Posts Tagged ‘opinion’

I have to be honest and admit that over the past few months, I’ve tried to keep my eyes away from the news and world politics.  It’s just too depressing and frustrating most of the time.  Off and on I’ve followed the conflict in Ukraine, but the issue with ISIS has mostly eluded me.

That said, today I heard that members of ISIS has beheaded an american photojournalist, James Foley.  Beheading him wasn’t enough either.  They also forced him to read a letter before executing him on video.  I really can’t understand why a religious group finds murder acceptable, let alone torture and execution.  It’s just unfathomable.

I’d like to go on but I really don’t have much to add to the subject so rather than repeat all the info I’ve been reading over, I’ll just link to some other pages so you can read it direct from the sources.  Hopefully Foley’s family can rest easy knowing he was trying to do something good with his life and help other people.

More Info:
Conservative Citizen
Wiki
ABC News
NBC News

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The game has been out less than a week and I have to say it has absorbed quite a bit of my free time.  One of my co-workers has been playing with me a lot online and together we’re pretty hard to beat.  On more than one occasion my fiance has had to work extra hard to pry me away from the PS3.

My Thoughts

I have to say I was a little skeptical about this game.  I was always a huge fan of the Infinity Ward games (particularly Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2) but the new team at Infinity Ward hasn’t impressed me that much.  That said, this game removed all doubt.  The online multiplayer has been revamped and is better than ever.  While I still miss certain features from the Modern Warfare series, I welcome the new changes.

I haven’t played the campaign at all, so I can’t comment on that although I’ve heard its really cool.  I’ve focused strictly on the multiplayer at this point.  Typically my fiance plays the single player portions long before I do.  In my opinion, the campaign is just a bonus feature in these games.  Most of them last less than 5 hours and while they’re usually fun and impressive, I prefer spending my time climbing through the ranks online.

Online, I focus on playing as a sniper.  I have gotten very good over the years and my friends hate to play against me.  This game is very sniper-friendly, so I enjoy it a lot.  There are open lanes on just about every map, unlike previous games where certain maps just didn’t fare well for long range shooting.  I can play well using just about any type of weapon, but my slow and steady play style is better suited to using a weapon that often requires patience to master.

Becoming the Ghillie Monster

On Nov 7th, just before midnight,  just two days after the game released, I unlocked the ghillie suit for my characters.  My performance as a sniper in the game has increased exponentially.  The graphics in the game are extremely good and the ghille suit makes it very easy to blend into the environment.  I’ve had many people run right past me or struggle to see me, simply because I was wearing the suit.  What I’m saying is that it is well worth the effort to get it, and I’m not looking forward to the future when every sniper has it.

In past games, the ghillie suit was typically given to players after they completed certain challenges (several hundred “one-shot kills” I believe), so long as they equipped a sniper rifle as their primary weapon.  This game allows you to equip it to any character, but its a bit more difficult to acquire.

To get the ghillie suit, you need to have the “chrome barrel” attachment on your sniper rifle and complete the 3 chrome barrel challenges.  The first is 100 kills, the second is 250, and the third is 500.  So the total you have to get is 850 kills using the chrome barrel.  Not an easy feat by itself.

However, this game is also unique in that you don’t have access to every challenge at once.  In previous games you unlocked more challenges as you leveled up.  In this one, you’re given a certain amount in each category and they only change if you spend points you’ve earned or wait the 2 weeks between sets.  So in order to get the ghillie suit, you also have to make sure you have the chrome barrel challenges open in the Operations menu.

My suggestion for unlocking the ghillie suit, if you choose to do so, is get rid of all other loadouts that don’t contain a sniper rifle with a chrome barrel.  Doing this will force you to play as a sniper (which is possible on every map) and you’ll develop the play style you have to have instead of flipping back and forth and trying to maintain different skills.

By default you start with 3 loadouts available.  I used one with an ACOG scope and the other two with Variable Zoom scopes.  Variable zoom lets you play well on most of the maps and the ACOG gives you the flexibility you need on smaller or more urban maps.  Set the perks and equipment up for how you like to play (I like perks that hide me and equipment that protects me from behind) and you should be good to go.

Likes

There are a lot of things I like about this game so I’ll just focus on the things I like the most.  Since I haven’t played the campaign yet, this will focus only on the online multiplayer portion.

