Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chicago Students Are out of Control Despite Gun Control

How many times does it need to be shown that strict gun control measures do little maybe even nothing to stem violent crime and homicide. As a matter of fact, if you look to find an example of one of the strictest jurisdictions in this country when it comes to bans of guns, gun licensing, gun control and the like, you invariably think of Chicago. Yet, Chicago has one of the most terrible records in our nation when it comes to firearms being used in the commission of violent crimes especially as related to school violence. This from

"Before 2006, an average of 10-15 students were fatally shot each year. That climbed to 24 fatal shootings in the 2006-07 school year, 23 deaths and 211 shootings in the 2007-08 school year and 34 deaths and 290 shootings last school year."

Why is it that this is happening? Bear in mind the above quote is only talking about gun violence in particular. There are plenty of other forms of violence taking place in the school system in Chicago and much more violence taking place in general in Chicago. Chicago is one of the most crime ridden areas of all sorts in our nation:

"With a crime rate of 61 per one thousand residents, Chicago has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes - from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One's chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 16. Within Illinois, more than 90% of the communities have a lower crime rate than Chicago." (2)

I again ask: Why is this happening?

It is not happening because there are guns in Chicago. Guns are not the cause of the violence only a tool being misused in order to achieve a criminal goal. In the most recent episode of school violence resulting in death in Chicago, a student apparently was beaten to death with wood beams. It is not the weapon that matters, it is the reason that these heinous crimes are being committed that matters and no matter how hard leftists want to say that guns are the reason they are plain out wrong. The truth be told there is and has been a breakdown of the moral fiber of this country going on for many decades. The breakdown has been fostered by the left time and time again. Those on the right are also responsible but nowhere near as much as they who keep insisting: that crimes not be punished with long prison sentences or the death penalty, that victims of crimes often asked for the crime (such as a rape victim having worn a mini-skirt being an invitation to a rapist), that religion and spiritualism need to be pushed out of society, that everyone should pass in school whether or not they actually did the work to accomplish a passing grade, that everyone is entitled to health care, that everyone is entitled to a good paying job, that everyone is entitled to have someone else pay their way if they do not want to become educated - work - get a job and be a supportive member of our nation, that they are the victims of imaginary hatred, that we must all be more tolerant of they who are weird or abnormal, that we must be more responsible to take care of the world yet we must stop butting in, that we must pay for freedom of speech and freedom of expression in the form of government grants even if it means spreading actual excrement on a piece of canvas or a religious statue, that we must pass the buck with regard to blame for our societal failures, that it is always someone else at fault (don't believe this then just watch those TV advertisements for stumble and fall lawyers).

We glorify guns for illegal purposes in the movies, we glorify thrill killing in the movies. We glorify the actors and actresses (call me old fashioned) who perform and glorify raunch day in and day out. We glorify filth, and drugs, rape and killing in rap music. We glorify hatred in the media on a daily basis - just look at that guy with the blond hair at MSNBC. We have elected a president who had a terrorist for a friend, who now has selected a former drug users as school safety czar (and who also reportedly knowingly failed to report the rape of a student by an adult male), and who has put into other posts communists and racial activists. We have lost our moral fiber for sure.

Then we wonder why: We cower fearful of being arrested if we actually discipline our children because the police under our weak kneed legislators consider it a crime to spank our children to make sure they stay on the straight and narrow from a young age. We listen to politicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses and teachers about how not to screw up the upbringing of our children and their upbringing only gets worse and worse as we listen to and try to use each new tidbit of advice from these so called professionals - many who have never raised a child. Then we wonder why our kids turn out like they have done - why they go into schools to shoot, stab and blow each other up. Why is it? It is because we, their parents have lost control because of they who claim to know better than we as to how to care for our children. This has not only happened with the upbringing of our children but has happened in almost every facet of our lives. We are becoming a nanny state or worse we are becoming socialized whereby someone else has to care for us, where they always know better than us, whereby we must obey them or we are criminals if we differ in how to live our own lives. Folks, it is an easily documented fact that such has been the persuasive power of the far left liberal over the years. The radical can only be radical in the first place because no one exercises any discipline over them in the first place and all they desire is to control and discipline everyone else.

It is about time that parents claim back their rightful role in parenting. How about the parent of the kids in the Chicago schools do something. I don't mean that they go out and protest how the schools are run either - this maybe in part due to the school administration and to ultra liberal teachers, but it is mostly due to some wise ass kid not getting a size 12 up his ass when he mouths off and calls his parent or teacher a motha-fucka, an asshole, or says chingate cabron to them, or whatever. It is about time that parents open their eyes to the problem and vote out the incumbents and vote in someone who actually has some moral fiber. It is about time that the legislators start enacting some parent friendly laws allowing parents to use discipline to correct their children, and it is about time that some kids come to school and find it hard to sit in their seats for the day.

We as citizens need to be in control not to be controlled by the government. We need to get them to take proper actions against criminals. So it is also about time that arrests start being made. Not just the 4 guys accused of killing the student last week in Chicago either, how about the whole friggin crowd - everyone that the police can identify. Charge them with rioting. Charge them with conspiracy to kill this kid. Charge them with any felony with which they can be charged and if convicted get them off of the streets. As opposed to what their badly misinformed and liberalized parents will say, they are not good kids at least in my opinion.

We also need to be exercising our rights and liberties as United States Citizens. This includes one of the most basic rights, that of armed self defense. Start letting people carry firearms in Chicago, heck all throughout the country. Allow them to shoot in self defense. Make it sure to prosecute actual criminals for violent crimes committed with firearms and receive long jail sentences if convicted - do not prosecute grandpa for shooting some thug who was about to rape grandma. Make sure the people can legally act in self defense. You will see the crime rate in Chicago (and the rest of the country) drop like a stone.

I know this won't happen anytime soon, but if it did, if the law abiding citizen populace was allowed to carry guns in the hellhole known as Chicago - crime would invariable drop. Then so too would it if parents could plant a size 12 up juniors ass, and if legislators legislated with morality instead of just having it their way in mind. Do these sound like oversimplified solutions to you. You can bet they are simple but you can also bet they would each work to a greater extent than the system under which we find ourselves now - at least that is what I think about it

All the best,
Glenn B


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Latest Addition To The Blogroll...

...and I don't know why it took me so long.

It is on my blog list under "Grumps, Geeks, Gun Guys, and Geniuses - All Worth A Read and Who Gave Me A Courtesy Link - Thanks" as
The Next Chapter.

All the best,

Biweekly Gun Shots - Nevermore...but...

...they will comntinue under a new name. Henceforth they will be called Ballseye's Gun Shots and will just continue in number from where I left off on the Biweekly Gun Shots. If I work up the zest to do so, I'll change the names of all of the ones marked 'biweekly' to the new name but I doubt it. The reason for the change is that I just was not keeping pace on a biweekly schedule - not twice per week nor once per two weeks.

All the best,

Monday, September 28, 2009

It Was 30 Years Ago Today...

