Videos and Magazine Hacks.

So here’s the thing. I said that when a certain threshold was crossed in Patreon contributions I’d make videos. I was recently reminded that threshold was crossed (like a year ago) and I needed to get off my butt and make some videos. OK. As of yesterday there is a Tinker Talks Guns Youtube channel with a temporary Channel Introduction video.


You know what to do. Like and Subscribe. Or don’t; it’s a free-ish country. Oh, about that. Youtube monetization criteria are a moving target, and I just don’t have the time and energy to figure out where the hoops are, let alone jump through them. Screw it, if one or more videos are accidentally monetized I won’t complain, but I’m just going to assume none of them will be. I’ll be depending entirely on Patreon for support, just as I do now.

I did another magazine-hack recently, and that was going to be the channel’s first real video but, umm, I can’t manipulate the gun and hold the camera at the same time. Oops. There’s a fix for that in the works, but it ain’t fixed yet so you’ll have to resign yourself to text and images.

Nice Gun You Got There. It’d be a shame if your magazines cost a fortune, wouldn’t it?

(Insert evil laughter here)

F.Dusek Duo, later the CZ Duo

So I got this cool little mouse-gun. Kind of a Christmas present. The Duo .25 ACP, a semi-clone of the Colt 1908. Neat little gun, fun to shoot. A lot of people feel a .25 ACP is useless. I disagree, but it is seriously never going to be my first or even second choice to use for self-defense. Technically I don’t need a spare magazine. OK, it’s not always about ‘need;’ it would be nice to have one just because. I mean, how expensive could it…

Mother of God!

Even the Triple K version, which is only moderately likely to be capable of being made to function with some work, is pretty expensive. Correct magazines are… *gulp.* Nope. OK, all is not lost. A Colt 1908 magazine will probably fit, and they’re… Oh dear God. Nope, not affordable. Not even close. I reminded myself that I didn’t really need a spare and got on with my life.

Then I found I could make the Beretta M1951 magazine work in the Sig Sauer P6 and thought, ‘I wonder…’ Ben’s Loans, a long-time favorite gun shop, has the Bins of Random Crap on a bottom shelf. Miscellaneous scope mounts, old pistol grips, several, uh, I don’t actually know what those are, and a random assortment of not-easily-Identified pistol magazines. Worth a look, right?

Man, if I were building a single-stack .32 Auto they would have me covered! As it was I did happen to find a .25 ACP magazine, and darned it if didn’t look like it would fit the Duo with minimal persuasion.

‘New’ magazine on the left.

As I was coughing up $4.99 plus tax for my find the cashier asked, “Hey, do you know what that magazine fits?”

“Not a clue,” I said. “But I’m pretty sure I know what I can make it fit!”

It’s Not Rocket Science. No, really.

The new magazine was longer and holds 7 rounds instead of 6. I can work with that. It sticks out the bottom. I can work with that. Sometime in its past an angry punch attacked it and the follower sticks. OK, I gotta’ fix that. A judicious combination of hammer and grinding got the magazine magazine-shaped again and working smoothly.

Using a cut-off wheel and a jewelers file I carefully cut a slot on the back of the magazine for the heel-release, Yes, I removed the spring and follower first.
The magazine sticks out, but so what? I get an extra round and it’s easy to strip out.

I could have shortened the magazine and re-worked it so it could be flush-fit, but I didn’t mind it sticking out slightly. It works correctly and easily, and that’s the important thing. I refinished the mag with some Oxpho blue, gave it a good cleaning and oiling and it works a treat.

Extra magazine, no second mortgage required. Just a few bucks and a little ‘sweat equity.’

It’s a thing to consider when working with old pistols; there are a lot of old magazines out there waiting to be adapted…

Stay safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 11 January 2022

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NO, Ballistic Gel Isn’t The Same. It Isn’t Supposed to Be

*rant begins*

Since the dead horse won’t lay down I’m going to beat it again. Apparently I’m going to have to keep beating it until at least most of you get it. Let me break out the Ibuprofen and heating pads, because it seems like this is going to be an ongoing process.

115gr JHP fired into Clear Ballistics 10% ordinance gel through four layers of 16 oz. denim. This actual bullet penetrated 12-1/2″

Many, many years ago someone came up with Ordinance Gel in an attempt to simulate what happens when a bullet hits a person. Fair enough; it’s not legal to shoot humans just to see what happens and if it was you’d probably run out of volunteers pretty quickly.

There were problems with this. It was was finicky about temperature, annoying to make and handle, and as a representation of the human body it was frankly kind of useless. Muscle, bone, fat, organs with varying composition and toughness… all of these combined to make it terrible at predicting a bullet’s terminal performance in human or animal targets.

