Tuesday, June 26, 2012
A few weeks back, Carteach attended his third Appleseed event. This time.... an orange hat came into the picture. Allow me to explain.....
Appleseed instructors are not simply hatched like tiny little dinosaurs, from leathery eggs buried in warm sand. They are created over time, with training, and lots of guidance from those who took on the duty before them. There is a hierarchy of instructors, each level corresponding to a certain amount of training, effort, study, and 'proving of ability'.
The very first level is IIT0 (Instructor In Training, level '0'). To reach this vaunted position, somewhat equivalent to junior pot scrubber at a roadside diner, the candidate must have qualified as 'Rifleman' with a score of 210/250, and have a head that will fit inside the requisite orange hat.
IIT0 entitles the new hat wearer to pick things up and put them down over there, but only under direct supervision from a higher ranking instructor. It also carries with it the duty to learn the teachings of Appleseed (both marksman skills and history), and work the firing line for both safety and instruction.
As the Instructor In Training attends Appleseed clinics, there is a step by step process where the young Jedi proves his knowledge by taking on more duties under the watchful eyes of more experienced instructors. First, demonstrating a strong knowledge of the safety rules and how they are implemented. Next, taking on the task of Teacher, and sharing the special little slice of American history taught by Appleseed. After that.... the rifle skills themselves, taught step by step.
Each mile of the way, the Instructor gains experience and skills, and is expected to work at shoots ready to share that with the attendees in their charge. It's a matter of education, above all else. Appleseed instructors are teachers.... teaching rifle skills of course, but also important facets of history designed to awaken the exceptional American spirit that shaped our nation.
Eventually, after much grueling hard work (Not a joke.... instructors work hard!), with much display of skill and dedication, the newby instructor may be granted the honor of 'The Red Hat', which is full instructor. This entitles the honoree to work harder, study more, and take a stronger hand in teaching both attendees and upcoming young instructor plebes.
After that.... the Red Hat may become a 'Shoot Boss' by taking on even more training and demonstrating even more skill at teaching and working with people. Shoot Boss's are the grand poobahs of each Appleseed clinic, being ultimately in charge of the event and responsible for everything good and bad that happens there.
Now, you may be questioning... "Why would someone take on all this hard work? Is it for the money? The prestige? The adoring fans? The free trips to Hawaii?"
No..... none of that.... because there IS none of that. No money, no perks, and no good life. There is hard work, more hard work, and maybe... just maybe.... a free meal once in a while, but only after a long hard day at the range. Instructors often never get to fire a round of their own at the clinic. Given that, why do people take on the funny colored hats, along with all the work that comes with them?
Friends, Appleseed is worth doing. It's that simple. Attending as a student is worth every minute and every penny. For some who recognize the value and need of Appleseed, taking on the hat is worth doing too. It doesn't come with a fat check, nor even a slim dime of compensation. What it does come with is the satisfaction of doing a worthy job at a time when our nation is sorely in need of the core values presented by Appleseed.
So, yes, Carteach has an orange hat in his shooting bag, with all that entails. Now comes the hard work that makes it special and worthwhile.
This came across the Amazon wire: Primos Truth Cam 35 Camera.
I've long suspected the trails in the woods behind Castle Carteach were there for an excellent reason, but I've never been able to pin down exactly what creatures keep them clear. Perhaps this is what I need to solve that nagging itch.
Trusted friends, what experience can you share with such contraptions? Is this worth my time and money ?
Saturday, June 16, 2012
- Wish me luck. Today I'll be volunteering at an Appleseed clinic, with about 21 shooters on schedule. Going to be a busy, busy day! Oh... and I guess I should look into getting myself one of those 'Orange Hat' things. You Appleseeders will know what that means. I'll share the journey if it happens. I HOPE to shoot an AQT myself today... we'll see.
- Carteach's AR is undergoing surgery. The stock barrel is being lopped off a few inches, and will return in more of a dissapator format. Look for the review and writeup... and one day I'll tell you all why I'm doing it.
- Along with the above, The Fat Man is considering the addition of another AR-Upper to the stable. This one a Rock River Arms DCM special. Comments and thoughts from the knowledgeable would be warmly welcomed....
