shoot like a girl

If you can:

Katelyn Francis is all of 13 years old, and I have absolutely no hesitation whatsoever in admitting that she shot that stage far better than I could ever hope to at the moment.

Of course, that short video also neatly undermines a massive number of arguments put forward by your average anti-rights cultist – "assault weapons have no sporting purpose", "assault rifles have no sporting purpose", "children cannot be trusted with firearms", "high-capacity magazines have no sporting purpose", "no one needs an assault weapon unless they are going to kill people", "no one needs high-capacity magazines unless they are going to kill people", "all gun owners/shooters are old, white males", and so on, so forth. Unfortunately, as I say that, I assume we are dealing with rational people who can comprehend a reasonable counterpoint to their unreasonable claims and thus admit defeat; all evidence shows no aspect of that assumption to be true.

On a somewhat related note, this is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the artificially inflated ammunition market, at least for me: I kept meaning to get into shooting sports like the 3-Gun competition Katelyn was participating in, and now there is absolutely no way I can rationalize throwing that much money downrange. Hell, I have not even been to the range since Christmas vacation, and I do not anticipate going back any time soon… When sending 100 rounds of remanufactured practice ammunition – just enough to get the shooter and barrel warmed up, in my opinion – downrange costs almost $30, how can you realistically spend half a day at the range with anything more than a .22?

This is why I am wholly behind the NRA’s notion to start .22 and airsoft variants of 3-Gun; any kind of trigger time, even if it is simulated trigger time, is better than nothing at all, and maybe it will help transition folks from one community, or no community, into the competitive shooting world.

Once ammo prices come down, that is.

(Found by way of Mike W.)

assault weapons are not assault rifles

This is an assault rifle: 

assaultrifle

This is an “assault weapon”: 

assaultweapon

Can you spot what makes one an “assault rifle” and one an “assault weapon”?  I will give you a few hints: it is not the stock, the pistol grip, the sights, the barrel length, or the fact that the top one has a flat-top upper receiver. 

Nope, the answer is quite simple: assault rifles are capable of fully-automatic fire, while the bottom rifle is not. 

What does “fully-automatic fire” mean?  In short, if you were to pull and hold the trigger on the top rifle with its safety selector switch set to “auto” (as it is now), more than one bullet would come out.  It could should three bullets, it could shoot five bullets, and it could empty the magazine (the setting depends on the gun, the application, and the end user’s desires), but the point is more than one round would be discharged. 

The bottom rifle has no such capacity.  You can pull and hold that trigger until Ragnarok, and only a single bullet will ever come out of its barrel. 

As such, “assault weapons”, like that AR-15 (the rifle on the bottom) cannot be “assault rifles” (the M4 on top), because every single “assault weapon” ban I am familiar with defines the rifle variation of “assault weapons” as “a semi-automatic rifle that has…”.  Semi-automatic rifles cannot be fully-automatic, though fully-automatic rifles can be semi-automatic. 

In the end, “assault weapons” are made-up boogey-men, fabricated by anti-rights cultists and politicians (but I largely repeat myself) in order to demonize the second firearm by saying it looks like the first.  This is true, but regulating firearms based on aesthetic features is simply idiotic, does not keep people from getting “military-style” hardware, and does not stop people from buying even more powerful and capable rifles

In the end, if you cannot accurately articulate the difference between assault rifles and “assault weapons”, you have no business calling for a new “assault weapon” ban, or any form of “gun control”, for that matter.  Ignorance is not the superior arguing position, nor should new legislation be based out of it. 

this is what a gun fetishist looks like

"Gun control" extremists get terribly upset when I accurately refer to them as anti-rights cultists, but I have made my case for that phrase, and, impressively, no one has found fault with my logic, not even the cultists themselves.

However, those poor, misunderstood, persecuted, downtrodden, and otherwise marginalized cultists get even more terribly upset when I accurately refer to them as "fetishists"; unfortunately for them, that shoe not only fits, it appears it was custom-made for them, and I have found an example so perfect it might as well have been delivered on the wings of angels.

First, however, what does "fetishist" mean? The root word, "fetish", has been somewhat muddled over the years by folks who really mean "sexual fetish", but drop the modifier out of laziness; the original term meant, "something, especially an inanimate object, that is revered or worshiped because it is believed to have magical powers or be animated by a spirit" or "An inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit"* or "an object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular, a man-made object that has power over others". Thus, fetishists are those who believe certain inanimate objects are worthy of worship – or even fear – because they possess certain magical or supernatural powers, or, as the last link says, "fetishism is the emic attribution of inherent value or powers to an object".

