Saturday, November 21, 2015

The R.I.P. Ammo Crew Is Back With Another Joke

Alright. I hate gimmicks and marketing-speak.

It drives me nuts and I think a lot of it is extremely short-sighted for a company to use --- credibility matters. (Weird, since marketing has such a bad rap usually and that's basically the day-job, right?)

Enter: G2 Research and their R.I.P. Ammo line-up.

You might remember, when their initial R.I.P. ammo was introduced, they called it the deadliest projectile ever made and other hyperbole of the like. Idiotic publications picked up on it and gave them a ton of publicity --- even though many of those publications had no idea what they were talking about.

Then, some guys with a bit of credibility like Shooting the Bull and others declared the rounds weren't what was promised and carried all the deadly power of a 22 lr round.

Heck, they even had to recall their 45 ACP rounds because they proved dangerous for Glock owners.

Now, the gun media is letting them do it again with a new round called "Civic Duty". Let's dump on some extra scare tactics with a double-shot of the hyperbole that gave them buzz their first-round.

G2's new ammo round, "Civic Duty"

Recoil Magazine: "The Civic Duty round is designed to stop a fight quickly and sometimes you must ask yourself: “Is my life worth two bucks a shot?”

They then run the portions of the G2 press release verbatim, which include ridiculous, two-sided claims like the following:
"The Civic Duty round is designed to function exceptionally well at lower velocities (.45 ACP) and at higher velocities (such as the 9mm at 1,230+ fps)."
So, in other words, it's designed to work exceptionally well at all velocities? You know, it's like a racing car that's designed to be especially fast and also designed to have especially large carrying capacity.

But the press release absurdity doesn't stop there. The company goes on to attack others in the self-defense space with an absurd claim that makes it sound like the idea of plugged hollow points is ground-breaking or something.
"Unlike conventional hollow point bullets – which may not expand reliably due to clothing filling up the hollow point, the Civic Duty will indeed reliably open up because of its peeling petal design."
Lucky Gunner did a bunch of hollow point ballistic tests and while several plugged when put through four layers of fabric - many rounds performed admirably.

One that didn't perform all that well well? You guessed it, G2's initial RIP rounds.

Look at the flaking that went on there. None of their "talons" or "wings" or whatever marketing speak they want to refer to it as stuck to the projectile. They flake off.

The expanded diameter of the RIP rounds was .36" according to those tests. That's .01" inch better than what I typically consider a sorry excuse for self defense ammunition, PMC's Gen 1 Starfire. (which, to its credit costs considerably less than G2's products).

Oh, and these latest "Civic Duty" rounds from G2... they retail at about $2/round. Because, you know, because hyperbole is more expensive than lead.

Pick your market G2. It's not me. It's the guy who just bout a gun and doesn't intend to ever shoot it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Celebrating Parents Who Nurture Wimps

I'm not a father. (insert obligatory "that I know of" joke here).

I don't have any first-hand experience raising children.

But as a culture, why do we celebrate parents who teach their boys to be passive, non-aggressive, and wimpy.

Don't bring flowers to a gun fight.
A French news shows interviewed a little boy and his father about the attacks in Paris. As the father explained what happened to his son, the issue of guns came up.

The father insisted that they will combat the violence with peace and that they'd be ok because they'd bring flowers - which I suppose is meant to be symbolic for love in this instance.

I'm all for peace. I'm all for violence as a last-resort of mentality and child-rearing. But if you tell your kid that you're going to fare well in a gun fight with a bunch of roses, you might want to revert to some plants you can at least smoke.

Now, the media - well, the online crazy-left media that really isn't media at all but just a bunch of aggregators are celebrating this moment like Dad of the Year just dropped some serious knowledge on us all.

I'm not going to give you the whole "uphill to school both ways" spiel but there's no way in hell my Dad would have told me to shower the bully at school with love... or flowers. In fact, where I grew up, showering a bully with flowers or love was something that'd line you up for a butt-kicking.

So, why do we praise parenting like this? I think it's the same on both sides. I've seen right-wing websites go crazy for fathers who take their sons and daughters to the shooting range and there was that Chris Pratt video of him teaching his sons the Pledge of Allegiance that went viral all over the web.

