• 22 Oct 2009 /  Firearms, Tech

    I recently came across (through a spam email actually) the Safety Bullet. Short version (you can watch the videos there for the longer version), it’s a device that chambers in your firearm just like a live round. If the trigger is pulled while the Safety Bullet is in place, the gun is locked up. Yes, the gun is completely disabled until you obtain the tool to reset it. Admittedly the tool is simply a plastic rod, but in my opinion this is a terrible idea.

    The recommended usage is to load 1 Safety Bullet in the chamber and 1 in the top of the magazine with live rounds below that. If you actually need to use your firearm, you then rack the slide twice to get a live round in the chamber. If you forget to do that and attempt to fire, you have a gun that will not function and you will likely die.

    Revolvers are even worse, you load a Safety Bullet in the next chamber to be fired. To use the firearm you have to manually rotate the cylinder one notch before firing. This is a rather delicate task, and if you lose count and attempt to fire 6 rounds instead of 5 (or 5 instead of 4, or 8 instead of 7, hmm how many rounds does this revolver hold again?), guess what? Gun locks up!

    So, under the stress of an attacker beating down your door, or coming up your stairs or beating a loved one with a pipe, you will have to remember this procedure or render your defensive firearm inoperable. It’s well understood that under this kind of life or death stress, lots of things go out the window. Fine motor skill and complex reasoning (uhhh … like math) being the big ones. I will say it again, this is downright dangerous if used in a home defense firearm. Using it in a stored firearm would not have these issues, so I’m ok with it in that application, but that’s not how it is being marketed.

    I’m all for safety and protecting our dear children, but this is just not an acceptable solution to me. If you’re concerned about your stored firearms, lock them up, even disassemble them if you like. If you have a home defense firearm please look into other solutions that don’t potentially disable the gun for the rest of your life. There are many quick access safes and locking devices out there that are much better solutions than this.

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  • 18 Mar 2009 /  Firearms, Rants

    It appears that all the kerfuffle about the military brass destruction was either a mistake,  or the response was so strong that those involved reversed the policy. Not sure which, but it’s good news. Georgia Arms has updated their site and it appears that the mutilation order only applies to shells larger than .50 caliber.

    Now I’m off to buy a 25mm rifle.

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  • 17 Mar 2009 /  Firearms, Rants

    I recently caught wind of this little gem via a post on Michael Bane’s blog. It seems that somewhere it was decided that the government will no longer be releasing it’s fired shell casings to the commercial reloading market. Currently the homepage of Georgia Arms, whom I’ve purchased ammo from before, talks about how they can no longer supply .223 and .308 ammo at all. Here is the notification they received:

    Effective immediately DOD Surplus, LLC, will be implementing new requirements for mutilation of fired shell casings.  The new DRMS requirement calls for DOD Surplus personnel to witness the mutilation of the property and sign the Certificate of Destruction.  Mutilation of the property can be done at the DRMO, if permitted by the Government, or it may be mutilated at a site chosen by the buyer.  Mutilation means that the property will be destroyed to the extent prevents its reuse or reconstruction.  DOD Surplus personnel will determine when property has been sufficiently mutilated to meet the requirements of the Government.

    Not only does this have a significant impact on ammunition availability and prices, which are already bad enough, but it will also incur additional financial penalties. The value of quality shell casings is much higher than the value of the brass as scrap. That’s additional income that will be lost. There is also additional expense as the casings have to be “mutilated” and that process needs to be approved and inspected by someone. So not only is it an anti-shooter move, it just doesn’t make any financial sense. It’s like busting your house up to sell off the wood.

    What really sticks in my craw about this is that it’s a sneaky and underhanded way to discourage firearms ownership and hurt existing shooters. These “policies” and “regulations” don’t go through any legislative process and can have huge impacts on the firearms community. It’s certainly not a new tactic, but it’s one that really irks me.

    If you are upset about this, please do as Georgia Arms suggests and contact your representatives.

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  • 23 Sep 2008 /  Doom, Rants, Work

    So this is a little story that (mostly) happened to me a while ago. There’s an update today, but since I never posted the original story here, here it is, skip to the bottom if you must:

    The Toaster Revolt of 1997

    So, I’m getting a bagel this morning. Little did I know I was about to witness the worker’s revolt of 97.

