- Don't forget to check out Greg Ellifritz's Weekend Knowledge Dump. Articles on criteria for women to consider when selecting a revolver, a drill to test your concealed carry handgun skills (and warning that you need to test your skills with your carry ammo), first aid for stab wounds, and the reasons why people don't use shot timers with their training, and a lot more. On the issue of shot timers, the guys at Concealed Carry are offering a blue-tooth enabled shot timer that uses your smart phone for displaying and storing data. The MSRP of the Range Tech is (or will be) $74.99. Ellifritz is also recommending a book, Deadly Force Encounters, Second Edition: Cops and Citizens Defending Themselves and Others.
- "Geographic Evidence that Gun Deaths are Cultural"--BJ Campbell at Medium. The author has found a database that sorts out firearm related deaths (suicides and homicides) according to geography and can display it in a map format. From the article:
We hear a lot of banter from the “anti-gun” media that these problems are gun problems, and they’ve concocted this “gun deaths” number in order to lump these into the same problem and gloss over the differences. But if the problem were “guns,” then the hot spots on the suicide map and the hot spots on the homicide map would coincide, and would be related to gun ownership rates. There are only a few places where they overlap. Most of the hot zones for suicide have low homicide rates, and most of the hot zones for homicide have low suicide rates. The difference is stark.
High homicide rates correspond to black populations, and high suicide rates correspond to white populations, but the author finds that it isn't even quite that simple. Read the whole thing.
- "A First Look at 2020's New Guns"--American Rifleman. A look at some new firearms slated for release next year, including some new revolvers.
- "Physical Training For Competitive Shooters Equals Better Performance"--Shooting Sports USA. A review of a basic exercise regimen for competitive shooters. Might be good for the rest of us as well.
- This is not the shotgun you are looking for: "Gun Review: IWI Tavor TS12 Shotgun"--The Truth About Guns. Interesting design, but the tested model was picky and unreliable--not something you want in a defensive weapon.
- "What Are The Differences Between Trap And Skeet?"--Shooting Sports USA. Not just the difference between the two sports, but the difference between U.S. and International rules.
- "Shotgun Mini Shells: A Shotgunner on Their Advantages, Disadvantages and Best Uses"--The Truth About Guns. The author relates:
The immediate advantages of these mini shells are a lot lower recoil and a much higher capacity. A Shockwave can typically hold five shells in the tube, but with the minis, you can squeeze in eight rounds. In my 590 with a 20-inch barrel and 8-round tube, I can pack in 12 cartridges.
The main issue we get to is cycling reliability. In short, these shells don’t cycle well. They tend to flip around, fall down and have serious issues with some guns. Apparently, they cycle in the KSG shotgun fine, and the same goes for Winchesters. In Mossberg’s and Remingtons, you may have issues. In Mossbergs, I used the OPSol Mini-Clip 2.0 to ensure proper feeding.
The author's conclusion is that the mini-shells are fun to shoot, and may have an application for hunting small game, but he would not use them for self-defense.
- It depends: "Which is Better For CCW, 9mm or .380?"--NRA Family. .380 allows a smaller, lighter firearm for the same type of firearm, whether full-size (e.g., Beretta 84 versus Beretta 92) or compact (e.g., Sig 238 versus Sig 938). This means that if you want a truly pocket automatic, you will probably want to go with a .380. If you want a more powerful round (i.e., capable of better penetration and expansion), then you will probably want a 9 mm.
- Related: "The .22 Magnum for Self-Defense"--American Rifleman. A look at the statistics for the .22 Magnum, including performance in ballistic gel. I would add the caveat, though, that Greg Ellifritz has indicated that .22 Magnum seems to perform better in the real world than the bare statistics would indicate.
