Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baseball update

My friend, Sunday School teacher, and former fellow blogger, Right Minded, reads this blog. He is an avid Phillies fan (or is that "phan"?).

Others in my Sunday School class, as well as many readers of this blog are Atlanta Braves fans. So am I.

The Phillies have clinched the Division title and a playoff berth. The Phillies are also guaranteed the best record in the National League. The Braves (at the time of this post) have a 1.5 game lead in the Wild Card chase with three games left.

Those three games are against the Phillies - who have nothing to play for.

I was reading on some National League Wild Card facts recently:
- the winner of the division that also houses the team with a Wild Card berth has never won a World Series

- the winner of the division that also houses the team with a WC berth has advanced further than the WC team only 3 out of 15 times - BUT - the winner of the WC has advanced further than their division's winner in 6 of the 15 years

- In the NL, the WC winner has made it to the World Series 6 times in 15 years, while the winner of the division that also had a WC entry has made it to the World Series 2 times. Of those times, the WC has won 2 championships while the division winner hasn't won any.
After learning this, I'd prefer the Braves be the Wild Card as opposed to the division winner.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Appleseed and the AR15

Many Appleseed attendees use an AR15 rifle for the course, or at least part of it.  While the AR15 is the quintessential rifle for this kind of shooting, the shooter must still be aware of some things to maximize their effectiveness.

Tight sling
In the 1960's, the Army discontinued teaching sling use. A big factor in this was the adoption of the M16 rifle. When the sling is too tight, it can cant the barrel of the AR15.

The Marines kept with the sling training, and soon realized that there is a point where the sling can be too tight. Now they teach careful use of the sling for Known Distance (KD) shooting.

Many Appleseed instructors keep with the motto that there's no such thing as a "too-tight sling!"
We know that is completely false. Only time a really tight sling should be used is on a free-floated barrel with a shooting jacket and glove. 

Appleseed preaches the same thing on the L1A1 - which is just as bad. The sling swivel is attached directly to the rifle barrel.

The cure for a tight sling:
1. Free floated barrel.
Appleseed is friendly to all types of rifles, so that free float quad rail, or free float tube would be perfectly fine. If you have it, the NRA High Power free float tube with regular handguards is great!

2. Consistent sling pressure.
Mark your sling and set it to the exact same tension each time.

Traditional peep sights are excellent. Appleseed is also scope friendly. I personally think an ACOG would be ideal.
Be wary using BUIS (Backup Iron Sights) that have a wide peep. This is a precision course, so the smaller diameter peep is needed.

Avoid red dots. Though you can do well with them, they are best used for different types of shooting.

Now this is interesting

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam just posted a list of 105 Democrats and independents that endorse his run for office.

Notable on the list - Randy Rayburn. One of the most anti-gun people in the state. Rayburn funded the initial lawsuit to overturn "Guns in Bars" last year.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Closure on a scam!

A little over a month ago, I told you about a martial arts scam at Bobby Austin's Bushido School of Karate.

The misdeeds:
1. Attempt to change rules at the last minute to force competitors to buy their sparring equipment.
2. Attempt to solicit our son away from his current school through nefarious methodology.
3. Improper charges to my credit card.

Well, I received an announcement from my credit card today that my dispute was finalized. I won. The charges were fraudulent. I knew this all along, but having the bank confirm it is a measure of victory.

AAR - M1

In Sunday School, I was asked if I had shot the M1 yet. This also served as a reminder that I needed to post about it here.

I took my new-to-me M1 to the range Saturday and fired off a few clips. Yes - clips. The M1 is one of the few rifles that really does use a clip. Sure, it has an internal magazine, but one keeps the ammo in a clip.

Reminder for my readers:
Clips feed ammo into magazines.
Magazines feed ammo into guns.


A few shots into the range session, I realized I had not removed all the cosmoline (petroleum based preservative) via solvents. Cosmoline can also be removed via low heat (150 degrees, Fahrenheit). As I shot, the barrel heated up. Cosmoline came to the surface of the wooden hand guard.

The rifle has stout, but manageable recoil. The weight of the rifle helps with this. Shooting from a bench increased the felt recoil - I prefer shooting from "field positions" in general.

Putting my thumb across the rear of the handgrip and resting my cheek on it is good for .22's - not so much for M1's. Lesson learned.

Older RSO's at the range who see you slinging up properly with a hasty sling to shoot offhand (standing) will be impressed and ask where you learned to do that.

No M1 Thumb for me. That's a good thing.

Selling one's brass at the end of the day is a good deal for all parties involved.

I wish I could afford much more ammo for this gun!

Everyone needs to shoot an M1 once. Right Minded is of the opinion this rifle might be just a step down from heavy ordnance, but there are really multiple fun toys in between. I'm not rich, but any friend of mine who wants to shoot it is welcome. Because the rifle needs specific ammo, I'll offer a free clip (8 rounds).

I can see two things with regards to practical military application:

1) This rifle is light-years ahead of other rifles of the time period. It is easily as accurate as any bolt action of its time, and the ability to shoot semiautomatic, with a full blown cartridge must have been a demoralizing thought to our enemies.

2) Though the M1 is an excellent rifle, give me the AR15 for combat. It is much lighter, more accurate, better handling, more customizable, better ergonomically, and has been in service much longer. The only advantage the M1 has is in the power department. While that's good, the 5.56mm has been putting down bad guys for 50 years.

Found week of 9/20

Several dozen empty egg cartons.

Several dozen empty yogurt or sour cream container.

No eggs - no yogurt - no sour cream. These were just containers.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


A reader recently asked me to describe preparations I would suggest for SHTF, or TEOTWAWKI.

Let me first state that I think localized SHTF is much more likely than TEOTWAWKI. Look at examples of tornadoes, hurricane Katrina, LA Riots, Nashville flooding, etc.

In fact, my inlaws got a glimpse of my personal preparations back in May during the flooding. My mother-in-law was a bit concerned about whether we would have enough food to last until the waters subsided and we could travel to a local grocery store. I showed her part of my preparations, and she was immediately relieved.

So I'll lay out what I suggest, and why I suggest it. As for the "why" - let me go on record by saying that a temporary, localized emergency is far more likely than a nationwide, or worldwide collapse. Therefore, I suggest planning for the temporary localized emergency primarily, with thoughts or long-term goals toward the large-scale collapse.


Food is first on the list, because without it, you cannot live. Of course, you can live without food for several weeks - but who wants to?

Local emergency:
I suggest 30 days of food and water for all people living in the household. Non-perishable food is best. Store in airtight, pest-proof containers.

This can be as simple as picking up a few extra cans and bags of food with each trip to the grocery store over the course of a couple of months.

Under "Food" I would also list other consumables - such as basic medicines, water, toiletries, etc. It also includes the means to cook your food should there be an extended electrical outage.

30 days of food / consumables will let you survive comfortably in most localized emergencies. If things are more dire, it can be a good launching point from which to plan your next steps.

Going to the store and stocking up after the event will not be a good plan - where do you think everybody else will be?

Large-scale collapse:
Chances are you will likely have to grow, hunt, or raise your own food. This will be very difficult without a farm. Having a close friend with a farm might be an option. Be prepared to trade something you can provide, for whatever it is you want them to provide.

Additionally, a large scale storage of non-perishable food is a possibility.


It is generally a wise idea to have 3-6 months of expenses saved off to the side for emergencies. I suggest this is a great idea. I also suggest having at least 1/3 of this available in cash on hand - stored in a safe, but accessible location.

Self Defense

I think every grown American ought to have a few basic firearms - in this order:
- A .22 Rifle
- A semiautomatic box-magazine fed centerfire rifle.
- A pistol
- A shotgun

Start by outfitting your home collectively with at least one of each. Then work toward each person. Some of these might be redundant (one or two shotguns for a family of 6 would be fine). Remember to include scopes, if needed or wanted. Some optics take batteries, so have at least a 6-month supply of the correct type(s).

Having a gun and not knowing how to shoot is like having food and not knowing how to cook - you might get things right, but it does not take much effort to get up to a basic level of proficiency.

Also, knowing the purpose of each gun is crucial. Just like any other tool, it has a specific use, and the user should keep that in mind at all times.

.22 Rifle
This serves two purposes - training & hunting. The .22 can be used for self defense in a pinch, but it is not the best option.

Out to about 100 yards (give or take) the .22 can take game up to the size of a large dog. In an ambush situation, a deer-sized animal can be cleanly harvested with one.

For training, nothing beats the .22 - it has virtually no recoil, it is inexpensive, and modern platforms are very reliable.

