1 Sept 11
Blame-shifting as “SOP:”
In West Virginia last Tuesday, three wounds were inflicted, on two deputies, by a single bullet. The 45-caliber bullet (45ACP or 45GAP, unclear as to which), fired from a Glock (model unknown), produced a hand-wound on one deputy and an additional hand-wound on the second deputy, as well as a separate hip-wound. Both deputies were hospitalized, but none of the wounds appear to be life-threatening.
The discharge was unintentional and took place at the home of one of the deputies, as the pistol in question was being “worked on.” Both wounded deputies are also Department Armorers!
In a statement to the media, the Undersheriff said the department-owned pistol in question “malfunctioned,” causing the accidental injuries.
I strongly suspect the pistol did not “malfunction,” but, in fact, functioned perfectly, just as it is designed to! It was allowed to point in an unsafe direction as someone, or something, simultaneously applied pressure to the trigger.
The culprit here (as is nearly always the case) is likely careless gun-handling, not defectively-designed, nor “malfunctioning” guns. Otherwise, one would wonder why all these police departments continue to knowingly buy “faulty” guns.
And, careless gun-handling will never be eliminated, nor even addressed effectively, when we, apparently as a matter of policy, continue to excuse/deny our own carelessness/negligence, invariably shifting blame, robot-like, in another direction.
How is it that we’re supposed to solve a problem, when we’re prohibited from even mentioning the problem?
Guns will be in our lives, continuously, forever! We have to learn how to live with them. The “always-unloaded/never-ready” philosophy has served us poorly, as its exponents routinely treat/handle guns like toys. Accidents happen when “dangerous” guns get mixed in with “safe” ones, as they do, without fail… as we see!
We need to always think of our guns as what they are: deadly weapons, there to protect us, not just as instrumentalities of recreation, there merely to amuse and entertain, like a golf club or tennis racket.
In short, we need to get serious. We need to always be taking care of business
… or, get out of business!
“The sword is a great benefit, and necessary to preserve peace… and prevent evil”
“Far better an approximate answer to the right question, than the exact answer to an irrelevant question, which, by the way, can always be made more precise!”
5 Sept 11
Spring-loaded, Ejection-Port Dust-covers on ARs:
At an Urban Rifle Course in Colorado last weekend, a student broke the dust-cover on his LWRC gas-piston AR. The entire latch-assembly blew off, leaving the dust-cover permanently in the “open” position, with no way to get it to stay closed. The rifle was brand-new, and the dust-cover blew at the two-hundred round mark.
Of course, the functionality of the weapon was unaffected, and the student went on to finish the Course in otherwise-normal fashion.
I’ve seen this phenomenon on a number of gas-piston ARs now, and I have to believe it is directly related to intense bolt-carrier acceleration associated with gas-piston and op-rod, as opposed to the more gentle acceleration associated with the conventional Stoner System. I’ve never seen a blown-out dust-cover latch on a conventional AR (“pressurized-receiver” or “gas-impingement” system).
If manufacturers insist on retaining spring-loaded dust-covers on gas-piston ARs, they will have to:
(1) Alter the camming scallop on the bolt carrier in order to make camming action upon rearward bolt movement more gentle,
(2) Re-design the dust-cover latch in order to make it more substantial, or
(3) Eliminate the dust-cover all together.
Barrett has already taken the first course of action with their otherwise-excellent REC7 Rifle. On my copy, this solution has been completely successful.
Most manufacturers consider the Stoner-style spring-loaded dust-cover to be largely unnecessary with gas-piston rifles, but it has still been retained, in most cases for the sake of continuity of appearance, if for no other reason.
Gene Stoner deemed it necessary in his original design. The AR, then and now, is a “leaky” system. Gas leaks everywhere, because there are plenty of places for it to leak. But, sufficient pressure needs to be retained to cycle the system, so there are tight-fitting seals in the receiver, in place to mitigate gas-leaks. That is what makes the entire system profoundly vulnerable to airborne grit, much more so than is the case with most other military rifles.
And, the dust-cover is thus there in order to keep grit out, as much as possible.
However, the addition of a gas-piston and op-rod makes most of the foregoing discussion a moot point! In fact, most other gas-piston military rifles don’t have a dust-cover of any kind, and never have, because designers deem them unnecessary. In addition, the spring-loaded dust-cover found on ARs is light, thin, and not particularly robust. Most weapon designers would rather not have such a tinny, breakage-prone sub-assembly on their rifle.
In fact, I’ve been asked by CEOs of many gun-companies if I would like to see the dust-cover gone. I always answer, “Yes, of course… unless you think it is necessary!”