- Reloading, yea or nay? I recently saw a couple articles asking the question of whether it is worth it to begin reloading ammunition: "Should You Reload Your Own Ammo?" by Richard Mann at Shooting Illustrated, and "The Case Against Reloading…" by Ed Combs at Guns America Digest (reprinted from USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine). The article by Richard Mann is definitely pro-reloading although it notes the downsides, while Ed Combs is pretty frank that he does not believe that most shooters will benefit much from reloading. Not counting the time spent helping my father as a youth, I've reloaded for approximately 30 years. Reloading opens up options and opportunities, especially if you shoot a lot of expensive ammo or have a caliber for which it is hard to locate ammunition; but hand loading also has a high starting cost in terms of equipment, and a high ongoing cost in terms of time. It is not for everyone.
- Related: "Hornady Brass-Cased Boxer-Primed 5.45x39mm Ammunition"--The Firearm Blog. If you liked the AK-74 in 5.45x39mm, your ammo options have been limited to cheap, steel case ammo or high-end Hornady V-Max ammo, also using steel cases. Hornady will be offering brass cased ammunition in this caliber, as well as separately selling brass to hand loaders. According to the article, Hornady will also be selling a set of reloading dies.
- Related: "Powder Burning Rate Charts"--Sporting Shooting. Short take: the author recommends that you stick with published loading data rather than trying to work up loads based off burning rate charts.
- ".277 SIG Fury Demystified"--Guns America Digest. This is a round developed by Sig for the military's new rifle and machine gun trials. It uses a 140-grain bullet with muzzle velocities of greater than 3,000 FPS from a 16" barrel. This obviously requires a high pressure cartridge, and Sig has done this using a case made of three parts: a brass body, a stainless steel base, and a third part to lock the brass and steel sections together. Sig indicates that it is committed to bringing this round to the civilian market notwithstanding how the military trials turn out.
- "VIRGINIA: All Hope Is Not Lost"--The Truth About Guns. Comparing the situation in Virginia to that of Illinois, and how gun owners in Illinois have made headway in the state legislature.
- "Throwback Thursday: Daniel Boone's Daring Escapes"--NRA Family. Daniel Boone is an early American frontier legend, and this article discusses some of his escapes from times he was captured by hostile American Indian tribes.
- "Walking On Ice: How Thick Is Safe?"--Beans, Bullets, Bandages & You. The author grew up using a 6" rule--that the ice had to be at least 6 inches thick before it was safe to walk on. That is a bit conservative. He relates the following from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:
- UNDER 4″ – STAY OFF
- 4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
- 5″ – 7″ – Snowmobile or ATV
- 8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
- 12″ – 15″ – Medium truck
As they put it in their ice guidelines, “Temperature, snow cover, currents, springs and rough fish all affect the relative safety of ice. Ice is seldom the same thickness over a single body of water; it can be two feet thick in one place and one inch thick a few yards away. Check the ice at least every 150 feet.”
- "If The FBI’s Contempt For The Law Is Not Reined In, Its Abuses Will Get Worse"--Adam Mill at The Federalist. From the article:
Hours before the FISA court issued a December 17 order openly declaring that it could no longer trust any of the sworn statements the FBI had submitted to justify spying on Americans, The New York Times published an opinion article by William Webster, a former director of both the FBI and the CIA. Webster wrote, “Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order is, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them.”
Gone are the days The New York Times worked to expose government abuse of power. The New York Times now defends power from truth.
The author goes on to discuss the "misconduct" (the FISA court's choice of word, not the author's) the FBI engaged in to obtain the Carter Page warrant, including concealing evidence that did not support the issuing of a warrant, as well as making false statements to support the veracity of other items upon which the FBI relied. But that is not all:
The FISA court recently exposed a massive spying operation by the FBI using the National Security Agency’s secret database. It confirmed that under FBI Director Christopher Wray, “Since April 2017, the government has reported a large number of FBI queries that were not reasonably likely to return foreign-intelligence intonation or evidence of crime. In a number of cases, a single improper decision or assessment resulted in the use of query terms corresponding to a large number of individuals, including U.S. persons.”
- "For Whom the New Rules?"--Angelo Codevilla at American Greatness. Also writing about William Webster's NYT op-ed, Codevilla notes: "America’s national security apparatchiks effectively have changed the meaning of current law. They have established the propriety—maybe even the necessity—of adulterating or manufacturing allegations as premises for investigations the purpose of which is to hurt candidates or officials of whom they disapprove." Codevilla also observes that "Webster’s 'rule of law' amounts to the assertion that he and people like himself are the law. Hence, to criticize them is to criticize the rule of law."
