Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The 1911 Obsession

SayUncle is linking to an almost completely uninformed criticism of the 1911. I'm not going to direct link because it's honestly so poorly thought out it might be a gunblogosphere troll. I will quote his two major theses though:
It’s a 100-year old design. It needs tools to disassemble. It has unreliable magazines. It is finicky about ammo. And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.
100 years old? Ok as if age really meant anything. In general a gun being in use 100 years after it was designed is proof of value not proof it is rubbish. I am reminded of one of my first blog posts back in 2004.

Tools to disassemble? No it doesn't. Field stripping most 1911s requires no tools. Detail stripping the 1911 can be done with tools the gun itself provides during the process. It is possible to screw this up with some manufacturers full length guide rods, etc.

Unreliable magazines? There are 100 years of mags out there for the 1911. Some of them are bound to suck. Any gun can have unreliable mags and any automatic will be unreliable with a bag magazine including Glocks and Sigs.

Finicky about ammo? Maybe. The original wasn't designed to feed hollowpoints. You need a 1911 with a modern feed ramp geometry that fixes this. The original had a steel frame and so making the feedramp integral to the frame isn't a problem. If you buy one with a softer aluminum frame, get a ramped barrel so the feedramp is still steel. But I've met a lot of modern guns that still prefer one brand of hollowpoint to another.

The last bit about safety is crap. I would gladly take the 1911 with it's many redundant external safeties to the Glock with it's single non-redundant trigger safety. Yes you have to train with the 1911. But you have to train with everything so that 1911 is not special. The 1911 also has a great consistent trigger almost entirely because it is single-action.
Why does a reliable 1911 cost so much, and need so much gunsmithing?
Because it was designed before CNC machining became the dominant firearms technology. You can still get good cheap 1911s (~$400), they just have to come from cheaper labor countries like the Philippines or China. And they largely won't be target guns, they'll be ordnance grade guns.

The very expensive 1911s are because of people wanting everything. With cars you can have only have two items from this list: acceleration, handling, low cost. With guns the list is different but the concept is the same: accuracy, reliability, low cost. If you tighten up the tolerances to get accuracy, you lose most of the clearances required for reliability. Which means you need someone who knows what they're doing to keep both so you're paying for their expertise. For ordnance grade guns, you're typical getting reliability and service level accuracy for not much money.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not Mine

The Anchoress notes that federal buildings must be warm for Michelle Obama to go in a sleeveless vintage Norman Norelli number without a hint of goosebumps. Unlike you know, every one else who has turned down their heat to fight rising energy prices and higher seasonal heating bills.

I've been working for the government for over eight years now. At no time in my service has the HVAC ever worked right. My building was built as temporary lab space for World War II and the Army has been using it in one way or another ever since. The HVAC has been fixed 3 times since I started working there, but it is still broken. This week highs outside were in the 30s and the AC was on inside. For over a week. To be fair, if they managed to get the heat working it would probably be far too warm to be comfortable.

This is the story on most of the legacy buildings on most US military bases. Heat is central steam heat. The central plant has two settings, on and off. The setting is changed twice a year whether you need it or not. All the steam lines leak so the heat is never dispersed properly. Your building is either far too hot or way too cold. Because of this everyone has both an electric space heater and a fan at their desk. Every few years a contractor comes in and promises to work miracles for a reasonable fee, but then it breaks again in a year or two.

The right side of the blogosphere has this narrative going on that the Government functionaries are living in the lap of luxury while Rome burns. It's BS. Aging infrastructure is not just an issue with the interstate highway system.

Monday, December 13, 2010

RNC Politics

Rumor has it that Michael Steel is finally stepping down as RNC chair. Huzzah! Now Norm Coleman says he wants the job.

Hey I have an idea. How about we pick an RNC chair who actually has a history of winning elections. Steele was a joke in his native Maryland, mostly because Black Republicans are blatantly Uncle Tommed in the state. Coleman lost to Al Franken in a close race. Isn't there a decent Republican governor facing term limits somewhere?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Regular Maintenance

I was practicing my draw in the basement with the airsoft 1911 when I noticed that the thumbsnap on my holster was tending to disengage the airsoft's manual safety. Not so good, but I've never noticed it happening with the real thing. A quick walk to the safe and... huh the darn electronic lock is dead.

Pry off the access plate, find the key, open her up and well there's your problem. One of the AAs powering the lock leaked. Pull them out, clean it up, and it works fine with fresh batteries. Glad that didn't happen when it mattered. Need to start storing the emergency safe keys closer to the safes in case this ever occurs when it does.

Oh and my real 1911 has a much more positive safety detent than the airsoft so accidental disengages don't seem to be a problem. I may have to adjust the holster thumbsnap anyway to be double plus sure.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Obama on Mythbusters

The President is appearing on tomorrow's Mythbusters to commission Adam and Jamie to look into the myth of Archimedes mirror. For those not in the know, it's a device which was supposedly used to focus the power of the sun to set attacking Roman ships afire during the Siege of Syracuse.

The Mythbusters have addressed this one at least twice in the past. So it's been done multiple times before, they've had minor success, but never found it really workable, and now that Obama shows up the results are supposed to be different? A fine metaphor for modern liberalism indeed.

UPDATE: Great minds think alike, but IMAO has clips.