Thoughts on the weekend

There’s a vicious rumor that we have bones to support our structure and bind our muscles.nbsp; We actually have bones so your pocket knife won’t go clear through your finger when you slip and stab it. The bone in my index finger performed this task quite well on Saturday. I wish my quarry would ever leave a blood trail like I did through the house. This would make life simpler. Surprisingly, the wound is now closed. There’s some bruising, but it looks pretty good.

Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Schutenfest 2014 – Things Learned


Haphazardly throwing meat on fire will get the job done, but properly rubbing it and painstakingly monitoring temperatures produces better results. I think we proved this with pork ribs, beef brisket, and even squirrel.


It’s always a good time for recreational archery, and a worn out archery target is not at all useless. Please see below.

You know the party has warmed up when the swords come out.

It’s awful fun to hack up a used up archery target with a Scottish claymore.

Sitting by the smoker all day is simultaneously relaxing and exhausting.


No matter how well organized you think you are, you will forget something. Targets, tripods, the other camera, revolvers…

Shooting is a depreciable skill, and I personally am not putting in nearly enough trigger time lately.

Rifles should always outnumber people 2:1 in any civilized gathering. A higher concentration of them is even better.


With many thousands of dollars worth of hardware laying about, sometimes it’s the $4 vinyl decal that steals the show.


Trophies make good targets.


Pulling out a life sized mannequin and placing her downrange will excite a line of shooters the same way the ice cream truck does kids in the park.

And then, a half pound of Tannerite will blow her into more pieces than you can count.


If you want someone to try your gun, seize the opportunity to shove it into their hand along with ammo at the first opportunity.

There’s no better way to wear yourself into exhaustion than a day at the range.


A windy night will do remarkable things to a 40-foot tarp left out.

There’s a lot of fun to be had even on the clean up day.

Often, a $200 rifle is just as much fun as a $2,000 rifle, even when each of them was fully worth the respective purchase price. You’ll probably want at least one of each.

Make sure you have enough charged batteries for all the cameras you might want to run.

You can in fact have too many tripods. This is a relieving, good problem to have.

A home made long bow with a ~40-lb draw weight will launch an arrow at over 100fps and least 100-yards, although the arrow is nearly impossible to track with a camera.

A pound of Tannerite will reduce 120 eggs to a fine layer of goo and tiny shell fragments faster than you can say, “Woah!” Pics and stuff forthcoming.

Overall lessons from the weekend:

When the event is over, you can simultaneously be relieved to get back to normal life and saddened that it couldn’t last longer.

The third weekend in March is a less than ideal calendar date for an event like this.

Sporting clays apparently reproduce. As long as we keep hosting this event, I’m confident I’ll never have to buy another box of the things. Then again, it’s hard to have too many.

There’s no way to accurately guess how much food will be needed in advance, but we got pretty close this time.

I should already know by now, but a gray tarp would be better to photograph and take video on than a blue one.

As wonderful as it is to see the friends who came, and as grateful as you can be for their attendance, there’s always room to miss the ones who couldn’t make it.


There are standard items that I keep in the back of whatever car I have. Among these items you will find bottled water, a knife of some kind, first aid kit, emergency blankets, and some basic tools. Many of my normal friends think I’m weird because in the trunk of the Tactical Assault Compact Sedan resides one of these:

Folding shovel 002

“Why in the world do you keep a shovel in your trunk?” they ask me, in much the same way they ask, “Why on earth do you always have a knife in your pocket?” when they need something cut or “Why do you carry a flashlight with you?” when the power goes out. These seem like rhetorical questions to me. “Why” indeed…


I’m not the only one who sees these as essential gear. When we got everyone together for COGS 2013, it was cold and drizzly. On Saturday, some of our guests asked if they could start a fire behind the firing line. Not only did I endorse such actions, I pulled my trencher out of the trunk and put it to use. And, another one was produced from another trunk. With two people running these bad boys, you can have a nice sized fire pit in no time flat. When Jennifer and I go camping, we’ll often forget some piece of gear. We have left behind our air mattress or pillows, or had to run to town to grab a case of bottled water. But, the folding shovel is always in the car. There’s far more that you can do with these things than dig fire pits though. It is pretty well accepted that the U.S. G.I. E-tool makes a great weapon in hand-to-hand combat.


