Saturday, November 28, 2009

John Moses Browning: His Life in a Graphic Novel

What is a fitting tribute for the greatest gun inventor of all time? Why you create a graphic novel, of course!!!

The "comic book" features the highlights of his life & his amazing inventions. I found this 45-page document on (thanks John C.!). It's interesting that it didn't mention the greatest handgun in the world (it's the 1911 of course, Geeez!). There is also no mention of the publisher nor the year of publication. The document seems to be promoting the FN & Browning companies (maybe that's why the Colt 1911 was not mentioned), but it's still a great read for those who are fascinated by this great American legend!

To see the complete comic book, go to this link...
The American Gunmaker, John M. Browning

Here are some images from the graphic novel...

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Facts & Myths...

"The reason that we have so many myths associated with Thanksgiving is that it is an invented tradition. It doesn't originate in any one event. It is based on the New England puritan Thanksgiving, which is a religious Thanksgiving, and the traditional harvest celebrations of England and New England and maybe other ideas like commemorating the pilgrims. All of these have been gathered together and transformed into something different from the original parts."
– James W. Baker
Senior Historian at Plimoth Plantation

Here are some Thanksgiving Fun Facts & Myths I found on Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
  • Though many competing claims exist, the most familiar story of the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony, in present-day Massachusetts, in 1621. More than 200 years later, President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving. Congress finally made Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday in 1941.
  • In Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, near the Charles River in December of 1619, a group of British settlers led by Captain John Woodlief knelt in prayer and pledged "Thanksgiving" to God for their healthy arrival after a long voyage across the Atlantic. This event has been acknowledged by some scholars and writers as the official first Thanksgiving among European settlers on record.
  • The pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers. They wiped their hands on large cloth napkins which they also used to pick up hot morsels of food.
  • The foods that the colonists and Wampanoag Indians ate were very similar, but their eating patterns were different. While the colonists had set eating patterns—breakfast, dinner, and supper—the Wampanoags tended to eat when they were hungry and to have pots cooking throughout the day.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in America, with a planned production total of 49 million in 2008. Just six states—Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia, Missouri and Indiana—will probably produce two-thirds of the estimated 271 million birds that will be raised in the U.S. this year.
  • The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys—one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States in 2007—were eaten at Thanksgiving.
  • In a survey conducted by the National Turkey Federation, nearly 88 percent of Americans said they eat turkey at Thanksgiving. The average weight of turkeys purchased for Thanksgiving is 15 pounds, which means some 690 million pounds of turkey were consumed in the U.S. during Thanksgiving in 2007.
  • The cranberry is one of only three fruits—the others are the blueberry and the Concord grape—that are entirely native to North American soil, according to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association.

  • Myth: The pilgrims wore only black and white clothing. They had buckles on their hats, garments, and shoes.
    Fact: Buckles did not come into fashion until later in the seventeenth century and black and white were commonly worn only on Sunday and formal occasions. Women typically dressed in red, earthy green, brown, blue, violet, and gray, while men wore clothing in white, beige, black, earthy green, and brown.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Tribute to all our Troops & Veterans...

I was moved by this tribute I found on YouTube. Great images! Thanks to all the brave men & women who have served and continue to serve & defend world freedom & democracy!!!

As a son & a grandson of veterans, I believe that we should honor them not just on Veterans' Day...

BTW, I give special discounts to current & former Law Enforcement & Military personnel as tribute of my appreciation. Send me an email!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

A Brief History: Trap Shooting

Here is another installment of my "Brief History" series. This time, it's all about the sport of Trap Shooting!

Early this year, my brother & I took up this addicting sport. We are avid shooters and we've been shooting all sorts of guns since we were kids. As military brats, we "played" with our dad's army-issued Colt M1911. As kids, we used to shoot birds with our competition CO2 air rifle. Over the years, we continued to pursue our hobby, but mostly we only did target shooting & a little practical shooting. I like shooting pistols, fell in love with the iconic 1911, while my brother became more interested in rifles like the AR-15. Let's just say that we have quite an arsenal between the two of us. We make it a point to go to the range to sharpen our skills at least once a month. We live in the same city & fortunately, there is an outdoor rifle/pistol & trap range just 20 minutes from where we live.

