Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Review, Part Tre The Aftermath.

Got the gun home, after hunting for shell casings for nearly an hour in the grass. I field stripped it by pulling down on the catch forward of the trigger and removed the central block, recoil spring and barrel from the slide. As I wrote before, this gun is nearly impossible to put together wrong, and despite my reservations about part of the central block being plastic, it's in a position that shouldn't pose a problem with durability. One concern of mine was due to the rotating barrel and the need for a feed ramp as a part of the frame. Since the frame is a fiberglass composite, it bears mention that the ramp is also composite. However, there is a metal insert inside the ramp that in theory protects this part from wear as cartridges are fed into the barrel. There was virtually no wear on mine after firing 150 rounds through it, and it should never be an issue.

I just wouldn't use steel case ammo, but this is more preference than actual study. Federal rounds at Walmart (if you can get them) are about $12 for 50 for 9mm and TulAmmo (made in Russia) are steel case and about $10 for 50. The latter are steel case and burn a lot dirtier than the former. Considering the price of solvents to clean this garbage out of your gun, I would rather use the more expensive ammo myself. Another tip to get the barrel and the rest of the gun clean: Use brake cleaner rather than solvent as it's a lot less expensive than solvents meant for guns. Unless you use unjacketed rounds for practice, there's simply no need for the expense. Some have recommended Ballistol or Rem Oil as a good all purpose solvent and for the most part I agree. Since I can't get Ballistol locally, Rem Oil is my lubricant of choice along with a toothbrush and the brushes that came with the gun. Gun grease is also a good idea the wear surfaces. As for cleaning patches, just save your old socks and same some more money. Unless you have a penchant for spending money, a starter kit for cleaning this gun should cost you less than $15.

The magazine springs have also loosened up to the point that I can even load them without the plastic loader. Don't get me wrong, as it's still faster to use the tool. Nevertheless, it's comforting to know you don't have to spend time looking for a misplaced loader if you need to load the magazines.
Speaking of loading, nearly any ball round with a full metal jacket and a brass case will load and feed, but hollow points seem to be a little more finicky. Remington makes good products, and their ball ammo is pretty accurate and easy to feed for the price, but the HD Ultimate Home Defense is bit tricky, at least for this writer to load into the magazines. Hornady Critical Defense, or their less expensive but equal Zombie Max rounds load in almost as easily as ball ammo does. The real reason is likely the round is 1/8 an inch longer than the latter as well as the raw edges of the bullet on the Remington.

This writer can't imagine they would cause a problem in actual use as I haven't fired any of them yet, but ease of loading is a consideration. At nearly a dollar a round, these aren't really meant to be used for practice other than proving they work in a particular gun. If you have extra money, I'd recommend trying different kinds and once you find one that works stick with it. In my neck of the woods, the Zombie Max is $20 for 25 rounds and the HD is about $28 for 25 rounds.
Although I'm still a little miffed about Beretta eliminating the Tritium sights from this otherwise well made gun, I did have to reverse the magazine release because I'm left eye dominant and going to try and shoot left handed for more accuracy. Although the instructions say to use a center punch, I did fine with a large darning needle and a padlock to tap the needle down. Now the gun is ready for use as a lefty. I look forward to more practice with this gun, although I hope to never have to use it in a defensive situation. I never meant to have this blog to review guns, but in a few weeks I'll have the opportunity to review a blast from the past; pun intended. Maranatha!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact Review, Part Due

