May 14, 2007

Publicola Interview

Who was that brilliant thinker who said this?:

Listen, i'm not saying i think people should have rushed him or anything like that. If i was unarmed, and i was a guy, i'm not sure i would have had the guts to rush him. Even if a couple of other guys went with me. In the spur of the moment, I can understand hesitating, who wants to be the one guy who gets shot so the others can jump him? Bravery like that doesn't exist in our culture anymore, as Professor Librescu demonstrated. What i am saying is that one guy with a gun could have stopped the whole thing. And every. body. fucking. knows. It. One guy. Because, think about it... If you're unarmed, it takes a hell of a lot of guts to jump a guy with two guns, but if you're sitting in that room, and you know you've got a gun in your pocket there is absolutely no way you're not going to use it. How could you live with yourself if 32 people die and you know you could have stopped it? You'd have to intervene. Whereas, unarmed people don't have that kind of motivation. They are more likely to wait for the Librescus of the world to save them.
Guess who.

Update: Part 2 is here.

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December 03, 2006

Chris Muir Promotes Sig Sauer

So un-PC.

But he's right, the action is smooth on that thing.

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August 04, 2006

Violence Begets Violence, The Micro View

I'd been ruminating on a post about the efficacy of violence in modern international conflict, when I came across Publicola's miniseries on the efficacy of violence in personal security. I may get to my own thesis this weekend, but I want to recommend Publicola's post today. It's especially timely when you consider what's been going on in Phoenix for the last year.

Publicola's divided his essay into three parts (with more on the way). The first deals with the philosophy of self-defense in an introductory way, the second deals more specifically with the use of firearms for self-defense and suggestions for proper training, and the third part contains recommendations on proper gun selection.

[A brief aside here: Publicola, like many others I've consulted, is a big fan of the shotgun for home defense. That's all well and good, and I understand his argument, but in my opinion the best firearm for home defense has got to be the Pistolet-Pulemet Shpagina model 1941, otherwise known as the PPSh or "burp gun."

It's the gun that kicked the Wermacht's ass. Check it out. At 900 rounds per minute, tell me that couldn't neuter any or all rapists and burglars you'd care to name. I'd like to try it on this asshole.]

If you're curious about what I've chosen for my own protection, here she is.

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May 13, 2006

Apropos Of My Last Post

Anyone got opinions on this sweet baby?

M1a.jpg

I like it. I like it a lot.

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April 24, 2006

Meet Mistress Annika

Allow me to introduce you to Mistress Annika:

Mistressannika.jpg

Annika's Journal reader Hannes has bestowed the distinct honor of naming his newly purchased Yugoslavian M48 Mauser after yours truly! Here's how this all came about:

[I]t is a variant of "der Mauser Karabiner 98k". Yes, in 1898 this was considered a carbine! The design dates back that far, but this one rolled off the line in Yugoslavia in the late 40's or early 50's. Designated the M48, it was built in a factory that not been bombed out using captured German machine tools and designs. It was meant as a military surplus rifle for issue to reserve troops and sales to various conflicts around the world at the time. . . . My new toy has been sitting in a warehouse only to be test fired every five years. It may be 50 to 60 years old, but for all intents and purposes, it is brand new.

I wasn't planning on buying a Mauser when I walked into that gun store three-plus weeks ago . . . . I picked up a brand new M1 Garand and liked it until I saw the price tag: $2700. Yeesh! It's a shame I don't have any children, because then I could sell them to a wandering band of gypsies and buy the thing. Plus maybe some ammo.

Finally I relented and asked what was all the way in the back row right where the shotguns start -- their lowest priority rifle sales location. "The one with the hogsticker," I said. I was expecting it to be yet another Chinese SKS with a folding bayonet ... yawn!

The saleman said, "That's a Mauser."

Hannes thinks, "Mmmmmm, Mauser!"

So I bought the thing right then and there for half the price I was going to pay for the jilted rifle, complete with its first aid kit for wounded jihad monkeys ... er, I mean the bayonet! How insensitive of me.

But enough about the rifle, let's talk about the bullet. It's fires an 8x57 mm cartridge. . . . the expended shell casings are as long as a full AK-47 round ready to fire. It will propel a 170-grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of almost 3000 fps. . . .

