29 October 2011

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

"I'd sooner trust Joseph M'bekebeke in a Lagos internet cafe with this information than I would a bunch of guys with snappy uniforms and lots of guns. At least if Joseph decides to use the information to find me and rough me up, he's got to come up with the scratch for airfare first."


Notes For Trainers

either real or imagined:

1) Disparaging remarks about the training I have just received and the trainers that provided it will not convince me that I need to train with you.

2) If I ask you what you teach, I expect an answer. A question is not an answer. Asking me what I want to know is a question, the answer being "I want to know what you teach" which, oddly enough, was the original question.

3) If you can offer "the same class" at 1/3 the price I will probably expect 1/3 the training, either in facilities or in experience. In your case I would assume both.


Laptops are so nice. I can lay in bed with my laptop and surf to my heart's content.

Grandma-in-law is up from Florida for her chance to spoil Grandson. Too bad the weather is not cooperating, Thursday was warm and sunny and 78 but when she showed up Friday a cold front had begun it's approach. Wet and cold, high of 54, expected to be that way through the weekend until she leaves.

Time to get up I suppose, do my dry-fire exercises and get something going for breakfast.

28 October 2011

Rule Number One

of gunfights is "have a gun."

Tam had a link to a story a couple of days back about a fellow caught in a bad situation.  Fortunately it all ended well, bad guy in jail, good guy bloodied but unbroken, innocents unharmed, and the baby Jesus smiles.

I left the comment that here in NC it is likely I would have been unarmed since I cannot have my hardware on me if I am partaking in the suds at all, but it was another comment by Ulises from CA that kind of caught my attention.

How many of you carry inside your own home?  I do if I'm dressed, but if I am in my jammies sitting at the computer (as happens often late at night on the nights I'm off work) the heat is in the next room over.

This afternoon I walked out of my bedroom and Youngest Daughter asked me if I was going anywhere. When I said no, she pointed out that I was wearing my double-mag holster.  I told her I had been wearing it all along, and Son In Law remarked "He's been dressed all day!"

Good boy.

26 October 2011

Fundamentals, Executed Perfectly

Dry fire exercise, when properly performed, is exercise.

A couple of things I have learned just from the past three days (Sunday, Tuesday and today; I missed Monday afternoon and had to make it up Tuesday morning) of dry fire exercise:

My trigger control is getting better. I still occasionally pull off, particularly when I have been at it for a while and am getting tired, but it doesn't happen nearly as often, even after only three days.

My forearms ache. Properly executing that grip puts quite a bit of strain on the muscles in the left forearm, particularly when you are gripping as tightly as (humanly possible) you are supposed to.

The grip is the foundation on which all the other control methods build. Properly executed the grip allows everything else to fall into place. This may sound simplistic, but believe me it came as quite a revelation after only a couple of days worth of dry firing when I suddenly realized my sight picture and trigger control were improving.

Concentrating on sight picture rather than the target is harder than it sounds. I have had to do it without my glasses, or by looking through bottoms of the bifocals, because when I wear my straight lenses the sights are too close and they blur. Curse my old eyes! It looks like I will have to bow to the inevitable and ditch the straight lenses all together.

Ten minutes doesn't seem like much, but after five I am ready to quit. I have to force myself to finish, and when I have to force myself to finish I also have to force myself to do things the right way. Training consists of forcing yourself to do things the right way while you have the time so that when you don't have the time you will do things the right way automatically.

Stance. Grip. Presentation. Sights. Blur the target. Trigger control. Follow through.
Stance. Grip. Presentation. Sights. Blur the target. Trigger control. Follow through.
Stance. Grip. Presentation. Sights. Blur the target. Trigger control. Follow through.

Am I leaving anything out?

Some Nights

it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

I'm going to go drink myself to sleep now and forget last night ever happened.

(It wasn't like that. I work nights.)

