Archive for the ‘guns’ Category


March 23, 2008


      Apparently not!  Lets take a quick look back down that winding, twisting trail I have led you on through the previous chapters.  I cannot think of one of the desperate characters mentioned who used a fancy tooled low-slung rig.  Remember John Westley Hardin, captured when his pistol’s hammer hung up on his suspenders when he tried to draw it from his waist band?  Another fellow named Con Gibson had the same thing happen to him in a gunfight in New Mexico, in 1894 with the same disastrous results.

     A review of historical records reveal few gun-fights that involved holsters.  Referring back to John Westley Hardin, he used a cord around his neck, his waistband and leather lined pockets.

     Then there was Dallas Stoudenmier, from the long rambling El Paso chapters,  He also carried his pistols in leather lined pockets of his coat.  His long gun for distance and the one with the shortened barrel for close work.

    Bill Hitchcock favored tucking his guns into a long sash wrapped around his waist.  Then many times when two people decided to shoot it out one had to wait while the other ran to get his gun from his room or where ever he kept it.  Many of the people in the old west just did not go around  “heeled” as depicted on TV and the movies.  Also remember there were ordinances in effect in most town that forbade the practice of carrying guns.  Recall Ike Clanton was not armed at the gunfight at the OK Corral and fled the fight.


      Through out these recorded gunfights shooting and saftey skills was one thing that seemed to be universally lacking.   Killing Jim Miller and Sheriff Frasier from a few steps back are a prime example.  Frasier shot Miller from close range on two occasions from basically ambush and failed to kill him.  Well the fact that Miller wore the steel plate under his coat helped.  But he did wound him in other places with little effect.   Miller enlisted the help of others in his attempt at revenge.

      One of the Miller Hench-men Mannie Clements managed to shoot himself in June of 1895, Clements loaded all six cylinders of his pistol and tossed it on the bed, the gun discharged and hit him in the hip.  In less than three days a second Hench-man Mart Hardin, (brother to John Westley Hardin), hopped out of a buggy and his pistol fell from his pocket and discharged.  Entering under the right shoulder blade and lodging in the muscles of his neck.  He also had loaded all six chambers of his pistol.  A practice that was always advised against.  and one that all shooting clubs in The USA forbid in competition shooting.

     Also on one occasion it was recorded that Wyatt Earp allowed a pistol to fall out of a pocket and narrowly missed shooting himself.  Wyatt also is quoted as saying “I never used any fancy rigs or tricks.  I just tried to pull my pistol out and make sure I hit what I was shooting at.”     I have buried somewhere in my books that there are only six shooting incidents recorded involving Wyatt Earp.  This encompasses Dodge City as well as Tombstone.

      In all my books these people who I have written about so far where photos exist are shown wearing suits with coats and vests and some sort of tie.  I know that this does not fit the image portrayed in the wild west movies and maybe did not reflect every day living dress, but remember these fellows were by large city dwelling folk and for the most part practiced the trade of gambling.  I know Wes Harding, Print Olive and some of the others worked the trail drives and plied the rustling racket and did not dress like a city dude while on the trail.  But there is no mention of how they carried their weapons either.


       I know I have covered this in the past way back down the trail, so will be brief.  Early holsters for the most part were military holsters.  Until after the Civil War it was not common practice for people to carry pistols, until the opening of the west began.  With the rise of the outlaw gangs after the war it became more common.  Hand-guns were large things and heavy.   Believe me I can attest to that, strap on a double gun rig add a large knife and thirty rounds of ammunition and you probably have near to fifteen pounds of extra weight ridding on your hips.  By the end of a shooting day you will willingly shed it at the first opportunity.  As I started to say, military holsters were largely the first.  They came with flaps to protect the pistol from the elements and dirt.  At some time fellows started to tuck the flap back or cut it off to facilitate a quicker response to dragging it out.

      Then cane the Californian Slim Jim, a snug fitting holster that had a high side over the cylinder and snugly gripped the trigger guard to keep the weapon from falling out.  Later the side was lowered somewhat for quicker release.  The Mexican Buscallaro came along and this is the gun-rig you see in the movies today.  It is unpractical for sitting, riding and would be in the way of a working cowboy.  But this has all been covered again so is redundant here. Shoulder holsters were in use and evident.  And Jessie James was reported to utilize a double rig at times.  The only thing about a set of shoulder holsters with a set of big pistols is the damn things get in the way of your arm movement, think about it..

