Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Detail-Stripping the Glock Pistol: Removing the Trigger Pin

Taking Glocks apart is (mostly) not very difficult. There are good guides online, for example at Glock Parts and topglock.com. My experience begins and ends with my 3rd Gen Glock 19, but it's my understanding that the other models are very similar. The Glock Parts guide claims that 9mm Glocks don't have a "locking block pin", and the topglock.com guide has photos of a Glock 17 which does not have that pin. Well, my (9mm) Glock 19 does have one; it's recent. I haven't looked up which generation they changed it at.

Anyhow. The only difficulty I've had is removing the trigger pin. (Update: A commenter informs me that his G17 doesn't have this issue, though his G19 does) A narrow part of that pin goes through a hole in the forward end of the slide stop lever. The slide stop spring pushes the edge of the hole downward against the pin, such that when you push the pin sideways, the edge of the narrow part of the pin catches against the edge of the hole. The directions I've linked talk about "jiggling" the catch, or "mov[ing] the slide stop lever up/down/back and forth", but that's all a bit vague. There's a wonderful variety of wrong ways you can move and jiggle, all while applying excessive force to the end of the pin and accomplishing exactly nothing.

The exact relationship in there becomes clear when you finally get the pin out: The forward end of the slide stop is pushed downward by its spring. What you need to do is hold that end of the slide stop up while you push the pin out. Given the way it's hinged and where the spring is, any kind of normal jiggling is likely to push the forward end down, not up.

So here's the trick to it: There's a tab in the middle of the slide stop lever. It extends inward. It's there so that when an empty magazine is in the pistol, the magazine follower pushes up against that tab, which engages the slide stop.

You need to get your left thumb on top of the external slide stop thing, and your left forefinger under the tab. Push down with your thumb while pulling up with your forefinger. While holding that pose, push the trigger pin out from frame left (the side the slide stop catch is on). If you've got the thumb-finger thing right, the pin will slide out like butter. If it won't budge, the slide stop is still catching on it.

Here's a look at the author's Thumb-Finger Technique:

This information is presented without warranty of any kind. The author is not your mother. Good luck. Don't lose small parts. Don't shoot yourself. Don't be an idiot. If you can't help being an idiot, don't handle firearms. DO NOT APPLY BUTTER TO FIREARMS, NOT EVEN IF IT'S UNSALTED. The butter thing was a figure of speech.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jobs Created or Saved!

Holy Toledo, now USA Today's doing it too:

Twenty of the 47 fundraisers that Obama's campaign identified as collecting more than $500,000 have been named to government positions, the [USA Today] analysis found.

In fact, we've been seeing a smattering of actual journalism like this all along. The problem is that it's been freakishly rare compared to what you'd get in a Republican administration — or even a normal Democratic administration.

One thing I'd like to know is what percentage of top Bush II donors got jobs in his administration, ditto Clinton, Bush I, and so on back. Wouldn't surprise me too much if this is in line with standard practice. Come to think of it, why didn't the reporter check that? When anybody quotes you any number about anything, your first question should be what are you comparing it to? Sure, wrong is wrong, whether the other administrations did it or not; but is it unusually wrong, or conventionally wrong? Campaign donors have been awarded with harmless ambassadorships for many decades now.

Still, give 'em credit where it's due. At least somebody did something resembling his job.

Via SayUncle.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blah blah blah

I just repseudonymed myself to Gordon Freece, which amuses me for obscure and moronic reasons. I think I'll keep this one. If I had a reader other than my girlfriend, I'm sure he or she would want to be in the loop on this one.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Paul Graham Is Wrong

Today, Chiron linked to a Paul "Facile" Graham essay. I've long considered Graham a dabbler and a blowhard and a participatory narcissist, if only because he is. He's what you read immediately after you grow out of Eric Raymond, but before you discover girls. Indeed, Google has at last count 715,000 distinct reasons why "Paul Graham is wrong". But this time, he said something good, or at least funny:

You can't distinguish your group by doing things that are rational, and believing things that are true. If you want to set yourself apart from other people, you have to do things that are arbitrary, and believe things that are false.

While we're on the subject of programming pundits, Joel Spolsky is one of only three people on Earth who look like my brother. The others are my brother, and Christopher Hitchens. And that is why all true hackers would rather be covered with mustard than mayonnaise.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Libertarian, Spare that Burqa

Peter Risdon wants to ban burqas. Personally, I think he's nuts.

