Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Socialism at work...

Want to know where we are headed?

I have one glimpse...

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has suspended all soccer (or, as they call it, "football") in the country because of a less than stellar performance in this month's World Cup matches.


Seems trivial, but it's the kind of life one leads in a socialistic environment. I prefer liberty - where the free market and the individuals decide whether they like soccer... or football.

Strange - I'd never have thought that.

Apparently, last night was the opening night for the latest "Twilight" movie. According to sources, the movie has earned over $30 million in its first night.

Tom Cruise's "Knight and Day" opened 3rd last weekend, drawing 'only' $20 million all weekend.

So let me get this straight... a romance/vampire movie makes more in one day than a Tom Cruise action flick made in a whole weekend?


My, how times have changed.

Why is it?

I respect people's rights to live as they wish.
I also realize that I myself have some unusual hobbies and interests.

Nonetheless, I am fascinated by the behavior of some individuals.

Some people, and we all have friends like this, go out of their way to be unusual. Even at the expense of additional cost, social stigma, or even complete lifestyle change.
My hat is off to those who simply live as they believe. However, most of the people I'm talking about live differently not necessarily because they believe it (though they often do), but for some other reason.

- Most seek the additional attention.
- Some have never tried things any otherway.
- Many live in fear of something they read somewhere, so they change their lifestyle.
- A few use their unusal lifestyle or interest as a way of feeling superior to others.

Whatever the reason, folks who intentionally do things "outside the norm" for one of the reasons listed above are not really that appealing to me as friends. I just don't prefer that kind of drama.

The racist roots of gun control, part II

Some time ago, I wrote on the racist roots of gun control. Gun control in America has two distinct root sources. The first was from the British, prior to our hard-fought independence. The second distinct root of gun control in our country came from white democrats in the 1800's trying to disarm black people in an attempt to keep black people in a lower class - not full citizens.

Some interesting facts pop up, that you will not read in the media today:

The recent case of McDonald as ruled on by the Supreme Court. McDonald himself is a black man from Chicago.

In the McDonald case, Justice Thomas gives a good history lesson. Thanks to Right-Minded for picking up the story from Rush Limbaugh. Oh, yeah... I forgot to mention - Justice Thomas is black.


I always hear the liberals spout lies such as they are "for the minorities" and that sort of garbage. But is that true? I say no, it is not true. In every instance, the Democrats and the liberals have not put their money where their mouth is.

In other words, it would seem liberals want to further oppress minorities by denying them the right to protect themselves. Don't think so?
Why did the four liberal justices in McDonald vote to prevent a black man from being able to keep a gun for personal protection?

Oh - that's right - they really don't care about race.
They want us ALL to be slaves, regardless of race!
I must be a silly USAGI, for thinking the liberals only wanted to enslave minorities.


Folks, for the record, in the last month I have loaned my guns to other shooters of all sorts of races whom I've met at the range. I know this goes against the garbage the liberals feed us on TV - a conservative white guy that is not racist, and proves it with actions.
The funny thing is, I didn't even think of these people as hispanic, asian, or black. I thought of them as people. Their race only came to mind when I sat down to write this post and realized all the lies that the liberals tell us daily.
Oh, and before I get the hate-mail... some of those shooters were female, too.
And horror of horrors - some of them were kids! (with parent's permission, of course)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some thought on the end of the world as we know it

I was in a discussion with a fellow a few days ago. The discussion turned to end of the world topics - "SHTF" - S***(poop) Hits The Fan. This individual leaned a bit too much toward conspiracy theories. He had a definite belief the government was going to try to take over, and use the UN to accomplish this goal. His talk reminded me of Fred of Fred's M14 stocks, from whom I purchased my shooting jacket.

This individual reminded me of so many others I've spoken with that hold these views. His talk started with rational conclusions, but quickly deviated from the realm of reality. In addition to thinking the governmetwas going to either take control via the UN, or allow the UN to take control outright, he also believed some other things that I will speak about here:

1. Government / UN takeover.
I don't think American Soldiers will ever try to control fellow Americans. The UN is predominantly staffed by American Soldiers. Most of the rest are allies. Those that aren't allies, all combined, represent a small fraction of our military forces.

2. He said he would go to Wal Mart when the SHTF and get what he needs then.
And everybody else won't?
I've got news for you... if you don't already have it (whatever that "it" is), there will be only a few ways to get it after SHTF - barter, or kill someone who has one.

3. He said he wouldn't need to gather with friends for protection, he would just be a sniper.
Really? Know how many clicks on your scope you need to adjust to go from a zero of 100 yards to 400 yards? Ever shot at 400-yard targets? Can you do so from a field position? Cn you even do it form a rested position?
Nope, I didn't think so.

4. He said he would ambush UN convoys.
Really? Even if you had that sort of a situation (see point #1), how long do you think you'd live against machine-gun counter fire? And air support? And how are you going to do this solo (no friends, remember)? And this doesn't even touch the issueof being able to make the shot (point #3).

5. He said if worst came to worst, he'd just hide out in the woods.
Really? Ever been camping? It's a lot like that, only harder. Especially when you don't have the equipment (point #2), the friends (point#3), or the skills (point #3).

Not trying to rain on anybody's parade, but this guy had it all wrong.

I believe in being prepared. Crisis can strike at any time. Look at Hurricane Katrina, or recent flooding in Nashville. How does one prepare?
- If you might need it, have it ahead of time.
- Have freinds... an "inner circle"
- Have a plan. Base it in logic.
- Have a backup plan. The first one might not work.
- It never hurts to be able to defend yourself and loved ones. This requires REAL practice and lots of training.

Fantastic Article

In lightof yesterday's Supreme Court Decision, I will forward my readers to this blog post.

Representative Stacey Campfield hits the nail on the head.

Which one is your favorite?

Appleseed and the Tube-feed

Having attended more than one Appleseed, and having shot rifleman with a tube-fed rifle (considered a hindrance by many in the organization - yet I still managed a 238), I thought it wise to put together a little checklist and some instructions for maximizing the shooter’s enjoyment of the Appleseed program while using their tube-fed rifle.

My experience was with a Marlin 60. While there are other tube-fed rifles out there, the 60 is by far the most common, so I will present the information from that point of view. Naturally, the individual shooter should practice any needed alterations with their own setup so as to maximize the results. Here's a link to a thread detailing some aftermarket parts for Marlins.