      Yes, I do have numerous pictures of holstered pistols and ammo belts.  Mostly on far ranging lawmen like the Texas and Arizona Rangers.  Some with double belts of ammo, one for the pistol with the holstered weapon and usually a belt of rifle Ammo wrapped around the belly above.  These are men who look like they mean business, and I will soon give attention to them.  I simply want to give you the reason they existed first.  Almost to a man these men wear their guns high in a cross draw holster, for the reasons I have given above.

     Well this rambling mess was a prelude to the next chapter.  A fellow who was a little more flamboyant.

Once again thanks for listening to a old duffer ramble.



11Preteen vs. Illegal Alien Home Invaders

December 12, 2007

     I received a E-mail the other day I wanted to share.  It involves a eleven year old girl left at home alone and how she handled a couple of intruders.  It reads as follows:

Shotgun Preteen vs. Illegal Alien Home Invaders —
Butte ,  Montana November  5, 2006

Two illegal aliens, Ralpheal  Resindez,
23, and Enrico Garza, 26, probably believed they would easily overpower home-alone 11  year old Patricia Harrington after her father had left their two-story  home.

It seems the two crooks never learned two things: they were  in Montana and Patricia had been a clay shooting champion since she was  nine.

Patricia was in her upstairs room when the two men broke  through the front door of the house. She quickly ran to her father’s  room and grabbed his 12 gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun.

Resindez  was the first to get up to the second floor only to be the first  to catch a near point blank blast of buckshot from the 11- year- old’s  knee crouch aim. He suffered fatal wounds to his abdomen and genitals.

When Garza ran to the foot of the stairs, he took a blast to the  left shoulder and staggered out into the street where he bled to death  before medical help could arrive.

It was found out later  that Resindez was armed with a stolen .45 caliber handgun he took from  another home invasion robbery. That victim, 50-year-old David Burien,  was not so lucky. He died from stab wounds to the chest.

Ever  wonder why good stuff never makes NBC, CBS, MSNBC, or ABC news….God  I love this kid..

     Now this is a case of firearms in a home with kids and proper training.  I owned a bunch of guns when I married my wife and her two young sons.  the first thing I did was take them and her mother up into the near by canyons and show them all what a gun could do and how dangerous they were.  then I proceeded to teach them all, all four how they operated and how they were loaded and then all fired them to their hearts content.  I removed the curiosity, and fear of them.  I have always kept them locked up except when I felt a need for them.  Now days with just my wife and me here they still reside in a huge gun safe except for the .45 I keep by my bedside in a pistol box attached to my bed frame.  It has a finger pad opening devise on it so I can open it in the dark.  I have my share of illegals in the area, in fact we are over run with them.  If they ever try to break in here I’ll dish out some eleven year old greetings to them.  Unless Hillary or Obama get in and take them away from us.



June 27, 2007

          As you will be well aware if you have read some of my previous posts, I am a gun owner and shooter, as are all of my children and grandchildren.  I come from a long line of patroits who have bore and used firearms in the defense of our country.  None of us were ever criminals or have ever used a fire arm to cause harm to others.  but we all reserved the right to posess and use if  necessary a firearm to defend our families or ourselves if necessary.  As a Fathers Day gift my oldest son has pledged to arange a shooting date for the two of us as soon as  possible  It is an outting I am looking forward to.  I recieve E-mail from family and freinds and other interested parties pertaining to the use of firearms. and felt that a few of them might be of interest to some of you.  Possibly, a few of you may disagree and think we are wild eyed terriorests.  If so I only pity you – I would give a pretty penny (I’ll even shine it with brasso) to have a shot at some of those who assisted in the 9-11 attacts.  I would demostrate to them what good gun control is!

     The following are a few of the E-mails I have recieved and wish to pass on.      

     I came across this email with a humorous yet truthful slant on firearms and wanted to share:


a. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
b. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
c. Smith & Wesson: The original point and click interface.
d. Gun control is not about guns; it’s about control.
e. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
f. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
g. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
h. If you don’t know your rights you don’t have any.
i. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

Now this amusing list has been making it’s way around the net so I don’t know the original source, but a quick search of “Firearms Refresher Course” via google will point you to a ton of blogs, articles and websites referencing the FRC.  GeeksWithGuns has an entry that includes 17 additional amusing points. I’ll mention here that I’m not a regular visitor of this particular website so I am only referencing them for their additional 17 points – Amusing and true takes on the 2nd ammendment – the right to bear arms! Here they continue:

j. The United States Constitution ? 1791. All Rights Reserved.
k. What part of “shall not be infringed” do you not understand ?
l. The Second Amendment is in place in case they ignore the others.
m. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
n. Guns only have two enemies: Rust and Politicians.
o. Know guns, know peace and safety. No guns, no peace nor safety.
p. You don’t shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
q. 911 – government sponsored Dial a Prayer.
r. Assault is a behavior, not a device.
s. Criminals love gun control – it makes their jobs safer.
t. If Guns cause Crime, then Matches cause Arson.
u. Only a government that is afraid of it’s citizens tries to control them.
v. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.
w. Enforce the “gun control laws” we have, don’t make more.
x. When you remove the people’s right to bear arms, you create slaves.
y. The American Revolution would never have happened with Gun Control.
z. “…a government by the people, for the people…”