Having skimmed the John Stuart Mill stuff, and made a big ol' power fist during the bit about how bad apartheid is, I see two points that in my view don't hold together well:

First, he assumes that banning the burqa will, in the real world, contribute in some meaningful way to reducing what he calls "sexual apartheid" in immigrant muslim communities in the West. Risdon doesn't explain how it's going to do that. It's common to think that waging a low-level "culture war" against a given group will somehow make them less comitted to their customs or their identity, but in real life you can't make that work short of completely obliterating the subject group's culture and religion, over the course of several generations. That's tough to do. Even the helots revolted, in Sparta, didn't they? How'd that stuff work out in Ireland? (UPDATE: How'd that 1994 "assault weapons" ban work at eliminating the NRA?) Still, people think it works. God knows why. Hell, for all you know, the practical effect of such a law would be that formerly veiled women would be kept indoors 24/7. Laws like this generate unintended consquences at a faster rate than most.

If anything, banning the burqa will reinforce more traditional muslim immigrants' sense of separateness and undermine whatever openness to the West (and its values) that they may, however tentatively, have. This is not to say that you can't enforce reasonable laws against members of "immigrant communities" (for example, laws against blowing people up); but it is a very different thing to pass laws very specifically targeting them for gratuitous harrassment when they display symbols. Even if those symbols symbolize something that you rightly loathe.

Second, Risdon thinks that it's reaonable to start by banning burqas anyplace where you wouldn't let people wear ski masks. Banks, for example, and schools. Well, if somebody walks into a bank wearing a ski mask when the weather doesn't jutify it, it's because he's going to rob the place. If somebody walks into a bank wearing a burqa, it's because she has an account there or wants to open one. Or maybe she'd like to use the restroom. See the difference?

Has there been a rash of burqa-clad bank robbers in the UK? If not, then the ski mask comparison is preposterous. It's a thin, obvious pretext. Imagine a law which pretends that you, Peter Risdon, are likely to be a bank robber, just because you dress funny. Maybe you could be hiding swords in your clown shoes, or a claymore mine in your top hat. After they pass that law, will you be a) more, or b) less, likely to assume that the people who wrote the law are reasonable, sensible people with nice healthy values that you ought to consider sharing? Because that is the goal here.

Yes, burqas really bother the hell out of you. Lots of things bother the hell out of lots of people. Gays bother the hell out of some people. You just have to suck it up. Banning burqas will only convince damn near all traditional muslims, and damn near everybody else, that you are just harassing muslims because you are a dickhead. And where does that leave principled objection to the real problems you're trying to address? Up a crick, that's where.

Now, if some broad wants to put picture of her burqa on a driver's license or a passport instead of a photo of her face, there are practical reasons why that's a bad idea. But don't we already allow other religious exemptions, for people who object to photography because they think their soul will be stolen, or they don't like technology, or whatever? If so, how do we justify suddenly changing our minds? Sure, burqas aren't actually in the Koran as far as I know, but the state cannot sanely be in the business of telling people what their theology is: "Sorry, ma'am, that's not what you believe." "Yes it is!" "Mmm... nope." "IS TOO!" "But it shouldn't be." Clue: Religions are, almost by definition, stuff people shouldn't believe. Deal.

So, yeah, maybe we can reasonably demand they lift the veil for the passport picture, maybe not. Willing to debate that one.

But don't start telling me it's reasonable for the law to assume that somebody's 90 year old grandmother is out to rob banks just because she doesn't (in her view) run around half-nekkid. And don't tell me that enshrining that assumption into law will make her grandson less likely to blow you up on a bus.

Really, I don't see much chance of Britain banning burqas, so the disagreement is probably academic. At least I hope it is. But those people in Europe (and that sort of includes the UK these days) sure do pass some crazy laws.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


"It would be absurd for me or any other editor to review the authenticity or accuracy of stories that are nominated for prizes."

Bob Woodward, explaining his belief that artistic effect of journalism is far more important than whether it's even loosely based on real events.

N.B. I have not reviewed the authenticity or accuracy of the above quotation from Wikipedia.

Darwin's Down-Home Finger Collector Considered "Destructive"

Via Snowflakes in Hell, I find that pipe bombs are "not protected by the Second Amendment".

What the hell? High school wouldn't have been high school if we hadn't made pipe bombs. OK, maybe they do things differently in towns big enough to have a traffic light, but I don't see anything about traffic lights in the Constitution.

This is idiotic. You can't enforce it, and only an idiot would want to.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Reassembling the Ruger Standard

Or, "Help! I Field-Stripped My Ruger .22 Pistol, and Now My Wife Is Pointing At Me and Laughing!"

The Japanese lost WWII because we fought our way across the whole Pacific before they could assemble their pistols. Shortly after the war ended, a maniac named Bill Ruger designed a .22LR knock-off of those same pistols. It looked a bit like a Luger, but it was a mostly Japanese design, so he called it a "Ruger", to make fun of the Japanese accent. That's why their agents killed him, later on. That was a damn shame, that they got to him before I did.

