Archive for the ‘Ballistic Mood Improvers’ Category

Nerd Review: Taurus PT111-Pro

December 5, 2012 - 11:57 pm 16 Comments

Throughout the various forms of chaos swirling about the Nerd Ranch like a water buffalo on acid*, I finally got my hands on the Taurus PT111 Pro from the Kilted to Kick Cancer drive. I’m told you weird freaks wonderful folks are fond of my gun reviews, so since LabRat is back off in her “I forgot how the add new post button works” malaise, here we go.

This is the single most generic gun I have ever experienced. The slide should just say “A Gun” and be done with it. Were it not for the removable, refillable magazine, this gun would be the platonic ideal of Tam’s blister-pack gun. There isn’t a thing bad about this gun. There isn’t a thing good about this gun.

The sights are adequate. Rounds pretty much go where you point it. The trigger…. works. It’s not good, but it’s certainly not bad either. The grip is present and works as advertised. It has only had a few dozen rounds through it so far, but of those it went bang each time and a hole appeared in the target.

Seriously, from now on when someone be it in a movie or a clueless “helpful” person in real life utters something to the effect of “You wait here, I’m going to get A Gun(TM),” this heater is exactly what I’m going to picture in my head.

Don’t take this wrong, this is not a slam against the PT111. In fact it’s the closest thing to praise I can give it. A Gun(TM) is the perfect thing to throw in your fishing tackle box. It won’t matter if you have to use A Gun(TM), and the police hold on to it and/or “lose” it while vetting the shoot as good or not. A Gun(TM) will not be adversely affected in the notion of having it if the finish is beat to crap from sitting in your truck under the seat for six months. A Gun(TM) will in all probability that I can tell so far continue to go bang when you pull the trigger for Long Enough(C).

It’s small enough that you can comfortably carry A Gun(TM) all day in a variety of fashions without noticing it much, or having to join the Hawaiian Shirt Mafia.

Of the four shooters I’ve had try it, the primary objection to A Gun(TM) is that spent brass comes pretty much straight back, and for two of the four, this resulted in the brass boinking off the center of their foreheads. The other two shooters had no such problem, but in thinking about the sort of situation where you need A Gun(TM), odds are that brass problem won’t really be a problem.

If you are a Ninja, move along. This is not the gun for you. If you have aspirations to ninjahood…we probably don’t get along anyway so this still isn’t the gun for you. If, however, you consider that at some point you may find yourself thinking “Holy shit, I need A Gun(TM)!” and don’t want to go nuts obsessing over what gun that may be, or what bells and whistles it may have in addition to the ability to fling lead at things you want to stop doing things, this little ballistic grey man may be perfect.

*Overheard in the office while editing post: “I’d say change it to ‘chaos rampaging,’ because I don’t exactly envision water buffalo swirling.” “Exactly.” “….ok.”

Product Review: DIY Custom Ear Plugs

August 24, 2012 - 3:24 pm 15 Comments

After several friends, most recent of whom being the delightfully a-tactical Phlegmmy sang the praises of custom-molded earplugs for shooting purposes, I decided to look into them.

Then I discovered the price tag, and that it required making an appointment with someone to futz around with my ears and laser micromodel each hair in my ears and so on and so forth and long story short (too late!) giant dick-dance to get it done if you don’t luck into a guy with a booth at a convention or some such. Already having perfectly cromulent electronic muffs, I gave it a miss and broadly said screw it.

Then while nosing around further because I am curious by nature, I found out Radians DIY version for less than I’ve paid for dinner out, and was intrigued. I decided at that price point it was worth trying, even if they turned out to suck.

They do not suck.

The process on paper is basically the same as mixing a two-part epoxy, only more of a gel than a goo. You wash your ears, split two components into two portions each, mix, and mash into your ear in such a way as to make a good sound-tight fit, then sit still for fifteen minutes or so.

In practice it’s still basically that, but they don’t warn you it’ll sound like you poured an entire box of rice crispies into your ear canal with all the crackling and popping noises this stuff gives off as it cures. Or that the chemical reaction gives off more heat than you’d expect, which also warms the air inside your ear, which expands and makes the plug feel like it’s crawling out as it hardens. They also don’t mention the part where “Hey, you molded a nice smooth exterior. Good luck getting a grab on it to pull it back out!” and I spent the better part of a couple minutes with arms wrapped at various angles around my head trying to tug my ear into some mutilated tangle so I could lever the damned things out. But if you hold still and just give the odd gentle press during the curing process, they come out fine. No, seriously. Hold still. Grab a book or something and chill, you hyperactive spaz.

