1 Nov 07
These sage comments on FAL gas adjustment from my friend and colleague, John Krupa, Director of Training for DSA:
“Not knowing that one can control gas-flow on this weapon has led to countless customer-service calls to DSA, complaining that the rifle ‘doesn’t work.’ The following is laid out in great detail in the Owners’s Manual, of course, but we are happy to explain to each new owner how the gas-regulator works and then walk them through correct gas-regulator adjustment. Invariably, when we’re finished, like a miracle, the rifle suddenly runs fine!
(1) The gas vent is directly behind the base of the front sight. We start the process with the gas-regulator set to the full-open position, which is # 7 on the gas-regulator dial. The vent-hole will be visibly open all the way. Next, we start to close off the gas-regulator vent by turning the dial clockwise two clicks, which will place it at # 6. You will now see that the vent hole is partially occluded. From here, we can start our live-fire, function testing.
(2) Charge a magazine with a single round of ammunition. Insert the magazine into the rifle and chamber the round. Holding the rifle in a normal, standing position (bench-resting is not recommended) aim into the impact area and fire one round. When the bolt fails to lock back, not enough gas is driving the piston into the bolt group for a complete cycle of operation. So, close the gas regulator another, single click, which will put it at 5 1/2, and then repeat the one-shot drill. Continue to close off the gas-regulator, a click at a time, until consistent (three in a row) bolt-lock is achieved
(2) When the bolt thus consistently locks to the rear after firing a single round, insert a magazine charged with five rounds, load the rifle, and fire all five in rapid succession. Once again, the bolt needs to unfailingly lock to the rear as the last round is fired.
(3) Once your rifle passes the ‘five-round test,’ close the gas-regulator two more clicks! The gas regulator is now ‘set.’ Just about all rifles we issue to students have a final set at 4 to 4 ½. That is pretty standard.
I don’t recommend routinely closing the gas-regulator completely, as you suggested in your last Quip, unless absolutely necessary. What concerns me is not excessive wear-and-tear on the rifle. The DSA/FAL is a robust, military rifle that is designed for heavy use in hostile environments. It will take whatever you can give it! Nor is my concern with accuracy. Practical accuracy is unaffected by gas-regulator adjustments. Nor is my concern with recoil attenuation. Soft recoil is nice, but we can all handle recoil. The real problem is with case-extraction that is so violent it may result in cases being literally pulled apart as the bolt moves to the rear. The front half of the case may thus be left in the chamber, resulting in a stoppage that cannot be corrected in the short term.
(4) When the rifle gets hot, dry, and dirty, and starts short-cycling, you can use the gas-regulator dial to quickly make incremental increases in gas pressure, instantly restoring the rifle to normal functioning. Conversely, when you’re firing reloads, because that is all you can get, you can incrementally decrease gas pressure, diminishing forcefulness of case extraction, and thus making case separation less likely.
With regard to ammunition:
Ammunition quality is all over the map! Ammunition from dubious sources, reloads for example, typically exhibit inconsistent head-space and inconsistent pressure. DSA, of course, recommends against the use of such poor-quality ammunition, except in exigent circumstances.”
Comment: John K is the resident expert, and I will surely defer to his judgement on this issue, and my advice to FAL owners is that they adhere to his, foregoing, instructions.
The thorny issue is, of course, “exigent circumstances!” When I have my FAL, some magazines, and a supply of ammunition about which I know little, and I’ve been invited to participate in a fight that is starting immediately, best bet is to begin with a rifle whose gas-regulator is closed off. I’ll put up with recoil, and I’ll take my chances with case-separation, just as long as I can be assured my rifle will not short-cycle.
Conversely, when I know what ammunition I’m going to feed it, and I have time to go through the foregoing gas-regulator adjustment routine, and a range where I can do the mandatory live-fire, I will surely tune my weapon to maximum advantage. No contestation there.
Of all dubious ammunition, the most suspect is reloads. Cases that have been reloaded multiple times are stretched, weakened, and thin in spots. They are the ones most prone to case-separation, described above, and visual inspection may not be helpful. From the outside, one can seldom tell when a case wall is dangerously thin. “Once-fired-reloads” is a commonly-used platitude, but how can anyone really know how many times a particular case has been reloaded? Reloads are thus not recommended for use in any autoloading rifle.
2 Nov 07
Important note from a reloader:
“Most military 308 brass that is available on the commercial market was designed for use in, and subsequently fired through, machine guns. In order to insure reliability, machine-gun tolerances, including headspace, are generous. Accordingly, cases fired through machine guns typically stretch considerably. They are thus particularly disposed toward separation when reloaded and fired again in autoloading weapons.
I’ve seen such brass come apart under no more stress than being resized in a sizer die. This stuff is doubly risky when fired in a FAL with the valve closed!”
