I Decide to Fisk NPR Derp!

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.

Cute little mouse gun

Some of you may remember that I have been in the market for a Beretta Bobcat for a while.  Especially after a certain incident at last year’s NRAAM steered me away from Taurus’ PT-22.  Unfortunately, it seemed like the moment I decided to buy one, the supply dried up.  I was even told by a trusted gun deal “good f’ing luck.”*

Well, fast forward to New Year’s Eve, and I spotted one on one the local FaceBook gun swap groups.  A guy had got one in a trade, and was asking what it was worth.  Several folks were offering to do him a “favor” and give him roughly half of what it was worth.  I chimed in telling him to look at what it was going for on Gunbroker, and that I’d be interested if the other offers fell through.  The next day, he contacted me offering to sell it for somewhere in the middle of what those guys were offering, and what the ones on Gunbroker were selling for.  After a quick drive out to meet him, I came home with this little guy:

Beretta 21a "Bobcat" in .22lr

This particular little guy is in .22lr, although it also comes in .25acp.  After doing a little research, it looks like I can convert it to .25 by ordering a new slide, barrel, and magazine from Beretta for about $130.  While I don’t plan on doing this conversion now, I might down the line if I ever decide to actually carry it.  .25, by virtue of being a center fire round, is more reliable, but significantly more expensive.  Oddly enough, the .25acp mags hold 8 rounds instead of the 7 round capacity of the .22.

For those of you that are unaware of the Beretta 21a “Bobcat” pistol, it’s really a relic of the past.  There was a time when there were several companies that made true pocket pistols in small calibers (.22lr, .25acp, .32acp, etc).  For the most part, these have given way to guns that are slightly larger, but fire “more serious” cartridges like the .380acp and 9mm.  Heck, you can now get a Boberg or Springfield XDs in .45cal!  I’m sure some of this has to do with modern manufacturing/materials allowing for things that just weren’t possible even a couple decades ago, but it’s also damn convenient to share ammo between your carry gun and your range gun (to say nothing of stopping power).  These tiny guns have been described as “guns for when you can’t carry a gun” due to their ability to disappear  in a pocket, and are really designed for little more than contact distance.

One of the interesting design traits of this gun is the tip up barrel.  The barrel is spring loaded and will tip up when you hit a lever (as seen above).  This allows you to load or unload a round in the chamber without racking the slide.  While that’s not a big deal on larger guns, it’s a nice feature on something this small where the slide is too small to easily grab.  The downside is that there’s no extractor, so the only way for a casing to leave the chamber is either through the recoil of firing it, or prying it out with your fingernail.

Another interesting design choice was the placement of the magazine release.  You can see it in the picture above between the two screws on the grip.  I know Beretta has released a few models with the magazine release there (including a very early version of the 92), but I’m unaware of any other company to do so.  While it is in a location that pretty much guarantees you won’t accidentally hit it, it also means that you will need to use both hands to drop the magazine.

Even though .22lr is still scarce around here, I did have some on hand and have been able to get to the range to try the little guy out.  Unfortunately, most of the ammo on hand was in the form of Federal bulk made during the true insanity, and not exactly the most reliable ammo.  This was proven to follow form, by that ammo causing several stove pipes and failure to fully cycle.  I did have a 50 round box of Winchester Sidewinder with me, which performed flawlessly.  The difference between the two sets of ammo was demonstrated by the Sidewinder ammo producing a noticeable fireball when fired from such a tiny barrel.  Also of note, you can load 8 rounds into the magazine, but it will not actually seat in the gun with more than 7, which is the advertised capacity.

I was rather surprised by the accuracy.  The trigger was fairly nice in either double action or single action mode.  I’ve definitely dealt with worse triggers on more full sized guns.  The sights, while definitely usable, are… difficult.  They are very low profile, and the rear sight is rounded.  If you’ve ever handled a single action revolver with the old school “complete the arc” sights, think that… only smaller.  That said, I was able to easily keep rounds on a 6″ target at 5 yards, which is pretty good considering the shooter and the optimal range is best described as “shove up bad guy’s nose, pull trigger.”

That'll work

That’ll work

I will say that I have already made one “upgrade” to this little mouse gun.  Beretta was having a sale that included wooden grips half of.  For some reason, I just couldn’t resist the look of the wood with the little brass medallions.


And… of course… one of my cats had to get in on the act


Can has mouse gun?

The last thing to talk about is why I bought this.  Honestly, I can’t give you a good answer to that.  While it was designed to be a pocket pistol, there are modern guns that do that job better.  While I would have no qualms over carrying this pistol with either the hammer down or cocked and locked, I would rather have something like a .380 or 9mm in my pocket.  It is a lot of fun at the range, but it’s not a marksman’s pistol like my Buckmark.  Heck it doesn’t even share the same controls as a gun I would/do carry like my Bersa Thunder 22.

In the end, all I can say is “it makes me giggle.”  Of course, is that necessarily a bad thing?


*incidentally, I have since seen 3 at the local gun show.  All in .25acp and for at least $100 more than I paid.  Such is life.

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:

One with three switches for models with factory fog lights:

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):

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.

Left: Shapeways, Right: makexyz

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.