Harley Davidson.

So while I was sitting in a Harley shop, waiting for my KTM to get finished… which wasn’t finished according to the 1.5 Hour Estimate for a blown gasket.  I was looking at the shiny new HD bikes.  I really don’t get the Harley thing…. As a motorcycle company, the brand is shallow as hell.  The more interesting of the bikes are the ones that HD Enthusiasts scoff and refer to the as girl’s bikes. The Sportsters and the Iron 883.  In black it is a bitchen looking machine.  The other bikes look overweight and lethargic.  They also look like the same bikes they have been making for 110 Years.  Take a look at the the XR1200X, perhaps the most interesting HD of the bunch, but now Discontinued.

Yeah… I could have this bike.

What’s left are the Cruisers, Touring Barges… The same old bikes Harley has been making forever.  Big on sound, Low on performance unless you spend a lot more money on them.  It’s a wonder people have not grown tired of these bikes.  I got tired of them, just looking at them.

Then there is the V-Rod.   A bike that finally breaks some new ground.  But it remains a Harley side line… A step child.  And a nitch machine at that.  A Power Cruiser… Very low slung and fast looking.  Impressive stats.  But its a singular thing.  The Corvette to Chevy.  But Chevy takes the Vette engine and puts it in other cars… Uses the Vette to really spice up the the whole brand.  HD doesn’t do that.

Look at the other MC Brands.  They all have bikes in other classes, so Riders of all kinds can find something they want to throw their leg over.  The problem I suspect is that Harley is not so worried about being a motorcycle company and are too concerned about being a Brand and an Image.
If I was Mr. Harley, I’d take that V Rod engine and shoehorn it into a few other bikes.  I’d also try again on the sport market.  Because there is room for it.  Don’t know what that would look like? Imagine an HD 200 years from now.  Okay, no… because HD would still look the same.  Imagine what Larry Niven would imagine an HD 200 years from now would look like, and start there.  I want to see a wicked superbike with fairings and the whole enchilada.  Competitive in the Isle of Mann TT.  Ducati makes awesome v twin sport bikes.  Honda made a fantastic V-Twin Sport Bike – I had one.  Both these companies also make bikes that can do both Dirt and Street.  Where is an HD Adventure Bike?  Single Piston Thumper?  Where is an HD Factory Cafe Racer?

EXPAND THE BRAND, HARLEY!   You check out the full HD Catalogue, and they actually have very few motorcycles.  Just the same bikes that sport different Cosmetics and Front Tire Sizes.

Yet people will pay big dollars for those Hogs.  BIG dollars. Don’t get me wrong – I admire that.  I seriously do.  Because Harley has a Brand built on a very cool Tradition.  They have Legacy.  But Motorcyclists fall into Two Categories   Those that Like Harley, and those that Don’t.  Namely because HD isn’t doing anything to reach across the lane divider to bring in new riders.  I think that’s a serious flaw in HD’s future.

Here’s what’s pissing me off.  I’ll probably end up buying a Harley some day.  Because sitting on a couple of them… Damn.  It fit.  Didn’t hurt my knees.  Felt good.   Damnit if Harley isn’t the 1911 of the Bike World.  Classic lines and great comfort with a Big Bore.   Shit.

New Link Section

Some of you have already noticed that I have a new section to the Right… Over there… Under A List Links.  “Podcasters”.

Check them all out.  Download them to your MP3 Player.  What else would you rather listen to?  Your Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga music?

The Top Trainer

I’ve had the honor of training with some of the best instructors on the planet… and others who I call friends.  I was looking at another website and one instructor was referred to as “The Best On The Planet.”  I thought, whoa, really?  And then I started thinking about just who the best Instructor really was.  The Top Guy across the board.  The One Guy…
Massad Ayoob, Clint Smith, Rob Pincus, Travis Haley, Paul Howe, Chris Costa, Tiger McKee, Todd Green, George Hill (Just Kidding), Louis Awerbuck, Pat Rogers, Dave Harrington…  all these guys are awesome Instructors.  But which one is The Best of the Best when it comes to Instruction of the Gun?

Tell me who your TOP PICK is, and Why.

