Friday, December 22, 2017

The Twelve Days of Christmas...for Preppers

No, we aren't singing.  You're welcome.

On the first day of Christmas Santa brought to me....

 1.  Guns...all the guns.
 2.  Medical Gear
 3.  Mountain House and MRE's
 4.  Nalgene bottles and canteens, water filtration
 5.  A camp stove/rocket stove
 6.  A bug out bag or ruck sack
 7.  A tent and sleeping bag
 8.  Training classes - firearms, medical, and survival skills
 9.  Tactical Wall/Gun safe
10.  High Capacity Magazines
11.  A crate of ammo
12.  The Matter of Facts Podcast!!!

Merry Christmas to everyone, we'll see you around after a short break to enjoy the holidays.  Don't forget to come look for us on Facebook, check out some videos on our YouTube channel, and check out the other articles we've posted on this blog.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter Weather Preparations

I don't care if it's extreme heat or extreme cold.....they both suck. I have lived in Michigan basically my entire life and I have experienced some pretty cold winters. Now, I know there are places that get colder but when I can walk outside with a boiling pot of water, throw it up and watch it turn to ice......I'd say that's pretty cold. One thing I have learned in my years on this ball of life is that mother nature is a bitch and the only way to deal with her temper tantrums is you prepare for them.

Your vehicle and your home are at least two places that everybody should keep weather preps. Shelter, fire(heat), water and food. Those four things are what keeps us all going. Take one away and you can turn the strongest person into a helpless child.

First let's talk about the home. You think because you have a roof over your head, blankets, food and running water that you are safe? On the perfect day I'd say yes. Being that I have lived in both rural and city I have learned many things, one being in the city the power hardly goes out. I have lived in Grand Rapids for almost ten years and I have only lost power twice (both were due to cars hitting a ground transformer). When I lived with my parents up north we lost power almost every year (some years multiple times) due to weather. When the power goes what else goes? The furnace, well pump, and refrigerator. One of the biggest things you need to worry about in a snow/ice storm is the temperature. I have spent a few nights in front of the fireplace because we didn't have power. Do some research and find a good generator. You don't need one that runs the entire home but one that can run the furnace and If you need water you can turn the breaker off to the furnace to run the well until you need to run the furnace again. What's nice about the refrigerator is it will keep food for a good day or two as long as you limit the number of times the door is opened. If the power is out longer than a few days stick stuff into a cooler and stick it outside where (you guessed it) it is cold. Nature may be kicking your ass but as survivalists we need to adapt.
Be sure to have plenty of flash lights and batteries. One thing that my mom always had around the house was oil lamps. She had as least one in almost every room and they were always full of oil. When I moved out one of the first things I bought was an oil lamp. They work great for light and they give off a little heat. Just make sure that you are not in a small area due to the carbon monoxide that is given off. If you have a gas stove you are in luck! Natural gas will continue to flow during a power outage, all you have to do is light the flame. However, if you are stuck with an electric stove then get the camping stove out.

Now let's talk about vehicles. I read at least a couple stories a year where people get stuck, lost or ran out of gas. You spend a good chunk of your life in your vehicle (besides work) and this should be as set up for a disaster as your home. Besides your home you will not do any better than your vehicle for shelter. In a winter storm it will keep you out of the worst of it. The only thing you have to worry about is staying warm. In Episode 42 I stressed layering and that concept applies here. A list of items you should keep in your car kit are:
- Blanket(s) - FIRST AID KIT - Cyalumesticks
- MylarBlank(s) - EmergencyCandles - Flashlight(s)
- Heavy Jacket - Energy Bars - Batteries
- Heavy gloves - Water - Kitty litter, sand or salt (for traction)
- Winter Hat(s) - Extra Food - Shovel
- Woolsocks - Lighters, Matches - Car phone charger
- Sleeping Bag - Sweatshirts - Heavy Winter Boots
Now this list isn't perfect, I'm sure I am forgetting something and please let me know if I am. This list is meant for your vehicle, it should stay in your vehicle. Almost everything here you can use year around and it should be tested. If you go camping take the container out and use some of it, get familiar with it. All of this stuff can be bought on amazon or in almost any store. If you use something, replace it. Your water will eventually freeze being in your vehicle, keeping it in a separate cooler will keep unfrozen a little longer than normal.

Whether you are at home or in your car, surviving a winter storm is pretty straight forward black and white. It's up to you to be prepared and take care of yourself and your family. Figure out where you are lacking and fix it. Don't wait on others to help you, be self reliant. Be an asset to your family. - Andrew

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Is limiting gun rights "common sense"?

Not too long ago, I got involved in quite a conversation with someone intent on proving that limiting gun rights was not only lawful and in keeping with the Constitution, but that it wasn't that far off legal precedents already established.  He sited two examples: freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.  His argument was that since we place limitations on these two basic freedoms, and they have withstood challenges, then limitations on gun rights (the 2nd Amendment) should be a no brainer.  The problem is, his examples weren't apples to apples, as often happens when you skipped logic and rationality on the way to making your decision, and only try to make the facts work out AFTER you've arrived at your conclusion.

Freedom of speech is a distinctly American and closely held right, but it is not without it's limitations.  Shouting "FIRE" in a crowded theatre is a common example.  Libel and slander are other examples of speech that are not protected.  So, gun rights can be limited likewise right?  Not quite.  The problem is, "FIRE" is not merely speech, it is a call to action (to evacuate the building).  Libel and slander are both obvious or intentional falsehoods (often called malicious) that cause injury (monetary, social, etc.)  So in both cases, speech that provokes action and speech that causes injury is limited, not speech for speech's sake.

Freedom of assembly, the right to commune with others and demonstrate/preach/protest is an important right in our society, one which has provoked great social change and righted wrongs, but it is limited by law.  One has the right to peacefully assemble, but one is not allowed to riot.  For those that are paying attention, rioting has nothing to do with peaceful assembly, rioting causes damage and injury.  So once again, the freedom of assembly is curbed at that point which it causes injury to people or damage to property.

Likewise, gun rights are ALREADY limited to the same standard.  I can carry a firearm (openly or concealed, I live in an open carry state and have a permit for concealed carry) in public all I wish, but drawing that firearm or using it brings with it consequences.  My simple possession, or my carrying, is not that which causes injury or damage to property, only it's employment (intentional or negligent discharge) has the potential to cause injury or damage property.  So, why then do I keep having to justify to people my right to own a magazine fed rifle, or carry a firearm on my person, or own firearms at all (and yes, those nutjobs that demand full disarmament have finally shed their disguise)?

Common sense dictates that we each have the freedom to engage in whatever behavior, speech, and action we choose based on our own personal priorities.  Common sense dictates that I, a military veteran and law abiding citizen, decided to carry a firearm to defend myself and my family and do so safety EVERY DAY:  In grocery stores, walking with my family, going to friends and neighbors' houses, you can't see it but rest assured I'm armed just about wherever I go.  Common sense dictates that someone not force their beliefs upon me, or demand I live according to their opinions.  You have your right, I have mine.

Respect mine, and I'll respect yours. - Phil Rabalais

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Prepping on the road

By now everyone is aware that I was out of town for a week.  I drove my family almost 1300 miles round trip from our home in Southeast Louisiana up to Gatlinburg, TN for a long overdue family vacation.  On top of packing phone chargers, socks and underwear, and the usual vacation junk I had to ask myself "What else do I need to bring to be on the safe side?"  Below is hardly an all inclusive list, and I invite everyone to leave me a comment with what you feel I may have missed.

A.  Tools - We had our share of mechanical hiccups during the week, unfortunately nothing I could have reasonably packed would have saved us (we hit a piece of road debris that took out a tire.)  I did pack a couple of screw drivers, duct tape, electrical tape, and a set of ratchets and sockets.  I figured anything outside of the minor repairs allowed by the above was going to be a setback that would require find a mechanic shop.  The two items I DID NOT pack were a multitool (I have no justification, I just didn't think about it) and a roll of Rescue Tape (an absolute Godsend if you develop an issue with a radiator hose or heater hose on the road, unfortunately I haven't purchased a roll yet.)  The point isn't to do major surgery on your car on the side of the road, but to at least have the basics to make a minor repair and get off the highway to the next town.  Add to the above a small amount of basic fluids (oil, water, etc.) and make sure your tire pressures are all spot on before getting on the road.

