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Having decided to play 922(r) Compliance Bingo, I hit up my local gun show this weekend. Needing a gas port (because the pin retaining the handguard won’t budge on my current one…), gas piston, operating rod, and wanting a brass deflector, I was successful on the latter two and failed utterly on the first two. I also managed to find a Picatinny-to-swivel adapter and folding front grip that weren’t made in China, which was a minor miracle.

I’ve found some great deals on 7.62×39 ammo lately (although I missed the $270/1000rds Wolf until after I’d spent what cash I had*), yet the SKS is the only gun I have in that venerable caliber and it’s not exactly a good fit to someone of my height and wingspan. I’m toying with the idea of getting a dedicated upper for the AR lower I just built, and I probably would’ve bought an AK if prices weren’t laughable**, but it occurred to me that maybe my best option would be to get a new stock for the SKS instead. It’s not like the SKS is stock; I’ve already added a recoil buffer, Scout Scope mount, and Bushnell HoloSight in my never-ending quest to turn it into something slick.

Ammo was about what you’d expect: 10% underpriced, 10% about right, and 80% overpriced***. I bought 1260 rounds of surplus Yugoslavian 7.62×39 in an absurdly unergonomic box, plus two boxes of Czech surplus 7.62×25 at $8/40rds in weathered paper boxes. For whatever reason, the sales guy couldn’t understand why I wanted to buy that ammo at $8/40 instead of the the larger box at $16/72. I tried to explain the math to him; his argument was that the package was bigger and therefore better. With a decided “Hmm,” I asked another associate to ring up the two boxes of 40rds for me. I’m thinking that this ammo is M48, and my plan is to test it against my Winchester Metric (made in Czech Republic) and Prvi Partizan (Serbian); hopefully, all three will have similar ballistics.

This gun show seemed a little different. Virtually no t-shirts or jerky were for sale at all, and there seemed to be a lot fewer random junk dealers around****. I almost picked up the Don’t Tread on Me bumper sticker I’ve been wanting for my truck, but out of principle I refuse to buy anything from the guys with the Nazi flags on the wall.

There was actually some .380acp present, but at $25/50, I think I’ll pass.

*Some guy came up to the place where I bought the 7.62×25, complaining that the guy was selling 7.62×39 for $370/1000 of Wolf when the other guy across the building was selling it for $100 less. I’m not sure what he wanted. The seller told him that if he found a better deal then he ought to buy it; the buyer just complained some more. At first I had thought that perhaps the other seller had run out, but when I went over there a few minutes later I saw that, for whatever insane reason, he still had 1500rds left. Weird.
**A WASR-10 frankly just isn’t worth $469, no matter how much you praise it. The Saigas are nice, but I wanted a pistol grip and don’t have a decade to wait before TAPCO can alter it.
***This is the normal ratio for most stuff at a gun shop or, for that matter, Gander Mtn.
****However, as I was looking for random SKS parts, this was oddly disappointing.

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I think one of the secrets to keeping a database of how much ammo you have on hand is to not have eighty-billion brands lying around. I have a case each of Wolf and Barnaul 7.62×39, but excluding that probably 2/3 of my ammo is WWB. However, due on one hand to having to get whatever I can find (which is why I have at least four brands of .380 right now) and on the other to an ill-advised period of experimentation with .22lr ammo, my spreadsheet is LONG.

Really, I’m happy with WWB for any centerfire handgun practice ammo. It’s cheap, (relatively) plentiful, and easy to ID on the shelf. Speer Lawman looks impressive, but is hard to find and only comes in 50-rd boxes. Prvi Partizan makes me feel happy*. Other than that, I don’t really care about other brands.

As for rimfire, I avoid Remington and Winchester at all costs. Federal for bulk and CCI for specialty (Stinger, CB Long, Mini-Mag, Shotshell) are fine by me.

Sigh. Maybe I’ll just gather up my miscellaneous ammo and use it for when I take new shooters, reserving my favorite brands for a stash.

