Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Keepin' the Big Dog happy...

Ruger, our German Shepherd, is two years old now and is the self-appointed Big Dog... at least among the gals and his four-legged friends.  We had various friends and family visit during the Christmas weekend and Ruger made sure he had all his dog toys, Sasha's dog toys, and all the other visiting dogs' toys and bones claimed and accounted for.  It's just his way of keepin' the Big Dog happy.

Unfortunately, this Big Dog hasn't been too happy.  Christmas morning started with a sinus cold and by the time I managed to get in to see the doctor on Tuesday, my sinus cold had turned into a full-blown infection along with a fever and a touch of wheezing bronchitis.  Fortunately, I did have the opportunity to spend some shooting time with some friends out at Farmer Phil's place.

That would be Robert and Daniel setting up some targets along with some bowling alley rejects.  It was good to see old friends we haven't had time to catch up with for a while.  I set out some of the new target stands to the left we had picked up from Target Meister a few weeks back.

So far, they seem like really nice stands and would work well for IDPA or IPSC shooting too.  I have six of them and after a few more uses I'll probably give you folks a review about our experiences, which so far have been very positive.  They're built like brick outhouses... strong and functional.

We spent a lot of time shooting handguns.  Seemed like 1911 was the lucky number with offerings from Colt, Ruger, Kimber, Taurus, and Springfield Armory on hand along with other assorted semi-autos and wheel-guns.

Shooting FMJs or "ball" ammo is great for practice, but if you carry your gun concealed or otherwise it never hurts to run some of your carry ammo through it regularly to check reliability... even if it does lighten your wallet a bit.

Robert had a beautiful set of sequentially numbered Ruger Vaqueros in .45 Long Colt.  We shoot cowboy action with our 4H Shooting Sports kids mostly using .22s, but I'd sure like to have a leather rig with a pair of these in the future to shoot some cowboy action myself.

There were a lot of holes in a lot of targets when everything was said and done.  Even some ARs, .22s, and a Savage bolt-action in .22-250 had a good, long-range workout.  Discussions on guns, reloading, gunpowder, politics, and family seemed to get everybody back on the same page until too much time has again passed by and we finally get around to all of us meetin' back up again.

Today, it's just a day of rest while I try to break a fever and beat this stupid sinus and chest cold.  This is not exactly how I had planned to spend a few days off work, but I'm thankful for my gals who are takin' care of me... as my main gal says, "Keepin' the Big Dog happy"...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord." ~Luke 2:11

The gals and I are wishing you a very Merry Christmas.  Ya'll may not believe the same as we do, but we are thankful for all of you... our family, friends, co-workers, students, and blogosphere friends... but most of all we're thankful for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ... and the blessing of living in the greatest country on earth... God Bless America!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Permanently deleting personal data...

While preppers and survivalists are definitely concerned with digital OPSEC and some folks are worried about privacy or identity-theft in this age of digital data and information... few people actively take appropriate steps to protect themselves.

We recently discarded two older computers.  One was a mini-tower while the other was a laptop.  Before they went out to the road for trash pick-up, the gals and I removed the hard-drives.  Now I know there there are many utilities that can perform a Department of Defense (DOD) approved data wipe to "clean" the digital information from the hard-drives... but out here in the country, we have a simple utility that works just as well and is a lot more fun.

First, we make sure our utility is properly configured to permanently delete the data from the hard-drive.  An approximately half-inch group, three-quarters of an inch low at fifty yards from the prone position seems like a good configuration.  Nothing a little Kentucky windage won't correct on a .223 utility originally configured at a hundred yards.

Since this utility for permanently deleting data isn't approved by the manufacturer, the gals and I figure that we're probably going to void the warranty... but then again, I think the warranty already expired a while back.

After running the utility for a few minutes, the digital data on the hard-drive has been rendered permanently unrecoverable.  In this case, our utility was a Ruger MKII Stainless Steel All-Weather bolt-action rifle in .223 Remington loaded with Federal V-Shok .223 cartridges with 40-grain Nosler Ballistic Tips which work really well with with the one-in-twelve twist-rate.  In addition to data on hard-drives, it also seems to permanently delete groundhogs.

