if at all) and while it would be tempting to go Call Of Duty on their butts, that closed also offers me time and space to figure out where to go next.

After deciding I want that room back - again, a very questionable call since my stuff is insured - that first round through is very likely to scare a meter of feces out of the bad guys on the other side, if not do real damage.

Even with no duty to retreat, outnumbered and presumably outgunned 2:1 may not offer my best odds for survival or prevailing the fight. But if I go for it and send a curtain of lead their way after going through the door, I'm still responsible for making sure I'm not putting any one else at risk.

Insanely tough call... and what I might assume as an armchair quarterback to be the reason for the ticket.

Fortunately, nobody else was injured and the victim escaped a whole man with his life (and I assume his pooch).

In Colorado, I have no duty to retreat. I am permitted to use any measure of force I deem appropriate - up to and including deadly force - to stop someone who's made uninvited entry into my home and who is or I think may commit another crime and is hurting or is about to harm anyone in my house. I am protected under the law from civil and criminal prosecution for the use of said force.

Even then, barring a knock-down drag-out gun battle, I'm looking for my sights and I need to be sure of what I'm unleashing hell at, even if he or she is on the other side of the wall. Keep that in mind...

In this case (literally), I hope the resident acted inside whatever Castle Doctrine Virginia offers and hope the charges against him are dropped, as long as this story doesn't take any unscrupulous twists or turns. I also hope one or both of the intruders turns up - either through investigation or at a hospital getting pellets dug out of their hide.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 18, 2013

Colorado's Magazine Ban is About to Pass

It's only a matter of time before the Colorado Legislature finally passes and the Governor signs the new magazine ban law into effect. What does that mean to us?

Magazines over 15 rounds in capacity will be illegal to own, possess, transfer, sell, or manufacture in Colorado once the law goes into effect.

I won't be able to feed my Limited pistol with full-capacity mags unless I had them before the ban went into effect.

I won't be able to procure STANDARD-capacity mags for my defense guns which were designed to hold more than 15 rounds.

It means my state government would rather only see criminals and cops armed with "what's in regular use" while I'm left restricted to what they feel is acceptable" for the protection of myself, my family, and my friends - and I would putting training up against any active patrol cop.

Now, as long as you own it as of the effective date of the law, you're good. And... That now means every gun owner in Colorado affected by this law is going to start stockpiling and hoarding little boxes with springs in them, adding to the demand and extending the shortage worse than before.

Expect a flood of people slamming all major retailers of magazines for "pre-Colorado-ban" - making an already out of control supply crisis even worse. I'm trying to pick up a couple more STI mags right now, very specialized items, and it's proving to be difficult, if not impossible.

It means an instant black market is going to pop up overnight for unmarked magazines which would be impossible to discern we're owned before or after implementation of the law.

Magazines wear out over long periods of time or with frequent use over a period of time. They're meant to be cared for and occasionally replaced.

Our opposition knows all this and knows that they are incrementally breaking us. Mark my words... this law is just the "lube."

"Maintain continuous possession" means you will never send a mag with a blown seam or out-of-spec feed lips for repair. It means you will never loan a mag to a friend at the range or at a match.

If you want to keep range or competition mags in spec, you're going to learn to tune then as maintain them yourself. And... When they're literally "priceless," you'd better learn quick.

All you have to do is look at the Internet Gun Universe to know that a major Colorado employer is about to pull the majority of their manufacturing business away from Colorado, potentially stripping a reported $80M from state tax revenue and axing up to 150 Colorado jobs because of this law. Why? because they make 20 and 30-round standard-capacity magazines. The Legislature forgot about Magpul. Way to go, assholes...

And, when all this is said and done, will one life be saved because the state just summarily and arbitrarily outlawed millions of legally-owned magazines? No.

Criminals don't give a single squidgy crap about whether or not the 17-round standard-capacity magazine in their Glocks are banned or not.

In fact, when lawful, legal gun owners like you and me are forced to face that criminal down, we now know we're going to be under-gunned when we do so.

And that is precisely what they want.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

After-Match Report - Limited Division Rocks

After my 4th or 5th match as a new shooter in Limited, this transition to new equipment is pretty dang cool and I'm starting to get the hang of it!

Despite it being the middle of February, the weather yesterday was just about perfect - 50-60 degrees, just enough clouds to keep the glare down, and no wind (a miracle at that range).

Likewise, the shooting went reasonably well. As an as-yet unclassified shooter in Limited (I'm close to making B in Production) I was able to eke out two 2nd place stage finishes which helped offset two bad stages and secure 4th overall out of 13 Limited shooters yesterday.

