Last Gun Nuts radio show …

… of 2008, that is.

For those few Gentle Readers who don’t know, Caleb of “Call me Ahab” and Breda of “The Breda Fallacy” (Viva La Bredalucion!) have an web radio show/web chat every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM Central Time called Gun Nuts Radio in which many topics of importance to the Internet Gun Community are discussed.

It is — without doubt — one of the fastest hours on the Internet; and many shining luminaries of the Gunny side of Blogworld can often be found in the chat and sometimes calling in.

I’d take it kindly if y’all might go by and wish Breda and Caleb a Happy New Year.

And don’t miss the after show party at Gunblogger Conspiracy.


A Classic LawDog File

This is one of the first LawDog Files that I ever wrote for the Internet.

Merry Christmas, Gentle Readers.

In late 1995, a critter in our town twisted off and hit his ladyfriend in the head a couple of times with an axe. Not one to leave a job half-done, he dragged her out to the lake, wired her up to a cinderblock and shoved her off into the water.

Wonder of wonders, she survived. Even bigger wonder, she came into town and filed charges on her boyfriend.

I had been out on a date, and wandered back into town about the time that the search was really getting wound up. First thing in the door of the office and the Sheriff hits me with three conflicting orders on where to go (one of those places would require asbestos underoos). Anyhoo, I’m trying to find my spare set of armour and a call comes in: one of our local merchants has spotted the critter climbing in a back window of an abandoned building used for storage.

The Sheriff grabs me and a luckless Highway Patrol Trooper who had come in for a coffee refill and off we go.

The other two deputies were hell-and-gone on the other side of the county, so it was just the three of us.

For those of you who don’t know how to search a large building with only three people, it’s really quite simple: two officers place themselves on opposite outside corners of the building so that they can see all four sides (to catch the critter trying to escape) and one officer goes inside.

Three guesses who got to go inside, and the first two don’t count.

Yep. Let me tell you, that place was darker than the Earl of Hells waistcoat and stacked floor-to-ceiling with shelves. On those shelves was the collected knick-knacks of 20 years of Main Street stores. And not a lightbulb anywhere.

There I was, with a snubbie .357, a five-cell Maglight and a Handi-Talkie, and me only having two hands. About the fourth time I tried to answer the Sheriff’s: “Have you got him yet!?” while trying to cover a suspicious patch of darkness and juggle the Mag-Lite, I stopped in the feeble light of the moon shining down through a hole in the ceiling.

I’m busily trying to figure out which I needed more: the Mag-lite or the Handi-talkie, when the SOB jumps me. I’m here to tell you, folks, things went rodeo from there. He lunged out of a shadow, trying to grab for my throat, and me–reacting totally instinctively–I whack him a good one across the forehead with the Maglight.

Bulb, batteries and assorted electronic parts arc gracefully into the darkness. Critter takes one step back and jumps at me again.

Things are not looking good in Dogville.

I’ve got the snubbie back with my right hand, trying to keep it away from this goblin, and I’m trying to stiff-arm him away with my left when I step onto what was later found to be a D-cell battery from my Maglight.

Down I go. And the alleged axe-murderer lands on top of me. Hoo boy.The gloves really come off then. We roll on the cold cement, I’m hitting him in the head with the butt of my revolver, elbow smashes to the jaw and brachial plexus, knee strikes–the whole enchilada. And he keeps grabbing at my throat.

Finally, we roll into a patch of moonlight–and the bastard has a knife!

Folks, I hate knives. No, I really hate knives. He’s on top of me, and he has to weigh three-hundred pounds, and that damn knife is coming down in slow motion……about the same time that the barrel of my snubbie rams up under his chin and I squeeze off two rounds.

Blowing the electronic brains and assorted stuffing of the Animatronic Life-Like Talking Santa Claus belonging to the local Thriftway halfway to Dodge City.

You don’t want to know what a couple of .357 rounds will do to hydraulics.


There I was. Staring at the robotic Kris Kringle whom I had assaulted, aggravated assaulted and finally brutally murdered, when the Sheriff and the trooper come crashing through the place looking for me.

The Sheriff looked at me and the fallen Jolly Elf and then began to stare fixedly at the ceiling, while tugging his moustache.

