Archive for the ‘Guns’ Category

The touch.

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Once again, I’m asking you to help somebody out.

Great and good friend of the blog, and founder of Operation Blazing Sword, Erin Palette, was pretty seriously injured Tuesday night. Erin is recovering at home, but has expenses and will probably have more.

There’s a GoFundMe here.

You guys know the drill: tomorrow’s payday, and I plan to donate as soon as the direct deposit shows up. I won’t ask you to give to a cause I won’t give to.


Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Court paperwork filed Tuesday said an armed good Samaritan stopped an attack on a runner on a popular trail near Rainey Street last week.

Another jogger who was carrying a flashlight and a handgun heard the victim scream and ran over to help.
The affidavit said the jogger told police he shined his light in the direction of the screams and saw the victim on her back and the attacker on his left side on top of the victim.
The jogger pointed his gun at the suspect and demanded he get off the victim. The attacker stood up and was naked from the waist down, the affidavit said.

More tales from the bizarro world.

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

I seem to have a run of these lately.

Yesterday, someone tried to kill Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. as he walked into the Jefferson County courthouse in Steubenville, Ohio. The attack is being called an “ambush”: judges have reserved parking spaces, and Judge Bruzzese was attacked as he walked from his space into the courthouse.

The judge, who is described as “an avid hunter”, returned fire. Reports say the judge and his attacker fired five shots each. The judge was wounded and taken to a hospital in Pittsburgh: the most current reports I’ve seen say he’s expected to recover.

The gunman was killed by a probation officer.

Shooting a judge is bizarre enough that I’d probably make note of it here. But there’s a twist:

The gunman was the father of a former Steubenville football player who was convicted of rape.

You may remember the Steubenville rape case from 2013. Briefly, a group of football players sexually assaulted a fellow student, filmed the assault, and shared pictures on social media. There were allegations that school authorities in Steubenville knew about the sexual assault and tried to cover it up. The whole mess was big news in 2013.

The really odd thing is, Judge Bruzzese didn’t have anything to do with the rape case. That case was heard by another visiting judge. Judge Bruzzese was hearing a wrongful death suit being pressed by the alleged gunman against the local housing authority, and there was a hearing scheduled for next Monday.

So why shoot the judge now? Maybe you think he’s biassed and want to try your chances with someone else? But how did he expect to get away with this? The whole thing was apparently caught on camera (though I don’t believe the video has been released). And it’s not like Steubenville is a big city.

Maybe it was judgement juice:

A man who was in the car with the shooter was grazed by a bullet and was taken to Trinity Medical Center West. He told law enforcement interviewers he had been unaware of what was happening. Abdalla said that man and the shooting suspect had been drinking last night when the suspect said he had to be in court early today.

We extend our best wishes to Judge Bruzzese and hope for a speedy recovery.

Timing. The secret of comedy.

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

Remember that blog post from yesterday about the Toepperwein/Frye book?

I didn’t know anything about this at the time, and didn’t find out until great and good friend of the blog Karl (also official firearms trainer of WCD) sent along a link to the NRA Blog.

Ad Toepperwein’s Colt Target Revolver.

As you know, Bob, I’m a Smith and Wesson man myself, but I have to admit that is a pretty Colt.

After Ad and Plinky’s son Lawrence arrived in 1904, Plinky decided to slow down with her shooting career and began taking up bowling seriously. For Ad, this was heresy and he challenged his wife to a shoot-off to see if she had lost any of her skills. Plinky was still in her best form and was reported to have beaten Ad in two of the three matches that day.

She sounds like the kind of person very few people are lucky enough to find.

This also gives me a chance to mention something I forgot yesterday: Mr. Toepperwein was a native Texan, born in Bourne (between Austin and San Antonio), died in San Antonio.