Comment: We agree. Keep reloads out of your FAL and all other military, autoloading rifles.
6 Nov 07
Lynn Thompson at Cold Steel is currently producing the “Sharkie.” It is a functional pen, with a screw-on cap. However, with the cap firmly in place, it is thick enough to make a near-perfect Yarawa-stick. I carry my copy in the right, inside pocked of my CCW vest. I can access it quickly, and a crisp strike with it on the back of a bully’s hand will cause him to let go, right readily. Follow-up strikes to the jaw, collar-bone, and ear can be even more persuasive!
I flew cross-country with my Sharkie last weekend, and TSA never even noticed it.
The Sharkie is low-profile, inexpensive, and, like everything from Cold Steel, robust and extremely well made. When you can have in your possession neither a gun, nor a blade, it makes a wonderful companion. Recommended!
6 Nov 07
Last weekend, in concert with several colleagues, I conducted a Close-Range Combatives Course in SC. We spent a day in live-fire drills and a second day in roll-playing drills using Airsoft pistols. Scenarios were allowed to “free-play,” and students were confronted with hostage situations, car-jackings, and numerous other lethal contacts with VCAs.
My observations confirmed what has been observed at the NTI and every other close-range, violent-encounter drill in which I’ve been involved. Students invariably came to the identical conclusion:
When confronted with imminent violence at close range, who (1) aggressively (but precisely) explode off the line of force, without delay, and continue to move aggressively, rarely get shot, and unfailingly inflict lethal wounds upon astonished VCAs. Who (2) move off the line but then stop moving, get shot more often. Who (3) hesitate, dither, or surrender meekly, seldom live through it.
A precise, but explosive, counterattack, combined with unrelenting and aggressive movement upsets VCAs’ plans so completely that they rarely regain the offensive. Successful students don’t let VCA(s) breath. They finish the fight!
There is little doubt that the longer you allow yourself to be under the control and domination of a VCA, the more likely you’ll suffer serious harm. There are surely risks involved in acting immediately and decisively, but there are even greater risks that attach to doing nothing. When they commence their attack, VCAs are always weakest and most vulnerable. After they gain control over you, they will become progressively stronger as you become progressively weaker.
In the end, when you’re gagged and tied up, all options will evaporate. You’ll perish, wishing you had acted when you had the chance!
“Delay in the use of force, and hesitation to accept responsibility for its employment, will always be interpreted as weakness. Such indecision will encourage further disorder, and will eventually necessitate measures more severe than those which would have sufficed in the first instance.”
United States Marine Corps Small Wars Manual, (1940) page 27, paragraph (d)
Back in the days when US Marines were armed all the time, they served as escorts on trains delivering supplies to remote outposts. These trains were often the targets of bandits looking for an easy score. Standing orders for all Marines so deployed directed that, in the event of an armed assault on the train, all Marines will start firing immediately! It didn’t matter what the odds, every Marine fired, without delay. Bandits were thus put on notice that there would never be an “easy score.” Whatever happened, whatever the ultimate outcome, bandit blood would be on the deck, without fail, before it was all over.
Not surprisingly, armed attacks dropped off dramatically and eventually stopped altogether! A far cry from today’s universal “surrender-at-the-drop-of-a-hat” policy, eh?
6 Nov 07
We train students to acquire a strong, Master-Grip on pistols any time they are handled, as grasping a pistol any other way invariably causes it to point in unsafe directions. Here is confirmation from a student who just returned from New Orleans:
“In New Orleans last weekend I went to the French Quarter, discovering, to my disgust, that violently aggressive pan-handlers are more numerous than they ever were before Katrina. There is (still) little to recommend it!
I noticed local police moving in on a nearby group of sleazy-looking characters. I did my best to separate myself from them, but I was close enough to see one of the officers confront a suspect and subsequently remove a pistol from the suspect’s waist-band. In so doing, the officer put his thumb through the pistol’s trigger-guard, pointing the muzzle at himself, other officers, and me. That is when I went from walking to running!
I see now why you are so insistent that pistols be handled exclusively via the Master-Grip. The officer in question could have inadvertently shot himself, me, or one of his colleagues. It makes me wonder how many preventable NDs occur every year, for that reason alone!”
Comment: Careless gun-handling, particularly allowing muzzles to inadvertently point in unsafe directions, is a plague, even among the ostensibly trained, as we see here. When handling pistols, competent gunmen employ a strong Master-Grip, exclusively!
7 Nov 07
Gun-safe maintenance, from a student:
“I just found out the hard way that gun-safes are not maintenance-free! Sunday, I went to my fifteen-year-old Liberty Gun-safe, with its S&G dial-combination lock, to retrieve several items. It wouldn’t open! The dial turned normally, but no longer had a ‘hard stop.’ I called the retailer where I had purchased it. He put me in touch with the factory. They were helpful, but after trying thirty alternate combinations they supplied, I still had no joy!
