I FINALLY DID IT!!!!!

September 13, 2012

For Day II in Raptor’s EPIC WEEK OF AWESOME (TM), I went and did something that I’ve been planning on and dreaming of doing for years and years and years: I went shooting for the very first time!

Went to Clayton’s Hunting, Fishing & Indoor Range in Horsham PA. Great facility, really nice and professional employees; if you’re local, I highly recommend them (not that I have much in the way of comparison, but still…)

Anyway, Clayton’s offers a one-on-one personalized firearms safety course, which is what I signed up for. Spent maybe 30-45 minutes in a classroom going over safety, shooting and firearms mechanics, etc. Very informative, and a heck of a lot more involved than I expected. Whoever called shooting “a point-and-click interface” lied: it’s freakin’ complicated!

Anyway, after my instructor went over everything and decided I was ready, we hit the range. He “only” set the targets 5 yards out, but it was still plenty tough. First firearm he had me use was a Ruger Mk. III in .22 LR. Fired about… I dunno, 30-35ish shots through that. Recoil was much greater than I’d anticipated (i.e. it actually had kick), but I got the hang of it pretty quick. No s*** this is one of my targets:

Dunno if you can read the writing, but that was an 8-round string. That circled cluster in the center? 4 rounds, all overlapping. Group is smaller than a dime. Yes, it’s only a .22 at 5 yards, but considering it was my first time, I’ll take it in spades. My instructor couldn’t believe I shot a grouping like that (heck, I don’t believe I did it.

Anyway, after I’d gotten the hang of the Ruger, my instructor swapped it out for a Kimber Stainless Target II in 9mm. Let me tell you, that thing is a whole ‘nother animal from the .22. Took quite a while to get the hang of the trigger. I can see why target shooters love the 1911 so much: the trigger is really light and barely moves.

I only fired 15 or so rounds from the Kimber, all on one target, but again, I don’t think I did too bad:

I only fired 5-round strings at max (most were 3-rounders), so that “cluster” below the bulls-eye is the result of multiple strings and not a single grouping, but again, I’ll take it in spades.

What did I think overall? Much different from what I expected. Recoil, at least for the 9mm, was a lot less than I’d anticipated. Noise from both guns was about what I’d figured, but I hadn’t expected the heat or pressure at all. And like I said, shooting itself is tough. Forget point and shoot, you gotta worry about sight alignment, grip, stance, breathing, trigger control, follow through… all while trying to hold a two pound chunk of steel steady out at arm’s length. My lesson ended about 2.5 hours ago, and my shoulders are still aching!

But even so, I had a freakin’ BLAST! Can’t wait to do it again!


Larry FREAKIN’ Correia!

September 11, 2012

Just got back from the book signing. Holy Cow. It. Was. Awesome!

First off, Larry is hands-down the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He’s real humble, down to earth, and always willing to chat it up with his fans (and pretty much anyone else too). He’s also hilarious. No lie, we spent half the time  laughing our heads off.

And it turns out it wasn’t just a signing, but actually a really big event. Larry filled us in on a lot of his upcoming work (cannot wait for MH Legion!) and took questions from the audience. And he answered every single one, and in great detail too. Didn’t brush anyone off, or give a quick-and-done-next answer. Even answered one of mine, which I gotta admit was pretty awesome.

Then the signing. He autographed every single thing that was requested, and yes I do mean thing: someone asked him to sign their Kindle. The whole time, everyone’s cracking jokes, telling wild stories, just generally having a good time.

And yes, I realize this post had devolved into rabid-fan-worship. I don’t care. I’m a rabid fan, and Larry is just that cool.

Speaking of Wild Stories, I met a fellow WeTheArmed.com member at the signing, goes by the handle of RevDisk. Now RevDisk has a habit of posting some pretty crazy stories on the forum that were supposedly true. Let me tell you, there’s nothing “supposedly” about them. They’re all true. And incidentally, I think RevDisk might actually be Skippy of Skippy’s List, aka The 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to do in the US Army. I actually asked, as some of his stories sounded familiar. Now he won’t confirm or deny, but given his reaction.. Anyway, Skippy or no, RevDisk is another awesome guy, one who I’m glad to have finally met in person.

And finally, while I did take a camera, I completely forgot to even take it out of the bag, let alone get a picture of myself with Larry. Dangit! But, as proof that I did actually make it to the signing:

Larry, if you’re reading this, thank you so much. It was an honor and a pleasure to meet you, sir. But please don’t wait three more years to do another East Coast book tour!


