Sunday, July 31, 2011

Self Defense Mindset

I was reading an article last week about a woman who had been held up in two robberies and decided to take action and get permission from her employer to bring a gun to work.  She brought a small .22 caliber handgun to work, in preparation for the possibility that she could be accosted a third time.  Well, that opportunity came, and after all was said and done, another criminal ended up on a metal table at the local morgue as a result of her resolve.

I read stuff like this all the time.  Someone either gets robbed or mugged, or is just proactive like me, and they decide it is in their best interest to purchase a firearm just in case something like the above scenario happens to them.  Most of the time, it's no big thing.  I bought my gun of choice.  I carry it, practice with it, and prepare myself mentally for the day that I may need to use it.  By no means do I ever hope the day comes, but should it happen to me, I'll be ready... again.

What?  Again?!  What's this all about?

Well, it has happened to me before, as a matter of fact.  I was 22 years old.  I had just obtained my first CPL about a year earlier, and bought my first pistol as my 21st birthday present to myself - a stainless Beretta 92FS.  Back in those days, I prided myself on my ability to carry a full size Beretta around concealed.  It wasn't much of a chore to me then; of course, I was a lot thinner in those days.  But even as young and idealistic as I was, I decided that I wasn't going to become a victim at the hands of some lowlife who wanted to rob me of my hard earned money or life just to get their next fix.

I recall that I was walking home from the store; I lived about two blocks away and back in those days, I actually enjoyed walking around the city.  About a block away from home, I noticed three guys standing in the shadow just past this gas station on the way home.  At first, I didn't think much of it because lots of folks liked to stand in that exact spot for one reason or another.  Plus, it was a busy street.  Still, I decided to take precautions and switched my grocery bag over to my weak side hand so that my strong hand was free to grab my Beretta if I needed it; I would indeed need my gun more than anything that night.

Just before I got to the people standing in the shadow (this was at night by the way), all three of them walked out to block my path on the sidewalk.  They approached me and demanded I hand over my grocery bag.  Knowing better than to think they would just leave me alone, I tried to diffuse the situation verbally first by saying I had nothing of value and that I was just on my way home.  I even asked them if I can leave, if you can believe that.  They wanted nothing of it.  They got closer to me (within arm's reach) and started to surround me, cursing at me for my ethnicity, style of dress, the glasses I wore, etc.  I just knew I wasn't getting out of this situation without a fight.  To run would be hopeless because three well built guys could eventually overtake me, and in the end, I'd just get robbed and have my ass kicked while tired.

After what seemed like forever, I gave up on trying to get them to leave me alone.  At this point, my adrenaline was coursing through my veins and I could feel my body getting ready to fight these pricks.  I gave one last ultimatum in an attempt to get them to leave.  I told them that nothing I had was worth their lives.  They laughed and the leader got in my face and started yelling at me.  At that point, I dropped my grocery bag and put my weak hand out and stepped back so as to put some distance between us.  I then reached down and threw my jacket back to reveal the Beretta and drew it from the holster.  Faster than he could react, I brought that gun up and leveled it right between his running lights (that's eyes for those who don't know).  I then told him that I didn't want to shoot him, but was damned ready to ventilate this skull if he didn't leave me alone.  Mr tough guy suddenly got really friendly and played it all off like it was all in fun and they didn't mean to hurt me.  I told them all to get lost and they promptly left.  After I got home, I called the police and filed a report.  I never heard of or saw those three pricks ever again.

Along with articles that I read of people exercising their rights to protection, I read as many articles of people falling victim to burglars, drug addicts, sexual predators, and murderers.  While I'm reading these articles, one of the big questions that goes through my head is, why wasn't the victim armed?  You'd think that in this "enlightened" society of ours, people would understand that the world can be a very dangerous place and that it is in their best interest to arm themselves for protection.  You'd also think that those who do "gun up" would take the time to train with their weapon and prepare mentally.  Sadly though, neither situation is true in many cases.  People are still in denial about the reality of life and choose to bury their heads in the sand and won't arm themselves.  Worse still is that some who gun up won't make the effort to train and familiarize themselves with their weapon.  They just buy it and hide it away, hoping the day will never come.  And their are those who, even after they arm up and even train physically with the weapon, won't prepare mentally. 