I definitely learned a few things yesterday, both about my gear and about myself as a shooter.

The equipment should be a straightforward fix - I effectively need my STI fitted a little better to my hands and I need to find the best mag release for me. It's reliable, for the most part, and extremely accurate when I do my job.

As for my mind... that's gonna take a bit more work. I can break it down into two categories - (1) learning how to quickly tea a stage and develop a plan and (2) being able to recover when I fail to execute my plan or run into an equipment issue.

I was reading recently on another gun blogger's site that there is a unique value in adding competition to training for defensive handgun shooting. I don't always agree with this writer but, in this case, he was spot-on.

The combination of safe stress (nobody's shooting back), planning, problem-solving, and the ability to improvise when things go all pear-shaped can only help, and never hurt, the avid shooter or someone who carries for personal protection.

I was trained to keep thinking, keep working, and keep fighting, even if you run into a problem. In a USPSA match, freezing when you have even a minor problem will destroy your overall score. Freezing in a gunfight, well... that could have MUCH more severe consequences.

Yesterday, I shot a stage completely off-plan starting with round 3 (out of 28), grabbed a reload when I didn't need to, and ran the gun dry by the time I recovered. While I could (and should) have taken about a second to regroup mentally, I drove on... leading to two more mistakes that would turn what should have been a 3rd-4th place run into an 11th place debacle. Positives from that run? I made sure to get my hits once I got my crap repackaged. Negative - I ran out of ammo on the last target.

BIG lesson number 2 - Don't Freak Out, There's a way through every stage!
Yup... It happened. I stepped into bay 5 yesterday and simply said "holy s#!t." I was staring down two lanes of targets a mile long on each side and immediately tried to figure out how to get through the 20 rounds I'd need to get through what looked like an attack of the walking dead!

After looking long and hard at the stage I found a way to break it up, keep pressing forward, and engage the brand-new swingers that were freaking us out. Then... the shooter order was called out and I was up first. Damn. Yep, that was my "reset button."

When the start buzzer went off I just let 'er rip and broke from what was actually a very good strategy. I just stood there, dumbfounded by the 10+ targets all staring back at me, and started shooting down one row and up the next. It forced me into a standing reload, staying right inside a "fatal funnel" and broke my concentration enough to smack a no-shoot at the end. Fortunately, driving on saved the stage for me and I'd somehow managed to salvage 7th. Apparently I wasn't the only one who blanked!

All told, yesterday's match was a success. I shot very well (for me) when it came together and I was able to drive on through a number of mental flubs and a couple mechanical hiccups - neither of which are rare in our sport. I would turn in one of my best-ever classifiers, which will be very helpful in pushing through "C" and joining a much smaller group of highly-skilled shooters.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Few Thoughts on "Race Gun" Equipment

One of the best things about being a competitive shooter is I get to embrace my inner 12 year-old and let him run wild...

You know the kid, were talking about the one with a Ferrari poster on the wall, a shelf full of Jane's Guides to modern fighter planes, and a head filled with the tech specs of every new gun American Rifleman had published over the past 12 months.

Only now, he's got a budget and a skill-set worth indulging with the "good stuff." Moving past modified M&Ps and squarely into Race Gun country last year, I've walked into a world where equipment matters, and the gear ain't cheap.

To most folks outside the USPSA / IDPA realm, a $2000 hand-built semi-custom pistol would be the prize of any collection and likely spend its days riding the top shelf in the safe. For us, however, that's the low end of the spectrum for a gun most would look at as a great "starting point."

Now, there are plenty of folks running modified production guns in the Limited division but I had no intention of driving Herbie to the starting line of the Daytona 500. If I'm going to play with the big kids, even if I'm not going to place anywhere near the top, I want to get beat on skill, not gear.

...and I want to let that 12 year old boy loose every once in a while.

But one thing all custom gun drivers will learn is just because you CAN change something or bolt on the latest go-fast parts, it don't mean you SHOULD.

Case in point - advice I received from an up-and-coming "A" level Limited shooter was to add an extended mag release to my new STI.

Now, I'll be the first to tell you that the grip of a standard STI prevents me from getting to the mag release in a hurry and, to remedy that, I ordered mine with a low-profile extended release that sorta works but tears up my support hand.

At SHOT this year I was given a very snazzy machined stainless extended release button that added 30% extra sexy and seemed like it would be my answer to all things mag release.

