Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Evolving with Revolving

Happy New Year 2015!

I made an early resolution this fall to learn about revolvers, and you may recall my original post about that here

Well, that initial interest has morphed into a determination to learn to shoot revolver in IDPA in 2015. Yes, I know, I haven't even mastered SSP, Production or 3-Gun yet, but I'm tackling ANOTHER something new. I'm kind of a novelty-junkie that way LOL! It may also be a defense-mechanism. "Of course I'm not 'good' - this is still new to me",  is my excuse for making mistakes, and it works well for me!

This being New Year's, I thought I'd post a bit about my progress - my evolving with revolving, if you will LOL.

I purchased my new-to-me used S&W 686SSR in October. Then as part of my swag bag for Brownell's Lady 3-Gun, I received a 50% off card from , which gave me the opportunity to properly outfit myself for revolver competition. There was a small hitch with the type of  speedloader I needed, but that was quickly and ably taken care of by Hope and Courtney. Thank you very much, Safariland!

The biggest thing for me is that speedloader reloads with revolver are "backwards" from reloads of all of my other firearms. Pistol and rifle are weak-hand reloads for me, and I even do weak-hand twin-loads on shotgun.  So, I've been working on basement dry fire with the revolver to build-up the repetitive motion of reloads and start to make it less awkward.

I have twelve dummy rounds, and I've also been using six empty brass rounds that I can eject at the start. I painted the bases of those with nail polish, just so if they were in the gun, I could see at a glance that they were my dummy/empties. I didn't want to get used to seeing real brass in my chambers when I was dry-firing in the house. I'm just paranoid like that.

One of the other pieces of equipment I got from Safariland besides a holster and speedloaders is a loading block. When I'm loading up  6 or 7 speedloaders at a match, this should make my life a whole lot easier. I also got a belt holder for the speedloaders - the revolver equivalent of a mag pouch. It's still weird to mount that on the right side of my belt though.

With all of this stuff to keep track of, I also made use of a bedding bag I had lying around. You know - the kind that new sheet sets come in? I can never bring myself to throw out a nice zippered bag - Reduce/Reuse/Recycle - LOL. It should help me keep track of the revolver gear and keep it separate from the pistol gear.

Finally, I had the brilliant idea of using a scrap of fleece I had in my fabric stash as a pad to catch the ejected dummies. They didn't bounce or roll off the table that way, and I didn't have to keep bending and chasing them all over the floor. My 51 year old joints thanked me.

My next project is to cut out some full-size IDPA targets for dry-fire, to replace the 8.5 x 11" printed substitute I'm using now. Remember that box that my Patriot case came in? That's not going to waste either - LOL!

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Upland Game Birds and My Dad

I'm sitting here on Christmas Eve, slurping homemade Turkey/Wild Rice soup that I made from frozen Thanksgiving leftovers. It gave me a sudden flashback to the Grouse/Rice soup that my mother always made for the family's New Year's Eve open house. I wasn't planning on a blog post this evening, but here it is - just flowing out of the ends of my fingers...

My mother made Grouse/Rice soup, because game birds were usually more plentiful in the freezer than chicken or turkey when I was young. My father was the hunter in the family. My mother's idea of the great outdoors was a beachside hotel. But they had a deal. If he cleaned everything he brought home, and froze it, then she would cook it. I was the only kid in my class that got to ask for pheasant for my birthday dinner - and pick the shot out of my teeth - LOL. In my family, we ate Pheasant, and Grouse, and Woodcock, and Hungarian Partridge, and venison of course. I even recall a taste of moose, and squirrel pot-pie once.

Dad had a very tight circle of trusted bird hunter friends, and they were rather secretive about where their favorite spots were - especially, as I remember, for Woodcock. The single time that I got to out with Dad where I actually carried his shotgun was to a "game farm" for pheasant. It wasn't one of the secret spots - LOL. I also distinctly remember swinging too far on the single shot I took that day and making Dad duck. I didn't know what I was doing, and I didn't like that. I wanted to be with my dad, but was uncomfortable with the gun, and I never went again. I was twelve I think. I haven't ever told anyone that part before. I was embarrassed that I was unsafe, and just never spoke of it again until now. 

