Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Misunderstanding Self-Defense: Practical

So as I mentioned, my local gun store/range has started offering an expanding suite of training classes. I was offered the chance to audit a couple of them recently, ostensibly in exchange for publishing reviews on my blog, but also because they wanted my feedback on the curricula, class structure, and so forth.

So I took the eight hour Fundamentals of Armed Self-Defense class a couple Saturdays ago and followed it up with the four hour Introductory Self-Defense Shotgun on Wednesday.

I'll put up reviews of both classes here shortly...especially since I'll have nothing but time on my hands for at least the next couple weeks...but there was something else I noticed that was worth writing about. It involves a pretty common misconception people have about self-defense, and specifically self-defense with shotguns.

There was a dude in the Saturday class who was obviously not your typical gun hobbyist. He didn't even strike me as the sort of person who's always had guns around and just decided to get some formalized training in the legalities and practicalities of self-defense.

Years of working in the retail gun biz have given me a pretty good nose for the customer who has suddenly decided they need a gun because of some news story or incident that hits too close to home. This was that guy.

The first half of the class was all state-specific legal stuff, and the guy didn't seem much interested in anything but the Castle Doctrine stuff and laws pertaining to defense in the home. It was soon obvious that he didn't intend on carrying a gun, but was more worried about someone breaking in.

During the latter half of the class, which covered more practical stuff, as well as dealing with law enforcement in the aftermath, he was more interested and asking questions. When the effectiveness of the shotgun vis a vis handgun ammunition was being discussed, he looked almost relieved, although he seemed a little taken aback when it was mentioned that even errant buckshot pellets will travel through a number of residential walls and the safest backstop was the bad guy.

Sure enough, Wednesday night I showed up to the introductory scattergun class, and he was enrolled in that class, too. A few more facts came to light by his questions and reactions during the classroom portion of the class, where the effectiveness of various loadings was discussed, as well as the effect of choke and load choice on pattern size.

The loosest patterning buckshot I've tried out of my 20" 870 is Remington 9-pellet LE Reduced Recoil,  which will still put them all on a pie plate at thirty feet.
The student had, it seemed, shot 3 Position Smallbore Rifle in college, and remembered the difficulty of hitting the tiny bullseye at 25 yards. Because of this, he had wanted a defensive weapon he wouldn't have to aim under stress. Further, due to medical issues, he wasn't able to raise his right arm above shoulder level or effectively shoulder a shotgun.

He'd been sold a shotgun as a weapon that could be fired from the hip and sweep a room or hallway clear with a devastating wall of lead that would knock intruders from their feet, all without having to aim under the stressful conditions of having an intruder in the house.

He didn't stick around for the range portion of the class. Tony, our instructor, was willing to work with him using the vintage "underarm assault position", once taught as the right way to run a shotgun, but it would probably require more one-on-one time to do so than the class structure would allow.

If he had stuck around to observe the firing portion of the class, he'd have seen me fire four rounds of Federal FliteControl 00B at 25 yards, firing as fast as I could settle the sights...

I've fired some pistols that wouldn't do much better with five shots off a bench. Hardly the alley-wide wall of lead Hollywood (or the silverback at the gun store) primed us to expect...

Monday, May 21, 2018


Ugh, getting FedEx to come pick up a call-tagged package is a nightmare. UPS was probably annoying, too, but seemed downright pleasant there on the heels of the FedEx call.

I got pretty frustrated trying to explain what was going on to C3P0, and the basic level human I transferred to was actually dumber than the computer, reducing me to literal tears of frustration. I had to escalate to a supervisor to arrange for a simple call tag pickup.

The $6,000 Man

An entirely spring-powered "bionic" vest that provides support for a worker's arms, allowing them to do overhead labor all day without courting repetitive stress injuries.

I'd imagine a drywall worker with one of these and drywall stilts would be quite a sight.

Misunderstanding Self-Defense: Legal

So I saw a link to a story on the website "The Root" that trumpeted that a shooter they called "the George Zimmerman of Alabama" had been found guilty of manslaughter. Not being familiar with the case, I clicked over to read the details:
"Around 7 a.m. on June 16, 2016, Scott was making a delivery in his bread truck in Huntsville, Ala., when he noticed that the door of his truck was open. That’s when Scott said he noticed Mustafa walking away with his black lunchbox, AL.com reports. 
Scott testified that he yelled to the boy to drop the lunchbox but said the young man responded by giving him a “screw-you look.” 
“I told him, ‘Drop it or I’ll shoot,’” said Scott. When Mustafa didn’t comply and began to run, Scott shot at the teen but missed. So Scott shot again. And again. And again. And again. 
On the sixth try, Scott finally put a bullet in the back of the 16-year-old’s head."
Okay, that's pretty much exactly not anything like George Zimmerman, outside of the relative races and ages of the shooter and shootee. Beyond that, there's not a single similarity...legally or morally...between shooting a more physically powerful assailant who is pounding the back of your head against the pavement and backshooting somebody for misdemeanor lunchbox theft.

Totally the same thing as a fleeing lunchbox.
As a bonus,  I read the first batch of comments.

Almost everyone there was shocked he'd been convicted of manslaughter. They thought the charge should have been "Murder 2", because thanks to Law & Order, everybody knows the New York Penal Law, so they must have gone after manslaughter because racist and Alabama.

Rather, in this case, the prosecutor wisely went after the slam-dunk Manslaughter because it took the "heat of the moment" defense off the table and reduced Scott to trying to claim that he unluckily struck the kid with one of the fusillade of "warning shots" he sent after him.

