Last weekend, I packed up my gear and headed to Oak Ridge for the first East Tennessee Bloggershoot hosted by Dennis at Dragon Leatherworks. For those that have never been, it’s a beautify part of the country, and I highly recommend visiting. Especially if you can manage to get a tour of the national labs that were involved in the Manhattan Project and are currently home to the second most powerful supercomputer in the world.
I started the weekend arriving at Dragon Leatherworks store, where I picked up a new purchase for me (a Sig p290rs, watch for a review in the near future). It’s a nice shop with a pretty good selection of firearms and some absolutely beautiful holsters. Of course, if they don’t have it in stock, Dennis is happy to order it for you. The Jack was already there, and we chatted while Dennis manned the shop for the last couple hours of the business day.
After that, we headed to Dennis’ place for burgers and met up with John Richardson and his wife. Erin Palette was supposed to join us for dinner, but due to some serious traffic issues, didn’t roll in until close to midnight. Oleg, being the crazy man that he is, decided to get up at the crack of dawn, and make the drive in Saturday morning. He also had a young shooter and his family in tow.
Saturday morning came, and we loaded up and headed to the range. Unfortunately, it rained during a good portion of the day. That said, one of the pistol ranges and the rifle range had cover over the shooting line, so we just shot from under those. The rifle range had steel targets set a various distances out to, I think, 175yards. For a guy that is normally relegated to punching paper, it was great fun to hear the ring of steel and see the target swing on every hit.
I mentioned rain, right?
Unfortunately, due to the rain, this was pretty much the only good picture I got of the shooty goodness. We had a pretty good representation of old battle rifles, Erin brought her “Sleep of Reason” Mosin Nagant, which is now sporting an Archangel stock and new muzzle brake, and Oleg brought some interesting stuff including a triple barrelled shotgun. Oh, and Oleg brought a scoped Howa .308 (I can’t remember the model) that made hitting the steal torso at 175yards almost boring… almost.
One thing I always find interesting at these things is what people gravitate to. You have the oddities, like The Jack’s Boberg, that folks are interested in because they’re just weird, or Erin’s pimped out Mosin that shows that you can take one of those old war relics and turn it into a pretty accurate rifle. John brought out an IBM make M1 Carbine in good condition that sparked a couple history conversations. Everyone seemed to enjoy hitting the 75yard steel torso with my Marlin .357mag.
After all was said and done at the range, it was back to the ranch to clean up and get ready for dinner. For most of us, that meant at least a change of clothes due to the mud, and I think we managed to not track mud all over the house. The Jack was gracious enough to work the grill for us. If you ever have the chance to sample his cooking, do it.
This was the appetizer steak
Did I mention that there was tasty, tasty meat?
I was also told that my apple and peach pie went over well. As a side note, apple pie (the drink) does go well with apple pie (the food).
We also took a tour of the workshop where Dennis actually makes all the holsters. He gave us a brief run down on how he makes them, and some things that he’s got in the works for the future. Beyond that, it was the usual chatting and card games that happen when you get a bunch of us together.
Sunday was breakfast, and back on the road back home.
I have to thank Dennis and his wife (who did a lot of the prep work to make this happen) for a great weekend. They’ve already stated that they want to do it again next year, and I hope to be there and see more folks there.
By the way, if you haven’t already checked out their website, Dragon Leatherworks makes some great holsters. I have one that I love, and I need to order a couple more. Great thing about them is that you can drop $300 on a BBQ holster for your BBQ gun, but the basic holsters start around $65. There’s a number of assembly line holsters that will cost you more than that. Instead, you can get a handmade holster that’s well made, built in the USA, and made by a small business. What’s not to like?
After my post about the instructor I will not trust proved to be popular, I figured I’d document a student that we should all attempt to imitate.
If you don’t know, I’ve been studying Tae Kwon Do (among other arts) for a number of years, and I’m now one of the instructors at my studio. A couple weeks back, we had a high school student decide to join our school.
After his first class, he was kicking and punching a heavy bag, and while his form was… lacking… he definitely looked had he had done this before. I asked him if he had a pre-existing background, and he told me that he had “self-studied” for about 3 years. This is where things usually take a turn for the worse. I’ve run into a *lot* of teenage/early 20’s guys that have “picked things up on their own” (or worse, went to an MMA gym where the instructors don’t know what they’re doing), and are convinced that they know everything.
This kid was the complete opposite. I gave him some pointers on actually twisting his hips and “punching with his feet” for his jab-reverse-hook combos, and he instantly recognized that his strikes were significantly more powerful. Equally, he was eager to take my advise on improving his kicks, and found similar results.
Sadly for me, he decided to take the Hapkido class instead of TKD. I’ve talked to our Hapkido instructor a few times about him, and he’s reported that the kid has been a great student in his class.