Indeed, with two sharpened edges on one side and two serrated edges on the other, not only will they handily cut through soil and hack through branches, they would be better than harsh words in a self-defense situation. Granted, if I was rushed by a dangerous animal in the woods, I’d rather drop the shovel and draw my .45, but failing that, I’d be glad for the shovel! A friend described to me how to use one of these as a stool to sit over a hole to poop in the woods. I couldn’t find a good diagram on how to work this, so I drew this crude* comic for an illustration:

e-tool poop stool

These things are compact. They will fit in the spare tire well with your spare, or in your jack storage. In a standard cab pickup, they take up virtually no space behind or under the seat. Currently, we only have the one car, but when we add a second and then a third when Teen Bot starts driving, they’ll get their own e-tools shortly after acquisition. Now, when anyone raises an eyebrow as to why I should have one of these in the trunk, my standard response is to ask them why they don’t have one in their car!

*Pun totally intended. I used to get in trouble for drawing stuff like this in school. Please pardon my crappy artwork. I know it kind of stinks. 😛

Dual Wielding Leathermans. Leathermen?

One evening this weekend, Jennifer and I were sitting around with good friends when Kelly noticed two metal clips protruding from one of my pockets.

“Michael,” he said, “are you dual wielding Leathermans?”

“I suppose I am,” I chuckled, “there’s a story about that and I’ll share it with you in a moment.”

Well, inevitable tangents happened, and ultimately I did not explain to Kelly why I had two Leatherman pocket tools in my pocket. But, that’s what the internet is for, am I right? This last Christmas, my father-in-law gave me a Leatherman Sidekick.


This was a nice little multitool with pliers, a locking straight-edge knife blade and locking wood saw blade, as well as a pair of screwdrivers, can/bottle opener, file/small screwdriver, small serrated blade, and a fold-away lanyard loop. This very quickly became my go-to pocket tool, displacing one of my pocket knives as well as the screwdriver set and P38 can opener that had previously lived in my pockets. It went everywhere with me until it disappeared one day. After I had not found it for a couple weeks, I decided to see what was in stock at the local Ace Westlake Hardware store. I had a $5 coupon to the store, so I dropped in to check out their inventory. I wound up purchasing a Leatherman Wingman that was on sale. This unit was very similar to the lost Sidekick.


The two units are built on the same frame, with the same pliers and screwdrivers. The blade on the latter is partially serrated, and it has a pair of spring operated scissors instead of the saw blade. The bottle/can opener and the file are common between the two models, but where the Sidekick has a serrated knife blade, the Wingman has a ‘package opener’ which consists of a protuberance with an inward facing chisel point for cutting tape and straps without being an actual knife blade. I mused to Jennifer that it would be nice to have a unit with the three knife blades, as each one fills a bit of a niche. So, although the replacement was a little different, I began to enjoy having it around; and then of course, you know what happens when you replace something that you have lost.

03 Sidekick and Wingman

Having the two side-by-side has been interesting.


The differences were few but significant.

05 differences

Of course, I was reminded of my earlier conversation with Jenni in which I said that I’d like to have all three knife blades in one unit. I noted that the leftover parts would make a unit that didn’t have a knife blade in it at all but would still have a handful of very useful tools. Apparently, it was time to void some warranties. I took out my torx driver and started swapping parts. The saw blade where the knife belongs functions nearly as though it was meant to be there. The lock doesn’t function quite as intended, but I don’t feel like a lock is necessary on a saw blade anyway. The knife blade where the saw belongs however… it bolted in, and would lock open, but it would not close completely into the handle.

