Archive for April, 2013

My Absence and Excuses

Posted: April 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything at all over the past few days.  Its very strange and out of the ordinary so I wanted to take a minute and let everyone know I’m still alive.

The reason I haven’t posted is because I’ve been extremely busy.  My fiance and I have been looking for apartments all week and I’ve been spending all my free time meeting people and viewing the buildings.  It’s been extremely stressful.  As of now we think we might be getting the one we want but I wont know until I hear from the property manager.  We’re supposed to know sometime today but its almost 3pm and they close at 5pm, so I’m not expecting a call.

Once everything gets settled I’ll be back to blogging every day.  I also hope that by having my own place, I’ll be more able to do things I’ve wanted to do a while like videos and product reviews.  But I’m not guaranteeing anything right now because I don’t even know if we’ll get the apartment yet.

When I know, I’ll be sure to post and share the news.

As I mentioned yesterday I went bowling with some high school friends.  We were out all evening and I didn’t get a chance to do the survival update.  But I’ve got time today so here you go:

58)  Stop Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning can be just as dangerous as driving over ice.  Your tires lose grip with the road and you lose control of your vehicle.  “The tire essentially floats on a layer of water”.  Here are a few things recommended in the Urban Survival Guide:

Read The Clues – “When hydroplaning, the engine’s RPM sharply rises” because the wheels begin turning faster and faster with no traction.  This is one of the first things I notice when my car starts to hydroplane.  Some vehicles don’t have an RPM gauge so you may only be able to notice the change by the sound your engine makes.

Ease Up – The best thing you can do to prevent and stop hydroplaning is slow down.  Simply take your foot off the accelerator and ride it out.  Don’t slam on the brakes and don’t turn the wheel.  Both of those actions could result is further loss of control.  Slowing down should allow your tires to penetrate the water and help you regain traction.

From the time I first started delving into the world of firearms, one thing was abundantly clear:  The 1911 is the king of of the handgun jungle.  There have been many guns that have come and gone with little or no impact on gun culture.  The M1911 was clearly not one of those.  I decided to do some research and look into why this particular design is still so widely used and admired all around the world.

My first research came in the form of a poll.  I asked my readers to vote whether or not they owned a 1911.  If they didn’t, I asked if they wanted one.  Of the 30 people who voted, 20 said that yes, they in fact owned a 1911 of some form or another.  Beyond that, 5 people who didn’t currently have one wanted one.  Only a few noted that they didn’t want one at all.  I know that most of my readers are gun owners  and they probably own a variety of different weapons.  Not everyone likes the same things, and yet 2/3 of those who voted owned a 1911.

I decided to cruise the web in search of more information.  I found more than I could read in a lifetime unfortunately.  Every gun forum has threads dedicated exclusively to the 1911.  On some of those forums I found people just like me who were trying to find out exactly why everyone loves them so much.  Other forum members were trying to understand why nobody could accept change and innovation, preferring to stick with old designs rather than newer ones.  Many answered by simply saying, “If you have to ask, you’ll never understand the reasons”.  Others gave long answers that detailed every little aspect about the firearm and how it was still superior to most modern firearms.

Besides forums, I found plenty of articles and web pages dedicated to the 1911.  Over on The Truth About Guns they even have an article called “Why The 1911 Doesn’t Suck”.  Others, like Browning.com, have pages reserved for detailing the history of this great firearm.  And of course there is always Wikipedia with its collective knowledge of all the users who contribute.

I read a lot over the past few days and here’s what I learned about the 1911:

History

The 1911, designed by John Browning, a famous firearms designer in the United States, was conceived right around the turn of the century.  In the early 1900’s, the United States Government was looking for firearms to replace those it currently had in service.  Browning answered the call with his semi-auto handgun design and in 1911 it was adopted by the U.S. military as the M1911.

The M1911 saw service for almost 80 years and was with us through WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, as well as several other conflicts.  Even after being officially replaced in 1990 by the M9, the M1911 still found limited use in the military.  Outside the military however it still remains a popular firearm to this day.  Many police departments still use the 1911 as their service pistol.  Outside the U.S. the M1911 saw service in countries including Brazil, Canada, China, the U.K., the Soviet Union, and many others.

