Posted by: exodus | August 11, 2009

Statesville area request

Anyone living in or near Statesville NC…

… could you hook me up with a good shooting range?

All work and no play is making me need some serious trigger time…

Posted by: exodus | August 5, 2009

the same but different

So I guess it was, oh, 2 weeks ago or so now that I finished* packing as best I could, and left central Texas for the ol’ North State.

Goodbye Taco Cabana, migas, good tamales and solar burnination. Hello Bojangles, liver mush, good pork BBQ and an actual winter.

As luck would have it, I got a job in one of the few growth industries left in this country – as a paralegal for a bankruptcy attorney. Let me just tell you – business is booming, especially in this area, where I know that the last unemployment number put it around 23% or more.

Whereas the last few months of my life were lived in impoverished, unemployed torpor, now I have a job where I shuffle mountains of paper (and quite a few ones and zeroes – computers are indeed everywhere) while financially destroyed people sob quietly in my downtown office in shell-shocked pallor.

I can relate… I was sliding straight to insolvency on ball bearings myself, mere weeks ago.

I am certainly busy (enough so that I haven’t gotten back to posting as I’d like, for sure) but it’s not all work here. I’m scheduled to take some life drawing classes downtown. That’s nude models yo! Ars gratia artis and all that. I have an excuse to look at nekkid folks and I’m going to make the most of it! I’m a thinkin’ man don’t you know.

Having access to a private boat slip and occasional use of the boat doesn’t hurt either, and for you Texans let me tell you that it may try, but it doesn’t get much over 90 here in August – certainly not for long. That’s change I can believe in.

The job generally requires most or all of my brain to fire on all cylinders for most or all of the day – very different, and certainly taxing.

I miss my Texas friends very much. (If you read this, this means you too.) I miss Texas, believe it or not. North Carolinians, with notable exceptions, are relatively somnambulent as regards issues of liberty; Texans generally fight for theirs. I think my work is cut out for me in that respect. I have to wake up the locals.

Also, I’ve had my nose to the grindstone for about 4 weeks so I’m sure I missed a few firearms-related political things – had to be done though. I’ll try to catch up and keep up as best I can.

For better or for worse… looks like I’ll be here for a while. If you ever come Carolina way, please let me know…

*I didn’t really finish – I just stopped. I got 95% of everything done and Katie and others mopped up – ’cause I had to go. One does not jeopardize a job opportunity in this climate. Thank you very much Katie.

Posted by: exodus | July 31, 2009

Guess who’s back

I have taken work. Between this moment and when I posted last, there was a lot of effort to make this happen.

When I have a bit more time I’ll give better details, but I have to go to work!

I never thought I’d be happy to say that

Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts. I certainly appreciate it. Semi-regular-ish posting will resume shortly.

Posted by: exodus | June 29, 2009

lemon fresh

Sorry for the lack of posts – I truly am. I’ve had my foot to the floor trying to get work, to little avail so far.

I have several firearms, ammo, reloading equipment, and my motorcycle that I have no choice but to sell. Good stuff too. Yeah it sucks but this isn’t the end of me; just probably the end of a certain era.

Ping me in comments if you are interested in my stuff – I’ll email you at the email address that you provide in the comment form. Unfortunately I don’t have time to ship stuff so local folks (or folks willing to travel a bit) are first priority.

This crap will turn around. I just have to keep my head above water until then… I’m makin’ lemonade by the drum over here.

And I hear where I’m headed ain’t half bad.

lake-nc

Posted by: exodus | May 26, 2009

range report – Memorial Day

Every day is a great day to go shooting but Memorial Day is somehow even more so.

My goals were to try out the 1100, get in some M&P time, and sight in the repaired BUIS on my AR while checking out how well the new springs in the trigger group worked.

Katie and I went to Rog’s private range, which wasn’t blazing hot but it was non-trivially warm. Late May in Texas is generally warm so this is not entirely unexpected, but throw in the mandatory rattlesnake gaitors on your lower legs and the requisite hats for range work, and warmth is not in short supply.

Before heading to the property we stopped at THE store in McMahon/Whizzerville to get some food. Somehow they had even less available than I remembered. We did load up on Gatorade, water, and some locally made chimichangas and sausage wraps. While I’m glad I ate, the cramps that I got in my gut around midnight were nothing short of epic.

