Sunday, July 24, 2016

My Ruger LCR

What follows comes with the usual caveats - I am NOT an expert, or an instructor. I'm just sharing what my personal experiences are, while I travel along the learning curve like everybody else.

As you may recall, I started playing around with shooting an L-frame revolver in IDPA last year, just for the giggles of learning something new. I even carried the gun a time or two with .357 defensive rounds as a "woods/hike gun". I discovered that I LIKE revolver. It's a challenge, and it tweaks my inner history nut.

So, this spring when I started having some neighborhood dog problems, I wondered how I would do with a snub-nose revolver as a defensive gun. (My other concealed guns are all semi-auto). I understood the drawbacks of having only 5 rounds available, but I just wanted to try it and see.

I ended up buying myself a Ruger LCR for an early birthday present, and I bought an IWB holster from to go with it. I've also been playing around with how to mount that kydex on an elastic bellyband to wear under yoga tights when I go exercise walking. That part will be fodder for another post, once I make sure that it works well.

Though I had put a handful of shots downrange with the Ruger during the week I bought it, I was waiting for the holster to arrive so I could really blow the bugs out. Today was the day.

I used a standard IDPA target at about 7 yards/Tuller distance, shooting Armscor 158gr .38 special. The first few shots ran high. Turns out that this was a pretty consistent thing. The only time my shots got lower was when I was rapid firing, and I'm assuming, dipping the muzzle with the trigger pull. All shots remained on target (except the ten that I later launched at the fifty-yard steel just for giggles), but many did not land in the -0 ring. That's the first thing I discovered with this gun.

The second thing I discovered was that this gun is NOT a whole ton of fun to shoot (unlike my full-size revolver). This thing "hurts" to shoot after awhile, and I wasn't even using +P. I had planned to blow through 2 whole boxes of ammo, but I stopped at 75 rounds, because I'm not a masochist. Strong hand only was even worse - and I have fairly large hands for a woman.

The third thing I discovered about this gun is that it doesn't like to be short stroked (I think that's the proper term). I'm used to just letting the trigger out enough to reset on my semi-autos. My full size revolver doesn't really "let" me do that, so it hasn't been a problem. But this trigger, although it felt overall lighter in the store than other snubbies (which is one of the reasons I bought it), also kind of "allows" the short stroke, and then skips a chamber (at least that's what I think was happening). I don't think that would be a good thing in a defensive situation. I'll have to pick some revolver friends' brains about it to see if this can be adjusted, or if it is the nature of the beast.

So, I've learned some things. I can see where frame size and frame weight make a big difference. Maybe the heavier snubbies with heavier triggers might mitigate some of what I was experiencing - not sure. I knew the frame size issue to be true with semi-autos, but my Glock 43 is still manageable. Granted 9mm is not .38 special, but the differences seemed more pronounced with revolver.

I can definitely say that the Ruger LCR (at least in my experience) is NOT a gun for beginners. This is in reply to the old-timers (always men) who push "the little lady" toward  snub nose revolvers for their first handgun. Granted that in an emergency you may not feel the pain, but to be ready for that emergency, you have to PRACTICE. If practice HURTS, then you aren't going to do it. "The little lady" is probably better off starting with a .380 or 9mm semiauto with somewhat larger frame to mitigate perceived recoil for her first gun.

Unless you find some .38 special defensive rounds that feel like bunny farts, the Ruger LCR is not that gun.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Random Updates

Life has been a bit scatterbrained for me lately, so I thought I should make a sort of "catch-up" post. I'm trying really hard to keep THIS post unpolitical - and save all of that anger, outrage, and heartache for another day. 

So here for your captivation is the list of the top five things that have been keeping Dr LateBloomer busy for the past couple months. (Besides the day job which keeps me in guns and ammo to begin with)

5) The BWB 3-Gun Challenge.     was a complete blast (no pun intended), and the 3-day camp afterwards was an even bigger hoot if that is even possible. That entire 2-week roadtrip adventure deserves its own post, and I promise that I'm working on it. I did however, post pics and video on the Facebook page as events transpired.

     (Bonding with "Buddy" on Shootout Lane)

4) Exercise walking and dog problems
After those semi-traumatic experiences, I started carrying one of my pistols in a kydex - rigged bellyband, along with pepper spray, phone, and house key. The bellyband has become a bit like my Batman Utility Belt, and it all continues to evolve. 

I AM, at least, continuing my walks (for those who need encouragement). I'm managing 2-3 miles a day, averaging 5-6 days a week.  I haven't lost more than about 5 pounds, but I feel better, my pants are a little looser, and the caboose is definitely tighter than it was 6 months ago. So, good things DO happen - even if the scale itself isn't very forthcoming. 
Then there are the slightly more intangible, but still important things like having another birthday  - while still maintaining the BP, lipids, and blood glucose of a 29 yr old  - if not the waistline or hair color  :-)

         (My Batman Utility Belt)

3) The Invictus Practical Mid-Atlantic Multigun Challenge. This was a match that I attempted in June. Alas, I failed the challenge. Or more more properly, as a friend quotes Dirty Harry in this regard  - "A man's got to know his limitations." 

