Weekend funny.

When Jen and I woke up this morning, I said that breakfast sounded good. She agreed and we discussed the possibilities. We have eggs and sausage in the refrigerator, but that just sounded like too much work. There’s a McDonald’s around the corner, and that sounded like a far better proposition today. As we ate our breakfast sandwiches and hash browns, and sipped the lattes that I did make here, I noted an environmentally conscious depiction of Ronald McDonald on the back of my hash brown sleeve. He made me think of something else though…

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These guys have got to be related! :P

Derringers – Please Stop.

Alright, people. I really don’t want to get into a fight about this, but it’s a risk I’m going to have to take, and please don’t take this as an insult. I’ve tried to be nice about these things, but they are now driving me nuts. Go and look here. I’ll wait. It gets even worse when you add the word “cobra” to the same search. In fact, it even gets this ridiculous:

I don't remember making that...

What is that old saying? Photoshop is the highest form of flattery? I don’t know how I became the de facto derringer holster maker. I don’t want to be the de facto derringer holster maker. I should probably point this out as well before I go on this rant. Again, I’ll wait. Ready? On with the rant!

Anything you can do with a derringer, you can do better with a different gun. There. I said it. Usually people think they want a derringer until they learn the truth of that statement. There are a lot of folks that errantly think that a large hand gun will be awkwardly difficult to conceal, and will weigh them down. Most people are shocked at how big a gun they can easily wear with the right holster. Some think of a little two shooter as being the absolute most compact gun available. This may have been true at one point in time, but it very simply no longer is. These guns may be charming in their classic style, but they are not accurate shooters by any measure. Although derringers are an economical choice, there are other affordable guns out there. They very simply are not an ideal choice for any reason.

At least once, Tam quoted her “Shootin’ Buddy” as saying:

The less somebody knows about guns, the more they want a derringer.

Although I find this statement to be humorous, and I may have it engraved on a derringer one day, I don’t find it to be completely accurate. I would be far more apt to say that the less somebody knows about holsters, the more they want a derringer. And, that is no insult. Too often, ignorance is used as an insult when it should not be. Ignorance is merely a vacuum of education. I know of nothing more advantageous than well-directed ignorance. Frankly, it’s people that already know all the wrong stuff that you have to watch out for! No, when I’ve asked my derringer toting customers why they choose the derringer, more often than not it’s because they don’t feel like they can carry anything bigger than a derringer. This saddens me, because 99.99% of the time, it is patently false.

When I started making holsters as a hobby, I had friends and family ask if I would make holsters for them. One of Jennifer’s coworkers asked me to make a holster for his .38 Special Cobra. I was really excited to get to design and make a holster for a Colt Cobra revolver. But no. He sent his Cobra Derringer home with my wife for me to make a holster around. He described the format that he wanted in a holster. I sighed, I drew, I cut leather, I stitched and dyed, and delivered the brown and red thing that you saw in the Google searches linked above. This was something like the third holster I ever designed. I’ve had so many people from the internet contact me for a copy of this holster. At this point, I’ve learned so much about making holsters that this one makes me cringe. I could design a better, more useable, more concealable, more comfortable, and more easily accessible holster for the same gun in about two minutes while heavily sedated. Plus, two ammo loops? Seriously? If you’re really going to go to the trouble to carry a reload for your derringer, you should be carrying your spare ammo in strip loaders, not in leather loops. Then again, if you are carrying a gun, you should carry something more than a derringer, in my humble opinion.

My brother carries a full size 1911 and two ten-round magazines concealed by an untucked t-shirt. He’s 5’3″ and weighs about 140-lbs. No big deal. Sometimes he carries his 9mm XD when he wants to travel a little lighter. Jennifer and I went to a Halloween party this year and dressed ‘goth’. It was pretty fun. I wore tight leather pants and a fitted, sleeveless t-shirt. I carried my M&P45c in my tuckable rig, tucked in under said fitted t-shirt.

Bang bang!

