Sunday, May 20, 2018

Personal heroes - because Joel asked.

The following was inspired by reading Joel's post this morning.  Apparently in responding I got a bit carried away, and all of this made more sense here as its own post, than there just as a comment.  :-)

The question was,
"Anybody else ever have the good or bad fortune to meet a personal hero?"


I have met two, myself, and for all the reasons you discuss here, I think I have been amazingly lucky, because I hold them both in even higher regard as time goes by.

Jeff Cooper 

The first was the late Jeff Cooper. At the time I met him I was in my early twenties and fantastically not-necessarily-stupid-but...dense. I'd been reading his work for the better part of a decade by then, and had been actively corresponding by letter (remember letters?) for the latter part of that time; I was at least arguably a card-stock fanboy. When the meatspace meeting finally occurred, I had the oh-so-carefully-prepared list of questions with me, the storied shortness of breath and anxiety of meeting the great personal hero of my life...and then, at the moment of truth, and to the absolute credit of my parents, I had the great good sense to realize that what I most needed to do was to let all of that simply fall away, and instead just pay attention and learn.

And he was magnificent in person. I knew even then, as a wee mental niggling picked up gradually over time, that he was by no means flawless, but somehow it was still easy to see that he was a good man, with truly fantastic and selfless gifts of attitude, analysis, and personal excellence to offer to anyone paying attention. In person, those qualities stood out even more than they came through in his writing, even adjusting (both then and now) for an instructor-mentor being "on" all the time.

As an aside, for most of my own life, it has been reasonably common for someone who has read me, to remark upon later meeting me in person that "wow, you talk just like you write"*. Whenever I hear that, I smile and think of Jeff Cooper; I don't know if that was a deliberate aspiration of mine in terms of writing style, but it absolutely was a deliberate aspiration to unapologetic personal excellence. 

Personal excellence. Along with what is unfortunately pigeonholed under the name "the combat mind-set" (because it is so much greater than that), that is one of the two great components of Cooper's legacy. The late William Grigg (who is on the short list of people who I'd have wanted to meet in person) used to write, always of others, "This is a man. Take notes." So true, here, and boy, I did. I did on mind-set, I did on personal excellence, on how he interacted with his wife Janelle (who with obvious affection he called The Countess, a glorious human being in her own right), on mentoring and teaching...very nearly the whole enchilada. This is what a role model is supposed to be like.

Make no mistake, I understand the man had flaws, the most serious of which was his commitment to a State military apparatus. He did have a love of, and even thirst for, fighting that I will never share. But, apropos of the topical core of your post, Joel, I was fortunate to have seen him, at the most critical and formative times, through a lens of "merely" observation. I was lucky to realize that I didn't need a hero to be perfect across the board; at the time I met Cooper I could very easily have set myself up for a classic fanboy fall, but that didn't happen--the not-stupid part of dumb-me, delivered at an important moment.

And that moment was truly important. It was Cooper, after all, from whom I learned about Claire not long after, and I would not have been ready for her without him--just as I would not have been ready for the larger pantheon that followed--Codrea, Vanderboegh, Rothbard, Shaffer, Grigg, etc.--without her.

Robert Fripp

The other personal hero I've met in meatspace is English guitarist Robert Fripp. As with Cooper, it is difficult to overstate how important Fripp has been in my life, and even though like Cooper the influence began with something simple and defined (in Fripp's case, music), it simply exploded with context and contact--and I would say for the same reason: the personal excellence, the talk-walking--on the very most important points to me--was so obvious that other human flaws could easily be contextualized to their proper (in)significance.

