Build Status – AR-Frankengun (2 Oct 18)

The Story, So Far

Building a Firearm Dr. Frankenstein Could Love

While the debate rages throughout the United States, both on and offline, about the legality, usefulness and moral positioning of firearms ownership, many like myself continue on, buying, building and collecting as we always have and likely always will. About a year ago, I decided that building my own AR-15 clone was the way to go, especially since I could source all of the parts out, taking my time to find just what I needed to build a rifle I could be proud to own. By sheer coincidence, I happened to obtain a lower receiver with a comical version of the mythical monster in question rolled onto the other side of the serial and model numbers. Hence, the FrankenGun project had begun.

He's just so happy to see you.
“Mad? Confused? Ringing Ears? One can only guess.”

Having bought the stripped receiver, I needed parts to install. Fortunately, the same place I bought the receiver at had a complete internal parts kit ready to go which, for my first build, would more than suffice (one of these days, I’ll probably replace the trigger with a drop-in specialized model). On that same trip, I picked up the bolt carrier group, all ready assembled and good to go. I know I am not buying all specialized parts currently, but that’s okay, as specialization can come later. Let’s just get a working model up and running. [Picture of Bolt w/ Googly Eyes and Wavy Arms, Fists Attached, caption “The BCG is Mad that this Build is Taking so Long.”] A few months pass, and for my first ever purchase from Gunbroker, an Aerotech Upper Receiver w/ Forward Assist. Great item, but it took well over two weeks to get it, forever for someone who is used to packing up guns and shipping them off while the toner from the confirmed FFL is still warm. It’s a tight fit, but some filing or rubber mallet whacking will either ease it up a bit or wedge it shut. Stay tuned. Now that the major parts are starting to come together, it is time to start with the smaller, less fun, but still important parts, such as the charging handle buffer tube and buffer spring assembly. Sadly, the buffer assembly still doesn’t second as an emergency flashlight. I look forward to the day that someone does, so someone else can be surprised when it actually turns on.

FrankenGun Parts List & Cost

Name/Description Serial/Model Date Acquired Price Bought?
Lower Receiver (Stripped) TM Multi VIC000XXX 21 Apr 2017 54.97

X

Lower Parts Kit DPMS Lower Parts Kit 02 Jun 2017 53.07

X

Pistol Grip Included in Lower Parts Kit N/A 0.00

X

Bolt Carrier Group Generico 02 Jun 2017 91.00

X

Buffer Assembly (w/ Spring) Generico 10 Mar 18 18.95

X

Buffer Tube (Mil-Spec) Generico 2 Oct 18 11.95

X

Barrel 16″ M4 Barrel, 5.56/.223/Wylde 2 Oct 18 55.00

X

Barrel Nut
Gas Block
Upper Receiver Aero Precision M4 Assembled 03 Nov 2017 107.00

X

Upper Parts Kit N/A N/A 0.00

X

Charging Handle Generic 10 Mar 18 16.95

X

Gas Tube
Buttstock
Handguard Set Davidson Defense 12″ M-LOK 2 Oct 18 55.00

X

Delta Ring
Iron Sights
Optic (O)
Handguard Cap
Compensator/Muzzle
Magazines (5)
Total $ 463.89

De La Vega: A Bathroom Review

Location: 128 N. Woodland Blvd, DeLand FL

Date Visited: 17 March 2018

While dining out on a Saturday night, my bladder started to complain, exclaiming “empty me, monsieur, sil vous plait!” Not wanting this complaining to get any louder or painful, I excused myself to use the facility. What I beheld took me by surprise, as what is a clean, orderly restaurant in the front devolved into WC facilities that weren’t more than an afterthought by comparison.

Amenities: Unisex Restroom, changing table with bed liners

Pros: Clean and well-kept facilities. Plenty of paper products available for drying and wiping. Mirror was spot-free as expected. Supplied toilet paper did not warrant a complaint for crimes against humanity.

Cons: For all of the well-organized and thought out aesthetics of the front of the restaurant, the bathrooms are a mess. Mismatched paint, dingy lighting and screws in the walls where I presume pictures are either intended to be hung or were hung at one time. Claustrophobes need not apply, though definitely better than its counterpart with a very narrow doorway.

The Final Wipe: While in an emergency it will do, but the charm of De La Vega does not, unfortunately, extend to its bathrooms.

