.22 Hanguns & Gold Bead Front Sights

I just had an email interchange with Laura from Falnfenix, in which I felt compelled to more deeply explain my stance on gold bead front sights on handguns, as I had mentioned the possibility of having them installed on our young and growing collection of .22s. The reason gold beads hit my radar in the least is Jennifer’s first gun, her S&W 627PC shipped from S&W with a genuine gold bead front sight. The gold is mounted in a more standard, pin-affixed blade like-a-so:

Please do pardon the grime. This does a beautiful job of gathering light and attracting your focus to that front sight when you are out in daylight.

As a matter of fact, I would say that this is about the best sight setup for a pleasure shooter that will see 99% of its use on sunny days at the outdoor range. Funny enough, these are the same conditions that I would think that our .22s will see nearly all of their action. I think it was Christmas last year when we pulled the trigger on our first rimfire handgun, a six-inch barrelled, S&W 617. I hand worked it with Mother’s Mag Wheel polish over the course of a few evenings of watching reruns of Dollhouse, bringing it to a high polish, and it is currently wearing a pair of Altamont boot grips.

Then, several months ago, we purchased our Ruger 22/45 in matte blue with the four-inch threaded barrel. Since then, we installed an M16A2 flash hider and highlighted the lettering in red, and FarmDad helped me disable the magazine disconnect and bolt release detent. I’m pretty sure we had only put the flash hider on it when I last introduced this gun. The operational mods were an improvement in every way, shape and form. Even the trigger pull and the magazine release work better now. If you have an unmodded MK-III variant, I highly recommend this modification.

And, in the KTKC challenge, I was the winner of a new 22/45 LITE. Although like its blued sibling, it has a threaded four-inch barrel, the difference between the two guns is like night and day. When I received this gun, I performed the same internal mods as the other 22/45. Then, I carved out a set of smooth grip scales out of a piece of near-mythical pink ivory, the sacred wood of the Zulu people.

One thing that has struck me about all three of these guns is that the front blade sight is shaped remarkably similar to that gold bead front on Jennifer’s 627PC.

In fact, I wonder how difficult it would be for my jeweler to drill into those sights and drop a bit of 14K gold in them.

I know he’s slammed right now, but I’m going to have to hit him up after Christmas and see what we can do along those lines.

Holiday Weekend Recap

As I have stated previously, one of the biggest reasons that I bought my compound bow is because we gunnies only get a few weeks that we can shoot deer in Oklahoma, versus the three and a half months that those nasty archers get. Obviously the only way to play the system is to disguise myself as an archer. And yet, here we are, half-way through the monolithic deer archery season, which does envelope all other deer seasons, by the way, and my bow still has yet to taste blood. I’ve been out with it plenty, but for one reason or another, it just hasn’t happened.

Thursday was insane, as Thanksgiving tends to be. That morning, one of my close friends from high school come by for breakfast. She’s one of the few people that Jennifer and I each knew before we knew each other, and she’s the only one of those that we still maintain contact with. We drank several varieties of coffee brewed in the French press, sampled a little tequila, and some nice English tobacco, as well as some Nat Sherman Classics. I know, I know. I never said that I wouldn’t have an occasional smoke. It really is just an occasional thing now. Breakfast consisted of blueberry bagels with cream cheese and lox. From there, we buzzed off to my grandparents’ house where my parents had prepared the full Thanksgiving spread, including pumpkin pie. I’m usually good for about one slice of pumpkin pie per year. My grandpa was lucid enough. He knew who everyone was, and both of my grandparents were quite pleased to see everyone. That evening we went to Jennifer’s parents’ house. By the end of the evening, we were tired, stuffed, and weary of the stress of family. Time to go home. It was a good holiday.