    I get my nice sesame bagel, head over to the bagel biter, slice it in half and and turn to go to the toaster. This is one of those commercial conveyer-belt toasters. Anyway, there are about 10 people around the toaster, this 1 woman, whom I’ll refer to as Norma Rae, is pontificating to the cafeteria guy, (we’ll call him Jambo), on how much of her precious break time is being wasted dealing with this toaster. People are putting their bagels, bread, muffins, puppies, etc into the toaster, staring at it for a minute and taking their item out, looking at it and shaking their heads. It seems the toaster isn’t so much as toasting as it is warming.

    Ok, so normal person would say, “Oh, darn” and run the bread product through again until the desired toastedness is achieved, but not your average corporate citizen, no! The folks are standing around, ganging up on the poor cafeteria guy, “What’s wrong with this thing?, “Why aren’t there 2 toasters?”, “Why do my shorts keep riding up?”. Poor Jambo is just trying to get to the knob to turn the thing up a little, but Norma won’t let him get by. She continues her assault on defenseless Jambo while one of her compatriots, whom I’ll call Brain Donor, is repeatedly PRESSING the temperature adjustment KNOB. So Norma is quizzing Jambo on why there is only 1 toaster, Jambo is mounting his only defense, “I’m just a contractor, the corporation supplies the equipment”, Donor is continuing to press the knob, wondering why it is having little effect.

    Meanwhile, another party, whom I will name MacGyver, swoops in to retrieve his bagel. Mac discovers that his bagel is being blocked in the output tray by another. Being the resourceful guy that he is, MacGyver grabs the tongs, removes the offending bagel, placing it on a plate to the side of the toaster, and takes his own bagel, slipping away stealthily. Well, Mac had no idea what he had done. You see, this bagel belonged to Norma, she had finally disengaged from Jambo’s jugular to get her tasty bagel. Much to her horror, someone…or something had removed her bagel from the toaster and placed it on….a plate! “Did someone take this out?”, Norma demanded. “Who did this, did it fall?” “Is this my bagel? Who’s is this? Mine was a sesame? Is this mine? Who took this out?” My mind was reeling from the assault. It was all I could do to weakly mutter “that’s mine” when Norma pointed at my bagel, which was on its second trip through the toaster.

    Well, I got out of there just as Norma was looking for something to make protest signs with and Donor was wondering what the pretty red things inside the toaster tasted like. I heard a distorted scream of pain as I left the cafeteria.

    Cut to this morning. I’m wandering around the same cafeteria, with the same (or reasonably the same) toaster. There’s a nicely printed and laminated sign hung next to the toaster. This sign reads:

    “Please do not butter item before placing in toaster”

    Really?

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  • 05 Sep 2008 /  Rants

    So we have one of those “rewards” credit cards like I’m sure 143% of you do. Since it’s free money, we use the card for most purchases and get a not insignificant amount of “reward” back. It used to be nice and simple. Every year our friendly banking conglomerate would send us a check with whatever we had earned. It was an easy to understand 1% thing. Spend $100 get a buck back! And we didn’t have to do anything to make it happen. How could it go wrong?

    Well, here’s how.

    A couple of years ago they changed it. Now, instead of cash, we get “reward points”. 1 point for every dollar spent. You can use 2500 of these points to get a $25 gift card to various merchants, or even a $25 check. So, on the face of it everything looks OK. It’s still the same rate of return, they’ve just abstracted the idea of “dollars” to “points”. I’m sure this is a multi-step plan to slowly increase the number of points it takes to get a dollar, but that hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll save that rant.

    Anyway, there is a bit more hassle involved since instead of just sending us a check every year, we have to go through the web site and cash in our points. Not a huge deal, but here’s where it gets dysfunctional. I just cashed in our points, we had 74,000ish points accrued, which if you do the math, works out to 29 $25 gift cards or checks with some points left. Not seeing the benefit of committing to any particular gift card when there is cash as an option, I took the check route. And you know what they’re going to do? Do you? I bet you can guess.

    They’re going to send us 29 individual $25 checks. I know because they did it last time. Anyone want to bet if they optimized this process enough to not send us 29 checks in 29 separate envelopes?

    UPDATE

    Well blow me down, corporate America is not completely brain dead. It seems that someone realized what was going on and fixed the insanity. I receive a single check for the entire amount. Sorry to disappoint you.

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