So, before you just throw away that old computer... take out the hard-drive, stop on by, and we'll be glad to help you with permanently deleting personal data...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five Bucks: Sandless Sandbags for Shooting...

Sandbags have been used for steadying shooters perched in the benchrest position or even the prone position for decades.  The one problem, though, with filling sand bags with sand is that the sand and dust from the sand seems to instantly adhere to any surface of the firearms with even the slightest bit of lubricant on it.  The last thing any shooter wants is their firearm covered with something as abrasive as sand.  Just ask... and always thank... our troops returning from the Middle East.

The gals and I started using pea gravel years ago in our sandbags, but it usually came in fifty-pound bags, plus it needed rinsed and dried to get much of the dust and dirt off of the little rocks.  Then in a moment of fleeting brilliance... an idea popped into my aging mind...why not use aquarium gravel.

I had received a set of Cabela's Shooting Bags for a gift from my main gal a couple of years ago and decided to try our idea.  A quick trip to Walmart, the simple price of $3.48 for a five-pound bag of aquarium gravel, and we were on our way.  First, we cut a plastic water bottle in half for a funnel, then filled the bags with the aquarium gravel.  A little shaking to settle the gravel and everything looked great.

Next, I folded the opening's flap over and tucked it in place... gave it a few good shakes and drops on the floor... and no gravel, no dust, no problems.

The two bags held about a bag and a half of aquarium gravel, which gives them decent heft to stay put while shooting.  We don't have the leaking sand or sand-dust problem and they're not as impossibly heavy to move around as a friend's bags are who used lead shot as a filler.

If you prefer some of the good ol' classic shooter's sand bags and can still find a reloader or someone who has the old-style cloth shot bags laying around... they work just fine too.  If not, you can easily sew up some sand bags using the legs from some old blue jeans or work pants.

Just fill the sandbag up almost full of aquarium gravel... we chose white, but they also have tan and black gravel available for you tactically correct folks.

Just sew the end of the sandbag shut with some heavy-duty thread and you have an adjustable gun rest that will last for years without the problems of sand getting all over your firearms.

Go ahead and try it... and if you don't like it, you're out... like... five-bucks.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ruger LCR... up close and personal

Now I know there are a lot of opinions about which guns are best for concealed carry, but I personally think the best gun for concealed carry is the gun that meets my Rule 2 (Have a reliable gun you can reliably shoot) and that you will carry every day.  Currently, my two every day carry guns are the Ruger SR9c and the Ruger LCR.

I also know there are thoughts out there about switching between different carry guns, but I practice with both of these firearms almost weekly and I've had no problems transitioning between the two.  While I carry the SR9C in a Galco Cop Slot 3 Holster, a Triple K leather Inside the Waist Band (IWB) holster for the LCR from Ruger has been working well for me and doesn't seem to "print" through my clothing.

The LCR has been with the gals and I for about year now and it has around 750 rounds through it, and as I've said before... I don't like to review anything I haven't spent substantial time using.  It shows some wear marks on the cylinder and the already light-feeling double-action trigger seems as smooth as glass.  The Triple-K holster has some wear and scratches, but it has held up well, clips securely over my belt, feels very comfortable against the skin or undershirt, and stays open for quick re-holstering of the LCR if its something your worried about.

The little revolver is extremely light with the polymer grip frame and aluminum main frame with a stainless steel barrel insert.  It is definitely a lot less weight than our Ruger SP101 (I did previously mention I'm a Ruger fan, didn't I?)  While I won't waste your time with photographs of hole-filled targets, I will say that this snubby is as accurate as any snubby I've ever shot off-hand or off the bench.  The recoil with .38 Special +P rounds is very manageable and quick pointing, firing, and follow-up hits on target are no problem... especially for "combat" or self-defense accuracy. 