...that I first took an oath to defend our Constitution. The oath to which I swore went something like this:

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

I trust and hope I have done my job up to the expectations of my fellow citizens as to what they think a federal agent should be doing. I may not have always gotten it 100 percent to every one's liking but I have never done anything to violate any one's rights, I have never even considered accepting a bribe or otherwise being corrupt let alone do anything like it, and for the great majority of the time I have striven to do my work to the best of my ability while serving the people of this great land. I even got a few awards along the way. I have worked as a Border Patrol Agent, A Customs Patrol officer, a Customs Investigator, a Customs Special Agent and an ICE Agent. In my investigative duties I have worked in financial investigations groups, narcotics groups, a general investigations group, and had a brief stint in a strategic investigations group. I have had temporary assignments to an intelligence group and to details throughout the country and to foreign shores. Thirty days in Haiti was an eye opener. I also traveled to Jamaica to testify at a trial, went to Haiti a second time for a few days and have had several temporary domestic assignments outside of my home office which included trips to: Puerto Rico (30 days), Charleston, SC (30 days), Albany, NY (45 days), Key Largo (3 weeks), Tucson (about 45 days), Laredo, TX (90 days), Washington State (30 days), Phoenix, AZ (45 days), Tucson, AZ (4 months - just this year); and there have been a number of shorter trips to places like Miami (several times), Orlando, Philadelphia (several times), San Juan (twice), San Francisco and so on. I have also been assigned to temporarily work under other agencies and completed several Secret Service details, and a five month assignment as a Federal Air Marshal (that one almost immediately after 9/11). I volunteered for all of the temporary assignments. Of course, I had some collateral duties too - I was a firearm's instructor for about 14 years. I do not have long to go now before retirement - maybe next year, maybe the following year, definitely by the year after that when continuing in my career is no longer and option for me because retirement becomes mandatory for me then.

It has been one heck of an interesting three decades since I took that oath above. I have seen the job change a lot over the years. It changed mostly due to changing attitudes of the people whom we serve. I'll not comment on what I think of that. Over those 30 years I have met a lot of interesting people. Some of them the people I have met coincidentally in the course of my duties, some I met because I investigated arrested them, others were they with whom I have worked. Out of all the ones I have met on the job, I figure I have made a handful or two of good friends (none of them people that I arrested). They know who they are - they are very dear to me even if we are not as close as good friends should be. They made it all the easier when times were tough on the job and off.

I also met a lot of very dedicated folks. Men and women who serve you each and every day and who face the prospect of being injured or killed in the line of duty while serving a nation that at times does not even seem to know or care they are in harm's way. Realizing that dedication, seeing it at work in they who live it, that has been one of the most wonderful things of my career. My biggest regret stems from that dedication too in that many whom we serve do not realize the service we give them. Yet, there are others who go out of their way to make us feel as if we have done something good that matters. To them I say thanks with all my heart. To my many associates and my few true friends on the job, I also say thanks, you have all helped to make it one heck of an interesting, fun, and worthwhile three decades long career for me. I can only hope that whatever time I have left on this job goes even half as well.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This says it all!

Latest Link - Manowar's Hungarian Weapons

See the Firearms Interests links list at right for this latest addition:

If you ever needed information regarding a firearms made in or for Hungary this could well be the site for you to visit.

I'll have to do a bit more checking but it seem my Mosin Nagant, the one I called a M44 because it was sold to me as such, may indeed be the Model 48 also known as the 48 Minta or 48M in Hungary. The Hungarian 48M is a well made copy of the Soviet M44 and was made under license purchased from the Soviet Union by Hungary after pressure from the Warsau Pact for Hungary to do so. See: It simply amazes me that all this stuff can be found at my finger tips within seconds or minutes at most in the virtual library known as the Internet. It will never compare to a real library what with a real masonry building, wood chairs and desks (yes I like old fashioned libraries), bound paper pages (books and periodicals) and demure (yes that is a bit of a joke) yet hot (no that is not a joke at all - she has a lucky husband) librarians (see: but at least I can enjoy a wee bit of Irish Whiskey while browsing sites on the Internet at home (and no I am not enjoying any spirits right now - way too early even for me).

All the best,
Glenn B

Ballseye's Gun Shots 22 - Steyr Hahn Model 1911

If you ever wanted to see an ugly pistol this could be the one. Of course, me saying this could be the one as in ugly depends on my outlook at the moment. I certainly know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and oft times in the eye of the holder - as in the guy holding the gun when one is needed. If I had it in hand when needed, it would sure look beautiful to me! It is the Steyr-Hahn Model 1911. There is at least one up for sale at at this link. From what I can tell, if the info about that particular one is stated correctly, it being offered at a starting bid of $599 with no reserve means it has a darned good price. I have seen others offered at quite a bit more such as the one here or the one here (actually this one did not have a bad price either but more than the first).

One look at this pistol and you realize immediately, that is if you know anything about pistols, that it looks unusual - to say the least. (To take more than one look visit the links above, some have several photos.) You may be wondering about some features of this pistols such as why is there a lanyard loop on the bottom of the magazine. Well, if you go to the above link, or to this one:, or even to this one: you will learn something about this pistol and will realize that is not the magazine to which the lanyard loop is attached. The loop is actually attached to the bottom outside area of the magazine well, the magazine being internal. In fact the pistol is loaded using something that amounts to a stripper clip. While I suppose that saved lots of money because stripper clips are much less expensive than magazines to produce or purchase, I imagine that it could make this pistol a nightmare to clear in the case of a jam due to the internal magazine malfunctioning.

This pistol was reportedly chambered in 9x23mm Steyr with some chambered in 9x19mm. It was a recoil operated semi-automatic pistol, 8 1/2 inches long, with about a 5 inch barrel, had an external hammer, was fed from internal 8 round magazine (though some had an extended magazine), and it was produced from around 1912 through 1920.

I knew nothing about this pistol until this morning when I searched the net for a pistol to write up on my blog. When I saw it I immediately thought (as mentioned above) that it was pretty ugly looking, that it was pretty large looking, that it was blued steel and wood (I was starting to like it regardless of its ugly appearance) and that it must have been a strong pistol. According to this site:, it was indeed a strong pistol. In fact the author of that site says this about it: "The Steyr pistol was extremely reliable and robust, deserving greater recognition than it received. As a pistol design, it must have been one of the strongest ever made. " One of the reasons it was built to be strong was because of the ammunition it was designed to fire. Even though it was only a 9MM round it was a hot one for the day. The round it shot, the 9x23 Steyr developed 1,115 fps at the muzzle. Yeah I know not earth shattering by today's standards but right up there with today's 9mm Luger ammo velocities and using steel made back then as opposed to more modern steel.

These pistols saw action during the big one - the war to end all wars - WWI. In all about 300,000 of them were produced. I would love to have one of them that was manufactured in 9mm Luger. That way I could easily find ammo for it. It seems there is 9x23 Steyr available for it, but my bet is that ammo would be cost prohibitive. A quick check of the net proves me correct, that is if I actually found the right ammo. I see that Midway USA offers Fiocchi brand 9mm Steyr ammunition. There are 50 rounds per box and a box retails for $40.99 (probably plus shipping). That is expensive 9mm ammo compared to 9mm Parabellum (9mm Luger). Reloading data is available but I will not go into that nor give links. You can find them yourselves and thus be solely responsible for blowing yourself up should you screw up handloading for this pistol. Of course if I found one in 9mm Parabellum I would have to make certain it was original manufacture and not one later refitted to that caliber for use by the Germans during the other big one - WWII.

There seem to be many variants of this pistol based upon for whom they were manufactured. First of all this was essentially manufactured for military use but there were some made for commercial distribution though not many. Secondly they were manufactured for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but many were also manufactured under contract for places like Romania, Bavaria, and Chile and of course there were those few also manufactured with the extended magazine (16 rounds). There were a number of accessories manufactured for this pistol to include its stripper clips (unknown if they are require din order to load the pistol or if they simply facilitate loading), the leather gear, and a wooden rifle type stock.

Perhaps you will someday find yourself in possession of one of these - if so, do yourself a favor and have it checked out by a competent gunsmith who is at least familiar with older military pistols - safety comes first at all times when shooting. It may not look all that pretty but it surely is a fascinating pistol with an interesting history, and it can be had at what seems a fairly reasonable price at that.

