Monday, December 31, 2012

Facts of the Newtown Tragedy & Firearms Purchasing

Barnes Precision Machine
AR15 that my wife used
to fend off two burglers
Proposed to be banned
Facts of the Newtown Tragedy & Firearms Purchasing

I first want to start this article by saying how upset I am as an American that tragedies such as the recent Newtown, CT shooting occur and my prayers go out to the families affected by that disaster. 

As with any tragedy, there is much information circulating that is totally incorrect being driven by an emotional witch hunt. The pitchforks come out and the angry masses demand answers, retaliation, retribution, and heads on sticks. 

Like the Reagan assassination attempt committed with just a little innocuous 5-shot .22LR revolver, the event somehow was spun to create a assault weapons and high capacity magazine ban which thankfully timed out. The problem is that it is impossible to create a fairy tale  environment where there is no evil and where magically the unpredictable nature of crazy, insane, and evil people are constrained by yet another new law. I am unsure over the logic of banning a weapon wielded by the crazy. If you ban one weapon they will just find another.

Restored 1932 Mosin Nagant
Has an evil looking stock
Proposed to be banned

FACT - On the same day as the CT massacre, a Chinese man attacked and stabbed 22 children and elderly woman in front of an elementary school. 

I am not sure what fairy tale town gun banners live in, but in my very upscale golf course-ed division, I still needed to stick a gun in a guy's face to stop him from breaking in.  Perhaps in the magical land of politics, a police officer would have caught the guy as he was jamming a crowbar in my door, however in real life, my police have a 45 minute response time and my wife and I were forced to run the guy off instead.  

Henry Goldenboy .22LR
Over 10- Round Capacity
Proposed to be banned

How about the time two guys were attempting to break into our home and my wife was alone. My wife flipped the lights on in the house as she faced the attackers through a large 2nd story window.  The attackers saw my wife standing there wrapped in Kevlar with a holstered Glock 19 and an AR-15 pointed at the closest attackers chest... they obviously ran. We do not live in a bad area and far from a fairyland that politics would have you believe every neighborhood is perfect. The reality is things are bad and getting worse around the US and we DO need every available advantage to thwart those that want to do us harm including Glocks, AR15s, and high capacity magazines.

MLR22AT 10/22 Semi-Auto
.22LR Target Match
& Hunting Rifle
Proposed to be banned

FACT - Recent studies show that Concealed Carry Prevents More Crime than it Creates including studies conducted for concealed carry on school campuses

The ill informed media acts as if any black gun is scary, evil and a bad people killer and that full automatic guns are easy to obtain on any street corner. In fact they would have you believe it is easy to obtain any old gun to go on a bloody rampage.

FACT - Every state in the US requires full fingerprinting, a local, state, and federal criminal background check be performed to obtain a Firearm Purchase Permit or an instant BATF check for in store purchases without the Permit.  

The uninformed media would also have everyone believe that legally obtaining a firearms does not require a background check.

Ruger 10/22 Semi-Auto
.22LR Target Match
& Hunting Rifle (Wife's)
Proposed to be banned

FACT - It is impossible to LEGALLY obtain a firearm without full fingerprinting and a local, state, and federal criminal background check being performed. At minimum, this can be performed via the online or phone based criminal background check system in place by the BATF. Buyers must also complete Form 4473 . Any firearms dealer who fails to comply with this process will face fines, their license revoked, and potential jail time.

But don't gun shows and private firearm sales allow sales without a background check?

FACT - Firearms sales via private or gun shows still require buyers to present a current and valid purchase permits.  So jurisdictions and cities also require handguns and/or rifles to be registered as well. If you are found to have sold a firearm to someone who does not have a firearms purchase permit, you can face jail time and hefty fines

I am sure that all the the criminals are legally doing all this to obtain firearms to commit crimes.  You wouldn’t think that criminals would just steal guns and use those would you... no of course not, I am sure they all buy them legally including answering 11 A-L on Form 4473 truthfully.

FACT - Just because something is black, does not mean it should be banned, shunned, or singled out; that is racist. Perhaps if the guns were white, the politicians would call them pure and good guns.

American Spirit Arms
 AR15 Precision
Predator Hunting Rifle
Proposed to be banned

FACT - Thanks to the June 26, 1934 NFA  - National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act of 1968, Firearm Owner Protection Act of 1986 fully automatic guns (guns which can fire more than one bullet per trigger pull) are legal in some free states with tons and tons of paperwork, $200 BATF tax stamp fee, fingerprints, intensive background checks, 8-12 months of waiting for approval from the government to purchase the gun, and then pay about a $10,000 more than the actual gun is worth. Oh yeah the crazy evil doers are doing all this very expensive and time consuming paperwork vs just filing the sear on any gun they want to make full auto.

Politicians want even more gun control and in fact one politician wants almost every semi-automatic firearms to NFA controlled.

Mega Arms
Custom One of a Kind
3-Gun Competition
AR15 Match Rifle
Proposed to be banned

FACT - If you hear politicians saying these guns will be NFA or National Firearms Act controlled, they mean they want you to fill out 8-12 months of paperwork..and wait for approval, pay $200 just to reapply for the firearm you already own legally, and re-complete background checks at the local, state, and federal level. For the majority of gun owners this mean that the politicians want us, the law abiding gun owner, to go through all this on guns we already own legally and it could cost use $1000s of dollars depending on how many firearms you own as well as putting all of us gun owners in legal limbo in the process.

Lets look at the real facts of the Newtown incident without the media spin.

