There is a Story afoot . . .



A story has attacked me . . . not sure where it's from, but I have been posting chapters as they come out of my fingers. Yes, I am still posting on firearms training and my new topic of basic prepping - all links are to the right of the blog, newest posts first on the lists. Feel free to ignore the story posts - they usually start with a chapter number. But, feel free to read the story as well and comment on it - I like how it's turning out so far! Links to the various chapters are at the right under . . .

The Story

Bill

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just The Basics - What Makes It Go BLAMMMM!!!! Pt3 - The Action Is Where “The Action” Is

 

In Part 1 we discussed the development of gun powder, different types of early firearms and finally how all that lead to the development of the modern day cartridge.

Next, in Part 2, we discussed the characteristics of the barrel – the component that contains and focuses the energy of the cartridge and then increases the accuracy of the projectile after the cartridge is fired.

With this post, I want to discuss Part 3, the Action. As I say in the title, the action is where “The Action” is. What you see in the photo is the major components of the action of my .45 Long Colt saddle gun. I want to discuss the action in generalities first, and then we’ll poke our noses into the details a bit more.

The action knits five major elements together into a usable weapon. Those components are the stock, the barrel, the magazine, the mechanical components needed to eject a spent cartridge, insert a new cartridge in the chamber, cock the hammer, release the hammer to strike the firing pin – firing the cartridge and, finally you, the shooter. These elements are present in the Action regardless of weapon system. Here I am showing a lever-action rifle. Yet you can find matching or equivalent components in a single action revolver, double action revolver, semi-automatic pistol, 105 howitzer – they are all there.

In the modern day carbine, the metal housing that holds these major components together is called the Receiver. Yet, its purpose is the same – to join stock, barrel, magazine, mechanical components and human together into an effective and useful weapon.

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Let’s talk about common components of the action:

The Lever is the mechanical component used to eject expended casings from the weapon and push a new round into the chamber.

The Breech is the area of the weapon where an expended cartridge begins its exit from the weapon and a new cartridge is placed before it is rammed into the chamber.

The Breech Bolt acts as the ejection tool to remove a spent casing, the ram to insert a new cartridge into the chamber, it contains the Firing Pin which will fire the cartridge when the Trigger is pressed and it is part of the containment system to contain the energy of the cartridge and help force its gasses down the barrel and out the muzzle.

The Finger Lever is the component that harnesses the work done by the shooters hand and allows them to expel an expended cartridge and ram a new cartridge into the chamber.

The Trigger is the component that releases the firing pin.

The Trigger Guard is provided to protect the shooter from an unintended discharge due to clothing, brush or other item the Trigger may bump against.

This particular weapon has dual safeties – one just rear of the Breech Bolt and one between the Finger Lever and the Stock. The lever must be gripped and the safety released for the weapon to fire.

The Stock attaches to the rear of the Receiver and the Barrel with a Tubular Magazine (for this particular weapon) attaches to the front of the Receiver.

Thus, with Stock, Barrel, Magazine, internal components to eject, insert and fire cartridges, and a shooter to firmly grasp the weapon and aim, shoot and operate it – the weapon system is complete.

Now, picture in your mind’s eye the weapons we have detailed and discussed earlier. It’s not difficult to see how either the exact same component (think Trigger), or very similar components (think Breach Bolt) are present in all of them.

With the addition of the Action to a weapon, all elements are there . . . . finely tuned . . . . finely crafted . . . . specifically made for each other . . . . so when the time is right . . . . it goes . . . .

BLAMMMM!!!!!

Yet, there is a final component absent . . . . and that will be the topic of our next – and final – installment of . . . .

What Makes It Go . . . . BLAMMMM!!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

NRA Basic Pistol Class 7-29-2012 . . . . Complete!!

 

What a fun day!  Great folks, good weather for the range, great questions and involvement . . . . what more could you ask for!

Congratulations to:

  • Matt
  • Kara
  • Sam
  • Chris
  • Liz
  • Shirley

Some photos of the activities – enjoy!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Just the Basics-What Makes it go BLAMMM PT 2 the Barrel

 

In part one we discussed, in depth, the cartridge and its evolution through the centuries. It is the component that holds the projectile – the bullet or shot. It is the first item required for a weapon to go BLAMMMM! And, actually, given the right conditions, it can go BLAMMMM all by itself – take a quick look at the following story:

Police: Bullet explodes in woman’s handbag while she shops at home improvement store

An unfortunate chain of events and a woman is wounded – by the casing – without a weapon, barrel or trigger. Note in the article that she was wounded by the casing – NOT the bullet. Given an un-confined space, the mass of the bullet and the mass of the casing, it is no surprise that the casing was ejected through the wall of the purse, wounding the woman – not the bullet.

So, since we do not need a barrel to make a cartridge go BLAMMMM – what purpose does a barrel serve? Actually, it serves four distinct functions:

  • It receives the cartridge
  • It contains the explosion of the cartridge and focuses the resulting pressure
  • It aims the projectile
  • It increases the accuracy of the projectile

It receives the cartridge

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The cartridge exits the magazine and is driven forward into the chamber by the bolt. The bullet extends from the chamber into the throat – the very beginning of the bore - the hole that extends through the center of the barrel. The bore is microscopically narrower than the bullet. It has a number of grooves machined down it that are given a slight twist – this is called Rifling. This results in part of the bore being higher (Lands) and the groves that are machined out (Groves). This allows the bore to slightly grip the bullet as it exits, spinning it and increasing its overall accuracy. The end of the barrel has a slight inward crown machined into it that allows an even distribution of the gasses as the exit the region at the end of the barrel – the Muzzle.

It contains the explosion of the cartridge and focuses the resulting pressure

The explosive power of a cartridge – be it pistol, rifle, shotgun or cannon – is massive. The primary characteristics of the cartridge that determine its chamber pressure are the powder composition (which determines its burn rate and overall energy content) and the quantity of powder. Chamber fit also comes into play since the bullet MUST be able to escape the barrel. On oversized bullet, jammed into a “normal” sized chamber will guarantee an overpressure situation and the destruction of the barrel. This can also be accomplished by an improper powder charge as well. The results, should the pressure NOT be contained, would look something like this:

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When everything works properly – the cartridge is properly seated, the firing pin in the bolt strikes the center of the primer, the primer ignites the powder, the gases from the powder rapidly expand, the explosion is contained and focused, the bullet exits the case, the bore – with its Rifling – grab the bullet, spin it and it exits the barrel at the Muzzle at proper velocity in the direction the barrel is “aimed” at. The barrel is an integral component of harnessing the energy of the BLAMMMM!

It aims the projectile

The centerline of the bore is machined to be perfectly parallel with the barrel. An aiming device is attached to the barrel to assist the shooter do direct their shot. Front and rear iron sights can be used to align the barrel with the intended target. A telescopic sight is used for long-distance shots. Holographic sights are used for close quarter, rapid acquisition shooting. But all share a common goal – to properly align the barrel with the target to insure that when the trigger is pressed and the cartridge goes BLAMMMM, the bullet that exits the muzzle hits the intended target – be it a piece of paper or an imminent threat.