The Spark is Gone

July 14, 2012

I don’t usually do personal posts like this, but I think I owe you all this one. Consider it an explanation as to why I haven’t posted anything since Memorial Day.

My spark’s gone. My creativity, my creative juices, my inspiration, whatever you want to call it, whatever ability I had to take random thoughts & ideas and commit them to paper… I don’t seem to have it anymore.

Honestly, I haven’t written any substantial amount of anything of substance since… well… I can’t remember when. My “writing time,” if you can even call it that, has consisted of sitting in front of my computer, staring at  a blank Word Document/blog post for hours. And I can’t bang out a single sentence. Not. One. Lousy. Freakin’. Sentence. I kid you not, this blog post will be the most substantial thing I’ve written in a long time.

But here’s the thing; it’s not like I can’t come up with ideas. I can, and do, all the time. Literally. But as soon as I sit down in front of the laptop and fire up Word, or even pull out an ol’ fashioned notebook and pen… *POOF!* Everything’s gone. I got nothin’. All I can do is sit there and stare at a blank page/screen. Nothing comes, even if I try and force it.

So where am I going with this ramble? Honestly, I think my time as a writer is over. I’ve got nothing left. I’m sick and tired of trying to force stuff onto the page and failing miserably.  So I think it’s time to hang up the pen/keyboard/whatever. Unfortunately, this goes for Raptor’s Nest as well. I think this is going to be the last post I add to the nest. I’m not going to delete the blog, however.  If, by some miracle, my spark comes back, I might pick it back up again.

I don’t know what God has planned for me, but I don’t think being a writer is it anymore. I just pray I figure out what His plan is: writing’s the only thing I’m good at, or was good at, and I really don’t want to spend the rest of my life working customer service.

To all my readers, I’m sorry it has to end like this. Thanks for sticking with me. It’s been a nice run. Take care, y’all.

-Raptor


Close Call Tonight

July 2, 2011

Apologies in advance if this turns into a ramble and/or an incoherent rage-fest.

So my cousins & aunt & uncle came over for dinner this evening to celebrate the Forth of July. We had a great time overall; I haven’t gotten to see them in a few months. There was one dark spot, however, that put a damper on the whole night.

Mama Raptor took Aunt and Cousins out for a walk around the block to show them the neighborhood whilst walking The Dog. Papa Raptor, Uncle, and myself chose to stay behind and try to get Uncle’s camera connected to the TV so they could show us pictures of Cousin #3′s (who was absent tonight) high school graduation. This proved to be a mistake.

As the womenfolk were out walking (Cousins #1 and #2 are both young ladies), a black SUV full of teenage boys sped by them. As the vehicle approached them, the teens started shouting and “whoop”ing at them. Then one of the teens, who was apparently leaning out of the SUV’s window, threw a beer can at them, very nearly hitting Cousin #2 in the head. Unfortunately, none of the women had a cell phone on them, and none managed to get the SUV’s license plate as it sped away. They called the police as soon as they got home, but a preliminary search came up empty. Apparently there are a lot of black SUVs in the area.

Needless to say, I’m pissed. I’m greatly relieved that no one was injured, but I’m still furious. Partly, I’m furious at myself, because I think those little [EXPLITIVES] sped past me while I was walking about a month ago. They didn’t chuck a beer can at me, but they did speed past me, yelling and whooping and leaning out the window. Same road too. If I remember correctly, it was a black 4Runner, but I’m not sure and I don’t remember the plate at all.

If I ever achieve my goal of becoming Benevolent Dictator, any little [EXPLETIVES] who do stuff like that will be sentenced to a week in the stocks, and a sign will be nailed over the offender’s head reading “I AM A DRUNKEN LOSER. PLEASE THROW THINGS AT ME.”

On a serious note, part of the reason I’m so freaked out about this is because I can’t help but wonder, “What if those guys hadn’t sped off? What if they’d stopped and gotten out and continued the assault?” Both Cousin #1 and Cousin #2 are, as Mama Raptor describes them (rightly), “Beautiful Blondes.” A bunch of guys, intoxicated or not, might very well try to force themselves on them. To the best of my knowledge, neither them nor Aunt are really capable of defending themselves against a group of determined attackers. I know Mama Raptor isn’t. The possibility of such a thing happening, and right around the corner from our home no less, really scares me.

I know I’m beating myself up at this point, but I can’t help but thinking “I should have been there.” I don’t know what I could have done to stop it, but I still feel I should’ve gone with them.