Once at the property, Katie and Rog set up the badly battered (and no longer) easy-up shelter, checking for snakes all the while. I don’t think any of us saw one snake, for which I am grateful.

The repaired BUIS held. I’m not crazy about the aperture but it does work… once I deciphered the instructions on the front post.

<–U

Does that mean the post goes up if I turn it clockwise, or that the point of impact goes up? It was the latter… at least the sight-in target was useful in that regard. Once we got it dialed in, I could pop the 12 inch gong more or less at will at 200 yards.

I tried Monarch (Prvi) brass cased ammo, the Prvi SS 109, Remington UMC, WWB, and PMC Bronze. All shot great without a hitch – so either this lighter hammer spring is still up to the task of popping all kinds of primers, or all these brands have softish primers and I need to find something harder to test. I hear Wolf primers are hard – I’ll have to try that.

Katie enjoyed the AR after some initial trepidation, and shot well with it. Unfortunately her first rifle work was with a .308 rifle (it was all I had on hand at the time) and it was a bit of a negative impression that led her to believe all rifles were like that. I’m glad that impression is correctable, but I wish it had never been formed.

The M&P was up next. Between the break-in I performed last week (1000 dry fires) and an increased focus on grip-fu, I managed to shoot somewhat straighter than usual. I’d been kicking off left before pretty badly – not so much this time. Also, I put the jumbo grip on the pistol and that helped. The large grip on the M&P is substantially bigger than the medium, that’s for sure. I worked on my draw from the “startled” position, getting off the X, firing 2 and reholstering. Then I worked on a series of double-taps, and finally some slow-fire with a focus on grip – shooting at the IPSC head area only. All good hits, so I’m happy with that.

Katie shot the M&P too, and after some basic familiarization she shot it great out of the box. I think she likes pistol anyway, and the M&P 9 is a great pistol for her. I even had her doing my “get off the X” drill at the end and she was still on target.

The 20ga 1100  shotgun is an odd bird. If I load it with a 2.75 inch shell in the chamber, then three 4 inchers and finished with a 2.75 shell, it almost always worked. All 3 inchers worked, but all 2.75 inch shells was always a fail. Too bad because the 2.75 shells were MUCH softer shooting than the 3 inchers, by a surprising amount. The loading gate was a bit balky too. I’m not 100% confident in this thing, I’m afraid.

I think the lessons here might be pretty direct – I think I have a good bird gun and I should leave it alone and just buy a 20ga that happily eats 2.75 shells. I’d love a domestic autoloader that will do that, that takes all kinds of fun accessories. I really enjoyed shooting the 2.75 20ga shells from an autoloader tremendously… I’ll have to get a shotgun that works better in that configuration, is all.

Katie liked the 2.75 shells too, and didn’t much care for the 3s. The full choke held a pretty tight pattern as far out as I could reasonably want – and with a (perhaps) 30 inch barrel, I’d hope so!

I hope you noted the pattern here – I brought out and fired  my “lesser” caliber firearms (9mm, .223, 20ga as opposed to .45, .308 and 12ga) with an eye on maximum suitability for people less familiar with firearms, and fast accurate follow ups for experienced shooters. As much as I appreciate the certain effectiveness of the larger calibers, there is a lot to be said for having firearms that are still quite effective, and also easier for all kinds of people to use.

I’ll be researching shotguns to see what makes sense here. Any suggestions?

Posted by: exodus | May 8, 2009

Shooting at Red’s

I took the noob shooters to Red’s yesterday.

I picked up Tom at his place and from there we went to Cabela’s for whatever extra gear was deemed necessary for him – all he had at this point was a brand-new never fired XD 9 and some ammo.

He grabbed some eyes and ears, and decided on the spot that since 9mm loaded ammo was scarce, that he wanted to learn reloading. Okely dokely then. Easier said than done, he has zero equipment right now… I grabbed a case of that 12ga from one of the storied pallets I mentioned in an earlier post. Cheap… but once I opened the cardboard box I realized that I could get the same ammo (Winchester Super X) even cheaper elsewhere. I grabbed 500 115gr 9mm projectiles too – Berry’s plated stuff. Plus one box of Win Silver tip .45 ACP since I build up defense ammo reserves slowly but steadily.