I suggest a Marlin - model 60 or 795 - depending on the shooter's magazine preference. The tube of the 60 cannot be lost, and has verified long-term reliability. An additional plunger is cheaper than a single magazine for the 795, and would provide 50+ years of service. However, many people dislike the tube, so the box-magazine fed 795 is a reliable alternative.

Also possible is the Ruger 10/22. However, this platform suffers from reliability and QC problems, so I suggest some add-ons. At the very least, have: a dozen factory 10-round magazines, several extractors (Volquartsen is best) and bolts, as well as replacement buffers and follower springs.

Either the Marlin or the Ruger can be outfitted with tech sights or a scope. Having both would not be a bad idea.

Most major manufacturers produce bolt-action .22's that are reliable and accurate. These would be fine as a trainer, too. 

Semiautomatic centerfire rifle
Get one that is box-magazine fed. 10 round magazines are OK. 20 round mags are better. 30 round mags are even better. Have at least 10 or 12 magazines. The platform you choose is also important:
- AR15 - very reliable, easy to use and learn, modest recoil, and extremely accurate. In fact the only major knock on this platform is the 5.56 mm cartridge is not the most powerful. However, this platform can be modified endlessly, and has 99% interchangeability with US military firearms (M16 and M4), includnig mags an ammo. Maximum effective range - 500 meters.
- AK47 - very reliable. Not very accurate. Recoil is medium in this list. Ammo is cheap. Maximum effective range - 300 meters.
- AR10 - All of the benefits of the AR15, but with the larger 7.62 mm round. Only major knock on this platform is the recoil and expense. Maximum effective range - 800+ meters.
- M1 Carbine - lightweight, reliable, and accurate. At one time, ammo was less expensive than the 5.56mm, but not any more. Replacement parts are also difficult to find. Otherwise, a great choice. Maximum effective range - 200 meters.
- M1A - A heavy, old fashioned battle rifle. With the right ammo, it is very reliable and very accurate. More expensive than the AR10, and less accurate. In fact, this platform, while excellent, is surpassed by the AR 10 in every category. Still a good choice. Maximum effective range - 800+ meters.
- Alternates that, while not ideal, wouldn't be too bad: SKS, M1 Garand, .30-30 lever action, SCAR, older bolt-action military rifles (1903, 1917 Enfield, German, Swiss, and other models, too).

The idea here is the largest caliber you can comfortably carry. Some suggestions:
- Semiautomatic - stick to 9mm, .40S&W, or .45 ACP. Makes like Smith & Wesson, Glock, Springfield, and Sig-Sauer are among the best.
- Revolvers - stick to .38 special, .357 magnum, or .44 Magnum. Many good makes here, but Ruger and Smith & Wesson are the most common and are very reliable.
- With either revolvers, or semiautomatics, keep extra magazines or speed loaders handy.

A 12-gauge or 20-gauge will suffice. Have several types of shells - birdshot, slugs, buckshot, etc. Pump action or semiautomatic are ideal, but double barrel, or even single-shot platforms are fine.

Know how to operate your guns. Be able to clear malfunctions, load and unload, and strip and clean them. Basic marksmanship is a must.

Basic abilities:
- Pistol - be able to reliably hit life-sized targets at 21 feet.
- Rifle - be able to reliably hit life-sized targets at 100 yards.
- Shotgun - be able to reliably hit from standing, game-sized targets at 30 yards.

Standard abilities:
- Pistol - be able to reliably hit life-sized targets in the head or torso at 15 yards as needed.
- Rifle - be able to reliably hit life-sized targets out to 300 yards.
- Be able to clear a room with either a pistol or a carbine rifle.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another Failure

A boy shoots "Rifleman" and they do not give him a patch.

I don't care if he did shoot off sandbags - have a special youth "sandbag friendly" Rifleman patch for the youngster.

Another case of self defense

A Florida homeowner shot and killed a middle-of-the-night intruder.

Murder charges will be filed in the death of the teen. However, as the article points out, the charges will not be against the homeowner - who acted well within his rights under the law - but against the teen's accomplices.

This is how justice should work.

Congress did what?

It would seem our Congress just eliminated the use of the word "retarded" in any format for Federal documents.

They named this law after a girl named Rosa, who has Down's Syndrome.

No disrespect meant toward Rosa, but they should have called it "Biden's Law"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Search of History, Part - the Last

This morning, my M1 was delivered to my house. My lovely wife signed for it. I hope she doesn't shoot it before I do, as I really don't have the extra money to buy another one if she takes it.

Blog update this evening, after I inspect the John Garand goodness.


It is a Rifleman's Rifle, and now wears a USGI web sling. I did not put a new sling on the rifle, but a used one. A rifle such as this (used) is not a safe-queen. This rifle was made to be shot, and I will shoot it.

The receiver is a Springfield Armory. Some of the parts are from different manufacturers. To a collector, this would be a bad thing. But to a collector, shooting the rifle would be a bad thing. This rifle was meant to be shot, and I will shoot it. 

Muzzle erosion (1+) and throat erosion (2+) both gauged well below guaranteed maximum specs (less than 3 and less than 5, respectively) from the CMP - which is good. From those numbers, there's no reason this rifle shouldn't be able to shoot 1 - 1.5 MOA (keeping all shots at 100 yards inside a 1.5 inch circle).

The rifle came lightly coated in cosmoline. Some Hoppe's solvent and a little oil for the wood, and everything is ready to go. My son and daughter were fascinated with it. Both children laughed when I would eject an empty clip and they got to see and hear the "PING" of the ejected clip.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In Search of History, Part 5

This morning, I received an email:

Nina xxxxx of Civilian Marksmanship Programs sent [Usagi] 1 FedEx Priority Overnight package(s).

This shipment is scheduled to be sent on 09/21/2010.

Reference information includes:
Invoice number: 33xxxx
Reference: 22xxxx
Special handling/Services: Adult Signature Required

Deliver Weekday

Post-edit: It has shipped.

Maybe tomorrow?

MSNBC Gets a gun article right

This article talks about US efforts to curb the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico.

Things we learn:
1. The ATF doesn't play nice, or by the rules. Oh, wait, we already knew that.
2. President Obama is frightened to nominate a head to the ATF. Oh, wait, we already knew that, too.
3. Going after "straw purchases" is not as effective as targeting higher level traffickers. Oh, wait, we already knew that, too.
4. Limiting the sale of certain firearms wouldn't help here because these guns are being bought and sold illegally in the first place. Oh, wait, we already knew that, too.

On second thought, the only thing we learned from this article is that MSNBC all but admits the facts that those of us in the "gun culture" have been stating for years.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do Girls Need Guns?

Do they?

This article explores that question.

I say yes. My wife has a carry permit, and carries all the time. My step-mother does, too. Several female friends of the family carry. My sister is contemplating getting her carry permit.

The article also has several really good links:
Five barely talks about guns, or women, but is an interesting read.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

no weapon < club < blade < pistol < rifle < heavy ordnance

Per the request today by Right Minded in Sunday School, here is an extrapolation of a statement I made a few days ago.

First, a few thoughts on non-projectile weapons:

No weapon

Self explanatory. I suggest martial arts. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Boxing, Muay Thai are the best choices. There are other good choices for self defense, but that is beyond the scope of this request.

Small stick < large stick < broom < baseball bat < Buford Pusser style 2x4

Boxcutter < small knife < Bowie knife < bayonet < sword < English Broadsword < Scottish Claymore < Japanese Katana

Now to the meat & potatoes of what Right Minded wanted:

In general:  Rimfire < Handguns < Shotguns < Rifles

- .22's come in pistol and rifle varieties.
- Adequate for hunting up to coyote-sized game at less than 100 yards.
- While people have been killed by .22's they are not well suited for self defense.
- However, a .22 beats a knife in a fight, if for no other reason, than the psychological.

- .22 Short, .22 Long, .22 Magnum, .17 HMR are the most common.
- .22 Magnum is marginally considered for self defense, the others are similar to .22 LR.


Handguns - Revolvers and Semiautomatic Pistols - come in several varieties. I'll not go into makes, as that is another entire blog post (or 12) in itself.

- Too small for realistic self defense. Marginally better than .22 LR, if at all.
- Often, these calibers are prone to jamming and other malfunctions.
- .25 ACP < .32 ACP < .380

General Pistol Calibers
- Wide use as military, police, and CCW sidearms.
- Modern defensive ammo makes these calibers very similar in penetration results.
- Any of the below is perfectly acceptable for self defense.
- Heavier bullets generally preferred.
- 9mm < .357 SIG < .40 S&W < .45 GAP < .45 ACP < 10mm

- Widespread use in past for police.
- Very reliable.
- any of the below is perfectly acceptable for self defense.
- Heavier bullets generally preferred.
- .38 Special < .357 magnum < .44 Magnum
- .45 LC is also perfectly acceptable.

