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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Firearms Training Part 2

I went to the three day Defensive Handgun 1 course at Thunder Ranch when they were in Texas. I learned a lot of stuff in that class and highly recommend Thunder Ranch.

What did I learn? First of all, I learned most of the stuff you would expect. Items in these categories were all emphasized throughout the class so I can't put them in chronological order . I'll try to sort things out into three basic catagories.

1. Safety with firearms.

2. Thought process, philosophy, and attitude. Thinking about when you should fight as opposed to run. Not giving up no matter what happens. The fact that life isn't fair and you've got to deal with it. I'll also include situational awareness and thinking before acting here, as well as communication.

3. Using a handgun. Including drawing and presenting a handgun, focusing on the front sight, trigger control, shooting stance (primarily emphasizing isometric tension for most shooting and using a protected position if you are within arms reach until you can get out of arms reach), moving, shooting while moving, shooting moving targets, shooting moving targets while moving, reloading, malfunction clearance, shooting from the ground, target areas on the human body.

As far as safety goes, I went over the Four Rules before. The entire school was hot. Everyone was expected to have a loaded firearm on them at all times. Open or concealed didn't matter, but you had to have one. The first starts with a lecture starting with the Four Rules, then going over what would be covered and how, as well as thoughts on fighting, when to fight, when to run, etc.

A bit of time was spent in the lecture and the class on communication. You have to communicate with the guys on your side i.e. your partner, friends, or family members. You have to communicate with potential threats to find out if they are a threat, or if you can hopefully disengage from them before you have to do something that may change someones life. We learned to try to communicate with an attacker even if you are shooting them. Far better to have a witness tell a grand jury "He was backing away and yelling for the other guy to leave him alone" than "He was calling him bad names and saying he was going to kill him."

To be continued.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Firearms Training Part 1

After Riverwalker started wrote about firearms training I thought I'd write a little about some classes I've taken and various lessons I've learned.

First of all, the Four Rules:

1. All firearms are always loaded.

2. Never point a firearm at something you are not ready and willing to shoot.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until your sights are on the target.

4. Always know your target, what is beyond it, and what may come between you and it.

A little explanation of these may be in order here.

1. You should not "treat all firearms as if they are loaded" or "pretend it is loaded" or anything halfway like that. If you "treat it as if it is loaded" then sooner or later you will tell yourself "it really isn't loaded" and then you are asking for trouble.

An example of this idea: During a lecture for a class at Thunder Ranch at one point Clint drew his 1911, dropped the magazine, racked the slide to clear the chamber, then racked it a few more times, then locked the slide back and held it up so everone could see through the mag well and out the ejection port. He asked if we thought the gun was unloaded. When some guys kind of nodded a little (not me, I had an uncomfortable feeling) he dropped the slide and asked "Would any of you let me point this at your chest and press the trigger?"

Honestly, would you point your "unloaded" gun at your child or parent or spouse and press the trigger? All firearms are always loaded.

2. I've seen several pictures of hunters with animals they have shot with the muzzle of their rifle resting on their foot. What kind of nonsense is that? I've seen a couple of pics people posted online of someone posed with a game animal and their rifle was resting on the animal and apparently pointed at them. "Don't worry, it isn't loaded." Yeah, right. See Rule 1. Don't point a firearm at something unless you are ready and willing to shoot it.

I heard this in a safety lecture to kids but it works for grownups as well. Imagine a laser beam coming out the muzzle of the rifle. The laser beam will burn anything it is pointed at. I prefer to think of the beam as spreading out a little like a cone. Having a bullet pass 2 inches from you is better than hitting you but it would probably still take a few years off your life.

3. If you watch any tv or any movies you will see people walking around with their finger on the trigger while their firearm is in some "ready" position and not pointed at a target. That is one more reason why tv and movies are usually stupid. When you are startled or stumble, what usually happens? Your muscles tense up. If your finger is inside the trigger guard you will be very likely to put pressure on the trigger. Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until your sights are on the target.

4. Being sure of your target should be obvious, but almost every year somewhere in the USA someone shoots or shoots at another person when hunting. This past year there was a man that shot at something he saw moving in the woods and killed his own Grandson. Moron!!! Never shoot at something that "might" be a deer or other game animal or target!!!

