Friday, December 30, 2005

On Shooting Poorly

At the risk of sounding a little like Jerry Seinfeld, what is it about inconsistent shooting? One day I’m on my game and another day I’m off.

Yosemite Same (Bill) and I had our bullseye league last night. My shots were all over the place, especially during the first relay of slow fire. One round didn’t even hit the paper. I haven’t done that in years. I ended up scoring at least 65 points lower than I usually do; and, that was only after I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and got a rally going.

Last night I was ready to box up my target pistol and stalk off the range in a towering rage. I wanted to throw my box of ammo at the target thinking that I might get a better score that way. As if I could throw 25 yards (I throw like a girl, but I come by it honestly). Thank goodness everyone was wearing hearing protection and couldn’t hear my inventive profanity.

No one who has not shot a gun before can understand that accuracy comes from achieving a zen-like state. If you concentrate on your breathing you’ll throw off your trigger control. If you think about your trigger control, you’ll throw off your sight alignment. You can’t force accuracy, it just comes.

My poor shooting last night wasn’t the guns’s fault. It wasn’t Bill’s fault. It wasn’t the range’s fault or the fault of other competitors. It was all my fault. That’s the beauty and the pain of shooting. You’re up there all by yourself and you’re putting the bullets where they hit. Oh well, there’s always next week.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

One Year Ago Today

Well, Yosemite Sam (Bill) and I made it through our first year of blogging. When we started this blog, we didn’t know if we’d last one month let alone an entire year. As of this writing, we’ve made 280 posts; we’ve had 52,285 visitors and 79,601 page views.

We’ve kept to our initial premise that Ten Ring is a gun blog first and foremost. A few of our posts have been on other subjects and we will continue to throw in an occasional non-gun post. Bill and I have other interests outside of guns and shooting. We discuss politics a lot, spend too much money on books, watch movies and television, and we even have been now to gamble on rare occasion. But, Ten Ring is about guns and our passion for them and will remain so.

We want to thank our fellow gunnies who keep coming back. We enjoy your comments (I have to mention Seth from Massachusetts, a walking encyclopedia of gun knowledge) and links. It’s been a good year for us and the blog. . May 2006 be even better.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

One From the Vault

M1 Garand
Every gunnie, at least those who like wood stocks and blued metal, should own an M1 Garand. George S. Patton called the M1 Garand, “The greatest battle implement ever devised.” And, he wasn’t far off the mark. Patton was, of course, a World War II general and M1 Garands helped America win that war.

The United States was the only WWII combatant nation that armed most of its soldiers with a semi-automatic rifle. A semi-automatic is no more powerful than its bolt action cousin--an M1 uses the same cartridge, .30-06, as America’s M1903 bolt-action rifle. But, a semi-automatic has certain advantages over a bolt action. A shooter can shoot faster with one, it’s easier to be accurate because you focus on your point of aim while the action cycles, and it’s more rapidly reloaded than a bolt action.

Not only did M1s serve the nation throughout WWII they also saw use in Korea and a handful in Vietnam. Its close cousin, the M14 (basically a select-fire M1 with a box magazine) is still being used for certain military purposes today. M1s deserve all the accolades they’ve earned.
My M1 Garand with two en-bloc clips

The M1’s inventor was John Cantius Garand. He was born near Quebec, Canada, but came to the United States with his family when he was about 11 years old. He became an American citizen and worked in textile mills in New England. He showed an early aptitude for machines and a love of shooting. He combined both talents into designing guns. In 1919, his skills led to a position at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was particularly interested in creating a semi-automatic infantry rifle.

Garand was a little eccentric. He once flooded his living room in winter and allowed the water to freeze giving him his own indoor skating rink. While always a pragmatic engineer, he was also stubborn. An example of Garand’s stubbornness was his insistence on using an en bloc clip—the M1’s only weakness as a battle rifle.

An M1’s magazine is internal unlike magazines for M14s, AR-15s, or AK-47s. A shooter feeds the magazine with a clip that holds eight cartridges (some are made to hold fewer cartridges for purposes like hunting or target shooting) into the top of the receiver and presses down. When the clip reaches the magazine’s bottom it stops and causes the bolt to slam closed. If the shooter doesn’t get his or her thumb out of the way fast enough, he or she acquires a case of “M1 thumb.”