This was seven stages of 3-Gun in one day. And though it was in PA, not SC, the temp was 93 by my car thermometer and the humidity was about a billion. It took my squad over 5 hours to complete 4 stages. I had drunk 3 quarts of water and did not yet have to pee. I finished the fourth stage, and I was still sweating, but I was not feeling right, and decided to call the match for myself. When you start feeling woozy and thinking slowly, it's time to put the firearms away - match fee and hotel charges be damned.

I'm glad I made the decision, because even after making the call, telling the RO's, and finally getting our squad lunch break at 2:30, I still wasn't "right". I ate my lunch in the pavilion shade and slammed a Gatorade, and it still took me half an hour to load my gear back in the car, because I was still mentating a little slowly. I didn't pee until I got back to the hotel - and it would not have passed Gunsite bathroom color chart standards. 

I'm so glad that I recognized my own distress and swallowed my pride. It could have been ugly. Lessons learned. At least I got a shirt :-)

    (The shirt that cost me several hundred dollars :-))

2) Sporting clays. I was invited to try this new (to me) addiction last year (Thank you Phil, wherever you are). This year I'm still not "good", but I'm showing some slow improvement, and having a ton of fun with friends who I might not have made otherwise. I even got a plaque the other week (inserting tongue in cheek). I placed 2nd high lady.......... Out of two. BWAHAHAH!! Ah well, it was fun anyway :-)

       (It's the thought that counts)

1) Buying more guns and parts. Since I won a Luth AR       stock off the prize table at BWB 3-Gun, (Thank You!!) I decided to redo my older M&P 15 in slightly more tactical colors (Well, "my" version of tactical anyway-ha!). My birthday purchases included a custom handguard from GunGoddess, , and I'm now redoing the stamping in bronze-gold in anticipation of a friend offering to help me out with assembly.

     (Gold/bronze is tactical-er than pink, right?)

Also for my birthday ( I can rationalize almost ANY purchase), I sprang for a purple Ruger LCR, to use as another possible "walking" gun, and a purple holster to go with it (also from GunGoddess).

    (The purple gun was ten dollars cheaper than the black one - don't judge me)

So there you have the utter randomness that is my life. Thanks for inviting me into "yours", and I'll try to stay more organized in the future - Ha! I crack myself up :-)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Why I Don't Want to be a Sponsored Shooter

A few weeks ago I had a bit of a tiff with a longtime friend. Unbeknownst to me, he had thought enough of me and my minuscule contributions to the shooting world, that he decided to recommend me for sponsorship to one of the companies he associates with.

While I was incredibly touched by his generosity of spirit, and good intentions, I had to turn him down. I did it awkwardly, because in part I hadn't really clarified in my own mind the "whys", until we had an email exchange. But I do know my own mind now, and this post is based on the thoughts and explanations that gelled during that exchange.

When I was a new shooter, I was always impressed by logo hats and guys/gals wearing sponsor jerseys. In my mind, these were the "cool kids", and I wanted to be like them. As I went along and grew in the shooting sports, though, I realized that there are responsibilities and obligations that go along with accepting sponsorship. There is no such thing as a free lunch, as they say. So here are some of the main reasons that I've decided that I won't accept formal sponsorship.

Medicine and Ethics - All through my medical training it was drilled into me that accepting "perks" from drug reps was the path to perdition. Eventually, even accepting a sandwich or a lousy plastic pen made one suspect. That is the world I have come from. Even though the Outdoor Industry is a totally different animal, it is a tough habit to break. I still have to live in BOTH worlds though, so I have had to make compromises. I'm fine with swag bags at matches now, and freebies at SHOT - because those are provided to EVERYBODY. I'm not being singled out or "bought" for accepting those things. If I like them, I'll use them, and write about them. If not - oh well. 

Also, as a blogger, I have written pieces that are critical of Organized Medicine's meddling in 2A politics. So far, I haven't gotten any formal push-back from that, but it could happen (the main reason I still use a pen name). In the event of push-back, I look more credible if am NOT sporting company logos all over my back. Medicine (at least superficially) is all about declaring conflict of interest, and I avoid the most glaring appearances of that, if I am NOT sponsored.

Forced Associations - I am an introvert, and a cranky one, by nature.  I'm much more comfortable hiding behind a keyboard. Sponsored shooters should be "ambassadors" and a "public face" for the companies they represent. Those two realities simply don't mix for me. I don't hide my feelings well, and I might quickly become "That Cranky B in the So-and-So jersey". The same might apply when it comes to being forced to interact with, and be photographed as part of Team So-and-So. There are a couple individuals on the unnamed team that I have a very personal, and very poor opinion of. I wouldn't be able to hide that either. I'd rather avoid anything to do with that situation.