It increases the accuracy of the projectile

As described earlier, the bore is machined in such a way as to create “Lands and Groves” - Rifling. The Rifling grabs the bullet as it travels down the barrel, inducing a spin in the bullet. The concept is the same as throwing a football that spins in a spiral as it travels or the feathers on the rear of an arrow that does the same to the arrow as it travels.

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A spinning projectile has increased gyroscopic stability, allowing it to travel longer distances much more accurately.

When everything is combined, the cartridge is loaded, the explosion is contained, and the bullet exits the barrel with a spin induced by the Rifling. And you, as the shooter, hear that lovely sound that results from this process . . . .

BLAMMMM!!!!

Training – What to Bring to Class?????

 

I have a NRA Basic Pistol Class tomorrow and virtually every person I spoke to who is taking the class asks the same question:

“What should I bring??”

So let’s chat about that a bit. The catch phrase the NRA uses to describe the purpose of their classes is to:

acquire “the Knowledge, Skills and Attitude . . . .” to safely use a pistol, rifle, shotgun

That is why you are coming to class – to learn new things, to begin to become skillful with them and to have a proper attitude when doing so. Of the three purposes, the most important, by far, is ATTITUDE. If you know everything about the firearm – and are interested in proving that – don’t come. If you are ready to teach the class – don’t come. If you really don’t want to be there and are being dragged by your feet kicking and screaming – don’t come.

Attitude, when I use the word, means that you are open listening, learning, asking questions, clarifying, trying new things . . . . just being open. I can work with this. I can teach you things I believe to be important. I can share myself with you. If you are unwilling to do these things, you will simply be a lump in the chair. I’ll still take your money, I’ll still say the words, you’ll probably still get your completion certificate – but you won’t learn as much, it won’t be as enjoyable and we’ll both get to the end say “what the heck was that???”

Bring a friendly, open and curious Attitude, I’ll do the rest.

Knowledge and Skills come with the course – I will share my knowledge and teach you a basic skill set that will allow you to safely handle a handgun and give you a foundation that you can use to become proficient with it. It is a BASIC course not a gun fighting course, there’s a difference.

“Do I need to bring a gun? I have this awesome old big-assed revolver that my great grand dad used in “the war” – is that ok???”

Honestly, this depends on the instructor. For me – mmmmmmm – not so much. I provide all handguns used in the training. They are all Ruger 22/45, maintained by me so I can be certain there is nothing dangerously wrong with them. I like a .22 because many of the folks that take my classes are new to fire arms and a .22 is not nearly as intimidating to shoot as a full-sized 1911. Even though the 1911 may have a larger “coolness factor”, that’s not the point of a basic course. So, I provide the firearm and all ammunition. Additionally, I provide all safety equipment – both eye and ear protection. Again, I can be certain of what I am providing rather than having to evaluate what you are bringing.

However, if your instructor allows you to bring your own firearm and gear, please, make sure it’s all functional. No one wants someone to get hurt. Bringing a defective firearm to a course can do a lot of harm - to you, others and the instructor as well.

What to wear, what to wear . . . .

It’s a firearms training course – not a nightclub. Dress appropriately.

For the Basic Pistol course, with limited range time, a full shirt – no halter tops, sleeveless T-Shirt, scoop-neck shirt – please. Brass coming out of the ejection port is hot and can easily go down your neck. Wear a baseball cap. You can pull it down over the tops of your safety glasses to keep the brass out of the area between the lens and your eyes. Pants or shorts are fine for a Basic Pistol class; however more advanced courses will always ask for sturdy long pants as movement, kneeling, lying prone will probably be involved in the course of fire.

Shoes for the Basic Pistol class are not real critical, but they should fully enclose your foot – brass – toes – pain – cover your feet. For more advanced courses you will again be asked to wear sturdy shoes – hiking boot, combat boot, work boot – or something similar.

Bring a bottle of water or two. Many courses at least provide a water cooler; if you have a bottle you can refill it. Basic Courses have limited range time so most thirst is anxiety related. Advanced courses can drain you of water in a matter of hours – a couple of gallons are a good thing to take.

Bring a snack – hunger is distracting and food bars of some type can keep the edge off. Again, advanced courses can drain you of energy quickly – pack accordingly.

Bring ID. We all check to make sure you are who you say you are when you sign in and that you are old enough for the training or accompanied by an appropriate adult.

Bring your money. A lot of instructors ask for advanced payment – honestly I don’t and have never been stiffed. I have had a few folks need to hit the teller machine over lunch, but never been stiffed.

Bring a friend if you can. Yep, for me it’s a way to get more students. But for you it gives you a shooting buddy. Once the course is over, it will be much easier to go to the range with a shooting buddy who is trained rather than by yourself. Learn together, shoot together and you will definitely teach each other things long after the course is over.

Finally, bring yourself! Learning about firearms presents a number of odd barriers. Friends will say “what the heck are you doin’???” You may be just plain nervous around them or a bit frightened by a firearm. You may be overwhelmed by the all the gadgetry available – what type of gun, which holster, which ammunition, what shooting glasses, single action revolver, double action revolver, semi-automatic pistol . . . .

That’s the point . . . . of the class . . . . to let you learn . . . .

Come, enjoy, learn and leave with . . .

“the knowledge, skill and attitude” to safely handle and shoot the firearm of your choice.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This was our insanity today - 20,000 + bike riders

Ragbrai is the definition of insanity in Iowa the end of July.  A single bike ride from the Missouri to the Mississippi through various little towns.  Today they came through our community . . . . around 20,000 of them!!  Here's a link to our local on-line newspaper.  They have about 25 photos up.  It was an interesting day.

http://www.vintoniowa.org/articles/News/article107190.html

Just the Basics – Cover vs. Concealment

 

Cover: To protect or shield from harm, loss, or danger.

Concealment: To keep from being seen, found, observed, or discovered; hide

Even in tragedy, there are lessons to be learned, thoughts to be chewed on, adjustments in the gear you carry and some just plain realities to be acknowledged.

The reality was that, as far as we know today, virtually everyone chose to either flee or hide in the hope that that was their best chance at survival. On the surface, that appears to be true for the majority of folks in the theater at that time. The seating capacity for Theater 9 of the Century Aurora 16 complex was around 300. There were 12 killed and 70 wounded. Your odds? You had a 4% chance of dying. You had a 23% chance of being wounded. Combined you had over a 1 in 4 chance of death or injury. Worse odds than I’d prefer. So what can we do to tilt those odd in your favor.

Let’s assume you have decided escape or avoidance is your best chance for survival. You’re unarmed – no gun, knife, tactical flashlight – zero, zip, nada. You’re with your family, kids (older kids I hope), loved ones and you’re unwilling to take this guy on without getting them to safety first. They are your priority. How do we increase your odds, and the odds of the folks you have chosen to protect, of walking away from the theater?

