The 4 Rules of Gun Safety: Rule 3

Now we’re at Rule 3 in the 4 Rules: Never point your weapon at something you’re not willing to destroy. Pretty easy, right? Today we’ll see what happens when we apply a little critical thinking to it.

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No one is coming to save you

I am exhausted of writing about terrorist attacks, but they keep happening. And they continue to be relevant to our local self-defense situations here in the states. The most attack in Turkey focused on something that we’ve known forever is a soft target: the unsecure area of airports.

Image courtesy SecuritySales.Com
Image courtesy SecuritySales.Com

“But Caleb” you’ll say, “we can’t carry into airports!” Yeah, I know. That’s a real tricky situation right there, although I’d also be the first to tell you that a 9mm isn’t going to be a whole lot of help against someone clacking off a vest with no warning. However, that’s not the point.

Continue reading “No one is coming to save you”

Small 1911’s and Reliability

Earlier this week I started a long-term review of a Dan Wesson ECO, which is a 3.5 inch Officer’s sized 1911.  Lest anyone think its reliability will be a gimme, I offer the following video from Rob Pincus.  I don’t know Rob, and I don’t agree with everything he writes, but based off my personal experience he is correct.

Yes, the gun in the video is a Kimber, but that is irrelevant.  Small 1911’s are generally finicky.  In fact, I fully expect the ECO will fail at some point.  And if it does, I have a couple of things in my bag of tricks that might help reliability.

Did you see the challenge at the end of the video?  I don’t know if Rob is still offering this, but if the ECO kicks ass, maybe I could take him up on the offer – not likely.

In the end, I hope the ECO stuns me with utter reliability, but if it fails, I will not be shocked in any way.  It is the nature of the beast.

So… do you have a small 1911 that has been flawless?  Let us know.  Please include the total cumulative round count, as well as the maximum round count you shot in one session.

And for those that care, I finally got around to buying some ammo so testing will start tomorrow!

Search Engine Q&A

Sometimes I like to go through the incoming search terms that have brought people to the blog and wonder “how in the hell did that get them there?” Other times, I like to find questions and answer them. This is the latter, so I’m going to cherry pick a few search terms and hopefully answer them. If you’re the person who searched the blog for “plus size women’s concealed carry clothes that won’t print” you’re probably going to be disappointed, but for the other people? This should be fun.

Continue reading “Search Engine Q&A”

Killing Bambi with a 9mm (Or Why A Head-Shot Might Not Stop The Attack)

Click bait title right?  Obviously I don’t mean using a 9mm to hunt Mr. Buck; but, I recently had to dispatch a gravely wounded deer with my CCW and in doing so I came away with some insight worth sharing.

First a quick yarn about how the events unfolded.

I was on my way to work in pretty heavy fog, when out of nowhere a deer jumped in front of the car ahead of me and tried to wrestle.  As expected the car won.  Amazingly the driver didn’t stop, instead they  kept going (how do I know they didn’t have insurance…) even though their headlight and portions of their bumper where now occupying the road.  Normally I wouldn’t have stopped either, but the deer came to rest directly in front of the bus entrance to my son’s elementary school.  It was early in the morning and the buses hadn’t started running, but I knew if I didn’t move the carcass no one would.  I didn’t want school buses dodging a deer in morning school traffic, nor did I want small kids to start their school day witnessing bloody gore.

Continue reading “Killing Bambi with a 9mm (Or Why A Head-Shot Might Not Stop The Attack)”

Anatomy of an accident

Firearms are relatively simple machines to understand. You load them, you point them at something you want to put a hole in, and then you pull the trigger. Easy, right?

So why in the name of Zeus is it so bloody hard to get people to avoid pointing guns at things they don’t want to blow a hole in?

“Excuse me, sir, but would you like to put a bullet through your hand? No? THEN DON’T POINT THE GUN AT YOUR HAND!”

I see this kind of stuff far too often when I’m at the range. On more than one occasion I have actually laid hands on another person to redirect the muzzle of their weapon away from either an innocent person who did not deserve to get shot, or in a couple of cases their own anatomy.

On a trip to the NRA range when I was shooting a drill, out of the corner of my eye I saw Todd Green dive into the next lane. I immediately ceased fire, brought my gun to a ready position and moved. I looked over to see Todd shoving an 8mm Mauser rifle away from my direction. The woman handling the rifle had it pointed directly at me.

Todd got a few inches away from the woman’s face and very sternly said “Do not point guns at my friends.”

Was he being rude? Hell no. He was doing exactly what everybody should do when someone POINTS A LETHAL WEAPON AT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. Endangering the life of another person REQUIRES an immediate and stern rebuke.