For the AQT
A quick note of procedure with tube-fed rifles: the shooter has no external magazine, so when the command is given: “Shooters, your preparation period has ended.” At that point, folks operating tube fed rifles should:
1) ensure the bolt is locked open and the chamber flag is in;
2) put their rounds in the tube magazine, and
3) insert the plunger. When the command is given: “Fire,” the shooter will then remove the chamber flag and put a round in the chamber.
This is a bit different than the steps taken by a person with an external box magazine… and these steps are worth noting.

Also of note on procedure with tube fed’s: During stages 2 and 3 of the AQT, the shooter is to load 11 rounds, fire two, eject a live round (to simulate the mag change), then continue on the Course of Fire. Also, the shooter must leave the chamber flag in until the fire command is given (box-mag rifle shooters may remove the chamber flag at the “load” command).

Most Appleseed shoots have several shooting portions. What needs special consideration are AQT’s and RFAQT’s (rapid-fire AQT's). Also, certain preparations, equipment, and training can go a long way to enable the tube-fed shooter to not only “keep up” with the external magazine shooters, but also bring the Marlin 60’s venerable accuracy to bear – giving the shooter an advantage.

At the last Appleseed I attended, the shoot boss and myself had a very friendly little "competition" with an AQT - he shot his tricked out 10/22 (over $1000 invested in it) and I shot my M60 - iron sights and bulk ammo. We both shot a 238. 


Equipment

The Marlin 60 is an extremely accurate and reliable rifle. Make sure the rifle is cleaned and fully functional. M60’s will operate well, even when dirty – but they operate best when clean: why risk it?
Additionally, “trigger-jobs” are common on these rifles, and one should complete this and test prior to attending an Appleseed to ensure functionality. Here's another trigger job.
Make sure you have a sling – preferably a USGI web sling (this requires 1 ¼ inch swivels).

- Bring at least 500 rounds of ammo of a type that you’ve tested with your M60. Some rimfire rifles can be ammo-sensitive, so test for mechanical operation and accuracy.
CCI mini-mag is a brand that has a very high success rate with Marlins, and though higher-priced than most bulk ammo, it is not as expensive as match-grade, yet provides mach-grade reliability and consistency.

- Tech sights or scopes are far superior to Marlin factory sights.
Appleseed is scope-friendly, and tech sights offer military-style peep sight picture. Make sure to use Locktite or some similar adhesive to keep tech-sights or a scope in place, as Marlins often have loose tolerances on the dovetail, and “walking” is a commonly reported occurrence. For scope placement, DIP makes a very reliable picatinny rail that attaches securely to the Marlin dovetail and provides more optic options while eliminating “walking.” This scope mount will do the same.

- Speed-loaders. One can buy a speed-loader online. Alternately, one can construct speed loaders out of curtain rods or arrows. In a pinch, McDonald’s straws can be rigged to accommodate .22 rounds. I constructed four speed – loaders: two that held 10 rounds, and two more that held 11 rounds.

I constructed them from curtain rods and foam ear plugs:
(electrical tape added for grip)




Techniques

Two main techniques need to be mastered for success on AQT’s with a Marlin 60: loading the rifle with the speed loader, and ejecting rounds for the second and third segments of the AQT.

- Loading the rifle with a speed loader requires attention to two details:
Rifle position speed loader position.
The rifle should be held upside-down – with the tube and the top of the rifle pointing to the ground:




With the barrel pointing about a 45 degree downward angle, place the speed loader at the end of the tube magazine:



Then lift the devices together to nearly straight up in the air:




The rounds slide right into place. Be mindful of the seal between the tube magazine and the speed loader – don’t allow enough space so that the rounds fall out!

Also, remember to put the plunger in! The rifle won't feed without it.




- Load 11, Fire 2, eject 1, Finish
On the second and third stages of the AQT, the tube-fed rifle must load 11 rounds, fire the first two, eject a live round (to simulate the mag change with box-mag rifles), then continue on with the course of fire. M60’s are blowback-operated – the blowback of the cartridge discharge helps eject the spent brass. So sometimes, operating the charging handle will not eject an unspent round. I suggest the following steps:
1. Pull the charging handle to the rear and hold - with the breech facing down (rifle on its side).
2. If a cartridge falls out, release the bolt, and continue with the course of fire.
3. If no cartridge falls out, reach in with the second (support) hand, and pull free the round that is about to be fed from the tube. Don't mess with the round in the chamber - "fish out" the next round to be fed!



Then release the bolt and continue with the course of fire. It takes a split second to fish out the round being fed, and it accomplishes the same task.  
Practice this on your own prior to your Appleseed experience.

Prepare this way, and practice these techniques, and the shooter will be able to benefit from the outstanding accuracy of the Marlin, and at the same time, not feel at all like the rifle is slowing them down or that it is any sort of hindrance. In fact, properly done, the Marlin 60 and similar will have a distinct advantage on the Ruger 10/22 with regards to accuracy, reliability, and (with proper preparation) speed and ease of use.

Say one thing, do another

During confirmation hearings, Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor repeatedly stated she was in favor of the 2nd Amendment.

In yesterday's decision on McDonald, she voted against the 2nd Amendment.


Folks, Judges are not supposed to vote their politics, but they do. That's why we must vote the right people in. First, to nominate the right candidates for appointment. Second, to block the wrong candidates for appointment. Sotomayor again has proven she was the wrong candidate by voting her politics.

I predict Kagan is no different.

I know the President nominates them... and we are stuck with this President for two more years. But the Senate confirms or rejects them. And we can replace Senators this fall!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Internal Problems with Appleseed

Again, let me start with what Appleseed does right:

- Safety. And they do this really well.
- Marksmanship instruction
- "History"


That being said, they do some things very poorly - making me question whether I want these people representing the "gun culture" to the public.




The Myths of Appleseed

These inaccuracies are commonly spread by Appleseeders on the internet, in online forums. While the Appleseed website is accurate, many of the members either ignore these things, or think in their exuberance that the program is for everybody and others will not be able to help but fall in love with Appleseed. Sadly, this is not always the case.