Presidential Debate

Last night, like many of you, I watched the debate.
It really was not so much a debate as a severe thrashing.  Without his teleprompter, Obama really showed his lack of experience, qualification, knowledge, and ability.  It was almost painful to watch, which is why I found it to be so delightful.
What makes it so delicious was everything Romney could have said, but didn’t have to.  Obama was up against the ropes almost the whole time.   Romney had loads of ammunition he could have used.  Best to keep that stuff in reserve for the next time.

I woke up this morning optimistic about my country. 

Even the San Francisco Chronicle admitted Romney won the debate… though they used the word “narrowly” 163 times.

I think I want this bike.

The BMW F800GS.  The littler brother to the big Beemers Obi Wan and his buddy Charlie rode around the world on.  For me, the bigger 1200 is just a bit too big, where as the 800 seems “Just Right”.

I saw this bike in a parking lot in SLC while Gundoc and I grabbed a quick bite before we turned around and went back up to the range.  I believe this to be the F800GS, but I could be wrong… But it’s the 800 that I’ve been studying.  Autoblog has a good article on it, here.

“Why not just make your KTM into a bike like that?”

Because that’s not possible.  My KTM is a single cylinder thumper for one, and the Beemer makes almost twice as much raw power.    This makes it more suitable for longer range rides.  Softer seat and a larger fuel tank are also better for a longer range ride.  Also, the KTM has a habit of saying “Okay, let’s just run completely out of gas… right… now!”  So some sort of fuel indication would be great, like on the BMW.  A windscreen, heated grips, ABS, an actual trip computer.  Things like that make for a more comfortable machine.

Weaver, Chapman, Isosceles.

There is much talk on the Internets about choosing your Stance and that you should train that Stance.  I think this is wrong.  Obviously everyone will have their favorites and will argue them.  But I think we need to learn them all.

I find Weaver is good for shorter range work, Iso for intermediate or fast action, and Chapman for longer range work.  I don’t think I can use just one for all defensive scenarios.   And I think training only one is doing a disservice to yourself or your students if you’re a Trainer.

During the MAG-40 Class last week, Massad Ayoob teaches his students these three basic Stances.  I teach them as well.  While I’ve never really thought about it much I looked at the people who were shooting best in these stances.  For the most part, it was the big burly guys tended to shoot Weaver the best or said they preferred it.  Most everyone else liked or shot better with the other classic stances.  At the 15 yard line, everyone shoots 6 rounds from Each of the Stances, but gives the Female Shooters the option of not using the Weaver.

A Spy using the classic Weaver Stance.

If we’re teaching a method that only big strong dudes who can overpower the stance, then it doesn’t work for everyone.  I used to shoot Weaver all the time but found that I do better with the others.  So why are we even still teaching Weaver?  Isn’t this now Archaic to the point we should only think of it in terms of Black and White photos and the FBI Crouch and just shake our heads and comfort ourselves with our opinion that we are so vastly superior now days?

No, not really.  Because like much in the Gun Community, everything has it’s place.  And Weaver is still a very valid Stance to Learn and strive to Master.

If you are standing near a Stranger, in the Field Interview position, a couple feet away, Gun Side away from the Stranger… You are set up for a Weaver Stance in case you have to go to Guns on the Stranger. There’s one very good reason.  And you’ll find that you take this stance quite readily.  I’ve never talked to a Cop that I didn’t know that initially addressed me from a position ready to go Iso on me.  Because form a Martial Arts standpoint, it would be completely wrong.
Let’s say you are in your car.  Your Torso is not a Turret that will allow you to go Iso by traversing at your waste.  If you can, I’d like to see that.  Take the car out of it.  Let’s say you are in a Wheel Chair and something happens to the Left or Right of you.  Or just sitting in a Cafe.  If you have to go to guns quickly, you may not be able to stand up, spread your feet and stick your arms out to full extension.
These are just a couple cases where you pretty much have no other option than to use the Weaver.  Sure, you could then move into your other Stances, but the initial action response is from Weaver.  And wouldn’t it be nice to End the hostilities right then and there?

So for you Dedicated Chapmans and Isos… You still need to Train with the Weaver Stances.

MAG-40 After Action Report

Let me first start off by saying that it was a tremendous honor to have been asked to help out as one of the Staff at this year’s SLC MAG-40 Class.

Last year I took the course as a Student.  This year, I was one of the Instructors, along with Joe, my partner with Crusader Weaponry and the Gun Dudes. The experience was very different.  In one hand, it was easy, as we didn’t try to take notes on everything said and worry about the final exams. On the other hand, there was some performance anxiety as all week we coached the students on the firing line, trying to help them improve their shooting.  On the last day, we all shot the Qualifier to show the students how its done and that we can do just what we say.  No Stress, right?

