4 Dec 06
My car-gun combination: RA/XCR (223), EOTech (forward mounted), and Cor-Bon DPX ammunition (53gr). This day, we went pig hunting in FL!
Today, I shot two, large, wild pigs and one white-tail deer with my XCR. We were on a large ranch, owned by a friend. My shots were all on running animals at thirty to seventy meters. Windows were short. Cover was thick, and the animals were hard to find, hard to see, and spooked explosively. All my shots were standing and unbraced. I had to stand in order to see over the grass. I prefer to wait until an animal pauses before taking my shot, but it was not possible today.
The first was a pig, 275lbs, moving rapidly right to left. She was part of a herd of ten. I had to swivel rapidly to hit her. Range was thirty meters. I made a lucky shot, through the point of the shoulder. The DPX bullet (which we recovered) penetrated fifteen inches and lodged, perfectly expanded, just under the skin on the opposite side. The bullet’s nose was expanded into four symmetrical petals, while the rear was intact. No fragmentation and no loss of weight. Bullet performance couldn’t have been better! The pig went right down, DRT. The DPX bullet took out both lungs and the top of the heart. I was thrilled, but I knew my bullet placement had been mostly luck. I thought to myself that this combination of rifle, optic, and ammunition was really making me look good!
Next, I hit a white-tail buck who spooked just as my shot broke. Range was forty meters. The bullet, intended for the shoulder, hit him instead in the hip, breaking it. He ran, but I knew he was hit. We got him up again after he had run fifty meters. This time, I hit him high on the left shoulder. Another running shot. This bullet went through-and-through, and this time the animal went right down. He weighed in at eighty pounds. My second bullet fractured the shoulder. Neither bullet was recovered.
Several hours later, we did our best to sneak up on a big heard of fifty pigs. They stampeded, but I got a fifty-meter shot on one that paused for an instant. I heard the bullet hit him. I heard him squeal, and I saw him go right down. I breathed a sigh of relief, too soon as it turned out! A second later, and he was back up and running! Tracking him in my EOTech, I pressed off another shot, this time at seventy meters. Again, I heard the bullet hit him, but he just staggered and galloped on! This one, we never found. He was just not hit well enough.
Wonderful day of hunting! But, I came to several conclusions:
The 223 round, even the DPX iteration, is just not powerful enough for game animals weighing over 150lbs. We all get lucky shots now and then, but I am now persuaded that 223/DPX will work just fine on most deer (within 100m), but it is not potent enough for heavier animals, particularly those as dense and low-to-the-ground as wild pigs.
The forward-mount arrangement I use for my EOTech, and indeed all my battle optics, is fast, and it gets the optic out of my face, which I like. However, when mounting from awkward positions, the reticle is sometimes hard to find. When thus confronted with a blank screen, I’ve learned to move my face around rapidly until the reticle comes into view. One need not be directly behind the optic. If you can see the dot, anywhere in the screen, that is where the bullet will land!
The rail on top of my XCR is extremely precise, as is EOTech’s mounting system. After taking the EOTech off the rifle and then putting it back on, several times, I discovered my zero had not changed in the slightest. American rifles, manufactured on computer-driven machinery are, if nothing else, precise and consistent! Modern manufacturing techniques produce standards that are faithfully repeatable from copy to copy. Robinson Arms makes a wonderful rifle!
When I do this again next year, I’ll likely be using my copy of RA’s XCR in 308, assuming it is available by then. Or, I may use my DSA/FAL. Either way, I’ll surely be using DPX!
6 Dec 06
Friends in PA have informed me that the PA State Police, following the lead of the NY State Police, are going to abandon their existing Beretta 96D pistols and replace them with Glock 37s in 45GAP caliber. The decision has just been made. Certain sub-units already have Glocks, including the Governor’s bodyguard detail, who are currently using G23s (40S&W).
The department is also stepping up its purchase schedule for patrol rifles (AR-15s) with the goal of getting a copy in the hands of every trooper. Carry and use of privately-owned AR-15s by troopers has already been authorized.
45GAP may be catching on! Patrol rifles definitely are.
