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Dealing with Realities

Idealistic.jpg

I am an idealist by nature and I allow my mind great reign to entertain all manner of philosophical discourse and "what if" type thinking. However, I have very grounded notions regarding what is practical. As a result, I tend to expend my energies in thought to a greater extent than physical activity. At times I can do this to a fault and I need once in awhile to make a deliberate effort to pull my head out of the clouds. Lately, I have been reviewing my habits to clear out some of that mental clutter. Also, I have been somewhat preoccupied with the issue of guns and shooting the past couple months. Here I will also summarize my thoughts and activities on that matter so that I can move on to other things.

Microwave Oven.jpg

Earlier in the year I had gone through a rigorous exercise to minimize radiation exposure along with my drastic changes in diet. For a few months I obsessively did every little thing that I could think of to move toward pure clean living. It was an experiment in an "ideal" approach. At the end of that period, I let myself move back toward a more practical position. I don't cook with the microwave, but I do now use it sparingly to heat water or to warm up left-overs.

Coffee.jpg

Using a pot to boil water is not terribly inconvenient, but it is so much easier to heat the water in the microwave using the same cup that I will use to drink the coffee. This little coffee press is awesome and the coffee tastes better than using a drip machine.

Router.jpg

I stopped worrying about having my cell phone turned on. I do still think that 5G is something to keep an eye on and even my 4G phone is probably not good to have on my body for extended periods. But, the device is handy for many things and it does spend some time in my pocket when I need it handy. I have the WiFi turned off on my DSL router. I don't use it anyway and keeping it off is also a security safeguard.

White Cheese.jpg

I have been sticking to a vegetarian (not vegan) diet which allows me dairy and eggs. I haven't been eating eggs much, though I do love white cheese. I don't hardly eat anything prepackaged, but I get two or three of these white cheese pizzas every three weeks. Scrumptious!

Meditation.jpg

Another thing I had been taking a hard look at is meditation. This also led to things like the healing power of crystals and other related phenomena. Well, I have to say that it is not for me. I don't discount that others may benefit, but such efforts seem to take me nowhere.

Walking.jpg

What I have always found in my life is that walking induces the closest thing for me to a meditative state. In fact, I have a habit of "pacing" whenever I am trying to get deeper into my thoughts. Also, some of my more profound transcendental mental states have occurred on a few occasions when I had thrust myself on to very long walks (like 20 to 30 miles). I kind of relate it roughly to what the Australians call a "walkabout." Routine walks or hikes don't have quite the same effect, but do provide good exercise.

Crystals.jpg

For me, meaningful walking is not a social activity or a sight-seeing tour. It is inextricably linked to my mental processes and helps remove me from environmental "noise." My goal is to occupy my superficial mental faculties while I explore deeper thought. I have discovered a habit that helps me accomplish this. I collect white quartz from the ground as I walk along my path.

Box of Rocks.jpg

It started one day when a milky white smooth stone caught my eye. I picked it up and it just felt comfortable to have with me, so I put it in my pocket. Somehow the act of scanning the ground for stones that catch my eye while I walk does the trick. I don't have a use for the stones, but I am on my third box now. I am thinking about making an indoor waterfall feature or some such thing. It doesn't really matter that this habit is as "dumb as a box of rocks." That seems to be the point of doing it.

Scope.jpg

I finally mounted that bigger scope on my Crosman pellet rifle. It sits much higher than the tiny one I had on there before. I am going to need a cheek riser.

Cheek Riser.jpg

I researched products that would accomplish this. I am not going to buy one, I am just looking for ideas. There are a lot of offerings for covers that go over the butt of the stock, but I particularly like this approach. Maybe I could construct something similar.

Pad and Wrap.jpg

I need to figure out how much riser I need. I am going to try a cover wrap to see what will work.

Pad height.jpg

I am going to need at least this much height.

Just enough height.jpg

I could use a bit more height, but any more padding than this would be difficult to secure. This should work well enough.

Ace bandage.jpg

I had an old ace bandage and I am using it to secure the padding so that I can test it out.