There are three primary tools you can make use of: Most important – your head. Next, the use of your surroundings for concealment and finally finding cover that can protect you. Let’s spend some time on these three items.

Keep your head in the game: You have entered condition RED – your very existence – and that of your family and friends – is at risk. People ARE dying around you. There is no way to honestly prepare for this. There are some very sophisticated simulators and shoot houses that can come close to this experience if you are willing to invest the time and money that would expose you to the sounds, smells, chaos, adrenaline, and sensory overload that is a fire fight at close quarters in an enclosed area. The vast majority of folks that carry for personal defense, and define themselves as shooters, are not going to take training at any of these facilities. Are you?

And yet, if you are at least willing to acknowledge the possibility of such an event; if you are willing to “game” such a scenario the next time you are in a theater, a restaurant, mall, big box store, school, church; if you are willing to invest time and energy on the range and play such an event through in your head as you move, draw and engage your target – you can increase your ability to avoid surprise and begin to implement an exit strategy far quicker than that person sitting in front of you blissfully living in Condition White that is now terrified into sitting in their chair offering themselves as the perfect target.

Game these things, stress yourself, work hard enough on the range to wind yourself, push to failure in your drills. Prepare for the worst – the rest is simply a blessing.

Wear you damn gun!!!! From the time you leave your bedroom for the day until the time you undress for bed. Carry a solid defensive knife. Every day. Without exception. Carry a good tactical flashlight. Every day. Without exception. Carry your cellphone. Every day. Without exception. The geeks call this equipment your EDC and here are my thoughts on it from awhile back.

 

Over half of all training is to build habit and muscle memory. Once you are in the habit of carrying your EDC gear, you are a big step closer to being able to defend yourself, your family and your friends.

Concealment: To keep from being seen, found, observed, or discovered; hide

Each environment is different. Keeping your head will allow you to evaluate what concealment is available and to take the most advantage of it that you can. In the theater shooting there is much that is simply unknown, so I am relying on my experience of theaters I go to. The most obvious element available is darkness. I am assuming the shooter dressed in black to take advantage of the darkness, you can too. Keep to the shadows. Stay below the seat back. Honestly, there’s not much else available in the theaters I go to. In fact, most exits would force you to move towards the shooter and then exit down a cattle chute to the door. Not good.

I am not sure I have read with certainty that the shooter had his gas mask on. If he did, there is a large blind spot available if you can get to it. If the shooter is focused ahead, there’s lots of his six o’clock that is not being covered. That can give you an advantage as well.

He apparently used a gas or smoke grenade of some type. I suspect smoke or there would have been more reports of folks being overcome by the CS gas or other typical gas canisters. Smoke would provide some concealment depending on its density and how it was dispersed.

However, concealment simply hides you from view, and in that is your protection. A shadow, chair back, potted plant, dinner table, smoke . . . . . will not stop a bullet.

Obviously, again, without your head in the game, you would notice few of these things. It is your responsibility to not become a sheep wildly responding to a wolf and running into their jaws. Work on it.

Cover: To protect or shield from harm, loss, or danger.

When you use cover, you are protected. The weapon that is being used against you cannot penetrate your cover so as long as you remain behind cover, you are safe. Obviously, what is cover to an airsoft pistol would provide not a whisper of protection against an AK. So, as in most things, cover is dependent on the situation, the shooter and their weapons at hand.

Sticking with the Aurora shooter, he was armed with three different weapons. A .40 cal Glock, an 870 shotgun and a M&P 5.56 AR. Each of these weapons demands a different level of cover.

Recently, the folks at our range were looking at alternative steel plate to make additional steel targets. For test purposes, they set up a scrap sheet of AR 400 soft steel, .25 inches thick. Here are the results:

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You can see a number of impacts by different weapons and a number of holes. Taking a much closer look, you might find this interesting.

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A .45 ACP FMJ made an impact mark but had little effect on the steel sheet.

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A .44 Mag, FMJ produced a small dimple, but little other affect. Other calibers such as a .22, .380 or 9MM were not tested. But none of them would produce a higher energy impact than either the .44 mag or the .45 ACP

No testing was done with a shotgun either. The news reports seemed to indicate the shooter in Aurora used bird shot to herd the victims, if true bird shot would have no effect on the AR 400 sheet steel other than displaying a broad area of impact. Even 00 Buck would have had little affect. Honestly, I suspect there are some slugs that would have penetrated, but no testing was done.

Rifle rounds – that was a different matter.

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A standard 30-06 FMJ round at both 100 and 250 yards punched a nice, clean hole through the steel. An AR 400 .25 inch piece of steel plate offered no protection at all. It was like a sheet of news print.

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A .223 FMJ round at 25 and 250 yards also punch a neat little hole through the steel sheet. Again, think news print.

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Finally, a .17 cal, FMJ, 4,000 FPS round also punched a clean hole through the steel sheet. News print.

What does this mean exactly? Again, head in the game. In the theater scenario, thin walled steel chair backs offered only minimal cover from the shotgun and would have offered absolutely no cover from either the .40 cal rounds or the AR shooting the 5.56 rounds. If folks depended on the chair backs to protect them, they may as well have held up a newspaper, they would have had the same protection.

Obviously this would not account for a fortunate deflection of a round, but over all, there was no cover available in the theater. None. Zero. Zip.

So, as you are playing out “what if’ possibilities in your head, take concealment and cover into account. Clothing rack, theater seat, dining table, plaster board wall, most cement walls, car doors . . . . . to name just a few . . . . are concealment, NOT cover.

Engine blocks, large mall cement planters, cement walls backed by dirt . . . to name a few . . . . would be cover in most cases, but again, not in all of them.

Which brings us full-circle once again to “head in the game”. In a situation where your life, and the lives of your family and friends are in danger, your best weapon is between your ears. A high capacity weapon in your hands is certainly a great thing to have, but even with such a weapon if you lose your head, you stand a good chance of going home in a bag.

Keep your head in the game. Use concealment for stealth to help in either your escape or your attack. Find cover for protection. Live to fight another day . . .

Or take the bastard out today . . . .

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

And a Warm Welcome also to TinCan Assassin

A warm welcome to TinCan Assassin.  Take it easy on him, his "ticker" recently smacked the crap outta him and he is just getting back on-line.  Please, visit his site - Nine Pound Sledgehammer - it's well worth your time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Warm Welcome to Keads . . . .

I've been following Keads for awhile.  A fire-arms trainer, car junkey (can do things with a wrench I'd never try) and fellow geek.  Stop by his blog - Another Day.....Another.... and say hello.  Thanks for stopping by sir, nice to have you aboard.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Training – Aurora – Of course it will happen again . . . . .