1. Appleseed is for everybody
- Nothing is for everybody except Jesus Christ.
- Appleseed is best for casual gun owners, who have been shooting before, but have not really cultivated marksmanship skills from "field positions."
- Appleseed is not good for beginners. I'm not the only one who thinks so.
But Appleseeders openly attempt to recruit new shooters - who have no business going to one.

2. Appleseed is "run what ya brung."
- An example of them saying it (item #10)
- INSTEAD - Bring a semiautomatic box-magazine fed rifle.
- The AQT course of fire is loosely designed around Army training during the M1 Garand era (see pages 67-73). This was a time when the Army was more interested in winning service matches than in tactical training.

3. Appleseed's AQT "was designed for a bolt action"
- Nope. It wasn't. Not in it's current iteration. The old Army / USMC version of the AQT was designed around the M1 Garand - hence the 2-round and 8-round loads on stages 2 and 3. The old 1903 Springfield held 5 rounds - why would the instructions ever say to load 8 rounds?
- Originally, a version of what is now the AQT was designed around the 1903 - a bolt action rifle. But those rules and the timing were different. VERY DIFFERENT (see page 13 of this link for timing differences in 1912).

- Here is Appleseed's Chief Master Instructor ("Nickle" - second in the organization only to "Fred") spreading the nonsense.
- Here is Fred himself making the same erroneous claim!
- Here it is by "SamD" in the Appleseed forum. They actually believe this. 

4. Sling up tight!
- Proof here ("if it doesn't hurt, it isn't tight enough" - page 4).
- A counter-point.
- A few more reputable sites that disagree with Appleseed's suggestions on the super-tight sling.
- Correct way, for most shooters, is "thwump" tight. Just barely tight.

5. Rack grade rifle, iron sight training. 
"Participants are taught fundamental rifle marksmanship skills that are to allow a Rifleman to be accurate out to 500 yards, with iron sights, standard rifle and surplus ammo."
This quote comes from Appleseed's own website. Fred talks about it, too. The Appleseed blog states the same thing.

- BUT -
Most who earn the Rifleman patch do so with scopes and highly tuned rifles. Many Appleseeders online encourage chasing the patch like this. Many instructors keep a highly tuned rifle handy for 'seeders' who are close to 210 on the AQT.

6. Scopes aren't allowed at Appleseed
Fact is - Scopes are allowed at Appleseed. Not only are scopes allowed - but encouraged. True, this breaks from their origins (NRA High Power competitions), but the program has deemed that the scope is not a crutch (while, oddly enough, they say a bipod is a crutch) and is, therefore, welcome.

7. "Gear is secondary to Skill"
While this is true on the surface, it becomes misleading. While gear cannot take the place of skill, the fact is that skillful persons still use gear that is suitable to the task at hand (see #3, #2, and #5 above). If a novice brings the wrong kind of gear to an Appleseed, then they will be at a major disadvantage. This can prove frustrating and counter-productive.

8. The AQT stems from the old military shooting.
While there is some similarity to the Appleseed's "AQT" ("Army Qualification Test"), you need to know that this was never the training in the Army, or any other known military. In the time frame form 1900 - 1950 (or so), the Army used a similar training course of fire.
The USMC currently also uses a similar course of fire for its basic marksmanship "Known Distance" shooting. However, times are different, stages are different, targets are different, and mag changes are different. It is not the same.
In truth, the "AQT" is really a revamped NRA Highpower course.]
Here is a good document on the old military shooting. Eeasy to see where Fred got his targets from. 

9. The sling can bend the AR15 / M16 / M4 barrel.
While this statement is true, it is mostly used by appleseeders and others to downplay the effectiveness of the AR15 platform at a distance, and play up to the M14, M1A, and M1 Garand and their abilities at distance.
Nobody questions that the M1, M1A, and M14 are easily 500-yard rifles. But they also experience a POI shift when a tight sling is used. It is a known issue, and happens the same as on the AR15 platform.
To rebut the argument, a separate division had to be created in NRA highpower competition when the AR15 was allowed to compete - because  AR15 shooters smashed all the old shooting records. An AR15 is easier and cheaper to make accurate, and with modern ammo, has less drop and less wind drift at long range than the mighty .30-06 and .308.


The Errors of Appleseed Members

These are errors frequently made by the Appleseed project and its over-zealous members, commonly referred to as "Appleseed Zombies."

Here's an Appleseed thread that has almost all of this in a single location!

1. Pile On
When somebody has a less than favorable experience, or suggests things might have been done a little differently, the instructors collude and then rain down in unison on the person on that particular forum. They try to make it look like most people don't share that one person's opinion.
In reality, it is that those Appleseed Instructors don't like that one person's opinion.
Appleseeders would do well to remember the old saying: "Zeal without knowledge is the sister of folly."

2. Can do no wrong / Ego
When they find themselves limited in knowledge, they get arrogant and blame the student for any errors. A good instructor would find a way to get the material across. But then, a good instructor is thoroughly familiar with the material. Appleseed instructors as a rule can shoot well. That does not make them good instructors.

Appleseed is notorious for cover-ups, as well. In instances where they have been proven wrong on forums, they will have site staff delete or remove the offending thread. Internally, they will move or delete nay saying on their own forums. I've also seen them cover up safety issues, too (though these are rare).

3. Act just like "upper management"
Appleseed instructors will be the first to take credit for students shooting "Rifleman" scores. And they will be the last to accept blame for students who had difficulties... often making claims those students had attitude problems (for adults) or maturity problems (for children).

Real teachers don't blame these problems on the students... they learn a little something called "classroom management."

Appleseed instructors teach as they were taught. Some go out of their way to enhance their own teaching ability. Most do not. Their "teach the teacher" sessions and training are woefully inadequate - consisting mostly of additional marksmanship training that is missed out in their self-described "firehose" teaching done in 2-day shoots.

4. "Boys Club"
It is simple - if they like you, you will get all the favors. If not, they will not help you in the least. It's a well known fact that many shoot bosses have a really nice target rifle that has favorable features to shooting well - light trigger, big scope, well-balanced, target barrel, etc.
And they might even let you get a "Red Hat" without shooting "Rifleman" at all - if they like you enough. 

