Thursday, March 31, 2011

Update to My 'Project Gunwalker' Post

So, 3 weeks ago, I sent an email to my 3 congress-critters: one congresswoman and 2 senators.

Since then, I've got a response from the Congresswoman:

Dear 'Hazmat'

Thank you for contacting me about the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry. It is good to hear from you.

As you know, Agent Terry was shot in the line of duty on December 15 2010. Agent Terry's death is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). I am aware of news reports that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) is facilitating the transfer of U.S.-origin firearms into Mexico as part of "Project Gunrunner." I am also aware of news reports that Agent Terry may have been shot by one of these firearms.

I realize that many in the public, including members of Agent Terry's family, are frustrated with the lack of information being shared by the federal government on this matter. They are right to be frustrated, especially considering the shocking allegations surrounding both Project Gunrunner and Agent Terry's death. Senator Charles, the Ranking Republican at the Senate Judiciary Committee, has led congressional efforts to get to the bottom of this scandal. I support his efforts to hold the accountable for its actions and will continue to closely monitor developments as the investigations proceed.

Blah, blah, blah, thanks for writing, sign up for my newsletter, blah, blah.

Cynthia M. Lummis
Member of Congress

You get the picture. This was on the 14th. Today, I got a response from one of the senators, Senator Mike Enzi.

Dear 'Hazmat'

The shooting of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry on December 14 was a tragedy. Diana and I send our prayers and thoughts to his family. His murder is currently being investigated. I will pay careful attention to the results of this investigation.

In the past, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) has overstepped its authority and Project Gunwalker may fit into this category as well. The Senate Judiciary Committee has oversight of the BATFE and understand the Committee's ranking member, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) has been working to get answers about this program from the BATFE. I support his efforts to uncover the truth. I continue to encourage my colleagues to exercise their authority to ensure that not only are our Second Amendment Rights protected, but that our country and those who protect our borders are not put at risk by questionable programs.

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts and concerns. As the 112th Congress continues I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the Second Amendment is not infringed upon.

Michael B. Enzi
United States Senator

(bolded emphasis mine)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

At Least They Ain't Hiding It Anymore

Doing another run around Google News today, and came across this nifty little report from Homeland Security Today about how to deal with the narco-terrorists and gunrunning operations in Mexico. While most of the report deals with policy tools for dealing with the drug part of the problem, what caught my attention was the proposals regarding guns. From the HS Today:
To increase to control gun smuggling from the United States to Mexico, federal agencies should establish "registration requirements for large-volume ammunition purchases and unassembled assault weapons kit imports", the report said, as well as reporting requirements for multiple long-arms purchases.
It further goes on to state:
The United States must provide more resources to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the primary agency charged with stopping arms trafficking, the report said, providing it with the capacity to investigate gun purchasing plots.
The federal government should contemplate a ban on assault weapons and sniper rifles (emphasis mine) as such bans "have proved successful at the state level", the report suggested. Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies must break down barriers to sharing information on gun crime data.
Leaving aside the gun trafficking issue for just a moment, this is a new, but not surprising twist in the campaign to ban guns. Before, we had the obligatory calls to ban assault weapons after every high profile shooting, whether they involved a so-called scary looking semi automatic rifle or not. We even had folks talking about using the '94 Scary Gun ban as a jumping off point to de-sensitize the public into going after other classes of boogey-man guns. The new wrinkle is the 'sniper rifle' bit. I would hazard a guess that the 20 lb brains that who wrote this probably didn't know that by using sniper rifle, they were REALLY talking about scoped bolt action rifles in calibers of .30 and up. You know, that favorite deer, elk, moose, or cape buffalo rifle in the average hunters gun safe. One would think, but I doubt it. It's a well known fact that THE hallmark of America is our marksmanship. Most of our Armed Forces are well trained in marksmanship principles even before they join up. So this little Freudian slip about sniper rifles isn't as innocuous as it seems. The other troubling thing about this report is the belief that we should give even more power and funding to a federal agency that, according to reports, has done more to arm the narco-terrorists than any gun-running operation could have hoped to accomplish. Evidently, they either haven't been following what's been going on with Project Gunwalker, or they are ignoring it all together. (My money is on the latter, personally.) For more on the Gunwalker scandal, Mike V over at Sispsey Street has all the tools, here, here, here, and here. And Michelle Malkin has a comprehensive round up of all the reporting to date, here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Gun Goodness, S&W Edition

Picked up a new S&W revolver tonight. A Model 310 Night Guard in 10mm with 2.5" barrel.

I've got a couple of other 10mm pistols, but they're 1911s with 4 and 5 inch barrels.

This should be interesting to shoot. I've got a lot of 10mm loaded and stored, 8 grains of Power Pistol sitting under 180 grain FMJs. Well, except for the 155 grain Noslers I got for S&Gs. This will be fun!

