Things I learned at my CCW class…

glock_xd_smTook my CCW class yesterday – finally:) It was more interesting than I thought it would be, here are some thoughts on the class in no particular order…

  1. You will learn enough in the CCW class to know what is legal or not when it comes to drawing or shooting your weapon. You WON’T learn enough to be a competent shooter or to survive a deadly force encounter. If you really want to CCW, getting the permit is only the first step. You MUST commit to training so you don’t kill an innocent bystander or get yourself killed.
  2. My gun handling skills suck. I’ve been shooting since I was 10 or so and figured I had the gun safety thing all figured out. Still is was hard for me to remember to take my finger out of the trigger guard every time it needed to be out of the trigger guard.
  3. I actually shot better than I thought I would. My first 15 shots were all within the 9 ring but fairly evenly patterned – more like a tight pattern than an actual group. After a bit of coaching the second 15 shots all went into a ragged 3 inch hole. Target was at 7 yards. I’m no Wyatt Earp, but now I know I can learn to shoot.
  4. With my body build it’s going to be tough finding a holster that’s comfortable and conceals well. Time to lose about 15 lbs…
  5. Some discussion came up about Glocks, and how they seem to have more negligent discharges than other pistols. This seems to be related to the fact that they have no safety other than the trigger safety, and if something (car keys, a worn out holster, etc) protrudes into the trigger guard, it WILL press the trigger and fire the gun. The instructor mentioned the Springfield XD is a (potentially) safer carry choice because it has a grip safety in addition to the trigger safety.
  6. Springfield XD’s are SERIOUSLY ugly. Our class was held at the local Scheels, so I checked them out while on break. They look like they were either designed by 4th graders or were a proof of concept that never got updated before going into production. Having “GRIP ZONE” molded into the grip??? Really??? How stupid do they think their intended market is? Plus, about $10 more than a Gen 4 Glock, $80 more than a Gen 3.
  7. After thinking about it, the “less safe” Glock might actually be safer for me. Knowing that the gun requires extra diligence to avoid shooting myself in the ass means I’ll be extra-extra careful. The “safer” XD would probably make me complacent, which is never a good idea with guns.
  8. The “reset feature” on the Glock trigger is very cool. After the instructor showed it to me, shot-to-shot was much faster AND my shooting was more accurate.
  9. I need a target stand. The range is too crowded, too formal, and too far to drive.
  10. I wish I could get a 22LR Glock to practice with. 10 cents per round is hella cheaper than 25 per round for 9mm.
  11.  I’d forgotten how much fun it is to shoot. Need to spend a lot more time shooting 🙂
  12. For now, I don’t think I’ll carry. Maybe after I get a lot more comfortable with the idea. I won’t mind not paying the $25 background check that I have to pay without the permit.

Related Link:

Glock vs Springfield XD

Guns in the Age of “Progressives”

glock vs springfield xdProgressives hate guns. Some might claim they don’t, but the vast majority of them do and they’re on the brink of electing a president – Hillary Clinton – who has promised repeatedly to appoint justices to the US Supreme Court who will overturn previous SCOTUS rulings that validate an individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Just in case that’s not bad enough, she wants an outright ban on so-called “assault weapons” even though they are used in less than 1% of gun crimes in the US. She wants gun manufacturers to be held liable for crimes committed by criminals who use a product that is legally manufactured by one of the most highly regulated industries in our country. She has supported a national sales tax of 25% on all gun purchases and onerous taxes on ammunition. She supports national gun registration, which has led to gun confiscation in just about every country that’s done it – most notably in Australia, a country whose gun laws Clinton has expressed admiration for.

If Mrs. Clinton is elected and is able to implement her anti-gun, anti-liberty agenda you have a few choices. One, you could just get rid of all your guns – not a good option in my opinion. Two, you could bury them in the back yard and hope the government never finds them. Another horrible option, because what good is having guns if you can’t use them. The third option as I see it is to switch to guns that don’t draw quite as much attention as an AR-15 or a Glock. This isn’t perfect either, but until enough gun owners (and others who value our Bill of Rights) pull their heads out of their butts and vote for pro liberty candidates, it’s all we’ve got. In fact, just voting isn’t enough – we’ve got to advocate for pro-liberty candidates, educate family and friends, and call out the “progressive” media and others on the left when they spread their lies – but that’s another blog post…

In the mean time, what kind of guns am I talking about? Well, guns like the ones you might have had as a kid. 22 rifles. Revolvers. Pump action or even single-shot rifles. Muzzle loaders.