Monday, June 11, 2012
Some time ago, Carteach posted about building a Med-Kit for range (and general life) use. Some good folks chimed in with a lot of great suggestions, all of which were taken into account.
The idea behind the emergency medical kit was to have some useful, and perhaps life saving, items on hand in the event it all goes pear shaped. In addition, there are some things that are just handy to have around in a known location. One major premise of the Carteach0 Med-kit™ is the Fat Guy has some idea what to do with the stuff in it. Thus we'll not see any rib spreaders, MRI machines, or cranial inversion rectabulators.
Putting together the kit (So far) I relied heavily on Amazon.com for items not already in stock here at Castle Carteach. That said, it was quite surprising how much was already at hand when I really started adding it up. Between house, vehicle, workshop, and tool boxes.... more than half the contents were right at the fingertips. Having them all in one spot, however, is a satisfying and reassuring sight.
A nice feature of building this kit.... as I ordered in supplies and compiled what was already on hand, eventually enough was piled up to make not one, but two first aid medical kits. One (this one) now resides in the trunk of my vehicle along with some other handy gear. The other is prominently on the shelf in our homes bathroom closet in a clearly marked metal first aid box.
Any parties that might have a need to know have been informed where they are, what they look like, and how to get to them. This includes coworkers, neighbors, and everyone in the household.
So, what have we so far?
I'll go over each item, with what rational it has for being in this kit, and supply links as I can. Wherever it makes sense, items or multiple items are in zip lock bags. Not only does this keep them clean, but it groups things together that are used together. Thus, a bag of tools... a bag of gauze pads (with alcohol wipes), a bag of medicines, etc.
Sunscreen, for obvious reasons. This kit is more than just a blowout trauma bag.... it's needful things for daily health on the job, at the range, and life in general.
Insect Repellent 100% DEET ... the best Carteach has ever used. I've hunted in South Carolina where mosquitoes move in roving hunter packs that look like something from an Aliens movie. I've seen that wall 'o death come within range of the DEET I'd sprayed on myself and saw it stop dead. I litterally had to brush the bug wall aside to see the bean field I was watching for deer.
Sterile eye wash, because I've had crap in my eyes, and gotten crap out of other peoples eyes.
Israeli Battle Dressing... Because bad things happen, and these are built to help with really bag things. The six inch bandage is all alone in one outside zippered compartment. The four inch one is in it's own zippered pocket with two pair of nitrile gloves and a stack of alcohol wipes... a major blowout kit all in one pocket on the very top of the bag.
A disposable plastic rain poncho... because it's small, cheap, and sometimes you want to keep the rain off something, like maybe yourself.
Bandana... a great big black bandana... because it's hard to find a handier chunk of cloth anyplace. For a man who was raised to farm life as a boy, a good bandana is gold.
Tampons... because they fill up bullet holes and soak up blood. It's a nasty thought, but its what they are designed to do. Also, they are cheap. Also... well... there are times when a man can be a discreet hero to someone in need. 'Nuf said.
Mini-screwdriver.... As a lifetime mechanic, Carteach can say without reservation, there are few tools as utterly needful as a pocket screwdriver. It's uses are beyond measure.
Flashlight... because bad stuff happens in the dark too. This one is a backup, as just about anyplace this kit might find itself already has a flashlight stashed there.
Sharpie.... because things need to be written down sometimes, and in an emergency you don't want to screw around trying to find something to do it with, nor find it won't write where you need it to write. The human body is a fine place to take notes in an emergency... and few things write on it as well as a sharpie.
Kershaw Assisted Opening Knife .... because.... KNIFE! What has man ever invented more useful than a small razor sharp pocket knife? It's the assisted opening model because sometimes you only have one hand to work with. In this kit, the knife is stored under an elastic strap on the outside of the bag. It's probably the most useful tool in the kit, so it should be right there at hand.
Blue Nitrile Gloves .... because wearing them while around other peoples blood is a pretty damn good idea. Not all nasties come with a big sign saying 'don't touch', and helping wounded people can carry a terrible price if you are not careful. Besides, ones own hands are generally chock full of incredibly nasty infectious stuff, and shouldn't be just plunked into another persons wounds. That would be rude!
