Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Range Report

Despite made up, speculative misinformation provided by a friend not involved in the range building project, no specific visible progress was made on the range over the last few days. The exact site is again up for speculation due to some large trees that suddenly grew up in the way and the guys with the earth moving equipment were very honest. Their boss told the Rangelord that he was welcome to ask them to do some work for him and he could pay them cash. He just forgot to tell them that. They didn't want to talk about it until their boss said it was OK. I think that's really cool. The boss will tell them its OK so its not a problem.

The site should be worked out by the weekend and even the site work should be done by then too.

Hope springs eternal.

Get in the Kahr

A Kahr PM40 followed me home yesterday. Those who know me know that I am a big fan of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it"school of thought. That means revolvers, 98 Mausers, 99 Savages and 1911 autos mostly and calibers like 300 Savage, 30-06 and 45 ACP. So why did I order the thing in 40 in the first place?

I really wanted the Kahr 45 but I saw a lot of talk on the internet about problems. Several people that love their 40 or their 9mm Kahr were very unhappy with the 45. One guy reported that his frame broke and it took 2 months to get it replaced. He said he was afraid to shoot the new one because he didn't want to go through that again if it broke. Mentally, I chalked that up to early production difficulties that were probably already worked out. Many fine firearms have hit the market over the years and then been found to have inherent problems that cause production to stop while slight changes are made. Not a big deal. It can happen with any precision machine. Then I started to wonder how I would know whether the 45 that I order would be one with a problem or one without. I mean before finding out the hard way.

On the other hand, nobody had a problem with the 40 or the 9mm. They are a tad smaller than the 45 too.

The idea kind of sat there until a few days ago when a woman in Orlando was killed in her own back yard by a neighbor's pit bull. The TV news interviewed her husband (I think that showing people in anguish must boost ratings) and he had run out of the house to try to help. Unarmed against a dog bread to beat up bulls, there was nothing that he could do. The neighbor tried too and lost a thumb for her efforts. Closer to home, a friend's prize winning Llama was killed a few months prior to that in the same way by a pit bull while she was away at work. It does happen.

Through the broadcast and the subsequent re-broadcasts of the Orlando story I kept wondering why no one had a gun or a knife. That's not to belittle the tragedy, it just made me wonder why nobody involved had a tool that could stop the dog in time to save the woman's life. A big butcher knife would have been better than nothing. One of our neighbors has a huge, vicious dog that does get out of their yard occasionally. I have seen it in my back yard late at night and it did try to attack me and my wife one evening as we tried to walk down the block. (Perhaps that will be in another post some day). It does happen.

Because I live in Florida, I don't have the option of carrying a pistol in a holster under a jacket or sweater more than a few weeks out of the year. I have an Officer's-sized Kimber in 45 ACP but, heaven help me, the gun that's always with me all the time except in the shower or in bed is a 380. Specifically, its a Kel Tec P3AT. This is absolutely a fantastic little pistol that is perfect for concealed carry and pretty inexpensive. It is small and light and while the the 380 round isn't known for its stopping power, it isn't quite what I'd call a pipsqueak. Still, if I had to rush out of the house to keep the neighbor's dog from killing my wife or a neighbor I'd most likely be armed with a 380. Would it do the job? Yes. Is there something the same size that will do the job better. Well, pretty close.

The Kahr 40 (the PM40 model) is about 1/2" taller, about 1/4" longer and 1/8" wider than the Kel Tec 380. Its heavier and its boxier so the overall dimensions don't really tell the whole story. I mean, Dolly Parton and Rosie O'Donnell may have similar Overall maximum circumferences but Dolly's isn't the same from head to toe. She has other dimensions. Lots of them. The other dimensions do influence the suitability for the intended purpose. I'm talking about the Kahr, just so you don't misunderstand. The Kahr's slide isn't tapered and sculpted like the Kel Tec's so its not as close in ease of carry as the slight overall dimensional differences would make you think. The Kel Tec is as close to perfect in that respect as I have seen. I have a Seecamp and I carry the Kel Tec. OK? The Kahr is just close, and its a 40.

So why not just carry the Kimber? I mean, that's why I bought the thing - right? Simple. I'm a chicken. I can't wear layers of clothing to conceal a pistol so it either has to go in a pocket or in something like Thunderwear. Carrying a cocked and locked 45 in Thunderwear just sounds like a good way to get myself castrated. It doesn't bother me in a holster that protects the thumb safety but I had a brand new Springfield mil spec 45 slip off safe sitting on the front seat of my Jeep as I drove down a dirt road. It moved enough to disengage the safety. The same thing could happen either of the ways that I can carry a pistol most of the time. So, a DAO pistol in a respectable caliber that's easy to carry made the most sense. To me, the Kahr is the only thing out there that fits the bill so well.

With all that said, upon returning home I very quickly found out what time, remodeling and just plain apathy can do to a supply of brass that you haven't loaded for in over 10 years. (Yes, I had a Glock Model 22 once. Its like the married man told his girlfriend: "I have my favorite flavor of ice cream but I do like to try new flavors now and then." I'm sure that John Browning has forgiven me). I have managed to scrounge up exactly 24 empty 40 S&W cases and about 2/3 of a box of Nosler 135 grain 10mm hollow points to load into them. Still have plenty of Power Pistol and some other suitable propellants but most of the empty cases have evaporated. I know that I gave a few of them to a friend some years ago. He used them as jackets for some super heavy bullets that he made for a 44 magnum. Maybe I gave them all to him. I don't know. Perhaps he will write about that experiment on his blog someday.

I did have presence of mind to buy a box of FMJ practice ammo so I will have some once-fired brass as soon as the range is ready. That, unfortunately, is another story. For now, I like the Kahr. When the range is ready, we will find out if it likes me too.