TSA Actually Helpful

I don’t mean in terms of keeping me safe, but I called them and they give me quick precise answers to my questions.

Since I’m going to be traveling with a gun this week, I’ve done the research to find out how it needs to be packed. Here’s Continental’s firearms guidelines and here’s the TSA’s firearms guidelines.

What wasn’t clear to me was if it had to be a TSA Lock.

I called Continental and asked them my questions and the lady actually asked “Are you carrying that on?” I laugh at her and said “You can’t carry a gun on the plane.” She gave me the same information that is on the website and she gave me the TSA 1800 number.

I was a little worried when the TSA’s first question was “Have you called before? What is your name? What is a number I can call you at if we get disconnected?” Little big brother there, but the guy answered my questions quickly.

For the record, you can use a regular lock to lock your firearms in a hard case. You don’t have to wait for them to be screened, just lock it at the check in counter and that’s it.

FrontSight Reporting

It is my plan to blog my experiences as the 4 Day Defensive Handgun course the Mrs and I are going to be taking February 2-5 on the blog. Therefore I’ve created a new category on the blog for FrontSight related posts.

A week or so ago I added FrontSight to my auto link plugin so it will always become a link when I use the term. Hopefully this won’t be to annoying, but it is sure easier for me to not have to put the HTML around the name every time I use it.

Here some catch up posting to get us up to date of preparing for the trip.

FrontSight has a pretty cheap offer on your first class if you read all of the Free Gun Reports they have on their website. It is 50% to 70% off of your first course. And the reports actually contain good information, not just sales hype. I’m a better shooter because I read them. The Mrs started reading them and said the author sounded to arrogant and stopped reading.

They also give their life members certificates to that allow a non-member to a course for just the cost of the background check, $50. Some of the members decided to offset the cost of member ship by selling the certificates on EBay. I bought two of these for about the price I would have paid FS with their discount.

I got the certificates the first week of January. Which happened to also be the week the FrontSight Challenge TV program premiered. This made me worry a little the course would fill up and we wouldn’t be able to get in. So I overnighted the certs and applications to them that weekend.

The guy who sold me the certificates was great too. He included four pages of information to make the trip easier. Including how to get ammo cheaper than the FS pro shop. (Call Wal-Mart in Pahrump and have them order it for you), and which hotel was the best to stay in (Best Western, they have a fridge in the room and let you keep your firearms in the room, which some hotels won’t).

I called FS the middle of the week after I knew they’d gotten the certificates to make sure we were in. While they hadn’t processed the application, they said not to worry, as long as they got it two weeks before the course I was guaranteed to get in. I took this on faith and made flight reservations, because those need to be made three weeks in advance.

My low grade worry continued when I still hadn’t gotten the email confirmation a week later. I called again and Jon told me they’d be going out last weekend. I sighed a sigh of relief yesterday when I got the email. We were confirmed and I didn’t need to worry about it anymore.

They also have a list of gear you need for the class. Basically, shooting eye and ear protection, holster on primary side and magazine holder on secondary, and a flashlight. I was able to work a trade deal with Talon Arms to get me all the gear in return for doing some design work for them. This included prescription glasses for the Mrs.

So we have all our gear.

I do need to get something to hold the guns and comply with Continental Airlines and the TSA’s requirements for a locked hard case for the guns.

So that brings us up to date. I plan to make detailed posts on each step in the future. This will include traveling with two pistols on an airline, which should be interesting. I also hope to take pictures of everything.

Honey’s Got a New Gun

Been an incredibly busy weekend. But it started off Friday night with the Mrs and I going back to Gander Mountain in Spring Texas to look at guns again. Remember from my pervious post we spent a hour or more there a couple of weeks back looking at guns and had a short list. Well we were planning on going to a gun show Saturday morning and I wanted to write down the prices Gander was charging to compare.

We get there and it was fairly busy. We talk about little about guns and then ask to see a couple. The guy behind the counter gets them out for us and the Mrs is having her usual trouble with the slide. A couple is standing next to us and they start giving her advice. The woman from the couple makes some suggested based on what she carries. After a couple of minutes the guy from behind the counter looks at the couple and says “Do you just want to clock in?” and they say “Sure”.

Turns out they work there and were just finished buying something else. But they got into helping us and ended up showing us a bunch of guns. The lady suggested a Bersa 380 because of its size. But we need at least a 9mm for FrontSight. A guy standing there suggested the Taurus Millennium, but there weren’t any in the case. So our help salesman went to the back to see if they had any. Came back out with on and with a Springfield Armory XD subcompact. The Mrs really like the little XD and I have to say I liked it as well.

I don’t really like to have to disengage a safety to fire the gun, though people who work in gun stores seem to like lots of safeties. The XD has two external safeties, one on the trigger and one on the back of the stock. So if you don’t pull the trigger back or if you don’t have a grip on the gun, it won’t fire. So I ended up liking it anyway because you don’t have to think about flipping off a safety, but you do get the added safeness.