Read more here:

     These are a few of the things that most of us gun owners feel.  Also I would like to point out that the U. S . news media and many of our politicians would have you believe that the members of the NRA (National Rifle Association) are nuts and fruit cakes.  The real reason they hate us is that we stand united in blocking their  own agendas.   The Association is comprised of every segment of the American population from top to the bottom.  The grass roots is so broad that you can hardly walk across the lawn with out steping on a bunch of us.  In every city across the country, like New York City and Washington D.C. where severe gun control is in existence, thousands of Americans have been denied the right granted them by the US consitution to defend themselves from aggressors.  In states like Arazonia, Where the population has the right to bear arms, the crime rate lags behind other states.  A thug is afraid to attempt an event on a person he thinks may be able to defend theirself.  I had a friend in Australia who visited me one year and he was so envious of my right to have handguns he could hardly stand it.  Their government took all their guns away, then one idiot went on a rampage with a sword and they outlawed them also.  Britian’s crime rate is out of control because you are severly restricted on the ability to defend yourself in any matter (you open yourself to prosecution or lawsuit).  Makes sense don’t it?

    Well hell I’m either preaching to the congregation or people with wax in their ears –  Either way it is a waste of time.  So Adios!



June 18, 2007

     Well am I a gowboy?  Heck no just a wannabe.  Lord knows I’ve played at it all my life, I can sit a saddle, but not too well.  Yeah I have a saddle in my bedroom sitting on top of my artillery limber ( the ammo chest on a casson, mine is 3/4 scale) however it is a 1918 McCllean, I also have a 1903 horsehair chinch strap.  I just missed out on the bit and briddle at a street fair antique show in Techemucla.  I purchased a tin rope case in a antique store that had four coiled rodeo ropes inside it.  I have so many article laying around I have picked up around diffrent places, I cannot keep track of all of them.  I have spurs purchased and ones I made myself, both cowboy and calvary.   I have hobbles, quirts, wrist guards and what not.  I won’t even get into the Native american articles laying piled all over the place.  My daughter and I have one trate in common be both are pack rats among other things.  As you know I have a large library on western and civil war books.

     But as I am beginning to write about the shootest of the old west I suppose most of you are more interested in my shooting collection.  From my Mountain Man days I have two muzzle loading rifles, .45 and .50 cal., I also have a short barrled double barrel muzzle loading shot gun.  I have two flintlock pistols and two           percussion pistols, .45 and .50 cal.s.  Add to that the tommyhawks and large knives, I could fill one wall.  Next on to the civil War, a .577 cal 1836 Springfield muzzle loading rifled musket.    As to pistols a  .44 cal. 1860 Colt Army, .44 cal. Remington 1858 New Army, and a 1858     .44 Colt Sheriff’s new model all presucion’s.

    As for the cowboy action shooting I use a Ruger Vacaro .45, 7 1/2 in barrell foor my primary pistol.  the backup is a Uberti Thunder, a 3 1/2 inch in .45 cal. .  My rifle is a Winchester saddle ring carbine in .45 cal. with a twenty inch barrel.  For my scattergun I use a twenty inch double in .12 gauge.  As I mentioned in my last chapter I carry the big Ruger in a right hand cross draw over my left hip bone.  the little brother rides high up on my right hip in a standard stubby little conventinal belt holster.  I have never been one for a lot of flash and glitter.  My holsters are both made by myself.      As the characture I potray, (called a alias, in action shooting) is based on a ancestor of mine, is not a cowboy, but a former farmer turned a vingance hunter after the Civil War. ( He and two brothers tracked down and killed 11 of 13 killers of another brother, after the war).  I expanded his charcature to becoming a scout and wander.  My big holster is a deep brown trimmed with twisted buckskin fringe, and the smaller is rough out leather with a single loop,  decorated with two small silver buttons.  I deleberatly made them mismatched to reflect aqusistion at diffrent times.  Rather than using leather bullet loops I use a canvas millitary cartrage belt to carry spare shells when needed.  Also carry extras in a small canvas bag in my plunder, including a large oold brass compass and a pair of Civil War bionoculars.  I could sit and bore you all day with this crap but now will launch into another fellow of intrest from to olden days.