 

 

2.5/5

Status of the Realm: 03 September 2017

So I thought I would try to add a more frequent update section, filled with items that don’t necessarily merit their own, complete posts. These could be things that I am working on, what I have experienced, or other items of note. I’ll do my best to make it at least once a week, twice if my projects are progressing along at a faster than previously expected rate or more noteworthy items happen during the week.

Why not just use a Facebook/Twitter/IG smattering to do this? I’m not really looking for thumbs of approval, nor do I feel like keeping them all to myself. Since any updates I push here appear on at least two of the previously mentioned items, it just makes more sense to do it here and save the effort for the more important tasks at hand.

To-Do: Create SotR banner(s). Due 1 Oct 17

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AHT, ACW and TNPS: Working in a Call Center

A year ago, after having my hours drastically reduced, typical during the Florida summer, I applied for a technical support position for a popular accounting suite. At first, there was hesitation, as it meant working in a call center. Not exactly a job that you go to school for, but neither is working at a gun store. Did well at the interview and was given a job that same day.

Three months of training, from the basics of the application to how to take, document and use the tools during the call. Not much attention given to the in-depth, inner workings of anything more advanced than basic functions of conducting/recording transactions. “You’ll learn it as you go along,” said the training/leadership staff, “otherwise you can ask those around you. You have great resources on hand to help when you get stuck.”

Such was not always the case. When official documentation ran dry or was non-existent, we turned to what most everyone uses: Dr. Google, with help from Sr. Bing and M. Yahoo.

I wish I could have just hung up.

There were days and calls where this was exactly what I wanted to do. Not enough accounting knowledge, too little documentation about a particular behavior or issue. Rude customers demanding the moon for nothing or expecting far more than I had been prepared to support. As much as I’d like to say this was not the norm, it happened far more than I’d like.

Perhaps our expertise had been oversold, or maybe the customer had greater expectations than we were able to deliver. Long-termers would probably advise that I was not about the “call-center life” as though it were a badge of honor. Perhaps they are correct, as I never saw myself working in a call center in the first place.

Fortunately, I learned a fair amount during my tenure. I was never rude to those who answered the phone when calling in, but now I’m even nicer, having walked many a mile in their shoes. I speak slower, with more clarity when giving information to prevent mistakes when transcribing. I have also noticed that my overall interactions are far more pleasant.

So what can you learn from my experience?

  • The person on the line is human. While I understand that you are in a hurry, the fact that you’re calling for phone support means you will be talking to a human, at least for the foreseeable future. Just because you don’t know them and your chances of meeting them are small, doesn’t mean that you have the right to be nasty to them. Calling them names and insulting their intelligence is uncalled for and does nothing to aid in the resolution of whatever issue you’re experiencing.
  • Patience is key to issue resolution. Maybe they are new to the job or not intimately familiar with your issue and require more time to determine the root cause. One of the biggest issues I used to encounter was someone wanting to talk to someone who was intimately familiar with a particular subject area. At least for what I was supporting, there was no one for me to transfer them to. We didn’t have specialists who knew more about a particular subject than anyone else. Sure, there was a department just for accountants, which I still couldn’t send them to if they didn’t have the appropriate membership.
  • Supervisors are not the end-all-be-all of issue resolution. They may know something, provided it was a direct promotion, but for the most part, when it comes to issue resolution, asking to speak to a supervisor is not a guaranteed resolution. Most of the time, they’ll bring you back down, reassure you and pass you back to the agent you were upset with in the first place. Very rarely do they have access to something your original representative does not.

Ultimately, patience is key. Without it, all you end up with is frustration. If it gets to that point, you’re better off just hanging up and calling back when you’re willing to be more cooperative.

Diablo III: Marklark, BeepBeep and Moira the Bland

In May 2012, Blizzard released the third installment of its can’t-click-fast-enough-to-survive beat em up Diablo. Initially plagued by many issues, such as the dreaded Error Code 37, the monstrosity that was the Real Money Auction House (don’t have enough in-game gold or time to grind/farm for your virtual goblin head squisher? Use your/your mom’s hard-earned real-world money to save yourself the trouble!), lack of ladders to keep replayability high or even possible, the always-online DRM requirement and a real lack of content to keep anything interesting beyond the initial playthrough.

After beating the game on Easy/Normal and running out of money/equipment that wasn’t either absolute garbage or broken, I uninstalled it, thinking to never touch it again.