5. "100%"
Appleseed folks, online, have a really bad habit of acting out. Especially if what is said about the program is not 100% in favor of Appleseed. This goes equally for those with completely dissenting opinions, as well as those who were largely in favor of what they saw (like me).

I've seen posts praising AS, and then kindly suggesting something slightly different.  AS folks "pile-on" without mercy. They criticize the person, and make one of Fred's talking points - usually about the volunteer nature, or good intentions.

This actually leads to my next point: 


6. Attack the person, not the argument
Appleseed folks online, when faced with differing opinions (whether 0%, 100%, or somewhere in between), so often attack the individual. Rarely will they address the claims, or the facts. When called on it, they fall back on one of Fred's Talking points (see last error below), or they go back to attacking the individual.

Occasionally, they will ask forum moderators to punish the dissenting opinion(s). From time to time, they will have mods remove threads altogether - either by request, or by being so very uncivil. On rare occasion, they bully (overtly or covertly) bloggers and others into removing printed material about the program. Not me!

Pile-on and personal attacks go hand-in-hand.

Usually, the organized assault consists of:
- Ridicule of and "mudslinging" toward the "naysayer." - often, they make claims of  " that person just couldn't shoot"
- Intentional cohesiveness of trying to engage in personal insults and getting the "naysayer" banned from the forum.
- Apparent attempts to have threads removed, if needed.
- If the person raises a valid point, but has not yet attended an Appleseed, this is brought  in to question. No room for logic or rationale. 
- Sticking to one of Fred's / ASZ's talking points.



7. Can't get along with others in the gun circles.
"Fred" purchased what is now the RWVA range in Ramseur, NC. Nothing wrong with this, but in so doing, he took away one of the few full-range NRA Highpower ranges. HP matches are no longer held there. Along with some other shenanigans, many in highpower circles are eager to stay away from Appleseed and the RWVA.

Additionally, Appleseed's guerrilla marketing tactics have irritated noted firearms instructor Gabe Suarez, and he forbids them from doing so on his forums.

A rare exception was Mas Ayoob - who was complimentary of the program despite not being told properly about the rules at his Appleseed (and consequently shooting from a supported position using his magazine as a monopod).

There are multiple other examples of Appleseed folks irritating range owners, gun enthusiasts, and others that they should be working with... not against.



8. Fred's / ASZ's Talking Points
- Not everybody can shoot Rifleman (but they claim to be able to train them so they can?)
- This is not a marksmanship clinic, it's a history lesson (when the marksmanship part comes up short for whatever reason)
- This is not a history lesson, this is a marksmanship clinic (when the "history" is called for its inaccuracies).
- "That person is just mad because they couldn't shoot "Rifleman"
- This person has never been to an Appleseed, so they just don't get it. 
- Shooting "Rifleman" is not the point of the shoot.
- Ego (for adults), maturity (for kids) as a reason they did not shoot well.
- It doesn’t matter that the instructors sometimes suck, they’re all volunteers.(borrowed from pdb)
- It doesn’t matter that some shooters leave the program less confident, our intentions are good. Besides, we only ever hear back from the guys who liked the program, so what could possibly be wrong with it? (again borrowed from pdb)
- "This person just doesn't understand Appleseed" (when all other talking points have been proven wrong).



Appleseed things that just don't make sense

1. Rifle choice. 
In addition to the "run what ya brung" crowd, many Appleseeders give really poor advice on what sort of guns to bring. As a rule, a rifle should be a semi-automatic box-magazine fed variety. M1's, M1A's, AR15's, Marlin 795's and Ruger 10/22's are by far and away the best. The M1, M1A and AR15 are consistently used in competitions with similar courses of fire.

2. Equipment choice.
They claim iron sight training, but suggest scopes (heck, most "Rifleman" patches are earned with scopes).
They prefer slings, but do not allow bipods.
They used to poo-poo AR15's and .22's.
Allowing the patch on AQT's shot with a .22? The course was designed around highpower competition.

3. Getting along with others.
They do not get along well with other gun groups.
They do not get along well with many locals.
They do not get along well with the press.
They do not get along well with folks that suggest they improve.
From time to time, they do not get along well with themselves.
Of course, the founder doesn't seem to get along well with people, anyways, and as the head goes...


Post Edit - 3/15/2011 - digging out some old comments and posting them. 

Best for Last?

My church has two softball teams. I play for one of them. Our regular season is complete and tonight is the tournament - rounds 1 & 2, at least.

I usually play catcher (because nobody else wants to).
I usually bat last in the order (because nobody else wants to).

This year I've made 6 put-outs... most in the league by a catcher. And that's having played catcher in only 10 of 20 games . Our team having forfeited 4 games, and had another two games won via forfeit. Add to that the fact that I played right field in three games and was unable to play another game.

Also, my batting average entering the tournament is .719 - I had a goal for this year of .700. Last year I hit over .600 and the year before I struggled to get to over .300. Two years ago was my first year back on the field in ten years. Rusty does not begin to describe where I was.

So there are the totals. I'll report back after the game... either tonight or tomorrow.
Tonight, we play in the first round the other team from our own church... whom we eliminated from the tournament last year in the same match-up enroute to our 2nd place overall finish.


Post Edit:
Rained out. Games rescheduled for next Tuesday.

Post Edit 2:
We played Tuesday, July 6. I was 2/3 at the plate. Our team held a four run lead going into the bottom of the last inning. We had led since the second pitch of the game.
The other team scored 5 runs in that inning to win the game.
Oh, well... better luck next year.

On recent politics

In recent primaries, voters have been erratic, or so the media says. Some will vote out incumbents. Some will vote to keep incumbents. Some Tea Party people will win. Some folks endorsed by the President have won.

The media cannot figure it out.

I think I might have found a pattern...

Look at every race, and watch as the more conservative candidate is often the winner. But more than that, the candidate who would do "the least harm" is almost exclusively the choice.

In Arkansas, Lincoln was the incumbent Senator, and a liberal. But she won her primary. Why? Her opponent was even more liberal and had a Union and Big-Government backing and ideology.

In Utah, incumbent republican senator Bennett lost the primary. Why? He voted for the "stimulus." His opponent is against overgrowth of government and won.

In South Carolina, a man nobody knew won the primary against a powerful political figure, all because folks don't want more of the same runaway government.

