Parenting and Guns

Last time we took Kiddo to air rifles, there were a couple of notable happenings. The coach put tape over his left lens so that he could leave both eyes open and still focus on the front sight with his right. He seemed to take to this method very well. The coach explained to me that being relaxed is the key to improving a child’s shooting. I tend to agree. When I’m uptight, I shoot like crap. When Kiddo is not feeling right, he doesn’t shoot as well as he does when he’s happy and feeling good about himself. I make a really large effort to only offer positive encouragement and specific coaching tips to help him improve his shooting. However, if I see him doing something unsafe, I will come down on him for it. At this point, that’s a rare occurrence, usually consisting of me saying “Trigger finger!” or “Muzzle direction!” or even “Clear it!” Then, he’s gotten adequate reminder to keep his finger in check, keep his muzzle pointed in a safe direction, or to drop the mag and clear the chamber.

Another parent had brought his two daughters, who dragged in their gear in huge, wheeled, Hardigg Storm Cases. They proceded to unload their highly customized air rifles, special tripods to rest their rifles for reloading, special shooting shoes, gloves, glasses, and even some kind of fancy shooting outfit. Their dad spoke loudly for the entirety of class. He bragged a lot, and heckled his girls a lot. I try to keep my nose out of other people’s business, but I have to admit that I was a little offended. It was pretty clear that the younger daughter was not ‘in the zone’ that evening. Rather than offering encouragement and specific coaching, he loudly declared criticisms such as, “That’s not a shotgun you’re shooting there,” and “The same hole! The pellet has to go through the SAME hole!” Granted, never having been in competitive shooting, I don’t know what one needs to do to prepare for a match. It may be that he was simply trying to apply some outside stress so they would be equipped to ignore outside stressors while shooting in a match. I just got the feeling that he had pushed them, and that it wasn’t necessarily what they wanted so much as what he wanted.

On Saturday, the three of us went to the range together. After running a few rounds through my 586 and 29, it was pretty clear that I was having an off day, to my utter dismay. It had been about three weeks since I’d been shooting, and I was really looking forward to it. I put a few rounds of .22 lr downrange from a couple of the rifles, and shot a box of 12 gauge. That was about all I had the heart to do myself. Kiddo said that he only wanted to run a magazine or two of .22 lr, because his stomach ‘felt kind of funny.’ So, he loaded a magazine and took it up to the firing line.

At that point, he burst into tears. I asked him what was wrong, and he started mumbling (which did no good with live fire all around and both of us in our ear muffs). Eventually, he communicated that he wanted to shoot with both eyes open, but couldn’t manage it. I talked it out with him, and we put some masking tape over his left lens. He shot a magazine-full (after fumbling with his safety). He just wasn’t acting like his normal self, so I was staying right on top of him while he handled the rifle. After that magazine, he said he had had enough, so we put his rifle away. He asked if he could keep his target, and we told him that he could. I took down his target and put up a previous one to blast it with my shotgun. After that, Jen put up a fresh target and shot at it for a while. This is when Kiddo started crying again.

I asked him what was wrong this time, and discovered that he thought we were shooting at his target which he wanted to keep. I showed him his unharmed target, and he eventually pulled himself together. It was just so weird! He’s really not the kind of kid that falls apart and has a melt-down over stupid stuff like that. When we got home, he ate well and went to bed. Yesterday, he seemed fine. This morning, he had a little coughing and sneezing, but nothing alarming. I just really hope he’s not coming down with something. I asked him how he felt this morning, and he said he felt fine. He’s kind of proud about that kind of thing, though. I think that he’s likely to not complain if he thinks he can tough through it. So far, the school hasn’t called, so maybe I’m just being too worried.

Parenting is hard. Why does it feel like a tightrope act? I believe that if you push them too hard (as I perceived the other parent mentioned above to be doing), that it will cause later-life emotional issues. I’ve known a lot of people that were pushed when they were children who have a lot to work out as adults because of it. It’s important to encourage and provide motivation, but to push too hard is abusive. Then again, I do want to play a very active roll. To act blasé about a kid’s activities is to tell them that they aren’t important. That’s a great way to destroy a kid’s motivation and self esteem along the way. I don’t want to push Kiddo to do anything that he doesn’t have an interest in doing, but I want to encourage him when he’s pursuing his own goals. I want shooting to be a fun learning experience for him. If it’s not fun today, and he’s just run through a magazine, it’s probably time to quit for now. I said it is like a tightrope, but sometimes it’s more like walking on a knife edge.