(Also: I noticed that I wasn’t consistent in the spelling of his last name: “Toepperwein” versus “Topperwein”. I probably ought to go back and clean that up a little, but I’ve seen it rendered both ways in other sources. The NRA Blog says “Folks at Winchester weren’t slow to capitalize on the husband and wife combination and dubbed the pair, the ‘Famous Topperweins’. Ad had lost an ‘e’ from his surname with Winchester advertising, but had gained an enthusiastic partner.”)

Brief book note.

Monday, August 14th, 2017

This is not a review or an endorsement, since I only picked this up yesterday and haven’t read it yet. But I do want to put in a quick plug for it: it was published last year by Texas Tech University Press and I am afraid it has already fallen into obscurity. I didn’t know anything about it until I stumbled on a copy at Half-Price Books.

Shooting for the Record: Adolph Toepperwein, Tom Frye, and Sharpshooting’s Forgotten Controversy is a book about Topperwein, Frye, exhibition shooting, and the world record controversy.

Back in the old days, the various gun companies paid “exhibition shooters” to travel around the country and put on shooting demonstrations with their products. Adolf “Ad” Topperwein was a shooter for Winchester (along with his wife, known as “Plinky”). At one point, Mr. Topperwein held the world record for aerial shooting: “…more than 72,000 hand thrown blocks 2½ inches in diameter, and missing only nine“.

Then Tom Frye came along. Mr. Frye was an exhibition shooter for Remington, and was a little younger than Mr. Topperwein. In 1959, he used the then newly introduced Remington Nylon 66 rifle to shoot 100,010 wooden blocks over a 14-day period, hitting 100,004 of them and breaking Mr. Topperwein’s record. However, Mr. Topperwein apparently felt that Mr. Frye’s setup wasn’t entirely fair: specifically, the distance Mr. Frye was shooting at was too short, and Mr. Frye’s throwers were using a different technique that made it easier for him to hit. (Also, the Nylon 66 was much lighter, and thus easier to hold for long periods, than the Winchester rifles that Mr. Topperwein used.)

As I said, I haven’t read the whole book yet, but I did get through the author’s preface. One of the things that interested him about the Frye/Topperwein controversy was that Mr. Frye may have actually been using “performance enhancing drugs” in his record attempt, predating Barry Bonds by about 40 years.

This book pushes a couple of my hot buttons. In the past couple of years, I’ve become more interested in the 20th Century exhibition shooters, like the Topperwins and Frye and Herb Parsons and others. (There’s a pretty good DVD, “Fast and Fancy Shooters“, that has vintage footage of some of these people at work. Link goes to Amazon, but I was able to find it cheaper on eBay when I bought it.)

In addition, I have my own personal reasons for being interested in Mr. Frye: one of these days Real Soon Now, I’m going to finish the long post I started a while back about my Nylon 66, Tom Frye, and childhood nostalgia.

In general, out of my group of shooting friends, I think I’m the most interested in shooting history of the bunch. I expect this to be a swell addition to my library, and I encourage anyone who has a set of buttons like mine to pick up a copy.

On a semi-related side note, you know who else is interested in firearms history? Karl of KR Training, official firearms trainer of Whipped Cream Difficulties. I bring this up here because he’s been working on a series of “Historical Handgun” courses: the first one was a 1/2 day course he ran this past weekend, and he has a full day class coming up in September. For personal reasons, I can’t attend, but I’m looking forward to the two-day version of the class he plans to run sometime in 2018.

In the meantime, though, he’s got some blog entries up: an after action report on the 1/2 day class, discussion of the FBI’s qualification course circa 1945, and even a couple of book reviews. I encourage my readers to give Karl’s blog some affection, even if you do live too far away to enroll in his classes.

(I think it’d be kind of fun, though, if Karl could develop this into a sort of standard curriculum and share it with instructors in other regions. It might be fun to have people all over the country running these classes and showing how it was done in the old days. Heck, maybe we could make this a thing, like cowboy action shooting and the zoot shooters: combat matches with “appropriate” guns from different eras. This could be a whole bunch of fun.)