- Since the .44 Magnum can provide near carbine performance, other revolver calibers were produced to increase on this performance.
- Generally not a good choice for a novice.
- Excellent for self defense.
- Calibers include: 50 AE - 500 S&W - .454 Casul - .460 S&W Magnum


Shotguns are excellent self defense choices. A shotgun has far more power than a typical handgun. There are several schools of thought for self-defense loads, but commonly accepted logic holds that buckshot and slugs are superior choices for self defense. Avoid birdshot for self defense.

- .410 shotguns are underpowered and generally not good for self defense. Again, like .22's - there have been cases of people being killed by .410's - but this is the exception.
- 28-gauge and 16-gauge are perfectly fine, but are hard to find ammo for.
- 20-gauge is fine. In fact, 20-gauge with #4 buckshot is a great combination for self defense. Slugs are good, too.
- 12-gauge is the standard. Typically 00-buckshot is ideal, along with most slug choices.
- 10-gauge is the most powerful shotgun, but try finding ammo for it.
- .410 < 28-gauge < 20-gauge < 16-gauge < 12-gauge < 10-gauge


Rifles are the best choice of a firearm for self defense. If this were not the case, then military units the world over would not select Rifles as the primary weapon of their soldiers. However, not all rifles are in military use, so I will divide rifles up as such: military use and non military use.


Non-military - Varmint Rifles
- Good for hunting small game
- Some are good selections for game as large as deer.
- Common choices: .204 Ruger - .22 Hornet - .222 Rem - .220 Swift - .22-250

Non-military - Midsize cartridges
- Good for small game.
- Most are popular as deer calibers.
- Some (.270, 7mm's) are good for game up to Elk, Moose, and Bear.
- Common choices: .243 - .25-06 - .270 family - 7mm family

Non-military - .30 caliber cartridges
- Good for game deer-sized and larger.
- Common choices: .30-30 - .30-06 - .300 H&H Mag - .300 Win Mag

Non-military - large bore
- Good for large game
- Common choices: .35 Whelen - .375 Weatherby Magnum - .416 Rigby - .470 Nitro Express

Non-military rifles are typically bolt action or lever action, with a very few semiautomatic choices. While good for self-defense, over-penetration will be a problem on all but the varmint calibers. Varmint calibers might not have enough power for self defense (.22-250 excluded).

One shot would likely end the fight, but if it didn't, the ability (or lack thereof) of getting off a second shot, coupled with the likelihood of over-penetration, make these rifles marginally less desirable than shotguns for home defense.

Also, I would say that non-military style varmint calibers rifles would not be as good as a properly loaded shotgun for home defense. 

I would make an exception here for lever-action rifles in revolver calibers. Specifically, lever action rifles chambered in .357 magnum and .44 magnum are actually very well-suited for home defense. The only disadvantage is slower follow-up shots due to the lever action as opposed to a good semiautomatic. These rifles get better ballistics than the M1 Carbine, and have proven it by repeatedly taking deer out to 125 yards.


Military Carbines
- Excellent choice for self defense, SHTF, alien attacks, or zombie infestations.
- Generally effective to 300 meters.
- Generally have larger capacity magazines.
- Generally use an intermediate cartridge.
- Common choices: .30 carbine, .223 / 5.56mm, 5.45mm, and 7.62x39
- Wildcat options: 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPC.
- Rifle types - in order of preference:

AR-15 (.223/5.56mm, 7.62x39, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel);
AK-platform (7.62x39 & 5.45mm)
M1 Carbine (.30 Carbine);
SKS (7.62x39) 

Military - Battle Rifles
- Excellent choice for self defense, actual combat, and anything else a military carbine might be used for.
- Effective to 800+ meters.
- Recoil is harsh compared to carbine rounds.

- Bolt-action calibers: .303 British - .30-06 - 8mm Mauser - 7.62 x 54R, 6.5mm Swedish, 7.5x55 mm Swiss.
- Semiautomatic calibers: .308 / 7.62x51 NATO - .30-06
- Battle Rifle preference, in order:
AR-10 (7.62x54)
M1A / M14 (7.62x54)

M1 Garand (.30-06)
Bolt Action (varying calibers)

Military - "Sniper" Rifles.
- Expensive!
- Massive Recoil
- Bolt action and semiautomatic are available.
- Effective past 1000 yards.
- Choices: .338 Lapua, .50 BMG

The 5.56mm AR-15 Rifle, when outfitted with a 20" barrel as originally designed, is able to reach out to 500 meters with effective fire. It maintains moderate recoil, and weighs far less than a battle rifle. It is sort of an in-between with regards to the Military Carbine and the Battle Rifle - with some of the best characteristics of both.

Since Battle Rifles will have over-penetration issues, They are secondary choices for home defense. However, they might move up to primary choices in SHTF, alien attacks, or zombie infestations.

Same goes for Military "Sniper" Rifles. A .50 BMG has been documented to be able to shoot through a concrete wall, a person, and a concrete back wall at over a mile away. In a home defense environment, the over-penetration would likely kill the intruder, the neighbor, the folks in the next subdivision, and possibly enter a house in the next county. Not good.

"Military Carbines" are the best overall choice for home defense. They can hold 30 or more rounds of ammo in a single magazine, and have a well-documented ability to put an attacker down in a fight. Carbines are relatively lightweight, easy to handle, and have only moderate recoil.
The AR platform is very customizable and has 1000's of accessories.
The AK platform is relatively inexpensive and very hardy.
The M1 Carbine is under-rated (by those that haven't shot one!).
The SKS is a no-nonsense rifleman's rifle... it's also the cheapest of the bunch.

Oh, and chicks dig the carbines - especially the M1 Carbines and AR-15's.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tying things together.

Last year, I wrote a bit about an organization called "Guns and Alcohol Don't Mix." This group was adamantly opposed to Tennessee coming into the mainstream and allowing HCP holders to carry in restaurants.

That group never picked up steam, and it fizzled after an activist judge ruled our law unconstitutional.

Well, they are back. Now, they call themselves "Gun Free Dining Tennessee." Of course, the new group alleges it just started up, and has no ties to the old one. But it's all the same - same people, same lawyer, same web host, same looking website.

One bit of good from all this: you can use their website to see which restaurants do not stand for your 2A rights. This can help prevent wasting gas by driving to a restaurant that clearly does not want your business! Even though some of the restaurants that claim to post, don't actually post. 

I wondered aloud to a friend why they chose "Gun Free Dining Tennessee" as a name. My friend astutely pointed out that the best name was already taken - "Please Come Rob My Restaurant."

"Guns in Bars" does not create unsafe workplace

So says the State Inspector.

Of course, opposing counsel plans "many appeals."

Methinks somebody is about to switch parties...

Olympia Snowe tells CNN she is frustrated with the loss of Mike Castle in Delaware.

Snowe is a known RINO and liberal. No wonder she feels this way. If public sentiment stays where it is, she's out of a job in 2012.

Those facts as they are, It would seem Snowe is wanting to keep her Senate spot. She may consider switching to the Democratic party. But then, we all know how that worked out for Arlen Specter.

We all knew these things

Cash for clunkers was a bust - now the liberal press even admits it.

They even admit Obama is following in Carter's footsteps. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another call out

Back a few months ago, I had an interview with Ashley Home Furniture in the Rivergate area of Nashville.

I had answered a job posting for a "Regional Sales Manager" - one who would be in charge of multiple stores.

When I arrived at the interview, the Store Manager interviewed me for a floor-sales position. Nothing against that, but the pay they offered was about 1/3 of what I'd made the previous year. I walked out of the interview. I had a couple of friends and at least one family member make comments that I should have stayed and seen what came of it.

But this wasn't the first, nor the last company to advertise a job in a misleading manner. 

Today, I am speaking with a coworker, who ordered a bedroom set back in May from them. She moved into a new house in June. No furniture.

It is now September. No furniture.

So she is going to take remedial action on getting a refund, as it is obvious that they are unable to fulfill her order. Of course, she fears the 30% restocking penalty for canceling the order, but I suggested she dispute any such charges with her credit card.

This isn't the first time this company has been in this situation, either. Look at these reviews. Seems that a lot of people feel this company is dishonest with their customers, and their employees.

Neighbors to the rescue.

In a California neighborhood, a woman was attacked by three large dogs. Neighbors came out and shot the dogs.

