Monday, December 31, 2007

It Really Is A Happy New Year....

When you have the option to conceal your weapon and be prepared in the event your life is in danger.

I'm proud to say that, after a process that technically started on August 19th, I received my Delaware Carry Concealed Deadly Weapon permit today, December 31st.

Four and one-half months it took to complete this process, two and two-thirds of that waiting on the state to process my application and do all of the background checks and make sure everything was copasetic.

As I've mentioned before, now that I have my in-state permit, I'll have my Pennsylvania non-resident permit within a couple of weeks instead of a quarter of a year... and for a fraction of the price.

In case you've never seen one, this is basically what they look like -- I've removed and altered several things so as to protect it from being reproduced.

This is the front... if I seem to bear a striking resemblance to Russell Crowe, that's because I also felt it necessary to photoshop his somewhat homelier face over my devilishly handsome visage as to cut down on the number of Internet stalkers. *coughcough*

I do want to point out that this is a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon and not necessarily a concealed handgun permit. So, technically, this would apply to blades, chains, knuckles and so forth. I, personally, don't get that, but then again, I've never been in a fist fight in my life and wouldn't know how to hold my own -- a reason for obtaining this permit, so I have the best method possible to protect my children and family.

If you're a Delaware resident and have wondered about obtaining your permit, please, feel free to ask me any questions. If you've ever been concerned about your safety, I ask that you consider taking a training course and, perhaps, even purchasing a pistol... women in particular.

I can't validate this statistic; however, as a woman, you have a 50% chance of being assaulted in your lifetime. A 130 pound woman against a 225 pound assailant is simply not a fair fight.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Delaware CCDW Process Podcast

So, on of the Christmas gifts I bought for myself was an iPod Touch which is, technically, an iPhone without the phone, nor the camera -- a glorified PDA with built-in wifi. Now, having bought it more for being a techno-geek myself, I don't actually own a whole lot of music. The music I do own is generally Irish and celtic rock in theme.

So, I loaded up iTunes and went over to the podcasts section to see what was available -- I had 8 gigs to load and not many CD's to burn... I began to subscribe to a lot of things that interest me. I got the DCI Field Pass and, with my current interest in law, the Litigation Podcast. Of course, I had to get the podcasts regarding Second Amendment activism and found one called the Gun Rights Activist Podcast done by the guys over at Gun Rights.

In listening to the latest podcast, the host, Mark Vanderberg, solicited podcasts from listeners to explain the process for getting a concealed handgun permit in their state. Having done sound production in the past, I had all of the software and a nice condenser microphone already setup on my PC, so I opened up a new file and began to record.

The result was a 17-minute monologue discussing some of Delaware's laws, the process by which you make application for a Carry Concealed Deadly Weapon permit here, as well as my experiences with the process.

You can get the podcast HERE.

My segment starts about twenty minutes in, after which an interview with John Pierce over at OpenCarry.Org -- forums I frequent -- can be heard.

Enjoy.

Merry Christmas to All

Happy Hanuka.
Happy Kwanza.
Happy Festivus.

Here's hoping your holidays have been safe and enjoyable!

So, I know that Santa was good to me and I received almost everything I'd ask for -- some of these books included:
  • Making Sense of Search & Seizure Law
  • Origin of the Second Amendment
  • Black's Law Dictionary
  • Pirates and Patriots, Tales of the Delaware Coast
My family truly thinks I'm looking to make a career leap from web developer to lawyer; however, I'm already too much in debt to attempt to earn a degree from a proper law school -- in the meantime, I'll continue to work on a degree in Criminal Justice for fun.

The last book, Pirates and Patriots, Tales of the Delaware Coast... Written by a Southern Delaware columnist who authors a regular column called 'Delaware Diaries' I was drawn to this book as it mentions my great ancestor -- the first of my line to come to the new world in the early 1600's who is recognized as 'The first settler of Sussex County'...

I also got that boat motor (hand blender) that I've been wanting for some time, though my thought it odd that I wanted the kitchen appliance and my wife the belt sander for her hobbies; it's usually the other way around.

So, my two girls are on a short break before the new year, so I'll be hard at work watching them... it's good to have some down time to spend with my daughters. I honestly hope you all have the same opportunity.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Blackhawk Thoughts...

So, in preparation for carrying concealed, since I already own Blackhawk's CQC Serpa holster which, I must admit I truly enjoy because of the Level II retention, I decided to pick up a shoulder rig for the holster.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the holster, it's an injection molded holster and the assembly where the belt attaches to the holster is removable so you can have your standard belt attachment, replace it with the 'paddle' so it rides much closer to your body or, for guys like me who have a little bit of what you might call 'love handles' pick up some spacer brackets so it rides out from your waist a little more -- also nice for competition.

So, the holster rig is nylon and velcro and you're able to remove the belt attachment from the holster and attach it to the rig.

This was my first time wearing anything other than a belt holster so, continuing with Blackhawk's stellar reputation for little to no documentation, it took me a few minutes to figure out what was what.

Under my right arm (right side of the picture -- these were taken in a mirror) you can see two rails there where you can place one of Blackhawk's dual magazine holster. So, my first thoughts are with, being chubby and all, that the only way I can really effectively draw my weapon is to bring my weak arm above my heart (so as not to sweep my arm during the draw) and really reach over to release it from the holster.

You may not be able to tell from this image, but my upper body is twisting slightly, which may be normal but, once again, I've never worn this kind of harness before.

One complaint I've heard before is that the harness does flop around quite a bit and, while I tend to agree to some extent, I've found that if you push the straps that hook onto your belt on either side a bit more forward, it'll create a decent amount of tension to keep it fairly secure against your body.

Outside of that, all straps are adjustable and the medium size fits up to 56" I believe the Blackhawk representative told me -- thankfully, I won't need all of that, but I'm looking forward to being prepared... As I walk through the Christiana mall and see some of the people there (especially during Christmas time) and think back to the three (four?) jewelry store robberies in plain daylight, I truly am glad that I'll be prepared to protect my family should the need arise.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

(Almost) In Like Flynn...

I dropped the Prothonotary a call today -- since they sent my previous communication out almost a week after it had been dated and you only get ten days to file an appeal for a denial, I wanted to stay on top of things...