We met up with Craig at the range and rented two lanes. I spent most of my time teaching grip-fu technology to the shooters, and reinforcing muzzle discipline (not that it was a problem, I was just determined that it NOT be a problem.) I had Craig in the 8 ring with his first shot – Tom was in the 9 ring. I grabbed Craig’s pistol after his first 2 8 ring hits and popped the X out of the target on the first shot. I forgot how nice that Hardballer shot… and Craig now knew that if the gun didn’t hit where he wanted it to, well, that was all him.

Tom was doing OK; I spent time on his grip but I spent more time with Craig since his shooting experience was practically nil. Once everyone was comfortable shooting at all, I set about working on trigger reset awareness, and use. Craig had a hard time pressing and holding the trigger – the gun would go bang and he’d forget to keep holding. S’ok, I had the same problem initially too.

All in all Craig and Tom shot pretty well. Craig’s groups were slowly opening up from fatigue – Tom’s from impatience. He said his hand was hurting and I think he was pressing on his left scaphoid bone with his right thumb – another common issue. He’s got gorilla hands so I think he really was putting pressure on it, as he was stringing up and down the left side of his target.

As far as my shooting went, as much as I like the M&P overall, I’m having a little trouble with the trigger. The trigger that is so crisp and solid, if a bit heavy, when dry firing the pistol becomes something of a liability in my hands when shooting at paper. The pointability that I so admire in the pistol when bringing it to bear becomes a nose that too-easily turns when I apply the necessary pressure to the heavy trigger. Suffice it to say, left, left, left.

Now to be fair, I was concentrating on trigger reset shooting more than slow fire, but still, I was shooting left much worse than I did with the CZ-75 within the same exercise. My M&P 9 doesn’t have the magazine disconnect either, so it’s about as good a factory trigger as they offer. So, either the trigger will get better with shooting (as I expect) or I’m going to have to break down and get some trigger work done.

Afterward, we went to eat and then back to my house for cleaning and lots of enthusiastic n00b gun talk and questions. I think Craig felt a little bad about his pistol’s disassembly and reassembly – a 1911 with a full length guide rod, versus our easily taken down plastic fantastics. But that’s the name of the game. Nobody really enjoys the swingy toggle link game on reassembly. It’s good for him though.

All in all a fun outing. I just wish I’d shot better. Maybe the KR kids have some suggestions for shooting straight with a lightweight pistol and a relatively heavy trigger break? (If you say “XD” I will not be amused.)

;)

Posted by: exodus | April 28, 2009

Bonus Range Day Saturday

Documented here and here, I’ll add my bits as well. 

Boy was THAT fun! 

I’d come out to sell some ammo – I ended up selling everything I’d intended to, so that was good. But I stayed because the shooty goodness was too much fun. The pics are John’s camera phone at work. Not half bad for a camera phone! 

Started out on the steel range; worked a bit on my trigger reset with the USP. With my new focus on trigger reset… I discovered that the USP has a longer movement ’till reset than I’d like. Figures that I’d take a class and like my pistol less. But, not much less. I wonder what a trigger job for a USP runs – or who even does one. 

 

I'm the big marshmallow in the middle

I'm the big marshmallow in the middle

Folks were really generous with their firearms – I was able to shoot John’s Ciener-fied AR (loved the Tasco optic – never thought I’d say that!) and his Smith Model 19 (made the Gun Locker 101 list, it did) as well as his 2011 .22 conversion. He had another .22 1911 but it didn’t run right.

The AR was easy peasy. The Tasco red dot  holo optic thingie had a BRIGHT and tiny little dot. Ting ting ting, all day long. It was so easy that it bordered on boring. But somehow shooting never gets boring. Funny, that. 

I’m now sold on the Dawson Precision sights. The 2011 had ‘em. They make missing downright embarrassing. I think the USP will get a set. Right now it has a glo-paint 3 dot factory deal. I know what I’m missing, now.

Shooting with John and John was nice. I met a few other folks who were equally nice. A great bunch. Hsoi had noticed that GunGeek had been gone for a while and that there was no shooty noise coming from the adjacent range. Just what could he be up to?

And why are there barriers and barrels all over the… uh oh. I’ve seen this before on TV. Wednesday nights on Outdoor Channel.

 

right side of the stage - with hostage target finish!

right side of the stage - with hostage target finish!

 

Left side - start of stage. rifle rack = 2 gun time!

Left side - start of stage. rifle rack = 2 gun time!