I really like that they’ve added game types.  I particularly like the addition of Infected.  I remember playing something like that in Halo once at a friends house.  Its a  lot of fun if you play with a group of friends.  Cranked is also pretty neat.  I’ve only played a few times but its different and I like that they tried to add something instead of relying on only what worked in the past.

The maps are really cool.  It takes a while to memorize the maps and until then its just a lot of running around like you’re lost.  Once you figure it out though they all have a lot of unique features.  My favorites by far are Warhawk and Octane since they have something to offer everyone from snipers to those guys with SMGs.

I think they balanced the weapons more.  From the time I’ve spent with the game it seems the weapons have been a little more balanced this time and I like that.  Other people may disagree but I still have nightmares from the first Black Ops where nobody used anything but sub machine guns because they were so powerful.

Dislikes

There are only a few things I don’t like about this game and they’re easy to get past.  During the first few hours I had a tough time with creating a class.  The addition of so many perks and the fact that depending on what specialty you give your character changes which perks you receive early made it a bit confusing.  It was quite a change from previous versions.  After a few hours though it got easier to figure out and now I have no problem at all (though I still prefer the older create a class systems).

While playing a match, the statistics screen (brought up with the select button on the PS3) has been moved.  Instead of being in the center of the screen, its now smaller and at the top right.  The benefit is that it can be left up while you play, but the downside is that its smaller and harder to read.

Muting players online.  This used to be easy from the statistic screen.  You simply highlighted a player and pushed the mute button.  Now you have to open the pause menu and select mute players.  At that point its pretty much the same, highlight a player and push mute.  Unfortunately it takes longer to do while playing and took a while to discover.  That meant I had to sit there listening to chipmunks and 13 year olds cuss back and forth the whole time.

They changed the challenges.  I always thought the challenge system they had was really good.  I don’t feel like the changes they made to that part of the game improved the experience at all.

Conclusion

If you’re a fan of the online portion of past Call of Duty games, Ghosts will not disappoint.  My complaints about the game are minor and not worth worrying about (I’m just one of those people who hate change).  The game is well worth the $60 price tag.  If you don’t like that they release a slightly different version every year just to make money, then don’t buy it.  Its not significantly better than past games, and I definitely wont be trading my old ones in.  But I can say with absolute certainty that when I play a COD game during the next year it will be Ghosts.

I’ve been called a liberal several times on this blog and it finally hit a nerve somewhere inside me.  I’m not a right wing extremist, offended by being called such a name, but I’ve also never considered myself a liberal at all.  So I decided to do a post proclaiming my opinions on the big issues that our country has to deal with all the time.

Maybe my readers can label me so I know which arguments I’m “supposed” to fight for . . . you know, since we all think exactly like one group or the other.

Guns:  I’m sure this is a no-brainer.  I support the right to own firearms.  Period.  This right should never be infringed.

Government Control:  I’m in favor of less government control and regulation.  We’re the land of the free, but we’re not really free to make decisions anymore; the government makes them for us.

Abortion:  I support a woman’s right to choose.  I think every woman has the right to an abortion provided by a professional medical staff.  I don’t think it should be paid for by taxpayers or any government aid, and I don’t think it should be allowed after significant development has taken place.

Immigration:  I support stronger border control.  I am not opposed to immigrants flocking to our great nation, I just think they need to do it the right way.

Gay Marriage:  I see no problem with allowing homosexuals get married.  Regardless of your stance on whether or not being gay is a choice, I think they should be allowed to marry.

Healthcare:  I don’t think we need a government funded healthcare system.  Not only does that strain the country with more financial burdens, requiring that everyone be insured is just one more way the government is removing our freedom to choose for ourselves.

Military:  I support our military and our troops.  I always have.  I don’t always agree with decisions made by those sitting behind the desks, but our troops are fighting, and some dying, in support of this great nation.

Foreign Policy:  We don’t need to police the world.  I think we need to become less involved in the United Nations and stop letting their policies influence ours at home.  That said, we need to maintain a strong nation both militarily and diplomatically to ensure we remain a top contender in world power.  Being a top contender allows us to receive far better trade deals and helps ensure a strong economy.

I also feel like we should stop sending so much money overseas.  I like that my country is so kind-hearted that we want to help everyone, but we have people in need of help right here in our own country.  Lets take care of our own first and foremost.

Stem Cell Research:  I feel strongly that this is the area of science that will lead to cures for many diseases which are currently incurable.  Stem cell research (not all of it is embryonic) has great potential in the medical field and should be fully explored.