Identity - As an offshoot of the above, I have no desire to have my own identity and preferences be subsumed by that of the company whose logo I'm wearing. I know, I know -- I'm going to get arguments about that one. But it's a very personal and closely held thing for me. I spent the first half of my life having no identity of my own - I was my parents' daughter, my husband's wife, and my children's mother - there was no "me". It took a long and painful struggle to build my own "me" - a piece of which is Dr LateBloomer. Nowadays, I may be a nobody, but at least I'm my OWN nobody. And I LIKE it that way - LOL

Outsider/Observer Status - I still consider myself "new" in the shooting sports. Though I've now been at it for seven years, every time I learn something new I discover how much more I DON'T know. This is rather a blessing, in that new things always give me new insights to write about, and new material to bore you all with. Part of me thinks that wearing a sponsor jersey would make me one of the "other" - like I used to think when I was new. I'm afraid that this "other-ness" might put up a barrier between myself and Josie New Shooter in the trenches. I don't want that. I LIKE being a bit of an outsider - with one foot inside the spotlight of the Outdoor Industry, and the other foot still in the beginner trenches. I don't want to lose that perspective.

So you see, as many arguments as people might give me, I strongly feel that being formally sponsored is not for me. I have great respect and admiration for those of you who ARE sponsored (well, most of you anyhow - LOL), but I don't think that this is where my path lies. I think I have a different role to play. 

I'll be happy to accept products for review (as long as I am under no obligation to be nice if I don't like it). I'll be happy to promote events that I am excited about, or the handful of operations (like Babes With Bullets) which are close to my heart. But I will NOT be wearing a sponsor jersey.

This probably means that I will be perpetually doomed to penniless obscurity in the Industry LOL. But at least I'll still be able to be cranky and tell you exactly what I think :-)

Thanks for Reading,
Dr LateBloomer

Monday, July 4, 2016

Otis and Cleaning

So, I guess it's pretty common knowledge that I hate cleaning.
That goes for pretty much any kind of cleaning - except personal hygiene of course - I'm totally a fan of long, hot, showers. But household cleaning, car washing, and gun cleaning - not so much. Those are pretty much a do-it-when-I-have-to proposition. It's not like my home has been declared a superfund site or anything, but let's just say that the paperwork was in process a time or two.

It's not that I don't appreciate clean things, it's just that the ephemeral nature of the cleanliness renders the effort required to achieve it, totally unsatisfying. If I put in the effort to sew a quilt, it stays made for the next 20-50 years. But does the bathroom stay clean for even a hot minute after I'm done.? What do you think. Yeah - UN-Satisfying.

And then there's the gun cleaning. A few years ago I tossed the idea out there for someone to make a dishwasher for guns, (a capital idea, right?) but so far no one has taken me up on it. I mean, I know that I have it fairly easy. I'm not a shooter putting thousands of rounds of crud a week into my firearms. But I always have a backlog. If it's not the revolver from an IDPA match, it's the ETHOS from sporting clays the following day, or the carry gun that needed a mag extension check. And shooting a 3-Gun match automatically puts me weeks behind. I know there are some people out there who claim they never put away a dirty gun, and I would like to know when they sleep. Seriously.

I do have a day job, and there are only so many evenings that I have the brains left to sit on the floor, disassemble important parts, and get it all back together again in the appropriate sequence. I know some women have husbands who take over that entire job for them, but I don't have one of those, and up to this point it has been a point of pride for me to do all of the disassembly and cleaning entirely on my own. But I'm starting to think seriously about advertising for a cabana boy. MSR-cleaning and Margarita-making skills a must. If you know one, drop me a message, 'kay?

In the meantime though, I have discovered what I can only describe as the "Swiffer for Firearms". Yes, I know that's a trademarked term - don't sue me. I personally use it as a verb. As in - I Swiffered the kitchen 6 months ago, why is it dirty again?

This amazing cleaning product for firearms (Act now, and you get a second one, Free!) is the Otis Ripcord.
I first discovered this handy little item (items, actually, because they come in a variety of calibers) at the Otis booth at SHOT Show this past January.

The Ripcord consists of a flexible cable that is stiffish, but not rigid, which is covered by molded rubber, which is then all wrapped with a Nomex outer cover. Otis advertises this as "Unrivaled one-pass cleaning", and I believe them - because I have used the rival. 

The stiffened nature of the Ripcord allows you to push the product down the barrel from any angle, rather than having to dangle a weight and a tiny string from above. The Nomex gives heat resistance up to 700 degrees Farenheit, which means you can use it in the middle of a match on a hot barrel if you need to.

The Ripcord is also very handy for the nights before a match when I remember that I never cleaned my pistol after the LAST match. A little CLP of choice, a Qtip or three, a swipe or two with the Ripcord, and I have "Good Enough For Dr LateBloomer" -LOL.

I even recommend this product for you gals out there who have husbands (or cabana boys) to do all your cleaning FOR you. Because, and I know this is hard to accept - you might one day on the range or in the field, have an issue and need to *Gasp* - DO. IT. YOURSELF. I know that's a traumatic thought, and I'm sorry, but if you have a Ripcord in your bag to fit your gun, you will always have SOME thing.

An additional reason for using Otis Technology products, is that they are a family owned and operated business, who have been supporters of Babes With Bullets like.... Forever. AND they were the title sponsors for the Babes With Bullets 3-Gun Challenge, in May.
What an AWESOME time I had, and what awesome products they make!

Otis Technology - excellent products, made in the USA, and supporters of women in the shooting sports. What more could you ask for?