Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Ghost Town

I live near a ghost town. In fact, it is my nearest "metropolis." It's been deserted since the early 60s when the last resident died. It was never much. Just a post office, a grocery, a small hardware, and the community hall. The community hall is the only building still standing in its entirety. The hall was the site of parties, weddings, dances, and fist-fights for years. There's a small rodeo grounds out back, too.

I don't think the population was ever much more than about six, since it was less a real town than the gathering place and social center for the ranches in the surrounding four-hundred or so square miles. Delivery of mail to your own box is fairly recent, and even so I only get mail three days a week— when the roads are open, that is.

As people died, sold out, or moved away the larger community began to wither. The last school, just about four miles north of me, was closed only a few years ago when the student population shrank to the two youngsters who came to school on horseback.

As a region and as a nation, we are not richer for the loss.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Thoreau said he liked to have a "broad margin" in his life. By this he meant he liked to have time and space outside of and beyond the daily necessities of his life. 

I have always cherished such a margin. But there have been too many times in my life when I didn't have such a luxury: too many years when there was not only no margin, but a seemingly never-ending calendar of stress and hurry and even confrontation.

No more. I do not take for granted the luxurious margin I now enjoy. I savor it. And I also try to be worthy of it on a day to day basis, whether or not I have "earned" it. Margins are one thing; loafing is another. I try not to loaf. Well, OK— sometimes I loaf. But I still maintain a kind of work ethic. Maybe force of habit, or maybe a sense of obligation— which may or may not be delusional.

Modern American life does not seem to have much room for broad margins in our lives. Even kids seem to have lost that capacity, what with orthodontist's visits, band practice, soccer, church camp, etc., "being a kid" seems to have devolved into having your own appointment book. It's a shame that the idle creativity and aimless fun of childhood has morphed into the lives of little executives.

I've always liked the old saying, "Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits."

Monday, October 27, 2008


Tonight, for the first time in more than a hundred years, there are no cattle on my friend's ranch. No calves, no cows, no heifers, no steers, no bulls. And it'll be like that until the new owner brings in his stock.

The Indians say "Only earth and sky last forever." But we may be pretty far along in figuring ways to screw that up, too.


Yep. Hub deep in the sand. I went over before light this morning to help my friend load cattle for shipment. About halfway there I hit a sand wash going too slow and...sank. You have to really blow through the sand washes and if you don't, you lose. I know better but wasn't paying attention I guess. Trying to get myself out just dug me in deeper.

I was beyond the PONR so hoofed it on in to his place. A lovely five mile hike across the early-morning plains. Saw several groups of antelope. They don't see many people afoot in this country (without rifles at least) and I could almost see the little question marks hanging over their heads.

After the cattle were loaded another neighbor drove me back and dragged me out, barely missing get stuck himself. Such a hike really gives perspective on why horse thieves were hung.

(Sorry about pic quality of the truck photo. It was barely light and the exposure time was handheld at 1 full second wide open.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The Indians based their calendars on natural events that impacted their lives. For Plains Indians December was the moon of popping trees. July was the moon of cherries-are-ripe. January was the moon of frost-in-the-teepee. Their system makes more sense than basing your calendric names on Roman divinities and emperors that have no meaning for us any more, and never did on this continent.

My personal system is somewhat erratic, since I seem to go by the actual days that something significant happens and that will vary from year to year. Like the day of the first snow, or the day of the first sunflower. Today was the Day of Falling Leaves. My cottonwoods have been holding on most valiantly, but today they compromised with a strong northwest wind and began the process of stripping themselves out for the winter. Usually we will have a wet spell, followed by a cold snap, then the leaves will begin to fill the air with their flimsy fluttering as they have today. For the Lakota, November was the moon of falling leaves, so according to that calendar it is a bit early this year. In actual fact leaves almost never make it into November here.

As with all seasonal punctuation marks I am sad to see them go, but also full of hope and anticipation for the season to come. And as the Indians know, the leaves will be back and as poor forked beings we can only hope to be here to celebrate them when they return.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The first snow...

...of the season was on the ground when I got up this morning. Enough to whiten the prairie and leave little rills and valleys where the wind has piled and shaped it. No six-foot drifts yet, more like two-inchers, if that.