23 October 2011

All In Perspective

Now that I've had time to sleep on it I am still disappointed in my performance yesterday, but I know how to fix it so that's what I'm going to do.

When I was at the height of my disgust with myself I said I was going to take up a different hobby, like needlepoint. That was never going to happen, of course.

I started the day with ten minutes of draw, reload and dry-fire exercises.  This will be my normal daily routine from now on.

I know how to get better. I will get better. I know how to do it now.

And as an aside note I am looking for a Glock 9mm that fits my hand like the G36.  Is there one? Suggestions? Yes, it must be a Glock since that is what I carry, and I want it in nine for its inexpensive feeding habits.

UPDATE: It looks like the Glock 26 and the 36 are very comparable in size. Does anyone have one that they would be willing to comment on?

22 October 2011

Train Like You Fight

and fight like you train (except for Sean S. No one wants to see that).

I used to hear that a lot from the Chiefs, and they are right. What you learn to do in training is what you will do under pressure, and if what you learned is wrong (or if you never learned the right way at all) you will do it wrong when it counts.  Training is all about practicing how to do it right.

The bad news is I have trained myself how to do a lot of things wrong. The good news is now I know what I have to do to fix it.

Among the things I learned:

Serpa holsters, to borrow a phrase, are miserable balls of suck and fail when it comes time to rapidly draw. No I didn't shoot myself in the leg (never even came close) but having to activate the release certainly delayed my presentation. It is now in the box of rejected holsters.

My Grok does not like to go through more than about 100 to 150 rounds of white box Winchester before it wants to be cleaned.  I got a lot of practice clearing malfunctions. Good for the training I suppose, but not so good for the shooting.

Doing it the right way includes a lot of things you have to think about in the proper order, and by the time we had worked up to number three or four my brain was frazzled.

Doing it the right way hurts in places I didn't know I had.

Practice, practice, practice.

I need to shoot more.

If you ever get a chance to attend the basic pistol class at Tigerswan, leap at the opportunity.  It's money well spent. Just be warned, if you don't shoot a lot, or if you have never taken a formal class, be prepared to be humbled.  These guys are good, and they will show you how to be good, too.

All in all it was great getting to put faces to names, the camaraderie was good, and the training was, too. There were six bloggers including your humble scribe and four non-bloggers, including a father/daughter team in which Daughter out-shot Father and Father is all kinds of proud over it.

Bloggers in attendance were Sean Sorrentino of An NC Gun Blog who was also the instigator of all this madness, John R. of No Lawyers, Only Guns and Money, fellow former Tomcat airdale squid Rich from Knitebane Manor,  fellow vintage military bolt action rifle aficionado Paul from Arms are the Mark of a Free Man, and George from Newbie Shooter. Those worthy gentlemen who were not previously on the blogroll (John, Rich and George) are now there.

Also in attendance were husband/wife Sean and Lynell (who don't have a blog, they make them) and retired Army Special Forces medic George and his daughter Erika who, as I mentioned above, had a very good day.

And now, if you don't mind, I'm off to get a bit of the shut-eye. I really shouldn't, I have to work tomorrow night and I really should stay up all night tonight so I can sleep tomorrow, but I've been up since 4 AM and I'm about to fall over.

I hope your day was equally productive.

21 October 2011

One More Day

Tomorrow at 0400 (that's 4:00 AM for you cake-eating civilians) the alarm will sound off. I will rise from my bed rested and refreshed (yeah right) to begin the day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart (but not right away).

Estimated time of departure from the Refuge is 0430. At or about 0600 I will link up with the rest of the group in Garner NC for the trek south to lovely Fayetteville NC. Our destination: TigerSwan.

There we will all participate in shooty goodness until approximately 1700, then we will depart for Garner once more. We have plans to meet for supper during which I imagine much laughter and the telling of tales both short and tall will occur.

I will be wearing The Coolest Shirt In The Gunosphere from the beginning of this operation until its conclusion for the after-shooty gathering.

