Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's

Number 838, September 13, 2015

If someone tries to kill you,
you try to kill 'em right back.

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The Handy Racker
The Handi-Racker

The Gun On The Bedside Table
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

When I got out of the hospital recently, I purchased a modest get-well present for myself, as I had promised myself I would, if I survived the ordeal—a quadruple bypass—in good order. And since I'm not writing this on a Oija board, I guess everything turned out okay.

A local gunshop had exactly what I was looking for, a Glock Model 23 "Gen 4", chambered for .40 S&W. This may be the most technically advanced individual weapon on the planet. Glocks are famous for their utter simplicity, and for working, and for working reliably, even after a Jeep has been driven over them. .40 S&W is arguably the best pistol cartridge in history, sporting terminal effectiveness comparable to that of a .45 ACP or a .357 Magnum (Let the screaming contentions begin!). I shot thousands of them downrange in the short NRA silhueta game, and I can guarantee they have both power and reach.

The Gen 4 is the very latest model. Its handfilling grip comes apart and various spare pieces will change the contour. Many people are uncomfortable with the Glock grip, which does feel sort of like a 2x4. I shoot a Model 20, in 10 m/m comfortably, and a Model 21 in .45 ACP, so I have no need to play Tinker-toys with the grip. But it's interesting.

The Glock 23 is about an inch shorter than the 22, which is the .40 caliber equivalent to the 9m/m Model 17, with which I've had some experience. Its little magazine holds 13 rounds, just like the ancient Browning High Power of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s that got double-stacked high-capacity magazines started. But that was then, this is now. The 23 is the odd sort of double-action-only that Glock is famous for ("Safe-Action" they call it), and everything else that doesn't look like a gun (like a manual thumb safety), they've just left off. I refer you to Rule #1: don't wanna shoot? Don't piddle with the trigger.

If it only saves sigh one of the children.

The sights are tough plastic, simple and good, a bar-dot set-up, but I had other ideas. I've suffered cataracts for half a dozen years that keep me at home off the range. Looking through my right eye is like looking through a thick, London fog. I aim with my left eye (not quite as bad), while holding the pistol in my right hand. You can train yourself in about a week, but it's a crappy arrangement. I was working toward a cornea replacemnt when this heart thing came up. I still plan on doing it as soon as possible. I'm looking forward to the wonderful burst of color my dad said he could see after his operation.

You might wonder how a one-handed man operates a handgun. Double-action revolvers? The same way you do. Single-action revolvers are easy—just roll 'em across a surface, letting a new chamber come uo every 1/6 roll. Load or unload it as appropriate. I can fill an autopistol magazine with one hand, although my wife may have to help me top it off. To work the slide, I have a set of "Handi-Rackers"—you owe it to yourself to go take a look; the inventor is a genius, filling a perceived need.) I just let the slide down onto the now-loaded chamber, remove magazine and replace the round. I'm extremely happy not to be shooting black powder guns.

Meanwhile, I can worry a lot less about shooting my wife or my daughter or one of the cats in the dark—or about missing an armed badguy. I hate to admit to being influenced by adventure TV, let alone a spin-off of Dr. Who, but except for the wacky Captain Jack. who sports a Mark IV .38 Webley revolver, the whole gang on Torchwood (try it—you'll like it!) carry pistols with a laser/flashlight ensemble up front that makes them look like the trigger-guard keeps going to the muzzle. I liked that look. When I bought the gun, I bought a Streamlight TLR 4 with a blindingly bright flashlight and a green laser. Used together, it's as spectacular as the paintings on Voyager.

Streamlight TLR-4G

And that's exactly the point. I have one good hand (you may recall I had a stroke last year) and one not-so-bad eye. Technically, at 69, I'm a senior citizen. But I'm nobody's victim or any bureaucrat's statistic. (Remember, you can't spell "statistic" without spelling "statist".) I plan to get the eyes fixed and I'm working on the arm. In the meantime, this cute little science-fictiony gat will keep us secure.

By the way—did you know you can operate an AR-15 one-handed?

P.S. Readers may be interested in what ammunition I have in my new little beside table gun.Right now, due to the mess of remodeling the house to accommodate my wheelchair, I'm "stuck" with some Winchester Silvertips, about 135 grains I ran across. Make no mistake. Silvertips are very good ammunition, reliable and sort of scarily accurate. I have won more than one match with them. Apparently Massad Ayoob thinks Federal Hydra-shoks are the most lethal ammo ever invented. I like them in .45 ACP.

For short range, though, there's nothing like the flash and hellish noise—not to mention the terminal effect—of Glaser Safety Slugs. These are relatively light high-speed bullets tipped with a blue nylon ball, that begin to break up inside the target, distributing something like 300 #11 birdshot pellets each loaded with its share of the total energy involved. I've tested them and they work.Even the .25s are ferocious. I plan to fill my new .40's magazines with them Then I really will have the Gun of the Future.

Bonus: they're made in Sturgiss. Yes, that Sturgiss. Vroom! Vroom!


Handy-Racker (small, medium, large) Buy at

Handy-Racker (Beretta 92, 94, 96 and M9, and clones) Buy at

LED Weapon light with Green laser Buy at

LED Weapon light with Red laser Buy at

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