As part of my job, I got to take a field trip to our local state police academy last week. After a tour of the facilities and information about the program recruits go through and a session learning about the canine training unit (very impressive!), they let us use their shooting simulator.

The system is called MILO and essentially you’re watching an interactive movie while holding a gun that transmits data back to the computer (and does not transmit bullets to the screen; I inspected the chamber first). After a few warm-up demonstrations involving hitting targets, I got to try a few missions.

First was a traffic stop on two surly white guys in fatigues out in the middle of the woods. The driver had a warrant out and so I took him to the back of the car, all the while covering him with my pistol. The back right of his jacket was hiked up and he had a vertical line in the bottom right…I instinctively said out loud that he had a gun back there. However, I never got to find out: while I was looking closely, his passenger got out, called me [a bad name] and shot me before I realized what was going on.

On the second, I was the point man checking out a report of a man with a bat terrorizing the building. When I rounded the last corner, I saw him standing with his back to me, leaning over a woman with his bat raised. Again, I took too long to realize what was going on and he’d smashed her head in before I started firing. Fortunately for my self-esteem, though, my co-workers did similarly on their own missions, with only one of them shooting the bad guy before he killed a victim.

In both cases, the computer recorded my shots as either missing or just grazing the guy. This was a pretty big wake-up call. I’ve read up on what to do, spent time thinking about what to do, and practice shooting on a regular basis. However, in a real-time simulation, I’m not quick off the mark and I’m inaccurate with a laser gun. These are things that can be fixed, but not overnight.

Maybe it’d be worthwhile to get a Wii, especially if they have some similar kind of trainer. The sergeant in charge told us that their record on the target shooting had been set just a few days earlier by a seventeen-year-old recruit, beating the previous best score by about 25%. When asked, he talked about playing Wii and having a system for taking out targets in the fastest order. Obviously there’s no recoil with the Wii and not much pressure, but it may still help to do a better job of assessing threats.

So I was in Bass Pro today (where they actually had primers in stock, although you were limited to 500, meaning that they had to break cases in two) and saw something that made me actually recoil in horror:

BHP Horror

Surely John Moses Browning is spinning in his grave*. The price is actually not utterly horrible at $899, but…well, just but.

*I like to think that this sounds like a minigun revving up.

So after hitting up four gun shops, Bass Pro, and three Wal-Marts today, I wound up with:

300 rounds Wolf 7.62×39
60 rounds of WWB hollow-point .38spl
100 rounds of Prvi Partizan .380acp
27 rounds of Blazer .380acp (yes, a partially-used box was all they had in stock)
250 rounds of CCI Stinger .22lr
999 rounds of Winchester .22lr
300 rounds of CCI Mini-Mag .22lr
1575 rounds of Remington Golden Bullet .22lr

The store with the Prvi Partizan .380acp actually seems to have more in stock, but at $30 per 50rds, I wasn’t in a mood to hoard. Also, this is the third non-Commie caliber I’ve seen from Prvi Partizan lately, after the 9mm and .38spl at other stores. The Bass Pro near me actually has Remington UMC .223 in stock at $10 per 20rds and 525rd boxes of Remington Golden Bullet for, I think, $20. I think that’s about all the ammo I’m going to buy for the rest of the year unless I can come across some 9mm or .45acp at non-horrendous prices. I already had to sell the Mateba to fund ammo, and also a Spike’s Tactical .22lr conversion. I’ve now got about 1,000 rounds of .223, 2,000 rounds of 7.62×39 (half of them hollow-points!), 1,000 rounds of 9mm, 1,000 rounds of .45acp, 350 rounds of .380acp, and who-knows-how-many rounds of .22lr. Even with that, I think the Savage Mk II, the converted AR, and the converted 1911 are going to see a lot of use. I have no idea when ammo will next become widely available, so taking my friends shooting is going to become a lot more about accuracy and fundamentals and a lot less about letting them experience the boom.