It should be a great day and I'm looking forward to it. Much thanks to Sean of An NC Gun Blog for arranging this class.

EDIT TO ADD: Roberta X reminds us that the world ends today.  I'm hoping it ends quietly, 4 AM comes awful early in the morning.

20 October 2011

A Dearth Of Postings

It's been a busy week at work.  Somebody's gotta do it.

In that vein, I have a suggestion for you Occupy asshats. Think about this, your big beef is that government is controlled by corporations, and your solution is...more government?  And you seriously don't see anything wrong with that?

And on that note, you Occupy jackwagons should be Occupying Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. Before you do though you might want to pick up a history book circa 1920 or so, or even better still, google the terms "Hooverville" and "Bonus Army" to see how that all works out.

In the end, as a certain AoSHQ moron is wont to say, there will be only chaos.

And now I'm off to bed.  I have to take Eldest Son to a dental appointment today and then this Saturday I get to go have some more fun.

There will be an After-Action Report filed...after.

17 October 2011


Bob Owens is mothballing Confederate Yankee and moving over to a new self-named blog.  The links on the sidebar have been changed accordingly.

Confederate Yankee will remain up as an archive.


The Mission Isn't Over

 until the wheels are in the chocks.

Sunday dawned bright and, should I say it? Sunny! and cold.

The dashboard thermometer read 47 degrees so I opted to leave the top firmly up and the heater on for the first part of the trip.

Three of us were heading back to Hickory , so we opted to travel together.  We stopped to fuel up and discussed our route, and it turned out
that none of us were quite ready to go home just yet.

Instead we headed up alongside the Nantahala River on Highway 74 to Cherokee and got on the Blue Ridge Parkway towards Asheville from there.

We didn't quite make it to Asheville, though. In a search for facilities we got off on NC state road 215 heading south and found a treasure.
SR215 twists and winds from the Blue Ridge down to Highway 64, and we decided the ride was just as much fun as the Dragon had been the day before.

We made a quick stop for lunch at Brevard and
caught Interstate 26 just past there, and then on to Interstate 40 and finally split up in Hickory bound for our respective homes.

When the trip was through I had 945 miles on the trip meter and had been away for two full

I certainly needed the break, and I'm looking forward to the next time we go run the Dragon.

16 October 2011

Tail of the Dragon

Friday night I went to Hickory and stayed the night. Being the night shift creature that I am I didn't get much in the way of sleep, but what I did get was a great help the next day.

Saturday dawned bright and clear, and the group gathered for departure. We had seven cars all together, including one other 5.0 convertible. It was a bit chilly to put the top down right away...but I did anyway.

We headed out and met some more folks at
 Ashville, and from there we continued on to the Fontana Dam.  We met the rest of our group there, and when all was said and done we had twenty six Mustangs and two motorcycles.

We went through the patch of road known as Moonshiner 28 and hit the Dragon at Deals Gap.  We went on across the Dragon and stopped for some pictures, then made our way to the Cherohala Skyway.

We stopped for supper in Robbinsville and then
 went on to Murphy to stay the night. By then I had a little more than 500 miles on the clock and had only managed a few hours sleep, so I was pretty much done for the day. The driver behind me on the way to Murphy said I was back and forth across the road quite a bit, I do know I heard the rumble strips more than once.

A bit of sleep set me to rights, and we gathered the next morning for the trip home. It was a great ride, and it was nice seeing old friends and making new ones.

FYI, the Hampton in Murphy NC does not have wifi in the rooms, only in the lobby. I have more pictures and as soon as I get them uploaded I'll put the link here. you can find them here.

14 October 2011

Don't Let The Weatherman Shine Your Shoes

Because apparently he doesn't know sh!t from shoe polish.

All week long I've heard about how the clouds and precipitation were going to clear out overnight Thursday and Friday was going to dawn bright and clear and the temperature was going to climb to near 80.