As I currently teach Urban Rifle Courses, I instruct students to assiduously use the dust-cover, closing it at every reasonable opportunity, getting into the habit of keeping it closed as much of the time as possible. In dusty, gritty environments, using the dust-cover is still probably a good idea, and, as long as manufacturers put them on ARs (conventional or gas-piston), I’ll continue to instruct students to use them, calculating that they are there for legitimate reasons- even though that may no longer be true in some cases!
9 Sept 11
Winchester Ammunition Demonstration:
In OH yesterday, I attended a ammunition demonstration put on by Winchester. Mostly tested were Winchester handgun rounds, but we also tested Winchester’s 64gr 556×45 “Bonded-Core” round (Winchester’s version of Federal Tactical).
Test medium was gelatin, and the FBI Protocol was used, so all bullets had to penetrate several layers of clothing before entering the gelatin itself.
Winchester currently produces their “T-Series” and also their “Bonded-Core” array of handgun bullets. The “T” stands for “Talon,” which is the current iteration of Winchester’s old “Black Talon” technology (no longer known by that name, for obvious reasons!). The new label is “SXT.”
The 9mm +p+ 127gr T-Series round rendered the best performance in that caliber, consistently expanding in the classic “Black-Talon” spiked contour, despite having to first penetrate clothing. Bonded-care bullets also expanded normally, but not nearly as spectacularly!
In other tests, bullets were required to first penetrate two layers of drywall (separated by three inches), to simulate a typical, residential interior wall, and laminated car-glass (at a 45-degree angle, and a simultaneous 15-degree side-impact angle) to simulate a typical car windshield.
Winchester’s bonded-core handgun bullets vastly out-performed the T-Series when these two barriers were involved. Through car-glass, T-series bullets typically stripped their brass jackets, and the remaining lead core was significantly deflected from its original trajectory. Conversely, bonded-core bullets made it through, in-tact, and with scant deflection.
The dry-wall test was most frustrating. Neither T-Series, nor bonded-core bullets expanded significantly after penetrating two layers of dry wall. Emerging from dry-wall, both bullets subsequently performed pretty-much like hardball.
Of all bullets I saw demonstrated, I like the T-Series 9mm 127gr +p+, and the T-Series 40S&W 165gr best. Performance with hard barriers, as noted above, was marginal, but, when normally expanded, these bullets are enormously damaging as they are propagated through tissue.
Winchester’s bonded-core 5.56×45 bullet performed superbly, even after penetrating hard barriers, and this round thus duplicates the performance of Federal Tactical, and I can therefore recommend it. No jacket separation, and consistent expansion.
Doing real-time demonstrations, in front of a live audience (demonstrations that can’t be subsequently edited) requires a great deal of confidence and courage on the part of manufacturer. Winchester and Cor-Bon therefore deserve a lot of credit, and these two manufacturers put them on regularly.
14 Sept 11
Walmart parking-lot incident in TX, from a friend and colleague there:
“I work in the security industry, normally wearing a coat and tie. I go to work in the afternoon and am finished, in most cases, at 3:00am.
Monday (actually early Tuesday morning) I went to our local Walmart after work in order to buy a Wii accessory. It was 3:30am. Most of our Walmarts here are open twenty-four hours. I consider the location of this particular store to be ‘medium’ risk. I parked close to the main entrance. The rest of the parking lot was mostly empty, except for a slowly-moving golf-cart with flashing, yellow light, occupied by a single ‘security’ officer, unarmed of course.
Anxious to get home and in bed, I quickly entered the store and went directly to the electronics section. There were only a few shoppers and a handful of employees present. I found what I wanted, made my purchase on the spot, and quickly exited, walking briskly toward my parked car, with my purchase under my left arm. I did my best not to walk close to parked cars.
I was only a few meters from my vehicle, when three ‘youths,’ adorned in full, baggy-pants regalia, emerged from a parked car and promptly arrayed themselves menacingly between my car and me.
One said, ‘Got’cha nice electronics there, Pops? Little early ta be out shoppin’ ain’t it, old man?’
They were too far away for OC spray, so I drew my pistol (SA/1911), aimed it directly at loud-mouth, and replied in a clear voice, ‘You came looking for trouble? Well, you found it, Skippy!’
With his eyes suddenly wide-open and his voice in his throat, one of them shouted, ‘… he’s got a gun!’ All three, now curiously not so self-assertive, immediately backed away and started running, in different directions. I took cover behind a nearby car and watched until all three ran out of sight, never looking back. I then quickly re-holstered, re-concealed, went to my car, and departed without further delay.
No injury to anyone, and the event will never be reflected on any statistic. I’m okay, and only minimally inconvenienced.