FACT - The firearms used during the CT massacre were used, transported and possessed illegally. 

FACT - The firearms were originally legally purchased by the mother, however as the insane son was not 21, and therefor he was not legally able to purchase, carry, transport, or transfer his mothers handguns which he used during the shooting and therefore his possession of the firearms in any circumstance outside of the direct supervision of his mother was illegal. 

Custom One of a Kind
AR15 Lower receiver
 I use in competition
Proposed to be banned

FACT - Just because you are related, does not mean you can legally transfer ownership or use of a firearm.  Any individual (relative or otherwise) must be legally compliant with gun purchasing laws which means that in most cases, at the very least, a relative receiving the firearm must have obtained a State Firearms Purchase permit before the transfer. 

FACT - The son did attempt to purchase a rifle legally and was denied - the existing gun restrictions worked. This would indicate a firearms purchase permit would not have been issued due to his existing mental condition. 

FACT - It was the mother’s fault she did not secure the firearms in a house with a permanently mentally disturbed individual.  Instead she provided open access to the firearms. These firearms should have been secured in some way.

FACT - An AR15 was not used in the shooting at the school, it was left behind, so let’s stop focusing on banning a gun that was never used in the massacre.
Ruger 10/22 Semi-Auto
.22LR Target Match
& Hunting Rifle
with a "black stock"
Proposed to be banned

FACT - Killing innocent people is already a serious crime, punishable by life in prison or death in some states. This law as old as the country has not stopped senseless killings. Only insane people kill innocent children, so we can assume that this was a seriously disturbed person who would have used any means legally or illegally to kill those victims.  Look at the above China incident to prove that statement.

FACT - No new weapon law or new ban would have prevented this incident with the exception of requiring all schools to have armed guards proportional to the school's size and secured single entry points. This would have prevented the Newtown massacre. 

Houlding Precision
Custom One of a Kind
Competition AR15 Match Rifle
Proposed to be banned

FACT - Armed security in the school or one or two teachers with concealed carry firearms would have been two options which would have prevented the Newtown CT situation.

FACT - Mrs Pandemic (my wife) was a teacher in an underprivileged area and actually resigned do to numerous security issues which threatened both her and her students lives. The school would not allow concealed carry by the teachers and she resigned because of the constant security issues which put her and her students in danger.

Ruger 10/22 Semi-Auto
.22LR Target Match
& Hunting Rifle
Proposed to be banned


I feel compelled to clear up a few additional misconceptions and provide a firearms definitions for the media folks that need a firearms education. 

What is a Machine Machine Gun or Fully Automatic Firearm - This type of firearms action allows the shooter to shoot more than one “round” at a time. Although it looks cool in movies, even the military infantry rarely use fully auto fire.  Note that MANY hunting and sporting guns look just like the military guns, but that does NOT mean they are fully automatic.  AR15s, for example are by their design NOT fully automatic weapons but look like an M16 or M4 military firearm. 

Remington 870 Turkey Predator Shotgun
Pistol Type Grip
Proposed to be banned
Image provided by Remington Arms

In all situations of “personal ownership” of automatic firearms, they must be manufactured on or before 1986. Cost to own own one of these pre-ban machine guns, the politicians are parading around, is about $10,000-$15,000. Limited ownership is possible in some states, however as noted above, these are already HEAVILY restricted, extremely expensive, and excruciatingly slow to procure. Generally only extremely wealthy collectors can afford their purchase... and oh by the way the politicians want every gun to be this hard to get.  

Predator Hunting Rifle
Pistol Type Grip, AR15 Style,
CDetachable Magazine
Proposed to be banned
Image provided by Remington Arms

What is a Semi-Automatic Firearm - Semi-Automatic firearms allows a round to be shot with each trigger pull. This has become by far the most popular type of firearm action in the US spanning from general purpose Semi-Auto goose, duck, and turkey shotguns, to handguns, to hunting rifles, to competition rifles including government sponsored matches and even the US Government sponsored Civilian Marksmanship Program. Of course, AR15s, Glocks, and other firearms feature this type of semi-automatic action.  It is not a killing machine firearm, it is just another way a gun can fire a round and in some cases more slowly than other type of actions.  

This is a 6-cyclinder engine vs 8-cyclinder engine argument, they just feed bullets differently and have advantages and disadvantages such as being potentially more complicated and less reliable.
High Performance
3-Gun Competion Match
AR15 Upper reciever
Proposed to be banned

Why A Detachable Magazine? - Some of these hunting, sporting, and defensive firearms have detachable magazines and some do not.  Some of the most popular semi-automatic firearms in history did not have detachable magazines and could be reloaded in some cases faster than current firearms with detachable magazines.  With my training and from decades of experience I would much rather have a firearms with a detachable magazine than one without, simply because they are safer to “clear” of ammo.  Most tubular and internal box magazines require you to cycle the extra live rounds though the firearm to make them “clear” and safe. You can see this could (and has) created more than a few unsafe situations when unloading a firearm.  Detachable magazines on the other hand allow you to drop the magazine free, remove the one live round from the chamber and the firearm is safe. A detachable magazine is the safest firearm ammo feeding device on the market.

High Capacity Magazines - Many hunting and firearm sports allow or in some cases require high capacity magazines, plus they are really fun.  One of the more pressing reasons to have high capacity magazines is for personal defense.  Under stressful situations, documented hit ratios of rounds actually hitting the target is about 7% for the less trained and 20% for the well trained which means that in a life or death situation your 15-round Glock magazine may only deliver 1-3 life saving hits to stop your attacker.  This seems reason enough to have high capacity magazines. Specifically for defense I want to know that I have more than enough ammunition available to take care of a threat attempting harm to me or my family.