After being transfered to the appropriate person, she notified me that my paperwork had recently come back and I'd be receiving my permit sometime next week. Needless to say, I'm rather relieved that, after five months and spending over $400, this process wasn't in vain.

The good news? Once I receive my permit in the mail, I make a photocopy of that and my license, send off a $25 fee or so and, within a week, I'll have my Pennsylvania non-resident permit. Quite a difference in processes, I must say.

With those two permits, I'll be able to legally conceal in 27 states... Thankfully, I don't travel too often into Maryland or New Jersey, where it's almost impossible for a resident, much less a non-resident, to obtain a permit unless you're close friends with a government official in very high places.

I'll be happy to give my business to the Delvania area stores.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Response to the Judiciary

So, I stayed up a bit last night and drafted my response to the Judge who is reviewing my application. After getting some wording advice from a few friends and running it through the spell checking, I printed out two copies and ran over to the Office of the Prothonotary at the New Castle County Court House on King Street, since I only work about two blocks a way.

As a point of interest, they made me check my mini-flashlight at the front desk -- after the officer inspected it and made sure it really did illuminate what it was pointed at, he gave me a claim check and told me to pick it up on my way out. I guess he didn't want anyone getting around in the event of a blackout... Okay, that was snarky, but hey, it's an observation!

Here's my response to the Judge:

Dear Judge XXXX,

Thank you for taking my application into consideration. In your letter dated November 30, 2007, you stated that my reason for the application, "...for the protection of self, family & property." was insufficient and requested further written explanation for the need of a permit before the application would be acted on. I would like to correct one error in your letter -- the reason stated on my application actually read, “Lawful defense of myself and my family." In all honesty, I don't value my property over the life of another human being and it is not a reason for my application.


That being said, my family: XXXX who is thirty-six, my oldest daughter, XXXXX, who is four and my youngest daughter, XXXX, who is one, are my primary reasons for making application for this permit. As active northern Delawareans, we work and are schooled in urban areas and spend a good deal of our recreational time outdoors. Though we've had very few encounters that have made me fear for my life or the lives of my family, each time we're out I pray for an uneventful day. I have no real story of being a victim that precipitated my application for this permit and, if granted, I pray that I will never find need for its use; however, in the event I'm put into a position to protect the lives of my wife and children where mortal danger is certain, I want to be prepared to adequately perform that duty.


In my initial research, I came across a quote from former Attorney General Oberly who stated in January of 2006 in an article written on DelawareOnline.com, "Under current Delaware law, virtually anyone, excepting felons, may strap on a holster and carry a gun in plain view. You can even carry a rifle over your shoulder and walk around with it." While I understand that, lawfully, I’m able to "open carry" without a permit, I do feel that, in some situations, this might warrant unnecessary attention from both the public and law enforcement officers where as being permitted to conceal my firearm would allow me to be more discrete and not divert police resources who would undoubtedly be called upon to investigate a “man with a gun.”


In conclusion, I kindly request that Your Honor see fit to grant me this permit. My wish is to be prepared in the event that my family or I is in imminent mortal danger. I'm sure you'll find that the research done by the State Police and Attorney General's office shows a pristine record and that I am a respected member of the community with no ill-intent.


If you have any further concerns or questions regarding my application, please feel free to contact me at your leisure and I will happily provide you with any information you may require.


Respectfully,

My Signature

-------------
The waiting game continues.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Permit Update


I'll be taking a reply into the courthouse tomorrow.

My Ideal Government

Sure, it has some flaws, but in keeping with my line of thought in not legislating morality, I've decided that there had to be a better way to write the laws that govern the people. Morals are a byproduct of religion -- not necessarily a bad thing, but they have absolutely no place in modern government. In a country where so many politicians preach the rights of the people, you'd think this to be a fairly simple deduction. Not so apparently.

The Rights of the People
When you start writing laws based on decency and morality, whose morals are being used for that benchmark? I'll concede that there needs to be some tests for decency when it comes to issues involving minors and media exposed to minors; however, a lot of other things you can think of can be legislated by the rights of the people.

As it currently stands, property rights trump all others -- you're on my property? You're subject to my restrictions. The right to freely speak and express ones' ideas -- my manner of dress is how I express myself, leave me alone. Fairly straight-forward so far, yes?

About that morality thing... How would you take into account crimes of violence? That's certainly immoral, yes?

Perhaps, but even by todays standards, capital punishment and all, the government doesn't really seem to care much about that, now do they?

Murder. You're taking away someone's right to live. Theft. You're taking away someones right to own property. Assault. You're ultimately forcing that person to bear the financial burden of medical bills and preventing them from prospering while they heal.

I'm simply trying to stress the point that, in any legislation, you have to first ask yourself, "Is this even coming close to infringing on the rights of the people?" If the answer is, "Yes," toss your draft into the wastebasket and start again.

If, someday, we ever go back to living by the Constitution and truly basing our lives from the ideas and freedoms our founding fathers intended us to have, with justice being blind, the world would be a much better place.


When Every Second Counts...

When every second counts...

"The two shootings, the first at a Christian missionary center in Arvada and the second at a Colorado Springs megachurch, left a gunman and four victims dead and six wounded, authorities said."

"A black-clad gunman who attacked worshippers at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, initially killing one and wounding four, was killed by "a courageous security staff member," Colorado Springs Police Chief Richard Myers said."

"The suspect was confronted by a security guard," Myers said at a news conference late Sunday. "She shot the suspect, and the suspect subsequently died at the scene."

-----

Once the police were called, it took them three minutes to respond. In that time, ten people fell prey to his attack...

When every second counts, the police are minutes away.

The security guard is being hailed as a hero who, undoubtedly, prevented the injury and deaths of 'countless' others. One person makes a difference... Regardless of your politics, religious views or your feelings about guns, please have some way to protect yourself and your family.

Friday, December 7, 2007

And In Local News... Underwear.

I heard the lady who blogs Delaware Curmudgeon on WDEL this afternoon on my way to pick up my daughter after school and the topic was about a Wilmington City Councilperson who's attempting to introduce 'decency legislation' in an attempt to get kids to pull up their pants. She wound up writing an open letter to the council members which pretty much mirrored my thoughts on the issue...