Bullets also have a tendancy to miss their target or go through it, hence the need to know what is beyone your target. Don't tell me you never miss - the only man that never misses is the man that never shoots.

As far as being aware of what may come between you and your target I'll share a little experience I had. I was in a man's pasture shooting into a berm. It was sort of an informal shooting range. If you knew him you could shoot their for free as long as you cleaned up after yourself and did it at reasonable times. I was about finished when another car pulls up. A man and his son (about 8 years old) get out. I told them I was on my last magazine of ammo and I'd be out of the way. The man says that's fine with him and he starts unloading. I walked up towards the target and drew a handgun, put my sights on the target and was pressing the trigger when the boy goes running in front of me carrying some kind of target holder to set up in front of the backstop. If he had been a split second later he might have stepped in front of a moving bullet instead of one still in the chamber. His dad yelled at him, but by that time he was at the backstop. I was glad I was done for the day. I can also see how people could come between you and your target if you are hunting or just doing some long range shooting on public land. Be careful and be sure of your target, what is beyond it, and what may come between you and it.

The best safety in the world is the one between your ears.

Next time I'll start with an actual training class I went to.
That's a quick look in my deep freeze. It's almost all venison. There is one frozen turkey on the bottom shelf, a bag of rice on the top shelf and a few bags of various beans on the 2nd shelf. You can't see the door but it is filled with venison summer sausage and home made venison jerky, both vacuum sealed.

That is the better part of three deer, one each for myself and my two oldest boys. That is the 9yo's fourth deer and the 7yo's first.

Hunting may not be the answer if the economy goes totally in the tank, and certainly isn't all of the answer, but if you don't have to pay a fortune for a lease and hunting license then you can lower your grocery bill quite a bit.


Shoe Goo is one of those things everyone should have at least a little bit of. Of course it can make a pair of shoes last a lot longer, but I have another use for it. I fix holes in the pockets of my pants with it. I'm a guy and I often have a bunch of stuff in my pockets and a lot of it has sharp edges that I don't notice until they go through the pocket and leave a hole. A bit of Shoo Goo and the pockets are as good as new. Actually, better. I've worn holes in pockets that I repaired with Shoo Goo but I've never had the Goo let go or fail. The last pocket I repaired took less than one minute of my time and then I let it dry overnight. I could sew it but it would take me much longer. Shoe Goo also makes for sturdy repairs on leather work gloves and coats of any sort.


I didn't get my new chicken coops built, didn't get the rabbit hutches built, and didn't get the garden planted. My better half had things to do so I had to take care of the kiddos almost the entire weekend. I did get the droppings out of the chicken cage. I've got a nice big pile of it now and I think I'll just spread it out in the area where I will expand the garden if we need to.

I put several pickup bedfulls of mixed chicken, goat, horse, and cow manure on the current garden and plowed it in. This stuff was old and was more soil than manure. Some of it had been on the pile for maybe 4 years and we had to pull grass out of it, so the garden should be in good shape when we get it in.


I spent some time after the kids went to bed resizing brass. I'm trying to get all of one caliber sized and decapped before I have to get out the trimmer. I've got a power trimmer so the chore isn't so bad once it is set up. Then I'll have to get out the primer pocket swager because I've got a pile of once fired military brass and I'll have to get rid of the primer crimps. Then, I'll get out the little tool to deburr the case mouths and I'll be ready to load them up again.

I have found that RCBS Case Lube 2 is a slicker lube than One Shot spray lube. The One Shot works fine for sizing most rifle cases, but I've got a batch of LC .308 brass that was aparently fired in a machine gun as almost every case is huge. Using the RCBS lube I can force the cases through a small base sizer die with an effort, but most of they were hopeless with the One Shot lube. Sizing cases that were fired in rifles the One Shot works great and is easy. However, if you come across once-fired military cases you may have to use the RCBS lube. My dad had the same experience and his answer was to size the cases first in a regular full length resizer, then put them through the small base sizer, but that seems like too much trouble to me.

