Monday, July 18, 2016

Changes in the Blogoshpere.

It seems that a few long running Blogs have completely dried up in the past year. I hate to see it happen, but some times life just gets in the way. It's not like us little guys get paid much to do this. If we advertise with google, you might get a tank of fuel every quarter, if you ride a moped.

I do miss a few of the more solid guys out there. I know we sometimes get caught up with popular guns and ammo talk and bore the heck out of you with intelligence and toilet paper posts, but it's all important to us. Like minded people should stick it out for as long as we can, and when we just can't do it anymore, bow out gracefully.

This blog isn't updated regularly due to my time constraints and outreach programs. I know that can get annoying at times when you need a good read on a late night insomnia stretch. It's just how it is for me. It's free info. If you want get some high level training, I can get you taken care of but the price is steep!

Anyway, I'm not going anywhere. If the blog suddenly stops getting updated for a couple months, I'm dead. Probably by my wife for buying another gun. So worth it.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Emotional and Psychological Issues Under Pressure

Spent 6 days at camp with the scouts. It was enjoyable, as always. My biggest issue was the fact that 2 of the boys in the troop have some serious emotional issues and required a great deal of assistance to keep them stable. One is a textbook case of manic depressive with zero short term memory due to heavy drug use of his mother during pregnancy. The kid is pure gold when he's comfortable, but when things don't go his way, or he's hungry/sleepy/tired or sick... Godzilla time. The other is an autistic boy that recently move to our troop. He needs constant attention and reinforcement. It's an exhausting mix. The good thing is that the boys are learning their limitations and beginning to understand why they react differently that the other kids.

What I learned was that in a dire situation, I cannot count on them to do anything but exacerbate the issue. Medications won't be enough to keep them in check if their world falls apart on them. Even mild dehydration can cause significant emotional swings in those hampered by emotional difficulties. In an emergency, your children can become a large hindrance to your plans unless you have made some allowance for their emotional needs prior to the event.

If your family member has serious emotional damage, or requires heavy medication to remain compliant, you might be in real trouble as the meds wear off. Planning for this eventuality is almost impossible. There are no good options when it happens.

One of the things that most people don't know is that most successful people have a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental impairment. Sometimes genius has it's torments, and sometimes OCD is the price of organizational perfection in a company.

The other side of this coin is those boys that were sharpened by conflict and testing. Many of the troop were tested by the Firecrafter program. This program is 100% volunteer and lies outside the regular scheduled classes. The boys can choose to start the program during a week long camp if they want to attain one of the three ranks. The first rank is pretty simple and is more of an orientation and molding campaign for 11-12 year olds. The next is more difficult and required the demonstration of fire building skills and the ability to learn productive woodcrafting skills, as well as volunteering for service work around camp. The final tier requires the candidate to make a fire with a fire by friction set they made at camp, and to display their leadership skills by running a campfire program. 

Those boys that completed ranks were very proud and by the end of camp, far more self assured than prior to camp. Those that failed understood that personal responsibility is their doing, and that they were responsible to themselves for the failure to complete the skills. Yes, the ones that didn't pass were upset, by they accepted it and vowed to do better next time.

Another section of the troop had high hopes prior to camp, but once they arrived were more than happy to not attain a single Firecrafter rank, didn't complete their prerequisites, didn't complete a single merit badge and didn't help the troop run smoothly in a single manner.

It's like a cross section of society. I spent 90% of my time with 10% of the troop and the cream always rises. Those boys that are coddled and still tied up to momma's apron strings aren't faring well and will continue to lag behind those that were raised in a more traditional family setting with responsibilities of their own.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Late Night Rambling. Clinton/Dallas shootings

I see that we are now in open warfare with the authorities in some places. It's a shame, really. A divided public is far easier to subvert than a united citizenry. The Clinton Email charade and ensuing circus is just another dog and pony show that will not amount to much.

I will say that Matt Bracken's recent (July 6th, 2016) post about sniper team ambush tactics was prescient, like much of his work has been over the years. It seems that logic and sound research leads to an efficient forecast of future events. More likely he's just more attuned to historical observations and social reaction extrapolation than most. One of his best works, and a great study guide for the future lawlessness is this rather long piece on Civil War 2 {posted September 2012} and the indicators leading to it's eventual kick off. Dallas could be a False Flag op, but I doubt it. Both sides were shot up, like you would be trying to get both sides fighting each other, but who really knows at this point?

When the Music Stops

I highly doubt that it will be peace one day and a shooting war the next. More likely would be a slow, simmering guerilla war until enough order takers are killed that the other order takers quit taking orders, then the kickoff gets heated.