We need to remember to be like this new student whenever we’re training. Even if you normally do things a different way, try the instructor’s way, you might find out that they know what they’re talking about. If nothing else, when you’re training at home/on the range by yourself, you don’t really get the same kind of feedback that someone watching you can give you. Chances are, you’re doing things that you shouldn’t without realizing it.
A little while ago, I found out that a friend of a friend was a pistol instructor*, and he offered to give me the handbook he uses in class to see if I’d like to train with him some time. I read through it, and, well, I wasn’t impressed. Nothing in it professed anything I considered dangerous, but there were several things that either made me scratch my head (ex: only use ball ammo), or was severely out of date (ex: .45ACP has far superior “stopping power” than 9mm or .40S&W).
I politely passed, but did sign up for his newsletter, and there was more of the same. Some of the info was good, some of it was out dated, and some of it made me scratch my head.
Of course, then he posted some stuff that made me actually email him and tell him “no, this is wrong because x, y, and z.” (in this case it was the old “violent video games and movies cause violence” BS)
His response? “I don’t necessarily agree with what is in my handbook or newsletters.”
The handbook and newsletters that *he* wrote, and he’s the only one that controls. And no, there weren’t any comment along the lines of “I’m not sure I agree, but so-and-so says…”
I responded telling him that I have issue with him presenting things as fact and telling people to act on this information. Especially if he “doesn’t necessarily agree” with that information.
He then responded with a rather lengthy email stating that he believes that his students are smart enough to figure out what’s truth and what’s not, blah blah blah.
Here’s the thing. If you’re going to act in a position of authority (such as firearms instructor), you should do your best to spread good info. Are you going to always be right? No. We’re human, and sometimes *we’re* given bad information, but do your best.
This also means defending your statements/actions. Of course, I would prefered for him to say “oh, I hadn’t thought of that/done the research. You’re right, I’m wrong,” but I would have accepted “nope, I believe I’m right on this one, because…” I would still think he was wrong, but at least he would be defending his position. The “I don’t necessarily believe what I write” pretty much tells me that your training, everything you write, and everything you say is useless.
If you don’t consider yourself to be a trustworthy source of information, why should I?
*He’s a small time local guy. No reason to publish his name here. If you’re local to me, and are concerned that you may be looking at taking his class, contact me privately and I’ll tell you.
Just need to say that if you’re in the need for a well built and good looking custom holster, or need a gun shop in the Oak Ridge, TN area, I’d recommend Dennis at Dragon Leatherworks. Not only does he have good prices (his baseline custom holsters are about what you’d pay for baseline mass produced stuff), but he just worked with me on a problem with a purchase that was completely my fault.
(by the way, this means that there should be more actual content in the near future)
Last weekend, WizardPC and I went to the local state run rifle range. While I’ve been keeping up with my pistol shooting, I have to admit that I let my rifles collect dust.
He had recently inherited a Winchester 30-30 recently, and needed to try out his new .300blk AR with suppressor. I will have to say that the suppressed AR was all sorts of giggle worthy.
That said, I damn near hit the mag release on the AR while loading it like a n00b that doesn’t own 2 ARs and has put a good amount of rounds down range through them. Wizard, on the other hand, had sever issues getting the ammo shoved into the loading gate of the Winchester. I will say that we both did well with the bolt guns we brought…
Remember years ago when Wizard introduced me as a guy that’s more into old guns while he’s more up on the modern stuff? Yeah… apparently things haven’t changed too much.
I’m sure most of you know about the guy that got shot for waving a gun (which turned out to be a BB gun) around at the US Capitol last week. Turns out that the man was a “minister” from my neck of the woods, and our local paper ran a front page article on him this past Saturday.
The article details a life that would be unbelievable if it was fiction.
So, if anyone tries to prop him up as a “Responsible gun owner,” you can tell them that he had a BB gun, not a real firearm, and had a long history of mental instability, up to and including being declared innocent of “inappropriate correspondence with a minor” due to insanity and was institutionalized for a short time.
The 12lb AR (which is down to a more reasonable 9lbs lately) is losing its spot as the home defense rifle. It’s being replaced by the 300blk sbr I built last year.
The sbr has a Hogue free float tube that had been given to me several years ago but had been sitting in my parts bin ever since.
I am a firm believer in “every home defense gunshould have a light” but the old Hogue tubes don’t have any attachment points.
I have digital calipers, design software, and a 3d printer.
An hour later…
Cost me about a dollar in material and electricity, and took about ten minutes to design. No, it’s not a permanent solution. No, it probably wouldn’t do very well in a sustained firefight.
But man, that’s cool.
The other day, I tripped over an article that had a title along the lines of “In Defense of Revolvers.” I read it expecting to see the usual “they’re more reliable!” and the extra power that revolver magnum loads offer over semi-auto pistols.
The thing the guy centered on? That apparently semi-autos are apparently too complicated for your average person. Not to clean, not to do a detailed strip, but just to operate.