Wrapped.jpg

That actually worked out pretty well and it is very secure. It does look ugly, but it is perfectly functional.

Sock.jpg

Hmm, I think we wear the same size sock...

Good fit.jpg

That actually doesn't look too bad. I am calling this "problem solved."

Eye relief.jpg

The eye relief on this cheap scope is pretty short. I can just get it into a usable range by mounting the scope as far back as possible. I can live with this setup.

Box.jpg

I had hung on to this box that my towing receiver came in. it is very heavy duty cardboard and I am going to use it to build a new target mount.

Dining out.jpg

I was out of wood glue, so I had to run over to Home Depot. I have learned to listen to my appetite to learn what nutrition my body needs. I had a major hankering for some chicken and, particularly, some Chinese food. I am breaking my vegetarian diet, but I have come to the conclusion that I need to allow for some meat intake. This is for nutritional reasons and also because I don't want to be "that guy' that can't dine with others. Moderation is they key here, I think.

Target.jpg

Laminating cardboard makes a sturdy construction.

Barricade.jpg

I had this thing sitting in the yard already and I am going to use it as a stand.

Board.jpg

This board and a little bit of hardware I had on hand will work nicely.

Target up.jpg

This will work well and gives me a good backstop.

Deer.jpg

As I was setting up my target, a deer wandered across the property right behind the wash. I tried to get a picture of it as it moved further up the hill. It is in this picture, but I can't find it. Anyway, later that afternoon I was watching a hickok45 video where deer were running through his shooting range. This is the only time I have ever seen a deer on the property.

Contrail.jpg

I know it seems crazy, but I still watch the sky for the contrails. This was on a typically fair weather winter day.

Possible table.jpg

Next, I need a table to shoot from. I grabbed a couple things I had handy. This should work, but I need to attach the table top somehow. I have also been meaning to setup some kind of table in the driveway for when I am working on the truck. This will be a good portable solution.

Cleat.jpg

I made a cleat from some scraps I had laying around.

Finished table.jpg

I attached the cleat to the table top and now I can clamp it in this cheap workbench I had salvaged from a cleanup job some time back. It is not rock solid as a shooting bench, but it is quite sturdy enough as a utility table.

Shooting bench.jpg

I put a piece of that pipe foam on this little jack stand to use as a tripod. I'll use that sand bag I made as a squeeze bag.

Ready to shoot.jpg

The jack stand is a bit tall, but the table also slopes downward on this uneven ground. Good enough, I'm ready to shoot. I have the table set at 20 yards.

Target1.jpg

Starting on the left, I dialed in the scope. I got on paper after 2 shots and it took me about 10 more to move in on the bull. It's confusing at times and a little back and forth was necessary. My last three shots clustered at 12:00 on the gray ring. I dialed in 3 clicks down and moved to the right target. My first two shots hit the bull. My next two shots were rushed (in the gray) and I settled down and drilled the bull again on the last of 5 shots. I am convinced that the scope is calibrated, it holds zero, and the gun shoots remarkably straight.

Pistol.jpg

Now, let's try the pistol.

Target2.jpg

Shooting from 10 yards, the results are not impressive (the circle is 3 ½" diameter). I don't have a ton of pistol experience, but I thought I should be doing better than this.

Target3.jpg

I worked on my sight picture and got better vertical results, but spread out horizontal. Then I worked on my stance, hold, and trigger. I got better horizontal results, but spread back out vertically. Now I need to put that all together and with a bit more practice I should be on a 3" plate at 10 yards.

Lighter.jpg

Shooting paper is great for gathering data, but is not the best for pushing performance. I decided to practice shooting at an object instead of paper.

Lighter hits.jpg

I moved in to 7 yards and after some adjustment I was hitting this little guy about half the time. Shooting at stuff increase engagement, especially when you are scoring "hits."

Gallery parts.jpg

I decided I need a shooting gallery so I gathered some materials.

Flatware.jpg

I started by flattening this cheap flatware that I don't use.

Spoon size.jpg

I ground them into round targets. The larger ones are about 1 - ½" in diameter. Now, I need to figure out a way to mount them on a stand.