B.  Medical - I make a regular habit of carrying a small IFAK in all of my vehicles.  That, plus a bag in my overnight bag of Excedrin, Benadryl, band aids, and other various remedies for minor ouchies is just good prior planning.  After an experience where poor foot care cost me dearly, I also pack extra socks at the expense of extra underwear or other clothing (I can live without underwear and double up my shirts if I have to, lack of clean and dry socks is nothing to play with.)  It would also go without saying that if you are prescribed any daily regimen of drugs I would make good and sure you have more than you expect to need.  Pills get wet, or lost, short trips become long ones, all sorts of things can crop up.

C.  MULTIPLE map sources - The modern smart phone has lulled a generation of young men and women into an incredible false sense of security in this country.  We always assume we can just whip out that cell phone, chat up SIRI for a minute, and she'll happily direct us to whatever our heart desires.  UNFORTUNATELY the realities of rural areas and mountain driving knocked out our cellular reception multiple times, and while GPS requires only a reasonable line of sight to the satellites orbiting above our heads, many map programs populate their maps on the fly using cellular data.  No data, and you still have GPS coordinates but no map and no directions.  I made a point of having a GPS program (Navmii from the iTunes App store, I'll review it in the future) loaded on my phone with on board maps.  A handheld GPS would serve the same function.  So would a road atlas or an old fashioned map.  If your option takes batteries, have replacements or a way to charge them handy.

D.  Protection - Some people espouse pepper spray (or bear mace in the area I was in).  I believe in a little more direct method, and packed my 9mm and my 357 magnum revolver.  Holsters, extra ammo and mags, and a rag to clean them with came along as well.

E.  Cash - See C, debit cards and electronic transactions have lulled a generation into poor habits.  I brought a couple hundred dollars cash with me and spent nearly all of it before we came home.  Whether for the convenience (a few times I put up cash with the rest of my family to cover a group bill) or necessity (some places where using a card is difficult, sometimes people get finicky about out of state credit and debit cards) in any situation short of SHTF cash will always be king.  Do not clean out your checking account, but don't leave home without a reasonable amount of cash on your person.

Last but certainly not least is to practice good OPSEC (operational security) and situational awareness.  Don't tell EVERYONE on Facebook you're going to be out of town for a week.  Hell, don't tell anyone you don't trust with all of your worldly possessions either.  It may sound paranoid, but "family gone for a week" is an engraved invitation for a burglar to break a window and help himself to anything he wants.  He knows you're not home, and today's society is not as watchful as they once were, so he's unlikely to deal with a nosy neighbor if he is even a little careful.  While you are at your destination, keep your head up and eyes moving.  There is a whole segment of criminals that happily prey on tourists above locals, and no matter how strong your Grey Man kung fu is you aren't going to be able to completely blend in.  Local customs and language will out you fairly quickly as someone "not from around here."  Watch your back, particularly in moments of vulnerability such as fiddling with key cards at your hotel door, fiddling with your smart phone, or pulling cash or cards from your wallet.  Be aware and be safe.

MOST of the above comes second nature to me, and the little foibles I ran into on this trip poked a few holes in my vacation preps.  I'll be better prepared next time, that's the whole point.  Leave me a comment or head to the Facebook Group to let me know what I missed. - Phil Rabalais

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Carrying (a concealed handgun) on the road

If you are fortunate to live in one of those bastions of freedom which trust their citizens to carry handguns without the need for unconstitutional infringements or silly permits, and never drive across state lines, this is going to be a bit of a shock but SOME states do not feel the same.  I could write a very different (and vitriolic) editorial about the merits of such draconian jackassery, but I thought instead since I will be on my way home from a cross country trip at the time you read this that I would instead try to lend some of my experience preparing from this trip.  No, I'm not referring to packing socks and underwear, I'm referring to how to LEGALLY carry a concealed handgun across state lines.

Firstly, be extremely aware that each and every state has passed it's own laws regarding the carrying of firearms, and the federal governments (thanks for nothing SCOTUS) has thus far been reluctant to remind these state governments that their ability to regulate the rights of their citizens begins and ends short of those rights enumerated within the US Constitution.  So, there is no federal law giving guidance or restriction to carrying a typical handgun over state lines (if you're stepping up your game carrying an SBR or other NFA item across state lines, that is a completely different animal from what I understand.)  But, handgun, no issue.

So, if each state has different laws, how in the world do we navigate that mine field?  The short, ugly answer is research.  I use an iOS app called Legal Heat to keep me abreast of the laws in states I am traversing through, as well as insure that my concealed weapon's permit is valid in those states.  If you feel something is vague, I'd recommend a call to the applicable state police office for clarification.  Regardless of what you determine, make sure you know the intricacies of the state laws, for example is it legal to leave your firearm in a vehicle with an unlicensed person while loaded and not locked???  In my home state of Louisiana, no problem.  In a state I plan to drive through, that would land my wife in prison.  Be aware and plan accordingly.

Now, below are a few items I highly recommend regardless of the laws where you may be passing through or your final destination:

Lockable case and padlock - Some states REQUIRE you transport a handgun locked up, with the ammunition in a separate container, with both out of the passenger compartment.  Even if not, having a way to secure a firearm in a room I would you assume you may be sharing with family members is just good common sense unless you loaded up your gun safe and brought that with you.

Spare magazine/s and ammunition - Never one to let a good opportunity pass for a Zombie Apocalypse scenario, what would you do if your vacation suddenly encountered turbulence and civil unrest broke out.  How many rounds would you like to have on hand for your handgun?  I say pack one or two spare mags (not necessarily at the ready if that's your choice, but in your bags at least) and a spare box of ammo.  It won't take up much space and you'll be no worse for wear finding space for it than if you needed it and didn't have it.

Rag, maybe oil - I would venture to say that you won't be gone long enough or your firearm see enough hard use in a vacation to require serious cleaning, BUT mine finds pocket lint constantly and if you're going to be near a salty/seaside environment a little extra oil to fend off surface rust is cheap insurance.  Probably not 100% necessarily, but isn't going to hurt anything either.

PAPERWORK - Your concealed weapon's permit is obvious, but what about proof of purchase?  Think I'm crazy if you like, but I've heard of particularly underhanded tactics employed by some less scrupulous LEO's involving declaring a handgun stolen, and asking the OWNER to prove it's rightful purchase.  Now, without delving into what a completely miscarriage of our legal system that little stunt is, that whole scenario could be put to bed by having a receipt from the purchase (or bill of sale from private purchase) in the case that your brought demonstrating quite clearly you are the rightful and legal owner.  Also, if something were to happen to the firearm (loss or stolen) you have a record of it's serial # which law enforcement will be very anxious to learn.

Holsters - No, not one holster, bring a couple.  I keep two holsters for my EDC, one that I wear 90% of the time at 2 o'clock, one I carry at 5 o'clock with my shirt tucked in.  You do not want to have to leave your gun in your room because your outfit and holster are not cooperating with each other, so plan ahead.

So, after this whole list  you're carrying quite a little assortment of gear just for a simple handgun.  Yes, but I have said time and again that carrying a handgun is a lifestyle, not a decision.  These are the things I recommend you have on hand to support the tool of your trade.  While it would certainly be simpler to leave your gun at home and enjoy your vacation, bear in mind that criminals often target vacationers and tourists for exactly those reasons.  Arm up, be smart, and be safe.  Come check out the Facebook group in a day or two, I'm sure I'll be sharing pictures from my family vacation.  - Phil Rabalais

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Time to disarm you say? I disagree, and not respectfully.