So, to predict a race, I suggest this year we look at which candidate is in favor of more restrictions on government and fewer restrictions on We, The People, and you will have a likely winner.

Advice

I often have fellow shooters at the range ask for advice on how to shoot more accurately. Most frequently, I will take one or two of the six basic steps to firing the shot and offer those as advice.

Here are the six steps to firing the shot:
1. Proper sight alignment.
2. Proper sight picture.
3. Respiratory pause.
4. Focus the eye on the front sight and the mind on the target.
5. Trigger squeeze.
6. Follow through.

In addition to these steps, proper posture in the shooting position is critical.

Normally, I will only offer one or two bits of advice per range day, and repeat those.

The most common advice? I urge people to have proper posture and a smooth, even trigger squeeze.

Curious Find...

Several times in the last two weeks, I've found several restaurants that have posted against allowing Handgun Carry Permit holders from carrying in their establishments. That is not the most curious part.

The most curious part is this... of the restaurants I found, most of the signs were small, off to the side, and generally difficult to see. One blended in so well with the background that it was almost completely invisible from the outside.

Now part of Tennessee law states that for these signs to have legal "teeth," they must be "plainly visible."

If a restaurant owner or manager is clearly anti-gun, why not be so openly? Why hide the sign in such a cowardly manner?

I visited the Crow's Nest in Nashville, and the sign was open, prominent, and clearly stated the owner is anti-gun. But the other two restaurants all but hid their signs. I wonder what underhanded purpose they have in doing so?

On family

My family has grown much in the last two weeks.

Two weeks ago, my first neice was born - Madeline Noel. They call her Maddie.

Friday, my second neice was born - Tinsley Grace.


Both neices hail from Mrs. Usagi's side of the family, in the Chattanooga area. I urge those not wanting more children right now to avoid that area!

Product Review

Recently, I purchased a shooting jacket. This particular one was constructed in the old USMC (US Marine Corps) style. These shooting jackets are worn primarily by competitors in shooting competitions. The jacket is designed with function over form in mind.

A good shooting jacket has padding at the elbows, on the shooting side shoulder, and on the non-shooting side upper arm. Elbow padding is critical for those spending a lot of time in a prone position. Shoulder padding helps with recoil, and dampens the heartbeat and its effects on the shooters Natural Point of Aim (NPOA). The padding on the non-shooting side help keeps a sling in place.

The jacket I purchased came from Fred's M14 stocks. "Fred" is the individual who started the Appleseed project. He likes his M14's and M1A's. He tolerates AR15's. He does not like the UN. Along with the jacket, Fred includes 10 AQT targets, and a "Guide to becoming a Rifleman." The guide has the same information taught at Appleseeds, a lot of selling of the M14 platform, plus a lot of anti-UN talk.

Fred orders his jackets from shootingmall.com. There was once a time when Shooting Mall's website allowed people to order, but that is not the case at the time of this post.

Some criticisms of Fred and his business include slow delivery. I ordered on a Monday and got it on a Friday, so it was perfectly fine from my end. Another criticism, not so much of Fred, but of the jackets, is that they run small. I found this to be the case. I ordered 3XL, and the jacket barely fits me (I am a "small" 2XL right now).

Otherwise, I have nothing but good things to say about the USMC shooters jacket. I suggest anyone with an extra $70 to get one for an Appleseed prior to attending... it WILL help.

There are other places to order from. I cannot say as to what kind of service to expect. The advantages some of these places have is more colors (Fred only offers Olive-Drab green), and more selection.

I tried out the jacket in actual shooting this past weekend, and it served well. The biggest advantage was the dampening of the heartbeat. When I am in prone, slung up, I can hold sights very steady on a 400-yard target. As I watch, especially in a scope, I can see my heartbeat change my POI (Point Of Impact) as much as 4 minutes of angle (MOA). With the jacket on, this POI change is drastically reduced - around 1 MOA. I would suspect it would make my hold steady enough for 800 yard+ aiming.

Range Report

This past weekend, I was in Chattanooga. While there, I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite ranges, Prentice Cooper.

I had several objectives:
1) Mrs Usagi wanted a scope on what used to be my Marlin 60. I put the scope on recently and sighted it in this past weekend. With the scoped 60, I shot a 222 on an AQT.

2) Since I took the tech-sights off the Marlin 60 to put the scope on it, I decided to put the tech-sights on my Marlin 795. I sighted it in. With the tech-sights on the 795, I shot a 221 on the AQT.

3) I decided to try some different ammo in my Ruger 10/22 to try to fix the malfunction problems. I used CCI mini-mags. Flawless performance. Extremely accurate. Slightly different point of impact (POI) than the previous ammo had been, so I made sight adjustments. Shot a 245 on an AQT - my all-time high so far!


Observations:

- I really enjoyed getting the flawless performance out of the Ruger. I'd had nothing but problems with it to this point. Good to know that was predominantly ammo-related. Slinging up with that rifle is very nice. It's heavier than the Marlins (good for me, since I am a large man), and actually has a lighter trigger. I'm not giving up on the Marlins, but it does feel like I just got a new gun!

- This was the first time I'd used a shooting jacket. It was very helpful, though very hot on a 90+ degree day!

- Folks at the range will start asking you for help when they realize you are the most accurate shooter on the line. It is best only to offer one or two pointers, so as not to confuse them.

Good news this morning

This morning, the US Supreme Court upheld the 2nd Amendment and struck down Chicago's ban on guns. This decision has been expected to play out this way for months.

The decision, called McDonald, will have direct influence on several other gun bans, nationwide, as well.

Last year's decision in Heller effectively removed the ban in Washington, DC. However, cities like Chicago and New York had kept their bans in place, arguing that Washington DC is a federal land, and not part of any state... therefore arguing the Heller ruling only applied to DC.

The court disagreed with that faulty point of view this morning.

Several cities are clamoring, and have been for a few months, to put together gun control restrictions that might pass further scrutiny in the wake of their current laws being found in violation of the Constitution.

Scary part 1:
The court said less stringent controls might withstand legal scrutiny.

Scary part 2:
The decision was 5-4. That means there are 4 justices who do not believe in the rights we the people have been granted by God, and have outlined in the US Constitution.