Anyway, once cast, I was a bit dubious about the performance. I’m accustomed to the you-know-it-when-you-hit-it seal of the various flavors of cheap disposable plugs, and these do not provide that. I gave them a test drive at the movies, and while LabRat left with her ears slightly ringing (The Avengers), I came out happy as a clam, and the sound the whole way through was quieted, but without that “I’m listening through a pillow” quality normal plugs provide. Encouraged, but still dubious, I finally got around to trying them at the range.

Honestly, I was shocked at how well they did. I expected the lack of that seal feeling from cheap plugs to translate to “Fine for cutting ambient ongoing noise, but crap for a sharp overpressure like a rifle report.” Instead even cracking off .30-06 was perfectly comfortable, on par with or even slightly better than some Peltor 6-S muffs I picked up on sale, and without the bulk of big ‘ol cans on my head.

The obvious drawback is they’re not electronic so everything is muffled, including conversation and range commands, but for twelve bucks, holy shit they deliver, and you don’t have to make an appointment for Tony Stark’s non-union Mexican equivalent to shoot lasers into your ear. Nerd ranch approved.


August 17, 2012 - 3:49 pm 14 Comments

Idly wasting my afternoon, my inbox announced the arrival of a new email. On inspection, it was from our pet gunsmith, Spear. This is a person to whom I speak on the internet quite literally every day. He has been, and remains a welcome guest here at the Nerd Ranch. The relationship is not exactly the sort of professional level arrangement you would find between two opposing lawyers. Thus, when I read:

Mr. S. Ray

This email is just to double check and confirm the work I have to do for you.

First will be a complete refinish on the previously duracoated CZ-75.

Secondly will be installing a new safety and a complete trigger/action job on the springfield 1911.

If there is something I omitted or if there is something else you’d like done, please let me know.

Thank you

…I was a tad curious. Obviously, there is only one appropriate way to respond. So I did.

Sr. Percival Jose Chucklenuts Jr., esq.,

Your lurid prose inducing quite profound tumescence in certain portions of the anatomy notwithstanding, I find your catalog of charges accurate and correct.

After some period of omphaloskepsis while considering your missive (that I assure you most certainly did at no point involve any quantity of lubricating solution or absorbent paper products), I have reached the conclusion that I do indeed wish to press further upon your talents and impose addendums in the pursuit of ensuring my role as baddest motherfucker with two swinging nuts and a hog like a length of pipe.

Primarily, with regards to the 1911, provenanced of the fine Springfield Manufacturing Concern, I desire most thoroughly that the nether regions of the device receive chamfering in order to facilitate the insertion of magazines- verily, bevel the magazine well so I can mag-fuck the donkeypiss of the device.

Additionally, I would have you ramp the barrel to encourage the proper feeding of ammunition of more modern design, such as bullets with what is called a “hollow point.” My desire is that should a gentleman of differing morality engage in a debate with such bawdiness as is common in Those People, that I should be capable of punching as many fist sized fuckholes in the shitheel as fast as I can pull the trigger on that bitch.

My sincere thanks for your communication are of course included.

Monsignor Commissioner Herr Jinglehopper the 13th

Product Summary: Ew.

August 6, 2012 - 4:19 pm 29 Comments

A couple weekends past, the bounciest gunbunny of them all, our friend Spear, came to visit. On this visit, he had laid hands to one of the more oddball entries in the modern firearms catalog, the FN PS90 in semi-auto, long barreled civilian trim. It looks like this:

(Image credit Wikipedia)

This is a canoe paddle:

(Image credit some paddle store. Nice lookin’ though.)

If these shapes seem similar to you, that is because the FN PS90 is in fact a paddle for the failboat.

Spear has requested that my review be more in depth than “Set that pile of suck on fire and never speak of it again,” so let me elaborate.

