One Of A Kind

This guest post is courtesy of Jennifer, author of In Jennifer’s Head. If you’ve got any information about her grandfather’s ashtray, please head on over to her site and let her know. I’m sure she would be very appreciative of any information you could provide.

My grandfather was a WWII vet. He didn’t really talk much about the war itself, but he did tell several stories of his time guarding a POW camp in Paris. As was his way, he made it a point to get to know the German prisoners. He viewed them as young men no different from himself. The only difference being that they had been drafted to the other side in the war. As luck would have it, one of those men just happened to have been a bootlegger that traveled through the tiny Kansas town that my Granddad called home. He’d gotten a letter telling him that his German mother was very ill. It was a ruse to get him back to Germany so they could draft him. Granddad never expected to find a connection to Grenola, KS all the way in Paris, but that’s just how things worked out.

He was always kind to them, and as a result, the German prisoners loved him. And they made it a point to show their gratitude. During the dead of winter, they dug his tent into the ground and lined it with wool blankets while he was away. Granddad used to say he had the only warm tent in all of Paris that winter. They made him a clock which he sent home with someone that claimed to be a friend. The clock was never seen again. Thankfully, he let the prisoners handle the delivery of another gift, which my mother has in her living room today.


There is only one of these in the world as far as I know. It is made from some sort of large shell casing.


With another shell in the center topped with a medallion that was awarded to German women for bearing Aryan children. Seems fitting that the symbols of evil would be turned into a gift for a soldier of the opposing side. There’s some kind of swords into plowshares analogy here.


Being prisoners of war in a camp, they had limited supplies and tools. Which makes the craftsmanship that much more impressive. Truly a labor of love.


Unfortunately, Granddad is no longer around to tell his stories of finding new friends in the unlikeliest of places. But we still have his ashtray as a reminder of his kindness.

I imagine there are some real history buffs in the readership of the Weapon Blog that would enjoy seeing this and maybe even tell me some things that I don’t know about it. Maybe there are more of them out there. Even if there are, this one is still one of a kind.

Situational Awareness

This guest post is courtesy of Jay, author of Firearms and More in Texas.

I have a simple question for everyone today. How are your observation skills?

Shocking, isn’t it?

Now imagine what you miss during your every day activities…

If you did like me and missed everything in the video, here are a few simple tricks to increase your observation skills:

  • Pick out unique details about someone or something.
  • Keep your head on a swivel. See how many unique details you can discover about the people around you.
  • As in the video above, don’t focus on one thing for too long. The action may move around and draw your focus there, but remember to keep an eye on the overall picture.

Don’t get caught flat-footed again!

Security Measures to Keep Your Guns and Home Safe

This guest post is courtesy of Madison Parker, author of Home Security Systems.

Today more than ever, people are taking their personal safety seriously. A home security system is one layer of defense against burglars and other home invaders; a personal firearm is another. Yet, you don’t want a burglar to be able to use your own guns against you, and you especially don’t want to risk a gun accident in your home.

© 2008 zombieite

Fortunately, there are some security measures you can take that will keep your guns safe, while still allowing you access to them when necessary:

  • A gun safe is the safest bet. When it comes to keeping your guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, yet also keeping your guns accessible in case you need them, you can’t beat a gun safe. A gun safe makes it virtually impossible for an unapproved person to get your gun. Yet, you can still get in when you need to. Consider a top-of-the-line fingerprint-recognition or keypad-based gun safe to get even quicker access to your guns in the event of a break-in.
  • Pistol boxes. A pistol box is a small gun safe designed to hold a single pistol, and to be easily accessed. This is a good choice for someone who only has a single gun, and who primarily has that gun for purposes of personal defense.
  • Separating the gun from the ammo is also recommended. Simply placing your ammo in a separate location from your weapon keeps the gun safe. However, this is not an absolute safety; someone can find both the gun and ammo, and then you’re at risk for a gun-related accident.
  • Trigger locks. Trigger locks are another option. They were created as a safety precaution by preventing a gun from being discharged on accident. In some states – such as California – anyone who buys a gun also has to buy a trigger lock. The biggest complaint people seem to have about these is that they can take quite a while to get into – much longer than a gun safe.
  • Locking gun racks. There are a number of gun racks out there on the market that have locking collars. A locked gun cabinet provides the same kind of security. Of course, take note here; if you have a glass cabinet or a wooden gun rack that could be smashed, you really aren’t giving a whole lot of deterrence.