I could go on at impressive length (heard ya snicker, there) about the details of Fripp's musical impact, but that sort of thing is for the Craftygrass blog, not here. Suffice it to say that aside from my simply liking much of what he has done, the thing I admire the most is his commitment to the idea that a group forms for a purpose, makes itself available for the purpose (that wording is very intentional), and then stops, when the purpose has been achieved.**

When I met him, having both listened to his music and read his writings for just about a decade, it was on a week-long residential course he was leading, and much like Cooper, in person the man was even larger than his virtual persona. Fripp is humble without fanfare, truly excellent both with students and with his support team, and skilled almost beyond reckoning in both physical mechanics and their context in the greater whole. I would also say that a "freedomista" would be specifically impressed at how he challenges someone to grow.

The flaws he is most often accused of are, I think, telling, in that regard. Critics predisposed to disliking him have long supplied a reputation of Fripp's being authoritarian, but having worked with him for a week in a residential and educational setting, it seems pretty obvious to me that most of this is pure BS. If along with my own context I put together every story that I've heard about him that goes to this point, what I arrive at is that his style is actually the polar opposite: that he is so dispassionately committed to and trusting of the people he works with that, along with his own personal confidence and excellence within the realm of hazardous musical risk, it's simply terrifying, and people don't know how to handle an environment quite that...well, that anarchic. (He's been breathlessly accused of fomenting "musical anarchy" on at least one documentary I've seen, which of course makes me giggle.) I get the impression of someone who understands human nature very well, to the point where he simply does not bother responding to the absurd or the willfully ignorant, and of course the credulous can then easily "qui tacet consentire videtur" all that right into a self-evidently obvious explanation of passive-aggressiveness.

Anyway, as a musical role model, I know of no one better. The way he lives his life, too, while not resembling my own in many respects, is at worst still admirable for its consistency, privacy, and obvious pursuit of excellence, often at visible cost to himself. This is no pretender; if he's pretending just for fame and fortune, then he really sucks at it.

If there is to be any sort of a fall to come, with Fripp-as-personal-hero, it will most likely be because I some day discover what "his politics" actually are, and then that they are somehow beyond the usual level of atrocious (that anyone wishing to remain sane in this absurd world must put up with in order just to live among other people). One of the things I admire the most about him is that he enjoys his privacy, and does not stump for anything other than music. Based on what I can extrapolate from his considerable writing over the years, I would anticipate that one of the reasons he does not participate openly in politics, is that he might well be accused of much wrongthink--but again I would be guessing at that; I do love it that I do not, in fact, know, because he keeps it to himself.

Like I said before, I think I've been fantastically lucky to have met my two personal heroes--arguably the two most important non-family people in my life--in meatspace, and somehow come out on the far side, years later, having batted a thousand.


Of course there have been other heroes, including a few of pretty significant importance, but either I have not met them in real life (e.g., Claire), or I don't consider the context sufficient to merit mention (e.g., I've met both mandolinist Sam Bush and banjoist Bela Fleck in person, but the meetings were so brief that I couldn't assess them with any real confidence).

Although I have not met him in person, I feel at least a bit honor-bound to address Massad Ayoob, who has been an incredible and positive influence on me in certain respects that I must acknowledge as heroic, but who is the best example I can share of a hero who fell from grace--or at least a hero whose uncovered flaw(s) are so vital that I cannot in conscience remand them into insignificance. I give the man full props for being, in some ways, exactly what he implied himself to be: a champion of what Grigg called the Mundanes, someone who would both freely and by profession teach you the things you should know if you need to save your life with lethal force some day. As a matter of the mechanics and considerations of doing this in the flawed legal landscape under which we all suffer, and to a lesser but still significant degree the mechanics of the physical act of saving your life in the first place, he is at least arguably without peer. I have no doubt he understands quite well, how to out the BS of those who think they understand how confrontations happen first on the street and then afterward in court, but really don't; his position both inside and outside the police and law/legal communities gives him a pretty unique perspective.

