Monday, August 5, 2019

Mistaken Couple-dom

I ran into one of my oldest shooting buddies today at the grocery store where he works. I had some things for him, so I ran out to my car to grab the bag of goodies I've been driving around with for months. When I got back in the store, I handed him the bag and gave him a big side hug. One of the customers looked over and said, "that's so sweet, you guys are so cute together!"
I was stunned into silence for a moment, then laughed and said, "thanks, I'll be sure to tell his wife." Robbie said, "and I'll be sure to tell her husband."
I realized she thought I was his wife bringing him lunch and I'm flattered she thought we were a cute couple.
And then I started thinking ... whenever I'm with a male shooting buddy, people assume we're a couple. Always. Doesn't matter which one I'm with: John, Mez, Robbie, Mike, any of them.
So then I started thinking (always a dangerous thing), WHY do people think that I'm "with" a male friend? Is it because they can't wrap their heads around the fact that I can be friends with men?
Or is it because there's an easy (but platonic) intimacy with someone you spend a lot of time with, especially when the time you're spending with them involves deadly weapons? I spend a lot of time with my friends at the range watching them carefully, and vice versa. You get into a rhythm of anticipating what they're going to do or what they're going to need. Shooting can be a very collaborative thing, and I think after spending countless hours and rounds down range that intimacy naturally develops.
All of my shooting buddies pre-date my marriage, so I'm thankful that I have a husband who is not at all bothered by this.
Have you noticed this? Have you and a shooting buddy ever been mistaken for a couple? Why do you think that is?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Frankford arsenal platinum case trimming center

After a recent back surgery, I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands. When I started feeling better I went out to my reloading bench and looked around. You know what I saw? I saw what a lot of reloaders see way too often, so much empty brass. Looking at the task ahead of me was a little intimidating to say the least.The longest, boring, and meticulous job in all of reloading to me,is deprimming ,sizing and trimming the case and getting it all ready to reload.

After doing it the old-fashioned way for a couple of thousand cases,my hands were so cramped up and sore from holding onto the trimmer and drill that I was about to go crazy. I thought to myself there has to be a quicker easy way to do all of this. After doing some research and looking online I found my answer. Enter the Frankford arsenal platinum case trimming center.

While there are other tools that can do the job just as well each one that I found is caliber specific and cost around the same amount as the Frankford arsenal platinum case trimming center. While it’s not the cheapest reloading tool on the bench it will do almost any bottle neck rifle cartridge that you can think of, and for around $150-$175,and in my mind it’s a steal.

Set up for this trimmer is simple; Just pick the cullet ( 3 come with the machine) that fits halfway down the shoulder and inserts it into the trimmer position, Then pick the bushing ( it comes with 5) that fits the case and put back together.  One very nice feature is that there is a little tool cubby on the top of the machine to hold all the pieces. Trust me, It’s so easy that even I could figure it out. Next you just add the chamfer tools, One for both inside and outside, then add the primer pocket tool and you are all set to go. Adjusting the trimmer for your desired case Length couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is trim one case the old fashion way then insert it into the case holder and adjust the case until it touches the cutter and tighten the locking ring. Now you can rock and roll. Just save that case for future reference. Now all you have to do is pick out some good music and start plugging away.

By using this machine I was able to trim a little over 7000 cases in just over three days. Each case took less than 10 seconds to trim and chamfer. Without the case trimmer it would have taken me 10 times as long to do them. One nice thing about this prep center as you can position it in three different ways; vertical-meaning the case is up and down while being worked on, flat-meaning that the case is horizontal,Or one that I prefer is that the machine is at a 30° angle to your workbench.The nice thing about which ever way you have it facing is that it will have a good grip due to the rubber feet.The motor seems to me to be pretty good because it doesn’t bog down at all, Even when using it all day long. The only downside that I can see is that they don’t make adapters so you can trim pistol cases. If they did my reloading bench would be much less cluttered. Now all I have to do is go out and buy more primers, powder and bullets.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

No Means No. Always.

I think we can all agree on that, right?

But "no means no" is usually associated with sexual assault. One person wants something, another doesn't, and we're all on the no means no bandwagon.

The problem is, though, that we, as a society, don't enforce this across the board. Here's an example that a friend of mine posted, along with her own story of being shamed for not drinking:

Here's the text that accompanies the picture. The gist of it is, people need to take no for an answer, even if it's something "trivial". There were example after example of people who'd been shamed for turning down something on the original post. 

My friend's sharing of the post, along with her own story, brought about many comments; in fact, the friend who posted it even felt the need to say that she does drink, she just didn't want to drink then. That broke my heart. No one should ever have to explain why they don't want to engage in an activity. Many of the comments were helpful excuses to help curb the shaming. Comments with a qualifier, such as "no thanks, I'm driving", "no thanks, I've got to go get my kids". Reading the comments, I got angry. We owe no one an explanation once we say no.

I'll admit, I might be a bit sensitive about the issue, but I truly believe in my heart that no means no and that no is a complete sentence. Period. If I have a visitor, and I offer them food or drink and they tell me no, then that's it. I will usually say, "if you change your mind, just let me know", but I don't shame them. And I certainly don't badger them to change their mind.