Stupidly Expensive Ring from Fonderie 47With those definitions expressed and fresh in your mind, I give you Fonderie 47, fabricators of obscenely expensive jewelry like the ring to the left, which "starts" at $16,000. I do not think any of my readers, or I, will be buying from them any time soon.

So how did this company catch my eye? Their name might clue you in – supposedly every product in their collections is fabricated using repurposed materials from demilled AK-47s. Obviously this does not include the diamonds, gold, platinum, and other pretty-fying materials, but that is the claim. Better (if that is the right word) yet, funds from each sale are diverted to destroy assault rifles in Africa.

And right about then, this otherwise ugly art factory fell off the rails straight into Crazy Town. What follows is a fisking of their Vision and Transformation statements, and I swear I am making none of this up; you know me, and you know I probably could not emulate this level of derangement even if I wanted to.

We envision an Africa free from the fear of assault rifles. Today some twenty million assault rifles plague Africa – remnants of various conquests, conflicts, and failed strategies. They are responsible for countless deaths every year, enable and exacerbate violence against women and children, cause misallocation of resources and prevent economic growth.

The dearth of global and local leadership to address the presence and use of assault rifles must be remedied.

Oh, where to begin? I suppose we can start with the phrase "assault rifle" – in this particular case, that may a strictly accurate use of the phrase, in that some/most of the AK47s recovered in Africa are unquestionably the "fully-automatic" varieties. That may be the only aspect of this entire sad charade that may be to the credit of the folks at Fonderie 47, but we might as well mention it.

Now, it is good to have goals in life, but it is generally better to have realistic ones. Given the size of Africa, given the scope of its "borders", both as a continent and as the individual nations inside of it, and given the sheer number of firearms contained not only within that continent, but also the entire world, even remotely believing that it is possible to remove all assault rifles from the continent is… well, absurd. Furthermore, a lack of fear about an inanimate object is all well and good… but what about the fear of the people who use that object? Assault rifles do not get up on their own and start mowing down innocents; someone has to use them. Removing assault rifles, even if it were possible, does absolutely nothing about those murderous thugs.

How does an inanimate object "plague" anything? Plagues are, by their very nature, something that does something – one can be plagued by endless questions, or by an actual, honest-to-God plague. Firearms just kind of… lay there.

"They are responsible for…" Oh for the love of… How on God’s Green And Fluffy Earth can a firearm – an inanimate hunk of metal – be "responsible" for a damned thing? You might as well say rocks are "responsible" for Abel’s death. Oh, what is that? The rock was wielded by Cain? Well no gos-se, Sherlock, and firearms are wielded by a living, breathing human being as well, and it is that person who is responsible for the deaths they cause, not the tool they just happened to be using.

Oh, and let us talk about deaths for a moment… People my age and older will probably remember the Rwandan Genocide that took place over the course of around three months back in 1994, with a total death count of between 500,000 and 1,000,000 souls. Do you know what tool the Hutus favored the most when slaughtering the Tutsis? A machete. They were cheaper than firearms, did not require ammunition, and did not even need to be kept up in any significant way. A significant number were imported, but even I could manage to mass produce something approximating a "machete" out of sheet metal and a basic set of tools.

And yet you will see no mention of the folks at Fonderie 47 doing a damned thing about machetes, because those are not the flashy, big-ticket items like "assault rifles" are…

I will give them "enable" – all tools enable something to be done, that is kind of their point – but how can a firearm "cause" anything? Again, these self-righteous artistes completely and intentionally fail at root-cause analyses, instead taking the easy way out by blaming the tool violent predators choose to use rather than the predators themselves. On the one hand, you can hardly blame them – it is hard to do anything about violent predators without actually confronting those thugs, and who would want to do that? On the other hand, claiming to have accomplished anything while having done nothing about those self-same thugs is a self-deluding lie if there ever were one.

I just love the whole "misallocation of resources"… why, that makes it almost sound like someone lost a sheep or two, rather than roving, armed bands of violent, human-shaped predators murdered whomever they needed to in order to steal whatever they wanted. One has to marvel at how… sanitary this whole site is; we would not want to offend our rich customers with the cold hard truths of reality, would we?

As for the last sentence, I am just sure those roving bands of murderers will be eager to respond to "leadership"… Absolutely sure.

Our resolve began when we learned firsthand about the devastating effects of assault rifles in Africa. Cheap, abundant AK47s threaten not only lives, but undermine potential in all facets of development.

We decided to create something compelling and substantial in response – to change what people believed to be possible. Our belief has become Fonderie 47, a company dedicated to providing powerful means toward a stable and prosperous Africa free from the fear of assault rifles.

PETER THUM and JOHN ZAPOLSKI

Starting to notice a trend? The guns are "responsible", the guns are causing "devastating effects", the guns "threaten… lives", the guns, the guns, the guns… Never a single, solitary, remote whisper of a nod towards the people who are behind those firearms, pulling their triggers, murdering innocents.