Of course knowing what I know now, I know that I didn't have enough training before going out that day. I also know that I have a shortish length of pull even as an adult, so as a kid, I'm sure that FIAS 20ga was probably too big for me. I wonder if that gun went in the auction when Dad died, or if my brother still has it? I'm starting to think that I might like another crack at it - to sort of redeem myself, for lack of a better term.

In related news, I have been honored to receive an invitation to the Women's Outdoor & Shooting Industry Dinner at SHOT Show this year,   

even though I'm just a blogger and I don't actually work for the "Industry".  The theme this year is "Birds of a Feather", and the logo includes pheasant tail feathers. I think this is what is triggering some of these memories.

I'm wondering what I'm going to come up with for "feather accessories" for this dinner. I really wish I had saved some of dad's fly-tying stash when he died. He had "cock-bird" tail feathers streaming out of mason jars on top of the cabinet. Boy, I wish I had some of those now LOL.  Dad had some beautiful bird mounts too - but those are now in the wildlife display cases at the public library.

Well, I'll come up with something - even if it's a Halloween feather boa. But I'm definitely hatching plans for another bucket list entry. I'm thinking I would definitely like another crack at upland bird hunting before I die. I'm not sure how yet, but hey, I'm going to SHOT, right? I'm not good at networking, but it sounds like I have a mission now - LOL!

Oh, and Merry Christmas!!

Sent from my iPad

Friday, December 19, 2014

Own It. Respect It. Secure It. -- For the Holidays and Every day

I'm taking a cue from the NSSF's Project ChildSafe this Christmas to remind all of us to secure our firearms - especially if you are going to be having holiday guests.

It's that time of year again. The time when you have housefuls of people, and the food and alcohol are flowing. You've made your list of shopping and guests,  and you've checked it twice. But do you REALLY know who is naughty and nice?

This time of year it is especially important to make sure that your firearms are properly secured. This is even more essential if you usually don't have children in your household. If you aren't used to the concept of "child-proofing", some safety precautions may slip through the cracks. Children and snooping relatives are resourceful, and cannot be trusted to make good decisions. Maybe not even your co-workers - do you REALLY know if that other guy from the cubicle farm has a felony record or not? Your cousin's kids may not be the only ones with sticky fingers.

It's not good enough to just have a "hiding place" for your firearms. Children climb on top of refrigerators, rummage through drawers and go through coat pockets in closets. So can your nosy great-aunt Sally. It is safe to assume that NO unlocked place in your home is secure when you are busy with 30 guests and the children are only semi-supervised. Even otherwise responsible adults make bad decisions when the eggnog is spiked and the bravado is getting deep. Just don't give anyone the opportunity. Lock up your firearms.

And don't forget your carry purse. I can't tell you how many times Poison Control has been called and the PICU has admitted children who have gotten into Grandma's meds in her purse. How easy then, for a carry purse to be similarly ravaged if left unattended for even a moment.

Here is a sampling of the various methods for securing firearms available in the LateBloomer Household.

                                                   Cable lock

                                           Padlocks on cases

                                        Quick access safe

                                             Small safe

                         Large safe

Secure firearm storage doesn't have to be expensive or inconvenient. There are many good options out there. What it does take is forethought and planning.

Have a Safe and Joyous Holiday Season - whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Festivus, all -of-the-above,  or you just plain enjoy lights and food! Be Safe and Have Fun!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My "Arsenal" and My "Ammo Cache" - A Primer for My Non-Gun Friends

I'd like to use this post to explain a few things to my non-gun friends, and shed some light on a subject that tends to make people paranoid. It's going to be long-winded, so you might want to get a Coke and a sandwich first. I'll wait.