Finally, I got to take the Beretta out shoot it. As with any polymer firearm, durability is always a concern. In fact the very gun I bought was spurned by a woman because it was "plastic." I immediately put it on layaway. Economy pistol or not, I like the feel and ease of use as well as the value. However, a gun can look great in the case and feel good in your hand, but as accurate as a salt shaker when you try to hit anything with it. It can jam, stovepipe and misfire like a wet firecracker as well. These are far more important than looks whether it comes to bragging rights (not that I'm into that at all) or defending your life with it. I'm all about function over form any day.
I put 150 rounds from three manufacturers through it, and it ate them all equally well; no jams, misfires or other tomfoolery. It fires the rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger. As this is a double/single action pistol, the trigger pull on the first round will be heavier than those of each subsequent round. Despite many reviews to the contrary, the first pull was very smooth and light and each additional pull was even more so. Even without firing a pistol in the past 20 years or so, this one was very easy to get a good grouping with at 21 feet or so (After all, this is a defense gun and not a competition shooter. A 3 1/2 inch barrel isn't going to be too accurate beyond that for most of us). I used the sights and they do a decent job, but adjustable ones would be better, but sacrificing some durability. As they are right now. you could use these against a door or tabletop to rack the slide in an emergency. This might not work so well with less solid sights.
When is comes to the hyperbole about accuracy, low recoil and easier follow up shots I was less inclined to believe it. When I pulled the trigger, recoil wasn't just light it was nearly a non issue. Rather than worrying about recoil, you can easily place follow up shots with maximum control. With as many rounds as I cycled through it, the slide only bit my hand once, but that was due to operator error when gripping it with both hands. I quickly learned to put my left thumb next to my right and out of the way of the slide. No harm done. Reloading is also very easy and the issue with the magazine release disappeared with practice.
 One minor gripe I have with is loading the magazines as they are double stacked. Having a loader is mandatory and this requires moving this device down on a round while pushing the next one in and then getting the tooth of the loader back on each round. It takes practice to do smoothly and the manual is not clear at all on doing this. I've seen better loaders than the one Beretta supplied me with and intend to get one soon. I can't imagine the plastic tooth on this thing lasting more than a 1000 rounds or so. Regardless, it's good to have a spare. Without it, you will fight the spring after loading more than seven or eight of the 15 rounds. A part tre is coming. Maranatha!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact 9mm Review, Part Uno

Yes, this is the handgun that I've saved up for months. I chose it over a Cobra FS380, a Hi Point C-9 as well as a Ruger SR (in a .40 caliber), a Glock 19 as well as a plethora of other pistols of varying shapes and sizes. For the price, I could have bought 2 Hi Points and a CPL class, or 1 Hi Point, 500 practice rounds, a CPL class and a CPL. The main reasons I got the Beretta was that it had a safety/decocker and fit my hand. The slide is easy to operate and pull back, as well as unlock with moderate pressure. The latter part is important to me because I have arthritis in my hand. I also wanted something simple to field strip and maintain.
When I got it out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the case had a round plastic piece inside. This was because the case it came in is so thin that this was the only economical way to keep it from being crushed on the boat ride here (A new case can be had for less than $10 without this problem). Included as well as the gun were also a legal disclaimer (thank the Massachusetts attorney general), instructions, a cable lock (trigger locks don't work great on this gun, the cable lock is still a pain to lock though), an extra magazine and loader (a necessity as the springs are strong), two back straps (the third one is on the gun, as is a magazine) and a cleaning kit.

The first thing you have to appreciate (positive or not) is the mass of this gun. Loaded with 15 rounds of ammo, (Massachusetts has a 10 round limit on pistols as of this writing) it tips the scale at 2 pounds 2 ounces or 34 ounces. It's not a boat anchor, but this isn't a gun you want to wear on Sansabelt slacks or running shorts. It's also a bit thick for inside the waistband, but can be done with the right holster (try Uncle Mikes). Because of the size and mass, carrying in the pocket isn't an option. Better opt for a Nano if you want a Beretta in a 9mm as even the subcompact in this family is a bit meaty.

The balance is spot on, even with the magazine empty and a polymer frame. Removing the slide for field stripping doesn't require pulling the trigger as there is a catch just above the trigger guard. This is recessed to prevent the slide from separating from the frame during presentation, but deliberately removing same is still quick and easy. There are only three parts to remove once the slide is off and they're very intuitive getting them back together. You can't put anything in backwards and you don't even have to hold the slide upside-down to get it back together with the frame.

