Guns and Tacos

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Jimmie Rodgers – “Pistol Packin’ Papa”

“You can never take from me, my silver mounted gat.”

I thought Cypress Hill coined the term “gat” in the 90’s, but evidently it’s been around since the early 30’s. Listen to every word of this song, and the parallels to modern rap music will blow your mind. Enjoy!

The Kel-Tec KSG 14 + 1 Pump Bull-Pup Tactical Shotgun

Legally speaking, shotgun barrels have to be 18 inches or longer. If you saw off the barrel, they’re no longer legal. Bummer, right?

Kel-Tec, a manufacturer of really crappy plastic 380’s that constantly malfunction, came up with this amazing shotgun concept, borrowed from the South African Neostead 2000, but this one is specifically marketed for the US to help good guys shoot bad guys.

Here’s the idea: Instead of having the shotgun barrel in front or above the trigger, as most shotguns and rifles do,the barrels on this bad boy go all the way back to the stock. This way, you’ve got the same barrel length with a short, easy to manage shotgun that holds a capacity of 14 rounds (plus one in the pipe), in separate chambers. This way, you can hold two types of rounds, 7 in each chamber, which you can change out with a convenient, easy to reach switch.  Check it out.  (Thanks @mhark for the heads-up)


Ted Nugent, Pasadena and Machine Guns

Check out the M2 .50 BMG next to the skull. YEAH!

Ted Nugent, also known as “The Nuge”, “Motor City Madman”, and “Terrible Ted”, visited Pasadena, TX yesterday to raise money for the Bay Area Builders Association, a charity that provides housing for the families of injured or fallen military members.

He is widely known for his guitar skills, his passionate and well-versed political commentary, and his love for bow hunting and wildlife preservation. The hipster staff at 29-95 asked me to check it out, probably because they were doing other things on a Sunday night like roller skating at American Apparel while shopping for a unitard. “Stranglehold” is a guitar masterpiece, and I’ve always wanted to hear it performed live, even if it was in Pasadena. Read the rest…

Cordoba, Argentina – The Hunt

The country of Argentina is a great place, but it has this one problem.

Millions of Eared Doves darken the skies in shapes, patterns and layers, devouring over 20% of their corn and grain crops in the Cordoba area. They don’t  migrate as other species do. Years ago,the Argentinian government even sanctioned programs to poison the birds at their roosts, but this had disastrous effects all the way down the food chain.

Incidentally, wingshooting is about as much fun as a gunslinger can have, and Argentina is famed for its fine steaks and Malbec wines. I thought I might step up to the plate and help Argentina out a bit.

In-Flight Tetris. Suck it, American Airlines.

In-Flight Tetris. Suck it, American Airlines.

SYC Sporting is a world-renowned outfitter, known as a favorite spot for Tom Knapp, a world famous exhibition shooter. My dad and I booked three nights at Estancia El Cortijo, a world-class hunting lodge, built of local timber, with a magnificent thatched roof and  furniture made from lacquered woods and cowhide.

They even had one of those things in the bathroom that European guys use to squirt water up their ass.

The overnight trip from Miami to Santiago, Chile was on a massive jumbo jet (LAN Airlines) with free beer, wine, and liquor for everyone. We each had a console where you could watch movies, listen to a categorized library of music, or play Tetris, the perfect game for being stuck in a tiny seat for an extended period of time. The stewardesses were these cute, trim, polite  little uniformed robots that shuffled around and brought us stuff. And we were flying coach.

An agent from Estancia El Cortijo picked us up from the airport. We changed into our hunting attire, which included a recoil pad that straps onto your shoulder and around your midsection. You know, like a bra.

“I don’t need one of these. I’ve done this before”.

“You’ve been dove hunting in Texas and Mexico. You haven’t done this before”.

I reluctantly strapped on the goofy-looking recoil pad.

Closeup of the Benelli Montefelto 20 gauge.

Closeup of the Benelli Montefelto 20 gauge.

I chose a 20 gauge Benelli Montefeltro, known worldwide for its durability and performance.  Cordoba dove hunting is a wingshooter’s opportunity of a lifetime, and since thousands of shells would be running through the shotgun, I wanted to minimize any risk of firearm failure to avoid the necessity of performing repairs or maintenance in the field.

Not that I know how to replace shotgun parts or anything, but that sounded like a cool thing to say.

The Birds

When we arrived at our spot, waves of doves peppered the sky, flying quickly and erratically. Simply stated, if you have never been to Cordoba, then you have never seen this many birds at once.