That evening, I called my brother on the phone. “Do you know what I want to get tomorrow for Black Friday?” I asked my brother, “A deer!” We made plans to head out to the family property and see what we could do. In cameras and in-person observation, I haven’t seen much in the way of morning activity. It seems that we have night-owl, party deer instead of sensible, morning deer. Therefore, we didn’t bother getting up super early. We settled into the blind in the early afternoon. My brother absently gulped water out of his Camelbak, and I hoped that wouldn’t lead to him blowing our cover. Sure enough, after we’d been in the blind for an hour, he had to slip out to answer the call of nature. And, then again, an hour later. As we sat, the wind got harder and harder, to the point that we’d hear a gust coming and each of us would grab the side supports of the blind without even looking up from our smart phones. We called it off and decided to get out of the wind.

On Saturday, Jennifer and I went back out. The bait that I had spread out the previous day was still on the ground. Looks like it was a good call to quit when we did! Although it was a lot less windy than Friday, it was probably still a little too breezy for wildlife. We saw no deer. We saw no bobcat. We didn’t even see any Oklahoma monkeys. Each of us nuked at least two phone batteries on Bejeweled and IRC. We were diligent and sat silently until 30-minutes after sunset. We decided to leave the blind and chairs and come back in the morning.

When the alarm went off at o’dark-thirty on Sunday morning, it was painful. I told Jennifer I didn’t think I had it in me, and she agreed. So, we fell back asleep. When we finally awoke, we met up with my parents for our Sunday lunch and hung around all afternoon. It looked like we weren’t going to get in another day of hunting after all. Even so, we still needed to go and collect our blind, as weren’t simply going to leave it out all week. So, at around 17:00, we hopped in the car and ran out to the farm to retrieve our blind and chairs. The property is twenty to thirty minutes out, depending on traffic and where we decide to park. We have been parking pretty far up the trail and hiking in, so as to maintain invisibility. Since we weren’t worried about stealth, I pulled on down to the hollow. As I turned into the hollow, there were four white tails. This was the first time I’d ever seen four of them at once in the hollow. Jennifer said she could make the shot. The sun set at 17:19, it was 17:40, and that left nine minutes of legal shooting. Jennifer did everything she could to grab her rifle and a pair of ear muffs and I sat in the car, trying my best to look non-nonchalant and non-threatening to the ungulates. They stirred nervously, but not freaked out, and hesitantly started filing off into the woods. Just about the time Jennifer got to the point of setting up for the shot, the last tail disappeared between the trees.

Once I heard FarmDad comment something to the effect of, the best way to hunt antelope is to act like you aren’t hunting antelope. I have to wonder if this philosophy holds true to other types of game. This is not by any means the first time we’ve driven into the hollow to be greeted by deer. Every time, they loiter around for a few minutes before retreating. It flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but it’s tempting to try something new and brash this last week of deer gun season. When Jennifer gets home from work, we could throw guns and supplies in the car and drive out. We’d pull up to the hollow with the intention of Jennifer getting out with her ears on, grab her gun from the back, and take care of business. I’d probably want to park just out of sight and trek the last few paces into the hollow. This shouldn’t take but a few minutes. Jennifer knows her way around her rifle and should be able to make a good shot before the deer have much of a chance to decide what they want to do next. After months of picture collection, hours of silent sitting in the blind, ammunition research and testing, supplies purchased, regulation reading, and everything else, this could come down to a five-minute strike. From everything I’ve read, there shouldn’t be anything amiss on any laws or regulations about this. We would very specifically not be hunting from the car, we’d safely and legally transport guns, and use all appropriate safety gear. I don’t want to do anything illegal or unsporting. Does this sound okay? Not that I’m honestly asking for legal advice on the internet, but I would be interested in hearing disinterested thoughts and opinions.

Having two unfilled archery tags still, I did not purchase a deer gun tag and have not been participating in deer gun season. Well, not behind a trigger, anyway. This has been a combined effort. If Jennifer puts 150-lbs of doe meat in our freezer in the next week, I’m going to feel personally accomplished. Similarly, if I manage to take a deer or two with my bow in the next sevenish weeks, I will expect for Jennifer to share in the credit. One way or another, there hasn’t been nearly enough venison on my grill recently, and I hope to remedy that!