I came to the range with a knee that was larger in diameter than my thigh. It was rather painful.  By Saturday, it was mostly under control, so I decided to shoot the course of fire to include the kneeling portion.  To add to the pressure, Massad Ayoob was next to me on my left.   I shot great, right up to the point where we kneel.
You’ve heard the term “blinded by pain”? It felt like I was tazered in my knees, with the current going up my spine and out my eyes.  To say the least, I found this to by somewhat distracting.  This opened my group and let a couple rounds escape.  At the 15 yard line my group tightened back up, but the damage was done and I finished down two points.  298. Same as my score last year:

If it wasn’t for my knees, I know I’d have done a 300.
Joe gained some points from his score last year, as did all the Gun Dudes.  Tom tied me, shooting a 298 as well.  Not to be competitive or anything, Tom… but congratulations on shooting your best while I was at my worst.  😉  Just kidding, man.  And well done at the GSSF Match on Sunday.  I heard you did very well there!  Good job!  It needs to be said that all of the Gun Dudes are good Shooters and they did very well indeed.

The students then took the line and shot very well… Shooting 295’s to 298’s.  I’m quite proud of them.

The best thing though this week was just spending time with our friends, the Gun Dudes, and the other Pod Casters.  The dinner at Rodizio Grill.  One of them, who I’ll be linking up shortly was Trevor Furlotte who came down from Canada for the course.  He was the only guy to shoot a solid 300 btw.

Anyways, he and Jason from Tactical Solutions had never been to a Rodizio before, and Rodizio did not disappoint.  Waiting for a table, Trevor was looking at the menu.  “This sounds good”.  He said a couple times, as he was trying to decide what he was going to have.  “No, they’ll bring it to you… all of it.”  We tried to explain.  “You mean, like Appetizers?”  He asked.  “No… just wait.  And buckle up.”
At the Table the Server started going over things and our brave Canadian said “Just shut up and bring on the Meat!”
And they did.  It was a hurricane of meat… A Meaticane.  Trevor’s eyes were the size of X-Rings.   Jason, having never been there either was staggered as well.    We feasted…. Gorged ourselves on grilled meats of all varieties.   The Bacon Wrapped Turkey was a favorite as well as the Tenderloin.  As the gluttony started to slow down, Chaz was set up as a Birthday Boy and the Gouchos with the swords of meat all came over and sang Rodizios version of Happy Birthday to the beats of a Bongo Drum.  Chaz, had to get up and start dancing to the music… it was so funny that Gun Dude’s Carl started laughing so hard he had meat coming out his nose like a Meat Grinder.
It was a great evening.  The next morning Joe said “What a great bunch of guys to get the Meat Sweats with.”  A statement that was almost as funny as Chaz’s dance.

Some observations:

1.  Massad Ayoob is still a scary good shot, a Gentleman and a Scholar… albeit a salty one.
2.  There were some problems with some of the guns on the range.  An XD was giving one shooter fits, but I think it was ammo related as he did have a Squib Load that required disassembly and a punch to get the projectile out of the bore.  All three 1911’s had the full spectrum of problems.  One was simple occasional failures to fully chamber, another was Gun Dude’s Carl, who’s filthy Springfield XD required complete take down and cleaning to get back into a working form.  Now, I’m not a 1911 Hater, I’m just objective.  The problem I believe is the trend to make a 1911 too goram tight.  A little loser in the tolerances and they seem to be less finicky.  For example, my old Springer GI.  Runs great.  Any number of Kimbers I’ve seen, much tighter, and they jam like jazz bands.  Take that for what you will.  Either way, I shoot my 1911’s for fun, my Glocks for more serious use.

None of the Glocks had any problems.  Say what you will about the Glock’s look or Grip Angle, but the gun simply works.
3.  We tested out some ammo from a new outfit called Freedom Munitions.  We had some Ball and HP to try out.  It all  shot very well.  The Hollowpoint .40 I tried… Shot a water bottle with it and then dug out the bullet.  It expanded very well.  Accuracy with this ammo, well, the best groups I got all week were with this ammo.  It felt very consistent. I will be buying more.  They have some very good pricing as well, so look into these guys.