I tend to shoot low if I haven’t been to the range in a while, especially with my Glock. Given the price and scarcity of ammo these days, I think I’ll be doing more of these dryfiring exercises.
Especially this one, just ’cause it’s neat.
I haven’t been to a gun show in months. Not since anyone thought there was any real chance that a guy named Barack Obama, who has made very public his plans to gut the Second Amendment, would get the opportunity to do so. I’m more of a theoretical gun nut than a practicing one. Meaning, I like shooting, and I like the Bill of Rights, but my expendable income and free time are limited by family life, writing, and work.
But, with Obama and Biden in office, it felt important to get out there and exercise the rights they most directly oppose. Just as, under Bush and Cheney, it felt equally important to make a stand for the First and Fourth Amendments. (And, no, that’s not an admission that I think Obama will be any better about those either; we shall see.)
So, when I heard that a number of local Denver anarchists were heading to the Tanner Gun Show to pass out literature and try to find common ground with the wild and wooly libertarians, it seemed like a good time to revisit the scene.
The first thing to notice was how crowded it was. I got there at 8:30 with the show opening at 9:00, and there were already two lines around the building of folks waiting to get in. The last time I visited the Tanner Gun Show, I parked in the front lot and strolled right in. This time, I found my parking spot a good five-minute walk away, and it took twenty-minutes of waiting in line after the doors opened to make it inside. That actually turned out to be a blessing, in that I got to chat with a bunch of the folks in line.
You can say what you want about gun shows, but I’ve always been of the opinion that you ain’t gonna find a gang of folks anywhere else more dedicated to individual freedom and the right to self-determination, two things which are pretty much central to my way of thought. And nothing I saw when sitting with the anarchists changed that perception. The anarchists were passing out overviews of John Brown, literature on war resistors, histories of COINTELPRO and other examples of US government repression, DIY self-defense pamphlets, war resistor propaganda, a spectacular anarchist zine called The American Gun Culture Report, and more. With only three exceptions I can think of, the folks who stopped to talk were all receptive, interested, and, though not always in agreement with everything on the table, more than willing to discuss their differences politely. Moreover, enough donations were received to easily cover the cost of printing and rent for the table.
Then there was the shopping. I went looking for something to scare the hell out of Obama liberals, I’ll admit. My first thought was an AK-47 variant along the lines of an SAR-1. The last time I hit a gun show those were going for roughly $400, with a complete kit of accessories that included a bayonet, cleaning kit, sling, and two 30-round magazines.
Not even close. What was going for $400 dollars a few months ago was now priced at $700 to $1,100.
But I was also looking for a 1911. Again, my means are limited, but ideally I wanted something I could shoot the hell out of, have a great time with, and use for home defense as needed. Luckily for me, the prices on those have not gone crazy yet. I saw a number in my price point, including a couple of dozen Taurus PT1911s and one, just one, Springfield GI.45.
Now, I’ve got nothing against Taurus. The PT1911 is getting great reviews and the thing is absolutely stuffed with custom-like extras. But I’ve already got a tacticool handgun that never fails, and when I turn out to my shooting spot up Left Hand Canyon, I always find myself quitting it after about thirty minutes, and taking up my .357 wheelgun, which is a lot more fun to shoot.
So, the Springfield GI.45. The finish was almost perfect. There was one small scratch in the Parkerizing that I didn’t even notice until got home (and which I’m guessing came with a failed attempt to reinsert the slide release), but other than that it was in perfect condition. It looked like there had been about ten rounds put through it and then the previous owner gave up. There was no evidence of damage. Long story short, the price was right, and that’s what I came home with. I have an old friend who works gun shows, owns more firearms than I ever will, and swears by it.
I don’t know if I’ll modify it at all yet. I figure I’ll put about 1,000 rounds through it first, see what I like and don’t like. If hammer bite’s an issue, perhaps a beavertail grip safety and a new hammer. If the accuracy’s weaker than I am (and that’s a long shot), maybe a Wilson barrel and bushing. If I can’t pick up the low-profile, combat sights I might call up Springfield and get a set of their three-dot Mil-Spec sights. If it has trouble chambering the last round or two in the magazine, maybe a Wolff recoil spring.
I’m looking forward to being sold on the 1911 platform. If I’m not, good enough. But I can’t wait to squirrel away the money for enough ammo to give it a real test.
Update: Just noticed that The American Gun Culture Report has a website. This from their mission statement:
Do you like guns but hate “gun people”? Are you uncomfortable when political “progressives” support every amendment from the Bill of Rights but the 2nd? Do you wish you could walk into a gun store in full drag and get advice on which holster will best hide a full size 1911 automatic (and spare magazine) with your fabulous outfit?
If you answered yes to any of these questions,AGCR is just what you’ve been looking for.
Update II: trm49 leaves the following advice in the comments:
Some of my friends almost bought a gun from John Allen Muhammad at a gun show. ha. They didn’t know him personally but recognized him later when he made the news.
We were talking about where a chance encounter like this could lead. What if they had given him their card and it was found on him when he was arrested? The feds would have taken one look at their writings and music and dubbed them the DC sniper accomplices.
You also gotta watch out for some of the other vendors cause they aren’t exactly on the side of the freedom loving..in other words they’re snitches or undercover cops.
I once bought a book there, I think it was one of those Hitman books, and the vendor gave me his phone number. He said “Call me if you need any help with that.” I gave him a closer look and I could’ve swore the guy had a fake mustache.
Been noticing some folks coming at me from a couple different sites, and thought I’d return the favor. (Although probably to a far lesser degree.)