Alcohol Swabs ..... germs is bad. Killing germs is good. Alcohol wipes do a good job of that, and are cheap as heck too. One can't have too many on hand. In this kit, they are divided into various compartments and bags for various reasons, with a main supply too. Reaching for the band-aids, gauze pads, tools, or trauma bandages will also find alcohol wipes at hand.
6 Hour Power Energy Drink .... because I had them... and can see a reason to use them sometime. Now, to be clear, Carteach doesn't suck down these energy drinks. In fact, I've never even had one. That said, a quick shot of B's, sugar, and caffeine may have their place in this kit.
Aspirin.... because it works, and is generally safe for most people to take, and it's such a simple compound that it stays stable for years and years in a medical kit.
Cortisone.... for skin abrasions and oopsie bumps that sting. Simple stuff that my mom used because it works.
Bacitracin First aid Antibiotic Ointment ... for cuts, small wounds, and any place an antibiotic cream is useful while dressing wounds. I've used this stuff for years, and every time a doctor talks to me about keeping some wound or other dressed, it comes up again. Now, I've got some fairly strong prescription grade stuff on hand too, but I'd hesitate using it on somebody I didn't know real, real well.
Burn Gel... Because burns happen. Cortizone helps, but burn Gel works better for actual burns.
Benadryl.... in Gel's. The un-dyed kind, because some folks react to the dye in unhappy ways. Benadryl is about as well known as it gets for allergy meds, and the gel pills are the fastest way to get it in a person besides the liquid. The liquid is great to keep at home, but in a traveling medical kit that may get knocked around... not so much.
'Wet Ones' wipes... because people just get dirty sometimes.
Duct tape.... If you need to ask why this is included, well, there is no hope.
Surgical Scissors... Just in case. I'm no surgeon, but over the years I've had to cut things on people (including myself) that were not fun, nor funny.
Forceps, Curved 8" and Straight 8".... a few kinds. Short, long, straight and crooked. Just because.
Razor blades.... the disposable kind, at least a dozen. Cheap, handy, sharp as a ... well..... razor.
Butane lighter.... because fire is good, useful, and our birthright as humankind. Sometimes you just need fire, and you can never have too many lighters around.
Tweezers.... for splinters. Carteach especially seems able to call into existence small slivers of wood and metal where none existed before, and is forever picking small things out of his flesh.
Medic trauma shears.... to cut off clothing, straps, what have you. It's hard to dress a wound without exposing it first, and sometimes the best and safest way is to cut the material.
Instant ice pack.... because I had one, and they are real handy for light sprains and bruises.
Steri strips.... Over the years, The Fat Man has had a few moron moments, and now has the scars to show for it. Many, many, MANY is the time where Steri strips held my flesh together while it healed. I may not know how to stitch up a wound, but I can steri strip it shut just fine!
2x2 Sterile gauze sponges.... Wounds
4x4 sterile gauze sponges.... Wounds
3 rolls sterile gauze wrap.... Wounds. Been there, done that. Man, woman, child, and dog.
Band Aids.... Because OOOPS.
Fingertip Bandages and Knuckle Bandages.... Because I had them all, and each area can be a 'pain' to bandage.
Compress Bandage.... Because they are handy when breaking open the expensive high tech Israeli bandages is not called for.
Triangular Bandage... Sometimes limbs need to be wrapped up, and arms slung.
1/2" and 1" medical tape.... to hold things together, like gauze wraps and pads.
Okay..... that is it so far. The whole kit and Caboodle fits nicely in the bag, and occupies a small corner in the trunk of my car. It weighs surprsingly little, and most people would have no issue hanging it over their shoulder and carrying it all day. Shortly the mail box will yield yield up a Red Cross ID Patchwhich will be slapped on the Velcro front of the bag, making it clear what it's all about.
Thoughts? Issues? Suggestions? Rants? Barbed daggers of hate? Attaboys? Let's hear what everyone thinks!
Sunday, June 10, 2012
"Close that door a moment, will you?" He said.
Seeing him unwrapping a vapor barrier bag, it was pretty clear he was about to show us a pistol of some kind. But... what slid from the bag and onto the padding of the blanket was something I never expected to see without thick glass between myself and history.