You know what is rude? POINTING A LETHAL WEAPON AT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. 

In this video we have a clear example of where an immediate and unmistakable correction could have prevented gunshot wound. The victim here appears to be the person who is less familiar with firearms of the pair in the video. I’m all for taking people to the range, but when we do it is incumbent upon us to emphasize safe handling and correct any mistakes instantly and unmistakably.

When the shooter here put his hand in front of the muzzle the proper response would have been to IMMEDIATELY direct the gun away from his anatomy and very simply say “Don’t point guns at anything you don’t want to kill!”

If someone is unable to take that sort of correction, they don’t need to be handling a gun. 

Of course, the shooter here did not mean to do any harm to himself or anyone else. He was simply being careless with a very dangerous object.

But tell me…did his lack of malice matter? Did he get any less shot because he didn’t mean to do it? 

Bullets are stupid. They do the same amount of damage whether you intended to launch one or not. So it is not a trivial matter when someone puts the muzzle on human anatomy…be it yours or theirs.

Rule 1 is rule 1 for a reason. You can screw up every other rule of handling a firearm, but if you observe rule 1 then there is some embarrassment and perhaps some drywall to repair but that’s it. If you screw up Rule 1 then somebody bleeds. Someone is permanently injured. Someone dies.

 

Five awesome guns to shoot before you die

We’re all enthusiasts at some level. Sure, some of us are more serious about competition, some of us are more serious about defensive shooting, but not a single person that’s deeply invested in our hobby won’t admit that some guns are just cool. If I had to create a simple five-stop bucket list of guns you have to shoot before you die, this would be it. Some of the guns are on this list because they’re historically significant, others just because they’re cool and I like them.

Continue reading “Five awesome guns to shoot before you die”

Project Lumen – Part 2

For Part 2 of Project Lumen we will review the notes and data points from the first three lights tested.

During the testing I learned a tidbit that is specific to my house, is wholly irrelevant to this test, and does illustrate the need to actual test your home and don’t fall into the trap of presumption.

Streamlight ProTac:

This was the brightest light tested so far and the initial illumination or “light on” wasn’t a problem with my groggy night sight.   It was definitely bright; but not blinding or over-powering.  The illumination was very good and I had no problem seeing what I needed to see.

The 180 lumen LED provided a quality white illumination, and while it made for some hard shadows, the overall light provided was excellent.

The reflectivity off the walls was not bad at all.  The interior walls of my house have an egg-shell sheen so that clearly comes into play.  If the walls in my house were high gloss; or if I was up against a door frame painted with gloss trim paint, there might be a problem.

This was the best light tested so far.

Streamlight Microstream:

At 45 lumens this is easily the dullest light of the test.  The illumination was just weak; even with new batteries installed.  Initial “light on” wasn’t a problem because the overall light was dim – very, very dim.

As with the ProTac LED, the color was a vibrant white hue and overall provided the bare minimum amount of light to do the job.  With only 45 lumens, reflectivity was virtually zero and as noted above, the overall effect on my night sight was minimal.

While the Streamlight Microstream is a good light, its worth as a defensive light is questionable.  It is better than nothing, but so is a candle, sans the fire hazard.  I still think this is a decent flashlight for EDC, but I would not make it my only light by the bedside.

PL 2

The XS Micro and Microstream chillin’ on some Kevlar and Nomex aircraft paneling.

INOVA XS Micro:

This light was not purchased for any other reason than I liked the way it looked.  The color is reminiscent of Titanium, even though it is not.  No, my excuse for this light would be those times I am really dressed up, such as weddings and funerals.  I never had self-defense or serious use in mind when I purchased this flashlight; so of course I tested it.  At 80 lumens, I felt it exploring its capabilities as a defense torch was warranted.

Similar to the Micro Stream, the initial light was not blinding or over-powering.  At 80 lumens the XS Micro was better than the Microstream.  In fact, it was quite a bit better, more so then the difference in lumens would suggest.

Oddly, the LED cast a bluish hue to the environment; not a major issue, but the illumination was not as “clean” as the ProTac or the Microstream.  For those that don’t know, the human eye has the most difficulty seeing blue illumination when compared to all others.  Click here for more information.

Finally, the tail cap was difficult to actuate.  This is not a review, but this was readily noticeable while drowsy.  I still think it looks cool, and now that I am aware of its shortcomings, I can better decide when to carry this sexy little light.

Part 2 Conclusions:

With these three low power flashlights reviewed it is obvious that anything less than around 150 lumens is too weak for real consideration. (Hint – the 100 lumen NEBO has already been tested too)  At no point was my night vision affected and I learned several key points on the way shadows are cast in my house.