       Black Jack was not a person anyone could look to with admeration.  He seemed to have all the qualities that people admired in a person like Bill Hickok, he was physicaly strong , tall with dark skin, pericing eyes and the usuall handelbar moustache.   However he was smart in a cunning way and deadly in the sense of callousness and brutality.  There is no question he had nerve.  He just fell short of the stuff of ledgends.  His burst into the stage of the herioc robber legends came too late in the game.  Citizens were coming to view the “Robin Hood” robbers for what they were hoods.  Also Black Jack lacked the one thing that made so many before him great, he had no style.

     Black Jack was kinda hapless in his pursuit of a criminal career, in the end he could not even die right.  It is the gruesome nature of his death that elevates him into histories rememberence.

    Born in San Sab, Texas around Oc.31, 1863.  After a short career of petty crimes he and a few fellows shot and killed John N. “Jap” Powers, a rancher living near Knickerbocker, Texas.  Powers wife helped in the murder and went to jail.  Tom (Jack’s real name) and his friends fled to New Mexico.

     A bandit named Will Christian known as “Black Jack” Christian, operated along the Arazonia-New Mexico border.  In a twist of fate Christian and Ketchem became confused by the law officers pursuing them and many of Ketchems crimes were atributed to Christian.  Upon being shot and killed by authorities in Grahm County, Arazonia Christian was identified as Tom Ketchem.  From then on Tom Ketchem became Black Jack Ketchem.  A title he never asked for but never refuted either.

      In 1896 the Ketchem gang rode into Liberty, New Mexico and robbied the  United States Post Office of the princley sum of $44.69 and fled town.  Postmaster Levi Herzstein organised a posse and pressed pursuit, supprising to everyone involved, the posse came upon the gang and gunfire insued.  Herzstein and another man was killed.

     Afew months later the gang stopped the Texas Flyer and blew the safe open when the express crew could not open it.  The gang excaped with $2,000.   Chased back to New Mexico by a large force of Texas Rangers the gang lay low for a few months.  Then thay again hit the Texas Flyer when simular attemps to open the safe failed they placed fourteen stick of dynamite under the safe and lay a quarter side of beef over it to contain the explosion.  They demolished the express car and opened the safe.   they once again excaped with $3,000 of mostly mangled  money.

    Laying low untill Dec. of 1896 they struck the Sothern Pacific at Stein”s  Pass, New Mexico.  The railroad had anticipated a robbery and had the express car packed with Wells Fargo agents.  When the train stopped the cars doors eploded with shotgun fire.  the battle raged for about half of a hour with either side doing little damage.   Then a outlaw named Ed Cullen leaned out to grab a dropped cartrage and exposed his head,  “boys I’m’, dead ”  he screamed as he fell.  the gang then lost their nerve and fled.

     The Stien’s Pass afair was the end of the gang.  Sam Ketchem , Tom’s Brother and Will Carver and Elza Lay struck out on their own in July they robbed another train and made a get away.  A few days later law officers caught up with them.  One was killed, Sam was wounded in the sholder and eventually lost his arm and died a little later.  The third was eventually captured and served a long prison term.

     Black Jack was a prime suspect in the so-called Yavapai County Massacre, two men were killed senselessly..  He denied it but evidence  indicated otherwise  

     On the night of August 16, Ketchem acting alone stopped the  Folsom, New Mexico train.  He forced the crew back toward the baggage car and called for the doors to open.  A mail clerk a few cars away not knowing what was going on stuck his head out a window and was shot through the jaw. 

     Condutor Frank Harrington, armed with a shotgun crep as close as he dared.  Stepping into the open he and Ketchem fired at the same time.  Ketchem’s slug grazed Harrington,  while Harrington’s  shotgun blast peppered Ketchems right arm.  Ketchem fell to the ground, rolled under the train and crawled away.

     The train left and about seven the next morning Black Jack flaged the next train down by waving his hat in the air on the end of his rifle.  He surrendered and was taken to the next town, Trinidad , Colorado where he was turned over to the authorties.  Transfered to Territoral prison in Santa Fe,  New Mexico,  his mangled right arm was amputated.