The problem, of course, is that in the end, when push comes to shove, he is by all appearances fully committed to the Only Ones mentality, to wit: cops' lives matter more than yours, and there is no systemic police problem to discuss. What I have seen, and not seen, from him on this topic is irreparably damning. He used to write about police corruption stories, you know, in almost a Peelian reform sort of way; when I first ran across him, he'd actually write about stories like Frank Serpico's--although looking back on it now, IIRC even then those kinds of stories always were rooted in the "bad apples" rationalization as well: the ultimate immunity and supremacy of the enforcement constabulary itself were presumed, and unquestioned, even then. Now? Well...I can't remember the last time I saw something under his name that addresses the topic at all, that does not simply sound like someone condescending to scold the whistleblower. The worst part about it all is that, having for years read his very useful information about the sort of "cute lawyer tricks" that can be used against you in a courtroom by unscrupulous prosecutors, I cannot help but see his repeated excusings of nearly any sort of police behavior at all, as anything but the same thing. It's become as predictable as gravity that if Ayoob writes about a police abuse or corruption case at all, these days, it is only to carry the water of Team True Blue and tell the very peasants he claims to champion, how it is always and ever not-what-you-think. Even more damningly, when asked, directly, questions that would go to the real point here--meat questions like "do you really believe that no abuse happens?", or "provide an example of what you would consider 'going too far'", or "would a regular person have been excused from this behavior too?", etc., what we hear is...nothing.

I used to care, more, about what happened to bring about this apparent change, from the writer who would champion the little guy standing up to the department, and discuss how important it is to avoid understandably misidentified appearances for the sake of one's own image with the public; into the writer who now treats any sort of systemic inquiry as de facto tinfoil hattery, automatically marginalizing any attempt even to get to the public's perception, much less addressing the legitimate question of "and do they have a point?"--and maybe I still do, as it still invokes a sense of betrayal and makes me angry. But not only is it not stopping, it's getting worse, and a reasonable person might start to wonder if that whole period of championing the little guy and pointing out the deliberate ways that the system deceives the people to serve its own purposes, was merely an advance guard to normalizing the horrors of the police state we suffer from now.

For anyone new to that topic who would like a compare and contrast exercise (it would be involved, but illustrative), I'd simply suggest reading the posts and commentary (watching how he handles the commentary is important) of a year's worth of Mas' posts at Backwoods Home magazine, covering the police abuse stories of your choice, and the posts and commentary of the same period at Will Grigg's Pro Libertate blog.

Okay, enough about that. Makes me irritated.

Finally, on a much happier note: although also not in meatspace, there is also you, Joel. Your example, for me at least, actually sums up much of what I think is important to consider in this weird, enigmatic notion of "heroism" that people seem so fascinated with.

You frequently lead, unapologetically, with this idea that you are a hermit by choice because you're difficult to be around, and didn't choose the desert for the social gatherings. I find this disclosure admirable and perfectly acceptable in a hero, who doesn't have to be anything at all like me.

Your heroism, to me, occupies a very abstract and mental place. To wit: you are easy to admire because you do what many people, myself absolutely included, desire at some level to do, but stop short for one reason or another. You're perfectly clear on what it takes to achieve it, and the risks and concerns that attend your own choices. All this is at once very hypothetical for an observer, and yet it also demystifies the experience in a way that I find extremely useful. It helps me with the life I have here, which in some ways is so very different (e.g., wife and three young kids, traditional day job, way too much time around obvious cheerleaders for Team Tide Pod and the Statist Beer Goggles Emporium, etc.), but which in others I think is functionally quite similar (e.g., the intention to live outside of the unwanted invasions of "regular" society, voluntary interdependence upon selected friends and neighbors, available retreat from aforementioned TTP and SBGE types, increasing self-sufficiency through personal learning and development)...

And finally, you live unapologetically and, I think, without real judgment. Oh sure, you like to declare the things you find absurd with wonder and even a little humor, but that's regular human being stuff, nothing recognizably like the pluperfect misanthropic malice increasingly emerging among the more socially acceptable of Master's minions. You're also the first to observe that even you, for all your choices that may seem drastic even to committed freedomistas, are also on a continuum, just perhaps in a very different place than most. That simple observation right there is more valuable, both first as an epiphany and afterward as a reminder, than it might appear.