A FP-45 Liberator pistol.
Before that, I had seen exactly two of these in my whole life. One, decades ago, in a display case at the Army's Aberdeen proving grounds, and the other in a tiny gun shop in Indiana. The second one had been crushed in what I consider a clear example of all-to-common misguided and small minded government bureaucracy.
The 'Liberator' pistol is not fancy. In fact, it's hard to imagine a firearm less fancy than the FP-45, unless it's made from water pipe in a Prison workshop. The Liberator pistols, over a million of them, were made from crude sheet metal stampings, a blob of zinc casting, and a smoothbore barrel.
It's a single shot .45acp pistol with crude sights, a terrible trigger, no accuracy at all past a few yards, and a form not even mother could love.
Made by the Guidelamp Division of General Motors at the behest of the US Army over a few months in the Summer of 1942, the Liberator was never intended for use by our armed forces. Turned over to The Office of Strategic Services (OSS... the forerunner to the CIA) the Liberator had a more interesting future planned.
The idea was simple really, even if diabolical. The pistols would be air dropped by the hundreds of thousands into enemy occupied territory, where it was expected the Germans would never be able to recover all of them. Useless as a battlefield weapon, the issue of providing useful weapons to the enemy was moot. On the other hand... as a weapon of terror in the hands of the resistance, the Liberator might have had extraordinary value. A common civilian, alone with a conquering German soldier, suddenly produces the single shot .45 and drops the man in a surprise attack, afterwards making off with the soldiers weapons. Now the German Army is down one soldier, the resistance has one more battle rifle, and every other German soldier has to wonder.... will he be next?
I say might have had, as the OSS never carried out the plan to any degree. Aside from a few FP-45's finding their way to the Philippine resistance and perhaps China, the Liberators were not deployed as expected. They languished in warehouses, and after the war... almost all were destroyed.
The history of this ugly little $2.50 pistol, and it's extreme rarity, leads us to where we stand today. A lonely little Liberator will usually fetch $1200 to $1400 at auction. In its original cardboard box with a short wooden dowel for ejecting spent cartridges and the original 10 rounds of .45acp the pistol was supplied with, it will bring upwards of $2000. Add in the original cartoon instruction sheet printed in 1942, and the auction may reach $2500; 100 times what the pistol cost to produce in scarce wartime dollars. This places the Liberator on a collectable plateau normally occupied by rare Winchester rifles and early Colt 1911 pistols.
How it ended up in my friends hands is his story to tell. His allowing 'Ol Carteach to handle the unique and rare find... that's my story to share, and I do so in the images below.
There is one thing more. Looking at the small piece of history as it lay on the table where we shared breakfast, he wondered aloud if I might have any mild .45acp hand loads on hand. At the question, my jaw dropped just as it had when the pistol first fell into my view. He meant to fire the FP-45!
Yes, I had some mild cast lead hand loads running about 650fps. A few of them run through my Commander by my friend and I were deemed as mild enough to chance shooting in the Liberator. Somehow... I was elected to take the first shot.
Folks.... I was faced with an opportunity to do something most shooters could never even dream.... Hold in my hand and fire an actual piece of history. On the flip side of that coin... the Liberator pistol was intended for use in desperate times by desperate people. There was a very real chance it would simply explode in my hand on firing.
I didn't see that as much of a choice.
I apologize for the quality of the video. It was just two old guys facing a stunning personal moment in history. Here is what happened:
To my friend, all I can say is thank you. Thank you for an opportunity of a life time.
And now, some images of the Fp-45 Liberator to share.................
Friday, June 8, 2012
A Reloading tip so simple, it will only take a moment to talk about, and even less time to do.
A fair percentage of reloads that cause problems are the result of cartridges loaded with no powder, or a charge significantly different than planned.
When loading single stage, a moment with a flashlight looking down at the racked cases can assure the hand loader that every case has powder in it, and all the levels look roughly the same.
For those loading on a progressive press, a strong light positioned to aim directly into the charged case is a good idea, letting the operator glance in to see the charge in place before pulling the handle for the 45,876'th time.
Simple procedures, but priceless in terms of safety.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Well friends and neighbors, this post will be a first here. A gear review on something a company asked me to write about.
