I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

It is seen as an expression of great love to say "I would die for you." The soldiers we remember today did just that. They died for this country, for the freedoms we enjoy, and for you.

We owe a great debt to those who can never collect. To all my readers, take the time to do two things today. First off, take a few minutes to think about those who died for us. If you are of religious mind, say a prayer. If you can get to a military cemetery, go lay flowers on a grave, whether or not you know who occupies it.

Second, do something free. Write something inflammatory. Write to a congress-critter. Go play with gunny toys. Fly a flag. Whatever you do, just remember why you are able to.

The best respect we can pay to the dead is to use their gift.

Thank you, to all those who have served this country in our long history. Thank you to those who laid down their lives for mine. Thank you, the willing strong.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

People of NRA

Where to begin on this one? So many interesting people... I think for the moment I'll speak specifically about those people I spoke to on the floor. I will make note of the social/blogging type encounters later where I can give it proper depth, with contributions from Dad.

Firstly, a general impression I got from the people I talked to. The media badge caught people's attention readily, but put many folks on edge. They tended to relax significantly when I indicated I was a blogger, and far more so when I showed my interest in firearms. I had more than a few people go from 'this is my canned response' to 'oh hey! Come chat, and you gotta try this thing. Let me show you something neat, here's my card...' which was entertaining and pleasing.

It's always a difficult thing to write about the people at things like this. There were 86000 people on the floor, and I probably rubbed shoulders with a goodly percentage of them. If I spoke to you and you don't see yourself mentioned, please understand I mean no offense, but if I truly took the time to give everyone I met the report they deserve, my fingers would fall off.

One of my first stops of the entire convention was with Coonan Firearms. Since learning about them, I have been very curious about the notion of a 1911 chambered in .357. While there, I got the chance to paw at a number of their models, and, more importantly, chat for a while with the man himself, Dan Coonan. He essentially set the stage for most interactions I had with company representatives on the floor, chatting with enthusiasm and courtesy. We talked some about his firearms, and about the manufacturing business in general. I was intrigued and pleased to learn that he made his first firearm as a college final project.

While I have never shot one of his guns, I was very much pleased with what I saw and felt while fiddling with them, and I am always more willing to do business with people I respect. Dan Coonan is one of those.

Also from that first day, I rather enjoyed chatting with Kathleen Ives, owner of Nemesis Arms. Despite being in California, she and her husband make some truly fascinating rifles. While I am leery of any takedown system that has any form of disconnect between the sights and the barrel, I must admit the Vanquish has some sleek machining and locks up solid as a rock. Call it irrational, but I rather want one.

The other interesting things about Mrs. Ives were these. First off, she had for sale the best T-shirt I saw all weekend. Featuring a picture of their rifle with the caption "It's because I'm black, isn't it" flat tickled me pink. Secondly, she had a very novel concept. The government cannot stipulate how student loans and scholarships are used. As such, it should be possible to get some form of loan or grant from the government and use the funds to purchase one of the scariest of evil black rifles on the market. It may be (ok, IS) because I'm sick and twisted, but I really, really want to make that happen.

Yes, if it happens, there will be FULL documentation.

Lisa Looper, of Flashbang Holster fame, is another one of those thoroughly nice people that makes products that send the antis into conniptions. I was pleased to find that not only does she have a novel idea or two (ok, a whole bunch. She showed me most of the product line) but the construction seems really good. A good idea executed well is all around pleasing. I was also pleased to note that she was quite ready and willing to talk to me, despite me rather clearly not being her intended market audience. Ladies out there, products made for women by women who know what women need are not to be ignored.

A rather interesting customer service experience came up in regards to Bore-Tips by Swab-its. Dad and I were both interested by the notion of a reusable bore swab, and so dad purchased a few in a number of calibers recently. Our initial experience was... lackluster. The .22 and .30 ones fell apart rather unfortunately easily, and ended up leaving bits of fluff down the barrel. When we brought up our concerns to Brent Hanson, their sales manager, he was rather stunned. Apparently they had a bad batch go out a little while ago, and we were unlucky enough to get some of the bad ones. He described their testing process, which was a good deal more vigorous than what we had put them through, and gave my dad and I a couple extra packs, with the instruction to go home and try it again, and let him know how it goes. Having not been back to my rifles since NRA, I have not yet tested them, but I will have a report on that in due time.

George R Woford of Charles Daly (currently without a website) spent a good long while chatting with me. I am in the market for a shotgun, and was concerned at the price point of the Dalys, with the thought that you get what you pay for. My expectations were greatly exceeded, as they seem very well constructed. We spent a good long while talking about shotgun construction and philosophy. I was pleased to find another purist who still likes blue steel and walnut. I was disappointed with how little I saw. I may end up purchasing a Daly shotgun in short order.

