Pumpkin Headshot (Art Piece)

Pretty cool first picture.  Also, I think #17 is a portrait of a friend of mine…

FAIL: Single Point Sling Ad

Nine times out of ten if I order something shooting related it’s from Brownells or Midway USA.  There is another bargain outdoor gear mail order company that I once ordered something from and now I get a new catalog from them every two weeks (it seems).

In their latest, they offer a discounted price on single point slings.  Available in three colors and backed up by glowing online customer reviews, this sling can be yours for less than $20.  Beyond the incredible price, I was struck by the accompanying photo in the ad.

What's wrong with this picture?

Let’s get a closer look

You're doing it wrong

And then there’s this too

Seriously?

Maybe I’m being to judgemental.  Perhaps the sling is set up for someone 15 feet tall and the scope is simply mounted for shooting long range.   Like 2000 yards or something.  Either way I don’t know that I’d have supreme confidence if I had to call their helpdesk.

50’s Flashback: Responsibilities of American Citizenship (video)

“The world is caught in an era of socialist expansion.  Most of the nations are affected.  And America is a target; in fact, the number one target of both the socialists and the communists.”

Hmmm.  Everything old is new again.

Tom Gresham’s Operation Mag Drop

A few years ago on Gun Talk, Tom Gresham announced the Operation Mag Drop campaign.  Essentially, whenever you go to a place that has a ‘reception area’ where people wait (doctors’ offices, airport lobby, hospital, etc.) you bring along a few gun magazines to leave behind.  The idea being that by appealing to people’s curiosity and offering an alternative to the usual reading fare we re-normalize gun culture and might even be able to counter anti-gun rhetoric found in other media.  In doing so, we hopefully reach people that otherwise wouldn’t hear our side of the story.

Granted, the likelihood of a magazine causing an instant pro-gun epiphany in a dentist’s waiting room is slim but if it at least causes someone to question the credibility of something like the “90% Lie” next time they hear it (plenty of folks still have no idea about Project Gunwalker), the purpose has been served.  Plus the overall positive portrayal of firearms helps in itself and you can say you’re saving the planet by keeping all that paper out of a landfill.

The reason I bring it up is because of the jury duty I served earlier this week.  I spent pretty much all of Monday in a jury assembly room.  Six and a half hours to be exact; simply waiting to be called.  We were greeted, thanked for our service, watched a 10 minute orientation film and then sat in silence.  There were several magazine racks already there with reading material, mostly fashion and Hollywood reporting magazines.  I felt prepared with a netbook, magazines and my smartphone but most people didn’t bring anything with them to occupy the time.  The courthouse did have open WiFi but only a couple out of the group had computers and many (Android) smartphones have short battery life when used frequently.  Even then the WiFi signal quit sometime after lunch.  It was a perfect setting for Operation Mag Drop.  During breaks, I seeded the magazine racks with some recent issues of Guns, American Rifleman and America’s First Freedom.  [I do trim off the address labels].  I would also recommend American Handgunner and other such broad spectrum gun magazines that show sporting use* of firearms.  I’ll leave it up to you as to whether to leave behind a Guns and Weapons for Law Enforcement, S.W.A.T. or Soldier of Fortune magazine.  Those may not be the best for winning hearts and minds but I’ll still be thankful for them if I wind up in a waiting room where the only other choices are Redbook, Newsweek or Highlights.

[*Yes; not about duck hunting. Got it.]

Jury Duty Monday

This should be fun…

Zebra F-701 Tactical Pen? Still mostly plastic.

After reading about the “$10 Tactical Pen” (here, here and here) I decided to build one yesterday.  Since I already carry a Fisher Bullet Pen [UNPAID testimonial: Purchased in the early ’90’s, I lost it for about fifteen years, when I found it again it still wrote, having survived all that time of temperature extremes in the attic] and already had a Zebra F-402 in my desk I had most of the parts to assemble the ‘poor man’s tactical space pen’.  On the way home I stopped at Office Max and purchased a Zebra F-701 for a tad over $7 after tax.

Steve’s photo might unintentionally lead one to think that the barrel wall thickness of the pen is about 1/16 ” thick.  It isn’t.  While completing the project, I noticed that at both ends of the barrel the threads where the tip and the button attach were plastic.  With further inspection and a little more effort I was able to separate the stainless outer tube from the plastic ‘core’ of the pen [I was able to do the same with the F-402 and the ‘cores’ are the same].  The thickness illusion is due to a right angle flange at the end where the writing tip attaches.  The actual wall thickness is closer to that of a .45 Colt case mouth; I might get my calipers and get a true measurement later.  The tube is still stainless though and sturdy enough that when I tried to crush the end of the tube between my thumb and forefinger I couldn’t.

From L to R: Zebra F-701 shell, Common plastic core, F-402 shell

So now you may be thinking, “So what? It’s a composite construction, the stainless body reinforces the plastic and besides what do you want for $7-10 bucks?”  Good point, I agree; except that before I end this I would like to point out something else.  Looking down the stainless sleeve I also noticed a seam at the junction between the knurling and the smooth portion of the barrel. With a little flexing the two pieces popped apart.  The knurling is a separate piece that is press fit into the main tube.

Zebra F-701 with 2 part outer sleeve removed

“OK, so the body isn’t a single piece of stainless, it’s still more rugged than a typical pen, has cool knurling on it and besides what do you want for $7-10?”  Nothing, except it’s not $7-10.  I was able to finish this project cheaply because I already had most of the parts.  [I will still have to buy a replacement Fisher cartridge for my Bullet Pen if I decided to keep it in the 701].  If you were to start this endeavor from scratch you’d spend about $20.  [(1) 2pack of Zebra  F-402 @ $6, (1) Zebra F-701 @ $7, (1) Fisher Space Pen Cartridge @$5, plus tax and/or shipping depending on where you purchase.]  Of course, you would also have 3 whole pens, one of them being a “DIY tactical”.  For my money I’d just as soon order a $18.49 S&W Tactical Pen, add on something else (spare refill?) to bring the order to $25 and get it shipped for free.

DIY Tactical Space Pen with SS Maratac AAA Light

So, now what?  Well, I have a neat looking, more rugged-than-most corrosion resistant stainless office pen with a good heft that writes well and has no external markings (nice feature) with knurling similar to my EDC flashlight.  Should it be the only last ditch item I can grab to save my life (due to very poor planning on my part should this occur) I will use it to strike down upon my assailant with great vengeance and furious anger, hoping it won’t break as I do so.  Mostly though, I’ll write with it.

Browncoat Mixtape: Rap Tribute to Firefly

Normally rap isn’t my choice for listening pleasure, but after Nathan Fillion tweeted this link and commented that it was actually good I had to check out the rap tribute to Firefly.

Here the first single from the album:

Instant nerdcore gold!  If you like it and want the rest, you can download the whole album for free here.

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