The trigger pull in double action is crisp, but heavier than in single action. This is to be expected with any gun of this construction and the PX4 doesn't disappoint. The trigger guard is large enough for even gloved hands and there's just enough grip to get all your digits on the frame. Originally, Beretta had Tritium (night) sights on this gun, but perversely, they switched to white dot sights. The picture is good, but this could be a challenge to use in low light. To switch to night sights on this gun, you will need a special tool to get them off and on, or take it to a gunsmith. The tool costs about $100 from Beretta and the sights are about $100 as well. This is a lot to spend on a gun that now retails for about $600 (I got it for substantially less than that). Personally, I'll go ahead and take this to a gunsmith if need be, or find a glow in the dark paint if this becomes an issue.

The slide lock is larger than on many guns this size and could be an issue with some holsters. However, this isn't an issue with mine as of yet. If you've owned a piece with a safety/decocker on the slide, this one could be confusing. The European guns I've fired and seen have the safety up for fire and down for "safe". This is backwards to the American gun that have the fire down. Not a deal breaker, but something to learn if you decide to carry it. The magazine release, as with everything else, is ambidextrous, but this needs to be switched from one side to the other. I haven't tried it, no need to as this is set for a right handed person. Southpaws can reset this with a small punch. Operating the release requires you to arch your thumb a bit. This can be a challenge for those with smaller hands. The positive side is that you won't be as likely to accidentally release the magazine in a fight. This is why you need to practice with ANY gun you intend to carry or use for home defense. Larger buttons for this, as well as smaller ones for the slide release can be had from Beretta. The present size is more than adequate for most shooters.
Speaking of hand size, those back straps are there to adjust for same. The one already on the frame will according to Beretta, fit 80% of shooters. Thus far, as I haven't fired it yet, and that one fits fine. The larger or smaller ones should help those with larger or smaller mitts get a grip. I've read some reviews of people tearing their fingers trying to operate the safety/decocker. The only conclusion I can come to is that they may have a defective gun because the control doesn't have any sharp edges to speak of. Flipping it up for "fire" is easy, but putting it into "safe" requires extending your thumb slightly or using your other hand. My first impression of the PX4 Storm Compact is positive to say the least, but the proof is at the range. As soon a I get some rounds through it, Lord willing, I'll follow up. Maranatha!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Revelation Commentary, From A Handyman? Part 12

Writing about this isn't fun. Living through it won't be a garden party either.
Revelation 9 
1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.

9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.

11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,

14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.

19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.

20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:

21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries (drug use), nor of their fornication (sexual sin), nor of their thefts.

The "star" IS in this context referring to an angel and this is consistent throughout the Bible. Angels are made out of the same material that stars are, as opposed to human being made from material from the earth. I would hazard a guess that the "star" could be Satan himself being allowed to let out his buddies, but this and the means to deliver this "woe" is open to conjecture. Any way you slice this, it will be horrible. I'll give you my take. I live a in trailer park next to a National Guard base and there are countless helicopter flights over same. There's nothing quiet about a chopper flight and these do look and fly a lot like grasshoppers. This goes double to a man in the first century who had never seen a chopper fly before. These things still get me up and I've been in one. Just take a look at some helicopters, especially the Apache Longbow and the description given. Nerve gases can cause severe agony described in this chapter as well. Google Sarin, Phosgene or Mustard Gas (a blistering agent) and see what I mean.  
The same could be said for the devices that kill one third of the remaining population. Sure, there could very well be demons and other entities that could do everything described in this chapter, but hear me out. With all of the alien abductions and the technology they have to bear, there's no reason why the evil one couldn't use this same technology to torture and kill. To add to this, these very weapons are being brought to bear RIGHT NOW. I don't see how this game plan is going to change much. Either way, I'd rather not be here to find out.