Link to story.

Some things we learn from this:
- Shot placement is everything.
- Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap, life is not. 
- "High capacity" magazines do not create killers. They do allow you to shoot enough to defend yourself.
- Learn to clear malfunctions.
- Select a firearm that is less likely to malfunction.
- Select the largest caliber you can carry and handle. (the largest dog was shot in the head with a .380, and was later destroyed - meaning it did not die from the gunshot!)
- Neighbors with guns are really convenient.
- Having your own gun is priceless.
- In a fight, a club is better than no weapon. A blade is better than a club. A pistol is better than a blade. A rifle is far better than a pistol. Heavy ordnance is better than a rifle.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In Search of History, Part 4

Today I received this email from the CMP regarding my M1 Garand order:

We have received and verified your recent order. Your order will now advance to our sales area and from there to our shipping area. Please note, that unless otherwise listed, our order to ship time is at least 30 to 60 days. You will receive other emails as the order progresses.

Your customer # is 22xxxx. Please use this customer # in any communications with us concerning the order as that is where all of your information is stored.

Thank you for your order and support of our program.

CMP Customer Service

 A quick search of online forums says that once folks get this letter, the average wait time is about 3-6 weeks.

Something is up, locally

The gun forums have had chatter about a Nashville group that has been trying to get restaurants to post handgun carry prohibiting signs.

The allegations are that the group has been saying restaurants are required by law to post these signs, when that is not true at all.

The group in question has some dubious ties to a group I have written about before - "Guns and alcohol don't mix." Both groups operate under false assumptions and scare tactics. Both groups are anti-2A to be sure.

How silly...

In Portland, a 9-1-1 call was made as a witness saw a man with a gun.

Never mind the fact that he was at a gun store!

Police had to respond to this, per local regulations. However, they soon realized the man was going to a gun store to sell a gun. Nothing illegal, hazardous, or otherwise worthy of note (unless he got a great deal!).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An anniversary

Yesterday - Monday, September 13, 2010 - was the 6-year anniversary of the expiration of the Federal "Assault Weapons Ban."

The streets are not red with blood.

In fact, there is not a single well-known instance of a legally obtained "semiautomatic assault weapon" being used to commit a crime since the expiration of the ban. The only widely known instance of an AR15 or AK47 (the two rifle types targeted specifically by the ban), was the beltway sniper case.

But, the beltway sniper case happened in 2002 - during the ban. And the rifle was not purchased legally.

Traffic cameras win again

Last night, Mount Juliet commissioners voted to keep the red-light cameras.

Mayor Linda Elam was the only dissenting vote. Two members abstained from voting.
Two members voted in favor of keeping the revenue generators.

Linda Elam had originally cast the deciding vote to bring the cameras to Mount Juliet. Why the change of course now? Is it because she narrowly won the Republican nomination for State Representative? She should have won that nomination easily. Now, there's a distinct chance she won't win the main race... so she may feel forced to vote for the people to get elected.

Here's a hint for all politicians out there - if you always vote for the people, you won't have to worry about losing the power that comes with your elected office.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Does not make sense

A person I know is an organic vegetarian. She elects also not to drink milk.

Far be it from me to tell another human how to live.

No, what is interesting here is the reasoning used. This individual cites this article and the associated research as to why she avoids milk ,and does not allow her child(ren) to drink milk, either.

Let me debunk this one quickly, using this quote from the article:
As for the link between dairy products and osteoporosis, "there's no solid evidence that merely increasing the amount of milk in your diet will protect you from breaking a hip or wrist or crushing a backbone in later years," says Walter C. Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Problem is twofold:
1. He used an all-male study. Osteoporosis is known to strike women far more often than men.
2. In the female study, the only measuring stick was hip fracture. How many people have osteoporosis that have not fractured their hip?

A special Birthday

Today is a special birthday.

It is Super Mario's 25th Birthday.

Having played all of the Super Mario games (and beaten all but two of them), and having a son who enjoys these games today, this is worthy of note.

To all my geek friends, yes, I know Mario appeared in games prior to 1985, but Super Mario Bros. came out in 1985, hence the birthday.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The circle is now complete

A little over a year ago, if I wanted to hit a target past about 25 yards, I needed a scope.

Now, that's not the case. At all.

In fact, now, I don't really prefer optics at all - scopes or red-dots. I just made the decision to take my red-dot Vortex Strikefire off of my AR15.

This is in no way a dig at the Strikefire, or at Vortex. The optic has been superb. However, I just prefer irons now. I have scopes, and I'm not getting rid of them, but I probably won't buy another for quite a while, as I can shoot as accurately as I need with iron sights.

Friday, September 10, 2010

In Closing

A year ago this week (September 4 & 5, 2009), I attended an Appleseed Shoot. I enjoyed it, and learned a lot. I also saw some things that rubbed me and others the wrong way.

I went back in May 22 & 23 this year. Again I enjoyed it. I learned actually a lot more (though it was from an instructor's point of view more than a student's). Again, I observed some things Appleseed does that should be rectified. And this time through a more refined and understanding point of view.

Like any other program created by man, it has its benefits, and it is not perfect. I am never afraid to go "on the record" about something, and Appleseed is no different. As with any program, it is not for everybody - even though they don't always see it that way.

Like so many other things, this is a "good ol' boy's club" and they act accordingly - be aware of this, in case you dislike that type of organization. Conversely, for those who are looking for that type of association, and who want to be around like-minded folks, there are many who really enjoy the environment.

In the end, it's been an interesting ride. I've heard from many in the program. I've shared emails, phone calls, communications with fellow students, instructors, and even a few high-level people. I was an "Instructor in Training" with them. I decided to distance myself from them. Everything in between.

This will be my last post on this blog about the subject, unless a reader specifically requests an entry. Even then, I may just respond in private to save the headache. Here's a brief summary of my thoughts on Appleseed:


1. Appleseed does a great job with safety.
2. Appleseed will teach you the fundamentals of "field position shooting."
3. Appleseed is relatively inexpensive, and even free for some people.
4. Shooting can be done with a .22 - keeping cost and discomfort low.
5. Their instructors are passionate about the program.
6. They teach some history you likely did not learn in school.
7. Appleseed instructors, in general, can shoot well.

1. Appleseed teaches some practices (example - mag changes) that are contrary to modern fighting doctrines.
2. Appleseed relies too much on sling usage, and not enough on proper body mechanics for shooting.
3. The program has a mentality that the "Appleseed Way" is the best / only way.
4. The program has some connections that some people find dubious.
5. Senior leadership is reluctant to accept constructive criticism.
6. Some shoots have not made exceptions for physical impairments, despite the programs' claims to accommodate. 
7. They can be somewhat misleading to prospective shooters.

Let me elaborate more on "# 7" - the program being somewhat misleading. This is a two-part situation. On one hand, the published information on the program "suggests" the right thing - but does not make all of these things "mandatory." On the other hand, the folks from Appleseed are all over the gun forums, and will give poor / misleading advice to shooters asking what to bring / expect, etc.

If you attend an Appleseed, do these things. It will make your life easier:
1. Bring the things they say to bring.
2. Bring a semiautomatic rifle.
  • Preferably detachable box-magazine fed (although I do have some good suggestions for tube-fed).
  • Bring at least 4 magazines that hold 10 rounds or more (if legal in your area). 
  • Make sure it's clean.
  • Bring ammo you know your rifle likes. Bring 500+ rounds. 
  • Use tech-sights or a scope ("trainer rifles")
  • Have the proper tools to adjust your rifle's sights.
  • If using a military style rifle, use factory peep sights or scope. 
  • Have a USGI sling that can attach to the rifle's swivels.
  • Sight in your rifle with the same ammo you will be using before the Appleseed.
3. Know your rifle
  • Know how to clear malfunctions well. 
  • Know how to adjust your sights.
  • Know how to change mags, load the rifle, etc.
4. Go shooting with the same rifle a few times before your first Appleseed.
5. Don't use the program as an intro to shooting - for you or a friend / loved one.
6. If you really want the "Rifleman" patch - play the game


1. Make it a requirement to bring a semiautomatic rifle.
  • Minimum of two 10-round magazines. 
  • Allow bolt guns, lever-actions, etc. after a person has shot to a certain level. 
  • If you don't want to make semiautomatics mandatory, then simply lengthen the AQT times, and focus on more teaching instead of the "firehose" method. 
2. Learn to accept constructive criticism. Really.
3. If your objective is growth (?), eliminate the things that steer people away from you.
  • Be more accommodating / more flexible.
  • Treat others as you would want to be treated. Have your instructors do the same.
  • Quit the "Pile-on" on the web forums and other blogs
  • Allow the negative comments as well as the positive. You'll attract more students in the end.
  • Discontinue the talk "about students" behind their back. What does it accomplish?
  • Instead, pose questions to the group: "how would you teach this student?"
4. Let the teachers teach. Keep the others as safety officers.
  • The teachers may not always be your best shooters, but should be "Riflemen."
  • Not all who can shoot "Rifleman" are good teachers. 
  • Those that are not good teachers make good safety officers or line bosses. 

