Saturday, October 08, 2005

Range test

I'd seen these before, and finally got a chance to try one out. The Taurus Tracker in(as K puts it) the manly .45acp:

It comes in both stainless steel(usually with a ported barrel) and titanium(without ports). About 9" long and 5" tall, and the titanium version weighs a flat amazing 1.5 lbs. The .45 holds five rounds, using a spring-steel clip to hold them:

By making it a five-shot, they were able to use a smaller-diameter cylinder and smaller frame, making the stainless job fairly light, and the titanium(which this one is) amazingly so. The titanium guns have a stainless steel sleeve inside the barrel and each chamber in the cylinder that handles the actual contact with hot powder gas and bullets. It's rated to handle +P ammo, so hot loads are no problem for it. Here's a clip with five rounds of Hornady XTP HPs loaded:

Let me add something here: the pistol is rated to handle +P ammo with no problem, but you will damn well know when you touch them off. The light weight makes this a good carry piece- which is what interested me about it- but, as Heinlein pointed out, there ain't no free lunch. Take away that much weight, and you'll have more recoil getting to your hands. Taurus' answer is that funny-looking grip; it's rubber with large ribs molded in. It fits into your hand quite well and does as good a job of cushioning as is probably possible. You'll notice the recoil, but it doesn't hurt.

The action is very nice. I don't have a scale, I'm guessing double-action pull at about 8 lbs. Single action is marvelous, breaking with no creep or drag and at about 2-2.5lbs. Sights on this one are fixed, on the stainless models I've seen they have the same front post and an adjustable rear.

How does it shoot? This is the first 20 rounds, all fired single-action from ten yards

That group is 2.5" across, fired with American Eagle 230gr. ball. For the first time I've ever fired one of these, I think that's pretty damn good, with all shots hitting a touch above point of aim for me. With lighter bullets, say 200 or 185gr, I think the point of impact would be right on point of aim.

I fired the next 30 closer and double-action. Yes, I scattered them a little; I've mostly been shooting semi-autos lately, and had to get my hand back in. No gripes with the pistol. The sharp recoil does lift the piece, but it's not uncontrollable, just a difference between it and a heavier piece. The front sight needs some color to help pick it up faster, though.

Taurus and S&W are the only people I know of who make a revolver chambered in auto-pistol cartridges. In this one(and I think all others) you can fire the ammo without the clips, but the ejector won't kick the empties out.
The S&W 325PD is built on a Scandium version of their full-size N-frame. It's a good pistol, the weight is not bad at all, but unless you're the size of Bill Jordan(and I'm not) it wouldn't do for a concealed-carry weapon. If you wanted it for open carry while hunting or camping, that's not a problem. And the sights are great; they're using a fiber-optic front that damn near glows in the dark with a V-notch rear, a very fast combination that I like.

Taurus says in the manual that you should not use +P loads with lead bullets in the titanium Tracker. The recoil impulse is sharp enough that if the bullet is not crimped tight into the case, the gun might act as an inertial bullet puller, and the last one or two in a cylinder might shift out enough to tie things up.

Looking at the factory site, it appears that they no longer list this pistol in .45acp, but they do still have it in .41 Magnum! I had a chance to shoot one of those, in the titanium version, and I won't do it again. I'm not recoil-shy, but it kicked the crap out of my hand; full-power .41 Mags are too much for that light a firearm.

Overall, I was impressed. Very light, quite accurate, well-made, smooth action. As a carry piece, whether hiking or in daily wear, it would work quite well. If I could get one with sights like the Smith, I'd practically drool while finding the money. And that's something for me, as I'm still kind of pissed at Taurus for helping NJ with their idiot 'smart gun' project.

Additional: further checking tells me they're making the damn thing in .44 magnum! Jeez, some people are a lot tougher than I...

I now officially hate dating

Is there some genetic thing in women that will not allow them honesty in some things? Or is it something socialized in by other women with problems?

In specific, I refer to a seeming inability to tell someone the truth about a request for another date. Three times now I've had this happen: take the lady to dinner; things seem to go well; at the end ask if she'd like to go out again and she says yes; then proceeds to never answer the phone or return calls. Except for the third. She answered, said "Not this week, maybe next" and then never answered any more calls.