The host of the party as well as several other guests were guessing (nearly taking bets) all night as to whether or not I was packing. Including a local cop who was a guest at the party! Frankly, I might have forgotten I was carrying had they not been constantly reminding me with their banter. I did reveal that I was carrying my M&P plus two magazines much to the shock and amazement of everyone there, who had all pretty well decided that it was impossible that I could have been armed. For size reference, I’m 5’6″ and weigh 145-lbs. My wife is 5’4″ and weighs about 120-lbs currently. In other words, she’s not big. Oh and, she’s cute and she dresses like a girl. Her daily carry is the mammoth FN FNP45 Tactical with two extra magazines.

Sci-Fi calls it a tactical "Wheaties Box."

That’s FORTY SIX ROUNDS of .45ACP that she has on her person, in case you don’t feel like doing the math yourself. It has a 5.5-inch barrel threaded for a can and is noticeably larger than a Government model 1911 in every dimension. If my wife can comfortably tote around that kind of firepower without being detected, I can put a gun on you. I don’t care who you are or what challenges your situation presents, I can hide a gun on you. I can hide a gun on you that will pack more than two shots of deadly force that will be comfortable to wear and easy to access if the need arises.

I’m not asking everyone to carry a gun the size of a toaster that’s threaded for a can and milled for a co-witnessing optic. Just carry something competent enough to give yourself a fighting chance! In the paragraphs above, I have shown three examples of not especially large people wearing full-size fighting pistols chambered in .45ACP with extra magazines full-time. If you see me clothed, I’m probably wearing my gun. I personally do not even own a compact gun. I would like to get myself some pocket pistols and snubby revolvers, but I just haven’t yet. Frankly, full-sized pistols and revolvers are far better research material for someone who designs and makes holsters. They’re more of a challenge and they stretch my skills. When I can hide N-frames and full frame pistols on you, the pocket guns are easy. But the point is, it’s easy to hide a gun that’s plenty more firepower than a two shooter.

So, you may ask why shouldn’t you carry a derringer if you want to? My friend and accomplished firearms instructor, Will, refers to these things as “a really loud pocket knife” since “if you are close enough to poke them, you’re close enough to shoot them.” This seems to match my personal experience with their accuracy, or as I like to say, if the muzzle is brushing the target, you’ve got about a 50-50 chance of hitting it. The gun I was referring to was the aforementioned Cobra .38 Special with the 2.75-inch barrels. The two barrels did not shoot to the same point of impact, for crying out loud! Take a look at a high quality snub-nosed revolver for contrast. With its 2.125-inch barrel, I can reliably hit a smaller passenger car at well over 500-yards with Jennifer’s S&W 640.

Yes, that's what I'm doing here.

You may ask what if money is an issue. What if you can’t afford the $750 MSRP Magnum snubby? Not everyone can afford that. I can appreciate that. Their model 442 has an MSRP of $300 less, and its aluminum frame is practically the same weight as the derringer (respectively 15oz vs. 14oz empty per each manufacturer). There are other, less expensive revolvers in the same format for even less money from Charter Arms, Taurus, and others, not to mention the new polymer/aluminum offerings from S&W and Ruger. Aside from these, there are too many guns to list in this write up that meet the bill for affordable protection. Keep an eye out at pawn shops and the used racks at gun stores.

What if you don’t like wheel guns? Great question! Please take a look at this very well made chart which illustrates to scale FORTY tiny pistols in five common centerfire calibers in addition to a J-frame revolver and a full size 1911 for comparison. Save it to your hard drive. Every time you hear someone saying that they’re thinking of getting a little gun, print it for them. Take a look at this:

Tiny weapons!

What you see here are three of my solid aluminum dummy guns. These are made dimensionally identical to the real thing. From left to right, you have Ruger’s LCP, Cobra “Big Bore” Derringer, and Rohrbaugh R9. Size difference? Maybe a hair. What do you think? With the gun in the middle, you get two shots of .38 special if you can manage to thumb cock the hammer and squeeze the stiff trigger before the bad guy makes you eat it. You’ve got seven shots of .380ACP in the Ruger. Even better than that, you get seven shots of Honest-to-God 9mm in the Rohrbaugh. The pistols recharge incredibly faster too. In the days that the Bersa Thunder was considered a small .380, I might have conceded that there was a place for a two-shooter. Not anymore. Now, the Rohrbaugh isn’t even so unique as there are new sub-compact 9mm pistols being released all the time.