Bishop – twice in two weeks – week two

The first trip was going to be the only trip, but after packing and cleaning for two days mom decided we needed to make one more trip before the estate sale. This trip was better and worse. The first time she griped about the way I drove, so this time I followed her down, and she stayed when I came back to Reno so I could set my own pace coming back. This time we left on a Saturday and I came back on Monday. Since the Monday was Robert’s first day back at school after Easter break, the kids stayed home this time. That was good and bad – since Mom was content to hang out at the motel (I guess she gets sad hanging at the house and getting ready to hand the keys over to someone else) I got to have a lot of alone time that I needed. OTOH, I missed the kids, and Robert got really upset Sunday morning when his mom was late getting home due to working 4 hours of overtime on her shift.

Unlike the first trip, I got to spend some time over at the lot. Very depressing looking at the two dry creeks. They ran continuously from at least 1975 when my parents bought the lot all the way through 2012. I’ve caught many fish in them, and since they had the bigger creek dug out it’s deep and wide enough to float in – if it had water. Now it’s just dry, with mud at the bottom every time it rains or DWP decides to let a little water down. Depressing.

Mom found some more things she wants to bring to Reno that wouldn’t fit in the back of my truck so in a few weeks I’ll be renting a U-Haul and making another trip. I also decided to get as many of Dad’s lave rocks while I’m there since I’ll have a big, almost empty truck.

I took my camera this time but didn’t bother to take any pictures. In some ways Bishop is the same as it’s always been, but in other ways it’s changed and for the worse in my opinion. Lots of areas I used to hunt, fish, fly rockets, ride my BMX bike, etc. are now fenced and posted “No Trespassing” even though the land is still empty. Hardly any local businesses left but more people. Down town is dead at night. It’s hard to believe that the year I graduated from high school, Bishop could support an 18 lane bowling alley, FOUR grocery stores, three hardware stores, Radio Shack, four or five sporting goods stores, a Baskin Robbins, four or five liquor stores, three bars, and lots of other small businesses. Now the bowling ally is closed and used as a warehouse, there are NO liquor stores, Basking Robbins is gone, no more hardware stores, no Radio Shack, only one bar, two grocery stores, and lots of the little gift shops and whatnot are closed. The ironic thing is the population is 10 or 15% higher than it was when I lived there – more people supporting fewer local business.

I hope the next trip is a little happier.

Bishop – Twice in two weeks – week one

I was lucky enough to go to Bishop twice in two weeks. Both were quick trips though and bittersweet. The first trip was to help my mom get ready for her estate sale. Drove down on a Saturday and back on Monday, me and my two kids in my truck and mom in her car. We didn’t have time to do much except pack and clean. Staying in a motel in my own town sucks, but at least they had a good breakfast bar. I feel sorry for my mom. She used to be so… I don’t want to say “smart” because she’s still smart, but now she gets confused easily, “remembers” things that were not the way she remembers them, says something then forgets she said it, and she takes EVERYTHING so seriously now. Like a joking comment by me on my need to lose a few points getting a half hour dissertation on the importance of proper nutrition, what I “really to do,” etc. Since I didn’t like hanging out at the motel I spent as much time as I could at the house. It was kind of sad, realizing it’s probably one of the last times I’ll get to be there.

On the plus side, I think my 10 year old really enjoyed being there. His older brother is finally getting over his need to constantly be present so me and Robert got to spend some time alone together. He has a pretty funny sense of humor – when I said one of the nice things about Bishop is there are no bad guys, right away he piped up with “So what do they do, pay the police to sit around and do nothing?” then spent the next half hour making up jokes about cops in a practically crime-free town. I got a kick out of it.

Like I said though, it was a very bittersweet experience. The creeks at the lot still don’t have water for the third or forth year in a row. Almost all the stuff mom is keeping is already in Reno, everything left in Bishop will be sold at the estate sale and what doesn’t sell will be donated to a local charity. Dad’s beautiful grape arbor will stay in the back yard.