U-turn.jpg

That's the first time I've seen a commercial jet make a U-turn. I wonder what they forgot?

Rough Rider.jpg

Some months back, I had thought a lot about getting a real firearm. I'm thinking 22lr and I want to start developing my pistol skills. This Heritage Rough Rider in single action seemed like a fun gun to have. I could get a western style OWB holster for it and still bring it all home for $200. This would be a good way to develop safe habits and become accustomed to wearing and firing a pistol while just shooting for fun. And, 22lr ammo is really cheap.

RPR.jpg

Next, I thought I might really enjoy a long range rifle in 22lr. This Ruger Precision Rimfire looks awesome!

Scope and Bipod.jpg

With a decent FFP scope and a nice bipod, I could bring that all home for about $850. With this setup I could reach out to as much as 500 yards even with common 22lr loads (like CCI Standard Velocity). Seems like a lot of fun.

Savage.jpg

I could outfit this Savage B22 FVSR similarly. It would perform nearly as well and also serve more conventional rifle shooting duties a bit better (and it does not look like like an assault weapon). I could have that in my hands for $120 cheaper, too.

Pocket Carry.jpg

A lot of my thinking here is to move toward defensive carry and to be more active in practicing second amendment rights. My ideas started small and I considered that the worst defense would be a weapon that I leave at home. So, pocket carry was my first inclination. This LCP II in .380 seemed like just the thing. After more research, I realized that a pocket holster would be necessary.

Pants.jpg

Upon further consideration, I don't think pocket carry (or deep carry) is going to work for me. My standard dress is slim fitting pants or shorts with minimal pockets. In fact, I hate to put stuff in my pockets. My cell phone slides in nicely, but pretty much anything else is uncomfortable to me in the pocket. I even clip my keys to a belt loop instead of putting them in my pocket.

Carry Bags.jpg

I don't mind belts or wearing stuff on my hips or shoulders at all.

Holster and Belt.jpg

IWB is going to work best. This one will allow me to try both appendix carry or what I think I will prefer, about a 4 o'clock carry.

P365.jpg

This leads me to consider a wider range of options. I still think that smaller is better if I want it to melt into my every day dress. But, I think 9x19 would be a better defensive caliber and there are a ton of options out there. The one that catches my eye right off the bat is this new darling of CCW, the Sig P365. However, this lead me to a full survey over a few months time.

Choices 380.jpg

I'm not ruling out anything yet, so here are my .380 candidates. They are pocket pistols, but would fit so easily in an IWB configuration. They are going to be two finger grips, but not horribly bad to shoot in .380. Both are good choices, but I tend to like the Kahr a little better. Note that the prices I am showing are out the door prices from Gallery of Guns (for comparison's sake).

Choices single stack.jpg

Switching to 9x19, here are my candidates in 3.0 - 3.1 inch barrels. The Kahr is amazingly small and definitely a two finger grip. I think it is too small to shoot comfortably. The Shield looks better, but still a 2 or 2 ½ finger grip. It also has a broader grip which some like, but for my small hands is not an advantage. For the price and with the pinky extension I like the Ruger best. I would like it better as an LC9s Pro if I could find it, though.

Choices one and a half stack.jpg

Still in 3.0 - 3.1 inch barrels, we have to look at these new "one and a half stack" offerings. The Sig owns this space and it is a beautiful gun with good dimensions, shooting characteristics and mag capacity. I'm trying not to fall in love with this gun and I have to remind myself that a single stack will still be easier to conceal carry (only by a little bit, though). So far, this is my top choice.

Choices longer barrel.jpg

Considering that I will make this my primary handgun, I have to give some consideration to barrel length. A longer barrel will give me more range and overall functionality. But, it still has to be a good CCW choice. Not surprisingly, the XDS and G43 take me to a bigger clunkier gun. However, the Kahr CW9 breaks that mold with a whopping 3.6" barrel in a gun the same size as the LC9s/EC9s. Also, it's offset ramp pushes the barrel axis down closer to the trigger and gives a full three finger grip with only a very slight pinky extension. This may be just the ticket.