Honest, I can handle 'no'. A simple "I don't think so" or some such simple response would be ok if she doesn't want to go out again. I could even deal with "You remind me of the stalker I saw on America's Most Wanted and I don't want to see you again". I'd be weirded out, but I could handle it. But it really ticks me off when someone doesn't have either the integrity or manners to simply say 'no', instead saying 'yes' while planning to never allow contact again.

Yes, I realize that not all women do this, but I somehow seem to find the ones who do.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Critters in the house

Some people have bug pests. Others have furry things. I went over to my ex's house to see my daughter, and while there noticed one of her cats crouched down, reaching under a crock pot(don't ask). I finally decided to see what she was after, and pulled it over while daughter was saying she acted like she was doing something useful, like chasing a mouse. As a matter of fact, it was. Little sucker about an inch long that stayed huddled up. I said "Yes, it is", daughter looked around, "It IS a mouse!" She crouched down to observe, and in a shocked voice said "It's alive!" Which it was, apparently hoping if it held still we'd go away.

Which the damned cat did. No longer having anything in the way, instead of doing something catly like eating it, she stood up, looked at it for a moment and then wandered away. So daughter got a glass and caught it, stating as I was leaving that she was keeping it. Have I mentioned before the rat? Yes, she has a rat, so she had mouse food and bedding.

About an hour or so after I left she informed me she'd cleaned out her old aquarium and set it up, sending me this portrait of her new critter:

I'm hoping the cats or the ferrets made themselves useful and ate any others.

This looks more and more like a Ramadan attack attempt

More information about the FREDS is slowly coming out, with Michelle Malkin having a boatload of links here. From what's available, seems like:
He had been attending services at a mosque and hanging out at the local Islamic Society.
He tried to buy an amount of ammonium nitrate.
He had attempted to get into the game, and ran when a guard wanted to search his backpack.
They took a buttload of explosives and/or materials to make them out of his apartment.
The trees around the explosion site show what appears to be damage from fragments.

You put all this together, and it looks more and more like what Little Green Footballs refers to as a 'work accident'. Especially with the FBI having pretty much taken over the investigation. Some parts of it, especially, like the apparent fragmentation effect(why add metal pieces to a bomb to kill yourself?) make it look like he had a lot more in mind that suicide. And if the information about tickets out of the country is correct, it points to a planned mass-homicide and plans to flee, with a work accident messing up the plans.

As to the disclaimers from the feds("No, no, no evidence of anything like terrorism"), they do not give me a great deal of confidence. They tend to deny damn near anything, on the theory that either a: anything they say may affect an investigation and/or b: everyone except themselves is a panicky idiot who can't be trusted with anything. Combine the newer stuff with what was known before, it looks like a big Ramadan surprise was planned and went wrong, with the FREDS either setting the stuff off by accident(TATP being very unstable) or setting it off deliberately if he thought he was about to be caught or- just possibly- set off remotely by someone else? That's happened a bunch of times in the Mid-East with the Palistinians and co. Question: did they find any bits of electronic debris that might point to a remote detonator? The only people who know aren't talking.

And this crap happened right near where my daughter lived when she went to OU. Which makes me just so damned happy.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Always try it out first

Before you actually trust it, any firearm intended for self-defense needs to be tested. Two basic reasons: first, to see where it's hitting in relation to the sights and second, to see if it works.

Modern firearms, they'll always work? I once thought so. The idea of pulling the trigger and nothing happening(unless the cartridge was bad) never occurred to me. Until...

This was some years ago, my dad was stationed in a county in northern OK. The sheriff there ordered himself a new S&W Model 19, a fine handgun I will say. It came in and he took his old piece out of his holster, loaded the 19 and put it in, and went to work.

A while later he decided "With those adjustable sights, I ought to make sure it's hitting where the sights are looking". So he went out, set up a target, backed up a ways, took careful aim and pressed the trigger. Snap. ("Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom! /martian) Waited an appropriate time, tried again. Snap. Opened the cylinder and found neither primer had a mark on it. Oops.

Turned out like this, as I recall: S&W revolvers have a channel in the sideplate that the hammer block rides in. The idea is that unless you actually pull the trigger- which slides the block down- the firing pin cannot strike the primer. There was a burr in the channel that kept the block from sliding down, which meant the pistol could not fire. And he'd been carrying it on duty.

For a month.

I was in my early teens when Dad told me about that. And whether for target or hunting or self-defense or just owning the thing, I've never trusted a firearm to go 'bang' until I've actually used it.