Really Cool Side Note:
We go to the polls this fall, and have the opportunity to elect Congressmen and Senators who will not allow Supreme Court Appointments of people who do not uphold the Constitution!

Monday, June 21, 2010

One Year of Blogging

This past weekend, The USAGI blog celebrated one year of blogging.

Thanks to my readers for reading, and providing me with information for articles.

Seems hard to believe this time last year, I was dealing with Pop's foot and infection, and the world was dealing with the loss of Michael Jackson.

In retrospect, my kids were as young at Michael Jackson's death as I was at Elvis' death. At that time, I did not understand - just as my kids don't today.

Thanks to my mom for always telling us straight up about the ups and the downs of Elvis - things that were good about him, as well as the bad. I hope I can pass that on to my kids, as well.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wow - I don't know what to say...

In the state of Utah, a man sentenced to death was executed today. That's not the part worthy of note.

The fact worthy of note, is that this criminal was put to death via firing squad.

This was the first execution by firing squad in the US in 14 years. The criminal, Ronnie Gardner, was convicted of the shooting death of a lawyer in a courthouse. The lawyer was there in the case where Gardner was being accused of murder of a bartender. I guarantee you Gardner was not legally carrying in the bar, or the court.

The firing squad consisted of 5 riflemen, who were certified police officers. The officers will remain anonymous and all volunteered for the task. They were armed with ".30 caliber Winchester" rifles. Reports are that they were lever-action .30-30 rifles.

The article also states of the rifles: "One was loaded with a blank so no one knows who fired the fatal shot."

Folks, I've shot a blank cartridge. If you know the rifle, you would know the difference. A .30-30 has a fair amount of recoil. Blanks, in general, have almost no recoil. A .30-30 blank has less recoil than a live .223 round from an AR15. There is a huge difference in the two.

Oh, and to the 5 officers who fired their rifles... Good Shot!

Now this was just silly

Another wacky hiring practice.

My brother recently accepted a new position with a new company. He had been interviewing to advance his career. He was happy to receive the newer, better offer.

In his search, he interviewed with more than one comany, of course. Yesterday, another company he had interviewed with made him an offer.

They offered him a more advanced role, with more responsibilities, and a lot of new technology to learn. Oh, and they offered him the job at 25% less than he currently earns. Most companies offer 10%-15% more than the current salary, or more.

His first pre-screening interview covered the salary part.

Why would they think this would lure him away???

A wierd one from the files

Those who have been following this blog know that a few months ago, I was laid off. There were a few months that passed until I secured my current position. During this time, I went on multiple interviews with many companies.

One interview that struck me as wierd was for an outside sales position. One part of the application and screening interview stood out as being odd. The application asked:

"We recognize our employee's Second Amendment rights. We also recognize that many individuals who are in outside roles also carry firearms concealed in full compliance of the law, with a permit or otherwise. While we do not discourage this practice, we do require employees who carry concealed to provide the company with photographic evidence of the permit, just in case the need ever arises to prove legal carry to law enforcement."

I was not about to give them that access. I skipped over that part of the application - essentially this told them that I do not carry. I continued with the interview. Not surprisingly, there were more red flags.

In the end, I never called them back to schedule a second interview, despite their repeated efforts to lure me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Update on the Governor's Race

Last week, gubernatorial candidate Joe Kirkpatrick removed himself from consideration and endorsed Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.

Given the Lt. Governor's strong pro 2-A stance, and general conservative nature, I would like to urge my readers to take Joe's advice. Usagi will be voting for Mr. Ramsey.

Guide for instructors.

Recently, I was able to review some instructor comments regarding the progress of some martial arts students. As I had observed the entire event, it was enlightening to see what other instructors thought of things. It was also eye-opening to me, as a teacher (of the martial arts primarily), to see how a single incorrect assumption developed into a major misunderstanding by the instructor, and by other instructors called on for suggestions.

In this case, a student was having difficulty mastering a certain technique. The instructor mistakenly assumed he knew the answer, and that the student was simply not “getting it.” In fact, the student was not “getting it,” but the reason was completely opposite the instructor’s assumption.

I remember seeing the misdiagnosis myself. When the event was happening, I remember thinking that the instructor’s diagnosis was wrong. Later, another instructor came along and offered advice that helped the student tremendously. Later still, I did some research on behalf of the student and offered a suggestion that enabled the student to catch on to the subject matter completely. And not only did he catch on, he quickly surpassed the instructor’s knowledge and abilities in the subject matter.

So enter the discussion, done online, with the instructors. The instructor in question held to the assumption, instead of having the student try different methods or tactics, or even modifications of the same methods. Other instructors made the assumption that the diagnosis was correct. Never was it questioned, despite a complete lack of proof, and all facts pointing the other way.

Then what I saw on the forum was completely disgusting. The instructors began to belittle the student (who was not on the forum to defend himself) for having multiple problems with the material. They criticized his basic understanding, even to the point of outright misrepresenting the student’s knowledge and abilities entirely. They all seemed to “pile on” with the ridicule and the denigration.

---

What should have happened was a core set of checks and balances that would have allowed the student to grow, and the instructor to grow wiser, as well. There is an age-old saying that there is not a bad student – only a bad instructor. And while I know that all instructors cannot get through to all students, it shouldn’t be for lack of trying.

Some guidelines for problem-solving steps that a good instructor takes:
- Introduce the material. (Requires a good lesson-plan)
- If the material is not understood, attempt to find out why.
- Offer a suggestion that will get the desired results.
- Once a solution has been suggested, try it.
- If the solution does not work, go back to step 2.
- Once a solution does work, the problem is solved.

To presume the student just cannot or will not accept the material is to do a disservice to the student, and to show oneself incapable of being an instructor. To presume that because many students often have a similar misunderstanding, then the next misunderstanding will be the same, is erroneous. Each situation is different – no matter how similar it looks to past situations.

Some guidelines for instructors teaching subject matter that is physical in nature:
- Demonstrate the correct physical action. Do so slowly, and at regular speed.
- Highlight major points that must be observed.
- Explain the parts that cannot just be mimicked.
- Detail why things must be done a certain way.
- Offer “perfect” suggestions when correcting the student’s physical actions.

“Perfect” suggestions – student’s physical demonstration is not quite right: gently move the student into place and say “perfect.”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

5 Gun Myths

Found this article. Pretty good.