Right now the sky is overcast and drizzly and they have modified their high temperature prediction in the last 12 hours to mid 70's.

And then they wonder why the unwashed masses have doubts that the world will be destroyed by the onslaught of global warming cooling climate change.

The Countdown Starts: TotD Edition

I'll be heading out tonight for Hickory NC, and in the morning I'll be going on to the Tail of the Dragon.

This will be an all day affair, and I'll have the camera along but I don't know how much chance I'll get to use it.  My photographer went and got himself into trouble this week so he will be staying home.

Maybe I'll be able to pick up a ride-along when I get there...

I will have the laptop along so I'll be making reports from the road.

After action report...after.

13 October 2011

A Day At The Range

Any day spent making noise and smoke is, by definition, a good one.

The Saiga conversion works wonderfully, and the rifle has been sighted in again.  I really didn't notice much difference in the fun quotient, shooting it was always a blast but the trigger conversion seems to make mag swaps faster.  I was worried the bolt hold-back lever would interfere with the trigger finger, but I trimmed it off as per the instructions before I put it back in and I never even noticed it.

The Arisaka has been sighted in for azimuth and I think I have figured in the right amount of Tennessee elevation to at least get all the holes on the paper. I love this little rifle and I'm looking forward to shooting it - badly, most likely - in the Vintage Military Bolt Action Rifle events.  The down side is that it is so expensive to feed.

The Mosin shoots right in the middle where it should be.  The gel buttstock pad has tamed the kick down magnificently, and after 25 rounds fired I did not feel like stabbing Nazis. In fact, the shoulder does not hurt at all.  I highly recommend the Shooterpad gel filled recoil pads.  I ended up not having to adjust the sights at all, I was worried that I had moved the front sight but that wasn't the case. I'm going to be shooting this one in the VMBAR events as well. Likewise as badly, I'm sure.

And finally, I have figured out the issues I was having with shooting the Glock, and after putting almost a hundred rounds through it today I have a large sized hole in the middle of the target right where it should be. I'm really looking forward to this class next weekend, I'm thinking I'll learn a lot and my shooting will improve dramatically as a result of it.

The only two bad things that happened today is I left the Mosin's cleaning rod at the range and when cleaning the guns before putting them away I knocked an almost full bottle of Hoppes #9 on the floor.

The good news is the cleaning rods are readily available so if I can't retrieve the one I left at the range it won't take much to get another one, and now my kitchen revels in the perfume that is Hoppes #9.

UPDATE: My range partner picked up the cleaning rod for me so I don't have to order another one. Whew!

Hey, I got to go shooting today. Nothing bad can happen the rest of the day!

12 October 2011

First Car Meme

1. What was your first car? Model, year, color, condition?
2. What adventures did you have in it, good or bad?
3. What happened to it, what’s the end of the story?

I got it from Miguel at Gun Free Zone who got it from Rock In A Sea Of Chaos who got it from Jay G, but it started here.  

And now, without further ado, I present to you...the 1972 Fiat 128 saloon! (music, confetti, applause)

Now the first car I drove was a 1973 Mercury Marquis Brougham, and oh what a car that was! It was the family car, though, and Dad sold it off before I got overly attached to it.

Just before selling the Merc Dad bought a white 74 Fiat 128 with serious front fender rot that had been poorly repaired with fiberglass matting and a bad clutch. One Thanksgiving we pulled the tranny before dinner and reinstalled it with a new clutch right after desert.  Soon afterwards he got this one from my high-school driver's ed instructor. It was green, and by green I mean US Army olive drab green. When we got it the wheels were yellow. Revolting doesn't begin to describe it.  Otherwise the car was in exceptionally good shape, especially for a car that had spent 10 years in Midwest winters.  Did I mention the driver's ed instructor and the auto shop instructor were good friends?

