Author Archives: Fishbreath

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 19, 2018)


  • Parvusimperator and I are both still plowing our way through Shelby Foote’s book. I’m still on Volume 1; he’s nearly through Volume 2.
  • He recommends Whitman Publishing’s edition of U.S. Army in World War II, because of full-color gatefold maps.
  • I recommend the official in-house Many Words Press tabletop roleplaying game system, RPJ, because I wrote it and think it’s cool.


Guns (etc.)

Hail to Nuffle (a joke for the Blood Bowl players)

The Opinionated Bastards: Tukayyid (Sep. 28, 3052)


It’s a good month for training, but I appear to have lost my screenshot thereof.

Still, the drills stretch on interminably, and news of a rebel concentration suitable to attack is a welcome diversion.

The Action of September 13, 3052

The surprisingly-timely action of September 13 involves both Bear’s Bruisers and Drake’s Destroyers. (That’s Teddy Bear, Hanzoku, Severe, and Euchre, if you’ve lost track, plus Carcer, Woad, Linebuster, and Blinky.)

The enemy is a reinforced Vedette platoon, six tanks and two medium mechs of indeterminate make, currently stationed in a town. Weather is bad; high winds rare reducing weapon accuracy and hampering vehicle movement.



The enemy deploys in the city, where the tight quarters will work to their advantage—and ours. Bear’s Bruisers move north to deal with the enemy Wolverine, while Drake’s Destroyers swing around south to march through the center of the city.

Round 1


Both of the Bastards’ lances advance. Almost nobody is within weapons range at this stage. Hanzoku takes a crack at an enemy Vedette, while the first enemy medium mech, a Wolverine, fires on Euchre‘s Trebuchet.

The Wolverine scores the luckiest of lucky shots, clanging an AC/5 shell off of Euchre‘s cockpit. He shakes his head, bell rung, but forges on.

Round 2


Bear’s Bruisers now have a number of good targets, but are good targets themselves, as both enemy mechs move out of the city and a Vedette runs at top speed down the road.

Drake’s Destroyers, under Carcer‘s command, aren’t in great position, and the weather means they’ll be a little slow to reposition. Blame your staff officer’s rustiness.

The Bruisers concentrate on the Vedette, hoping to knock it out this round. Down south, Woad with his trusty Grasshoper is the only pilot with a shot. He lines up on a broken-down Vedette in the center of town and lets loose an alpha strike.

Nothing hits to very much effect. Severe scores with one of her Clan ER Medium Lasers, slicing into the Vedette’s armor. Woad hits his target with a single medium laser. The Wolverine and a Vedette score hits in response. Everything else goes wide or spatters harmlessly off of armor.

Round 3


In the south, the Destroyers split up. Carcer and Linebuster, with longer-ranged mechs, split out to the west, where they’ll be able to fire on enemies leaving town along the northwest road. Woad and Blinky, in faster, shorter-ranged mechs, move into town to flank the vehicles hiding there.


In the north, Severe and Teddy Bear aim to shoot at and stomp on the nearest Vedette, respectively, while Hanzoku trades fire with a Vedette poking its nose out of town and Euchre looks to deal some damage to one coming out along the northwest road.

Four of Severe‘s five lasers find their mark, dealing a combined 24 damage, but Teddy Bear gets the kill with a stomp. Euchre damages his target’s left track, but doesn’t get the kill, while Woad and Blinky team up to knock out the immobilized Vedette in town. Blinky gets the last hit.

Round 4


Carcer is in range of a Vedette, and lines up her laser shot eagerly. Woad pushes into the town, thanks to the magic of jump jets, while Blinky lags behind a bit.

Severe again proves the worth of her Koshi, slicing deep into a Vedette’s rear armor and heavily damaging its engine. Hanzoku finishes off the Vedette darting past his mech with a kick which caves in the roof of its turret.

