Ty Johnston: life on the written page

Home to fantasy, horror and literary fiction author Ty Johnston

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

.25 FIE Titan semi-automatic pistol

This is another firearm I inherited from my father. It is junk. Okay, okay, you get what you pay for, and in most cases these little semi-autos go for about a hundred bucks at many pawn shops. Sometimes you can even pick one up for forty for fifty bucks. So, you can't beat that price.

And what do you get for that price?

You get a little pocket pistol that has very little power and a barrel so short that, if you're like me, you couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it.

Really, this is what I think of as a table gun, meaning it's only good for shooting at someone on the other side of a table from me. And when I say "someone," I do not mean to be morbid, for yes, I understand firearms can be used for other purposes than shooting people. But not this gun. There is no way you could use this weapon for hunting. Oh, a lucky shot might take out a squirrel, but so will a rock.

The .25 caliber is known as a weak round, so this little pistol doesn't have much "oomph" to it. In fact, if you peruse the Web for a bit, you can find horror stories of people being murdered after they had shot their assailant multiple times with such a small weapon or something similar.

It's even a bear to strip down. Hell, I had to break out some pliers just to pull out the recoil spring assembly, and returning the slide the proper position is a monster of a chore.

Also, I'm not a big fan of the magazine release's placement beneath the handle, down by my pinky finger.

So, as you can tell, I'm not a big fan of this firearm.

That being said, there are a few things I like about it. For instance, despite its smallness, this little thing actually does fit pretty well in my large hands, and the smooth wooden grips don't bother me nearly as much as such do on other firearms I've fired.

Then there's the "bang" factor. I have to admit, this .25 Titan was a lot louder than I expected, probably because of the short barrel. I didn't even wear ear protection the first few times I fired it, figuring it wouldn't be any louder than a .22, but I was quickly proven wrong. It is just about as loud as a .38.

But really, the only real positive I can think of concerning this firearm is the intimidation factor. If one absolutely had to pull a firearm in hopes of scaring off a potential threat, this little gun might do the job. But all the while you're likely to be praying that you don't get attacked, because to be honest, as close as I'd have to be to hit my target, I'd rather have a good tactical knife. Hell, I'd rather have a solid butcher knife.

The .25 Titan and a number of similar weapons were commonly made in the 1960s and early '70s, and they flooded the market, so it's not too hard to find an old, used one today.

Collectors might want one of these just to have it for their stash, and I suppose it can be fun to pop out into the woods and blaze away with the old .25, but I don't see much practical use for the weapon. Even the ammo isn't all that common nowadays.

Yet, I'll keep this one. It came from my dad, after all, and every once in a while I can go out to the woods behind my place and get off a few shots while thinking of him.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Books read in 2014: No. 27 -- Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Volume 1

by Josh McDowell

Started: June 30
Finished: July 13

Notes: Some of my readings of Tolstoy and C.S. Lewis have drawn me to an interest in Christian apologetics, and after speaking with my mother's pastor, he suggested a number of books for me. This is one such book, and volume 2 will soon follow. This pair of books goes back more than a few decades, so I fear it might be somewhat outdated with current thought, but that might be a good thing, so I'll give it a chance.

Minie review: Quite intriguing. Some of the evidence I found quite compelling, but some of it not so much. It was refreshing to study such material without much of the oft-heated language and tactics of today's debates. There's not so much a scientific approach here as a historical one, even anthropological. I'm not going to go into all the individual arguments here, nor my thoughts about them, because that would take a lot of time, but for those seeking an intellectual approach to Christianity, I can suggest this book. Be warned, however, that this material is told in an extended outline form, and it takes some getting used to. Of the two volumes, this one is supposed to be more for laymen while the second book is supposedly more deep and aligned with a scholarly and intellectual approach, but I have to say, this first book was pretty deep and pretty heavy, so I have to wonder about the second volume, which I will be starting soon enough.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Practice paintings of old

I have not touched a paint brush in almost a year, and I have not posted anything here about my painting in quite a while, yet I have been feeling the itch again lately and am preparing to start up again.