Let’s put this into perspective. When shooting dove at a hunting lease in Santa Fe, Texas, I would go through one or even two boxes of shells on a good day. In Mexico, several boxes.

In Cordoba, you’ll go through two cases of shells in one hunt, easily. There are twenty boxes in a case. And you’ll be hunting twice a day.  Do the math, that is like over a billion shells.


Birdboys Lalo and Cesar.

The Birdboy

Basically stated, a ‘birdboy’ is a hired hand whose job it is to retrieve the birds you shoot down. From my experiences dove hunting in Mexico, it will usually be a teenage boy or young man working for tips. Additionally, a birdboy will point out the location of incoming doves, by yelling out the “o-clock” number in Spanish, or yelling “Alto” for high, and “Bajo” for low.

In Cordoba, there is no need to point out doves.

‘Birdboy’ is a misnomer in Cordoba, because the birdboy role is taken to the professional level. The “birdboys” at Estancia El Cortijo are skilled armorers, and they are grown men that could probably kick your ass.

I’m not saying they could kick your ass personally, but they could certainly kick Daniel Craig‘s bidet-utilizing ass. Just wanted to clear that up, Ace.

Their main duty is not to point out birds, but to reload your shotgun for you as quickly as they can. Since we’re talking about thousands of rounds of ammo here, the bird-man will sometimes have tape wrapped around his thumb as he repeatedly shoves the shells into the loading port while counting the falling birds with a clicker they wear around their neck.

Lots of birds.

Put those ducks back, you idiot. We're dove hunting.

Shooting Scores of Birds

Remember “Duck Hunt” on the Nintendo?

It’s not like that at all.

Mostly, they fly in groups. Unlike other dove species, these tend to spot you a little better, so proper camouflage is necessary. More importantly, you need to find some kind of cover, such as brush, trees, or cacti. A swarm of birds will fly towards you from the fields, and they split into two directions when they see you. Decisiveness is key. Once you draw your line of sight on one bird, stick with it, even if an easier shot places itself in your sight picture.

It takes a few tries to get the hang of it, but once you do, it is a load of fun. The shotguns are of the semiautomatic variety, so if you miss a bird, you’ve still got a chance to hit it a second or even third time. The birds just keep coming, and you just keep knocking them down.

After a morning and an evening hunt, I had harvested 1,325 eared doves, and my dad yielded a slightly lower number (He’s the better shot, but he enjoys exhibition-style trick shooting). Dad was right about the recoil pad. Even with the thick padding, my shoulder was bruised and sore, and my hands and fingers were almost numb.

Returning from the evening hunt, we were greeted with an open bar and food for kings. Some hunters from Chile were also in attendance, and we thoroughly enjoyed swapping hunting and fishing stories with them.

The coveted “1000 Club”  plaque rests in the dining room of the estancia, and both of our names were added.  At the top of this board was a famous Spanish bullfighter, Paco Del Amo,  that had harvested over 4,000 doves in one day (apparently, his record has held up for years).

How in the world did he do that?

Our translator and host Marcello Janik explained as he uncorked our third bottle of Malbec.

As the story goes, the bullfighter showed up at the estancia with a entourage of beautiful women and partied until sunrise. When he started his hunt, he requested that two shotguns stay loaded at all times, and had two birdboys that continuously loaded one while he fired the other.  He was brought to the fields early in the morning, and stayed there shooting all day long, until the sun went down. What a badass.

I found it amusing that as Marcello told the story, I immediately pictured  the dude in the Dos Equis commercials. (I tried to Google Paco Del Amo, but only found an hombre on MySpace that likes Freddy Mercury and LOLcats. I’ll assume he’s the wrong guy).

Thousand Dove Club certificate.

My Thousand Dove Club certificate. Somebody's going to have a problem with this.

Volume dove hunting in Cordoba was an unforgettable experience. Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll show you a few photos of the  food and wine at we enjoyed Estancia de Cortijo.



Beretta PX4 Storm


The Beretta PX4 Storm is a derivative of the Beretta 92, which won the US military contract over the Colt 45 in 1984.

Without getting too far into this aspect, I must note that on June 11, 1979, the day that the US government chose the Italian 9mm Beretta 92 contract versus the American-made Colt 45, every US war veteran turned into Meryl Streep for at least one day.