Round 5


Everyone is in on the action now. Hanzoku, Carcer, and the allied Vulcan race to take down the enemy Wolverine, while Severe, Woad, and Blinky move into the center of the city to deal with the remaining two Vedettes.

Teddy Bear lands a full alpha strike on his target Vedette, immobilizing it and knocking off both tracks, but not quite managing to bring it down with weapons fire. He finishes the job with a kick to the rear armor. Hanzoku beheads the Wolverine with a well-aimed volley of laser fire, notching the kill for himself. Woad and Severe collaborate to immobilize one of the city center Vedettes, while Blinky immobilizes the other.


The other enemy mech, a Phoenix Hawk which did very little, falls back, leaving the two Vedettes for Woad and Blinky. Each scores one kill.

Damage, Injuries, Salvage

Our mechs are all but undamaged, none of our pilots are badly hurt, and although we can’t convince the ComStar liaison to give us the Wolverine, we do get six Vedettes for the mechanics to cut apart. An excellent battle, professionally won.

Between selling off the Vedette chassis after stripping them of everything useful and ransoming prisoners, we end the mission up about 750,000 C-bills.

Kill Board(s)

Blinky and Hanzoku both emerge with two kills. Hanzoku leapfrogs Linebuster by dint of having more mech kills and now tying for overall count.

Last Battle

Forgot to take a screenshot. It’s been a while! I’m out of practice.

All-Time Leaders

  1. “Rook” Ishikawa (27, 8 mechs, 2 Clan kills)
  2. “Drake” Halit (14, 6 mechs, 2 Clan kills)
  3. “Woad” Kohler (14, 5 mechs, 1 Clan kill)
  4. “Carcer” Ngo (11, 5 mechs, 2 Clan kills)
  5. “Wizard” Que (7, 6 mechs, 6 Clan kills)
  6. “Teddy Bear” Jamil (6, 3 mechs, 2 Clan kills)
  7. “Double Dog” Dare (5, 2 mechs, 1 Clan kill)
  8. “Hanzoku” Yuksel (5, 4 mechs, 2 Clan kill)
  9. “Linebuster” Atkinson (5)
  10. “Severe” Payne (4, 4 mechs)
  11. “Milspec” Ortega (4, 1 mech, 1 Clan kill)
  12. “Ker-Ker” Ec (3, 2 mechs)
  13. “Euchre” Kojic (2, 2 mechs)
  14. “Blinky” Stirzacre (2)
  15. “Kicks” Hernandez (1, 1 mech, 1 Clan kill)
  16. Simona (1, 1 mech, 1 Clan kill)
  17. “Wojtek” Frajtov (1, 1 mech)


It is now September 28, 3052; there’s another battle pending.


We have 65.431 million C-bills in the bank, up 108,000 since last update.

Repairs and Refits

Our techs continue to work on refitting our two assault mechs. Edina Cameron is only a few days’ work away from getting Rook‘s Stalker back into the field. Kepano Endo has about four months of work left on Drake‘s Awesome.