How Much Ammo Should You Have On Hand, What is a Reasonable Amount? - Any legal firearm owner should be allowed to have as much ammo as they want. On almost any trip to the range I will routinely shoot over 1000 rounds which means a 15,000 round ammo pile, might only last me a month.  

Mossberg Take-Down Survival
12Gauge Shotgun
Proposed to be banned

How would you feel if I regulated how many golf balls you could own, or gas you could use for your sportscar, or whatever you need that is critical to the enjoyment of your hobby.  Most of the uninitiated do not know that match and target shooters like myself routinely buy 5000-10,000 rounds at a time of certain “production lot #s” of ammo that we find shoots more accurately than others. The consistency varies from lot # to lot # when the ammo is produced, so when you find a particular ammo you like you want to buy as much as possible.  This is one of a limitless number of reasons there should be no limits on the amount of ammo personally owned.

SVI Semi-Auto Very High Capacity $4700 Custom Match pistol 
One of a kind!   Proposed to be banned
What You Should Require from your Politicians
I have the right to defend myself with “stand your ground laws” and “castle doctrines” which prevent secondary civil lawsuits from the attacker, family, or other party claiming damages.

I have the right to own possess, carry, and use any firearm which is available to my National Guard with the proper background checks in order to defend myself, my family, my property, and my statehood if required from threats foreign or domestic. Yes, I do mean we should lift the automatic machine gun restriction to allow the purchase of any new product select-fire or fully-automatic firearm, but maintain the NFA restriction on these firearms. This would allow legal and licensed citizens to own the same firearms as possessed by its own National Guard.
I have the right to procure and hold any quantity and type of firearms, ammunition, and magazines of any capacity.
Semi-Auto AK-47
Often used for deer hunting
and villainized in movies, oh and
it's black
Proposed to be banned

Demand that any politician who supports any gun restrictions or laws surrenders all of his/her own guns to local or state police and that they be ineligible to purchase firearms in the future.
If you politically take away my right to defend myself, you as the politician who banned my ability to defend myself, family, property, and statehood will unequivocally guarantee my safety and if you fail in any aspect, you will be tried as an accomplice to the criminal who committed the crime with the same charges as he.


As I was talking about this to a fellow hunter, I could see his eyes glaze over during the discussion and said, "well I only have shotguns and not assault weapons... it will not impact me". He is dead wrong.

What is being proposed is yet another witch hunt to ban and limit more firearm freedoms. Make not mistake this time folks, your trusty double barrel trap shotgun may not be on the list, but you can bet if we let them get away with this, even those guns will be next. This next firearm freedom battle will be a watershed event for gun rights and it is up to you to become an activist and badger your representatives beyond the point of being annoying to assure they will not "compromise" on any point.

Only bad laws and great limitations of of freedom will come from of attempting to solve statistically insignificant and highly unusual and complex crimes. The Newtown CT incident is a horrific crime, however fists, knives, and blunt instruments are almost  ten times more likely than firearms to be used in a homicide. The reality is, new legislation has nothing to do with protecting people, it only has everything to do with banning guns.
Handguns - All considered evil and the 
semi-autos are all potentially able to 
accept high capacity magazines. 
Proposed to be banned

Write your Reps - It seems simple, however this is singly one of the most powerful things you can do and shows your reps that there are passionate voters who have strong opinions about further gun control. Do this right now, do not wait.

Join the NRA - Your support help the NRA fight the fight which has seemed to be relentless this past few year.

Get Involved Locally - The NRA of course provides access to many programs, however you likely have a privately run group or forum at the state level which sponsors everything from Appleseed shoots to working with local politicians. Most of these groups also have a listing of upcoming events, gun shows, and gun ranges which is all good information to have.

Grass Roots Activism - This is not carrying around signs and shouting at people, this can be just a couple hours here and there volunteered to write letters, help with local NRA sponsored workshops and educational seminars. These events and correspondence can pay huge dividends.

Stay Informed - NRA has a great newsletter that keeps you informed of current legislative actions at at federal, state, and local level.  Sign up it is free.

Friday, December 28, 2012

1911 VZ Grips Review

1911 VZ Grips Review

1911s are the guys version of playing barbies. We take a perfectly normal 1911 and then we start swapping out and upgrading parts. I had actually spent the better part of a night swapping between various sets of VZ Grips on my Ruger SR1911 and Springfield Range Officer when my wife asked if I enjoyed playing gun barbies... sadly yes at least if that means with guns.

So far my Ruger SR1911 and Springfield Range Officer 1911s have been a blast to shoot, however even more fun to customize.  The Smith & Alexander Mag Funnel replaced my stock back strap on my SR1911, but I moved it over to my Range Officer to make sure I liked it before picking up another.  The S&A magwell funnel greatly improved reload speeds and dressed up the 1911, however although an easy upgrade, a magwell funnel can be a bit intimidating.  

Grips on the other hand are an easy custom touch for any 1911 owner that can give it a huge grip, comfort, and look improvement all with just removing and replacing four screws. When it comes to mild to wild 1911 grips, no other company offers the variety of 1911 grips like VZ Grips and the kicker is that they are some of the most reasonably priced grips on the market.

VZ Grips was founded in 2003 with the goal to produce the finest and most precise laminate grips available for the 1911 anywhere.  The precision is accomplished by complete CNC machining of their single and multi-color G10 or Micarta laminates. 