And then…

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Walls of Barely-Readable Text: Grammar Edits

Aside from finding suitable content to write about, the lack of an editor is probably the greatest detriment to the overall content of this site. Written primarily in the dead of night in lieu of beneficial sleep, what sounds great at midnight can result in a post that makes one regret typing the first letter.

So, from now on, all late-night work will sit unpublished until a rested set of eyes scrutinize what the toil of the midnight oil could not.

Site of the Moment: Ever since it drew the ire of the incessantly annoying realtor aggregator website Zillow, I have been thoroughly educated and entertained by McMansionHell.com, a site run by an architecture student, mocking everything that is wrong with the tacky, overpriced monstrosities that have the gall to call themselves mansions. Even if you’re not a fan of architecture, you’re likely to enjoy her well-written commentary. You’ll most likely learn something along the way, too.

Song of the MomentHumans are Such Easy Prey – Perturbator

While I may be obscenely late to the agressive side of 80’s soundtrack inspired synthwave, this song has been on my gym playlist ever since I discovered it by accident on Spotify. Clearly obsessed with the Terminator saga, namely the first one, this lyrics-free anthem to the destructive capabilities of the T-800, model 101 is catchy, aggressive and inspiring when you need just one more rep to finih your set or a few more parts to finish your masterpiece.

Life Without Internet: What is One to Do?

The Internet as we currently know it is pretty much a necessity in today’s society. Without it, what is one to do in order to find a job, communicate with others and catch up on the day’s events? Without an Internet connection, a majority of the modern world’s sources of entertainment would not function to their maximum potential or cease to function at all.

A couple of weeks ago, on the morning of Father’s Day, the Internet was shut off due to lack of payment. Went to check the stats for this site, an article about online privacy and ->POOF!<- no more connection. Called the cable company, only to find that without a hefty-at-the-time $157 readily available, we were to be left in the digital dark. No funds were available, so radio silence it was until the bill could be paid.

Much like our experience with Hurricane Matthew, the girlfriend and the tot took it the hardest, since they were left at home all day while I was at work. No Internet meant no Blippi, who the toddler adores more than most anything in the world. No Netflix for her mum, who uses it to keep sane during the day of a hyperactive toddler. As many of my hobbies don’t require an active Internet connection, I was quite alright. During my first day, I even managed to get in a lengthy doodle, in this case of an imagined beachside, complete with stuck-on debris.

 

I found it to be quite nice to not have any chance of distraction, aside from the occasional grumble from the tot or her mum. Normally, with ample online access, my attention is pulled left, right and center, with ever more things to browse, read, explore and consume. Without it, it was just me, an active imagination and my canvas.

Subsequent attempts at producing further works was met with some difficulty, as these attempts felt like one-upping a hit album. Fortunately, these attempts were saved for future efforts, which should prove to be equally productive, given the right set of circumstances.

Fortunately, we had electricity, so we weren’t sent completely back to the days of old. My cell phone still worked, so we were still reachable. Television was out, so our long-stagnant collection of DVDs and Blu-Ray discs saw use, including my finally getting to watch the Star Wars saga collection in Blu-Ray that I received this past Christmas.

In short, life still went on, albeit in a slightly inconvenient manner. As with the time spent during the hurricane, our biggest point of contention was filling the time that was usually spent reading something online or watching television. So, in case you find yourself in danger of losing your digital connection to the world, pick up a hobby that doesn’t require online access. You’ll be much happier when the connection goes dark.

 

The Table: Casual Class, Sad Risotto

Saturdays are great for doing many things, be they fixing the various broken/malfunctioning things that a busy workweek not allow time for or just sitting on a park bench watching your children play at the local park. They’re also great days for going to places that thirty minute work lunches otherwise prohibit, such as a casual sit-down restaurant that just opened up downtown.

The Restaurant: Cooking Food So You Don’t Have To

Promising simple, well-made food from quality ingredients is nothing new, as the less-is-more trend is nothing new in the culinary world. However, for the area, a new face promising such things is always a welcome break from the well-tread landscape saturated by fast food chain restaurants.