More than anything, why do we care and why do we act like it's our job to cheer on parents who teach their children the ways of the world if they reflect our personal values? Raise your kids not to need my subsidies when they have their own children. If your babies don't require my money to have babies of their own, you're doing well. Let's leave it at that.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

France: A One Way Friendship

Alright. I need to get something off my chest. This might make me a jerk - so be it.

Statue of Liberty racing toward Paris to help
From the Arizona Republic
It's horrible what happened in Paris. Innocent lives were lost seemingly to the hands of an evil organization that values things I cannot begin to understand.

But let's not pretend our relationship with France is a two-way street. We matter to France when it's convenient to matter to France.

France is the neighbor that calls you to come hang out the day they're moving so you'll help pack boxes. Then, when it's time to return the favor - they don't answer the phone.

In the wake of the Al Qaida September 11 attacks in the United States, Americans looked for help. We knew there was evil in the far reaches of the world and we needed to root it out. It was going to take a lot of money and a lot of lives.

We started to build a coalition of nations that would support the effort. France wasn't very interested.

Our nation didn't react well. With "freedom fries" and other assinine bans of anything resembling France, we certainly showed American pettiness.

But France didn't respond well either. I was in Paris in the spring of 2003 and Americans were largely viewed as war-mongering, oil-hungry aggressors. There were protests on the streets against the United States' war effort. It wasn't a comfortable place for Americans.

French citizens protesting against the U.S. war in Iraq in 2002.
Many American tourists, myself included claimed to be Canadian to avoid harsh treatment in France in 2002.
In the years since, the terrorist organizations have made strong efforts to draw France in and today, there is a significant French presence in Syria with coalition forces. But let's not kid ourselves. France is in this for France and once again is treating the United States as a friend of convenience.

Since American military operations started in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 - the United States has lost nearly 2,300 young men and women in an effort to stop the power of terrorist groups.

France has lost 88 service members.

We won't even dive in to the amount of fiscal support the United States has laid out trying to protect the planet from the monsters leading ISIS and Al Qaida.

There was a lot of talk that France would join the U.S. with a significant presence in Iraq. However, Jacques Chiraq (then French Prime Minister) backed down when relations "soured with George W. Bush". France went from a commitment of 15,000-20,000 troops to passing support and what was essentially a neutral stance on our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"After inspectors appeared to make progress in Iraq, Chirac's thinking changed, especially after polls in France showed vast opposition to an attack." - Washington Post.
Now, France finds itself a victim once again. Is it because they didn't provide more resources to fight this war on terrorism in the first place? No. Not at all.

But let's not pretend for one second that France has been a true partner in this fight since Day 1. France has let us spill our blood, spend our money, and develop the reputation as World Police while they sat back and let us do it --- all while criticizing the American policies in the Middle East.

San Francisco City Hall lit up in support of France
City Hall in San Francisco lit up in support of France

So now, when I see garbage posted like "We all stand with Paris", I have to laugh. Sure, we stand with Paris but when the Twin Towers were burning, it got awfully tough to find someone in France that was willing to stand with us in a way that mattered.

By the way, thanks for the Statue of Liberty. I guess since the United States contributed more than 400,000 lives saving France and other Allies in World War II, we're even.

Friday, November 13, 2015

GOP to Draft Mitt?

I have no reason to believe there's any truth to this...

Mitt Romney in 2016?
Picture it: Binders full of women just waiting for you to finger your way through them.

The hot rumor on the web is that Mitt Romney could be the GOP nominee.
"According to other Republicans, some in the party establishment are so desperate to change the dynamic that they are talking anew about drafting Romney — despite his insistence that he will not run again. Friends have mapped out a strategy for a late entry to pick up delegates and vie for the nomination in a convention fight, according to the Republicans who were briefed on the talks, though Romney has shown no indication of reviving his interest."
So, I know a lot of folks won't be happy about this if he runs. A big question in my mind though is - what Carson/Trump supporters are going to jump ship and move to Romney? Carson has a certain aura about him in his gentleness that somewhat reminds me of Romney so I could see Romney taking votes from Carson.

Trump, on the other hand, isn't going to lose many supporters. If nothing else, I could see many of the people on the fence getting on the Trump bandwagon because they don't want to see Romney get the nomination again. In a lot of ways Romney is another Jeb in the race as far as I'm concerned. (Without the baggage of a family name, obviously).

FWIW, I have a lot more respect for Romney after watching the Netflix documentary about 2012. I thought the wholesome front was a facade and part of his campaign. Basically, I thought he was playing the Mormon stereotype to the max.