Besides the risk of M1 thumb, en bloc clips lead to other problems in a battle situation. You can’t easily top off an M1 during a fight. If the fighting stops after you’ve fired four shots you can’t add four more rounds to the magazine in preparation for more fighting. Instead, you must open the bolt thus ejecting the chambered round, and pull out the three remaining rounds and the clip. Another drawback is the fact that it only holds eight rounds. Today’s battle rifles usually have 20 to 40 round magazines.

Still, the en bloc clip makes the M1 fun to shoot today. When you’ve shot your last round, the magazine follower kicks out the clip with a merry little chime and lets you know you’re ready to load another clip. I have read another criticism of the clip—that the distinctive ring could tell the enemy that you’re reloading. I doubt that any soldiers were killed because of the clip’s distinctive sound. For one thing, battle noise would drown out the sound, you’d probably have other troops near by who aren’t reloading, and there’s no real evidence that such a situation ever occurred.

My M1 was made in June 1944, the same month as D-Day, in the Springfield Armory. I don’t know if it served our nation in Europe, the Pacific, Korean or elsewhere. It’s possible it was sold to a foreign government and then came back here. I don’t know because the Armory didn’t keep those kinds of records.

There’s nothing special about my M1. It doesn’t have a milestone serial number like 2,000,000, it doesn’t have an inspector’s cartouche in the stock, and not all of its parts are original. After World War II, arsenals acquired the rifles, took them apart, replaced worn or superseded parts, and put them together again without any attempt to keep original parts together. An M1 with all original parts and a proper cartouche, is worth a fair amount of money to collectors.

Yet, I’ve shot my M1 at 100 yards and achieved a group of eight rounds that could be covered with a silver dollar—my best achievement in a rifle. I’ve taken it completely apart and cleaned every trace of dirt and grease from it. I’ve taken layers of old crud off its stocks and found gorgeous wood underneath.

There nothing’s special about my M1 Garand, except that it’s mine. I guess it’s special after all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

More Blogroll Updates

Who knew that blogrolling would be so difficult. Recently, I updated Ten Ring's blogroll and thought I got all the blogs I wanted to add. But, I deceived myself. Here are three other blogs that I've planned to add for awhile and never did. I read all three regularly and enjoy them. All are gun blogs and worth your time.

So without further ado:

Heartless Libertarian: A military man who writes well about guns and related issues;

One in a Row: Here's a blogger who likes shooting more (maybe) than I do, especially shotguns;

Arms and the Law: David Hardy is an attorney who's studied gun issues for years--his blog's a great resource for legal issues affecting our gun rights.

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Very Merry Gunnie Christmas Indeed

Yosemite Sam (Bill) and I are gun nuts. We bear the name proudly. When both members of a marriage are gunnies, you know it's going to be a gunnie Christmas. And, it was.

I had mentioned in my last post that I bought Bill an SMLE for his Christmas present. Have you ever tried to wrap one of those things? I did and the results aren't pretty. Also, can you guess what's under the wrapping paper?


Here's Bill's new rifle. It came with the bayonet, although I didn't wrap it while attached to the rifle. Even my gun-nuttery has some bounds. The rifle's action and bolt are in extremely good condition--the best I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of them. The wood is in quite good condition as well.


As I mentioned previously, I had no idea what Bill planned to get me. There were no hints, questions, or cajoling. He had, however, seen me go "ga-ga" (the technical term for gun lust) over a small pistol. Friday night, he went to the gun store without me and bought it. I was floored when I opened the package. Am I a lucky woman or what? Now I feel my gift was too paltry. I may have to figure out ways to make up for that.

The pistol Bill gave me is in the following picture. It's a Colt 1911 Government Model Series 80 .380 pistol. It's a scaled down 1911 suitable for concealed carry. Its bore is pristine as is its finish. I've wanted one of these or a Colt Mustang and just never saw one when I had enough cash. Bill knew that and bought it for me. He amazes me sometimes. I put the cards in the picture, a regular size deck, in the picture for scale. As I told Bill, it's a baby Colt just hoping to grow up into a .45 1911.