In all honesty, what's the difference between the above? The one on the left is a pair of womens underwear and the one on the right is a bikini bottom bathing suit? With this legislation, will swimming pools be a thing of the past?

Here's my primary beef: Don't legislate morality. One man's, "Oh, my god!" can always be another man's, "No big deal." Attempting to legislate morality (keeping in mind, who's morals are we using as a base) has gotten society into trouble with regards to discrimination and turning people into classes. Justice should be based on the rights of the people and it should be completely blind to race, creed, religion, sexual preference, weight and wardrobe choice.

Speaking of wardrobe choice, that's all this is. And what does that mean? It means it's how someone is choosing to express themselves which is a freedom that is guaranteed to us by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Don't get me wrong, I work at a local college and a day doesn't go by where I don't want to cuff one by the neck and tell them to pull up their damned pants. If folks ever want to make something of themselves in a respected position that's going to allow them to support a family, they'll need to adjust to what people accept as 'normal'. Until the time comes when THEY make the choice to adjust, if they ever choose to, don't FORCE them to in the mean time.

The radio host, Allan Loudell, had made a comment that the manner in which these folks were dressing had some correlation to criminal activity -- I really would love to know where he found that statistic; however, to it I have two comments:

1) Does the Councilman really think that by changing the way people dress it's going to somehow curtail crime in Wilmington? Get serious.

2) This is a GOOD thing -- during the course of a police investigation, nothing helps speed things along more than someone wearing a sign that says, "I'M THE CRIMINAL", which, according to this correlation, is exactly what it's doing. So, why kill the home field advantage as it were?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Almost There...

I suppose I should probably post what all else has been involved in the process and to show how insane it is to get a permit in Delaware:

July 31: Bought my first firearm ever -- S&W Sigma 9mm. (-$280)

Aug 19: Started my training course as required by the state. (-$225)

Aug 30: Bought my Springfield XD (-$399)

Sep 2: Finished my training course.

Sep 5: Arranged to have my intent to obtain a permit published in the Legal Notices in the News Journal. (-$74)

Sep 17: Make an appointment for fingerprinting/background check on Oct 9.

Sept 18: Sold my Sigma 9mm. Yay. (+$350)

Sep 28: Obtained all 5 character references.

Oct 1: Filled out my questionaire and had it notorized.

Oct 9: Got fingerprinted for my background check. (-$69)

Nov 1: Background check sent to Prothonotary. (Found out on 11/19 via call)

Nov 19: Called Prothonotary. Application at AG's office being processed.

Nov 29: Almost there -- letter from Delaware DoJ giving their non-commital, non-challenging, non-refusal recommendation to the Prothonotary. Time elapsed so far: 3 months, 10 days. (Image Above)

------------------------------
On another note, Delaware's license is a 'Carry Concealed Deadly Weapons' permit. Delaware defines as a deadly weapon: a knife, billy, blackjack, a bomb, chain, metal knuckles, ice pick or any other dangerous instrument as defined in another section. That's kind of a broad definition as one could interpret that they could carry a concealed bomb -- what in gods name were lawmakers thinking?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Extended Mag Release? Check!

Got in my extended release from Springer Precision and went about installing it -- I took a 1/16th punch and punched out the mag release pin about 1/2" and pushed inside of the magazine well on the button catch, slipping out the old black one and put in my new stainless one, punching back in the pin.

It feels a bit weird, when I depress it, I can feel it rotate, but it definitely gets the job done. Before, I'd have to physically change my grip on the handle, drop the mag, insert the new one then readjust my grip which, I think was accounting for some of my inconsistencies -- looking to take this out to the range to test this weekend.

Supreme Court to Rule on Second Amendment

Hold on ladies and gentlemen... it's going to be an interesting ride.

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court said on Tuesday it would decide whether handguns can be banned in the nation's capital, a case that could produce its first ruling in nearly 70 years on the right of Americans to bear arms."

This ruling is, essentially, going to be the best thing for gun owners or the worst thing for gun owners -- it will set precedence that will change the course of gun ownership in America for years to come.

This will definitely make an issue for those who decide to open carry and perhaps even put a big twist on 'May Issue' states and other states like the People's Republics of New Jersey, New York, Kalifornia and Texas.

This is our worst nightmare and our best dream realized -- which one it will be, time and the SCOTUS will only tell.

Another USPSA/IPSC Competition

So, this past weekend was a blast -- I went out to the last shooting match of the season for the closest club to me that does USPSA/IPSC. This was my second time, but I was able to coax someone out from my local range to give it a try and he shot his .45 Glock in Limited and had an absolutely blast -- I think I've got him hooked.

Although it was bloody COLD, it was still an enjoyable day out -- next time, I HAVE to remember to bring some kind of lounge chair; my poor knees and feet were aching. In any case, I'd used some untested reloads I had made on a friends press and wound up having several malfunctions that day, but I did have a few good rounds. Below is the second of the five courses of fire and is probably my favorite round yet.

I'm particularly impressed with how I smoked my second reload -- I didn't notice it until I realized how fast I'd fired after I dropped the mag.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Law Stuff

So, the Supreme Court hasn't given a solid yes or no on whether or not they're going to take on the Heller Gun Case -- this is usually because the justices need more time to decide or someone is writing a dissent on the issue. The next time they'll make an announcement is later this month... Of course, the NRA doesn't want the case taken as a bad ruling from the SCOTUS would have a severe impact on the Second Amendment, but other gun advocate organizations are confident that it'll be read as most of us have come to know it.

In any case, this coming weekend is the last test I have for my Constitutional Law class until my final in December. I've really enjoyed the class and have learn an immeasurable amount about my constitutional rights and case law pertaining to the application of legal action against and for infractions of the law. I think next year I'll wind up taking Criminal Law.

So, working for a college, I get a free class per semester, which is nice because, with my day job and teaching night courses... along with my music and pistol practice and family, my schedule has been insanely full the past several months. I currently hold a degree in Computer Information Systems and have put that to good work with web and database development.