However, here are some important lessons I (re)confirmed:
1) My coat and tie definitely attracted the attention of these miscreants. I should have taken my tie off and thrown on a sweatshirt, so as to better blend-in.
2) I was preoccupied and not paying attention. At three-in-the-morning, you need to keep your head up! I was probably surveilled by these three while I made my purchase, as they knew I had bought something in the electronics section. They subsequently made their nefarious plan, and were waiting for me when I exited the store. I obviously didn’t notice any of this, and thus didn’t have a clue, until they sprang their ambush.
3) Store ‘security’ does not impress these thugs. The security golf-cart and unarmed ‘officer’ previously mentioned were all in plain sight when the ambush went down, and none of the perpetrators appeared to be concerned in the slightest!
4) In retrospect, I should have reported the incident to police immediately, just so I would be the one first to the phone, I would be listed at the ‘complainant,’ and police would get to hear my story before any other.”
Comment: All good points!
The frequency of incidents like this will escalate as our general economy continues to progressively deteriorate.
Avoid going out late at night (when possible), and always be well-armed and adequately trained.
The wise provide their own, personal, real-time security, always.
Keep your head up.
Have a plan.
“When there’s more than one, draw your gun!”
You’re on your own!
14 Sept 11
Ready for prime-time?
Comments from a friend in the area:
“I’ve seen a number of local newsreels showing Afghani security personnel ‘responding’ to recent attacks by insurgents on the US Embassy Building and the UN Central Office.
Not a single responder can be seen even shouldering, much-less aiming, his rifle! Every hajji I’ve observed merely thrusts his rifle forward, with teeth clenched and eyes closed, while chaotically firing full-auto.
Watch these experts! Haven’t we sent trainers galore over there to enlighten these guys?
And, these incompetents are supposed to take over the defense of their nation?”
Comment: You see this phenomenon in every Islamic nation. It’s a matter of religion. When you believe Allah personally guides every bullet, then aiming is an attempt to counter the Will of Allah, and, as such, blasphemous.
You’ll have better luck training the Pope to use condoms than you’ll have persuading these fanatics to aim their rifles!
“Beside learning to see what is, there is another art to be learned: not to see what is not.”
17 Sept 11
Delta and gun-owners. This from a friend and student who is on active-duty and, like me, teaches soldiers at bases around the country:
“… experienced the following at the San Antonio, TX Airport Thursday:
I was returning from training military members on the East Coast. When I checked in at the airport, I was told Delta had a ‘new policy’ with regard to firearms in checked baggage. I was informed that when I arrived at my destination (San Antonio) I needed to pick up my checked luggage at the ‘lost-bag counter,’ rather than the regular luggage carousel.
When asked why, the ticket agent indicated that it was a ‘new rule.’ When I asked if this ‘new rule’ was the FAA’s or Delta’s, she, naturally, claimed not to have a clue, and obviously couldn’t have cared less!
Upon arrival in San Antonio, I dutifully reported to ‘lost-baggage.’ I politely asked the clerk if my bags were there and if I was, in fact, in the right place. Without even looking up (nor anywhere else) he said, ‘There are no bags here!’ At least a half-dozen others passengers from my flight were behind me in line, obviously waiting to claim their bags with checked firearms also.
‘Are we supposed to wait here?’ asked I. Again, without even looking up, he mumbled a barely-audible, ‘… if you want.’
Trying not to display my exasperation, I asked how long it would take. He then did look up, became rude and confrontational, informing us that we were all extremely lucky he even had an inclination, scant as it was, to squeeze us into his day. He obviously hated guns and gun-owners and regarded us all as little more than criminals who, with a condescending tone, deserved to be treated as such.
Several passengers behind me became genuinely annoyed with this thoughtless twit, who couldn’t be bothered with anything as insignificant as a customer. When a gentleman behind me said to him, ‘… could you at least check?’ He, again without looking up, indicated that he was too busy, then patronizingly grumbled, ‘It’s for your own protection.’
By this time, all regular luggage had long-since been claimed and carried away, as we all still waited there, getting hot under the collar. Less diplomatic this time, I asked, ‘And, what are we being protected from?’ No answer this time, just the grinding of teeth!
He finally announced to us all that there were no other bags on the flight! Rolling my eyes, I told him that didn’t make any sense. All our bags could not possibly be simultaneously missing, particularly since all other bags from the same flight, that presumptively did not contain guns, had already been delivered to the regular luggage-carousel and had long-since been claimed.
He waxed authentically hateful at this point and practically spitted, ‘… fill out a form!’