I did hear another interesting thing at one of the stores. There was a very nice older lady behind the counter (with a gold-appointed snub-nosed revolver on her hip) who told me, when I mentioned that at least they had a lot of shotgun shells in stock, that this was all from last season and that they hadn’t been able to get anything new all year. If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that stores seem to be virtually overflowing with shotgun shells, even as they completely lack anything other than .17hmr and .500S&W. If this is about to change, it may be worth picking up a couple boxes of buckshot and a few 100rd boxes of birdshot if you’re into clays. As before, only a few stray bags of shotgun primers were available, and except for the one store mysteriously having a stockpile of .380acp, no one had anything in that caliber. If you really, really need ammo then the out-of-the-way hunting supply stores tend to have a few boxes of self-defense ammo in 9mm and .45acp, plus a few boxes of .40auto and .357Sig. Meanwhile, the clerk at the Wal-Mart where I snagged their last two boxes of Stingers said that they’d gotten a few cases of 9mm, .40auto, and .45acp at 10PM last night…and that at 10:10PM, a guy came in and bought the entire shelf’s worth. Incidentally, the clerk at the second Wal-Mart was incensed about this, as he said that the company has instituted a nationwide policy limiting customers to six boxes of ammo per day.

As for my female friends who are looking to buy guns, I’m not sure what to tell them. A Rough Rider with both .22lr and .22wmr cylinders is one option (and you could shoot the bazillion rounds of CCI CB Shorts inexplicably cluttering up the shelves), or maybe a Glock with a conversion slide. The days of being able to shoot 200 rounds of 9mm for practice a week are on definite hold. This may actually be a good thing, though, as I think we’d all benefit from dry fire practice.

In any case, I hope you’ve had luck in your own searches!

So if I’m reading this right, the “Undisclosed Location” we heard so much about when Cheney was in office is, essentially, the Vice President’s basement.

No word on the planned male-to-female ratio or plans to repopulate a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland.

I was speaking with a friend last week and we came to a point of disagreement. In her view, the Catholic Church could amend doctrines that it had previously taught as infallibly true. I think she meant this more in the sense of “maybe there’s a loophole” than “let’s not actually say we’re overturning this, but do so in fact.” And, importantly, there are some things that are unclear at this point. One example is the status of Anglican clergy.

In 1896, Pope Leo XIII issued the papal bull “Apostolicae Curae”, in which Anglican holy orders were declared to be “absolutely null and utterly void.” The short of it is that after Henry VIII broke the Church of England away from the Holy Catholic Church, the form of ordination was changed so that those having valid Catholic holy orders didn’t validly ordain their successors. By the time the form was rectified, all the Anglican clergy had invalid ordinations and therefore, despite using the proper form, had no valid holy orders to pass on. In 1896, this was still the case. However, Anglo-Catholic clergy took note of this and started getting re-ordained by renegade Catholic, Old Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox priests who had valid (though illicit) holy orders themselves. Today, all or most priests of the Anglo-Catholic faction have been ordained or re-ordained so as to have valid-but-illicit holy orders. Thus, it’s important to know what Apostolicae Curae means today. Does it mean that Anglican holy orders are still invalid? Does it mean that they were invalid in 1896 but may not be today? If a new bull were to be put out in 2009 saying that Anglican holy orders are no longer necessarily invalid but are only presumptively so, this may or may not overturn the earlier bull, depending on what the answers to the above questions were.

Whether what has been infallibly defined as true is a crucial question. If the Holy Catholic Church can amend such teachings (not to be confused with those teachings which are thought to be correct but haven’t been infallibly defined as such), then it has ceased to be THE Church and has simply become A denomination. What drew me to the Catholic Church was this authority, or magisterium: I believe that the Catholic Church was entrusted with the authority to teach true Christian doctrine and that this authority is guided by and protected by the Holy Spirit such that false doctrine cannot be officially proclaimed. This doesn’t mean that individual Catholics, including the clergy, are incapable of teaching false doctrines or that any Catholic is going to live an impeccable life, but simply that when you get down to the bones of it, Catholic doctrine has been and always will be consistent and true.