All the best,
Glenn B
Photo credit: (no copyright apparent)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Glorious Range Day Today

It truly was a glorious day so far today here on Long island - at least for me. The weather was great, in the low 60s when I left the house this morning around 0900 (actually left by my planned time for a change) to head to the range for some shooting. Brendan was at my side as we drove the 48 miles or so to the range. (I had thought it was 60 miles but stand corrected since I checked the odometer today.) The drive was nice, almost no traffic once we were about 1/2 way there. No idiots encountered on the road was also a plus (and let me tell you I seem to have a penchant for attracting them if they are around). The guys who checked us in at the range shop were nice. I was a bit dismayed to see that the $18 bucks we pay is only for 3 hours of shooting (longer if they are not busy and don't need the bench for someone else). It used to be that much for 4 hours. (I stand corrected again I had been certain it used to be for the whole day of shooting but the guy at the counter set me right on that.)

After we shot for about an hour or so, we met up with a friend of mine, Dennis M, who retied from my job a year or two back and that made things even better. He was the guy who asked me about the Kel-Tec SU16 that I recently wrote up on the blog. He bought a used Mini 14 (stainless) with a telescopic sight and was breaking it in for his first shoot with it. We did not get much time to talk since he probably stayed only about an hour or so, but we will meet again for another shoot in the not too distant future if all goes as planned.

There were no Range Nazis yelling at us today. In fact, the guys who were firearms officers at the range were really very nice as they usually are with one guy who is an exception and can be an ass. Yet, as I said he was not there today, or at least not bothering me if he was there. Most of the shooters today were also on the ball when it came to range safety. That included a couple of guys who came with a Boy Scout Troop and their troop leader for some shooting. They were shooting for the 1st time from what I could tell - the scouts that is and were doing okay even if they could only shoot at 50 yards. (By my estimation that is a horrendous distance at which to teach a newbie to shoot, but it is all that was available.) Surprisingly they were doing okay. I suppose the glass optics they were using helped there.

As far as shooting went Brendan and I did okay and we had a blast shooting away with 6 rifles and a shotgun that we brought along. Brendan had nothing to brag about but at 50 yards he was sighted in well enough with the scoped Marlin 336 (in .35 Remington) to hit a deer in the kill zone easily at that distance. I wanted to try the 100 yard line this time round but the range was so crowded we decided not to move from the 50 to the 100. Maybe next time. With the Remington 870, he seemed to be off his best a bit. He was hitting the target at that distance but was high and so was I. A bit of tinkering with the 870's stock open rifle sights got me zeroed in right on the money but he was still shooting a bit high. Oh well, when we hunt, if it is rifle country, I will probably use the slug gun myself and let him use the Marlin. As for me and the Marlin, we were a good combination. I was off at first and the fault was all mine. When I concentrated a bit I got 5 shots too look like a compacted clover leaf. In fact three shots basically made one hole. I was loading with three at a time, then loaded two remaining shells I had left over. I impressed myself good enough for me to have patted myself on the back.

We also had fun shooting the Russian Mosin Nagant 91/30 and the Hungarian Mosin Nagant M44. Neither is a tack driver, especially not the M44 but we would have hit a deer at that distance. Some shots would have been backbone breakers and others belly busters but all were pretty much centered. We both also shot Brendan's AK. That is a spray and pray type of gun if ever there was one. It does not seem any too accurate but we did hit paper at 50 yards and would have put one heck of a hurting on people sized targets had we been defending ourselves.

Finally there was the Ruger 10/22 All-Weather that I bought Brendan a few years back. It has a red dot sight on it and I shot okay with it using fairly crappy ammo at 50 yards. Brendan shot okay with it too. I shot maybe a large orange sized group for 20 rounds the first time around. It was shooting low so I adjusted the sight to get the right elevation but it still needed some windage work. We left that for next time. I have to point out, it was a relief for both of us to shoot something with almost no recoil at all but after about 3 1/2 hours Brendan had had enough; in fact so had I. My back, right shoulder and neck are all telling me now that maybe I should not have shot the 870 to day or stayed as long at the range with those larger caliber rifles; maybe a lot more of the 10/22 was in order for me. Oh well. Funny though, the tingling I had in my left arm up through my shoulder has gone away. That has been bothering me each time I have used the PC lately and when driving, but is gone now! At least one part of my middle aged anatomy must have gotten jarred back into place.

The ride home was uneventful - which translates to great. We made a stop at a live fowl seller and I picked up a couple of Guinea Hens for tomorrow's dinner. I am cooking - that should be an adventure of its own. We made a couple more stops so Brendan could pick up some stuff for a birthday party he was to attend and then we headed home. I suppose that tonight I'll have to start cleaning the guns all over again. Seems like I just cleaned about 4 of them as recently as this morning! Shoot em, clean em right after you shoot em, then make sure test fire em as soon as you can, and then you have to clean em all over again and test fire em again and on and on and on. It is a vicious cycle I can attest to that, but I love it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Question of Faith


...God created heaven and earth.


...there was a compact ball of energy and matter that
exploded then expanded and it formed the universe.

Is there a real bare bones difference between the big bang theorist and they of faith in God when you get right down to it - right down to how the universe began and what brought it all about? (Please no comments on whether I got either one exactly right - you get the idea from what I wrote above.)

I ask because I have always wondered about that - it seems both have faith in something they truly do not understand though both believe they understand. What I mean is this - if you go back to the very beginning of the big bang theory there was something - it went bang - and everything else is made up of that. The whole universe resulted. In Christianity and some other religions if you go back to the beginning there was god and God created the rest of the universe. Both believe the universe, at least as we know it will come to a cataclysmic end but that the essence of the universe - what created it - will remain.

So, to me, it stands to reason that - in one the universe is made by something that always was and always will be - in the other it is essentially the exact same situation - the universe was made by a being that always was and always will be.

Another thing that I find curious is that in each belief - religious or scientific - it is said that there is a universal or overall connectedness. In other words in religion it is believed (at least in Christianity, Judaism and probably Islam) that one single God is all knowing. In science it is believed that everything is universal or all encompassing - all part of one thing and therefore if a being would be all knowing as it in itself is everything even though there are separate entities within it.

It absolutely amazes me that others do not or simply refuse to allow themselves to see these similarities - especially the one about the beginning - whichever belief is right - that of course is if either one is right.

So dear readers, what do you think?

Of course, you need not answer this or post it - but it is a question that I am always interested in and I would love to read what you have to say about it. You will get no argument from me on it, I am just looking for your view of it.

Now mind you - I am not asking about the followers of either belief system and how they are different in living their lives, nor am I asking about all the particulars of each belief system and how they are alike or differ, I am asking about the basic tenet of each - the bedrock so to speak - the beginning. Are they the same thing? I think they just might be the same - each
created the universe (which one depends on your view), each always was, is and always will be, each is all encompassing, each will remain once the universe ends as we know it, each is totally incomprehensible unless you take either one on faith.

So tell me, and be nice about it, what do you think when you get down to the bare essence of each belief - is there a difference in between them or just a difference in how we mere mortals view it all?

All the best,
Glenn B

Note: The above picture was found at this website: Despite there being no copyright for this pic on the page where I found it, I attempted to contact the owner of the site through the email link for permission to use the pic but the email was undeliverable to the address supplied. I then used the pic here as there was no copyright shown.

The Coffee Is Brewing...

...its aroma fills the air of the chilly kitchen while the English muffins turn a golden brown in the toaster. I can already taste them covered in melted butter and washed down with a good swig of OJ or coffee. A petite breakfast to be sure, but breakfast nonetheless. It is something of which I do not normally partake but I should because the pounds have started to work there way back under my belt. I lost about 18 pounds (had it up to 20 off but oh well) while in Tucson and I mean to make sure I do not gain em all back.