Appleseed Hypocrisy 
    Appleseed presents, often in its own words, a couple of interesting contrasts.

    1. Equipment & Course of Fire:
    Appleseed was based on high power shooting, as evidenced by Fred in his "How to Become a Rifleman" series. High Power shooting is done:
    A. From field positions (Standing, Sitting, Kneeling, Prone).
    B. With time limits (10 minutes standing; 60 seconds sitting; 70 seconds prone; 20 minutes slow-fire prone).
    C. Without equipment, other than sling, glove, shooting jacket.
    D. Using "service" rifles - M1, M14 (M1A), and M16 (AR15) - modifications are strictly limited.
    E. At targets ranging from 100 yards to 600 yards away.

    Appleseed is "scope friendly" (their words). Additionally, it is no secret that they really push the use of the GI sling as a shooting aid. Yet bipod or other rests (unless they are shooting at real distances) are not permitted. There is no logic here. And it seems that Appleseed once allowed bipods to earn the Patch, further confusing things.

    Rifles of all sorts are allowed at Appleseed. They encourage .22 rifles like the Ruger 10/22 and Marlin 795 (both excellent Appleseed rifles). It is understandable to allow .22's, but since shooters are really handicapped with bolt-actions, pump-actions, and single-shots, why allow them? Make it semi-auto only... with an exception of certain bolt actions once the shooter shoots a "Rifleman" score.

    As this person on writes, "So two pieces of equipment, the sling and the scope, are vital, but the bipod is a crutch?"

    The vast majority of folks who shoot "Rifleman" scores do so with tricked out 10/22's and big scopes. Nothing wrong with that, and it still requires skill - but as a person who can shoot the score (with and without optics, with and without a centerfire, at will with any setup), I tell you there is a huge difference in shooting the score with a tricked out gun and large optic.

    A simple fact of our modern world is that we are able to use technology to overcome imperfections. Why not use simple, inexpensive pieces of equipment to assist in shooting - especially for beginners?

    2. Self defense vs. sport shooting vs. field shooting.
    Appleseed was based on high power shooting, as evidenced by Fred in his "How to Become a Rifleman" series. High power shooting is a sport. It used to be military training, but is no longer - save basic rifle training in the USMC. 

    But, many Appleseed instructors talk about how the skills transfer to self defense. That is true to an extent. About as much as "Tae Bo" is useful for training to fight (some basics apply, not very much else).

    In real combat, consider a situation, that a rifleman could sling up, go prone, take aim, and shoot a target at 500 yards. Now tell me why he couldn't open up a bipod (or rest his rifle on his rucksack) instead of slinging up, and use it (likely to an even greater effect!)?
    The simple fact is that sling shooting is best used in competition or practice - not in combat. And Appleseed relies on shooting  with the sling... almost to the point of ignoring the simple fact that NPOA exists without the sling.

    Similarly, one can easily find props for shooting while sitting and kneeling in combat. If not, then the sitting or kneeling shot probably should not be taken.

    I challenge readers - especially Fred and his Appleseed cohorts - to give a real example to the contrary. If they even can, I predict it is likely to be a very unusual scenario, requiring many circumstances to fall in line correctly.

    So, Appleseed instructors, in the face of this evidence, will say that the program teaches "field shooting" and the focus is on fundamental marksmanship. These statements are correct. 

    3. "Riflemen" ???

    Here is a thread (and here's another) where a High Power shooter offers Appleseed "Riflemen" a chance to try their skills out at a real distance.

    What happens?
    Do they accept?  (Nope.)
    Are they scared? (Possibly - I don't know.)
    What do they do?
    Put down the person, pile on, and generally make their own program look bad.
    So much so that the Appleseed's Chief Master Instructor sends out a message.
    PS - yet another offer...

    Also, it is well known amongst Appleseeders and their instructor corps, that most folks who have earned a "Rifleman" patch, have done so with highly modified rifles and using scopes. While it is still not easy to earn the patch that way, what has happened is that they have instructors who cannot shoot the score without the highly modified rifles and special equipment.

    Some of these instructors do not know how to help students make sight adjustments. Some of these instructors have not or cannot shoot the score with a centerfire rifle, or with iron sights. Many instructors cannot consistently shoot the score, even with the tricked-out .22's!

    As a matter of personal pride, the first thing a "Rifleman" patch owner should do is to shoot a 210+ with a centerfire rifle of choice. Preferably an M1, M1A, or AR15. Iron sights.

    4. "Hit a man-sized target at 500 yards"
    Very few Appleseeds actually shoot at real distances other than 25 meters. Very few of the instructors know much about bullet drop, wind, etc. Sure, they know "inches, minutes, clicks" - but they do not know how many inches a bullet will drop over a given range.

    To be fair, it would be quite a feat for a regular person to commit to memory all bullet trajectories. However, Appleseed instructors should, at the very least, know the drop for "mil-spec" ammo out of the M1, M14, and M16/M4 family of rifles with USGI or comparable ammunition.

    A common retort that Appleseed Zombies will give when confronted about the lack of real distance shooting is: "well, if you can't hit at 25 yards, you sure won't be able to hit at a real distance." While this statement is true - it is also a very obvious attempt to cover this weakness in the program. And it does not address the fact that most Appleseeds do not shoot out to 500 yards.

    Sadly, there are a number of "Riflemen," IITs (Instructors in Training - "Orange Hats"), and even Red Hat instructors who have never shot past 100 yards.  How can you teach someone to "shoot to 500 yards" when you've never done it yourself?

    Appleseed AQT Truths

    Much has been written about the Appleseed "AQT" (Army Qualification Test). Much myth has come up around it. Fact is, the Appleseed AQT is not in use by the Army, and never was. Fact is, even the USMC's Known Distance ("KD") shooting has substantial differences. So why the AQT? And where did it come from? And why is the scoring the way it is? And why is "Rifleman" set at 210?

    "Fred" is the creator of both Appleseed and the Appleseed AQT. While the AQT is certainly an amalgam, with several points of influence, when one takes all facts into consideration, it really becomes quite clear. "Fred" was never in the USMC. He states that he was in the Army, and given the timeline, he would have shot a COF substantially different to what the AQT is. It would have more closely resembled the current "Trainfire" type shooting - targets at 50 - 300 meters, that pop up. 40 shots, total.

    Course of fire:
    "Fred" was, however, an administrator for an NRA Highpower range, and was a highpower shooter. The Appleseed AQT draws very heavily on the HP course of fire - hence the four stages and the nearly identical timing.

    It would seem "Fred" borrowed the Army Alt-C silhouettes, and cut them off for a "head and shoulders" effect. The similarity is astounding. However, almost no other element of the AQT seems to borrow directly from the military. Instead, it borrows more directly from highpower competition rules.

    NRA Highpower stages are timed as follows:
    Standing (slow) - 20 minutes
    Sitting (rapid) - 60 seconds
    Prone (rapid) - 70 seconds
    Prone (slow) - 20 minutes.

    Appleseed stages are:
    Standing (slow) - 2 minutes
    Sitting (rapid) - 55 seconds
    Prone (rapid) - 65 seconds
    Prone (slow) - 5 minutes.

    It is fairly obvious that in order to shorten the clinic, "Fred" chopped the slow fire times down a bit.

    As for the AQT scoring, let's go back to NRA Highpower to find the real inspiration. In HP competition, the "black" area contains the 8-ring, 9-ring, and 10-ring (which, in turn, houses the x-ring). On any given shot, the maximum, score is 10 points. Anything in the black is at least 80% of that point value.

    Notice that on the AQT, any shot in the black is at least 80% of the possible point value. The targets happen to be silhouettes that represent a man-sized target at 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards.

    NOTE: If a shooter places every shot in the black on the AQT, the lowest possible score is 200.

    That's important to know and here's why: "Fred's" first incarnation of the AQT is four large sheets of paper. One sheet each for 100 yards, 200, 300, and 400:
    - There is still only a single 100-yard target on page 1.
    - There are five 200-yard targets on page two. Each is to be shot twice.
    - There are five 300-yard targets on page three. Each is to be shot twice. There is also a "sighter target" which may be used to sight in with two shots.
    - Page four has ten 400-yard targets, and a sighter target. Each is to be shot twice.