I wish there was a way I could find a job and move to Bishop. I love it there – the slow pace of life, the wide open spaces, friendly people (but not “fake friendly” like in a big, liberal city), and the way you can get just about anywhere in 10 minutes or less. Oh, and the lack of bad guys…

Porter Cable PCE141 – First Impressions


I bought my Porter Cable PCE141 based on two things: low price and a large number of positive reviews. My main concern was – how can such a cheap drill offer “hammer” capability and be even somewhat reliable? The positive online reviews (and very few negative reviews, 3 year warranty, etc) kind of eased my worries so I decided to give it a chance. Besides, I wasn’t even buying it to drill holes with… I needed something that would spin a wire brush fast enough to clean the rust from cast iron frying pans without wasting a lot of time. To do that I wanted at least 2500 rpm and a side grip. It turns out the PCE141 is the only affordable drill I could find that meets those specs.

First impressions are that it seems light, balances really nice, and is easy to hold. PC calls it single speed, but I guess that refers to the hammer function because drilling speed is definitely variable – the more you pull the trigger, the faster the motor spins. I like the keyed chuck since it gives way better holding power than any keyless chuck, and the side handle is easy to adjust and gives a lot of stability. I just wish it wasn’t made out of plastic.

On the down side, the chuck has noticeable runout when spinning, the electrical cord has a 2-prong plug instead of a properly grounded 3-prong plug, and the motor is freakin’ LOUD – not exactly confidence inspiring. It does have a 3 year warranty though, so we’ll see…

Making lemonade

There is a saying that when life gives you lemons, make lemonaid. So today, life gave me lemons so I’m making lemonade.

I’m taking vacation this week, and I had big plans… lots of stuff I want to do around the house and more important I wanted to get our rental property ready to go after a bad tenant trashed it and skipped out owing us two months rent. So, today I wake up to a foot of snow on the ground. Yesterday the high was 67. Go figure. On top of that, the property manager we had an appointment with this morning didn’t show up, I guess because of the snow. Go figure, more lemons I guess.

So… no yard work because the yard is covered in snow. No work on the rental because the heat is turned off and it’s fricken COLD. No clean up in my garage because, well, it’s fricken cold. Heck, I can’t even drive out in the desert and spend a few relaxing hours looking for cool stuff – because all the cool stuff is covered with snow.

Then I remembered – I have 4 old cast iron frying pans that are covered in rust and gunk. I vaguely remember reading about how to restore cast iron pans using the self cleaning cycle on a gas oven. A quick Google search and I find a web site that explains how to do it. Verify that my oven does indeed have the self cleaning feature, put in two pans, close the door, press the write button, and… I’m making lemonade.

In a few hours I should have a couple of (mostly) rust free cast iron frying pans. A little clean up work and some seasoning and they’ll be ready to use. The lemonade part is that it’s cold, so running the self cleaning cycle on the oven is making the house nice and warm. All in all, what could have been a wasted day is turning out to be a pretty good day.

Moral of the story is, when life gives you lemons, don’t waste your time and energy complaining, use your time and energy for making lemonade.

My new Bosch 4100-09 table saw

bosch 4100-09 table sawI love tools – the right one can make an impossible job possible and any job easier than it would be without the right tool. Never mind that they’re just plain cool – like my new Bosch 4100-09 …

I’m doing a couple very small areas of laminate flooring and it’s a PITA to use a circular saw to trim the laminate on the long edge so I suggested to my wife that we get something to make it easier – like a table saw. She shocked me by agreeing right away. OK, so now which one to get? This isn’t a review of any table saw, just a tracing of my thought process in deciding what table saw to buy.

My first choice was a portable unit and two stood out right away (based on reviews on Amazon and reputable woodworking sites) – either the  DeWalt DW745 or the Bosch GTS1031. Both had really good reviews, but both had things I didn’t like – some that mattered and some that didn’t. Since I didn’t know squat about table saws, well…

The DeWalt got great marks for accurate cutting, but it’s a direct drive motor with no soft start (hint: doesn’t matter). Also it won’t accept a dado blade (whatever the hell that is – also doesn’t matter), and some say you can’t store it on its side because of various, mysterious “factors.” Whatever… I decided the DW745 wasn’t the saw for me…

The Bosch got huge amounts of praise for its durability, ergonomics, and most important its frame design which supposedly lets you store it in any position you like with no worries about parts falling off, damaging the power cord, etc. The only problem… more than a few people complaining about blade wobble. Even I could see that is not a good thing, so I also decided against the GTS1031.