06 blade gap

It turns out that the blade stop was bottoming out shallower on this side of the unit than the one where the knife blade is intended to go, and it fit like this:

07 blade stop issue

instead of the way it works in factory format like this:

08 stock blade stop

So, I put a cutting wheel on my little Black & Decker Wizard and ground away a tiny bit of the pocket bottom, like so:

09 backstop mod

This allowed the blade to sit a little deeper in the pocket, while still retaining the function of the blade stop.

10 mod fit

And, that made it so that the blade closes as though the factory intended for it to be there.

11 blade fit illustration

Once I had reassembled the cases, they don’t look like they have been tampered with at a glance.

12 Sideman and Wingkick

I placed the partial serrated blade for a right thumb open and the straight edge as a lefty opener. I initially had an excuse for this decision, but it escapes me now, so it may have not been as important as it seemed at the time.

33 dual blades

So, one of these now has an excess blade and the other has no knife blade at all. If I’m going into a place that disallows knives, I can very honestly claim that it is not at all a knife, and make a strong argument for keeping my multitool on me.

35 modded Leathermans

New York

I know among my readers that I’m preaching to the choir with this one, but I just couldn’t let it go. The Columbus Dispatch brings us this delightful story of a Bible college student who gets harassed by New York’s finest over their unclear knife laws.* As facepalm inducing as the story itself is, the comment section is even better. Are all New Yorkers assholes, or just the ones who commented in this thread? Comments like this one deeply concern me:

Agreed that the police were overzealous. Let’s remember though, that this kid was carrying not one, but two knives. Obviously he didn’t carry them on the plane. But he felt the need to pack them both and carry them both on the streets of NYC. There is something going on in this kid’s head that he isn’t being completely honest about.

Emphasis mine. Wait. What? You see, different knives have different characteristics and therefore different useful applications. The fixed blade knife in the kid’s backpack was for carving. The folder in his pocket was for general utility. At any given time, I’ve got at least two knives on me, and often more like four or five. Guess how many knife fights I’ve been in? If you guessed zero, you win. And, that’s not the only concerning comment.

The gravity knife rule has its very specific reasons for existing here and that’s not for you as visitors to our community to judge.

Quit shaking that finger at me! There’s this thing called a ‘First Amendment’ that guarantees that I can say whatever I want regardless of whether you like it or not. Besides that, the very specific reasons for the gravity knife rule is so the police can control the populace, you sheep!

“NYC is an idiotic city, not deserving of my tourism dollars. Anyone who supports this lunacy deserves to live there. Stupid is stupid. I’ll keep my clip knife and my .40.” Oh you sound very intelligent, JD Packin. Dinner must be fun in your household. But what do you do with your grenade launcher and samurai sword?

Wow. Just wow. So, this guy has made an assumption that he’s interacting with a dumb country bumpkin or possibly a mall ninja because the other party chooses to stay out of a place that disallows certain otherwise legal inanimate objects? Perhaps JD simply doesn’t wish to be presumed as a common criminal?

Please, hayseeds, if this story is leading you to boycott New York, by all means do so. They don’t want your large, doughy selves clogging up the sidewalk in front of the Times Square Olive Garden.

Hayseed? Is that what you call us out here in flyover country? That’s probably the funniest pejorative I’ve heard. It’s also pretty funny that you think that we all eat poorly. You’re making yourself look bad there. The best comment in the thread though, I have saved for last. I have posted it in its entirety below, chopped up to add my own commentary. A user who calls himself Laughing At You Not With You (tklawson) writes:

It’s very simple, George. Carrying knives is illegal in NYC, and if you are carrying one, then YOU ARE a thug and a criminal, as this thug, Clayton Baltzer, found out.

You know, there is codified law and common law. When the two don’t align properly, you make criminals out of good people. Using this fact to justify calling this kid a ‘thug’ is just disingenuous. The fact that I am a law-abiding citizen wearing a fully loaded .45 caliber pistol with no external safety on my hip in addition to two “gravity” knives, and yet crossing a single one of numerous specific borders within the United States would make me a felon – that fact is sick and wrong. The young man who was arrested in the story may have been a criminal by code, but the law makers are the moral criminals.