We had Christmas dinner--a ham and trimmings, called loved ones, and had a quiet day. That was our Christmas and we hope your Christmas was every bit as nice.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Plans

It's hard to maintain one's outrage at the stupidity of anti-gunnies on Christmas Eve. Also, news slows down and there's less blog fodder to be had. So, Yosemite Sam (Bill) and I at Ten Ring don't have any posts planned for the next couple of days--although if the muse should strike, we will write. We are planning on a gunnie Christmas though. Bill already knows what I bought him for Christmas. He's getting (got) an Enfield SMLE Mark III rifle. It has a virtually pristine bore and smooth action. It's a daisy all right.

I don't know what Bill is getting me. He's keeping it quiet this year. I don't know if it'll have anything to do with guns, but I'll try to smile anyway when he gives it to me. (Seriously, I do own and enjoy things other than guns and I'll love whatever he's found--except a lump of coal.)

When I saw Bill's new SMLE I found something I'm going to buy for myself as a Christmas/New Year's maybe even birthday present. I saw a small-ring Broomhandle Mauser complete with its wood stock that doubles as a holster. I already have a Broomhandle Bolo, but this was too nice a gun and too nice a deal to pass up. I probably would've passed on a Broomhandle without a stock, but I need a stock in my collection and why pass on the gun that goes with it. I'll get it off layaway in a few weeks and a "One From the Vault" will be forthcoming.

So, that's our Christmas plans. Bill and I wish you the best Christmas or Hanukkah ever. We leave you with this image from A Christmas Story and for you gunnies, may your gun-related Christmas dreams come true.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Blogroll Update

Yosemite Sam and I have been remiss in keeping our blogroll up to date. Well, I've corrected that by adding several blogs to our roll. If you haven't discovered any of these fine blogs listed below yet, go over and give them a read.

By the way, if you already link to Ten Ring and we don't list your site in our blogroll, put your site name and URL in a comment. Similarly, if you'd like us to put a link to your site on Ten Ring, put a link in a comment and we'll head over there--we would appreciate reciprocity. I will add one caveat however; if a site advocates things I can't abide by (violent overthrow of the government, racist screeds, gun-banning, gun-hating, and general anti-gunnie stuff, then no linky).

So, here are our additions (in no particular order):

Primarily Gun Blogs
Fish or Man: a blog dedicated by gun rights written by someone has risked jail for gun rights

South Park Pundit: a gunnie with a sense of humor who lives in California while attending college with moonbats

The Trainer: a gun and military blog with humor thrown in

Cam Edwards: the blogger is the radio spokesman for NRA News, need I say more

Irons in the Fire: a blacksmith, gunnie, and a man with an opinion

View from the Porch: a female gun blogger who sells guns for a living--very knowledgeable and well worth a read--she has good taste since she uses the same template as Ten Ring

Xavier Thoughts: a gunnie who prowls pawn shops and reports his finds

Other Types of Blogs (most with good gun content)
Free Market Fairy Tales: a British supporter of gun rights who writes on many topics, enjoy

Right Wing Nation: the name says it all, except for the attitude

Oscar Poppa: a gun owner and book collector, just like me--almost

I also updated the link for Kim's new site.

To paraphrase Porky Pig, "That's all for now, folks."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Butters versus The Coyote

It's been awhile since I've "coyote blogged;" posts on coyotes and other wild animals that show up in Massachusetts towns, including suburbs of Boston. Of course, many other cities (Boulder, Colorado for instance) have problems with predators coming into their outskirts. I pick on Massachusetts because I once lived there, still work there, and live in near-by New Hampshire. Also, Massachusetts is in the forefront of gun control and at least some of its politicians total disarmament of its citizens—for public safety don't you know.

I believe that disarmament is a fool's dream. Two-legged predators will never disarm and even if you could make it impossible for them to get guns, they can always find weapons. If nothing else their fists will work. We also live in a world where animal predators thrive. Many of them attack our pets and a few children and occasionally adults. To give up guns, man's finest self-defense tools to date, in the face of two- and four-legged predators is ridiculous.

Disarmament comes from a fool's belief that all violence is equal. That is, if a thug stabs a person and that thug is then shot by a police officer then each of these acts is as bad as the other. Instead of one act of violence, we now have two acts of violence. The same belief is applied to animal predators. Some believe that while an animal cannot stop itself from committing violence, we humans can forbear and not harm the predator or at most trap it and send it away—even if that particular predator is aggressive.

