Four Months Without A Gun

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Due to a snafu with my mailing address, I *finally* received my Florida CCW today, after applying for it back in January of this year. The last time I legally carried a firearm for self-defense was December 19, 2014, and going so long without a CCW gun has taught me a few lessons…

  1. Naples is a very safe city. Not safe enough that I’m comfortable without a gun near me, though.
  2. A gun in my car is NOT near enough.
  3. A flashlight and awareness are very nice tools for self-protection. A flashlight, awareness and a CZ P07 is MUCH better.
  4. You get used to not carrying a gun. That’s not a good thing. Now I need to re-learn daily carry, and as I do so, I’ll update things, as I think it will give me a fresh perspective on the armed lifestyle.

Oh, and things are calming down at work after our opening (I have a day off this week! Yay!) so expect more content as well.

The police are the “only ones” qualified to carry a gun…

Number of guns I’ve left in a public restroom this year: Zero.
Number of guns the D.C. Capitol Police have left in a public restroom this year: Three (so far).

When a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s security detail left his Glock and magazine stuffed in the toilet seat cover holder of a Capitol Visitor Center bathroom stall, a CVC worker found the gun, according to a source familiar with the Jan. 29 incident and two other disturbing instances when Capitol Police left loaded firearms in problematic places.

A 7- or 8-year-old child visiting the Capitol with his parents found the next loaded Glock lost by a dignitary protection officer, according to the source. A member of the security detail for John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, allegedly left the firearm in the bathroom of the Speaker’s Suite on March 24.

A third Glock was found the night of April 16 by a janitor cleaning the Capitol Police headquarters building on D Street NE. The weapon was left in plain sight, sparking additional concern about the department charged with protecting one of the world’s most important and frequently visited complexes.

This country is in the very best of hands.

On Red Dots On Glocks

Based on my limited experience with the suckers, I’ve found that if it’s properly co-witnessed with the iron sights, a red dot is essentially just a really big, easily viewable fiber optic front sight. The body index skills you already have and the sight alignment skills you already know will work in 95% of the situations you’ll face. Red dots shine (pun intended) when there’s a 30 yard shot or longer to be made, then they really, really help. They’re not a magic wand that allows you to make a shot anywhere, anytime, but they definitely make your pistol perform just a little bit better at a time when you may need it the most.

The Peephole Gets A 21st Century Upgrade

I like this little gadget. It’s small, unobtrusive and gives you a record of who knocked on your front door.

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When someone knocks, the device wakes up, takes a picture and reconnects to your Wi-Fi network. It then sends a picture and a timestamp to Peeple’s servers. And you finally receive a push notification on your phone to check out who is at the door. Because the device only needs to wake up when someone is knocking, the battery is supposed to last six months on a single charge.

Between this and the wide variety of inexpensive alarm systems out there, there’s really no reason NOT to have an alarm system these days. Look, we talk about dogs, safes, signs and firepower all we want, but the fact of the matter is, nothing protects your home from fire or other disasters while you’re away: Why not add an alarm system to give your home a fighting chance while you’re not there?

The current revolution in personal empowerment that allows us to shop for anything we want when we want to, read the news we want when we want to and protect ourselves outside the home without a cop also allows us to easily protect our homes when we’re not there.

Some Quick Thoughts On Open Carry

rp_open_carry_bg-349x5001.jpgYou don’t realize how much you miss open carry until you don’t have it. The “brandishing” laws in Florida are actually pretty good, but still, I’d much prefer to not worry at all about showing my gun inadvertently.

I carried openly on occasion in Arizona because A) I could B) it was quasi-normal to do so there. When I went to 2nd Amendment rallies at the state capitol in downtown Phoenix, I carried discretely, because the derp was mighty strong at those events (M4gery with “flare launcher”, anyone?) and such things don’t make OC “normal”. I’m not open carrying to make an in-your-face statement because I am not an in-your-face kind of guy. I’m Canadian, so my default is going to be “nice” (unless someone cross-checks me into the boards, at which point all bets are off and the gloves get dropped).

I digress.

What makes OC “normal” is making it a normal part of your life and acting normally when doing so. The key to this is, of course, defining “normal”, and the fact is, most people don’t have wardrobes that consist of nothing but Kryptec and MOLON LABE t-shirts. If you want to make open carry a usual thing, you can’t be unusual while open-carrying.

It’s no big deal. It’s just your gun.

Your Viewpoint Determines Your Vision

Stephen King asks three questions which provide us with an interesting peek into the mind of an anti-gun activist, (via Kathy Jackson).

“I guess the question is, how paranoid do you want to be? How many guns does it take to make you feel safe? And how do you simultaneously keep them loaded and close at hand, but still out of reach of your inquisitive children or grandchildren?”

Let’s address those three questions individually.

“How paranoid do you want to be?”
This question assumes that deciding to be your own first responder is a paranoid act, as if having a fire extinguisher means you’re convinced there’s an arsonist on the loose or having a first aid kit means you’re surrounded by clumsy oafs who constantly injure themselves.

Actually, as I have two young sons, that last sentence is, in truth, correct …

I digress.

It’s not a question of being paranoid, because paranoia is by definition based on unreasonable fears, and wanting to defend your loved ones from harm is an entirely reasonable desire that inhabits the entire animal kingdom. Every critter in the forest defends what’s important to them, why should mankind be any different?

It’s important to note here that acknowledging the existence of tigers in the forest does not detract from the beauty of the forest itself. I don’t consider my life as an armed individual to be any less rewarding or fulfilling than my unarmed life. If anything, I feel more empowered because I know for certain I can effectively deal with whatever life can throw at me.

