Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving from the entire Blog Sarge family. And happy start of Hanukkah for our brothers and sisters of the Jewish faith.

While we are all running about doing family activities, we need to stop and contemplate on all we have to be thankful for.

For my part, I am thankful for the limitless blessings I have received and for which I feel completely unworthy. These include family, good friends, good health, a truly wonderful group of folks here at Ann Arbor Arms with whom I work and a bunch of wonderful customers who are as much friends as customers.

I am also thankful for the wonderful country we are blessed to live in. I pray we never take for granted the country or our freedoms. Freedoms that were secured for us through the blood and trials of the "sheepdogs" who stood guard before and now those currently stand guard.

Please join me in praying for those who serve and are far from home and in giving thanks for all the blessings we have here.

I wish all of you safe travels and a happy Thanksgiving.

Blog Sarge

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why We Hunt- The Blackout and Whitetail Deer Blog

“Good God, man. If you need meat, I’ll go and buy you some!"

It was a fellow cop talking to me years ago in early November. I told him I was taking time off to hunt and he didn’t see why. True, the grocery budget was a bit slim.  Still that wasn’t really what hunting was all about, although it did certainly help.

So I told him why I hunted. Yes, I told him about the relaxing time spent outdoors, the long reflective time in the deer stand with no outside distractions, the beautiful sights and sounds, the thrill of the hunt and the successful, although always somewhat sad, time of the kill.

I also told him other reasons that are even more valid now than they were then.

Do you know what is in the beef you just had for dinner? Do you? How many antibiotics, steroids and other drugs were pumped into that animal? What did it eat? Did it eat natural foods, or genetically manufactured food-like products? These questions might make you take pause and think about what you put into your mouth and wonder about the actual nutritional content and healthfulness of it.

And how did it live? Did it live free-range as God intended it to, or was it in an inhumane meat-mill living in its own filth? How did it die? Did it die a quick death from a well-placed bullet or did it get herded into a slaughter-house? Was God’s name spoken over it and thanks given for it after the kill? Was it cared for after the kill in a sanitary, respectful way or was it left dead in a pile of waste from other dead animals until lifted out to be processed by a machine? If you believe in anything like chi energy, you will appreciate that there has got to be better, healthier energy in the meat from a free-range living, quick, humanely killed deer.

Finally, I told him that it was about self-reliance. It was about being able to go out and do what man has always done.

So for all these reasons, I hunt. My cop friend will never be a hunter, but I think he understands why others do.

Gotta go, the fresh deer liver and heart are about done cooking. And yes, I killed it with my 300BLK!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Preparing- Gettin' Down on the Mountain

“How do you make others see it?” my friend asked. “It,” was the need to prepare.

Really, I don’t know the answer.  But my friend posing it had a good point. He was preparing for whatever occurred, but his friends and loved ones were not. So what should he do? Should he try to convince them? What is he morally obligated to do? Should he prep for non-preppers too, when he can hardly afford what he is already doing? If something happens how does he decide who to help and how much help to give?

And what about spiritual preparedness?  Many people have stashed away food, water, ammo, fuel, medical supplies, etc, but have we prepared ourselves for the ultimate end? Do we prepare and pray for God to save us from natural or man-made disasters, but not take steps to try to assure forgiveness when He causes the event and decides that he is ready for the final judgment?

Preparedness is a complicated idea and requires forethought. It is about more than food and water. It involves a balance of sustaining fuel needs, medical needs, water needs, communications needs and much more.

The recent events in the Philippines with the typhoon underscore that there is a need to prepare for natural catastrophes. Your own personal views on where we are as a civilization will dictate your feelings about how much concern you need to have about man made catastrophes. 

Either way, the likelihood of some sort of event forcing self-reliance for even a relatively short time is not unreasonable and should give cause for us to evaluate our level of being prepared against where we feel we should be.

And the time to do so is now before it happens. Drinking water, canisters of Wise emergency food, backup medical supplies, fuel for generators, ammunition for protection and hunting all are items that will be sold out in rapid order once something occurs.

No, you do not need to go over the top. But yes, you need to have some sort of preparations made.

In the end, it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves and our families rather than relying on a government or others to take care of us. To prepare is responsible and patriotic and I believe should be mandatory. In the event of a large-scale national emergency, those who have not prepared will place a drain on resources that might overburden the government. And it will be unreasonable for them to expect to be bailed out.

I'm curious what plans others have and how much "charity" will be shown to those who do not prepare.