First, it’s a bullpup. This means that in an effort to save length, everything has been shoehorned into oddball locations, such as the chamber being pretty much under your cheek when firing. And the trigger being nowhere near the sear, or the rest of the trigger-involving parts. This means there’s a fuckoff huge rod connecting the trigger way at the front of the gun to the actual primer-slapping mechanisms at the rear, so the trigger pull feels like you’re trying to choke Spongebob Squarepants. The trigger doesn’t so much break, but more is like when you chill silly putty and then try to snap it in half. It mostly oozes around the problem and then sort of lets go in a half hearted glorp.

This particular model came with the factory sights. Which also sucked. They were adequately lined up for social purposes, but to acquire them required head gymnastics that would earn at least a bronze*. Attempting to use them for anything more than 50 yards, give or take 20, and you may as well just point and hope.

Next we have the ergonomics. As a southpaw shooter, I do appreciate when there is a nod in this department to those of a sinister bent, but the funky-ass little radio dial serving as a safety is a device that feels more at home on a car’s dashboard than as part of the firing controls of a super duper space gun that this paddle aspires to be. To use it, you fiddle the dial to a different position, and then flip the gun from side to side trying to figure out if you just put the safety on or off, before eventually declaring “Fuck it,” pointing it down range, and seeing if you can make Spongebob Triggergroup emit a sharp gurgle or if it will just stretch and squish silently. Additionally on the ergonomics, your support hand goes inside the trigger guard, because nothing screams “Good idea” like having your off thumb in the same tiny space as your trigger finger. It’s perfect for doing shadow puppets while you shoot! I call this one “Punching a retarded designer in the balls.”

Back to the bullpup design, this particular incarnation ejects downwards, and brings us to an important safety tip: Ladies, do not shoot the FN PS90 ever unless you are an A-cup. The brass shot down at my chest and by sheer luck all bounced off my range ID badge. Hard enough to leave marks, and a couple tiny little melty-streaks. When LabRat went to shoot it… well her chest is less straight down than mine. Ladies, if you must stroke this oar, it is even more vital than normal to wear a shirt with a very high neckline. A turtleneck wouldn’t be a bad choice. “It’s great if you’re wearing armor, ’cause then it’s no problem at all,” I was told. Guess what I wasn’t wearing. Guess what nobody else was wearing.

This brings us to the ammo itself, the 5.7x28mm. On paper, it’s fairly interesting. In reality, it’s a necked cartridge about the size of a large ibuprofen that’s more or less a .22 mag and costs something stupid like six gold per round. The main advantage is that it’s technically a bit fiestier down range than said .22 mag, and the magazines for this thing (the most interesting part which I’ll get to in a minute) will hold 50 of them and still function. How much fiestier? I couldn’t tell you. I don’t want to get shot with either, so let your wallet be your conscience in this situation.

Now, the magazine. The magazine is also stupid as hell, but it’s stupid as hell in a way that’s so nifty that it actually works that I can’t help but like it. Ammunition is stored perpendicular to the axis of the barrel, so each round has to make a 90 degree turn as it leaves the mag and goes into the chamber. Spear wouldn’t let me disassemble beyond any hope of reassembly inspect thoroughly the mechanism that causes this to happen, but somehow it does, and does so without at any point the magazine becoming unloadable from spring tension on the 30th or 40th or even 49th round necessitating thumbs of steel. I’m pretty sure a child was sacrificed during the design of this magazine, because for as over-complicated as it is, even LabRat wasn’t able to break it or make it stop feeding.

Which, fair is fair, I also have to note that the paddle is very reliable and did not have a single jam, ftf, fte, qrs, tuv, or any of the other little bundles of joy that translate to “won’t go bang when I strangle Spongebob.”

Spear was good enough to point out, repeatedly and almost to the point of defensiveness, that this gun is not designed for popping prairie dogs or deer or sporting clays or any of the other things that every other gun in the universe can multitask to at least a little, but for the single and sole purpose of being a personal defense weapon (he wouldn’t even call it the PS90, just “the pdw”). For this one and only task, I can see it as being a viable entry…. in the original short-barrel configuration. With the extended paddle neck… er, barrel, the impressive shortness that could sit comfortably along a car door muzzle forward is trashed, but 50 rounds of decent, if overpriced and goofy, ballistic stop-that in a won’t jam ever (trust me, if it didn’t jam for LR or myself, it’s pretty solid) package is not a bad option to have. He further reports that while the rate of fire on the un-neutered version is high enough to rank into the realm of stupid, that with good trigger discipline it will spray a healthy dose of lead into whatever needs to stop doing that very controlably. Unfortunately, with Spongebob Triggergroup, the only practical way to get enough practice to have such discipline in the first place is if you’re shooting someone else’s ammo.