2-gun-copy

Basically, you start with a rifle:

  1. shoot the two left side paper targets, twice each
  2. shoot 4 clays once each, from between the barriers
  3. shoot the two right side paper targets, twice each
  4. run from Trogdor, over to the next barriers  
  5. one shot per steel plate, then two each on the two paper targets 
  6. two more shots on two paper targets, from between the barriers
  7. 2 headshots  from between the barrier- the white is a no-shoot

… well, if I remember the course correctly. 

I stood back and did my best Jim Scoutten impersonation – “It’s the Gun Geek CHALLENGE!” I tried to use my best announcer basso profundo voice. Helped me break the tension… ’cause I was sweating this. I was running the course as much as I could in my head, over and over – because I KNEW I would forget a target, or an instruction. Mercifully, I did neither – I was merely slow. But accurate! 

 

4 shots, 4 clays. Yes I do shoot rifle left-handed. I'm sinister!

4 shots, 4 clays. Yes I do shoot rifle left-handed. I'm sinister!

I ended up borrowing Hsoi’s AR for the rifle bits. I ended up shooting the rifle course ambidextrously, as that made sense… though the folks there now know that I know my way around an AR. No excuses left for me there! Good shot placement, but slow. Helps that Hsoi figured out the holdover for the clays for me – I just popped ‘em, one shot each. I’m not gonna lie – that felt good. 

 

sometimes you gotta shoot right-handed though...

sometimes you gotta shoot right-handed though...

The pistol portion went OK – I missed a steel ’cause I freaking forgot to unsafety the cocked-n-locked pistol. Threw me off when the trigger just sat there… jeez. Again, decent shot placement, and again, slow. I had to reload at the very end of my run too. At least I had a good grip – didn’t forget that. 

 

trigger reset? What's that? I'm shooting a freakin' timed stage! Ayeee!

trigger reset? What's that? I'm shooting a freakin' timed stage! Ayeee!

I’d love to do it again. I can see this becoming preposterously expensive as a habit, but I went from “oh dude a timed stage – I’m so going to fail!” to “I could have done better here, here, and here – whadda ya mean we aren’t running it again?” 

I hope we get to do this again sometime. I’m still on a high from it. 

I went to look for an XDM in 9mm this week – Academy sold out but they sure had a bunch of cheap XD .45s in. I’ll see what Cabela’s has, but I am not holding out hope. 

Thanks Mr. Gun Geek and Mr. Hsoi! And also thanks to Karl for going to hang out with guys like Michael Bane for the weekend – that sure let us play!

Posted by: exodus | April 6, 2009

a great day at KR Training

My friend Rog has taken quite a few courses from the fine folks at KR Training and has been urging me to do the same for a good while now. I hadn’t, mainly because my weekends were usually filled doing all the stuff a homeowner does when he’s not working… and since it’s all up to me, that’s usually a handful.

But, I decided to give it a go after realizing that training was more important than hardware, once everything is all said and done. I signed up for Basic Pistol 2 after some thought. Sure, I have a great deal of trigger time under my belt, and I am forced to admit that I have become a better shot than your average Joe over the years. However, it was wholly uninstructed time, as I’m basically self-taught (and no, sunshine, the non-KR CHL class doesn’t count. There was essentially no technique taught besides pointing the thing) and I knew I had “hit a wall.” I was capable of good accuracy if I took my sweet time, but watching the Shotgun City* shows told me that there was another level I could reach. I mean, you see guys and gals like Todd Jarrett, Julie Goloski, Robbie Leatham, and Jessie Abbate just BLAZE away… crazy fast, and accurate too. I just didn’t know how to get there.  Basic Pistol 2 is for uninstructed groundlings such as myself… I was game.

As I was hustling through the cool countryside air in Das BayernWagen, sucking down a McDonald’s steak and cheese bagel** and their Mocha coffee thingie (yes, I broke… it was truly an emergency) I woke up rather nicely. It was bucolic Lee County on a cool morning and my mood was improving by the second. I have a growing affinity for Lee County and the day held a lot of promise.

kr-cattle

Once at the range, I took a look around and realized that whoever owned the land and ranges was truly living the dream. A cool, perfect day (dry, sunny, and high 60s – low 70s) was shaping up, and I walked past the lowing cattle to enter my seat at about 9:02. (Sorry… I couldn’t remember which door to use!) It wasn’t quite a religious experience, but I felt my worries melt entirely. Somehow I knew this was going to be a damned fine day.

kr-rangehouse

Karl, John K, Tom, and some other nice fellow whose name escapes me were teaching the class. The classtime went well – no surprises for me informationally. We did have a short and spirited discussion about how to “classify” the XD (is it SA? DA? We decided it was “neither” or “safe action” I think) and the instructors were very smart, very direct, perfectly friendly, and kept the material to the appropriate level for the class at hand. No major excursions into gun nerd land, which I would have been OK with, but this was BASIC pistol 2 and was taught that way, to the credit of the instructors.