So, I had better start eating like I was when I was in Tucson. That means a fair to large breakfast usually with lots of bacon and eggs (and my lipid profile was excellent when doing it), some fruit, OJ and coffee and one piece of bread. Even if I go overboard and have two pieces of bread it will be okay so long as I make sure to eat breakfast. Then a snack at about 11 - consisting of an apple or two - Granny Smith please or a pear or orange or banana. Then a light lunch for me - maybe a McDonald's hamburger and fries with a diet soda (don't laugh - this is really how I lost 18 pounds and kept about 15 of it off over 6 months). Then maybe a snack of some Macadamia nuts in the afternoon. This will all be followed by a dinner fairly low in, but not lacking a decent amount of, carbs. Dinner might be a can of ravioli (yechhh) or a nice steak, or a hamburger (homemade this time) or meatloaf, or 1/2 a broiled chicken, or a Tuna Fish sandwich or some pizza. Any of them (except maybe the pizza) go okay with a salad and a potato (baked and plain or with butter), or a nice German potato salad (homemade of course) and some veggies. Maybe some more Macadamia nuts for desert. I do go lightly on the amount I am eating.

So how do I lose pounds on a diet like that? Well I simply, for the most part, cut out the junk food I eat. By junk food, mind you, I do not mean things like McDonald's' or pizza. I do mean pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, chocolate cake, Klondike Bars, chocolate chip cookies, any other cookies and cakes, a midnight bagel slathered with butter, candy of all sorts and so on. You will see one similarity among them all - very high carbs. Mine is not the Atkins diet but I suppose I take some hints from him in lowering carbs. The toughest thing is getting started for the first week. After that I am used to it and it will be easy to stick to; that first week though is a diet killer. So starting my actual diet may take several weeks until I get the true first week of my diet complete. As I said though, once I go a week without junk, I should be good to go for at least several months. Once I get it going again, I'll also cut out virtually all milk products. Me and milk don't get along even though I love dairy.

Maybe I'll lose some more than what I gained back, that would be great. Whatever I lose though it will a benefit to me though. I also plan to start hiking again if even only on the pavement or treadmill. I have not been working out at all since I came home. While in Tucson I was hiking from 6 to 10 miles per week or more. That translates into two trips per week up into the mountains. It is a lot more of a drive here on Long Island to get to some nice hiking spots in the mountains so I'll just have to find some nice urban places for walks while wearing a 25 pound pack on my back and my shooting iron on my hip.

All the best,
Glenn B

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do Bedbugs (or a bedbug infestation) Affect The Cognitive Thought Process?

"Dr. Xxxxxx,

If there were bedbugs in your home and it was necessary to call in an exterminator, do you think it would be advisable, while awaiting the exterminator, to allow your children back into the house to get some of their things they felt it necessary to have for whatever reason? What I am getting at is - wouldn't there be a fairly good chance that if you allowed your children to do so they would wind up bringing out something that was harboring some of the bedbugs and therefore wind up spreading the bedbugs outside of your home.

I ask this because of this sentence found in the email below:

"Until North Hall is re-opened, faculty and staff can certainly go to their offices if they need to access materials."

Unless I am very mistaken, and the information I have been given about them is also mistaken, bedbugs are spread either while on humans or in possessions. Having someone go into an infested area would seem an excellent way of spreading this tiny scourge further. At least one study found linked to the CDC website suggest such method of transmission:

"Our data suggest that bed bugs can spread from shelter to shelter, presumably transported in the personal belongings of residents. " (see:

With good intentions only,
Glenn Bartley

When I look in the mirror, I am happy to see, some of that nine year old boy, who used to be me. ©"

I sent the above email to a college (as in institute of higher learning and intelligence and professors and smart people) in reply to the email I received from them on the subject of a bedbug infestation at my alma mater (see below - it appears there in its entirety except for some minor redactions to protect the ignorant - who, by the way, are supposed to be highly educated men). I read the whole letter with some interest; I mean it is not every day that you read about bedbugs closing down a college. I almost fell out of my chair laughing in amazement when I got to the part about professors being allowed back into the building to retrieve things seemingly while the infestation was still not under control. The use of the words "...can CERTAINLY go to their offices..." (I added the emphasis on the word certainly) shows, at least to me, an almost certain, if not very high, amount of arrogance and blunder prone thought patterns on the part of the school administration. The bedbugs, in my understanding, can certainly be spread in that way.

Having somewhat of an affection for my alma mater, after having spent as many as 10 years studying therein, I decided to write an email in reply to that sent to me by the school. I hope they take it with the best of intentions as I meant it. I also sincerely hope they eradicate the little buggers not only in the school but in the homes and automobiles of the teaching staff, the students, the maintenance staff and so on. It is, in all probability, a very safe bet indeed to imagine that these little blood sucking pests are not restricted to the school alone; unless wiped out in other locations frequented by people who also frequent the school the infestation may just pop up again in the not too distant future. That would be a shame just the same as is the shame of the resurgence of bedbugs here in the United States of America - a place where they had been virtually unheard of for decades. Yes folks, just open up those borders, just allow anyone into this country of ours without regard for our own health and safety. How does it go, those noble words that only a Frenchman could have written and then sent to the good old US of A so that someone, anyone, other than a Frenchman would have to live by them:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Along with them came their bedbugs, their other vermin, diseases and all other such calamities. It seems they just keep coming too. If you look at that inscription closely - nowhere does it say we cannot make sure they are healthy before we let them step foot on our mainland's shores. Thus the reason for places like Ellis Island. Maybe it was run poorly when it was the entry point for millions of legal immigrants but we could use a place like it today and yes we could run it better. It would go a long way to assure that while we allow the tired and poor huddled masses to come to America we could avoid also allowing in their own personal wretched refuse like bedbugs, tuberculosis and H1n1.

The original email to me from the school appears below although the names of those involved have been redacted as have certain email addresses.
I would be at fault if I did not also show the reply I received from a professor of high ranking among the school's administrative officers. I will give it in its entirety as to its text, and I am quoting the complete text of the reply I received (my emphasis added):

"Good point!"

So while I suppose the original email on the topic had great intentions albeit combined with what maybe a poor plan for eradicating the vermin at least one person at the school now sees the potential folly of allowing professors into their offices to retrieve items they need. Hopefully he will pass on my email to those above him for their consideration. I am confident such will be done because the professor in question is a really intelligent man (one of the better profs I had while in attendance there). So, in answer to my own question, 'Do Bedbugs (or a bedbug infestation) Affect The Cognitive Thought Process?" I have to say - nope not really - logic seems to be prevailing.

All the best,
Glenn B
----- Original Message -----

Dr. Xxxxxx
Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 7:43 AM

Subject: North Hall Closed Until Tuesday: Bed Bugs


Issued By: CUNY - John Jay College
Affected Jurisdictions:
Headline: JJC/North Hall closed today, September 24, 2009 for classes & administrative services due to evidence of bed bugs. See email/website for details

To: The John Jay College Community
From: President Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
Re: North Hall Closure and Bed Bug Update
Date: September 24, 2009

We have decided to close North Hall today because of the confirmed presence of bedbugs on at least the first, second and third floors of the building. I am writing to explain this decision and the factors leading up to the decision.

Yesterday, we sent a memo to the College Community reporting that a professional inspection by our pest control contractor of certain offices on the first floor of North Hall had confirmed the presence of bedbugs. We undertook this inspection because a number of staff had reported skin rashes and ultimately bedbugs were suspected as the cause of those rashes. Based on the initial results of the inspection of the first floor where those employees worked, we decided to close North Hall over the weekend so that the building could be treated to eliminate these insects. Throughout the day yesterday, the inspection of North Hall continued. At midnight last night, we were informed that the presence of bedbugs had been confirmed in a number of offices on the second and third floors of North Hall. Based on this information, I have decided, after consultation with the University, to close North Hall effective immediately. Classes and other activities will go on as scheduled in all other campus locations. We will move up the treatment schedule from Saturday as a result of these new findings. We will make every effort to reopen North Hall on Tuesday, September 29, when classes would normally resume following the Yom Kippur observances.