It’s not paranoia that drives me, Mr. King, it’s empowerment.

How many guns does it take to make you feel safe?
That one’s easy: How many guns? However many it takes to stop a threat to myself or my loved ones. The actual number of guns involved will vary from time to time and from person to person. For me, that number is four: A gun on my person, a gun near me when I’m outside of the house that is more powerful than the gun on my person, a gun near me in the home, and a gun in my home that is more powerful than the other home gun.

YMMV.

How do you simultaneously keep them loaded and close at hand, but still out of reach of your inquisitive children or grandchildren?
There are two ways I accomplish the first part of that question. The first way is to keep a gun on my person wherever and whenever I can, including when I’m relaxing around the house. If the safest and quickest way to store a gun when I’m outside the house is on my person, it makes sense that the safest and easiest way to store a gun inside the house is also on my person.

Duh.

Secondly, I am a BIG proponent of the easy-access gun safe for home defense pistols. We did a simple test over at Teamgunblogger that showed that getting a gun out of a safe was just as easy and just as fast as finding one in your sock drawer, so I’m pretty confident in both the security of my guns and the security of my house.

To answer the second part of that question, I deal with the inquisitive nature of children in my life by reducing the allure of guns. If guns are commonplace and a part of your everyday life, they aren’t as a unusual or seen as the “forbidden fruit”. My kids know (and practice) the guidelines laid down in the NRA’s “Eddie The Eagle” program, and I whole-hearted recommend it as a starting point for teaching gun safety to children.

Mr. King’s questions are valid and right, from his point of view. It’s a point of view that is not shared by millions and millions of other people, but it is nevertheless a point of view that is commonplace and, in some ways, informative, because it shows the underlying fears that anti-gun activists have. They KNOW the world is “unsafe”, they just can’t put their finger on “why”, so they blame the instruments of violence rather than the instigators of violence. It’s a beguiling intellectual shortcut to solving the problem of violence, but it’s a shortcut that leads to a dead-end: Even if you reduce the instruments of violence down to man’s most basic tools, the knife and blunt instrument, the violence still remains.

The problem isn’t what’s in a man’s hand, the problem is in his heart. Banning or restricting what  man can use to defend lives will never, ever change his heart.

Running on past promises

The rollout of the Glock 43 has highlighted something interesting in the gun world, the ongoing legend of Glock reliability.

First, a word about brand loyalty (or as some call it, being a fanboy).

I’m an unabashed Apple Fanboy. I don’t just drink the Apple Koolaid, I snort the raw powder (it’s faster that way). In 1988, the user interface of the Mac operating was a wonder to behold: Nothing else existed like that UI at the time, and it was another five years before Windows even approached the same ease of use with Windows 3.1.1. Today, though, to be honest, while the iOS interface is good, I’m really intrigued by the Windows Phone UI more than I am iOS.

In other words, over the last 35+ years, through innovation and experimentation, the other brands in the marketplace have caught up (and maybe even surpassed) the brand leader. Even more recently, Dell Computers absolutely dominated the market by creating a supply chain that allowed them to build premium computers for a discount price. However, once the other manufacturers out there figured out how to build a similar supply chain, Dell’s market advantage withered away, and they became just another computer manufacturer.

In 1988, the reliability of the Glock was a wonder to behold, it truly was earth-shattering/ground-breaking/insert metaphor here. But just like the Mac/Windows race, maybe it’s time to look at things with fresh eyes. Have the other companies out there figured out how to build a gun that is just as reliable as a Glock? I dunno.

Is it still true in 2015 that Glocks are head-and-shoulders reliable above everyone else, or has everybody and their dog caught up with Glock in the past 35+ years? That’s an entire generation of gun owners who have grown up with the Glock: Can truly say that NONE of those people have figured out a way to surpass the Glock on reliablity, or do we want to switch the dogma of the 1911 for the dogma of the Glock?

Now here’s where some might say “Ah-ha, you’re a known CZ fanboy!” and well, yes, I am. I also know the limits of CZ’s. I wouldn’t recommend one as a daily carry gun because they’re heavier and wider than similar guns. I still carry my P07 (it’s on my hip as I type this), but it’s not my “go-to” recommendation for most gun owners. Now, do CZ’s make a great competition gun? Oh yeah. Would I recommend my beloved Macs to someone setting up an enterprise-level retail environment? Oh no. I know the limitations of my manias of choice, and live within them.

Bottom line is, if your gun passes a 2000 round challenge, carry it with confidence. Anything else is just arguing Coke vs. Pepsi.

Gaston Glock, Steve Jobs

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So Glock is coming out with a gun that almost everyone else has had for at least three years now.

Pardon my yawn.

Glock reminds me of where Apple is right now. Did they do some tremendous work in UI, design and integration to give us things that we didn’t know we needed like the Glock 17/iPod?

Yes.

Have they built upon that success by expanding their product line into other areas of the market like the iPhone/iPad and the 26/34?

Yes.

Have they done anything recently that shows they’re willing to break some eggs and create new products that really shake up our lives?

Not really.

Glock is going to sell a metric buttload of these guns, just like Apple still sells a metric buttload of phones. Both are going to be blindsided by The Next Big Thing.

Update: Found this on the Facebook page for The Shooter’s Mindset.

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So yeah, this is happening, and with only a $580 MSRP. Wow, that’s only ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS MORE than the equivalent M&P. Wowza.

Look, I’m an unabashed Apple fanboy, so I get the idea of premium brands, but is there really $130 worth of difference between this and a Shield?