"Ban Guns" by Alex Pareene

I pride myself on trying VERY hard to be fair to all parties involved, and taking everyone's point of view into account when I formulate my thoughts.  The above linked article by Alex Pareene, on the other hand, has my jimmies righteously in a twist.  "Time to ban guns" he says.  The problem is, I think he missed a couple of intellectual stops along the route he travelled to arrive at his conclusion.

Firstly, gun violence is hardly an epidemic.  FBI statistics have firmly pounded home the point that when one separates gun deaths which occur concurrent with the illegal drug trade and suicides from the bulk statistic, you have a better chance of dying from being obese than you do from a gunshot.  Rifles, in particular so called "assault weapons" account for an even SMALLER number of these deaths, the majority are attributed to handguns.  NRA members and bearers of concealed carry permits are virtually NEVER found to be the subject of mass shootings, despite how much time the media and anti gunners spend gnashing their teeth at that group of people.

So then, Alex, WHY is it time to disarm?  Because someone committed a mass shooting?  Did we demand everyone park their cars or submit to more stringent background checks or restricted capacity fuel tanks when a madman ran people over on a New York street with a Uhaul truck?  Did we ban pressure cookers after the Boston Marathon bombing?  I hate to keep using the same analogies over and over again, but you and your kind really should exercise some intellectual honesty when you make broad, sweeping statements that impact the lives of MILLIONS of gun owners nationwide.  Your stated reason is insufficient to curtail a constitutionally protected right.  Pound sand or come up with a better argument.

Now, on the other hand, let me take a stab at your real motivation.  I have always held that the majority IF NOT ALL anti gunners really don't have an issue with guns.  You fundamentally can't, because you aren't screaming for the government to be disarmed.  You don't seem to have the numbers to call for the police to be disarmed.  If you have your way and a nationwide gun ban were to be passed, who is going to implement it?  You?  No, you'll expect the state and the police to enforce that on your behalf.  No, you aren't anti gun, you just don't like ME having guns.

And that's where you and I will never see eye to eye, and where my civility and my calm fades dramatically.  I have no intention of being disarmed: not by the state, not by police, not by the UN, and certainly not by you.  What you are purporting would cause an immediate unravelling of this country, because for every one of you there is one of me.  For every one person throwing a tantrum about how we have to melt our guns down the for good of everyone, there is a person like me yelling "Hold on a damned second, I didn't shoot anyone, why do I have to be punished."  There is a person like me that respects the ideals of our Constitution, that would defend your right to speak your piece EVEN as you call for my rights to be taken from me.

At the end of the day, I'm at least thankful the toddlers' tantrum is finally being revealed for what it is.  You have no interest in reasonable restrictions, or safety, or the general welfare of the public.  You'd happily plunge this country into civil war if that was the end result of a gun ban, and probably sit back quietly while millions of people lost their lives.  That is why I will continue to speak out against your proposed gun ban, because the lives saved by my firearms grossly outweigh the lives lost, because my firearms have never harmed a person, and two people in this house depend on me and those firearms for their protection.  I, as an advocate of the 2nd Amendment, am perfectly happy to allow you NOT to own guns and to live in peace because I am a reasonable person that believes in your rights.  All I ask is that you respect mine in kind.  - Phil Rabalais

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Non-Permissive Environments

I will preface this article by saying I live in Louisiana, a state in which cute little signs on windows in store fronts do not have the force of law.  In layman's terms, I'm not guilty of a crime by ignoring them and carrying my concealed firearm right through the door past them.  Please, PLEASE, check your state laws before you do the same, as the consequences could very well include loss of your concealed weapon's permit.  A Non-Permissive Environment is one in which state and local law does not preclude you from exercising your right to carry a firearm, BUT store policy does.  In such locations many of us that choose to conceal carry are faced with a decision to make: Respect the opinion of the property owner, or disregard it in favor of exercising what we view as an inalienable right not subject to such restrictions.

Personally, and again I can only speak for myself and my state's laws, I now refuse to disarm.  I have in the past, and upon further reflection decided that my right to protect myself trumps such nonsense.  In cases in which armed guards, metal detectors, etc. prevent my entry into the establishment with my firearm I choose to disarm (because if I can't sneak a gun in, neither can anyone else) or not enter at all (I don't particularly like the idea of patronizing such establishments, and believe in voting with my dollars and feet.)  Each person has to make that decision, and be prepared to suffer the consequences of doing so (being asked to leave if discovered.)  The stakes are even higher if their is a possible misdemeanor charge attached to your non compliance.

On the other hand, I so strongly believe in my right to keep and bear arms and my duty to protect my family and those in the community that I find the idea of disarming to patronize a business to be extraordinarily upsetting.  I'm not the media stereotype of a trigger happy, gun toting, toothless redneck that slept through his CCW class.  I'm a military veteran, a regular at my local gun range, and intimately familiar with the operation and employment of my defensive firearms.  A dozen men or women with my mindset and training is an ASSET in a world full of sheep that do not have the ability to defend themselves, and I wish more business owners believe the same.

That said, whether or not they see me as an asset or a liability, my actions will not change.  I will continue to disobey arbitrary and capricious demands that I disarm so long as the consequences are not a felony.  My right to protect my life and those lives around me is more important than a sign on a storefront window.  If more people in the gun community though the same, and were as vocal as I were, perhaps the opinions around us would change, but silence is agreement.  Every dollar we spend in such places is a dollar enabling those that would see us disarmed. - Phil Rabalais

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Why and how I reload? An editorial, not a how to.

This is not a "how to reload" post.  For those interested in the general method and procedure hit the above video as I walk you through reloading a single round of 357 magnum on my single stage press.  This article is more of the brain work behind the process.  I especially hope those of you interesting in reloading/handloading your own ammo take this to heart and consider if the benefits of handloading ammunition tip the scales in favor of you following suit.

Of the various justifications for reloading your own ammo, cost savings is probably the most oft cited and the least applicable.  The savings is there in most cases, more evident in the case of more exotic or expensive factory ammunition.  I save about a nickel per cartridge reloading common 9mm and 38 special, a little more on 45 ACP, over a dime on 357 magnum, and forty cents on 308 Winchester.  But, as a result of having so much loaded ammo at my disposal I often spend far more time at the range shooting that I would otherwise.  Also consider the investment in equipment and time, and  you'll quickly find you could make up your cost difference between reloaded and factory ammo working a few extra hours at your day job.  No, cost isn't a great reason for reloading, so what is?

Consistency, accuracy, repeatability; I can manufacture in my own garage far more consistent ammunition than I am able to purchase off the store shelf.  I can also tune the powder load, seating depth, and crimp of the round to what my individual firearms prefers.  Even in pistol ammunition, I've seen a difference of tenths of a grain (a grain being a measurement of weight equivalent to 1/7000th of a pound) having a tremendous impact on the accuracy of my 357 magnum cartridges.  The full power stuff hits steel harder, but backing down from 11.5 grains to 11.2 tightens up the groups noticeably.  The right combination of bullet, powder, and loading variables produced a load for my 308 bolt action that turned a 2 MOA hunting rifle into a 1/2 MOA rifle just by virtue of which cartridge goes in the chamber.

How I reload is well established; read the manuals, watch some YouTube videos, you'll get the gist pretty quickly.  But, behind the process is the brain work.  I have to take the time to insure my dies are correctly set, resizing a fired case and verifying it precisely fits in the chamber of it's intended firearm.  I then slowly adjust the expander die, a quarter turn at a time, until the bullet will JUST fit in the neck (note, a change in bullet changes this setting, and even a difference in lot number among the same bullet type could introduce a variance.)  Then, I always seat a primer by hand to verify it isn't being crushed, and start at my minimum recommended powder charge and the prescribed seating depth for that load.  If I have to err, I'll err on the side of seating slightly long BUT I will double check that the rounds fit the magazine or cylinder before I start cranking them out.  In the case of a tight chamber or magazine, I'll seat slightly short, but this will raise chamber pressure.  Not a huge issue on a minimum load, but one to keep in mind.