Currently the company has seventeen 1911 grip styles with four different base/butt profiles, two additional mag release indents as well as three different grip widths from standard to slim, and numerous materials; literally thousands of combinations to create your own custom 1911.  One of the most popular questions is why the name VZ? The founder’s name is John VanZyck, so you can understand where the VZ Grips name originated from. Just know that the company is commited to the finest production 1911 grips and I certainly saw that in the grips from 

my order.

I ordered a set of slim Black Frag Grips, Operator II in Predator Green, and Black and Grey Aliens from VZ Grips with the intent of playing around to figure out which one I liked best on my 1911s. Sadly, I will also probably swap them around more than you would think. Each grip fit perfectly, was gap free and dramatically increased the grip and comfort over the standard stock grips on the Ruger and Springfield.  I do not have large monkey paws so the slim grips made both my 1911s worlds more comfortable for me and greatly improved handling.

All the grips I selected were slim profile however the Frag grips were considerably slimmer than any of the others and seemed to find a home on my SR1911.  The VZ Grips Operator II and Aliens definitely have a much more aggressive biting texture and locked onto my hand.. perfect for a competition focused 1911 like the the Springfield Range Officer.

VZ Grips has a near limitless number of solid and layered colored micarta and G10 to choose from.  As you can see the solid colored black Frag grips take on VZ’s grip design, but the layered colors on the Aliens and Operator II show the color variation like you would see on any laminated stock.  It is an incredible look.

Comparing standard width
grips to VZ Slim Grips

The VZ Grips 1911 Aliens were originally designed for the Precision Weapons Section of the U.S. Marine Corps. These grips provide a lot of grip with just the right amount of bite.

The Frag grips are a collaboration between Ned Christiansen of Michiguns and VZ Grips.  This pineapple grenade pattern offers a classic look and positive grip and happens to match up to Ned’s custom 1911 frontstrap treatment.

The Operators are actually one of VZ Grips most popular styles so VZ expanded the line with the Operator II with thumbs reliefs for the magazine. As noted on VZ Grips site, I did need to knock down some of the grip bite with an emery board, however they still have plenty of bite.

VZ Grips also has a full line of bushings and simple to intricate grip screws to complete your very own look.  Don’t forget that if you are installing sllim grips that you will also need short grips screws and short grips screw bushings as well otherwise your grips may not mount correctly.  I picked up their DPL and SLEX and a couple sets of VZ’s universal bushings to make the build simple and add the extra custom touch.

The wife may say I am playing barbies with my 1911s, however it was a blast to see the transformation from stock to a custom looking 1911 just with a grip and grip screw swap.  For those with hands smaller than your average ape, a set of slim grips greatly improves handling and comfort.  VZ Grips adds the custom touch and improves shootability all while looking un-freaking-believable cool all for well under $100.  Indeed one of the best upgrades I have made to my 1911s.

Slim Black Frag Grips - $65
Slim Operator II in Predator Green - $65
Slim Black and Grey Aliens - $65
1911 Universal Bushing and Hex Screw Kit - $16.00
1911 Slex Screws - $12
1911 DPL Stainless Screws - $19

VZ Grips

Springfield Armory

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kahr CM9 9mm Carry Gun Review

Kahr CM9 9mm Carry Gun Review

I have a few guns; guns for home defense, concealed carry, for fun, for sporting competition, and for hunting. The Kahr CM9 definitely fits right into the concealed carry profile, however it does it in a size and caliber which is a little unusual.  

For my concealed carry guns, I have three main carry guns which include my Glock 19 in a Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe holster as my primary carry gun, my Ruger LCR 357 with a Clip Draw attached to just tuck in my pant or shorts when needed, and my Ruger LCP .380 when I want something small and light or as a backup.  That noted my Kahr CM9 has juggled that mix of carry guns a bit and has all but displaced the LCR and LCP quite often because it is nearly the same size as the LCP and just a bit more compact than the LCR. With more rounds of hotter ammo in about the same size, it is a quick decision on which I would gravitate toward.

Until about six months ago, I had written off Kahr arms as a brand I would consider. As a marketing professional, I generally steer clear of brands that use hot babes to sell products when it really is not required. Generally sex sells, however this type of advertising sends me the message that I need to be seduced into buying your product because the product cannot stand on its own.  

Unfortunately Kahr featured a disproportionate babe to gun ratio in their ads, so I though they were all marketing hype until about six months ago when my FFL dealer handed me a Kahr pistol. Racking the slide and feeling the tight tolerances and crisp trigger pull changed my mind forever on Kahr pistols, however I still think there should be more gun and less chick in the ads. My wife loved the pistol but loathed the ads... something to consider as a huge group of female shooters enter the market.

Kahr Arms is now part of the Magnum Research, Thompson, and Auto Ordnance firearm family.  Justin Moon is the lead designer and a principle of Kahr Arms. I have always noted that elegant simplicity it hard and Kahr pistols are an example of that elegant simplicity in action. The saying of "If it was easy, everyone would do it" is reflected in the six patents held for the Kahr pistol design. 

Where Kahr is different than many firearms manufacturers is that they do full 3D design and modeling before beginning prototyping and manufacturing on high tolerance CNC machines.  It is clear to me after handling this CM9 that Kahr is making extremely fine quality firearms beyond what we see in many gun cases.