Since I've become interested in both shooting and the Second Amendment and the potential applications my rights and the law have upon me in, say, a situation where I might be open carrying, I'd taken up an interest in law. Happily, we have a great Criminal Justice program, so I would up readmitting myself as a Criminal Justice major for our two-year program and will be taking classes one semester at a time. So, if I persist to the end, I'll wind up with my Associates in CJ in, oh, about 6 years! Hah!

Luckily, all of my general education requirements are already out of the way so all I really have to do is take the fun 'core' classes. Looking at the list of classes I needed to take before fall started, I decided, with no formal training or knowledge in law (Does watching mass amounts of Law & Order count?), I jumped and took that Constitutional Law course (second year, second semester course) as my first class... I can tell why they put it there.

All in all, I've smoked all of my assignments and case briefs and, though my test scores we quite dismal to begin with, each one has been higher than the previous, which is a trend that I like.

I'm only hoping I can pull out an A for the semester.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Stupid, but interesting blog thing:

Undergrad



Bit By The Reloading Bug

To start with, I want to begin with the sad news of the loss of my extended magazine release on the mail. I got the letter on Saturday with the big red, "We're sorry, your letter was damaged during delivery." sticker on it and the lower right hand corner chewed to bits -- probably in their auto-sorter. I emailed Scott from Springer Precision and he said he'd get me another out today; this time, I hope he uses a small box for shipping. Hoping it gets here before Saturday's competition!

So! I went over a guys house on Saturday evening -- I'd met him at the range a few weeks earlier... he's a regular over a Ommelanden here in Delaware and very much into reloading. Once we got to chatting, he told me he'd drop me a line once he switched his dies over to 9mm. He had the Hornaday Lock-N-Load progressive turret uncovered (and about 3 other presses setup with dust covers). A quarter of his basement area was filled to the brim with powder, casings, bullets and equipment for reloading -- it was like a dream.

So, he sat me down, showed me the basics and let me have at while we talked guns and ammo. Over the course of 45-minutes, I probably rattled off 150 rounds or so total. The spring loaded ejector for the cartridges that were finished was rather strong and I found that, with my first completed round, I needed to manually remove the round otherwise it would shoot across the room... In addition to that, placing the empty case in the first position and inserting the bullet into the last station cut down on my time, I'm sure.

While I like the Hornady press, I think I'll still be going with the Dillon Square Deal B pictured here. Since I'll pretty much only be loading 9mm, this progressive press comes right out of the box.

I've budgeted about $800 for the press, a work table and the initial batch of power, primers and bullets as well as a tumbler. I probably have close to 2000 casings saved up, so I'm not too concerned there.

With any luck, I should be able to start getting set up by about Christmas time, depending on when I'll be getting some paid for some outside contract work...

I think, for me, the biggest appeal about getting into reloading is being able to make custom loads for competition shooting. In the Production class, Minor Scoring for USPSA/IPSC, I need to have a minimum power factor of 125,000 -- to get that number you take the bullet weight multiplied by the speed in feet per second. So, if you're using a 125gr bullet, it needs to travel at least 1000 feet per second. If it's a 115gr bullet, that would be.... about 1087 feet per second. So, with the lower power rounds, I'm hoping for less recoil. We shall see!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Got My Sights Done

So, in getting into this USPSA/IPSC shooting, I've decided to pimp out my firearm as best I can for the production class which, basically for me, means the sights and gun internals.

Since I don't have an over-abundance of cash, I started by sending my Springfield XD 9mm off to Springer Precision to have a set of Dawson Precision Fiber-Optic sights installed. The rear is .100" in green (fixed) and the front is .125" in red.

I also have an order into him for a stainless steel extended magazine release which I'll wind up installing myself when it gets here.

The next competition is on the 17th of November, and I'm hoping I'll do a bit better than last time -- I've been able to get out to the range a couple of times since then and I'll probably be able to hit it this weekend as well. I've decided my biggest problem is grip consistency and keeping an even trigger pull, so I've been slowing down my practice... Firing five rounds at a time and taking my time to make sure my technique is spot on.

I need to also start moving the targets back -- I've been working at 7 yards and I need to start working at 10 yards to get my accuracy down; I think as I start moving things back and working on consistency, those two goals will compliment each other.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November...

If you've ever seen the movie 'V' with Hugo Weaving voicing the masked patriot and Natalie Portman as the bald 'willing' hostage, you've heard this utterance before. However, it's actually related to 'Guy Fawkes Night' which is an annual celebration of this very day. It celebrates the Gunpower Plot on this day in 1605 in which a number of Roman Catholics attempted to blow up the Palace of Westminster, which is more commonly known as the Houses of Parlament in London. The movie also brought back into mind the following quote:


"The people should not be afraid if its government. The goverment should be afraid of its people."


And its with that quote that supporters of the constitutionalist candidate Ron Paul have taken up the day in an attempt to raise 5 million dollars for Dr. Paul. A man who believes that our government today is fraught with too much legislation, who believes that the Second Amendment is absolute, that we need a harder stance on illegal immigration, that we need to tend to our own affairs and leave others to theirs and the man who wants to dissolve the IRS...


As of the time of writing, just over 1 million dollars has been raised... 1.8 million in less than 24 hours is the record for any campaign in US Election history. While I'm more of a neocon myself, Ron Pauls views on getting back to living according to the Constitution has truely piqued my interest in supporting him, so I figure, as long as I can, I'll see what I can do to get him in a position to be considered for the presidency.


Maybe you could donate a bit?


Here are a couple of graphs from the donation tracker website...



Saturday, October 20, 2007

Yeah... I'm a competitive shooter.

I can say this now!

I had my first USPSA/IPSC Compeition today at the Southern Chester County range in Kennet Square, PA and it was a blast!

I arrived around 8:15am and was just in time to help setup a course -- we finished with a bit of extra time for me to gear up and run through the safety check for new shooters. I was shooting my Springfield XD 9mm... we went over the rules of the competition in short and some basic safety information. After that, he had me load up a few rounds in a couple of my magazines for a quick gun handling observation. The above picture shows how my handling went -- not too shabby. He had me do two rounds, two rounds and a reload followed by two more rounds. Finally, a draw and engage the target with two rounds on the weak hand. The Charlie hit was one of the weak hand shots.