Gun control comes from this twisted form of pacifism. It’s why we gunnies can argue facts and figures until we’re blue in the face and then hear the same tripe repeated again. For instance, if we tell them that more children die in accidental bathtub drownings than in gun accidents we hear the usual mantra; “guns aren’t necessary.”

Well guns are necessary and here’s one bit of proof. Butters is a corgi dog. A coyote attacked him while he and his owner were on a nightly walk on a golf course in Boston’s Hyde Park area (more complete information is in the video in the link). There were two or three other coyotes on the course. Butters fought back and his owner hit the attacking coyote with a stick and he and his dog got away. Butters suffered numerous bites, most to his neck.

A wildlife expert believes a mother coyote was teaching her young how to fight. Oh, and the newscaster’s advice on how to prevent such attacks in the future: keep your dog on a leash. Oh yeah, that’ll work.

I can’t say that I would've told Butters’ owner to carry a gun and use it if threatened. Each of us has to make that decision, but government should not stand in our way of making that decision. And, if one decides to carry one must take on responsibilities that come with that decision. But, I can say that the world and nature is not as safe as those who dream fool’s dreams want you to believe.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Transit Strikes and Big City Living

I was driving into work this morning with the radio on a talk/news station. I listened to news about the transit strike in New York City. Newspeople interviewed people who are walking to work, people who are staying home, and people who are driving to work. They sounded distraught, but knowing they had to cope. The strike will cause a mess.

This is one more reason I'm not a city gal. I was thinking while listening to the radio that city people have to rely on others too much. They have to rely on others for transportation, for food, for just about everything. Self-reliance may not be possible in a big city and for me that's no way to live. To paraphrase Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty and self-reliance or give me death."

Just a random thought for the day.

Monday, December 19, 2005

History and "Common Sense" Gun-Banners

How many times have we heard people say they want “common-sense gun control?” Of course, they define it anyway they want. Some people think registration and licensing are “common sense” others think outright handgun bans represent “common sense.” There are those, like me, who think gun control laws are ineffective and repealing almost all of them is “common sense.” There are those who believe its “common sense” to have gun laws at all.

So how do we make sense of all of these positions? Well, the proof’s in the pudding—bans don’t work no matter how many people think they’re “common sense.” For instance, a gun control city like Washington, D.C. has high crime rates while low gun control places like New Hampshire, Vermont, and Idaho have low crime rates. Gun crime hasn’t ended in Great Britain even while handguns were totally banned. Instead of facing reality, gun banners want to close their eyes and ears and continue supporting their “common sense” non-solutions.

Why can’t people learn from history? Take a look at Prohibition in the Untied States. We amended the Constitution to outlaw alcoholic beverages, but that didn’t mean we became sober as preachers.

Americans supported smugglers, turned to “medicinal” whiskey prescribed by doctors, made booze in bathtubs, and did everything else but stop drinking. The respect for law took a nose dive once people realized bootleggers bribed the cops that were supposed to arrest them The quality of alcoholic beverages was unregulated—just because the label said “Canadian Whiskey” didn’t mean you weren’t buying moonshine with a little coal tar added for color. (Click for an article on prohibition).

Take a look at America’s Drug War. No one can say it’s working and I don’t care if you get stoned every day or you won’t take aspirin. Look at the situation. Illicit drugs are freely available. People make methamphetamines out of cough syrup making it harder for valid users to buy over-the-counter medicine. Quality control is dependent only on the mercy of thugs. We have people who buy drugs from street-corner gangsters and figure out doses by trial and error. We’ve filled our prisons with often non-violent drug offenders and released violent criminals to make room for them. Even worse, law enforcement can’t stop it.

The same thing will happen if gun-banners get their way. Smugglers will pack in guns along with drugs. Police and military members will sell guns from arsenals to make a quick and large profit. Machinists will grind guns out of metal stock. Lawmakers and honest cops will try to stem the tide. They’ll institute licenses to buy certain kinds of metal, throw people in jail for possession of one cartridge (already true for people debarred from firearm ownership), and pass increasingly onerous laws.