The grip is made for Ruger by Hogue and has a soft, grip-able surface with dimples on each side and a very soft, almost gel-like backstrap area that takes it easy on the palm and web of your hand while fitting comfortably in my larger hands. This firearm also provides a sure grip when shooting in the pouring rain and cold weather.

The easily indexed cylinder release competently lets the cylinder open for quick checking and reloading.  The significantly fluted cylinder appears well made and up to the task presented by the Winchester PDX1s and Federal Hydrashoks.

Ruger's friction reducing cam trigger system makes for the one of the best out-of-the-box double-action trigger pulls I have ever run across and the cylinder firmly and securely indexes through it's rotation with each pull of the trigger.

This is the first Triple-K holster I've ever carried and it was purchased directly from Ruger.  The LCR fits snuggly in the holster which is molded specifically for the contours of the LCR.  You'll find the LCR's contours, specifically the trigger guard, do not let it share many tightly fit holsters made for the SP101 or S&W J-frames.

The trigger is fully covered, yet the grip is easily available for the shooter drawing the gun.  The stitching and leather seem to be of substantial quality and thickness too.  The extra leather "collar" around the opening keeps the holster open for re-holstering.

(Photograph taken with remote, computer-tethered camera - Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction)
Now five shots of .38 Special +P is not everyone's idea of carrying adequate fire- power, but if you were the bad guy... would you want to be looking at this... the Ruger LCR... up close and personal.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Musings... Passing on our mindsets.

Just about every parent wonders if their kids are really paying attention to what you've tried to teach them about life.  The truth is, our kids are watching everything we do.. both good and bad.  Sometimes we hope they learn the good and forget the bad just so they can avoid the mistakes and troubles we've all encountered in life.

My little gal has been taking care of the dogs at our neighbor's farm up the road the last week or so while they're on vacation.  Nobody was supposed to be at the farm while they were away so my daughter was surprised to see a pick-up truck and a couple of men as she pulled off the road and onto their drive yesterday morning.

Now a lot of folks might have just driven on back to see what's up, but my sixteen year-old has been taught, she's observant, she's got the mindset of a sheepdog.  As an unarmed teenager, she didn't just drive up and say, "Hey fellas, what are you doin' here?"  She stopped the car, kept her distance, checked her exit options to make sure she wasn't pinned in on the driveway, and called us with her cell phone.

In the end, it turned out that it was just a couple of guys there to work on point tucking the brick chimney and the neighbors had forgotten to mention that they might be coming by to do some work.  With all the troubles out here in the country these days, it never hurts to be cautious. 

It may not seem like much to you, but for us it's another example of how my daughter really gets all those little things we do and have been teaching her... which is especially important as she's now out and about on her own a lot more and... she doesn't get any Second Amendment rights for self-protection in her vehicle with this state or country until she's twenty-one.

She's smart, observant, trained, and confirms that we're passing on our mindsets.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thank you for gifts undeserved...

Up north, my mother attended a memorial service today at the funeral home that provided services for my father and many others we knew who passed away this year in the community where I grew up.  They provided services for a friend's son who was a member of the army's special forces and was killed overseas in a hot, hostile land... a long way from Ohio and from Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.

While politicians and pundits argue the merits of redistributing wealth, let us not forget in this season of giving that many in the military have redistributed all they had and all they would ever have for the freedom so many of us take for granted every day.

As Christmas approaches and we think of giving... I encourage you to give from the heart, not the wallet.  There are so many men and women of our military who paid with everything they had... paid for the freedom we enjoy... paid for the freedom money can't buy... and to those men and women who paid the ultimate price, I say...

Thank you for gifts undeserved...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Five Bucks: Taking notes... Rite in the Rain

In this day and age of electronic wonders like Droids, iPads, Kindles, iPhones... sometimes low-tech is the best technology.  You'll almost always find a notepad with me, and often it's a Rite in the Rain pad.