Don't get me wrong... we have lots of gear reviews on Carteach0 (because gear is fun!), but in just about every case it's something that I personally use, or want to check out myself. Surely, companies do contact the author and ask for reviews, but they usually get politely refused unless it's something in the 'To Buy' pipeline anyway. This time, The Fat Man decided to give this bit of gimmickry a try and see how it works.
What we have here is the Techna Clip, and it's pretty much exactly what it looks like. A belt/pocket clip that attaches to the side of the Ruger LCP by replacing one of the factory pins with a steel pin and threaded screw.
It appears to be made from stamped spring steel of decent quality, and is finished in a dull parkerize type finish. The attaching pin and screw look like good quality hard steel that's been blackened. The whole rig costs about $30 from Techna Clip, including shipping, and right now they have models to fit the LCP, the LC9, and the Sig P238. For this review, Carteach chose the Ruger LCP Left Side version, with malice aforethought.
Regarding the unit itself, a few comments. The spring clip fits the pistol tighter than I thought it would, and I needed to start the screw into the pin first, using it to draw the clip onto the side of the pistol. While this might be easy to mess up, I see the tight fit as a good thing. On that note, given a few weeks of use I was unable to break either the clip or the screw that holds it on the pistol. Frankly.... this surprised The Fat Man, as breaking things is one of his best talents.
Given that I failed to snap it clean off the pistol in 'normal' use, how did it work otherwise?
Setting aside for a few moments the idea of using a belt clip to carry a pistol, I'll report that the Techna Clip did pretty much what one would expect. It did a decent job of letting me carry the pistol simply by slipping it into my pocket, or under my belt, with the clip keeping it upright and located much as I put it. I found this especially helpful when I carry the LCP in my pocket around the house and property.
As concealed carry, it's not as effective as simply slipping the LCP in my vest pocket. The clip does hold part of the pistol above the belt or pocket, pretty much the same as wearing a belt clipped holster. That said, it was nice to know the pistol was exactly where I put it, and oriented butt up and muzzle down, instead of all piggly wiggly from being churned around in a pocket.
I chose to install the left side clip, as I often wear slash pocket pants. Having the clip on the left side of the pistol allows me to put the pistol in my right front pocket, with most of the pistol rding down in the pocket. It also helps me with under-belt carry, as I can slide my hand under my belt and alongside the pistol to draw, already having the pistol in firing position as soon as I draw.
Is the Clip better than a belt holster or, given this is an LCP pocket pistol, a pocket holster? Yes and no. It depends on your style and intent of carry. If you are just looking to slip the pistol into your pocket and go, the Techna Clip seems to help in that case. If you are looking for complete concealment.... the clip is not the way to go.
There is another issue, and an important one. Using a belt clip to carry a pistol means leaving the trigger exposed. Given a DA revolver, or a double action only semi-auto like the LCP, having an exposed trigger is still a risk, but less so than single action or safe action pistols. I'm comfortable putting the LCP in my pocket, but I make it the only thing there, with nothing else that can snag the trigger and cause serious surprise unhappiness.
Okay.... my final observations. If I really, really wanted a belt clip on my pistol, I'd have no reservations about using the Techna Clip.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
The first club match after I attended an Appleseed clinic, I had an opportunity to put what I had learned to good use. Sighting, breathing control, sling position, natural point of aim.... as much as I could remember and as much as would come naturally after some practice.
The target above is my slow fire prone. Fired on a 100 yard range, with a reduced size target duplicating a 600 yard National Match. All shots scored, and all but one were in the black. Almost all hit within a four inch group inside the six inch bull.
I was shooting a 1930's Turkish Mauser bolt action with original turn of the century Mauser sights, and 1950's Yugoslavian 8x57mm ammunition that was running 10% duds (Surprisingly, as I have shot cases of the stuff with few issues).
I simply applied what I learned at Appleseed. It works.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Shooters can usually be found with ear protection and eye protection. Earpro and Eyepro by the slang words. Smart shooters.... are seldom without both.
This post is about eye protection, and what we can expect from it.