    On this original "Fred" AQT, the rifleman standard was 80% - or 200 points out of 250. Or, put this way - keeping everything in "the black" on a similar COF to NRA Highpower.

    But why 210?
    Easy. Shooting at four sheets of paper is cumbersome, so "Fred" consolidated the "AQT" into a single page. This took out some of the NPOA shifts, so he decided to raise the score needed to qualify - in an attempt to take luck out of the equation. He says this in "Fred's Guide to Becoming a Rifleman."

    How did the number 210 come from it? We do not know for sure, but an easy possibility goes like this:
    The difference between shooting a 200 and a 210 would be to make at least one "5" point score on each of the QDAQT's targets instead of "just" a 4.

    Why I write this:
    Why I write about Appleseed:

    As quoted here: 
    "What I’m seeing is a lot of people who are unable to accept valid criticism and input, and that sets off alarm bells.  These aren’t the people I want representing the gun culture.  I have one basic litmus test for determining whether a person or organization is the kind of person I want to work with or not: Are you looking for allies, or are you looking for heretics?  When I get a whiff of the latter, alarm bells go off, and my skepticism get raised."

    And here: 
    "Getting new people into the community is vitally important.  Arguably the most important thing we can do.  I don’t blame anyone for wanting to get involved in something like that, and applaud them for doing so.  But I think it’s so important that those doing so be open to criticism and suggestion from the broader community, because ultimately this issue is about a lot more than just Appleseed, and it’s certainly about a lot more than “Fred”.  If we’re failing in a key aspect of outreach, we all suffer for that.  It’s important, critically important, to get it right."

    To sum up:
    1. They have a good idea.
    2. There is some suspect packaging - some might say "eclectic" - they should work to remove it.
    3. Accept criticisms!
    4. We are all in this together - work with the rest of us - not against us!

    Why others don't

    You will be hard pressed to find many objective things written about Appleseed online. You'll be harder pressed to find negative things written about them. Despite the moaning of the Appleseed Zombies, what I write is not negative toward the program. I offer pros and cons, and even suggestions for improvement.

    If I wished the program ill-will, I'd suggest people not go. I'd say bad things about them. I'd generally leave it alone after a while.

    But you won't see many others write like I do on the internet about Appleseed. Generally, this is due to just a few broad reasons:

    1. For most who attend, Appleseed is their only formal training. 
    These people are not about to "bash" (or do anything remotely close to it) a program that is the only formal knowledge they have. This results in these people not being able to see the forest for the trees. They wouldn't be able to critically analyze what they do for the life of them.

    2. Appleseed is their "boy's club."
    I've seen this is martial arts time and time again. In the martial arts, you have a black belt who has a rank, and that rank means everything to this person. They define themselves by this. Appleseed is no different. There are "ranks" ("Rifleman," "IIT," "Red Hat," "Green Hat," Master Instructor") that can be earned. Some of these ranks come with little or no improvement in physical skill, but earn the owner additional "respect" of the other members.

    3. Folks who didn't enjoy it are not gun nuts. 
    This is by far the largest group. At the first Appleseed I attended, I spoke with nearly a dozen people who did not particularly care for the program. A lot of them have been turned sour to shooting. These were largely the people who were new to shooting. These people will not be on gun forums. They aren't getting online and talking about it at all.

    The folks that were already into shooting, and enjoyed it (as I did), will migrate eventually to group #1 or group #2. There are a very few of us that look at things objectively and do not fall into either. There are a very few others that enjoy guns & shooting, but did not like or particularly care for Appleseed, but examples of these people are rare. I know of a handful at best.

    4. Appleseeders who feel as I do, but cannot speak out.
    This group is larger than you might think. I've been in contact with literally hundreds of Appleseed instructors (mostly IIT's, and a few Red Hats) who communicate with me that they feel as I do, but know they cannot change the program.At the time of this edit (2/17/2011) Appleseed claims over 1100 instructors - and I have spoken with nearly 20% of them to one extent or another - the vast majority of them feel as I do.

    Some of these folks run their local Appleseeds differently.. .and for the better. Some of them are like me - perpetual students, always looking to perfect their craft. Many of them were initially put off by some of my comments, but then saw things as they really were.


    Appleseed does many things right. Here they are:

    1. Appleseed helps get Americans off the couch.
    Cheap, easily accessible training are two major advantages Appleseed offers, compared to most firearms training.

    2. Appleseed Teaches history.
    Sometimes they get the history largely correct. Sometimes they take artistic license. It's all better than what is taught in most schools these days.

    3. Appleseed is cheap.
    Yes, NRA High Power clinics are often cheaper. But still, $70 is not a lot for a weekend of training. Martial arts seminars are often twice that price. Other types of training in other disciplines are comparable, or frequently higher.

    4. Appleseed is easy.
    Yes, many people complain of the physical demands. Most of these people live sedentary lifestyles. Neither my wife, nor myself experienced soreness or exhaustion, and neither of us is in top physical shape. However, compared to a weekend martial arts seminar, the activity is very moderate.

    5. Appleseed is safe.
    Safety is their primary concern. They have safety steps that, when followed, allow for several levels of failure before there is actual risk. The overwhelming majority of their instructors keep safety as the first priority, and when dealing with firearms, that is OK with me.

    6. Six steps to firing the shot.
    The six steps are fundamental. As Appleseed teaches them, they are correct and necessary for accuracy.


    Despite their insistence, Appleseed passes along several critical errors to shooters. Because none of the errors are in the safety arena, they can be overcome at the sole expense of convenience.

    1. Sighting in.
    Appleseed has students sight in from unsupported prone. NRA Masters and High Masters can do this. Folks who have never taken a training class before cannot.
    Sighting in should be done from a fully supported position, so as to take the human element out of it as much as possible.

    2. Overuse of sling.
    The sling is a good shooting aid. Its practical uses are limited to competitions - usually NRA High Power, CMP matches and smallbore matches. The last documented use of a sling in combat was WWII, and even then, there is only one such documented instance.
    Recreational shooters with access to ranges that allow field positions can also use the sling.  However, AS instructors often cite "the ability to hit a man-sized target at 500 yards" as one of the skills taught. The obvious insinuation is that sling shooting makes such shots practical. This, while technically correct, is misleading in its intent.

    3. Field positions.
    The field positions, as taught, are highly impractical for any shooting other than competitions, or recreational target practice.
    Practical shooting from standing is done while on the move, usually to get the enemy to take cover so that you can move from one place of cover to another.
    Practical shooting from sitting is actually the closest that Appleseed comes to practical. This is for shooting targets from about 50 yards up to 150-200 yards.
    Practical shooting from prone is done from a support - rucksack, bipod, or other rest should be used for long distance (over 200 yards). Unsupported, unslung prone is very useful on targets 75-200 yards away. AS dismisses unslung prone shooting, and this is a mistake.

    4. Magazine changes.
    NRA High Power, Smallbore, and similar competitions keep the same format as Appleseed - fire 2, mag change, fire 8 - on stages 2 and 3 of the AQT. The USMC used to do this, too. In 2005, the USMC changed the Known Distance (KD) course of fire to allow Marine recruits to fire 10 straight from a single magazine in the second and third stages.
    Why? Because mag changes should not be done with the trigger hand! This was confusing Marine recruits who, when finished with the basic KD course, would go to infantry school and learn tactical magazine changes - which are done with the support hand.

    5. Reluctant to change.
    As discussed before, the Appleseed leadership is reluctant to change. In a changing world, this is a death-sentence.

    6. Practicality.
    The field positions, mag changes, time limits and other factors are all proven to be counter-intuitive to actual practical defensive shooting. Add in the fact that sighting in is done incorrectly, and the cult-like following of the organization. Add to that how they hold up the "Rifleman" patch, and it gets new shooters thinking they've got a "Jedi Black Belt" in shooting, when many of them have a hard time rolling off the couch.

    To add to it, the shooting is done predominantly from 25 meters. To be sure, hitting a 1" square at that range is no easy matter. However, there are many more things (wind, mirage, gauging the distance) to take into consideration before hitting targets at 300 yards or more.

    Additionally, making "Rifleman" with a souped-up .22 with a scope is one thing. To do the same with a centerfire battle rifle using iron sights is something totally different (this is why I did not want a patch at my first 'seed). And actual marksmanship against moving targets at 300+ yards is done with centerfire rifles... most often scoped and rested (bipod, or some other support).