The original pistol is now called the Ruger Standard, because it had no other name. Later models were called MK I, MK II, etc. They are very accurate, if you throw them overhand. Mine is a Standard made in 1954, according to Ruger's serial number history. These pistols are not so hard to take apart, but a popular self-administered IQ test among fools like me is trying to put the miserable things back together. It took me less than three days to figure out, even counting that break I took after the sledgehammer incident.

So, there's a tricky spot that you hit in putting the Ruger .22 pistol back together: The mainspring housing won't go in, and it won't go in, and then finally you get it in — and then the bolt won't pull back. If you Google around, lots of people have this problem. There's advice here, and there's a YouTube video that I found helpful as well. I did not find the vendor's manual helpful with this problem. It's like the Duff's Device of firearms maintenance or something.

The way you get it back together is by correct positioning of the hammer, and of a piece of metal attached to the hammer by a pin. The metal thing seems to be called the "hammer strut", or the Stupid Flippy Thing. The material linked above didn't get me over the hump with that. Finally, I got it by trial and error, repeated it a few times, and took pictures which I hope others may find useful.

First picture: The hammer in the correct position. It can be in a lot of positions, and it was not obvious to me which one is correct. The hammer is the silvery, triangular metal piece sticking out of the top of the frame. It's actually trapezoidal, but you can't see the whole thing from this angle. You may need to pull the trigger to get the hammer into this position (this should not need to be said, but DO NOT pull the trigger unless the gun is UNLOADED and DISassembled, as shown in the photograph). Click to enlarge:

Second picture: The same thing, viewed from behind. Near the top of the rectangular hole in the back of the grip, you can see a vertical shiny metal piece just above a horizontal blued pin. The vertical piece is the hammer strut. It is attached to the hammer by a pin on which it swings freely, and it hates you. It is just sitting there, a tiny piece of metal filled with hate. This photograph demonstrates where it should be at this stage of things. Its point is resting against the wall of the magazine well, just above that cross-pin. The hammer strut will have to flip out of there before we're done, so you'll want to have the hammer positioned so it isn't jamming the hammer strut in behind the pin. Just let the hammer strut's tip rest a little above the pin. Click to enlarge:

Put the hammer in the position shown above, slip the bolt back into the barrel/receiver piece, and carefully put the barrel/receiver back onto the frame without disturbing the hammer. Hold the frame upright the whole time. That part's easy.

Next, turn the pistol on its side without disturbing the hammer strut. Put the mainspring housing in, and drive its pin up through the bolt, all while keeping the hammer strut where it is, with its tip against the mag-well wall just above that cross-pin. Once the mainspring housing pin is inserted fully, tilt the gun so the hammer strut flips over onto the mainspring housing. If the hammer strut won't go, flip it with a pencil or tweezers or something.

The last picture shows the gun inverted, with the mainspring housing pin in place, the mainspring housing itself lolling out of the grip like an obscene steel tongue, and the hammer strut flipped onto the mainspring housing, where it ought to be now. The tip of the hammer strut is about dead center in the red circle; not a great picture, sorry, but it's the small shiny bit. The horizontal shiny line at the top of the red circle is the cross-pin mentioned above. Click to enlarge:

You should now be able to close the mainspring housing and draw the bolt back all the way. If the bolt won't come back, take it apart and try again. If the mainspring housing levers its pin out of the receiver when you try to close it, you've got the hammer and/or the hammer strut badly mispositioned.

Key points here: Hammer angle, picture 1. First hammer strut position, picture 2. Final hammer strut position, picture 3.

Good luck. God bless. I am not responsible for anything you do, think, say, believe, forget, remember, or neglect.

If there are any errors or omissions here, a civil heads-up about the matter would be very welcome indeed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nissan Cube

What do you get when you cross an Aztek with a Pacer?

I don't know, but it's crawling up your back.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

VAT Explained

When you want less of something, you tax it.

A "VAT", or "Value Added Tax", is a tax on activities which add value.

Can you guess who likes that idea? Democrats. Well, some of them. The Citizens for Tax Justice don't like the idea. They say that if you tax things people buy, that's regressive, so we should instead tax the corporations who sell them things, which is different somehow. It's different because when they use different words to describe the same thing, they have different feelings about it. I guess there's "empathy" involved, or "nuance".

Thanks to Lumberjacks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It ALWAYS Extends Into the Bathroom

I had a girlfriend long ago who would've felt at home in this coffee shop: Everywhere you look, there are signs scolding the customer. I bet Sigmund Freud knew somebody a lot like that too, and based his goofy theories on it.