6 Dec 06
40S&W DPX/G23 involved in fatal shooting today:
“I can hardly put into words the events that occurred this afternoon in my life! I responded to a ‘man-with-a gun’ call. I was not in uniform, but one of our uniformed sergeants and I arrived on the scene about the same time.
I was first to confront the suspect (not known to us before today). He was standing on a street corner. No gun was visible. However, the instant our marked car arrived, the suspect produced a pistol (brand/caliber unknown at this writing) and fired one round at the vehicle. He then immediately pivoted around and fired several rounds at me! Neither our sergeant nor I were hit.
I drew my G23 from concealment and fired two shots (Cor-Bon 140gr DPX, issued by our department, starting in June of this year) at the suspect. Range was eight meters. My front sight was on his body midline. To my great relief, the offender abruptly dropped his pistol and straightaway collapsed where he had been standing. Additional shooting was unnecessary. He was DRT. Never took another breath!
Evidence-techs reported both of my rounds struck mid-chest, within three inches of each other. Both bullets expanded perfectly (despite first having to penetrate winter clothing), caused massive internal damage, and came to rest just under the skin on the opposite side of the suspect’s body. Neither bullet exited.
I continue to live and breath this evening because of our department’s excellent training, my G23, and your ammunition technology. I thank you, Glock and Cor-Bon. Our entire department thanks you!”
Comment: Competent training, personal decisiveness, and superior technology combined to preserve this young officer’s life. Oh, that it were universal!
12 Dec 06
Last weekend, I conducted a Patrol Rifle Program in the Midwest with the able assistance of several close colleagues. My personal rifle for the Course was my Beretta CX4, as I wanted to see how it compared with the various 223 and 308 rifles brought by most of the other students. We were on an outdoor range, and temperature hovered in the high thirties. All of us were dressed appropriately. I was wearing a heavy parka.
My CX4 (like my RA/XCR) is equipped with an EOTech, and it is sighted in, dead-on, at forty meters with Cor-Bon DPX 140gr 40S&W. However, I noticed at closer ranges, particularly when we did brain-stem shots at three meters, my impacts were biased to the right. When I aimed for the center or the forehead, expecting the bullet to strike the center of the nose (allowing for the close-range offset), the holes kept appearing to the right of the nose Going back to forty meters, I confirmed that the EOTech was indeed still delivering bullets dead-nuts.
It took one on my colleagues to solve this mystery by pointing out the obvious. My heavy parka caused me to mount the rifle canted counter-clockwise. It was not perfectly vertical, but from the shooter’s (my) perspective, the tilting was not obvious. I thought I was holding the rifle straight ventricle. When shooting wearing just a shirt, this dilemma rarely manifests itself, but the parka invariably causes me to cant the rifle, even though I didn’t realize I was doing it.
The lesson here is that we need to insure our rifle is straight vertical when sighting it in, and we must also insure it is straight vertical when holding high in order to compensate for the bore-line/sight-line offset when shooting at extremely close range.
The other lesson is that we need to run our gear in all kinds of environments, so that we become aware of issues associated with extremes in temperature, wind, et al. I, for one, do too much shooting in comfortable places!
12 Dec 06
At our Patrol Rifle Program last weekend, one of my colleagues brought a AR-15 equipped with the Noveski KX3 muzzle device. First time I’ve seen one. It looks like a large flash suppressor, but it is designed to throw all the muzzle blast and noise forward of the shooter. The effect was notable!
The rifle was a good deal quieter to the rear and sides than was the case with conventional flash suppressors. When fired within a meter of a paper target, the KX3-equipped rifle tore the paper to shreds! by comparison, conventionally-equipped AR-15 merely put a hole in the paper.
I’m going to get a copy of the KX3 and have it installed on one of my ARs. It strikes my that this device will be a great boon to entry teams and others who have to operated in confined environments, as it throws all the blast and noise forward, instead of to the sides.