I saw on the news recently where the Black Friday sales of firearms set some new record or other. It is inevitable to me that the popular press will then start speculating about "all these guns", and who owns them. Which will then cause them to start throwing around inflammatory terms.

The press and politicians tend to throw around words like "arsenal" when they discover that someone owns firearms. To these people an "arsenal" is a collection of firearms in any number that exceeds zero. It implies militaristic and somewhat evil intent -- and sometimes mental imbalance -- depending on what spin they put on their story. They imply that even owning one firearm is dangerous and imbalanced enough, WHY would anyone "need" (GASP) more than one firearm?

What they lack understanding of is that a firearm is a tool. And like any other tool from golf clubs to kitchen knives, one uses different tools for different applications. Would you use your big chef's chopping knife to carve radish rosettes? No, of course not. Well, I wouldn't try to use my self-defense pistol to try to take down a deer, either. I'll bet you wouldn't use your little eyeglass phillips screwdriver to take apart your lawnmower, would you? That would be silly - almost as silly as if I tried to use my revolver to shoot skeet. Do you see where I'm going with this?

I thought maybe if I walk my non-gun friends through the various firearm purchases I've made in the past few years, that maybe it would shed some light and dispel some misconceptions about firearms owners, and why they seem to have "so many" guns.

I bought my first firearm in the spring of 2009. It was a Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol. I wanted to learn about guns, and how they worked, so that they wouldn't be a great big intimidating mystery anymore. I bought that particular pistol because it was small enough to store easily, simple enough that I could learn to tear it down and clean it by myself, and it was what I felt was a reasonable caliber to learn to shoot with.

My second firearm was a 30-30 cal lever action rifle. I bought it because I wanted to learn to hunt deer. It fit me without being too long for my arms, and it was a suitable caliber for big game without being so big that it hurt me to shoot or knocked me over. It was not a semi-auto like my pistol, so it had different functions to learn. I liked the lever action because it reminded me of the cowboy movies :-)

My third firearm was a very tiny .380 cal Ruger LCP pistol. I bought it as an experimental self-defense gun. By then, my Glock 19 pistol was being shot in local fun competitions, but I found it too large to easily conceal with the clothing that I usually wore.

My fourth firearm was an AR-15 style rifle. I had heard and read a lot about this style of rifle, and had gotten to shoot one once. I wanted to learn more, and not be intimidated, so I did my research about what features I wanted, and bought one. This has an entirely different method of operation than my deer gun ( semi-auto vs lever action), and it uses a different caliber of ammunition. ( My deer gun uses a bigger, "deadlier" bullet by the way). This firearm is currently the rifle I use in 3-gun competition.

My fifth firearm purchase was another 9mm semi-auto pistol. But this one I bought to be used specifically as a "shooting match gun". It was full-sized ( as opposed to my Glock 19, which is a compact size), and I had fiberoptic sights and a better trigger installed. ( Both of which are useful in competition, and which my other pistol did not have) So, even those these two pistols function the same way and shoot the same type of ammo, they are set up for different applications. Are you seeing a pattern here?

My sixth firearm purchase was a 12 ga semi-auto shotgun - because I needed a shotgun if I wanted to learn the sport of  "3-Gun". I also started, but didn't get very far yet in Skeet. If I decide to pursue that further, I will probably need ANOTHER shotgun more suited to that sport. Again, are you seeing a pattern? ( Ha - Shotgun pattern - get it?... okay, never mind).

My seventh firearm purchase was admittedly an impulse buy. It was the first gun that I bought without a truly justifiable reason in mind. I just liked it. It was another AR-15 style rifle. But it was made by a good company and had a pretty paint job and I had thoughts about training my daughters with it.