Seriously though - binders full of 'em.
After watching that documentary - and maybe I'm a sucker - I think that's actually who this guy is. It makes me feel bad for him because I never questioned his intelligence - just his intentions. If you haven't caught the documentary, I recommend it.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Yes, really. Ben Carson Battling to Prove He Tried to Stab Someone

I'm still an undecided voter but have been following the GOP primary fairly closely.

The most recent Ben Carson news strikes me as exceptionally weird... and maybe a little funny.

If I'm understanding this situation correctly, the current narrative goes something like this:

1.) Ben Carson writes a book and makes claims he received a "scholarship" to West Point and that he attempted to stab another student in junior high.

2.) The West Point story is still up in the air as far as I'm concerned. Politico went nuts on Carson and said "West Point doesn't charge tuition so you couldn't have had a scholarship". Carson said that doesn't mean he wasn't accepted and that admittance in and of itself is considered a scholarship. Who knows?

3.) Now, media outlets have questioned Carson's claims about attempting to stab a fellow junior high schooler.

4.) Carson is now fighting hard to prove that he attempted to stab someone. Here's a post he made the other day on Twitter:

Here is an interview my mother did in Parade Magazine on May 11, 1997. Did CNN do any research at all?
Posted by Dr. Ben Carson on Sunday, November 8, 2015

So,  just to be clear. The current front-runner on the GOP side to be President of the United States is in the peculiar position of fighting to prove to you just what a jerk he is was.

Am I taking crazy pills here? I understand credibility is a fickle thing but if I'm Carson, I might just let this one go.

This might be beside the point but Carson's brand is that of a gentle intellectual giant, right? I mean, he's portrayed himself publicly as a master of control - with unshakeable hands that operate on brains and a demeanor that's speak softly with a big stick ready to attack, right?

If that's the "brand" - why is he trying so hard to prove he was once a raging bully? (Maybe an even better question would be - why is Carson publishing stories like this in a book that's being heavily promoted while he's campaigning all over the country?)

Stadium Review: Ohio Stadium (The Horseshoe)

The view inside Ohio Stadium from the upper deck.

Ohio State University's football facility, Ohio Stadium, affectionately referred to as "The Horseshoe" by most folks outside of Ann Arbor might be the worst home environment in college football.

Per capita, it's the quietest stadium in the country as far as I'm concerned.

Perhaps this deserves a disclaimer - in my two experiences at Ohio Stadium, they've played Minnesota in both cases. My beloved Golden Gophers are neither a rival of Ohio State's nor were the Gophers a ranked opponent for the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes.

Before the Game - Tailgating

A group of tailgaters at Ohio State
I don't remember taking this photograph. In a related note, Four Loko is apparently legal in Ohio.
Tailgating lots were seemingly plentiful and within reasonable walking distance to the stadium (8-10 blocks). Pricing for parking was amazing. We paid $15 for a spot in a surface parking lot that was 4-5 blocks from the stadium. That's impressively cheap and I would have expected to pay $25 or so given close proximity to the stadium.

The walk around this area near campus was largely a good one. From seeing pieces of history, like the university's track named after Jesse Owens to the greenway/walkways that were in great shape with luscious landscaping, it was a nice fall day and the campus contributed to the overall beauty of the day.

My first trip to Columbus back in 2012, I left impressed with the Ohio State fanbase when it came to their respect and knowledge of their own football program. This trip was no different and while I've had awful experiences at Big Ten campuses in the past that included what could be classified as outright physical assault - the Ohio State fanbase was great in that regard. Fans let it be known in no uncertain terms you were going to lose but nobody was so belligerent or stupid that it got to the point where physical violence was ever a thought. That's how it should be.

One note, apparently on-campus tailgating can be a bit tricky when it comes to alcohol. You can't have alcohol visible - which isn't unusual but in many Big Ten cities, the police look the other way when it comes to open containers. Most at Ohio State were pretty vigilant about ensuring all alcohol be in red Dixie cups.

Walking into the stadium was a bit less impressive than the demeanor of the fans outside. They'd recently made some substantial improvements to the outside facade of the stadium but it still looks a bit cobbled together. There are however, some very impressive areas.

The rotunda was designed to look Roman in nature and I'd say it definitely looks the part. Lit up at night with stained glass, it was a beautiful area facing outside the stadium and a nice touch.