Mechwarrior Claims and Assignments

  • For the record, the following mechwarriors are claimed.
    • Captain Huri “Drake” Halit (Mephansteras) – Awesome Custom (refitting)
    • Lt. SG George “Linebuster” Atkinson (Hasek10) – Lancelot LNC25-02
    • Lt. SG Mariamu “Rook” Ishikawa (Culise) – Stalker STK-3Fb (refitting)
    • Lt. JG Sung-min “Double Dog” Dare (a1s) – Thunderbolt TDR-5S-T
    • Sgt. Jose “Milspec” Ortega (milspec) – Crab CRB-20
    • Sgt. Tedros “Teddy Bear” Jamil (Knave) – Vulcan VL-5T
    • Cpl. Damayanti “Carcer” Ngo (Dorsidwarf) – Flashman FLS-7K
    • Cpl. Ferdinand “Woad” Kohler (A Thing) – Grasshopper GHR-5H
    • Pvt. Jan “Euchre” Kojic (EuchreJack) – Trebuchet TBT-5S
    • Pvt. Cathrine “Severe” Payne (Burnt Pies) – Koshi Custom
    • Pvt. E-Shei “Ker-Ker” Ec (Kanil) – Lancelot LNC25-02
    • Pvt. Ed “Hanzoku” Yuksel (Hanzoku) – Guillotine GLT-4L
    • Pvt. Ik-jun “Wojtek” Frajtov (Blaze) – Trebuchet TBT-5N
    • Pvt. Xue-Min “Wizard” Que (Rince Wind) – Guillotine GLT-4P
    • Pvt. Abdul-Hafiz “Pepper” Popalzi (mrkilla22) – Archer ARC-2K
    • Pvt. Kevin “Blinky” Stirzacre (moghopper) – Ostroc OSR-2C
    • Pvt. Gwenael “Kicks” Hernandez (Sheyra) – Phoenix Hawk PXH-1K
    • Pvt. Elroy “Faceplant” Farooqi (NickAragua) – Dragon DRG-5N
  • The following mechwarriors are available.
    • Rec. Simona – Ryoken/Stormcrow B (missing lasers)

Action Items

Nothing much to speak of.


We’re now running MekHQ 0.44. Happily, everything I’d done on a custom basis is now merged into the main branch, so it was pretty painless. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get 0.45 to load the save game, so we may be stuck here for a bit.

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 12, 2018)

Slim pickings this week, in part because I did not do my usual defense news trawl every morning. My bad.


  • I’m still plowing through Volume 1 of Foote, having now made it past Grant’s victory at Shiloh, the entirely unsuccessful Confederate attempts to march through the desert Southwest to California, and the capture of New Orleans. It’s worth remarking how the story of the Civil War is the Confederacy winning slightly in one place and losing badly in four other places.





  • Capitalist markets in North Korea – My opinion on the currently-ruling Mr. Kim is that his secret desire is to be remembered as a liberalizer who brought North Korea out of darkness and into the modern age, owing to his evidently-long childhood in the West, but that his ability to do so is limited by the North Korean power structure. Not to say our man Jong-un is anything but a brutal dictator even by the standards of brutal dictators, which is what the preponderance of the evidence suggests, but brutal dictators who liberalize tend to be treated decently by the world, whereas the rest of the North Korean government would pretty much all end up on trial for crimes against humanity.
  • From the gee-who’d-have-thunk file, a novelist who wrote about how to murder your husband has been charged with murdering her husband.

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Sep. 5, 2018)

At least it’s on Wednesday today!


  • Parvusimperator is up to volume two of Shelby Foote’s three-volume Civil War set, which means I’m now on Volume 1. Foote’s narrative is, so far, excellent and comprehensive.


  • Revisiting the Russo-Georgian War
  • A fuller account of the Russo-Georgian War
  • Russian performance in the Syrian War – notable for its brief treatment of Russian precision munitions, which aren’t so much precision munitions, generally, as precision attack systems in the aircraft delivering them. Per War on the Rocks above, this has changed somewhat, with greater numbers of actual guided weapons now in Russian stocks.
  • Boeing wins the MQ-25 contract – good job, Boeing. You’ve had a bit of a tough go of it with contracts lately, but between the KC-46 and the MQ-25, you’re now the acknowledged leader in air-to-air refueling worldwide. Also, way to go, Navy, for finally realizing that a dedicated tanker is important. It remains to be seen whether a drone tanker is a good idea, but buddy refueling definitely has its limits. Speaking of…
  • Navy F-35C and F/A-18F involved in air-to-air refueling accident – oops. Apparently, the F-35 managed to ingest the end of the drogue. No details on the actual extent of the damage, but the Navy said it’s a Class A Mishap, which means damage exceeded $2 million. Now we’ll get to see how good the LockMart repair manuals are.


  • The Last Enfield – my favorite bolt-action battle rifle, in its ultimate form.