The first thing I must note is the lineage of the CM9 versus its parent PM9.  The PM9 was a huge hit for Kahr and provided a higher power 9mm pistol in a small 380ACP sized format.  The challenge was that not everyone wanted to pay for the extra slide milling, surface finishing, extra magazine, polygonal rifling, or metal sights; thus the CM9 was created.  The “economy” CM9 is functionally identical to the PM9 and shares the same magazines, but drops the superfluous extras to create a $517 MSRP ($470 Street) pistol that is $200 less expensive. Personally I do not think the looks suffer at all.

The fit is still exceptional and in fact better than any Glock, S&W, or Ruger I have handled and may even be a notch or two above some Sig Sauers I have shot. I like my Glocks and Rugers, however there is no comparison in fit and finish to the Kahr pistols even on this “less expensive” Kahr CM9.

From a finish perspective, the CM9 has a beautiful bead blast stainless slide and barrel and perfectly detailed polymer lower receiver. Many a big name brand pistol has been placed in my hand that still has sharp flashing casting marks, but the CM9 receiver was very nicely molded and finished. In the case of Kahr, it is the little things that add up to a much nicer finished pistol.

You should never buy a defensive carry gun such as this CM9 based on how comfortable it is in your hand.  The most important issues are ergonomics of operation and how comfortable it will be in your waistband or other concealed carry location. If you are holding a tiny little concealed carry gun long enough to think about how comfortable it is, then you are in a different fight that requires far more armament than a little 6+1 shot 9mm pistol. That said the Kahr CM9 is one of the most most comfortable tiny pistols to hold the exception of my pinky dangling in the air from a short grip. 

Ruger LCP on to of Kahr CM9
The Kahr CM9 is almost as skinny as my Ruger LCP and almost as small, but far more comfortable to shoot. It is smaller than my Ruger LCR 357, thinner, almost the same weight, and holds more ammo. The best way I can describe the CM9 it is as a "densely packed little 9mm". Overall I love the way this gun feels in my hand and disappears in my waistband. In addition to the size the CM9 is also pretty light at 14 oz equal to my LCR and only 4 oz heavier than my diminutive LCP.

Kahr CM9 on top of Ruger LCR
Kahr has a number of pistol configurations and all exclusively use a single stack magazine configuration. Kahr could certainly compete in the “my gun holds more ammo” contest, however I think they are competing with firearm designs which are uniquely slim in the market. My Glock 19 for example is significantly wider than the CM9.  The compact 380 size of this 9mm is a huge selling point for me and probably will be for any buyer as well as the lack of a safety or magazine safety are big features for me as well.

Kahr CM9 on top of Ruger LC9
The CM9 is a 6+1 capacity 9mm pistol with a 3.0" barrel with standard rifling.  The frame is meticulously formed black polymer and is matted to a stainless bead blast finished slide. The CM9 loses the polygonal rifling, a spare magazine, attractive slide milling and surface finishing, metal sights, a rolled versus milled slide markings, and a formed vs milled slide release. With the exception of picking up a couple extra magazines, will you miss all those extra features if you have to fend off an attacker attempting to do you harm at a typical 7’ or less? Not likely and you you saved $200 in the process with no loss in reliability.

Size comparison
The CM9 is a trigger cocking DAO lock breech "Browning - type" recoil lug action with a passive striker block.  All this means that by pulling the trigger on the CM9 unlocks the passive firing pin block, cocks the pistol and fires the gun. The mechanism is a stunningly simply cam which both unlock the firing pin and cocks and fires the firing pin. Essentially the gun is safe without a safety until the trigger is pulled and greatly simplifies required operations in times of stress. The gun's feed ramp has been mirror polished to assure feeding which is not something you see on pistols of this price range.

I picked up an extra standard magazine and an extended 7-round magazine.  The 7- round magazine completes the grip profile, gives your pinky finger something to grab onto, and adds a little more control.

Sights are drift adjustable white bar-dot combat sights.  This is my first experience with a bar-dot sight, however it seemed to be really fast on target and provided a clear picture of the the target. Some will say that the front plastic sight is inferior to metal, however there are plenty Glock and Magpul AR owners who seem to be doing just fine with them.  The sights are plenty durable and the rear metal sight handled me using it over and over as a catch to rack the slide on my belt for a single handed tap and rack maneuver. For the intended purpose these sights are just fine and could be swapped out for something different if the shooter desired.

Functionally this is a slim concealed carry pistol without the extra junk you don’t need that will just get you hung up.  No magazine safety - yes! No safety  - yes! This two moronic safety devices can get you killed if you ever need to really use your gun. I will never carry a gun which will not operate just like a revolver; pull trigger and the gun goes bang.  

This point was exhibited during my in state concealed carry class a few months ago during a stress induced drill where the instructor was yelling at the student. Take One - The guy next to me pulls his gun and jerks the trigger but nothing happens; he had accidentally hit the magazine release during the previous re-holster so the magazine “ safety” had prevented the one potentially life saving round from exiting the gun. Take Two - Same guy pulls his previously decocked gun to fire and pulls the trigger to find nothing happens again; safety was on and the fictitious training attacker kills him. If you are that concerned with having a safe gun, carry it with a chamber empty and practice draw charge shoot drills. This CM9 is a perfectly designed firearm from my perspective

These examples are why I love, love, love, the little Kahr CM9. If there is something in the chamber when I pull the trigger it will go bang even if the magazine is ajar. Operations is as simple as any Glock but in a far smaller more concealable package.  