Nope, all of these assault rifles are obviously operating on their own recognizance, under their own power… Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the fetishism iceberg.

We seek to inspire a new vision of what beauty and legacy can be and thereby to generate global interest and action in assault weapon removal and destruction in conflict and post conflict zones.

So, wait a second… you want to remove one of the most-effective means of self-defense from a "conflict zone"? You want to intentionally leave potential and future victims defenseless in the face of predatory monsters who will still exist, and still be quite keen on murdering, whether or not there are assault rifles handy or not? Oh, and I am sure those bloody-handed bastards will be willing to hand over their assault rifles for "removal and destruction".

Good Lord.

We fund the removal and destruction of AK47s and other assault rifles from conflict zones, as well as programs to support young people to build prosperity in conflict zones – from child soldiers to exceptional youth leaders in business, civic and academic pursuits.

To date, we have funded the destruction of more than 20,000 assault rifles in Africa.

Great. How many of the mass-murderers wielding them have you put in prison?

Oh, what is that? You are only concerned about the tools, and not the people holding them? Again with that bright, vibrant undercurrent of fetishism… As if the removal of a tool can change the hearts of murderous men.

We aim to empower a generation of young African leaders – people for whom this mission is a common sense imperative – to help themselves, and others, to build prosperity.

So you seek to "empower" people… by stripping them of the power of defending themselves, their families, their friends, and their villages? I cannot say as though I will ever comprehend that short-sighted idiocy.

The Origin – The AK47 (Avtomat Kaliashnikova) type assault rifle serves as the origin for all Fonderie 47 pieces.

Well, at least they can get that much right – the guns they are slicing and dicing probably are not original AK47s, but they are of the same family. It is peculiar that we stumble across such a fairly well-educated-about-the-facts "gun control" extremist, but I guess that is what makes their rank fetishism all the worse.

Shockingly, the image they chose to pair with this particular text actually shows someone properly indexing their finger along the frame of the AK in question; I can only assume it was an unintentional coincidence.

A Journey Beings – The universal symbol of conflict embarks on its transformation; enveloped in fire.

Hookay then. I guess "art" requires touchy-feely gos-se like that, but then the wheels finally come off the train…

Forging a New Material – As the fire cleanses the metal of its past, our essential element emerges.

Do what? The metal has a "past" of being part of a firearm – that is not going to change simply because you melt it down and reform it into something else. Hell, part of your business model relies on that metal having come from the firearms in question; if you "cleanse the metal of its past", that kind of destroys the whole "hey, look this metal came from an AK47" notion, does it not?

However we are looking at this rationally; as soon as you remove that limitation and consider this statement from the perspective of a religion, it all suddenly makes sense. Why? Consider Christianity, for a moment – when it comes to disposing worn out Bibles, relics, and even the leftover wafers of Communion (if you are not holding them until next week), the tradition is "burn then bury". Again, why? The belief, and I do want to stress that word, is that the fire destroys any blessing or holiness the item might otherwise carry, so it is no longer profane to dispose of it, and if someone were to come across it and do something… untoward… with it, it would not be as bad. Likewise, if you go back to older religions (and, for that matter, Christianity during the darker stretches of its history), the notion of a "cleansing fire" to remove the evil from an are or object is about as prevalent as water.

But these are all religious beliefs, and all center around the notion that the object in question has "supposed magical powers" or "has power over others".

Oh.

Wait.

Where have I read those words before?

In short, the fetishists at Fonderie 47 are treating the AK47 family of rifles as religious totems, and they admit as much on their very webpage.

Sure, this is just a question of what Peter Thum and John Zapolski themselves believe, right? Well, consider what else they have said before this; consider how they incessantly blame the firearm for all the ills committed with the assistance of those tools, rather than the people who are wielding them; consider how they seem to believe that firearms have power imbued in them, rather than providing utility to their users; consider how they believe the destruction of a tool will change the evil that unquestionably lurks in all men but is expressed by a few.

Now, tell me those beliefs of Peter and John differ from the beliefs of your average anti-rights cultist. I dare you. Tell me that treating firearms like deodands by destroying "crime guns" is not just another form of fetishism, and a conveniently authoritarian one at that. Tell me that you have never had an anti-rights cultist take the position that if all firearms were to magically be teleported off the planet, the world would be returned to peace and happiness and no one would ever be killed.

In the end, "gun control" is nothing more than a fetishistic cult, and the good folks at Fonderie 47 provide a perfect example as to why.

Emergent Potential – Imbued with energy, our metal holds new promise.