What Was That? UPDATED

Just a few minutes ago, a shockwave came through my house. In about half a second, it started at one end and traveled through the house, rattled everything along the way. It physically shook me hard when it passed. I quickly ran outside to see if I could see anything. My first thought was earthquake. My next door neighbor was peering around the corner of her house and asked what that was. The roofing crew a few houses down paused from their work for a moment. I called Jennifer to see if she had felt anything, which she had not. Moments later, I heard a fire truck and other emergency vehicles in the direction that it came from. A quick internet search has returned no info. I wish I had a clue what just happened.

UPDATE – Looks like it was an earthquake. 2.7-2.8 is what they are rating it. LINK LINK Didn’t feel like prior earthquakes, and it sure shook hard for no more magnitude than that.

Bobcat Sighted

So, we did a little deer hunting over the weekend but didn’t see any deer come out into the clearing this time. On Saturday, sitting silently in our ground blind, Jennifer whispered, “LOOKLOOKLOOK!!!!” I followed her pointing finger and saw nothing. I looked all around and looked back at her and shrugged. “It’s coming down the hill, towards us, right over there,” she hissed.

I looked again. I squinted. “I don’t see it,” I whispered as quietly as I could manage, “Is it a doe or a buck?”

“It’s not a deer,” she said, “Keep watching. It keeps stopping, but it will start walking again.

So, I stared. And then, I saw the movement. What the? That’s either a furry octopus or the world’s largest wild rabbit. “Is is a rabbit?” I said.

“I don’t think so,” Jennifer said, “too big for that.”

“Well yeah,” I said.

And when it turned so we could see its profile, we ghasped in unison, “BOBCAT!”

“Gimme your camera,” Jennifer said, and I quickly handed it to her.

She snapped off a couple of pics and I said, “Video! Get some video!”

She looked over the controls and frustratedly shoved the camera at me. I motioned to the video button and she fired it up. When she could no longer track it from her side of the blind, she asked me to take the camera and I had a very hard time tracking it. Even so, here’s what we came up with:

Pretty cool huh? We could see deer in the trees in the background of the video until the cat came through. At that point, they had better places to be. I showed the video to the proprietor of the local liquor store who asked me if I was scared of it. I assured him that we were in no danger from the cat, but I left out the fact that I was far more concerned about the local two-legged varmints.

Friday Self Employment Observations

99% of all transactions go over without a hitch. The other 1% are fraught with numerous errors; either from my end, or my client’s end, or both. Usually both. And, most of these issues are incidental and not really because anybody did anything wrong. Example – if the belt came out the wrong size, the replacement belt will be the wrong color. Then, the replacement replacement belt will get lost under a pile of leather. When it could not be found, another belt was shipped in its stead, which inexplicably wound up in Zimbabwe, never to be heard from again. Once the previous belt is relocated in my studio and shipped, the mail truck will catch on fire because of faulty wiring. The replacement replacement replacement replacement belt will be checked, checked, and rechecked again, it will be packed in feathers and fleece, double boxed, insured, and sent overnight, handcuffed to the wrist of a private courier trained in ninjitsu. The profit margin on the sale is long since spent and the deal is in a severe deficit at this point. After several sleepless nights, the client will confirm that they received the belt, that it is perfect, and that it was totally worth that 18-month fiasco. All other belt orders in the same time period were shipped, received, and enjoyed within a few weeks’ time.

The clients who start their email with, “Sorry for the slow response,” are by far some of the easiest to work with and the easiest to please. By the same token, the clients who use the disclaimer, “Sorry to be such a PITA but…” are the complete antithesis of a pain to work with. I find them to be charming and understanding if anything. Often it’s the client who seems to think that this is really simple and obvious that are the truly the most painful to work with. Even so, I find that the kind of people who will order a custom leather holster are top-notch quality folks, the kind of people that I’d probably enjoy having over for a steak and a beer, and wouldn’t at all mind sharing a fence with. The worst experiences I’ve had in self employment have been better than any given day in my memory of working retail.