My preferred carry method has either been in my jacket pocket or via a ClipDraw adapter.  I shortened and added a Universal ClipDraw adapter to the right side of the frame as I have featured previously on my my LCR and LCP.  The ClipDraw transforms the versatility of a small light weight gun into something you end up carrying constantly; just clip the gun right into my pants for simple, fast, easy and secure carry. The CM9 now goes with me everywhere. My Ruger LCR 357 has been carried this way for some time, however due to the more narrow profile, the CM9 has been far more comfortable to carry with two extra rounds on tap and the ability for a quick reload.

The trigger on the Kahr will sell you in the store and on the range.  It has about a ¼” longer trigger pull than a Glock, but no where near as long trigger pull of a double action only revolver or the mile long trigger pulls of the Ruger LCP and LC9 pistols.  The CM9’s crisp trigger is quite impressive and delivers excellent accuracy from this tiny little carry gun.

As this is a concealed carry gun, I tested accuracy at reasonable defensive distances from point blank to 7-yards (21 feet) and found the Kahr CM9 quite accurate.  At the longer 7 yard distances I was able to deliver standing two hand supported 12-round 1.3” group with Hornady 115gr Critical Defense ammo which is excellent for this size pistol. Heck I could rabbit hunt with this thing.

The gun is tight and should have at least 200 rounds run through the gun to smooth everything out. I had one stovepipe with some target reloads. Since then I have put several hundred rounds though the gun with no functional issues what-so-ever and would consider the CM9 as reliable as any other quality gun you would stake your life on.

My preference for this gun is a 115gr round not necessarily in the +P range. The 124gr+ rounds in hot +P velocities can become a little snappy for some more sensitive shooters, however in a defensive situation, I am sure the extra power would be not be noticed. With a 115gr round, it is fun to shoot for the first 100 rounds and then the light weight and small size remind you that it is not a target pistol.

The Kahr CM9 is a little less expensive than your standard sub-compact Glock, Ruger, or S&W, however I think it is a better carry gun that any gun I have seen yet from those manufactures. Obviously it does not compete with the full capacity 15+round pistols, however it is a size which whill find a home in your waistband more than those larger firearms. 

The CM9 has exceptional quality, fit and finish, and functioned perfectly after break-in.  Most importantly this is a small accurate and reliable little gun that is easy to carry and will be with you when you need it vs back home in the safe. A gun is only good protection if you are carrying it and seems to be displacing several of my go to standards because of its size, weight and features. For those that want an in between size without sacrificing power, the CM9 is great compact concealed carry gun that will find a home in your front or back pockets, a purse or a waistband.

CM9093 (3.0" Barrel)
Black polymer frame, matte stainless slide
MSRP: $517.00
Ships with one magazine only
Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 6+1
Operation: Trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; "Browning - type" recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect
Barrel: 3.0", conventional rifling; 1 - 10 right-hand twist
Length O/A: 5.42"
Height: 4.0"
Slide Width: .90"
Weight: Pistol 14 ounces, Magazine 1.9 ounces
Grips: Textured polymer
Sights: Drift adjustable, white bar-dot combat sights
Finish: Black polymer frame, matte stainless steel slide
Magazine: 1 - 6 rd flush floorplate


Kahr Arms

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We Know Who You Are - Database Tracking

We Know Who You Are - Database Tracking

Imagine a Matrix type movie environment of everyday life where every action you take has been captured and used to predict, model, and game your behavior to assure the system knows how you will respond to any given situation; it sounds far fetched.  Unfortunately that situation exists now and happens every time you buy anything, interact online, use your phone, or even as you drive your car.  I know this because my real job is as the executive marketing strategy expert
- Chief Marketing Architect for one of the largest customer management solution companies in the world. I am the guy who designs these systems for the largest companies around the globe and in fact I have been noted as one of the best in the industry at developing these strategies.

The idea for most reputable companies is simply to put the customer at the center of everything the company does, to anticipate customer needs at the right place, at the right time, and via the right method; be that a personal visit, email, phone call, personalized web content, in car services, social, and mobile interaction. In the military they call this “intel & tactics", in the corporate world we call this intelligent commerce.

In the right hands, this technology delivers you the customer, a better customer experience, more relevant offers and information, better long-term service, and automation to take care of things automatically for you, all for less money. In the simplest of ways, we want to assure you feel like you are getting that same level of customer service you would get from Bob’s Hometown Hardware where Bob knows you by name and also knows you have started a remodeling project.  When you come in he greets you by name and offers to sell you a ladder and paint at a special deal for the project in the color he knows you like.

After you place an order, he calls to let you know the paint sprayer you ordered is in and ready to be picked up. He throws in dropcloth because he knows you are a messy painter because of your paint covered jeans.  This is great customer service and is exactly the reason you shop at Bob’s versus Ralph’s who is run by short attention spanned teenagers. Bob may be a smart guy, however he cannot manage Billions of customer contacts a year, so we turn to database systems to hold that data about you, use marketing intelligence to push you customized offers that are specific to you at the register, online, or even in your car. 

Ever surprisingly had a coupon delivered a week after you bought something in the store? This is a technique to keep you in the buying cycle and is no mistake. How about a reminder for an oil change almost exactly the time it needs to be done... and why do you start getting special offers three years after you bought your last refrigerator? Statistically we know most refrigerators only last three years from the drastic increases in service records for a particular model and start sending out specials when we know your refrig will start acting up.

OnStar for example knows through GPS data and your registration where you are, how fast you are going, what direction you are heading, and all your contact and vehicle information.  Ever wonder how they offer you a selection of restaurants when you just tell them “near me now”? The answer is database driven customer centric intelligence. This is convenient and handy and all accomplished by the systems and strategies, folks like myself develop.