Religion:  I do not practice any form of religion, though I do not consider myself “atheist”.  I don’t worship God or any other supreme being, but I don’t chastise those who do.  I am close to people who are very religious and I always honor their time of prayer and silence the same way they do.  I am also not against the idea that there may very well be a god or gods, I just choose not to worship any.

Welfare:  I support drug testing for anyone on welfare or financial aid.  I get tested at my job where I work for my money.  Those on welfare don’t have to go through such restrictions and are able to receive money without working.  I’m also against people having more children just so they can receive more financial aid (yes, it happens a lot).  That is not fair to anyone, especially the children.

Drugs:  I think Marijuana should be legalized and taxed.  It impairs users no more than alcohol; alcohol is legal in every state.  In addition, legalizing it would reduce the extra strain on our justice system and could provide much needed revenue.  I think smoking should not be regulated on private properties.  Businesses and individuals should be allowed to choose whether or not people can smoke on their property.  *As a side note here, I do not participate in any of these activities and actually despise them, but I still think others should be allowed to do them without irrational restrictions.

**************************************************

I consider myself an individual, capable of forming my own opinions.  However, as a citizen of the United States Political Machine, I’ve been trained to think of myself only as red or blue.  Left or right.  Conservative or Liberal.  Democrat or Republican.  We can’t have our own thoughts and ideas unless we stick to some variation of what our party believes.

So, what am I?  You tell me.

**  This post is not intended to incite a debate or anger, though I know it will.  I will listen to everyone’s comments but I do not intend to respond.  These are my beliefs and I don’t feel like trying to defend against attacks from internet trolls.  I accept that we all have different opinions and I understand they are just that, opinions.  And I hope that you, the reader, understand that this is a blog.  I am in no way a professional anything and I do not claim to be.  I just want everyone to understand you don’t have to define yourself as a member of one party or the other.  Be yourself and support ideas you believe in and not just those your party supports.  **

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.

I’m subscribed to Gun Nuts and I have even linked to a story or two they’ve written in the past I think.  I even like the author, Gabby.  She has written some good articles on both Gun Nuts and her own blog, Armed Candy. Unfortunately I have to disagree with her on today’s post. Here’s the opening paragraph:

“I will begin by saying that I have never found any excitement or enjoyment in video games. Therefore, it would not change my life, in the slightest, if every game were to suddenly self-destruct. But since some people seem to appreciate playing these games, I will attempt to avoid offending those delicate sensibilities.”

First of all, having never enjoyed a video game, I feel that Gabby may be a little biased; I can forgive that part.  But the logic that video games cause violence because some people can’t tell the difference between a game and reality feels misguided. That’s like saying someone who doesn’t understand coffee is served hot is a victim when it burns them. We no longer blame the individual if there’s an organization or industry we can pin it on instead.  It seems that everyone is always looking for an excuse.

Sometimes mental health issues are not caused by corporations, objects we own, or actions around us. Blaming video games is easy, but why not look at the individuals? We all have the capacity to understand right and wrong. Sometimes people are just evil or severely impaired.  If 99% of all gamers are good people, can we blame the video games?  Condoms are 99% effective as well, but sometimes that 1% somehow manages to get the spotlight.  Should we regulate condoms as well?

I don’t like that gun violence occurs at all. I hate it. I lock my guns up and follow strict safety precautions every time I handle a firearm. I don’t want anyone to die from a mistake on my end, especially myself. However, I don’t expect the government to regulate my firearms for me. Just like I don’t want them regulating my video games. I’m a responsible person. If they begin to control one, they’ll come for the others. Restrict video game makers’ 1st amendment rights and they’ll follow suit with ours. Maybe gun-blogging will be regulated next?

Or, maybe they’ll just go straight for the 2nd amendment. Oh wait . . . They’re already doing that. We’re fighting a daily struggle to keep our right to bear arms in this country. As a gun owner and blogger I understand the 2nd amendment fight. I don’t see why any group of people should have to fight to keep the rights they’ve already been given. Rights that our forefathers fought and died for.

This used to be the land of the free but now its only free if you jump through all the hoops. Its only free if your actions offend absolutely nobody. At what point do we drop the word “free” from that phrase? Its time to end the invasive, regulatory government that we’ve allowed to come into existence. We need fewer new laws and more enforcement of existing laws. Enforce the video game rating system better if need be, but don’t restrict what can go into a video game. Don’t restrict our creativity and inventiveness.

