Monday, September 30, 2013

Pragmatism, Passion And A Little Greek Guy


"The law is reason free from passion." Aristotle

I'm tired and I'm frustrated.

Who are these people who pontificate on what they deem to be "common sense?"  These self-important mooks who espouse the need for responsible gun laws - as if saying the word "responsible" makes the word "ban" the only reasonable and sure way to stop violence by gun.  And if you don't agree with them?  Then you are attacked as faulty or flawed.  These arrogant, pompous, pretentious and condescending buffoons who believe that if you aren't on their side, then you must be a heartless, soulless bastard who loves your guns more than the lives of the innocents lost to mass shootings by the insane.

Why do they believe this?  

Many conclude that if you experienced their heart breaking pain, their deep and fiery anger, their rage at the injustice of it all and cried - like they do - the tears of the emotionally spent, then you couldn't possibly come to any other conclusion. 

But they would be wrong.

Many of them believe if you look into the faces of the grieving, felt the horror of family, friends and the like minded countrymen of those murdered so brutally, watched the video of madmen with guns who mow down defenseless souls with impunity, there can be only one conclusion, only one solution.  There can only be one answer!

But they would be wrong.

If you dare not agree with them, you are viewed as a mouth breathing, slow witted oaf who holds on to your guns tighter than Chinese Finger Locks on a fat mans thumbs - and to think any other way makes you a pariah.  

But, again, they would be wrong.

Pragmatism vs Emotion

Aristotle said "Law is reason free from passion."  It is my opinion that those who make the laws, should also remain free from passion... or emotion.

I find most gun owners I talk with are pragmatists.  There isn't a whole lot a gray area involved with many answers.  Two plus two always equals four.  It doesn't change due to someones religion or race.  It doesn't maybe have another answer because someone is mentally ill.  It doesn't become 4.23 because an innocent child died or the perpetrator was unemployed.  It doesn't become a negative number due to of a lack of education or parenting or the illegal use of drugs.  It is what it is.

But it doesn't mean we don't care - we just tend to look at the problem with a simple and straightforward view.  For me, the view is something like this...

The Second Amendment is not up for debate.  It is a Right, just like the First Amendment supports the right to free speech.  We have the right to keep and bear arms.  So, its time to move it along, because there is nothing to see here.

When we see the news of a mass shooting, it makes us sick to our stomach, the same as you.  It breaks our hearts, the same as you.  It enrages us, the same as you.  We cry, trust me we cry, the same as you... and we are ashamed for our great country, the same as you... and then we look at the facts and attempt to come up with an answer.

This is what we see; A mentally ill man entered a school with a gun, where, by law, no guns are allowed - and then shot as many people as possible - which is also against the law - before killing himself - which is also against the law.  And we think...

How did a mentally ill guy get a gun?  How did he get into the school so easily?  Why wasn't someone there to stop him after he started shooting?  And we think...

We need to identify and help those who are mentally ill, so the odds go down on this happening again.  If those who allowed the shooter  access to a gun knew he was in trouble mentally, they should be held responsible - sending a message to gun owners reminding us of our responsibilities, not just to ourselves but to those around us.  Schools need more security - only those with a reason to be there should be allowed in.  Schools should allow those trained in the use of their guns to be volunteer security (including Teachers) so our children are as safe as we can realistically make them and the cost to the school districts is zero.

We need to look at the facts and realize that Gun Free Zones are nothing more than shooting galleries.  We also need to understand that even if we made it legal to carry guns everywhere, the crazy people and the bad guys would still have guns, still attempt mass shootings and may still accomplish their objective.  But by allowing concealed carry in schools, you have the chance to  minimize the damage should the worst happen - and give those innocents who are about to die, the opportunity to live.

We need to be aware that our Government can not keep us safe from all those who wish to do us harm - not from outside our borders, nor within.  Government can try, but the reality is it can't - and we shouldn't expect or assume it can..

And for those who still believe a safe society is a defenseless society, I ask you this...

If we registered all the guns and the government came and took them all away, do you believe the bad guys and the psychopaths wouldn't be able to get their hands on guns?  Your answer says more about you than you might think.

A pragmatist knows that Evil finds a way - but he also knows you don't give Evil free reign.  Good people with guns shouldn't scare you.  Bad people with guns should make you quake in your boots.

Just my opinion.


Monday, September 23, 2013

The Question We Should Be Asking About Violence

We all agree the violence needs to stop. Left, Right, it doesn't matter, the violence needs to stop. How do we accomplish that? 

First, identify the problem. I don't think many sane people would disagree that the mental instability of so many of the shooters is problem one. Now, this is where we need to start - identify and help those that have these kinds of problems.

One of the reasons gun owners become angry each time a mass shooting takes place is due to the gun grabbers in office - There are never any facts, just raw emotion and tears. Gun owners, by our refusal to be stripped of our guns, are then made to look compassion-less in relation to gun control advocates. We are portrayed as a group bereft of kindness or empathy -which, of course, is wrong. Period. Enough of that.