Imbued? Seriously? We just keep treating firearms – and now metal in general, for that matter – as magical items capable of somehow carrying memories, energy, and Lord knows what else between their molecules. Romantic, perhaps, but definitely creepy.

Restored Power – Heat solidifies this potential and seals its renewal.

This is me, too damned flabbergasted at the continued deification of raw materials and inanimate objects to continue making fun of this idiocy; how do you further ridicule something this ridiculous?

A Symbol of Prosperity – Our material serves as a symbol of new prosperity, ready to become an inspiration in the hands of leading artisans.

I do not know… I would say that being able to legally own a legitimate, fully-automatic AK47, much less feed the bloody thing, is a surefire "symbol of prosperity", new or otherwise.

Casting a New Future Through Art – Expert craftsmen possessed of the highest caliber of mastery recast the future.

I guess closing out on a pretentious, presumptuous note like that is required when you are selling little lumps of metal that have price tags in excess of a significant number of automobiles.

Let us be honest here a moment – I am all for any program that will legitimately bring peace and prosperity to Africa, much less any other nation or area on the globe. However, cutting up AK47s and turning them into overpriced paperweights is not going to do either. The violent people who wielded those AKs and killed those innocents are still there, they are still violent, and they will still kill people; the only thing Fonderie 47 and their customers are changing is how those innocents are going to die.

The fact that Fonderie feels smug about this really tells you everything you need to know about them.

(* – Amusing side note: "fetish" can also mean "A course of action to which one has an excessive and irrational commitment". Perhaps instead of "gun control" extremists, I should be referring to them as "gun control" fetishists? *giggle*)

(Ring picture borrowed from Fonderie 47.)

(Found by way of Gizmodo.)

better half has another reason to dislike obama

… Because now I am seriously considering acquiring a “real” AK-pattern firearm just because I can (and, no, Vera does not count; she may look the same, but damn).

So what brought about this sudden interest? Only Our Glorious President mouthing off and proving himself to be the petty “gun control” authoritarian we always knew him to be:

“I – like most Americans – believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual the right to bear arms,” Obama said.

That is nice, but completely immaterial. It does not matter how many people believe something is, or is not, a right; if every American but one believed that slavery was acceptable and would not abridge or infringe upon anyone else’s rights, they would still be wrong. Hell, it was not that long ago that “most Americans” believed people of your skin tone, Barack, were subhumans not suitable for anything more than manual labor… do you really want to go down the “appeal to popularity” road?

I will say this much though – at least he said that the Second Amendment “guarantees” that right, rather than “provides” or “grants” that right; the former is correct, the latter is completely wrong. Likewise, I am very intrigued that he said “bear arms”, given that phrase strictly means “carry them on your person”… the interpretations of that you could make would probably upset him greatly.

“I think we recognize the traditions of gun ownership passed on from generation to generation, that hunting and shooting are part of a cherished national heritage.”

Again, immaterial. It would not matter if we did not have a tradition of firearm use or a national heritage that included it; the Second Amendment protects a pre-existing right to own and carry firearms, and so far as you – a duly-elected representative of the people who is lawfully bound and constrained by the Constitution and its Amendments – are concerned, that is all that matters.

Of course, it rather goes without saying (though I will, of course, say it) that the Second Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with “hunting”. Oh, sure, employing the arms protected by that Amendment in hunts is a wonderfully coincidental benefit of having it around, but the intent of the original sentence was not whacking Bambi.

And now we get to the good part:

“But I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers and not in the hands of crooks. They belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities,” he added.

…*headdesk* Where to begin?

If you believed that a lot of Americans would agree that the Irish should have to work without receiving pay, would it matter? Would your belief matter? Would the supposed public opinion matter?

Are you aware that AK-47s are exclusively firearms that are capable of “select-fire” – i.e. they can shoot one, a few, or many bullets per trigger-pull (in other words, they are “fully-automatic”-capable)?

Did you know that such select-fire weapons are strictly regulated by the National Firearms Act and new ones are impossible for civilians to procure by way of the Hughes Amendment to the so-called Firearm Owners Protection Act?

Did no one ever tell you that functionally no American unit uses AK-47s in the line of duty? (There may be SPECWAR exceptions, but they are rare.)

As such, are you aware that the only time our troops would ever actually encounter an AK-47 on the battlefield would be if it was pointed at them, or on the body of a dead enemy combatant?

So why, exactly, do you want guns on a battlefield where our troops will have to face them?

Are you aware that the Second Amendment specifically and intentionally protects firearms “in common use for lawful purposes”, which unquestionably includes such things as semi-automatic AK-47 clones?

And, finally, if there are any guns that happen to look like AK-47s “on the streets of our cities” in the “hands of crooks”, you, sir, put them there.

