I’m famous!

Ok, no, not really famous…but one of my old photos has been making the rounds on Facebook.
To answer the inevitable questions:

  1. Yes, her reloading technique needed work. It was the first time she’d fired an AR. She’s improved in the intervening years.
  2. No, I’m not taking cover behind the side door/window. I’m bracing my arm against the A pillar, so I’m right where the windshield meets the hood. Should I be further forwards, and thus more protected by the engine? Probably, but I’m being a gentleman and yielding the best cover to the lady.
  3. Yes, I should probably be less exposed.
  4. The picture was intended to humorously illustrate Tamara‘s quote, “A true gentleman provides covering fire while a lady is reloading.” (I forgot the exact wording when I captioned the photo. My apologies to Tam.), not to be a serious demonstration of shooting skills.
  5. The point was not that she’s reloading the rifle for my use and that she remains under cover during the gunfight — I’m providing covering fire for her while she reloads her own rifle, after which she’ll engage the enemy.
  6. No, she’s not pointing the AR at my head. She’s about half a meter to my right and the rifle is pointing up and downrange.
  7. Yes, a full-size AR-15 is a bit too big for her. Since the photo was taken, we’ve purchased an “M4gery”-style AR with an adjustable stock and a shorter barrel for better balance.
  8. Yes, I’m left-handed. She’s not (hence why the reloading looks so awkward).
  9. I’m shooting an XD-45.
  10. That was one of our first dates, and we were out shooting in the Arizona desert with friends. I may be able to dig up the coordinates of where we were if anyone is interested.
  11. I married that woman, and am the luckiest guy in the world.
  12. Is a Camry ideal cover? No, but the big chunk of American (( The 2006 Toyota Camry was made in the US from more US-made parts than most of the vehicles made by “American” brands.)) steel aluminum under the hood is certainly better than nothing.
  13. Why is the Camry in the desert? What, you expect we’d walk way out there? The Camry can handle the road and suited my everyday driving purposes.

Google Question of the Day: Are Silencers/Suppressors Legal in Arizona

Every now and again, I look through my logs and occasionally find something interesting. This week, it’s a question that a lot of people have been asking: Are silencers/suppressors legal in Arizona?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Arizona has no state-level laws that I am aware of regarding the ownership of NFA-regulated items like silencers/suppressors. So long as you obey Federal law in regards to the purchase, storage, and use of those items, you are free to buy, own, and use NFA-regulated items in Arizona as you see fit. Consult your friendly local Class III Federal Firearms Licensee (ask your local gun shop if they can point you in the right direction) for more details.
When I purchased my Gemtec Outback II .22LR suppressor a few years back, the process was relatively painless and only took about 30 days from start to finish, including approval by both the Pima County Sheriff and the ATF.

Ammo Promo: Prvi Partizan

Normally I don’t mention commercial services (( I don’t accept advertising or get any money or perks from the few services I do mention. )), but I recently got an email from Ammoman about how Prvi Partizan is raising their prices on .223/5.56mm NATO ammo soon. Right now it’s for sale (pre-increase) for $299/1,000rds.
For those who haven’t tried Prvi, I highly recommend it. Their 55 and 62 grain ball ammo meets NATO spec, is brass cased, boxer primed and reloadable, shoots reasonably clean, and is about as accurate as one would expect for general purpose military ammo. The cases have visible annealing marks, as does most military ammo, but polish up nicely for reloading.
When I lived in the US, my ARs were fed a steady diet of Prvi and worked flawlessly. I actually prefer it over the Federal stuff, which never seemed as consistent
If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s well worth $299 to try a case.

Still not used to it

Even after living here for months, I’m still not quite used to seeing people with SIG SG 550s walking around. I’ll be sitting there at the train station watching people get off the train: regular guy, lady with a newspaper, young parents with a stroller, guy with an assault rifle, man with a briefcase, and so on. It’s a bit odd.
In gun-friendly Arizona, people carried pistols (usually concealed, but sometimes openly) and nobody paid anyone any mind. It was simply how things were done. However, the open carriage of rifles in urban areas was highly unusual. Here, it’s just another day at the train station.
When I was in Paris’ Gare du Nord in 2008, there were three-men patrols of soldiers (military police? I don’t know.) with FAMAS rifles that would walk around the station. This is not uncommon in France or in other places in Europe, and since they were in uniform it was not disconcerting at all. However, seeing non-uniformed, ordinary citizens carrying rifles around Bern is a bit odd. Not bad, just a bit odd.