Second. Taking guns away from law abiding citizens is off the table. That argument is over! We are not the problem! Why should people in Montana stand idly by while the Right confiscates their guns due to a madman in Washington D.C.?  Surely, common sense should win out.  And how can gun owners show respect for those who would propose such insanity?  It doesn't help the Liberals argument for banning guns when, at the same time, they are standing tall on top of the First Amendment to speak their mind to the crush of ubiquitous television cameras.  Don't the Liberals realize the First Amendment's only true protection is the Second Amendment?
So, lets start here... Take gun banning off the table. Leave it alone. It ain't going to happen. That dog will not hunt!

Now... what do you have left? What is the plan?  If guns aren't the problem (and they aren't) what is?  This is the context in which the question needs to be asked and answered. Starting with Mental Health (mass shootings) Unemployment, Education, Drugs (legalize them) Parenting and last but not least - Prosecuting criminals who use guns in the commission of a crime. (In 2012, Chicago was dead last prosecuting violators of federal gun laws - 90th out of 90 federal jurisdictions - but people want more gun laws?) These are some of the symptoms of gun violence. This is the way forward. This is the future. 

Move past the Second Amendment. It's a right that cannot be taken away - which is one of the reasons this is such a great country!  The Second Amendment protects us from tyranny abroad, from within, from mob rule (read it as majority rule) and more. Its not going away.

Time to attack the truths of gun violence and move on. 
Shoulder to shoulder.  Together.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

ATI 45 FX GI Range Report (1000 rounds)

1000 rounds.

Well, that didn't take too long!

Before buying the ATI FX45 GI Commander length pistol (April 2013 - pictured above) I spent a lot of time researching it online (and other lower priced 1911's) - from product reviews to forum threads and everything in between and in the end I chose the ATI over the Rock Island due to one fact - The Rock Island at my LGS didn't have the extended beavertail and the ATI did.  Truth be told, I think I've made a pretty good purchase.

Price?  $579.00 (tax & white dots painted on the sights, included)

So far it has eaten everything I've thrown at it, including Tulammo and Wolf - dirty filthy ammo.  The bulk of its food supply has been PMC Bronze 230gr FMJ, due to the fact its the only ammo that has consistently been available through these tough times.  Price on the PMC has never been higher than $28.00 and the lowest I've paid is $24.00 and it's clean and fires every time.

The fit and finish of the gun was a nice surprise!  The slide to frame tolerances are amazingly tight, as tight as other much higher priced 1911's I've seen.  No rattles. The finish appears to be Parkerized and so far has remained in very nice shape, but let me qualify that by saying I don't carry yet (Illinois) so it isn't in and out of a holster and the forums I've read say the finish doesn't last as long as others.  That being said, dings and rubs don't bother me - they add to the character of the gun.

These are the only changes I've made on the gun in the five months I've owned it -
  • Changed out the stock mahogany crosshatched grips for a set of Hogue wraparound rubber grips with finger grooves.  I found the crosshatching on the wooden grips far too rough for comfort and I couldn't be happier with the Hogue grips.  As a point of information, I'm 6'-3" and have large hands.
  • The thumb safety was one thing I didn't like.  The edges were very sharp and rough (the only blemish as far as finish goes) and in the end I used a file and five minutes of my time to smooth things out.  Like I said, dings and rubs don't bother me.
  • At 200 rounds I swapped out the stock slide lock with a Wilson extended slide lock.  Just a personal preference.  The replacement didn't need any smithing and dropped right in without a problem and has run fine ever since.
  • The stock sights remain on the gun, though I did have the gunsmith add white dots.  Much better for an old man's eyes.  When money falls from the sky I will be taking it to a gunsmith for some night sights.
  • At 750 or so rounds, I changed out the stock recoil spring (I believe it is a 14-16 lb spring) for a Wolff 18 lb spring.  This was cheap and online opinion was that the recoil spring was a weak point in the gun.  Many commenters changed the spring at this point (750 rounds) so as a precaution, so did I.  Let me be clear, I did not have a problem with the factory recoil spring.
  • I just polished the feed ramp in anticipation of trying some defensive hollow point ammo.  It took about 6 minutes with a cheap rotary tool and buffing wheel that I bought at Harbor Freight.  I used the "green" compound.  It turned out great and I now have the proverbial mirror finish on my feed ramp.
When I brought the gun home I did break it down and lightly oil it before taking it to the range.  The first 200 rounds went in and out without a hitch.  The gun is nicely balanced (for me) and the heft - about 2.5 lbs loaded - makes for very manageable recoil that allows me to quickly reacquire the target.

The gun comes with just one factory magazine (8+1) and although I've read that people have had problems with the factory mag refusing to feed the last round, I haven't had such a problem.  I did have problems with two MetalForm mags I purchased, consisting of jams and FTF's and the slide not locking back when the mag went empty.  They were cheap - around $11.00 apiece - and in the end I just tossed them.  I now use Chip McCormick and Kimber mags without incident and all my mags are flush fit (I like the way they look.)