I finally called a locksmith. He managed to restore the dial to normal function by striking it several times with a hammer. Whacking was free. Knowing where to whack cost me a hundred dollars! Thank heaven it was not necessary to drill it.
Tuesday, he installed a new, electronic-keypad lock.
He explained that S&G dial-combination locks need to be serviced every five years. I had no idea! I’m just thankful this little problem didn’t rear its ugly head in the middle of an emergency.
We live and learn!”
Comment: I find electronic-keypad locks easier to use than dial combinations, but they are not
trouble-free either. And, an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) produced by a nuclear detonation may well fry electronic locks instantly.
All that secured firepower will be of little use when you can’t get your safe open!
7 Nov 07
Good marks for SIG. This from a friend in CA:
“In October, I sent my P239, which I bought used, to SIGARMS for new night-sights, all under the SIG Service Plan, which has turned out to be a good deal!
I received my pistol back in exactly one week. Imagine my pleasant surprise when, upon checking the enclosed service order, I discovered that they had reconditioned/overhauled the entire pistol, replacing numerous parts, among which was the slide itself (‘breech-face damaged’)!
My pistol, with new night-sights, is now better than new. That is customer service!
SIG has some friends here!”
Comment: The importance of competent customer service cannot be overemphasized. Shallow-thinking marketers concern themselves only with “making sales.” Smart management devotes itself to “making customers!” The disappointment of poor customer service will muddle one’s perception of a company long after the glitter of low price has faded!
7 Nov 07
At what point does quota-based “training” become incompetent? From an LEO trainer and colleague in SA:
“We presented our Course to a group of new officers, among whom was a female who had never touched an autoloading pistol before that day. We’re rushed here, and we have only a short time to teach as much as we can. This forces us to drop items from our curriculum that should be included, especially for first-time shooters.
For example, we leave out explaining, in detail, mechanical workings of the autoloading pistol (cycle of operation), as we naively believed this becomes clear with practical work. When we got to the range, our female officer was well prepared and did just fine with her dry-fire drills. However, when we went live, upon firing her first shot, the ejected case went straight back and hit her shooting glasses, making a characteristic “tick” sound upon impact.
Her glasses protected her eye, of course, but she immediately displayed a confused expression and started to turn around. I grabbed her arm, preventing the weapon from pointing down the line.
We got her pistol holstered, and I asked her if she was okay. Still befuddled, she told me that there must be something wrong with the gun, as the bullet had come out from the side! That explanation may sound juvenile to the mechanically-minded and firearms-knowledgeable, but, to this student, things were not so clear.
A short break, where weapon mechanics were belatedly explained, quickly sorted out the confusion. Our officer went on to be the best shot in the Course, consistently outperforming all her fellow students, both male and female!”
Comment: We trainers are forced to follow arbitrary whims of politics, while simultaneously compelled to push quotas instead of quality training. But, how many details can we leave out before our program becomes genuinely inadequate?
I fully realize that some items that will have to be sacrificed in order that others remain in the program. However, professional trainers working in these conditions have to remain constantly aware of the pitfalls this creates and at what point the entire curriculum falls below “critical mass” and subsequently degenerates into incompetence.
At that point, we have to have the personal courage to put our foot down, hard!
7 Nov 07
This is from a colleague here in CO. Good way to remember what to do when the shooting stops.
“Rule of “R:”
Just because the VCAs is/are down or has/have run away does not mean he/they no longer represent a threat. Your lateral movement will disorient and confuse them. Get off the “X!”
Tunnel/magnification vision is common when you’re compelled defend yourself with gunfire. Restore normal perspective while simultaneously checking out all angles. This is done by turning your head. Look to the sides and behind you.
Locate and analyze ongoing threats. Point your gun in the direction of the most pernicious threat.
Don’t relax too soon. The fight may be just getting started!
Reload when you want to, not when you have to!
When cover is available, move to and use it to your best advantage.
Resume shooting the instant it becomes necessary. Be precise and thorough.
The only ‘Re-’ conspicuously absent is ‘Re-lax.’ Gunfights are not relaxing events, and relaxing too soon can be fatal! ”
Comment: Trainers are always looks for clever ways of packaging and presenting vital material. Who find the foregoing helpful should use it!
14 Nov 07
On a History Channel presentation, entitled “Shootout-Iwo Jima,” it was revealed that, when the battle was supposed to be won and over, somebody neglected to update the Japanese! While exhausted US Marine infantrymen, pilots, and ground crews slept in tents, having been assured that they were “perfectly safe,” a group of Japanese soldiers, armed only with knives, entered the tents and began systematically butchering the sleeping, unarmed personnel.