- Related: "Ex-FBI official gets 7 days jail for accessing anti-Mueller activist’s emails"--Politico. Mark Tolson,"[a] former FBI analyst[,] was sentenced to seven days in jail and a $500 fine Friday for illegally accessing a neighbor’s email account in a bid to head off an apparent smear campaign against special counsel Robert Mueller."
- Speaking of corruption: "Giuliani: ‘Saint Marie Yovanovitch’ Quashed Ukraine Probe Into Missing $5.3 Billion in Foreign Aid"--American Greatness. Marie Yovanovitch was the ambassador to Ukraine under the Obama Administration.
- And the mask slips: "The Confiscation Is the Point" by Noah Rothman at Commentary. Confiscatory taxes are for the little people.
- "Baltimore Cops Have An Ugly Year"--Captain's Journal. "At least 20 cops in Baltimore, Maryland were arrested, sentenced, or suspended in 2019 for their behavior, a Baltimore Sun report found."
- "SWJ El Centro Book Review: Gangs and Organized Crime"--Small Wars Journal. From the review: "Coming in at 512 pages, the book provides a comprehensive introduction and overview of all facets related to gangs and organized crime. A synopsis of the work highlights that it 'offer[s] an informed and carefully investigated examination of gangs and organized crime groups, covering street gangs, prison gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and organized crime groups from every continent.'" Price for the book is $80.
- "Book Review: Andrei Martyanov's The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs"-- by the Saker at Unz Review.
- "Kevin Spacey accuser Ari Behn dies at 47"--Consequences of Sound. Behn is the third Spacey accuser to die, Linda Culkin being the first (she died after being struck by a car this past spring). The second was an anonymous massage therapist, who accused Spacey of sexual assaulting him in 2016, who died of natural causes in October of this year. Behn allegedly died by suicide on Wednesday (December 25th). Spacey has posted some strange videos in his defense. In the first, posted on December 24, 2018, he stated that "my confidence grows each day that soon enough you will know the full truth," which was interpreted by some as a threat that Spacey might reveal secrets about other powerful figures. The second video was posted on December 24, 2019, in which he stated:
“As we walk into 2020, I want to cast my vote for more good in this world,” he said. “Ah yes, I know what you’re thinking. Can he be serious? I’m dead serious. And it’s not that hard, trust me. The next time someone does something you don’t like, you can go on the attack. But you can also hold your fire and do the unexpected. You can kill them with kindness.”
- "Rattling the Cage Doors"--Sarah Hoyt.
Here, I’ll decode for you, hard of hearing leftists: Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself, means “We can see you there behind the curtain. You’re not a great wizard. You’re not a medium size wizard. You’re just corrupt little leftists swollen in your own importance. AND WE SEE YOU. AND WE SEE THROUGH YOU.”
- "Out of the Shadows… and Into the Voting Booth?"--Michelle Malkin. A warning that the movement to provide driver's licenses to illegal aliens will be the stepping stone to granting voting rights to aliens.
- A reader directed me to this article: "UN demands that British army send more women for defense against jihad in Mali"--Jihad Watch. It's a trap.
- "Nationalist economics"--Vox Popoli. A critique of the economic theories used to support free trade, including comparative advantage; in particular, looking at the reasons asserted by Henry Hazlitt, in his book, Economics In One Lesson. The basic issue, however, is that, notwithstanding the simple models used in the theories, the real world shows that unrestricted free trade merely serves off-shoring of jobs and the collapse of wages.
- Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volleyed and thundered: "Sources of inspiration to survive the coming bad times"--Fabius Maximus. The author writes of the conflicts in our body politic:
The cause of these conflicts is obvious: we are squeezed between two powerful political alliances. Like cats and rats in city alleys, they pursue their agendas and leave each other alone. They chase weaker prey: us. The Right help the 1% amass wealth and power: tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of labor and environmental regulations, crushing unions, and building bigger cartels. The Left pursues their ever-more-ambitious social engineering experiments on us (their white mice). While they vie with each other for supreme power, taking turns slowing each down, their tag-team has no effective opposition.