The FN PS90 is good for: Mercenaries and body guards in third or lower world shit holes where threats are a bit more serious than paparazzi, with ammunition budgets in place and paid for by the client, but they still have cars and stuff and buildings with doors instead of tents/yurts. People with more money than sense who think it’s a cool looking space gun. People who want one because fuck you I want one and that’s all the reason I need dammit. Movie prop departments who need more than the glowing field doors on the prisoner cells** to convince the audience that the setting is in space/the future.

The FN PS90 is not good for: Everybody else.

Moving this up from comments to make sure it’s seen, because it’s too good not to, LabRat notes: “I’d like to append that Spear brought it in large part to let me try a bullpup rifle, given that front-heavy rifles are one of my bugbears.

I am told my reaction to shooting it was much akin to a small child that has been handed a salmon-flavored ice cream cone.”

*Obligatory Olympics reference completed. We may now resume ignoring the event just as hard as we do the rest of the time.
**Y’know what would’ve been better than force fields? An actual door. With a lock. That won’t shut off when the power goes out.***
***Yes, we love us some Cave

Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt!

March 20, 2012 - 4:36 pm Comments Off on Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt!

On Tam, who is responding to this on the subject of “the gun culture”.

OK, the long and the short of “the gun culture” as it exists on the internet and at conventions and in magazines and little groups of rednecks shooting cans in a quarry is this: We’re geeks.

That’s it. That’s all. Geeks will act like geeks around their favorite subjects of geekiness. Not everyone who owns a tool or does an activity is a geek, and they tend to be a bit weirded out by geeks. It’s okay not to be geeky, but please leave us geeks to our geeking without painting sinister motives on us. (I’d also ask you please not to shove our heads in toilets, but being as we are gun geeks, this is not so much a problem.)

This is why zombie apocalypse is so ridiculously popular as a fiction scenario among gunnies*; it allows geeks to do all sorts of hella geeky things like game out scenarios and fiddle with fun equipment and come up with strategies and inventions and mods without, y’know, actually involving real people that we’d feel bad about even fantasizing about shooting, because we’re not psychopaths. If we were sports geeks we’d be playing fantasy football; if we were fantasy geeks we’d be LARPing. We’re gun geeks, so we’re gonna argue about what gun for zombie and how to make lightweight biteproof armor.

Yes, we know about the guys those scary training videos are aimed at that buy crappy martial arts and survival stuff from the back of catalogues and whose entire wardrobe is in coyote brown, flat black, forest green, and desert tan. If he were playing Dungeons and Dragons he’d be a Munchkin. We can’t drop a rock on him, so we call him Tommy Tactical or Mall Ninja and try not to invite him to our parties. Hyper-competitive, self-hating** geeks who take everything way too seriously suck.

I say all this as someone who isn’t even that much of a gun geek- I like shooting but mostly guns are just tools to me- but who damn well knows a tribe of geeks when she’s playing with them, from all the other tribes I definitely belong to.

*Use in pretty much the same tone and spirit as you’d say “Trekkie”. Not every gun owner is a gunnie by a long chalk.

**As in “cannot admit they are basically just geeks and feel comfortable with that”.

Bucked Stars

February 19, 2012 - 11:44 am Comments Off on Bucked Stars

So apparently there was something or other involving a burnt coffee superchain and something about gun folks, and no doubt a plethora of not only “guns r evil ’cause bad” opinions, but for icing on the mocha ventilated, plenty of back and forth on the pro gun side between our own that has slid far enough into stupid that I’m not even going to describe it. I was going to just let this whole thing slide as just too “Really? No, really?” to comment on. But I’ve seen one place too many trumpeting this as a victory to refrain comment further.

Moreover I would’ve bet that the overwhelming and deafening corporate “Meh” from last year wouldn’t lead to a repeat. I forgot that the overlap ratio between internet gun people and borderline-Asperger’s “You’re trolling me, right? No, really this is a troll.”-reaction generators is nearly 1.

So the sum total of all the hoopla for this year’s titanic victory? “LEAVE US THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR GODDAMN CRUSADES, WE MAKE COFFEE.“*

Yeah, we knocked that one out of the fuckin’ park.