Some day we will look back at these times and wonder why we didn't do something to end evil, instead of choosing Evil A & B for almost a century. I just want this whole thing over with before my oldest son is of fighting age. He's a smart kid and he's got heart, so I know he will want to fight. He's a millennial kid so he's still awfully soft to be thrown into the fray. Kid 2? He'll be leading a squad of inglorious bastards into the fray without a second thought- At 12 years old.

I'm just a little bummed out over what's happening these days. Wake me up when it's time to do something. Till then I'm going to sharpen my blade and do recon. I have an active shooter class to plan for.

I Miss America

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Long Week Training Future 2A Leaders.

I spent the week training about 200 new shooters in basic marksmanship and fundamental rifleman skills. It was a very nerve racking environment, but the benefits are amazing for the future of 2nd Amendment causes. I'm given a very narrow set of rules to follow, but we do what we can with what we have.

All week was also spent in my hammock in the woods. It was absurdly hot even during the night. At one point, I could feel the sweat dripping off the bottom of the hammock. Insane conditions to try to sleep in, but worth the effort. I tried to stay busy until 11pm when the cool started to seep in from the woods, but even that was of little use with temps at 80 degrees and the humidity hovering near triple digits. A couple nights storms rolled in and it was a nice change to have wind to cool off the hammock bottom.

Many parents were more than amazed at the things that were taught in my time with their children that they didn't know themselves. Eye dominance was a huge skill set that most common shooters know little about prior to getting frustrated. Bone to bone over muscle holds, trigger squeeze orientation, directional bias, target fixation, etc. It was amazing to watch how limber young minds can be.

There were a few combat vets there with their kids and one day we had a rain out and all packed into a pavilion. A few of them were suffering with the noise and activity so I took them aside and for a cool drink and a chat. It takes a lot of situational awareness training to spot them all, but with a little practice, it's pretty easy to spot people that are teetering on the edge. I just wish the rest of society would put the phones away and take a chance at meeting the people around them instead of the screen full of people they barely know. A little small talk and social etiquette goes a long way.

Some of the best training I was given for spotting distress was presented to me in a Divemaster class years ago. Once you start keying on the little things, the small cues become more obvious to you. As in most instances, the hand tell the tale, along with body position and direction. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Availability of Weapons In The US Saving Lives?

I've been thinking about this for a while now and have finally come to a consensus on my feelings and the facts. The US gun culture is creating a climate that makes it easier to purchase civilian weapons than it is for terrorists to import true weapons of war like were used in Paris, France. It's nearly impossible to buy a gun in France, so the terrorists purchased and smuggled in full auto AK47's. If you're already smuggling weapons, you might as well include some mines, grenades and incendiary devices, right?

Let's face it, a Glock is far less dangerous than an RPG or many other weapons out there. If they are going to have to import their weapons, I'm sure those will be far more potent than what is currently available to radicalized US citizens.

The gun culture of the US continues to save lives, even without arming the good guys. With that being said, carry your darn gun! All the time, and be ready to use it when you must. Where I live those pesky No Guns signs carry no legal weight, so I ignore them, just like the criminals do.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Critical Thinking in Practice, Not Predisposition.

Every once in a while I'll have a rough time overcoming preconceived notions and generally accepted knowledge used as fact. Take for instance my day's endeavor. I've been working on load development for a very odd rifle. Proof research barreled Remmy long action in 300 Win Mag. I've been told be several people that those barrels like heavy bullets, and I favored the heavy bullets, loading a full set of them for my daily grind at the range. I did this in deference to the findings of my last outing with the same rifle where I used 168 grain Sierra Match Kings to break in the barrel and do the zero work while breaking it in. As soon as I felt the barrel was ready to start grouping, I switched to 190 SMK's and the groups opened up a bit. I did find a narrow node where it would shoot 1/2" groups with 190's, but for the most part, the 168's shot better.

Given my predisposition, I loaded a bunch of 208 Amax's for the outing, in total opposition to the findings of my first trip. The results were less than stellar. 1.25" groups all day. I jut happened to also take another 300 win mag I built years ago for F class competition. The ammo it uses is a 175g zooming at 3185 FPS. I decided to swap ammo and shoot the faster 175's. They are 60-70 FPS faster than the 168's I used to break it in. Guess what- 3/8" 5 shot groups.

We often times take the intelligence out of the equation and interject our own untested facts into our decisions when we have solid, verifiable evidence that they are false. Allowing your feelings to get in the way of sound decision making can be a catastrophic tragedy. Luckily today it only cost me about 60 bucks in fuel, ammo and some shoulder abuse. Making a decision without any solid evidence to support it is also a fool's chore. It's like picking a wife or husband based on what their favorite color is. Start studying your choices, be critical of your past choices. "Because that's the way we've always done it" isn't an acceptable reason to continue that behavior. Critical thinkers not only solve issues, they also find inefficiencies and assist in process streamlining.

