Why we win

As seen on Facebook from a liberal friend who used to be anti-gun in reference to a Huffington Post article entitled “If Guns Are So Good, Invite ‘Em to GOP Rallies“:

As a skeptic, I have to reconsider my prejudices that I may have been taught earlier in life and review the evidence. The fact that I have a much smaller chance of being shot by the average gun enthusiast than by a police officer means that in your scenario, you’re going to be statistically pretty safe in that hall, much more safe than if every one of those heavily armed individuals were also wearing police uniforms.

See… sometimes folks on the other side actually look at the facts and admit that they might have been wrong.

It’s always nice to see that happen.

I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid

Went to a gun show today, and couldn’t resist it.  I finally bought a Glock.

Glock 81

I have to admit that the capacity is a bit low, and I haven’t figured out how to reload it yet.

A 3D printed 6 switch panel for Jeep XJs

Alternate title: What I’ve been doing instead of blogging.

We mentioned on last week’s episode of the GunBlog VarietyCast that I have designed a new lower switch panel for 1997-2001 Jeep Cherokees, known in JeepSpeak as the newer XJ.

As of right now, I have seven different models for sale in my Shapeways store.

So here’s the story:
Jeep sold the XJ with one of three different lower switch panels, depending on trim level and options. They all have two 12v power ports–a driver side one that is only on when the key is in ACC/RUN, and a passenger side one that is always on.

They came in three flavors. One with two switches and a blank that is actually solid and completely unable to be converted to hold a third OEM switch:
2-switch

One with three switches for models with factory fog lights:
3-switch

And a super-rare 4 switch model that came ONLY in police package models domestically, and in some European export models that also had rear fogs (which is apparently a thing in Europe):
xj_switch_ext_idle

So here’s the thing, though: You CANNOT buy the 4 switch panel anymore. Jeep doesn’t make or carry them, and the parts distributors ran out years ago. They occasionally pop up on ebay for $225 or so, with no switches.

And here’s mine, with SIX switches:
IMG_5456 (Small)

It took about 6 months of designing, prototyping, breaking, and redesigning the panels on hobbyist-grade 3D printers (using makexyz.com as my prototype provider) before I got one that I was ready to try out on Shapeways.

The makexyz printers–depending on who gets your design–can range from $800 to about $2500. The prints are functional, but the quality is…variable. I sent the exact same design to three different printers and got three very different results, structurally speaking.

Shapeways uses Stratasys printers, which start at $200,000 each, and produce much more finished products. The two on top here were makexyz prints, the bottom is the Shapeways print. Click to embiggenate.
IMG_5477

Left: Shapeways, Right: makexyz
IMG_5466

Now I feel like I’ve got the design down I can make custom ones, too. I did 5 models in two hours one Sunday.

So now I have a product, available for sale, that is manufactured on-demand and shipped to your house with no interaction from me. I love living in the future!

Long slide on a short grip?

First things first:

New Year’s resolution: more posting to the blog.  I’ve got a good amount of blog fodder, just need to write it.

Now, on with the post!

For a little while now, I’ve been interesting in finding something that apparently no one makes: a pistol with a “full-sized” barrel (think 4-5″) on a frame with a “compact” grip.  On the other hand, there are a number of companies that sell configurations of their pistols where they have a “compact” barrel sitting on a full sized frame.  This confuses me.

I think it’s safe to say that just about everyone interested in compact pistols are looking for concealed carry, or, at least, discrete carry.  Most concealed carry options hide the barrel without any issue, and it’s the grip that prints or sticks out.  The barrel is also what tends to be one of the bits that will dig into your side.

As for the short barrel and full-sized grip configuration, I just don’t get it.  I’m not going to tell anyone that likes that configuration that they’re doing it wrong, I just don’t understand it.

So… am I missing something?  I know that if I really wanted something of the kind, I could mix and match parts to make it (and, honestly, I’m not in the market right now), but no one seems to sell that configuration out of the box.

Of all the stupid things…

So… apparently Nashville has decided to kick out the gun show that has been running regularly for 35 years at the Fairgrounds.  There reasoning?  Beyond the usual pants wetting hysteria, they were able to link 3 cases of people possessing firearms bought from there being naughty since 2011.

Less than 1 a year.

I can tell you from personal experience that there’s plenty of business going on at every one of these shows.  Less than 1 a year is the definition of “statistically insignificant.”

Not only that, but these cases aren’t “guy buys gun, go out, and shoots up school.”  Two were “prohibited person possessing” cases, and one was a guy that was caught apparently smuggling arms to Australia (no indication if he was a prohibited person at the time).

Here’s the thing.  Everyone that bought a table at the Bill Goodman gun show at the Fairgrounds and sold guns held FFLs (policy of the folks running the show).  There were also always at least a couple cops either at the door or wandering the floor.  The only folks that were selling guns without background checks were the handful of guys that showed up to do incidental private sales.  I would say that there’s a better selection of guns sold without the check in the local classifieds.

On the other hand, this is not an area that is lacking for gun shows.  If there’s not at least one show withing a 30 minute drive of me on any given weekend, there will be the following weekend.  It’s just a question of whether it’s in Nashville, or one of the surrounding counties.

Here’s the link to the story.

That moment when…

…you’re giving a presentation at a hacker con on 3D printed guns and a guy wearing an ATF hat walks in and sits down.

Turns out he was actually someone deeply involved with the TFA and decided to give me shit.

Oh, and there may be video later so you guys can make fun of me.

“Big” Win for the Anti-gunners?

So, apparently the state of California recently passed a bill to make it illegal to carry a gun on school campuses.  I wouldn’t have known this except that a lot of my friends on both sides of the fence posted this image:

12118620_10153674653949804_9037501611146883408_nOf course, my pro-gun friends commented on the fact that they pretty much used a jack boot for the image, but that’s not the message I see here.