In choosing good eye protection, we are faced with an awful lot of choices. So many factors come into play. Price, style, price, quality, price, price, and price. This opinion is based on a decade of buying eye protection for my students, and yes, price has always been a factor, but not the most important. Keeping my students eyes in place and operating was the main goal. After that, price became the deciding factor.
In studying the available choices, the single biggest pointer towards protection is clearly the rating of the lens. There, we are faced with three levels. The first is no rating at all. Such 'safety glasses' are little more than cheap plastic glasses... possibly worse than having nothing at all. No-rating glasses offer little in the way of protection. Under impact, they tend to shatter into sharp chunks, rather than deflect and absorb the blow. The resulting fragments can be driven into the eyes, causing worse damage than an unprotected impact might have.
No-rating 'safety glasses' may be the lowest of the low, but that doesn't mean they are the cheapest of the cheap. In fact, price is really not a reflection on the safety rating of the lenses. The highest rated lens may be found in a $5 pair of glasses, and typically is. On the flip side, some quite expensive shooters glasses may not be all that highly rated, trading safety for style.
How does one check lens rating? With a sharp eye and good light... that's how. One must look for some specific figures on the lens itself, or if the lens is part of the glasses, the rating may by on the arm instead. What we want to see is the letter 'Z', followed by the number 87. Put a '+' sign after the Z87, and you have the highest rated regular safety glasses you will typically find.
Z-87+ is what Carteach0 bought for his students every year.... and he paid no more than $5 a pair for them, even in the stylish and effective wrap-around type.
Once we have a Z87 (or higher) rated lens, what kind of protection can we expect? Here, things get pretty impressive.
The no-rating glasses shown above, with the amber lenses, were the first victim of the Carteach0 testing apparatus.... otherwise known as a sheet of thick metal plate and a S&W K-22. The plate was set up and angled just so, and when fired on with the accurate .22 pistol a swath of bullet fragments would dependably spray to one side of the plate.
As the test board to the left shows, a round or two fired into the test plate would leave nothing alongside it unscathed.
The amber no-rating glasses didn't stand up to a single fragment storm, shattering on the first hit. Both lens and frame came apart, littering the area with testimony of the 'safety glasses' ineffectiveness.
Low budget Z-87 safety glasses bought from the hardware store fared much, much better. Hit with no less than four blasts of shrapnel from the .22 bullets hitting the aluminum plate, they showed not a scratch on either lens. In fact, a paper had to be placed behind the glasses to verify the spray pattern, as this tester couldn't believe they were being hit at all. The frame did show some impacts, but the lenses came away unscathed.
Having demonstrated the difference between Z-87 rated lenses and unrated lenses, Carteach decided to move right up to the big guns.... and testing that was much more fun. Full frontal with 12 gauge shotgun and #8 bird shot. A serious test of any lenses effectiveness.
Leaving the disgraced un-rated lenses behind, the shotgun tests were done with low budget Z-87 EOS safety glasses from the hardware store, and some lenses donated to the cause by a reader, made by ESS and Wiley-X. Surprisingly, all survived shotgun blasts that tore apart the Styrofoam mannequin heads used to support the lenses.
As the following images show, at distances as far as 50 feet, and as close as 15 feet the lenses easily survived multiple hits with #8 bird shot fired from a 12 gauge shotgun.
Clearly, typical Z87 and Z87+ rated lenses hold up to impressive damage. Direct impact from a 12 gauge shotgun at 15 feet... amazing. The lenses, at closer ranges, were driven deep into the foam target, but the lenses themselves were never penetrated by the #8 shot.
Testing was done at this point. A full load of bird shot at 15 feet... If anything more damaging than that happens to a shooter, all bets are off anyway.
The failure point was not the lenses, but the frames. No matter the brand tested for this post, they all gave up pretty quickly. Perhaps that would be a reason to spend significant cash on safety glasses... for frames that would hold up to the same as the lenses.
Carteach's choice? Inexpensive Z87+ wrap around glasses. The same one bought by the gross for his students. In fact, shaded versions of the same glasses can be found in every Carteach0 vehicle, used as driving sunglasses. This makes sense, as the dangers from flying glass and debris in a car accident easily rival that of the shooting range.
Now.... to finish off the test lenses in a way that leaves no doubt. OO buckshot at 15 feet, launched by a full choke 12 gauge tube.