Every client is important. However, repeat clients are many times more valuable than single sales, even if the single sales constitute a bigger portion of assets. The simple explanation to this puzzling phenomenon is that I will have less time invested in making a repeat client happy on any given order since I pretty much already know them and their expectations. Starting cold takes a lot longer, because it necessitates getting to know and tailoring to a fresh client. Besides that, my repeat clients are cool. More often that not, I wind up regarding my repeats more as friends than as clients.

Sometimes there comes a point in time when it is clear that the client will never be happy. One needs to go no further than Amazon reviews to see this in action. In those times, it is often best to wash your hands of the situation and move on. Sometimes that means a refund. It’s best not to be afraid to do whatever needs to be done to protect the integrity of the brand. For the best products in the world, if you take a big enough sample group, there will be someone out there who swears that it is a total piece of crap. Don’t let that person define your brand. This is where a satisfaction guarantee protects not only your client, but you in fact.

September sucks. Get used to it. Put back money through the year so September won’t hurt so bad and focus on getting caught up. Run a sale or something maybe. Don’t get too desperate though. The sales will come back. In fact, in October and November, you’ll get inundated with Christmas orders just in time to make Santa late.

The people I know who know how to start a successful business tell me that it takes about two years to get established. That feels about right. They also tell me that it takes something between five and ten years to be profitable and for the business to largely run itself. I’m looking forward to that. I’m still under the opinion that people who start businesses have screws loose in the head – myself included. Why in the world would someone subject themselves to a decade of this when it’s so easy to go work for someone else and get a ‘guaranteed’ paycheck? Well, in all actuality it is the fact that we see through the mirage of the ‘guaranteed’ paycheck and have become disillusioned with a more traditional working experience, as I’ve written about before. Oh well. We’re having fun anyway!

Bring It Home.

I’ve been a little behind on… …well, everything. One thing that I’ve been behind on though is reading the blogs. So, Tam got some bad news from her doc. And, she’s going to have some medical bills to contend with. But, we can donate to her cause to help alleviate those bills. And, my friend Mark has sweetened the pot, if you will do so. If you go to her website, you’ll see a PayPal button in the right column, like so:

Donate there and get a screenshot of your receipt. Email your screenshot to Mark. For every five dollars you donate, he’ll put your name in the hat for a drawing to win a pair of his beautiful custom grips for your 1911 or Hi-Power. Just this last September, we donated a lot of money to fight cancer for complete strangers. We wore kilts. Some of us lost hair. Others of us spent the day on the firing line in a slinky black dress and published salacious video of our spouses sniping a paint can with a .50BMG or two. My point is, we’re the kind of people that will go to great lengths to help others, and one of our own is in trouble. Shamefully, I don’t actually own a 1911 or a Hi-Power, but I’ll still be donating when I decide what I can work into the budget. Tam has a heck of a support network, and it’s time for that network to go to work for her.

Backup Guns and Carry Gun Sizing

This post started as a rambling stream of thought over on A Girl’s blog, where she asks her readers about backup guns. When my response reached critical mass, and cleanly left the topic, I took the initiative to put it here instead of waste her bandwidth. This gave me the added benefit of posting pics.

As to the original question on whether or not a BUG…

When I carry my S&W 586L-Comps, I carry both of them. One sits on my right as my primary and the other is mirrored on my left, in a matched holster, as a Detroit reload, handsomely stowed in horse, ostrich, and stingray.

I’m largely ambidextrous, and have found that one eye is as good as the other to me. When I’m shooting left handed, I default to my left eye, right handed, right eye. I know this doesn’t work for the vast majority of people, so I don’t necessarily offer it as a solution for you so much as a glimpse into the window of my life. Today I’ve got both guns loaded with Hornady .357 Mag in moon clips, and I’ve got three extra moon clips, one in each of my front two pockets and another in a vest pocket. Heaven forbid I should have a gun fight today, but that gives me 35-rounds of .357 Magnum to fight my way back to my 12-gauge and carbine.