DEFCON 25/Black Hat updates: July 27, 2017.

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Round 1:

Edited to add more:

  • Karla Burnett’s “Ichthyology: Phishing as a Science” is actually relevant to my professional life. White paper.
  • Slides and the white paper for “Hacking Hardware with a $10 SD Card Reader” (Amir Etemadieh, CJ Heres, and Khoa Hoang) are here.

DEFCON 25: 0 day notes.

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

I’m not going again this year. Maybe next year, if things hold together. But if I were going, what on the schedule excites me? What would I go to if I were there?

Thursday: neither of the 10:00 panels really grab me. At 11:00, maybe “From Box to Backdoor: Using Old School Tools and Techniques to Discover Backdoors in Modern Devices” but I’m at best 50/50 on that. At 12:00, I feel like I have to hit the “Jailbreaking Apple Watch” talk. “Amateur Digital Archeology” at 13:00 sounds mildly interesting.

Not really exited by anything at 14:00. At 15:00, I suspect I would end up at “Real-time RFID Cloning in the Field” and “Exploiting 0ld Mag-stripe information with New technology“. And 16:00 is probably when I’d check out the dealer’s room again, or start getting ready for an earlyish dinner.

Friday: 10:00 is sort of a toss-up. THE Garry Kasparov is giving a talk on
The Brain’s Last Stand” and as you know, Bob, chess is one of my interests. On the other hand, there’s also two Mac specific talks, and Kasparov’s talk is probably going to be packed: I suspect I’d hit “macOS/iOS Kernel Debugging and Heap Feng Shui” followed by “Hacking travel routers like it’s 1999” (because I’m all about router hacking, babe). Nothing grabs me at 11:00, but I do want to see “Open Source Safe Cracking Robots – Combinations Under 1 Hour!” at 12:00:

By using a motor with a high count encoder we can take measurements of the internal bits of a combination safe while it remains closed. These measurements expose one of the digits of the combination needed to open a standard fire safe. Additionally, ‘set testing’ is a new method we created to decrease the time between combination attempts. With some 3D printing, Arduino, and some strong magnets we can crack almost any fire safe.

13:00: “Controlling IoT devices with crafted radio signals“, and “Using GPS Spoofing to control time” at 14:00. (I do want to give a shout-out to the Elie Bursztein talk, “How we created the first SHA-1 collision and what it means for hash security“, though.)

Do I want to go to “Phone system testing and other fun tricks” at 15:00? Or do I want to take a break before “Radio Exploitation 101: Characterizing, Contextualizing, and Applying Wireless Attack Methods“:

As we introduce each new attack, we will draw parallels to similar wired network exploits, and highlight attack primitives that are unique to RF. To illustrate these concepts, we will show each attack in practice with a series of live demos built on software-defined and hardware radios.

And then at 17:00, “Cisco Catalyst Exploitation” is relevant to my interests. However, I don’t want to dismiss “The Internet Already Knows I’m Pregnant“:

…EFF and Journalist Kashmir Hill have taken a look at some of the privacy and security properties of over a dozen different fertility and pregnancy tracking apps. Through our research we have uncovered several privacy issues in many of the applications as well as some notable security flaws as well as a couple of interesting security features.

Saturday: Nothing at 10:00. At 10:30, maybe “Breaking Wind: Adventures in Hacking Wind Farm Control Networks” because why not?

I have to give another shout-out to “If You Give a Mouse a Microchip… It will execute a payload and cheat at your high-stakes video game tournament” but I’m personally more interested in “Secure Tokin’ and Doobiekeys: How to Roll Your Own Counterfeit Hardware Security Devices” at 11:00. (“All Your Things Are Belong To Us” sounds pretty cool, too, but I’d probably wait for the notes/repos/etc. to be released rather than attending in person.)