Our statement to the world was, “The people of America have spoken, and their choice is for our soldiers to use smaller bullets that cost less. Also I forgot to mention that if we’re going to buy all of our guns from Italy, we politicians will get a great deal on leather furniture if we pull this off.”

This was also the day of John Wayne’s death, but this isn’t about the Beretta 92.

Sorry, I made that part up. Moving on.

Beretta came out with the PX4 just a few years ago. In my opinion, it’s a cool-looking gun. And come on, you’ve got to admit that’s definitely a good buying point.

The PX4 Storm, available in 9mm, 40 and 45 calibers, has been featured on Live Free and Die Hard, as well as a few episodes of 24. That’s right, Jack Bauer carried it. And that’s important.

One sleek looking piece.

One sleek looking piece.

What attracted me to the Beretta PX4 Storm was the grip on it. Once you wrap your hands around this sucker, you’re sold.  If not, you’ll notice that the backstrap, or the back of the grip of the pistol, can be changed out with one of two other supplied backstraps.

I’m sure this is a great selling point, because the buyer is thinking, “This grip may not fit perfectly, but if it doesn’t, I can just change it out later.”

It takes a minute or two to replace this backstrap, and it’s not something that a lot of gun shops would let you mess around with before purchasing it. So as a prospective PX4  buyer, you may not get a chance to try out the different grips before buying it. What’s interesting is, I’ve tried all three backstraps, and they all feel about the same to me.  All three of these grip options fit my hand well.

The PX4 comes with a Picatinny rail, standard, along with night sights. If you’re considering the purchase of a PX4, know that most modern semiautos have the Picatinny rail, but very few come with factory night sights (The HK P30 is another one that does).

The PX4 retails for $600 or so, and surprisingly, I haven’t seen them for more than $100 below that.

Since the most common version comes with a manual thumb safety, I would definitely recommend carrying this gun chambered. Not just because of the awkward thumb safety that must be flipped up (instead of down like most other traditional slide-mounted safeties), but due to the fact that the slide must be dramatically snapped into cycle in order to load the round effectively. By the way, the manual safety has a second function as a decocker.

If you were in a dark room trying to be stealthy with this thing, you can’t just pull back the slide and ease the first round into the chamber because the round will tumble around and get stuck.

When you choose to chamber a round, don’t do it slowly. Rack that sucker like you’re John McLane. Sharks patrol these waters, amigo.

If you would like to buy the optimum weapon for home defense, purchase an inexpensive shotgun and several rounds of OO buckshot.

If you’d like to purchase a handgun for home protection, and you feel more comfortable with a manual safety, the Beretta PX Storm may be the perfect weapon for you.

The PX4 is very easy to disassemble and reassemble, perhaps even easier than a Glock.

There’s a flaw I’d like to point out with the PX4 Storm. If you would like to learn how to perform double-taps or master the art of accurate kill-zone rapidfire accuracy, don’t get the PX4 for these reasons:

1) Although you can pull the hammer back if you’d like, the single/double action may work against you on your first shot. There is a long, hard trigger pull, similar to a revolver on the first shot. Even though you’ve got a 17 round magazine (for the 9mm version), the most important shot (the first one) may be off if you’re not an experienced handgunner.

2) After your first shot, the trigger reset is abnormally long on this pistol. Without going into the details of trigger reset mechanics,  if you happen to be a  tactical guru who knows what a trigger reset is, then know that this particular peacemaker may not be an optimum choice for you. But you probably already knew that.

 Shown with leather holster, handcrafted by Utah's Eric Larsen. Click on the image to view more of Eric's work.

Shown with leather holster, handcrafted by Utah's Eric Larsen. Click on the image to view Eric's holster website, if you're into holster porn.

Ruger LCR

This isn't Nam, this is bowling. There are rules.

This isn't 'Nam, this is bowling. There are rules.

A few months ago, I went to a gun show for the purpose of helping a friend pick out a new pocket gun. For concealed carry, a ‘pocket gun’ is really ideal for a lot of people. Of course, some guys like to carry a full size 1911 and wear a khaki hunting vest like Walter Sobchak, but most people are a bit more discreet.

My companion laid out his specs:

  • Something that would fit in a front pants pocket without sticking out of it.
  • At the same time, the handle needs to be long enough so that you can grip it properly.
  • Lightweight.
  • No small calibers (22, 380, etc)

This didn’t seem like too tall of an order, but it turned out to be really challenging. Most modern revolvers found at gun shows are Smith & Wesson. S&W manufactures a large variety of revolvers, an Airweight model, and some even have scandium cylinders. Yes, scandium, a word that most haven’t heard since you had to memorize the Periodic Table. You can even find them with pink grips, if you are so inclined.