Please keep your Hayseed chewing self out of New York, as we do not want you here.

I’m not sure I would piss on NYC if it was on fire.

We have better things to do than complain about the laws in Columbus…

Again, freedom of speech.

…but evidently, you seem to have plenty of time on your hands to complain about our laws and make broad generalizations, like that we are all a bunch of freedom hating liberals.

Which sadly seems to be true with rare exception. Thanks for enforcing the stereotypes.

Have you ever been to NYC?

I know he’s not addressing me personally, but I’ve never been to New York State even.

There is absolutely NO REASON for anyone to carry one, let alone two knives around on the subway system.

Wait. It’s necessary to have a reason to carry an inanimate object? This deeply troubles me that in Free America there are individuals that feel like I should have to justify my non-threatening actions and decisions. I’ve heard rumors of people in my community paying up to $1,500.00 for seats at basketball games. Although I personally find that to be ridiculous and wasteful, I also don’t believe those people should have to justify that waste to me. Can you hurt someone with a knife? Of course! Please don’t presume that I am going to hurt someone with a knife unless you outlaw all blunt objects too. And dogs over a certain size. Or perhaps, we could be treated like adults instead?

It’s ridiculous to try and rationalize this young man’s behavior.

Don’t need to. He didn’t do anything wrong.

NYC is not a boy scout camp.

??? There are many utility applications for a knife in everyday life if you never go camping. This statement is just confusing.

People do not pitch their tents in Times Square and build a campfire roasting marshmallows and singing kumbaya.

Um… well… actually… I guess you live under a rock in NYC?

This is a city where people live and work…

More or less.

…and laws like this are created to keep kids from vandalizing our subway cars using, get this: pocket knives to carve grafitti into the walls.

Again, you presume the presence of a knife to be prima facie evidence of intent to vandalize. What’s even sillier about your assertion is that you’re saying a screwdriver, can opener, or even Grandpa’s Buck knife aren’t as suitable tools for said vandalism as a “gravity” knife. *Scratches head* Why not simply outlaw vandalism and call it a day? Oh wait…

So please, respect our town, and if you can’t do that, stay on the farm.

I do not live on a farm FYI, but I have absolutely no respect for NYC whatsoever and will not darken it with my presence unless and until it respects the individual’s right to individuality. I mourn the fact that such places do even exist in my beloved United States of America. Indeed, there are many places in the world, inside and outside our national borders that I would otherwise love to visit but for the powers that be placing little or no value in the individual. I will not be shamed for my stand on such issues. This proud nation was not founded on principles of limiting what people may or may not own or transport. That is not freedom or liberty. Those who would trade their liberty for safety deserve neither. Congratulations, people of New York. You get what you deserve.

*The term “gravity knife” is such a straw man. It is no more useful or specific than the term “assault rifle”.

A Guy With Two Knives

So, Og wants to see the knives we carry all the time. Here are mine:

2011-09-21 13.42.26
On my right side I carry a Ka-Bar 4058. It has a D2 blade mounted to a titanium handle with a liner lock. This one is my beater knife, taking on boxes and twigs, fingernail grime, and pretty much all of my daily knife tasks. That D2 is some seriously tough steel!

2011-09-21 13.42.40
On my left I carry a Kershaw 1660TIZDP. It’s nearly a clone of the standard Ken Onion Leek with the differences being that it has a ZDP189 blade mounted in a Titanium handle with a frame lock like the standard Leek. This one stays deathly sharp and doesn’t see the abuse that the Ka-Bar does. The ZDP189 has such a hard inner core that it tends to be a little on the brittle side. I actually had to send the first one back to Kershaw because about 1/4″ inexplicably snapped off the tip of the blade.

Of course both knives sport thumb studs and pocket clips, just as you would imagine. I usually don’t clip them to my pockets because they tend to scuff my leather when I sit if I do. I’ve considered pulling the clips off and storing them someplace safe, but the things are just so handy when you need them!