Your carry permit is not a Batman badge. The only person more clueless about the legalities of self-defense than the column writer and his commenters was the trigger happy clown who just got twenty years to think about the error of his ways.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Technical Difficulties...

So, I stayed up a little later than planned last night. My rationale was that I'd already blown off my intended bedtime of 11:30 and so I'd just stay up and surf the intertubes for another 45 minutes or so until my phone finished charging.

Apparently I nodded off at my desk and, when I slipped from REM into deep sleep, I also fell out of my chair. I must have hit the hardwood floor right on the point of my shoulder, because I broke my left collarbone pretty good.

Well, this puts paid to my planned trip to gun school with Gabe White in Columbia, MO. It's gonna ding my pistol shooting for the next month or two as well.

I see that my roommate lit the Beacons of Gondor while I was at the hospital or was sitting on the couch in an opioid stupor. I didn't know she'd done that, but it was a welcome surprise. Thank you so much to all who responded.

And thank heavens for this little flyweight wireless keyboard in my lap so that I can continue to type two-handed.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

"Heavy is good, heavy is reliable..."

Thursday morning's goal through the Model 5906 was 180 rounds downrange to bring the total to the  2,000 round goal. I brought the 100-round box of TulAmmo from home, and picked up a box of the cheapest ball ammo at the range (Magtech 115gr) and a couple 25-rd boxes of JHP.

The only failure of the test occurred on round number 1,876. It was a round of TulAmmo 115gr whose primer would not pop no matter how many good licks it was given by the firing pin. I'd say this qualifies as a dud primer and I'm not counting it against the gun.

So that's the end of the test for the Model 5906.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 2000 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with one failure to fire caused by a dud primer on round #1876.

Look for wrap-up posts on both this and the CZ-75B Omega, complete with dirty gun pr0n, in the immediate future.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Tab Clearing...

Almost there...

I drove over to Indy Arms Co. on Wednesday morning to put another two hundred rounds of TulAmmo 115gr FMJ through the poor long-suffering Smith & Wesson Model 5906.

The lower 8" circle is the first hundred rounds, and the upper 3x5" is the second hundred. You can see what the fatigue did to my grip.

The gun, on the other hand, continued to run without any issues.

This brings the total rounds fired through the 5906 to 1820 since the gun was last cleaned or lubed, with no malfunctions of any type to report. 180 rounds to go.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

This is for the birds...

Can you kill a dude with birdshot from a 12ga? You sure can. Most of the cops I know can tell at least one story of some bad guy laying in a spreading puddle, having had a rathole chewed through his middle by a close-range blast from a low-brass #7.5 target load.

But when I say "close range", I'm talking three to ten feet from the muzzle. Which is damned near gun-grab distance in a long-gun fight.

These shots were from less than twenty feet. Birdshot is for birds.

The distance at which birdshot turns from an instantly-lethal .72" Glaser Safety Slug to an ugly and enraging flesh wound is closer than you think it is and is less than the longest possible shot in your home unless you live in a refrigerator box. You can also miss with a shotgun in that distance. Put a sight on that splattergun and learn to use it.

Fun Fact...

It's really cool having an Introductory Self-Defense Shotgun class at your local indoor range. Especially when it's a quick intro 4-hr class that runs from 6-10PM, and you can jet over there in five minutes from your house.

The downside is that, like all classes involving multiple people, it's gonna run a little over. It doesn't help that I hung out a little to gab and stuff, but for a host of good reasons, I arrived home at close to eleven PM having put quite a few rounds through the tubular repeating claymore over the last hour.

Firing a box of birdshot and some serious social loads in a class environment will get the adrenaline going, and make it hard to lay down for a good night's sleep immediately on arriving home.

A detailed writeup will have to wait for later, but here's my favorite picture from the ones I've curated so far...

A fellow student...and one of my coworkers from when I worked at IAC...is putting a borrowed 20ga Remington 1100 through its paces.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Disposable Gat

Commande Zero on buying another Ruger P95DC:
If someone I cared about showed up on my doorstep with not much more than the clothes on their back, I like to think I’d be able to gear them up in a manner that would not embarrass or shame me.Guns such as this one allow me to do just that. On the other hand, I have, literally, no people I am close to who do not already have enough guns in their own stashes to do this sort of thing. But Fate is a fickle and unpredictable thing…so you never know.
I have thought about this before, not necessarily in TEOTWAWKI terms, because despite having an actual face colander hanging on the wall in the office, I'm not too keen on doing any Wasteland Warlording.
But say you wind up with a friend or family member who suddenly finds themselves in a life circumstance where they realize that they need a better way to protect themselves than 911? A crazy ex, a stalker, a neighbor making threats, or just one of those violent criminal incidents that happens close enough to home to be a wake-up call...

If you're the "gun person" in your family or social circle, this has probably happened to you at least once already. Lately, seeing the occasional sub-$300 fire sale prices on Smith & Wesson Shields and SD9s, I've more than once thought about buying one to set aside for just this sort of occasion. "In case of crisis, remove unfired-in-box gat from safe."

I'd feel better being able to give somebody some advice and maybe a lesson or two, and then hand them an adequate pistol with a box of 124gr Gold Dots rather than entrust their well-being to the ministrations of a random gun counter minion.

Purely tangentially, I need to get my hands on a lightly-used 9mm P-series Ruger to do the whole 2000-round thing with, the way I am with the 5906.

While it's Wednesday morning...

...the writing actually did begin on Sunday morning, and the first paragraph and photo have languished in an open tab for a few days until I found myself with some writerly mojo this morning.

Behold: A Sunday Smith at the other blog! And it's not the one you were expecting! (That one's still forthcoming.)