Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grumble, grumble

The weather for the past few days here in the Philadelphia area has been pretty crappy.  Rain, fog, some wind, but not too cold.  This morning as I was driving my daughters to preschool care I passed the bus stopfor the middle schoolers at the end of my street.  There were only about 1/3rd the regular number of kids standing on the corner.   The rest of them were waiting for their parents in their SUVs.


When I was in junior high I waited out for the bus no matter what the weather was.  In high school I walked to school in the rain or snow.  We had these things called RAINCOATS and UMBRELLAS.  We even had WINTER COATS.  We got to experience being cold and wet.  It made us appreciate being warm and dry.  It also made us more capable of dealing with adverse circumstances.

Nowadays, it's the end of the world if Junior gets wet or has to shiver a bit.  No wonder we're turning into a nation of pussies.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dismantling America

As usual, Thomas Sowell nails it.

Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?

Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers-- that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish?

Go read the whole thing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

LRGC Second Annual Zombie Shoot

Yesterday I attended Langhorne Rod & Gun Club's Second Annual Zombie Shoot.  Once again, the LRGC staff put on one hell of a fun and safe event.

I'll describe the event and then some impressions of gear that I used and saw in use.

This was a three gun shoot divided into several stages:

1. House of Horrors. In this stage, a team of two shooters had to clear three rooms of a zombie infestation within two and a half minutes.  There were about 40 zombies, each of which had to be killed with headshots.  Each shooter was given a full auto airsoft M-4 carbine fitted with a red dot, weapon light, laser and one magazine of about 130 rounds.  I don't know what the cyclic rate of the guns was, but it was fast.  Unless you fired short, controlled bursts, you'd run out of ammo before the stage was complete.

My partner and I cleared this stage without getting killed in one minute, forty two seconds.

2. Get the Ammo.  The scenario for this stage was that you're armed with a shotgun and need to make it past a eleven zombies to a car in which there's a case of ammo.  The three firing points in the stage were a car, simulated by a plywood cutout.  Mixed among the zombies were some no-shoot targets; you'd get "ripped"  for shooting a no-shoot target.

For this stage I used my Mossberg 500 Mariner 12 gauge.  I've made two mods to this gun: I replaced the factory stock with a Hogue youth-length stock for a 12" length of pull, and added a Brit surplus L1A1 sling in Uncle Mike's QD swivels.  Ammo was Remington Gun Club Number 7.5 shot low brass target loads (#7.5 was the largest size permitted.)  I cleared the 11 zombes in 10 shots and avoided all the no-shoots.

3. Apartment.  In this stage, you've been holed up in an apartment (really the 50 yard range) since the zombie outbreak and ran low on supplies.  You needed to go out and replenish them, but as soon as you exited through your apartment door, you ran into about 10 zombies, which you had to take care of with your pistol.  After clearing these zombies, you needed to put two rounds from your pistol into each of four more zombies, in this case represented by steel plates of various sizes.  After this, you find that you've run across one of your neighbors who has succumbed to the zombies but thoughtfully left a shotgun and some ammo behind for you.  You don't know what condition the shotgun is in (since before running the stage you give it to one of the staff along with some shells), but you need to engage four zombies (the aforementioned steel plates) with one shot each.

I ran this stage with my Springfield XD-9 pistol and Federal 115 grain FMJ, and the Mossberg.  Staff loaded the shotgun with two rounds, after which I singled loaded the follow up rounds through the ejection port.  This stage had a one minute time limit which I barely made.

4. Melee. Here, you had to engage four zeds with a bayonet, then get at least two sticks in a log target with throwing axes, out of 12 tries.  Both were provided  The bayonet was attached to a Model 1891/30 Mosin-Nagant.  Again, I made it through this stage.

5. Onslaught/Horde. This was the rifle event, consisting of two 60 round sub-stages.  In the first, your team of four or five shooters has to engage two onrushing zombies, one swinger, and a bunch of zombie paper targets.  Kill zone for the targets was the brain or spine.  One shooter fired offhand and took care of the onrushing zeds and the swinger, while the others shooting from kneeling or prone took care of the paper zombies.

The second part was firing at a horde of zombie paper targets from 100 yards, from behind a barricade made of the shooting benches upended.  Again, only brain or spine shots counted, and if any targets weren't killed, a precision rifle shooter had to make up the difference, but his targets were paintballs.  Luckily, my platoon did not leave any zombies alive, so our precision shooter didn't have to engage.