A Marine lieutenant awoke, saw what was happening, and fought back boldly with his K-Bar knife. Because of his courage and audacity, he lived through it. Many of his comrades didn’t!
Curiously, this embarrassing chapter is customarily omitted from most Iwo Jima battle accounts!
Someone up the food chain had withdrawn all ammunition and most weapons from these Marines, afraid that they may have accidents, commit suicide, shoot locals, etc. At least, that was the cover story. In the final analysis, a general, whoever he was, didn’t trust these men with guns. “Safety” was used as a convenient, and innocent-sounding, prevarication, much as it is today.
Something similar occurred forty-four years earlier at Balangiga, Island of Samar, Philippines, again to unarmed American Soldiers. And, again, it was the direct result of arrogant, self-righteous officers, afraid of guns, afraid of their men, afraid of everything. The same thing happened to and entire battalion of US Marines in Lebanon in 1982.
All that is needed to convert these pathetic massacrers into brilliant victories is that soldiers and Marines be continuously equipped with tools they need to accomplish their mission and protect themselves. Yet, military “leaders” still casually put men and women in harm’s way without the necessary tools of their profession. It infuriates me every time I hear of our brave servicemen and women who are ordered to disarm in combat zones, so that they are all “safe.”
The second point greened from the Iwo Jima incident is that, no matter what the odds, victory is still within our reach, when we make it a habit of always looking for a way to win. All true Operators need to be able to bring about a change in intensity and attitude, to “switch” from defense to offense, and to make this switch in an instant, accepting everything that comes after.
Operators must always be pessimistic, even cynical, with regard to their “safety” at any place and at all times, accepting that deadly danger is never more than a second or two away. Indeed, naive assurances of “safety” are, and ought to be, objects of contemptuous laughter! However, while always being armed and on guard, Operators need to be simultaneously sanguine, confident in their own ability and will to do what needs to be done and accomplish what needs to be accomplished.
Having eminent faith in ourselves, and none in circumstance, we go always forward, boldly and fearlessly!
“Never give in to adversity. Never trust prosperity. And, never fail to take full note of fortune’s irritating habit of doing exactly as she pleases!”
16 Nov 07
Earlier this week, I shot a four-hundred-pound Red Deer Stag during a hunting trip in the Midwest. Range was thirty meters, and I had a profile shot. He was hit, as is my habit, on the point of the shoulder. He took two steps and precipitously collapsed. Beautiful animal!
I used my DSA/FAL/Congo with a forward-mounted Micro-Aimpoint and equipped with a Blue-Force-Gear/Vickers sling. Ammunition was Cor-Bon 168gr DPX.
The opportunity was sudden. We saw the animal standing there, appearing, as it were, out of nowhere, and I was compelled to mount and fire immediately, as the window was closing fast. The FAL/Aimpoint combination is formidable! Fast and deadly, I was on him in an instant. When my shot broke, I caught the link immediately as I stayed in the sight, but decided against taking a second shot. It was my judgement that another hit was unnecessary.
With the Micro/Aimpoint forward-mounted, I can shoot with both eyes open and thus stay in the sight longer than would be the case if I were using open sights or if the optic were mounted close to my eye. It is the set-up I recommend.
The single DPX bullet did not exit, and we never recovered it, but, judging from the behavior of the deer, I have no doubt it performed well, as all Barnes bullets do!
Vicki shot a running ram at one-hundred meters with her M1-Carbine, also using Cor-Bon DPX ammunition. Spectacular shot! One shot, and he was down for the count. Bullet went through-and-through, penetrating twelve inches of tissue. Iron sights still work just fine!
As an Urban/Fighting Rifle, the FAL/Congo is hard to beat! Fast, handy, and relatively light, one can drive it to target in the wink of an eye, particularly when it is equipped with the Vickers sling.
The M1-Carbine is an ideal car-gun. Short and light, with mild recoil and muzzle blast, it still packs a wallop! DPX ammunition has made it a legitimate weapon for both hunting and fighting.
No point in using anything else!
16 Nov 07
Comments on the History Channel Iwo Jima Presentation, from a Korean War veteran:
“This is disgusting!
While stationed in Korea in the 1950s, I was always armed wherever I went, inside or outside the wire. Indeed, our regimental commander had standing orders that anyone, no matter his rank, observed going about without their weapon and basic-load of ammunition was subject to disciplinary action by him personally.
In my company, most of us also had personal weapons, sent from home or acquired locally, to augment our Garands, M1-Carbines, BARs, and 1911s. In those days, personal weapons, pistols and blades, were not a problem. In fact, we were encouraged to have and carry them.
