“Spring forward, fall back.” It’s that day again.
The daylight savings time thing got a smart enhancement this year when they postponed the turning back of the clocks to today. It allowed the trick-or-treaters another hour of daylight last night, and made things safer for all those excited little pedestrians running around the streets in the evening hours. (I noticed last night that ninjas seem to be “in” for Halloween this year. Black clad in the dark, scampering across streets…sigh. And I didn’t see a one of the little ninjas wearing the usual light-stick around their neck. Doesn’t go with the ninja costume, I guess.)
I dunno who came up with the idea of changing flashlight batteries and especially smoke alarm batteries at time change, but it made excellent sense and has probably saved lives. I’ll be doing that today. (As noted in an earlier blog entry, flashlight batteries can be expensive, especially the modern lithium type, but not being good-to-go in fast breaking emergencies is MORE expensive.)
As a gun person, I extend the concept a little and on “spring forward, fall back” days also change out the magazines in my autoloading firearms. For instance, the standard “load-out” for a duty pistol is three magazines, one in the gun and two on the uniform belt, so I try to keep at least six mags on hand for any auto pistol I use regularly. When I change the clocks and the batteries, I’ll also unload the carry mags that have been full up, and “let ‘em rest” until the next time change. The ones that have had their springs at rest will be filled up and put into the “carry rotation.” A good way to keep track of them is with a tiny spot of white or yellow paint on the floorplates, yellow for summer and white denoting winter.
I’ve heard many engineers say that this isn’t necessary, and that they learned in metallurgy class that it’s flexion of the springs caused by action and use that wears them out, and they’re not under stress when compressed. Well, I ain’t never been to metallurgy class, and can’t speak to that. However, there are other studies that say otherwise, and tell us that being constantly under maximum pressure can cause magazine springs to “take a set,” resulting in them being too weak to keep doing their job when the cartridge reservoir in the magazine has been reduced by firing, and the tired spring has to keep pushing them up. Mike Izumi is one who has studied this, and he holds several aerospace patents. When guys who are literally rocket scientists talk about this, I tend to listen. In his avocation as a part-time cop and firearms instructor, Mike determined that it was a good idea not only to rotate full and empty magazines, but to store the full ones a cartridge or two down from full capacity to lighten their load, and top them off only when he was “taking them to work.”
Maybe it’s a belt-and-suspenders approach, but that kind of caution is what firearms are all about.