PO Bx 1401
Grants Pass, OR 97528
541 479 6117
12 Dec 06
From a friend in the Buckeye State:
“Our lame-duck, lame-brain governor Taft just got his veto of a bill which will remove the ridiculous ‘plain-sight’ wording when carrying in a vehicle AND the firearms law preemption which voids all restrictive city gun laws (such as in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati) banning ‘assault’ weapons, unceremoniously shoved up his nose today!
Today, our State House veto-override passed 71-21, and the Senate veto-override passed 21-12 (needed 20 to pass). At least there a few red corpuscles left at our Statehouse!
A great day for gun owners in OH! It becomes law in ninety days.”
Comment: Up until now, OH law required “concealed” guns to be “in plane sight” in a car any time an OH citizen is pulled over. Of course, the sage have been contemptuously ignoring this cockamamie and dangerous provision, just as we ignore all such stupid laws. It was put into law by the State Police Hierarchy as a way of harassing CCW holders out of existence, and, of course, the so-called “Republican” governor went right along with it. It appears at least some lawmakers actually value the lives and health of good citizens.
Of course, the foregoing will be ignored by the leftist media, who will look upon it as a setback for their Marxist agenda.
13 Dec 06
I have been wearing the latest iteration of the “CCW Shirt” for several weeks now. It’s a good way to go when you want relitavely deep concealment, yet reasonably fast access, and don’t want to constantly wear a vest.
For those of us who do wear vests most of the time, the CCW Shirt is perfect for the back-up pistol, and it is inexpensive, immediately available, and you rarely have to worry about inadvertent exposure or printing.
Get hold of Bart at email@example.com
14 Dec 06
Excellent optics advice from my friends and colleagues, Fred Blish and Pat Rogers:
“The issue of rifle optics fogging/frosting at inconvenient times can be address simply by using your binocular vision. When trying to look through a fogged, optical sight, just open both eyes. Your brain will superimpose the illuminated reticle on the downrange area, even though the optic itself is blocked. This trick works with EOTech, Aimpoint, and most of the others with illuminated reticles. In fact, it is nothing new. First generation Trijicons (OEG) harnessed this same principle. It takes some practice, and not everyone can do it, but it is a critical skill and one of which we all need to be aware.
Modern, fighting optics enable us to see more, and see more precisely, than do iron sights. However, they have no effect on the trigger, so they won’t make us shoot any better than before they existed. Thus, all of us must first learn to shoot well! We should learn the art of rifle shooting on iron sights (at a point in our lives while our eyes are still sharp!). And, even when we migrate to optics, particularly those requiring batteries, defaulting to iron sights should always be fast and well practiced. With serious rifles, iron sights should never be far away!”
18 Dec 06
At our Urban Rifle Courses we always have several local patrol officers who bring department rifles, mostly stock AR-15s, from DPMS, RRA, DSA, and others. They usually work just fine. Other students bring out-of-the-box, stock XCRs, CX4s, Krebs/Kalashnikovs, et al. Again, they usually all run just fine.
It is only when we have a student who is seriously involved in one of several, organized competitions that we run into trouble. Most current rifle competition conventions invariably put a premium on meaningless degrees of accuracy, to the exclusion individual tactics, reliability, and suitability to any conceivable, practical purpose. Who are seriously involved in these competitions will unfailingly bring a rifle that is tight, bulky, heavy, and loaded up will all manner of glittering gadgets, and also bring a smug determination that he will “show us all a thing or two.” His demise is assured, and it usually doesn’t take long!
Legitimate, defensive firearms must be highly reliable under a broad spectrum of circumstances and, simultaneously, functionally accurate. Be that as it may, if you are determined to have a weapon that is exceptionally accurate, you may get it, but reliability will be critically compromised. Your rifle will still be reasonably functional, as long as you maintain it at a high level. However, severe environments and lack of maintenance will predictably conspire to bring it to its knees.
Ultimately, if you are determined to have a weapon that is extravagantly accurate, reliability will be fatally compromised, and you will be thus saddled with a tight, unreliable, temperamental, ammunition-sensitive prima-donna. It will never be reliable, no matter how well you maintain it.
With few exceptions, everything you add to your rifle for the sake of increased accuracy is just something else that will eventually peel, chip, delaminate, come unglued, come loose, disconnect, stop working, break into pieces, fall off, etc. Pray you’re not fighting for your life when any of that happens!