My eighth firearm was a new self-defense pistol in .380 cal. This was also a Glock, and was brand-new to the market this year. I got to shoot it at SHOT Show before it was even released to the public, and I LOVED it. I couldn't wait to get home and buy one for myself. I've since even shot this gun in competition too. I love it so much that I think I'm going to sell the first gun that I bought for self-defense, because I never shoot it. If so, the LCP will be the first gun that I go through the selling process with.

My ninth firearms purchase was sort-of an impulse buy, but with rational reasons. This was a lightly used Smith & Wesson revolver that was designed for competition. I've been wanting to learn revolver skills (as they are not quite the same motor skills as those used with semi-auto pistols), and I'm kind of interested in revolvers from a historical perspective. Just like I was jazzed by the lever action on my deer rifle, the revolver kinda tweaks me the same way :-) Don't judge me. Hey, some gals are into shoes - to each her own. LOL

My tenth firearm was not a purchase - well, I purchased some raffle tickets, but that's all. I won a beautiful and very well tricked-out competition rifle in a Breast Cancer Fundraiser Raffle put on by a company called Adams Arms. And don't anybody get their britches in a bunch - even though I won this gun in a raffle, I still had to jump through all of the hoops of background check and paperwork to the tune of a 20 dollar fee. I don't begrudge my local gun shop the money, because running the paperwork and doing the transfer takes time and effort, but it does get old after awhile. I'm still the same good person I was 2 months ago when I did all this paperwork with the revolver, and I'm the same good person I was 6 months ago when I renewed my carry permit. Do you think felons and drug dealers bother with going through all this effort?? * Sigh* But I digress...

So anyway, that's how a person like me can end up owning a very innocent "arsenal" of firearms.  All of these firearms have different features, purposes, and applications. And NONE of them mean that I am plotting to overthrow the government or shoot up a classroom. They DO mean that I am interested in the mechanics, the safety, the skills, and the history of firearms.

And while I'm on the topic of explanations, I should point out that the same things apply to ammunition. The press tends to report sensational things like "he had 'thousands of rounds' of ammunition in a cache in his home". This makes the general public ( and you, my non-gun friends), think that this person was a crazy who was ready to murder the population of the entire city. But let me tell you something - "I" have "thousands of rounds of ammunition" too, and that doesn't mean anything. In fact this is the norm for pretty much any gun-owner that does competitive shooting ( and even many who don't).

The term "well stocked pantry" has positive connotations of a talented cook, who has planned ahead and has every needed ingredient on hand. But when one applies the same logic to ammunition, the positive vibes disappear and everyone loses their minds. "Well-stocked ammo cache" doesn't mean the same thing to people - at least to non-gun people.

So let me explain this to you. I shoot a couple or three matches per month Spring-Summer-Fall for 9 months of the year. If I use, say 150 rounds per match, then I need almost 4000 rounds a season  just for competition -and that's not counting practice. And I'm not even a hard-core shooter. When ammo supplies got short last year, that is when I really began to appreciate the wisdom of stocking-up ahead of time. Picking up a box or two of ammo here and there at the gun shop doesn't cut it. Buying on-line and ordering a case of a thousand rounds or more at a time is the way to go. I should probably give my Fed Ex guy a donation toward physical therapy for hauling all that lead for me.

Then, remember that I don't shoot just one gun. I have several different calibers of handgun, which all require their own size ammo. I also have several different long guns - including a shotgun - which have different ammo requirements too. So, you can do the math here. It is not hard to accumulate 5 or 6 or 10 thousand rounds, just to have on hand what you need. That doesn't mean that I or any of my shooting friends are evil or crazy people - despite what reporters or politicians WANT you to believe.

So, the next time you hear a "journalist" or politician on television breathlessly expound about an "arsenal" or an "ammo cache", please tell them to take a breath. Don't get sucked into the hysteria. Just remember me - the female pediatrician with the "arsenal" and the "ammo cache' -  and remember what I just  told you, okay?  You could even try to one-up them. "Two thousands rounds? - Pffth, my pediatrician keeps more ammo than that wimp. " LOL!