I’ll leave you with a little Corb Lund singing about this exact topic…

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Those Who Have Served

A while back, my wife and I loaded up and drove up to Door County, Wisconsin, through the Upper Peninsula and back down the west side of Michigan.

This summer, we spent a lot of time on our boat and traveled around northern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

A couple years ago we flew one of the club's Cessnas up to Mackinac Island and Traverse City just for the fun of it.

Last Tuesday, thousands of people went to polling places and participated in a democratic process called free elections.

And you ask, "So, what the hell is the point Blog Sarge?"

The point is that we can do these things. Many people in this world cannot. The difference is that we are a free country.

Why are we a free country? It is because brave women and men from early in our history through into today have been willing to stand up for our freedom and our way of life and put their own lives at risk for the greater good. They had the guts to stand up to oppression, boldly say that we are endowed with rights and that these rights can not be taken away.

Monday is Veterans Day. It is a time for us all to think about the freedoms we enjoy and to give thanks for those who have answered the call to serve us.

Please give thought to offering to help those who served and gave of themselves for us.

Check out Camp Liberty and consider what these people have given us, think of what your freedom means to you, and then think of what you can give back to them.

Finally, don't forget to offer your prayers for these men and women and to give thanks for the blessings of freedom we enjoy.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Consistency- The Ted Nugent, Keith Richards Blog

There is one of the best, most piercing guitar note in all of rock and roll in a Rolling Stones song. In Wild Horses, Keith nails a note that is worth listening to the whole album, er, I mean CD, for.

And he can nail it just the same every time he plays it. This leads to the point, his consistency makes for an accurate guitar lick.

The same goes for Ted Nugent. Listen to his guitar licks and you will hear consistent precision, each chord being delivered with acute accuracy each and every time he plays.

As I’ve been called out recently for listening to Sarah McLachlan, here’s something from the unabashedly American, freedom loving, Second Amendment supporting Ted Nugent to help me regain my good Second Amendment Karma… The Nuge

From time to time, I speak with someone who wants more accuracy out of their rifle. Obviously, a good optic is called for and I addressed that in a prior blog. Next, assuming that the rifle is a decent one and the ammo is good, the attention turns to the shooter, which is often the first place at which we should start anyway.

Recently I wrote about breath control, one of the keys to precision shooting. Consistency is another key.

So, to the consistency issue. To achieve accuracy, you must do everything the same, every time. Rest the rifle the same. Load the ammo the same. Use the same ammo every time. Breathe the same. Press the trigger the same. Get the idea yet? And yes, I said press the trigger. Think press, not pull. Press, to many people, implies a more controlled, gentle action. (I’d never thought of it, but a recent student mentioned it and it makes sense. Whether I am giving or receiving training, I bring an ‘empty cup’ and am open to learning new tricks.)

Consistency is more important than number of rounds. In fact, you can accomplish a ton without firing rounds. Dry firing, done with care and with a plan, can do wonders. If you can, try to balance a spent cartridge on the end of your barrel, dry fire with it there and work on doing so without letting the cartridge fall off. Obviously, a round barrel won’t let you do this, but a flat topped barrel like many pistols will.

When the time comes for live fire, remember that a range session of ten deliberate, carefully planned shots can be more beneficial than a hundred rounds pounded down range without care.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Magazine Changes- The Tactical Diaper Change Blog

Boss Chick, Tech Dude,Tactical Corporal and I were chilling at the store during a lull in the action. In walked Mrs. Tactical Corporal with Tactical Baby.  Damn cute kid, too. Blessedly for Tactical Baby, he takes on after his mum...

Once Tactical Corporal was able to wrestle the little guy away from Boss Chick, he carried him around for a bit. Then Tac Baby got that look on his face. You know the one. The sublime, blissful look that clearly tells everyone, “hey, I’m taking a dump!”

Now, I know that Tac Corporal is highly trained and more than capable of handling emergencies, but even I was amazed at his application of an immediate action drill. He performed, (using the armorer bench, I’m afraid) a tactical diaper change in record time, collecting the old and replacing with the new. And no, he didn't use any Frog Lube.

This reminded me of a question recently from a student while doing tactical magazine change drills. The student was being drilled on magazine changes and I was reminding her to just drop the old magazines, not to catch them or, worse, pull them from the gun. She asked if there was ever any time when it was OK, even recommended, to catch the old magazine.

Sure, there is. For instance, during a lull in the action if you want to top up and collect the old magazine with the few rounds left in it, do so. Maybe you want to consolidate a few partially full magazines. Fine, catch the old and do what you want, IF you can do it safely without letting guard down.

