Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gun Policy and Law Enforcement Survey

I found this article recently swirling around on social media. It's about a survey taken by over 15,000 law enforcement officers back in March of 2013. The survey questions span the topics of gun control, gun rights, and gun violence.

I was pleasantly surprised by the questions. Unlike a main stream media survey, these questions seemed to be pretty specific. The offered answers I think were a mixed bag. Something is always missing when the answer of "Other" or "Unsure" gets a large percentage of hits in comparison to other answers for the same questions.

Of those taking the survey, the majority were sergeants or below. So that tells us that at least half of those answering these questions know what it's like on the streets. It would be nice to know what states these officers are in as I think it has some bearing on the outcome.

For the most part, the answers represented a common sense, pro-2A viewpoint. It's quite obvious in the results of many of these questions, law enforcement officers do NOT believe you can legislate the people into a safer environment.

The question that startled me was Number 9 - "Should citizens be required to complete a safety training class before being allowed to buy a gun?" Forty-three percent said "No", 42% said "Yes", and 14% said "Yes, but only for certain weapons". So 56% of the officers taking this survey apparently don't take the second amendment literally. But scroll down to Number 19 - "Do you support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable?" Ninety-one percent answered "Yes, without questions and without further restrictions." So what happened to the thought that we require training?

I think they saved the best question for last. Number 28 - "What do you believe is the biggest cause of gun violence in the United States?" Thirty-eight percent said "Decline in parenting and family values." THANK YOU! I'd like to know what the specifics that the "Other" answer produced.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with the results of the survey. But with over 765,000 sworn state and local officers in the United States, I would like to see what a larger sample size would do, if anything, to change the results.

You can look at the survey with the results here and form your own opinions.

Be safe.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

HB 875 Passes House Vote

HB 875, the Safe Carry Protection Act, has passed the House vote, 119 - 56. Now it's on to the Senate, where it will be read and passed on to a committee.

Get ready to contact your state Senators.

Be safe.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Lunacy is Still Out There

It's been a little over a year since what I like to call The Panic of '13 hit. Guns and ammunition were flying off the shelves as fast as stores could stock them. Over the last year we've seen crazy prices on everything from $99 standard capacity magazines to insanely priced ammunition. I guess this is how supply and demand works essentially.

Everywhere I've been in the last several months, display cases and racks are full of guns again. Ammunition is slowly rebounding as well. My experience with ammunition has been that it's rebounding faster on the Internet than it is in the brick and mortar stores. I've been in a Bass Pro Shops store in Hampton, VA recently and their displays are full of guns, but the ammunition they put out on the shelves is slim pickings. Some rifle calibers seemed to be abundant, but they were the oddballs.

Shopping on the Internet, I've been able to readily buy remanufactured .45ACP for the last 4-5 months at slightly higher than pre-Panic prices. Rifle ammunition has been a little bit harder to come by at respectable prices, but it can be had if you have patience and shop around a bit.

The unicorn of the ammunition world is still .22LR. People are obviously still buying any and everything they can find at obviously stupid prices. Why do I say obviously? Look at what people are selling it for. They are finding suckers every minute.

I've networked with a few people to keep our eyes peeled for .22LR ammunition. One of these people is my older sister. She called me this morning from a flea market in north Florida because she found a guy selling some .22LR. I asked her how much he wanted and for how many. $15 for a box of 100. As we're talking a friend of hers came up and she asked if he had any. He did, and told her, "for you, $7 for a box of 50." (Gee, what a good friend.) So I told her I'd pass unless she found some for less than 10 cents a piece. Pre-Panic prices that I remember were running around 5 cents a round.

I'll continue to plink with .38 and .45 at those prices. I know what you're thinking. Those aren't cheap to shoot. No, they aren't, but there are ways to reduce those costs. Buying remanufactured is one way, and the other way is to reload your own. Until people quit hoarding .22's and feeding the Panic machine, that's what I plan to do.

Be safe.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

VZ Grips - 1911 Slim Grip Install

The project gun with it's smooth, thick, slippery grips.

Back in 2010, I bought a Rock Island Armory 1911. It was intended to be a project gun, a learning gun. The first thing I needed to do was break it in. That break-in period made it clear to me what I needed to change about this gun. The first thing that had to go were those thick, slippery wooden grip panels. My other 1911 has VZ Gatorback grips, which are nice and grippy, but they also grate on my spare tire while carrying in the summer. So I knew Gatorbacks were out of the question on this gun. One day last year, a friend and I were at the range and he had two 1911's with different types of VZ Grips, Recons and Frags. I loved both of them, but I knew the Recons would grate on me like the Gatorbacks.

Frag style VZ Grips in Grey G10
Buying and installing these has been a learning experience. Luckily, the VZ website takes a good bit of the guess work out of the buying part of the experience. If you're replacing standard grips with thin, you're going to need to thin grip bushings and screws. VZ recommends the o-ring set with these, but to be honest, I couldn't get the screws to tighten down with the o-rings installed. The screws tightened down just fine without them. I've seen reviews on YouTube that said the same thing, so take that into consideration if you place an order. 