That night, when I had three thugs in my sights, I was prepared to do the unthinkable.  My finger was on the trigger, and the gun was hot.  These three people represented a real threat to my life and well being, and should they all beat on me, I could have died that night.  But I prepared.  I bought the gun, learned the laws and situations on when it was, and wasn't appropriate to pull a gun, and how to use it.  I also read up on the subject of killing and how it affects those who have done it, and to the best of my ability and circumstances, I was as ready as I ever was to do the job that may have needed to be done that night if the situation continued to degrade.  Fortunately, for them and, more importantly, for me, I didn't need to pull that trigger that night. 

The most important thing to understand about this kind of thing is that you may or may not choose to react, but having the means to do so gives you options that you would not have been opened up to hadn't you armed yourself and prepared to protect that which was most dear to you.

"Just because I can doesn't mean I will, but I can't do anything if I don't have the means." - 41magfan


-James

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Practical, Economical, Devestating


With the idea in my head that I should buy another shotgun for home defense, I immediately came to the conclusion that the Remington 870 was going to be it - I just didn't know exactly what configuration I wanted.  In my previous entry, I explained the drool factor behind the Remington 870 Express Tactical, but after a day or so of thinking and sleeping on it, I decided that what I wanted was something more simple than that.  Yeah, I know it's hard to get any simpler than a pump action shotgun, but to be honest, there is simple and then there is practical and simple.  I opted for practicality over anything else.  No extra points are awarded for style when it comes to home defense, and believe me when I tell you, this is as practical, economical, basic, and as simple as it gets - unless you opt for a double barrel shotgun, of course.

This weapon, my friends, is the venerable Remington 870 express 12 gauge shotgun. This one came from the factory with a +2 extension on the magazine, bringing total capacity to 7, with a round chambered.  The stock is synthetic, so no worries about wood getting banged up or rotting away.  This one came with the tactical fore end pump, so I can immediately at a 6-shot side saddle with zero modifications to the weapon itself (well, a pin gets replaced with a bolt, but that's an enhancement unto itself).

The question begging to be answered is, "why?"  Why buy a simple scatter gun with a bead sight when you already have one just like it?  Well, the answer is simple.  Parts availability.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my Winchester 1300 Defender shotgun.  It too is all synthetic with a simple bead sight.  The only modifications made to it were a new set of stocks as well as a 6-shot side saddle from tac star.  Other than that, it's as basic as it gets.  The problem is that the Winchester 1300 has been out of production for years.  And while some parts are still available, some are not.  Even some things as basic as a spring or a firing pin can become scarce quickly.  Let's face it - it's just not as popular as the ubiquitous Remington 870 Express shotgun.  The main advantage of the Remington is that it is a current model production gun, with more variations than you can shake a stick at.  Plus, the aftermarket is flooded with upgrades.  So, if some time down the road, I do decide to add new sights, a barrel, slings, etc, the aftermarket is just a mouse click away; no hunting down scarce parts on obscure websites or any of that crap.  I'm tired of it.  If something brakes, I just want to make a phone call, give them my credit card number, and wait for said part to arrive.  I don't want to go searching for days on end to find it. 

The other factor was price.  Oh yes, I know I'm just rolling in the dough these days, despite a depressed economy, but even I have limits on how much I can spend on these things.  The Express Tactical would have run me another $150, and for what?  A ghost ring on the receiver?  No way!  I decided to not only keep the gun simple, but keep the price down in earth's atmosphere.  I just have a big problem with spending more than $350 for a pump shotgun - I just do.  As simple as these things are, and as prolific as they are, they ought to be priced so that anyone, at any income level, can afford one.  Shotguns are the every man's gun, and should be priced as such.  So I also stand on principle by going simple with this gun.  After all, you'd expect to pay more for a complicated weapon, right?  My Beretta M9 has about 39 moving parts, give or take.  The Remington 870 has about... what?  Four?  See what I mean?

And yes, I did give the Mossberg 500 and 590 a look too.  I'm just throwing this out there because some people will ask why I didn't give the Mossberg a chance.  Truth is, I don't like the safety on the Mossberg, at all.  Yes, with a Monte Carlo stock, it's fine, but what happens when you throw on a pistol grip stock?  Then what?  It's unintuitive at best.  Besides, I'm a fan of cross bolt safeties and this safety is familiar.  Plus, I prefer the pump action slide release on the Remington better than the Mossy or the Winny.  All in all, I just think the Remington is the better design of the three. 