As to the workings of gun control in Britain

I was over at South Park Pundit and found a link to this article from the Guardian. It's about trying to keep kids out of gangs and the levels of violent crime related to gangs. Note that it's from 2004, and crime rates have gone up since then.

Among other things are these points:
"'These are kids who, if left to their own devices, will end up with a gun in their hands or a bullet in their heads,' says Detective Inspector Mark Powell of the Greater Manchester Police."

To illustrate the point Powell produces a newspaper headline from 12 years ago which announces the police are to wage war on gun crime and contrasts it with another from last year showing that gun crime has risen 35 per cent in the past decade. 'The police cannot win this war on their own. It has to involve the community. That is why the Mags project was started.' "

Powell recognises that it is hard to convince youngsters to go straight when they can earn £200 a day or more working in the drug industry"

Pay close attention to this:
Giving the gangs names makes them seem more organised that they actually are. We're not talking about slick criminal organisations - we're talking about kids with guns.'

Others disagree. Many of the gangs are said to be highly sophisticated and some have access to private doctors who will treat gunshot wounds without informing the police. There have also been incidents where the wounded have been given basic assistance by fellow gang members and then taken abroad for professional treatment. This, say those on the fringes of the gangs, is the reason that while the number of incidents involving gunfire has remained fairly constant over the past year, the number turning up with gunshot wounds in hospital has declined."

And finally, the numbers:
Despite recent slight falls in the levels of gun crime, inner south Manchester remains one of the most dangerous parts of the country. In 2002 the firearms murder rate for England and Wales was 0.09 per 100,000 head of population, compared with 5.4 per 100,000 for the US.

In Greater Manchester the rate was to 10 per 100,000, while in Longsight, Moss Side and Hulme it was 140 per 100,000."

Several things about this. The police are basically admitting that the gangs have no problem getting guns.

Referring to drug dealers as the 'drug industry' is a telling point to me, instead of calling them dealers, as to the attitude toward it. And they're basically saying that they've failed to teach these kids that there's something wrong about selling crap to other kids and fighting each other over territory. Sounds rather like the inner-city gang problem here, doesn't it?

Whether it's denial or CYA public relations noise, they're not admitting just how big and serious an enterprise the gang activity is. Note apparent first-aid training and sneaking wounded people out of the country for treatment; that speaks of serious organization and money, and also why some statistics are being skewed to make things seem better.

And look at those final numbers. If I'm not mistaken 2002 was the year that some paper found out and demonstrated that the government was messing with the numbers to make crime look like it was less of a problem, including- maybe especially- crimes involving firearms. The 2004 numbers? X2 and X30 higher than in the U.S. in those areas! Someone once pointed out that in the U.S. if you took out the gang- and drug-related crimes in inner city areas, our homicide rate was actually very close to that of Britain. It appears that the same type crimes in the U.K. are overall shooting their gun homicide rates up. And as Kevin at Smallest Minority has pointed out before, this does not count all other homicides; knife and gun and beating, etc. You add all those in? It has really gotten bad in Britain. Last official numbers I saw said that assault, burglary and robbery were 2.5 times higher in Britain than here; I can't remember the overall homicide numbers, but they were, I think, just a bit below ours. And where ours have held steady or gone down, theirs have gone up.

Yeah, I really, really want to be more like Britain and Europe.

And about those levees...

Over at Wizbang the other day found this I got busy and forgot about. It seems that Katrina was weaker- maybe much weaker- than previously thought when it hit NO. If this information pans out, it means that most of the levee and flood wall system is suspect. If this setup was supposed to be good through a Category 3 hurricane, and failed in this?

Wiz earlier had more on the levee failures, pointing out that while the Corps of Engineers was using wording about 'overtopping' and such, pictures showed some of the levees in question had big damn holes in them. That ain't 'overtopping' guys, that's failure.

This mess could mean bad design, or bad construction, or bad maintenance, or a combination thereof. I say could, because it is possible that some once-in-a- whenever combination of things could have done it. Doubtful, but possible. If it's the first three, we're talking a: even more money to survey and upgrade existing levees and walls, and b: hopefully finding out who screwed up how and fining or jailing them. Or something.

Ok, this isn't looking good

Ref the FREDS outside the football game in Norman, it seems he tried to buy ammonium nitrate; his roommate is/was Pakastani and has disappeared; it seems he attended the same mosque as Moussaoui; and the FBI Joint Terrorosm Task Force is the lead agency investigating.

