M&P Front Site Repair

The day after a range trip a couple months ago, while doing some dry fire training at home, I discovered the white dot had fallen out of the front sight of my M&P. The geek that I am, I hopped on google and discovered that I’m not the only one who’s had this sort of problem.  In fact, it seems like a rather common occurrence.

Photo of front sight missing it's white paint dot.

While I’ve had good success with ordering parts from Smith and Wesson, I figured I’d try something simpler than a factory replacement.  What says it’s not as prone to failure as the original?  That aside, I wasn’t interested in testing out how well the sight blade had been fix into its dovetail slot.

I looked in my paint supplies and didn’t have anything which would be an obvious replacement paint such as a Rustoleum or Krylon paint for metals.  Only dark colors for those.  The household art supply box?  The closest thing to suitable was a low grade craft enamel.

Ah ha!  The wife’s nail polish collection?  Bingo.  She has a nice pearl white hard nail polish.  I had heard of people filling the words or manufacturer symbols engraved on their guns slides with nail polish to make them stand out, and they didn’t seem to have issues with the nail polish wearing off.

I cleaned out the hole with alcohol and let it dry, then put a drop in the hole and wiped the excess off…all over the blade and front of the slide.  Note: if you ever give this a try, use as little as possible and tape off the slide and side of the sight posts.

The phone cam photo may not show it, but it looks like factory new now. And it’s had probably some 900+ rounds through it. So it seems durable enough…and was a lot faster and easier than messing with replacement parts.

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While helping locate our many nerf-style projectiles from several places they had been dumped by various children, an idea for a better way to store them came to mind:

It’s a tray for .45acp ammo. Okay, so the heads on the suction cups are more like .50 caliber. But, alas, I don’t have any .50ae or .50gi trays to test this. The n-strike darts fit quite well, though.

I suppose delusional in thinking the kids will actually use this to keep their darts organized.

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Edge Pro APEX Springloaded Stone Holder

I’m not going to take credit for this simple product enhancement, only putting it into pictures.  I’ve got a knife sharpener called the Edge Pro.  The model I own is the APEX.  It’s smaller and less expensive than the PRO model and also lacking in a few nice features.  One that the PRO model has is a spring loaded stone holder that makes it very fast to remove and replace stones when wiping them down, flipping them around, or switching between stones.  The APEX doesn’t, but it’s easy to modify so that it does.

Doing this is easily described as: replace brass collar with appropriately sized spring.  But for as simple as that sounds, you see the question asked on knife forums, how?  E.g. go here  and search for the word “spring.”

In this first photo you see how the stone rectangular metal blank shown) is held.  The round knob/handle is tightened onto it’s threads pushing the brass collar into the, the front stone holder (black plastic piece on the right of the metal blank) clamping the stone holder in place.

Stock EdgePro Apex Holding Blank

To remove the stone, you unthread the knob, relieving pressure on the collar and front stone holder, and remove the stone.

Unscrew Ball To Remove Stone

Normally, you’ll put a new stone in between the black plastic holders, re-thread the knob and move on.  To speed up the process, put a compression spring in place of the brass collar.  I found one at my local Ace/TruValue hardware store in the fitting aise for $1.29.  The dimensions were 1-7/16″ x 7/16″ x .041.  This is just a wee bit longer than the brass collar and just big enough to slip over the 5/16″ diameter rod without rattling around.  If you have an option, go for something made of stainless as the sharpener will get wet if you’re using the water stones properly.

Replace Brass Collar With Spring

One last little problem to solve.  Everytime you remove a stone, notice how in the picture above, the front stone holder will slide down the rod if it’s tipped down.  This isn’t a huge problem.  It just means you have to pull it back out a bit more when loading the next stone.

I reduced this effect by gluing the brass collar on the other side of the front stone holder with a dab of waterproof adhesive.  This will keep it in place, but is easy to remove and won’t mar the rod.  Besides acting as a stop for the stone holder, it’s a convenient place to store the part without losing it.  If the spring ever fails midway through sharpening something, I can always return the brass collar to its original function rather than have to immediately run to the store to find a new spring.