Since I’d eliminated both first choices, I looked at the next in line for Bosch and DeWalt – the DeWalt DWE7480XA and the Bosch 4100-09 table saw. Both have good reviews and neither had the negative comments that the smaller saws had. Since I liked the stand that came with the 4100-09 better I decided on the Bosch. Brought it home, unpacked it, put it together, and it works great. I LOVE this saw. Then I started reading…

The reason I bought the saw was to trim laminate flooring and possibly use for other house rehab tasks. I got sucked into the idea of a table saw that could “do it all.” Both the DWE7480 and the 4100-09 are more capable than the smaller saws from their makers, but neither is really a “do it all” saw, and either the DW745 or the GTS1031 would have been better for the jobs I wanted a table saw for in the first place.

In retrospect, I should have bought the DW745 for my flooring and rehab work and started saving up for a hybrid saw (maybe a Delta 36-725 oops, no longer stocked by Lowes 5000 Series) or maybe save a little more and get a cabinet saw.

Whatever, I already paid for the 4100 and it DOES work great. Hope to have a full review soon. Oh, and I just got a router – after rethinking my saw purchase though I did the right thing and got the router I need now, not the one I might need some day. More to come on that too…

More like my Dad…

I wish I could be more like my Dad. It’s been almost 2 years since his passing and sometimes I miss him so much I cry. Still. After 2 years…

We didn’t always agree on things, but he was always supportive and never got angry even when I was <ahem> vehement on my position. Unlike me…

He was a busy man, but he always made time for family and put family first. In particular, no matter what he was doing or how important it was, he’d stop and make time to talk to me when I needed to talk. Unlike the way I am with my two sons…

He had a strong faith. He didn’t just talk about it, he lived it. Unlike me…

He was a quiet, modest man, but he would speak out – strongly – when he felt he saw some injustice or unfairness that he needed to speak out about. Unlike me…

He was tough but fair, and always calm. No matter how badly I screwed up he would always talk to me about it – no yelling, no swearing, no etc. Unlike me…

So now I just got an interruption and I’ll have to finish this post later. Not handling it well. Unlike how my Dad would have handled it…

I wish I could be more like my Dad…

Truck Gun

Truck Gun

I built my truck gun last year but didn’t have time to shoot it until recently. This was my third AR-15 build and my easiest one since I kept everything simple.

Keeping It Simple

In spite of what some people say, you don’t always need an optic and you sure as hell don’t need a light (even though “it’s 2015”) to have a useful AR-15. My goal for this gun was something solid that could take some banging around (it’s a truck gun…) and not lose accuracy. I also wanted to try a poly lower.

GWACS CAV-15 Mk II Poly Receiver and things

The lower receiver I picked is the CAV-15 Mk II from GWACS Armory. Unlike most AR-15 lowers, the CAV-15 combines the stock and receiver into a one piece unit, which eliminates a weak spot where they’d join on a regular AR. I bought the fully populated lower (trigger safety, bolt catch, etc already installed) for $200 (current price is $220) which is pretty good compared to building your own lower. The barrel is a no-name 16″, 1-9 twist, carbine gas, with an A2-style FSB that I bought from JSE Surplus. BCG is an $80 unit from AIM Surplus, and the upper was one I got free when I bought a barrel from SAA. Forearm is MagPul, and the rest of the upper parts are the cheapest ones I could get. The only thing I splurged on was the rear sight from Larue Tactical.

Test Shooting

Sighting in was drama free. In fact, with the front and rear sights set at the position, it shot to point of aim at 50 yards so I didn’t even have to adjust them. The trigger supplied is by CMMG and feels better than “mil spec” triggers I’ve tried on other guns. In fact it’s nice enough that I’m not going to bother replacing it with a Geissele – it’s a truck gun after all.

An Affordable Truck Gun

Total cost was about $650 including shipping costs and FFL transfer fee, but I could have knocked some off by going with a cheaper rear sight. So far I only have about 150 rounds through it with no malfunctions so far. For the money, I like it better than any of the low end AR-15’s I’ve seen in stores.

Related Links:

GWACS Armory CAV-15 MkII Lower Receiver
LaRue Tactical B.U.I.S. LT103
Cheap Truck Gun