No lectures on how we were inferior people because we didn’t fight hard enough against “change” at the ballot box, and certainly no open contempt for the entire class as a whole or for people who didn’t grow up poor and live dangerously; no long, gruesomely detailed scare stories about Mexican kidnappings – in short, none of the distracting BS I dealt with in the only other gun class I ever took. No, this class was exactly in the pocket, and was extremely friendly and cheerful – I would send my mother to this class without hesitation, and that’s my personal gold standard.

We headed for the range and by this time the chill was mostly gone from the air. But for slightly more wind than was ideal for us electronic-earmuff wearing folk, you couldn’t have asked for a better day for shooting. I had brought the CZ-75 and a cheapie holster just to have one. The instructors said a holster wasn’t really needed but I should have used it… but more on that later.

In the interest of time I’ll summarize my shooting problems and the solutions that were generated.

  • No recognition or use of trigger reset

A habit that I didn’t even know I had was that after the shot, my trigger finger would basically fly off the trigger – it was “done” and now it was time to look at the target and see where the shot went. The fix for this came as one of the exercises – take the shot, and keep the trigger pressed. Slowly release the trigger until trigger reset (you know, the little click that says you can take another shot) while keeping the sights lined up for the next shot. It had never occurred to me, as a slow-fire kind of guy, that this would matter much. Oh… it does. John K worked very closely with me on this particular problem and I needed it. My trigger finger had the “fire and fly off” problem deeply burned in.

  • Looking over the gun after the shot, to check on shot placement

Tom caught me doing this, and briefly (and somewhat curtly, but they were pressed for time) said “you’re looking over the gun.” I didn’t know what he meant so during the shooter’s break I asked him to elaborate. He told me in good detail that after the shot, I was looking up over the gun to see where the shot went, and that he saw me doing this repeatedly. The fix for this was for me to just keep the sights aligned on target as much as possible, basically. The sight picture was essentially permanent until the shooting was done – I was looking at the target, and brought the gun up to me, and put the sights on target.

  • Strong hand baseball-bat grip

So I basically tend to grab the pistol like I would anything else – wrapping my hand around the grip and bringing my thumb down to my middle finger to enclose the grip. This was quite a problem for me when it came time to bring my support hand to the grip – no room. There’s a thumb there. This led to me playing “move the thumb” and my grip was an awkward ballet that took too long to establish. Also I tended to start pressing down with the right thumb over time, and would bring the muzzle down – another Tom observation. He claims to have the same problem…

What I had to do was to create a mantra to alleviate this and other habits… and what better choice than Tactical Fonzie!

Tactical Fonzie says:

  • Aaaayyy!!! I have a gun. Guns are COOL! Thumb UP! This moves it out of the way.
  • Point my weak hand thumb at the target, like when battling Mork. This gives me the correct wrist angle.
  • Press and hold! Press and hold! Press and hold! This lets me focus on the trigger reset. Trigger reset is COOL! Letting the trigger finger fly off after the shot is for NERDS!

Sounds dumb but I needed some kind of fast mental list, as I have a lot of bad habits and needed some kind of theme.

Let’s get my stupid bonehead move out in the open too. It wasn’t a perfect day, because when it came time to move the barrels, I had a nice case of brain fade. The sleep deprivation made itself known. I had the gun clear, action open and locked, and on one of the barrels. We were instructed to move the barrels back and so, not wanting the CZ to fall, I went to put it on top of my range box (on the ground) to move that back too. And of course, the gun slipped, and I went to grab it and the muzzle went every which way.

And Karl saw me do it. Yep… I was now “that guy.” Fan-freakin’-tastic.

I stopped, pointed the muzzle to the ground, dropped my head and silently cursed myself rather heavily. If I had only used the holster. If I’d just left the damned gun on top of the barrel. If I only had a brain…

scarecrow

OK that was the low point.