WARNING: Some adult language, both in the articles, and on some of the videos.

The five:
5. Silencers actually turn gunshots to whispers.
4. Machine guns are magical death machines.
3. Bullet proof vests stop all bullets.
2. Cocking the gun to mean business.
1. Bullets can explode things.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another funny on the job story

This was back in 2005. Somehow, the topic of conversation at work had shifted to the scandal revolving around Arnold Schwarzenegger and groping.

One of my (female) coworkers blurts out:
"If Arnold groped me, I'd say: 'hey, you missed a spot'!"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Follow up to the funny story.

As a follow-up to the previous post, I must share some of the antics of the old boss, Mark.

Remember, this was in 1998 and 1999. I was fresh out of college. I was working at a major Rent-to-Own chain.

I was first hired at one of the two locations in Jackson, TN. The manager there was hard, bur fair. Mark was the "Executive Assistant Manager." He rarely did much. Myself and another Account Manager did all of the collections and most of the deliveries and repos. There was an "I/O Manager" (Inside/Outside assistant manager), who backed up on collection, delivery, and repo assignments. The Branch Manager there did much of the selling and setting of the assignments.

Mark would yell a lot at me. Mostly "reminding" me to do things I was in the middle of doing. He would call out "Stay Focused" and "Call that Route" a lot. I'm still not sure why. I was usually calling the Route when he said that... and I've always been a very focused worker.

One day, Mark got promoted to be manager of the other store across town. I was thrilled. Things went well for a month or two, until the Manager got promoted, too, and another manager took his place. I got along well with the new manager, but he did not hold on to his people as tightly as the previous manager did. He would let them get promoted or moved more easily.

As luck would have it, I was moved to Mark's branch shortly thereafter. When that happened, I began an earnest career search. I had to, as I knew Mark would probably fire me.

Why did I think he was going to fire me?

I don't think he liked me. He wrote me up three times. And I'd like to share why:

1) At the first Office, he wrote me up for failing to bring in a VCR that had been returned earlier. He couldn't account for it, and it had been left in my truck.
I deserved that one.

2) He wrote me up for "not using a calculator" when marking price tags for VCR's to be put on the display floor. They were all new, and all the same brand. I had used a calculator on the first, and copied the work on the second through the fifth.
I don't think I deserved that one.

3) He wrote me up for coming in second in the standings for "Account Manager of the Week." I'd come in first for 11 straight weeks, had another good week (with numbers that would have won every other week), but one guy in a nearby town had a breakout week. Oh, by the way, I came in First the final week, too.
I did not deserve that one, either. Fortunately, I would, that day, get the offer from Enterprise.

Those are the only times in my life I've been disciplined in the work place, that I can remember. I'll accept the first one. The others are bogus, to be sure.

Funny story

While trading old memories with a co-worker today, I was reminded of this gem.

I was working for a major rent-to-own chain, and I was right out of college. I'd been there about 6-8 months, and was ready to move on to bigger and better things. In fact, I was preparing to start my career at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. It would be this career move that provided the fuel for all the repo stories.

I had interviewed with ERAC on three occasions, and they were doing the background check. I knew it would come back clean, so I was simply waiting for the call.

One afternoon in late May, I got the call. The phone rang at my place of business. My boss - who was a real "work of art" - answered. He put the caller on hold, and yelled to me:
"[Usagi]! There's a fagot on line 2 for you!"
The hiring manager from ERAC did not have the most masculine voice, but that was no way to talk about someone. It was however, par for the course for this manager of mine, whose first name was Mark.

I answered the line and accepted the offer. ERAC wanted me to start Tuesday, June 15, 1999. Immediately after that, I had several deliveries to do. Fortunately, one of the deliveries was near the apartment I lived in at the time.

I swung by my place and printed off and picked up my resignation letter, and took it back with me to the store I worked at. By this time, it was getting a bit late - 4:30 or so. When I got back to the store, I found that the boss, Mark, had gone home early.

So I did what any right-minded 23-year-old would. I left the resignation letter on his desk.

The next day was my day off. I got over 40 phone calls from the office. I did not answer any of them. The following morning, I was scheduled to go in at 10:00 am. I got nearly a dozen phone calls from the boss by 9:30 - and none of them were answered. The phone stopped ringing after that.

When I went in, the look on his face was priceless. He was mad in the worst sort of way. He was confrontational those last two weeks, but then, he had always been... and I never really knew any better.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

While I'm blogging about family...

Might as well brag on my little brother. He works in IT, and is very adept at his job. The simple fact is that he is the go-to guy on his current team, and does the job of several people.

Recently, he decided to apply for an internal position with his employer. He was good friends with the hiring manager for the spot. A few discussions with said hiring manager told my brother all he needed to know - can stay in Nashville (the hiring manager and many of the team members were located in Michigan), significant pay raise, etc. It seemed like a good fit.

Well, my brother's immediate supervisor was a bit short-sighted and complained to his boss, who holds the position of "Director." In an effort to grease the squeaky wheel, the director made several behind-the-scenes moves to block my brother:
- Stating the job would be a lateral move and that the pay would be the same.
- Stated my brother would have to move to MI to get the spot.
- Stating my brother would have to pay for his own plane ticket to interview in MI.
- several other actions, but they would take a long time to detail.
- Finally, hiring a former contract worker, when the Hiring manager had said all along my brother was the top candidate.

My brother saw the writing on the wall, and ramped up a career search. In no time, he got an offer with a major employer in our area. Last Friday he turned in his notice.

Funny happenings since:
- My brother was made a counter-offer within hours of giving his notice.
- The Director and Supervisor keep suggesting that my brother can do part of the duties of the position he was applying for.
- The Director and Supervisor keep stating "You know we weren't trying to block you!"
- Many other actions that, like these, show they are guilty of exactly what they claim they did not do.

Oh, my brother never accused them of anything... just said he got a great financial offer and duties and hours that were in his advantage.

Talk about a bunch of folks acting guilty!

Oh, and I am really proud of my little bro for taking the high road!

Very cool

My sister and her fiance were scheduled to be in Atlanta two weekends ago to watch an Atlanta Braves game.

I have mentioned that I am a Braves fan... it runs in the family. But then, what can you expect from someone who grew up only 90 minutes from the Braves' Stadium?