While this decision will result in significant disruption of the activities of the College, I believe this action is necessary to protect the health of our students, faculty and professional staff. We will make every effort to maintain critical College services over the next few days while access to North Hall is restricted. Until North Hall is re-opened, faculty and staff can certainly go to their offices if they need to access materials. We will reconstitute critical services at other locations throughout the College, as best we can and will announce those locations as soon as decisions have been made. Classes that were scheduled will be rescheduled for later in the semester, in accordance with College policy. In short, we will make every effort to provide the critical services and academic programs of the College, but will place the health concerns of our community first.

I thank everyone for their understanding during this difficult time.

Xxxxxx Xxxxxx

Please watch out for updates and additional information-- on the website, your email, or through CUNY Alert. We have scheduled an information session for today, Thursday, at 2:00 in the College Theater. If you have questions, I encourage you to come to this information session.

For a permanent link to this Notification (may contain addtional formatting and / or content which could not be sent), follow this link:
If you wish to unsubscribe from the FORENSICPSYCHJJCMA-L List, please send an E-mail to:"XXXXXXXXXXXX". Within the body of the text, only write the following:"SIGNOFF FORENSICPSYCHJJCMA-L ".

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Biweekly Gun Shots 21 - Kel-Tec SU16

A friend recently contacted me to ask what I knew about a Kel-Tec rifle he was thinking of purchasing. Well, the first thought that went through my head was something like: Danger - Danger Will Robinson - Danger. I mean most of what I had heard about Kel-Tec, up until that point, was that their guns were to be avoided at all costs because they were out and out junk. I decided though to look up the Kel-Tec SU16 (the rifle in which my friend had an interest) and I was, at least, impressed if not so much with the look of this rifle as with its features. I also decided to do some additional checking - after all - it had been awhile since I had heard or read anything about them. What I discovered, is that apparently an awful lot of people think their products are great while many seemingly still think they offer low quality - it is sort of a toss up in that regard but that was what I saw on gun forums. I did see some pretty satisfied customers, who own SU16s of one variation or another, at one gun forum. What I also saw on the sites of those who have tested this gun was a different story. They all seemed impressed in a good way - no dissention there. So, while I can not relate to you any personal experience with this rifle, I can tell you something about it based on what I have gleaned by way of the Internet at the Kel-Tec site and from the online test results.

A trip to the Kel-Tec site showed that the SU16 is offered in a variety of models. There are five of them in all by my count. The lineup starts off with the SU16A, and is followed up by the: SU16B, SU16C, SU16CA and SU16D. The main differences between these models seems to be barrel length, type and location of front sight, and type of stock.

The SU16A rifle is a gas operated, semi-automatic, chambered for .223 caliber (5.56 mm NATO) . Some of the features of this rifle are: Black Polymer stock, integrated Picatinny rail, chrome lined bore and chamber, the fore-stock can fold down to form a bipod, the buttstock can hold two spare magazines, and the butt stock/trigger group can be folded forward to make the gun more compact for carry (non-firing in this mode), it is compatible with Ar15/M16 magazines. The barrel length is 18.5 inches. There is no mention made, on the Kel-Tec website that I saw, about the sights being adjustable but my guess would be they are. Unloaded weight is 5.01 pounds. It comes with 10 round mags. More info here.

If you want something with a shorter barrel they offer the SU16B with a 16 inch barrel. The website specifically states that this one has adjustable front and rear sights. The front sight adjustable for elevation and the rear for windage. Unloaded weight is 4.51 pounds. More info here.

The we move onto the SU16C. Here we move away from the folding buttstock/trigger group as this one has a conventional folding stock. When the stock is folded under, the weapon is still capable of firing. It too has a 16 inch barrel and most of the features of the above two rifles with the added features of a dust cover and case deflecting operating handle. This one also moves the front sight back from just behind the muzzle to near the front of the fore-grip (integrated with the gas block). It weighs in at 4.71 pounds unloaded. More info here.

The SU16CA goes back to the folding buttstock/trigger group. It has all of the operating features of the C model but uses the stocks of the A model. More Info here.

Finally they offer the SU16D. This one is quite a it different if only because of the 9.2 inch barrel length and the 3.71 pound weight. It utilizes a conventional folding stock (fold under) allowing the gun to fire with the stock folded. This one looks like a real Zombie Killer to me but alas I will never be able to buy one with a 9.2 inch barrel here in NY. More info here.

If I was going to get myself one of these rifles I think for practicality's sake it would either be the SU16B (pictured up at the top) or the SU16CA (pictured to the left). I am not too sure I like the shorter sight radius of the SU16CA as compared to the SU16B but I could probably live with them and I like some other features of this model over the SU16B. I like certain features of these rifles such as the fore-stock being able to fold down to form a bipod and the buttstock holding two extra magazines. If the rifles are made to a standard of high quality I imagine these features would be great; however, if quality control is lacking I could imagine magazines falling out of the stock and the bipod shaking like Jello. As I said, I have not tested these rifles but I should also point out that others have done so. Here are links to three such tests:, and:, and: . The guys who tested them seemed pretty impressed in a good way but you can read the articles and see that for yourselves. Here is a link to an online gun forum wherein the users have rated their own SU16s.

Gun Tests Magazine also rated this gun in a comparison with a Springfield Armory SOCOM. Their results can be seen here but only if you are a subscriber. I will only say they gave it a Buy It rating and that the ammonland link above will pretty much show you their report on the SU16. (Shame on me for allowing my subscription to this magazine lag a few years back. Good for me, I just subscribed to it again. A great deal for $20 per year with paper magazine subscription and online availability of their articles for current and past gun tests.)

I would think that if I was in the market for a semi-auto in .223 I would consider the Kel-Tec. Of course, if I wanted something in .223 I would also consider a Ruger Mini-14 which in my estimation is probably a somewhat better made rifle especially now that Ruger has refined it in the past few years; my friend seemingly thought so too - he bought a Mini-14. Still though the SU16 is an appealing rifle to me, and it would make a great packable rifle for a grab and go kit or for a backpack. It would likely be a good survival gun, certainly in a caliber that could handle anything from varmints up to deer and then also be used in combat.

All the best,
Glenn B
PS: They apparently have pretty good customer service at Kel-Tec, see this.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipur

One has just passed and the other is almost upon us. In that light, for my Jewish friends, I hope that God has written your name in the book of life and that he hears and accepts your prayers of atonment in the days to come and that you are a better person for your beliefs.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fishing On The Captain Al - Report

I went fishing out of Point Lookout, NY on the Captain Al this morning. Yes that meant I had to get up at about 0500 hours and that was - shall I say - difficult for m,e. But I managed to drag my butt out of bed and out to the car and remembered to grab almost all my gear before getting in the car and taking off. I did forget a thing or two but did not realize until I was on the boat and we were underway. I got the the dock at about 0625 and was on the boat pronto to get a spot. The boat already had about 15 to 20 people aboard and I was not able to get a coveted spot in the stern but was close by on the rail on the starboard side. After claiming a spot, I was off to the deli across the way to pick up lunch. That was the first thing I had forgotten at home but that was okay. Then back to the boat and we were soon shoving off.