-James

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Defending The Retreat


The shotgun you see above this is the Remington 870.  More than your run of the mill pump action 12 gauge shotgun, this is the 870 Express Tactical shotgun.  Now, instead of "tactical" being thrown out to up the price into unobtainium status, the "tactical" upgrades to this shotgun are actually well thought out.  For instance, the first thing I notice is the XS ghost ring sight rail attached to the receiver, which has obviously been drilled and tapped.  The rail and sight alone make the weapon better as is, and can easily accept an optic of some kind.  The receiver being drilled and tapped to allow this gives even more options out of the box.  The second thing I see is the blade front sight, which allows better sight acquisition than a bead, in my humble opinion.  Resembling rifle sights more than a shotgun bead sight, this gives the shooter the advantage of learning one system instead of two.  Most noticeably, the front of the barrel has Remington's RC Tactical ported tube extension, which very much resembles a breacher barrel, which is used to blow locks and hinges off doors with frangible slugs.  Most importantly, this shotgun has a 2-shot extension in the magazine tube, giving the weapon a 7 round capacity.

Now, coupled with a good quality sling system, a weapon light, and a carrier for extra ammo, this gun is a force multiplier in your personal defense arsenal.  A shotgun is a very devastating weapon and packs a lot of firepower.  It is extremely versatile and can be used well by the novice shooter as well as the experienced operator, and everyone else somewhere in between - like me.  As a home defense weapon, there is nothing better than a 12 gauge pump shotgun.  This can be added to my "very" short list.

-James  

A Good Fable - Woman in a Hot Air Balloon

I think a lot of the Republican Vs Democrat Arguments can be put to rest with this little gem.

Woman In A Hot Air Balloon

A woman in a hot-air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

"She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Republican."


"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?"
"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be an Obama Democrat."

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem.  You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."

-James

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Prepared? Think You Are? Think You're Not? Watch This Video!!!

This video was made by Nutnfancy, who frequently posts videos on youtube; mostly gear reviews and such. Occasionally, he posts some philosophy videos, like the one below. Watch this one through completely. It's very good and will help you in your preparedness efforts, philosophically speaking.



-James

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Check This Out!

This accident occurred in front of my parent's house. Unbelievable! Good thing my parent's decided to get security cameras. Skip to about 1:30 and watch from that point. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt.



-James

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Ramcharger Has a Broken Leg (Thank you Asian Drivers)

While out doing yard work today, I moved my Ramcharger to the side of my yard so the mower could get the few little bits of grass that it sits on. After clearing up the area, I got in my truck, so I could move it back to where it normally is parked.

I was going to do a quick turn around on the street, so I checked to make sure no car was coming, and I pulled out to do a 3 point turn around. After backing up to get my truck perpendicular to the street, I had just put it into drive when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye that didn't belong. I then turned my head just in time to see a grey Toyota Camry that was mere feet from the side of my truck and it didn't appear to be slowing down at all! I didn't even have time to say "Oh S" or anything like that and BANG!

The next thing I knew was that my glasses were knocked off my head and I was rattled around a bit. Fortunately, even though I was just turning around on my street, I remembered my seat belt. I put my glasses back on and looked down to see two older Asian people in the little import car.

I crawled out through the passenger door, as the space my driver door normally occupies was taken up with the front of the offending car that just t-boned me. I walked around the front of my truck, and saw both the other people had gotten out. When I saw that the force of the impact had snapped the rear axleshaft like a matchstick and the rear tire was wedged under the front of their car, I immediately got so angry that instead of having an outburst, I was very calm, but my voice was low and clear.

"Your front brakes don't work?" That was the first thing I said to the guy. Barely able to speak English, he explained that he was teaching the female driver how to drive and this was her first time. "Expensive lesson." I replied. "Do you know how fast you were going when you hit me?" I asked. The driver, who didn't speak any English, just stood there not knowing what to do. Note, the only reason I didn't ask if they were okay is because the guy asked me if I was okay (which at this point I obviously was not). Either way, I pulled out my phone and dialed 911 straight away and while the dispatcher was on the phone, I asked if they needed medical attention, which they declined.

The police arrived a few minutes later and took our insurance information. In the meantime, my wife (who was working in the office upstairs) came down and told the officer what she saw. Apparently, she looked out just in time to see my Ramcharger's body rearranged by the little car, which she said was going "way too fast" for the street (note, a lot of people speed down this road).

The officer was very cool to me, and I explained that as I pulled out, there was no car in my field of vision. I didn't see any vehicle until just before it collided with my truck. The cop sort of chuckled because he said he had this happen to him just a few weeks prior. And it sucks, he sympathized.