In other words, with all due respect to the Office of the President and none at all to the individual currently occupying it, kindly piss off. Your ignorance is only surpassed by your remarkable contempt for the United States Constitution, and, frankly, you of all people have absolutely no right telling the American people what arms they should and should not be permitted to own, both because it is not within your abilities as President and because of your bloody-handed complicity in Operation Fast and Furious / Gunwalker.

So with that small matter of a poorly-performing civil servant having been addressed, tell me about AK-pattern rifles. What countries / importers should I favor / avoid, what patterns work the best, what calibers to consider? Obviously 7.62×39 is the traditional caliber, but I would honestly like to stick with something I already have (7.62×51, 5.56×45, or 7.62x54r), just to keep costs/logistics simpler. I may get to play with these folks’ toys this weekend, so hopefully that will be an educational experience…

michael moore is a certifiable moron

But you knew that already.

Apparently Mr. Fat-Ass Lard-Ball himself had a "conversation"* with Piers Morgan over the non-existent merits of "gun control" here in the United States, and while I am going to try very, very hard to ignore the rest of his idiocy, this particular comment stood out in stark relief from the rest of his bigoted screed:

And I wish that we would just live in this century.

We do, jackass; that is why we use semi-automatic firearms instead of muskets. (Those muskets, by the by, could fire up to four rounds a minute in the hands of a skilled marksman, not the one round every fifteen minutes you ignorantly claim. Idiot.)

Granted, semi-automatic firearms were first developed in 1885 by a certain Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher; however, it would not be inaccurate to say that the mechanics and concepts of semi-automatic firearms have been polished and smoothed into relative perfection within the past century or so.

I wonder what the next major breakthrough will be? I was kind of hoping it would be Metal Storm’s superposed loading, but that does not seem to be going anywhere quickly…

Furthermore, given that the very intention of the Second Amendment was to allow the American people to stand toe-to-toe with contemporary, organized armed forces and authoritatively say, "NO!" I dare say the Founding Fathers would be all over the concept of semi-automatic firearms, and they would probably be marching in the streets demanding the repeal of the National Firearms Act and the legalization of ownership of new-production fully-automatic firearms for the people. But, hey, that whole "history" thing was never really your strong suit, was it, Mike?

Go back to stuffing your face; that seems to be the only thing you do well.

(… And, damnit, I just cannot let this painfully stupid quote go:

"I mean, we wouldn’t go to a doctor and have him put leeches on us to suck the blood out of us because that would cure us, that’s what they did, you know, a 150 years ago," Moore also said.

ORLY? You should tell that to the folks at the Yale Journal of Medicine & Law, and, in fact, the FDA to boot:

The use of medical leeching in modern microvascular surgery and tissue transfer began when two Slovenian surgeons used the parasites to assist with circulation after a tissue-flap transplantation. Then, in 1985, Harvard physician Joseph Upton used medicinal leeches to successfully reattach the ear of a five-year-old boy. Since then, leeches have been widely used to reduce venous congestion in fingers, toes, ears, and scalp reattachments, as well as to salvage vascularly compromised flaps, or muscle, skin, and fat tissue surgically removed from one part of body to another, and replants, limbs or other body parts reattached after traumatic amputation. Without leeching, blood clots often kill the repaired or transplanted tissue.

The only thing worse than a moron is an ignorant moron, and you are exactly that, Michael.)

(* – I use that term very loosely, and with the understanding that "circle-jerk" should be read in its place.)

well this is awkward

Last month, I wrote a post about how Better Half and I gave up on Top Shot, but continue to watch Sons of Guns for a variety of reasons mostly centering around drama, entertainment value, and genuineness.

This month, I have to admit they are starting to lose me, but not for the reasons you think.

In one episode, Will and his crew take a Mk19 40mm grenade launcher, slap a suppressor on it, and give it the ability to shoot semi-auto in addition to fully-auto. Why? Because the police apparently might need to launch a tear gas grenade into a house from hundreds of yards away, and do not want to give away their position.

*blink*

Excuse me? To begin with, so far as I know, no tear gas / CS rounds are produced for the Mk19 grenade launcher, and Global Security seems to back me up – non-lethal rounds are the sole realm of the M203 and M79 40mm Grenade Launchers, which can share ammunition with each other, but not with the Mk19 (the formers’ rounds are 40x46mm, while the latter’s is 40x53mm).

So let me ask this very plainly – why does a police department need a 1,500-yard-effective-range grenade launcher that only throws out HE or HEDP rounds, no matter how "controllable" or "quiet" the device might be? So far as I know, there is no way for a non-law-enforcement-officer civilian to own such a system legally, so there is no market there, and the military is quite happy with its fully-automatic model, thankyouverymuch (and the still-in-testing replacement model is, you guessed it, fully-automatic too, and un-"suppressed" to boot), so what the hell?