Well, tragedy struck. My sister's fiance's father grew ill and passed away that weekend. They were with him here in Nashville when he passed. Of course, they did not get to see the game.

In a beautiful moment of doing the right thing, the Atlanta Braves have emailed my sister and asked her to offer several potential make-up dates for a visit. That's called doing the right thing!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

You gotta love this...

Many anti-gun proponents feel that only military and police should have guns. They state that the training undertaken by military and police entities prepares them for correct operation of the firearm.

Enter this story.

Police officer tries to shoot a bad guy with his AR-15. The story says he missed. His fellow officer fires thrice, and misses with all three shots. The bad guy goes back into the house to continue the standoff.

I am a fan of the AR-15 platform. When one fails to shoot - the most likely issues are:
- No round in the chamber (solution: operate the charging handle)
- Safety on (solution: manipulate the safety)
- Bad round; aka "a dud" (solution: chamber a new round by operating the charging handle)

Note: Many police departments require Rifles stored in police cars to be stored in "Cruiser-safe" condition. That is, with a loaded magazine inserted, no round in the chamber, and the safety on. Good chance this rifle was in that condition and the officer forgot whatever training he had (indicating he hasn't been trained much!).

Notice that none of these failures are the problem of the rifle. Two of them are the failure of the operator, and the third is the failure of the ammo. In all cases, the remedy takes less than a second to fix.

Meanwhile, the fellow officer shoots three times - which takes at least one second - and misses all three. Why didn't the first officer fix his weapon and get back into the fight? Why did the second officer miss three times? At the likely range they were shooting, it is easy to hit a man-sized target - even if he is moving. Again, a training issue.

So, for just a moment, let's assume the Second Amendment was intended for sporting uses only, or some-such garbage. Is it telling, or just plain scary that those here to "protect us" could not do so?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

This looks good, doesn't it?



This map can be found at one of the websites I have listed on the side here - www.opencarry.org.

As you can clearly see, carrying in a restaurant that serves alcohol is legal in the vast majority of states. IL does not permit carry by citizens at all, and WI only allows open carry in certain situations, so neither state should even count as prohibiting, as they have no direct law forbidding the carry of firearms specifically in restaurants that serve alcohol.

I find a bit of humor in the fact that AK and AZ require handgun carrying citizens to Carry concealed in establishments serving alcohol. At the same time, MT and VA require open carry into the same sort of restaurants. This seems to be a bit of a dichotomy.

Please note that most states require the carrying person to avoid drinking while carrying. A couple of states will allow one drink. At least one state determines the carrying party may drink while carrying - provided their BAC (Blood-Alcohol Content) does not exceed the legal limit for driving.

I suggest following the law as written in most states, Tennessee included - and simply do not drink while carrying a firearm. Or conversely, do not carry a firearm when you plan to drink.

Friday, June 4, 2010

And we have Round 2

Tonight, approximately one hour ago, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to override Governor Bredesen's veto of SB 3012.

If this is the first thing you've ever read on this blog, let me mention that SB 3012 provides that a Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit holder may carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol, provided the HCP holder does not drink.

The bill provides additional penalties for carrying and drinking that were not law prior to its passage.

The law goes into effect immediately, "the public welfare requiring it," according to the way it is worded. However, some say it is unwise to carry into an alcohol-serving establishment until the document is written up and filed into law. I say carry concealed and it won't be a problem.

Prediction: many media outlets will call this the "guns in bars" bill. Why? Tennessee law does not provide for the existence of bars. There are restaurants, and restaurants licensed to serve alcohol. That's it. All "bars" in TN are simply restaurants with an alcohol by the drink license. Technically, it is illegal for these establishments to draw more than 50% of their revenue from the sale of alcohol - but that law is loosely enforced.

Prediction 2: Randy Rayburn and crew are expected to request an injunction on Monday. This is not expected to be done, and it is unlikely the law will be overturned as there is little or no vagueness in this iteration of the law like there was last year.

Post Edit 1: Nashville's Channel 2 is the first of the local media outlets to post a story on this. And they lived up to my first prediction - errantly calling it "guns in bars."
Nashville Chanel 5 covered the story 5 minutes after. They also got it wrong.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

24 hours to go?

The veto override vote of SB 3012 was put on notice today. The State legislature convenes tomorrow and is expected to clearly and overwhelmingly override our misguided Governor's veto of the legislation.

SB 3012 for those that have not read this blog lately, is the bill that would allow Tennessee Handgun Carry permit holders to carry in restaurants serving alcohol, provided they do not drink and carry at the same time.

Passage of such a bill would bring Tennessee's laws current with 42 other states that allow the same. Even liberal bastions NY, CA, and HI all allow such.

According to the wording of the bill, it becomes law upon signing. That means I can carry when I go out to eat this weekend. My wife will, too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A totally cool web site

It just dawned on me that many of my readers might not be aware of the following website...

Many people are aware of the imdb - the Internet Movie Data Base. It has basic information on almost every movie ever made.

Well, a lot of folks like to know what kind of "gun-porn" they are watching. Being able to identify an M1 Garand used by Clint Eastwood in Gran Tourino, or a GLOCK used by Carrie-Anne Moss in The Matrix is an essential part of enjoying our Second Amendment Rights.

So i give you - The Internet Movie Firearms Data Base.

imfdb.

A Challenge

This is a challenge to the shooters out there.

Seems this blog gets some Appleseed traffic. That said, I have a challenge for the shooters out there.

My challenge is a "No Excuses" Rifleman's challenge.

The idea is simple: Shoot the Appleseed AQT with no excuses, no crutches, no gimme's and no questions asked. I'll post your story on my blog here - exactly as you want it worded.

Here's how it works:
- iron sights (no scope)
- bulk ammo (no match grade stuff)
- no sling
- no modified rifles
- no .30-caliber rule

Shoot a Rifleman score (210 or better) under typical  QDAQT or RFAQT rules. Have a witness (more than one is better). Send me the story. It's that easy.

I know I am not the best shooter around - there's gotta be somebody who can match or beat the 219 I threw up there on Saturday, May 22. I want to write about it.

usagi.dojo@tds.net


 
Post Edit - 3/15/2011 - digging out some old comments and posting them.