Football Is Pretty Much Here, So Educate Yourself


Wednesday What We’re Reading (Aug. 29, 2018)

Are we the kind of people to publish an article on Thursday, backdate it to Wednesday, and still call it ‘Wednesday What We’re Reading’? Evidently, yes. Also, I was on vacation over the weekend and only got back on Tuesday, so it’s going to be a little lighter than last time.


  • On my trip, I read Blind Man’s Bluff, subtitled The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, which is very much worth a read. As a sim-submariner, I thought from the introduction that it was going to be a bit of a lightweight puff piece, but it quickly got better.
  • Parvusimperator is working his way through Shelby Foote’s three-volume Civil War set.



Football Fast Approaches

As red-blooded Americans, we’re big NFL fans, so there’ll be some content of that flavor for the next six or seven months.

  • The Bills Suck – Courtesy of western NY native parvusimperator.
  • Your Team Sucks Too – Deadspin’s annual classic on why you should feel bad about your football team.


Wednesday What We’re Reading (Aug. 22, 2018)

Since most of our daily interaction here at metaphorical Soapbox World Headquarters is sending articles back and forth in the Many Words Press metaphorically-corporate Google Chat, sharing a list of articles seemed to us like a nice, low-effort way to add another day per week with a post without having to do any real work.


Historical Aviation




  • Private censorship is still bad, writes the civil liberties director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, stealing an idea for an article I’ve wanted to write for a while.
  • Beta releases of RPJ, the house tabletop roleplaying game system of Many Words Press, are now available. Currently available: the core rules document, along with Police Cops, the hard-charging police drama RPG.

Harrier II short takeoff roll reference table

I was looking for this information as part of my still-forthcoming Harrier blog post, and couldn’t find it anywhere. So, here it is: a quick table of Harrier II short takeoff rolls by gross weight and headwind, assuming the Pegasus -408/11-61 engine, standard temperature and pressure (15 degrees Celsius, 29.92″Hg), and 0% datum hover performance.

Gross WeightTakeoff Roll (no wind)Takeoff Roll (20kt headwind)
20000 lb400 ft.275 ft.
22000 lb450 ft.325 ft.
24000 lb550 ft.375 ft.
26000 lb725 ft.500 ft.
28000 lb1025 ft.750 ft.
30000 lb1350 ft.1000 ft.

Sources and Charts

These numbers come from the Harrier II NFM-400 manual. Please don’t share the download link off-site; it’s a fairly large PDF, and we’re pretty shoe-string budget-wise.

The relevant charts are reproduced below.

hover chart

To use the hover capability chart, enter from the bottom, beneath the JPT half of the chart, from the appropriate ambient air temperature. Move up to the 0-degree datum line. Then, enter the chart from the bottom, beneath the RPM half of the chart, from the ambient air temperature. Move up to the RPM limit line. From the lower of the two intersections, move right to the hover performance 0% datum line without following the adjustment guidelines.

The JPTL adjustment values are maintenance-provided and outside the scope of my table. To use them, move up to them rather than to the 0-degree datum line. The hover adjustment guidelines are also out of scope. To use them, after moving right to the 0% datum, follow the guidelines up or down.

For 15C, neither JPT or RPM limits performance. Move across the chart to the 0% hover performance datum and read from there: 21,000 lb.

rotation chart

To use the nozzle rotation airspeed chart, enter from the left using the corrected hover value from the hover chart. Move straight across to the 29.92″Hg datum. Move parallel to the guidelines to the ambient pressure.

From there, move straight across to the takeoff gross weight. Stop at the intersection, move directly downward, and read the nozzle rotation airspeed off the bottom of the chart.