Can anyone say "militarization of police"? I knew you could…

But wait. It gets better. Apparently some company wants to put machine guns on their helicopters for "clients". That article names them as "Paradigm", and another article calls them "Paragon Security", but they really seem to be Paradigm SRP, a branch of a a helicopter tour and photography company out of Houston. Yeah, that gives me some warm fuzzies… In any case, their webpage seems to just about peg the "high speed low drag" meter, but is awkwardly short on any specific information… not like I am expecting them to name their clients, or possibly even their instructors, but the webpage reads like a buzzword dictionary barfed up some HTML.

In any case, I will admit that I am not entirely up-to-date on the related laws, but I am pretty sure that the federal government generally frowns upon private organizations of almost any type weaponizing aircraft for use in America, which probably means these guys’ "clients" are operating in the Sandbox. Great, and I wish them godspeed with that.

But, from the perspective of an average viewer at home here in America, who cares? While we could potentially purchase the helicopter, and while we could potentially purchase the MAG58/M240 (assuming any were added to the civilian ownership records before 1986), we could never put them together in this kind of fashion, and even if we could, why would we not use a pre-existing solution that the military already employs in numerous aircraft, instead of some kitbashed thing that looks like a shop student’s rejected first project?

Oh, and the actual efficacy of the whole gyro-stabilized machine gun mount? Yeah, dubious, at best. It might have been arguably more accurate than a normal machine gun mount, but calling it "accurate" is a rather unnecessary abuse of the dictionary, given how much "walking the rounds onto the target" there was. 

One of the primary draws of Sons of Guns, at least for me, has always been the, "Oooh, shiny!" factor, but one of the prerequisites for that reaction in me is the ability – no matter how remote – of actually owning what we are talking about. Take that ability away from me, and I might find what you are talking about academically interesting, but hardly engaging enough for me to invest an hour into.

And when you start talking about highly destructive toys I cannot own and how you are equipping local police forces with them, I start getting very concerned with your motivations, and whether or not you are aware of the larger picture, much less even looking at it.

Then there are anonymous online comments like this one, for whatever they are worth:

I’m a Police Officer in East Baton Rouge and I’ve been on the “set” (range) while they shot footage for a few shows. First of all everything is staged, nothing is “reality”. All the “customers” are set ups and not in any way shape or form a real customer their to buy any of the ridiculous triple machine guns or grab ass rocket launchers….its all preset up and the “pressure” of the time line crap is bogus as shit. Hell, their “store” isn’t even open to the public without an appointment, what kinda gun store operates that way?!?!?!

… And this really not-helpful news report:

An FBI official says a rented moving truck parked at a curb at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport caused a brief scare on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

FBI official Kevin Gentry says the truck was driven by a crew member of the Discovery Channel show "Sons of Guns." Investigators were suspicious because the driver said, "I got a couple of guns," but Gentry says he was just waiting for a co-worker.

I do not know Texas’ laws regarding having firearms on airport property, but even if it is legal, might the crewperson have thought that bringing fully-automatic hardware onto an airport on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 might not be such a good idea? Guess not.

If helping the police become more like our military (which is a horrible idea if there ever is one, especially given the increasing prevalence of excessive use of SWAT raids) and fabricating things I could never hope to own are going to be come more-common themes on Sons of Guns, I will probably end up finding other things to fill up my DVR with… Time will tell.

not-so-lucky gunner

Once again, this post is invariably going to annoy the hell out of a lot of people – if you want to avoid the drama, just skip on past, and go about your merry business.

Back in March, I wrote a post documenting my annoyance with Lucky Gunner’s mishandling of an ammunition give-away they were running on M.D. Creekmore’s webpage, explaining, in full detail, the various steps where that particular organization royally screwed up the situation.  Months later, but coincidentally right before their “Memorial Day BulletFest Shoot”, I received the following comment from Angela, an employee of Lucky Gunner:

Linoge,

My name is Angela and I’m with Lucky Gunner- I just came across your post and wanted to respond to it.

I’m sorry you didn’t get an invite to the 50 cal shoot we put together a while back- it was honestly a last minute small get together but now that you are officially on my radar as a Knoxvillian I will make sure you get the heads up on any fun things we put together in the future. 🙂 Please send me your contact info privately so I can make sure to let you know the next time we have a get together- and I hope you will consider joining us.

You basically hit the nail on the head regarding your fundraiser- we have people asking us all the time about donations to various charities. We’d love to support them all but like you said we are a business and still a fairly new one, and we just don’t have the room in our budget at this time to take on donations to various charities.