We get to choose who abuses us next. The conclusion of both programs will destroy the America-that-once-was. The Left seeks open borders, radical education of children so that many are weak or mentally ill, crushing of free expression and association, and use of the government’s punitive machinery to force participation in their experiments. The Right seeks to create levels of economic inequality incompatible with democracy.
Of course, on the fringes there are people with bolder plans. Far-Left and Far-Right websites burn with predictions of coming violence. Begun, of course, by the demons among the Others – against which the Righteous must strike first in self-defense. An escalation of violence is a serious danger if we lose cohesion.
I think the horse is already out of the barn and violence is inevitable. Diversity + Proximity = War, and we have plenty of Diversity and Proximity.
- "How Parents Can Protect Kids From Porn Without Moving To A Secluded Mountain"--Holly Scheer at The Federalist. An excerpt:
You must be proactive with your children. Fight The New Drug puts the age most children are exposed to porn somewhere between 8 and 11 years old. This means we as parents can’t wait for high school or youth group to talk about family values, sexual morality, safe browsing, or the porn industry. At that point, it could be far too late.
While it’s uncomfortable to think of sitting down with elementary-aged kids to talk about the dark side of the Internet, our discomfort cannot get in the way of protecting our children. That means being there, unconditionally, despite our own hangups, to tell them about what sexuality should actually be like, and before anyone else does.
Tell your kids about your religious values. Tell them how much you want them to have happy relationships — when they’re old enough to have those relationships. Talk to them about how porn distorts and warps views of sexuality, damaging the viewer’s ability to engage in a healthy marriage. Tell them how it destroys their brains and their ability to love someone. Tell your kids you want them to know that if they see anything — and you do mean anything — online that scares them or makes them uncomfortable, they can talk to you and you will help them.
If it’s easier for your kids to talk to you in the car, where distractions ease awkwardness, use that time. Or write notes back and forth, or send text messages. Open up the lines of communication and find out what is actually happening around your kids and their friends.
Ask if anyone they know has seen upsetting things online. See what they already know, and use that as a jumping-off point to talk about this in an age-appropriate way. Remind them it’s all too easy for people online to pretend to be something they aren’t, to trick them into things they shouldn’t do.
- "Sex Differences in Personality are Large and Important"--Marginal Revolution. The author observes that "you can predict whether a person is male of female from their personality traits almost as well as by looking at their face." Also:
Consistent with prior research, the researchers found that the following traits are most exaggerated among females when considered separately from the rest of the gestalt: sensitivity, tender-mindedness, warmth, anxiety, appreciation of beauty, and openness to change. For males, the most exaggerated traits were emotional stability, assertiveness/dominance, dutifulness, conservatism, and conformity to social hierarchy and traditional structure.
- This will not end well: "China will rewrite the Bible and the Quran to 'reflect socialist values' amid crackdown on Muslim Uighur minority"--Daily Mail. While the Lord does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7), which is why we have scripture following the five books of Moses, there are a few of the books of the Bible that warn or even provide curses for adding to or subtracting from their text: e.g., Revelation 22:18-19; Proverbs 30:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32.
- It's not just China, however: "Pop Culture’s Erasure Of Religious People"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. He writes:
When you think about it, it’s really incredible that there are no TV shows in the US like this — not about Orthodox Jews, not about Southern Baptists, not about Catholics, not about anybody. There are tens of millions of religiously observant people in this country — no doubt vastly more than the potential audience for a comedy about a middle-aged fat, queer, unlucky dyke — and yet, we are invisible to Hollywood.
- Related: "The Coming Oppression Of Christians"--Rod Dreher at The American Conservative. He believes that the West will follow in the footsteps of China in adopting a social credit system, and it will be used to persecute Christians.
- A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "Information has been TELEPORTED simultaneously between two chips for the first time which could help 'protect the world's data' on superfast quantum computers"--Daily Mail. You can download a PDF of the research paper here.