Really?Think how complicated it is to operate a pistol. How many super tactical courses grill people on what the mag release button does? There’s a reason. Actually operating a pistol is dead simple. Doing so with high precision, and at speed? Not so much. Of course, the same is true about revolvers (possibly more so).Now, think about the fact that the average person manages to drive a car, use a computer, and other much, much more complicated tasks everyday. Driving a car requires constant minute adjustments to both steering and speed, while watching the world around you to see what’s going on. People do this every day while fiddling with the radio, talking on the phone, and even putting on makeup. Heck, I’ve seen a lady reading a picture book to her kid in the back seat.I have nothing against revolvers. If you like revolvers, and they fit your requirements, awesome! Just don’t try to tell me that my pistol is some puzzle box that’s too difficult to operate.
Headline: “Naked Man With A Gun Shoots Up A Quiet Neighborhood” (beware, the link autoplays a video about the NHL Allstar game in Nashville for… reasons)
Summery: Naked man running around in in the middle of the afternoon waving a gun around and shooting at random. Cops show up, and, in a remarkable show of control, wait for him to run out of ammo, taze him, and then send him to the hospital for self inflicted gunshot wound to his knee.
Some choice bits:
witness statement: “It was one of those things where you think: What did I just see? It was one of those what happened kind of moments.” Can’t argue with that observation
“Police said Cadari told them he may have used some drugs laced with something he didn’t expect which led to his behavior.” Yeah… that would explain it.
Earlier this week, I was driving down the road and listening to NPR when On the Media came on. This week, they’ve decided to take on the issue of gun violence with all the non-biased reporting that you’d expect from them. Conveniently, they break their show notes down in chapters, so I’ll touch each one.
It starts off with them reminding us that Obama recently spoke on gun violence and signed executive actions. Of course, they lean heavily on anti-gun quotes and state that the biggest thing blocking “common sense” gun laws was the evil NRA buying off folks in Congress (more on that later). Oh, and they have someone from Think Progress on the line to talk and answer some softball questions. I will give them credit for admitting that Think Progress is an extremely left leaning organization. Of course, they let him say that the thought that the 2nd amendment is an individual right is a new thing that the NRA came up with in the ’80’s without challenge.
The second segment talks a little bit about gun laws and the NRA. Specifically, they talk about the Black Panthers protesting new gun laws in California in the ’60’s, and even dance around the fact that a lot of gun laws were racially based. They also talk about how the NRA used to be pretty much about hunting, and wasn’t a big political player. Then they talk about the “Cincinnati Revolution” in ’77 when a huge number of board members were replaced, and the organization made a major shift from just being about hunting to what we know as the NRA today. Of course, they referred to the this change as being made by “radicals” in the org, and ignore the fact that a major change like that couldn’t happen or be maintained if the membership as a whole didn’t agree with those “radicals.”
The third segment leans heavily on that pole that stated that 90% of folks in the US want stronger gun control. They vaguely mention that there are other polls that say that that’s not true, but also state that there is no pre-existing information out there on it. Constant contradiction seems to be a constant throughout the program. They also fail to talk about the states where they have put new gun laws up for vote and the general populace voted overwhelmingly in favor of gun rights.
Next, we have the standard bit on how the CDC can’t do research on gun violence. While they completely ignore the study that the CDC *did* do under Obama’s orders after Sandy hook, they make sure to trot out the study that said that you’re more likely to get shot if you own a gun than if you don’t. They do admit that that study was the reason why the law that blocks the CDC from funding studies that advocate the restriction of gun rights, but they conveniently fail to mention that that study has been completely debunked and was meant to be propaganda from the beginning.
The 5th segment was an interesting bit of logical gymnastics. They pull out the recent study showing that, in most arenas, the general populace doesn’t have nearly as much political collateral than the rich and powerful. Here’s where it gets fun; they admit that that’s not the case with the NRA and gun rights. Their expert states that the NRA’s membership isn’t the hugely rich and powerful. He states that the NRA’s power is because of a combination of money an “lots of boots on the ground.” I can’t translate that as anything other than “it has lots of noisy members.” Of course, he also states that it’s “difficult to find out” how much money the gun manufacturers give the NRA (oh, wait… no, it’s not), and weasels his way around not saying that the NRA is not representing its membership. The host straight up asks the expert how they can defeat the NRA and the expert refers to guns as “one of the problems with democracy.”
The last segment is actually fairly good. It deals with the idea of pushing programs that work with gangs to reduce violence. I agree with this idea, and programs that have been tried in the past have actually worked rather well. Of course, that means dealing with the people instead of just banning guns, so that tends to not be on the table.
I realize that I’m not quite as good a fisking as Weer’d, but I just had to put this down. I linked the particular episode at the top, but, if you really want to raise your blood pressure, here it is again.