Can't say I am overjoyed to see it, but it goes with the territory. It's certainly an autumnal punctuation mark. It could be on the menu, if not present in actuality, from now until June.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The River

Yesterday I helped take two truckloads of cattle down to the buyer. It was a nice, mostly clear fall day and good for travel. We crossed the river were it breaks up into multiple channels. The trees and surrounding brush are turning now and the lush browns, tans, golds, and russets are breathtakingly beautiful. The richness of color as far as the eye can see. The Indians followed and lived along this river for many, many centuries before the Invaders came and took it all away from them. In truth, this river has run with blood in many places.

But now it makes its peaceful way along, visited by the ducks and geese, swans and cranes, on their annual pilgrimages in both directions. By deer and elk and all the other four- and two-leggeds that depend on it. I think of it as a sacred place, blessed by the Great Spirit, and endangered only by us, the newcomers. I hope we are worthy of it, but sometimes I have my doubts.


After posting "The Woodpile" I realized that some readers may not be familiar with W. C. Williams' poem "The Red Wheelbarrow" thus my concluding remark would be meaningless. Here is the poem.

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

The Woodpile

Fall progresses slowly toward winter by fits and starts. One day will be warm, sunny, and almost windless. The next will be wet, with  cold, raw wind beating down. Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow and the rest of the week, but probably won't amount to much.

The fireplace has already been inaugurated for the year. Emma is my fireplace dog: she tells me when it should be lit, and when it needs an extra log. She's better than a thermostat.

So much depends on the axe and the splitting wedge.

They'll have to do for now, since I don't own a red wheelbarrow.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Death of Bouncer

Michael Dunegan lived alone on a little hard-scrabble farm high in the mountains of western County Kerry. His only companion and best friend was his dog, Bouncer. But the inevitable came to pass, and in his fourteenth year old Bouncer gave up the ghost, leaving Michael all alone and entirely bereft from grief.

So Michael sets out on the hike to town, to make final arrangements for his friend. He stops into the parsonage to see Father Malone.

"Father" he says, "me dog has died."

"Michael, I'm sorry to hear that. I know he was very special to you," says Father Malone.

"He was that, Father, indeed. And now I am after thinking that I'd like to do something special for him. Do you think you could say a blessing or something like that for Bouncer at mass?"

"Don't be daft, man!" says Father Malone. "A dog, mentioned at mass? Certainly not. Mass is not a place to be blessing a lowly animal! Now be off with you, Michael, and trouble me no more with your nonsense!"

"Yes, Father, certainly," says Michael. "But I'd be wondering if you might know where I might get something like that done for poor old Bouncer?"

"Well," says the priest, "there's those Baptists down at their new chapel. You might try there. God alone knows what foolishness they practice!"

"Thank you, Father," says Michael. "And not to be troubling you still, but what should such a blessing cost do you think? I've been saving for a long time and I have a thousand pounds I'd be willing to give them if you think that would be enough."

"Jesus, Joseph, and Mary!" cries the priest. "Why didn't you tell me the dog was a Catholic?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Watcher

Made a supply run yesterday. It's the time of year when you want to have plenty of needfuls on hand in case the weather does a sudden nasty, as has been known to happen. There's a grocerette in the nearest town but their prices are high and the selection is poor to say the least. When I need to shop I head for a larger supply center. My nearest is 100 miles, but I make a semi-festive day out of it, complete with store-boughten lunch. Besides, it's good to get off-ranch once in a while.

On the way out I saw this fellow sitting up on a hill over the road where he could eyeball his domain. I stopped and backed up to get this shot from the window. He never moved. Had he been a whitetail he would have skedaddled as soon as I stopped the truck. He was still up there as I drove off.

While I was out I visited Cabela's. They had sent me one of their discount vouchers, which at the lowest level gives $30 off a $100 purchase. I try to save up what I need 'til I have one of those. While there I handled one of the new 22/45 Rugers, the one with 5.5" barrel and adjustable sights. Nice little gat, but I didn't think the grip frame was a real good match for a 1911-- too small and too thin. For about $10 more I can get the .22 conversion unit for the Kimber and I think that's what I will do.

I bought four pounds of powder and a $40 steel swinging target good for up to .44 Magnums. With the discount and some points I had on my Cabela's Club card I got out for $3.90. I was pleased. Cost me a good bit more for the other supplies, though. But now we won't starve around here if we get snowed in sudden-like.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On the Wing

Saw this vee of geese yesterday. It's the first large group I have seen this season. They were on their way south, of course, and looked to be heading a little west of south toward a lake in a national wilderness area over there a couple of miles. They were flying quietly, as I could hear no calling at all. The sounds of the vocal flight of geese in the cool air of fall is one of the great thrilling sounds of the world. That and the whistling of elk.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Empty Places

On the way over to yesterday's sale, on the antelope trail that masquerades as a county road in that direction, I passed by a ranch, another one, where a family no longer lives. Some of these old places are now lived in by the hired men of the big ranchers that buy them up. That'll be the fate of my friend's place. Some of them are just left to rot away. This is one of the latter. Nobody lives there any more to watch the ruddy dawn come up over the hills to the east.