When you're in and out of the inclement weather we seem to get this time of year, my little Rite in the Rain pad holds up.  If it gets wet or you spill something on it, drop it in the mud, smear greasy fingers across it, the cover and pages wipe clean and hold together.  The basic pads have horizontal lines with vertical dashes creating a grid which makes it easy to sketch out an idea or just jot down some notes.

Usually, I pick mine up at Tractor Supply Co. (TSC), but you can order them online and there are quite a few variations, including some "tactical" pads for those of you who need to maintain your image.  The "practical" pads in bright yellow do fine for me because if you drop them while hunting or working in the barn, they're easy to find. 

This is a great tool for those of use who seem to be thinking more and remembering less, and best of all... the batteries never go dead.  So pick up a couple of Rite in the Rain pads and take some notes...

Go ahead and try it... and if you don't like it, you're out... like... five-bucks.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sheepdog 101: It's 1:50am... are you ready?

A sheepdog is always ready, alert, and waiting to do what is necessary... are you ready?  See, prepping and readiness is more than having a bunch of guns, stocking up on ammunition, and having some rations stored in the closet.  Being prepared is a lifestyle and it's often the little things that will trip us up.  Similar to money management, we tend to make careful, thoughtful decisions when purchasing a home, a car or truck, a big screen TV... but we lose out on the hundreds, even thousands of dollars wasted daily and weekly in the little things.

It's 1:50am... where's your cell phone... oh, next to the chair in the living room... where's your flashlight... in the back of the drawer, under all the other stuff piled in there... where's your gun... is it loaded... is the safety on or off... is there a round in the chamber... can't remember when you last checked it... where's the spare magazine... where's everyone else... asleep... in the family room watching a late night show... at work... did you lock the doors... did someone else... who was supposed to lock the doors... is your heart pounding?

What woke you up at 1:50am... was it a intruder... a weather alert or tornado siren... the smoke alarm... the dog barking... how do you assess the situation... what's the plan... how do you communicate with the others... what are you wearing... where are your shoes... tossed in the corner or ready to slip on... where's your keys... oh, on the kitchen counter at the other end of the house?

What are you going to grab to take with you... are you looking for your glasses... where's your clothes... do you just grab the the Bug Out Bag (BOB) and run... or take cover... or use your alternate escape route... where do you re-group... who do you call... are you panicked? angry? frustrated? Are you thinking about all the things you should have thought about before 1:50am?

Preparedness is a continual process in our family.  It's a lifestyle with standard operating procedures and routines that are always being assessed, modified, and improved.  We have plans, we test them, we discuss them, and we ask, "What if?"  My little gal is sixteen and in less than two years she will likely be off at college.  Hopefully, she'll assess her unfortunately disarmed situation and make a plan, develop routines, and have her BOB ready to go.

I can't tell YOU how to be prepared as every situation is different, but I can suggest you look around and assess your situation.  You could probably make a hundred improvements in your preparations and readiness without spending a penny.  Think about it, and if you have a family or others living with you... discuss it with them 'cause nothing messes up a good plan more than someone who has no idea what the plan was.

I've often heard it said, "If you're going to carry... carry every day."  Well, if you're going to prepare... prepare every day.

So the homework for today's class of Sheepdog 101: It's 1:50am... are you ready?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Packin' eighteen rounds of .357 magnum...

After listening to some law enforcement officers talking after church about how there isn't any room left on their duty-belts for anything else with the S&W M&P 40, magazines, taser, handcuffs, ASP baton, rubber gloves pouch, pepper spray, radio, and other assorted items that even Batman wouldn't have thought of for his utility belt... I was thinking about way back to the good ol' days when I worked for a few years in law enforcement.

In the mid-1980s the military had adopted the Beretta M9 and Mel Gibson was shooting smiley faces at fifty yards in Lethal Weapon with the Beretta 92F.  Our department was still carrying .357 magnums... you know... six-shooters... wheel-guns... either the S&W Model 66, S&W Model 686, or Ruger GP100 in stainless steel with four-inch barrels firing Federal 158 grain Hydra-Shoks.