 

It’s mid-March – 1971, about 30 days and a “wakeup” left. I’d just survived my last fire fight (I didn’t know that at the time . . .). We’d had sappers on base for a very long night. Runway tower looked like Swiss cheese, a couple A1’s were burnt hulks, Garza and I were beginning to scramble to wire in a mobile comm console to let the controllers bring down the aircraft that had launched, our radio shed had its roof gone . . . . there were a couple long, thick black bags alongside the terminal . . . . friends that had entered that agelessness of soldiers that were so easily designated KIA . . . .

The “end was near”, Christmas 1970 had seen a huge airlift of troops headed “back to the world” well before their DEROS date. We’d pulled the plug on an ALCE unit I had been attached to. Our presence was contracting, becoming fewer . . . . weaker. We were focused on going home . . . . not dealing with threats that remained. We were lazy, complacent, in-attentive.

Yet, the enemy remained, pressed their advantage and claimed a few more souls for their cause. We’d been attacked many times before. We’d forgotten . . . .

Of course it will happen again . . . .

And so will another Aurora. Later this evening. Later in the week. Next month. Next year. It will happen. While evil does take a break now and then, it is never dormant. Like the local VC, it will find a time to once again press its advantage and claim innocent souls. It is, after all, what evil does.

Once our aircraft were recovered, the VC that sought to hide on base were hunted and killed. After a meal, some sleep . . . . individual areas gathered for the AAR – After Action Reports. It was a time to evaluate security (I’d tell you how badly ARVN security sucked – but to what end), evaluate our OWN security, evaluate targets and ways to harden them, evaluate communications and what needed to happen over the next days and weeks. It provided us time to evaluate our own performance – how did we respond, where were we lax, what mistakes did we make. We reviewed our enemy, his determination, his skill – it reminded us that being “short” was no guarantee of not going home in a box.

After Action Reports . . . . an opportunity to learn from failure.

Make no mistake – Aurora WAS a failure. A failure to even recognize the existence of true evil. A failure of a local government to allow citizens to defend themselves. A failure of a company to comprehend the possibility of evil committed against their guests as they were trapped in their little warren of seats and closed doors.

If you were a patron that night – what would you do different?? Remember, you have ALL THE TIME YOU NEED NOW to prepare for the next time . . . .

Some thoughts.

Take your damn gun!!! Yes, I know it was a “No Carry” facility, yet if I read the Colorado law right, they must ask you to leave. There is only a problem if you refuse to leave.

Regardless of this single facility – one more time – take your damn gun with you each and every day.

Capacity counts. You meet a fellow with body armor – it will take you a few rounds to realize that, probably while you may be knocking him back – and you notice he’s still on his feet. A 5-shot revolver doesn’t give you much opportunity to “learn while doing”. Capacity counts.

Sit on the outside. I have sat on the outside site since I rolled over 50 (you older fellows will understand why). Sit with your gun-side out. Watch more than just the movie. Where are the exits? Anyone really seem off the wall? Watch folks as they enter the theater (or restaurant or grocery store or Wal-Mart) and see if any of them feel off to you.

Don’t sit way in the back. The farther you are from the exits, the longer your fight. Most theaters I go to are simply kill boxes. You enter from the bottom; walk up risers – with no exit available except down the risers again. Fighting down half a riser is better than from the very back row. Same in restaurants – face the door, gun-side open, close to an exit if at all possible; resist the labyrinth restaurants (the Rain Forest CafĂ© in the Mall of America flashes to mind).

Who is your first responsibility? As calculating as it sounds, if it’s a choice between my granddaughter and the wonderful stranger sitting next to me – family takes priority. Three young men sacrificed themselves covering their dates – I’m proud of them.

Take Responsibility. You are responsible for your survival – no one else. If your choice is to cower between seats and die – or jump the attacker and die – what do you want to be remembered for? Help is not coming. It is your responsibility to fight evil, not bend a knee to it.

Stay focused. Easy to say, a real bitch to do. Even guys in full body armor are vulnerable. Even guys armed with an AR, shotgun and pistol are vulnerable. Even guys in gas masks and helmets are vulnerable. But, you cannot take advantage of their vulnerabilities if you lose your head. Again, easy to say, a bitch to do.

So how the hell is a shooter in body armor, helmet and gas mask – shooting an AR or pistol or shotgun – vulnerable??

Vision: I’ve spent more hours in a gas mask than I care to count. Visibility – even in the new versions – sucks. This provides you an advantage to get outside his field of vision. Pay attention, see how much of their face is covered, stay in a blind spot until you can escape or kill him.

Use the noise. Shots fired in an enclosed area effect everyone – including the shooter. Again, take advantage of the noise to move, close and kill him.

All Body Armor has points of vulnerability. The throat, underarms, rear thighs, pelvis, feet, through the glass in the gas mask. Even a full on engagement against a chest plate will surly get the shooters attention and allow you to press your attack.

There are many weapons. Always carry your knife. Find a fire extinguisher. A loose chair. A glass of liquid thrown against his mask. Teeth. Knees. If your choice is to cower and die or attack and die – how do you want to be remembered?

Kill Him. If you engage an evil like this, make sure one of you leaves in a bag. A threat down and armed is a threat. A threat dead and armed is dead. There is no middle ground.

Honestly, this whole thing has chewed on me today. Old memories. A need to do something. An anger at the foolishness of politicians who hold out the carrot of security while surrendering all our safety to a little plastic sign. The pain the families are feeling. The pride in those who remembered where their duty truly lay.

We have survived an attack. 12 were left behind, three died heroes defending their loved ones – the majority walked away. Don’t waste their lives. Learn from this. Plan your defense. Look for evil. Stand between evil and those who need protection.

Because . . . . it will happen again.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just the Basics – What Makes It Go BLAMMMMM?

 

A few posts back we went through a training accident – a gunshot to your leg. Not fatal, but one of those “learning experiences” that we can all do without. So how did you get there, with a wounded leg and surviving only through the timely arrival of a shooting buddy? This is the first in a series of posts that will consider all the components of the event starting with:

What Makes It Go BLAMMMMM?

While there are many things that can propel a projectile that has enough velocity and mass to penetrate a human (or animal) and inflict a killing wound, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s confine ourselves to handguns / long guns/ shotguns.

The reason a handgun goes BLAMMMMM!!! Is this:

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The development date varies, but by as early as the 7th century, China had developed the above formula for a mixture of Potassium Nitrate (or Saltpeter), Charcoal and Sulfur into a mixture that is, today known generically as “Gunpowder”. Beginning with a basic formula of 76% Potassium Nitrate, 14% Charcoal and 10% Sulfur, they developed at least 6 different formulas for use in everything from hand cannons to rocket propelled arrows:

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The basic chemical reaction is that the sulfur is ignited; this begins a chemical reaction with the Potassium Nitrate that releases oxygen to sustain the reaction and nitrogen. This increases the temperature enough to ignite the Charcoal – which then releases larger quantities of Carbon Dioxide and Monoxide. This reaction continues until the accelerant (the Potassium Nitrate since it “accelerates” the chemical reaction) and the fuel (the Charcoal and Sulfur) are consumed. The resultant gases – a mixture of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen and a tad of sulfur dioxide) are the true propellants that expel the bullet down the barrel of the hand cannon, hand gun, long gun, shotgun or shoot the rocket into the air.