Sale Day

Yesterday was the sale over at my friend's ranch. There was a pretty good turn-out but maybe not as many as he had hoped. One fellow flew in for it and landed in the pasture. They sold three tractors, a truck, many implements, saddles, household effects, some antiques, lots of tools, and of course a world-class collection of nuts, bolts, nails, screws, and miscellaneous stuph. It took three big flatbeds to hold all the small items.

Despite being his decision, it was a sad day for all. It took six hours to sell the accumulation of four generations of a ranch family's life. How could that not be wrenching? At least they are going to a comfortable retirement life not too far away.

I can't help but feel we have our priorities screwed up in this country. It's hard for farm and ranch people to make it at the best of times. Right now the wealthy and the wannabes -- often the same folks -- are buying up land at two to three times the going rate. Much more if it being sold for hunting. Of course, that immediately becomes the new 'going rate' and the real ranchers, the old timers, are squeezed. The new land values drive up the tax rates which are already high, especially in the light of the relative paucity of services actually received by the taxpayer. We just don't treat our primary ag folks very well.

We'll ship cattle in a week or so, and that will be it. That will be another tough couple of days. Most ranchers, like dairymen, really like their critters. This fellow has always treated his cattle very well, as he has a deep streak of kindness for them. Anyone that shows up to help move them and likes to whoop and holler and poke 'em with prods is asked to desist. He won't put up with that sort of behavior around his stock.

The world is always changing. Sometimes it's hard to see that the change is for the good. And sometimes it's easy to see that it isn't.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Dolorous Note

Sad. I mean really sad.

Tonight, at dinner, I ate the last tomato. There are no more. The season is over. It was good while it lasted, but it's over.

Sic transit gloria.

The Day of the Winter Plan

Each year, on the first really miserable day of the coming "dark season" I take a sheet of paper and a sharp pencil and try to outline an action plan for the coming winter. Today, during a cold, gray, and drizzly morning, I decided it was time. I make blocks for the months and a long list of things I would like to accomplish. This year I figure that from 15 October to 15 April I have 181 days to get it all done. 

Winters here are an excellent time to play catch-up and to spend the desk-time that gets bypassed and put off when the weather is good and the outdoors beckon. In the old days, the prairie winters were when folks went off their rockers: cooped up in a tiny soddy, or even a more spacious cabin (perhaps even one with wooden floors), with little to do but listen to the wind ransack the environment outside and count off the days until the arrival of spring's miraculous deliverance from winter's cruel embrace.

My winters are a little different. Between the daily chores within and without our warm and cozy house, the dogs, my books, and my many projects, I am well employed during the long dark, winter. I suppose it's a matter of inner resources and I'm fortunate that, so far at lest, I haven't run out of them. Besides, when the road is open it's only thirty-five miles to the nearest café and an occasional celebratory burger-and-fries!

Whatever the plan becomes, I never manage to get it all done. I have a western novella that is "finished," but that I keep tinkering with as if reluctant to let it go. A second, full-length novel is going reasonably well, but plagued with a few critical plot-point hitches that I will try to work out this winter. There are also a couple of non-fiction things I am tinkering with, including a little book about dogs. Then there are the landscape photographs and the portraits of local folk that I have been working on for a couple of years now. Plus I have scads and scads of reloading that needs to get done. I haven't even mentioned the websites that need revamping. 

So it will be a busy winter, if I choose to make it that way. In some ways I feel I have no choice. But then I also like to watch the plains undergo their seasonal transformation. Sometimes I think it is time to let the honeyed blandishments of retirement have their day. But then I look at the list and think, No, not yet. Maybe next year.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another Grumpy Politician

Forced to pander to the unruly crowds for their votes, Shakespeare's Coriolanus cannot contain his contempt for the howling mobs.

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcases of unburied men
That do corrupt my air,--I banish you.

Don't you just wonder what his poll figures were. Where's Zogby when you need him?

Galco Matrix Redux

Readers, assuming there are some of those, may remember that exactly one month ago in this blog I reviewed my recently purchased Galco Matrix 7 holster for my Kimber CDP .45 (or other 1911s). At that time that I wrote that I liked the holster but it was extremely tight and very reluctant to give up the pistol to a normal draw stroke. I also mentioned that I found that spraying the interior of the holster with some aerosol silicon helped a great deal.

