Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama gets his first Supreme Court pick

Justice David Souter is retiring at the end of this term in June.

This likely doesn't change much. He's been one of the reliably liberal justices, and Obama will likely choose another liberal. On the other hand, justices often end up surprising even the presidents who chose them.

The Dems now have (or they should by that point) a filibuster proof majority if the votes break down along party lines, so he'll probably get whoever he wants unless there's something seriously wrong with whoever he nominates (like they haven't paid their taxes, or som... Oh. Right.).

Souter joined both dissenting opinions in Heller v. DC, and I'd be willing to bet that one of Obama's "acid tests" for any nominee will be about guns, so from a gun rights perspective there's little hope for a positive change,* and we're probably looking at the same thing for most other key "conservative" issues, too. By the same token, there's not much risk for a negative change, either. Barring any surprises, this does not seem to be a game-changing vacancy.

* I did not do that on purpose. On the other hand, I left it there when I noticed it. [bugs bunny voice]Ain't I a stinker?[/bugs bunny voice]

90% of self defense is YOU

There are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous people.

A 17-year-old high school marching band student beat up two assailants who tried to mug her as she walked to school in this high desert community about 40 miles north of Los Angeles, sheriff's officials said Tuesday.

The girl punched one of the men in the nose, kicked the other in the groin and beat both with her large baton before she ran away on Friday morning, officials said.

Firearms may be the most effective defensive weapons, but it's important to remember that they're not the only effective defensive weapons.

It's also worth remembering that criminals will attack anyone they think might be a good victim. Maintaining condition yellow whenever you might be vulnerable is the first rule of self defense.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kel-Tec P3AT - First Range Report

I managed to scrape up a little unexpected free time today, so I decided I needed to get my new acquisition out to the range. (I love it when the boss walks in and says "Go ahead and finish up what you're doing, we're going to cut out a little early today." But I digress...)

I only had one box of 50 .380, so this was more of a "will it go bang when I pull the trigger" range day than real range time, but that was all I was planning on. I won't carry something in the real world until I've had a chance to run some ammunition through it and make sure it will, y'know, work if I actually need it.

First, the good. As I expected, this gun is more accurate than I am. With the exception of about 4 or 5 flyers, all rounds were on the paper. I attribute those flyers to me getting used to the gun, i.e., finding the right grip, the right trigger pull, and so forth. Recoil is brisk, but not as bad as I'd feared. I wouldn't want to go through a hundred rounds without a break - in fact, 37 rounds was getting to the limit - but it's tolerable, and it's really not a range gun anyway.

I did notice that even with a firm grip, I was having to re-adjust my grip every few rounds because the gun would shift a bit in my hand. If you limp-wrist this one, you'll know it, because it will end up turning in your hand.

Now, the bad. After the third magazine (18 rounds), I started getting failures to eject that jammed the weapon. These were not "tap and rack" jams, either. Recovery required removing the magazine, pulling the slide back, pointing the muzzle to the sky, and shaking it until the jammed casing fell out. On my last 3 magazines, this happened 4 times, and the last time the case jammed in the chamber tightly enough that I was reduced to using the edge of the table to push the slide back so I could use my leatherman to grab and pull the case out (which didn't work. I finally got it out when the slide slipped and went forward with enough force that the extractor engaged the rim and pulled it out - like it's supposed to do in the first place). It did run smoothly for those first three magazines, though.

I suspect that this was a result of dirty ammo (American Eagle). The brass I recovered* was pretty filthy, and I assume some of that stayed in the gun. But still, this was rather... irritating. I'll get a better idea once I clean it.

On the other hand, if I need that many reloads in a social situation, I'm pretty much FUBAR'd no matter what.

*Here's a tip - If you use a public range and only want to recover your brass - because you're not sure where all the other brass on the ground has been, or how long it's been there - take a Sharpie and mark across the base of the round. It's real easy to just drag the marker across the row of ammo while it's in the box. Pick whatever color you think will stand out best, and it will let you distinguish your brass from everyone else's, and can make it easier to pick out without having to bend over to see that it's not yours. I used a metallic silver Sharpie this time around, but I think something that contrasts better with the brass and silver of the casing (blue, maybe) would be a better choice.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Question for My Reader

Or readers if I'm thinking positively. :P

For the .25 I was using as a BUG, I didn't bother with hollowpoints. The .25ACP is weak enough I knew I probably wouldn't get adequate penetration with hollowpoints, and I was confident that I wouldn't have to worry about overpenetration with FMJ rounds.