Those revolvers were reliable, built like a brick outhouse, and there was little argument about the stopping power of the .357 magnum cartridge.  We carried six in the cylinder and two HKS speed-loaders for a total of eighteen rounds.  Yeah, there was an extra box of ammo in the cruiser along with a Remington 870 shotgun loaded with 00-buckshot, but our force continuum was limited primarily in range from our gift of gab to our hands or PR-24 and finally to the .357 magnum.

It's funny how I wouldn't even consider an open/uncovered trigger holster today and the only vest we wore back then for protection was a sweater in cold weather.  In the late 1980s the department entered the future when they issued everyone S&W 4516 semi-autos in .45ACP.  With three magazines of .45ACPs and one in the chamber... we were packin' firepower with 25 rounds at our disposal.

That good ol' GP100 has had somewhere north of 20,000 rounds through it over the years, six at a time, and has never failed me yet... but looking back, we must have been just a step or two ahead of Barney Fife's one-in-the-pocket...

We were packin' eighteen rounds of .357 magnum...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Singing in the rain...

Tomorrow is the first day of gun season for deer hunting here in Ohio. 

I'm armed and dressed for success.

Unfortunately, according to the weather forecast... for the next couple of days...

I'll be... singing in the rain...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Deserve's got nothin' to do with it...

As I observe the world around me, and even further through the eyes of the media and internet... there are a lot of folks responding to a variety of circumstances... many facing situations which are not of their their own doing.  The sheep are "baaing" away for someone to take care of them, but the sheepdogs are wiping off the mud and blood while they continue on through life.

For Christians, the good Lord above never promised us Heaven in this life, but in the next life.  What he did provide us in this life is the teachings of the Bible to guide us.  Whether or not you're of my faith and beliefs, I've also been fortunate in life to have been provided incredible men and women who have guided and taught me.

See, my heroes and role models are not sports figures or movie stars, but real people who have entered, and sometimes at my age, have now left my life.  Real people who have taught me, advised me, and guided me out of no other obligation than their own choice.  A man like my father served his country, his family, and his community because he chose to.  Don't think fatherhood isn't a choice as I believe the lack of millions of men failing to own up to their responsibilities as fathers and husbands is possibly one of the biggest challenges our country has ever faced.

Men like Pappy, my grandfather, who was a farmer, steel mill worker and foreman, and a solid American man who built his life and this country through his sweat and physical strife.  He gave me my first gun, but what he really left me was knowledge, character, and footsteps to follow in.  I thought of him yesterday as I wandered through Cabela's... this is a place he would have really enjoyed.

Our friend Dale, who was a farmer, trucker, and business man... taught me everything and anything from money management and cutting (harvesting) wheat to tig-welding and backing a semi-truck up to a loading dock.  He was a great and generous man who unassumingly drove his rusty 1974 Chevy pick-up into his 70s and left a multi-million dollar estate and thousands of acres of prime farmland free of any debt.  His wife always reminded us that no how matter how busy the farm and trucking company was, it was still important to stop work, eat, reassess the work, and then carry on... even if was ninety-seven degrees on a humid July afternoon.

In college, I somehow ended up with Dr. Ernie for an advisor, the only Kentucky Baptist that probably existed on a liberal college campus.  A farmboy and Vietnam vet with a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University... he's now retired in Kentucky on the family farm, I'm sure he's still dispensing his thoughtful advice to his son and grand-children while he sits on his porch.

There are so many others who have taught and guided my life from my mother, an Ohio farm girl who can bake an apple pie, plant a two-acre garden, and build furniture or change oil to the many ladies who taught me through elementary school the basics in education that I needed to get through life... before we implemented the politically corrected, "everybody wins while learning nothing of substance" baloney that currently occurs in our public schools.

Those elementary teachers knew how to achieve success in the classrooms and maintain a child's attention... without using drugs.  You learned what you needed to know because they held you accountable.  If you were slow at learning your multiplication tables, they'd stay after school to help you, but then again, YOU had to put the time and work in... nobody was going to slap an "A" on your paper just to make you feel better after for making a lazy, half-hearted attempt.