As I pointed out before, the FBI doesn't take over a case just because somebody blew themselves up. And if you live in the country, or farm or ranch, and need to blow a stump or fertilize fields you might well use ammonium nitrate; you do not do so if you live in an apartment. No stumps to blow, and you wouldn't need a big bag of anything to fertilize the flower pots and window box. I'd much rather this was a screwed-up kid committing suicide, but it isn't looking like it.

Links with information at Generation Why, Michelle Malkin and Gateway Pundit.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

This should be fun...

Friend of mine got married in the spring. Now his wife is pregnant("We wanted more kids, but weren't counting on this soon!"). They just had an ultrasound today, and found it's a girl.

This should be fun. I get to watch him learning about diapers, and urping on his clothes just as he's leaving for work, etc. And in about twelve years, he gets to dig a moat and check out permits for crocodiles. Because she'll attract guys JUST LIKE HE WAS!

Or so I told him.

Dry buses in NO

With a clear route, and still not used. Wizbang found this today.

Can we now all agree that Nagin is a friggin' idiot? Who shouldn't have been given charge of the dog pound, let alone city hall?

Ever have one of those days

at work?

The FREDS at O.U.

I think I first read that abbreviation at Little Green Footballs, short for F'n Retarded Explosive Delivery System. They've released the name of the guy, but from there it's real confusing.

There's a pretty good rundown of the information currently available at Wizbang. What information is available seems to confirm that the explosive was a type often used by various jihadi groups; the guy seems to have had quite a bit of stuff in his apartment that the LE folks have carried off and disposed of. From there, ?.

Possibly a depressed student who decided to go out with a bang, possibly someone with an intention to set off a number of bombs where they'd kill other people. Take your pick. Until more information is released, your guess is as good as mine. World Net Daily had two articles (here and here) on it. Yeah, it's WWD, but a lot of what's there is also what's been on local news. One thing that makes me think there's a lot more than a suicide here is the FBI pretty much taking over the investigation; they don't do that for suicides. And the amount of stuff being hauled out of the home is worrisome.

All in all, a very nice mess. We'll see.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Tattoos and piercings, and overdoing it

Quite some time ago a guy named Kim did a post about the fad for body decoration with tattoos and piercings. Overall I tend to agree with him; a lot of people shouldn't get the damn things at all, and too many who do get them overdo it(he thought it was a stupid damn thing to do to yourself, period).

What brought this up was a memory. A while back, in desire of getting out of the house and around some noise and people, I went to a local place of adult entertainment(POAE hereafter). No, I didn't want a lap dance; I decided a long time ago that if I was going to have a pretty lady wiggling in my lap I wanted it to be because she chose to be there, not as part of a business deal. I didn't want to go to a bar and try to pick someone up, either. I wanted loud music and a crowd and to lean there and drink a beer. Or maybe two.

In any case. Several of the dancers had tattoos, mostly small ones; the popular small of the back and so forth. Then a dancer got up on the main stage, a very good-looking woman. Then the dress came off, and after a minute I realized that the mottling on her belly was a tattoo. Not just a little one, no, this was words and patterns that stretched from the bottom of her rib cage to her thong. And it grossed me out. Not just the coverage, but her being black, at a distance the damn thing looked like a skin condition of some kind. Here was this lovely woman with this crap imbedded in her skin, and it really messed her up. I'm sure she thought/thinks it was just wonderful(she'd better), but it pissed me off. I flat hate it when I see someone do something like that to themselves. A pretty girl with enough metal embedded in her face to endanger her if she walks near a strong magnet. A guy who looks like an idiot with crap hanging all over his face and a chain between his nipples. Strictly speaking, none of my business, but it still pisses me off.

An awful lot of tattoos, it's not the current state that may be a problem, it's what they'll look like in later years. There's a lady who operates a booth at Med-Fair whose whole back is covered with a phoenix, and it does look good on her; but what'll it be like in later years? Maybe still good, but maybe bloody awful.

Oh, well. End of bitching for the night.

Just because...

"Watch out! She's got a gun!"


Found I can't remember where.

And she looks a little like Ann Coulter, doesn't she?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Why so many cops bitch at the public

And vice versa. Things like this. And the crap turning up with NOPD that I posted before(along with a lot of other people).