Regarding the invitees for this weekend’s upcoming Blogger Shoot- as you know it is invite only for firearm industry bloggers, podcasters, and other (online) media folks (online magazines, press releases, radio shows, forums, informational websites, etc). You definitely fall into this group and we would have loved to have you sign up for the event. We fortunately but surprisingly has a ton more people than we expected, who also fall into this group of invitees, sign up for the weekend. We hoped to get about 40 people signed up- and that was the maximum amount of people our range location could hold. After we saw the amount of initial interest in the event, we knew there would be no way we could allow family to tag along. We ended up having to go back and ask to be able to bring more people to the range and we got the max lifted to 70 and we have already hit that max! Point being, your father is only 1 additional person but if we allowed him to come we would have everyone else asking and expecting for their family to be able to come as well (and believe me I have had multiple people ask) and we just honestly don’t have the room for anyone else at the event. We hope you understand.

The main part of your post I want to address is the recent contest on M.D. Creekmore’s site. The contest post was launched on February 23rd and we stated that we would randomly draw three winners from the qualifying entries on Wednesday March 9th. On March the 2nd, I noticed there were only 2 entries to the contest which isn’t normal given how responsive MD’s readers typically are. I alerted one of our team members, who is MD’s main contact and was coordinating the contest, about the low number of entries… but this team member was traveling throughout Europe at the time for the IWA conference. Due to his travels, he didn’t get a chance to email MD about the low entries until March 10 (a day after the contest was due to end) and proposed at that time that perhaps another post by MD would increase entries and that perhaps we should extend the contest cut-off date back a few days to allow for more participation. MD made the requested post and we ended up getting 21 entries total. All entries were numbered 1-21 and the 3 winners were chosen randomly by a random number generator like this one(http://www.random.org/) and announced to MD on March 14th- 4 days after the contest was supposed to end. To be clear, we were in no way being dishonest and I’m disappointed that it came across this way. I take fault in extending the contest, we should have just excepted the low number of entries and proceeded with the March 9th deadline we set forth from the beginning. Our actions were a result of us trying to get the most participation out of the contest combined with a small team, traveling, and some miscommunication on our end. In the future we will make sure to hold off on running any contests unless we have ample man power and time to manage them on our end.

Thanks for the feedback, we can always take constructive criticism and learn from it to make future promotions run more smoothly. As an aside, we have a dinner get together arranged for Friday night May 27th- it’s not an official event for the Blogger Shoot weekend and anyone can come even if they are not attending the shoot. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll pass the details along.

Thank you,
Angela

My response is as follows:

Thank you for your response…  Like I said, the first two items did not really concern me, so there is no real point in rehashing those.

However, regarding the third – your recent Memorial Day shoot – I am going to have to go back and retract my previous comments in light of new evidence.  Now that people have had a chance to recover from the shoot, get home, and start uploading the pictures, I can finally lay eyes on what was going on, and I now completely realize that there was absolutely no reason why there could not be an “observation” area, or even designated “observers” mixed in with the “allowed to shoot our guns with our ammunition” people.  Have them wear different shirts.  Charge them admission.  Keep them corralled to some area separate from he active fire line.  Whatever.  But given the size and scope of the field wherein this event transpired (for Heaven’s sake, the SWAT team showed up in their helicopter, and I know what kind of real-estate those need to be safely landed with us idiot, civilian, non-LEOs nearby), there was space – space that was (possibly facetiously) referred to as being “longer than Knob Creek”.

But no.  This was not really about the shooting… no, this was about good SEO business (for some definition of “good”).  This was about ensuring people went home and generated all the buzz possible about your company and your products.  This was about bribing people to get them to boost your corporation’s standings on the search engines, since your normal methods seem to be encountering some difficulty in that arena.

Cannot say as though I blame you, really – who could resist being bribed by free ammunition and free fully-automatic firearms?  Y’all are bound to be riding a “free” publicity wave for the next month, at the least.  But, once again, oddly just like the Survivalist Blog contest, Lucky Gunner’s planning and follow-through was… shall we say “lacking”?

*shrug* In the end, my annoyance with your corporation is probably not going to matter in the slightest – my traffic is only a quarter Lucky Gunner’s, my pagerank is equivalent, and my yearly ammunition purchases are not exactly what I would quantify as “significant”.  But you can rest assured that the Memorial Day shoot has convinced my father of what the Survivalist Blog contest convinced me – Lucky Gunner is not a company we will be doing business with.  Y’all chose a great time to get into the ammunition business, and it seems to have worked out wonderfully for you, but that is a saturated market, and I trust other companies more than yours, whereas he was less-than-impressed with your rather elitist (but understandable, I suppose, given the purpose of the shoot) attitude regarding only allowing “actual” media types in.