OK, time and technology has marched on. We now have products like Clear Ballistics ordinance gel. Not identical to the old pork-based stuff, but it’s close enough and it’s much, much more consistent. It’s also hugely less temperature sensitive, easy to handle, reusable and, let’s face it, less icky. But from the old-school perspective it still doesn’t have bones etc., so it is a lousy simulation of a human being. So why do we keep using it? Because we’ve changed our perspective, and it’s no longer supposed to simulate a human being. Let me explain.

A few decades back people got really, really interested in how handgun bullets performed in human bodies. Having noted that hollow-point bullets can clog with fabric they determined that four layers of 16 oz. denim was a reasonable approximation of ‘average’ clothing to see if a hollow-point would expand or clog up and not expand, so they placed this over the gel. While they were aware that ballistic gel sucked as a representation of a human body they noticed something: actual bullets that worked well on actual human bodies in actual shootings performed similarly to each other in these ballistic gel tests.

This allowed them to establish a performance baseline for bullets. If bullets that work in real life perform similarly in the comparative media it is logical to assume that bullets that perform similarly to these bullets in the comparative media will perform comparably in real life.

Let me make this crystal clear for those that might have missed it- . These tests were absolutely not simulations. They were using it as a comparative test media. As such is is completely irrelevant that ballistic gel doesn’t simulate a human body, doesn’t have bones or variable densities etc. It’s not supposed to, it’s supposed to be a consistent test media to compare bullets to a baseline met by bullets noted to be effective in real life.

That baseline, established by the FBI over decades of study, is that bullets fired through four layers of 16 oz. denim into 10% Ordinance Gel will penetrate 12-19″ and if they expand in the test they will probably do so in real life. Bullets that meet this standard in the test are likely to perform similarly to bullets that have worked well in real life. Without going down the rabbit hole of handgun stopping power (for once) the use of FBI standard tests can establish that, if all other things are equal, a load has what it takes to get the job done. This isn’t a guarantee that it will, just that it can.

*Eyes the dead horse, gets a good grip on the club and prepares to resume.*

Modern ballistics gel tests are not simulations. The simply show you if a) the round meets the baseline for performance established as desirable by the FBI and b) whether the bullet is likely to expand in human tissue.

Why the FBI Standard?

Unlike television law-enforcement shootings involve suspects that are doing things, not just standing and squarely facing the shooter. They may be taking cover, trying to dodge bullets, trying to flank the officer etc. A bullet might have to pass through more or less tissue, bone etc. depending on the angle it enters from. It might have to pass through an arm-bone before striking the ribs, and it still needs to have the oomf to reach the heart, spine and/or other important bits despite this. Bullets that meet the FBI standard can reliably do this, and it doesn’t matter that the !@#$%&*! ballistic gel doesn’t have !@#$%&*! bones.


SHUT UP ABOUT THE FACT THAT BALLISTICS GEL DOESN’T HAVE BONES AND DOESN’T SIMULATE A HUMAN BODY. We know that. We know it isn’t supposed to. We know what it actually is supposed to do and why those standards exist. Those of us who aren’t utter, complete muppets also get that these tests measure bullet performance, not stopping power. So please, please PLEASE just stop it.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

*rant ends*

Stay safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 10 January 2022

Quick Shot: Magazine Adaptation

Beretta Model 1951. Note the mag release at the bottom/rear of the grip and the corresponding notch in the magazine.

Just before Christmas I was alerted to a flash sale. I had a look, though usually these are obscure spare parts for weird guns no has heard of or common early 20th C. Milsurp rifles. This time they had magazines for my beloved Beretta Model 1951 at a genuinely good price, and we’re not talking Promag, Triple K or even Maadi here. These were genuine Beretta magazines! I love my old guns and mags can get expensive so I snatched some right up.

I also love my Sig Sauer P6, but I only had a single spare mag. I’d bought a couple of Promags but of course they were crap and I sacrificed them to a project. But I did note that they were a remarkably good fit in the Beretta. So the Beretta mags ought to fit in the P6…

P6 magazine on the right, M1951 on the left. Gotta say, those are mighty similar...
Yep. That Beretta Mag fits just fine, and when I held it in place it cycled rounds through the gun like a champ.

Of course the notch for the mag-catch is in a wrong place, but that’s what Dremel tools are for, am I wrong? I carefully marked the magazine, disassembled it and gently cut a notch for the Sig’s magazine-catch. I’ll be damned… it works.

Loads, releases, cycles. That’s what a magazine needs to do.

Now I have another magazine for the P6. Of course that little bitty notch in no way affects it’s ability to be used in the Beretta too. Might be I should convert a few more…

Stay Safe and take care,

Michael Tinker Pearce, 8 January 2022