Oddly, there’s really nothing that grabs me between 12:00 and 15:00. At 15:00, “Tracking Spies in the Skies” mildly intrigues me (mostly for the ADS-B aspect), while at 16:00 I’m really excited by “CableTap: Wirelessly Tapping Your Home Network” (more home router hacking! Hurrah!)

At 17:00:

In this talk, we explore the security of one of the only smart guns available for sale in the world. Three vulnerabilities will be demonstrated. First, we will show how to make the weapon fire even when separated from its owner by a considerable distance. Second, we will show how to prevent the weapon from firing even when authorized by its owner. Third, we will show how to fire the weapon even when not authorized by its owner, with no prior contact with the specific weapon, and with no modifications to the weapon.

You have my attention.

(Related article from Wired. Presenter’s Twitter feed.)

Sunday: “I Know What You Are by the Smell of Your Wifi“, followed a little later by “Backdooring the Lottery and Other Security Tales in Gaming over the Past 25 Years“.

Weirdly, after that, there’s nothing that interests me until the closing ceremonies at 16:00. (Though I might go to “Man in the NFC” if I was there.)

This seems like a very low-key year, and I’m not sure why. I don’t see any Bluetooth related stuff, and very little lock related. Perhaps I should be glad I’m skipping this year.

Anyway, you guys know the drill: if you see a talk you’re interested in, leave a comment and I’ll try to run it down. If you’re a presenter who wants to promote your talk, leave a comment and I’ll try to give you some love.

Reptile cults. Why did it have to be reptile cults?

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Today’s headline of the day:

Police: Woman kills boyfriend after spat with reptilian cult


She said her boyfriend believed the cult’s leader to be a “reptilian” pretending to be a human, a police affidavit said.


Online postings associated with the cult detail a theory that a group of alien reptiles is subverting the human race through mind control.

Sounds like David Icke, but the linked article doesn’t specify. Are there other reptile-based conspiracy theorists out there?

More book stuff.

Monday, July 17th, 2017

I’m a sucker for those “collector’s” reprints of various firearms related books, like the stuff in the Palladium Press Firearms Classics Library. I’m not a total sucker: Half-Price Books gets these in every once in a while, and while I’m generally not willing to pay their marked price ($30-$35), if there’s a sale or a coupon, I’m there.

I know they generally don’t have a lot of value to book collectors, but that’s fine: I think they look nice on the shelves. Plus, to take one example, I think I paid $15 for Ordnance Went Up Front. Amazon has a Kindle edition for $9, but I’d rather pay the extra few dollars for a nice physical copy. And there’s a lot of that stuff that doesn’t have a Kindle edition.

This is a different publisher, and a little more expensive, but there’s a catch:

Capstick, Peter Hathaway. Death In a Lonely Land: More Hunting, Fishing, and Shooting on Five Continents. Derrydale Press, 1990.

Yes, it’s a reprint. A “limited” edition reprint of 2,500 numbered copies, which makes it almost certainly worthless to collectors and anybody who doesn’t have the word “sucker” stamped on their forehead.

(looks in mirror)

Well, I’ll be darned. Where did that come from?

But I digress.

I don’t remember exactly how I first came into possession of Death in the Long Grass: I want to say I was a teenager (or pre-teen?) visiting my maternal grandmother, we went by a bookstore on one of our rare ventures out of the house, either I talked her into buying it for her grandchild or I had some pocket money of my own, and…

…I was already kind of gun-crazy at the time, but that book was a revelation to me. It wasn’t just that the whole “let’s go hunting elephants in Africa” thing appealed to me as I was straining the bounds of my existence: it was also that the guy could write. The young me found him sometimes screamingly funny. The old me still does. I think sometimes I even try a little too hard to emulate Capstick’s prose style, the end result being something like if you left my prose next to a complete collection of Capstick books and a gallon of milk for a week in a non-working refrigerator outside in a Texas July.