Victoria Beckham Designs

Fashion has to be one of my guilty little pleasures in life. Let’s face it: I like it when women look good, and I like it when a designer augments God’s artwork. I like to look good as well. I just feel like it does well when I present myself at my best. Frankly, I like the attention. I love to clothe my family and myself in beautiful materials and designer labels. Thank God for ebay and resale shops! Otherwise, it wouldn’t be possible.

Remember the Spice Girls? I understand they recently did some kind of reunion stunt. I happen to really like Geri Halliwell’s (Ginger Spice) solo album Schizophonic. It is poppy and simple, but the melodies and harmonies are creative and entertaining. It is a far cry from the whole ‘girl power’ deal, and it’s not for everyone, but certainly worth a listen. But, I digress…

Victoria Beckham, a. k. a. Posh Spice has been working on fashion design. Back when the Spice Girls had their first 15-minute go-around in the spotlight, I took it for granted that their personas were simply character acting and had little to do with them as individuals. This was not true for Victoria, anyway. As it turns out, the girl has a great eye for form, and her designs are really making a splash! Here’s an odd commercial for her dress line:

Apparently, Elle has been doing a lot of work to support her upstart as a fashion designer. And, I have to admit – I was skeptical at first. But now, I’m fascinated. I’m looking forward to seeing her develop her skill and talent in this area. She shows some real promise, and I’m not scared of her like I am Donatella Versace. Seriously, tell me that this isn’t hot:

Alright, that’s it for now. I’ll let you get back to reading gun blogs. 😀

Blogroll Update

Today, I decided to quit being a slug and add some of the blogs that I love reading. For either of my readers that have faith, prayers should go out to Crystal and Kristy who each have suffered some great losses recently. Also pray for Peter and his family, as he is in the hospital due to a cardiac event, and is scheduled for a triple bypass. I understand that he’s stable at the moment, and they caught the problem just in time to avoid serious problems, but still… Yikes!

Gunsmithing Silliness

So, a few weeks ago, my friend Instinct was asking about the installation of the Meprolight shotgun beads that I installed on our Winchesters. Now, my disclaimer is that I am NOT a gunsmith. I do a little work on my own guns from time to time, but I do not do this sort of thing for hire. I simply am not professional enough with this sort of thing to take on the liability of it. That being said, I told him that it’s really easy. You just get a 6×48 tap and the coordinating drill bit, remove the old bead, drill and tap the hole and thread the new sight in with some Loctite or nail polish on the threads. He said that sounded too complicated, so he shipped the barrel from his 870, ‘Bruce,’ and sight half way across the country to me to have me do the job! LOL! I received his barrel yesterday, and installed the bead last night. It will be shipping out to him today. During the installation, the Evyl Robot Empyre got silly and emailed back and forth with Instinct and a mutual friend, Gatakitty, for the whole procedure. That went as follows:

Jennifer:

Just thought you’d like to know. Bruce has no front sight.

01sightgone

Instinct:

AHHHHHH!!!!

Poor Bruce!!! He can’t SEE!!!!

Jennifer:

So I guess you would cringe to see a drill there in his eye?

02Drilling

Instinct:

LOL

Be gentle! He’s the only one I have!!!

Jennifer:

You know, Bruce has never been to heaven, but now at least part of him has been to Oklahoma.

Evyl Robot:

He’s in good hands. He’ll have a glowing cyclops eye in just a few minutes. Now, the surgeon needs more whiskey

Instinct:

You’re having too much fun with this, Jen 😀

Jennifer:

Yeah. But just tell me you aren’t enjoying the play by play

Instinct:

I am. Now I have a photo documentary of it all

Jennifer:

And now for the tapping.

03tapping

Wee-Bot says hi.

04waving

Jennifer:

Here’s one of your friendly neighborhood evylrobot.

05spybarrel

Instinct:

HI Wee-Bot!!!