One spring day we had a new lieutenant join us. This new lieutenant noticed a PFC carrying a 1928 Thompson, slung over his shoulder. Apparently wanting to mark his territory, the lieutenant informed the PFC that his Tommy Gun was ‘unauthorized’ and that he needed to turn it in. The lieutenant also wanted to know where he got it. The PFC replied proudly and confidently that his father bought it for him and that he knew how to use it and had, in fact, used it, with great effect, only a few days previous. Our captain, a real warrior who always lead from the front, got involved and countermanded the lieutenant’s order, explaining to him, in no uncertain terms, that the PFC in question was a good man who didn’t need to be screwed with! We never saw that lieutenant again.
I never heard of any ‘withdrawal of ammunition’ Even after the ‘cease-fire’ of 27 July 1953 we remained armed, and that included everyone.
Of course, we did have a few NDs, and a suicide or two, but considering all those continuously-loaded guns, accidents were extremely rare.
Unlike today, our Colonel had no fear of his men, regularly showing up in the lines, even personally inspecting our remotest outposts with only one other man with him. I only met him once in-Country, and he was carrying a personally-owned 357Mg revolver.
Forty years later we were to meet again. Same man, steadfast and steady, even in old age. The Marine/Warrior spirit and bearing was still there, in spades. Unmistakable!”
Comment: We’ve come a “long way” since then, eh?
16 Nov 07
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it is revealed “home-invasion” burglaries are on the rise in the USA, particularly in high-rent districts. Along with kidnappings, such home-invasions have been common in Mexico for years. We’re just now catching up!
The vast majority of burglary suspects will not break into any building they believe to be occupied, wanting no confrontation with anyone who might be in there. However, “home-invaders” are a much more dangerous breed, who actually seek confrontation with, and control of, residents of homes, so that they can steal cars, wallets, and compel householders to withdraw cash from banks, while holding other family members hostage.
The article goes on to give the usual, tired advice: Lower your personal profile. Keep your mug off TV and out of newspapers. Install electronic security in you home, and use it. Don’t open your door to people you don’t know.
All good advice, but like professing “journalists” everywhere, the author doesn’t even mention the only strategy that is going to provide any species of real protection: Householders need to be continuously armed and eminently ready to repel criminal violence, with gunfire. The rest is just window dressing!
In fact, arming oneself is referred to in the article as an “extreme measure” that should only be attempted with “proper licensing and training.” Well, if any of these “journalists” ever set foot west of the Delaware, they might discover that in Colorado, for example, we don’t have “licensing,” except to carry concealed, and one may legally own any number of guns, even military rifles, without “permission” from any government agency. In Colorado, extreme risks thus attach to “home-invasion!”
Once again, East-Coast elitists who author this rubbish are little more than frightened VBCs, who, like most of their readers, cannot imagine themselves ever taking decisive action in defending their homes and families. Instead of making necessary lifestyle changes, they prefer to remain apprehensive little cowards, huddling together in some Northeast metro area, deluding themselves into believing someone else will protect them.
… and they call themselves “experts!”
19 Nov 07
Mossberg M930, Autoloading Shotgun:
During an Urban Rifle/Shotgun Course in OH last weekend, a student brought a brand-new copy of Mossberg’s M930 Shotgun. It is the first one I’ve had a chance to actually use and observe on a range.
Bottom line: The 930 is unusable for our purposes.
Problems became apparent immediately as the student attempted to manipulate the gun. Once loaded, the entire magazine tube must be completely voided and then subsequently recharged all over again, in order to return the shotgun to Transport Mode (magazine tube charged, hammer down on an empty chamber, manual safety “off,” Transport Mode is often referred to as “Cruiser-Ready”). In addition, when attempting the load the gun, it continually double-stacked, causing two rounds to be released from the magazine tube into the receiver, simultaneously.
After ten, frustrating minutes of attempting to come up with a viable handling procedure, we gave up and issued the student a Remington 870, which, of course, ran fine for the duration.
Some years ago, Mossberg produced another autoloading shotgun, dubbed the “Jungle Gun.” Now long-since out of production, we had nothing but trouble with it too.
Mossberg is surely capable of producing functional shotguns, but this new 930 is utterly unsuitable for our purposes. Again, when making ostensible “police” shotguns, they need to talk with someone other than trap shooters!
19 Nov 07
Comments on adverse conditions, from one of our instructors:
“During the Rifle Test last weekend, I was shivering because of the cold. I got chilled and just could not get warm. My discomfort made a big difference in my performance. It was difficult for me to concentrate on the task at hand. It was a combination of fatigue, cold, and exhaustion, both mental and physical, that made it nearly impossible to concentrate sufficiently to hold my sights on target.
Here is what I learned: I need to do more training in the cold, wind, rain, mud, etc! I need to train when I am anything but comfortable, in fact, when I am miserable to distraction, and exhausted mentally. Training at that ragged end of the spectrum will develop mental toughness, the kind of icy determination I will need when the challenge comes to me at an inconvenient time and in an unhappy place!”