My rifle for this stage was my Colt Government Model AR15-A2 Carbine (model AR6520), fitted with a Trijicon Reflex II sight with the amber triangle reticle and an Israeli patrol sling.  Magazines were 30 round Magpul P-Mags and ammo was Prvi Partizan M-193 Ball.

Support gear:

When shooting in an action rifle/pistol/shotgun match, you need someway to carry your guns an ammo.  I prefer simple gear which is easier to setup and has less to go wrong.  Aside from the simple slings on my long guns, I use a USGI M-9 holster, attached to my pistol belt.  Also on my pistol belt is a pouch for two pistol mags, two GI surplus 30 round M-16 magazine pouches, and a small flapped pouch holding a Victorinox Farmer Swiss Army Knife and Countycomm Peanut Lighter, both of which are dummy corded to the belt with some paracord.  Holding all this up is a set of M-1956 H-suspenders.  (The M-16 mag pouches, belt, and suspenders are leftovers from my Civil Air Patrol days back in the 1980s, but they work and aren't hot like a tactical vest in the Summer.)


The weather yesterday was bad awful.  The temperature was about 60 degrees F., but it rained virtually all day.  Precipitation ranged from occassional nothing to downpour.  So, wet weather gear was essential.

On top of my regular clothes (jeans, a wicking t-shirt, and a long sleeve cotton t-shirt), I wore a German military surplus rain parka and matchin rain pants.  Both are made with a breathable membrane similar to Gore-Tex, and are in the German flecktarn camo pattern.  They work great to keep the rain and wind out and mud off your pants.  Based on past experience, they also work well as an outer layer in snow.  However, you still sweat and so I wound up getting wet just from that.  If I had to stay out overnight I would've been in trouble due to the sweat buildup, wicking undergarments are a necessity if you need to stay out in this kind of weather.

Good footwear is essential.  I wore REI merino wool hiking socks and a pair of Merrell lightweight hiking boots, which are waterproof.  My feet stayed dry and comfortable all day, even after sloshing through a lot of mud puddles.

Other observations:

I need to find some more of the anti-fog wipes I used last year when I went and played paintball with my friends.  My glasses kept fogging, rendering me near blind in the final rifle stage.

It may be 60 degrees and raining but you better stay hydrated.  Thankfully, we didn't have any dehydration cases, AFAIK.

One guy showed up with a pistol grip only Mossberg 500.  Unless you're breaching doors and using your shotgun as a master key, put a shoulder stock on the gun.  Really.

It is better to know how to run your gun than to have 7 pounds of bolt on tacticool gear and not know how to run it.  I saw problems with guys with bead sighted shotguns shooting high, because they weren't keeping their heads down on the stock.

Running your gun when it's wet and your soaked is harder than when it's dry.  When I had to clear my XD-9 at the end of the Apartment stage I had a difficult time racking the slide because it was so slippery.  I didn't have problems shooting the gun but clearing it was a challenge.

If you get your gun wet, unless it's properly coated with a good rust inhibitor, guess what you'll see if you wait to dry it and clean it.  Today one of the other shooters posted a picture of his Remington 870 Express to the LRGC mail list.  He had to wait several hours before cleaning his gun, and all the while it was in its case.  The receiver was mottled with rust.  Regular automotive paste wax is supposed to help prevent this.

After getting home last night I was too pooped to clean my guns but I didn't want them sitting in their cases.  So, I laid them out in my den where they could dry overnight.  This morning the only gun with any traces of rust was, ironically, the Mossberg Mariner, which had gotten throroughly waterlogged.  The sling swivels showed some discoloration, as did parrt of the safety mechanism on the inside.  Both cleaned up quickly with some WD-40.


This event was sponsored by Geiselle Automatics, DPMS, Evolution Gun Works, Rogue Elite, Tapco, and Area 51 Tactical (I may have missed one or two).  After checking in following completion of all stages, you were issued a raffle ticket based on how well you did.  Then, tickets were drawn and shooters were allowed to pick from a passle of prizes.  Shooters with no rips went first, guys with two rips next, and so on.