This is a safe neighborhood, but as the police officer who responded tonight told us, the Township Police Department is really stretched thin. Several officers are out on medical leave, several more have retired, but the Township doesn’t have the money to hire any more officers. The K9 Unit’s been cut, as has the Officer Friendly program and the D.A.R.E. program, and every single officer with a badge is on the street right now, even one who is very sick with Lupus. Worse, the vast majority of the force is SWAT qualified, and as a result are members of a regional Tactical Response team that covers multiple jurisdictions, so if a SWAT call out happens, that will leave the Township’s streets virtually undefended.

As a result, I fear that incidents like the one that happened tonight will become more and more common. I can only pray that no one gets hurt, killed, or worse when they do.


Raptor’s Gun Wants, Part 2

June 14, 2011

I was looking over my previous post that covered the list of guns I plan on buying, and realized I made a serious oversight. In the Priority One (“Need”) category, I said I only needed one gun, a Browning Buck Mark .22 LR pistol. Now that’s all well and good (and I received compliments for my choice) but I realize now that a .22 LR rifle is probably just as necessary, if not more so, for anyone to learn basic marksmanship skills with.

With that in mind, I’m adding a .22LR rifle to my list. I thought about the Ruger 10/22, but as I understand it, their quality level QC has been increasingly iffy as of late, and I don’t feel comfortable enough in my knowledge of firearms to try buying a used one. Plus a .22 semi-auto doesn’t strike me as all that exciting. And while I’ll admit that lever guns are cool, they just don’t appeal to me all that much right now. So I’m gonna go with a good old-fashioned bolt-action rifle. Specifically, this one:

A CZ 452 FS. The CZ 452 has the reputation of being an all-around excellent .22 bolt gun, and really excellent value for the money. And I’m one of those weird people that absolutely loves the look of the full-length Mannlicher stock.

The only potential problem I see is that CZ is slowly phasing out the Model 452 and replacing it with the newer Model 455. I’ve no doubt that the 455 is a good gun (the early reports I’ve seen leads me to believe it is), I’m just concerned that they won’t make the 455 with a Mannlicher stock. I know that’s probably unfounded, but hopefully I’ll be able to pick one up before that becomes an issue. And if not, then oh well, I’ll just have to content myself with a “regular” CZ 455. ;-)


Back To the Real World

May 23, 2011

And mountains of laundry await…

Yep, The Raptor Clan just got back from our annual family vacation. ‘Twas nice to have everyone all together again, and I daresay this will probably be the last time this will happen. Little Brother’s in college now, so we don’t see him much, and I just graduated (w00t!) so I’ll hopefully be heading out on my own soon (as soon as gainful employment and money allow it), so family vacations will soon become a thing of the past.

Anyway, we spent the week down in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Mama Raptor’s Sister owns a really nice beach house down there, and she graciously gave it to us for the week free of charge. It’s literally right on the beach. No lie, that house is awesome. I could rant and rave about it… but that’s a post for another time. One cool thing (in my opinion) about her place is that it’s pretty much spitting distance from Camp Lejeune, and right under the flight pattern for the USMC’s training exercises. We had AV-8B Harrier jump jets buzzing the house a couple times a day, and a CH-64 flew over the beach on Friday. That was pretty sweet.

Aside from the USMC, it was a nice and quiet week (not that I minded the jets, of course: that, to me, is the sound of freedom and I never get sick of it). Walked the beach multiple times a day, explored all the little towns nearby, discovered that I really like scallops, and ate more fried shrimps and scallops than any sane person probably should. Thank God I’ve got the metabolism of a hummingbird. Oh yeah, speaking of food, we found this great restaurant called (IIRC) Rucker John’s. One thing they had on the menu that I absolutely loved was a basket homemade croissants liberally drizzled in something called Honey Butter. Oh man, you haven’t lived until you’ve tried that.

One thing that happened on this vacation was quite unexpected. I had a revelation/discovery: I really, really want a sailboat. Not one of those dinky little Sunfish boats, but an honest-to-goodness yacht. I don’t mean a huge 150+ foot yacht that has dozens of cabins and needs a large crew to said, but a simple 30- to 40-footer that I could handle myself, with one cabin and a galley belowdecks. Something about sailing just… I don’t know… is enticing to me. Out there, all alone, peace and quiet, nothing but me and the ocean… that sounds pretty nice. I think I’ve even come up with the perfect name for my boat, too. Don’t laugh: it’s Serenity.

I said don’t laugh.