Being there to setup, I got to walk the ranges in advance and see what all was going on with the five different courses of fire. However, when I registered, being new, they put me in with 'The Setup Crew,' basically the 'A' Class shooters and 'Master' Class shooters; let me say, it made it very difficult for me to focus on keeping my speed down to focus on my accuracy, heh! While my volunteer photographer (one of the A shooters) had some issues with the first three courses and figuring out how my digital camera worked, he got it down for the fourth and fifth courses.

Here are some videos...

Here's part one of the fourth course of fire -- it's basically two rounds in each of three targets facing uprange to begin with.

video

The second part of this course was to do the same facing downrange in the surrender position. Notice how I fumble with the L II Retention on my Blackhawk SERPA. Meh.

video

For the final course, we were, fore the most part, stationary, but it was a really odd course with a lot of obstructions... I almost received a procedural penalty here with my jump on the buzzer -- if the RO had been able to stop me, it would've been 10 points of. Gotta focus more next time.

Here's me doing the course:

And here's how it's SUPPOSED to be done -- notice how his time is more than half of my time.



I apologize for the switching between Blogspot and YouTube videos -- Blogspot is misbehaving.

Friday, October 19, 2007

My First Competition Tomorrow...

So, Saturday at the Southern Chester County range, the last USPSA Competition in my area is being held and I've made arrangements to attend. Should be interesting to say the least -- I've read and watched as much research material as I've been able to over the past couple of weeks. I picked up my fourth magazine yesterday so I don't have to worry about running out of ammo with my shooting. As always, any advice is welcome -- I'm going to try to get there a bit early to help with setup and learn whatever else I can from the folks who'll be there.

Any tips?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

USPSA Fun

So, I've been a gun owner, what? All of about three months now -- I've tried to make it out to the range as much as possible and I've watched and read as much as I can about everything from technique to Second Amendment law... even to the point where I'm currently taking a Constitutional Law course (in addition to my 9-5 job and teaching two computer science courses myself).

I've started saving my casings, as I'm looking to start reloading my own cartridges at some point soon and I've found that a nearby range is having their last USPSA shoot on October 20th, which I'll most likely be attending... well, competing.


I've recently changed my grip up to a type used by competition shooters -- it allows for better stabilization during recoil by basically having more skin on the weapon.

From Springer Precision, here's the first video on the grip.

Here is the second video.

In addition, I've also found a series of videos from Todd Jarret on competition shooting on the move, magazine changing and other related topics. That series can be found here.

All in all, I'm looking forward to it, I need to get out to the range at some point soon in order to practice the new grip and drawing/reloading. If anyone has shot in competition before and has any suggestions, let me know -- I think I'll be in the Production division.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Picked Up My Holster

First good news is, with 8 hours to go on My Auction, I have two gentleman in a small bidding war -- as long as I'm able to unload it for more than I listed it (which I'll be able to now), I'll be happy. It really is a stellar deal -- the Sigma 9mm, a Blackhawk SERPA, Fobus Holster and I'm even throwing in a kydex dual mag holder... all for a buy out of $325.

I hated the fact that I had basically JUST bought the SERPA -- it really is a great holster, so much so, that I went out during lunch and picked up another for the XD.
If you've never heard of the SERPA holster from Blackhawk, it's a carbon fiber holster with a paddle attachment -- the holster covers the trigger and features level two retention via the release platform that you activate with your standard draw grip.
I highly reccomend them, and the paddle attachment makes them more versatile in their use.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Finally -- Shot My XD

So, I bought my first weapon, a Smith & Wesson Sigma 9mm on July 30th. It arrived about a week later and I was further unable to shoot it for another two weeks -- an agreement with my wife that I take my safety course first. So, I've technically been shooting about 2 months or so now; I've posted my targets here before and while some were nice, they were several sporatic shots. I attributed this to the 12lbs trigger pull of the weapon, which prompted me to pick up a Springfield Armory XD 9mm after having fired my friends.

Today, I was able to hit the range for the first time -- I picked up 300 rounds of ammo (figured it'd be a nice break-in) and hit the range. I went with the intent of doing the NRA Handgun Qualification course of fire -- a self-paced method that the NRA came up with that entails a series of progressively difficult courses of fire. The first was to aquire five rounds in ten eight inch targets (or within an inch of the border of a 9" paper plate) at 15 feet in benchrest position. While I didn't keep all of my plates (went through a lot of targets with 300 rounds), I'll post the first eight.




These were my very first shots with my XD -- I got excited and lost count, but still a nice grouping of six shots there.


Probably the best five shots of my life on plate number two -- I'm thrilled with that grouping.


Here's where my magazine ran out. Still not too shabby.

Still not too shabby.

Looks like with these last two, I'm starting to pull at the trigger a bit.

Maybe trying to go too fast? I get... cocky? when I'm doing well.

I recoup a bit here, but...

The second trigger pull gets away from me, but I recover.

All in all, I love my new weapon -- I'm realizing that I enjoy paper plates as targets more than anything else... Aim small, miss small, ya know? I did most of my other work in my standard stance and did just as well as benchrest; a HUGE departure from my Sigma. The RO even asked if I was looking into IPSC... when I told him I'd only been shooting a month or so, he grunted and shook his head.

After a while, I pushed the target back to 30 feet and did so-so. I did some one handed work and actually did better with that than I did two hands. Granted at this point I was feeling the fatigue and I was getting a little sore on my trigger finger, but I made sure to collect my brass as, at the rate I'm going (maybe 1000+ rounds now in a month), it'd definitely be cheaper for me to reload my own ammo.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

XD Pictures

So, I 'crayoned' the slide of my new XD -- letting the white wax fill in the engraving in the slide... Just wanted to post a few pictures:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Training and My Springfield XD...

So, I finished up the last half of my personal defense training required for my carry concealed license -- I called up the local paper to have them print the legal notice, and I'm now in the process of collecting the five affidavits attesting to my good moral character. All that's left is to submit the application and get fingerprinted for my background check... and wait. A long. Long. Time.