Finally, keep in mind that the best way to keep your family safe from gun accidents while keeping your home safe at the same time is education. Train everyone in the home on gun safety, and consider instructing those family members who are old enough in the proper use of firearms.

Image credit:
© 2008 zombieite

Fiddling with Ruger’s Scout Rifle

This guest post is courtesy of Richard Mann, author of Empty Cases.

I’ve been playing with the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle for several months now. Long enough to develop an informed opinion and long enough to try various sight arrangements. One of the great things about this rifle is the versatility it offers which is indeed the hallmark of the Scout Rifle concept.

Out of the box the rifle is fitted with a forward rail that will accept Weaver or Picatinny rings. The action of the rifle is set up to accept Ruger scope rings and comes with a rear aperture sight. This is a versatile but slightly cumbersome arrangement because you’ll need a hex wrench to remove the rear sight if you want to mount a scope in the conventional manner. And, your conventional scope and scout scope will require different rings.

Quick release rings on a scout scope let you switch between optics or optics and open sights as the need dictates.

Not all scout socpe have to be 1X or 1.5X. This new Weaver Scout scope is 4X.

Even before the Ruger Scout Rifle was launched, XS Sights began development of an aftermarket rail for the rifle. I got to try out this rail and made some suggestions that XS has incorporated into their final production version. First, I suggested that the bottom of the rail section above the action be slightly relieved and beveled to make access to the open action easier. I also suggested that the back of the rail be dehorned or beveled to protect against sharp edges snagging your flesh during hurried operation. This is indeed a practical accessory for the Ruger Scout Rifle. The XS rail for the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle is not on their web site as of yet. You’ll need to call to order: (888) 744-4880.

There are several reasons I prefer the XS rail as opposed to the factory approach. First, the XS rail has an integral aperture sight giving you the option of mounting a conventional scope, albeit a bit high, without removing the aperture. Better yet, you can mount an extended eye relief scope (not a scout scope) just forward of the aperture sight. Second, the rail allows you to mount all scopes with the same type quick detach rings.

Just because you have a scout rifle does not mean you must use a scout scope. An extended eye-relief scope will work too.

This Bushnell Elite 6500 extended eye-relief scope can be mounted just forward of the aperture sight on the XS Ruger Gunsite Rifle rail

I’ve found three optical sighted configurations I really like for this rifle. The first utilizes Weaver’s new K-Series 4X Scout Scope mounted well forward on the rail. The second uses a now discontinued compact Weaver 6X conventional scope, with extended eye relief, mounted just forward of the XS aperture sight. This give you three, pre-zeroed, sight options; scout scope, conventional style scope and aperture sight.

I think my favorite configuration utilizes a Bushnell Elite 6500 extended eye-relief 1.5-8X scope mounted just forward of the rear aperture sight in quick release Leupold QRW rings. Though a tad heavy, this might be the ultimate in versatility because you can use this scope as a scout scope on low power or as a conventional scope on any power. Also, this riflescope has target turrets in case you want or need to try shooting at extreme ranges. And then of course, in seconds you can remove this scope and utilize the excellent XS aperture sight.

In all, I really like the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, mostly because of its versatility and the dependability of the Ruger 77 action. The factory trigger was not too bad either but if yours is, Timney Triggers offers an excellent and affordable, drop-in replacement. Another accessory you might consider is the Galco Safari Ching Sling. When this rifle is matched with the right sighting options its ready for just about any chore a rifleman can throw at it.

Galco's Safari Ching Sling is an additional accessory that can compliment the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle

Live Twitter Feed During NSSF Marketing Symposium

Dan Hall, CEO of GunUp has been asked to address some of the top marketers in the gun industry at the NSSF Marketing Symposium in Dallas, TX today. He’ll be speaking from 10:45 – 11:15 (Central).

One of the topics for discussion is how can the gun industry better engage you? Another topic deals with the impact that gun bloggers have on the industry in general.

Dan will be displaying a live twitter feed to run in concert with his presentation. If you post tweets with the #SHOT and/or #nssfms I'd be appreciative too. Thanks for your support!