Of course, to use this chemical reaction most efficiently, the combustion of these materials must be confined and the discharge of the gasses must be “aimed” – hence the development of a long cylinder strong enough to hold the hot gasses – yet with a hole to both direct the gasses and to control the direction of the projectile – the barrel.

Early weapons depended on fuses that were embedded with gunpowder. Once lit, they delivered fire through a small port in the barrel that ignited the weapon’s charge which then fired, sending gas and projectile down the barrel. This controlled explosion of gunpowder is, indeed, the BLAMMMMM that we all hear on the firing line or in the field when we gently press the trigger to the rear until the hammer strikes the firing pin in a modern day weapon.

Early weapons evolved into the next most prevalent firearm – the Flintlock.

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One of the earliest and most reliable ways to build a fire was with flint and steel. A piece of flint is struck with a piece of steel and the collision is enough to generate an energized particle we call a “spark”. The temperature of this spark is high enough to ignite gunpowder.

One of the earliest weapons to take advantage of this was the “Flintlock” rifle or pistol.

 

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Basically the weapon is upended. A measured powder charge is poured into the end of the barrel. A projectile – usually a “ball”, surrounded by a “wad” is fit down the barrel and “rammed” to the bottom of the barrel. A small amount of gunpowder is poured into the “Pan”. A piece of flint is locked into the hammer and, when the trigger is pulled, it strikes against the “Frizzen” (a steel plate) generating a spark. This spark ignites the powder in the “Pan”, its fire then travels through a small port in the side of the barrel, ignites the powder charge within the barrel and . . . . BLAMMMMM!!

In the interest of reliability – the powder in the “Pan” could easily become damp and not ignite, the Flint and Steel were eventually replaced by “Primers”.

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The “Primer” is essentially what you see today in the rear of a center fire cartridge. The material on the inside of the primer ignites when it is struck sharply. Again, the fire generated by the striking the primer travels through a port in the barrel and ignites the charge at the bottom of the barrel and . . . . BLAMMMMM!!!

The “focus” changed from the “Flintlock” aspect of firing the weapon to the “Muzzle Loading” aspect of the weapon. So, even though the basics of loading the weapon did not change between a “Flintlock Rifle” (or pistol) to a “Muzzle Loading Rifle” (or pistol), from this point on they were called by the loading process – “Muzzle Loaders”.

As these weapons became the weapon of choice in armed conflict – the need to load them quicker became apparent. The development of the “Cartridge” began.

Early efforts were to simply combine the powder charge and the bullet and/or shot into a single paper-wrapped cartridge.

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To load the weapon, the bottom is torn off; the powder charge is poured down the barrel and the paper wrapping the bullet acts as the wad to allow the bullet and/or shot to be tamped down the barrel. This process eliminated the need to measure powder, prepare a wad, tamp the bullet and prime the weapon to simply tearing, tamping, priming (inserting a new primer cap) and BLAMMMMM, greatly increasing the rate of fire of the single soldier.

The final step was the development of the “modern day” cartridge – essentially unchanged for over 150 years.

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The casing (1) is the “chassis” that holds all the components together. Today it is typically made of brass (you can reload these), steel (one shot only) or aluminum (again, one shot only). Pressed into the center of the rear of the casing (think “center fire”) is the (2) primer. The Primer Mix ignites when struck sharply by the firing pin. In the center of the Anvil is a “flash hole”. The Anvil insures a small amount of gunpowder is very close to the Primer Mix. The primer is struck, the Primer Mix ignites, the flame travel through the “flash hole”, it ignites the gunpowder (3), and the gas expands and propels the Bullet (4) down the barrel, out the muzzle – BLAMMMMM!!!

This final development, the self-contained cartridge, again significantly increased the rate of fire of the soldier on the battle field. Next were the developments in the “actions” that allowed for a mechanical increase in the rate at which an expended cartridge could be replaced with a cartridge that was ready to fire. But . . . . that’s for another segment.

So, why does our weapon go BLAMMMMM!!!!!??

Gunpowder - confined, rapidly generated gas - gas expelled down a barrel behind a bullet - bullet exits the barrel at the muzzle - BLAMMMMM!!!!

And there ya go – BLAMMMMM!!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Grossman Essay - Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs . . .

 

A H/T to BlackFive for his 2004 post of a Grossman essay.  In light of Friday’s shooting, well worth your time to read!

On Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves
By Dave Grossman

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Commentary – A willingness for violence . . .

 

I have committed true violence in my life. I’ve had a very few instances (gratefully), where my options were simply to engage and kill or submit and die – yet here I am, with the memories still intact and air still flowing through my lungs.

The core of violence can’t be explained. Many of the gunnie blogs I read are written by, read by or haunted by men and women who have experienced this core event called violence, whether in combat or civilian life. It’s effect on them varies from long term struggles with PTSD to quiet acceptance of the experience and a prayer to never – ever – enter the “core” again. The very core of violence simply can’t be explained to someone who has been fortunate enough to avoid its embrace.

Still, it seems as though our society has developed a hunger for violence . . . .

What prompted this post was reading the stories of the massacre at the new Batman premier in Aurora, Colorado last night. I’ve not seen the movie. Probably won’t. Yet even the previews seem to reveal an orgy of violence. It’s a trend I’ve noticed over the past 30 years or so. The depictions of violence have become very detailed, very intimate, extremely visual . . . .

There have been a number of discussions on the boards I frequent about the flash mob of a Wal-Mart store in Oregon – 300+ kids running through the store, smashing watermelons, terrorizing the folks in the store. When you see the video you realize it was a joyful experience for them . . . .

South of me in St. Louis the city has struggled with the knock-out game. An attacker simply runs up to a victim and does their very best to knock out the person with a single blow to the head.  An interview with one of the attackers revealed he had over 300 “confirmed” . . . .

Just a few days ago Chicago experienced this “game” with a 13 year old and a 15 year old killing an older man with a single blow to the head . . . 13 . . . 15

It is safer in the valleys of Afghanistan that the canyons of Chicago – LA – Atlanta – Detroit – New Orleans – NYC . . . .

We have a President who has glommed on to the simplest of re-election strategies . . . . they’re rich, you’re not – I’ll take what’s theirs and give it to you . . . . he’s consciously feeding hatred towards folks that others see as better off. And as the economy worsens – that bar is being lowered every day. In the very near future – VERY NEAR FUTURE – simply having a job will make you better off. As he destroys more jobs, puts more small business out of business – the bar for “wealth” lowers, the envy is stoked, the job creators are made the villains, frustrations grow, OWS movements evolve and devolve into chaos . . . .

And, the very core of violence comes closer to each and every person.