There were many high points, but my favorite was when the instructors decided that I was going to undergo an unscheduled, ad-hoc speed test. It went something like this:

“Your groups are too close – you’re tearing a ragged hole. Speed up.”

pow   pow   pow   pow   pow

“Still a ragged hole. Shoot faster.”

pow  pow  pow  pow  pow

“Shoot faster. Your group hasn’t opened up yet.”

pow pow pow pow pow

“Faster!”

powpowpowpowpow

“Still too tight. Faster!”

pow papow papow

“You broke your cadence. Shoot faster!” at which point I looked at John K with a mix of joy and disbelief. I was shooting faster than I had ever shot before, by a long way, and I was still right on target. Faster than THIS? Okely dokely, neighboreenio…

papapapapow

And still a fairly tight group. I was so proud you could have stuck a cigar in my mouth and called me Papa. This was the point at which it became very clear that this training had taken me to the next level, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I could see everyone making progress. The woman with the tiny Kahr .40 had tightened up her recoil-fear-induced wild shooting considerably, and fast. The older lady who used the range’s M&P (and a nice one at that, with a fiber-optic front sight) was doing better too. There were about 2-ish students per instructor on the line – and they were on us for every mistake. You WANT this level of attention. Believe me. It ferrets out your mistakes pronto and… isn’t that the point?

You go to KR for training… you WILL improve, and you will have a dandy time doing so.

I stayed a bit after class and shot some more drills with John K and Tom Hogel, and we all chatted a bit. Quite a friendly bunch. John shot his STI framed .22 2011, and Tom actually let me shoot “a real gun” in his words – a mighty fine custom tacticool XD45 with fiber optic front sight, a blank rear, one hell of a nice trigger and the stickiest stippled grip I’ve ever handled. It was mighty generous of the guy and that was one hell of a gun. John and I talked reloading for a bit – I hope he offers a reloading class soon. If I improve my reloads like I improved my shooting, it’ll be well worth it.

It boils down to this. If you can get to a KR Training class… do it. I am a far better shooter after 4 hours, and I’ll be going back. KR Training works, and is fun too. You really can’t beat that.

A BIG BIG thank-you to Rog for paying for my class as a birthday present to me. You have given me a gift that will last a lifetime – I want you to know that. Thanks also to Tom and John K for taking extra time with me after the class was over, and for tailoring the instruction to my specific needs.

See John K’s commentary about my day at the range for the trainer’s perspective.

I personally had one of the best days I have ever had on this earth.

*Shotgun City is a friend’s stand-in term for the Wednesday Night at the Range programming line-up on the Outdoor Channel. American Rifleman, Shooting Gallery, Shooting USA, Best Defense – it’s all “Shotgun City” to her. It’s ok, I divide her boyfriend’s video game choices into “Map” or “Shoot” too.

** When I would go to Charles Town in West B’God for the Summit Point track days, McDonald’s was really the only game in town for morning grub since Fillie’s wasn’t open. It’s a profoundly greasy way to start the day but it reminds me of the good times of about a decade ago. A nostalgic breakfast, really.

Posted by: exodus | March 10, 2009

the transformation of a Clinton Democrat

“He’s not who you think he is,” said my father upon learning that I had given my support to Bill Clinton for his first term. 

At the time my father and I had what you might call an adversarial relationship – which means that it was always a classic clash of two opinionated males, neither of whom would give an ideological inch. I didn’t support Gulf War I, and I found Rush Limbaugh (Dad’s favorite radio program) to be devoid of subtlety and deep thought. I mean… “dittoheads?” This betrayed a lack of individual thought, in my mind. Being chest-deep in design college, I was also being steeped in full bore socialist rhetoric too… though it was never revealed as such, and frankly I didn’t know at the time that my professors were working on my head. 

So Dad’s a dittohead and we have GHWB, a whiny, uninspiring man and a spook at that, running the country. Clinton sounded great at the time. Articulate, charming, thoughtful, Southern, and on a campaign stop I had a chance to have a short conversation with the guy, even. Sounded like change we could use. (Sound familiar?) 

I distinctly remember, of all things, that Clinton made a big deal on the campaign trail about the Haitian refugee situation at the time. He would help the poor Haitians. Then he was elected, and one of the very first things he did was to NOT help the poor Haitians. 