Anyway, I really like the south. Everything’s slower-paced, the people are really nice, the food is to die for (seafood in the east, BBQ further inland), Conservative politics, guns as an accepted part of society (seriously, how many gun stores do you seen on Main Street north of the Mason-Dixon Line). If the sailboat thing doesn’t work out, I think I’ll move down there…


Raptor’s Gun Wants

April 23, 2011

A conversation I had over dinner earlier this week and Mad Ogre’s recent post about his gun wants got me thinking: what guns do I want, I mean really want? Granted, I want pretty much every single gun ever made that I can legally own (and a few I probably can’t, the Glock 18 being at the top of that list). Unfortunately, I probably won’t ever be rich enough to live that dream, so I’m gonna have to prioritize.

Currently, I have no guns, but I intend to change that ASAP. But what takes priority? What should I buy first, and what can wait? Unfortunately, try as I might, I can’t come up with a definitive, I-will-buy-these-guns-in-this-order list. I have, however, managed to come up with several “priority levels,” i.e. I’ll probably buy a gun in this category before I buy one in this category.

So, anyway, that’s enough of me blabbing: here’s my list:

Priority One (“Need.”)

Only one gun in this category: a Browning Buck Mark pistol (.22LR). This will be the pistol I learn to shoot on. Inexpensive (base model lists for about $400 around me), well-built and reliable, negligible recoil and muzzle blast, and ammo’s dirt cheap)

NOTE: Guns in other Priority Levels not listed in any particular order.

Priority Two (“Must-Have”)

  • SIG-Sauer P239 (9mm)
  • SIG-Sauer P228 (9mm)
  • A full-size 1911A1 in .45 ACP (presently leaning towards a stanless Springfield Mil-Spec)
  • An AR-15 in .223 Rem/5.56mm NATO (would like one custom-built by Crusader Weaponry)
  • Remington 870

Priority Three (Want)

  • Lee-Enfield No.4 Mk1* (only reason this is here and not in “Must-Have” is because of ammo cost and scarcity)
  • M14/M1a
  • AK-47/AK-74
  • DSA-made FAL
  • Crusader Broadsword in .308 Winchester
  • Some sort of .357 magnum revolver
  • SIG -Sauer P220 (.45 ACP)
  • A snub-nosed .38 Special revolver
  • S&W Model 26/629 (.44 Magnum)
  • Steyr Scout
  • FN PS-90
  • FN FNP-45 Tactical
  • An Officer’s-size 1911 (3.5″ barrel, I’m thinking Springfield Ultra Compact)
  • Colt Delta Elite (10mm)
  • Aluminum-framed 1911 Commander in .38 Super

Priority Four (Would Like)

  • STI Perfect Ten (10mm, preferably customized like Larry Correia’s)
  • A Sharps Model 1874 replica from Shilo Rifles (either the Quigley or the Long Range Express)
  • Uberti-made S&W No.3 Schofield (.44 WCF)
  • Colt Peacemaker (or replica), any caliber.
  • Winchester 1873/1892  (or replica), any caliber
  • A full-size or long-slide 1911 chambered in 9x23mm Winchester.
  • Pretty much everything I haven’t already mentioned.

Really, the only thing I don’t want, and this is probably going to come as a surprise, is a .50 BMG rifle. Now don’t get me wrong, those things are freakin’ awesome, but once again it comes down to cost. The price of .50 BMG rifles has come down significantly in the last few years, to the point where a “baseline” single-shot .50 BMG bolt-action rifle costs around $3,000 (before you buy the optic, of course). The problem is the ammo: basic mil-surp ammo costs between $4.00-$5.00 a round, while precision-loaded match rounds cost anywhere from $7.00 to $10.00 a round. No matter how hard I try, or how rich I might be, I just can’t justify spending that much money on a single round of ammunition.


Gonna Be A Long Couple of Nights…

April 17, 2011

First off, apologies in advance in this post feels like it has ADHD. I’ll explain why that is in a second.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a real bad case of hives. I think I have an allergy to corn. Anyway, this case is real bad; I have hives pretty much everywhere. And they itch. Really bad. So like I said, they’ve been bugging me on and off for about 3 weeks now. I’ve been having flare-ups at like 3:00 AM, not getting sleep, it’s been rough. I’d been taking some over-the-counter meds to combat them, but they haven’t really been all that effective. Friday, it felt like they’d stopped working altogether. It was bad. I’ll spare you the details.