Revelation Commentary, From A Handyman? Part 11

Okay God, I'm listening. Back to work...
Revelation 8
1And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;

9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;

11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

For one thing, anyone who believes that the time in Heaven and the time on Earth are different, in the words of Bill Engval, "here's your sign." There is no difference in time from the Creator of same and all else. The opening of the Seventh Seal Judgement brings on another seven judgements. As redundant as this all seems, God is doing everything short of lobotomizing the rank and file to turn to Christ and away from sin. This is also the means in which He's reclaiming the earth and His creation. All through the Bible in the Talmud (the Old Testement) incense is offered to symbolize the prayers of the people. In this case it's the saints (probably those raptured and definitely those martyred up to this time) and this is to bring judgement. Back in the day, God sent prophets to Israel and they also prayed for judgement and repentance on an unbelieving people. It would be really easy to give God all the credit for this, because He could use His infinite power. However, much of the judgements up to this point are more likely the result of man's desire to do thinks "my way." The four horsemen are a huge example of this. Most of the events described in this chapter could be the direct result of a limited nuclear war darkening the skies, poisoning the water and shaking the earth if warheads hit a fault line. Need I remind anyone that Chernobyl is "Wormwood" in Russian? Truth is stranger than fiction. Maranatha!

2003 Ford Taurus Tie Rod Fix

Again, this is part of the steering we're fooling with. As with any part of a car or truck, you owe it to yourself to consult a competent mechanic or at least a service manual for the proper repair procedure. Poor repair practices can endanger you and others resulting in death, injury, and property damage. Use jack stands and wheel chocks when working under any vehicle. Do not work under or put any part you under a vehicle supported only by a jack unless you plan on bench pressing a ton or two. From experience, I nearly lost all the fingers on my right hand this way while working on a car. Even though this is a fairly simple job, do this and any other repairs at your own risk.

Our victim today is a car of my friends' that has been a bit of a pain, but all things considered it still runs and drives. Can't beat that now can we? The trouble is they took it into a car dealership to get a wheel alignment after replacing the front struts when a spring broke. The spring also managed to demolish the stabilizer link and could have shish kababed the tire. Ford Tauruses of this vintage (not to mention 1990's Escorts) are prone to break springs and it's not uncommon to have the rears break out after replacing the fronts. This happened on our 1996 Escort; I changed all the springs at least twice. Changing the springs on this car was a pain and this is why I suggested quick struts for the Taurus, but I digress.

Back to the story, since the struts were done the alignment will change and hence the need for one. The mechanic said to replace BOTH of the inner tie rod ends because they were failing. Nothing against mechanics, because the logic is that if one tie rod is going to go bad, the other one is sure to follow. This is not necessarily the case. When I raised the front of the car and had my buddy remove the tires, I found the problem. Someone had replaced the tie rod on the passenger side. This was obvious because the original clamps were missing from the rack boot. A small zip tie held the boot to the rackbut the one holding it to the tie rod wasn't to be found. The result was that water got in and ruined the rod.

I forgot to mention that you NEED a special tool to remove the tie rods from the rack. When you buy the new part, pay attention to the nut end. If it's rounded toward the rod, you will HAVE obtain a Saginaw adapter as the regular tool is basically a very long deep well socket. It will NOT fit nor turn the nut on a Saginaw style tie rod end. This tool grabs the nut behind the rounded part and allows you to turn it. The Taurus doesn't have this style, but many vehicles do. You've been warned.

To get the tie rod out, you need to raise the car, put jack stands under the sub frame and chock the rear wheels. Might as well remove both the wheels and check out the boots. If there are any breaks, then you need to replace them as well. Loosen the jam nut on the inner rod about a half turn; you may need penetrating oil to break up the rust. Take the cotter pin and castle nut off from the ball stud on the outer rod end. There are several methods to take the rod end out of the steering knuckle. I refuse to use a puller because these can bend the ball stud on late model cars. A pickle fork will take it off, but will damage the boot. This isn't a good idea if you want to save the part. The best method is to strike the knuckle surrounding the ball stud with a small sledge or ball pien hammer. Since these knuckles are aluminum, you need to be careful and hit it deliberately. A couple sharp taps should get it out. If not, it's likely corroded together and you'll have to use a pickle fork to break it loose. Replace the outer tie rod if the boot to it tears. Better to change this than a steering knuckle.