What about the thickness of the guns? Does a .38 derringer have an advantage there? Let’s see…

The Ruger measures in at a svelte .81″ thick.

The 9mm Rohrbaugh measures a paltry .88″, shockingly enough.

The grip on the derringer is about 1-1/8″ thick. Even at its rear sight/barrel hinge, it measures a relatively portly .94-inch:

Going back to my beloved snubby:

Is this gun ever NOT dirty? No, it's Jenni's! :P

Even across the cylinder, the J-frame measures 1.3-inch. We all knew it would be wider than the derringer, but it’s not by much. Personally, the payoff in firepower, accuracy, and shootability is well worth the size difference to me. My point is that there are options. Every example you can come up with in which a derringer would be ideal, I can come up with another gun that would do the job that much better. Please don’t go armed with nothing but a derringer. At least, don’t let the excuse be that you don’t think you can carry anything else. A good holster can do things that seem downright miraculous.

Am I telling you not to get a derringer? Of course not! If you want a derringer, please get one for yourself. Just make sure it’s not your go to gun. Get a good holster for a good gun to protect yourself. I’d love to make you a holster, but if you use this advice to buy a good holster from someone else, I won’t have my feelings hurt either. Am I saying that there’s not a niche for derringers? Well, not exactly. In fact, I’ve often thought that maybe I should get a derringer and keep it loaded with shotshells to use as a snake gun at the farm. I may have just convinced myself to get a snubby instead!

Damnit, Tam!

So almost a month ago, Tam did her tab clearing thing again and included a link to this thread on the ifish forum. She warns us that it is a time sink, and she is not exaggerating in the least. I highly recommend this content! I let FoxVox read the whole 28 pages, or some sixteen-hundred posts, to me over the course of a week, as I worked on holsters. I laughed, I cried, The hair stood up on my neck more than once, and I was thoroughly entertained. I also picked up a new minor hobby.  Even though I don’t fish, I registered as a user on their forum because of that thread alone.

You know how you get your major hobbies that are going to demand a lot of investment on your part? If you are coming to this little corner of the interwebtron, shooting sports would be a good example. If you have any less than $10,000.00 invested in your shooting gear, you aren’t done yet. Can you ever actually get too much range time or too much training? I’ve had people invite me to go golfing before, and had to tell them that I can’t afford two major hobbies. It simply demands too much money and too much time for it to be feasible to have more than one hobby in this class. I don’t give my guns the attention they deserve already. There’s no reason to any further distract from them.  There are tons of hobbies like this, and fishing is another great example.

Minor hobbies on the other hand are more care free. They don’t take the same time dedication or monetary investment. This would be like my non-gunny friends who enjoy going to the range with me on occasion and possibly renting a gun at the range counter. Theirs is a casual affair with firearms, and they are happy if they put any holes in paper at all. (I couldn’t care less whether they can hit the broad side of a barn just as long as they handle the gun safely.) Depending on who you are, this could be anything from playing half-court basketball with a neighbor in the park to playing Farmville, or any other thing that you enjoy that doesn’t take a major commitment. Some of these may eventually develop into a major hobby, or they may cease to be fun and become abandoned for more important or more entertaining things.

The above linked forum thread wound up talking about cryptozoology as a discussion about woods and weirdness inevitably would, and links were provided to other websites. And friends, my new minor hobby is Bigfoot. I’m not saying that I actually believe that there’s a North American Great Woods Ape running around out there. I’m more like the atheist attending church for the less obvious values, like enjoying the music and fellowship. Only in my case, I’m finding the entertainment in Sasquatch. Some of the witness reports are spooky and others are exciting. The classifications and parameters that they’ve defined for this elusive animal are wholly entertaining.