And of course, with someone who openly (and repeatedly) declares his faults, and who regularly fesses up to his mistakes even when nobody else would ever have noticed, how could you even have a fall from hero grace? You said already that you're a 'mudge, so we knew that coming in...

If the purpose of a hero is to have a personally important point of reference to which to aspire and work towards, well hell, you fit the bill as well as anyone I've run across. Which could be considered an accusation of damning with faint praise, except that in my case the praise really isn't faint. :-)

* Usually that has been meant as a compliment, but then again I don't worry overmuch about the "TL;DR" crowd in terms of how it reflects on me. :-)

** A regular feature of King Crimson's work has been that, just as a given incarnation of the band has matured its voice and started to "succeed" in the marketplace, it dissolves, the magic having been in the listening to the muse to find the voice, rather than in the repetitive output of a matured-but-no-longer-growing voice. This is very frustrating to some people--there is obviously something in the psychology of the band name and wanting to ascribe "consistency" to it over time--but I find it utterly admirable. Part of this is that King Crimson are identified mostly in the "rock" music genre, and that is a genre that insists on consistency of the output behind a name. But not all genres are like that. With "jazz" music, by contrast, it is perfectly normal for a bandleader to form and dissolve various groups over time, often with very different styles and output. Crimson are a little different there, though, in that even though the styles of the different incarnations can be pretty wildly different, one can always feel the King Crimson muse present somehow, and it's not just the consistency of Robert's presence. People of course argue about that, but most of those arguments come from the sort of people that out their own ignorance pretty quickly.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

TwitFace Leviathan. (Sounds like a band name, doesn't it? Sadly, it's not.)

Posted here, rather than on the TwitFace, in response to one of the people I admire most, contemplating leaving Facebook for privacy concerns.


Personally, I am very sympathetic to the opinion that the TwitFace is simply a result of Establishment players successfully and intentionally squatting on the shoulders of the blog phenomenon: historically, if blogs represented an unanticipated move toward open, decentralized (TPTB translate that to "dangerous") freedom and away from the tightly controlled, pre-Internet Establishment media outlets, then social media as we know it now is pretty easy to view as simply a means of re-capturing that monopoly control into a virtualized (and neatly toolkitted) variant of what pre-Internet media had before.

It's frustrating and disheartening, of course, to see how effective and rapid the squatting and marginalizing of the more open, freer frameworks has been; and of course at a personal level nobody likes to be snooped on, even (especially) for his own good. But if we can be appalled at the monopolists happily monopolizing, we can hardly claim surprise.

Yeah, they've got your data--mine too. Ultimately, we gave it to them. Now what? At this point it's not possible to "get it back".

The participation psychology is pretty scary, too, when you think about it. The TwitFace's primary function is to be the place to go not to care about something, but to be seen caring about something, a phenomenon which has now taken on its own name: virtue-signaling. Increasingly social media also seems to have the secondary function of acting as a court of wrongthink. And now we are starting to see the emergence of this latter idea, weaponized, being used as a deliberate political tactic. Scary freakin' stuff.

So, should everyone drop Facebook? Well, arguably yes. It won't get your data back, but delegitimizing the whole horrid idea of a centralized social network may well be the only way to stop it from metastasizing further. Otherwise it's just like an election: we keep participating, so we must be consenting somehow, right?

And yet most of us are already more hard-wired into social media than we care to admit; simply dropping it isn't a trivial step, even beyond the very real phenomenon of I-was-so-disgusted-I-was-just-about-to-drop-it-entirely-when-I-saw-this-post-from-someone-I-haven't-heard-from-in-years-and-I-remembered-why-I-joined-in-the-first-place.

I wrestle with it, but (QED) I'm still here too, just in a darker mode than several years ago. I post just once in a blue moon now (what little I write tends to go to blogs instead), and comment even less, and for the most part I'm a bit fatalistic about what data "they" have on me. Unfollowing nearly everything helps a lot with the outrage fatigue from the newsfeed, but some people are so committed to minding my business that even that can't stop it all.