He bought these two cars because we needed a way to haul six of us around more economically than the aforementioned glorious Mercury (which sucked down dino juice at a truly alarming rate with its 428 V-8 motor...damn but I loved that car), and we could actually drive two Fiats cheaper than one Mercury. It had a bad shudder whenever you would try to back up with it and it would eat rear tires like they were free.  Dad figured out that the clutch cable adjustment was causing the shudder, and after several unsuccessful trips to the alignment shop he and I finally got the alignment straight on the rear end of the car using a carpenter's square and a tape measure as our alignment tools.

For about a year everywhere clan Card went we went in two Fiat automobiles.  That eventually turned out to be more trouble than it was worth, though (I think my mother's opinion strongly reinforced this decision), so a 78 Pontiac Grand Safari station wagon (we bought it at a state auction, it was silver and thankfully did not have the fake wood trim) soon replaced the Fiats. My older sister got the white 74 and the green 72 was MINE!!!

The first "mod" was to paint those hideous yellow wheels silver, which I did often (whenever yellow would show) and without removing the tires. The second "mod" was to install speakers on the rear deck for the AM radio. My sister's 74 broke a clutch cable and left her stranded right before she moved away and Dad junked that car, but before he did I snatched the tan interior (which was in far better shape than my black one) out of it. I should have got her motor, too, it was bigger, but I didn't have a place to do it.

Then came an under-dash FM radio/cassette player, and boy wasn't I rock-n-rolling then!  The local A&W was having some sort of promotional at the time (they were more like Sonics then, with in-car dining and car-hops) where they were giving away these little multi-colored puff-ball critters with googly eyes and big feet and funny hats, I made instruments for them to "play" out of card stock and stuck them on the rear package panel between and all over the speakers to make my own band.  And what a band it was, too, there was nothing they couldn't play!

I drove it about a year, from halfway through my junior year to halfway through my senior year in high school. This car never met a dirt road it didn't like, in any kind of weather. I never even once got this car stuck, and one of the trips we made was down a mud farm road to a fishing pond. The guy behind us in the 4wd truck didn't make it. It was just so light that it wouldn't sink into the mud.  It was also good at whipping 180's on the gravel roads, just pop off the throttle in second gear and jerk the parking brake up when you slung the wheel to the left, slam the throttle and the brake lever back down and just like magic you were in the other lane going the other way.  Very useful in the games of auto tag...that I lost horribly any other way (don't try this at home, kids).

Certain other adventures were classified, and are likely to remain so. Suffice it to say that my girlfriend's dad hated the huge Mercury with its front bench seat that could seat four teenagers across, but he liked the tiny Fiat with its front bucket seats that could hardly fit four teenagers in front and back seats together. He really shouldn't have.

The top speed, downhill with a tail wind, was a bit over 90 MPH, which we achieved regularly just to see if it could still do it.  The Weber carburetor was water cooled and heated, the engine coolant circulated not only through the intake manifold but also through the carb. On cold Iowa mornings the car wouldn't even attempt to start even though I plugged in the block heater every night without fail. I parked it on top of the hill and coasted down in the morning, when I got about halfway down the hill I'd pop the clutch out in second gear and the car would finally start by the time we got to the bottom...usually. When it didn't it was a long walk to school.  In the winter I would have to block the radiator off with a piece of cardboard that had a 4" square in the middle of it to keep the Weber from icing up. In the spring and fall I'd have to start and end the day with the cardboard in place and pull it out in the afternoons when the temperature had climbed to keep the engine from overheating. Yes it had a thermostat, but that seemed to be more of an accessory than an actual functioning part.

It also ate clutch cables with distressing regularity (that must have been a feature of the 128, remember that's what my sisters car had gotten junked for) and I got real good at fishing a piece of bicycle cable through the clutch cable sheath and securing it at both ends with cable clamps (in fact this little car helped me to hone many of my mechanical skills) until I could get to Omaha, 70 miles away, which is where the nearest Fiat dealer was, and order a new one. Two or three weeks later I'd drive back to Omaha and pick it up, install it in the parking lot at the dealers (about 15 minutes and a Crescent wrench) and drive home. (That's the way we did things before the Internet, kids, there was no ordering online and having it delivered to the door. That's one of the great things about living in the modern age.)  I never got smart enough to just buy two and keep one as a spare, but they were too damn expensive to do that anyway - especially since my career at the time included hair nets and name tags and the cooking of do-you-want-fries-with-that.