For a 22,000lb gross weight, start at 21,000lb, the corrected hover weight, and move across to the 29.92″Hg datum. Since the pressure is 29.92″Hg, continue moving directly across to the 22,000lb gross weight line. At the intersection, move down the chart to find the nozzle rotation airspeed of about 63 knots.

takeoff chart

To use the takeoff chart, enter from the top left using the nozzle rotation airspeed calculated before. Move horizontally to the 29.92″Hg datum, then move parallel to the pressure guidelines to the ambient pressure. Move horizontally to the start of the temperature guidelines, then parallel the temperature guidelines to the ambient temperature. From there, move horizontally to the curved line to the right. At the intersection, move down to the zero-wind line at the top of the ground roll chart to find the 0-knot takeoff roll. Follow the solid line down the chart to the appropriate line to find the headwind takeoff roll.

To continue the example, enter the chart at 63 knots and move to the pressure baseline at 29.92″Hg. Move horizontally left to the start of the temperature guidelines, and parallel them to the 15C baseline, at about 66 or 67 knots. Move horizontally to the reflector line, then move vertically to find the takeoff roll of roughly 450 feet. Parallel the solid headwind guidelines down to a 20-knot wind to find the headwind takeoff roll of about 325 feet.

Brief Comments

Experience with DCS Harrier suggests that these numbers include a good deal of margin. I have no trouble getting off the Tarawa deck with at least 200 feet to spare, even at loads north of 30,000 pounds. These are, however, the by-the-book numbers.

The Crossbox Podcast: Episode 27 – Armed Services Salute

In a summertime edition of The Crossbox Podcast, we find an excuse to play some of our favorite military music: talking about procurement challenges service branch by service branch.

Further reading
* America and Wasp deck plans, compared, in which your host looks foolish for not realizing they’re the same size.
* Parvusimperator likes the F-35
* The Drive on the B-21 (see also sweet B-2 flyby GIF)
* The M14 is crap
* FFG(X) contenders

Continue reading

The Opinionated Bastards: Tukayyid (Aug. 31, 3052)

Back in the Saddle

After the long retreat from the Clans and the hard fighting which occurred along it, things seem positively sleepy in the Opinionated Bastards’ mobile headquarters.

In mid-August, though, our somber ComStar liaison stops by, informs us gravely that we have a mission, and leaves as quickly as he came.

The Action of August 14, 3052

The rebels are fleeing a ComStar sweep, moving through a seaside town, where we’ll intercept them. Gale-force winds are blowing in from the shore, which forces the rebel vehicles to withdraw before combat.

There are four enemy medium mechs on the field: a pair of Vulcans, an Assassin, and a Phoenix Hawk. It’s a successful mission if we knock out two of them.

Round 1

The Bastards deploy near the center of the map. The rebels deploy to the south; they’re fleing to the north.

The hurricane winds are going to make it difficult to score many ranged weapon hits, at least while everyone is moving. Linebuster and newcomer Blinky are the only ones with a chance at a hit.


Round 2

The wind is playing havoc with targeting systems; gusts hammer against mech arms, throwing off their aim. Woad and Blinky get into punching range, where they’ll hopefully be able to do some damage without having to rely on ranged weapons.


Ranged weapons fire doesn’t accomplish very much. Woad and Blinky exchange kicks with the enemy: everyone hits, but because of the high winds, everyone falls over, too.

Round 3-4

Rather than attempt to stand, both of the rebel Vulcan pilots eject. They fail to stick the landing. Both end up unconscious.

The enemy Assassin manages to take enough fire to lose its footing. Its pilot ejects, too.


Round 5

The Phoenix Hawk is now most likely beyond our reach. He can simply run away.

I spoke too soon, though. Bafflingly, he turns to fight. We’ll get one more crack at him.


The Ostroc suits Blinky just fine. Even in terrible conditions, he has at least some chance to hit.


Round 6

The Phoenix Hawk pushes a bit further away, but now he’s up against a little river. He probably will need some extra time to get through. I can’t imagine jumping is a very good idea right now.


Round 7

Bear’s Bruisers arrive on the field, with Wojtek in tow (his first combat deployment in a long time).

Unfortunately, it proves to be a bit of an anticlimax. The Phoenix Hawk steps into the water, trips, and falls, and the pilot immediately ejects.


Damage, Injuries, Salvage

Woad and Blinky both have minor injuries from falling over, and their mechs have light damage.