For anyone who does believe in Bigfoot, I don’t mean to belittle or patronize in the least. On the contrary, the arguments and evidence are pretty darned convincing, and that’s part of the appeal to me. Hop over to the Bigfoot Field Research Organization and read some of the witness reports. As a video example:

The above linked video is just a tiny sample of the Patterson video argument, and it is a darned good one.  Do a Google search for more.  I really don’t see any way that it could possibly be a guy in a suit or that it could be a doctored film.  I’m convinced that this is either the most detailed and complicated hoax I’ve ever seen or it’s the real thing.  I’m just not personally ready to make that determination yet.  A giant, bipedal primate living in the woods? Surely not on the continent that brought us the bison, the star-nosed mole and the opossum! Speaking of which, if our own little nocturnal marsupial was a lot smarter, a lot more shy (almost exclusively stuck to the deepest woods), and far fewer in total population, we might have very little evidence that they even exist! Why, they could be on top of ten feet tall and people might still think they were mythical. It’s the combination between the plausibility and excessive inconcievability that makes it such a great fantasy. No, I’m not jumping on the bandwagon with the Bigfoot believers just yet, but I wouldn’t be too terribly shocked to bump into him in the woods one day. Does that make me more like a church-going agnostic? If the BFRO people hold an expedition that’s convenient for me to attend, I might just give it a go. Regardless of the reasoning, I do enjoy being in the woods!

A Couple of Good Covers

Since I am now working from home, by myself, all alone… And, being the hyper social person that I am, it gets a little quiet for my taste from time to time. As such, I’ve set myself up with a decent little stereo in my studio (which I will have to dedicate another blog entry to), and I plug the sound from my laptop into my stereo receiver. With this setup, I can listen to the radio, listen to CDs, have listen to gun blogs and forums via text-to-speech, and even pipe in some music from YouTube or Pandora. It keeps me pretty well contented while I work.

Without digging it up in my archives, I’m pretty certain that I’ve posted some covers done by Scala and Kolacny Brothers before. Anyway, in my YouTube wandering today, seeking out lovely background noise to my working, I ran across a couple of good covers from them. I’ve been really impressed with their ‘covers’ which are less cover and more remake. They have a great knack of performing a pop culture hit in a way that is both highly respectful of the original and a unique, original, and artistic reinterpretation. Frankly, I’m surprised that there are so few choirs that do this sort of work. Perhaps it’s the very fact that they do such a fantastic job of it, more to the point.

Here’s a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Nirvana’s “Lithium” that I had to tweet this morning:

Here’s their version of “Beautiful People.” Please keep in mind that they’ve followed Marilyn Manson’s lyrics which aren’t usually safe for work.

Enjoy!

Sewing Machine Update

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I’m probably going to need to get a sewing machine for my holster work. If I can simplify my stitching setup, I’ll be able to speed production for a couple of reasons: Hand stitching holsters is time-consuming and it’s very hard work. Even if I could speed production in hand stitching, I’d get one heck of a case of tendinitis, which would halt production altogether. I need a machine. So, I set out to do some homework, and have come to several, unfortunate truths.

A lot of people doing the kind of work that I’m doing are using vintage machines. Some of the old industrials are unparalleled beasts. The biggest problem is that they are very expensive, and will probably need work and parts to be right. Plus, they are huge and heavy. I simply don’t have the space or money for such a thing, and I need to purchase something that I can immediately put into service, not something that I’d have to tinker with or find somebody else to work on. I’m not into the idea of picking up a project that will eventually lead to production after much investment and much more, subsequent investment.

So, I looked at some new machines. There are several sewing machine shops in town. The heaviest machine that Bernina makes is the 950 Industrial. This is not a leather machine. From what I can tell, it is a really heavy-duty dressmaker. I believe that it would do leather garments quite beautifully, and it shouldn’t have much trouble doing upholstery grade leather. The Bernina reps seemed to believe that it would work for me, until I brought some of my material to demo at the store. Then, they told me that it would not work for that. I visited the Pfaff store, and was pointed to the Grand Quilter. Once again, when I produced sample leather, the story changed. I’m sure that it really is a grand quilter, but it is not a leather machine.

Then, I visited a less-retail store called Huey’s. The people there are friendly and knowledgeable. The first machine they pointed me to was the Juki DNU-1541. This was by far, the most promising machine I had looked at. They had a demo machine that they allowed me to play with. It is tough, and it is smooth. It will sew through about 3/8-inch of leather, which is honestly fine for most of what I do. Then, they broke the machine sewing through my leather. With much tinkering and tuning, they were able to get it to reliably stitch through two layers of my leather, but it was working too hard on it. Sadly, this machine will not work, either. The next machine they pointed me at is about three times as much money. I just can’t justify that right now.