Next time I will review the NEBO, the 275 lumen Streamlight PolyTac and Streamlight NF-2 with an incandescent bulb and only 78 lumens.

I look to future parts with the following questions:

  1. Is there a limit to have many lumens you should have?
  2. Can incandescent light dissuade my developing thought that 150 lumens should be the bare minimum for a torch you might stake your life on?
  3. While gathering data, will I stub my toe and awaken everyone with my  cursing?

Project Lumen

If you spend any time watching low light videos on YouTube, or reading articles by “experts”, you will notice two differing opinions on the requirements of a home defense light.  Some will say too many lumens will reflect back into your face and blind you; others say it doesn’t matter and you should go with the brightest possible.  So which is it?

I wanted to find out and decided to do some testing of my own – Project Lumen.  With this article I will lay out the goal and some ground rules.

The Goal

Can have too many lumens at night?  Will too bright a light lead to self-induced blindness?  Are the opinions of other based in fact, or just regurgitated internet tripe?

This experiment will hopefully answer those questions while also helping me to determine what the best illumination for my house is.  Keep in mind your house may be different.  You may have more, or less, shadows; your house is likely a different color and sheen on the interior walls.  I have real wood floors throughout my house.  If you have carpet the reflected light will be different.  You may have mirrors that reflect light.  In my house we have a set of French doors leading into what has become the kid’s playroom.  Will the light reflected off of those doors be problematic?

Nitecore nvg

Ground Rules

It is worth noting that while I can’t test every flashlight ever made, I have gathered a decent spread of different types and lumen outputs to evaluate.  This testing will not be done in a sleep lab or a scientific dark room; no, instead it will be performed in my home, under realistic “bump in the night” conditions.  I will get to the actual test procedure in a minute, but certain aspects will be beyond my control; things such as:

  • How much moonlight is present through the windows.
  • Is there cloud cover?
  • Are my neighbors flood lights on or off?
  • How well, or how deep, was I sleeping when the test begins?

You may not agree with the results and it is entirely possible that your results would differ from mine. Still, I hope that you take the information and processes used and decide to test your own environment, draw your own conclusions, and ensure the best for your protection.

I want to give a quick note to those that might complain about my methods.  I am open to completely redoing the test in a perfectly controlled environment.  Just tell me what lab you are paying for and provide me with airfare, per diem, the address, a rental car, lost wages, and the brace of lights you want tested… ‘nuff said.

To make things simple I will use two parameters to define the test flashlights – lumens and bulb type.  Lumens is not the “be all, end all” of lighting; but it provides a number that can be used as a reference.  Bulb type will allow me to determine if the coloration of the light effects the result (for more on light color and mood click here) on the surrounding environment.  I will neither test nor document; run time, durability, candlepower, watts, weight, size or cost.  I have also made a conscious decision not to test a weapon mounted light.  This test is to determine the effects of light reflection and overall lumens on my eye sight; thus I see no reason to increase the element of error, and danger, by introducing a weapon into the test when I can get the same results with a flashlight.

Definitions

Lumen – :  a unit of luminous flux equal to the light emitted in a unit solid angle by a uniform point source of one candle intensity.  The Wikipedia page actually has a lot of quality information about lumens for those that want to geek out.

Candlepower – illuminating power expressed in candelas or candles.

The Contestants

Before I get to the test, which is remarkably simple, I want to list the players. I will test one flashlight per night.

  • Streamlight TL-3 (incandescent xenon gas-filled pen bulb, 211 lumens)
  • Streamlight NF-2 (incandescent xenon gas-filled pen bulb, 78 lumens)
  • Streamlight ProTac (C4 LED, 180 lumens)
  • Streamlight Micro Stream (C4 LED, 45 lumens)
  • Streamlight PolyTac (C4 LED, 275 lumens)
  • Nitecore SRT3 (CREE XM-L2 T6 LED, 550 lumens)
  • INOVA XS Micro (LED, 80 lumens)
  • NEBO Classic (LED, about 100 lumens)
  • Mag Light – 3 D Cell (incandescent, around 45 lumens)
  • A borrowed Streamlight Stinger DS LED (C4 LED, 350 Lumens)
  • Maybe a Q-Beam if I can borrow one (Bright!)

The Test

For as long as this article has become, the test is actually pretty easy.  I will stage one flashlight on my bedside table at bedtime. I wake up at 5:00 AM, well before anyone else in my house; so, when my alarm goes off, I will simply proceed to “clear” my house.  I will take the same path during each test. With nine flashlights and the potential for more this will take a couple of weeks, but my goal is to update what I learn as I go and offer a final conclusion at the end.

The test begins tonight.