And regarding that Survivalist Blog contest, I appreciate the explanation, but you will have to forgive me if I find it coming across significantly more as a long series of excuses…  I once tried to feed a similar line to my Chief Engineering Officer, and, if anything, he only got more pissed off with me.  In a similar vein, is it better to be considered untrustworthy or incompetent?  And why should I give my money to a company that has show itself to be either one or the other?  It is good that you know what y’all did wrong, and I sincerely hope that you can avoid similar problems in the future, but, suffice to say, the damage is done.

I appreciate your bringing some far-flung pro-rights webloggers into town so I had a chance to meet a scant few of them, I appreciate your feedback, and it was good to meet you at the Friday night dinner, but, honestly, do not worry about contacting me in the future in regards to any of your events.  Every man has his price, and, in a rare exception for me, mine is higher than most… at least for Lucky Gunner.

Then, yesterday evening, after the final festivities of the Lucky Gunner shoot had been cleaned up, I received the following comment from Benton Bryan, the apparent owner of Lucky Gunner BulletFest:

Gentlemen,

As I am the man who put on the Memorial Day BulletFest Shoot, I must disagree with your conclusions. Lucky Gunner reached deep and sponsored the shoot, and I limited the attendance for safety reasons. What began as a small gathering has become much larger than any of us imagined.

I regret that many of you were not able to attend, but you are not alone. I personally turned down many corporate offers and sponsor opportunities. Should the only motivation have been to make a profit I assure you both Lucky Gunner and I would not have spent what we did. Our goal was to support the Wounded Warrior Project, which we did to great effect. In large due to the efforts of Lucky Gunner.

Respectfully,
Benton Bryan
Man in Charge.

My response is as follows:

First, speaking as a veteran and son of a veteran, I would like to thank you for supporting the Wounded Warrior Project – it is, indeed, a worthy organization, and one that does massive amounts of good for our active service members.

Speaking more-generally, why was this collaboration with/for the Wounded Warrior Project not mentioned anywhere on the Lucky Gunner site?  And now that the event is over, why is there no accounting of the money raised for that worthy organization?  After all, they accounted for every round sent downrange… one would think they could count a few dollars. 

That said, you will have to forgive me for being characteristically blunt, but reading comprehension is not one of your strong suits.  As you can plainly see in the post to which you commented, I very clearly indicated that I did not hold y’all’s not permitting my father to come to your shoot against you; that has, of course, changed, as explained in my response to Angela, but at the time, that particular decision on your part did not affect my “conclusions” – namely, that I will not be doing business with Lucky Gunner in the future.

Moving on, it is more than a little insulting to both our intelligences for you to indicate that Lucky Gunner had no plans to make a profit out of this enterprise…  If that were true, the governing board of that corporation is short-sighted indeed, but, thankfully, I am not – yes, Lucky Gunner probably forked over hundreds of thousands of dollars in ammunition, money for the tankers, food, water, and whatnot else, in addition to whatever amounts were donated to the WWP, but you and I both know that the word-of-mouth advertising will generate more traffic for their site, more business for their company, and more attention to their name… which is definitely one of Lucky Gunner’s overall goals.

Not that I blame them – businesses are in the business of making money, but at least I am honest enough to acknowledge that.

So, thank you for your comment, but, honestly, do not waste both our times.  However, while you are here, perhaps you can answer a question of mine – how is it that Lucky Gunner’s and Ammo.net’s inventory listings are exactly identical?  Is Lucky Gunner an actual corporation, or is it just a front for yet another wonderful drop-shipping conglomerate in the background?

And that is pretty much that.  I have absolutely no doubt that the good will engendered by this past weekend’s events will far outweigh anything I would write, and anything my father and I say to anyone else… and I am ok with that.  I am not here to try and unjustifiably trash Lucky Gunner’s reputation, whatever it may be.  I am only here to express my displeasure with the way a company is doing business.  Do I expect them to change those practices?  Realistically, no, they obviously work.  But “work” is not synonymous with “right”.

In the end, my father and I loved the hell out of going to the range and shooting what we had with whatever ammo we had on us, and that is all that matters.  I would have liked to take him, a retired submariner, to see tanks and howitzers and mortars and fully-automatic everythings beat the crap out of some poor, unsuspecting automobiles, but sometimes things do not work out, and that is life.  But, yes, I take notes, and where else am I going to write them down but here?

As a mostly-unrelated aside, I would like to thank Sean Sorrentino, OldNFO, Mike, Jennifer, Sebastian, Kenn Blanchard, and some other folks I know I am forgetting for taking time out of their apparently busy schedules to meet me – I definitely appreciated it, and I look forward to hopefully spending more time with you all in the future.