*sigh*

All in all, the defense course was OK -- we did some holster work. Now, I'm rather speedy on the draw and my technique was pretty nice, but my accuracy was pretty crappy today. When I draw I have a five-step method:


  1. Strong hand moves to weapon and weak hand balls into a fist and placed over your heart. This tenses a few muscle groups and helps keep you rigid while you draw -- it also puts a bit more mass between your heart and anything that might be shot at it.

  2. Draw straight up to clear the holster.

  3. Point the barrel forward.

  4. Bring the weapon to the ready position -- both hands on the weapon at about heart level, pointing straight.

  5. Push out while acquiring a sight picture.

We did some strong hand firing and weak hand firing and, for a bit of fun, we did a draw and shoot down the five bowling pins, which was a really fun exercise. Took me a minimum of seven rounds and a maximum of eleven at 30 feet. All in all, I was disapointed with my performance.


I'm starting to place the blame on my firearm -- yes, I know I hold it, I aim it and I squeeze the trigger; however, that trigger is a 12 pound trigger and, when you're attemping to shoot for speed, trying to put together all of those things you've learned separately: breath control, grip, sight alignment and trigger control, it really kills your aim.


Which is why I'm happy to say that I've put my gun up for auction on gunbroker.com -- I'm including with it a Fobus HK-1 friction holster and a Blackhawk SERPA Level 2 retention holster. So, if you're interested in a Sigma 9mm (sw9ve), Black on Black, two 16rnd clips, tactical light and holsters... the bidding starts at $260. :)


"My god -- what will you do for a weapon?!" you might ask... Fear not, last week I won an auction for a brand-spankin' new Springfield Armory XD 9mm Service Pistol -- 4" barrel, 16+1, two magazines and the gear kit (holster, dual mag pouch and loader). This is the weapon I mentioned in a previous post... about a 5-6 pound pull and, when I'd shot my friends, my first four shots were in the dead center of a bullseye at 15 feet. I'm hoping my service model behaves similarly!


I got an email today from my FFL -- he's going to call me on his way to his shop today to do the transfer.


The only thing that's left is to get myself a SERPA for my XD and sort out this licensing crap. Anyone else ever applied for a Delaware CCDW?


Update: Just picked it up -- here it is....


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'ma Nerd

I'm an Uber-Dorky Nerd God.

NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber-Dorky Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Holy XD, Batman!

So, I hit the range with my friend Dave -- me with my Sigma and him with his two Springfield XD's (Sub-Compact and Service model), along with a .22 rifle with a sweet scope. So, I unload a magazine in his snubby and the service when we first get there just to get a feel for the gun and did fairly well with it, as you can see here.

We shoot in our respective lanes for a while and I'm doing fairly decent with my Sigma... average for a day out; a few shots out of the black but, for the most part, all in execpt when I'm doing more speedy-like shooting (shoot, get sight picture, shoot, etc).

So, Dave gives me a go at his rifle. I believe this was at 50 yards -- all the way at the end of the range, I know that much. The scope, while getting a perfect picture, was very hard to keep steady at this distance. Being my first time using a rifle, I probably should've done a benchrest or leaning/kneeling position.

This is a homemade AQT (Army Qualification Target) made by Dave -- you can find them and several other of his custom targets on his website. A good one is the correction target that tells you, based on the position, whether you're slapping at the trigger, shifting your grip, etc.

So, halfway through the shoot, Dave offers up his XD's again -- I say "Sure," and walk over to load up a magazine for his service model. I load up ten rounds and insert the magazine into the weapon. I bring to bear on the target and squeeze off four relatively quick shots (maybe across 4-6 seconds total)..... .... ...

All four, dead center.

At that point I place the weapon down and take two steps back. I turn to look at Dave and, standing next to him was a guy who was in the next lane who had a .22 plinker with a scope (obviously a target shooter). The guy nodded enthusiastically, "Nice shooting."

Dave was about as flabbergasted as I was. I picked the gun back up and squeezed off the last six rounds, all hitting within the 10 ring or bullseye. I asked Dave if I could keep the gun. When he laughed in my face, I offered to trade him my Sigma. I made sure to dust off his shirt after he was able to stand back up from laughing on the ground.
Needless to say, I'm pricing XD's.

Before we leave, he offers up the service XD once more -- since my cleanest target, at the time, already had 10 rounds from my Sigma in it, I used that. As you can see here, my Sigma was fairly accurate, with a few in the white an orage.

The XD is in a nice tight 2-3" group. His trigger pull was about 5lbs or so and mine was still around the 10lbs range... all said and done I fired 225 rounds today and my finger is killing me.

I need to either get the trigger adjusted by a gunsmith or seriously start saving for a different firearm.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Daddy...

"Daddy, when I grow up, will you sing at my wedding?"

"Of course I will, sweety."

AWWWWW... This is what my four-year old asked me on the way home from the beach today. Outside of being her normal rambunctious self, she asked this question. The wife just looked at me and mouthed the, "Awwwwww!"

Friday, September 7, 2007

My Sidearm

No, this isn't my "baby"... My babies are actually one and four years old and I love them to death -- the oldest just started her second year of preschool yesterday... *sniff*

I decided to get the digital camera out and take a few snapshots today while I had a bit of extra time on my hands. This is a Smith & Wesson Sigma 9mm semi-automatic pistol (SW9VE) -- allied forces model. It's distinctive from the other Sigmas because of the black slide... they normally have stainless steal, but I love the black on black.

It holds 16 in the magazine and one in the chamber -- field strips down into the grip, barrel, slide and recoil spring and it feels very nice in the hands. The only downside being the 12lbs (ish) trigger pull when I first bought it. I've put about 400-500 rounds through it now without a single malfunction and, I'm pleased to report, that the trigger pull has eased up a bit and it's more of a managable 10lbs or so now. I'm sure that'll work down a bit more to something that'll make it a bit easier to handle.

So, as I've mentioned, I've been working towards my CCDW license and I wanted a decent holster to carry -- I figure I'll either be carrying on the hip or on a shoulder rig, so I picked up a Blackhawk Serpa CQC (Close Quarter Concealment) holster. It offers Level II retention by an interal locking mechanism. If you look closely here, you'll see a release platform on the holster. With your natural draw grip, your indexed index finger will press that release allowing you to draw the weapon. Outside of that, it is locked firmly in the holster -- believe me, I've tugged and wrenched trying to get it out to ease my mind.