Belated Gun Meme

February 16, 2012 - 6:27 pm Comments Off on Belated Gun Meme

So I was whining to Spear about having nothing to post because everything political lately is making me incoherently angry and nothing else interesting seems to be getting my brain juices going. He suggested I do that “Five dream guns” meme that made its way around awhile back; I replied that I had skipped it at the time because compared to most of my blogosphere I know very little about guns and care even less about them beyond their being fun to shoot and useful tools. He indicated that would be why he’d like to see my version. So be it.

1. (categorical answer) A 1911 for every occasion. A super-slick custom 1911! An authentic milsurp service 1911! A beater 1911 to fuck with! A compact 1911! A 1911 tricked out for goblin zapping! A 1911 tricked out for target shooting! If we ever lucked into sufficient disposable cash to do stupid shit with, a gift 1911 presented in a box alongside a fox with some socks, with little 1911s sewn onto the socks!

I’m not going to participate in the pistol equivalent of the Cola Wars; 1911s have a number of drawbacks compared to similar pistols used for similar purposes. I just happen to like them, they fit my hand well and point naturally for me. Not the best, but pretty much the best for me.

We are already well on our way to this goal, minus the fox, socks, and box.

2. A .30-.30 lever action rifle. Lever actions are just great fun for me, it’s got a lot of historical appeal, and they can be carried around relatively painlessly and used to shoot whatever needs shooting, be it game, zombies, or goblins. I already have one of these and enjoy shooting it more than anything else I own. Only drawback is I either need to find a very good pair of tight-fitting gloves I don’t mind beating up, or accept the sacrifice of one of my thumbnails.

3. A Mosin Nagant, preferably of Finnish or Russian make from the 30s. This is pure historical battle rifle geekery; I find something just plain neat about a weapon made to be used to either shoot, stab, or beat Nazis to death with no appreciable ill effect to the weapon. There’s also the slightly mad (and more than a little masochistic) idea that if you can get minute-of-bad-guy accurate with one of those things with iron sights, you can shoot anything. There are certain orthopedic ill effects associated with this plan, but a possible solution may involve an equally regional tradition of wearing a coat made out of two sheep and a boat sail.

4. A shotgun that points swiftly and naturally for me and runs reliably. I also already have one of these. (Actually two, but one of them is OMGWTF long and wears me out faster than the other.) After having shot many shotguns I have mostly concluded the make and model are not actually all that relevant.

5. An AR-15 built specifically for me according to my preferences in weight, sights, barrel length, stock length, handedness, shoe size, and zodiac sign. This is the purest expression of the guns-as-legos desire, basically the rifle version of my 1911 fetish. Once this goal is accomplished I anticipate feeling vague shame about still liking the .30-.30 more. Goal in progress.

New Shooter Report

December 22, 2011 - 1:39 pm Comments Off on New Shooter Report

(Stingray Sez: This is not my post even though it’s under my name. We’ve thrown a few annotations in with, more or less, Indy’s permission. See if you can find all (e^pi)-pi of them!)

Hello, world! I’m Indy, a long time friend of LabRat and Stingray’s and your “shooting noob” guest blogger. I recently moved to an area proximal to the Nerd Ranch for a graduate program in human evolution and genetics. I’ve taken the opportunity to spend lots of time harassing the nerds and monopolizing Tank. This year, they were kind enough to host Thanksgiving for myself, Spear, and Farmgirl. Given some recent experiences in my less-than-perfect neighborhood, Stingray and LabRat had suggested that I might want to learn to shoot while I was up there. I’ve been interested in learning more about guns for a while, but my last experiences involved grouse hunting when I was a kid. All of my (somewhat limited) experience was with shotguns, and I hadn’t shot a gun in 10+ years. We made a trip out to the range while I was there for Turkey Day. Stingray suggested my “noob” experiences might be fun for some of you to read, given that it’s probably been a long time since many of you were brand new at this! (LR- It’s easy to forget what being a new shooter is actually like when your day to day experience involves forum and blog wankery on the theoretical exercise of new shooters.)