Eventually rust claimed the attach point of the front suspension sway bar on the right side and both front inner fenders cracked from the bottoms to the tops. The entire front end of the car would pitch up when I accelerated and pitch back down when I braked, and occasionally the right front tire would pop back and hit the firewall when I hit the brakes hard. I would have to pop the clutch to get the wheel back where it belonged.

As soon as my Dad saw that he declared the car unsafe to drive (which it certainly was) and decreed that it would no longer take up space in his driveway.  I bought a 67 Chevy pickup from Dad (for practically nothing and sold it back when I shipped out) and Frog went to the junk man who had the same car in a 3 door station wagon that had been munched in the rear. He was planning on sawing the back of this car off between the doors and welding it to the front of the wagon (which he would saw off just in front of the rear wheels) to make a stretched limo, and even he didn't know why.  Whether or not he got it done I don't know, I shipped out to the Navy the very next winter and only went back to visit after that.

If he ever did get it done the back half of that car might still be roaming the roads in Southwest Iowa, if it didn't find its way to a beer can factory instead.  The junk yard is long gone (as is the A&W) and I don't have any idea where the junk man is, so there isn't any way to tell.

Rest in peace Frog. You sucked, but I still remember you with the degree of fondness reserved only for first cars.

(Youngest Daughter thinks this car is CUTE! but then again, her "first" car was a Dodge Aries station wagon.)

Gunwalker T's

Remember these cool T shirts that you can't have because you missed your chance to order them?

Here's another chance!

Hurry though, cause Christmas is only 10 1/2 weeks away!

UPDATE: Ladies, they are now available in bubblegum pink!

06 October 2011


Apparently it's in October now.

Chris Knight has the story.

I hope they are done with it by Friday night because I'm going to be busy Saturday and I'm pretty sure the course is non-refundable.

HT: The Knight Shift

Today's Jukebox

I've really been digging on the Rob Thomas lately. Here's another.


05 October 2011

A Night To Remember

I have never been to the opera, or to hear a live symphony, but if I ever do go I want to go like this guy.

I kind of feel sorry for him, though. He got all dressed up and  no one noticed.

Must have been the company he was keeping.

04 October 2011

A Prayer For The Fallen

Operation Gothic Serpent.

You know it as Black Hawk Down.

18 died and 73 were wounded to accomplish the mission.  And they did accomplish the mission.

In the end their efforts were for naught, thrown away by people who were not worthy to polish their boots.

SFC Randy Shuggart and MSC Gary Gordon were each posthumously awarded the MoH for their heroic actions during the engagement.

HT: Miguel at Gun Free Zone

02 October 2011

That Which I Had Feared

She never told me how sick she was. I hid it from myself, and she hid it from me; I knew that time was precious but I did not know how little of it we had left.

To this day I do not know if it would have been better to know, or to not know.

Kent knows.

My prayers are with you Kent. May you have all the time you need, even though it will never be all you want.

01 October 2011

Dead Six

It's here.

So far I've just read through the first few chapters, which I have already read thanks to the sneak previews available from Baen and on Larry Correia's website.

If it finishes anything like it started - and I have every reason to believe it will - then Larry Correia and Mike Kupari are going to have a New York Times Best-seller on their hands (another one in Larry's case, the first one for Mike).

Not bad for one formerly self-published and one first-time author, eh?

OK, enough chit-chat. Back to the awesomeness.  Full review when I recover.

This would be a great movie, BTW.

Amazon photo. Clicking on the blog title will take you there.