Now granted, I'm in pretty decent shape -- that shape being somewhat of an oval so, as you can see, the weapon is pretty tight up against my side, so I've actually ordered spacers from Blackhawk that'll push it out a bit and allow for a more comfortable draw.

I've been wearing it around the house today to get a feel for it, pratice draws and, all in all, break it in and it's a bit comfortable -- more so than I though. I'm glad that I made this purchase as the simple friction-based retention of my Fobus HK-1 was too unsafe for me for carrying.

Speaking of, I technically open carried for the first time today -- I left my house to walk across the cul de sac to pick up my mail and a new neighbor was on her porch which her child. Granted, I was about 50 feet away, but no reaction. As much as I'd love to do this more actively, I'd much rather wait till I get my CCDW as I need to temper my want to be somewhat of an activist about it with the fact that I'm a provider and I have a family to think about supporting.

In any case, I'll leave one more picture here before I get on with some errands I need to run -- I'd love to see any pictures or hear any stories you have about your favorite firearm.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

There's a Fire! There's a Fire!

"It's illegal for you to walk into a crowded theatre and shout, 'Fire!', ya know?"

How many times have you heard this argument used to illustrate how the government justifies certain restrictions on the rights of its people? Well, guess what... it's perfectly legal to walk into a crowded theatre and shout, 'Fire!'.

"What? Are you crazy? What are you talking about!" you might be asking yourself.

Here's the catch... If there's no fire, your speech is inciting panic, that's not legal. However, if there is a fire and you save hundreds of lives, not only is it legal, but you'd probably be touted as a hero.

So, I came across this article written by a guy who was open carrying his pistol lawfully and was detained and grilled, having his rights violated for an hour. He was subject to numerous officers giving their opinion that he really shouldn't carry which, to me, amounts to official oppression or abuse of office where a state official is using their position to influence its citizens.

How does this relate to my topic? Here's how I equate the two.

Me lawfully carrying an unconcealed firearm : Walking into a crowded theatre
Shouting 'Fire' when there is none : Negligently discharging my firearm
Shouting 'Fire' when there is a fire : Using my weapon in lawful self-defense

Am I off base here? This guys actions are lawful, regardless of whether someone is alarmed... Hell, I'm sure an african american would be alarmed if they found themselves caught in the middle of a Klan rally in a public venue, but our goverment affords them that freedom and that same consideration should be afforded to the 2nd Amendment.

As much as I appreciate the work that Law Enforcement does, I think that their training lends itself to make them always assume they're in the power of position. Where, rather than protecting and serving, they're trying to constantly maintain control, which doesn't work well with fostering good relations with the community.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ommelanden Range

Oh! So, I went out to the range a short while ago with a friend -- I decided to hit up Ommelanden, which is a great outdoor facility that is CHEAP. I spent $5 to shoot for an hour, using pretty much any ammunition that I wanted as opposed to someplace like Targetmaster, just over the state line on 202... They charge $15 for the lane and generally rifle through your ammunition because they don't like you using Walmart's 100 pack Winchester Whitebox because they can't get it as cheaply.

Knowledgable guys up there, but man -- talking about driving away business.

In any case, I think I now have about 400-450 rounds through my S&W Sigma... Not a single malfunction yet, I'm pleased to report. On the whole, I'm also getting better with the weapon as well -- maybe the trigger is starting to work itself out a bit, or my trigger finger is acclimating to the 12lbs trigger pull.

Here's my last target -- this is 30 rounds at 15 feet, which is about the normal distance at which I fire.

I have a nice little grouping there just to the left of the bullseye and those three shots that're in the orange were me slapping at the trigger. It's quite frustrating sometimes because I *know* when I take the shot if it's going to be a bad shot, but not so much when it's going to be a good shot.

Ah well, after I get some more practice in, I'll start pushing the target back to 20 feet. I'm still looking to follow the NRA self-paced progression course so, at the very least, I'll be able to have goals and motivation to keep my skills up.

Nice Labor Day Weekend

So, this semester, I'm teaching two classes: Introduction to Programming (C Language) and Object Oriented Programming (VB.NET)... I have no idea what spurred me to take on another class in any shape or form, but I pulled a few strings last Thursday and got myself readmitted to the college (as I'm also an Alumni) and registered in the Criminal Justice associates degree program we have here.

Bear in mind, that I haven't read much outside of a technical manual or Harry Potter book over the past few years, but I decided to start my program taking a course from the last semester, Constitutional Law, which I spent most of the weekend reading. I know I'm going a bit backasswards here, but considering the research I've been conducting on the lawful carrying of a firearm, it seems to fit well... It's actually been enjoyable to actually read something with a bit of depth to it, though -- granted, a lot of it is case law, but, as part of our first assignment, we had to read several historical documents: The Mayflower Compact, The Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers (#10 and #41)... Though written in english, the vocabulary and subtleties of language in these documents are close to mind-boggling to me. Especially with the Federalist papers, I needed to read these several times to get the inherent meaning.

Outside of that, the weekend was nice -- Saturday the family went out and enjoyed the nice weather. Sunday, the wife took the kids out to the Zoo while I went up to a place called 'Sligo' for Irish session... there's always great music up there. Yesterday, I took my 4-year old out to the mall for breakfast and some daughter/daddy time. Granted, she was as trying as a 4-year old could be the rest of the day, but I even got a chance over the weekend to open up some of the other Daily Quests on World of Warcraft...

I got an IM from my mother this morning that one of my Uncle's passed this morning in his sleep... Cancer has been a tempestous killer on my mother's side and I'm quite glad that I don't smoke. She'll be coming down from Minnesota for the funeral this week, but told me she plans to stay a bit longer so she can visit her kids and grandkids -- it's always nice when she's able to come. The part of the state she's from requires her to take a puddle jumper to a 'real airport' so it's rather costly.