We decided to stick to the indoor range since the wind levels were questionable and I was interested in trying out handguns. Spear started me off with some basic safety instruction and a quick lesson on stances and sights. We geared up (noise cancelling ear protection! so cool!) and I shot a rifle (Stingray Sez: Remington 514). Stingray and Spear decided to start me with something that I gather was sort of geared for beginners; it had almost no kick and was easy to shoot. It was frankly a lot less complicated than I was expecting. Much like many beginning shooters, I was a little nervous about the kick and bang aspect of things. Luckily, the first gun I tried didn’t have much bite to it. (It was actually easier than shooting something like a nerf gun or a water pistol.) I realized pretty quickly that what I’d thought was going to be my problem (kick) was not in fact a problem, whereas things that I hadn’t actually thought about (sighting and stance) were posing challenges. It took me a while to get used to the stance with the rifle. I imagine I’m going to need a lot more practice with it to feel comfortable. Leaning toward your target puts your center of gravity in a place that doesn’t exactly feel normal (Stingray Sez: Spear shoots all tactical high speed drag. Stingray shoots all fussy match precisiondork. WHITE PEOPLE SHOOT LIKE DIS. CANADIAN PEOPLE SHOOT LIKE DAT.). (Actually, as a dark admission, the only reason I was really able to figure out the balance problem is because I do yoga. Go figure: crunchy granola hippie activities and shooting, two things that actually blend well together.) It was also a little hard to getting used to focusing in multiple places for the sight, but that turned out to be something that was relatively easy to pick up with practice.

One of the most important things I learned from the rifle was basically that I needed to adjust where I was shooting to account for visual distortion between my eye and the target. Spear pointed out that I was a little off from where I wanted to be, probably because of differences in my vision and sighting. I found that if I was shooting for, say, point X, I needed to actually aim a little to the right. (LR: Ironically, she was the only uncomplicated, straightforward right-handed right-eye dominant shooter in the room.) I ended up shooting Farmgirl’s rifle (Stingray Sez: Winchester 94/22), which was fun but – at least to me – seemed relatively similar to the first gun I’d shot. (I suspect that with more practice, I’ll be able to tell more of a difference between guns. At the moment, not so much.) Somewhere in there, we backed up so I could try from further back. I frankly couldn’t tell a huge difference between the two distances we tried. Aiming was slightly different, and it was a little harder to get things to go where I wanted. The real difference seemed to be in how much my breathing impacted the spread of the bullets. (LR- She’s not kidding. We stood there and watched her trace several little triangles depending on where she was on inhale-exhale.)

The most challenging part of the whole day for me was probably the stance for firing handguns. We tried isosceles stance first. I couldn’t quite get my body not to lean in the wrong direction. Farmgirl suggested I move one foot back to try weaver, and that was a lot easier. I’m relatively tall for a woman (5’8″) and my center of gravity just wasn’t lining up somehow. I had to make a conscious effort to lean forward every time, but it did get a little easier as I shot more. (LR- I was the only person there who’s happiest in isosceles. I’m also the shortest and the one with baby bearin’ hips. Anatomy matters a lot, as we’re going to talk about in a later post.)

I really liked firing the handguns. They were more fun than the rifles for me. (LR- This was not an expected result.) We switched to a white paper target so I could get a better idea of where I was shooting, since apparently I was doing a bit better than expected at this point (Stingray Sez: Damn freak was shooting a quarter sized group from 20 yards on her first day with everything she picked up. We’re gonna put her in a box, poke some air holes, and ship her off to Tam with a note that says “Enjoy your new padawan.”). I was, again, worried about the kick, but I discovered that it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. To me, a lot of the handguns felt relatively similar in how they fired and how I aimed them. I started with something relatively small caliber, a Ruger MK II, which was honestly really easy to shoot. I had a lot of fun with that one. It was kind of cool to actually move up to a point where I needed to start worrying about my breathing while firing. (Which I’m not entirely sure I ever got the hang of, but oh well, there’s always next time!) I also tried a few bigger guns. I found that the heavier guns with large grips were more my speed. I have big hands but small wrists. On guns without that weight, my wrists were effectively acting as shock absorbers for the impact. (For example, Stingray and Labrat have his-and-hers Les Baer 1911’s. I vastly preferred Stingray’s. (Stingray Sez: Monolith Heavyweight- extended dust cover = more weight up front) (LR: The “hers” in this case was my Kimber compact. Mama Baer didn’t come out to play that day. There are actually four 1911s in the household.) The only two guns that really stood out to me were Stingray’s revolver (Stingray Sez:S&W 25-5 .45lc) and a tiny handgun (Stingray Sez: Kel-Tec p32). Neither was impossible (or even difficult) for me to fire, but they both had a lot of recoil. I had a harder time reaiming after shooting a round. The really small gun was the only one I didn’t actually enjoy firing. It was one of the last guns I tried. At that point, my wrists and shoulders were getting tired.