There will be another post of interesting people soon, but I have received requests for smaller doses, so here's that for now. Cheerio, and tune in again soon for me squeeing over tech.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Working on it

Finals are finally done, and I have managed to calm down after everything at long last. I've got a few pages nearly ready for posting that should make their appearance in the next few days, both about NRA and other topics of interest and note. I apologize for the slow posting, but we'll be up and running again soon.

Dad has yet to provide pictures of the various festivities, which will also be coming shortly. He had some medical things to take care of that have him out of commission for a while. He should have some of his contributions up within the month.

Your patience and continued readership is hugely appreciated.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Brief Thought

Might a simple way to help fix the justice system in this country be to simply require that all criminal cases have a plaintiff? It gets rid of all sorts of victimless crimes very quickly, and takes the teeth out of ridiculous laws like Constructive Intent. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NRA Annual Meeting AAR, Part 1

By popular demand, I will be breaking up my coverage of the NRA convention into bite sized morsels. My ADD writing style can't quite decide what to start on. Largely, my breakdown is going to be pieces, people, and politics. I think I shall alternate between these until I have nothing more to say. We'll start with politics.

On two opposing ends of the spectrum, we have Constable Mark Brewer, and on the other, the protesters.

We'll start with the protesters. Despite other media claims, the most people I ever personally saw protesting was about a dozen, and that's a generous estimate. They had one person at a podium reading off a list of names, and other people stood by with signs, talking to passers-by and media types.

Being buoyed by my 'credentialed media' status, I wandered over on Sunday to ask a few questions. After bouncing around a couple people, I was a able to sit down with a young lady and chat for a while.

Quite simply, she seemed to have her heart in the right place, and was mentally consistent, but had been lead down an incorrect path. It was a frustrating experience in a number of ways, for both of us I'm sure. I apparently need to work somewhat on my interviewing skills, as all too often, the conversation veered far off course into side issues, and the fundamental thing I was trying to get an answer to, namely, being how the list of names of those killed by firearms since Sandy Hook, had anything to do with the NRA and firearms policy.

The interview fell apart when another protester turned up and started getting hostile. He apparently felt I was not worth talking to as I was not with CNN, MSNBC, or any of the other main stream outlets. He was of the opinion that since I had a personal opinion on these matters, and asked for counterpoints to my impressions, that I was invalid as a journalist.

My reply to that is multi-fold. First off, everyone has an agenda. Listening to main-stream media types give simpering gimmes to the protesters and loaded questions to dealers, manufacturers, and NRA types, it was entirely apparent the bias that existed from them. The protesters don't mind that agenda though, as it aligns with their own.

Secondly, I'm not a journalist. I'm not a reporter. I am a blogger. This blog is my Op-Ed column. I am trying to bring people around to my point of view, or adjust mine to theirs in the case of me being proven wrong. This is my own forum to be run the way I wish.

Third... If you aren't willing to talk to anyone who won't pander to you in your protest, why are you doing it? Just for attention? You don't win any friends by hostility.

I think that the problem I ran into, and often run into in these sorts of discussions, is that the anti's point looks good on paper, from some perspectives. I don't want to see dead kids. I have the same distaste for bad gun handling. Maybe even more. I'm not sure I could ideologically say that I would go along with it if someone had a way to remove all violence from earth, as I see no way to do that without crippling freedoms. That is the fundamental divide though. I am willing to accept some of the costs of living free. Even at the cost of my own life. Do I like that these freedoms have these costs? Of course not. I find violence and the senseless application thereof abhorrent. The key point is that it's worth it. The fact that all attempts to fix it make things worse is a relevant side point, but not the center.

At the end of the interview, I still had no answer as to the relevance of the list of names to any of the other things we talked about. I gave the protester my card, so if she happens to see this, I hope we can continue the conversation. I truly mean what it says on my card. I mean no offense. It'll probably happen anyways. I wish to have discussions, not arguments. So if anyone cares to give answers, I would absolutely love to hear them.

Now, on the other side. One of the interactions I had over the weekend that tickled me the most was towards the end of Sunday. As I was walking towards the front of the hall, I passed a man examining the the Rascal line of Savage rifles. These responses to the Cricket line of firearms are small youth rifles designed for those in the 5-12 age range, at a guess. They come in a number of colors pleasing to young eyes, and the man was trying to decide which color he should purchase.