OK, after I offered my rifle to one of my younger shooting buddies he ran out and set a can about 15 meters away and then took aim at it. He's an absolute newbie to shooting, but indignant to CA's idiotic gun laws. While he's doing this, I'm remembering that the Mauser 98k first saw action in the Boer War and that, at Spion Kop, Afrikaners were using them to pick off British soldiers from 1000 meters away without a scope ... and he's aiming at can at pointblank range.

I was expecting the can to be empty, but no. It was full of mandarin nectarines. And when he hit it on the first try, it disappeared into an orange cloud. Afterwards, the most we found of the can was what was once its bottom and a small speck of a nectarine -- perhaps 1/8 of an inch long -- that the wind had blown back onto one of our sweatshirts.

Even more bottom line, 60 rounds through the thing gave me a fat lip. And I have this nasty snaggletooth on the right side of my jaw that means I should invest in a football player's mouthguard when shooting this thing lest I want it to tear up my inner lip again.

What can I say? German Kannonenthumpenboomen in das Haus! Ya.

Awesome. But why the name?
When I picked up the Mauser, I got a butt pad with it. The salesman was fumbling around looking for a black one after he found a brown one. I told him that it's OK since the rifle is brown. He countered that MY rifle is blonde.

I had been struggling for a woman's name to give it. Right then and there I decided on "Annika". And after the beating it gave me last weekend, I've amended that to "Mistress Annika". I hope you don't mind ...

Not at all Hannes! I'm totally flattered.

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October 06, 2005

The Becker Stance

Wherein i toot my own horn and pretend like i'm an expert, just a little.

progress report

i'm ready to say it now. After only eight week's experience shooting pistols, i'm pretty confident that i can take down any assailant at 25 yards, given a quality firearm, and assuming i don't freak out when the time comes.

i was uncomfortable making that boast before now, because i'm basically a self-taught shooter. But everytime i go to the range i'm amazed at how much other people suck at pistols. i look around at the other targets and the holes are shotgunned all over the place. Many of these guys are law enforcement types, too. i consistently outshoot my boyfriend, who learned how to shoot in the military. At the ranges i go to, i've noticed most guys like to shoot at 7 yards predominately. i've gotten to the point where 7 yards is no challenge for me anymore, and i shoot that range with my prescription glasses off.

Am i that good or are other people just that bad? i have no idea. i'm not going to go tap a stranger on the shoulder and say "hey, why do you suck so bad?" Especially if that other guy is armed. So i'm left only with my theories.

My first theory is that people look at aiming and pulling the trigger as two separate and sequential actions. i think that's my boyfriend's problem. He takes aim, then he pulls the trigger. In my humble novice's opinion, i think you have to concentrate on aiming the whole time, and the trigger pull should be slow and almost unconscious.

i read somewhere that you should be surprised when the gun fires. i also harken back to a book i read long ago, called Zen in the Art of Archery. In that book the Zen master constantly harped on letting the arrow go only as a natural unconscious act. Like snow falling from a bamboo leaf, the arrow should fly when it's ready, no sooner and no later.

i think the same philosophy can be applied to trigger pulls. So i take aim and concentrate on lining up the sights properly, keeping the gun as steady as i can. As i'm doing this, i begin pulling back on the trigger. Once i begin that action i try not to think about it anymore. i especially try not to anticipate the shot. i keep my mind focused on the sight picture and when the shot happens, it happens. That's one reason why i hated the Glock. i need a heavier trigger pull because my squeeze is so slow.

Another theory is my stance. i've done some research about the Weaver stance, but i never really felt comfortable using it. i think it allows for too much movement in the elbows, especially since it requires the muscles of both arms to be working against each other. Here's a good site that describes the various stances.

My stance is more like the modified Weaver described as the Chapman in that website. First i take a 45° stance with my left foot forward (i'm right handed.) i lock the elbow of my gun arm and point the elbow down. Using my left hand, i then pull the gun arm toward my body until it lines up on the target. i also pull my right shoulder blade rearward until it stops.