Summary.jpg

In summary, I like the 22lr guns I had been originally looking at and someday might own them. But, for now, I really want to focus my firearm training on a more practical choice of a defensive weapon. I will keep plinking with my pellet guns (which I can do right here at the house). I plan to focus my range time on a single weapon and to become completely proficient in firing, carrying and safeguarding that weapon. If or when I ever have cause to exercise its practical purposes, I will be able to do so instinctively and safely.

Santa.jpg

So, I'll put my research aside for now and dwell on choices a bit more from time to time while I wait for the right moment to make the final purchasing decision. As it stands, the P365 and CW9 will get most of my further deliberations. Based on my track record there is a very good chance that this will be a holiday retail season event for me. And, of course, a little help from Santa always helps. ;)

Vitamin D.jpg

Getting back to more mundane affairs, I had my annual checkup with the doctor last week. All my stats are normal except a couple minor issues. I came up a bit short on vitamin D again. The doc is sending me some D supplement, but I would rather solve this through diet. Egg yolks from grain fed chickens raised outdoors are a wonderful source of vitamin D. Tuna and salmon as well. I'll make some dietary adjustments (leaning more toward the eggs).

LDLs.jpg

The only other discrepancy is that my LDLs are showing a little high.

Flax.jpg

I have been using a fair amount of canola oil in my cooking lately, mainly for flavor. It's a decent cooking oil, but I really need to lean more on the flaxseed to increase flavor and add healthy fat intake.

Rice and Veggies.jpg

I made this adjustment in one of my staple dishes, rice and veggies. I noticed the difference, but I'll get used to it. This is one of my favorite meals. I spice it up red pepper and soy for an oriental flavor.

Niacin.jpg

What's funny about the whole cholesterol thing is that I have for my whole life always been told that my cholesterol levels were way too high. I never bothered to do anything about it as the science seems questionable. However, when I discovered high doses of niacin for other benefits, my cholesterol levels came right back into normal levels. Lately, I have been in an off period from the niacin. In any case, I am not going to use it just to improve some numbers on a blood test, though I have no doubt that it would work.

Spoon attachment.jpg

Okay, back to my shooting gallery construction. I've seen where most people just bend the spoon at the top and let it dangle from a rod. I want spinners. Also, these spoons are really cheap metal and I broke one trying to make a significant bend. This arrangement will spin the spoon, but I am not sure how durable it will be.

Spinners.jpg

Well, it is a simple enough construction so I'll try it out. In any event, I'll need a stand to mount them on.

Spinner mount.jpg

I gathered some scraps from my woodpile and a few more pieces of hardware that I had on hand.

Shooting Gallery.jpg

This should work nicely.

Shooting Gallery Ready.jpg

I did some shooting with the pistol and did not do very well. I need to work on my handgun skills a lot more and I also need some bigger targets for working with the pistol. These smaller ones are more appropriate for the rifle.

White Dot.jpg

The sights on the pistol are blacked out, so I got some nail polish and put a white dot on the front. This should help some.

380 vs 9mm.jpg

As I have been doing further research, I have been giving more thought to the question of 380 ACP vs. 9mm Luger. Many question the viability of .380 as a defensive caliber and many resort to .380 for pocket carry nonetheless. One thing I had not previously considered was the potential of an IWB carry .380 in a full three finger grip with a longer barrel.

380 longer barrel.jpg

The only viable choices I see are these two. Both actually look like good choices. The Glock is king in this space and is more expensive (add 15 bucks for a couple pinky extension plates). And, not surprisingly, Kahr is right in there filling the niche nicely with a slimmer, more concealable design. I'm leaning toward the Kahr and also giving serious consideration to the potential of .380 as perhaps the best all around carry option. They say the best defensive caliber is the one in your hand when you need it.

Final Choices.jpg

So, the current candidates list looks like this. They are all pretty close in general dimensions and they are all very good choices for a carry weapon in my view. Choices, choices...

Weeds.jpg

Should I run the weed eater in January to get ahead of this year's weed crop? Life is too complicated. ;)

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