Saturday, October 02, 2010

History Of The World: Modern Mans Preferred Methods Of Mutilation: Conclusion

For Now...

Once upon a time, it was a dark and stormy night..... then enthusiasts and researchers came to an agreement. The world has not been the same since.

Back in the good old days, whenever the military would test a new round they simply shot them into people. Dead people, mostly. Hundreds, then thousands of rounds and a like number of dead people. Mostly. They'd then send the results to the pencil pushers so as to create a standard that could be replicated by ammunition manufacturers the world over. Not having easy access to dead people, mostly, ammunition manufacturers turned to animals other than homo sapien, and at long last settled upon goats. Teaching goats to emulate bipeds proved to be somewhat more problematic than first believed, so Rube Goldberg-like assemblies were constructed to force the understandably reluctant bovidae to stand there and take it like a man.

Time passed...(cue leaves blowing across a white picket fence... dub violin music).

Animal Rights Groups formed and protested, violently protested against such heinous treatment of otherwise merry animals, and for a time these tests were conducted under a shroud of secrecy in Europe and other dirty places so as to escape the wrath of the goat-lovers.

Time passed...(cue a massive storm blowing tree stumps into a white picket fence...dub organ music).

Animal Rights Groups caught on, and to placate them all such tests were halted and Europe even avowed to some day unite into one big happy union to prove how sorry they all were for allowing such horrendous treatment of other animals.

Meanwhile, hunters and plinkers and reloaders were fashioning their own standards, and began shooting bullets into bars of soap and water-filled milk jugs. But, while housewives agreed to the use of their otherwise unusable jugs, they remonstrated mightily against the sudden dearth of hydrolyzed fats, so soap as point of impact dropped to history's wayside. Where none dared bend over to retrieve it, I might add.

Time passed....(cue marching black people bearing signs demanding equality...dub angry voices).

In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was made into law, and constabularies across America were forced into the same conclusion: Black people could no longer be used to test ammunition either. The military was hemming and hawing and the backyard enthusiasts were fer chrissake using Dove Bars and water containers and, since any of the above required actual, on-hands physical labor, all were deemed unacceptable so the constabularies once again sought the advice of the ammunition manufacturers.


Winchester was the first such manufacturer to respond to the heart wrenching please from law enforcement. It too was caught with its pants down with regards to the sudden onslaught of laws prohibiting the use of black men  for civilian ballistic testing purposes, and sent its researchers to discover a suitable replacement, forthwith...

...And that replacement was the infamous Black Talon, whose hollow-pointed petals opened razorsharply wide when shot into 10% gelatin.

Then the same constabularies that DEMANDED a better round, one with far more stopping power than even the old Flying Ashtrays, the same departments began screaming to the high heavens when they discovered that CIVILIANS could purchase these COP KILLER BULLETS, and what fun is it when any old Joe Shmoe can use the same ammo as those who wear a star?

They lobbied long and hard for politicians to jump on the COP KILLER BULLET bandwagon, and sure enough, every liberal democrat who didn't know one end of a gun from the other was weeping to a willing media about how the world as we know it was soon to end.

Winchester, even though they were mightily pissed about law enforcement begging for better stuff then telling them who they could and could not sell the stuff to, changed the name of the BLACK TALON to RANGER, improved it a shitload, and all was well since who, after all, could complain about a round that was named after a masked man who fought for law and order in the early western United States?

Speer than came out with their GOLD DOT, Remington with the GOLDEN SABRE, and since both names had the word GOLD instead of BLACK, all was once again right with the world. Hell's bells what politician could find quarrel with a bullet using the French spelling of the word SABER, but as soon as the smoke cleared Remington changed the name to the Americanized SABER and no one even noticed.

We ALL learned something. Make something sound scary and the tree hugging lunatics would spare no expense in banning it. We also learned that both Speer and Remington welcomed input from hunters and backyard enthusiasts, so what was once a military/law enforcement cabal became open to the public. One could even purchase the exact same ballistic gelatin as fancy schmancy researchers, and the civilian testing boom began in earnest, much to the delight of used milk jugs the country over, but the calibration standards STILL needed to be tweaked, and would they join with us in finding one we could understand without being a Constitutional Scholar like our President?

But it did a lot more than tweak the imaginations of hard core gunners. Folks who traditionally were full frontal Fudds were also intrigued by the thought of gelatin shoots, and that meant hobnobbing with 2nd Amendment advocates who passed the word along that yes Virginia, the Constitution guarantees your right to keep and bear arms.

Bingo. The horse was out of the barn and nothing could entice him back inside. Doesn't mean that every last Fudd Fort was summarily shut down due to lack of business, but the love of Freedom brought many an otherwise uncaring hunter over to the side of the good guys. Then the internet came along and everything changed yet again.