But I train to dump the magazine as the preferred method. Why? Well, in the heat of a shooting you will revert to your training. If you are trained to manually pull out the old magazine, put it into your pocket, then get out the new magazine and seat it, you will do just that. You’ll waste a bunch of time and perhaps get shot when you should have been back in the game. This has been well documented in police and military training. California saw a couple of cops get into a gunfight years ago. They were found dead with the spent casings from their revolvers neatly collected in their pockets just as they had been programmed to do when on the shooting range.

But, if the action is at a lull and you have time to collect your thoughts you can adjust and do a controlled top up. The combat reload is the default method, but can be consciously overridden for more of an administrative load if the situation allows or dictates.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Building ARs, Jacques Cousteau and the Calypso- The John Denver Blog

Fall is here. Fall to me means many things, shooting deer comes readily to mind, but musically it means it is time to dust off the old John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot CDs. Can’t say why, but fall requires a different soundtrack and the sounds of Lightfoot and Denver are just right for me.

The CD player just finished John Denver’s song about the Calypso. I grew up watching Jacques Cousteau. Maybe that’s why I became a scuba addict. As a kid we’d tune in to Cousteau specials and watch as they sailed the Calypso all over the world doing their diving and all. The sea always held an allure for me and I got my big-water fix this way.

Anyway, during a brief stint as a student at Lake Superior State College Jacques Cousteau, the Calypso and crew were scheduled to pass through the locks at the Soo. A great many people flocked down to see the proud ship Calypso lock through that night. I had just broken my ankle playing basketball but I was so excited that I still hobbled my way to the locks to see the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Our anticipation ran high as the ship approached. The locks closed behind her and the ship slowly rose up out of the deep lock into the awaiting flood lights. When we finally got a good look at it, we saw that it was a piece of junk. I was crestfallen. It was beat up, rusty and unkempt.

Such is the life of a working tool, as opposed to a show-piece. I understand now. Firearms are the same.

Some are pretty and are destined for being what I call “Barbecue Guns.” These are pampered and are taken out as show pieces and for casually popping off rounds with friends. Others are working guns and, while cared for, are not pretty, not pampered and often are rough around the edges.

My ARs and Glocks are working guns. Yes, I take great care of them. I maintain them as if my life depends on them because, well, for years it did. But they are not pampered. I have waded into a mucky swamp with my Glock. I have been out in foul weather with rain, snow and mud assaulting my AR. I was working and expected my tools to go along with me. They did. Faithfully.

I have others that are pretty guns. Pop-in-law’s Browning BAR. Great Uncles Browning Sweet Sixteen. Grandpa’s Winchester 12. Dad’s Mossberg .22. These are in varying conditions, but all live a gentle life now. Rarely shot, but always cared for and appreciated.

Building an AR can go either way. We have good quality receivers and barrels at low cost for building knock-around working guns. We also have some very nice billet machined receiver sets made especially for us with the Ann Arbor Arms’ A3 logo.

Whatever your need or want, we can help you build an AR to fill it. And yes, we can help you build one in my beloved 300 AAC BLK!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Highs and Lows- The Cowboy Junkies Blog

Sarah McLachlan had just finished "Angel," the last song on Mirrorball. I replaced the CD with Pale Sun, Crescent Moon, from The Cowboy Junkies and Margo Timmins was launching into "Crescent Moon."  One of the joys of a new car is the sound system.  Face it, the old truck's system sucks but the new car's rocks.  Lows in the basement and crystal clear highs reaching the sky.

Amazingly enough, I can still hear both highs and lows. Even after years of Rolling Stones, Guns and Roses and all sorts of other hard rocking folks combined with years as range officer at the department.

The reason is simple. Hearing protection.

There are two basic types; plugs and muffs. We carry both and both have their place.  Plugs are great and are easier to shoot long guns with. Muffs can get in the way of a good cheek weld but they can also dampen the conduction of noise impulses through the bones around the ear.

And, especially if you'll be shooting indoors around others, think about doubling up with plugs and muffs. I did this frequently during department shoots, wearing sonic ear plugs and putting electronic muffs over them.

Electronic muffs allow, even amplify, lower volume sounds but will cancel out higher volume noises.

If you need new ear protection, look for the type that will best serve your needs and check for a high NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). When in doubt, ask us and we'll help find what will best serve you.

OHHH! I just found a youtube of Natalie Merchant singing with the Cowboy Junkies, gotta go..... But here, you can listen along....Misguided Angel