Comment: An important lesson here! We do entirely too much “training” in the abstract, where we can concentrate completely upon what we’re doing, because there is not a host of distractions clamoring for our attention and dividing our focus. The ability to concentrate on demand, to exert complete control over our own minds and thoughts, despite being submerged in brawling chaos, is a critical fighting skill, yet one that is scarcely known, much less regularly exercised, by most practitioners of our Art!
“The occasional lightning flash that troubles the atheist is more important than the comfortable, smug faith of the ‘believer.’”
20 Nov 07
This message is to all contributors to the War Effort. It is from CWO Danny Luke who is our contact in-Country:
“I need to thank you, all of your students and friends. My request for tools and various items has been met with unbelievable support and patriotism. I have received all of the tools that I asked for and more.
Please pass to all: My requests have been filled, and I am indebted to all of them. The tools will be passed to my replacement next year, and the supplies should last us well past the New Year if not the entire deployment.
I have taken pictures of all that I have received and sent them to the generous donors. I have taken some pictures of my instructors at work and will take more in the coming months. I will ask you for an address at a later date to send them on to you. Our Internet service here is extremely poor. Sending just one picture is difficult.
The Battalion is in good shape and has done a tremendous job thus far in securing our
AO and training Iraqi Police and Army to assume the security responsibilities when we leave. We have not lost one Marine and have suffered only a few significant injuries.
I say to one and all: We will keep up the fight. Please accept our best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving and the safest of Holiday Seasons!”
20 Nov 07
We attended the last day of the ITOA Show (Illinois Tactical Officers’ Assn) today in Oakbrook, IL. Things of note:
Chicago Police Department has, at long last, approved Glock pistols. Glock was frozen out of CPD for many years, because of several individuals up the food chain, who, for reasons known only to them, just didn’t like the pistol. They’re now out of the way, and Glocks are finally approved for general carry. CPD has also, finally, approved the 40S&W round.
John Klein’s (Sage International) replacement chasses for the M-14 rifle has been purchased by both the Marines and the Army. Designated the M-39 by the USMC, it is being issued to the “Designated Marksman” at squad level. It has rails for mounting accessories, along with a stock that is adjustable in length as well as height. Stock is also collapsible. A similar replacement chasses is available for the Mini-14, breathing new life into that gun as a patrol rifle. I’ve known John K for many years, and everything he makes is top-drawer.
My friends at Glock tell me the G19 has superceded the G23 as Glock’s current best seller. The 9mm, they believe, has reemerged at the defensive pistol caliber of choice, at least in the non-police market. The shift is at least partially due to recent improvements in high-performance ammunition available in 9mm. The G21SF has now largely displaced the G21. Most departments looking for a pistol in 45ACP specify the G21SF
Friends with SIG report that many departments that had been using the DAK have abandoned it in favor of the conventional SIG system, now with the SRT (short-reset trigger)
Ruger’s new SR9 was on display and garnered interest. It’s relatively low retail price, combined with its similarity to Glock, will insure at least some sales.
Throwing flash-bang munitions into doors is now considered an obsolete tactic by most SWAT units. The current trend it to insert flash-bang grenades through windows, on the end of specially-designed poles. This is a direct response to many unintentional injuries, to officers, suspects, and bystanders alike, as well as unintentional house-fires, associated with thrown flash-bangs.
ITOA, under the inspired leadership of Chief Jeff Chudwin, has established itself as the premier training organization in the Midwest. Good show, Jeff!
21 Nov 07
Interesting news about S&W’s M&P Pistol, from a friend in the Philippines:
“Smith’s M&P pistols, in both 40S&W and 9mm, are doing absurdly well over here, all the more interesting when one considers that S&W pistols have, up until now, never enjoyed any appreciable presence in this part of the world!
Despite a premium price-tag, distributors can’t keep these pistols in stock. Filipinos are voting with their checkbooks and the M&P is rapidly moving to first place here, eclipsing Beretta, Browning HP, various Eastern European guns, and currently breathing down Glock’s neck!
I’ve managed to interview several end-users who have already had serious trigger-time with their M&Ps, and all return nothing but rave reviews. Positive comments center mostly on high reliability, pleasing ergonomics, and variable grip-geometry. For our small hands, there is no longer need for a ‘grip-reduction.’ All attempts to make the pistol short-cycle, via limp-wristing, have failed.
Spare parts are still scarce, as are spare magazines. Comp-Tac and Bladetech do ship holsters to our country, so at least we have viable concealed-carry options.
Glock dealers have been compelled to lower prices!”
Comment: Ten years ago, many (including me) predicted that S&W would be out business before 2000. How wrong we were! S&W, a grand American gun company, now with competent management, has surged back. They, at long last, have a major player in the M&P Pistol.
Competition is good! When competent products go head-to-head, everyone benefits.