NPR: How The Glock Became America’s Weapon Of Choice

NPR has an interesting article?on the rise of the Glock pistol in the United States and?Paul Barrett’s book?Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun which presumably goes into more detail.
It basically boils down to “reliable, accurate, simple, durable, high capacity, and good timing”. I think if you look up the dictionary definition of those words, the dictionary will have a picture of the Glock pistol. It’s no surprise they’re popular — I’ve owned three over the years.

Relocation Update

Greetings from Bern!
My wife and I moved out here two weeks ago and are in our temporary apartment in Bern while we search for more permanent housing. So far, so good.
It’s rather amusing to see off-duty soldiers (both in uniform and out) carrying slung SIG SG 550 rifles on the bus as they head home. It’s evidently such an ingrained part of Swiss cuture that nobody so much as bats an eye.
More updates as they happen.

Arizona Silencer Laws

I’ve noticed a large increase in the number of visitors to my snarky Silencers are also Illegal?post that I made way back in 2008.
In the hopes of clarifying Arizona law as it relates to suppressors with less snark than that previous post, I direct readers to the Arizona Revised Statutes 13-3101?which state, in part:

A. In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
[snip]
8. “Prohibited weapon”:
(a) Includes the following:
(i) An item that is a bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces or mine and that is explosive, incendiary or poison gas.
(ii) A device that is designed, made or adapted to muffle the report of a firearm.
(iii) A firearm that is capable of shooting more than one shot automatically, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.
(iv) A rifle with a barrel length of less than sixteen inches, or shotgun with a barrel length of less than eighteen inches, or any firearm that is made from a rifle or shotgun and that, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.
(v) An instrument, including a nunchaku, that consists of two or more sticks, clubs, bars or rods to be used as handles, connected by a rope, cord, wire or chain, in the design of a weapon used in connection with the practice of a system of self-defense.
(vi) A breakable container that contains a flammable liquid with a flash point of one hundred fifty degrees Fahrenheit or less and that has a wick or similar device capable of being ignited.
(vii) A chemical or combination of chemicals, compounds or materials, including dry ice, that is possessed or manufactured for the purpose of generating a gas to cause a mechanical failure, rupture or bursting or an explosion or detonation of the chemical or combination of chemicals, compounds or materials.
(viii) An improvised explosive device.
(ix) Any combination of parts or materials that is designed and intended for use in making or converting a device into an item set forth in item (i), (vi) or (viii) of this subdivision.
(b) Does not include:
(i) Any fireworks that are imported, distributed or used in compliance with state laws or local ordinances.
(ii) Any propellant, propellant actuated devices or propellant actuated industrial tools that are manufactured, imported or distributed for their intended purposes.
(iii) A device that is commercially manufactured primarily for the purpose of illumination.
B. The items set forth in subsection A, paragraph 8, subdivision (a), items (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) of this section do not include any firearms or devices that are registered in the national firearms registry and transfer records of the United States treasury department or any firearm that has been classified as a curio or relic by the United States treasury department.

Emphasis mine.
In short, so long as one complies with the National Firearms Act of 1934?(the NFA)?and other relevant Federal laws NFA items, including suppressors, are not restricted or otherwise regulated by the state of Arizona. Simple.
If one doesn’t?comply with the NFA and other relevant Federal law relating to NFA weapons, then one is in violation of both Federal law and state law and in for a world of hurt. The ATF does not like it when people break the NFA, and penalties can include a felony conviction, 10 years in jail, and a $250,000 fine. Not fun.
When I got my suppressor a few years ago, my ATF Form 4 was processed and approved in about a month. Fees (not including the purchase price of the suppressor itself) were about $250 — the $200 NFA tax, about $10 for fingerprints, and the remainder as a tip to my dealer (who walked me through the process in detail, answered my numerous questions, and made sure I didn’t screw up). All in all, not bad.