What Part of 'Shall Not Be Infringed' Does He Not Understand?

So E.J. Dionne is all butthurt because the NRA won't sit down to a round table discussion about new gun control laws with the very people who would dearly love to see the NRA's membership carted off to some camp and 're-educated', or worse.

Really, hoss? For nearly 80 yrs, gun owners in this country have been backing up and giving away more and more of our Consitutional right to keep and bear arms.

I mean, first we had to register and pay a tax to own short barrelled rifles and shotguns, suppressors, and full auto weaponry. At least in the 1960s, the Poll Tax was eliminated so one could vote without fear of running afoul of some taxman.

And speaking of the 60s, what with all the fun and excitement of 1968, we just had to 'do something' about all the violence. I mean, all those radical left-wing groups that burned down LA, Chicago, and other places had to be put on notice that this was not going to stand. So, we borrowed the verbiage from the Nurenburg laws and we banned certain classes of people from owning guns. Think GCA isn't racist? Look at the block on the 4473 that asks for your race. WTF does that have to do with buying a gun?

Since GCA 68 wasn't good enough and gave rise to an as yet still unaccountable government operation and agency, we had to 'reform' things. So, we get the Firearm Owner Protection Act of 1986. This little gem was supposed to rein in an out of control agency and give some semblence of continuity to gun owners. All it really managed to do was make one class of firearms unattainable for 90% of the gun owner population.

We did such a good job with FOPA 86, we had to 'fix' things again in '93/94. So, in order to make sure that those people we deemed as not good enough to own guns in '68, we had to make extra sure. So, the Brady Act was passed, ostensibly to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. Even while this idiotic law was being debated, the next boogeyman was being pulled along.

Scary looking semi-automatic rifles, shot guns, and pistols were demonized left, right, and center as the preferred weapons of low-lifes, hoodlums, and gangsters and were only suitable for mowing down large swathes of school aged children in the shortest amount of time possible.

This was the last national legislative victory for the guns are icky crowd. Slowly, the pendulum has begun to swing back.

Mr. Dionne, you should know this. Not one more inch. Not one more law. We have had enough of your 'common sense gun regulation'. The time for compromise has past. We have given for the last 70+ yrs, it's time you gave some of it back.

Who Says Public Radio Is Biased?

Certainly not the fine folks at Minnesota Public Radio.

I almost laughed when I got to the part where they describe Tom Diaz of the VPC as an authority on gun industry operations. That would be like describing Jerry Falwell as an authority on the porn industry.

Seriously though, I could only slog through about a third of this before my stomach had had enough.

But don't tell anyone that public broadcasting is biased. No sir, not at all. We just won't mention that the Joyce Foundation is putting up the cash for the linked report.


Came across this today wondering the Algorian intertubes.

All hell broke loose on Hwy 1 in Commifornia the other day over 'someone with a gun'.

Really, they had to close the frickin' highway over this?

One would think that with all the firepower deployed to take down someone on their way back from a trip to the range, someone should be in jail, if not in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

But alas, just a father and son coming home from some much needed range time. If anything, they ought to charge the ninny who called it in.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Project GunWalker

With all the hubub caused by David Codrea and Mike V, it was time I wrote my congress-critters to call for investigations into what is becoming 'crass and dubious'. Below are the emails I fired off to them.


In the last few weeks, a scandal has been brewing in the Department of Justice involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and gun smuggling operations in Mexico.

As you know, Border Patrol Agent Bryan Terry was shot and killed on the
Arizona border with a gun allegedly purchased by as straw purchaser in
Phoenix. It has been alleged that the BATFE knew of these operations and did nothing to stop this process, nor did they inform the Mexican government about an
operation they called 'Fast and Furious'.

It has come to my attention that Andrew Traver was scheduled to come up for
a confirmation hearing, but this was pulled by Senator Patrick Leahy.

In light of the allegations brought about by the murder of BP Agent Terry, and
subsequent murder of US government agent Jaime Zapata, serious questions need to be asked of both the DOJ and BATFE regarding what they knew, when they knew it, and why it was allowed to continue.

Senator Grassley of Iowa has taken the point on this, but he needs help in the form of more senators ashing the tough questions so the family of BP Agent Terry can get the answers they deserve.

Will you join Senator Grassley in calling for oversight hearings involving Operation Fast and Furious?

And this to my Representative in Congress:


In the last few weeks, a scandal has been brewing in the Department of Justice involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and gun smuggling operations in Mexico.

As you know, Border Patrol Agent Bryan Terry was shot and killed on the
Arizona border with a gun allegedly purchased by a straw purchaser in Phoenix.
It has been alleged that the BATFE knew of these operations and yet did nothing
to stop this process, nor did they inform the Mexican government about an
operation they called 'Fast and Furious'.