I know Dr. Benjamin from the old days at the Try-Works, and if you ain’t reading his blog, The Mahatma X Files, well, you sure as hell should be.
And here’s to Moue Magazine, which I have the feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time reading when I should be, y’know, producing.
And Contra James Woods, in a big way. I’m very, very fucking glad to see somebody keeping that little prick honest. (Or at least putting him on notice.)
I spent the day at the Tanner Gun Show shopping, and will be there again tomorrow, sitting around with some anarchists who are doing reach out work to the libertarian set. I’ll post an update soon, as there’s a lot of interesting dynamics at play.
And I got that 1911 I was looking for, by God. More on that later, but I’ll be spending this evening field stripping and lubricating.
So, as all the chatter on the gun sites has it, President Obama will be doing everything he can to repeal the Second Amendment. From his website (tellingly posted under Urban Policy and not, say, Civil Rights):
As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn’t have them. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.
So, with a big, hearty Fuck You to the Obamanation, I’m heading down to the Tanner Gun Show this weekend to pick up a little something. Perhaps a new Romanian AK-47 variant, though word has it those are getting pretty steep in price. In which case, I’ll probably snag myself a 1911. Specfically, either a Springfield GI.54 or Mil-Spec. Or, if I see one for a real nice price, I might take a chance on a Taurus PT 1911.
I suggest you do the same.
Not much of a Penn & Teller fan, but this is just fine.
Paper strip, approx. 2″ wide, several feet long (or multiple strips)
Paper strip, approx. 3-4″ wide, 2-3′ long: Alternate – wooden dowel, diameter equal to shotshell
Elastic band (rubber band or inner tube rubber)
Nail (16P is fine)
3 to 5 magazines (yes, the kind you read)
glue, tape, twine
1. Obtain a shotshell of charge and load suitable to your application. (This device will be rather less than a full length long arm, but a bit more than a pistol; 12 gauge may be more than you wish to deal with here, although I have seen it done.) Start by taking a long strip of paper, and gluing one end to the length of the shotshell. The edge of the paper should be flush with the rim at the base of the shell. Now you should roll the paper tightly around the shell. The intent is to increase the diameter of the shell case to equal the rim diameter. Whether or not the paper also extends beyond the crimp of the shell is immaterial. When you have finished rolling, glue the paper end in place so that it will not unroll.
2. For the second part of your tool-of-defense-to-be, you have some options. One is to take a 16 penny nail and wrap paper around it (as with the shell above), but leaving the nail loose within the roll so that it can freely slide through the center of the roll. The roll should equal the diameter of the rolled shell assembly, and be a quarter to a half inch shorter than your nail. Before making the final few revolutions around the nail, stretch a strong rubber band (or possibly a length of rubber from a tire inner tube) across one end of the thick-walled tube which you are forming. Glue each end in place, and continue with the last few wraps of paper.
Alternatively, instead of forming a tube of paper, you may wish to use a wooden dowel with a diameter matching the shotshell assembly. In this case, you will need to drill a hole the entire length of the dowel. The hole should be just wide enough to allow the nail to slide freely. Again, you will need to stretch an elastic band across the hole at one end.
The nail is going to be the firing pin for our improvised shotgun. While not absolutely required, it is best to file the point down until it is slightly rounded rather than sharp. Slide the nail into your tube/dowel so that the point extends beyond the end of the tube and the nail head is covered by the elastic band. This is your firing assembly.
3. Now place the firing assembly end to end with the shotshell assembly so that the nail point contacts the shotshell primer. Gently press the firing assembly flush against the shotshell base and tape the two sections together. Note that at this point you can now fire the shotshell by pulling the nail back against the tension of the elastic band and releasing it. The safety challenged among us should also note that this device has no safety; be careful.
4. Next, take the magazines and sanitize them. By this, I mean to be sure you haven’t left an address label with your name and address on them. It would be a terrible shame to go to all this trouble to construct an untraceable weapon only to leave the police your calling card.
Once that is done, roll a magazine very tightly around the shell and firing assembly. The firing assembly should be flush with the edge of the magazine, with the firing pin/nail extending beyond it. By now, this rolling process should quite familiar to you. Tape or glue the magazine in place so that it will not unroll. Repeat this process with at least two more magazines. Do not roll so many magazines that you cannot get a firm grip on your new weapon. After the final magazine, wrap the roll with tape or twine.
You have constructed a shotgun. Compared to a steel-barreled gun, this one is very short range; say, mugger-range. (And won’t that mugger be surprised when the supposedly helpless bookworm takes him out with an armful of reading material!) As stated before, it is also a single-use device; once fired, you merely dispose of the incriminating evidence by tossing it into a convenient dumpster, or even by incinerating it.
When firing, particularly with a larger gauge shell, be prepared for significant recoil. Grip the weapon firmly. Bracing it against a hip may well be advised. Point it at the offending aggressor, pull back your firing pin, and release. In addition to the recoil and muzzle blast to which you may already be accustomed, you can also expect a shower of confetti. Think of it as a celebration of the elimination of a goblin. But also remember to carefully brush any off of yourself.
Perhaps it has occurred to you to wonder if this process can be applied to other cartridges than only shotshells. It most certainly can. I believe that you might find such a gadget scaled down to .45ACP (or even .38 Special) to be quite manageable and concealable. With a little imagination, you can probably think of several occasions when a disposable zip gun which the usual metal detector will overlook could be handy in the extreme. Trips through federal buildings and airports spring to mind. Be creative.