Condition Yellow: Nature or Nurture?

keep-calm-and-stay-observantMost shooters are at least dimly aware of the “color codes” of awareness (White/Yellow/Orange/Red) that Jeff Cooper popularized.

If you read Jeff Cooper’s wikipedia entry, it defines Condition Yellow by quoting The Carry Book: Minnesota Edition, 2011:

Yellow: Relaxed alert. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that “today could be the day I may have to defend myself”. You are simply aware that the world is a potentially unfriendly place and that you are prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and realize that “I may have to shoot today”. You don’t have to be armed in this state, but if you are armed you should be in Condition Yellow. You should always be in Yellow whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings or among people you don’t know. You can remain in Yellow for long periods, as long as you are able to “Watch your six.” (In aviation 12 o’clock refers to the direction in front of the aircraft’s nose. Six o’clock is the blind spot behind the pilot.) In Yellow, you are “taking in” surrounding information in a relaxed but alert manner, like a continuous 360 degree radar sweep. As Cooper put it, “I might have to shoot.”

Little 9mm Pistols: Most Recent Update

Noisy Cricket

Noisy Cricket

The popularity of 9mm handguns continues to grow.

And the rights of Americans to carry concealed handguns for self-defense are becoming more entrenched across the country.  Even if some areas only try to pay lip-service to them.

In light of recent product introductions, it is time to update our round-up of little 9mm handguns.

Back in 2014, Ruger released a striker-fired version of their LC9s pistol.

Optics for Combat Rifles (updated)

Scope Expert

Scope Expert

Buying a scope for a hunting rifle is pretty straightforward: determine the terrain you will be hunting in, and the distance that you typically take your shot at, and buy a scope of suitable magnification.

Hunting prairie dogs across an uncluttered plain calls out for very high magnification.  Hunting whitetail in the Northeast probably means dense forest among the hills, and the shots that present themselves to a hunter will be much closer; less magnification is better for that.  Variable magnification scopes give hunters extra versatility, but even with modern technology there are real and practical limits to what a scope can do.  Shooting in low light (when hunting coyotes, for instance) calls out for an illuminated reticle, which is a more common feature in the last 10 years.

A scope for combat has different requirements, because there are so many different kinds of combat.

Connecticut-Legal AR-15

Sit & Spin, Malloy!

Sit & Spin, Malloy!

Well, the eagle has landed, folks.

The illogical and capricious nature of gun laws (I’m still waiting to hear what the problem with barrel shrouds is) renders them vulnerable to circumvention by engineering changes, or even cosmetic changes. Where there is a will, there is a way.

The development of bizarre AR-15 features like thumbhole stocks, fixed-magazines fed by stripper clips, bullet-buttons, single-shot operation, lever-action and pump action were driven by the need to circumvent specifically-worded gun laws.

In the wake of the SAFE Act in NY, Black Rain Ordnance created a snake-like stock to render their otherwise-stock AR15 NY-legal. Goofy-looking, but functional.

And now Ares Defense has redesigned the AR15 lower receiver to allow a traditional Monte Carlo stock to be attached (alas this particular shoulder thing will not go up), rendering the final product legal to own in CT without registering it as an assault weapon. They promised it back in April, but it is in stores right now.

Scout Rifles

Versatility

Versatility

Everybody likes new things. And the advertising practices of the past 50 years have deepened and solidified our hunger for new things beyond the limits of common sense.

How else to explain the mad dash to ditch a perfectly good smartphone when a new model (that is functionally 97% identical to the old model, and light-years better than the phones of 5 years ago) is released?  IT managers were not hallucinating when they observed an increase in broken phones when a new iPhone was released. You can’t have bread & circuses without the bread.

Guns are not immune to this trend. When something bigger/smaller/faster/shinier comes out, we all salivate a little. Senator Phil Gramm once described the size of his arsenal as “more than I need, but not as many as I want”.  A smart consumer should mitigate his/her urge to acquire new hardware with the knowledge of: budget priorities, how easy it will be to get ammo/parts/accessories, reliability of warranty coverage, and whether or not the gun is chambered for a caliber that he/she already supports.  No one is saying that those are rules to adhere to at all times.  But you need to weigh all the factors against your personal situation before deciding. Bullets without a gun to shoot them are as useless as a gun with no bullets.

Cheap Guns

Skinflint

Skinflint

Kahr Arms has been pursuing a 2-tiered product strategy for a few years now. When they entered the market, they sold high-quality pistols at pricepoints higher than Glock.  They now sell a high-end version of a gun, as well as a low-end version.  The potential benefit is access to a category of customers that normally wouldn’t be considering your product.  The risk in such strategies is that you might negatively impact the sales of the high-end gun more than you gain from the sales of the low-end gun; and that you might dilute your brand’s perception.  The vendor must be careful in designing their product tiers to clearly differentiate the tiers for the customer.