Of course, he gave me a citation for "failure to yield." While I'm not saying I was 100% in the right for trying to pull a u-turn on the street, I'm thinking that failure to yield might be a little much when you consider there was no vehicle on the road when I pulled out. Either way, I'm going to get my day in traffic court and let the judge decide. The important part was that I did not get hurt.

The good news is, and I know it's hard to see a silver lining in this, all the damage was superficial. No structural damage is apparent. The frame, all the suspension points, seem intact. Of course, a verification at the frame shop is in order. The worst damage was to the rear axle, which the backing plate for the drum brake was ripped halfway off the axle tube. No big deal here. I can source another backing plate, hardware, brakes, and a new axle shaft off a parts truck in a junkyard - no problemo!

The irony is that the door was smashed in. The glass survived, even though the window was down. The front fender took a wallop too. I have a replacement fender and door in the garage. How's that for prepared? As for
the lower rocker panel, it was damaged inside the seams, so it can be cut out and replaced pretty easily.

All in all, this pretty much sucked. But it could have been worse. I'm just glad my truck is only down, but not out. Can't say as well for the other car. It won't be driving anymore. They pretty much destroyed it. A total loss for them, considering the year, and the amount of front end damage that occurred.

Photobucket

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Here it is sitting in my backyard after getting pulled up off the street. I've removed the damaged brake components and have inspected much of the damage. Looks like I get to go component shopping this weekend!

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

LC9's Turn


After giving the LCP a facelift, my Ruger LC9 was starting to feel a little left out and wanted to join the party.  This barrel was not as easy or fast to complete as the LCP, but the end result is awesome.  Neither of these guns looked especially nice with the blackened blued steel barrel lugs because during use, they get scuffed up and start to look worn.  This process of removing the bluing and scuffing it out bright gives the otherwise boring LC9 a bit of flare.  If you look closely, you can see that I scuffed the muzzle end of the gun to contrast it against the slide and add a subtle touch of custom to it.  Not too bad for a half hour's worth of scuffing and sanding. 

-James

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bear Creek Holsters - Everything In It's Place

As many already know, I normally carry two guns as part of my concealed carry package.  It's actually quite easy to carry two guns at once when you have good holsters for each.  The problem is where do you put your extra magazines?  Normally, this dilemma solves itself in ways that may or may not work so well.  All too often, I find myself stuffing the extra magazines into a cargo pocket, or in the front pocket of my jeans, alongside my keys or cellphone.  None of these methods was really ideal, but I dealt with it.  I mean, the chance of needing my gun is slim enough... right?


Then I saw a really neat idea on elsiepeaforum.com, where someone had a pocket style pouch made to accommodate his Ruger LCP and LC9 magazines.  Brilliant!  The maker, Doug Childers, from Bear Creek holsters, makes custom leather for us gun guys.  I liked the idea so much, I commissioned him for a custom mag holder, but instead of it being pocket style, I wanted something I could put on my belt instead.  The pic you see is the end result of our collaboration.  I know, I could have ordered it to carry two LC9 magazines instead of one of each, but being as I only carry one extra magazine per gun anyway, this was a fitting solution to a glaring problem I was having.

For my SR9c, I use a leather belt pouch to carry the spare magazine.  I only need one spare magazine.  I'm not heading to combat, so the need for two extra mags is small.  But I guess some could argue that the need for two guns is not necessary either, but then again, they probably don't subscribe to the "BUG" idea like I do.  Since my BUG is a mag fed weapon, it too needs a spare magazine.  Thus, the inception of this dual caliber mag pouch.  Sure, it was someone else's idea, but it is a good one. 

The leather on this pouch is good stuff.  The holster is handmade right here in the USA and it exudes quality.  Doug Childers obviously takes pride in his work and you know he gives a damn when it comes to making his customers happy.  I'm 100% satisfied and will definitely have more work for him later on when I get my 1911.  After all, those extra single stacked 45 acp magazines aren't going to hold themselves!!!

-James

LCP Vanity


After finishing up my chores for the morning, I decided to take the barrel off my LCP and remove some of the bluing on the exposed part of the barrel.  This is the result.  Ah, nothing like the subtle hint of satin two tone on the gun.  It really beats the scuffed up blued surface that was.  This gun gets a lot of holster use, so it doesn't get as much attention as it should.  Eventually, I plan on sending the slide in to be coated with a coating to make it uber black.  You can see, however, some of the slide's bluing coming off on the front.  That's honest holster wear, folks.  Yup, this LCP goes dang near everywhere with me, quietly doing it's job - at the ready, but so concealed.

-James