Since I wrote that mini-review I have worn the holster daily for a full month, something like fourteen hours a day. In that time I have come to think of the holster as the most nearly perfect scabbard I have ever owned for a 1911 pistol. Coming from me, a picky accumulector of carry devices for handguns, that is high praise indeed. Here's why I feel that way...

First, the holster's position on the belt (a good belt, by the way is very important) does not move nor vary one bit. It is always where it's supposed to be. The double snap-strap method of attachment is remarkably strong and stable. When you reach for the pistol, it is exactly where you expect it to be.

Next, the pistol is both secure and readily accessible. Unlike a Hollywood fast-draw pouch, the Matrix grips the gun and keeps it with you through all the various gyrations an active adult goes through. On the draw there is a bit of initial resistance, as there should be, and then the pistol releases. The silicon (and some wear, no doubt) seems to have solved the tightness problems. This holster is now as fast as any holster I have ever used. (BTW, I wondered how often I might have to reapply the silicon. Every week or week and a half appears to be the answer. It's very dusty out here, so I wipe out the interior of the holster very thoroughly, then apply a couple of short bursts of silicon. Let it dry and it's good to go. I wouldn't really have to do this, but the draw is so much smoother with the silicon. I figure one $1.49 can of silicon is going to last me about ten years.)

The angle of the holster is about perfect for me. I don't like an extreme rake, but prefer a slight (slight!) forward cant. The Matrix provides that. My hand naturally finds the grip and assumes the proper grip naturally and easily. 

I like my carry pistol to ride high and tight. With the Matrix, the rear of the ejection port of my pistol rides about 1/3-inch from the top of the belt. With the pistol's slight forward cant, the trigger rides at the top of the belt also. The muzzle lies exactly 3" below the bottom of my Mernickle 1-1/2" belt. As for tight, the holster holds the pistol close against the body but not so tight as to be uncomfortable. Even though I live in an open carry state, I usually wear an unbuttoned, loose shirt over my weapon. It never prints in this holster.

One thing I was told in my initial correspondence with the folks at Galco was that this holster is "not for everyone." Well, no holster is. But what they meant by that is that the holster is pretty inflexible, as shown in the picture at the top of this column where I am putting considerable pressure on the sides of the holster. It does not flex very much, as you can see. This might make it a trifle uncomfortable for a skinny person. My waist size is 38 and it fits me just fine. The Galco fellow said that "larger wearers" should have no problem whatsoever.

I hate gushing, but I guess that's kinda what I am doing about this holster. After I bought the Galco I also acquired a Blackhawk holster— the one without the finger release. This is also a nice holster, but I much prefer the Galco. The Blackhawk does not ride as tight and feels bulky compared to the Matrix. I plan to use it as an over-the-coat open-carry holster on another Mernickle belt as the weather gets colder here. The Blackhawk will accept my Gold Cup and the Matrix will not.

So that's where I am with the Matrix. I may find a "more perfect" holster for my carry 1911 than the Matrix. Then again, I may just stop looking.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


The calendar only provides some of the benchmarks that mark the points in the year for me. There's the first day in spring when the temp goes over 70° and stays there all day; the day the furnace is shut down for the year, and the day it's started again; the day the windows go down in the fall to pretty much stay down. Today was the day of the first fire in the fireplace for the season. It was a cold, overcast, very windy day today. Not really all that frosty, but unpleasant to be out. Even the dogs preferred to do their business and come back in. So I built the first fire for fall 2008. Emma loves fires and was delighted, immediately hogging the prime place right in front.

Can't blame her, as it felt darn good.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mercutio nailed it

While I made my dinner tonight I listened to the Biden speech from Ft. Myers on XM radio. He's a helluva performer. I hesitate to call him an orator, since that implies reason and true, classical  eloquence. He's a brilliant rabble rouser, and from the sounds of the crowd he had just the right rabble to work with. It reminded me of those old films of the Nuremburg rallies. But, to be fair, the McCain rallies aren't much different.

I'm sick of the yelling and the pseudo-frenzied crowds, the lies from the podium, the plausible scenarios of what will happen "after I am elected."

I can't help but think of Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet"A plague o' both your houses! They have made worms' meat of me..."

Boston Terriers

I like 'em. 