So he’s learning gun smithing at an early age 😀

Jennifer:

He’s ready for sight installation!

06barrelhole

Instinct:

Nice shot 😀

Instinct:

Let’s see…. Power tools and whiskey….

Nothing could go wrong with that

Instinct:

Ummmm…. There’s a hole in his barrel…

Jennifer:

No worries! That’s where the sight goes.

Evyl Robot:

…Dear Liza, Dear Liza…

Evyl Robot:

Nah. Nothing could ever go wrong there!

Jennifer:

Indeed. He can take apart a Ruger 10/22 for thorough cleaning.
Ooh! Bruce’s sight hs been restored!

07glowsight

Jennifer:

Mmm. Whiskey

08whiskey

Instinct:

YAY!!!

Best birthday/anniversary present EVAH!!!

Jennifer:

The Wee-Bot and the kittehs approve.

09waving2

10kitty1

11kitty2

Okay, so the kittehs do not approve of pictures.

Jennifer:

Thanks!

Gatakitty:

Oh, I’ve never been to heaven,
But I’ve been to Oklahoma….

Evyl Robot:

Now, I’m gonna tell you… The factory bead did not unthread, but broke off in my vice grips. It is steel, and a PITA to drill. I scuffed the finish a little on the block trying to get it flat. I’m not worried about that since you’re about to duracoat. It is ever so slightly off center – I’m talking about thousandths of an inch. I’m not real happy about that, but it will probably never make a difference. With the finish applied, you won’t see it, and I doubt it will screw with the POI. You should be able to easily tune to it with your rear notch anyway, once you’ve installed it. Honestly, you probably wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t mentioned it, but since you are a friend, I couldn’t just not.

Instinct:

Yeah, kitties have that “I’ll kill you in your sleep for this” look

Instinct:

One day I want to have a place to do man-work and a little evyl minion of my own to help me 😀

Jennifer:

Well Wee-Bot is a good one. And we might rent him out for a nominal fee.

Instinct:

I think I can live with it 😀

There is no rear notch on the Remington so I think I’ll be good

Jennifer:

You’ll be fine. It is better centered than my factory sight was on my Defender.

Evyl Robot:

Whew! I was afraid you were going to ask for your money back! Aren’t you planning on adding a rear?

Instinct:

Can we clone him?

Instinct:

I’ve got a big enough one right now so no need…

OH, you mean on the shotgun. No, probably not

Jennifer:

Nope. He’s a limited edition.

Jennifer:

We like big butts and we cannot lie…

Evyl Robot:

*sigh* God has some sense of humor. My butt doesn’t belong on a white dude my size.

Evyl Robot:

…Ya’ll other brothers can’t deny…

Jennifer:

My jeans say “curvy”

Evyl Robot:

😛

Evyl Robot:

Instinct, would you mind me transcribing this thread to my blog? I think it would make a kick-butt blog entry!

Instinct:

Why would I mind?

And, that’s how it happened. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

Experimental Holster Teaser

One observation that I keep getting on my CCW holsters is, “It’s a shame you’ve got to cover that thing up.” My thought on that is that a CCW holster is like underwear. Because nobody in public sees it, you have a lot of leeway to make it really amazing. We have a child at home, so that kind of rules out wandering around the house in underwear and gun leather for the time being. 😀 But in all seriousness, I really do get a kick out of pushing the envelope on the looks of holsters. I’ve got a few experiments lined up that I haven’t started on, and I’ve got three in process at the moment. The current projects are for a couple of the ladies in my life. I’ve got pieces cut out and partially shaped for an insane, IWB, N-frame holster for my lovely, petite wife. I’ve kind of stalled on that one, as I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I’m going to stitch it together. The second holster is a variation on the zero-cant J-frame that I’ve made a couple of examples of so far. The third holster that I’m working on is for my sister-in-law, and it’s the wild one at the moment.