One oddball machine that I stumbled across early in this search is the Tippmann Boss. This is a manually-operated stitcher that operates by a hand-lever like a casino machine. I kind of wrote off this machine early on, thinking that I could get a powered unit for the same price. After everything that I’ve looked at, this is starting to look like a far more valid option. I might ask Huey’s about some of the heavier Jukis, but this is currently on my mind:

I could work with that. At a svelt 23-lbs, and with its compact nature, it would fit my current lifestyle better than a powered machine. It would achieve what I’m currently needing, and for far less money. With the way it would accelerate production, it shouldn’t take long to pay for itself, and possibly a more serious machine later on! Perhaps I’ll wind up buying something like the Bernina or Juki for lighter work, and dedicate the Boss to the heavier insanity that I like to tackle from time to time… I’d still have to figure out some way to come up with the scratch in the first place…

Evyl – Search Fun – Link Rich

Both of you have read my recent post, in which I talked about my tied top three search terms. In the same vein, I decided to have a little search engine fun. I know that when I do a Google or Yahoo! search for ‘evyl robot’, it very reliably leads to me. Whether that’s my current blog, my old blog, where I’ve commented on other people’s blogs or interwebtron forum thingies, etc. Anyway, I got curious about searching for ‘evyl’ and thought I’d give it a whirl. As it turns out, I’m not nearly as original as I thought! In a Yahoo! search for ‘evyl’, I don’t even make the first page of results! Rather, I’m on the fifth hit on the third page of search results, bested by the likes of Evyl Clothing Company (NSFW and under construction), Emerald Valley Youth Lacrosse (LOL!), a couple of illustrious myspace profiles, blogs I’ve never heard of, and some other random stuff.

The Google search for ‘evyl’ is a little less demoralizing to me, as I come in solidly at the sixth hit on the first page. I’m right underneath Dr. Evyl’s Underground Lair 3.0 (under construction), From Evyl With Love (a vulgar and occasional blogger), one post by the aforementioned From Evyl which seems to be his contribution to some online rolling story, and then two links to Mystress Lady Evyl’s website and blog. Apparently, she does a lot of workshops and sells a lot of paraphernalia related to BDSM and… …how shall we say… …toys.

So, it seems that I’ve got my work cut out for me. I have to make my interwebtron presence more prevalent than online church magazines, websites under construction, and children’s sports teams. I’d like to thank both of my readers for sticking with me, because I couldn’t have made it this far without you! Now, I look to the future!

Search Terms – Little Holsters, Apparently

In the analytics service that I use on my blog, it tracks keywords that people have used to find my blog in search engines. I just brought up my cumulative results since I started keeping track, just for funsies. The results are fascinating. In a 3-way tie for the most prolific search terms:

evyl robot
cobra derringer holster
j frame holster

I’m actually pretty relieved that so many people who found me in a search engine actually meant to do just that. As for the other two, I think it’s really telling that there’s so much interest in these particular holsters. I suppose I understand the interest in J frame holsters, as the S&W J frame is so incredibly prevalent for personal defense. Add to that the fact that a Taurus snubby will fit in a J frame holster as if it was made for it. On a first impulse, I would think that people would be wanting 1911 holsters more than anything else. Then again, 1911 holsters aren’t exactly difficult to come by. I’m going to have to get one of those Cobra Derringers so I can start making more holsters for them. (Now for some eye candy!) This one little holster has generated a staggering amount of attention, and I know I could make a far better one at this point:

And then, there are the J frame holsters that I’ve done. I love J frame holsters! The very platform is so solid and compact that it is a great carry piece, and the right holster makes carry options virtually limitless! Here’s the original purple cross-draw that my wife carried for so long, and her beloved ‘pinky’ that replaced it:

And then, there’s the deep-cover semi-SOB belt holsters in red and ‘fabulage’. These have been a huge hit as well!

The bottom line is this: I need to get a Cobra Derringer and I need to focus more of my time developing holsters for it and for S&W J frames.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I was looking at my stats, and someone wandered onto my blog looking for ‘spanking machine’ in a search engine. There are some sick puppies out there in cyberspace. Whoever that was, I hope they find what they are looking for and don’t hurt anyone else in the process. *shudder*