Gary (the trooper), holsters his SIG, gets out his pipe, looks around the crime scene, picks up a piece of flaming hat trim and uses it to light his pipe.

Gary: (puffing pipe into life) “Obviously an assault candy cane. Bet it ain’t registered.”

Sheriff: “Dangerous things, assault canes.”

Gary: “Obviously, a good shoot.” Puff, puff.

Sheriff: “Don’t worry boy. I’ll call the Marshals first thing in the morning.

Me: “Duh, puff-pant, huh?”

Sheriff: “Boy, there’s gonna be several million kids after your hide come Christmas. Witness Protection Program is your only chance.”

Smart ass. That was the only time I have ever used the Universal Peace Gesture to my fellow LEOs.

And the critter was caught in New Mexico an hour later.



“We’re NORAD. We don’t lose track of Santa.”

In 1955 a newspaper in Colorado Springs, Colorado printed an ad from Sears Roebuck in which a number was given so that children could call and talk to Father Christmas.

Well, people are human after all, and Murphy does kind of hate us — personally — so it should come as no surprise that the newspaper kind of flubbed a bit on that number.

The first child to call the Jolly Old Elf wound up calling the hot-line at Continental Air Defence Command — the predecessor to what is now North American Aerospace Defence Command, better known to most as NORAD.

Colonel Harry W. Shoup — Director of Ops at CONAD — took the call, and after figuring out just what the heck was going on, told the child that he was, indeed, St. Nicholas and reassured the bairn that he was on-schedule.

Well, since the phone number in the advert was bolloxed, that was only the first of many, many, calls from small children, anxious to talk to Kriss Kringle.

Colonel Shoup, bless his heart, arranged for his staff to give location updates on those eight tiny reindeer to each child who called.

And so, a tradition was born.

Staff at the original CONAD — and later at NORAD — enthusiastically embraced “Santa Tracking” and each year thereafter volunteers manned phone banks to keep children all over the world updated on the journey of Santa Claus on Christmas night.

Last year, the Santa Operations Centre answered over 90 thousand phone calls, ten thousand e-mails and their website received over 10 million visitors.


Merry Christmas, everyone.


Meditations on stopping power

One of the Holy Grails of the gunny world is “stopping power”.

Arcane formulas combining bullet weight, velocity and diametre in various proportions are proposed, established, fretted over and adopted — or discarded — in search of a pistol/round combination that will “guarantee” that the user will emerge victorious in an armed confrontation. And choices once made are defended with religious fervor.


To my mind, none of these formulas are capable of quantifying the most important part of stopping power.

This is not to say that your choice of sidearm and your choice of calibre aren’t important in your search for “stopping power” … but there is another variable that is much more important than bullet size and velocity.


It doesn’t matter how big a hole the bullet makes … if you don’t carry the gun that fires it.

It doesn’t matter how fast that bullet is going … if you never practice with the gun that fires it.

I see that I have lost some of my Gentle Readers. Allow me to explain.

One of my training officers carried a Colt Lightweight Commander in .41 Avenger. This round was — and is, to the best of my knowledge — a custom affair, involving a .45 Winchester Magnum case trimmed to .45ACP length and then necked down to .410 inches. From what I’ve read about the .41 Avenger, it is a perfectly adequate self-defence round.

This officer bought the pistol in the late 1980’s, and fifty rounds of the bottle-necked ammunition came with it.

In 1994, he still had 36 rounds left of the original 50. In ten-plus years of carry — patrol and otherwise — he had only fired two magazines worth of ammunition out of that pistol.

Now, some of the canyons that dot the Panhandle caprock are full of prickly pear cactus. On slow patrol days, it wasn’t unusual for gun-savvy officers to utilize these plants for impromptu shooting challenges of the “Right, ten yards, low, two fruits — GO!” sort.

The one time we were able to chivvy this officer into shooting with us — he was unable to consistently hit a prickly pear pad at seven yards.

Folks, .410 inches; 170 grains; 1100 feet per second looks almighty good on paper — but if you haven’t practiced enough to hit what you’re aiming at … what good are those numbers doing you, exactly?