To all of the above, I always start with making a handful of dummy cartridges without powder or primer.  These will have the bullets colored with permanent ink and the primer pockets filled with silicone to be used as snap caps/dummy cartridges for dry fire training after they're done, but they also serve to insure that all of the die settings are in fact appropriate for feeding and function in the firearms.  Then, I brew up a small test set, typically 20-50 rounds depending on the application, and have a reasonable volume (3-5X as much handloaded ammo) of factory ammo.  I want to insure that my ammunition is working well, and I like to have some factory ammo on hand as a control.  If my ammo will not reliably run in the firearm, but factory will, I know I have an issue.  If neither runs reliably, may an issue with the firearm itself.

Per all of the above, I always encourage serious shooters to reload, by serious I mean those that are shooting regularly to frequently.  On the weekends I can't get away to drive to my local range, I can pop out a few hundred rounds and still feel connected by this hobby and lifestyle I enjoy so much.  I produce better quality, more consistent ammunition that I can buy for less money, and while my young daughter isn't quite big enough to join us at the gun range she is PLENTY excited to spend time in the garage "helping Daddy make bullets."  Reloading isn't for everyone, but it certainly has it's appeal, and I hope you'll give it consideration and come find us at Facebook or YouTube if you have any questions at all.  - Phil Rabalais

Thursday, November 2, 2017

EDC: Every Day Carry

I break up the words Every and Day very intentionally.  Not because the abbreviation EDC makes more sense that way (vs. Everyday Carry), but because that's the entire point of EDC.  You have to carry every day, everywhere, every time, no matter what, otherwise you're fundamentally missing the point of carrying.  It isn't a trend, or a fad, or a box to be checked on your gun guy/prepper card, it is a lifestyle and a fundamental shift in your way of daily life.  The point of EDC is to make the effort to have those items on your person every day, just in case you need them.

To that end, I'm going to dedicate a single paragraph to WHAT I think you should carry, and the rest of the article to where and why.  A handgun, in those municipalities in which you can obtain a permit (or those freedom loving places you don't need one) is a given.  A knife is a good backup, or even a primary if a handgun is out of the question.  In the absence of those two, figure out WHAT your options for defense are within the laws of your state.  Nowhere in there do I mention anything other than law, because I don't frankly care if a business has an opinion on your right to defend yourself and I don't advocate you disarming yourself at their whim (look for a future article about Non Permissive Environments.)  I also recommend a good flashlight, a charged up cell phone (all sorts of utility to be found in modern smart phones), and if not on your person then close by and accessible some sort of medical gear with a focus on hemorrhage control.

As for where to carry:

Grocery store - I'm going to assume your family is somewhat similar to mine, and you make weekly if not more often trips to the grocery store (kids these days do their best to eat you out of house and home).  Regardless of the length of time you spend out, it goes without saying you're going to be there fairly often, and surrounded by a lot of people in a place where entrances and exits are consolidated to prevent theft.  These attributes make grocery stores attractive to a person looking to commit a mass shooting.

Theatres - Where legal, I will always be armed when out with my family.  The fact that a threatre shooting occurred here in Louisiana a few years ago, and have occurred in other states every so often, reenforces the idea that I should be armed.  Again, controlled access and lots of people distracted by lights and sounds makes an attractive target.

Restaurants - As before, lots of people, distraction, many people consuming alcohol.  Every state I'm aware of insists that if you are consuming alcohol, even with a concealed weapon's permit, that you disarm.  It is for this reason I carry and do not order beer or other alcohol with my dinner.  I can wait till I'm home to drink a beer rather than leave my family defenseless.

Retail stores - Lots of people, controlled access, lots of distractions.

I could go on and on for pages, but the gist is if you are not facing a FELONY charge for carrying in a place, I advise you do so.  Whether or not you consciously avoid places in which you are legally prohibited from carrying (like state/local/federal buildings, one day someone will explain to me how I can be legally required to enter a place and legally disarmed simultaneously) is a decision each person individually must make.  Personally, I avoid spending my money in places with public declarations that their patrons not carry firearms, or I just willfully and flagrantly ignore them.  If you disagree, I encourage you to hop on the Facebook page or group and tell me how you feel about it.

At the end of the day you have to ask yourself WHY you train, why you spent the money for the handgun, why you paid for the training and the class and the permit, if you didn't intend to exercise the right your purchased back from your government.  I have always said, if you only intend to carry where you "think you need to" then you're missing the entire point.  Crimes happen where we don't intend them to, and if we feel that we need a firearm to protect ourselves in a specific place we would be better served by NOT GOING THERE in the first place.  We have to shift our frame of mind away from EDC being a cute little phrase we whisper with our prepper and gun guy buddies, towards a lifestyle and an entire personality.  - Phil Rabalais

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Open Carry vs Concealed Carry

To open carry, or conceal carry?  That is a question around which a raging debate exists in the gun community.  I'm an advocate of carrying a firearm for personal and the common defense under any and all circumstances, and I've argued till blue in the face that BOTH concealed and open carry have their place and their strengths.

Concealed carry seems to be far less objectionable to the gun community at large, and yet more objectionable to those with less firearms experience and knowledge.  Oftentimes charges of public endangerment surround concealed carry, that the very inability to determine if a person is armed or not emboldens and enables criminal elements.  Those same people will insist that a firearm carried about one's person is inherently dangerous to those around the individual in question.  I dismiss both of these comments quite readily by pointing out that most LEO's in this country would readily admit that criminals have very little difficulty obtaining firearms regardless of the law, and a firearm in a holster is as safe as a parked car.  They're only dangerous when they're in motion and in the hands of an inexperienced or negligent user, or one intending malice.

Concealed carry, on the other hand, bares several advantages to open carry.  Anonymity could give a potential victim an element of surprise because their assailant may not realize they are armed at all.  I also cite a potential umbrella effect, in which the mere potential for an encounter with a concealed carrier (as you can't tell who is and isn't armed) tends to have a marked effect on violent crime within the municipality governed by those laws.  This seems to be born out in statistics, as those provinces within the US in which concealed carry permits are readily available for law abiding citizens tend to show fewer instances of violent crime, while Chicago, IL displays an epidemic of gun violence despite extremely restrictive civilian gun laws.  Mostly in my case, I appreciate being able to carry and defend my family without being hassled by busy bodies in the community that view a man carrying a firearm with distrust.

Open carry on the other hand is much less common, I tend to think because it is viewed in a poor light by both the gun community and those outside of the community alike.  Many will cite that the lack of anonymity places someone at a greater risk of being targeted, either that they would be targeted for the theft of their firearm or simply to remove the threat of an impedance to their intended criminal activity.  Others simply point out (correctly I tend to think) that open carry is a show of force that many in the community find intimidating....

to which I reply "That's the point."  Open carry is an advantage in only two aspects.  First of all, often additional speed of draw/implementing your firearm can be found with open carry.  There are no cover garments to clear, and holsters can be optimized for draw speed without consideration for concealment, not to mention the ability to carry long guns which would be near impossible to do concealed.  Also, there are instances in which a show of force is warranted if not advantageous.  Consider a WROL (without rule of law) situation like what I saw in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where law enforcement was what you could manage on your own while the police response time climbed to hours if not days.  Carrying a long gun, openly and in full view of the public, would certainly give Johnny Gangbanger an opportunity to find another place to be that doesn't involved an armed confrontation with a citizen defending his home.

More important than the debate about whether to conceal or open carry is to simply carry in the first place.  The more law abiding, armed citizens we have in the community the better able we are to defend ourselves and each other against violence.  So, while we are all entitled to our individual opinions, I ask that we all stand together and demand that ANY method of carry be respected and honored.  Too often the gun community is quick to throw out the baby with the bathwater and denigrate those among us we disagree with. - Phil Rabalais

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Bug Out: What to take.