The anti-gunners are crowing about a win in California.  Not only a win, but a pretty easy win that aligns Cali’s gun laws with the laws in most of the other states.

Let that sink in.

They are that desperate for a win.Let’s keep putting the screws to them.

A good primer on the history of the 2nd Amendment

I think the video is a wonderful hour long history of the 2nd Amendment.  Tom did a similar talk at Phreaknic last year, which I saw making the rounds among gun bloggers and can be found here.  I probably should have been one of the folks posting it considering that I’ve been attending and/or helping run that con for a good while now.

This time, he’s talking at Dragoncon, and focusing more on how the 14th Amendment had a big impact on the application of the 2nd (not to mention the rest of the Constitution).

I think that a *lot* of folks need to sit down and watch at least one of these videos before they open there mouths to argue the Second Amendment, and gun rights in general.  I know Tom personally, and he’s a good guy that tends to do serious research before talking about something.  He has had several “drunken rants” at Phreaknic that were honestly more informative and thoughtful than many “serious” talks I’ve attended.

By the way, if you’re into computer security (or computer geekery in general), Phreaknic 19 is coming up the first week in November in Nashville.  I am the director of gaming again this year, and will also be giving a talk on 3D printed guns and other homemade firearms.  We’re going to have better/more professional speakers there as well.  Come on down, say hi, maybe play a few games, drink a few beers, and take the opportunity to heckle me in person!  I might even be persuaded to make a trip to the range with you if you twist my arm hard enough.

Southern Illinois shooting complex to shut down “indefinitely”

Sad news for folks on the Illinois side of the border near St. Louis.  Apparently, the budget fight that the state’s legislature is currently having that has made news because they’re refusing to pay out lotto winnings (which, yes, has resulted in lawsuits) has spread to closing of state run venues.  Specifically, the World Shooting and Recreation Complex near Sparta, Il.

I will admit that I’ve never stepped foot onto this complex, but that is merely due to me living a couple states away.  According to its website, it supports trap, skeet, cowboy action shooting, archery, along with a boat load of standard pistol and rifle shooting lanes.  It also has camping and RV facilities, a restaurant, boat ramp, and a shooting sports hall of fame.  It also has the home to  the Grand American World Trapshooting Championship.  I’m not into trap shooting, but I’m assuming that’s a big deal.

Of course, the big problem comes down to money.  According to the article, the complex costs the state $3million a year to run, and has only been bringing in $1.1million.  Of course, I’m guessing that most of that is getting sunk into the restaurant, which will remain open (they’re only closing the shooting ranges and RV park).

Sounds to me like it’s a similar ploy to when the state of Tennessee decided to close a bunch of state parks “due to budgetary reasons” when the true cost was to send a guy out every couple days to change the trash bags at the start of the trail.  Of course, the real reason was to make people upset so they could pass a tax increase.

Kilted to Kick Cancer: So You Want to Wear a Kilt?

Before I get into it, I want to remind people why I’m doing this.  This month is Prostrate awareness month, and I’m participating in Kilted to Kick Cancer.  Last year, we raised $13,000 for research, and want to beat that this year.  If you’ve got some extra cash, please follow that link and tell them that Team Oddball sent you.

Wow… it’s almost the end of the week, and I forgot to post a picture (I blame Dragoncon), so… here you go!

Why yes, that is a gallon sized flask.

Why yes, that is a gallon sized flask

I figured this year I’d discuss the basics of wearing kilts.  This being the first post, I might as well start off with the simple stuff and discuss the different types.

There’s basically 3 types, starting from newest to oldest:

  • The utility kilt:  This is what I’m wearing above, made by one of the first companies to make them (Utilikilt).  These are a new idea that basically didn’t exist until they and Alt.kilt came around in the early 2000’s.  Now it seems like everyone’s making them.  I’m sure everyone reading this blog is familiar with 5.11’s attempt at making them.  I’d also point to UTKilt as a good manufacturer for cheap ones.  There are some companies that have made them in various tartans, but, for the most part, you’re looking at solid colors.  The biggest benefit these have over the more traditional styles is pockets.
  • The small kilt: This is what most folks think of when you say “kilt,” and has been standard for formal events/uniforms/etc for a couple hundred years now.  These are almost always made using fabric with a tartan/plaid pattern on it, but can be found with solid colors (or if some crazy person decides to make one out of hawaiian print fabric).  Traditionally, they’re made of wool, but you can get them made out of acrylic, rayon, and various other fabrics.  While some companies do offer some with hidden pockets (notably, Sportkilt), if you’re wanting to carry anything, it’s going to have to be stuffed in your sporran (that pouch in the front), or other pouches hanging off your belt.  Oh, and if you’re not hanging things off your belt, the belt is purely for decoration, and many kilts of this type don’t have belt loops.
  • The great kilt: The great kilt is the oldest of the types.  It’s basically a large piece of fabric (typically wool) and a belt.  The cloth is laid on the ground and pleated on top of the belt.  The wearer then lays down on the cloth, wraps it around him, and then secures it with the belt.  This garment serves multiple purposes as outerwear, a hooded cloak if needed, and a bed roll (a 60″ by 6-9yard piece of thick wool will keep you pretty warm, even on a cold damp night in the highlands).  If you’re going to go this route, be warned that it is expensive.  There’s no way to get around the price of that much fabric.  Obviously, there are no pockets, although I’ve seen folks gather the excess fabric as makeshift pockets.

One last thing, the flat panel of the kilt should be facing forward, not the pleats.  I would think that this is obvious, but I’ve seen folks on TV wearing the damn things backwards.