By the time my ticket was drawn the big prizes (A DPMS M-4 upper, an EGW AR-15 upper, and a Pentagon weapon light) were already taken.  I got to take home a grab bag with several AR-15 accessories from CAA.  The bag included a vertical front grip fro attaching to an M-1913 rail, a light mount/grip which attaches to a M1913 rail, a magazine coupler, and an M-4 stock cheekpiece saddle, along with a couple of pens from Area 51 Tactical.  I added the cheekpiece to my Colt's stock today and it feels pretty nice.  The mag coupler fits USGI mags, P-Mags seemed a bit too tight without forcing things.  At this time none of my rifles have M-1913 Picatinny rails, so the vertical grip and light mount remain in the bag.

Additionally, I was given an Eotac Field Jacket by my friend at Rogue Elite.  This is combat smock based on a 1950s French pattern, in a reproduction of their Lizard camo.  It's a fine jacket which merits a separate post.


I brought my camera and took some pics, the best of which I've uploaded to a Picasa Web Album, here.

Arfcommer "discworld717" took some videos with a helmet cam, you can see them on YouTube, here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

MAJOR Bug in Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard

There is a MAJOR bug in Snow Leopard.

Computerworld - Snow Leopard users have reported that they've lost all their personal data when they've logged into a "Guest" account after upgrading from Leopard, according to messages on Apple's support forum.

The bug, users said in a well-read thread on Apple's support forum, resets all settings on the Mac, resets all applications' settings and erases the contents of critical folders containing documents, photos and music.


Specifically, Snow Leopard's home directory -- the one sporting the name of the Mac's primary user -- is replaced with a new, empty copy after users log-in to a Guest account, log out, then log-in to their standard account. All the standard folders -- Documents, Downloads, Music, Picture and others -- are empty, while the Desktop and Dock have reverted to an "out-of-box" condition.

Full story here.

The best way to prevent getting bit by this bug is to go into System Preferences > Accounts and disable the Guest account.  I also recommend disabling Guest access to shared folders.

Hopefully, Apple will fix this in OS 10.6.2.  In the meantime go disable your Guest account if it is still enabled.

Friday, October 09, 2009


"When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set."

--Dr. Lin Yutang

Gallup: Record Low Level of Support for More Gun Control

Mirroring the news from Rasmussen earlier this week:

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup finds a new low of 44% of Americans saying the laws covering firearm sales should be made more strict. That is down 5 points in the last year and 34 points from the high of 78% recorded the first time the question was asked, in 1990.


Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize and World Asks, "WTF?"

Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today.  I had to check the date to make sure it's not April first.


What has he accomplished on the international stage?  Where has he brought peace?

He's engaged in a worldwide apology tour, spouted off some pie in the sky horsecrap about a world free of nuclear arms (about the most surefire way to ensure we have another world war, BTW), and hung Israel out to dry?

Seriously, WTF?

Edit:'s headline on this is priceless:

"Barack Obama linked to terrorist Yasser Arafat"

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fifty Percent of Americans Oppose Stricter Gun Laws

From Rasmussen:

Just 39% of Americans now say the United States needs stricter gun control, as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to review the constitutionality of state and local anti-gun laws.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 50% are opposed to stricter gun control laws, and 11% are not sure.


Seventy-one percent (71%) of Americans continue to believe that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of an average citizen to own a gun.

Back in March, 43% favored stricter gun laws.

Americans are catching on to the fact that gun control is in fact counterproductive when it comes to reducing crime.  I think this is probably due to a couple of factors.  First, Americans have seen the abject failure of strict gun control lawsin reducing crime, e.g., in Washington, D.C.  Second, the influence of the rabidly anti-RKBA mainstream media has been on the wane for several years.  People are less likely to buy the MSM/Democratic Party line on this issue anymore.

This is a good trend.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Reopening Survival & Emergency Preparedness Blog

I've decided to resume posting at my Survival & Emergency Preparedness blog.  Please check it out if these topics interest you.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac

Last Friday, Research in Motion finally released the Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac.

Heretofore, Mac users wanting to sync their BlackBerries with their Macs have had to use either PocketMac or Mark/Space's The Missing Sync.  The free PocketMac was a turd, to put it mildly.  In my experience it worked for a few syncs with my BlackBerry 8330 and then became very unstable.  The not-free Missing Sync was better but still buggy.  E.g., I kept running into calendar corruption issues.

In early September a late Beta of BDM for Mac leaked onto the 'net.  I downloaded it and gave it a try and it seemed to work OK.  While TMS allowed me only to sync, BDM can also backup the BlackBerry and upgrade the device's firmware.  So far, so good.

I'm glad to see RIM finally paying more attention to Mac users.  Not all of us have iPhones.