Today in SE Louisiana, we are looking to our West with worried eyes for our neighbors, and to the East with concern about quite a nasty storm that may be heading our way. Hurricane Irma is, in scientific terms, a huge storm that I'm not willing to play with. My family would not hesitate to ride out a Category 1 or 2 hurricane at our home. We have adequate food, water, and means of self defense to make that happen with ease. What I don't want is to be stuck in the path of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane when we have the means to escape the damage path. But, what do you take?

 First and foremost is the essentials. No, I don't mean your stamp collection (unless it is particularly valuable or sentimental), I mean you take your box of paperwork and family photo albums. You take heirlooms that have been in the family for generations. You take the things you simply CAN NOT replace for any reasonable amount of money. Box it up, pack it, and keep it with you. My family keeps a box (affectionately known as the "box of crap") under our bed filled to capacity with my discharge paperwork from the military, medical records, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage license, insurance paperwork (though this is now all available online, a paper copy isn't a bad idea). In short, it is a box full of things we do not want to have to replace or do without. It stays loaded at all times, paperwork removed to make copies goes straight back in. We grab that one box, we know we have the important documents in one place.

 Firearms. Firstly, as a means of self defense, secondly to keep them from the hands of possible looters. A reasonable stock of ammo for the ones intended for self defense should be a given. I wouldn't in good conscience leave anything more capable than a BB gun home.

Food, water, toiletries. I would bring a reasonable amount of food and water with you. Even though the whole point of evacuating is to remove yourself and your family from the area where interruptions in the food and water supply are likely, you are most likely evacuating with thousands if not hundreds of thousands of other people. A sudden population influx could strain grocery stores. Best to bring some with you. Having to do without food, water, and toilet paper becomes quite uncomfortable very quickly.

Clothing, and everything else. I would suggest packing for comfort and utility, not fashion. You're an evacuee, you're not going to walk the runway at a fashion show. Keep things in perspective, and leave anything with special washing instructions at home. If room permits, I'd suggest packing a minimum of tools (working on cars, fixing things, you never know), extra fluids for the vehicle (a quart of oil and a gallon of coolant will save you from being stranded on a road side, at least get you to a gas station), things to entertain kids (and adults), and anything you could conceivably consider needing for at least one week. The idea isn't that you're never going home (I pray that doesn't become an eventuality), but that you need to be prepared to rough it for an extended period.

Most of all, keep your common sense and your wits about you. Panic kills far more than disasters, and poor planning in a situation like this can turn a bad situation to lethal very quickly. I would encourage each of you to read this and take it to heart, leave me your feedback if you feel I missed something, and start having this conversation with your families TONIGHT if you haven't already. - Phil Rabalais

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Why a weapon mounted light?

 CZ P-09; Surefire X300U;

As I mentioned in my recent YouTube review, my preference is for each home defense firearm have a weapon mounted light.  In the absence of that, I insist on a good, reliable, BRIGHT yet compact flashlight be stored with a home defense firearm.  The reasons for this are self evident, we really shouldn't be using a firearm to engage an unknown target and MOST home invasions tend to occur in evening or nighttime hours.  But, WHY should the light be mounted on the weapon, instead of being handheld?

Firstly, the reasons to employ an independent, handheld light are numerous.  You have the ability to use the light WITHOUT drawing or muzzling your target.  That adds an element of safety and utility to the light, and would be my preference for a conceal carry firearm. Many firearms were built without any provision for a rail.  It adds weight to the muzzle end of the firearm.  Yes, correct on all counts.

But, mounting a weapon light also insures that every time that gun hits  your hand you have the ability to both illuminate and disorientate your potential opponent.  I'm not sure if any reader has had the displeasure of having 600 lumens rammed into your retinas, but the above picture gives you an idea of how little you can really see when a weapon light shines into your eyeballs.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, on top of an instant reflex to squint, and a wicked pain and big white blog in the center of your vision for a couple minutes (practice room clearing and shine your light into a mirror, no it isn't pleasant.)

Also note that I have the ability to free a hand while keeping a target illuminated and held at gunpoint.  Think about drawing down on a home intruder, he surrenders, you need to call the cops.  If you have gun in one hand and light in the other, exactly which one do you WANT TO PUT DOWN to call the police?  In my case, I have a small child, and the likelihood is I will have to pick her up and forcibly move her in the middle of the night.  Having the light on my gun, at my fingertips, let's me have a free hand to get my family to the fall back room in our home.

There are perfectly justifiable and defensible reasons to eschew a weapon mounted light.  There are perfectly justifiable reasons to mount one.  Consider your options, your pros and cons, your situation, and let us know what you think?

Friday, August 25, 2017

CZ P-09; Just the Facts

CZ P-09; 9mm double stack 18+1 capacity, DA/SA hammer fired. Weight 1 pound 11 ounces unloaded, 2 pounds 6 ounces loaded. 4.5" barrel. 

The CZ P-09 has been called many things. The Glock killer, the most underrated handgun for sale, and some truly hilarious mispronunciations of Ceska Zbrojovka. What I think the P-09 is is a nearly perfect (if not outright perfect) home defense pistol. The gun is reliable, accurate, low recoiling, high capacity, and with few if any flaws. 

Let's address the capacity. CZ claims 19+1 for the 9mm. I have yet to cram 19 rounds in any of my three CZ magazines (neither the two included with the gun, nor the extra.) 18 rounds fits comfortably and locks up in the gun with the slide closed, so call this an 18+1 in my book. Still, 18 9mm defensive rounds presents a convincing argument to a home intruder in my book. 

Most full size 9mm handguns can be expected to have very little recoil. Thank a long slide, more weight, and the inherently easy going 9mm Luger round for that quality. The P-09 seems to have taken this to a different level. Rapid shooting causes the front sight to become lost and found with slide movement very quickly, muzzle flip is very limited, and the front post comes back to target almost immediately and naturally. This gun allows someone with a novice level of training to put a lot of lead on target very quickly. 

I hate to use flippant gun writer terms like "laser accurate", but it fits. If you put the front dot on target and do your part, the P-09 can be expected to rain lead in that exact spot at reasonable ranges. And reliability is everything the brand's reputation would infer. My gun was unflappable shooting factory ammo or my reloads, never daring once to malfunction. 

If I have criticisms of the gun they are few. The DA/SA trigger will take getting used to (I know, I'm still getting used to it). If it bothers you, CZ includes the parts to swap from a safety to a decocker to suit your preference, and the SA trigger pull is excellent for a factory gun. The grips are slim for a double stack, but those with small hands may still not be comfortable. The slide is, in typical CZ fashion, very short and can present some difficulty grabbing.Also troubling is how hot the slide stop becomes after multiple magazines, something that can present trouble when running classes or during extended periods of firing.

All that said, this gun is my official zombie apocalypse, go to war, protect life and liberty handgun. In spite of its flaws, I warmed up to it quickly and my confidence grows with every range trip. If anyone is wanting a full size duty gun but wants to step off the well worn path of striker fired Glocks and M&P's, find a dealer that will order you a P-09 (or its little brother, the P-07) and get to know one of the most underrated handguns in the firearm world. - Phil Rabalais

Monday, August 7, 2017

Gun Handling 101; Don't suck, and don't buy into dogma

Chapter and verse has been written about firearm rules. Much of this is oft repeated and ubiquitous, but I enjoy challenging convention and stirring the pot, so I thought I'd take my own stab at firearm rules. Note I lump training, proficiency, and safety all in together. I don't separate these aspects of gun handling, and I don't think you should either.

1. Know the condition of your firearm at all times, and insure it is appropriate for the situation - Yes, everyone has heard "treat all guns like they're loaded", but that universal advice isn't as universal as you may think. If I'm dry-fire practicing at home, I don't WANT to treat my gun as if it is loaded because I wouldn't be discharging it all willynilly in my own home. Likewise, I don't want to realize my gun is cleared in a defensive situation. Know what condition your gun is in at all times, whether loaded and hot, slide locked on an empty mag, or completely clear. And always insure it is in the condition it should be. 