New Rifle & Camera

As I have been getting ready to move in August, I’ve been selling off or donating most of my non-essential personal possessions. Old clothing and shoes have gone to Goodwill, along with some old electronics. It’s amazing how little cruft I had accumulated over the years.
Some things, however, are staying in the US: several of our wedding presents (for example a waffle iron, a new blender, and so on) are electric and only work on 120V 60Hz power, and so won’t work in Europe (where 240V 50Hz power is the norm). Others, like our nice crystal glassware, are fragile and valuable, and we don’t want to risk shipping them. While the Swiss will allow us to import essentially all of my firearms (with some paperwork, naturally), we’re not going to take them over right away: they’re bulky, heavy, require secure transport, and we have higher-priority stuff that needs to go first.
With all this paring down, it may seem odd that I would be purchasing new things. Some things, such as updating my wardrobe, make sense as clothing is quite expensive in Switzerland (a $40 pair of Levi’s jeans here in Arizona is about $180 in Bern), but I’ve also added a new camera and rifle to my stable.
My friend Louis had recently upgraded from his Nikon D40 to a D7000 and was looking at selling his camera, an 18-55mm lens, a 55-200mm VR lens, and some filters for a great price. I’ve been looking for a decent D-SLR for a while, and the offer was something I couldn’t refuse. Having a decent camera seems to go quite well with moving to a very photogenic country.
I have also been looking at getting a Swiss K31 rifle for some time (coincidentally the same country I’m moving to for graduate school), as they’re modestly priced, well-made, and extremely accurate. My friend Nathan had one and doesn’t shoot it much, so he made me a good offer and I’ll be picking it up next week. While it’s likely going to stay here in the US with my other firearms, I may see about taking it to Switzerland after we move (e.g. if we come back to the US for the holidays, I could take it back then). The Swiss don’t make much of a hassle about importing firearms, and I seriously doubt they’d make a fuss about bringing a Swiss-made rifle back to its country of origin. If I do bring it to the country, it’s likely that I can get ammo for cheap, which is good. 🙂

Gov. Brewer Vetoes SB 1467

The Arizona Republic reports that Governor Brewer has vetoed SB 1467, citing vagueness in defining “public right-of-way”.
That said, the definition is somewhat vague. A.R.S. ? 9-461 defines “right-of-way” as “any public right-of-way and includes any area required for public use pursuant to any general or specific plan”. Somewhat circular reasoning.
Naturally, all the anti-rights folks (both on-campus and off) are focusing on unexplained statements (( For example, “Guns have no place in school!”, without explaining how it’s fine for people to carry guns on a public sidewalk on any non-campus street in the state, but is somehow worse to have the same people carrying the same guns on a public sidewalk on-campus. )), emotional claims, and irrelevant refererences to the incident where Congresswoman Giffords and others were shot (( It’s already illegal to commit murder and attempted murder, yet that law didn’t seem to stop the shooter. How are stickers declaring a campus to be a “weapon free zone” going to be any better? Criminals would ignore them; only the law-abiding would obey those rules.)) as that incident and empowering the law-abiding to lawfully carry, if they choose, on public areas of a campus have essentially nothing to do with each other. Go figure.
The Arizona Republic also provided some interesting information:

Brewer’s office was inundated with calls about the bill.
Between April 7 and April 13, the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services received 904 calls, letters and faxes in support of SB 1467 and 951 in opposition to it, a Brewer spokeswoman said.

It’s rare to get actual quantitative information about support/opposition to a bill. While it’s unlikely that the absolute number of support/opposition letters had any direct bearing on the governor’s decision, it’s still nice to get some numbers of what was received by her office. Although I oppose the governor’s veto, the fact that this information was released is a good thing. Well done!
In addition, the governor vetoed the absurd “birther” bill that the legislature sent to her desk. Again, well done. The fact that such a bill was not only proposed, but actually passed out of the legislature is quite embarrassing and reflects poorly on the state and the legislature.