After the storm passes, we recover the enemy Phoenix Hawk and the enemy Vulcan, both of which are in serviceable shape. We’ll probably strip the Vulcan (a VL-2T model) and keep the Phoenix Hawk, at least for now. The latter chassis is handy to have; a good weight to fill in around the edges of a heavy lance.

One of the rebels, after ejecting, managed to shelter in the wind shadow of one of our fallen mechs. ComStar takes her off our hands as soon as the weather permits.

Kill Board(s)

Last Battle

I’ll say this: we didn’t exactly cover ourselves in glory this time. Although four enemy mechs were destroyed on the last mission, we scored precisely zero kills.

All-Time Leaders

  1. “Rook” Ishikawa (27, 8 mechs, 2 Clan kills)
  2. “Drake” Halit (14, 6 mechs, 2 Clan kills)
  3. “Woad” Kohler (13, 5 mechs, 1 Clan kill)
  4. “Carcer” Ngo (11, 5 mechs, 2 Clan kills)
  5. “Wizard” Que (7, 6 mechs, 6 Clan kills)
  6. “Teddy Bear” Jamil (5, 3 mechs, 2 Clan kills)
  7. “Double Dog” Dare (5, 2 mechs, 1 Clan kill)
  8. “Linebuster” Atkinson (5)
  9. “Severe” Payne (4, 4 mechs)
  10. “Milspec” Ortega (4, 1 mech, 1 Clan kill)
  11. “Ker-Ker” Ec (3, 2 mechs)
  12. “Hanzoku” Yuksel (3, 3 mechs, 2 Clan kill)
  13. “Euchre” Kojic (2, 2 mechs)
  14. “Kicks” Hernandez (1, 1 mech, 1 Clan kill)
  15. Simona (1, 1 mech, 1 Clan kill)
  16. “Wojtek” Frajtov (1, 1 mech)


It is now August 31, 3052.

Contract Status

Rebel morale remains high. Given the much less threatening opposition, I’m trying to rotate in some of the under-utilized pilots. Wojtek was on the board this time; hopefully we can get Euchre in next time.


We have 65.323 million C-bills in the bank.

The following mechs are available on the unit market. All of our pilots currently have mechs, however.


Repairs and Refits

Both of the techs who are working on the refits flubbed their finish-on-time rolls. As of now, it’s another five months for the Awesome and another month for the Stalker.

Drake has been getting well-acquainted with his desk; it looks like he’ll be playing administrator for a little while longer. (I’ve given him two points of the Administration skill as a bit of a consolation.)

Mechwarrior Claims and Assignments

  • For the record, the following mechwarriors are claimed.
    • Captain Huri “Drake” Halit (Mephansteras) – Awesome Custom (refitting)
    • Lt. SG George “Linebuster” Atkinson (Hasek10) – Lancelot LNC25-02
    • Lt. SG Mariamu “Rook” Ishikawa (Culise) – Stalker STK-3Fb (refitting)
    • Lt. JG Sung-min “Double Dog” Dare (a1s) – Thunderbolt TDR-5S-T
    • Sgt. Jose “Milspec” Ortega (milspec) – Crab CRB-20
    • Sgt. Tedros “Teddy Bear” Jamil (Knave) – Vulcan VL-5T
    • Cpl. Damayanti “Carcer” Ngo (Dorsidwarf) – Flashman FLS-7K
    • Cpl. Ferdinand “Woad” Kohler (A Thing) – Grasshopper GHR-5H
    • Pvt. Jan “Euchre” Kojic (EuchreJack) – Trebuchet TBT-5S
    • Pvt. Cathrine “Severe” Payne (Burnt Pies) – Koshi Custom
    • Pvt. E-Shei “Ker-Ker” Ec (Kanil) – Lancelot LNC25-02
    • Pvt. Ed “Hanzoku” Yuksel (Hanzoku) – Guillotine GLT-4L
    • Pvt. Ik-jun “Wojtek” Frajtov (Blaze) – Trebuchet TBT-5N
    • Pvt. Xue-Min “Wizard” Que (Rince Wind) – Guillotine GLT-4P
    • Pvt. Abdul-Hafiz “Pepper” Popalzi (mrkilla22) – Archer ARC-2K
    • Pvt. Kevin “Blinky” Stirzacre (moghopper) – Ostroc OSR-2C
    • Pvt. Gwenael “Kicks” Hernandez (Sheyra) – Phoenix Hawk PXH-1K
  • The following mechwarriors are available.
    • Pvt. Elroy Farooqi – Dragon DRG-5N
    • Rec. Simona – Ryoken/Stormcrow B (missing lasers)

