Friday, November 26, 2010

For What We Receive

My Thanksgiving was relaxed and fulfilling. I hope yours found you thankful and at peace, as well.

(I'm trying to post a pic, but no matter what I choose from that toolbar, my Android only selects "link". Maybe later.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Golden Time/Like It's 1999

Several different events- inflation, rising metal prices, high demand, and the dollar losing strength against foreign currency- all led to skyrocketing ammunition prices in the last couple of years. In some calibers, prices literally doubled- when you could find any ammunition at all! In the last few months, supply seems to have finally caught up with demand, and as prices have dropped somewhat, I have invested in my own ammunition store.

I was talking to a friend about this. He's a competitive long-distance shooter, and very active with shooters in his local area. His take on the situation mirrors mine- prices can only rise from here, and this is the time to buy if you can. Here are some links.

Aim Surplus does not have a very wide selection, but they can be a good source especially for military calibers and inexpensive foreign ammunition.

Georgia Arms has been a favorite source of mine for years. Much of their ammunition is a screaming deal, while a few of their offerings (some of their rifle hunting ammo in particular) can be bested by major manufacturer rounds.

Midway has a broad ammunition selection, though the loaded ammunition can frequently be found less expensively elsewhere. The major advantage they offer is the huge selection, including components for the handloader, they have available.

Sportsman's Guide was a company I used frequently when I was younger. I sometimes found very good deals on surplus items like East German coats, and I liked the ability to set up an account, and distribute the cost of a large purchase over a few months. Here's a link to their ammo.

I am not saying the sky is falling. I am saying it's good to have gear before you need it, instead of being forced to pay a premium for whatever's available when you need it right damn now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I am not yet an officer, no matter what any friends of mine, however dear and close, [cough]Matt![/cough] may have reported.

I do have the paperwork.
I am supposed to commission.
I have a slot at nearby Fort Belvoir, and don't see any near-term deployment. BUT- I am waiting on orders from my current command releasing me, before I can swear my oath as an officer.

I'll let y'all know, promise. And in other News of John, I'm doing just fine. :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


EDITED TO ADD: the sale is now over. These are still great knives at fair prices, but not the screaming steal they were when I posted this.

I like knives. I like firearms and other tools too, but there is no other tool that will get as much daily usage in the kitchen or around the house as a good knife. Spyderco really pioneered the practical one-handed folder, giving convenience, strength, speed and safety to pocketknives. Since 1990, Spyderco's two best-selling knives have been the Endura and the Delica. The Endura is starting to get into big knife territory, with about a 4" blade, but the Delica is in a "sweet spot". It has just under a 3" blade, and it's like the baby bear's porridge, big enough to use well and to handle just about any daily task you might encounter, but small and light enough to carry easily and be convenient. When I was training with Bud Malmstrom at the Bujinkan Atlanta Dojo, every now and then, the instructor would call "Spyderco check!" and everyone would draw their folder. The Delica was most often what emerged from pockets and waistbands.

I talked to Sal Glesser, the head of Spyderco, at the 2007 BLADE Show, and he showed me the Delica 4. The Delica 4 has "screw construction", which means it can be easily dissasembled with just a screwdriver. The steel pocket clip can be moved for tip-up or tip-down carry on the right or left side. Skeletonized steel liners add additional strength while keeping the Delica 4 nice and light, and the Delica comes with excellent VG-10 steel. All of this, in a knife that usually sells for around $50. I looked at Sal in amazement. This knife should sell for over $100. He grinned at me. "Yep."

If you think I like this knife, you'd be correct. Spyderco is known for innovation, quality, and strong ethics. And they're just plain friendly folks. While I was in Afghanistan, I had some conversation over the net with Sal about a knife (what became the Spyderco Jumpmaster), and Sal suggested I apply for the monthly drawing they had to send a Spyderco Native to a deployed soldier. I applied- and next month, I had a Native from Spyderco, with a nice letter from Mrs. Glesser.

(Now, I know I didn't win that drawing. Some other soldier did, and got his own Native- but I sure as hell did put that knife through the ringer during several fire missions on top of a mountain, cutting into old "tootsie roll" mortar round carriers. No company is better than its people, and Spyderco is damn good people.)

If you've gotten the idea that I like Spyderco in general, and the Delica in particular, you'd be right. VG-10 is a great, stain resistant steel. Spyderco also offers a "super-super steel", ZDP 189, on a few knives. ZDP 189 can take an extremely hard temper, resulting in a blade that is capable of incredible sharpness, yet still resists chipping. The Delica is available in a ZDP version, and there are just a few left at an incredible price- the same as the extremely affordable regular Delica- on Amazon. I suggest you get one while they last.