The Good: Replacing the well-loved Mac’s on Main, there are many great things to look forward to at The Table. Immediately after entering through the familiar heavy wooden doors, one is greeted by a well-thought out, striking blue-grey with white trim aesthetic, tasteful lighting using the currently trendy retro light bulbs with the long elements and the bold, golden glow to cast a welcoming warmth and adding to the overall casual atmosphere. Above the bar, a mounted bicycle accompanies the confident message that The Table is the best place place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A bold claim indeed.

Wait times were short, fortunately, which was a relief since the first question after the initial greeting was whether or not we had a reservation. After a five to ten minute wait, a table that had been sitting bare for the entire time we were waiting. No matter, we were sat, drinks and appetizer ordered within five to ten minutes of arriving. Initially, we were a tad suspicious of the recommended tomato tart, worrying about the possibility of the eggs overtaking the flavor of everything else. Thankfully wrong we were, as the tomatoes truly shined, a sweet star setting high expectations for the entrees yet to come with its flaky crust, the right amount of eggs and oh, the tomatoes! Honestly, if I wanted a light lunch, I’d take the tart with a trio of well-prepared scallops or perhaps the hanger steak that came with the other entree ordered.

Not long after the appetizer was finished, the main stars of the evening arrived. For the tot, a meal of a grilled cheese sandwich and a side of thyme and salt seasoned fries as what she really wanted, a stack of pancakes, were not available to order for dinner. As for the girlfriend, she ordered what was to be the true celebrity of the evening, an exquisite hanger steak, prepared rare accompanied by mashed red potatoes, Rockefeller butter and grilled vegetables. Beautifully prepared to order, the steak was tender, juicy and a melt-in-your mouth delight. When paired with the potatoes, vegetables and butter, culinary bliss was achieved.

The Bad: Being a off-and-on watcher of Hell’s Kitchen, I was quite happy to see a dish that contained two of the staples used to test the mettle of contestant’s culinary might: scallops and risotto. After the exquisite heirloom tomato tart and locally-brewed pale ale had come and gone, I was excited to see what these often difficult to pull off menu items had in store. I’d like to say that my taste buds went on a journey of delicate flavors, well-defined textures and satisfying finish. Unfortunately, such was not the case, with the scallops being rubbery and the risotto mushy with both completely devoid of flavor.

Neither entree item was helped by the heavy dusting of breadcrumbs, which gave the risotto the appearance of snow with a heap of sand on top. On the menu, it mentions royal trumpet mushrooms and brie to be in the risotto. Aside from a tiny sliver the size of my thumbnail, no further trace of mushroom was present and the almost non-existent brie is a tad too subtle for me.

What really saddened me was that, for the first time in almost thirty-two years, I had to send a dish back to be re-prepared. Upon re-preparation, the scallops were properly cooked, if not particularly flavorful and the risotto was relatively the same. It is my hope that a new batch of risotto was made after the dish was sent back. For the price of this one dish, I could have eaten four spicy chicken sandwiches, all of which would have had twice the texture and flavor I was expecting from the risotto. With the breaded chicken, the breading would have helped; with the risotto, the breadcrumbs seem to be an attempt to hide the lack of flavor and underwhelming texture in what should have been a shining example of a upscale casual dining experience.

By far the biggest disappointment, as I had been anxious to try risotto ever since first hearing about it and watching it being made on television. This disappointment was made all the more striking by the fact that even my daughter’s simple plate of grilled cheddar on ciabatta and fries with just the right amount of salt and thyme. How does a kid’s meal at five dollars taste better that a fancier meal that costs more than three and a half times as much?

Conclusion: Though Gordon Ramsay would have spat the risotto out and called the chef a donkey or something worse, I still have high hopes for this restaurant and want it to succeed. Hopefully, this experience was a fluke, a bad night in the history of a restaurant still going through the settling process after opening. If I had gone by myself and had nothing else to base my experience on, I wouldn’t be going back. However, despite the failure of my dish to impress, everything else was more than enough to ensure a return visit in about six months or so, to see if tonight was more than a one-time occurrence.