No single rifle will adequately fulfill both missions. If you want a serious, defensive rifle, it will be reliable, but its accuracy will never be better than mediocre. If you want a single-purpose, competition rifle, its accuracy may be unsurpassed, but its reliability will always be untrustworthy. You can’t have it both ways!
Which way do you go, Mister? Far be it from me to tell others what to do, but, as for myself, every rifle, indeed every weapon, I own is a legitimate, fighting implement. As a matter of personal policy, I will neither own nor keep a “play gun.”
18 Dec 06
In her book, Reaching for the Stars, Nora Waln writes about the nation of Germany between 1934 and 1939. The author describes Hitler’s meteoric rise to power. She also describes the curious reaction of the German populous, a predominantly Christian and socially conservative ethnicity.
She compares their collective response to that of a field of rabbits being collectively stalked by a weasel. Only rabbits near the weasel show any concern, and even they precipitously lose interest when they individually persuade themselves that they are not the selected victim. The victim is selected, killed, and dragged away, all with scant reaction, even notice, from the others, who continue grazing as if nothing had happened The unsavory event fades from their collective memory almost instantly as they concern themselves with other things. When the weasel returns, the process is repeated.
The author is sympathetic to the German people, but she makes it clear that, while rabbits can be expected to demonstrate no societal cohesiveness nor concern for each other, members of an enlightened civilization cannot. When they do behave like so many rabbits, it is symptomatic of impending societal dissolution and chaos, hastened along by an artful and clever weasel!
18 Dec 06
My colleague and ER surgeon, Doc Gunn, answers a nagging question about treating trauma in the field:
“In the case of a gaping wound, many advocate first stuffing something into it that will act as a matrix for blood to fill and then clot. The method is known as ‘DPDP’ (Deep Packing w/Deep Pressure). By stuffing the wound full of gauze, you will necessarily apply pressure directly to wounded tissues, thus controlling bleeding better, at least in theory, than via pressure on the surface alone.
The problem is, when the packing is subsequently disturbed and/or dislodged, an eventuality difficult to prevent in the field, bleeding will resume. As with all ‘probing’ of wounds, particularly in the field, you may well make matters worse. You’re throwing the dice!
A better plan is to quickly apply IBD(s) over the wound and use it/them to pull injured tissues together. Blood will fill open spaces, and clot. Then, you need to get him to a surgeon and an ER, as there is little more you can do.
Two days ago, I packed and wrapped an egregious laceration of a man’s palm, prior to sending him off to the Big City and the services of a hand surgeon. The flap of skin involved 80% of the palm, and what was exposed was down to tendons. I numbed it, irrigated it under high pressure, packed it with a few loops of Kerlix, closed the flap over the Kerlix, and used the rest to form a secondary dressing around the entire hand and wrist. Actually, I did little more than any of our students would have done, except they would have used an IBD or two. The man needed to see a hand surgeon (out of my league!), and all I did was stabilize the injury so that it didn’t get any worse, and he didn’t bleed to death, during transit.
Bottom line: It’s best, in general, to simply apply IBDs, skillfully and quickly, just as we do in our TTGSW classes. Then, get him to an ER. Our job in the field is to insure that he gets there alive, and none the worse for wear!”
21 Dec 06
Yesterday, while listening to network news, a commentator, who surely should have known better, made reference to the “grand British victory” at Dunkirk, France at the end of May in 1940.
“Victory?” Many more “victories” like Dunkirk, and the British today would all be speaking German! In truth, the commentator’s frightful historical ignorance is a grand testimony to Churchill’s uncanny ability to spin Dunkirk, at best an heroic damage-control/salvage operation, into affirmatory and advantageous propaganda. The myth obviously persists, at least among the unenlightened, even today. Of course, at that point in the War, real victories were hard to come be, so the “Spirit of Dunkirk” would have to do!