Grip Bushings

VZ has lots of different grip screw styles to choose from.

Installation was a breeze with only one hiccup. One of the old bushings stripped at the screwdriver slot while trying to remove it, so I was off to Home Depot for a set of easy-out screw extractors. For this install, you'll need a rag, a flathead screwdriver with a 3/16" head, a Torx T-15 driver, and some BLUE Loctite (red is NOT an acceptable substitute.)

Required tools (Assuming your bushings don't strip when removing them)
Once you've verified the pistol is unloaded, and then verified it again, you're ready to remove the old grip panels. Start by removing the four grip screws.

Here's a tip that will save the finish on your 1911. Don't try to pry the old grips off the frame if they are stuck. Put your finger up into the magwell and push on the back of the grip panel. With a little effort, they'll pop off and go flying across the coffee table.

Once the old panels are off, remove the bushings, being careful not to strip the heads of them. If you do manage to strip one, use a #2 easy out screw extractor. Don't be tempted by the #1, as it's not quite big enough to get a good grip on the inside of the bushing and it will just make you that much madder. If you don't feel confident doing this, take your project to your favorite gunsmith.

Bushing Removal
Once the old bushings are out, clean off any remaining thread locking compound. I just used the screwdriver head to lightly scrape it away from both sides of the screw holes in the frame. 

You're almost ready to install the new bushings. Do yourself a favor and trial fit them dry and then try each grip panel. This does two things. One, it will make you aware of any fitting issues you might have with the bushings and panels, and it will give you a bit of practice handling those little boogers bushings before you add Loctite. Just resign yourself to getting the Loctite on your fingers. One drop on those bushings is a LOT, and it will get on you. NOTE: Do not get Loctite on the coffee table, lest you enjoy cold shoulder and hot tongue, and you wish to spend a week in the dog house. 

Bushings Installed

Add a single drop of blue Loctite to the threaded portion of the bushing and carefully screw it into the frame. Make sure the bushing shoulder is flush against the pistol frame. DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN! It just has to be snug. It's not a lug nut on your car. Once it's installed, wipe away any excess Loctite from both sides of the frame. We don't want any speed bumps inside the magwell.

Install your grip panels and screws. You can apply a drop of blue Loctite to these screws as well. Some folks don't like thread locker on their grip screws. You don't have to use it, but if you notice the screws coming loose, you might want to give in and use it.

Grip screw installation with a Torx T-15 driver
And so, you are done. Here is my finished product.

I think it looks and feels a lot better. Now I have to figure out what my next project will be for The Rock. Any suggestions?

Be safe.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Divided We Fall

Let me start by saying that I support and appreciate the hard work of some of the pro-gun groups working at the state and national level. I am also not very savvy when it comes to politics on any level. What I'm going to say will probably irritate some people, but I am entitled to my opinion. 

The other day I was listening to the news while driving home. I don't remember the exact story, but all I could think about was all the in-fighting among the Republican Party. I remember thinking, that if the party doesn't put aside their differences and come together, this nation is going to be lead down the socialist path for another 4 years. (I also remember thinking that if the Libertarians don't seize this opportunity, they won't stand a chance in 2016.) 

Back to the pro-gun groups. What I am seeing with these groups reminds me unfortunately of the Republican party in general. There is entirely too much distrust and finger pointing between some of these groups. If we don't come together, we will surely fail. We don't have to agree on every little piece of a bill, but I don't think we should be publicly bickering with one another. All that is going to do, in my mind, is make us look like we don't know what we're talking about in the eyes of the antis. It also won't help win over the fence-sitters, because from a distance, again, it looks like we don't know what we are talking about, and makes them wonder who they can believe.

Have you heard any bickering between the anti-gun groups? No, but I bet you have heard about how anti-gun groups are banding together, like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Mothers Demand Action did in December of last year. These groups aren't going away. They will sit back and watch us tear ourselves apart just waiting for the perfect time and place to strike, like the Democrats did in 2008. 

I'm probably being delusional here, but there should be a way for the groups to come together and agree on their approach to bills, especially if there are controversial parts to those bills. HB875, the Safe Carry Protection Act, is a bill currently in the Georgia General Assembly that would bring about a lot of good changes to Georgian's 2nd Amendment rights. The bickering point between at least two groups seems to be the commitment reporting portion of the bill. Well, needless to say, the two sides managed to totally bumfuddle me with their opinions of this section of the bill. I didn't know who to trust. One group made the section sound like it was the start of my rights eroding away. The other group made it sound like it was no big deal, as it was already a law, and this bill just added a time limit to the existing regulation. 

Well, I'm a busy man, working long hours. I don't have a lot of extra time to investigate who's right and who's wrong, especially since these bills can go through their process so quickly. I'm not going to start calling my state legislators about a bill if I don't have accurate information. That means the anti's have gotten the jump on me and everybody else that is still scratching their head.

Everybody reading this should be demanding these groups unite in their battle, or surely we will lose. This is my plea. 

Be safe.