Via Megan McArdle

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CueCat, We Hardly Knew Ye

Today, mostly Cajun's fun Today in History feature mentions the Pony Express. So I looked them up.

What I hadn't known, was that there wasn't much to it in real life: The Pony Express operated from April 1860 to October 1861, when the Transcontinental Telegraph reached Salt Lake City. The original route was St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, but in March 1861 they scaled back to a route between Salt Lake City and Sacramento.

They made $90,000 and lost $200,000. Their business plan was to get a US government contract to deliver mail, but a stagecoach operator got the contract instead. He was a day or two slower, but more reliable and had more bandwidth.

The Pony Express was a high-profile startup that failed, and failed quickly. They were the CueCat of the 19th century. Their technology was obsolete a decade before they launched. I guess Wired discover them any day now. Next thing you know, they'll be the next big thing.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Collective Rights

Mick Hartley extensively quotes some folks writing about the UN human rights apparatus, and how it's circling the bowl. This bit struck me:

...the African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights has added 'peoples' as the rightful beneficiaries of human rights, so that governments, as their legal representatives, have assumed for themselves the rights of their people.

Faultlessly progressive, of course. And familiar: The "collective rights" interpretation of the Second Amendment holds that the word "people" in the text refers to the government acting as a proxy for the actual people. So you've got the powers of government, and delicately balanced against them you've got the rights of the people, which are actually exercised by the government. "Somebody's got to take care of it for them", remember? Now, once the government controls everything, that's pretty dangerous, right? So you've got to make sure the only people who get control are ones who'll always do what's right. You do that by banning all the other political parties. And mobilizing the people (both the actual people, and the rulers acting on their behalf) against the kulaks, or whatever, as needed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Hey, Daschle looks kind of like my uncle. The one who drinks.


No, the other one who drinks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Make a note of it.

Happy Ascension Day

Jeff Cooper:

Have you noticed that adulation is not dependant upon the adulated? People need to worship heroes regardless of whether they can find heroes or not. Just place anybody up on a pedestal where he can be seen and you will find thousands of people who will scream and yell and beg for his autograph. Thus we have "mass movements."

Unmutual! Unmutual!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Not just any roller rink, nor even just any disco roller rink. A HUGE disco roller rink.

Some people, some silly, unimportant, flyover-country kind of people, don't understand why they need people from Hollywood like Cameron Diaz and Tim Robbins to tell them what to think. "Why should I figure them fellers in Hollywood is so much smarter than we are, anyhow?" they ask. Well, here's why. Here's why, when our betters out there in the land of the silver screen have something to say to us, we just might want to shut our drooling yaps, open up our empty little minds, and listen:

The Greek muses incarnate themselves on Earth to inspire men to achieve. One of them, incarnated as a girl named Kira1, encounters an artist named Sonny Malone. With the help of Danny McGuire, a man Kira had inspired forty years earlier, Sonny builds a huge disco roller rink.

When you can come up with a story like that, maybe you'll be qualified to run this country. Until then, shut up and pay your taxes, OK, Gomer?


1 Played by Olivia Newton-John

Friday, January 09, 2009

"The Black Legend"

Huh: To what degree is our perception of the Spanish mentality a product of Protestant propaganda during the Reformation and in succeeding centuries? Probably not less than zero, and quite likely not more than some value greater than zero. In round numbers.

I recall reading recently, somewhere, that the Spanish Inquisition, while it really was pretty darn bad, was less maximally horrible than people seem to assume. Or so this source claimed, whoeverthehell it was. Hm. So, OK, for whatever that's worth.


Huffman has a programming funny. Which reminds me of a good one about Pascal that I thought of, only a decade or so after Pascal had become too irrelevant to bother making fun of:

Programming languages are tools programmers use to make computers do arbitrary things. Pascal is a tool Nick Werth used to make programmers do arbitrary things.


Maybe you had to be there.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

OK, I figured it out

The purpose of our endless rising tide of petty laws and regulations is to prevent the individual from doing any harm, and so make life better for everybody except the individual. Since there's only one of him, that's a pretty good deal for, statistically speaking, everybody. Except the rest of us, obviously.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Church and State

Jeff Cooper says,

We may not wish to be taught how to think by clergymen, but to me it seems much worse to be taught how to think by politicians.


...and annoyed.

Jeff Cooper quotes E.V. Howe, via somebody named Bill O'Connor:

"The government is mainly an expensive organization to regulate evil doers, and tax those who behave. Government does little for fairly respectable people, except annoy them."

That's actually wrong. The government doesn't regulate evildoers; it merely tries to. That is to say, it annoys them.

All government really does to anybody is annoy them. And invoice the fairly respectable ones for the service.