People will find ways to buy guns at a local street corner much the way people buy drugs now. Quality control will suffer—who would you complain to if the gun blew up in your hand. Society would have no idea what was going on in the black market--anyone with cash would be able to buy. Gun banners will demand even more gun control while murder and gun violence rates rise.

This is not a society I’d like to live in, but it’s as inevitable as night following day. If there’s one thing history teaches it’s that prohibiting something that people want doesn’t work and only leads to many unintended consequences. As George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Seven Meme

I’ve been out of circulation for a few days and I returned to reading blogs this morning. Jay G of Toys in the Attic tagged me (or Bill) with a meme. Well, today’s a winter wasteland here with freezing rain, snow, and all sorts of unpleasant crap. Nasty weather always leads to introspection and what better way to gaze at one’s navel than through a meme.

So here we go, but first a couple of caveats: this is a gun blog so I’ll try to stick with guns as much as possible and the items in my lists are in the order in which they came to me.

Seven X Seven

Seven things to do before I die
1) Shoot at Camp Perry or other high-falutin’ competition.
2) Legally buy a submachine gun.
3) Finish a novel I started seven years ago.
4) Publish that novel.
5) Learn to speak a foreign language fluently (I can speak French, but not fluently).
6) Get an Insta-launch just to see what it feels like.
7) Scuba dive.
Seven things I cannot do
1) Getting enough exercise to lose weight.
2) Ride a motorcycle.
3) Fly an airplane.
4) Shoot a perfect score in bullseye shooting.
5) Walk as fast as Bill (the man can move when he wants to).
6) Get rich.
7) Sell products or services to others even if they need them.

Seven things that attracts me to (guns)
1) The variety of guns—big ones, little ones, revolvers, semi-autos, old ones, new ones, etc.
2) Mastering shooting—it’s easy to shoot a gun, but immensely difficult to master it.
3) The variety of shooting games out there; skeet, trap, bullseye, IPSC-style, plinking, etc.
4) Recoil, the more the merrier at least until it hurts my hand too much.
5) Guns go bang.
6) Taking guns apart to see their workmanship and design.
7) The smell of Hoppe’s #9.

Seven things I say most often
1) “God damn it.”
2) “Anyway…”
3) “Y’all” and I’m not from the South originally.
4) “Freakin’ hell”
5) “Hey Bill, let’s go look at guns today” (meaning that we’ll be going to a gun shop)
6) “Oh, hell no” (or “Oh, hell yes” depending on the situation).
7) “What cha doing?” (said to Bill when he’s “ignoring” me).

Seven books (or series) that I love
1) Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien).
2) Cider House Rules (John Irving).
3) A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens).
4) Six of One (Rita Mae Brown).
5) A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving).
6) “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (series)
7) “Firefly” (series)
Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had time)
1) “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
2) “The Patriot” (the one with Mel Gibson).
3) “Shaun of the Dead”
4) “50 First Dates” (I don’t know why, but I watch this whenever it comes on in cable—I can’t help myself).
5) “Office Space”
6) “A Christmas Story” (I get sick of it by December 24, but that first viewing of the season is good).
7) “Galaxy Quest”

Seven people I want to join in, too.
This meme’s been around for awhile and most of the people I’d want to infest are already tagged, so I’ll cop out and offer it to any other bloggers out there who want to give it a try. It made me think and what else can you ask for in this sort of meme.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Range Day

As I mentioned Tuesday, I've had a relative staying for a visit and I took her to the airport this morning. She really wanted to learn how to shoot while she was here and with my help she accomplished it. She’s a 20-year old college student with a good head on her shoulders, but her immediate family is mildly anti-gun.

I think I had a good approach to the shooting session and plan on using the same model the next time I teach marksmanship to someone. On Monday night, I went over the safety rules and emphasized the top three. We gunnies know them, but repetition is our friend:

1) Never point a gun in the direction of anything you don’t want to destroy;
2) Keep your booger hook off the bang switch (and yes I used that expression but repeated it in less colorful terms);
3) Don’t load the gun until you’re ready to shoot.

I laid out the guns we'd be shooting the next day. As I mentioned these were a .22 Beretta Neos, a Smith & Wesson 9mm, and a Springfield Armory 1911 in .45acp. As I laid them out, I ensured that each action was open. Then I explained how each gun worked, where it’s controls were located, and what to expect in terms of noise and recoil when she fired the gun.