    7. Real distance shooting.
    Appleseed claims over and over to teach how to shoot a man sized target at 500 yards. However, wind is never talked about, much less taught. How can one shoot at 500 yards and not know the first thing about reading the wind???


    OK, after you go to an Appleseed and learn the fundamentals of firing the shot, it's time to train just a bit more so you are ready for real shooting. Appleseed teaches some bad habits that you need to correct, pronto.

    1. Sling use.
    Unless you plan to shoot competitively in smallbore or highpower, sling use should be little more than ancillary training. Use it from time to time so as not to lose the skill, but it is not combat shooting. It is not self defense shooting. It is sport shooting, plain & simple.

    Next, take that sling and adjust it out to a comfortable carry position. That is its primary and best use for real life. "Home defense" firearms might be best without having a sling on them at all. 

    2. Mag changes.
    Now that you have that silly sling off your support arm, it's time to learn how to do magazine changes correctly. Here's a hint - mag changes do not involve the trigger hand. Instead, mag changes are done with the support hand. Since we as humans tend to do as we practice, please make it a point to practice mag changes (with empty mags!) at home using the support hand (the one that used to be in that sling).

    3. Sights.
    Iron sights are excellent. Know how to use them. Scopes are good, too. Know how to use them as well. Practice both. Select sights that match what you intend to do. If you have a "SHTF" rifle / carbine, then make sure it has an appropriate optic on it, if need be.

    Red dots are much faster at close ranges (where combat typically takes place). ACOGs are excellent combat optics. 1-4x utility scopes are also excellent choices. Backup iron sights are just that - for backup.

    4. Positions.
    Most combat is done standing, and at less than 50 yards... so practice that the most. Moving while shooting is essential. Reloading is also essential.

    Remember the mantra: what do you call a man who, in combat, shoots offhand at 100 yards? A casualty.

    Keep the sword sharp at longer distances, but realize that beyond 50 yards, kneeling or sitting is far better, and prone is often an acceptable option.

    Speaking of prone, if you expect to do a lot of prone work, get a bipod. If not, learn how to shoot off a backpack. Look for other methods of resting a rifle (cars, tree branches, etc.). With an amateur shooter, a rested shot standing can be much more stable than a slung prone.

    Also, don't chicken-wing. Seriously, that is for matches only. And it is far better for formed-handle rifles than for pistol grip rifles.

    5. Distance shooting.
    If you plan on shooting over 200 yards ever, then go practice it. Like many other things in life - it's not inherently as easy as you might think. When you do, tell me about how much more you like resting that rifle than you do shooting from "field positions."

    6. Sighting in.
    Do this from a bench or similar. Sand bags, bipods, and other devices are your friends. Really. Do not sight in from unsupported prone ever again, unless medically necessary!

    In Closing

    So, now I'm off to other shooting endeavors - next up for me is pursuing some NRA designations. I wish the program well. I enjoyed the 32 hours of instruction provided. Not everybody who reads this will. I can sympathize with you, as my wife did not enjoy the entire event. I even enjoyed the hours of online sparring matches with folks I refer to as "Appleseed Zombies."

    Again, if any reader wants to get the straight up scoop - I'll be happy to tell you what I think and what I've seen.

    Have we forgotten?

    Today is Friday, September 10, 2010.

    Nine years ago - Tuesday, September 11, 2001 - we were attacked on American soil.
    At first, the nation came together.

    Now, we have drifted apart - fueled by petty squabbles, partisan politics, and a lack of focus on making America a better country.

    Last year, my step-brother lost his job because he said we should never forget.

    Noted firearms instructor, Gabe Suarez, has published similar sentiments.

    I agree.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    NRA doing the right thing

    They don't always do the right thing, but with two recent Supreme Court victories (Heller and McDonald), the NRA is now challenging the BATFE's decision that persons 18-20 years of age can not purchase handguns.

    Several years ago, the NRA decided not to join the Heller case - they cited fears that the court would uphold the Washington DC gun ban, and they might be seen as filing frivolous or ill-advised lawsuits. 

    However, after the Heller decision, the NRA grew a pair, and joined in on the McDonald case - which eventually struck down the Chicago gun ban.

    Now, they are on the attack - and I do not blame them.

    Sure, we gun owners have bigger fish to fry. However, the unreasonable gun restrictions that are currently in place were put together piece by piece, and must be destroyed likewise.

    Obamacare hits home

    My employer notified employees recently that they would be conducting "random" verifications of dependents.

    Twelve years in the full time professional job market and this is the first time I've ever seen anything like it. My co-workers said they've never done this before.

    Why would a company verify dependents?
    The only reason is so that they can trim dependents that do not belong.

    Why trim dependents?
    I suggest it might be (rational) fear of fraud - particularly since we will soon be mandated by the Obamacare program to buy health insurance. We all know health insurance is usually much cheaper through a large corporate plan. There are also no hoops to jump through in order to get approved.

    So today, I had to prove my wife is indeed my wife, my son is indeed my son, and my daughter is indeed my daughter.

    Small Rant:
    I am legally married - to a woman. I am a man. It is a traditional marriage.
    Had I been gay, and in a same-sex "domestic partnership" it would have been much easier to prove!
    This is an outrage!
    I had to provide a marriage certificate, and a 1040 tax form.
    A same-sex couple would have only had to provide proof of a joint checking account, or joint utility bill.

    Why couldn't I just show proof of a joint bank account or utility bill???

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    On the Governor's race and Haslam

    "SayUncle" is a blog with lots of pro-gun stuff.

    They also do good articles on the Governor's Race. Lots of links, lots of facts. Lots of reasons not to vote for Haslam.

    Reading through the article - it's pretty sad when an anti-gun Democrat (McWherter) can verbally lash the Republican candidate for being weak on gun rights.

    Yet another wacky hiring practice

    In an interview this spring, I recall the following conversation:

    Recruiter - "So, do you have any sales experience?"

    Usagi - "Just a bit." (I was being just a little sarcastic, as I thought she was being. Turned out, I was wrong).

    R - "If you have any sales experience, you really should list it on your resume so people can see it."

    U - "You are funny." [Usagi laughs]

    R - "I don't know why you are laughing - this is serious. I cannot find any sales on your resume."
    [Recruiter has very serious look on face]

    U - "Seriously?"
    [Usagi has very curious look on face]
    "Are you reading my resume?"

    R - slides resume over. Sure enough, it is mine.

    U - "What exactly do you think I meant with the word 'quota'?"
    [Usagi's resume lists jobs held, and lists annual performance compared to quota. Sometimes with dollar volumes, sometimes with percentages.]

    R - "Like how many products you assembled in an hour."

    U - "Reading comprehension is your friend. You should invite him over from time to time. I have never been in anything but sales. I've never been below quota for the year. I've always been in the top 25%, and usually in the top 5%. But, methinks you aren't going to put me in front of your client, because you didn't read the resume and you are certain I've never sold anything in my life."

    R - "Just saying you should put something about sales on your resume."

    U - [Points out under the companies worked for my heading - "Responsibilities: Outside business-to-business sales to new and existing clients] <- This heading is under every employer for the last 10 years.

    Some people?

    More found on the side of the Road

    Two weeks ago, I was in Detroit visiting clients.

    This provided an opportunity to find things on the side of the road. I did.

    Situation: I was meeting a client for lunch. I was driving around, looking for a parking place that did not require change. I did not find one. My problem was, that I did not have any pocket change on me.

    Solution: look on the side of the road. I found two dimes. That sufficed.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    This hasn't happened in a while.

    I went shooting twice Saturday. Once on my own, and once with my sister, father-in-law, and brother-in law.

    They all shoot pistols more than rifles, and I was there to simply offer pointers, help reload, and generally answer questions and clear malfunctions.

    Sister - we will call her "C"
    My sister shot my pistol mostly - a Ruger Mark III. She shoots well, and doesn't know it yet. She was plastering the targets better than anyone else on the pistol range at that time.

    She also shot her own 5-shot .38 revolver. Again, she did remarkably well, staying inside a 10" plate at 15 yards with the snub-nosed revolver.

    Her only issues were with malfunctions on the Ruger pistol. To her credit, this was the first time she had shot that platform, and she was being extra cautious so as not to accidentally break anything. She never gets in a hurry when it comes to handling guns. Sometimes, I think she thinks I slam the guns too hard when I clear jams. At least we BOTH keep the muzzle downrange when we have an issue.