A couple of years ago my boss found out my first name, which I don't use. I'm a middle name kid, always have been. I have to use my first name occasionally for things like airplane tickets, because it's my legal name, but it's not the name I use. My boss thought it would be funny to call me by my first name. I told her that my name is my middle name and that I didn't want to be called by my first name. But she thought it was funny and proceeded to continue to call me by my first name, in a van full of co-workers, even after I'd told her not to. Our co-workers rapidly got uncomfortable with her easy dismissal of my no, and my refusal to laugh it off; they were laughing nervously and shifting in their seats every time I corrected her.

She continued to insist on calling me by my first name (and thought it was funny), throughout that day and into the next before I lost my shit and yelled at her in public, in the middle of Temple Square. I'm sure the other tourists loved that. 

I had set a boundary with my no and she continued to trample it, thinking it was funny.

Later that evening, we were at dinner with a co-worker. I ordered an alcoholic beverage, my boss ordered an alcoholic beverage, but our co-worker did not. To me, no big deal. My boss, however, refused to take no for an answer until he explained that as a diabetic, he couldn't drink alcohol. She then proceeded to look at me and say, "wouldn't it be funny if we just slipped him some alcohol one day?"

Here's the deal lady, no means no. 

Those incidents really opened my eyes to how we might say "no means no", but rarely is it believed. In seemingly innocuous situations, saying "no" opens the door for negotiation. If that's the case, is it no wonder that people don't abide by the word?

I think, in order to change anything, we need to start with ourselves, to take an honest look at ourselves. 
  • If someone tells us no, do we abide by it?
  • Are we making excuses for why we said no? (No is absolutely a complete sentence, though I prefer the more polite, "no, thank you".)
  • If we tell someone no and they ignore it, or start badgering us, do we engage in negotiation with them, or do we stand firm in our no?
I've seen memes that say we train people how to treat us. If that's the case, we can change the power of our no. In self defense, we talk a lot about boundaries. Setting them, enforcing them. This is a boundary that we need to enforce at all times if we want to see any change.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Year of the 22. Tikka T1x First Impression

If you watched our post SHOT show videos you know I said 2019, for me, would be the year of the 22.  Well, true to my word, it has started.

I recently purchased a Tikka T1x and here is a real fast first impression of this riffle.

Things I like:

1. Overall fit and finish is excellent.
2. The polymer stock is solid and sturdy.  Not flimsy in any way.  Excellent if you like the all weather capability of a polymer stock.
3. The receiver has the same inlet pattern as its big brother the T3x.  So you can use the same stock for both rifles.
4. 10 round detachable magazine.
5. medium weight barrel with threaded muzzle for your favorite muzzle device.
6. Trigger is amazing for a factory trigger.  User adjustable from 2.5 Lbs - 5 Lbs.  Single stage which means no slack, no creep, just a clean, crisp break.  For a mass produced factory trigger it is one of the best.
7.  Accuracy is excellent.  Using quality ammunition you can get near one hole groups at 25 and 50 yards.  Decent accuracy at 100 yards is also attainable.  The Tikka would be a viable candidate as a 22 trainer for your long range, precision rifle.  (this is what I'm using it for).
8. Bolt throw is only 45 degrees.  So plenty of room to mount any scope you want.

Things I don't like:

1. A little pricey.  In my area it retails for $470.  More than your average 22.  But I do think you get good value for your dollars.
2. Standard 11mm dovetail for scope rings.  This is a European standard but less common here in America.  I would  like to see the factory put on a standard 1913 Picatinny rail.  (Good news is, there are aftermarket options available)
3. The magazine protrudes down below the stock.  I would like to have a flush mounted magazine like the old Ruger 77/22 rifles.  This is mostly a preference than a true negative.
4.  The polymer stock could use more checkering.  It is slick where there is no checkering.
5.  The stock has no provision for an elevated cheek rest when mounting a scope.  You need to add an aftermarket pad to get a good cheek weld to the stock.  Or buy an aftermarket stock.
6.  No option for iron sights.  Though iron sights are going the way of the Dodo bird, it would be nice to have them as an option.

Final Thoughts:

 Would I buy this rifle again?  Yes!  Though a little on the expensive side for a 22, I think you get good value for your dollars.  I see the quality good enough you can pass this down to your children and even grandchildren.

If you are looking for a good general purpose target rifle or a hunting rifle, this is an excellent choice. If you want to build a 22 trainer to match your Tikka T3x, again, this is an excellent choice.

Yes, I do like this rifle.  I'll do a more detailed review later once I have more trigger time with it and make desired upgrades.

Now enjoy some photos of my latest outing with the rifle.