In one of our trips to this facility, we stopped by the trap range to check it out. We've always been curious about trap shooting but never really tried it. It looked fun so we tried it out with a loaner shotgun. From then on, we were hooked! We bought our "starter" shotgun, a Stoeger over/under competition shotgun. In only my third try, I shot 23 out of 25! Boy, all these years of target shooting does seem to pay off!

Now, what is the history of trap shooting, you ask? Well according to Dick Baldwin (, it has a long & colorful history that goes back to late 18th century England. It was the sport of the aristocrats of the time. The sport was first mentioned in a British publication called "Sporting Magazine" in 1793. Here is an excerpt:
"The great celebrity of this sport, in which some of the first shots in England are so frequently engaged, encourages us to communicate an account of its fashionable influence and increasing prevalence as a subject applicably entitled to a place in our sporting receptacle." (Say whaaaat?!?)

During those days, live pigeons were used as targets. They were released from cages, called traps. Until now, the modern clay targets are still called "pigeons" and the contraption that launches them is still called a "trap". This sport came to the American continent in the early 1800s. One of the first contests was held in 1831 at the Sportsmen's Club in Cincinnati, OH, where they used passenger pigeons & sparrows. These birds were quite abundant then. During around the Civil War, the practice of using live birds was replaced by targets. These early targets varied from metal ones with rotating wings to the more popular glass ball filled with feathers. They were usually launched by catapults.

The first clay targets were introduced in the 1880s by George Ligowskey. They were first used in the New York State Shoot, a state-wide shooting event, at Coney Island. They became an instant success. In 1884, Fred Kimble invented a composite clay target that "explodes" into the puff of smoke that we see today.

The first trapshooting club, called the American Shooting Association, was organized in 1890. They were responsible for producing the sport's first rule book. In 1892, they changed the name of the organization to The Interstate Association, and evolved into an organization made up of gun & powder manufacturers. Again, in 1919, the organization was renamed American Trapshooting Association (ATA). In 1911, for the fist time, doubles targets were introduced. From 1915-19, for the first time, a group called the American Amateur Trapshooting Association (AATA) was organized by amateurs. It co-existed with the ATA for a few years.  Finally in 1923, one of the the current governing bodies, the Amateur Trapshooting Association (also ATA) was organized to replace the old ATA.

The sport currently has two independent governing bodies, the modern ATA, which sanctions shoots throughout the US & Canada, and the Pacific International Trapshooting Association (PITA), which sanctions shoots in the West Coast.

Take it from me... Nothing beats shooting a flying object to smithereens! This sport takes a lot of concentration, you only get better with age. I wish that I discovered this sport earlier...



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Excuse me... Is your Glock louder than my 1911?"

I was at the range the other day & I noticed something peculiar... Is my buddy's 9mm Glock louder than my .45 caliber S&W 1911DK?

So when I got home that evening, I researched on the web to see if my ears weren't deceiving me. True enough, I found a short article on about this phenomenon... (BTW, this website is full of nifty things on the 1911 handgun. Check it out.)

"So you want to know which cartridge makes the louder bang? Some technicalities are in order first. Sound is measured in decibels (db), much like temperature is measured in degrees and speed in miles (or kilometers) per hour. Like most other units, the bottom of the scale or 0 db, is an arbitrary setting, which by convention is set to be the level of the sound that we can barely (sic) hear, or our hearing threshold, as it is normally known. ...Although loudness is subjective, most people perceive one sound to be twice as loud as another, when there is a 10-fold increase in energy, or a difference of about 10 db. ...Also, it is interesting to note that most people cannot discern any difference in perceived loudness of less than 3 db. That means that the energy in the sound has to double, before someone can notice any difference."
The following is a Table of Loudness from the same article...

So what can we learn from this table?

1.) That the sound that most guns make go beyond the threshold of pain. (As if we don't know that!)

2.) That, surprisingly, the noise that a chainsaw makes is below the threshold of pain.

3.) That a 12 gauge shotgun is louder than a 20 gauge shotgun. (Who cares? I do!)

4.) That the .44 Magnum is one hell of a  noisy gun!

5.) That a quiet street at 40dB is not so quiet after all... shhhh...

6.) That damn 9mm Glock was really louder than my 1911!!!