Said up front: there are a lot of good cops out there, good cops being defined as those who don't use their position to bully people and break laws and basically steal just because they can. They do good work, and deserve to be praised for it. I've known a number of them in my life that I would, without hesitation, have trusted with my kid's lives.

I have also known a number that I wouldn't trust to guard an empty dog house, let alone one with anything valuable inside. I've known some and dealt with some whose attitude was enough to piss off the Good Humor man, who must have had letters of complaint and formal complaints an inch thick in their files. And they were still cops. They might get yelled at, but fired? Uh-uh. And then they just went out mad and took it out on someone else. Those are some of the idiots I'm speaking of tonight, along with those like the clowns from NJ who felt it was their privilege, maybe their right, to ignore laws just because they were in a hurry. And developed a case of righteous anger when called on it.

The first line of the article Geek links to tells it all: "A speeding New Jersey police convoy should not have been warned to slow down here, its superiors say, despite numerous 911 calls from motorists claiming they were forced off Interstate 81." Think about the attitude behind that. It rots the respect the public should have for LE officers, and it leads to(sometimes follows) the arrogance of someone who believes he's above the law.

The news of the Augusta County stop incensed Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale, who, in a taped telephone conversation with Roane, lambasted the deputy for stopping his officers.

"If you think that that's not a disgrace, you should take that badge off your shirt and throw it in the garbage," Speziale said. "This is unacceptable, and I'll tell you what, I hope I get the opportunity to show you the same courtesy up here in New Jersey."

Speziale told Roane that "law enforcement is all about supporting each other" and said he was reporting the Augusta County stop to the National Sheriffs' Association."

This clown is the Sheriff, the chief LE officer of that county, and he not only told another officer he was a disgrace, and his conduct 'unacceptable', but he would report him to the NSA for daring to make his deputies slow down and stop running people off the road. This kind of crap is the disgrace, and this sheriff has his head so far up his backside he thinks it's the 'proper' attitude to have.

Sheriff, I have news for you; once your officers leave their jurisdiction, they no longer have the same powers they have when in it. They're not entitled to use lights and siren just because they're in a hurry at any time, let alone when in another state. They're not entitled to carry a gun in other places because they're a deputy in one county. Yeah, a lot of cops let them, and it kind of pisses me off. They don't know if the guy they're talking to is a fine officer or a disgrace to the badge, but because he does have a badge they let him get away with it. When they'd throw you or I into a cell without hesitation.

This is why I had ambivalent feelings about the proposed law to allow current and retired LE officers carry concealed nationwide; I don't generally have a problem with any law-abiding citazen carrying, but this makes one more point of separation betweel LE and the public, a privilege given to cops and denied to the rest of us. Why should an officer from Yazoo City MS be allowed to carry concealed anywhere, and an honest citazen be denied that? Publicola and Smallest Minority have written about this before, probably more eloquently than I could. It strikes me as being related to the attitude of people like Sen. Schumer and Feinstein and Rep. Boxer, who whine endlessly that guns should be banned and people shouldn't be allowed to carry concealed, while they have carry permits; sometimes for the types of firearm they insist should be banned. "You peasants can't be trusted with this, but WE are important/rich/special and so it's different for US". Which also helps lead to the mindset that allows cops who're supposed to be helping people after a natural disaster to point guns at honest citazens, in some cases beat up on them, so as to take the firearms those people were using to protect themselves; "You're not one of us, so I've got no problem following an illegal order". In fact, it probably never entered the minds of at least some of them that it COULD be an illegal order; they got it from Authority, and that's all that counted.

Some of the information from Kevin indicated that some National Guard and LE refused to perform that act, and "By Sunday, Sheriff's offices in Texas are looking for evidence of systematic intent to confiscate arms, vowing to pull their men out if that is in fact what is going on.", which helps point out that there are a lot of LE personnel out there who remember their oath, and who don't look on the honest citazen as either an enemy or a sub-human.

Part of the trouble is that LE has much the same attitude as doctors and lawyers, in that they'll too often cover up for and defend members of their profession that, personally, they wish would take a long dive in a shallow well. That Us vs. Them attitude that gets out of control and leads to people who should be thrown out of the profession, who sometimes should be jailed, instead being protected.

I'm starting to ramble on a bit, but this situation both pisses me off and worries me. Pisses me off for the obvious reasons; worries me because every time crap like this comes out, it pushes LE and the public further apart. Which is good for neither.