As a whole, shooting was a lot less complicated (and a lot more fun!) than I’d initially anticipated. (And, obviously, thanks to the Nerds & Co. for taking me out.) If anyone has any questions for me, I’m more than happy to answer them in comments!

Home again, home again

October 10, 2011 - 1:45 pm Comments Off on Home again, home again


Oh well. The person it’s with is trustworthy enough the only thing to worry about is him saying “Huh, I can improve that…” and having it come out either 10,000x more awesome, or breaking whatever strange mojo makes it so already awesome. Or he’ll just put it in a corner and I’ll get it later.

Rumors of my resemblance to Kjell Nilsson are extremely exaggerated. If ever there were a litmus test for beer goggles, that’s it right there.

And most amazingly of all….comments weren’t filled with raging assholes when we got back!


That’s never happened before.
Well done, the lot of you! I even laughed at some of the stuff in there!

Talon Two-fer

July 8, 2011 - 2:11 pm Comments Off on Talon Two-fer

So, a while back Dennis over at Dragon Leatherworks asked me if I’d review his newest offering, the Talon holster aimed at the 1911 platform.

If you’re like me and lazy about clicking links to older stuff, the short version was “This is a pretty slick holster,” and “damn it’s tight though,” and “now I need a 1911 I’m not sentimental about.” The first point stands, the latter two have been fixed.

The shown 1911-specific Talon has been seeing a fair bit more use than just one weekend. For reasons I’ll move on to in a moment, I’ve picked up a nice Springfield, and have been toting that around for the last two months, give or take a little. It seemed only fair to revisit this and note that over that time, yes it did loosen up to much more acceptable levels without giving up significant retention. It’s still snug enough that the angles and leverages of drawing from an OWB holster hitch up my pants some, but the wedgie-tastic Chippendale yank is gone and done with. The belt loops also loosened up enough to where I can just slide it around for adjustment just like any other holster.

Wear and finish, I’ll let the above image speak. I’m not a particularly graceful individual, and so far the Talon has taken whatever I’ve dished out without starting to look rode-hard and put up wet.

Now, as I said this was something of a swap going to a 1911 OWB instead of my trusty CZ-75 (mostly) IWB. That’s because since I’m corrosive, said CZ is off living with our pet gunsmith for a refinish and a few other touches. Since the gun is going to come back looking actually pretty, instead of like a europellet-spewing boat anchor, and I was pleased with the original Talon, I decided it might be a nice thing to have a holster that actually looks good to go with the gun. I asked Dennis if it would be possible to do a Talon for the CZ, and in a demonstration of awesome for a small businessman with overhead to watch and similar, he said “Sure!” and went and added a whole new gun’s worth of configuration to his holster line just ’cause I asked nice.

Pardon my French since I’m trying to be vaguely professional here, but that’s fuckin’ awesome.

Anyway, since the goal here again is to actually look good rather than get super-ninja ¡XEWATER! tactical, and since the 1911 model hadn’t been worn quite long enough to loosen the belt loops yet, I opted to trick it out a little.

How could I of all people resist a stingray inlay? This one came just about perfect out of the box. The retention was just where it needed to be, but this time I didn’t have to do any steam-it-in-the-shower tricks to make it let go of my gun without a fight. The belt tunnels instead of just the plain slit are also a huge improvement, and help add a good bit of extra stability, as if the original was somehow lacking in that department. The stitching is, again, excellent, and even now I remain impressed with how stiff and sturdy this holster is for such thin leather. I was hoping to have a nice glamor shot with the refinished CZ in this spiff piece of slickness, but apparently some idiot poured blueing solution into the nickel tank, so a bit of delay has occured. Either way, my opinion is that the holster is good looking enough even without being filled, and if you want an attractive dress holster that works exactly like a holster should, this is it.

Why are you still here? Go buy your own. And I guess he has other styles too if you’re a weirdo or something, but just go buy one.