25 Nov 07
In the late 1940s, the British Military started experimenting with an “intermediate rifle/MG cartridge,” which ultimately became known as the 280/British. This project was a direct result of their keen interest in the high-capacity, autoloading (gas-piston) German MP44 rifle and its 7.92X33/Kurz cartridge (“Kurz” translates to “short”).
The MP44 (“MP” stands for Maschinenpistole) came along too late in the War to have a major impact, but it represented a critical departure from conventional military rifles, with its light weight, reduced length, pistol grip, and large-capacity, box magazine, and it was, of course, an autoloader. Employed mostly on the Eastern Front (which is why it largely escaped American and British notice), the MP44 acquired a excellent reputation and was highly regarded by Germans and Russians alike.
The MP44 was actually developed in secrecy, as Hitler himself had already nixed the project. Development, and even deployment, went forward regardless, with Hitler deliberately kept in the dark and only finding out about it well after the fact. Indeed, when Hitler briefed troops returning from the Eastern Front, he asked them what they needed. With a single voice, they all told him what was needed most was more copies of the “new rifle!” Hitler, of course, didn’t know what they were talking about, but, as the truth gradually came out, he was happy to belatedly take personal credit for the project!
After the War, the 280/British cartridge worked well in tests, but it never saw the light of day, as Americans insisted on the 308 cartridge (slightly shortened from the 30-06) becoming the standard, and all of NATO dutifully went along.
Meanwhile, Kalashnikov in Russia was designing his new rifle around the 7.62X39/Soviet (30/Soviet) cartridge. The 30/Soviet has since earned the reputation of the most widely used “intermediate cartridge” in history! Although the 30/Soviet remains a nearly ideal military rifle round, it has since been largely displaced in Eastern Europe by the 5.45X39/Soviet, Russia’s version of the American 5.56X45 (223).
John Garand himself, as he was designing what would ultimately become the vaunted M1 Rifle, also considered an “intermediate” cartridge, the 276/Pedersen, as a short cartridge will work in a rifle with a short bolt-throw. The whole rifle can be relatively short and light! However, Doug MacArthur would have none of it! Doug insisted that the M1 be chambered for the standard of the time, the American 30-06 cartridge. The M1 was ultimately produced in that caliber, and thus claimed the title of the biggest, heaviest, and most powerful infantry weapon ever issued, before of since!
None the less, as the War progressed, the Americans developed a two-level system, probably by accident. M1 Garands could not be produced fast enough as the War rapidly ramped up. So, the M1 Carbine, chambered for the “intermediate” 30/M1 cartridge filled the gap. M1 Carbines could be produced much faster than M1 Garands, and, owing to their compactness and light weight, they were originally designed for rear-area defense and vehicle crews. Of course, the distinction quickly blurred, and they ended up serving everywhere.
After the dust settled, Garands (M1s and M-14s), FALs, G3s, and others, all now chambered for 308, continued to serve around the Free World well after the end of the War.
During the 1960s, General Curtis LeMay persuaded his friend, Robert MacNamara, then Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, that infantry rifles and machine guns needed to be shortened and lightened for the new style of war that was on the horizon. That meant less-powerful calibers, which meant less range and penetration (the two characteristics upon which MacArthur had always insisted). MacNamara, and his team of whiz-kids (none of whom had ever fired a shot in anger in their pampered lives) thus became convinced that the 308 cartridge needed to be abandoned for a shorter, less powerful one. The American standard became the 5.56X45 (223), and has been ever since. The 5.56X45 is at the extreme low end of the “intermediate cartridge” spectrum. It is a 150m cartridge with poor penetration.
Between the late 1960s and now, blatant deficiencies associated with the 5.56X45, particularly inadequate range and woefully inadequate penetration, have become widely acknowledged throughout the military community, and the push is currently on to:
(1) return to the 308 and the M-14 system, or
(2) move on to a more satisfactory “intermediate cartridge.”
There are plenty of “intermediate cartridges” to choose from, and many have been around for a long time! The 6.5X50/Japanese-Arisaka, 6.5X52/Carcano, 6.5X55/Swedish, 30/Soviet, to name few. All these cartridges are still currently produced and can be found in any large gunshop.
However, the one currently getting all the attention is the relatively new 6.8X43/SPC (“Special Purpose Cartridge). The 6.8mm (26.7 caliber) shows every sign of representing an ideal compromise. It still functions in short, light rifles, but range and penetration are significantly improved over the 223. It features a 115gr bullet at 2700 f/s, so it is a legitimate 300m rifle.
Barrett, DPMS, and Robinson Arms, weary of waiting on the Pentagon, have boldly stepped forward and produced military rifles in this new caliber. I have a copy of Robinson Arms XCR in 6.8mm, and I’ll be testing it shortly. Cor-Bon is now making 6.8mm DPX rifle ammunition.