I had her grip the gun and taught her sight alignment. While ensuring the guns and area in front of us was safe, I had her dry-fire each pistol while teaching her about trigger control. I mentioned that when the moment the hammer fell should come as a complete surprise to her.

On range day, I lectured her again about safety, sight alignment, and trigger control. We checked into the range and began shooting. It was a major success. Her face lit up as she hit the target time after time. In fact, her very first shot ever hit the orange bullseye. We shot at five yards and then at ten primarily as confidence builders and for her to learn fundamentals.
She proved an excellent shot and her favorite gun was the 9mm.

She told me she wants a pistol for her 21st birthday (oh, what have I wrought?). I think it helped her to hear two sets of similar instructions on two different days. I also coached her while she was shooting. The most important thing though was she had fun and will continue to shoot.

Hitting a Milestone

Well, I see from the faithful site meter, Ten Ring has passed 50,000 visitors and in just a little under a year. Our first post was made on December 29, 2004. It's been good to know that 50,000 people (granted big bloggers get that in a day--probably) have read our words, commented on them, and enjoyed their visits. Here's hoping for another 50,000 by this time next year. Here's our first post if you're inclined to give it a read.

A little later I'll have more detail on my range trip with my young relative.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Still Here

Hi all, sorry for the lack of goodness here since Thursday. Bill and I are still alive and well in the great white north. We've had a couple of situations that have ate up our time--I can't even blame work for this slow bloggage.

On Friday, my job let me out early and I got caught in the middle of one of the worst snowstorms I've ever seen. I was driving up a freeway going about ten miles an hour with maybe thirty yards visibility. It was the first time I've seen people stopped in travel lanes to clear ice and snow from their windshields. The roads had been plowed and treated, but the plows couldn't keep up with the snow fall. My commute home is usually about 50 minutes, but on Friday it took me 2 and a quarter hours to get home. Because I was so snow-frazzled, no gunnie goodness was posted herein.

On Saturday, I picked up a relative who's here for a "snow" visit. She lives in Florida and she's had serious temperature shock. I've been reliving old times with her, shopping and having fun.

Today, I took her shooting for the first time in her 20 years of life. You can believe me when I tell you that we have a new member of the Nation of Riflemen. And, even better--she's a natural.

I started her on a .22 Beretta Neos, then moved to a 9mm Smith & Wesson 6904, and finished the day with a Springfield Armory 1911 in .45 acp (naturally). I worked with her before the range trip and taught her safety rules, sight alignment, trigger squeeze and grip. At the range, she put it all together and was hitting a large bullseye. She even had groups rather than isolated shots all over the paper. It's enough to make an aunt proud.

She's leaving on Thursday, so regular bloggage will resume. Also, Yosemite Sam (Bill) is working on a couple of posts. See you all later.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Katie Couric and Ignorance

By now everyone’s heard that Federal Air Marshals killed a man, Rigoberto Alpizar, in Miami. He ran down the aisle of a plane probably saying he had a bomb in his bag and ran into the jetway. Marshals shot him several times when he refused to follow their commands and then reached into his bag. It turned out that Alpizar didn’t have a bomb and was simply deranged.

Given the facts before them, the marshals could’ve done anything differently, but there are always people who question life-and-death situations. They wonder if an unarmed man really needed to be killed, they question officer training, and they debate why law enforcement shoots to kill. Invariably, law enforcement people (current or retired) explain that cops shoot to stop and the debate continues.

This morning, Katie Couric of NBC’s Today show argued that air marshals could have just incapacitated Alpizar with a perfectly placed shot. She may be watching too much television, but I think her statement is born of pure ignorance coupled with a certain fiction law enforcement tries to maintain.

First let's talk about Couric’s ignorance, which is born from a willful lack of experience. I don’t know if she’s ever shot a gun, but I doubt that she’s ever mastered one. If she had, she would have fired at different rates of speed—everything from very deliberate bullseye-type slowfire to a fast shot out of a holster. She might have fired under different levels of stress—anything from no stress, to competition-caused stress, to combat training’s induced stress. If she’s had such experience, she’d know how difficult it would be to incapacitate someone with a quick shot to a shoulder, hand, or wherever.