We spent the say fishing the ocean, probably about 3 to 4 miles offshore. We were fishing for Sea Bass, Porgies (aka: Scup) and whatever else would bite. The Captain Al is a slow boat, but it stays out for a full day and charges a competitive fare. The other boats at the same dock charge about the same as the Captain Al but only go out for a half day's fishing. The Captain Al also has a reputation for good mates and for moving around to find fish. Today was no exception. The mates were excellent, and Captain Al himself piloted the boat. He moved around to several different rocks and bottom structures to look for fish. We hit on them too, lots of them. In all I caught either 22 or 23 fish. Most of them were shorts and had to go back into the drink. Well they were required by law to go back into the water, but I suppose they did not absolutely have to go back. I threw all of my shorties back though I must point out that a lot of other folks were not as ready as me to follow the rules. I saw an awful lot of shorts get filleted before the boat was back at the dock. That is too bad since throwing them back probably assures more for future catches.

As for my fish, I had three nice keeper Sea Bass all at least 2 or 3 pounds, one probably about 4 pounds. I also had a keeper Porgy, and two cocktail bluefish (maybe 3 pounds each for the blues). So I had 6 keepers and someone else gave me a Sea Robin. The Sea Robin is a curious and ugly looking fish that most people either think you cannot eat or just would never consider eating. They are delicious and I wish others had caught more to give me. I threw at least 16, maybe 17 fish back into the ocean. Maybe I'll catch them next time. Waiting a couple weeks to a month some of them will probably have grown to keeper size - all some needed was about an inch or less.

While I was fishing and the sun was beating down on my face and the outside webbing of my thumbs, I realized something else I had forgotten at home. In fact I though of two things - a baseball style cap and my sunscreen. The sunscreen was supposed to ALWAYS be in my tackle box - and I have no clue what happened to it but it was just not there. I can tell you now that I regret not having any. As my daughter said when I got home, after 9 hours out on the Captain Al, "Somebody got some color today". That somebody was me and my face is already starting to hurt despite copious amounts of moisturizer having been applied since I got home. That's okay, I can live with it this once. Next time I'll remember the cap and the sunscreen for sure.

Tomorrow we will have some good eats in the form of pretty fresh fish for dinner. Linda was planning on making Eggplant Parmigiana. She still will make that but now will also bake or broil the today's catch too. It was a good day fishing for them today, and it will be as good a day eating them tomorrow.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Community Service Letter To President Obama

Yes I really sent a letter to President Obama today. I sent it via an email to the White House this morning. I have to agree with him, I think volunteering for community service is a good thing. That's why I used to be a soccer coach, an assistant coach at little league, and both an assistant coach and coach for a roller hockey league for quite a few years. I have also done a few other things to help out - mostly through my local herpetological society. I have been doing community service or years now with no prompting from the president. Truth be told though, I have not done all that much of it lately and his incessant talking about it has reminded me to offer to lend a hand once again to my community. The letter I sent to the president follows:

Dear President Obama,

I am a registered Republican but I can see merit to some things across political lines. I see merit in your call for community service. Of course, I see community service as good only if voluntary. So, I plan to do my part through an educational program for the youth of my community. In that regard, I was wondering, how does a person obtain federal stimulus monetary assistance?

I would like to start a program to teach youngsters a
bout an American tradition. This program will include teaching local youths about our Constitution and about our rights. It will be open to children from the ages of 12 up through 17 (with their parents’ permission). It will be offered at no charge to the participants. It will teach about our freedoms, rights, liberties and our responsibilities as Americans. It will include participation in a sport that is hundreds of years old and that has been enjoyed by American Citizens of both genders and by those of all racial,
ethnic, religious and secular backgrounds.

The cost for this would be more than I could afford on my own. I am willing to donate several hundred dollars a year and my time toward this program but the price to use a proper facility with a classroom and practical training area will likely prove more than I could afford. There would be the costs of teaching and in
surance. I imagine this could run into several thousands of dollars if I had even as few as 25 students per year.

I believe that teaching our youth the proper way to enjoy their right to keep and bear arms is an important but often
forgotten national responsibility. Not only would such a program teach our youth about the RKBA, and about shooting sports, it would also prepare them in the
event they are ever called upon to take up arms to defend our great nation in military or law enforcement service. I sir, with your financial help, am willing to serve my community in this manner. Are you ready to help me do so?

Best regards,
Glenn Bartley

I am quite serious about my offer. After I receive my positive reply from Washington, I plan to contact the National Rifle Association and the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association to see if they have any pointers on how to put this together. I almost cannot wait for the positive reply and all the money that the government is sure to put into this program to help the youths of my community learn about their heritage to keep and bear arms.

All the best,
Glenn B

Community Service Hair Cuts

Here is a joke someone emailed to me yesterday, I have also received it in the past, it has been going around for awhile but maybe you have not seen it yet.

The Hair Cut:

One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he
asked about his bill, and the barber replied, 'I cannot accept money from
you , I'm doing community service this week.' The florist was pleased
and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning,
there was a 'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at
his door.

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his
bill, the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you , I'm
doing community service this week.' The cop was happy and left the shop.
The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a 'thank you'
card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Then a Congressman came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his
bill, the barber again replied, 'I can not accept money from you. I'm doing
community service this week.' The Congressman was very happy and left the
shop. The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen
Congressmen lined up waiting for a free haircut.

And that illustrates the fundamental difference between the citizens
of our country and the politicians who run it.

How true - sad but true - and not really a joke is it except maybe when told by a politicain to another politician.

All the best,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Biweekly Gun Shots 20 - I'd Rather Be In Philadelphia...

...well maybe not if I had this little pistol pointed at me. This is a replica (firing replica or so I would think) of the infamous Philadelphia Derringer. It is a neat little gun, and I speak from experience. Back in the early 80's (the 1980's not the 1880's) I bought a CVA Philadelphia Derringer kit (I am pretty sure the one pictured is the CVA brand since it looks exactly as I remember mine except for the bluing). Basically what you got were all the parts in a box and you had to put them together and finish them in order to get something that remotely looked like the one in the picture. I say remotely if only because I was unable to do a hot bluing job on the barrel of mine and had to settle for cold bluing which did not leave anywhere as nice a finish as has the one in the picture. In addition I think the wood finish on mine was a bit nicer, but not by much. By the way, I found that pic at:

When I opened the box for mine - which was a CVA brand - I read the directions before doing anything else. That was a good idea otherwise I may have been very frustrated very quickly. You see the inletting of the wood was only partially completed, probably 90% or so and I had to cut it, gouge it, and sand it to make sure all the metal parts would fit. I suppose that made it a bit more fun than just snapping it together like a plastic model. By the time I was done mine looked a lot like the one in the photograph accompanying this blog except as I said for the barrel which was blued but much lighter despite numerous attempts to darken it.

If I recall correctly mine was in .45 caliber. It was a blast to shoot. I used something called Pyrodex, if I remember right, for gunpowder. Technically it was not an explosive as is black powder but was instead a propellant. You have to be very careful with this stuff and with black powder - any spark can set it off. The fact that it was not listed as an explosive made it easier to buy. It also was supposedly not as corrosive as black powder, but I always cleaned out the barrel well after shooting mine and I changed the nipples frequently. The nipple to which I refer are that part of the gun under the hammer over which you fit a percussion cap as an ignition source. It basically funnels the spark from the cap to the powder charge.

This derringer was my first experience with black powder shooting (and it has been very limited since then). Shooting it opened up my eyes to a few things. First of all - when you pull the trigger you hear a little pop when the primer ignites. Then after a lag of a second or split second the gun fires with a bang. It takes the powder a bit of time to ignite as compared to brass cased ammo. When the pistol does fire there is a huge gray cloud of smoke that exits the muzzle as the bullet goes down range. In essence when guys in the old days shot at someone, not only did their target have time to get out of the way, but they lost sight of their target due to the smoke. Then they had to reload. Reloading included pouring a measured charge of powder down the barrel, then placing a wad (cloth patch) and the lead ball down the barrel and ramming them home with the ramrod. Then you cocked the pistol, placed a cap on the nipple, took aim if you could still find your target, and you fired again. Wow, what a way to shoot it out but that is pretty much the way it was done.