Now, I might have been lib-rul and wet behind the ears and stubborn besides (an awful combination, looking back) but I knew a LIE when I saw one and I wasn’t behind ol’ Dollar Billy because I thought he was a liar. But there it was, bold as ever… a flat-out lie. This gave me pause. 

“He’s not who you think he is.” 

To be perfectly honest, I was too busy with my own problems, right around the time of the Clinton Omnibus Crime and For The Children bill (aka the Assault Weapons Ban) to even know that was happening. My live-in girlfriend was killed in a freak highway accident, and I was young and completely enveloped with grief. That year is a dark blur to me.

However, time marched on and yet again Dollar Billy was shown to be a big fat liar, this time with perjury, no less. The Clinton charm had long since left the building and I was rebuilding my own life and my own brain, and I was taking none of my old assumptions for granted anymore. I no longer trusted my “programming” and I was on an extremely serious journey of self-examination and rebuilding. 

“He’s not who you think he is.” 

In my youth I had been sent off to summer camp a time or three, and as my parents were always dead broke, I went during the “discount week” which meant I shared the cabin with the Lumbee Indians. These Lumbee kids were given a free week of camp by the generous organization who owned the campgrounds. The Lumbee kids were notoriously rowdy and profoundly poor, so the camp tried hard to get other kids in there with them as a normalizing factor. So it was that I learned to shoot rifles with the wild Injuns – and not a bad shot was I, typically winning the camp match every year. 

In 2000 or so I realized that, lib-rul that I was, I really enjoyed shooting. It was a positive part of my life, something I wanted to re-integrate into the “new me” that I found in the mirror all the time. 

I’m not who I thought I was. 

So I popped down to a local gun store and was dropped into the usual “gun store culture.” The old crotchety know-it-all owner, the gorgeous young girl working behind the counter with a Kimber on her hip, the mildly paranoid talk at the counter – it was all brandy new to me then. Now, had Dollar Billy been who he said he was, and hadn’t been a slick globalist and not-so-slick liar, this may not have ever happened. I may never have walked into that store and bought my first rifle. But he wasn’t who I thought he was, and I had come to reclaim my shooting heritage.

I paid maybe $250 for an SAR-1. It was cheap and fun and so was the ammo. It was a serious, martial-looking thing and the wood was actually reasonably nice (those of you buying SAR-1s now may not believe it but those first ones weren’t furnished in the raggedy crap available now.) I really dug the thing. It was my first rifle – not a borrowed camp gun. Mine all mine.  

And boy oh boy did my lib-rul friends NOT like it. Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth. I had an “instrument of death.” I had a bona fide misery machine, killer of Sudanese babies, oppressor of peoples, weapon of war, you name it. BOY did I hear it from my “friends” at the time. 

But you see, I knew better. I knew that the metal and wood I owned was subservient to my will, just like the single-shot .22 rifle I had at camp was. Just like the Smith pistol my Mom had – the one her Democrat political figure father had given her in 1969, that she has to this day. Just like the .45 my Dad had. 

I was not who my friends thought I was. 

I made new friends. Gun friendlies. People who understood what I learned as a kid. 

Not one gunny, by the way, gave me a big load of garbage for being a gun owner, and also voting for Bill Clinton that first time. I was free to make the transition and learn reality with a rifle in my hand, and the hyperbolic protestations of the lib-ruls in my ears. In my eyes, the American Liberal had now fully made the transformation to ungrounded rhetoric spewers – rhetoric now aimed at me; rhetoric I knew to be wholly untrue through my old and new experiences as a rifleman. 

Rifle in hand, the scales had fallen from my eyes, the high-sounding rhetoric of the left had all been lies, and here I stood a transformed man; a Rifleman. 

Now we have a new generation of people, steeped in the rhetoric of socialist programming, still in the (rapidly decaying, I’ll wager) honeymoon period of a slick politician.

It is my opinion that we should allow these Change lovin’ folks access to our range time and encourage them to shoot with us, learn from us, and grasp the truth after they grasp the weapon – that the hardware has no will of its own, but that of the user. I sincerely believe that if we can tamp down our MORE than righteous anger over the destruction that the current administration is sowing (and… my god, is that ever hard to do) we can get more people to realize the real truth by experiencing unadulterated liberty at the range. It is too compelling and transformative an experience not to share. 

After all… your humble author was once where the Change merchants are now. 

He’s not who they think he is.

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