Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Intermediate Power Cartridges

I often read new reports of shootings and have come to accept that they are less focused on facts and more on sensationalism.  After all, news organizations are multi-million or even multi-billion dollar corporations.  They are in it to make money and the juiciest stories do that.  But one of the terms that bugs me is "high powered assault rifle".

There are lots of places on the internet where you can read about the term "assault rifle" and understand it's used incorrectly much of the time.  So I'm not going to rehash that.  The part of the term I'm discussing today is "high powered".

Monday, September 17, 2012

AR-15 Magazine Length

Recently I went shooting with a friend who is an Appleseed instructor and he was showing me the prone position they teach.  It is very stable position that involves getting your support arm directly under the rifle.  This was a position I was unable to completely achieve with the rifle I brought.

I have short arms for my size.  They aren't quite Tyrannosaurus arms, but they are an inch or two shy of average.  This coupled with the fact I was shooting an AR-15 with a 30 round magazine meant I couldn't get my elbow in a position directly beneath the rifle.  The magazine protruded far enough down that it was in the way.

The standard capacity magazine for the AR-15 is 30 rounds.  There are magazines that hold more and magazines that hold less, but the bulk of magazines in the market today are 30 rounders.  There was a time that 20 round magazines were more common, but even they tend to be a niche product today.

In an attempt to help, I drug out all the different magazines I've collected over the years and measured them.  By looking at them, you may be better able to select a magazine that best fits you for shooting prone, or even from a bench.  I've round 30 rounders can be in the way when shooting from a bench as well.  Anyway, here are the measurements.

Manufacturer Model Capacity Length
C-Products Aluminum 30 round 7.25”
Magpul P-Mag 30 round 7.5”
C-Products Aluminum 20 round 5.25”
Lancer L5 20 round 5.5”
Unknown Steel, straight 20 round 5.25”
Master Moulder Plastic, straight 20 round 4.75”
Bushmaster Aluminum, straight 10 round 4.5”
C-Products Aluminum, straight 10 round 3.5”
C-Products Aluminum, straight 5 round 3.5”
Unknown Aluminum, straight 5 round 3”
Kel-Tec Plastic, straight 5 round 2.75”

 Notice the plastic mags in general are about a quarter inch longer than metal magazines of a given capacity.  Also notice that the C-Products 5 and 10 round magazines are the same length, as they use the same magazine body for both.  Lastly, don't take the fact that I measured a Master Moulder mag to think I'm endorsing them.  They are crap, no one should buy them.  I bought 2 for a couple bucks each just to play around with them.  They are as bad as people say.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Problems With the US Public Education System

With the teachers strike in Chicago in the headlines lately, the topic of public education in the United States has come up more frequently.  I think everyone who understands math (although that rules out a lot of US public school graduates) agrees that the US public school system is substandard.  We score at the bottom of the list of first world countries when it comes to student performance while maintaining funding at the top of the list.  We spend a lot of our public education system and get very little in return.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Advantages Over Criminals

Owning and knowing how to use any gun is better than no gun.  I advise this a lot and catch flack for it.  I often suggest that people get a 22 as their first gun so they can afford to practice and build up skills.  But there are lots of people out there who suggest if you don't have a 45 or a military pattern "battle rifle", you may as well be unarmed.


It's very common at the range to see new shooters with guns they can't shoot accurately.  While I work ammo into my "fun" budget, lots of people don't, and that's OK.  I recently went to the range with a friend who has been shooting a long time.  He brought his fancy name brand centerfire pistol and was shooting a 10" pattern at 25 feet.  I handed him my 22, and he proceeded to hit the 10 ring repeatedly at the same distance at 1 second or less intervals.  With which gun is that particular person more dangerous?  Hitting your target is always the most important thing.

But the purpose of this article is to showcase that if you own a gun for self-defense, any gun, and know how to use it, you are likely better armed than an average criminal.  I'm not suggesting you are better armed and trained than a drug cartel, or a professional hit man, or the local motorcycle gang.  But you are very likely better armed and better trained than the average thug on the street that is going to try to mug you or the average thief breaking into your home.  As reference, here is a breakdown of typical guns confiscated from criminals.  Take some time and read over the data there.

Monday, September 3, 2012

All Hail the Police State, part 8

The FBI has a variety of fliers they have made to help civilians catch terrorists.  These fliers are distributed to a variety of businesses to help enroll civilians in the important job of stopping domestic terrorists.  Some of these come off as quite ridiculous to me.  Overall they are unnecessarily invasive and only serve to keep people afraid and suspicious and turn citizens against each other.

Does a person or group of people:

Travel a long distance to play paintball?

Pay cash for Karate lessons?

Smell funny or make racist comments at a tattoo shop?

Buy a deer rifle at Christmas? 

Shop at a beauty supply store after they have changed their hair color?

Picket a construction site with pro-environment signs?

Well, according to the FBI, these people could be a terrorist.  Also, if you play paintball, buy plumbing or beauty supplies then the FBI suggests you need to show a valid ID.  It's craziness to suggest people should need a valid ID to vote, but our government suggests you should need one to take a women's self-defense class. 


Helping People > Talking About It

I'm going to be honest, I mostly don't care what people think, what beliefs they hold dear or what terrible thoughts they suppress in their minds.  I find a person's philosophy interesting, but gladly associate with people of many disparate philosophies.  I care what people do.

Everyone has flaws and everyone has tendencies that aren't positive.  That's part of being human.  That's what makes life on this planet interesting.

Too often I see peer groups dismiss people and philosophies that are not in line with their own.  I find this act foolish.  For us to progress as a society, we have to work together, not come up with ways to create divisions.  Alienating people of differing philosophies or beliefs is exactly the opposite of working together.

I don't care if you empathize with the plight of the poor and homeless or vote the "right" way to support social programs that supposedly help them.  I do care if a person takes time to be charitable.  I do care if a person offers resources to charity.  I do care if people help their fellow man.

We all have gifts.  Some of us have talents.  Some of us have artistic flair.  Some of us have jobs that allow us comfortable lives and discretionary income.  Some of us have an abundance of free time.  It's how you use your gifts and resources that is important.  What you believe or think isn't that important to me.  What you do, the choices you make and the mark you leave on the world is.