Couric’s ignorance is hers alone, but she’s in a position to share it with millions of people, many without any real experience with firearms. They’ll listen to her and demand “reforms” of law enforcement policies until a cop is killed trying to “shoot to incapacitate,” or a bomber sets off his bomb, or more likely cops and their departments get sued for trying to shoot to wound and hitting a bystander.

But, law enforcement is not merely a victim of public opinion drummed up by Katie Couric and her compatriots. Too many people in law enforcement, particularly at top levels, foist an attitude that only they have the training to deal with criminals, that only they are trained well enough to carry a gun in public, and that “regular” civilians can’t be trusted with firearms. After awhile, the public starts believing the police can do anything and wonder then why they would kill people when they could simply incapacitate.

Is it any wonder then that willful ignorance coupled with law enforcement’s belief in its own specialness confuses most people?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

One From the Vault

OWA Pocket Pistol
I’ve mentioned several times that I like mouse guns. I’m not saying they’re the best things for self-defense, but when you can’t carry anything else a mouse gun can’t be beat. I’d call a mouse gun anything that can fit into a jeans pocket without making your jeans fall to the ground (embarrassing and not to say slow on the draw). The OWA Pocket Pistol certainly fits that bill.

First a little history. Austria today is a quaint country that’s the end of Western Europe and the beginning of Eastern Europe. At one time though, Austria led a huge empire including the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, most of what once was Yugoslavia.

World War I started when the heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated in Sarajevo. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, an ally of Germany, fared badly in the war and worse in the peace. It was carved up and its Imperial family sent packing. It was demilitarized and forced to pay war reparations although not as severe as Germany faced.

Of course an Empire has an arsenal and something had to be done with its gun makers. The Imperial arsenal was partially turned into a business called Oesterreichische Werke Anhalt or OWA.

OWA made a pocket pistol beginning in 1920 and exported an unknown number to the United States marking them "Made in Austria." In the first picture, you can see that the pistol is small. I can cover it with one hand. It’s 4 and 5/8" long and 3.5" high. At its thinnest, it is only a half-inch wide although the maximum width is 7/8". They stopped making them in or around 1926.

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The pistol relies on the recoil to blowback the slide and chamber another round. It’s chambered in .25 ACP (or 6.35mm). It’s a technically fascinating gun.

Almost every thing about the pistol is backwards. It’s almost like its Austrian engineers found a technological backwater and steamed up it as fast as they could. As you can see, it has a tip up access to the bore:

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but, you can’t load it this way. It was advertised as an "easy to clean" feature and it’s easy to fieldstrip; I‘ll give that to those long-dead engineers.

Another backward feature is the magazine catch located on the bottom of the grip. Many European guns have magazine catches in this location. But, in this gun you operate the catch by pulling it towards your fingers (as you hold the gun) instead of pushing it towards your palm.

In my final picture, you’ll notice another technological backwater.

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The recoil spring is located on top of the barrel. It’s right behind that little screw. And yes, you are looking down the bore. (Note: I took the picture with the action open and at no time did my head or hands cross the muzzle, although the camera was at slight risk.)

My particular gun is an early model and was probably made in 1922. It’s slab-sided above the trigger guard and the grip models are marked OWA with the umlaut (two dots above the O) outside the letter O. Most importantly my gun is marked "Patent Angemeldet" meaning "Patent being sought." Later versions had a notice stating it was "patented in civilized nations." Most of these guns had a jeweled slide, but mine is plain. I’m not sure if that was typical for an early gun or was done to cut the retail price.

My gun also bears Austrian proof marks. Ironically one mark is "NPv," which is found on Austrian-made Glocks today. An Austrian eagle is also stamped on the frame.

I haven’t shot this gun yet, but one day I will. I don’t trust the safety on it since it’s a mere hint of a hammer block. The rest of the gun is built as solid as a safe. The trigger-pull is heavy and Its sights are typical for pocket pistol of the day, that is, almost non-existent. I don’t expect much accuracy, but then it wasn’t built to be a target pistol.

For me, a mouse gun from the roaring Twenties suggests flappers and men wearing straw boaters. My OWA suggests the same things, but with a little Central European style and an interesting technology.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Fighting for Gun RIghts in San Francisco

You know something’s wrong in San Francisco when the San Francisco Chronicle writes a story that sympathizes with gun owners. San Francisco voted to ban continued possession of handguns. In other words, “turn ‘em in” on April 1, 2006 when the law goes into effect.