GLOCK Talk,, and more 1911-featured websites than you could shake a stick at sprang up like daisies after a spring rain. And the information spread like wild fire. Men were no longer content to ask what sort of gun and ammunition was legal in their neck of the woods, but how to make ALL guns and ammunition's legal everywhere.

And testing the darned things was as easy as asking someone for the internet address of the best ballistic gelatin store. Science fella's went hand in hand with gunny's, and YES, they combined to create the best calibration methods possible, and the ammo makers tossed even more bucks into the equation because they knew damned well it was good for business.

We got the bullets and the help we needed. Sure, you can still shoot at milk jugs all the livelong day like a certain Box O' Shitferbrains does, but why bother since its cheaper in the long run to order some gun-gello and have at it. Means you have to know how to add, divide, and multiply, so add a halfway decent calculator and stop whining.

Time passed...(Fade In to a long and winding footpath covered with leaves and debris. An ever so fragile sprite of wind begins stirring the music...just listen to the breeze).

The Right To Keep And Bear Arms. Some fellows came up with the crazy notion that the Bill of Rights might even apply to weapons OTHER than firearms. Founding Father's didn't say "guns", or "rifles", just "Arms".

Could KNIVES be "Arms" too? To peruse most of the knife forums you wouldn't think so. Most if not ALL of the queries revolve around what to buy that'll suit my state's laws regarding blade length, etc, rather than what can I do to make ALL knives legal EVERYWHERE?

This time around, the patriots don't have a Remington or Speer or even Winchester to help. Knife manufacturer's hoard their knowledge like Pirate's gold, so the backyard researchers spend more time arguing over what constitutes a genuine "test" than how do we get together and make knives just as free as firearms.

The mindset is nowhere NEAR as American as it should be, with the majority of blade owners willing to kowtow to their local, state, and ultimately federal government when it comes to exercising what they never needed permission to exercise. Once upon a time gun owners were a mirror image of today's knife enthusiast, but I can't help thinking that maybe, just maybe, gunny's and blademen might be cut from a different cloth.

FADE IN: Montage of cavemen killing then cutting up their dinner. Cue lots of drums.

Mankind's first weapon was not a karate kick to the brain housing group, as Asians would have you believe, but probably a thick branch or hefty rock. Either seemed to be better than mud wrestling a cave bear into submission, but once the beast was Triple D'd as the cops like to say (definitely done dancing), doling it out proved difficult, since, in order for our brains to enlarge, we had to lose the gigunda jaws of our ape cousins because a monkey or gorilla skull is totally together by the age of opposed to our 33..or else the powerful chewing action of enormous bicuspids would tear the head hither and yon. (No relation to Michael Yon. That we know of).

We discovered how better to kill but then needed something sharper than our own feeble teeth and nails so  went about finding and sharpening all sorts of stuff. 

HALF A MILLION YEARS LATER (give or take so work with me here)

Gun laws come and go. The internet helps bring more and more gunners together. Gunners rejoice in their newly returned civil rights. 

Guys who like knives sit by their computers and...

Are still at the stages of arguing what is the best way to determine which steel is "right" for which desired characteristic.  Spyderco and Benchmade and Kershaw aren't letting the cat out of the bag with regards to their in-house test results, and to be perfectly honest I don't think they every truly will.

And then there are the steel manufacturers, too.

Hitachi makes ZDP-189 stainless steel. A highly sought after product that in my opinion is something of a one-trick-pony, but that's a story for a different day. Hitachi is treating ZDP like their own personal Manhattan project, and while the formulation itself is easy enough to figure out, knife makers do not have the megabucks of a Remington or Winchester, and must take such things one slow step at a time. Were Hitachi to be more forthcoming with regards to wear and strength parameters, the knife blade industry would take a mini quantum leap because they could skip all of the time consuming, costly, and get along to making knives of al shapes and sizes with the stuff, rather than tippy-toeing around for fear they've made a thing too short, too long, too thick, or too damned thin.

So there we have it. Big company knife makers won't release THEIR results, a lot of steel mills act the same way, and its up to the backyard testers to push the industry ever upward.

Good thing the British aren't coming.

Oh and PS: My Shallot is back from uber-tester Jim, and I'll be looking into some YouTubery with it as promised.

P-PS: Boy do I long for the days when the product manager of the Gold Dot bullet would actually email me on how much powder to use when Crazy Jay and I were looking to make a Tyrannosaurus version of his famous round. No charge, no sweat, all results are good results he'd say. Knowledge benefits us all.

Think he'd call Spyderco for me if I said pretty-please?

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