April 2019

Stock rifle:

Shoots well with several brands of 22

At 100 yards, I think this rifle is capable of better groups.  I have shot smaller groups in the past.  
I will experiment with other brands of ammunition and practice more to verify.
I'll also weasel a bit and say the indoor ventilation was running on high and might have caused a few shots to drift.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A Lesson From The Day Job

I don't talk about specifics from my day job very often. Here especially, and only rarely on my personal blog. I work in the insurance claims industry handling high exposure and litigated commercial liability claims. From time to time, I get assigned to handle claims involving the use of firearms in one form or another. It can be anything from a security guard discharging a gun in self defense to drug deals gone bad to drive by shootings and more.

Yesterday, a claim was assigned to me involving a tragic set of facts. I won't go into too much detail because anyone with more than novice Google Fu skills could probably track it down without too much trouble. Long story short and the lead in to the point of this post, a police officer had to shoot two dogs that had attacked someone.

I was able to meet with my insured this afternoon, and (unusually) there is security video of the event including the shooting. On the plus side, I get to see what happened and when. On the negative side, the incident happened more than 25 yards from where the security camera was mounted making details a little fuzzy (literally).

While I do not know what caliber the officer used, I feel pretty confident in assuming it was some flavor of Glock or Sig 9mm as the majority of the departments in my area issue either Glock 17s or Sig P226s in 9mm. I mention this only to say that the make and caliber of the gun are likely irrelevant given what I saw in the video.

Quick warning to the squeamish, I am about describe what I saw which resulted in the deaths of two dogs. I am a dog lover, and I had to watch it. So, I will do my best to mitigate the imagery.

The officer shot the first dog from a distance of about 5 yards. The first shot was not a killing shot, and the dog started spinning around very quickly. Now, I'm not going to fault the officer for failing to kill the dog on the first shot. I wasn't there, I don't know the officer's experience, etc. What my point here is that the response of the dog to the first shot made all subsequent shots much harder. The second dog, seeing what happened to dog number one, became very agitated and started a spin cycle of its own. I could not tell how many rounds were fired; however, I didn't see a reload involved. So, less than 17 is a safe assumption.

Here are the lessons I would like to offer up in light of this video.

1) Shot placement is everything. Make it count because you might only get one chance. It does not matter how fast you shoot or what caliber you use if you miss the target. Conversely, caliber (within reason) does not matter if you hit the target.
2) Moving targets are harder to hit. This should be self evident to most people, but it bears repeating.
3) Movement buys you time. In this case, the dog could potentially have survived the first shot had it had an avenue of escape and run away. In the self defense context, it's better to be a moving target than a static target.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Rock Island Armory VR80

One of the guns I was really excited about at SHOT Show was the VR80. I bought one as soon as I could find it and brought it home to play. I had a few issues with it, but I'm fairly certain they were GunDiva-caused issues, because I did something I never do - I read the manual. Not only did I read the manual, but I took the dang thing apart and put it back together. I never do that; usually, I get a gun home, take it out of the case and start shooting for the first 1,000 rounds.

I made a little video explaining what I think caused my issues, and it turns out others are having the same problem.

I haven't run the heavier loads through it yet, but I'm fairly certain that now that I've tightened everything down, we just have to make it through the "break in" phase. The manual says it takes about 50 rounds and I only have 10 of the lighter loads through. I had planned on running some more rounds through over the weekend, but didn't get around to it.

Once we're through the break in period, I'll post an update.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Mental Health and Red Flag Laws

Yesterday, I took an Adult Mental Health First Aid course. I signed up for it primarily because of the types of students I encounter in my day job - a lot of them come from a background of trauma and the majority of them are struggling with some sort of mental illness (anxiety, depression, PTSD). I wanted to be able to help them if they were in crisis. The instructor was excellent about reminding us that an 8-hour class does not qualify us to be therapists, but that we could use our training to be the bridge to get someone to professional help. You know, a lot like taking a basic first aid class doesn't make one a physician.

As you know, Colorado is one step closer to turning a proposed bill into a law. I mentioned in our video last week that Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) terrify me, because there's no due process. The onus is on the person from whom the guns were removed to prove that they are not a risk to themselves or others.

So, what does my class yesterday have to do with Red Flag laws? A lot, actually. Repeatedly yesterday we were told that people with mental illness (an illness that impacts their ability to function in a normal way: work, relationships, etc.) are far more likely to be victims of crime, not perpetrators of crime. So passing these bills under the guise of "safety" is crap. The statistics don't support the claim that people with mental illness suddenly "snap" and go on a killing rampage.

One of the things that we were taught to do yesterday was to ask the person, point-blank, if they had any intention of killing themselves or others. Don't sugar-coat it, just ask. Depending on the person's answer, you have options. If they say yes, they plan on killing themselves or others, keep them talking and get them help. Involve the police if necessary. If they say no, ask additional questions, guide them toward professional help.

The problem with the Red Flag laws is that they skip this major step, a step that could go a long way toward getting someone the help they need instead of acting as judge and jury.

I came away from yesterday's class even more against the proposed laws that I was before, but my opinion comes from a place of better education than the people trying to pass the laws. What's scary about that is that it only took one eight-hour class to become better educated about mental illness than the politicians. These laws are nothing more than "feel good" laws so lawmakers can say they're "doing something" to get guns away from dangerous people.