Brass Collar Stops Holder From Sliding Spring Loaded With Blank

Now, changing stones is done with a simple squeeze and release as shown in the clip:

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Seriously, Up Is Not A Safe Direction

Gun pointed skyward and sideways while checking for a malfunctionEven the most ignorant of gun enthusiasts typically know that at your friends is not a safe direction to point a gun. Yet too many act as though anywhere else is okay. Even at a range with official rules and perhaps even RSOs present to help enforce the rules, it seems that “pointed down range” is believed to mean pointed anywhere in the hemisphere beyond the vertical plane that is the shooting line.

There are some rules that most gun owners have been explained and apparently a lot of them just don’t understand:

Cooper’s Rule #2:
Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)

NRA Rule #1
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.

At an indoor range, when a shooter turns his gun half-sideways to rack the slide so that it’s pointed at the wall a mere 10-15 feet downrange, he is risking blasting a large chip of concrete out of the wall and causing it and the bullet’s jacket to possibly fragment and fly into all the shooters to that side of the range.

At the same range, when the gun goes click instead of bang and the shooter tips it up to stare in puzzlement at the chamber, she also risk shooting out lights or target carrier cables/rails.

A so-called professional holding gun skyward while handing it over to a well known gun blogger.

At an outdoor range, when a shooter lazily holds a rifle with the barrel tipped up, that shooter risks send a round over the berm to somewhere beyond, perhaps a home or business off in the distance…where people might be present.

These risks aren’t unfounded.  I’ve witnessed first hand, lights and target carrier cables getting shot out by careless shooters.  I just recently joined a gun club who’s outdoor range has been shut down twice over the years because rounds “were lost” over the berm, landing in residential properties nearly a mile in the distance (berm heights were increased and blue sky barriers have been added to reduce the risks of it happening again).

Did these happen because someone was just reloading their handgun, clearing a malfunction or handing a gun to someone else?  In these cases, no.  Each involved someone actively shooting being careless while repositioning a gun in their hands or not managing recoil.

But I’ve also witnessed unintentional discharges (yes I’m avoiding the negligent vs accidental debate) where rounds slammed almost harmlessly into the walls and ceilings far too close to the firing line for comfort while people were carelessly manipulating their guns not during controlled, aimed fire.  And I’m just one guy who doesn’t go to the range all that much.  If I’ve seen all that first hand, I shudder to think what goes at the thousands of ranges with the millions of shooters when I’m not present.

Sure, range owners design their buildings to take the abuse…because it’s going to happen.  But you and I ultimately end up paying extra in range fees for every time someone hits something other than the designated backstop.  Trust me, you hit the lights or target carrier, you’ll be asked to pay for the damage.  You hit a person?  You’ll be paying in more than hard currency.

There are a lot of experts and “experts” that will disagree with me.   Just watch how many seasoned shooters play loose with the muzzles of their handguns during reloading and administrative handling of their guns.  Who am I to question their lucky streaks?

But with few exceptions**, at shooting ranges, even ones with courses of fire that involve movement, you really can do everything you need to do with a firearm while keeping it pointed at safe backstops.  Even shooters with disabilities can learn safe techniques.  There’s no need to point it up or sideways.  Really.

** One being use of gravity to help unload the opened cylinder of revolver.

Posted in Instruction, Miscellaneous | 7 Comments

What’s another ten minutes?

A common recommendation in safety and defense discussions for dealing with road rage assailants, particularly when traffic is light, is to immediately drive to a populated area or to a police station, somewhere you expect that you will get others’ attention. Ideally, the road-rager will disengage when he or she sees that you are no longer a single helpless target, where the presence of others will result in them being held accountable for their aggressive behavior.