To remove the rod without changing the alignment (too much) count the number of turns to remove the end and WRITE IT DOWN. Wrap the threads with one layer of electrical tape and remove the boot. Go ahead and slip the tool over the inner tie rod and remove the works with a 1/2 inch breaker bar. That new rod has or should have a vial of thread locker in the package. Spread this inside the threads of the nut going into the rack. Do NOT use this stuff on the end threading into the outer rod. This is where the technician will make the adjustments and they need to turn freely. Put the new rod on tight and reinstall the boot. The end that clamps to the rod needs to line up with the groove on the rod and the vent pipe needs to be inside the of the end that secures to the rack. I use the worm type hose clamps in the same spots over the original ones and have never had an issue. Just be sure the clamps go under the vent tube. Lubricate the threads going to the outer tie rod, thread on the jam nut and outer the same number of turns it took to take it off. Tighten the jam nut against the outer after you install the ball stud, castle nut and cotter pin. If you replaced the outer, install the grease fitting and lube it with a grease gun. Reinstall the wheels, lower the car, remove the chocks and check your work. The car will need to go to an alignment shop to avoid chewing up the tires A.S.A.P. Marantha!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Thoughts on Selecting a Handgun for Self Defense

In the United States for the most part, citizens have the right to bear arms. To the writer, this means that with some exceptions, private citizens can own and carry guns for hunting, in the course of employment and self defense. Unless you live in Illinois, you will be able to carry a handgun for self-defense with varying degrees of regulation. This article isn't to argue that fact, nor to address politics save for what's apropos to same. Please consider this before making a comment.

This writer has been around guns for the better part of four decades and been handling and shooting them for 33 years. Admittedly, most have been shoulder guns; the two handguns fired were a Walther PPK in .380 caliber and a Smith and Wesson (can't remember the model, it was in 1981) in a .357. I would not call myself a "gun expert" by any means, but I've used tools most of my life and a gun is also one in the purest sense. I know a fair amount of you are at my level; hopefully this will be a benefit just the same.

Two months ago, I walked into a gun store looking for a "good cheap" handgun to put on layaway. There are as of this writing brand-new pieces to be had for under $200. Being the budget minded person I am, this is what I walked into the store considering. By the time I got done handling more than a few candidates, under my volition, chose something in the $500 range. What I got I will discuss in a later article.

There are many viewpoints about which brand, caliber, or action to buy. There are rabid fans of every make and model and they will tell you that you should buy a Glock, Colt, or even a Hi Point. Some will swear by a .45 or .40 caliber for their "renowned" stopping power, while others will insist on a .357 Magnum and still others a .380. There are the semi-automatic pistol crowd and those who would insist on a revolver or wheel gun. Not everyone of these guys and gals are experts either, but will gladly lend you their opinion. In that context, I'll lend you mine.

First off, the brand. My suggestion is to do your research as there are more than a few that will meet your needs. Reputation is a big deal when it comes to firearms as much it is with automobiles, beds and even roofing nails for that matter. With the exception of Glock, most of the reputable firms making guns have been around for a century or two. Whatever you buy, price is NOT the only consideration. Just because you can buy a new handgun for $150 doesn't mean it's a deal. Back in the 1980's there was a car called the Yugo that sold for about $4000 brand new. It also had no power steering, a manual transmission, and was literally 20 years old in design by the time it rolled into showrooms. It was only slightly safer than driving a motorcycle and had reliability issues. A cheap handgun will probably have outdated safety features, nor will you be able to mount accessories such as lasers or lights. To add to this, you will likely need tools and a lot of patience to maintain them. Hi Points for example, require a punch to field strip them, while Cobra, another budget gun "only" needs a ballpoint pen on their FS380. The aforementioned guns have many good points as well, as they are accurate and inexpensive as are their parts. They also have a lifetime warranty. In the right hands they're very capable. However, because I have arthritis in mine, pulling the slides back on both proved very difficult. That was a dealbreaker for me. I would rather save up for a couple months to buy what I'm REALLY comfortable with and WANT to have over settling. This purchase could save your life, or the lives of others. Is it really worth "saving" a few hundred dollars on a gun? You have to decide this for yourself.