    Father-in-law - we will call him "G"
    My father-in-law shot well. He had a little shooting instruction in the Boy Scouts over 45 years ago, but recently has become hooked on the sport. He really likes the challenge of marksmanship and the fact that he can shoot at his own pace. Having been put on permanent disability in recent years, he is physically unable to stand or hold a pistol for extended periods of time.

    With "G" I like to give him one or two suggestions each time. He absorbs them well, puts them in play, and shoots better for it.

    He also was shooting a new Beretta NEOS. That is a neat pistol! He bought a red-dot sight for it, and asked me to put it on and sight it in. The thing is likely more accurate than my Mark III. At 15 yards, I could literally hit anything I wanted to hit. This is good, because when "G" shot, we were able to see a pattern in his shooting that helped me see what to diagnose.

    Sure enough, we had a case of "dragging wood." A simple remedy got him on target and he had good groups to show.

    Brother-in-law - we will call him "J"
    J shot well. Plain and simple. He is almost to the point of being able to not need anybody else at the range with him. This was his 5th or 6th time shooting. He only had one issue that he could not resolve - a 10/22 jam. He was actually on the right path to solving it when he called for help. I showed him the steps, and he repeated the action a moment later when the same malfunction occurred.

    A few months back, I gave J the money for a 10/22 - the rifle he had picked out, but didn't have the funds for at the time. I gave J a scope and mount and put it on the rifle for him. I had also sighted in the scope.

    At the end of the day, J shot an AQT. He scored a 164. Not bad for his second AQT ever, and considering, I have not taught him sitting or prone. His sitting needs work. His prone is actually respectable. We will work on this next time. I see him shooting Rifleman scores in 2-3 more range trips. Oh, yeah - that's without a sling. His rifle does not have the swivel studs, yet.

    Weird happening...
    I shot my AR15 a little. It had been a year since I had shot it at the range. Thing could not get on paper. I had not messed with the red-dot, or the iron sights. I spent over 100 rounds, and was nowhere near getting it on paper at 25 yards.

    Usually, a rifle takes me about 10-15 shots to get zeroed. This was a bit frustrating. Given the shooting results I got on the AQT's earlier that morning, we can take shooter's error out of the equation. Next weekend, I plan to take it to  range near me and get the problem settled.

    I have a regiment I can follow and get the sights lined up in one box of ammo. The range near my house also has bench rests - which help me take out the errors I do bring to the table.

    I'll be using match grade ammo, and then confirming with the stuff I was shooting today. I hope the sight just got a little out of whack. I like the sight and plan to keep it while I'm saving up for the 20" barrel.

    When I get it sighted in, I'll confirm at 50, 100, and (if possible) 200 yards.

    A little on ammo choices

    I went shooting Saturday - twice.

    First time was in the morning, and was me doing some ammo research and working on some things.
    Second time was in the afternoon, I helped my sister, bro-in-law, and father-in-law shoot.

    In the morning, I went early and shot a total of 20 AQT's (of Appleseed fame). I scored one 195 (story on that below), one 209 (again, story below), three in the 210-225 range, and the rest were in the 230's and 240's. My high was also a new all-time high for me: 246.

    That morning, I also should mention, my round count was over 1000. I did some side shooting with the Marlins 60 and 795. Predominantly, I shot the Ruger 10/22.

    Notes on the 10/22:
    The Ruger 10/22 is now functioning quite well - with a new hammer, bolt, and extractor. I shot it over 800 rounds. Most (500 rounds) was CCI mini-mags. I also shot much Federal bulk, Winchester 555 bulk, and one AQT with Remington Golden Bullets. Shooting this rifle with CCI mini-mags on 12 AQT's, my lowest score was 232. I also had my high score with it - 246. Not once did the Ruger jam.

    Remington Golden Bullets:
    My four lowest scores were shot with the Golden Bullets.
    With the 10/22, using the Remington Golden Bullets, I shot 195. Uggg. I know, there are people who would love to shoot that, but given that I had just shot a 246 immediately prior to that - and shot a 242 immediately after - both with CCI mini-mags. Winchester and Federal had none - each was shot at least 160 rounds. I did squeeze out a 209 with the Ruger and Golden Bullets.

    I contend that the Marlin 60 and 795 are more accurate than the Ruger. I still hold that opinion. The 211 I shot this weekend was shot with the Marlin 60 and Golden Bullets. And I must say, the bullets started shooting an inch low and an inch to the left on the third and fourth stages of that AQT. The next lowest score I shot was also with Golden Bullets - 221 with the Marlin 795.

    For what it's worth, the Ruger was spitting the Golden Bullets all over the place - high, low, left, right, and any combination of those. Also, the Golden bullets had a total of three duds out of 160 rounds. CCI had one out of 500. Winchester and Federal had no duds this day.

    Like with Remington Thunderbolts, one can hear several different pitches of ammo when fired. It is obvious some rounds are not loaded with the same amount of powder, as they are not as loud.

    Remington centerfire ammo, in my experience, is very accurate. So I cannot explain why their product is not performing better than it does.

    CCI Mini-Mags:
    The CCI finally gave me a dud. Let's see - I've shot over 2000 rounds of this stuff, and I finally get one that does not go "boom." Not bad. I usually get 1 out of 500 in the Winchester, and Federal Bulk. I've seen 20+ duds in Remington Golden Bullets (500 round bulk packs).

    In the Ruger, I often get prone shots with CCI that touch. With the Marlins, that probability actually increases. For some reason, both Marlins prefer the CCI standard velocity. However, I cannot find that ammo at the time, so I'm saving my last 100 rounds.

    Federal Bulk:
    This stuff works great. I like this the most out of the ammo I use. The only real edge it has over the Winchester ammo is availability. It's always at Wal-Mart. Winchester can be hit or miss. In the 10/22, I was able to consistently get scores on the AQT of 220+. With the Marlins, add 10 points, or more. I shot a 240+ with both the 795 (tech-sights) and the 60 (scope) with Federal Bulk. Not once with the Ruger.

    Winchester 555:
    I like this stuff. The only reason I don't have more is that it is not usually in stock at Wal Mart. Same price as Federal Bulk. Same performance from my testing. It seems to have consistency, and I have yet to have a dud in about 1000 rounds fired. Maybe that right there might be a reason to bump it past Federal Bulk, but I've gone well over 1000 rounds without a dud from Federal, too. Then I saw three duds in a row. So I'll reserve promoting this ammo until I've seen more from it.

    For now, Winchester 555 is perfectly fine, and I would recommend it for rimfire shooters.

    Also, I am under the impression that the Winchester 333 is the same ammo, in a smaller box. So I would recommend that, too. I just buy the bigger boxes.

    My Marlin scores were better than my Ruger scores with this ammo, as expected. 

    Side note:
    I shot one AQT a little different. I shot it standing for the first stage - as prescribed. Then I used the sitting position for stages 2, 3, and 4. Stages 3 and 4 call for the prone position, as the targets are smaller and harder to hit. I used the harder position on purpose.

    I must note that I used the Ruger and the CCI mini-mags for this AQT.

    I shot a 232.

    Next up - learn to shoot kneeling. 

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Some observations from work

    The parent company of my employer recently hired a new CEO. In his inaugural address, he mentioned, among many other things, that the company as a whole was dressed too casual.

    In our arm of the company, dress is business casual, and we have casual Fridays. Occasionally, we will have a "casual week" and for a modest donation of usually $5 (often to a notable charity like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, or similar), one can dress casually for the entire week. Since few if any of us in the building see clients here, there is never a problem.

    Now, folks in sales in my department travel occasionally to visit clients. When we do, proper attire is strictly adhered to.

    Well, wouldn't you know it, there was a memo from HR this week, advising us to not be "too casual." They have banned t-shirts (from the looks of it, even for casual days). One coworker pointed out to me that, as a female, t-shirts were part of a normally acceptable business casual attire. Now, she says, half her wardrobe is out of the question.

    I hope she starts a blog - we have interesting conversations. Though we do not always see eye-to-eye politically, it's never any hard feelings - just difference of opinions.


    A neat little advantage to having a blog is seeing where your readers come from. These statistics are available to me at the press of a button.

    Here are the folks to whom I owe a "thank you" - as these locations have provided my blog with the most views:

    1. Right Minded. A heartfelt thanks.

    2. Rimfire Central. I post links there from time to time, so not surprising.
    3. Appleseed. Really? Wow. Thanks, guys, for thinking of me.
    4. Blogger. Another surprise.
    5. Google. Not really surprising, given the nature of things I blog about.

    Numbers 6-10 are interesting, but niche markets, and change frequently. These top 5 have been the top 5 for the better part of the year - the order might change here and there, though.