...and I'm here to report that all that glitters definitely ain't gold. As much as I wanted to LOVE that mag release, I found it to be so big that my support hand was mashing down on it under recoil, causing me to spontaneously drop my mag 3 times in a 150-round training session.

Not bueno.

The hard-learned lesson here is that, despite owning a "race gun" the best solutions may be the most subtle... I'm going to need to actually have the gun custom fit to my hand a bit better. Not only that, but the flashy go-fast bits might work for some but they ain't always the answer.

Tonight, after work, I have a feeling that part is going on a classifieds board somewhere or into my bin o' parts that live on the shelf.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Ammo Situation

I don't have any "industry" insight into this one, only that things are freakin rough right now and aren't likely to improve before the end of the year (yeah, I know it's February).

Clearly, I remember the great rush of 2008/2009. CCW background check turnaround went from 6 weeks to 90 days (the max allowed by law for processing in my current home state). AR-platform rifles prices skyrocketed. Ammunition for opular pistol calibers like 9mm and .45 ACP started drying up. Primers went unobtanium.

All of that seems like a picnic compared to the first couple months of 2013. Now, if you want a chance at ANYTHING, the best bet is to stand in line overnight at Sportsman's Warehouse, waiting for the doors to open at 9:00 Friday morning. Seriously. One location in Northern Colorado recently opened with close to 100 people pressed to the glass like Black Friday.

My normal sources of powder and bullets for reloading, which a USPSA shooter NEEDS for both training and matches, are barren. The Usual Suspect lineup of suppliers are tapped. Major manufacturers of primers and bullets have restored to running at or above full-capacity just to keep up with backorder fulfillment.

This is insane.

I don't want 20,000 of anything to hoard - I need a few thousand to SHOOT! I have no plans to put the 2013 season on hold, but unless I can source some lead to sling, my aspirations of a long and productive season shooting Limited are in serious jeopardy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Observations from SHOT 2013

The FUD created by politicians in the wake of Newtown has turned our world upside-down.

Sales of guns, accessories, and ammunition are through the roof, but you didn't see execs and reps high-fiving as they plan what to do with all the money. Instead, the mood was uncertain, at best, and fatalistic with some. Panic-buying is in full effect and it's creating far more problems than anyone seems capable of dealing with in the short term while the long-term is so up in the air that planning for anything other than trying to maintain a pre-panic status quo is a dangerous bet for many.

Companies making and selling ANYTHING major AR components are sold out indefinitely. New AR products and features don't really matter right now since most folks aren't going to be able to pick up a new AR anytime soon, anyway. All of the "sexy" guns are priced so dang high that only the "wallet-elite" ready to pounce on the Submit button are getting the goods.

Ammo isn't just scarce, it's GONE. Reloading supplies are backordered for months. Manufacturers are starting to tell us the shortages and backorder volumes are getting so bad that some simply won't tell us how far out orders are.

The biggest questions at SHOT seemed to start "how far behind..." Every distributor we met with was out of stock in just about every popular handgun in .380, .38, 9, 40, and 45. Period. Good relationships with your dealers are worth their weight in platinum.

Finally, there was next to no presence by companies focused on competition shooting products, outside of the pro spokespeople and a few gun manufacturers.

That's unfortunate, considering competition is one of the best ways of mainstreaming gun ownership, promoting skill development among new CCW'ers and letting people who DON'T want to look like a tacti-dork know there's a place for regular folks, too.

Many of the reps for high-end parts makers gave me weird looks when I mentioned the use of their products in a competitive, rather than "tactical," realm. It's like they don't know or just don't care about getting their gear into the hands of more customers.

Admittedly, many of those folks supply gear to the HSLD crowd and don't really deal with 3-gunners all that often. a case in point - when I saw the quick-flip lever on the Elcan 1-4x optic (primarily sold to military and true operator groups) I immediately saw the advantage of a weatherproof and shock-proof small-form-factor zoom optic. When I asked the rep if they have ever seen interest in these from the 3-gun world the guy looked at me like I grew up on Mars.

Despite these challenges and changes in mood, there were still 62,000 attendees and the floors were packed every day of the show with shop owners, trainers, manufacturers, media, and oh-so-many wannabe "operators" bedecked with beards, coyote nylon, MOLLE, and Velcro hats.

Uncle/Daddy/Boss/King Obama gave is "executive powers" speech, a fat slap to our collective faces as he continued his malignant campaign of ignorance, misinformation, and hate for us. His speech was on the lips of every attendee at the show and heavy on the hearts of people whose feet would inevitably wear out sometime on or before Friday.

It was a weird show.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone