Airguns, England, and Common Sense

Well, I was wondering what I was going to write about this morning, when my my fishing expedition through Google News turned up a keeper. The background of the story linked is that a family in North Wales (England) lost a son to an airgun related accident. That family is now (of course) pushing for tighter restrictions on airguns.

Seeing as this takes place in England, I’m not terribly surprised that the family seems to think that just taking airguns away from kids is the solution. God, if these things are so dangerous, how did I ever manage to survive my childhood? You could probably measure the amount of time I spent shooting my Crossman pump up air rifle in days, and count the number of pop cans I killed in the thousands. I guess I should probably be thanking my lucky stars that this dangerous airgun didn’t up and kill me dead on the spot.

In all seriousness, while what happened to this family is a tragedy, as no one should lose their son to an accident; in my view it’s even more tragic because it is entirely preventable. Upon reading the article, you’ll find that the child killed was shot in the head with said airgun. The only valid point that the article makes is that “airguns are not toys”. They are in fact dangerous and should only be used properly.

This leads me to why I believe this accident is all the more tragic. Had the children “playing” with the airgun received even basic instruction on safe firearms handling, this probably wouldn’t have happened. We all know the rules of firearms safety, one of which (Don’t point a firearm at anything you’re not willing to destroy) would have eliminated the possibility of this tragedy.

Instead of common sense in England, we have a near total cultural hoplophobia. The parents could be crying out for firearms safety classes, education for children to teach them airguns are dangerous and are not toys. Of course that would involve accepting responsibility for what happened as opposed to blaming the inanimate object. Don’t lock up the airguns; teach responsibility and safety.

Plinking cans (and the occasional jackrabbit) with my airgun was a huge part of my life growing up. It’s where I learned to shoot, and where I learned safe gun handling skills. Perhaps what England needs is more airguns, and maybe a National Youth Shooter Education Program. Hell, since they love spending government money on things, why not?

That Guy at the Range

One of my favorite things to do (after shooting) is talk to Mrs. Ahab about some of the more “colorful” characters that I get to encounter at the range. Since I’m in a lighthearted mood, I’m just going to list the major players that I’ve had the pleasure & displeasure to meet. Please note, the vast majority of these are just caricatures of certain types of people that I’ve met, some are good and some are bad.

  • The Bullseye shooter – This guy is definitely a good person to be next to on the range. He keeps mostly to himself, shooting the tightest groups he can. Usually packing a .22 target pistol and a target type 1911a1. You’re most likely to encounter this fellow at a private range than a public one.
  • Tacticool Teddy – We all know this guy. Most often seen wearing a thigh holster with the latest and greatest CQB Tactical Destroyer and 3,276 extra magazines secreted in various pouches, slings, and body cavities. He’s not really a bad guy to shoot next to, if you don’t mind constant rapid fire from the other booth. I usually see them at public ranges more than private.
  • The Couple – This has been me on more than a few occasions. Pretty straightforward, and it’s often a nice sight on the range to see someone teaching their significant other how to handle a firearm. 19 times out of 20, I’m glad to have them on the point next to mine.
  • Mr. Unsolicited Advice – Yes, I know that you’ve taken pistol classes directly from the ancient Siberian Pistol-Fighting Monks. I understand that you can teach me how to print one hole groups at 25 yards from my CZ52 during an accidental slamfire. Honestly though, most people don’t appreciate unsolicited commentary.
  • The Cop – This person is a cop. They’re practicing with their duty weapon. Good for them.
  • Revolver Man – My all time favorite person to shoot next to, because if I’m lucky, I’ll get to shoot one of their cool revolvers. This guy has more revolvers than I’ve got exes that hate me. Just piles of wheelguns, single actions, double actions, it doesn’t matter. This guy has ’em all. This is my favorite guy.
  • The Kid who has Seen too many movies – The sights are on the top of the pistol, son. I’m glad you’re here and your shooting, because bullets going downrange is good. I’m not going to offer you any advice either (because I don’t want to be that guy); but really it would help if you used the sights. You might start to hit the paper.
  • 2nd from last is That guy that gives you the weird vibe that you just can’t explain but sweet jesus he is really giving me the creeps – I’ve only run into two of these, but they were very, very memorable. Two different guys, two different states, but for some reason both of these guys made all the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I had the urge to look over my shoulder constantly while they were at the range. Just two creepy, creepy guys.
  • Our final contestant is Me – You’ll find me at the range. I’m quiet, and I keep mostly to myself. As I explained it once to my wife, going to the range is my place of peace. I shot NRA Collegiate pistol in college (duh), and since that time I am never more relaxed than when I’m shooting. I shoot to get away from my job, I shoot because it’s fun, I shoot to practice a skill that has saved my life. Most of all, I shoot because I love the sport. My universe contracts at the range until it’s just my sights, the trigger, and the target. If I could do one thing for the rest of my life, I’d shoot.