2. Always be aware of where your muzzle is pointing -  Pretty self explanatory, but really important. Whether drawing, storing, handling, or shooting ALWAYS know where your muzzle is pointing. Many a man has perforated his calf or buttcheek and decimated innocent pieces of furniture not paying attention to where their muzzle was pointing. 

3. Maintenance, maintenance, more maintenance - Every time a single round goes down my barrels, they are field stripped, cleaned, and oiled. If a gun sits for sixty days unfired, it is checked for corrosion, wiped down, oiled, and put back in storage. My conceal carry gun gets weekly cleanings. More or less maintenance may be advocated by others, but the point is to keep on top of your firearms maintenance. If a firearm can not be depended upon to go bang every time firing pin hits primer it is useless as a defensive firearm. 

4. Know your firearm by touch alone - If you train enough, you should be intimately familiar with your firearm so as to operate its controls by touch alone. Extra points if you can reload without looking. Now, I recommend you glance at your firearm while reloading (a bobbled reload costs valuable time), but you shouldn't have to hunt for a safety, slide release, or bolt catch. Know your gun by touch, and to that end train with gloves if you intend to wear them (things feel a lot different, trust me.)

5. Train with ALL of your gear, No I don't care if you feel like a dork - Now, please don't be that range nerd that shows up at his local public range in a plate carrier, III%er gear, LBE/military load bearing equipment, etc. Yes, I have seen all of the above, and it is ridiculous. BUT, if you plan to wear any gear while operating your firearm you owe it to yourself (damn Private Murphy) to make sure it all fits and works together. I have an armor vest and battle belt that were built to work together (and separately) and I only know because I did some dry firing with both on to figure out if anything interfered. I also practiced with both my carbine and sidearm, seeing how everything lay when I transitioned weapons, could I access my pistol reloads with my rifle laying across my chest, could I reach all of my gear, was anything in anything elses way?  Just please don't make a spectacle of yourself in public, the home with cleared weapons is the proper place to figure all of this out. 

6. Practice the hard shit - I suck shooting with my offhand. Not like can't hit the broad side of a barn, but MUCH more awkward and larger groups, so that's what I take time to practice. With my new home defense gun, I suck shooting double action on that first shot, then transitioning to single action, so THAT is what I practice. I am a much more proficient rifleman than a handgunner, so I practice accordingly. Going to the range to only practice the things you're good at is wasted time and effort. Do the things you aren't comfortable with, then circle back to two handed/strong side shooting. Also when dry firing, spend some time with your dominant hand out of commission. Practice drawing and shooting weak hand only (yes, you'll have a time drawing cross body when your holster isn't set up for it, that's the point.) It may just be an opportunity to look foolish, or a life saving skill in a gun fight. 

I'm sure my cohost will have his own additions to this list, and many of you may as well. I hope you'll all lend me your feedback here in comments or over at Facebook. I do believe this list is an excellent starting point for novices and a reminder for the more experienced among us. Phil Rabalais

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Prepper food pantry: part 1

I have been putting off starting my non-perishable food pantry for a while now, too long honestly.  There always seamed to be some emergency that would come up at the last minute, but this weekend the day came that I carved a little money out of the budget and focused on gathering some food that required no refrigeration, and minimal prep time in most cases.  Keep in mind, I already have three days supply of Mountain House food for my family in sealed buckets, which are thirty year shelf stable.  That said, with the cost involved in them, I wondered how a walk down the grocery aisle stacked up price/calorie wise.  It is well worth pointing out most of the items on this list are NOT going to last more than a couple of years in good conditions, and will require a regular regimen of rotation to keep from spoiling.

Storage:  Others may opt for mylar bags, but I chose food grade buckets and oxygen absorber packs.

Note: The below is based on my local prices, yours may be slightly different.  Overall trends should be reasonably similar though.

1.  Rice - If I even have to point this out to you, you really need to step up your prepping game.  Rice has long been a staple food for many nations and cultures, being robust and easy to grow while packing in the calories.  It topped out our list for frugal prepper food at 2325 calories per dollar. In appropriately sealed containers, kept dry, this should have a fairly substantial shelf life.

2.  Peanut Butter - Also high up the list, surprisingly beating our number 3 item, is peanut butter.  1637 calories per dollar, able to sit on a shelf without refrigeration for at least a year (I can't say longer, as I haven't stored it much longer than a year), and packed with nutrients, this is another obvious choice.

3.  Black Beans - Black beans were cheaper than red beans when I went, so that's what I got.  Adjust your shopping to your tastes and preference.  1581 calories per dollar, a natural pairing with rice, not difficult to cook and very filling in the absence of a meat option.

4.  Peanuts - See peanut butter, 1129 calories per dollar.  Also have the benefit of being portable, easier to eat than peanut butter, and kept dry last longer.

5.  Instant Oatmeal - Being a dried grain, and something I'm likely to get my five year old to eat without bloodshed, this went in the basket as a low prep breakfast option.  At 802 calories per dollar, it's also a good option for frugality and energy.

6.  Nature's Valley Almond Bars - I wanted, and will add to this later, some sort of energy bar that was quick and easy to consume, no prep, individually packaged, no chocolate or other nonsense to make a mess when it gets hot.  591 calories per dollar wasn't too shabby either as we get into the pre-packaged stuff.

7.  Almonds - 544 calories per dollar.  Little different flavor for when the peanuts get old, not devoid of nutrition but more expensive than peanuts.

8.  Quinoa - Key No What???  My wife added this to the shopping list, some sort of grain rice substitute native to Hawaii.  Very nutritious, grains are much smaller than rice so it stores better taking up less space and weight, more expensive.  496 calories per dollar but not a bad choice.

9.  Evaporated Milk - 469 calories per dollar, I don't have a cow hitched up behind the house so this'll be what I lean on to keep the calcium flowing when refrigeration runs out.

10.  Tuna Fish - Good for nutrients that you won't find as plentiful in grains, but only 108 calories per dollar.  In a pinch, I'd get a rod and real and try my luck at catching something.

11.  Jack Links Beef Jerky - After a conversation with my wife today, we're looking into a dehydrator to start making our own beef jerky and dried fruit.  In the mean time, this will provide a good source of portable, no prep, easy to consume protein.  The calorie per dollar figure is a paltry 80, which could be partially mitigated by making it ourselves.

12.  Canned chicken breast - Bringing up the rear with 67 calories per dollar, this is another solid protein option for when tuna fish gets old, but not as efficient per dollar as grains.

Mountain House Essentials Buckets - based on the math I just did, my Mountain House brand meals come in right at 92 calories per dollar, being more costly per calorie than nearly my entire list.  Their only benefit is portability, and shelf life.  If money isn't your concern, and you want the easy option, Mountain House or a similar freeze dried survival/camping food is something I would consider.

The table I wrote up is below summarizing all the information.  Leave me your comments please, I'd love to hear what everyone out there is putting away for a rainy day.  Expect more on this in the future, as based on my calculations we spent $154 and the calories represented here should supply my family for roughly 18 days (for two adults and one child.)  I'm aiming for a three week supply of food and water once we are done. - Phil Rabalais

Matter of Facts Podcast, with video on YouTube

Matter of Facts Podcast is now being cross posted to YouTube.  Starting with Episode 27, you can subject yourself to the horror that is Andrew and I's radio faces.  The traditional RSS feed audio only podcast will continue on regardless.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stop listening to internet gun experts....