For me at least, we'll see where it goes from here. The backbreaker may well be this use of the medium as an actual political weapon. If that shit escalates without sane people stopping it, then I've gotta be out--because No. Oh, hell no.

Not holding my breath, either. Instead, I'm trying to spend more time in meatspace. Most people are much more human-like there, than here.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Achieving what is possible, free of the shackles of shame.

Hat tip to Gun Free Zone, via Joel.

Hey Mom!  Look, I haz a dumb.

(Things like this make me miss Will Grigg terribly.  I'd have loved to hear him roast this one.)

Okay, kid, I'll go out on a limb and venture a guess that you don't know Thermopylae from a fever tester.

That level of irony is almost worthy of someone trolling it.  Somehow, though, I don't think I'll hold my breath on the hopes that this person is either trolling directly, or making a more obscure comment about NRA being skippered by pre-emptive surrender monkeys.  Possible, I suppose, in a quantum sort of way (and it would actually be pretty awesome if it was), but not...exactly...likely.

Actually, though, when I saw the picture, the very first thing that went through my mind was this:

Actually, the whole scene is worth a bookmark.  I do remember enjoying that film.

Almost spooky, isn't it?

Maybe the real question, since we know that so much of this (current) feeding frenzy is pure Astroturf, is whether the idea for the kid's unintentionally hilarious sweatshirt originally came from Team Tide Pod*, or from the handlers.  (Frankly, I'm not sure who I'd root for, there, either.  The handlers more richly deserve the egg on the face, but they're just plain not going to heed the lesson no matter what:  ironically the kids stand a much better chance of actually learning something from it all.)

Give the bag to Bozo, kid;  you've taken being played for a fool to a whole new level of achievement.  And in that vein, here's a piece of free advice for the future:  never enter a battle of wits unarmed.

* Probably, of course, it's just a school mascot sweatshirt, and we're just witnessing a truly amusing karmic coincidence.  But I'd not be surprised, if word of this double-facepalm-fail actually gets around the way it should, to see schools across the nation drop Spartan mascots like the proverbial ton of bricks, for being too inconvenient to the narrative.  (Because the narrative, after all, just wants to go home at the end of its shift.  :-)

Friday, March 16, 2018

A thought struck me... know, in and among this latest top-down push shove from the Hive Mind to impose forcible prior restraint upon tens of millions of people who (s'prise!) didn't harm anyone this time either.  The ongoing Trump Derangement Syndrome spectacle* is tiresome enough (the Manic Progressive crowd having utterly destroyed any remaining humor value left in their transparently aggressive adventures in open misanthropy--do you appreciate how hard that is to do?), without having to add on this next-level muckraking Astroturfery from the professional victim-disarmament set.

But these are crusaders, here, and they do (le sigh) persist.

And actually, that's what prompted the observation:  their commitment to doing whatever it takes, to achieve their social engineering goals, no matter what the inconvenient little people may actually want.

Think about this for a moment:

  • They're going to get what they want (in this case, gun control), and that's all there is to it.  They are smart and you are stupid, and they're more than willing to bet your life on the outcome, so they absolutely will not stop coming, will not be turned away, for any reason:  they will get what they want--what they want, they take, and they deserve to take, because they're smart and they just want it to be this way so bad.  Nootch.
  • We already know from long history that the Force!Defenselessness!Now! crowd is willing to resort to procedural shenanigans, deception, outright fabrication and lying, and agitprop to dominate their moral and intellectual lessers.  (Actually, that's an interesting question:  has any gun control ever passed without procedural chicanery to end-run around the inconvenient lack of popular support?)
  • They habitually (and loudly) claim the moral high ground, not because they actually hold it, but because in a victimization society that is a known safe haven for concealing one's own moral turpitude.
  • They habitually slut-shame the targets of their domination attempts to make and keep them subservient, or at least ineffectual.  (What else would you call repeatedly suggesting that any sort of dissent from the Hive's currently-proffered snake oil product, is prima facie evidence that nutjob redneck ammosexual overcompensators would obviously cook and eat their own children rather than give up what is obviously nothing more than a prurient hobby?) 
  • They habitually enlist both institutional and freelance wingmen to enable their depredations and schemes.  (Outcome-predetermined "research" from transparently ideological think tanks, Establishment media for both unlimited free marketing and hitpieces on demand, talking heads and policy wonks, "under the radar" propaganda manufactury, and ambulance-chasing litigation and soapboxery, just for starters) 
  • And now we can see that they will openly exploit traumatized schoolkids to make their hard-sell for them, where they have failed themselves to snow over enough people enough of the time, in a manner for which you or I would be utterly and rightly destroyed for "abuse of power by a person in a position of authority".  The kids may drink various amounts of the Kool-Aid Flavor-Aid on their own, or they may believe they can go along to get along, or they may not understand their position as pawns in the opportunists' game, but what they do not really have in the matter is a real choice:  they will serve the purpose assigned to them and that is that.
  • Finally, the Hive Mind crusaders threaten any who stand in their way.  They do it in advance, to ensure compliance;  they do it in arrears, to keep inconvenient accounts and reports under control.  They do it openly, and behind the scenes.   But above all they do it constantly, so that everyone is clear that what the Hive wants, the Hive will have, and dissent is simply not tolerated. under the cruel illusion of choice, cynical and deliberate abuse of power, political strongarmery and wingmen, conveniently cloaked in whatever facile sanctimony is currently popular with the all-hat-no-cattle set?

See, it's not like old Harvey is somehow back.  

No.  With these people, he never actually left in the first place.

* It should go without saying that calling out TDS for what it is, in no way constitutes any sort of support for that pathetic impostor of a human being.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I know I can't be the only one thinking this...

...and also it's not like I spend much time these days combing the Interteubz to be sure, but still, I don't recall seeing the thought anywhere else thus far:

Bumpfire stocks as a key component of the recent Vegas disaster?  Really?

Notwithstanding the fact that certain key details of this sordid story seem to be slipperier than the finals heat at a greezed-pig contest, and changing and shapeshifting about like you'd expect within that metaphor:  this guy was supposed to be rich, a bit of a showoff, and not really afraid of jumping through hoops to get what he wanted.

So...instead of simply using that wealth and personality to amass a braggable NFA collection of "real" automatic weapons, he instead resorts to what has been described as the poor man's full-auto*?

And watching how the whole bumpfire thing has landed so squarely into the exact right spot to be exploited by all the usual blood-dancing suspects?

Something stinks doesn't even begin to cover it.  But then again, for anyone who's been paying attention, that's basically a given for any of these events, isn't it?

* Personally I'm among those who disparage bumpfire stocks as a range toy for those who want to more efficiently waste ammunition, but I'm also among those who acknowledge that the most valuable characteristic any product could possibly have is the ability to cause instant apoplexy among the insufferable polypragmatoi.  Which is to say that if I had money, I'd immediately acquire two, whether I like them or not, which is hardly the point.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Fun shop trip!

Yeeps, but it's been a while since I've been able to do the fun shop thing.  Got a chance to spend a short bit of time in the Sportsman's Warehouse in Soldotna, with the family up in town for a geocaching picnic...and on the whole, what I saw was pretty encouraging.

First and foremost, there was .22 ammo.  Both the sales guys seemed to confirm that it wasn't just an illusion, but a real sense of palpable relief and recovery from The Extended Stoopid of the last too many freakin' years.  Prices haven't quite dropped to what they were before, but that could mostly be explained by inflation, and hell, it was there!  Bricks too, although packaging is just different than it used to be, when a brick was a brick was 500 rounds on the nose, in ten 50-round boxes.  Today, I saw packaging in 200, 300, 400, and 1400 round quantities, at rational if not entirely reasonable prices:  okay, I'll take it.