Caliber is another hotly contested topic among gun enthusiasts, but with a few exceptions is over generalized. A .44 magnum has a lot of punch to put it mildly, but it also has recoil and the ammunition is expensive. You need to be able to practice with the thing and if you can't afford the ammunition, it will be no use anyway. On the other hand, .22 rimfires are cheap and plentiful, but how many do you want to shoot to try and stop an assailant? Most of the time, you're only going to be able to get off about 2 or 3 rounds in defense situation. These rounds, properly placed, need to have the mass and energy to do the job. Besides, the courts aren't going to look too kindly to you shooting anyone with 15 rounds. Explain all you want to a jury, but perception is reality. I'd rather throw them a $20 and get the hell out of there myself. For price and power, especially with a critical defense round, the 9mm is a good choice. The reason I favor a 9mm is because I can afford to practice more often than with a .40 or .45 and they have more power than a .380, which still costs more. With a revolver, I would get a .357 and use .38 special ammo for practice. Both will fit in a .357. Only .38 will fit in a gun with same.

Depending on whether you want a pistol or revolver is going to determine which ammunition you use, but exclusive of that there are pros and cons for each. Pistols hold more rounds than a revolver and are a lot easier to reload in a fight. They're also less expensive than a revolver (at least in my neck of the woods) and are flatter without the round cylinder. This makes them a little easier to conceal, but not a lot. The downside of pistols is that they need regular maintenance and practice to get familiar with them (any gun does, but pistols do especially, even Glocks). There are more moving parts and they can jam or misfeed for a variety of reasons, including dirty or corroded ammo. Revolvers aren't as finicky with ammo, nor do they have as many moving parts to contend with. They are more user friendly, but uncocking one can be tricky if pulling back the hammer. This is not an issue with a pistol. Most revolvers hold five or six rounds and since most fights only use about 2 or 3 rounds, this shouldn't be an issue. However, who wants to struggle loading rounds in a defense situation? Despite what you've heard, they still need practice and you still need to maintain them or bad things can happen. Pistols have safeties, but revolvers have a heavier trigger pull. With young children, a safety is nice option. Don't bet anyones life on it.

In the next article, I'll go a bit more in depth and review my choice. Maranatha!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fix For Cold, Clammy Air, and Save Money Too.

Today went from spring to summer in an instant. We went from 60 degree F temperatures to near 90 and to humidity in the 70% range. Setting the thermostat from 78 to 72 degrees is going to take a bite out of your wallet in a hurry, and the real problem isn't the temperature but the humidity. Even get out of the shower on a cold morning. Because the humidity is low, and the temperature is low and you're wet, the evaporation on your skin is going to cool you off. Problem is that there are two types of heat and one is call sensible heat.

Sensible heat is the temperature we read on a thermometer. If we boil water, the temperature is going to go up to 212 degrees (or 100C) until it boils and once it boils it will stay at that temperature until it has all boiled away, and then the temperature will go way up. The heat involved with that process is called latent heat. In air conditioning, this is all the heat that needs to be sucked out of all the furniture, wall, your plasma TV, etc before the temperature will go down. You'll also need to get rid of the humidity and that takes a lot of time.

Problem is, the blower is usually set to the highest setting which reduces the sensible heat, but doesn't take time to remove the latent heat or humidity. If you want to save money and stay comfortable, slow the blower down a notch and set the air-conditioner thermostat up to 77 or 78. The unit will run longer, but remove more humidity in the process. Because you can live with a higher temperature, you should be able to save money on your utility bills as long as you change the filter and have the system maintained regularly.

As always, a programmable thermostat, if programmed properly will help you save energy. This means never setting the temperature up or back more than 3 to 5 degrees. This is because the system will have to work harder to get the heat down then it would if it maintained. I had a bear of a time trying to convince my former tenants to leave their air conditioning on during the day on the hottest of same. The result was at five in the afternoon, the unit would never catch up and their electric bills would be sky high. They would complain that the air conditioners were at fault when the reality was they wouldn't listen. Air conditioners don't produce cool, they remove heat and this is like trying to bail water out of a boat with a teacup. The less water leaking the in or there already, the faster and more efficiently it will to keep the water from swamping the boat. This is the same thing with heat in a structure. I know I've beat this to death, but hopefully it'll sink in (pun intended). Maranatha!