Of course, I never depended on my Philadelphia Derringer for anything except fun shooting. I used to blast gallon water jugs with it and that would burst into a spray that you could actually see as it spread out further than the cloud of smoke from the barrel. If you did it right and took the wind into consideration you could avoid a face full of smoke and even have the smoke blow to the right or left to give you a clearer filed of view sooner. I wonder if position on battlefields were ever chosen with that in mind. The little was not all that accurate at any good distance but i could hit that at which I took aim out to at least 10 yards. Not bad in my opinion, and lots of fun at that.

I don't know if CVA is still in business. I googled "CVA Philadelphia Derringer" kit but only found old info on them. There are other companies offering such pistol kits today though, so if you are interested in getting one they are available. Where I live, here on Long Island in NY state - they do not require a pistol permit unless you have the components with which to shoot them such as powder and percussion caps. Dixie Gun Works offers a decent variety of black powder gun kits including a Philadelphia Derringer - see:

I had that gun for years and am pretty sure I brought it back east from California where I purchased it when I was in the Border Patrol. I probably sold it, I seem to think it was at a garage sale or gun show, or something like that, so I may have still owned it when we bought our house. I do sort of miss it. It was not very high quality, the trigger was horrendous, but it was a fun gun for sure. I may have to pick one up for myself some time down the road, probably a higher quality brand this time. That will be some time in the future though because for now, I still have my sights set on something a little larger like a bolt action hunting rifle in .308. Enough on this stuff for now, I have got to go get ready for work - working a late shift tonight.

All the best,
Glenn B.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Biweekly Gun Shots 19 - Use Only The Proper Ammunition In Your Firearms

No, not any talk about a favorite gun tonight, nothing about a gun I want to buy, or one I'd love to shoot or one that looks pretty fancy. Tonight I thought I would give you something else, some information and my opinion about ammunition and how to avoid getting hurt or even killed because of simple mistakes you can make with it. Before you read on I insist you read my disclaimer on the right side of my blog and read the disclaimer that follows this sentence: What I am about to say is my opinion - it is not advice. If you follow what I am about to say you do so at your own risk and hold me harmless. If you tell anyone else this information you also hold me harmless and you indemnify me if they use it or they pass it on and someone else uses it and so on ad infinitum. It is not that I think the info I am about to give is bad or weak, it is that I don't trust your lawyer, or another guy's lawyer, to leave me alone should you ever hurt yourself or someone else hurt himself, then you or he mention to a lawyer you or he did just what I said I would do.

The first bit of advice I can give you about ammunition is to always use the correct ammunition for any firearm you intend to shoot. This may seem like advice for the simple minded or for the bran dead but in truth it is one of the cardinal rules of firearms safety and has been at least since shortly after the cartridge was developed for firearms. Now you may think that it would take idiots to try to use the wrong sized ammunition in any particular firearm they were shooting but it is actually a common mistake - an all too common mistake. So how does it happen? Well let's use an example. John Q. Gun-enthusiast goes to the range to shoot some trap. He brings along his fancy 12 gauge O/U with engraved silver receiver and his equally elegant and engraved 12 gauge semi-auto bird gun. He also brings along junior and his brand new 20 gauge semi-auto shotgun.

They get to shooting. Dad shoots away and shows junior how it is done. Junior watches intently as his dad grabs round after round from his ammo pouch and feeds them into the O/U, then fires away as each clay bird is shot arching fluidly through the air. Then it is junior's turn. He goes to the line and follows suit. Much like his dad, whom he has paid attention to during his lessons, he shoots down disc after disc. Those clay birds just did not stand a chance with an eye like his. He is eager to shoot more and during a break between rounds he asks his dad if he can shoot the 12 gauge for one set. Dad says sure and gives him 25 rounds of 12 gauge shells for his ammo pouch.

When the time comes, junior steps to the line and loads the O/U. He shoots at the first target. Then at the second. There is no bang, no recoil, no anything. Apparently the round misfires on the second shot. He unloads and then feels ashamed, only one round is ejected and there is not another round in the other chamber. he must have only loaded one. He loads again in anticipation of the next round. A double is released. He fire and boom the first clay disc is shattered. He fires again but this time the gun goes KABOOM, junior drops the shotgun and falls to the ground clasping his face. Dad and the range officer run to him - they see his face is bleeding badly but his safety glasses have saved his eyes. His left hand and arm are also bloodied. The shotgun barrel has burst. What happened?

What happened is that John Q. Gun-enthusiast failed to remind junior to take all the 20 gauge rounds out of his ammo pouch. All he needed in there was one 20 gauge round to get mixed in with the 12 gauge rounds. He loaded the last time that he loaded, then as they do on some ranges he stood at his point with muzzle down awaiting his turn. When the muzzle pointed down, the 20 gauge round slid passed the chamber into the barrel where it wedged. When he later loaded the same chamber with a 12 gauge round and fired it, that load hit the 20 gauge round and the gasses in the barrel had nowhere to go except to burst the barrel. It happens folks - really it does.

Another example of the wrong ammo put into a shotgun actually involves the correct gauge shell being used for the gun you are firing but yet it is the wrong ammunition. I am not talking about trying to fit a 3" shell into a 2 3/4" chamber either. I am talking about use everything of the correct size, for instance a 2 3/4" 12 gauge round in a shotgun that takes that size shell. I am also talking about trying to fire a shell using modern propellant (gunpowder) through a barrel that was made for black powder or for shells that had less of a charge than does modern ammunition. That to which I am specifically addressing myself is a situation whereby someone obtains a Damascus steel barrel shotgun. They are things of beauty folks and the temptation to fire them is great but truth be told if you fire modern ammunition through one of them you are risking loss of limb or maybe even life. Damascus steel was never meant to withstand the pressures given off by modern shotgun ammunition. DO NOT FIRE MODERN AMMUNITION THROUGH A DAMASCUS STEEL BARRELED SHOTGUN. Heck do not fire any ammunition through one unless you first have a shotgun with any parts made from Damascus steel certified as safe by a qualified gun smith. Those Damascus steel barrels have a way of corroding between the layers of metal (which is basically how they are constructed) so that the barrels become unsafe over time and a danger to not only the shooter but to others nearby.

Moving on: Another example of using the wrong ammo in a gun would be such as when a pistol shooter at the range is shooting a 40 caliber and another shooter is shooting a 9mm. If they reload their magazines at the same table there is a chance that the 40 cal shooter may inadvertently pick up and load a 9mm round into his magazine. He then steps to the line and loads the chamber, then fires. Yes the weapon can fire. Will it hurt the gun - not likely. How could it hurt the shooter? Well you see the thing is that the 9MM round will likely not extract properly because the shell casing has expanded further than it should have and becomes wedged in the chamber or because the extractor claw slips off of the smaller round. This is a silly mistake to make at the range and is one best kept at the range where it causes not much more than embarrassment when a range officer has to help the shooter dislodge the spent casing from the pistol. It can be a much more serious problem on the street or in the home in a defensive shooting situation. A jam like that in the heat of the action, so to speak, can be all it takes to get you killed as you are trying to defend yourself against an armed bad guy who now has an advantage that you will most likely not overcome too easily.