Pappy, Dale, and my dad are all gone now.  Mrs. Heslup, my second grade teacher and the last of the elementary school teachers living, passed on this fall.  I still have good counsel, role-models, and heroes around, but it looks like I too need to keep stepping up to the plate as a father, a husband, and mentor for my family, friends, college students, church kids, 4H youth, community, and others.  It's not because it's required or that I have any special circumstances or qualifications, it's just what was done for me and I need to keep paying it forward in my life.

So while I am thankful today for so much... when we sat down for Thanksgiving dinner today... friends and family... and my father was not here with us to sit at the head of the table... my mother said, "Dann, you sit at the head of table this year."

I sat at the head of the table, but believe me... Deserve's got nothin' to do with it...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bring enough gun... for you.

After reading a recent post over at Say Uncle, aside from realizing the he and I think a lot alike, I began thinking about all the hyped-up cow manure a lot of new and inexperienced shooters have to wade through when trying to choose a gun for self-defense.  I've been to a lot of firearms training from a variety of instructors, read hundreds of books, and watch more videos than I care to remember... and I've now been instructing students myself for over twenty years and with all that said... I must say that when it comes to the rules of selecting and using a gun for self defense... I see it this way...

First things first... the "using a gun for self-defense rules" don't even matter unless you are of the sheepdog mindset, you know what having a deadly weapon is for, you know how and when you to use it, and you are willing to use it to take another person's life... which is no small undertaking... even if they are a dirty scumbag.  Guns used for self-defense ain't for scaring people off (although it happens), they're for shooting people... people who are threatening you with serious bodily harm or death.  If you've got that in your psyche, then consider these rules...

Using a Gun for Self-Defense Rules:
Rule 1: Have a gun (as in with you or ready at hand).
Rule 2: Have a reliable gun you can reliably shoot.
Rule 3: Be a life-long learner and shooter so you can decide about Rule 1 and Rule 2.

Rule 1 was basically covered in a previous Sheepdog 101 post, so an introduction to Rule 2 and Rule 3 is probably overdue.  A reliable gun is one that goes bang pretty much every time it is supposed to and doesn't go bang when it is not supposed to when combined with YOU, the shooter.  What works for someone else may or may not work for you.  Being able to reliably shoot a particular gun means that you can comfortably and reliably operate that gun to place bullets on intended targets in the intended places any time the need arises.

Now which gun fits into these rules for you is something you will need to learn about and decide.  Too often I have students show up at a basic pistol, rifle, or shotgun course with guns that were selected for them rather than guns they selected.  That might work when you're first starting out, but try as many guns out as you can, educate yourself, and make your own decisions.

A shotgun is hard to conceal, but might make a good home defense firearm.  Need to shoot at a significant distance, a rifle is always better than a handgun and even works in close-quarters, but again... difficult to conceal outside the home.

The .45ACP vs 9mm debate has been raging for years, but it doesn't matter.  But the big ol' 45 will make rapists do double back-flips when hit while the little niner will just annoy them... maybe you should also consider that my Ruger SR9 carries eighteen rounds with one in the chamber verses my SR1911 that carries nine rounds with one in the chamber before a reload occurs... stopping power vs. firepower.

Now I'm not advocating one over the other... those are questions YOU need to learn about and decide.  Some people recommend you use or carry the largest caliber gun you can reliably shoot, but I don't always buy that the diameter of the bore is the prime factor you should consider in selecting a gun for self-defense. 

Revolvers are old school, don't waste your time... and they only hold five or six shots... now wait a minute there folks... I do still recommend revolvers, but each recommendation is based on the person and their need for a reliable gun they can reliably shoot.  Revolvers just seem simpler to some people and if that is what works best for them, then that is the best choice.

The .22 is worthless and isn't lethal enough... maybe, but I wouldn't ask Robert F. Kennedy's opinion on that one.  No, I'm not endorsing the terrific little .22 as the defensive round of choice, but as I tell my students... a .22 shot placed on-target is better than .45 shot that misses the target.  The two considerations that make .22s a possibility for self-defense is that they are usually inexpensive to purchase and shoot, and they're easy to shoot reliably so folks will likely practice more often.