It'll be nice to have her, maybe we can take her to the beach this weekend or, at the very least, chill out and play some Warcraft... yes, she plays. Her and my step-father actually hit L60 before I did. Yes, we're a family of geeks. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

National Day of Protest

So, today is Reverend Jesse Jackson's National Day of Gun Protest and, conversely gun owners are marking the occasion with their National Day of Gun/Ammo Purchasing. While I've seen the Reverends protest labeled as 'against guns' and 'against illegal gun trafficking', I wanted to do a point and counterpoint to some of the article's statements:

RJJ: “We have the right to live safe and secure, no matter where we live in America.”
Me: Agreed, though definitions may vary. I'd like to live safe and secure, but knowing that there will always be criminals on the streets, I also want to be prepared.

RJJ: “Our marching does not kill people; people who buy guns from gun shops kill people.”
Me: Agreed. So, why fight against the guns?

RJJ: "We choose life over death, and we want to close down merchants of death.”
Me: Tobacco? Fast Food? The DMV?

RJJ: He favors tighter restrictions on who is allowed to buy guns, better background checks, longer waiting periods for gun purchases, and restrictions on how many guns an individual may buy within a calendar period.
ME: People who've been institutionalized or convicted of a felony may not. Citizens/nationals of the US (generally 18+ or 21+) are allowed. When I purchased my handgun, I had a state *and* federal background check done. Restricting commerce of any type is really just a bad thing for the economy in general.

A large part of this is, I'm sure, in response to the Newark, NJ slayings and, while a small part of me is all for 'protecting the lives of America', it keeps coming back to the fact that if one or all of those four college students were armed and lawfully carrying:
  1. They would have had a fighting chance to live.
  2. Their assailants might've been deterred in the first place.They would have a choice.

Now, granted -- I'm all for the punishment of illegal gun trafficking. Jose Carranza, one of the suspects from the shooting, is an illegal immigrant from Peru. Considering background checks are done, I can almost guarantee you that he didn't get his gun legally.

There's a reason why the Bill of Rights covers this topic -- this freedom... this protected right was put into place to prevent misconstruction or abuse of the government by infringing into the lives of the people who put this political system into place.

At one point in my life, I wasn't pro-gun... I probably wasn't anti-gun as much as I was ambivalent about the whole thing, but, having purchase a firearm, gone through the checks, have undergone training, knowing I'm a responsible person and that I can be prepared to protect my children and wife if need be is something I don't want to give up.

I think I'll try to hit the Walmart before I start teaching tonight to pick up a box of ammo.

Amendment II: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Edit: Mission Accomplished...

Monday, August 27, 2007

An Introduction of Sorts

I've had other blogs in my lifetime: LiveJournal, MySpace, FaceBook... hell, I even have a YouTube Channel for my music, but nothing I've stuck to religiously throughout the years -- I'm hoping to have this be a bit of a change. I'd like to devote a bit of time to actually putting my thoughts down on paper, so to speak. Something I can look back on a few years from now and just know that it'll be around for a while. So, myself in a nutshell... I live in Delaware:

I Work: My day job consists of web and database development, mostly with PHP and MySQL. I do linux administration as well -- programming may seem like a boring job, but it can be meditative at times: you sit down with an idea and start writing and testing and, after what feels like a few short minutes, you look up and see that it's time to go. Sure, sometimes it's a bit draining mentally, but it's a great sense of accomplishment when you actually complete a milestone or finish off a project.

I Teach: During some evenings, I teach college courses related to the Computer Science field. I've been teaching 'officially' for about 4 years now, though ever since high school I've been teaching music in one form or another. Sadly, those times have passed when I actually started to need money more than I wanted to donate my time. This year is particularly exciting for me as I've been given an Introduction to Programming course... I've been waiting to teach this for some time as it's giving the kids their fundemental start to this degree -- I love the subject matter so much, that I know they'll do well. I always did when the professor had a love for the subject matter.

I Perform: Ever since elementary school I've been playing a musical instrument of some sort: saxophone, drums, flugal horn... I did drum & bugle corps for four years and also played with the University of Delaware Marching Band for two years. In my life I was the principle timpanist for the Dover Symphony, a general percussionist for the Brandywine Pops Orchestra and the principle percussionist for the Diamond State Concert Band. In the past 8 years or so, I've gotten into Irish music... the history, culture and language is just intriguing and interesting, so it's been a huge part of my life, especially for the past 4 years of playing. I play regular and low Irish Pennywhistles, octave mandolin, DADGAD guitar and bodhran, which is an Irish frame drum. Most Wednesday nights you can find me at A Piece of Ireland in Newark for their session.

I Game: Yes, computers and geekdom do go hand in hand. Aside from having played tons of pen and paper RPG's in my lifetime (D&D, SWRPG, Gamma World), computer gaming has been a large sink hole of my time. Several FPS's (Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon) but, yes, I've sucumbed to that which is the World of Warcraft -- level 70 Warrior on Medivh. God, I'm pathetic.

I'm a Gun Owner: I've taken a step into the world of the 2nd Amendment by recently purchasing a pistol -- I own a Smith & Wesson Sigma 9mm, Allied Forces model. It's my first firearm and, while its got a great feel to it, the trigger pull is probably upwards of 12lbs, making for a difficult squeeze. I've seriously considered open carrying my firearm at some point as I do wish to exercise my right to; however, I'll be the first to admit that I'm somewhat afraid... I've got the full-time job, wife and two kids -- being put into a difficult situation, even though I'd be in the right, would be hard to bear in terms of making sure my family was taken care of.

I'm a Political Moderate: My political views are quite amunge here, but I strongly believe in points on both sides of the political line. Basically, I'm all for conservative fiscal policy -- less taxes, give me my money to spend my way. Yes, I also prefer Republican foreign policy, even though it's rather unpopular, some things need to be done that are tactically sound instead of emotionally motivated. On the left side, I'm all for freedom of rights: let gays marry and let people live thier lives how they want... If anyone wants to get married and be as miserable as the rest of us, more power to them. [;)] I believe that in order to understand our current political and world status, children should be taught about religion in schools -- mind you, not taught a religion; let them understand the fundemental differences in Christianity, Budhism, Islaam... as of now, most people exiting your typical high school just doesn't understand.

That's it in a nutshell -- I'm hoping to post more often, whether it be on gaming, local political issues, a range report when I head out target shooting... Keep an eye out!