Primers were available too, by the thousand, and simply priced a little higher than I'd think appropriate.  Component bullets much more available, and ammo in general looked healthy all around.  There were even a few boxes of 16-gauge shotshells, although nothing in the buck and slug formats.

Okay, so recovery is arriving, in a location which is usually last to see the national trends.  Long may it ride.

In guns, I was happy to get a chance to meet my first .45 caliber S&W Shield.  Very nice piece;  precious little larger than the .40, and boasting a 6+1 capacity flush mag (to the XD-S's 5+1 flush mag) that was luxuriously comfortable in the hand.  Today, the trigger on the Shield was much superior to the trigger on the XD-S, but I've seen enough examples of each to know that either could come either way--so I should shop around, when the time comes.  

And boy, I do like both guns.  I seem to be warming to the Shield more and more with time, but I've not lost any fervor for the XD-S either.  In an ideal world I'd have copies of each, and would see which one would prove more likely to get the call in true daily use.  :-)

They had a CZ 527 as well, in 7.62x39;  still love everything about that rifle but the stinkin' backward safety.  (Ergonomics, people!)  Of interest, that 527 also comes chambered in 6.5 Grendel now, for those who like that format.  (Every ten years or so, I go through a mental exercise that explores the viability of nonstandard cartridges, such as the Grendel, or the .35 Whelen, etc.--and after a delightful bout of number crunching, every time I seem to (re-)conclude that yes, some of these rounds do seem to offer something over their standard-fare stablemates...but the advantage is so slight, and specialized, that overall it doesn't seem to be worth the effort unless one has money to burn and simply wants to do it because he can.  I can support that idea fully of course, but honestly, there is not a whole lot that a .35-caliber 250 at 2400 is going to do, that a .308-caliber 220 or 240 cannot.  Keep the '06, load up the heavies when called for, and otherwise rejoice in the extra choice and occasional surplus quantities of the standard round.)

Took another look at the .22 rimfire Ruger American rifle.   I'd forgotten that I liked this the first time I saw one, and here again today I was pretty impressed with it as a platform.  The safety in particular (tang) seems to be well designed, and I think it looks like a good entry for a quality .22 trainer.  Will cogitate on that one further.

Finally, in addition to the Shield, I wanted to re-acquaint myself with the M&P service pistol's ergonomics;  in that regard I got to see one of the "2.0" designs, and was impressed.  I am not a fan of double-stack designs, but they are pretty ubiquitous, and this one is one of the very most comfortable I have ever run across.    The 2.0 in particular also had the manual safety on it and man, it felt very, very natural, positive and comfortable.  So, I think that by now I can conclude that the M&P platform is going to be the right choice to go to, to build an across-the-board stable of guns to work with for all sorts of training.  By which I mean, it would be fantastic if I could use, in the same holster for the 9mm/40S&W sized pistol, all of the following:
  • Airsoft M&P model with blowback
  • BB M&P model with blowback
  • M&P .22 rimfire model
  • M&P 9mm or .40 model
Similarly, in an open-bottom holster rig designed for the .45-caliber M&P, I could envision:
  • Rifled pellet M&P45 airgun
  • .45ACP M&P45 pistol
  • .460 Rowland conversion on M&P45 pistol
I do wish the airgun and Airsoft world would get on board with more slim-line pistol options such as the ASG Bersa BP9CC--by which I mean S&W Shield or SA XD-S, of course--but for now the best option is to go with 1911s in full size and the Bersa in compact...we'll see.

And finally, I did note that they didn't have any Benjamin Discovery airguns any more--but there were a lot more Gamo-Eff-Pee-Ess options for the credulous.  What a shame!  That Discovery was, is, pure genius, and I still need to acquire a few to put ideas into play.

Anyway, wanted to record a few notes--a pleasant discovery that things seem to be looking better for the nonce.  Yes, more of that, please!