When I went out to get myself a more spritely backup, I (ahem) accidentally bought another primary. There’s a bit of a story here, actually. I had some extra cash and decided to go look at those Saiga 12s. In looking at them online, I liked the ‘hunting carbine’, with the 22-inch barrel that included interchangeable choke tubes. When I got to the gun store, they didn’t carry that model and the one they did have was about $100 more than I wanted to spend on one anyway. I’d played around with Jennifer‘s M&P9c, and decided that although toward the large end for of the scale, it would probably work pretty well for a BUG, as it really isn’t any bigger than a snubby. Also, I wanted a rough-weather alternative to my blued revolvers. Ice, rain, and sweat are rough on these things.

Well, Jennifer already had the 9mm, so why would I buy another copy of it? I decided that .40 was right out; it’s a fine cartridge, but because of household ammunition simplicity, we’ve decided to shun .40 for the time being. That left .45 ACP as the logical solution. Without much more thought into it, I picked up the ‘compact’ version of the M&P45. The barrel is 1/2-in longer than its 9mm baby sister, the grip is similarly longer, and the whole thing is at least 1/8″ wider.

This is no longer a pocket gun. LOL! Don’t get me wrong – I love my M&P, but I kind of wish I’d either stuck with the true pocket gun format, or gone with the full-size M&P45 instead. Just as the M&P9c is about the same size as a J-frame with a ~2-in barrel, the M&P45c is about the same size as an L-frame with a 3-inch barrel.

Pros? The 4-inch .45 is the beater I was looking for. I’ve had this thing in a swimming pool on more than one occasion and it cost half of what Jen’s FNP45 Tactical is worth, which she still carries more often than not. The M&P just works; clean or dirty, wet or dry, hot or cold, and any kind of ammunition, it simply doesn’t care. In this caliber at this length, it is legal for deer hunting in OK. It appears that the social ammunition that I keep it loaded with is actually legal for deer, for a seamless transition from the streets to the field, which I can’t claim on the similarly sized, 3-inch L-frames. Just for giggles, here’s a comparison between one of my 586s and Jennifer’s 640:

Cons? The M&P45 is really too big for a backup. At this point, I want a true backup for when I’m carrying the M&P. Also, this gun is enough of a beater that it does get neglected. I’ve had people chastise me on more than one occasion about my filthy gun. “What? I just cleaned and lubed it about… *thinking* …like six months ago or something!” LOL! I have once had it carboned up badly enough that the slide didn’t want to lock back on an empty mag. Still, that took a LOT of carbon.

Speaking of which, I do need to scrub that thing again. Maybe I’ll do that this afternoon… Clearly, the snubby revolver and the M&P9c are sized well for backup guns where as the L-frame and the M&P45 are just barely too big to do the job on a practical basis, even though I do carry a 586 as a Detroit reload. When you’re searching for a gun, keep purpose in mind. Remember that width makes as much of a difference as, if not even more than barrel length and grip length. A single-stack semi-auto will almost always pack thinner than a revolver, which can make all the difference in the world to comfort and concealability, although there are advantages to a revolver as well. And, don’t go with the excuse of “Well, this one is just barely bigger. It will probably be okay.” Additionally, the right holster and belt combination can make near miracles happen. If you’ve never had a really good holster, you might be shocked at how big a gun you can carry comfortably and fully concealed.

Friday Pop

Feeling like I can’t do more involved content options justice today, I’ll leave you with some Korean pop music instead. And no, I’m not going to link gingham* style here. You’ve all already heard that, no doubt. However, I will link Kim Hyun-a, who has incidentally done work with Psy. Here’s her video “Bubble Pop”, which is every bit as light as the title implies, but it’s still fun:

In fact, let’s just stick with Korean girl pop for that matter. Here’s “Twinkle” by Girls’ Generation. I would have embedded the video here, but they aren’t letting that happen. It’s hard to blame them for limiting embedding on a 30-million view video, I suppose.

I’d say that pop singers in the western world should watch their backs! Have a good weekend everyone.

*Yes, I misspelled that deliberately. Not hating, just having some fun.