So how do you know which gun is best for Rule 2... follow Rule 3.  Take an NRA Basic Firearm training class, go to a gun dealer and ask questions, try out a local range and rent some guns to try out, join or visit a shooting sports or gun club... many folks in a lot of clubs enjoy showing new folks their guns and even letting them try a few out.  You'll meet a lot of good, like-minded folks... and an occasional idiot or two... so learn to sort the wheat from the chaff for yourself.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
~Proverbs 15:22

There are a lot of good and bad opinions and information out there about guns and the best thing anyone can do is educate themselves, practice regularly, and... bring enough gun... for you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What kind of parent lets their kid...

Our daughter turned sixteen this past summer and like most kids who have survived that magical number of years, she obtained the right of passage known as her driver's license.  Unlike many sixteen year-olds, she also received her motorcycle license at the same time.  The gal's been ripping around in go-carts since she was five and tearing up dirtbikes since she was eight, yet the question from some who don't know us very well inevitably arises, "what kind of parent lets their kid...".

We're both in the education business and life-long learning is just a way of life for us and it's been instilled in our daughter.  She completed dirtbike safety school at the Honda corporate facility when she was nine years old, has traveled many off-road trails in the fields and through state and national parks, and completed the required Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course with flying colors before passing her test to get her motorcycle license.

Now, no amount of experience or education can compete head-on with a four-thousand pound SUV on the road so preparation, skills, practice, and continued learning are critical to calculate and minimize risks... just like with guns.

Someday far down the road, I'm sure someone will see our daughter's child enjoying motorcycles or firearms and say, "what kind of parent lets their kid..."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sheepdog 101: Keep the teeth ready at hand...

A recent discussion with friends developed around the continuing string of burglaries in our county that have been going on for the last three or four years.  I previously mentioned some of our experiences with two-legged varmints.  The gal said, "They better not come around our place, 'cause we have a shotgun."  My gal asked what kind it was and where do they keep it... to which the reply was... they weren't sure what kind because it was his father's and it is kept locked in a case under their bed so the kids can't get to it.

Any sheepdog knows that the teeth are only good for biting if you've got them with you.  A firearm is the great equalizer in a threatening or violent encounter and its value only prevails if you have it ready at hand.  Rule One of gun-fighting is HAVE A GUN.  Do you carry your gun on you or have it ready at hand when you're home? when you're out and about? Or is it locked in a case under your bed upstairs?

Now I'm older, overweight, out of shape, and a bit stressed at work... but I've been working on improving those situations, except the aging thing.  If you're in great physical condition... terrific, but there will always be somebody or several people that are stronger, faster, and more lethal... and I don't care how good you are... eventually, you can't beat the aging process.  The lethal force of a bullet discharged from any given firearm is the same regardless of whether it is fired by an ex-navy seal or an eighty-year-old, retired great-grandma.

As a long-time NRA and 4H Shooting Sports instructor, I've seen folks from age five to eighty-two master the basics of firearm handling.  If you ever wonder about the frailty of someone who is disabled... the firearm can truly even out the odds... or beat the odds as demonstrated by veteran and former Blackhawk chopper pilot Trevor Baucom.

So if you've worked a firearm into your self-defense plans, make sure it is one that is reliable and that you can reliably use it.  Keep it ready at hand, even if that means carrying at home and don't forget... when ol' Murphy's Law kicks in, two-is-one and one-is-none.  If the boogie man kicks in the door of our home in the middle of the night when we're all there... he'll be dealing with at least three of these and three of these.  Hence, keeping a second set of teeth around never hurts.

So the lesson from today's class of Sheepdog 101: Keep the teeth ready at hand...

(Special thanks to Ruger and Sasha for participating in the visuals for this lesson.  No cats or two-legged varmints were harmed in this production of Sheepdog 101)