Rating: 3.5/5

Pew Pew, Snap Snap: An Adventure in Polymer

Choices, Choices…

For the longest time, I didn’t particularly care much for any part of the machined steel top and molded polymer frame that comprises what is arguably one of the most popular handguns in the world. “Too boxy,” declared I. Decided when my first held pistol was none other than the equally world-famous Beretta 92FS which, in addition to being a reliable handgun, also boast what many argue is a fine-tuned, curvy aesthetic, a stark contrast to the no-nonsense, no-need-for-the-frills box shape of every Glock in existence. It wasn’t until I became more familiar with everything that could be done and just how flexible the weapon system was, converting from a simple sidearm to almost anything one could want with only a few interchangeable parts and for the really fancy-pants crowd, a little bit of gunsmithing. Want to shoot only 22LR? There’s a mod for it. 50GI? If you have one of Gaston’s 10mm varieties, there is a mod for that too. Want a carbine to shoot longer range? Simple change of the slide can make this happen. Have crappy ammo that you got at some two bit Fuddtastic gunshow? It’ll eat it with glee and ask for more.

Circlejerk and poetic waxing aside, through exposure, education and extensive handling during my last position as a gun salesman, I knew a Glock was in my future. The only question was… which one? The newish wunderkind and every Glock EDC aficionado’s wet dream G43? The hunting sidearm, hand cannon and 50AE candidate G20? MOS or regular sights? In the end, much like any Honda fanatic who started with a Civic will tell you, it’s all about the basics. Just as Honda has their Civic, about the only real comparison that transcends audiences in terms of functionality and upgrade/modification markets are even close to that of the austrian lead flinger, most Glock enthusiasts start with the G17, first in the lineup and grandfather to everything else that bears the now-infamous moniker of Glock. Needing a firearm to fill the 9mm Luger hole I, too, chose to start with model 17.

Why a Glock? It was not an easy choice, but one that was roughly three to four years in the making. For quite a while, I wanted something that was chambered in 9mm. Not necessarily for any reason aside from cost of ammunition and magazine capacity, both of which are factors to consider when shooting in competitions, which often mandate ~150-200 rounds per match and at least for IDPA, have rounds that require more than the 8-11 rounds carried by your standard .40 S&W or .45 ACP pistols, thus requiring a time-consuming reload and degrading overall end results. Prior to the Glock, I was using my trusty Beretta 96 which, though familiar, was limited in its capacity and at least competition, not all that competitive, especially against lighter, faster and higher capacity adversaries. If it were true, I’d say it held its own against the sole revolver competitor, but he isn’t known as Master Long for nothing. A new solution was required.

Enter the search for a new contender. Now, my lackluster IDPA results didn’t spur the search for a suitable 9mm, though it definitely placed a little more urgency on coming to a suitable conclusion. Much weighing of the different features and possibilities was done. As sexy as the 96 and 92FS are, I couldn’t help but lean towards the 17, even with the shiny curves and striking, almost-obsessive familiarity with the weapon system fostered by eight years of almost daily carry. Nothing says I won’t be getting one eventually, but for the foreseeable future, the G17 will be my competition firearm of choice.

Range Report: Paper Enemies Tremble

Buying the weapon was the beginning of making the decision to use it for IDPA/Steel shooting. Two hundred rounds, five thoroughly perforated targets and one shootingWon't you donate even one dollar to save this poor target and his family? lane hanger later my mind was made up. Loading the weapon’s magazine with the last two rounds is still a bit of a pain and the trigger’s slightly heavier than I’d like it (a 3.5 pound trigger kit should remedy that problem nicely), but once I became used to these minor issues, the pistol shot like a dream. Not a single stovepipe, double feed or failure to fire/eject was encountered though all two hundred rounds put through the pistol in the course of the hour. I’m sure the targets complained, but as there were quite a few others at the indoor range, no one heard their screams. Although this fine fellow on the right was but the first of many punched full of holes, I was surprised that his fellow targets all looked much the same, with variance due to my focus on certain aspects of marksmanship like only head shots, keeping the groupings as tight as I could while shooting at 5/7/15m and other self-imposed challenges.

 

The Future is Full of Mods

Since it is almost infinitely customizable, I do foresee many a customization coming to this pistol very soon. Almost all of them will be internal in nature, as the aesthetics have grown on me since first holding one many years ago. As mentioned above, a lighter trigger will be first, along with a polished feed ramp. Fortunately, I was able to acquire a Gen4 that already had AmeriGlo GL-201 night sights installed, so no need for new sights at the moment. I originally wanted a Gen3, as the side grip texture feels odd in my hand, but I predict it, too, will grow on me as more and more rounds are expelled from its barrel towards its enemies, paper, cardboard, fibreboard and steel alike.

 

TL;DR: I bought a Glock. It shoots good, pew pew.