The main difference in my stance is that i place my left hand under the grip, palm up. The fingers of my left hand go around the outside of my right hand, instead of covering the fingers of my gun hand. i think this allows my left hand to support the weight of the gun better, and also makes it easier to pull my right arm against my body.

Another advantage to my hold is that it gets my left thumb out of the way. Using the conventional hold, i once noticed a temptation to use my left thumb to assist my trigger finger as i got tired. My new method eliminated that temptation.

So does it work? i'll let you be the judge. Last weekend, i shot the target on the right using a Sig Sauer P226 in .40 S&W. The cartridges were Magtech 180 gr. FMC, which have a muzzle velocity of 990 feet per second. As you can see, i was least accurate at 25 yards, aiming at the head. Actually, i'm better with the HK at that range. i like to leave a target like that out there for a while so the other suckers at my range can see it and be properly impressed, before i swagger out of there.

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September 15, 2005

New Gun Nut Progress Report III

Here's the next in my series of novice gun reviews. This post should be subtitled "Teutonic Target Shooting, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

progress report

My quest for the perfect handgun to purchase started out with the 9mm Sig Sauer P226. i think you all remember how crazy i was for that gun. i'm glad it was the first pistol i ever fired because it has become the benchmark by which all others are measured. In fact Sig Sauer has reinforced my long-standing preference for Teutonic engineering. So i figured, as long as i'm test driving guns, i should check out all the German makes i can get my hands on. more...

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September 04, 2005

New Gun Nut Progress Report II

Me and my roommate Megan tried two more pistols today, both Smith & Wesson. Here's my novice review.

progress report

The first was the venerable Smith & Wesson Military and Police .38 special. The particular model we rented was the Model 64. Someone told me that this gun is used by California prison guards, but i have not been able to verify that information.

sw64.jpgi chose this revolver because it's what i always pictured when i thought of the word "gun." The design dates back to 1899. It's simple to operate and easy to shoot, but i didn't like the sights. The rear sight is really a groove along the top of the cylinder. i had trouble lining it up with the front sight in the low light of the range, and consequently i shot worse with the .38 than i have with any other gun.

The S&W 64 retails for $583, but i wouldn't buy it. Here's what Dirty Harry said about .38 calibers in The Enforcer:

Kate: You're 'cold bold Callahan with his great big .44'. Every other cop is satisfied with a .38 or a .357. Why do you have to carry that cannon for?

Harry: So I hit what I aim at, that's why.

Kate: Oh I see. So that's for the penetration.

Harry: Does everything have a sexual connotation with you?

Kate: Only sometimes.

Harry: The .357's a good weapon, but i've seen .38 slugs bounce off of windshields. That's no good in a town like this.

i heard somewhere else that the .38 special cartridge is really good for punching holes in paper, but not much else. The casing is the same size as a .357 magnum, except it's full of wadding, according to the range dude i talked to. i know because some wadding flew up and landed on my head. i thought it was a bug at first, but when i put my hand through my hair it was like a gray powdery chunk of dust. Gross.

The next gun we tried was the Smith & Wesson 4006TSW, which shot the .40 S&W cartridge. Now this was more like it. i had been curious about the .40 S&W round, because i'd been told that it had more power to stop an attacker than a 9mm, while still being easy on the arm. i found the kick of this gun comparable to the Sig and Browning 9 millimeters i loved so much.

sw4004.jpgi also like the fact that it had an actual safety, unlike the Sig Sauers, which have none.

Megan and i split a box of 50 bullets, and i shot 17 rounds at ranges of 7 and 15 yards. i kept all but three inside the 9 ring, which for me is okay. Then i switched to the head at 25 yards for the last eight rounds, and missed only once. So i'd say this is a pretty accurate pistol.

Another neat feature of this weapon was the rack on the bottom of the barrel, which can be used to attach a flashlight or a laser sight. i love accessories!