Senator Grassley of Iowa has taken the point on this, but he needs help in the form of more people asking the tough questions so the family of BP Agent Terry can get the answers they deserve.

Congressman Issa is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Along with Senator Grassley, oversight hearings need to happen not only in the Senate, but in the House as well. BATFE has asked for an increase in funding for the current fiscal year in order to combat so-called weapons trafficking into Mexico. If the accounts that have begun to appear on CBS news, the LA Times, and in the Associated Press are true, the BATFE is asking for more money to ensure more American guns go south of the border to kill untold thousands of Mexicans, and maybe even more American law enforcement personnel.

Will you call on Congressman Issa to hold hearings regarding this atrocious abuse of American sovereignty?

I wrote these emails 3 days ago, and as of right now, I have not received and response back from any of them. When I do, I'll be sure to post their responses right here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Musings On The M9

This post over at Joe Huffman's site got me thinking. The OP was about how bad the M1911/M1911A1 are because you can't use your index finger as a point-and-shoot interface.

After reading the link in his post, I was compelled to offer my take on using the index finger as a sighting tool and the middle finger to pull the trigger.

Yesterday, it was qualification day at work. As part of my day job, I run the weapons vault and I am responsible for numerous rifles and pistols. Our duty weapon is the Beretta M9. It's a 9mm job, does a good job for what it was designed to do, and is generally a decent weapon.

I first qualified on this pistol back in 1995. At the time, I didn't know any better. It was the first autoloader I'd ever fired. (The first ever handgun I fired was a S&W Model 27 Highway Patrolman, .357 mag w/6" barrel.)

As I grew into gun nut status, some things started sticking out to me. First, was the grip. It was always billed to me as an 'any person' gun, meaning any person should be able to pick it up and start shooting. Well, the grip size is just short of being too small for Andrea the Giant. Of course, you've got to figure out a way to hold 15 rds of 9mm and having it all stick out the butt end of the pistol ain't exactly slick. I've got a fairly large paw, and it's a stretch to get my hands around the grip on this pistol.

Next thing that stands out, and in my mind totally turns me off on this pistol is the trigger. Horrendous doesn't even begin to describe it. To put it in perspective, it's like trying to squeeze a 2x4 with your index finger. When someone asks me why I don't like the M9, I tell them it's the trigger. It's got a trigger you start pulling on Sunday, and you're finally done sometime late Saturday afternoon. And that's the double action pull. If the guy in the article linked by Joe can accurately double-action fire the M9 with his middle finger, I'll spring for a beer for the guy. I know MY middle finger ain't that strong, that's for sure.

The single action pull is better, but only because you don't have to squeeze a 2x4 to get the gun to go bang. No, the SA pull has it's own issue. Namely, you have to take up 2.5 feet of slack in the trigger just to get it to the break-over point. I can see doing the point-and shoot method in SA, but transitioning from your normal trigger finger on the trigger to the middle, puts too much movement and memory in the equation. Trigger pull should be muscle memory automatic. Not a fumbling affair trying to change on finger on the trigger to another.

In the classroom before going out to the line, I try to get as much dry fire time in as I can to refamiliarize myself with just how terrible the trigger is. I have to consciously think about shooting this pistol, as I've spoiled myself on my 1911s. Something about a consistent 3-5 lb pull that has me hooked I guess.

I also have to change my shooting mechanics with the M9. I shoot high thumbs with the 1911, and being a lefty, particularly with the M9, I can't rest my thumbs where I'd like. There's this thing called the trigger bar that runs right where my thumbs rest that goes back and forth every time the trigger is pulled. Last year, this little design feature rubbed a raw spot on my right thumb. This year, I tried to rest that thumb under ledge over the trigger guard on the frame, with varying degrees of success. (And quite a bit of stopping to consciously put my thumb back where it needed to be, not where it wanted to be, damned muscle memory.)

So there you have it. The M9 (and it's civilian cousin, the 92FS) were all the rage when Detective Riggs and John McClain were running around hosing bad guys with them. In 1987. Not so much now. I'd take a Springfield XD or (GASP!) a Glock over the M9.

Side bar: Yesterday is also the first time I got bit by a slide. I was assisting a coworker in reassembling his pistol when I released the slide on mine. I was easing it forward, and for some reason known only to my left hand, I let go of it. I thought my fingers were clear, but alas, the meaty part of the middle finger of my left hand was not. At first, I thought I got pinched, but nooooo. I drew blood. So now, I've got a nice half moon cut on my middle finger that looks a lot like the rear of the breach area on an M9 pistol.

Note to self: Make sure ALL appendages are clear of the barrel/slide interface area when releasing the slide.