The gun does occasionally send an errant casing (once or twice a mag) clunking into my head, but to be honest, it doesn't bother me much - the bulk eject to the right.  When I get around to it, I will probably try filing the ejector and see if that helps or take it in to the gunsmith for an extractor adjustment - with the inconsistent flight path of the empty casings, the extractor tension might be the problem?

I've broke down the gun and cleaned and oiled it every 200 rounds or so.  The only problem I see so far is some minor peening or battering on the barrel link.  To be honest, I don't know if this is normal at 1000 rounds or not, but I will be changing out the link with something from Wilson Combat as a precaution.  The guide rod doesn't show any wear.

Hope that helps anyone who may be thinking about buying an ATI FX45 GI.  1000 rounds and still going strong.  And most importantly?

It goes "click bang" every single time.  And isn't that the most important thing?


This gun is still running like a dream!  The only trouble since this original post, is more magazine problems.  The factory supplied MecGar came apart at the feed point, creating a double feed and a hell of a jam at the range.  I tossed it.  From here on out, it's Chip McCormick mags ONLY.  I've just never had a problem with them.

After I started carrying in March, I began to notice that the thumb safety kept coming off safe whenever I pulled my sidearm from my Crossbreed Super Tuck IWB holster.  I ordered a new tube spring from Wilson Combat.  It slipped right in and immediately I felt a very solid "snick" whenever I flicked the safety on or off.

Other than that, I'm in the vicinity of 1500 rounds and this low priced gun continues to be the reliable every day carry pistol that I was aiming for!

Stay Safe and Carry Responsibly

My new book -Concealed Carry and the War on the Second Amendment, a collection from the New Gunner Journal - is now available at Lulu.comAmazon and Barnes and Noble.  If you have any questions about Concealed Carry or are sitting on the fence, this would make a nice Christmas present to learn about the lifestyle and those who live it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

We Must Stop The Lies

In the aftermath of another heinous mass shooting - this time at the Washington D.C. Naval Yard - and a renewed attack on gun control from the usual suspects such as Dianne Feinstein, the time has come for a pro-active approach from those who support the Second Amendment - and this should include private citizens along with those on The Hill.  It is time to say... ENOUGH!

When the left stands up and indignantly (and rightfully) bemoans the deaths of innocents, we should be standing shoulder to shoulder with them, strong and united in the belief that we indeed, must stop this madness.  We agree that it's a National disgrace to allow the killings of so many without passing significant legislation that would help bring about an end to these shameful happenings. We too cry, we too pray, we too hurt and despair for those affected by the senselessness of it all - and not only are we just as ashamed for our country as those on the left, we should be appalled and indignant that anyone should believe differently.

But instead of again going on the defensive, instead of again falling back on the same statistics of the F.B.I and the Justice Department, instead of again beating our heads against the wall, I believe it's high time we go on the offensive - and the war cry against the blight of mass shootings is this...

Gun Free Zones Are Killing Zones! 


We should not allow the lie of Gun Free Zones to continue permeating the minds of those that believe the incessant nattering of left wing politicians.  Gun control advocates must be called out for standing on the bodies of innocents to progress their agenda - an agenda that includes the eventual banning of all guns.  We must attack the knee-jerk mindset that a safe society is a defenseless society.  Nowhere in history, at any time, in any country, in any society has this proven true - and it isn't true now.

There is only one answer and this must be pushed forward with the strength of our conviction.  The legal, law abiding citizens of this country should be allowed to bear arms anywhere.  Period.  Any American should be able to defend his own life, the lives of his loved ones and those of innocent by-standers from the perils of madmen and criminals alike - and the Second Amendment makes it so.

After the Sandy Hook shootings, an article by John Fund, a political journalist and conservative columnist for National Review Online, quotes economist John Lott as saying “With just one single exception - the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011 - every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”

This is not opinion.  This is not a spinning of the numbers.  This is not a statistical anomaly. This is the hard and clear truth.  

The Mentally Ill 

In the same article, Fund quotes a Mother Jones article that maintains that of 62 mass shootings Mother Jones studied, at least 38 of the shooters were either mentally unstable or had shown previous signs of mental instability.  Again, we cannot let this issue pass without a complete vetting of the problem and our ability, as a nation, to deal with it.  Those who attempt to dissuade us from this argument must be exposed for who they are - gun grabbing zealots who will use any tribulation to advance their propaganda of fear and capitulation.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says "The U.S. Surgeon General reports that 10
percent of children and adolescents in the United States suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant functional impairment in their day-to-day lives at home, in school and with peers."  And  "The World Health Organization has reported that four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the US and other developed countries are mental disorders. By 2020, Major Depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children."

And yet this government does not have a comprehensive plan to identify and help those individuals who show signs of mental instability, even though NAMI states; "The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports."

If the left is going to scream "GUN!"  Just as Peter screamed "WOLF!Then they must be called on it. They must be challenged, hard.  They must be put on the defensive.  The must be forced to show facts that back up what they propose.  And in the end, they will show everyone involved, they have none.