But there was a problem. Either the handle was too short, so that you couldn’t grip it properly, or it had a large grip that essentially ruled out pocket carry. That’s when we found the third bowl of porridge: The Ruger LCR.

One fine wheelgun.

One fine wheelgun, shown with Remington Golden Saber +P hollow points.

I knew it when I picked it up. They’ve probably tested this handle on a thousand hands to come up with this grip. Of course, it’s not like picking up a large gun with a perfectly comfortable grip, but it’s large enough to hold correctly without being too small (such as a Glock 26 without an extended magazine). The Ruger LCR is chambered in 38 Special, and an optional model comes with Crimson Trace Lasergrips.

Ruger has come up with a new trigger system for the LCR, which they call the Friction Reducing Cam.  Without getting into the nuts and bolts of it, this new system is designed to reduce the ‘stacking’ effect of traditional double-action triggers. It’s difficult to test out trigger pulls at a gun show since they run zip ties through the action, but if you see this pistol at a gun shop, be sure to compare this trigger to other revolvers and you’ll be very impressed.

Viewing the overall structure of this gun, you’ll notice that there are no sharp edges, and the hammer is shrouded. This makes it an very ideal weapon for purse carry. The rubberized grip is intended to reduce recoil, and it won’t slip out of your hand easily.

When shooting this gun for the first time, I was very impressed by the trigger pull. An ideal trigger will ‘surprise’ you when it fires, and this is the only wheelgun I’ve seen that does this.

I’m a good shot, but when it comes to snubnosed revolvers, I generally don’t shoot well at twenty yards or so. This gun was no exception.  However, as any tactical self-defense guru will tell you, if someone is going to attack you, they’re probably not going to do it from twenty yards away. Snubbies are intended for close encounters. If you look at some older Colt revolvers, the manufacturer didn’t even add sights, just a slight groove along the top of the gun. At three or seven yards, this pistol will do exactly what you want it to do. And it comes with a nifty zipper case.

I’ve read that this pistol prefers +P rounds. This wasn’t available at the range I was shooting at, so I didn’t have a chance to experience the difference.

Of all these great features, there was only one downside: recoil. After firing about twenty rounds through this five-shooter, your hand will notice. The heavier a gun is, the less recoil you will notice. This lightweight alloy and polymer frame (they call it a Monolithic and Aluminum frame) is great if you plan to carry it in a front pocket or purse for extended periods of time, but running through a box or two may make a sensitive hand sore. If the handle was wooden, the shock would be distributed evenly throughout your hand. Though the handle segment of the frame is wrapped in thick rubber, you can still feel it punch into your hand.

Don’t let this bother you.  If you ever need to use this gun to protect yourself, recoil will be the last thing on your mind- you’ll never even notice it. However, if you plan to spend several hours at the range per week just for fun, then this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.

This innovative revolver does exactly what it was built for. In fact, it recently won “Gun of the Year” at the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence Awards last month.

The price was $600, which was good bit higher than the S&W revolvers surrounding it, and the going price at the other stands.  My buddy bought it, and he’s been very happy with it. The only thing that bothers him about this revolver is the fact that I took another friend to a gun show two months later, who picked up a new Ruger LCR  for$385.

French people like guns too.

Had a great experience at Top Gun Range yesterday.

Since the gun range is in the Galleria area, our customer demographic consists of precisely:

  • 40%:  US citizens who enjoy shooting guns
  • 40%:  Foreign visitors who are here for business or vacation and take the opportunity to shoot guns because it is not allowed in their country.
  • 15%:  guys who are trying to impress exotic dancers they met on the nearby Richmond Strip, and ultimately fail.
  • 5%: Folks who show up that we will never, ever allow to shoot guns at a gun range. I’m not sure why they show up.

Although foreign visitors  consist of  40% of the gun range demographic, there are none more fun to hang out with than the employees of Air France.

France means business.

France means business.

Although I couldn’t understand a word they were saying, these three and two more stewards/stewardesses really enjoyed hanging out in Houston with a real cowboy such as myself. They have seen lots of guns in American and maybe French movies, but they have probably never had a taco.

The tragedy.

After they went shooting, the girl in the middle asked me if I had a rubber.

I thought she was being a really bold French person and I took it as a compliment, until I realized she was asking for a rubber band so that she could roll up her target and bring it home with her.