Maybe I seem irrational or “bitter” as I’ve been called in the past. That’s fine. I have an opinion and I’m fighting for it just like my fellow gun-bloggers, Gabby included, do every day. If, however, you agree with me, let me know in the comments. Of course you’re allowed to disagree as well. Ill listen to your thoughts and opinions. Everyone has the right to express them and I won’t stop you. I’m interested to read what everyone has to say.

**  Gabby, if you’ve somehow managed to find your way to my side of the blogosphere and read my post, please don’t take my comments personally.  I enjoy what you do, have great respect for you, and consider us on the same side (as far as guns are concerned).  I just have a strong affection for video games and will fight for them as long as I can.  **

As some of you may already know, I own a 22lr conversion kit for my AR15.  When I bought the kit it came with one 25 round magazine and I went ahead and bought a spare.  With the 25 round magazines however, I found it difficult to use the bipod; the magazine rested on the table rather than the butt of the rifle.  Sometimes I had to extend the legs on the bipod just to achieve proper sight alignment.  I wanted something shorter that was still compatible with my conversion kit.

Black Dog Machine MagazineThe Black Dog Machine 22lr X-Form magazine was the solution.  It came in several different capacities and colors, but I opted for the shortest they had (10 rounds) in black since I planned to paint it anyway.  It was reasonably priced (in a time when gun parts and accessories are hard to come by) and it shipped much faster than I expected.

At first glance it isn’t all that impressive.  Its very lightweight (the magazines by CMMG were weighted) and made of pretty thin plastic.  But that is far overshadowed by its exceptional performance.

Loading the CMMG mags is a pain.  It takes forever to drop 25 22lr rounds in them and the spring is extremely firm.  With the Black Dog magazine, that is not an issue.  The spring, while firm, is easy to depress enough to load.  Even loading the magazine to full capacity is easy and there’s hardly any resistance.  You would expect a light spring to not feed properly, but I’ve yet to have a fail to feed (granted 22lr rounds aren’t as large as other calibers).

(2) AR15 22lr MagsAnother pleasant surprise was that the bolt catch worked.  According to the website and some information I found online, the Black Dog magazines didn’t hold open the chamber when using the CMMG conversion kit after firing the last round.  This information was wrong in my case; it works very well.  It even locks into the receiver better than my CMMG mags which occassionally require extra effort to fully insert.

Overall I think its a fantastic product.  The 10 round capacity is much better for my needs.  1) It keeps me from blasting through as much ammo.  2) It let’s me use my bipod without the magazine interfering.  25 and 30 round mags are great and I very much enjoy the ones I have, but for target practice and general use, a smaller capacity magazine will do the job for me most times.

If you’re looking for a magazine that will work with your CMMG 22lr conversion kit, definitely consider one by Black Dog.  You will not be disappointed.  My only regret is buying just one . . .

**  Updated on 4/9/13 – Added pictures and links  **

Last week I ran a poll on my blog (its posted below as well to continue the voting) that asked what your favorite type of gun was for recreational shooting.  The choices were handguns, rifles, or shotguns.  At the end of the week there were a total of 30 votes, making it the one with the most votes so far.  Handguns won by far with 18 votes.  Rifles were next with 11 votes.  Shotguns brought up the rear with one lonely vote.

I honestly thought that rifles would have had the most, even though I personally prefer handguns as well.  The reason I thought rifles would be the favorite is because there has been such a fus lately about ARs and tactical rifles.  .223 ammo had been impossible to find for a while, so I just naturally assumed that people were more interested in shooting rifles.  But it seems I may have been wrong.

The reason I prefer handguns is just because they’re smaller and less cumbersome than a rifle. You can load up 2 or 3 pistols and head to the range for the same effort as one rifle. Ammo is smaller and generally less expensive. Rifles are fun as well, don’t get me wrong, but I just love taking my Ruger SR22 to the range and blasting through a bunch of 22s.

Here’s the poll again (over on the right) in case you didn’t get a chance to vote before I pulled it down. Let me know in the comments why you voted the way you did. What makes you prefer a handgun over a rifle or vice versa? Is it convenience or something else? Do you prefer the tactical applications your AR brings, or are you more of a Glock aficionado? Lets get the debate rolling!

Also, be sure to vote in this weeks poll (over on the left) to be part of next week’s discussion.