Assuming I can actually find any, what would you recommend for my new .380 - FMJ or hollowpoints?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

(Belated) Buy a Gun Day - With Pictures!

Well, I promised pictures, and here they are! (Click to embiggenate.)

First, the Colt Junior .25ACP I traded in:

Next, the new acquisition:

Finally, the Kel-Tec next to my usual carry piece, my Taurus PT-145, as a comparison:

The Kel-Tec is much smaller and lighter. It will probably be carried much more than the Colt Junior it replaced. It's a little bigger than the Colt was, but still much lighter (even with a full magazine).

(Belated) Buy a Gun Day

Well, I finally broke down and traded the old Colt Junior .25ACP that I'd been using as a BUG for a Kel-Tec P3AT. I know that a .25 will do the job, if it's used right, but .380 is more effective, and doesn't require precise shot placement like the .25 does in certain circumstances.

I'd been considering this for a while, but had hesitated because the Kel-Tec felt slightly "cheap", and because I had read about the "fluff and buff" so often. If I'm going to pay roughly $265 for something that's supposed to be ready out of the box, I don't want to have to finish it myself. The fact that the fluff and buff is mentioned almost every time I see the gun itself mentioned in a blog or forum made me wary.

The effectiveness differential finally got to me, plus the fact that my local ironmonger was going to offer me $250 trade-in for the Colt. The Colt is a nice little gun - very pleasant to shoot - but it's not a "plinker", and it was only barely up the the job I had it for. Trading that, plus $15 out of pocket (plus tax and $2 NICS fee), for a much more effective BUG was too much to resist.

I lucked out and got the last box of .380 ammo, too!

I'll have pictures later.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

What the heck is going on?

Another one. Again in Alabama.

A man shot and killed his estranged wife, their teenage daughter and two other relatives in rural north Alabama before returning to his home in a nearby town and killing himself the day before their divorce trial, authorities said Tuesday.
That's eight in the last month. And Alabama seems to be particularly hard hit.

It was one of eight mass shootings around the country in the last month that have left grief-stricken communities in shock. It's also the third mass killing in Alabama during that time.
Seriously, what the hell is going on that people are suddenly committing mass murder so often?

And another one.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The New, Improved, Mexican Gun Lie. Now 5% Bigger!

Several bloggers have been pointing out how FOX News is debunking the lie that "90% of Mexican crime guns have been traced to the US." You should go read it, it's good. You'll get these quotes in context, too. The truth?

What's true, an ATF spokeswoman told, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director, "is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S."

But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.

[...]68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. [...]83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.
You would think that might be a significant fact, wouldn't you? Apparently, the AP doesn't think so:

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently reported that up to 95 percent of guns seized at scenes of drug violence in Mexico can be traced to U.S. commercial sources. [Emphasis added]
So, yesterday 90% of guns seized were traced to the US, today it's 95%? How does that work if 83% of gun seized could not be traced to the US?

Does. Not. Compute.

Something else worth noting is that they don't tell you how many of the guns that were traced to the US came from the civilian market. Consider this:

More than 150,000 soldiers deserted in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Many took their weapons with them[...]
and, according to "Ed Head, a firearms instructor in Arizona who spent 24 years with the U.S. Border Patrol":

Some guns, he said, "are legitimately shipped to the government of Mexico, by Colt, for example, in the United States. They are approved by the U.S. government for use by the Mexican military service. The guns end up in Mexico that way -- the fully auto versions -- they are not smuggled in across the river."
Gee, I bet those guns "can be traced to U.S. commercial sources." I'm sure Colt could be considered a "commercial source" - depending on how you define the term. Notice that the AP never tells you what they mean by "commercial source."

The AP's "Authorized Journalists" apparently think that if their lie isn't working, they just need to make it a bigger lie. Look for them to start repeating it more often, too. That's what liars do when they think someone's going to put some inconvenient facts out where people can see them.