Action Items

  • We’re really rolling in the money now. It might be a good time to start looking for a DropShip or two, which costs 100,000 C-bills per month and may or may not give us something we can use. (We have a lot of mechs at this point; we’ll probably need at least two to fit our combat units, spares, and mothballed mechs.)

Shopping List: Fishy USPSA Revolvers

These lists, unlike the earlier Carry Optics list, are shorter and simpler. There are no optics to mount or, indeed, new sights to buy; nor is there compatibility with pre-existing tuning to worry about. So, I decided to write up all of my options, to lengthen the article a bit.

For All Three

We’ll call it $200 for the two items below, to cover shipping and other expenses.

Moon Clips ($30)

No competitive revolver shooters use speedloaders; they’re an extra step and not worth the time. Moon-clipped revolvers are faster, and moon clips are cheaper than speedloaders. So much the better.

Belt Rack ($150)

Moon clip holders which can carry eight clips can be found for about $150 from a number of retailers. Even with my expressed preference for six-guns, I don’t think I’d need more than 8. My usual preference is to have about 60 rounds on my belt for a 32-round stage. 48 in the holders and 6 in my pocket is close enough.

The Safe Option(s)

A Ruger GP100 10mm ($800)

Ruger recently released a GP100 Match Champion in 10mm/.40, which fits my desire to use existing stocks of competition ammo. There aren’t a lot of gunsmiths who work on Rugers, but some polishing compound and some spring work should serve to get the trigger pull down to acceptable levels.

Or, A Ruger Redhawk .357/.38 ($800)

Ruger also has an 8-round Redhawk model in .357 which accepts moon clips. (They are, however, expensive moon clips.) This would let me play with the big boys in USPSA Revolver, and eliminates one of my objections to eight-round revolvers. 9mm is a wimpy semi-automatic caliber, not suited for a manly gun like a revolver, and 8-round 9mm revolvers are an abomination unto God. .357 (and yes, also wimpy .38 like I’d actually be shooting) are true revolver calibers.

It eliminates another one of my objections, too; a Ruger in .38 Special is undoubtedly hipster in the modern revolver competition world. I’d be able to shoot Limited in ICORE, if Western PA ever ends up with a club which runs ICORE matches.

Of course, there are some downsides. If there are few gunsmiths who work on Match Champion revolvers, there are fewer gunsmiths who work on Redhawks. The sights might not be very much good for competition, although they are at least replaceable.

All in all, a compelling option: the Redhawk gets me to the 95% competitive bracket really easily, with no esoteric stage-planning requirements.

Kydex Holster ($100)

Given that these are the cheap options and not especially long-barreled, a Kydex competition holster is probably the way to go. $100 is a bit of an overestimate here, but $800 is a bit of an underestimate for the guns, so it’s a wash.

Some quick Googling suggests that a Kydex holster for the Redhawk might be hard to come by. In that case, I would have to go leather, which is delightfully old-fashioned.

The Weird Option

A Chiappa Rhino .40 ($900)

A what? Yes, Italian pizza-gun manufacturer Chiappa, who you might know better for their replica old-time firearms in the finest spaghetti western tradition, also makes a six-gun which wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Blade Runner. The bottom cylinder fires rather than the top one, and so the barrel is mounted low in the frame. The recoil impulse is nearly straight back. People say it’s nice. The Rhino can be had in .40 with a range of barrel lengths; I’d probably want the 6″ barrel because, in my opinion, it’s the coolest-looking1.