It comes with two magazines, a 10 round that fits flush to the stock and a 16 round that has a plastic extension of the stock on the bottom. Has a really nice feel with the longer magazine, fixing the fact your hand hangs off the stock.

Haven’t shot it yet, probably do that tonight, but it seems a sweet little gun.

Case came with a sticker “Not for sale in California”. 🙂

Honey Needs A Gun

So the Mrs and I are signed up for FrontSight at the end of the month. We will be spending 4 days in the Nevada desert learning how to shoot a semi-auto handgun.

I’m planning on taking my Walther P99 – unless I trade it for a P99 QA 40 before then. But the Mrs doesn’t have a gun. We could probably borrow her sisters Glock, but we figure she’s getting a CHL after we get back, so she needs a gun.

We went to Gander Mountain, a local outdoors store with a huge selection of guns, and she got to handle a lot of handguns. She had problems racking the slide on a lot of guns. But we found a few and she got a feel for what she likes. She likes all metal guns at least partially because she wants something she can hit someone with if needed. 🙂

The guy at the store was down on Glocks because they don’t have an external safety. My Walther doesn’t have an external safety and I like that. It’s one less thing you have to remember if you have to draw and use it. But training and practice would make disengaging the safety second nature.

Talked to a friend last night who is a former IPSC(sp?) shooter and firearms instructor and he suggested an HK. He didn’t like Glocks either because he doesn’t like the “half cocked” nature of the Glock and how you can’t decock it without pulling the trigger. He offered to point me to court cases where Glocks have gone off unexpectedly.

My wife wrote down 4 guns she liked, I don’t remember all of them. I know one was a Taurus and I think there was an HK. If we’d bought that night, we’d probably have gotten the Baby Eagle because she like it a lot. I know Linoge would recommend that.

UPDATE: She posted her list and research to her blog. Pistols
Now’s your turn to weight in. What handgun should my wife buy?

  • I’d like it to be a 9mm because that’s what I carry and we’d be able to share ammo.
  • She’s going to carry it on a regular basis.
  • It needs to be a semi-auto because FrontSight requires that.
  • I know a revolver is easier to carry and we might pick one long term, but first we’ll get a semi.

MacWorld 2007

I’m back from my week working the MacWorld San Fransisco show. My feet hurt. The show buzz can be summed up in 1 word.


I want one yesterday, but alas can’t have one till June. It looks like a sweet little computer with a phone built in. I’ll have to switch back to Cingular from T-Moble, which isn’t great, but should be easy enough.

I also read Tinker by Wen Spenser and it was a good engrossing book. I bought it the first night I was there and only read it at night and finished it in 3 days. Great high tech meets elves book. I’d like the sequal, but I got a number of books for my birthday and will read them first.

Gun people watch for comments on Tactical Pistol Marksmanship by Gabriel Suarez. I didn’t know this till I got the book, but he seems to be associated with FrontSight in some way. They pictures on the back are FrontSight instructors. The Mrs and I are booked for FrontSight the first weekend in Feburary. Woot!

Photo people I also got Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies . Saw it at Wiley’s booth at the show and it was cheaper to order from Amazon.

Texas CHL Holder Killed

I never heard about this and I don’t know why. Supposedly it was carried on national media. David Hernandez Arroyo Sr, a crazy person with a semi-auto AK went to the court house in Tyler, Texas and killed his ex-wife and shot his son. When he did a nearby CHL holder, Mark Wilson, opened fire on him, hitting him once with a Colt 45. Then Wilson sought cover behind Arroyo’s truck. They trade gun fire again, and Wilson hit him again, but realized at this point Arroyo was wearing a bullet proof vest. Arroyo came around the truck and shot Wilson 3 times killing him.

The video came up on Digg today.

The interesting thing to me is the CHL holder isn’t mentioned in the video. Arroyo supposedly mowed down police officers, but only Wilson and the wife were killed.

Does make you think about what you should do. Some would say you shouldn’t get involved, especially when you are out gunned. But that assumes your personal survival is the most important thing. Wilson kept this guy from going on a longer spree, and probably saved the son’s life by intervening.

I read FrontSite’s email special reports and one of the things they teach is to shoot three times, twice to the chest and once to the head. In this case a head shot might have saved Wilson’s life. But as FrontSite also says, under stress you are only half as good as your best day at the range.

In case I haven’t said it before, you should consider getting FrontSite’s email reports. They aren’t just sales fluff, there is some very useful information in those newsletters. Here is a link to the report on fastest safest draw and it includes links to all of the other newsletters.

Front Site Opinions?

I’m thinking about getting some training from Front Site sometime early next year and wondered if my gun savvy readers have any opinions on them.

My search of the web has never turned up a negative report on the quality of their training. There has been some controversy over the owner being a scientologist and a class action lawsuit about the community they were suppose to build and didn’t. And they seem to be having problems getting their classrooms up to fire safety spec.