The other problem is that all that swelling of the cases and sizing them back down makes the cases longer. In this case something like .030" beyond the max case length which is a lot more than with cases fired in rifles with a tighter headspace. I've thought about spending the money on an X-die with the idea of reducing or eliminating case trimming, but I really don't deal with once-fired military cases that often, and I'm not sure that the X-die takes the cases down to the minimum dimensions like a SB sizer does, so there would be another step in that case.

Happines is not having to worry about where your next box of ammo is coming from.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Barack's Teleprompter

"Vice President Biden is the smartest person in the Administration. Seriously."

That is funny.

Here is the link. I am in awe.

Plans for the weekend

Government got us into this. Does anyone expect the government to get us out?


Plans for the weekend:

1. Start planting the garden. I plowed it up a couple of weeks ago but haven't had time to get anything in the ground.

2. Build a new chicken coop/tractor. I've got an idea that I've been thinking about for a couple of weeks and I want to try and build it.

3. Build some rabbit hutches and get the bunnies. I've contacted two local rabbit breeders that have stock for sale, so I've got to build something to put them in.

I will post pics of whatever I accomplish.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stealth Preps

Posting about fire extinguishers started me thinking about preps for people whose spouse or SO is not into preps, or is even hostile to the idea.

A fire extinguisher is a stealth prep. It is an item that can help you face a foreseeable incident, but doesn't come out and say "prepper" or "survivalist".

Nobody can argue against having a fire extinguisher. Ok, some people might on the basis that putting out even a little grease fire in the kitchen can be dangerous and the best policy is to clear out of the house and call 911, especially if you or someone in the house has asthma or something like that. However, most people won't object to having one around, either at home or in a vehicle.

Stealth Prep

Sort of a way to ease people into the idea of taking care of themselves. Another stealth prep is a flashlight. I'm amazed at how many people don't even have a flashlight at home or in their vehicle. If you just tripped the main breaker in your house at night how would you find your way to the breaker box without a flashlight? Ever had to change a tire at night on a rural road? If the moon isn't out you may lose the lugnuts in the gravel and wouldn't that be fun?

Here is a short, incomplete list of stealth preps. I'll add to it later when I have time.

1. fire extinguisher

2. flashlight

3. spare perscription glasses. If you wear glasses and have a vision benefit on your medical insurance then get a set of glasses every time you qualify even if you don't think your eyes have changed. Keep the old glasses as spares. One in each car would be nice so you aren't stranded by your uncorrected vision if you break or lose your glasses. A spare pair at work would be nice, and maybe one at a relatives house.

More later.

A Prep You Need

Do you have a fire extinguisher at home? How about in each of your vehicles?

I have one rated for A, B, and C type fires in the kitchen, one in the master bedroom, and one in each vehicle. I don't have one in the garage currently, but the door from the garage is through the kitchen, so it's not far out of reach.

Got to Lowes, Home Depot, even Walmart.

If you don't have them, get them. They aren't that expensive. Go to Lowes, Home Depot, even Walmart, and pick up at least one for the house and one for each car. Here is some info on ratings.

I would get them rated for A, B, and C, because that will cover almost everything you are likely to have at home and in most car crashes.

Any comments or additional info? Please let me know.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

“The best government is that which governs least.”

I'm a little slow getting started here.

I'm an electrical engineer in Texas. I enjoy raising my kids, hunting, gardening, and the outdoors in general. I like the idea of self sufficiency and not depending on the government to provide for me.

I want less government and now we have the government wanting to register our livestock and control our gardens.

Let me move on to something more pleasant.

The little rifle you see in the picture at the top of the page is a Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70. The iron sights are XS Systems Ghost Rings. The scope is a Leupold 2.5x IER Scout Scope mounted on an XS Scout Mount using Leupold QRW rings. The load was a 350gr. JSP at about 1650fps at the muzzle. The range was laser measured at 155 yards.

Here are a couple of pictures of me shooting a turkey last fall. In the first pic you can see the turkeys in the brush, straight above my right elbow, about even with the top of my head.

Now you can see the rest.

I've got to go to work now, but I'll post more later.


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