I love going to the range. I have met some truly interesting people there, and I’ve even made a couple of good friends. I really do enjoy the people at the range, because most of them are really good folk. On the line, everyone’s a shooter. I don’t know why you’re at the range today, but I’m glad to see you here. Those bullets you put into that backstop mean that our hobby stays alive for that much longer.

If you asked me “What Would John Wayne Do” when The Duke’s at the range, I’d tell you that “The Duke would shoot.”

On Gun Snobbery

Okay, first off I’d like to say that Google docs is about the coolest damn thing I’ve ever played with. I know that Google is the devil and everything, but my goodness it sure is nice having everything integrated into one interface.

But enough with that, let me get on to the topic at hand. I have always been something of a gun snob. For the longest time, I’ve sneered down my nose at “cheap guns”, Saturday night specials, etc. I always had this vague sense that no handgun that runs less than $200 is worth its salt. As I’ve gotten older and more disposable income, my attitude has only gotten worse.

Before I continue, I should emphasize the “handgun” in my above statement. Plenty of fine .22 rifles are less than $200, as are some very nice rifles that I have my eye on for C&R, as well as some goofy surplus handguns. Additionally, New England Firearms manufactures some excellent single shot rifles (if that’s your bailiwick) for less than $200. If put to the task I could probably come up with a few good handguns that retailed for less than two hundred smackers, but I’d have a hard time doing so.

So, what’s a boy to do? I figured I could start with handguns, because curing me of my wine snobbery will be a lot more difficult although less expensive in the long run. With that in mind, while attending the local gun show, I laid my hands on a Hi Point C9 9mm for the bargain price of $120 before taxes.

I did my homework before I bought this gun, and oddly enough Combat Handguns had a review of it in their (I think) November issue. According to its owners, it’s reliable and accurate, although they will admit that the magazines are its weakest point. The detractors of the gun say that it’s ugly (which it is), heavy (guilty), and a jam-o-matic. I haven’t had the opportunity to get it out to the range yet (you’ll know when I do), but it is definitely working on my snobbery issues.

The weirdest thing is that it’s growing on me. I’ve always had love for the “ugly duckling”, especially when that ugly ducking does what it’s designed to do every time. When I first purchased the pistol, my thoughts were “Well, let’s see if it shoots” while I idly hoped that it would turn into a piece of shit; thereby justifying my snotty attitude.

All that’s changed now that I’ve owned it for about a week. Now I’m hoping that it runs like a tank. I can’t explain it. Maybe I’m just rooting for the underdog, or maybe that I’m hoping that this will turn out to be that “functional but ugly” pistol that I have a soft spot for. Who knows? I will turn out a range report for everyone once I finally get out there and shoot the sucker. I’ve got magazines and 9mm ball ammo on the way for the break in period.

All this has gotten me to thinking about something else. Why shouldn’t someone make a low cost reliable handgun? Is there some rule that only people that can afford the $500 CQB-Tactical-Destroyer should be able to defend themselves? Or would it not stand to reason that financially disadvantaged (nice word for “poor”) folk have just as much a right to self-defense as you and I.

If this gun runs like I hope, than Hi Point firearms will get a Bravo Zulu from me. An American company that wisely uses available resources to manufacture a pistol that Johnny Everyman can keep and carry for self defense is a good company in Ahab’s book. So if this pistol works as advertised, than John Wayne should be smiling.

From the "What the hell" file

With apologies to Alphecca as I stole the link from him; but I had to mention this today.

It seems that Mexico says that there is a flow of “assault weapons” coming in from America.

I will freely admit that I almost spewed coffee all over my keyboard. I thought to myself, Self, did you really just read that Mexico, as in MEXICO, is blaming the US for their illegal gun problem?

Apparently, yes I did. Even though guns are illegal in Mexico, the drug runners and people smugglers still have them. AKs, M16s, whatever money can buy. The problem is this theory that they’re coming from the US. I can’t even begin to express how confusing that is. Apparently, it’s not enough that illegally deposit half their society in the States, now they have to blame us that drug runners are buying AK 47s?

That would be like me blaming Mexico that Arizona has a rising wave of crime due to illegal immigration….wait, sorry that was a bad example. Maybe that would be like me blaming Austria for handgun crime because Glocks are made there. Yes, that’s it. Blame Austria!

Update: Hello Instapundit readers!  This particular entry is pretty old – please feel free to look around the blog, as well as check out our radio show

AFC Championship game

Well, it appears as though the fans of the 1st Colts Galactic Empire have gotten our wish, the AFC Championship game will be played from the RCA Hoosier Dome, with our Indianapolis Colts taking on Cronos and the Titans Tom Brady and the Patriots.

I will say that this is a good thing, because the game is now in our dome-sweet-home. Additionally, we have beaten the Patriots at Foxborough twice in the last two seasons, Peyton Manning is DUE for a big game, and our defense is playing huge.

That being said, the Colts nation also needs to remember that they guy on the other side of the field is Tom Freakin’ Brady. As evidenced by the game against the Chargers, he finds ways to win. It’s what he does.

So, let’s look at Ahab’s key points for the game.