     In Sepetember of 1901 Jaack was pronounced fit for trial.  The territory charged him with felonious assult on a train.  Jack did not deny guilt,  in fact he wanted to plead guilty.  His plea as denied because a court conviction carried a automatic death penalty.  The trial had it’s high and low points, includinf humor and boredom.  Jack testified candidly about his exploits accepting blame for the robberies..  At its conclusion the Judge pronounced the death sentense with ,  “Between now and the day of your said execution, you prepare yourself by repentance for your past evil deeds to meet your God, and may god have mercy on your soul”

   Appeals were filed and denied.  As the territorys best know prisinor he gave numerious interviews, most of them on the subject of death and the here after.  He fully expected to go to hell, remorse and repentance were not part of his nature.  He bitterly said, I never killed anybody, and all that I spared testified against me with ill will.    He wrote a short paragraph on the morning of his hanging.

     “My advise to the boys of the country is not to steal horses or sheep.  But either to rob a train or a bank when you have got to be a outlaw.  And everyman who comes your way, kill him;  spare him no mercy for he will show you none.  This is the way I feel,  and I think I feel right about it. 

        On the day of his exicution he bounded up the thirteen steps with vigor.  His hair was cut and his moustashe trimmed and wore  a new black suit.  He viewed the crowd of on lookers, offical witness, editors, and photographers.  He posed for a final potograph with his left arm manacled to his side.  When asked if he had any final words he said  “Let her rip”.

    To trip the trap door it was necessary for the sheriff to cut a rope with a axe.  the sheriff was drunk and missed the rope and buried the axe into the wood of the gallows.  It took a few minutes to free the axe, and Ketchem cursed them while he waited.  Finally the sheriff managed to cut the rope and Black Jack fell through the door and kept on going.  While langushing in jail he had ate often and well and had put on a lot of extra weight, also the unblance of the missing right arm caused the body to twist.  Jacks head had been ripped off.  A enterprising photographer  quickly snapped a photo of the headless body lying under the gallows and sold them for $1.00 apeice.

     Even in death Black Jack Ketchem could not die with style.

Well I’m through hanging around for the day. pun fully intended.


My Guns Yesterday and Today

April 21, 2007

     If you have read many of my earlier stuff, You will know by this time I am a shooter.  As I stated before, I could shoot the center of the “O” out of a Tomato can, by the age of nine.  I have that .22 rifle stored in my gun safe today.  I inherited it from my father, it has not been shot in years.  I can not begin to number the guns I have owned and traded in the far distant past.  The laws in California are so strict it is difficult to transfer a firearm to my son or grandson.  The laws are much stricter today than in the past.

     In the days of the early sixties, when transporting a handgun I was required to carry it in the front seat where it was visiable upon approach of a police officer.  On three different occasions I was stopped by law enforcement officers with hand guns in the car.  The first comes to mind involved three friends and me.  We were searching for a place to shoot past the area of Lake Elsinore, Ca..  As young guys are wont to do we were talking and enjoying each others company.  As we zipped down the highway past the town of Elsinore we were literally flying low with no traffic to contend with.  Suddenly there were bubble gum lights and a wail behind us.  I quickly pulled to the side and stopped.  Now here is the situation I had, there were at least six revolvers laying on the seat between me and the guy riding shotgun.  When the motorcycle officer stepped to the window he of course spied the bunch of guns in evidence.  He took a step back and placed his hand on his side arm.  Then he got a good look at us.  The two in the back seat were leaning forward with their hands clasped  and fingers intertwined tightly resting on the back of the front seat.  The friend in shotgun had his right arm out the window with his hand grasping the drip rail and the left open on the dash.  I had my left hand grabbing my drip rail and my right hand clamped tightly on the top of the steering wheel.  He looked at our frozen tableau and burst out laughing.  He then inquired if I knew how fast I was going?   I replied no.  I was then told I was going over ninety miles a hour.  I was surprised as I did not know that 58 Ford could travel that fast.  After checking my drivers license and registration.  He asked if we were looking for a place to shoot?  With my answer of yes he then proceeded to give me directions as where to go .  Then turning serious he said I’m going to give you a verbal warning and let you go, just don’t make the other traffic look like it’s standing still.  I feel to today that it was the demeanor we displayed that caused him to be as lenient as he was.

     On a second occasion a few years later, I and a roommate were returning home about two AM one morning when we were stopped by two members od the Sheriff’s Department just because it was late and we were two young guys.  We had two .45 Cal Colts in the front seat again.  It was a dark street with no lights near by.  Upon stopping We started to exit the vehicle the Deputy commanded us to remain in the car.  I called back to him there are two handguns on the seat.  Step out of the car with your hands visible came the quick command.  There again after a check of license again we were allowed to go on to our home just a few blocks away.  We had really done nothing wrong and were just stopped because it was late and dark.  They accepted our explanation that we had been shooting earlier and were finally returning home from a friends house.  There again cooperation was the key for the out come. (more…)