A few years ago I was helping my parents during a tough time in their lives. I had flown in and was spending a few days helping them with their affairs. They lived in the country, just a little way off a well-used hard road. One day I heard a terrible squealing of brakes out front and knew immediately that it was probably an animal on the road. By the time I got outside the car was gone, but a little Boston Terrier was trotting along in the very middle of the road. I went out and called him and he came to me like I was his long-lost friend. I'd never seen the little man before, but it was clear he was lost and in trouble.

I took him inside with me. He had no collar or tags, and was badly emaciated. It was clear that he was starving to death. He was filthy dirty, and smelled bad, but didn't appear to be injured in any way. He was very friendly and despite his dreadful condition, he seemed happy to be in human company. My parents didn't have a dog, but they had a couple of cats. I fed him some cat food, being careful not to let him eat too much too quickly. He liked it. Next, I gave him a good bath and I was surprised that he seemed almost grateful instead of struggling and complaining.

I called all the neighbors I knew and even took him with me in the car to houses in the immediate rural neighborhood. No one knew him. All I could think of was that someone had put him out of their car on the road. A throw-away. I called the pound and the sheriff to see if anyone had called about him. Nothing. Finally, I called the local kennel club and they agreed to come get him the next day and either find his owners or find him a good home. If I hadn't been flying and so far away from home I think I would have taken him myself. He was such a friendly, intelligent little guy. I always regretted not doing just that.

At any rate, Years and years later I was doing a lot of traveling for a project I was working on. On the road I lived in a small, comfy travel trailer as I moved from site to site. I began to get the yen for a Boston Terrier to travel with me. I called the wife and asked her to see if she could find one for me. We talked back and forth several times, and she said she was having no luck. But she's an unconvincing liar and I sensed that something was up. Sure enough, when I got home she came out of the house with a tiny black-and-white bundle adorned with a big red ribbon. Since then Mags has been my travel partner and now that I'm not traveling as much she keeps me and Emma in line.

BTs are great little dogs that don't know they're little. (They come in two varieties: 18-pound and 25-pound. Mags is an 18-pounder.) They have great hearts, boundless energy (though they do make excellent house dogs), much affection, and good senses of humor. They're bright, but not as compliant and eager to obey orders as some of the service breeds like the Rottweiler or Alsatian. Like all dogs it takes them a while to learn what you expect from them, but Mags will be five this month and she is doing just fine in that regard. She really is a great little companion with a lot of character and personality. 

So that's my too-long, personal Boston Terrier tale. Anyone looking for a clean, bright, athletic, personable little dog to live with could hardly do better than a BT. Mine gives me at least one good laugh every day, over something or other, and the love and affection just goes on and on. I've always had big dogs, and Mags is my first little-'un. I'm very glad to have her.  Even Emma likes her, and as long as Emma obeys her orders and doesn't step on her, Mags has agreed to put up with her, too.

In the picture she is gloating about the bone she stole from my prairie bone 'collection.' I pretended to chase her around to re-claim it and she thought that was the greatest fun. When I quit chasing she insisted that we resume the game.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dehydrator Bound!

Jalopeño slices on their way to the dehydrator. It's the end of the season and there is some chill in the air today so I went out and brought in the last of the squash, tomatoes, and peppers. I'll keep a big batch of peppers for eating, freeze a bunch of whole ones for cooking, and dehydrate these for cooking during the winter. A few of these dried chips are excellent in chilis, stews, and many other dishes that require a bit of heat as well as a dash of attitude.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Frontier Cuisine

Whenever we talk about the 'Opening of the West,' we dwell on such prominent historical artifacts as the Pennsylvania long-rifle, the Winchester, the Colt Model P, and other such romantic props. But we also owe a debt to the homely stuff pictured above: parched corn, jerky, and dried fruit. For this was the stuff that made possible so much of the early exploration of our western frontier.

I took in the last of my corn yesterday, and since it was past its prime for table fare I cut the kernels off and parched it in the oven for a couple of hours at very low heat. It's good: sweet, crispy, and very satisfying. I always keep a supply of home-made jerky on hand. This batch had dried red peppers pounded into it before drying. Can't claim credit for the dried cherries: they came from a farm store. When I hunt, or just plain travel, I always carry a few small ziplocks of this stuff. It's compact, nourishing, and relieves hunger pangs faster than anything I know of.