The databases that predict whether you will most likely buy a red or blue hat with that scarf can also be used civically as well. IBM’s Watson based CopLink technology was instrumental in the arrest of a kidnapper and saving the little girl abducted. The CopLink system found the highest likely criminal in the area including one with 53 prior arrests and an abduction record. CopLink predicted his most likely location and allowed the arrest in less than 30 minutes from the initial abduction. Cool technology indeed.

While I was working with a major retailer we combined predictive weather data to do neat things like push snow blower offers only to people who were about to have a big snow storm roll in and tank tops to areas that were having a heat wave.

Other uses can be a bit sensitive.  Twelve months after my father was widowed, he started receiving offers from dating sites.  This upset him and asked me how he was receiving these offers. My response was that death records are public record and are used to create a deceased file. These dating sites use a deceased database file and then look at who is the other head of household, wait typically twelve months after a spouse dies to begin sending them dating site offers. The younger the person being solicited the shorter the wait. My father was stunned that people actually knew he was single, however he was still offended.

Most companies do everything possible to assure the use of this information does not end up as a PR nightmare and assure it is only used for the betterment of serving you the customer, however with power occasionally comes misuse. The less mature executives often wield this powerful customer knowledge about as responsibly as a busload of hormonal teens would wield gasoline and matches. All too often, I have pushed away from an executive’s table politely telling them they are not ready to handle this level of customer understanding. 

In one rather engaging discussion with an executive about what what morally responsible versus what was legal, after noticing a picture of his young 18+ year old daughter on his desk, I asked how he would feel about his daughter's age and purchasing habits being shared with other companies? He did’t necessarily have a problem with that. I then asked, how about if Planned Parenthood purchased that data and a Facebook scrap of her sexual and dating activities and then started soliciting her with their services? In an actual case study, I cited Target’s analytical buying behavior engine which predicted a potential pregnancy based on several products being purchased together. The end result was a marketing email offer for baby cloths landing in the household email box offering a father’s teen daughter baby cloths... and the punchline was that the daughter had not told poor old dad yet.  

Yes, predicative marketing analytics can be a bit more insightful than your dad, however will still need dad to storm into Target and tell them they are “sons of bitches” to stick up for his daughter’s virginity, which he did.  Later the father apologized to Target and admitted the marketing offer was unfortunately more knowing than he and correct in its insight. After that example hit home, the executive I was talking with reconsidered his entire strategy, because that my friends is a PR nightmare and proves some things you should not do, even if you can.  

Unfortunately from a legal perspective companies cannot just erase all the information in their files about you. They need it from an accounting, warranty, and auditing perspective, so even if you are super paranoid, the best you can ask for is a “Global Opt Out” of all their marketing which effectively puts you on the dead/unresponsive customer list. Obviously the problem is you will not know about all the sweet deals going on.

The marketing, sales and service side of things is easiest to describe, so I will discuss what companies do from that perspective versus clouding things up with supply chain management, HR, and accounting data. We marketers/sellers start by building a database through customer captured information, such as when you buy something and through customer self reported information, such as signups for newsletters, loyalty cards, giveaways, and site shopping preferences you provide. Literally every company from electricity utility companies to Bob’s House of ammo collect this info... they have to for tax and auditing purposes.  We load all that data into our systems and begin to develop a profile on you. Now you are being tracked and once you are in you will never be anonymous again. Some call this concept big data.

Once in the system, we begin sending you direct mail (postal), perhaps call you, and assuming you have opt’ed in to receiving emails, we will also start sending marketing emails as well as bills if we are selling you something. 

To make the data more valuable than just a name, address and your RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary - last transaction, how often, and how much you spend) information we capture with every sale, we need to hygiene/clean and append/add information to that database to know more about who you are.

There are a number of companies whose sole purpose is to clean up standardize and enrich company marketing databases.  Hygiening will generally remove all the duplicates, capitalize all the letters, perform a profanity filter, and validate/correct all addresses based on the US Post Office National Change of Address, Delivery Point Validation (mail routing for presorting), and CAS certification (barcoding). The clean up usually includes a re-householding which says that Suzie and Bart live in the same household as Tom, Jane, and Lucy. Most companies will re-household once a month to assure your bills are going to the right address or to assure you can get that junk mail we just sent out.  Police will use this information to understand who knows who and who lives together... obviously handy information.

The US Post office will also provide a service which is referred to as the new mover file but is basically a record of your formal change of address notification. By adding in useful data like a new mover indicator, this data let’s us know you just moved into a new home or office. Because we generally need a whole bunch of stuff when we move, this makes you a prime candidate for marketing from everything from utilities, to maid service, to refrigerators.

Other typical data we normally want a servicer to add are things like your age, household income,  social media ID, your personal interests (compiled by magazine and online subscriptions), purchasing habits, ...etc. Public records such as marriage, birth, divorce, bankruptcy, death, and high school graduation information are captured and used.  For those things we don't actually know, we rely on modeled/suppositions which estimate things like how many dogs, disposable income, and number of cars and children you have based on purchase and any other data we have available.

Once we have all this data we begin to profile you.  If you bought mens size 11 shoes from us, you are labeled as a mens shoe buyer and get offers for mens shoes or notified when we have super great closeouts on size 11 shoes... same goes for everything from electronics to Diet Coke to whether you are single and looking for a date. Your name may be in hundreds of buyer segments.  Then we start the fun stuff which is modeling and predictive analytics which looks at how you have responded to offers previously and lets up predict with a pretty close certainty how you would respond to this offer versus that one. We have systems that can make you a special customized offer real-time anytime you log into a site - most sites call it “personalization”.