Anyway, I finally asked my doctor if there was anything else I could do (I know, I’m a bone-head of a patient), and he gave me a prescription for a steroid. The legal kind, don’t worry. Unfortunately, by the time I got the prescription, it was about 5:30 PM, and the doc wanted me to take 3 pills right away for the first dose. Let’s see here: 3 steroid pills, that will get me all wired, in the evening? Yeah, right. Plus, there’s a chance they can bother my stomach. So, I only took 1 pill (I’ll take the other 2 tomorrow, don’t worry).

Long story short, The hives have died down, the itching’s pretty much gone away, but I’ve been wired and antsy ever since. Can’t really focus all that well for very long. Can’t really sit still either. I guess this is what having ADHD feels like. And it’s just about 1:45 in the morning, and I’m still wide awake and hyper. And I get to take 2 pills tomorrow (I guess later today), and I’m gonna be on this steroid for about a week.

Yeah… it’s gonna be a long couple of nights. This is gonna stink…


Humans vs. Zombies AAR

April 8, 2011

So, I played my first game of Humans vs. Zombies last night. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, it’s basically tag with Nerf guns. One person starts out as a zombie, and every person they tag becomes a zombie. Game’s over when all the humans are dead… er, I mean undead. If you’re interested, you can check out the full rules here.

We played a modified version of the game: indoors on the first and second floor of a building with all the lights turned off, and with zombies re-spawning after 30 seconds (there were only 13 of us).

It was INSANE!

Games lasted for about a half-hour each. I stayed for two of them, and only left because it was after 1:00 AM and I had class today. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever done, and one of the scariest too. Running around in the dark with only a handful of flashlights, not sure where the zombies are, hearing random shrieks, moans, and screams as the humans are “eaten” is pretty freaky. Actually encountering the zombies wasn’t as scary as hearing other people get “killed.” Except for this one guy. He was the Original Zombie in both games I played. The guy’s a freaking ninja. We’d see him run down one hallway, chase after him, turn down the hall, only he’s not there. We slowly back away towards better cover and HOLY CRAP HE’S BEHIND US!!!

Predictably, I died twice. However, both times I was one of the last people to get eaten, so I’m proud of that, especially considering it was my first time ever playing HvZ. Both times, I got killed late enough in the game that by the time I’d reanimated and caught up with the action, the game was pretty much over.

First time I bought it, the squad I was moving with had just taken out a horde. We had to step over the stunned zombies to get to the staircase. Well, I was the last guy through, and as I was stepping over one of the zombies he became un-stunned. He grabbed my leg and pulled me down to the floor where he and the rest of the newly-reanimated horde swarmed me. It wasn’t pretty. Meanwhile, the rest of my squad freaked out, popped off a lot of panicked shots a the horde, and bolted down the steps.

Second time, there were only four of us left alive. I’d started out the game with 42 darts (18 rounds in a drum mag, 2x 6-round clips, and 12 loose darts on a bandoleer), and by now was down to one fill clip on my belt and another with 2 darts in it in my gun. We’re in the lobby, getting ready to make our last stand. A zombie comes out of the hallway towards us. I pop off the two darts in my blaster, try for a third, and realize I’m out. Lucky for me, I tagged the zed. I called “Loading,” stripped the mag out of my gun, and pulled the last one off my bandoleer. As I’m doing that, four zombies come charging out of the hallway right at me. I start running backwards and scream “CONTACT!” I’m trying desperately to get the clip in my gun, which proved surprisingly difficult (it seems that fine motor skills don’t work when facing charging undead). I realize that no one’s shooting. I turn around, and I’m alone in the lobby. The other three guys left me to die.

Yeah, that kinda sucked.

I did manage to get my blaster reloaded and emptied it at the horde. Only tagged one of them. The rest got me.

Lessons learned:

  1. Always move with a team. You go off alone, or get left alone, you’re dead.
  2. Don’t use hand signals in the dark. My partner during the first game tried to. I didn’t see him signal me to move to cover him, and he got jumped and “eaten” as a result.
  3. Always clear any shadowy areas before moving into/past them. Zombies hiding in the shadows got quite a few of us humans.
  4. Going along with the above: I need a flashlight for my gun. In the pitch-black, often times we couldn’t see five feet in front of our faces.
  5. I need more darts and clips for my gun. I burned through all 42 of my darts in the second half-hour game (and I lost about 6 of them over the course of the night). We’ve got a three day long game coming up, and there’s no way I have enough ammo right now to last that long.
  6. I need a sidearm. My gun takes a few seconds to reload (I have to pump the action back before I can eject the empty clip, and the action locks closed if the gun’s cocked), and loading clips from the loose darts on my bandoleer takes a long time. That almost got me and some other people eaten a few times during the game. If I’d had a secondary blaster to switch to, that wouldn’t have happened. Similarly, when I ran out of ammo at the end of the second game, I could’ve at least tagged one or two more zombies before I got killed.
  7. Getting a stock for my primary blaster would be a good idea. In its stock configuration, it’s like a pistol-gripped shotgun (with no stock), so it’s really hard to aim (especially in the dark). A stock would at least partly alleviate this problem.