San Francisco’s “turn ‘em in” law is scaring at least two lesbians who seem to be politically liberal. Marilyn Hurst and her partner B.C. like to shoot guns and know that their guns and their gun skills could save their lives. They have a couple of handguns and a long-gun or two secreted in their home. They’ve thought through a number of scenarios in which getting to a gun may be the difference between life and death. The two women practice regularly and they’ve become responsible for their own safety.

They describe themselves as, “…exactly the kind of people that should have weapons.” Such a description is especially true in gay-friendly San Francisco. However, Hurst and B.C. joined the National Rifle Association because they like its literature and possibly because they hope NRA will help protect their gun rights.

The story itself is surprisingly friendly to these gun owners although it’s not entirely free of bias. The reporter included gun crime statistics and interviewed one of the asshats who pushed for the gun ban, Bill Barnes. He states that the women can find another way to defend themselves, but he doesn’t even begin to explain what that might be. Instead he falls back on a red herring fearing that their guns might be stolen and that would lead to gun violence.

Hurst and B.C. hope that their city’s law will be struck down in an NRA sponsored lawsuit. If not, they plan to abide by the law (my one argument with them as gun owners, but everyone has to make their own decisions). They say they’ll take their handguns to friends living outside of the city and buy more long guns for their apartment. They’ll not disarm.

It’s really too bad that voters in San Francisco can’t be as wise as these two gun owners. It’s too bad that voters believe that women like Hurst and B.C. somehow threaten them. And, in a city known for tolerance, as they define it, it’s too bad that a majority of voters think they can decide how other people should live their lives.

I’m going to slip into rant mode here: I’m tired of GFWs (gun fearing wussies) who paint gun owners as violent yokels. I’m tired of reading purposefully skewed stories and statistics trying to show that a gun in the house will one day hop right up and shoot its owner. I’m tired of GFWs thinking they’re more “evolved” than gun owners.

I’m tired of GFWs trying to vote away my rights and trying to tell me how to live my life. I’m tired of Boston reporters and politicians trying to tell New Hampshire to institute gun control.

Most of all, I’m tired of fearing that one day I’ll read about a new national law that says “turn ‘em in” like they did with Hurst and B.C. I fear it because I won’t “turn ‘em in.”

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Why Do We Even Try?

I was away on a business trip for a couple of days and really didn't keep up with gun news. When I got back I read some very discouraging news. Alphecca links a New York Times story telling how an anti-gun judge has ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against gun companies despite the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act.

You might remember the act, it says that courts will no longer hear frivolous lawsuits against the gun industry. Many gunnies could see how anti-gunnies would use lawsuits filed in anti-gun jurisdictions, heard by anti-gun judges, to cripple the firearms industry. Even Congress could see where such suits were headed and took action. But when you have anti-gun judges in sympathetic jurisdictions why let law stand in your way?

This particular case is being heard by Judge Jack Weinstein who is biased against guns. He presided in a 1999 trial that awarded damages to a plaintiff for negligent marketing--the only successful one of its kind. He must have cried himself to sleep when Congress passed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act.

Judge Weinstein agreed with plaintiff lawyers that their suit fit one of the Act's exception (maybe we should even use a Brady Campaign word--loophole). The exception said that a person could sue gun companies if their marketing violated state or Federal laws.

The plaintiffs argued that gun company marketing in other states allowed a surplus of guns to be available for illegal shipment to New York City thus violating a nuisance statute. Because an anti-gun judge agreed with them, this suit will continue unless the decision is reversed on appeal.

Once again several gun companies including such famous names as Beretta, Browning, Colt, Glock, and Smith & Wesson are paying lawyers to defend themselves in court for selling a legal product legally. No wonder guns are so expensive. And no wonder I'm feeling discouraged; why even pass laws if activist judges will find torturous paths around them?

If you think you don't have a horse in this race here's a quote from the City's attorney:
"Probably the most sweeping lawsuit against the gun industry is now poised to go to trial," Mr. Elkin said, "and if we're successful it will have wide-reaching effects on how guns are marketed and sold."
Weinstein's decision cannot stand.