Another gentleman of my acquaintance — not a peace officer, but a gunny type — had become enamoured of the 10mm. My paw to Freyja, the man had a ten-minute speech — spiced with multiple quotes from Colonel Jeff Cooper (pbuh) — regarding the merits of the 10x25mm.

Not being able to get his paws upon Messers Dornaus and Dixon’s Bren Ten pistol, this gentleman had settled for the next best thing: a Smith and Wesson 1076 “FBI Special”. And — as with the round it fired — he would happily opine at length as to the man-stopping abilities of that particular pistol.

The thing is, didn’t matter where he was, what time of day it was, or what he was doing — if you asked to see this wonder of gunfighting tools … he’d go and get it out of the safe.

.400 inches; 200 grains; 1200 feet per second are “stopping power” stats you can’t argue with — but if they’re in the gun safe at home when you’re face-to-bad-breath with a critter in the mall parking lot … what bloody good are those statistics doing you, exactly?

In contrast, allow me to introduce an older gentleman. He carries a three-inch Smith and Wesson revolver in .38 Special.

Now, most tactically-aware gunnies will be quick to tell you that the .38 Special is towards the low-end of the so-called “stopping power” spectrum. Matter-of-fact, most would tell you that .358 inches; 158 grains and 900 feet per second is the bare minimum.

Thing is, that old gentleman shoots a minimum of 200 rounds out of that pistol every month. He plinks dirt clods and charcoal briquettes with it; he hunts jackrabbits on his oil lease and turtles in his stock tank with it; he’s taught his children, grandchildren and multiple acquaintances to shoot with it; and he shoots in several formal and informal matches each year with it.

That pistol is a part of him. He puts it on each morning, and takes it off each evening. The bluing has etched away from the thousands of draws from leather he’s practiced; and the grips are worn to match his hands.

If the eco-friendly fertilizer hits the rotating, oscillating, vector-flow cooling unit that .38 is not going to be sitting useless in a gun cabinet: it’s going to be where it’s been for the past several decades — because he carries it.

He’s not going to flinch, he’s not going to fumble his draw or muff his shot; and each round is going to go exactly where he wants it to — because he practices with it.

That, Gentle Readers, is stopping power.


Texas Open Carry of Handguns

The recent news that the State of Texas is considering allowing our citizens to carry handguns openly has resulted in a slew of e-mail headed my way.

Including, by-the-by, one from an apparently confused Brady supporter who seems to have gotten his LawDogs mixed up.

But I digress.

What is my position on allowing the open carry of handguns in the Great State of Texas?

I’m all for it.

Options are good. Anything that gives law-abiding citizens more options and choices as to how they go about their everyday business is a Good Thing.

Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments: “Oh, sweet zombie Jeebus! It’ll be the Wild West all over again!”

First off, the open-carrying Wild West had a murder rate considerably less than that of a modern big city — so the return of the Good Old Days (and their lower murder rate) would actually be a Good Thing.

If you’re thinking of Hollywood’s hysterical, historically inaccurate, bushwa version of the Wild West — well, the motto of Holly is “Willing Suspension of Disbelief”. Just because Hollywood has shown me kids flying on brooms, talking battle bears and elephant-skating elven archers, it doesn’t mean that I expect any of those things outside of the theatre.

And so it is with the whole “Wild West gun-fights-on-every-corner” argument: looks good on the big screen — doesn’t happen in Real Life.

Case(s) in point: Vermont has NO LAWS whatsoever regulating the carry of firearms, neither does Alaska. Citizens can open carry in those states without any interference by way of the Government — at all.

When was the last time you heard of multiple street-corner gunfights in either of those two states?

In addition, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico, Kentucky, West Virgina and Virginia already allow the open carry of firearms with neither permit nor licence required to do so.

I don’t know about y’all, but when it comes to running gun battles on street corners, South Dakota and Wyoming aren’t the first places that comes to mind.

Washington, DC and Chicago, now, do come to mind — but open carry is forbidden to citizens in those places, so they really don’t count.

The gutters haven’t run chest-deep in blood due to law-abiding citizens open carrying firearms in any other state where open carry is allowed — they’re not going to overflow in Texas, either.

Open Carry in Texas has my support and my vote.