The reason he couldn't decide whether to get blue or pink was that he was buying his grandchild's first rifle. Said grandchild was not yet born, leaving the gender up for question. This is a grandpa who is doing things very right.

We got to chatting, and, seeing my media badge, he told me a few things, which I will paraphrase to the best of my ability. (My memory was a wee bit fried at this point in the festivities.) "I am a 17 year law enforcement veteran. I love this country, and took an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution. I did not take an oath to follow the commands of a statist wannabe dictator." He said it better than I can recall offhand, but Constable Mark Brewer, I salute you. You are the sort of person America needs more of.

More to come. Next up, interesting people!

Monday, May 6, 2013


I am torn. I have rather a lot to write about after this past weekend, and I absolutely do not want to forget any of it before I write. On the other hand, I am exhausted and I have school work to do. I promise, there will be posts galore soon. It's just a question really of a short series of uber-posts, or a long series of shorter. Any reader preferences?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Groucho in the Wild

I submit to you that Groucho Marx lives, and he's got an insane gun collection.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Serious Case of the Wants

The shear number of things I have seen this weekend thus far that are drool-worthy, fascinating and otherwise appealing is phenomenal. The following is a hardly comprehensive list, but as I am half asleep and pleasingly exhausted, these are the things that are lingering in my brain in place of sugar plum faeries.

Steyr Scout. Oh my goodness, this is what Jeff Cooper meant. I've had rifles I've enjoyed, and rifles that seemed to fit nicely, but never before has any rifle pointed that naturally or that comfortably. The scout scope is a beautiful way to acquire a sight picture. When I first picked up the rifle, before ever bringing it to my shoulder, I fixed my eye on a sprinkler head on the ceiling of the hall, probably a good 50 yards away, and snapped the rifle up to my shoulder.

I was not aimed at the sprinkler. I was aimed maybe 8 inches to the right. Subsequent endeavors were much closer.

Folks, I am not a skilled rifleman. While I am not completely inexperienced and my theoretical comprehension is good, my practical skills are simply lacking. I haven't had the chance to get the practice needed to become even remotely expert. The grand thing about this rifle was that it didn't matter. I was stunned at how well this rifle simply.... worked. The action was smooth and robust, the trigger was a nearly religious experience, and altogether this rifle seems to be everything that a rifle should be.

In the littler side of things, I got to paw some Coonan firearms yesterday. Those, gentle readers, are very nice pistols. I want. Badly.

And, to round out the three gun, the KSG is.... intriguing. Firstly, yes, it really exists. Secondly, they are producing them at peak capacity. Thirdly, no, you aren't likely to see them on shelves any time soon, since they never stay on them for more than a couple minutes.

I am uneasy about the concept of a shotgun shell going off right next to my face (it may not be pretty, but at least it's intact) but two layers of steel plate is rather reassuring. The uneasiness of that is, in my mind, quite neatly eclipsed by the neatness of the platform. It is simple, it is robust, it points naturally and balances well, and I am going to have to join the thronging hordes of people all waiting for the chance to own one.


Why is the cheapest gun on my want list $1300?

Also, I may not need to own one, but I absolutely must fire a KRISS SBR in giggle-switch mode. It pleases the engineer, the pyro, the destroyer of worlds, and the toddler banging pots and pans that make up my personality.

Anyone want to give me a few thousand dollars to play with? I promise it will be well spent....

Houston Blogmeet mark 1

Every time I meet bloggers and gunnies in real life, I am humbled in many ways.

I am humbled to realize that these people who have never met me before welcome me as a friend. They are willing to talk with me, listen to me, share jokes and experience with me, and generally treat me like one of the tribe.

The other major humbling factor is that I am hardly deserving to stand with them. The people I spent last evening with are smarter, more experienced, more knowledgeable, and better writers than I am, and in many cases, than I can hope to be. The fact that they accept me all the same is stunning, humbling, and thoroughly pleasing. I am thoroughly grateful to all the people who have taken their time to talk to me.

In larger news, the NRA Annual Meeting is... stunning. The sheer quantity of gunny goodness is wondrous to behold. I am pleased at the responses I have gotten to my juvenile attempts at journalism, and have made quite a few interesting contacts. I'm taking a brief break up in the press room more to get off my feet for a while than anything, but will shortly be headed back to the floor to wander some more. Kel-Tec, Taurus, and Kahr are coming up now.

Friday, May 3, 2013

NRA annual meeting

I've spent all day thus far walking around the floor of the 142nd annual NRA national meeting. Met some great folks, learned lots of neat things, got a t&e sample, and took not enough notes. Back to the floor!