This might be the all around defensive weapon for me. It satisfies a number of requirements i have. Good power, reliable (it jammed only once), it has a safety, it's accurate, not too much recoil, has a comfortable grip, and holds at least ten rounds. i also like that it's made in America, and the stainless steel is supposed to resist corrosion.

i don't like the sights as much as the Sig Sauer's three dot system, which is really easy for me to see. The Smith & Wesson has a white dot on the front sight, but the rear sight is all black. i like the three dot system better because i can tell whether the gun is lined up from left to right by judging if the three dots are equally spaced apart. i can't do that on the 4006 because i only see one dot.

i don't think they make this model anymore. i picked up a Smith and Wesson catalog for 2005 and the closest thing they had with a 4 inch barrel was the model 410, which doesn't come in stainless steel. But i'm not ready to buy anything yet anyway. There's plenty of other pistols i need to sample first.

Update: Boone Country wrote a spirited defense of the .38 special way back in 2003 that is worth reading.

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August 29, 2005

Gun Nut Progress Report

As a brand new gun nut, i thought it might be interesting to give you regular updates on how things are going.

progress report

i've now shot a total of 150 rounds through a pistol. The Sig Sauer P226 is still the gun to beat, in my estimation. But i recently tried two other guns, which i'll critique for you from my novice's viewpoint.

TacProIItarget.jpgThe first was a Kimber Tactical Pro II in .45 ACP caliber. i did not like this gun. First of all, it dang near took my arm off. Big bang, big kick. That's to be expected from the larger cartridge, i imagine. But i know the Kimber's sights were off, too. Look at the photo of my target. You'll see that nothing hit to the left of center out of 50 rounds at ranges from 7 yards to 25 yards. i think that's unusual. It also shot low and i had to compensate by aiming above the bullseye, which was annoying. i normally line up the sights just below the bullseye.

Also, the Kimber's grip was too short and didn't feel right. The gun was double action only and had a grip safety and a thumb safety. i liked the idea of two safeties, but i'd rather have a single action option because i tend to squeeze the trigger very slowly and watching the hammer go back was distracting to me. i want to try another .45 just to give them a fair shake, but i wouldn't buy a Kimber. They retail for over a thousand and i expected better for that kind of price.

Most recently, i tried the Browning BDM 9mm. Now, after researching this post, i learned that the BDM can be switched from "double action" to "double action only" by use of a little slotted swich on the side. i noticed the switch at the range, but since nobody told me what it was for, i didn't mess with it.

The Browning was nice, despite some problems. i found it to be accurate at all the distances i tried. It fit my hand comfortably and the trigger was easy to squeeze. It's a good looking gun and it was well behaved when it didn't jam, which was too often for my liking. The range dude said it probably needed cleaning. Also, the slide sometimes failed to lock open after the last round was fired. i expected a little more from the famous Browning name, but it was a fun gun to shoot. i still prefer the Sig Sauer's big bright sights. The Browning's sights had smaller dots and one of them had been rubbed off on my rental gun.

Next week i think i'll branch out and try a revolver.

P.S. Last night, i had a dream that i met Kim du Toit. What's happening to me?!

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August 15, 2005

Blind Date

You ever go on a blind date? i did this weekend, in a way. You know how you're nervous but you try not to let it show, cuz you wanna look cool, you know people are watching you. Then you meet and he's kinda dangerous and scary, but sexy too. And you stay back for a bit while he talks to some others, but then you get your chance for some one-on-one time and it starts going good. Surprisingly good. Then you finally get your chance to hold him, and it's all fireworks and loud noises and yes, Yes, Yes! and so freakin fun you can't believe it. And you can tell by the sparks flying that he's into it too. Even though you were nervous and he looked so powerful at first, he treats you surprisingly gently and does exactly what you want him to. But then it's all over so soon. Way too soon. So you go back to acting cool while you say goodbye, but inside your heart's beating fast, and you can't seem to hide that big smile, and you can't wait to see him again. And you plan something for next weekend and you can't stop thinking about him and trying to remember what it was like holding him?

Well, last weekend was like that for me. He's Swiss, but he was born in Germany. His name is Sig, and by now you probably know i'm not talking about a guy. But we will be seeing each other again, you can count on that. And i'll let you know how it goes. i may even start seeing some of his friends, too.

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August 13, 2005

First Timer

Guess who shot a pistol for the very first time today?

targetbig.jpg

Those are my first twenty rounds. Not bad eh? i can't believe how much fun that was.

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