I’ve got a little pricing code with family members. For the most part, family doesn’t pay for a holster. The catch is that I’m going to make whatever for them that I see fit. Granted, my wife has a little more pull on getting what she wants, but the others get free holsters at the mercy of my wild, whims of artistic expression. My sister-in-law recently started working at the local gun range, and open carries at work. She asked for a holster for her S&W 686SSR. If you are getting deja vu, it’s because I touched on this a little earlier. Anyway, I started sketching and fleshing out the whisps of ideas on paper about a month ago, and started cutting and stitching leather over the weekend. And, it is turning out wonderfully so far. I have had a couple of ideas that I’ve been wanting to try, and I didn’t really expect to be trying both of them on this holster, but I am.

This thing is going to be one crazy beautiful sculpture of wearable leather that also happens to hold a gun. I’ve got selectively exposed stitching laid out on it. Most of my holsters have hand stitching that is visible from one side but not the other. This holster is going to have some five points of stitching, in single and double rows, some will be visible from one side and not from the other. Some people will wonder how in the world it could have adequate retention, but it will. To accentuate the profile of the slab-sided barrel, I’ve used several straight, angular lines. There will be ornamental calf skin on the muzzle like nothing either of you have ever seen on a holster before. Because it is for the SIL, it will be two-tone pink on the outside and lightly frosted silver throughout.

It’s been fairly slow-going because of the intricacies of the construction and the heft of the leather. The final stitch line will be double-stitched through over 5/8″ of leather. I know that sounds cumbersome, but I have a plan here. I may have to employ a drill press for some of that…

I did get some fun new tools over the weekend. I took some of my holster profits and dumped them straight back into the endeavor. Until Saturday, I lacked a good cutting tool, and made due with a box knife and a pair of kitchen shears. So, I picked up a pair of Gingher shears that slice through my toughest leather like butter! I found that I have to be careful trimming a sharp corner or I will knock a gouge out of my material with the edge of the blade! I also got a nice rotary punch and an extra bottle for my sprayer. The shears have already be worth it, as my hand isn’t currently in pain from straining through 9-oz shoulder hide over the weekend!

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to posting some results of these projects. I’m really having a lot of fun, and that’s one of my main objectives. I told my family early on that as soon as it ceased to be fun, I’d quit doing it. So far, I’ve managed to not let it become a second job, and I usually look forward to doing the holster work. If I begrudge it, it’s obviously lost the charm. I suppose that’s about it for now.

Kel-Tec P11

This is probably the least adventurous holster I’ve made, and yet the most risky. It’s a very simple, brown holster made for a Kel-Tek P11 – which happens to belong to my employer.

P9253435

He was wearing his pistol in a JIT slide which was not pulling it in tightly enough for him. He has seen several of my projects, as I tend to like to bring them in to show them off from time to time. He asked for a bid for a holster that carried in about the same position as the slide, but asked if I could make one that would pull it in tighter. So, I gave him a bid, and he asked when I could have it done. Once I got so far into it, we discussed color. He’s been seeing pink, purple, red, blazing blue, and fabuflage holsters coming through the shop. He asked if I could do a basic brown. I reluctantly agreed to. This is the first one that I’ve done in my new dye, which is alcohol-based instead of water-based. I wound up mixing this color from black, yellow, and red, and thinned it way down with denatured alcohol. I used a spray-bottle to apply the dye on this one. I think it made for a really nice effect, especially after the clear coat! My boss loves his new holster. In fact, he insisted on paying me more than I asked for it. I told him that if it didn’t do what he expected to come and talk to me. He has only said that it does exactly what he wanted it to.

P9253433

Final points:

1) Double-stitching is pretty pointless. I have started double-stitching the line at the top-strap in some of my newer models. I haven’t found any reason to reinforce the inside edge of the belt-loops with stitching. I have yet to find an application that doesn’t ask for my hidden-stitching to come into play besides IWB’s or derringer holsters. The hidden stitching is wonderful, and I don’t know why other holster makers don’t use this technique.

2) That alcohol-based dye is a mess! There are applications in which I will use it. The black turns out beautifully! The water-based stuff that I have been using produces far more shocking colors, and seems to wear just fine with the right clear coat over it.

3) The spray bottle is cool. I like applying dyes by hand for the most part, as using brushes, sponges, and daubers works better for most projects. But, there are certain effects that can be gotten with the spray bottle that you simply can’t achieve any other way. I’m glad to have added it to my tool box.

(For more pics, see this post in my gunleather pages.)