I can see a three-level system developing, with the 6.8mm being the “main-battle” rifle, the M-14 being relegated to long-distance, designated-marksman duties, and the 223 still being in the system for rear-area defense.
Whatever happens, we, as a nation and as a civilization, had better be preparing for the fight of our lives!
26 Nov 07
Microtec, a company who makes knives, is now the one producing a domestic AUG in 223! I handled one this afternoon at Jensen’s, and it is pretty much an exact copy of the original, right down to the integral, optical sight. Retailing for $2,000.00, it is on the high end price-wise, but will surely garner a following.
Arsenal, another domestic manufacturer, is producing a wonderful Kalashnikov in 7.62X39/Soviet. As nice an example as I’ve seen, nearly equal in quality to those produced by Krebs. At $1,200.00, it is a very acceptable, utility, military rifle.
Red Rock Arms, formally known as Bobcat, is producing an FAL in 223! It takes AR-15 magazines, but looks, for all the world, like an FAL otherwise. At $1,300.00/copy, they are moving out briskly.
DSA’s excellent FAL in 308 is perennially popular, starting at $1,400.00
At a retail price of $650.00, Kahr’s M1 Carbine is a nice gun and is also selling well. Hard to
beat as a car-gun. Fulton Armory’s version is nice also, but retails at $1,200.00.
Robinson Arms XCR in 223 retails for $1,500.00 and relentlessly moves out the door! I now have a copy of the RA/XCR in 6.8mm/SPC and will be testing it shortly.
One can buy a perfectly serviceable AR-15 in 223 from DPMS, DSA, and Rock River Arms, starting at $700.00, and it will run just fine. You’re probably not going to get into an acceptable military 308 for under $1,000.00.
Consistently strong sales of all the foregoing indicate to me that, at least here in CO, people (many who never thought about owning a serious gun until now) are heavily arming themselves with serious weapons. Apparently, government’s dubious “we-have-everything-under-control” message is getting lost in the translation.
27 Nov 07
Sage advice from Doc Gunn:
“Apparently, football player, Sean Taylor, died yesterday as a result of at least one close-range gunshot (pistol) wound to his upper thigh. The bullet(s) struck his femoral artery. By the time he got to the ER, blood loss was catastrophic. This is a classic example of a death that was probably preventable via the simple/aggressive application of an IBD, as we teach in our Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds Course.”
Comment: Unfortunately, no one at the scene knew what to do, nor did they have a legitimate trauma kit handy. These are life-saving skills that should be well known to every Operator. Some GSW deaths are not preventable, but most are!
28 Nov 07
Mismatch! This from one of our instructors in WI.
“During regional, in-service training, a local PD showed up with EOTech sights, mounted atop the fixed, carrying-handles of their AR-15/A2 rifles. Officers did their level best to make this set-up work, but with such large bore-line/sight-line span, a consistent cheek weld (or any cheek-contact with the stock for that matter) is nearly impossible. I saw heads aimlessly wobbling in space at all kinds of weird angles! Results were disappointing, as officers could hit (eventually), but too much valuable time was squandered just trying to get a sight picture. The chief of this department did not show up, so he did not have the opportunity to see for himself the problems associated with this flawed set-up.”
Comment: When the brass don’t show up for training, they don’t know what is being presented, how it is being presented, and, without the experience of personally participating, they tend to have only a cursory, shallow understanding of critical training and equipment issues, such as described in the foregoing.
Effective leaders have mud on their shoes!
28 Nov 07
From a friend at Glock:
“The first copies of Glock’s 30SF are in country. Will hit retail shelves soon. Ambidextrous magazine release buttons are an option. Default is the normal, left-side magazine release.”
Comment: Manufacturers will, of course, supply customers with what customers think they want. However, a magazine-release button facing to the outside as the pistol is carried is an invitation to a missing magazine at a painfully inconvenient moment! Again, this button should only face to the inside where an inadvertent release of the magazine is much less likely.
28 Nov 07
Bore-line/sight-line span for serious rifles:
The trend toward getting the sight-line higher and higher over the bore-line is a bad one indeed! A rifle with the sight-line close to the bore-line is going to be much more accurate, over the entire useable range of the cartridge, than is one with an excessive bore-line/sight/line span.
In fact, the greater the bore-line/sight-line span the more pointless the process of zeroing the rifle, at any range, becomes! And, when an optic is too high to enable iron-sight co-witnessing, much practical utility is lost.
In addition, a solid and consistent cheek weld in endemic to any species of serious shooting. Sloppy, unstable cheek welds will be fatal when the real fighting starts!
A bore-line/sight-line of 2.5 inches is manageable. Much more than that, and the system becomes a can of worms!
We have entered “The Day of the Rifle.” Who are inadequately armed will live to regret it, but not much longer!