Ruger takes another swing at making a marketable duty pistol

Apparently Ruger, not content to sit on its laurels after actually having some marketing successes, is going to throw it all away by trying, yet again, to bring out a duty pistol.

Ruger is on a roll these days, releasing a new generation of rifles and handguns to meet the demanding demands of modern gun owners. A few years ago Ruger started their roll-out with the American Rifle, a great entry-level hunting gun. Then they moved to the Precision Rifle, this year’s TTAG Reader’s Choice award for Best Rifle of 2015. Now it looks like they’re expanding into the handgun market with a new set of striker fired guns . .

*sigh* Ruger makes a lot of great stuff, but an automatic pistol that corners the police/miliary/defensive market? Nope. The swung for the bleachers with the P85/89 series to try and win the US military contracts…and failed. The design evolved into the P95 (which, actually, I think is a great gun) and was only discontinued a few years ago…but never really wound up in any departments holsters. They retreated to the drawing board and came up with the SR9 series which should have done well for them but, again, didn’t burn up the gun counters of our fair land. And now they’re going to try again.

Smith and Wesson is a good example of a company that made lame autos and redeemed themselves with a successful design. The old 3/4 digit ‘Third/Fourth Generation’ autos were, in my opinion, terrible. Smith learned their lesson (although they had to go through the fiasco of the Sigma)  and came out with the M&P series which is actually a pretty good pistol. Ruger must be trying for that same redemption.

As I said, Im actually a really big fan of the P95DC series of autos. They can usually be had very reasonably, are tough as hell, built to take abuse, and only has a few more parts than the equally simple Glock. While I prefer the Glock (or HiPower) for most of my 9mm needs, I’ll never pass up a P95 if one comes up at a bargain price.

As with virtually every new product Ruger comes out with, I’m sure there’ll be the usual recall in the first year or two of production…after that it’ll be interesting to see if this thing has legs or if it winds up as another eveolutionary dead-end in Ruger’s quest to make a dent in the police/military sidearm market.

Video – Creating Homemade Road Spikes with Flair

While messing around looking at old MythBuster stuff on YouTube, I came across this:

Caltrops! Mostly marketed these days for the purpose of discouraging vehicular traffic, although the hollow versions are supposed to be more efficient at deflating tires. However, they’re also handy for deterring foot traffic as well. In conjunction with some ‘tanglefoot‘ wire stringing, there’s the potential to slow someones advance quite thoroughly.

There’s no shortage of commercial sources for the ready made stuff, but sometimes that DIY touch is called for. The easiest way, from what I’ve read, is to get ‘hog wire’ panels and simply cut-n-bend as needed.

Purpose? Well, I’ve seen people attach these things with strings or chain to make an obstacle that is easily laid across a driveway or trail,  but can be removed quickly if needed. If I had a place out in the hills and was worried about my privacy, I could very easily see laying some of these across the most likely avenues of approach ‘just in case’. The obvious notion of dumping a bucket of them out the window of your car while being pursued…well, I’m not sure how that would work out but it seems a staple of movies.

Sortimo and Sortimo-like products

During the day, I listen to ‘Tested‘ which has some podcasts involving Adam Savage, the enthusiastic personality from Mythbusters. One of the things I enjoy about these podcasts is that buried in all the geek-chic of movie fandom, prop making, and television stories, are insights into the practical side of Savage’s manufacturing skills and talents. He has some useful stuff from time to time, and I suspect that he’s a closet survivalist of some fashion, even if he wouldn’t use that term to describe himself.

As you can imagine, given his interest in building all sortsa things, Mr. Savage has a tremendous amount of small parts and tools to keep track of…much like those of us who maintain our firearms. In one of his podcasts he mentioned a line of small-parts organizers, Sortimo, that he was rather fond of..and the demonstrations of it were pretty impressive.

It’s an expensive system, and a bit difficult to find, but it appears to be the ultimate way to keep all those annoying springs, detents, and pins that make up an AR15 from getting lost.

Amazon, my usual source for this sort of stuff, let me down. I found one genuine(?) Sortimo product on there, and a lot of lookalikes. Fortunately, it appears you can order them off the US distributors website. Interestingly, it appears that Bosch is either a licensed partner or is just outright cloning the darn things.