Picture of a Road Raging Driver

Image courtesy Irish Typepad

I recently heard an interesting variation on this. A woman I know was leaving work around 9pm. Right after she merged onto the highway, a car swerved in from the left directly in front of the car in front of her and rapidly stopped, right in the slow lane. Why? She doesn’t know. But this happened so quickly that she, and apparently the person in front of her, felt they might rear-end the person and both drifted left into the next lane over. While it initially looked clear, apparently a semi was approaching them quickly from the rear evidenced by blaring air horns and a big grill showing in her rear view mirrors.

The trucker seemed pissed. Being cut off while hauling a big, heavy load might do that. That’s very understandable.

But the horns kept blaring.

This woman, after avoiding nearly rear-ending another driver and then nearly getting rear ended by a huge truck, surely amped up on adrenaline, started getting scared about what the trucker might do. But she kept her cool.

She quickly moved back to the now open slow lane where there was an exit coming up. She knew the exit dropped you onto narrower residential neighborhood streets. She knew the area and figured a truck driver, wanting to retaliate would want to avoid driving in such an area. And if he did follow her off the highway, she’d be able to easily get away from the driver on the tighter surface streets.

Well, the truck driver didn’t follow her. Instead of just stopping or reentering the highway, she drove back to the previous entrance on the local roads giving the trucker time to move on in case he was still stewing and waiting for her and then leisurely drove home without further incident.

Interestingly, getting off a highway to go into a residential or unfamiliar area when being followed by a road rager is normally not what you’d want to do. You don’t want to go where your likelihood of summonsing help is low. But this woman, didn’t just blindly follow this line of thinking. She maintained composure, used the context of her specific situation, and did the exact opposite of the generalization, but for a very good reason.

Now I’ve been in a similar position. While merging onto a highway, we accidentally cut off a trucker who then proceeded to try to ram us and then run us off the road. We stopped on the shoulder, but the trucker stopped ahead waiting for us. This was during pre-cellphone days and what ultimately ended the situation was us sprinting past the stopped truck, getting to the next exit and local roads where the truck driver wouldn’t want to continue hassling us and lingering there until the trucker decided to move on.

So I don’t think it’s outrageous to worry that a pissed off trucker might attack. And, in this woman’s case, it may never have escalated to that point. But her willingness to spend a few minutes more getting home at the end of the day by essentially “walking” away from a potential confrontation helped ensure that it didn’t escalate. Sure it cost her a little time. But to her it was worth it.

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Patch Your Own Damned Tire

Satety Seal Tire Patch Kit

I’ve had a Safety Seal tire patch kit for several years. I got it back when I was wheeling my HUMMER and have used it several times. For the past few years, it’s just sat in a tool box in the back of my truck, unused. Until this weekend.

Saturday, we got in the car and the driver information center (DIC) lit up, “Check Left Rear Tire Pressure.” Ugggh. It was holding well at 26 pounds, and since we weren’t going far, I didn’t delay the outing. Upon return I topped the pressure off at the recommended 35lbs.

First chance I had Sunday, I checked the pressure on the DIC, 26lbs again 🙁 A quick check of the tire with a flash light revealed a screw embedded between the lugs.

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Posted in Preparedness | 2 Comments

A Little Plane Ride

I went for a little plane ride yesterday. And by “little,” I mean that the airplane was a small one…that can fly upside down.

My wife is friends with a commercial airline pilot who happens to own a Pitts S-2C aerobatic biplane. A year or so ago, he invited us down to a pancake breakfast put on at a local airfield by the Young Eagles of EAA Chapter 1229. That first time, he took our family up in a Mooney 4-seater (model unknown to me) that he “borrowed” from a pilot friend of his. The second time we went to the breakfast, he had his Pitts available and took other members of my family for rides in it, one at a time. My dad posted some videos clips of the aerobatic ride Bill provided him. Unfortunately, we ran out of time that day and I missed the opportunity for a ride of my own.

Bill made sure that I didn’t miss the opportunity at yesterday’s pancake breakfast. After getting our fill of blueberry pancakes, eggs, and sausage (should I have eaten first???), Bill took me up for an amazing ride!