I freely admit to being fearful for my country. I live in rural Iowa. When folks take by weapons classes and express that they are beginning to feel unsafe . . . . well, Iowa is the canary in the coalmine, and the canary is having a hard time breathing right now.

“Something Wicked This Way Comes” – with all its seduction and promises. It’s emotional release. Its power. Its empowerment – even though that empowerment is very fleeting.

More and more there is a Willingness for Violence . . . .

Scares the hell out of me . . . .

UPDATE – 7/23/12

And so it continues . . . . .

Prosecutor: Teens killed man in ‘knock ‘em down’ game

Thursday, July 19, 2012

e.IA.f.t. – Defensive Pistol I & II Aug 25 & 26

 

e.IA.f.t. is holding a Defensive Pistol I & II course on August 25 & 26.  They will be held back-to-back with DP I on Saturday the 25th and DP II on Sunday the 26th.

The normal cost for each course is $175 per course plus $20 per course range fee.  If you take both together, the cost will be $300  plus the $40 for the range fee.  This represents a savings of $50 for both courses taken together.

The round count for the two days will be between 500 and 750 rounds depending on your rounds per string.

Please look at the course description for an equipment list.

The course will be held at:

  • Red Cedar Chapter – Izaak Walton League
  • 5667 24th Avenue Drive
  • Vinton, Iowa  52349

To register, email the following information to:  wkeller@eiaft.com

  • Name
  • Age
  • Address
  • City, State  zip
  • Phone Number

Of course, you are always welcome to call me as well, my phone number is on our website linked above.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Training – Threat Evaluation and Reaction

 

Humans (well . . . let’s say those living in the “West”) are in an odd state of evolution. We live – on the whole – in a safe world. Yes – robberies happen, murders surly do, assaults, rapes – but, when compared to those folks living in “third world” countries, we live in a very safe place. It makes us lazy, complacent,  secure in our own safety.

Those that have traveled the world – military, missionary, adventurer – have seen the “look” in the eyes of those whose very lives are constantly “on the edge”. I have seen those eyes in Vietnam, the Philippines, Panama, Haiti to name a few. It is an acknowledgement that their lives hang by a thread. That said – they have a tremendous advantage to the average westerner – they know they are under threat, they operate in condition Orange for much of their life and they react much more quickly to a “possible” threat because they are much “closer” to it. As I sit in my air conditioned home, tapping away on my netbook, most threats seem very distant. What examples can we see locally, in our own environment, of “Threat Evaluation and Reaction:? Actually, they are all around us.

My internet died tonight. Doing a “ping plot”, it appeared the problem was at my office. Fortunately for me I built my office building on the opposite edge of my property so a visit simply meant a walk across the yard. (temps at 6 PM?? 100+, heavy sigh) I walk out the door, step across the porch and hear this raucous, squeaking, chattering sound and a little fuzzy ball went screaming across the yard and into the woods. No hesitation, no “identification”, no evaluation – simply instant flight! Ensuring a maximum chance for survival.

I am surrounded by wild life – everything from chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits to raccoons, deer to the infrequent sightings of mountain lions. Their immediate response to a perceived – one more time, PERCEIVED – threat? Leave, without question or hesitation.

There is much to learn from those people unfortunate enough to live under constant threat or from the wild life all around us when it comes to Threat Evaluation and Reaction. When a PERCEIVED threat is observed – ACT! NOW! Your best response – if at all possible, get yourself and your family or friends out the area immediately. Trust your “gut”, if something feels “off” then something IS off – listen to your instincts. There is nothing wrong with chirping loudly and heading to the woods to protect yourself or your family.

However, in the event you must face a threat, yet another example can be found in even the smallest critter’s response – fight! Now! With all your skill and with all weapons at hand.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Warm Welcome to Rob . . .

Rob tapped the "Follow" button yesterday - nice to have a fellow Iowan tagging along.  Take a minute to visit him in his bunker!

Welcome sir!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Just the Basics – the Double-Action Semi-Automatic Pistol

 

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Another option shooters have with semi-automatic pistols is to purchase a version that has a Double Action trigger. As in a Double Action Revolver, the trigger performs two functions: First it cocks the hammer and second, it release the hammer to strike the firing pin.

In the case of a Double Action Semi-Automatic pistol, racking the slide will eject a cartridge or spent casing, strip a new round from the top of the Magazine and drive it into the chamber. However, it will NOT cock the hammer. That function is done by pressing the trigger to the rear.

Let’s take a walk through a Double Action Semi-Automatic Pistol.

The chassis, the primary component that holds all the parts together is the Frame.

The Barrel is the component that allows the bullet to exit the handgun after it is fired and adds a spin to the bullet to increase its accuracy.

The Muzzle is the region immediately at the end of the Barrel where the bullet exits.

The Front Sight, used in conjunction with the Rear Sight is used to acquire an accurate sight picture prior to engaging a threat.

The Hammer is manually cocked by pressing the trigger to the rear. The pressure is continued until the trigger “breaks” and the Hammer strikes the firing pin which, in turn, strikes the primer in the cartridge.

The Magazine contains the cartridges to be fired and feeds a new cartridge into chamber each time the weapon if fired – until the magazine is empty.

The Magazine Release is used to drop an empty magazine from the Magazine Well in order to make room for a replacement magazine that is fully loaded.

The Grip is the portion of the pistol that is actually “gripped” by the shooter. The Back Strap fits into the shooter’s palm and the Front Strap provides a purchase for the shooter’s fingers.

The Thumb Safety is a mechanical device that locks the slide in place and disables the firing pin.  It must be manually disengaged with the shooters thumb in order to prepare the weapon to fire.  (Remember, it is a MECHANICAL device and CAN fail.).

The Trigger is the component that is pressed to the rear that first cocks the internal Hammer and then releases it to strike the firing pin, firing the cartridge.  Many Double Action Semi-Automatic Pistols have a very stiff - and long – trigger pull. This, in many cases, takes the place of a manual or Thumb Safety.

The Trigger Guard provides protection against an accidental discharge from rubbing the Trigger against clothing or a holster.

The Semi-Automatic Pistol is loaded by inserting a loaded Magazine into the Magazine Well and seating it with a firm palm-slap to the bottom of the Magazine. The shooter than manually racks the Slide to the rear and releases it. This will strip a new cartridge out of the Magazine and load it into the chamber at the rear of the Barrel. From this point forward, each time the weapon is fired, part of the energy is captured to automatically force the slide to the rear, eject the spent cartridge out of the Ejection Port and to strip a new cartridge from the Magazine and load it into the chamber at the rear of the Barrel. This process will continue each time the Trigger is pressed until the Magazine is empty.

Unloading can be done by depressing the Magazine Release and capturing the Magazine as it falls from the Magazine Well. To display that the weapon is empty, rack the Slide to the rear ejecting any un-fired cartridge that may still be in the chamber out of the Ejection Port. Push the Slide Lock up into the notch on the Slide. This allows the shooter to easily verify the weapon is, indeed, empty.