I bring it up because I’ve been keeping most of my spare parts in the older-style Plano organizers, and while they are handy there is room for improvement. What I want is a parts bin that, as Mr Savage demonstrates, can be carried around like a briefcase and all those small parts stay in their compartment.

Anyway, it’s an interesting product, and the video is fun to watch as well. It’s an expensive system, to be sure, but I do believe that often you get what you pay for..especially when it comes to tools and tool-related stuff.

Festivus approaches

The Festivus season is nigh. Chrismahanukwanzakah gift shopping has commenced, and I’m sure the stores are full of cool things for purchase.

In addition to the holidays, the weather is getting a bit nippier as well. Official winter is a week away, but it can get pretty darn cold here in the mountains even before winter officially walks in the door.

This year, after years and years and years of wanting, I finally pulled the trigger and got the Filson coat I’ve been wanting. It is literally the most expensive piece of clothing I own that does not stop bullets. Does it live up to my expectations? Yes and no. It’s warm, and it’s comfy, but it is classically styled…and that means that that some more modern amenities such as higher collars, some velcro, and a few other things would be nice. As warm as the thing is, you still need to wear a scarf or something since neck coverage isn’t that great. Pockets could be a little deeper, too. But otherwise….nice coat. Every person I meet who has one of these tells me the same belonged to their dad, or to their grandfather..or they bought it 30 years ago…but the story always is the same: it’s a product that literally lasts a lifetime. theory…the outrageous expense will be amortized over whats left of my life. (I thought about the Wool Packer Coat but, to me, that fleece lining makes  it looks like the butt end of an elk.)

No real snow so far this month, and although we usually have a white Christmas in these parts I’ll be surprised if we get one this year. Just not feelin’ it.

Article – Data encryption in sharp focus after deadly attacks

At the same time, he said, in New York “there are more than 100 investigations stopped in their tracks because there are phones that can’t be analyzed. These are murderers, rapists, pedophiles who are not being prosecuted.”

Hayes said that in the current environment, tech firms are not likely to voluntarily make changes to help law enforcement.

“The only way they would be persuaded is through legislation,” he said.

And if that wasn’t enough to to make your privacy-gland spasm, try this:

Federal investigators looking into the San Bernardino massacre deployed a spy plane overhead after the attacks in an apparent attempt to find additional suspects, Daily Mail Online can reveal.The Department of Homeland Security is said to have put up the single engine craft over the California city and ordered it to make repeated circles overhead.The craft would likely have been equipped with ‘Dirtbox’ technology which can scan tens of thousands of phones in one go to identify suspects.

So….gov can pretend to be a cell phone provider in order to see if your phone is in the area, and if they come across your phone they want the manufacturer to make it easy for them to get into it and all your data. Warm fuzzies!

And, naturally, after this episode you can expect that prepaid ‘burner‘ cell phones are going to be the next target.

So, really, it looks like the only salvation for the pricvacy-minded individual is to either hope that the law will hamstring .gov (fat chance, right?) or you’re going to have to take steps to make certain that you’ll always have a way to have the ability to communicate securely over long distances. It really sucks, but this looks like the direction things are going.

Article – Meet the Preppers Who Are Ready for the Next Massive Solar Storm

Hurricanes and blizzards are petty trifles compared with the weather phenomenon that troubles apocalypse preppers: They’re worried about a giant electromagnetic storm wiping out all technology.

It’s an unlikely scenario — a massive solar storm strikes only about once every 500 years — but if the Earth was hit by one, power grids across the world could be permanently fried. “Frankly, this could be one of the most severe natural disasters that the country, and major portions of the world, could face,” renowned space weather consultant John Kappenman told Gizmodo.

How would we survive the space storm? To find out, I spoke with individuals already prepping for the technopocalypse, and engineers hoping to fortify our infrastructure against it.

I would imagine that if you’re in the ‘Lights Out’/EMP camp, you’re pretty much already set up for this sort of thing.

I must say, if the EMP doomists are correct about the effects and methods of generating a nation-crippling EMP attack it would seem a remarkably cost-effective way to drop a nation into the 19th century. You buy a surplus Soviet nuke, strap it into the back of a private plane, fly it over the heartland, and press a button. Assuming, of course, that the scientists and theorists are correct about that sort of thing….since it’s never actually been done on any large scale.