Colts

– Our defense has to continue to step up. We have played balls-to-the-walls in the last two games, and that has to continue.
– Keeping defense in mind, even if we shut down the run, remember that the other quarterback is TOM BRADY. We can’t afford to get demoralized if he finds a way to put up points on us, because that’s what he does. If/when Tom Brady finds a way into the end zone (and he will), our defense needs to come right back firing and get stops when it matters.
– Offensively, Peyton needs to find his stride. He was good in the 2nd half of the Chiefs game, but he needs to find his regular season form.
– The running game has been ticking along quite nicely. Joseph Addai, Dominick Rhodes, I don’t care, just keep running the ball.
– Keep the Patriots defense on the field. They’re good, but they’re also one of the older units out there. If we can wear them down through three quarters, we’ll get big, gashing runs in the 4th quarter.

Patriots

– Keep Peyton Manning off the field. His cold streak cannot continue forever, and he can win ballgames with those wide receivers.
– Run, run, run. This goes in hand with the above, as it’s the most efficient way to keep Peyton off the field.
– Protect Tom Brady. The Colts d-line isn’t big, but it’s fast. If the Colts are playing with a lead, those ends will come flying at Tom Brady faster than groupies at a club.
– On defense, they have to stop the run game. The Colts love to pass off the play-action, and establishing that run makes it that much easier for Peyton to take those deep shots at Marvin.

Prediction
Colts win, 33-24. Did you really think I’d pick against my boys?

I’m off to the Evil Loophole Gun Show

I fully expect to see literal armies of terrorists walking the halls, buying machine guns without background checks.

**snort**

Sorry, I couldn’t keep a straight face. I’ll actually post a report here about it later.

Edit: So I’m back from the show. All in all, it was a lot of fun, I ended up with a new 9mm pistol for a steal, so I’ll call it a good day. It was a little rough, because they had one of the NEF .45/.410 survival rifles that I really want, in the end I went with the new carry gun.

Also, I didn’t see any Al-Qaeda fighters buying machine guns without background checks. Actually, I even saw a guy fail the NICS check; he got denied by the fed. Tough beans for him.

I do have one comment, though. This is directed to the one guy who has the booth that consists of “WWII” paraphernalia, and when I say “WWII”, I mean “Nazi”. Take your business somewhere else. Like the internet, for instance. Law-abiding gun owners have enough shit to worry about without being associated with the freakin’ Nazi party. I’m sure that you and your retarded cousin-fucking friends can get together in your basement and talk about how much the white man rocks; but we really don’t need your kind at our shows.

Other than that one guy, it was a great show. I got to handle a whole load of firearms, including an brand new MP5K, which was a blast and a half.

See you Monday!

Drinking and packing

I know that a lot of us carry firearms for personal protection, which had led me to wonder about the title of the thread. When you’re carrying, do you imbibe? Obviously, we all know that you shouldn’t drink and drive, but what about drinking and packing?

Please note, I am not a legal expert, and nothing I say should be construed as legal advice or counsel, please feel free to ignore me, and heed me only at your own risk.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, let us look at the particulars of drinking and packing.

First thing we all know is that alcohol and firearms don’t mix. I can personally say I’ve had that pounded into my head for years, and the 2 alcohol related firearms accidents I’ve been witness to have reinforced that feeling. So, we can eliminate getting drunk and carrying; I think everyone’s okay with that.

Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation. You and the missus go out for dinner and a movie. At dinner, you have two drinks. Being a man of decent size, two drinks does not raise your BAC above the legal limit, nor impair your judgment (you think). On your way to your vehicle, you are confronted and blah blah blah, you end up plugging a critter. When the police officer shows up, how do you think his reaction will be if he smells alcohol on you? Now imagine the same scenario, except you are sober as a Baptist preacher on Sunday.

My feeling is that if I’m planning on having a few drinks, I leave the pistol at home; better yet so that I don’t have to go around unarmed, I don’t drink when I’m out. Plus, it saves me a tonne of money; buying booze from a liquor store and drinking at home is a lot less expensive. A great way to kill two birds with one stone is to volunteer to be the designated driver. I do this a lot as it allows me to stay sober, stay armed, and I get to laugh at the antics of all my drunk friends. I call that a win-win situation.

There are some states that forbid CCW holders from imbibing while they are in public and armed, some states don’t permit CCW holders to bring their firearms into bars. Know your local laws regarding weapons and alcohol before you do anything.

And remember that alcohol and firearms don’t mix.

Best quote ever

With apologies to Kim.

This is lifted from the SF Gate, I won’t link the rest of the article because it’s bad; but this little portion is a true gem.

And finally: One thing you can say about outgoing Alameda County Sheriff Charlie Plummer — he always spoke his mind.

In an interview with MediaNews reporter Chris Metinko, Plummer said he had one regret about his 50-plus years in law enforcement, and that was about his conduct during the Berkeley riots of the 1960s.

“I wish I would have hit some people harder,” Plummer said.

That right there is a textbook example of What John Wayne Would do.