Currently the majority of users appear to be civilians.  There are many different reasons people love the 1911 (which I go over a bit more below) but one reason that stands out a lot is its accuracy.  As a result of this, many competition shooters choose to go with a variant of the 1911 as their competition handgun.

Why Its Loved

  • Reliability – Almost everyone who talked about the 1911 mentioned its reliability.  It holds up to repeated use with virtually no complaints.  
  • Parts Availability – Anywhere gun stuff is sold you can find parts and accessories for 1911’s.  From barrells and frames to sights and grips, you can find almost anything you need to buid or repair a 1911.
  • Customization – As I mentioned above, accessories are available everywhere.  You can customize your 1911 to look and feel however you want it to.  For example, there are wider grips if you have big hands and brighter, easier to see sights if you have poor eyesight.
  • Appearance – Many people cited the way the gun looks as the reason why they loved it so much.  In my opinion it certainly is an attractive handgun.
  • Accuracy – The trigger on the 1911 is apparently very well made and easy to pull.  That, combined with the length of the barrel, provide the gun with exceptional accuracy.
  • History – Because the 1911 served with the U.S. military for 80 years it has a good following with military buffs.  Other people look at it as a patriotic firearm that demonstrates our innovation and inventiveness.  Others just like the nostalgia that comes with it.
  • Ergonomics – The 1911 seems to fit well in the hands of just about anyone.  In addition, the handgun’s weight is neither too much or too little.  Its light enough to be held and fired but heavy enough that recoil is reduced more than on other handguns.

Conclusion

Are there handgun designs out there that are better than the 1911?  Probably, but “better” is simply an opinion.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  The 1911 certainly has a lot of positive features, but its not right for every situation.  However, finding any one gun capable of filling every role is probably not likely to happen.

The 1911 has been around for over 100 years and has a following all over the world.  I doubt we will see its popularity decline for a very long time and that’s perfectly fine by me.  If I had the money to buy another handgun it would be a 1911 for sure.  My Sig 1911-22 is a lot of fun but shooting the real deal would be a whole other beast entirely I’m sure.

Update on Everything

Posted: April 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

I’m happy to announce that my Ammo Availability page is complete.  All the links are in place for each caliber.  Some of the calibers still need to be updated to current stock levels (.223 for instance is showing information from a week ago).  That will come tomorrow I believe.  Tonight I’m going bowling with some high school friends that I don’t see very often.  My survival update may not get posted but something tells me nobody will mind if its a day late.

Also, there is a new poll up for next week.  I forgot to include one this past week, so please take a minute and vote.  This one in particular is going to be useful to me because it asks about ammunition purchases.  I hope to gather some research for a future post about the ammo drought that we’re currently in and how its affected consumers.

Another long day today but now the weekend is here.  In honor of the weekend I’ve added the 7.62x54r links to my Ammo Availability page.  By Sunday I should have all the links up and when that happens I will go through and update what’s available in each group.  So hopefully Sunday evening everything will be complete and up to date.

57)  Drive on Black Ice

Black ice is a tricky beast.  Its invisible and extremely dangerous.  Ice completely removes your ability to control your vehicle.  You can turn and brake all you want but you wont have anything to show for it.  According to Rich Johnson in Urban Survival Guide, here are some suggestions for dealing with black ice:

Stay Home:  If the weather is bad and people are reporting black ice on the roads, its probably best to just stay home.  If you can’t however, make sure you are extremely cautious.

Go With The Flow:  Since your vehicle will be unresponsive its best to just ride it out.  Slamming on the brakes will only compound things.  Refer to yesterday’s tip, Get Out of a Skid, for more tips on how to handle a skid.

Buckle Up:    Always wear a seat belt . . . especially when the weather is bad.  If you lose control of your vehicle, you might end up needing it.

Black ice is a serious matter and you should always avoid driving over it when possible.  A few years ago, on the way to school, I watched a truck do a complete 360 behind me when it hit the patch of black ice that I was lucky enough to avoid.  Luckily the driver was unharmed and came to a stop while still on the pavement.  It could’ve been a lot worse and we both should have been going a great deal slower.  I was very lucky.