And yes, I know how funny that sounds coming from someone on the internet (I've never claimed to be an expert, more on that later.)  But seriously, please, stop listening to internet gun experts.  I have seen and heard more mythology, misinformation, and flat out nonsense spread by the various disciples of whatever shooting discipline/armed service/professional shooter is in vogue at the moment than I care to recount.  Some of it is actually based on a nugget of truth, but is horribly taken out of context, while some is absolutely factually inaccurate and irrational.  Here is a list of what annoys me. 
  • Always carry with one in the chamber - unless you have an older gun that is not drop safe.  Yes, there are a lot of them out there, still in circulation.  The more educated of us can figure out which is which, the less educated can not.  Always having one in the chamber can be a liability depending on the firearm.
    • Conversely, never carry with one in the chamber.  If your gun handling ability is so marginal that even having a round in your chamber is cause for fear, you need more practice.  If you have a specific firearm that doesn't make this a good decision, that's a specific issue but a broad sweeping statement to keep the gun clear is simply not rational.
  • Always carry ready to shoot/cocked and locked/hammer down - Every gun is different.  I have a Canik C100 double action/single action semi auto.  I refuse to carry the gun decocked, ever.  The gun came with a manual safety instead of a decocker (like my CZ P-09), and I'm not fond of thumbing the hammer down on a live round.  Do that enough times, one day complacency will set in and Murphy will bite you in the butt and punch a hole through your wall.  On the other hand, I always keep my P-09 decocked on a live chamber, as that is how that gun with the decocker installed is designed to be carried.
    • Similarly, there is no reason NOT to carry a 1911 cocked and locked.  That's how the gun was designed to be carried.
    • Similarly, if you opt to pocket carry or have a holster that does not fully conceal the hammer, don't you dare do it with the firearm hot.  You are inviting trouble.
    • Every gun/carry rig will lend itself towards certain gun handling methods.  Don't be a knucklehead and make broad sweeping statements.
  • Glocks suck - I do not care for Glocks.  They feel cheap and plasticky to me, I don't care for the ergonomics or grip angle, and I hate the fact that every tacticool range nerd on Earth has six of them in his bag.  BUT, they are reliable firearms with a robust knowledge base and endless accessories and holsters and they wouldn't be a bad choice for anyone's arsenal.
    • 1911's suck, AR's suck, AK's suck, Brown Bess's suck, Kentucky Long Rifles suck/ ETC - Listen, we can sit here all night and quote chapter and verse of why one firearm is superior to another, but the fact is if it reliably projects high velocity lead you HAVE to at least admit it's a viable self defense option. The person that can't admit that anything other than his favorite gun deserves any place in your arsenal is either selling a certain gun or has his ego so wrapped up in his firearms he's lost his objectivity.
  • Knock down power - Has been disapproved again, and again, AND AGAIN.  If a bullet fired from a handgun can knock a 150-250 pound man over, it would have sent the shooter sailing due to basic physics.  Now, there is such a thing as a round's ability to disrupt tissue, transfer energy, incapacitate an individual quickly, etc. and perhaps most people use the terms interchangeably.  But seriously, you aren't going to knock a person into the next room through a wall, so let's put this term to rest.  Please.
  • 9mm is a poodle shooter/5.56 is too small/45 or die/ETC - Same argument as a specific gun being the only viable self defense firearm.  People have died after being accidentally shot with a 22LR.  You don't need to conceal carry a 20mm to make sure you aren't under gunned.  Some (and myself) will recommend certain rounds over others, but when a polite recommendation turns into frat boy "bro talk" it's time to take a walk.
  • I'm a space shuttle door gunner/3 gun shooter/IPSC/I'm a big deal at my local range - If a person's whole argument is that their resume lends credence to whatever they are spouting, it's probably because SOMETHING has to due to their techniques/advice being anywhere from suspect to flat out ridiculous.
Mostly, I just hate people that deal in absolutes.  You can narrowly define a situation to make MOST of the above true, but if you have to narrowly define the argument then it probably doesn't work that well.  Each firearm, cartridge, situation, shooter, and environment are different and to reach the maximum effectiveness each needs to be considered individually.  Give some thought to that next time someone else (or even ourselves, I've been guilty at one time or another of some of the above) starts insisting THEY have discovered some universal truth that makes everyone else in the room wrong. - Phil Rabalais

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ruger GP100; Just the Facts

Ruger GP100, double action revolver, 357 Magnum, 4.2" barrel, 40 ounces.

I never fail to find one person in every crowd that questions the merits of 19th century technology in today's modern age of plastic frames and semi automatic handguns, but revolvers continue to soldier on and provide good service to shooters, this GP100 being no exception. 

The GP100 is more an evolution of the Security Six than a revolutionary change. Ruger' primary aims with this model were to control cost through heavy use of Cast parts, and to beef up the strength sufficiently that the GP100 could thrive on a steady supply of full power 357 magnum, something that often shortened the service life of other similarly sized 357 magnums from other manufacturers. The use of "triple locks" also guarantees firm lockup of the cylinder, and a nice thick top strap and generous cylinder dimensions promise the ability to swallow some very stout pills. 

This extra beef comes with a weight penalty. My GP100 weighs in right near 40 ounces, quite a porky gun if we're being honest, but that mass can also be a positive attribute where recoil mitigation is concerned. Experienced shooters and novices realize fairly early that heavier guns result in less perceived recoil. A 40 ounce gun filled up with stout 357 magnum beats my hands up less than my wife's lightweight 38 special. Add to that Ruger's "tang grip" which provides more rubber between the steel and your palm, and this gun will kiss your hand rather than punching it. 

All that strength and comfort I've alluded to points to the most polarizing reason to choose a revolver over a semi-automatic; the cartridge itself. 357 magnum presents a sizeable muzzle energy advantage over 9mm and most other semi automatic defensive rounds. A 125 grain bullet at 1400+ fps compares pretty favorably over a 124 grain bullet at 1000 fps. Semi automatics that can tolerate this round are larger, heavier, and often less reliable. A GP100 with a cylinder full of 357 magnum provides excellent protection against nearly any two legged or four legged predator in North America. 

So, if you're looking for a defensive gun, you've found a willing partner. If you want a range toy, a GP100 will put a smile on your face with noise and fireballs. If you want bear repellent, we've got you covered. If you want a reliable, affordable, no muss no fuss revolver that will deliver the goods without complaint, a Ruger GP100 should be in your collection. - Phil Rabalais

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Debacle (Fuckery) that is the Paris Climate Accord

Note:  Yes, this is immensely late and not Andrew's fault.  Better late than never.  Leave us a comment and let us know what you think?

It has been 134 days, 5 hours and some change at the time of me writing this that Trump has become president. To some he has done great things and to others he is the worst thing since Bush or was it Obama. I cannot keep my Hitlers straight.  The latest thing that has panties twisted is President Trump pulling the United States out of the Paris Accord.  At first glace the idea of countries coming together to fight climate change is a great idea. However, the more you dig into the deal the more things do not add up.
To start off this agreement has been signed by 194 parties.  Each pledging to reduce green house gases and provide financing starting in the year 2020. The first problem I have with the agreement is it contains unrealistic goals. These countries have promised to work on the emissions and try to lower them. However, there is nothing holding them to it. I have found nothing stating if they do not meet the demands of the agreement that they will be punished in some way.  Most of these countries I feel have signed on just to look good and have no intentions of helping out.
Obama has committed the United States to transfer $100 billion a year to developing countries to help them fight green house gases and work on green energy technology. This screams redistribution of wealth. Sadly, time has shown that this money will not make it to the people or into the economy of the nation it is suppose to go to. All this does is make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Sure, the US has pledged the money but who really gets stick with the bill? The everyday tax payer of course. I don't know about anybody else but I for one would rather keep my tax money in country and see it go towards something researching or developing green energy here.
My other problem with this agreement is the overall cost. It is estimated that this will cost $1 – $2 trillion a year.  That's at least $100 trillion by the year 2100, and the kick to the pants is according to the UN's own climate prediction model this will only reduce the temperature by maybe .3 degrees Fahrenheit. That's three tenths of a degree. I feel the reward is no where near worth the cost.
There are multiple problems the world faces with curbing green house gases.  One problem is with 3rd world countries.  Most do not have any environmental laws and that is why some companies build there.  Less environmental laws mean less hoops to jump through. Companies can dump their trash anywhere without fear.  If the world really wants to start somewhere force these companies to only work in countries with strict environmental laws.
My final problem is there have been scientists including James Hansen (NASA scientist who is considered to be the father of climate change awareness) come out against the Paris Accord. In an interview Hansen says, “[The Paris agreement] is a fraud really, a fake. It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”
My biggest argument I have with climate change is that it has been happening for over a million years.  What I do understand is that humans burning fossil fuels have accelerated green house gases in the atmosphere which has accelerated global warming of today. I agree that we need to work on green technology but I don't agree that we need to be in an agreement with the UN or other countries to do it.  Here in the United States we can and have been promoting and developing green technology.  The only thing this agreement does it cost a lot of extra money and give the UN a say on something else that we do.  I also agree that something should be done about green house gases because it is a problem. One that is not going away.