In a surprise invasion in the fall of 1939, German forces smashed Poland’s defenses within weeks. Barely seven months later, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Belgium too would fall before Hitler’s advance. By the end of June, what remained of the French Army had surrendered, and France would be overrun also, its legitimate government replaced by the puppet, Vichy regime.
Immediately following the Polish invasion, a hastily-organized, but well-armed, BEF (British Expeditionary Force), under General Lord Gort, was injected into France, ostensibly to protect her borders from Germans, but otherwise without a well-defined mission. The defense-oriented BEF was augmented by remaining French and Belgian elements. However, by early May 1940, offense-oriented and rapidly-moving German mechanized forces, bursting through the Ardennes (much as they would all over again during the Battle of the Bulge four year later) and advancing rapidly west, blunted and then surrounded the floundering BEF. So rapid and well organized was the German advance, that the surprised BEF was unable to hold a line, much less mount an effective counter-attack. The British retreat quickly degenerated into a rout.
Surviving British soldiers found themselves isolated on Dunkirk beach in France, heretofore a high-priced vacation area, surrounded by German mechanized forces. Most stranded British were subsequently rescued by an evacuation fleet hastily sent across the Channel from Britain, including many volunteer, civilian vessels. British soldiers barely escaped with their lives but were forced to abandon all their equipment and were effectively finished as a fighting force. Some would live to fight again, but only after being completely reequipped and reorganized. Conversely, few French and Belgian forces were among the evacuated. Most were abandoned at Dunkirk to be ultimately captured or killed by Germans. So, when, when one hears that “ninety-percent of British Forces were evacuated successfully,” he needs to remember that French and Belgian forces are conveniently absent from that calculation!
The German high-command elected to pause at Dunkirk’s edge, on the brink of total victory, and, in effect, allow most British soldiers to escape, if not the French and Belgians. It may have been a subtitle gesture to the British by Hitler, an attempt to persuade them to throw Churchill out of office and replace him with someone more disposed toward negotiation. In any event, it didn’t work!
England got a reprieve at Dunkirk! Had the entire BEF been destroyed or captured, as nearly happened, history would have been considerably different. It was bad enough as it was!
The important lesson is: “Tentative efforts always lead to tentative outcomes.”
Military units sent into active conflicts with garbled, ever-changing, ill-defined, politically-sensitive “missions” have little chance of any kind of success, much less unconditional victory, particularly when their opposition is implacable, single-minded, and unencumbered with political concerns. Accordingly, military elements sent off on “holding actions,” “protective missions,” and “police actions” are nearly always doomed, as we have seen time and again in our generation. Orders to “fight only when attacked” loosely translate to “fight only when and where the enemy wants to.” It’s a recipe for debacle, as the BEF discovered. Wars are won by precipitous, unapologetic, ruthless, audacious, relentless, offensive actions. There is no possibility of victory in defense.
22 Dec 06
In a popular Johannesburg pub yesterday, an armed gang was in the process of robbing patrons of wallets and cell phones. Among the patrons were an off-duty police officer and his girlfriend, also a police officer. When, at gunpoint, thugs demanded the woman’s wallet, she reached back and instead came up with a pistol and started firing immediately. Her partner also drew and fired at the same time.
The gang of thugs was taken completely by surprise! Three were fatally wounded immediately and went DRT at the scene. The rest fled. Some of them may have been wounded also. Both police officers and the rest of the pub patrons and staff were okay. The officers were openly cheered by the rest of the people there.
Not surprisingly, in the aftermath a senior police official, instead of congratulating his two courageous officers, publicly chided them for “taking the law into their own hands.” “… we don’t want people to act like vigilantes.”
Just like their counterparts in Atlanta, GA South African public officials predictably gush with sympathy for their dimpled-darling, violent criminals and apparently have not a bit left over for honest, tax-paying citizens who are incessantly victimized. For one, I don’t know how one can successfully defend himself from violent criminals without “taking the law into his own hands.”
That is a just leftist drivel, used as a means of generating yet more victims. Indeed, it is “victims,” not citizens, who keep these sleazy leftists in their cushy jobs.
Again, an explosive counterattack is the last thing VCAs expect, and the one thing with which they are least prepared to deal! Had the woman not reacted as she did, she probably would have been raped and mutilated.