Point being, I didn’t just want to hunt lions and tigers and buffalo like Capstick, I wanted to write like him as well. At least back in those days. These days, I’m working on developing my own style, but Capstick is still an influence.

This was $75, marked down by 50% because of the coupon. It was still a little more than I would usually have paid, but this book has one great advantage that my other Capstick books don’t:

Capstick died in 1996 of complications from, of all things, heart bypass surgery. I never met him – I don’t think he did a lot of book tours, and I don’t move in Safari Club circles – so this is the only signed Capstick in my library right now. It was worth it to me, and to that small boy inside me.

Close call.

Monday, July 17th, 2017

The last sentence would have made me snort coffee out of my nose, if I had actually been drinking it at the time.

(Obits to come.)

Recent aquisitions.

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

I’ve been a little off my feed recently (for reasons that are not open to discussion), but I’m starting to feel a little better. And Half-Price Books sent out another batch of coupons: I wasn’t able to use them Monday or Wednesday because reasons, but I have picked up a few mildly interesting things the rest of the week that I figured I’d share:

I have one more book on hold waiting for tomorrow’s 50% off coupon, and that may be the subject of a separate post. It combines one of my interests – African hunting – with childhood nostalgia and one of my favorite writers. No, not Ruark: the other guy.

Memo from the police blotter.

Friday, July 14th, 2017

I don’t write about this story lightly. I’m blogging it because I think it brings up some things that need to be discussed.

An APD detective is being sued in Bastrop County. Specifically, the complaint against her is that she was negligent in securing her duty weapon: a child stole it from her and committed suicide with it.

[Defense attorneys] say that [the detective] had kept the gun in her purse in a locked safe, and there was no way for her to know that [the victim] could have gained access to it. Furthermore, they said it would be unreasonable to expect that every gun owner in Texas should be responsible to keep their weapons under lock and key, where they aren’t accessible during an emergency, according to the motion for summary judgment.

Plaintiff’s side:

But [victim’s mother] claims that [defendant] violated Section 46.13 of the Texas Penal Code, which states that “a person commits an offense if a child gains access to a readily dischargeable firearm” and the person is criminally negligent if she “failed to secure the firearm or left the firearm in a place to which the person knew or should have known the child would gain access.”

Plaintiff’s side also claims that the defendant didn’t actually have the weapon in a locked safe.

It does seem kind of callous and cruel to say “there’s no duty to lock up your guns away from kids”. Responsible people are going to do this anyway, duty or no duty.

But there’s a twist: the child in this case was actually 16 years old. Maybe I am jaded, but it seems to me like a 16-year-old is going to be highly motivated to find the forbidden, if they really want it: drugs, booze, porn…or even a gun. Even a gun in a “locked safe” beside a bed. And I really do wonder what kind of “locked safe” that was: as we all know, Bob, many “gun safes” are actually insecure and can easily be opened by a five-year-old who thinks there’s candy inside. How good does a gun safe have to be to stand up against a 16-year-old?

Especially a motivated one.

According to court documents, [the victim] was sent to stay with her aunt and [the defendant] after her father was convicted of molesting her. Her mother allowed him back in the home, though he was not allowed to be around his daughter. [Victim]’s mother claims there was reason to believe that her daughter was a risk to herself or others because of the abuse and that [defendant] should have been extra cautious to secure the weapons in the home.

“[defendant] should have been extra cautious to secure the weapons in the home…” Or, you know, maybe victim’s mom could have done something else here…trying to think of what that could be…oh, yeah, that’s right.

Did you try not letting the guy who was convicted of raping your daughter back into the house? Instead of sending of sending your kid off to live with other people? Doesn’t that send a pretty clear message: Mom values the man who hurt me more than she does me?

(And I know it seems kind of dismissive, but: what if the victim had taken a whole bottle of Tylenol instead? Or used Google to look up “Japanese cleaning product suicides”?)

This whole thing is just so messed up, I don’t even know where to begin thinking about it.

(In case you need it.)