Andrew Bobo

Saturday, June 3, 2017

9mm: The wimpy caliber, or my little buddy?

I'm not going to start a caliber war, I'm not important enough and that ship set sail centuries ago I'm sure.  What I want to do is make the case for 9mm Parabellum as a defensive caliber, and point out it's virtues.  I'll leave the court of public opinion to agree or disagree, and I hope you'll look me up at my Facebook page or leave a comment so we can discuss it.

9mm Parabellum/Luger/9x19, a funny little German round with a very slightly tapered case that shoots little bitty bullets compared to it's bigger brothers.  Let's start with that lightweight (relatively) projectile.  Typical payload weight varies from 90 grains to 147 grains, with a predictable effect on velocity (lighter = faster usually.)  That payload pales in comparison to the darling of WW2 America, the 45 ACP which flings 185-230 grain bullets, and much of the criticism of the round has been in part due to the (admittedly) small bullets found in this cartridge.  However, where large and heavy won the day half a century or so ago, modern ballistics and bullet design have increased the ability of 9mm to disrupt tissue and transfer energy tremendously.  Is it enough to completely bridge the gap between 9mm and larger calibers?  I'm not a ballistician, but one would be hard pressed to argue it isn't a capable round.

Velocity often comes up in this conversation, and yes I just stated that TYPICALLY lighter bullets travel faster, so of course the 9mm would enjoy a sizeable velocity advantage over 45acp.  It does, but not nearly as much as you would expect due to limited case volume.  The narrow dimensions and short length of the 9mm don't leave much room for powder, especially with the larger and heavier bullets utilized.  40 S&W isn't much slower and delivers heavier payloads, 45acp can deliver double the payload, 357 Sig shoots dramatically faster, and don't even bring 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum into this argument.  So yes, 9mm gives up a lot to other calibers, BUT it also gives up size, and being small is a virtue here.  That small size gives my new home defense gun, a CZ P-09 19+1 capacity with the standard magazines (though I must admit, I only load to 18 due to the pressure on that last round) more than double the magazine capacity of my single stack 1911.  Small bullets are lighter, and more of them fit into confined areas, and I've never known anyone to use a firearm in anger wish for less ammo.

Lastly is the dirty little secret a lot of people, especially really enthusiastic shooters, don't want to admit; recoil sucks.  Everyone has their own personal limit for what's fun and what's comfortable, personally I will shoot my father dry on 44 magnum no matter how much he brings to the range (he has a long barrel Ruger Super Redhawk that is an absolute artillery piece) but I know others that flinch at even 38 special.  Many if not all of the calibers I have previously rattled off all generate more recoil (all things equal, firearm weight and design does affect felt recoil) than 9mm.  9mm is simply put a very lightly recoiling, easy to control, unintimidating round for both new and veteran shooters.  The low cost of ammo means more practice per dollar, something important to consider and often overlooked.  9mm, due to it's acceptance by law enforcement around the country, comes in a simply staggering range of brands, features, specs, prices, and performance.  9mm is ubiquitous, not because it is amazing at any one thing, but by being good enough across the board.

So, 9mm is my go to home defense and personal defense round.  It's plenty capable of convincing a violent criminal to reconsider his previous course of action, as easy on the hands as it is on the wallet, and just about any handgun worth buying can be had chambered in it.  It's the Goldilocks of the caliber world, not too big, not too fast, just right.  While it will never had the "second kind of cool" appeal of some other rounds, the raw weight or 45 ACP, the blistering speed and power of the larger magnum rounds, it succeeds by being just perfectly adequate at everything it is asked to do. - Phil Rabalais

Matter of Facts on YouTube hits 100 subscribers!!!

Just a quick thank you to the 100 people that thought we were worth listening to more than once. If you haven't checked out out YouTube channel please do, like a video, leave us a comment, and subscribe if you like what you're seeing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The 2nd Amendment, why is it the ultimate check on government tyranny?

I watched the above video today on my lunch break, and something kept bubbling up to the surface that neither Pier Morgan (yes, I scowl just writing his name) and Ben Shapiro didn't quite delve into.  Ben Shapiro made his point adamantly clear several times that the intent and purpose for the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution was to guard against tyranny perpetrated by one's own government.  History is (as he correctly pointed out) littered with enough examples of governments persecuting it's own citizens, and that each of these examples is preceded by gun bans or restrictions.  The question is, why?

I mean, certainly, a couple of rednecks with scary black rifles isn't going to pose much of a fight to our military.  Our military armed with fully automatic (not semi automatic) firearms, tanks, planes, and enough bombs to strip mine any US town from the air in seconds.  Certainly the lopsided firepower advantage our government enjoys would clearly indicate that civilian ownership of firearms can not logically be considered to be a deterent to government tyranny.  Why then?

First of all, as we have seen in recent years, the US public owns far more than a few firearms.  In recent times, we've seen the civilian public of this country purchase enough firearms to arm our entire Marine Corps over a single weekend.  Sure, the state has them outgunned, but the civilian population has the state woefully outnumbered.

Secondly, a quick flip through a history book will point out many instances in which assymetrical warfare was easily capable of stymieing a technologically superior force.  Vietnam's larger battles were fought between well equipped armies, but a constant effort by guerilla forces (Vietnamese rednecks with bolt action Mosins and SKS's) was certainly effective in slowing US progress throughout the country.  The Russian Army was constantly harassed by the people of Afghanistan, and a generous donation of modern firepower by foreign powers (our government among them) turned the tide of that engagement quite readily.  A simple firepower advantage does not win wars, and anyone that served in the military should be able to attest to that fact.

Lastly, after my experience in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina, I came to understand something I had not understood before.  People's behavior is controlled by a few things; morals, and consequences.  Morals would shape most people's behavior in the absence of consequences.  MOST people do not murder or rape or steal, not because these things will result in the loss of one's freedom, but because their own internal morality makes such actions unacceptable.  For everyone else not shaped by internal morality, or who's morality is more fluid than others, there are consequences.

The 2nd Amendment, ultimately, is a consequence to mold the behavior of the state.  Sure, some people would not murder or usurp the rights of their citizens due to their own moral compass, but for everyone else there is the threat of an armed rebellion.  This threat has always been present since our founding fathers inked it into our founding documents.  It was the ultimate check on power, the reset button, the citizen's nuclear option.  If your government ever turns 1930's Germany and starts lining people up outside gas chambers, you grab your rifles and you fight to the last man.  Whether or not you believe that today, THEY certainly believed it then as they had just finished fighting quite a war with a tyrannical government that did not respect the rights of its people.  And to insure it never happened again, they enshrined the ability of the people to resist with force.

And for those not swayed by such rational arguments, those that would still beat their chests and demand the scary black rifles be banned, that the gun registration place the names and addresses of all gun owners in the hands of the state, that the people be disarmed, let me point out what you are advocating.  YOU are advocating that the government, a group of men and women that are fallible as the rest of us, be given a monopoly on the use of force.  You are advocating the citizenry place their hands into chains and TRUST that our government will never abuse the incredible power it is given, nor push for more power after we have surrendered our ability to resist.  You are advocating we trust the state with absolute power, even as history has shown time and time again absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The reason this country has never taken up a unified effort to repeal the 2nd Amendment is because God willing most of this country has maintained it's sanity, it's rationality, and it's distinctly American distrust of it's own government.  Because if we remove the consequences from the state's potential actions, how long will their morality guide them? - Phil Rabalais