Actually we have it down to such a science at the accounting level that we can ask corporate executives whether they would like to maximize profits or maximize gross revenues.  We can push high volume low margin door buster deals or concentrate on individuals who are not shown to be price sensitive. Although creepy, we know for the most part, how often, when, where and what you buy, interact, surf, drive, shop, sleep, work, and even what you eat. 

How do these guys get all this information about you? It is called compilation. Most companies sell their marketing databases as a profit revenue producing center for the company to other companies. It is a very common practice. In most cases, the service compilers buy all these various bits and pieces and like detectives put all the pieces together to paint a clearer picture of who you really are and how you behave. For certain applications, credit and criminal background checks are added to these files, however legally only for credit issuance or employment use.

As discussed if Apple, Google, or any number of credit card companies or large retailers have this information plus whatever they already have about you, they know more about you than most people would feel comfortable with including everything from your birthday, ring size, shoe size to the last time your car had its oil changed.  Some companies do not go this deep however some are extremely invasive.  A few years ago Sears Holding actually paid customers to load a trojan horse which tracked everything they did on their computer on and offline and stunningly people did it. This moronic irresponsibility lead to fines and special FTC oversight for Sears Holding. 

On the responsible company's side, these systems allows them to manage inventory, servicing, vendor management and many other aspects of their business which in turn drive costs down and deliver you more of what you want faster, less expensive, all when and where you want it. 

THE GREY AREAThe good of the concept can be executed as simply as automatically sending you a new water filter for your refrigerator every 45 days or letting you know it is time for your oil change, the bad though wanders into a grey area tip toeing on legality and PR nightmares.
A couple things I will throw out here that will make all your hair stand on end. Apple, Google, Blackberry and other cell phone carriers track where you are and where you go via your phone every moment via GPS and cell phone triangulation.  Most installed Apps do the same thing.  Most also log which wireless devices you are near in order to improve GPS tracking/directions.
The Google Maps truck also records the WIfi hotspots as it drives through a neighborhood... and did you know they own their own Predator Drone for mapping. For most people, Facebook is a permanent record of every damn thing you have done since you first signed up and they are profiling and selling all that information to other companies. We have the ability to use facial recognition to record who are your friends based on picture you post... thing about that for a minute. How would you like a cop to knock on your door because you had a picture with some wallet lifter.

Most gas and electric utility companies can tell how many people are living in the house or when you work or are on vacation based on changes in your consumption rates by the day. Some police cars are equipped with character recognition scanners that will scan up to 30 license plates a second, reference a database to see whether you are “wanted”.  
Not sure most people know this, however if you have a CCW - concealed carry, you should hand the officer your drivers license and CCW license because as soon as they look up your info, a field will pop up telling them you are a CCW holder... they know, so tell them because in our state it is a requirement.

Should HR staff be able to disqualify you based on your Facebook posts or on a Twitter post? Legally, I think this is a class action lawsuit waiting to happen, however it should be noted that most HR systems do pull all social media data into your file as well as reading discrepancies in work experience between your previous resume submitted versus your current “version”.
Facial recognition technology has been used for some time to analyze social media and website photographs to build relationships of people in the pictures. Many credit card companies are considering using cell phone GPS positioning to model your know use locations to know when your credit card is being used at a different place than your cell phone.  Not sure I want my either company to have all that data. Almost every website drops a cookie on your computer to track your online click behavior from some aspect. Many search engines such as Google, MSN, and Yahoo allow you to have a customized search experience based on your historical searching and browsing behavior. Internet providers have the ability to pinpoint the address of any wired device accessing internet down to your device’s MAC address and record everything you do online while connected.  But encryption stops that right?  Ahhh sure... that way you can sleep at night.

OPT’ING OUTYou may be thinking that this is all super creepy and you want to push the reset button somehow, however you can’t. The best you can hope for is to pay cash where possible, because every time you pay via a credit card we know what you purchased, how much and where, along with all the identifiable credit holder information. That I know of no single customer facing company has or is watching all these pieces of data I have mentioned, however someone is and it is a matter of time before all the pieces come together in one very scarey way.

Luckily the Government is marginally good for something.  Take a look at this FTC link which can get you removed from the “marketable” lists. You will still be in the system, however companies will most likely not spend good money adding and compiling data about you if you are permanently opt-ed out.

Now that you know how we database illegence folks do it, the question might be what keeps me up at night.  My fear is knowing that someone somewhere is putting all this information together including my cell phone bills and call records, how much natural gas my house uses, the contents of this article, nightflight mapping (which can show when my lights are on and off establishing a pattern of when I go to sleep), all my browsing behavior, as well as all the cell phone and tracking information and facebook posts. It is a bit creepy when we start to add up all the little pieces of info out there about you and I.  The one thing that keep it all in check is PR - public relations.  If you start bitching about how violated you feel, the less companies will dig down into the rabbit hole of the intricacies of your life. If some company gets a little to close into your personal space tell them.  The last thing any company want are their customers rioting in the street.

My advice is to limit your exposure the amount of information you provide any company and where possible just pay cash, don’t use customer loyalty cards, limit credit card use, turn off location services on your phone where possible, set up a gmail or yahoo email account to bounce all emails through to assure no one has your “real” email address, use a PO box for your mail, and most importantly lock down your facebook account so only very close friends can see where and what you are doing.   

This is information I thought you should know and be aware off, because after all we do know who you are.