She dared, and she won.
23 Dec 06
ND in WA
Yesterday, a man in Spokane, WA experienced an ND with his pistol (SIG 229/357SIG) while in a restroom at a local Costco. The single bullet (brand unknown) hit a wall and disintegrated. Police responded, of course, but no one was hurt.
The media reported, “… the man had been carrying his brand-new SIG-Sauer 357 semi-automatic pistol in a shoulder holster. While pulling up his pants, the man’s shirt somehow pulled the gun out of the holster. Although the gun is designed to not fire unless the hammer is cocked, the pistol fired anyway when it hit the floor.”
As always, the media can’t get the facts straight, and, when the subject is guns, apparently doesn’t want to! The pistol may have inadvertently fallen out of the holster and hit the floor as reported, but, as we all know, current-production SIG pistols are completely drop-safe. So, we know it didn’t discharge as a result of striking the floor. The discharge was caused by Goofy putting pressure on the trigger, as that is the only way the pistol can discharge! But, as always, the media reports its own ambrosial beliefs and not facts. The foregoing is a typical example.
23 Dec 06
SIG pistols and drop safety:
After my last Quip about a recent ND in Spokane, WA, I received several notes reminding me that some SIG pistols are not completely drop-safe. So, to clarify:
The (1) old-model SIG220 (45ACP), out-of-production for over ten years now, and the (2) SIG230 (380Auto), also out-of-production and long-since replaced by the SIG232, are the two models of interest in this matter.
When these two pistols are decocked incorrectly, that is “manually,” via lowering the hammer slowly while holding the trigger back, the resultant gun will not be drop-safe. When the gun subsequently falls and lands on its hammer spur, it may fire. Conversely, when these two pistols are decocked correctly, via the decocking lever, the guns are rendered drop-safe, and no kind of external impact will cause them to fire. So, the whole issue is a moot point when either of these pistols are used correctly. However, when SIG was made aware of the fact that some owners were decocking incorrectly, contrary to printed instructions and advice of every credible instructor in the business, they redesigned the decocking system so that now, no matter how the pistol is decocked (even incorrectly), the resultant gun will always be drop-safe.
That change was over ten years ago, and every subsequent SIG220 manufactured has been on the new system. In addition, every 245, 239, 229, 232, and 226 ever made at any time has been on the new system. And, of course, the whole issue is a moot point with SIG’s DAK system, as it automatically decocks itself.
So, those who still own an old-system SIG 220 (they have a sharp hammer spur, while new-system 220s have a rounded hammer spur) can continue to use and carry it with confidence. So long as it is decocked correctly (via the decocking lever) it will be as drop-safe as any pistol ever was.
Incorrect (manual) dococking is the product of ignorance, and, as the accident-engendering practice it is, we instructors eliminate whenever it rears its ugly head! Indeed, this mistaken practice is what has caused manufacturers to now offer self-decocking (DAO) pistols (where decocking lever and hammer spur have both been eliminated) and why these self-decockers (H&K LEM, Beretta Constant Action, SIG DAK, S&W M&P, Glock) are so popular among police.
26 Dec 06
In the 19th Century, groups of men were known to assemble for the purpose of performing summary justice, at least as they saw it. They called themselves “vigilantes.” That term is used today, incorrectly, by liberal politicians, bureaucrats, the liberal media, and Hollywood Marxists to describe nearly any unilateral action taken by crime-weary citizens to protect themselves from VCAs. Any citizen who, for example, decides to purchase a firearm is immediately denigrated and censored for contemplating “vigilantism” and “taking the law into his own hands.” All this criticism, of course, from the mouths of wealthy snobs who privately employ armies of armed bodyguards, or have their well-armed bodyguards graciously provided at the expense of impoverished taxpayers.
In the words of St Aubyn, “The political Left, in naive denial of history’s harsh realities, supposes they have only to roll over on their backs like puppies, dangling their paws engagingly in the air, to fend off attack.” Interesting, the very politicians who espouse this drivel are simultaneously unwilling to test the theory on themselves! If unilateral disarmament were such a good idea, would one not expect them to volunteer to be first?