This particular example of a Double Action Semi-Automatic Pistol is the Ruger LC-9. It is one of my favorite carry weapons. I completed the following video review shortly after I purchased the LC-9.

 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Training – Scan and assess . . . . Scan and assess . . . .

 

I had an experience today on the way to the range that I thought I’d share. Nothing to do with weapons but with the process of living the color code.

One of the things that can take your life sideways in a real hurry is to simply let life flow by. In Jeff Cooper’s world, this would be Condition White:

White: Unaware and unprepared. If attacked in Condition White, the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy or ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty, your reaction will probably be "Oh my God! This can't be happening to me."

Or, you can do your best to live in Condition Yellow:

Yellow: Relaxed alert. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that "today could be the day I may have to defend myself". You are simply aware that the world is a potentially unfriendly place and that you are prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and realize that "I may have to shoot today". You don't have to be armed in this state, but if you are armed you should be in Condition Yellow. You should always be in Yellow whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings or among people you don't know. You can remain in Yellow for long periods, as long as you are able to "Watch your six." (In aviation 12 o'clock refers to the direction in front of the aircraft's nose. Six o'clock is the blind spot behind the pilot.) In Yellow, you are "taking in" surrounding information in a relaxed but alert manner, like a continuous 360 degree radar sweep. As Cooper put it, "I might have to shoot."

A threat can take many different forms, one of which can be a man with a gun. Another could be a woman in a dark red Chevy Impala.

I’m headed for the range, crossing a small bridge just north of town. There is a right turn lane that begins immediately after the bridge to a road that joins from the right and leads to – among other things – a quarry. In front of me are two very large dump trucks going to get a load of crushed rock. Construction season is in full bloom in our county with virtually all the quarries in the county going at full tilt.

Our speed is 55, slowing a bit so the trucks can pull into the turn lane. By the time they are fully in the lane I am closing on the front truck pretty quick and am about ½ way past his bed when a woman in a dark red Chevy Impala simply appears from in front of the truck and then directly in front of me. The road the trucks are turning down “Ts” into the road I am on though the drivers must stop before coming onto the highway. This lady obviously stopped, saw the trucks turning and ASSUMED there was nothing in the lane next to or behind them. So, out she comes.

These instances are good training examples of muscle memory rather than thinking. Without telling my body to do anything I:

  • · Breaked hard
  • · Turned slightly right and released the break so I didn’t loose full control of my Jeep
  • · Breaked hard again
  • · Turned slightly right again and released the break so I didn’t loose full control of my Jeep
  • · This allowed me to miss the rear bumper by a ½ foot or so
  • · It allowed me to miss the front of an umteen ton dump truck by a few feet
  • · And, it allowed me to continue merrily on my way to the range none the worse for wear.
  • · It also helped that it was obviously not my day . . . . . that day will come, but it was not today

So just a little reminder for folks taking all those defensive pistol classes out there where they hammer on Cooper’s “Color Code” or the NRA’s “Levels of Awareness” – we do it for a reason. Many threats, whether from weapons or folks driving cars, jump at you right at the Condition Red Level:

Red: Condition Red is fight. Your mental trigger (established back in Condition Orange) has been tripped. "If 'X' happens I will shoot that person".

If it’s an existential threat and if you respond poorly, your day is not going to end well. Bottom line?

Keep your head in the game 24/7 . . . .

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Welcome to a couple new followers . . . .

 

First to JD – had the pleasure of taking a course with him as well as doing an IDPA shoot run by his club.  A Marine, great hubby and dad – welcome JD.

And to Robert – lives in our state’s fair capital.  Welcome sir!

Training–NRA Basic Rifle Course

 

A couple of weeks ago I received an email asking if I had any Basic Rifle courses scheduled.  The short answer was “Nope” – however, I’m a pretty flexible critter so I asked the person what they were looking for.  They indicated the “needed” to take this class and were willing to travel the 500+ miles to take the class.  How could I say no?

So, I met Tracy and Fred Saturday at our Chapter House and Range for the NRA Basic Rifle class.  I had to ask, why the heck travel all that way, surely there was someone closer?  Nope, she had sent out 12 emails and I was the only one to reply.  Gotta question why these folks are going through the process of becoming NRA certified instructors and then not serving the folks in the shooting community.

Some of their local folks would only do a class if there were 5 or 10 students.  Honestly, in the rural areas of Mid-America – these folks may wait a mighty long time to teach a class.

So, we had an intimate little class with lots of conversation, questions and range time.  It was nice.  One other little item – both were competitive F-Class shooters.  Why then take the class??  Tracy is looking to become a NRA Basic Rifle Instructor for their shooting club and the TC in their area would not do a dual-training – Basic Class and Instructor Class together.  She had to take the NRA Basic Rifle class and have the certificate before she could enroll to take the Basic Rifle Instructor course.  Kinda odd to me – yet there ya go.

We had a great time, they shot their six courses of fire – bench rest, standing free arm, standing arm rest, prone, kneeling and sitting.  98+ degrees on the range.  I’d show you the photos I took, but honestly the camera never left my pocket – I was too busy wiping down with the sweat towel and changing targets!

Anyway, we had a great time – covered lots of ground – and prepped the way for a new rifle instructor.  Not a bad way to spend a weekend!

Just the Basics – the Safe-Action Semi-Automatic Pistol

 

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Perhaps the most famous Semi-Automatic pistol of modern times it the Glock pistol, first produced in 1982. The move to a semi-automatic pistol ( it goes “bang” every time the trigger is pressed until it’s empty ) captured the energy of the firing of the cartridge to eject the spent casing and to feed a new cartridge into the chamber. This allowed for faster, more accurate shots as well as an expanded cartridge capacity. The Glock pistol was the first mass-produced weapon that was made using a polymer material for much of the frame. The result was a much lighter weapon

It is called “Safe-Action” because the safety has been integrated into the very front-portion of the trigger. The weapon is safe until the shooter actually places their finger on the trigger and presses the first fraction-of-an-inch to release the safety and preparing the weapon to fire.

Let’s take a walk through this latest innovation in the world of the Semi-Automatic pistols.

The chassis, the primary component that holds all the parts together is the Frame.

The Barrel is the component that allows the bullet to exit the handgun after it is fired and adds a spin to the bullet to increase its accuracy.

The Muzzle is the region immediately at the end of the Barrel where the bullet exits.

The Front Sight, used in conjunction with the Rear Sight is used to acquire an accurate sight picture prior to engaging a threat.

The Hammer is manually thumbed back or moved into firing position by moving the Slide to the rear and releasing it. This prepare the Hammer to strike the primer in the cartridge.

The Magazine contains the cartridges to be fired and feeds a new cartridge into chamber each time the weapon if fired – until the magazine is empty. Magazines in many Glocks are “Double Stacks”. This means that cartridges are stored nearly side-by-side. While this provides a significant larger capacity in the Magazine, it does force the Magazine to be wider, thus increasing the overall width of the grip and the weapon itself.