On that note, as I intimated in the first post in this series, the Chiappa’s major advantage is that it’s cool, and beyond that, that it’s uber-hipster. Nobody shoots Major in USPSA Revolver; of those who do, nobody shoots .40; of those who do, absolutely nobody shoots a Chiappa Rhino. That does have value to me; I like the attention I get when I’m shooting something offbeat.

A Guga Ribas Holster ($200)

Unfortunately, nobody makes holsters for Rhinos either, and a six-inch barrel makes for an unwieldy draw. I’d have to look into a Guga Ribas holster, sufficiently adjustable to grip the trigger guard of just about anything. That adds some expense.

The Boring Option

A S&W 929 ($1100)

I could also go the boring way, buying what everyone else has, a 9mm S&W Model 929.

Not only is it the most expensive option, it’s also the most popular one, and if you know me at all, you know how very unlikely that is.

A Guga Ribas or Other Adjustable Race Holster ($200)

If I were going to take leave of my senses and buy the boring race gun everyone shoots, I could hardly cheap out on the holster.


So, I’ve laid out four options. Every revolver option costs at least $200 for a belt rack and moon clips. Both Ruger options add $900 or so to the total, for $1100 to get in the door—slightly less than the Limited P-09. If I added another $100 or $150 to the total, to bring the price up to the P-09’s all-in price, I could get an adjustable race holster.

The Rhino adds another few hundred bucks of cool for about $1300. Unlike the Redhawk, it wouldn’t be competitive, but I would at least look cool while shooting slowly.

The Smith and Wesson option, at $1500, is probably out of my price range, in addition to being prevalent and therefore boring.

Okay, But You Actually Have To Make a Decision

You can’t make me. Not yet, anyway. More on that in a second. The way I see it, it comes down to P-09 Carry Optics, which is cool in a modern technological way, and the Ruger Redhawk, which is cool in an old-time lawman way.

What about the Rhino? For me, it comes down to competitiveness. I’m not shooting USPSA to become a better shooter, although that’s a pleasant side-effect. I’m shooting USPSA to compete in USPSA. The point of the game is the game. For the same reason I wouldn’t go to a fencing tournament with a left-handed foil, I’m not going to intentionally buy equipment which is well below par. As classic as the Ruger six-gun is, and as cool as the Rhino is, competing with them is, in a word, uncompetitive2.

So what’s it going to be? A Carry Optics P-09 or an 8-round Ruger Redhawk? I said I don’t have to answer yet, and I’m sticking by that. 2018, and in all likelihood 2019, are for improving with the guns I already have. Revolver requires a whole new level of planning, and a whole new level of shooting perfection, over Limited and Production. I have a pair of plenty-competitive guns I can easily shoot two seasons with.

In two seasons, the story might be different. Carry Optics rules are a moving target right now, and I don’t want to commit too early. On the flip side, in two years, Revolver might not be a USPSA division anymore, or Chiappa might come up with an 8-round Rhino. The point is, choosing now would be silly. I have time. It doesn’t matter how I lean now; it matters how the landscape looks in two years. I’ll let you know what I’m doing then.

  1. I actually emailed Chiappa asking if they had plans for an 8-round, 9mm version. (They already have a 9mm version in all the barrel lengths, as well as a competition-focused 9mm version.) Alas, the guy who answered my email said, ‘No, not at this time.’ And why am I okay with a 9mm revolver in this case? Because it’s the opposite of classic-looking, and so can use a non-classic cartridge without my scorn. 
  2. “What about that time you shot a two-gun match with British WW2 gear, though?” That’s entirely different. For one, I wasn’t shooting in nationally-organized three-gun with classifiers and ratings. For another, it was a for-fun match with gear I already had.