Today was one of the busiest days I’ve had at this job.  Couple that with last nights awful migraine and you can guess I’m fairly tired this evening.  I’ll be honest the blog wasn’t top priority today but keeping true to my word, here’s the next survival tip from the book Urban Survival Guide by Rich Johnson.

56)  Get Out of a Skid

Everyone who has driven for a while develops a sense of safety while behind the wheel.  We get into bad habits and think that we don’t need to be paying complete attention.  One thing that can wake up even the most comfortable drivers out there is losing control of your vehicle.  “The first sign of a skid may not come until you suddenly lose control and end up heading sideways down the highway.  To regain control, try this:”

  1. Avoid The Brakes:  You may be tempted to slam on the brakes as soon as you feel yourself losing control.  That’s natural because you want to slow the vehicle down.  Unfortunately, if the wheels are sliding across the pavement already, slamming on the brakes will only compound your problems.
  2. Turn The Wheel:  While it may not make sense at first, to recover from a skid you need to turn the wheel gently in the direction of the skid.  For example, if the back of your car starts sliding to the left, turn your wheels to the left.
  3. Use the Gas:  Another counter-intuitive concept when you’ve lost control of your vehicle is to use the accelerator.   You might want to slow the vehicle as quickly as possible, but lightly pushing the gas can help bring things under control.  This works because your wheels begin turning again and can start pulling your vehicle in the direction you want.  Just don’t go crazy because too much acceleration could cause you to skid even more.

I’ve been driving for 13 years now; 7 behind the wheel of a car and 6 before that when I raced go-karts.  In my opinion, the best thing anyone can do is get out there and drive.  Don’t be afraid to drive, but always be cautious.  Know what your vehicle is capable of as well as yourself.  I know that my car can handle snow (unless its really deep) and rain without any trouble but ice is a step too far.  I also know that I can recover fairly quickly if something happens.  However, even though I know I can react quickly, I know where my limits are.  I always try to avoid testing those limits when possible.  I’m always cautious and pay close attention while driving.  After all, like Tyrion Lannister, I believe there are far better ways to die than in a car accident . . .

The moral of my previous paragraph is this:  You can’t get comfortable driving unless you drive.  Practice makes perfect in every aspect of life, from guns to cars.  Recovering from a skid with little to no driving experience is probably highly unlikely.  And the odds of you remembering what you read here word for word and then applying it during a skid is even more unlikely . . .

I haven’t done a video list in a while so I thought it was time.  Today I’m including only 4 videos.  They’re all interesting or funny to me and I hope you enjoy them as well.  I’ve been stockpiling videos to watch when I get spare time (which has been rare lately) so I may do another post like this in the next few days.

Let me know if any of the videos catch your interest in any way.  Enjoy.

Hollywood Gun Hypocrisy
This is a really good video that shows what people in Hollywood really think about gun control when it affects their industry and jobs.  I don’t like that they bring up the death of a 4 year old, regardless of whether its true or not.  Exploiting children is never okay.  Other than that its an extremely interesting video.  I originally found this over on Gunmart Blog

Mission to Mars: One Way Trip
I can’t embed this video but I’ve provided a link to it.  In this video, Cara Santa Maria discusses the future of space travel and whether or not colonizing mars would be possible.  One of the possibilities is that colonization of mars would involve one way trips.  Could you survive the extreme isolation that living on another planet would entail?
http://videos.huffingtonpost.com/mission-to-mars-would-you-sign-up-for-a-one-way-ticket-517244446

Ship My Pants
This is just a funny video that Gunmart Blog shared today.  Its not gun related whatsoever but we can all use a laugh now and then.  It gets really good when other people start talking about what they’ve “shipped”.

AK vs AR
This video came to me via Common Sense T&P.  In the video, Jerry Miculek attempts to compare various aspects of two of the most popular weapons platforms on the planet.  I honestly wish I owned one of each so I could do a comparison of my own.  Maybe one day . . .