Questioning your choices can be a humbling experience, but also enlightening. Having a peer or family member review your logic can also help establish a baseline for you to follow when questioning your decisions. For instance, if you tend to over spend on amazon while sipping on a frosty beverage, start limiting your exposure to either the brew or the shopping website and see what the outcome is. Ask yourself why you made the choice you did and learn from it's success or failure.  It's tough adulting some times, so don't take criticism personal. Learn from it, embrace your shortcomings for the lessons they teach you. Take command of the decision making process and become wise from your mistakes as much as you do from your successes.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Gear Review: Cold Steel Spartan Folding Knife. UPDATE 5/28/16

There comes a time in every man's life when he must retire a knife. It's like losing an old friend that's been around forever. Earlier this year my Beretta AirLight Tanto gave up the ghost and lost the screws for the pocket clip. I've had this knife for 10+ years and loved everything about it. It's lightweight, ultra thin and holds a nice edge. The screws are the weak point. The ones that hold the clip in place stripped out from the frame. So, that brings me to my next adventure. Finding the right knife for me.

I'd been trolling several web sights looking for something similar to the Beretta but never really found the right one. I finally just gave up and decided to get something different in the less than $100 market. The choices were endless. While looking at many blades, I noticed that the Tanto style I was used to wasn't going to be good for skinning or hunting use. My next blade should be useable for such since my boys are getting to the age where I will be taking them in the field soon enough. A nice curved folder would suit me just fine. What size should I get? Well, bigger is better, right?

Sales video from the Cold Steel website.

Cold Steel Spartan Folder. Glock 17 and mags for size reference and cool factor.

My first impression is that this thing is HUGE. The blade itself is is 4.5 inches long with a total length of 10.5 inches. The weight is 9.2 ounces so it's a hefty knife. Definitely one you will be hard pressed to forget it's in your pocket. The grip has a good texture with internal steel liners and a positive locking mechanism that is about as robust as they come. There are videos on the web site showing the locking mechanism holding a 300 pound load. A very well built knife for the price!

I started carrying the knife around six months ago and noticed it's bulk right away. The length is so long that it tends to rub the keys at the bottom of my pocket. This gets annoying at times when seated for long periods. The blade itself came very sharp and held it's edge well for quite a while. The locking mechanism needs to be operated a few times and lubricated a little before it's perfect. The clip is very sturdy as well but it's losing it's black coating on the leading edges. The finish on the knife is a bead blasted stainless look with the lettering near the handle. The Aus 8 steel isn't a very robust stainless. Mine is getting bits of rust or corrosion on it in several places.  It seems to be only on the side that rests against my leg so it must be a moisture/salt issue. Makes me wonder how well it will stand up to opening bags of ice melt this winter.

Corrosion on the blade. The lines are from sharpening a pencil Friday afternoon.

Overall, it's a very nice knife. The blade itself is easily sharpened and fairly tough, but not nearly as hard or resilient as many others I've had. I nicked the blade when I was cutting zip ties off a fence. I was disheartened when it happened but I wasn't being very careful. The blade was easy enough to bring back into shape that it wasn't a big loss. My only other annoyance is the fact that you really need to put your fingers inside the hilt where the blade goes to operate the safety lock. I cut myself once trying to snap it closed due to the design. I'm not a fan of leaking, so that one was pretty big.

I like the knife for what it is and it's really nice to take bushwhacking because it doubles as a machete in the dense brush. A swift whack with the blade is all it takes to cut back brambles and vines. The handle is shaped to hold your hand in place and not lose the knife or allow the edges of your fingers to be exposed while chopping. Great feature for a knife of this heft and type. Another great feature is the pocket grabbing plate at the top of the blade. It catches the edge of your pants pocket and opens the blade for you if you draw it properly. My only issue with that feature is that the thumb piece seems to be a little loose fitting. You can move it slightly but the screw seems to be tight.

My thoughts are that I'm going to keep the knife and use it for weekends in the woods or certain special times when a small machete is needed. I'm going to continue my search for another knife of the size and caliber of the Beretta I previously owned. 

Update: This winter I broke the flat tang that is used as a pocket catch for fast opening the knife. I was batoning wood during a camping trip and noticed it was missing after I finished. It had been loose for a bit. I kept meaning to return it for repair, but life gets in the way. Fast forward to last week and I brought it with me to the NRA convention to check with the Cold Steel reps there. I asked if they had a good warranty and told them of the issue. He grabbed it from me and took it in back, then handed me a box. He also informed me that the new updated model is a better steel. So far that seems to be the case. I'll let you know how it holds up. AWESOME WARRANTY!