I took the plunge and registered a domain and bought some hosting for it. We’ll see if I can manage to get it figured out in the next week or so…

A few weeks ago, Robb Allen got himself a Kel-Tec P-3AT but, being a Glock and 1911 type of guy, was getting frustrated with trying to hold it. I suggested using a different grip and tried to describe it, but because I had lost my digital camera was unable to show what I meant. Well, that’s been rectified, so now I present Wolfwood’s Guide to Holding the Kel-Tec P-3AT and Being Popular*.

To be clear, I’m not an expert by any means, and I’m a mediocre shot (at best) with any weapon. However, I can shoot a P-3AT all day long** without getting worn out or having to readjust my grip, so I’m going to claim experience in lieu of expertise. I’m also not an expert on digital photography, so you may have to excuse the quality of these photos, as they were taken above my desk and with my left hand. The red mark at the base of my thumb isn’t a birthmark but is, rather, a reminder to pay closer attention when re-attaching AR-15 handguards.

First off is a picture of my Springfield full-sized Mil-Spec 1911 and my Kel-Tec P-3AT, placed so that the trigger guards are above each other (bad angle, I know). The P-3AT is wearing the smallest Hogue grip I could find, and I still had to trim the bottom (which I did badly). You’ll noticed that compared to the 1911, the P-3AT has virtually no grip at all.

1911-P3AT Comparison

Next is the 1911 being held in one type of proper grip***. Again, I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, so if any of you pros out there think I’m doing it wrong then, well, you’re most likely correct. What’s important to realize is that the pressure is mostly being applied by the bottom of the hand, being the base of the thumb, the ring finger, and the pinkie. The middle finger is mostly just along for the ride, and the thumb itself does very little.

1911 Proper Grip

What’s next isn’t a gang sign but rather is meant to show what I meant in the above description. Even with the middle finger and thumb off the gun, I’ve still got probably 80% or more of my grip strength left.

1911 Minimum Grip

Here’s the P-3AT as I hold it. Here, the strength of the grip comes from the middle finger and the web of the thumb. The middle finger is on the edge of the grip and helps a little, but it’s not crucial. The pinkie wraps underneath, as there’s nowhere else for it to go.

P3AT Proper Grip

Next up on the pseudo- gang signs is the “minimum grip” for the P-3AT. Just as before, I probably have nearly all of my grip strength remaining without the extended fingers as I had before.

P3AT Minimum Grip

The P-3AT is also available with an extended grip, although it’s of an odd size for my medium/large hands.

P3AT Extended Grip

Here’s how I hold it with the extended grip. The problem is that the lip of the extension gets in the way of my pinkie. Try moving each of your fingers without moving any of the others. For most of us, at some point the others do move, and when one finger is still trying to clench and the one next to it has already stopped, it messes with your grip. If you had (much) smaller hands than mine or big beefy hands, the extension might help you, but for me it’s in exactly the wrong place.

P3AT Pinkie Grip

Well, there you have it. Hopefully it’s helped; please let me know in the comments if you try this method and it works for you!****

*Okay, so I lied.
**Another lie, although more like an exaggeration than a flat-out falsehood.
***Several gunbloggers mentioned a new way of holding a 1911 after the big shindig sponsored by Para, Blackhawk(!), and Blackwater/Xe. The main difference that I took from it was to hold your dominant thumb high, rather than touching it to your middle finger. This gives a very slightly less solid hold when firing one-handed, but makes for a perfect set-up when shooting two-handed. When I take people shooting for their first time I teach them this grip, and I’ve noticed that they tend to do much better than those who used the “traditional” grip.
****That was a joke. I know none of you have any .380acp to spare. This is also where I rub in how I found 200 rounds of WWB in the back of my closet the other day, as I know how endearing bragging can be.

Still Waiting.

If you have further need of information, be sure to check the comments section of Kevin Baker’s April 30th post every twelve hours or so. I’m sure you’ll find increasingly-angry pouting by MV himself.