A major enhancement to an already good pistol

Last year I wrote about the new Glock 43X pistol, and mentioned that it had supplanted my long-time favorite pocket carry pistol in 9mm Parabellum, the Springfield XDS. There were a lot of rumors last year about an aftermarket higher-capacity magazine for the 43X.  They proved to be correct.  After much testing, Shield Arms released its S15 model, increasing the magazine capacity of the Glock 43X and 48 to no less than 15 rounds – a full 50% improvement over the factory offering.  Click the image below for a larger view. Shield Arms did away with the polymer outer layer in which

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Bowie knives – what’s the best low-cost, high-value version?

I’ve had an interesting e-mail exchange with a friend over the past few days.  He wants to buy a Bowie-style knife, but he’s budget-limited, and furthermore isn’t a knife expert or aficionado in any way.  He wanted advice;  but I’m not an expert in the field, so I was limited in what I could suggest. We tossed ideas back and forth for a while, and came up with two sets of criteria.  The first is for the best budget Bowie knife;  low-cost, but high value-for-money in terms of quality, functionality, etc.  We set an arbitrary limit of fifty dollars as a maximum price. 

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COVID-19: Personal observations over the past couple of days

I continue to believe that the current “panic stations” response by many to the threat posed by the coronavirus epidemic is overblown.  Nevertheless, practical preparations are in order for most of us:  and the evidence that they’re needed is growing.  Here are just a few things I’ve personally observed over the past couple of days. Stocks of some China-sourced products are getting low, and stores are unable to tell me when they’ll receive new stocks.  Example:  I was in Sams Club yesterday morning, and heard a couple complain that the automotive department couldn’t supply a battery to fit their car. 

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Coronavirus, breathing masks, and respirators: the facts

There’s an awful lot of hype circulating about breathing masks, respirators, and protection against the current coronavirus epidemic.  Most of the articles are not scientific or factual – they’re more like hyperbole and hysteria. In particular, current stocks of surgical masks and disposable respirators available to the general public have been largely exhausted, and a number of vendors are reporting that they don’t know when (or even whether) they’ll be able to get stock again.  That’s complicated by the fact that most such masks are made in China, which last week was said to have declared them a “strategic national

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Higher education is about to get a wake-up call

That’s according to Andrew Gillen.  If you have children or grandchildren who’ll be attending college or university, his report is essential reading.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. In November, the Department of Education released post graduate earnings and debt data broken down by college program — which will have a revolutionary impact on higher education. Students (and policymakers) can now get accurate information about how much recent graduates earned by college and degree (e.g., a Bachelor’s in Physics from Ohio State University). While the data isn’t perfect (it only includes students who received federal financial aid and so far only lists

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Nikon is quitting the riflescope market – and there are some great deals to be had

A few months ago, it emerged that Nikon was planning to quit the riflescope market.  This was sad news, because Nikon has produced high-quality offerings in the mid-range section of that market;  but the company apparently wants to concentrate its efforts on consumer optics such as binoculars, camera lenses and the like.  One can’t argue with that tighter focus (you should pardon the expression). On the other hand, this means there are some great deals to be had on the company’s remaining stock of riflescopes, particularly those already in vendor’s stocks.  (No, I’m not being paid to advertise them, or receiving

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Debunking myths about cast iron cookware

The use and care of cast iron cookware is almost a religion in many kitchens in America – not to mention outdoor cooking aficionados.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told that one should never use soap on cast iron cookware (“It’ll destroy the seasoning!”), or use metal cooking utensils with it (“It’ll scratch the surface!”), or another warning against the heinous crime of disrespecting one’s cast iron. Thanks to a recent social media post, I was led to a page on Lodge Manufacturing’s Web site.  Lodge makes most of the cast iron cookware produced in

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Can Airsoft and BB gun training translate to real firearms? You bet they can!

A few years ago, I recommended the use of BB and/or Airsoft handguns as an ultra-low-cost training resource, to improve skill with a real handgun.  I repeated that advice a couple of days ago in a new article.  After that came out, I was challenged by a few shooters who insisted that “playing with a toy” could not possibly translate to usable shooting skills with a real firearm, and that I was “sucking this out of my thumb”. I’m never going to persuade everyone:  but to those willing to watch with an open mind, here’s about as much proof as you’ll ever

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Kidney stones: a follow-up report

In May last year, I wrote about two over-the-counter, non-prescription “remedies” for kidney stones that I’d been trying out.  I reported considerable success with them at the time, and I’ve continued to use them since then.  I’ve also experimented with different dosages. I’m pleased to report that for the past eight months, I’ve been kidney-stone-free.  That’s a huge improvement for me compared to earlier, when I was passing a kidney stone every two to three months, and experiencing considerable pain associated with them.  In particular, I’ve narrowed down my dosage to two capsules every morning (half the recommended dose of two capsules morning

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A nifty, low-cost camper van conversion

I’ve long wanted a travel trailer or small camper, something Miss D. and I can use for weekend getaways, or even for a week or longer.  However, it’s been financially impossible for us, and looks like it’ll be that way for some time. Nevertheless, I keep my eyes open for good ideas in that area.  I was struck by this article about a low-cost conversion of a 2017 Ram cargo van.  It’s filled with interesting touches and useful ideas, as well as lots of photographs.  Here’s an excerpt. When we bought her, our immediate thought was to hire professionals to build it for us

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