I too captured some video clips and photos. I also fired up Google My Tracks on my android phone to capture the route of our flight. I’ve tried to blend the three into a integrated view of the outing using Google’s My Maps:

In case that doesn’t work so well in your browser, I included links to the pictures and video here as well.

Thank you Bill for the amusement park ride in the sky.

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Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment

My first new shooters

Before today, I had never introduced a non-shooter to shooting.   I’ve been shooting for a number of years, but had been reasonably content with working on my own skills.  I had had numerous opportunities to introduce others to shooting sports in the past, but wasn’t confident in my coaching skills, and lost the opportunities.  So recently I decided to bone up on my skills, both shooting and coaching.

Yesterday, I finally, got my first chance to introduce two non-shooters to the sport.  These two, a married couple, were clearly supporters of our Second Amendment rights, staunch ones at that.  But it was principle that drove their support, not first hand experience.  Bob had only shot carbines during Air Force basic training over 40 years ago.  Other than that, neither had firearms experience of any sort.

I opted to ease them into the experience of learning to shoot a pistol over three separate sessions, the first being “classroom-style” at my home, covering the basics of firearm safety, and fundamentals of shooting such as sight picture, stance, grip and trigger control, hold, etc.  I used actual firearms in this session to demonstrate various things and it was clear that Eva was a bit apprehensive being around the handguns right at the start.

So, the following day, rather than dive in and go to the range, where you often are standing next to other shooters making lots of noise, I dug a rarely-used, pellet pistol from the back of my gun cabinet and set up a backstop in my basement.  This pistol shoots so slow and quietly that recoil and noise are virtually non-issues.  And while it has a horrible trigger and is very inaccurate, the session proved invaluable in easing any fears of firing a gun for the first time.

I let that session sink in and the next day we went to a nearby indoor range with a .22 caliber Sig Trailside, my only reliable .22 pistol, and a bunch of ammo in hand.  In no time, both Eva and Bob had fired a couple magazines through the Trailside with very respectable groups (click through the links and zoom in on the targets) and smiles on their faces.  The took turns shooting until tired.  Bob took me up on the opportunity to shoot a few of my carry-worth pistols in .38 special, 9mm, and .45 caliber.

We all had a great time.  It was very rewarding to get these two started on shooting.  I say started, because I heard them talking about where to shoot when they got back home to their home state of New York.

I’m pretty sure there’s going to be some more shooting fun in their future.  I wholly expect that more of this sort of thing is going to be in my future.

BTW, Eva and Bob happen to be my parents 🙂

Posted in Firearms, Instruction | Tagged | 5 Comments

Getting a grip

For the past several years, my firearms interests have centered mainly around defensive handgun shooting, using calibers common for self defense such as .38 special, 9mm, .45ACP, etc.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve picked up my .22 caliber plinker. But I have a good reason to now.

I have an opportunity coming up to help some others learn a little about shooting handguns (more on that later).  It’s always good to start new shooters out with a small caliber and not-too light or small gun in order to ease the uninitiated into the experience with little shock from noise or recoil.

Looking through my collection, I found my only reliable .22 caliber handgun happens to be a Sig Trailside competition model.

Sig Trailside Competition with adjustable grips, Left side Sig Trailside Competition with adjustable grips, Right side

This model has adjustable right-handed grips that work well for me shooting one handed.  You can shoot them two handed, but it’s not an ideal setup to do that.  In the picture below you can see how the thumb-rest and flat left side might interfere with a good two-handed grip and make left-handed use impractical.
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Posted in Firearms | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Drupal to WordPress

Phew! I just got everything converted over to wordpress from drupal. It was an old version of drupal 5.0 and I didn’t want the hassle of updating to the latest 6.x.  I’ve been using wordpress on a couple projects and, because of the ease of keeping it up to date and it’s simplicity, I’d rather move forward using wordpress.

How I did the conversion I’ll leave as a secret.  Trust me, it’s not an approach you’d want to use.

Posted in Miscellaneous | 1 Comment