Yeah, looks like I’ll be hitting Target again pretty soon… because you better believe I’m gonna play this game again!!!!


Valley Forge Gun Show After-Action Report

April 2, 2011

Well, I survived!  Didn’t leave campus until about 5:30 (emergency meeting of the newspaper’s editorial staff, short version is we’re all probably gonna get crucified on Monday, I might post on that later) and finally got to the show around 6:00. The guys I was gonna go with wound up leaving way before I did so we met at the convention center.

It. Was. AWESOME!!!!

I browsed for about 2 hours, right up until the show closed and they chased everyone out. By and large the retailers were all very nice. I saw more guns than I could possibly mention here, including a couple of really slick Class III full autos. I got to handle (in no particular order):

  • M1941 Johnson rifle
  • M1 Garand
  • Lee Enfield No 4 Mk. 1
  • Mosin-Nagant (several)
  • Springfield Ultra Compact 1911
  • SIG-Sauer P239 Tactical (front cocking serrations and threaded barrel)
  • Several AR-15s and AR-10s, and an AR-57
  • Several AKs
  • M14/M1A
  • FN SCAR 16s
  • FN FS-2000
  • Remington 870
  • Mossberg 500
  • DSA FAL rifle
  • Marlin 336

And I’m probably forgetting some too. Unfortunately, didn’t buy anything, though I did make a donation to the USO.

Thoughts… Guns are bigger than I thought, but bullets/cartidges are a lot smaller. The SCAR does feel like a toy, especially the stock. I kave no doubt that the gun itself runs great and is solid, but honestly, the stock felt like my Nerf Gun. The Mossberg sounds “meaner” when you rack the pump, but the Remington has a smoother action. The FAL is freakin’ sweet. If I buy an AR-15, I’ll get it with either a mid-length or rifle-length handguard since I have long arms (found them more comfortable). And I think I’ve fallen in love with the Lee-Enfield (more on that later).

It was interesting to see the dichotomy between the five of us in the group. I was looking at pretty much everything, but found myself drawn more towards semi-auto pistols and rifles (especially EBRs). My one friend is an avid hunter, so he mostly looked at bolt guns and lever-actions. It was kind of funny to watch him handle an AK and an M1A: he couldn’t figure out how to get the magazines out, then couldn’t get them back in either. My second friend is more into Mil-Surp stuff, so he was eying the Mosins (even though he’s got one already), Lee-Enfields, and Mausers. He’s also looking for a home-defense shotgun, so he spent plenty of time eying the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500. Third guy is ROTC, so he looked pretty much exclusively at paramilitary-style rifles. And the fifth guy I didn’t see much of at the show (we split up pretty early on) so I have no idea what his tastes are.

I liked the Springfield Ultra Compact, as that had a good deal of heft to it, but the SIG P239 fit my hand like a glove. I think when I buy my first center-fire handgun, it’s gonna be a SIG P239.

I also really like the FAL. I handled a standard DSA rifle with pane-Jane synthetic furniture and iron sights, I think it was an Imbel build. It’s a heavy gun, but not overly so, it’s built like a tank, and the controls are pretty simple and intuitive. And I like the sights too.

Yeah, I think I’ve got it bad for the Lee-Enfield, especially the No 4 Mk. 1 (handled a No 3 of some kind as well). It felt lighter than the other Mil-Surp guns I handled and felt perfectly balanced in my hands. The bolt was incredibly slick and fast (though it took quite a bit of effort to get it back into battery: I think it was a problem with the magazine follower) and as I understand it, the felt recoil isn’t too bad (lighter than a .30-06 and 7.62x54R heavy ball). I think I know what my first rifle is going to be… my Crusader AR-15 will have to be second.

The gun show was hands-down the coolest place I’ve been in a very, very long time. The VFGS is hosted 4 times a year, with the next event in mid-June. I’ll definitely be there, even if I don’t buy anything again. Next time, however, I won’t be looking just to look, I’ll be putting together a shopping list and checking out retailers. If I wasn’t serious about buying a gun before, I am now.


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