I would think, though, that if there’s really some validity to it the .gov would have a stack of EMP-generating nukes specifically designed for the task. Maybe they do, who can say?

I do recall there have been a few solar event over the last couple decades that did wind up throwing a monkey wrench into things on a smaller scale…ATM networks, phone systems, etc, but nothing along the lines of planes-falling-from-the-sky like we’ve been led to believe. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen that way, just that so far it hasn’t.

Personally, my vision of the apocalypse doesn’t include this sort of thing. However, if it does happen, I’d still be pretty well squared away just by virtue of the ‘general’ level of preparedness I try to keep going. There’s enough ‘crossover’ in preparing for ‘X’ that you wind up being covered for 80% of ‘Y”.

Still and all, an interesting article. It’s always illuminating to read about how others prepare for various events.

Link – Disaster Preparedness Tokyo

Friend of the blog ,Rawles over at SurvivalBlog has a link to a really cool .pdf manual put out by the Japanese. Living on the terrestrial equivalent of Jell-O, they take preps for earthquakes pretty seriously. (The fact that the NorKs are only a missle-launch away probably factors in as well.)

Not only is it a fairly good manual on what to do before, during, and after a disaster, it also gives a glimpse into Japan’s rather impressive preparedness programs. I am especially enamored with their ‘disaster parks’….open spaces that look like public parks but are actually carefully constructed rally points and staging areas for relief projects. (This article describing the disaster parks is inspiring and disappointing at the same time. Inspiring because its a brilliant idea and an actual project worthy of local government, disappointing because we don’t do it.)

That other freedom that is under the gun

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – B. Franklin

After the president’s speech about how people need to be denied guns if they’re on the ‘no fly list’, and how all these ‘loopholes’ need to be closed, and ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ need to be forbidden, there’s a great focus in the survivalist community on those issues. But..there is another issue that is being brought up a little more quietly and that issue is communications.

For years now the .gov has been leaning on tech companies to make their products secure enough to please consumers, but not so secure that .gov can’t get into it if they want. Phone manufacturers, for example, are being encouraged to develop their phones so that no one but the phone’s owner can access the data within it….unless that person is .gov.

In short, we’re spiraling back to the Clipper Chip days. The idea of ‘key escrow’, or a third-party holding the keys to your phone, is still among us. From the Wikipedia entry:

Following the Snowden disclosures from 2013, Apple and Google announced that they would lock down data stored on their smartphones with encryption, in a way so that Apple and Google could not break the encryption even if ordered to do so with a warrant.[10] This prompted a strong reaction from the authorities, with one of the more iconic responses being the chief of detectives for Chicago’s police department stating that “Apple will become the phone of choice for the pedophile”.[11] Washington Post posted an editorial insisting that “smartphone users must accept that they cannot be above the law if there is a valid search warrant”, and after agreeing that backdoors would be undesirable, suggested implementing a “golden key” backdoor which would unlock the data with a warrant.

You can rest assured that the old chestnut of “If you’re not doing anything illegal, then you have nothing to hide” will be trotted out.

Quite simply, I enjoy my privacy. And if I want to communicate with my fellow Like-Minded Individuals over the internet, through text messaging, or even through Mr Franklins postal system, I should be able to do so with confidence that whatever message I am sending is being viewed only by it’s intended recipients.

Things to keep an eye open for?

  • More pressure on manufacturers to include backdoors for LE/.gov in their hardware/software
  • Loosening up of the requirements to intercept communications
  • More record-keeping of who sent what where. (You know the PO scans all snail mail addresses and stores them, right?)
  • Crypto software either getting watered down, or reclassified to make sales to folks like you and I more difficult
  • The FCC shuffling around which bands can/can’t be used by various classes of license.

And it really wouldn’t surprise me to see some action in the world of amateur radio. One of the first signs of a Bad Thing is when .gov tightens the screws on those wanting equipment that can allow someone to communicate to someone outside the country. I couuld very easily see an ATF 4473-style ‘background check’ put into place for those wanting ham radio licenses and certain ‘powerful’ equipment.

This might, actually, be a good time to get the ball rolling if you’ve been thinking about getting into amateur radio.