“Taking the law into your own hands?” In America, the law IS in our hands. Always has been. “Law enforcement” is not something citizens seize from police officers. It is a societal function that citizens delegate to civil police. In doing so, we do not abdicate our own sovereignty nor our duties as citizens. When police we collectively hire are either unwilling or unable to perform that function at the critical moment, there is no law nor standard that says we cannot perform it for ourselves. Indeed, when personally threatened, we will likely have no choice!
Logic is such a cruel critic!
27 Dec 06
Interesting comments on the new S&W M&P, from a friend in the Philippines:
“A friend owns a local gunshop and is currently advertising S&W’s new M&P pistol in 9mm. Having read your glowing review of this platform, I decided to take a look. Imagine my surprise when I was told the first shipment sold out before it even arrived! My friend kept a single copy, just so customers could see one in person. No word on when more will arrive.
The M&P is getting great reviews locally. Nearly everyone comments positively on the adjustable ergonomics, accuracy, and the low recoil.
The only downside is one your don’t even have to worry about in the States. It is the issue of detail disassembly. One has to remove the M&P’s rear sight in order to clean the firing-pin safety plunger, something about which you in the States seldom need worry. Conversely, over here we are all compelled to shoot ammunition that is ‘dirty,’ at least by your standards. It’s a choice between that and no practice at all. FMJ ammunition is so expensive, ‘practicing’ with it is out of the question, except for the wealthy. We ‘peons,’ as you would say, are confined to lead reloads.
As you are well aware, shooting lubricated, lead reloads makes detailed cleaning a necessity rather than an option. Paraffin lube will inexorably blast its way into extractors, plungers, and eventually every nook and corner of the pistol. Lube builds up, hardens, and eventually something seizes, and the pistol is out of action.
Thus, most new M&P owners have not been able to shoot much, as re-zeroing the pistol after removing and reinstalling the rear sight is tedious and requires a trip to the range. Glocks, of course, become gummed-up too, but, as you know, the real genius of the Glock is its simplicity. Detail disassembly and cleaning is a simple task by comparison.”
Comment: Once again, we here in the USA often don’t fully appreciate how good we have it! I tell students not to shoot what we call “lead/garbage” through their pistols, and all manufacturers warn against the practice too. Occasionally, we need to think about what we’re going to do when its “lead/garbage” or nothing. I wonder how many of us can even detail-dissemble our pistols!
27 Dec 06
Good advice from my Riflesmith, Colby Adler, with regard to frequent student complaints about gritty triggers on stock AR-15s:
“I highly recommend against the installation of any adjustable, ‘target’ trigger on your AR, particularly two-stage systems. Too many tiny pins. Too many small, delicate, frail IC/MIM (investment cast/metal-injection-molding) parts. In addition, all adjustable triggers employ several set screws that will invariably work loose and move while firing. No target trigger I know of will hold up under heavy use. Indeed, none are designed for heavy use.
For serious ARs, the only trigger system I recommend is Eugene Stoner’s original design. Stock AR-15 hammers and triggers are robust forgings, and the disconnects are laser cut from tool steel. They rarely break.”
Comment: Your fighting rifle needs to be set up for legitimate, military use. Meaningless, anal accuracy will be scant comfort when your prissy trigger disintegrates in the middle of a fight! Triggers on serious rifles must break at no less than five pounds and they will always have some creep, even (heaven forbid!) a little grit. Who are too pure to hear this need to reevaluate the worthiness of their ambitions!
28 Dec 06
On the subject of “Fingers-on-triggers-at-inappropriate-times,” from a friend in the Federal System:
At long last (Dec 2006) we’ve finally dropped the stage of fire in the requiem PPC Course that requires shooters to have fingers in contact with triggers while they wait for targets to face.
Fingers-on-triggers-at-inappropriate-times is the leading cause of NDs in the field. Imagine that! Especially since we’ve actually been encouraging the mistaken practice for years! I’ve personally seen and investigated many cases where agents and officers claim to have had no idea where their finger was when the ND occurred. Conversely, I’ve never heard of anyone in the field who said they couldn’t find the trigger fast enough when they had to.”