You'll want eye candy because getting into the stadium is likely going to take a while. We stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other fans for about 25 minutes as we waited to have our tickets scanned and get in. There are certainly worse places to be but I would have expected this system to be more efficient. It's not the first time they've hosted a football game, after all.

You can likely see the pedestrian bridge in the left corner of the map above. That was the bottleneck.
After the game, our return to the parking lot was a long journey that took forever to go about 3 blocks. There are just a few pedestrian bridges that cross the Oletangy River, which leads to bottlenecks at the walkways and a long wait. Especially in our case, we had a huge crowd to contend with. It turned out our parking spot was in a lot that was also the gathering point for people who took commuter buses into campus from parking areas farther out.

Inside the Stadium

We didn't have great seats and were perched on the upper-deck. My first trip we were about 10 rows up from the field in the end zone. I can attest the atmosphere is equally unimpressive from both areas of the stadium.

The Ohio State fans strike me as spoiled and entitled when it comes to their football team. I suppose 30-straight wins will do that to a fanbase. Further, there was a corporate-feel to the crowd that was accentuated with empty mid-field seats in the third quarter of what was a two possession football game.

On big plays there is applause but this isn't a ravenous environment that will make an opposing team's true-freshman quarterback need to change his pants series-after-series. Again, I have to stress that Minnesota isn't a rival of Ohio State's - but it shouldn't matter. With a stadium capacity of just under 105,000, the fans at Ohio State may as we have been at The Masters compared to what I've seen and heard a similar sized in-house fanbase at the University of Tennessee do.

Food & Concession Prices

In terms of concessions, I didn't see anything unusual that caught my eye and prices were in-line with what you'd expect to pay. $6 for nachos, $3-4 hotdogs, etc.


We had restrooms that were close-by to our section and the lines were reasonable for the most part throughout the stadium. I waited to use one of the facilities but it was a reasonable 2-3 minutes to get in and get out. Not bad. Cleanliness was on par with most other older campus stadiums, which of course isn't saying much.

Also, portable toilets were plentiful outside the stadium for tailgaters. We had good access throughout the afternoon --- which isn't always the case if you've tailgated much.

Wrap Up

Photo Credit:
In the end, Ohio State won 28-14 in a game that was relatively close. Minnesota made the 40% of the stadium that stuck around to the end sweat a bit when they pulled within a touchdown with just a few minutes remaining.

All-in-all, it's worth seeing this place and the history on campus is certainly impressive. It's clear Ohio State University has put a ton of money into their athletic department it appears to be paying off - at least in terms of on-field performance. However, if you're of the mindset that college sports shouldn't be seen as a revenue line and a primary priority of public universities, visiting this place might have you questioning society's values a bit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

You Like Ammo? I like Ammo.

This is pretty cool.

While you have the gun grabbing public at large and the inhabitants at the White House clamoring for gun control, it'd be nice to try to expose some of the people who are hearing all the noise to normal gun owners. Or, you know, what actually goes on when a law-abiding citizen shoots his or her gun recreationally as part of a sport of self-defense training scenario.

I got a note that detailed something and Magtech are doing with a 9mm ammo initiative that gives rounds to shooters who bring a newbie to the range. Seems like a solid idea that should help grow the number of folks that understand what it means to be an American gun-owner and not some sort of nut that commits crimes. Plus: free ammo! It sounds like there is plenty of ammo to go around, they are saying they have 100,000 rounds of 9mm ammunition for the campaign.

If you download a target and snap a photo while at the range, they'll send you a couple boxes of Magtech ammo for your trouble. Good deal - I'm going to see if I can convince my sister to let me take her oldest son out this weekend. He's a couple years off from voting so I'm not sure he's going to help in that regard but he's asked about guns quite a bit. While his father isn't a gun grabber, I don't think they're going to be hitting the range anytime soon if I don't step in!

I wouldn't exactly consider myself Jerry Miculek but I know the basics of safety and shoot several times a year. Should be a good experience for him. Maybe we can find some pumpkins to victimize... tis' the season!

I've never been in the driver's seat before when it comes to teaching a new shooter. Any tips you can pass my way that I should remember when showing him how it all works? I'm thinking we'll start with 22 long rifle and work our way up. He's 15-years-old so I think he can handle most pistol rounds.