It's the stuff that our earliest frontiersmen carried with them into the wilderness as they began their first tentative thrusts into the Alleghenies and further south across the Appalachians into what is now Kentucky and Tennessee. Game was much less plentiful than we might imagine, and the vast tracts of dense forest were especially sparsely furnished with edible species. Ammunition was precious and shooting off guns was decidedly dangerous in most of that new country. So they subsisted largely on what they could carry. And a man could carry several weeks of his own provender in this light, compact form. We owe it a lot more credit than it gets. But rather than memorialize mine, I plan to eat it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pulling Up Stakes

One of my neighbors, a good friend, is giving up ranching. He's still a relatively young man, in his early sixties, but he's just had it. Tired of the grind and just plain burned out. The place is already sold and he has a new place to move to in the next month or so.

It's a tough time for him. He was born on this place, as was his father, and grandfather. But times have changed and it's just too hard for the small rancher to make it any more. Aside from that, he wants to do something else with the rest of his life, including some travel.

He sent his swather out on consignment the other day, and soon there will be a big sale at his place. That's not going to be a good day for him or his wife. Next up we'll be trucking the cattle out to the sale barn. That'll be another tough day as they both really like their critters.

It's not like this is an unusual occurrence in America these days, but when it hits so close to home it really gets your attention.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Chrysemys picta bellii

Last night after their supper I let the dogs out and Emma went crazy casting back and forth in front of the target butts. I sat on the steps and watched, halfway expecting her to flush a grouse out of the high grass that surrounds her larger brushpile. Finally she found what she was looking for and knelt down to give it a close inspection. Thinking it might be another snake I rushed out to see what it was.

It was a Western Painted Turtle and quite a nice one. (They don't call GSPs 'versatile hunting dogs' for nothing!) I could tell that neither dog was going to leave the visitor alone, so I walked him out on the prairie a bit and gave him a head start. Then kept the dogs in the house for a while.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Well met!

On the way over to the GY Ranch yesterday I ran into this speedy motorist. Dang it, I've been telling the county we need a light at this intersection. But do they listen? No-o-o-o!

A New Target

Continued to help a neighbor clean out his shop yesterday and he gave me a sheet of 3/8" steel for my range. This morning I stenciled a rough 3/4-scale 'modified' IPSC target on it and blazed away. Great fun. Now I have to devise a way to hang this 90-pound target up off the ground at a better height. I'll probably suspend it between two posts on a crossbar. Should be pretty simple. Actually it's not really bad as it is. The sound of bullets against steel is somehow deeply satisfying.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The CZ-75B

The Irish would call this a "mighty pistol." Considering that it is in 9mm Luger, it could also be considered somewhat overbuilt. It's certainly not going to be coming apart as a result of poor design or lightweight construction any time soon. My stainless version with the nice, sticky rubber grips weighs 43 ounces loaded with 17 rounds (55 ounces— 3-1/3 pounds— for loaded pistol and one reload). 

I needed this pistol like a pig needs more oink, but since 'need' enters into very few gun deals I'll omit further comment. The truth is I have wanted a 75 for a long time. I like the way they feel in the hand, the way they look, and the way they are built. So, after keeping my eyes peeled for quite a while I finally ran into one and whatever reservations I may have had faded like a campaign promise and I took it home with me.

This is, as already mentioned, a Big Pistol. A person with small hands probably would not be happy with it, particularly in DA mode. Of course, it can also be carried c&l and in that style the trigger is quite reachable by any size hand. The gun reminds me of a Browning in "feel," but a little better IMO. Still, it is big and heavy, which gives it great absorptive power for the relatively modest recoil of the 9mm cartridge. 

I haven't benched this pistol yet, but it seems more than adequately accurate from my limited tests so far. I've been able to hold offhand groups into about 3" or a little more at 25 yards. Some day I will do a more scientific test, but for now I am happy with that. From what I hear it should be capable of 2" or better. There have been no FTFs of any kind and I have used a variety of ammunition, including lead round-noses. The DA trigger is long but smooth. The SA is a bit creepy but not unpleasantly so. Mine lets off at about 5 pounds. I understand they respond well to custom trigger work. 

I've heard that the CZ75 has been adopted by more military and police services than any other pistol. In checking, I couldn't find much info on that assertion, except that it is used by Russian Spetznaz. Maybe they're the ones that use the bayonet-equipped model. Yes, a bayonet! Give me a break, Ivan.

The CZ75 is a classy pistola. (One look at the precision of the engraving and you know some unusual care has been taken with its finish.) I would no doubt carry it more if I didn't have so many other handguns that are better suited to my needs out where I live. It does get one important award, however: it sits on my bedside table along with the Kimber and the Surefire light.