Comment: Careless, unsophisticated trigger fingers are the direct cause of no end of grief! One would think this would be the very first issue we would address during training!
28 Dec 06
More on serious rifle triggers:
From my friend in the Philippines:
“I’ve personally witnessed our Marines do good work at 300m, even 400m, with well-worn, 1960s-vintage AR-15s. These are men who are called out when trouble boils over in our southern territories. Many have progressively taken out entire machine-gun nests using only their rifles, all of which are equipped with the same plain-vanilla triggers and plain-vanilla sights with which they came from the factory- so many years ago. They have simple gear, good ammo, lots of skill, personal determination, and experience. They don’t spend their time bemoaning the conspicuous absence of the latest wonder-gear. Instead, they find a way to win. They are simple soldiers, unapologetically going about their deadly work.”
From an instructor in OK:
“My prairie-dog-shooting friend does yeoman work on the little varmints with a long, heavy barreled, tricked-out, scoped AR-15. Earlier this year, he and I were working over a dog town, when suddenly his AR began to double. Every press of the trigger rewarded him with a fast brace of shots. Bruce was startled, embarrassed, and genuinely irritated.
I ran a quick, armorers’ check on his rifle. Nothing seemed bent, broken, missing, or out of place. I folded it back together. Suddenly, his two-stage, “national-match” trigger system returned to it’s proper function. The rifle ran normally through the rest of the afternoon.
That day, I, for one, was forever cured of the want of such a trigger! Anytime something malfunctions, looks fine, and returns to service suddenly, without any repairs, I simply have no faith in the system from that point forward. I would have been far more comfortable if I’d found broken parts.”
Comment: Replacement AR-15 triggers that claim the title “match” or “target” all have too-light pull weights and dangerously precarious sear engagement. This generates grave issues when they are placed into serious rifles:
(1) Light trigger springs make for light pull weights, but they also generate a slow, mushy reset, occasional double-taps, and NDs.
(2) Light hammer springs generate light primer hits, unreliable ignition, hang fires, and damage to the gun when the hammer retards the bolt carrier during cycling.
(3) Light hammers are also famous for unreliable ignition, and they tend to break in half!
(4) Precarious, delicate sear engagements will generate occasional, unscheduled episodes of full-auto fire and a rifle that may fire when the manual safety is “on.”
The problem with heavy/creepy/gritty, military-service triggers is that naive shooters have been persuaded that they are just unthinkable, and they would rather spend money on a gunsmith and gadgets instead of going to the range with a case of ammo, leaving egos at the gate!
28 Dec 06
Gun cleaning advice from my pistolsmith, Jim Garthwaite:
“Fill a basin with hot water and dish-washing detergent (Dawn is best). Immerse your gun parts and then use a toothbrush to scrub them. You’ll find this process removes even the most stubborn, hardened, caked-on bullet lube. Finish by running hot water over the cleaned parts and lay them on clean towels. The parts will dry themselves. If you have access to compressed air you can blow off remaining water. After reassembly, do the ‘pencil check’ to assure your pistol is assembled correctly and functions as designed.
Our ancestors used hot water and soap to clean muzzle-loading weapons in their generation. The method works just fine, even today.”
Comment: Hot, soapy water is still the greatest cleaning solution there is, and, like diesel fuel, you’ll find it in great abundance most places you need guns!
28 Dec 06
More good advice from the Philippines:
“Here, we make it a habit to keep at least two copies of every gun we have on hand for serious purposes. When something breaks, we’re not left unarmed, and then there is time to get parts necessary to repair the affected gun(s). Instead of having numerous small, spare parts laying around, we simply have another gun. That way, spare parts stay in a functional form!
Given the unpredictability of supply, some of us have as many three or even four identical copies of handguns, just to make sure we have plenty of spare parts and that we will thus never be victims of (1) import flukes and (2) sudden embargos.”
Comment: With the political scene in Washington DC taking a recent turn to the left, “import flukes” and “sudden embargos” are likely to rear their ugly heads!