The Magazine Release is used to drop an empty magazine from the Magazine Well in order to make room for a replacement magazine that is fully loaded.

The Grip is the portion of the pistol that is actually “gripped” by the shooter. The Back Strap fits into the shooter’s palm and the Front Strap provides a purchase for the shooter’s fingers.

The Safe-Action safety is installed in the front of the Trigger. At the beginning of the trigger press, the shooter releases the Safe-Action safety preparing the weapon to fire when the Trigger is pressed to the rear.

The Trigger is the component that is pressed to the rear releasing the internal Hammer and firing the cartridge.

The Trigger Guard provides protection against an accidental discharge from rubbing the Trigger against clothing or a holster.

The Semi-Automatic Pistol is loaded by inserting a loaded Magazine into the Magazine Well and seating it with a firm palm-slap to the bottom of the Magazine. The shooter than manually racks the Slide to the rear and releases it. This will strip a new cartridge out of the Magazine and load it into the chamber at the rear of the Barrel. From this point forward, each time the weapon is fired, part of the energy is captured to automatically force the slide to the rear, eject the spent cartridge out of the Ejection Port and to strip a new cartridge from the Magazine and load it into the chamber at the rear of the Barrel. This process will continue each time the Trigger is pressed until the Magazine is empty.

Unloading can be done by depressing the Magazine Release and capturing the Magazine as it falls from the Magazine Well. To display that the weapon is empty, rack the Slide to the rear ejecting any un-fired cartridge that may still be in the chamber out of the Ejection Port. Push the Slide Lock up into the notch on the Slide. This allows the shooter to easily verify the weapon is, indeed, empty.

The name “Safe- Action” comes from the fact that the trigger performs as the weapons safety as well as to release a cocked internal hammer to fire the cartridge. Hence, this is a “Safe-Action” pistol. Because the weapon captures part of the energy of a fired cartridge to activate the Slide, eject the spent casing and to strip off a new cartridge from the Magazine and load it into the chamber – the only thing the shooter must do is to press the trigger to fire a new round. Thus, it is a Semi-Automatic pistol as well.

This particular weapon has been a favorite around the world since its introduction for recreational shooting, competition, personal defense and as a side-arm by our military.

Just the Basics – the Single Action Semi-Automatic Pistol

 

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Perhaps the most famous Single Action, Semi-Automatic pistol on the face of the earth is the 1911 first introduced by the Colt company in – strangely enough – 1911. The move to a semi-automatic pistol ( it goes “bang” every time the trigger is pressed until it’s empty ) captured the energy of the firing of the cartridge to eject the spent casing and to feed a new cartridge into the chamber. This allowed for faster, more accurate shots as well as an expanded cartridge capacity.

Let’s take a walk through this classic weapon.

The chassis, the primary component that holds all the parts together is the Frame.

The Barrel is the component that allows the bullet to exit the handgun after it is fired and adds a spin to the bullet to increase its accuracy.

The Muzzle is the region immediately at the end of the Barrel where the bullet exits.

The Front Sight, used in conjunction with the Rear Sight is used to acquire an accurate sight picture prior to engaging a threat.

The Hammer is manually thumbed back or moved into firing position by moving the Slide to the rear and releasing it. This prepare the Hammer to strike the primer in the .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge.

The Magazine contains the cartridges to be fired and feeds a new cartridge into chamber each time the weapon if fired – until the magazine is empty. Magazines in the 1911 are typically “single stack” magazines meaning one cartridge is stacked directly over another cartridge in a “single stack”.

The Magazine Release is used to drop an empty magazine from the Magazine Well in order to make room for a replacement magazine that is fully loaded.

The Grip is the portion of the pistol that is actually “gripped” by the shooter. The Back Strap fits into the shooter’s palm and the Front Strap provides a purchase for the shooter’s fingers. An additional Grip Safety is mounted in the top portion of the Back Strap to provide an additional level of safety against a negligent discharge if the shooter does not have a firm grip on the pistol.

The Thumb Safety is mounted on the side of the weapon. Positioned up it fits into a notch on the slide it insures that the Slide is unable to move. Positioned down, the weapon is ready to fire.

The Trigger is the component that is pressed to the rear releasing the Hammer and firing the cartridge.

The Trigger Guard provides protection against an accidental discharge from rubbing the Trigger against clothing or a holster.

The Semi-Automatic Pistol is loaded by inserting a loaded Magazine into the Magazine Well and seating it with a firm palm-slap to the bottom of the Magazine. The shooter than manually racks the Slide to the rear and releases it. This will strip a new cartridge out of the Magazine and load it into the chamber at the rear of the Barrel. From this point forward, each time the weapon is fired, part of the energy is captured to automatically force the slide to the rear, eject the spent cartridge out of the Ejection Port and to strip a new cartridge from the Magazine and load it into the chamber at the rear of the Barrel. This process will continue each time the Trigger is pressed until the Magazine is empty.

Unloading can be done by depressing the Magazine Release and capturing the Magazine as it falls from the Magazine Well. To display that the weapon is empty, rack the Slide to the rear ejecting any un-fired cartridge that may still be in the chamber out of the Ejection Port. Push the Slide Lock up into the notch on the Slide. This allows the shooter to easily verify the weapon is, indeed, empty.

The name “Single Action” comes from the fact that the trigger performs a “single” function, to release a cocked Hammer to fire the cartridge. Hence, this is a “Single Action” pistol. Because the weapon captures part of the energy of a fired cartridge to activate the Slide, eject the spent casing and to strip off a new cartridge from the Magazine and load it into the chamber – the only thing the shooter must do is to press the trigger to fire a new round. Thus, it is a Semi-Automatic pistol as well.

This particular weapon has been a workhorse around the world since its introduction and continues to be a favorite for recreational shooting, competition, personal defense and as a side-arm by our military.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Commentary – On the eve of the 4th . . . .

 

wavingeagleAfter the grand critters went to bed, and before Mrs. B. returned from work last night, my daughter and I were talking a bit about today, July 4th.  She is a true history buff, HS history teacher and lived just south of Boston for about 5 years before they moved back home.  She spend hours/days/weeks steeping herself in the history of the area.  It was a good conversation . . . .

The question that really struck me though was – what kind of conversations were going on at the Green Dragon that evening 236 years ago?  They were at the eve of an action that would change their lives in a drastic fashion, that could easily end their lives and would remake the world in dramatic fashion.  What would they have said to each other?  What kind of doubts did they have?  What were their fears?

These men were surly a gift from God.  We, as a nation, were blessed by them in a very real way by them.

So, as we all enjoy our freedoms today, as we consider how many of those freedoms we have lost or are in the process of loosing – let’s take a moment to offer a prayer and give thanks for those very first patriots who were poised at the cusp of such a dramatic change – with all the fears that went along with that moment – and still went forward, determined to be free men and women!

Thank you . . . .