To those ends, I recently cleaned out the building where I used to paint back in the woods behind my house, and I ran across a number of small practice pieces I thought worth posting here. All of these were done in order to test out a new brush and/or a new technique. None of them are great, but I find them of interest for one reason or another, and they are different than the direction I'm thinking of heading with my next painting sessions.

Anyway, here they are.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Books read in 2014: No. 26 -- Simple Sabotage Field Manual

by the Office of Strategic Services

Started: June 30
Finished: June 30

Notes: The title of this little e-book might seem dangerous to some modern readers, but there is little to be worried about as this one pertains to World War II. Originally published in 1944, this is a basic text for friendly civilians trapped behind enemy lines and how they can continue with the war effort in ways to help the Allied Forces. I don't know for sure, but my guess would be this little book was passed out in countries facing being overrun (such as England feared) and was possibly dropped into or somehow distributed in countries already occupied by Axis powers. And for those who don't know, the Office of Strategic Services, aka the OSS, were the precursors to today's CIA.

Mini review: The mischevious teenage version of me would have had a field day with this book. There's lots of information about slouching off on the job, of how to disrupt motors of all sorts, and of how to subvert authority while appearing subserviant. As is, it's an interesting piece, and I got the impression from a few remarks it was planned to be released right before D-Day in order to give the Allied troops just a little bit of extra help behind enemy lines.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Books read in 2014: No. 25 -- The Next Place

by Warren Hanson

Started: June 27
Finished: June 27

Notes: This book was sent to me by the nursing home where my father passed away.

Mini review: Quite the short book, mainly a poem with plenty of interesting artwork, the author being the writer and artist. It was a nice little book, more for children I felt, but it did bring a tear to my eye. It's not exactly a book about grief, but one which could help those dealing with grief after losing a loved one. From a Christian point of view. To repeat, I thought it especially appropriate for children.

Books read in 2014: No. 24 -- Amber Magic (Haven Series #1)

by BV Larson

Started: June 26
Finished: June 29

Notes: BV Larson has been a prolific and popular independent author/publisher for going on five years now, being one of the early risers among the fantasy and science fiction genres. A few years back I interviewed him and I made an appearance on his site, but until now I'd not given myself the opportunity to check out his work and see why he has thrived as an indie.

Mini review: More adventurous fairy tale than true epic fantasy, I thought this one started off pretty good, but then it seemed to bog down and remain slow almost until the end. It wasn't that things weren't happening, just that there seemed little sense of urgency. But that's just my opinion.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Books read in 2014: No. 23 -- Stone of Tears (The Sword of Truth #2)

by Terry Goodkind

Started: June 11
Finished: June 26

Notes: I read the first novel in this fantasy series, Wizard's First Rule, about a decade or so back, and while I found the writing strong enough and several interesting aspects to the author's world, I was kind of turned off when some of his philosophizing became a little too apparent within the story. It's not that I object to objectivism itself, though I do believe it has problems almost always glossed over by its proponents, but that I didn't appreciate such being forced into my face, so to speak. Well, time has passed, and I thought I'd give this writer another chance, especially as I do seem to recall his particular writing style being pretty strong. I guess I'll find out whether my memory is correct.

Mini review: This novel started right off where the first one ended, and because it had been so long since I had read that first novel, it took me a while to recall names and events. Still, despite the jarring sensation early on, soon enough I was back into the flow of things. This book confounds me. There are aspects of it I truly liked, but there were also plenty of things for which I did not care. Most of the characters came off a little flat to me, for instance, and some events seemed to drag on for far too long while others, seemingly important ones, were glossed over or even outright omitted though explained later by characters. Also, and this not the author's fault, this was one of the absolute worst proofed e-books I have ever read, with constant spelling mistakes every few lines; I'm generally willing to give an indie author a lot of slack, but this was a long novel from a major publisher and a pretty major author. As for things I liked about this book ... well, it's a little difficult to describe, but when all fires were burning, the reading was quite enjoyable, the story flowed well and the characters were at their best. I noticed the most fun parts of this novel, at least for me, were when the characters were faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. Despite being epic fantasy, this is mostly written in a modern voice with character names common to the real world, but that didn't bother me though I realize it might others.