Use the right ammo folks - make sure of it. Never mix different calibers of ammunition - it could get you badly injured or maybe even killed. Shoot one caliber at a time, put that ammo away before you shoot another. Look at the ammunition you are loading into your magazines. Make sure it is the right stuff. A few extra seconds while you are loading in the safety of your home, or while at the range, can save you a lot of grief later. This applies to pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns and any other firearms of which you can think. If using black powder firearms make sure to use not only the correct projectile but the proper propellant and the correct amount of it. If reloading ammunition be careful to follow all of the correct specifications.

Of course there is yet another reason to pay attention to the ammunition you are loading. Each time I open a box of ammo, or am about to use any ammo in a firearm, I give it a visual inspection. Sometimes this means I turn the round, each round, in my hands to examine it - this especially before 'loading for the street'. Why do I do that? Not just to make sure the ammo is the correct caliber, heck all I need to do for that is look at the stamp on the casing. So why take the extra effort to turn it around and look at it from all angles? I am looking for malformed casings, split casings, bullets not seated properly, for high or low primers, or even for bullets with no primers. This is a frequent occurrence among ammunition, even ammo from reputable manufacturers. Ammo can be damaged during manufacture, during boxing, or during shipment. It can also be manufactured with defects. if you are going to put your life on the line by defending yourself with a firearm - you may as well make reasonably certain that not only your firearm will work but that your ammo will feed, go bang, extract and eject - then do it all again. There can be some manufacturing effects that are hard to see, you might miss them, but rest assured that you will be doing yourself a favor by looking for the defects that you will see.

You also want to listen to your shots when you are firing. What you are listening for are squibs. This is something you have to learn at the range from experience because if you do it while in a shootout - well let me just say your ears can fool you when under stress and you may misinterpret not hearing your shots come out loud as a squib while in a stressful situation. A squib occurs when the ammunition is loaded with only a primer and no gunpowder (that is technically but I would think it could also happen with too little gunpowder). What happens is you fire the gun, it goes bang instead of BANG and the recoil is virtually nonexistent for that shot. Then what do you do? Do not fire again. Examine your firearm. make sure there is not a bullet stuck in the barrel, it does not always get stuck but sometimes the squib round will not clear the muzzle. This can happen because the primer did not give off enough force to push the bullet all the way the length of the barrel. The thing is that most people do not know what is a squib let alone realize when one has happened. So what they do is they keep on firing. In most instances, as I understand it (based upon word of mouth from other shooters) the squibbed bullet that remained in the barrel is simply pushed out by the next one that you fire. That is if you are lucky. If not, the gun's barrel could potentially explode as with the shotgun above; this is reportedly less likely though because both of the bullets are the correct diameter for the gun. What sometimes does happen though, probably more often as I have been told by others, is that the barrel is ringed. In other words the is now a ring shaped bump around the perimeter of the barrel due to momentary excessive pressure cause by one round blocking the path of the other. If you ever are buying a used gun and see that it has a ringed barrel my advice is to walk away from the sale. If you ever fire a gun, and see the barrel has become ringed, stop firing it and have the barrel replaced or just stop using that gun.

Now when shooting under stress, such as in a home defense situation where your life depends on it, you may not notice a squib round has been fired. Then again, on the other hand, you may think you have had one when in fact you have not. Sometimes when shooting under stress loud noises are seemingly reduced in volume to the person who is stressed. You have to determine what to do if you think you fired a squib, and there is not much I can really do to guide you as to whether or not you have had one under such circumstances. If you find yourself thinking that you actually have fired a squib in a combat situation there are a couple of things you can do. Before I mention them, allow me to remind you that what I am about to say is my opinion - it is not advice. If you follow what I am about to say you do so at your own risk and hold me harmless, if you tell anyone else this information you hold me harmless and you indemnify me if they use it or they pass it on and someone else uses it ad infinitum.

One thing you can do if you think you have a squib round during such an encounter is to continue firing if the situation calls for continued firing. In other words if the bad guy is still posing a threat of death or serious bodily harm to you or to another innocent whom you are protecting you can keep shooting if the law where you are allows for such, hoping that the squib round will be expelled from the barrel by the next one and that neither will be an obstruction for yet another shot if needed. If you are too afraid of the consequences of firing a round with a possible squib round stuck in the barrel what can you do? You can examine your firearm. This is up to you but remember a bad guy is still posing a threat of death or serious bodily harm to you so you have to judge if you have the time to check your weapon for a squib round and to determine if is your body's reaction to a stressful situation playing a trick on you or not. Note I am not talking about the wrong sized ammo being used as in the example of a 20 gauge round going down the barrel of a 12 gauge. In such a case, if I reasonably believed such had happened, I might use the gun as a club or a spear or just run away - and about that I am dead serious.

I can tell you this: I have shot one person in my lifetime so far. It was during a holdup attempt - yes he was trying to rob me. When I fired, I immediately thought my gun must have jammed because I felt almost no recoil and the shot's bang seemed awfully low in volume. I glanced at the pistol saw it was in battery (I may have even tapped and racked but it was long ago and I don't recall for sure) and fired a second shot at a second bad guy. The first guy had been hit already and was not a threat at that moment; the second guy was getting out of a car with a revolver in hand. That shot was deflected by the windshield but was enough to send them both out of there at high speed. If I am ever in such a situation again I will keep trying to fire so long as the threat presents itself and so long as my gun keeps shooting no matter how light the recoil feels to me. If the gun stops firing I will reload or clear the jam. Again that is my opinion on what I will do - it is not advice. The only advice I will give you here is that you have to be able to decide what to do in any such situation - there likely will not be a range officer or tactical instructor looking over your shoulder screaming "gun" or "shoot" or "clear the jam" or "seek cover" or "run away" or whatever. So get your training now from a qualified instructor before you find yourself in a situation for which you are ill prepared.

Of course there are other things you can do if your gun jams and you cannot clear it but that is for another discussion - back to the possible problems with ammo and how to avoid them.

There is another way to mix up ammo that I did not mention above when talking about loading 9mm ammo into a 40 cal pistol, the following is a fictional example but has happened to people whom I know:

Shooter-X was at qualification recently where he fired with two different caliber pistols. One was a .40 caliber pistol, the other a 9mm pistol. Shooter-X used different holsters for each pistol, but used the same magazine pouch for the magazines of both, this despite the fact that one pistol was a full sized H&K and the other a Glock 26. Shooter-X used the H&K and Glock mags in the pouch at the range because each fit well enough for the range where they do not need to be as secure as they would on the street. Well, when shooting was done, Shooter-X loaded all his mags for the street. He got the right ammo into the right magazines. He loaded the H&K up on the line, then he loaded the Glock. No problems at all - each gun was loaded correctly in the chamber as was each mag in each gun – as was each spare magazine. So where was the problem? Shooter-X did not notice it until a day or two later so maybe you don’t see it either.

For some reason - just habit maybe – Shooter-X reached over and felt his magazine pouch wondering if the snaps were secure. Yes they were closed but something felt wrong when he did that. Shooter-X took another feel and knew what it was, then he looked to confirm what was wrong. Have you guessed it? He was carrying his primary sidearm for work - the H&K - but he had Glock 15 round magazines in his magazine pouch. Luckily for him he had his spare H&K magazines in his tricky bag (if you do not know what is a tricky bag find and politely ask a Border Patrol Agent). Also luckily for him he had not been involved in a shooting incident during which he had to depend on magazines to reload his H&K. Get the picture? He sure did. Had someone asked him - he would have sworn he put the right magazines into the pouch - that is right up to the moment those magazines either did not fit or function properly into the gun at hand. For Shooter-X, it would have been ugly! For the bad guy – it would have been an opportunity not to miss (no pun intended – this is serious business folks)!

That is enough for you to take aim at now. Safe shooting my friends.

All the best,
Glenn B