After several subsequent minutes of heated exchanges between all of us and this idiot, our bags were unceremoniously delivered to the counter.
No apology! No explanation!
When I finally claimed my bags, via my claim-checks, the clerk wanted to keep my boarding passes. I contemptuously refused and told him I had not been amused with his pathetic incompetence, nor with his utter lack of concern for any of us. I then took my bags from him and departed without another word and without looking back.
My departure from the airport has been needlessly delayed by a half-hour. Neither I, nor any of the other passengers who had been similarly inconvenienced, were traveling with gun cases. We all had normal-looking luggage only.
For our ‘sin’ of traveling with guns, we were all treated to a nasty, spiteful attitude, and a heavy dose of gratuitous inconvenience, as if we had committed a crime.
Delta just lost at least a half-dozen customers!”
Comment: Yes, and all this is “… for our own protection!”
Oh, please! Delta is interested only in protecting itself and has obviously adopted the classic bureaucratic attitude, exemplified by, “We don’t care. We don’t have to!”
In America, we rarely punish criminals. Instead, we punish everyone who hasn’t committed a crime. Punishing people, particularly gun-owners, with gratuitous inconvenience, delay, and attitude, for the “crime” of obeying the rules, doesn’t appear to make any sense.
Of course, these days, precious little does!
“There is no expedient to which man will not resort in order to avoid the real labor of thinking”
20 Sept 11
“… what would I have done?”
In the wake of the IHOP restaurant shooting in Carson City, NV on 6 Sept 11, as expected, much has been made of the fact that apparently no one in the restaurant at the time had a gun with which to repel/engage the single criminal/murderer.
Many have asserted that, “If I had been there, I would have …”
With any luck, none making that speculative statement will ever know!
When one is armed and finds himself in, or on the fringes of, such a situation (as was actually the case with a person in a restaurant across the street), he has a choice of voluntarily inserting himself (perhaps with lethal force), or not. The person in this case chose not to become personally involved.
When it is your turn, it will be your call, of course.
When directly, personally threatened, you may well have no choice. That, of course, makes the deadly-force decision easy!
But, when you find yourself on the fringes, and not personally threatened (at least for the present), what is the “correct” thing to do?
There is no good, nor even satisfactory, answer!
Being armed, of course, provides you with more options than are available to the willfully unarmed. Being armed thus represents a heavy responsibility. Once you decide to “go forward,” voluntarily inserting yourself into a situation in which you were not otherwise involved, the results cannot be undone!
Understand that a situation like this will not have any species of “happy ending,” and, by your voluntarily participation, you will unavoidably inherit some responsibility for the dependably bad outcome.
Still, your inner sense of right and wrong may demand that you take some action.
So, you have to ask yourself, “What do I really know? What have I personally witnessed? Is it possible that what is really taking place is not what it outwardly appears to be? With the equipment I have on me, and with were I am, can I reliably make the shot, and stop this apparent evil decisively?”
Once you shoot someone, saying “Oops!” immediately afterward will not suffice to undo your decision! While we never have all the information we would like, such a deadly-force decision still requires a heavy preponderance. That is why police officers, responding to gunshots, usually hesitate before shooting the first armed person they see. And, we are routinely criticized for not taking action sooner. When we do take immediate action, we’re criticized for not hesitating!
Again, “happy endings” have a thousand proud fathers, while bad outcomes are invariably orphans! As mentioned above, the latter is, by far, the more likely of the two, no matter what you do, or chose not to do.
Either way, you’ll likely second-guess yourself for the rest of your life, which we all sincerely hope is long and prosperous!
Pray you never have to test that theory!
“‘One, with God, is always a majority,’ or, so goes the platitude, but many have been burned at the stake while votes were still being counted!”
23 Sept 11
“Lunch is over! Grab your rifles and follow me.”
Maj Walenski (played by Charles Bronson) to a gaggle of cooks in the 1965 feature film, Battle of the Bulge
This narrative from a friend who has worked overseas security details multiple times. He has seen the future, first-hand, and confronts us with this specter:
“I was personally involved in an extended gun-battle in January of 2010, in the heart of downtown Kabul, Afghanistan, in the middle of Masood Circle.
My driver and I were ambushed by Taliban thugs. For the next half-hour, we had to run and shoot simultaneously, using what cover we could find along the way. It was mainly poor marksmanship and inherent disorganization of the Taliban, and expert marksmanship on our part, that kept us alive!
After a short time, we exited our vehicle, as it was drawing too much fire. We both, now on foot, started shooting them as they were trying to get out of their cars. We fortunately killed a bunch before they could effectively shoot at us. That slowed them down a little.
Taliban were shooting at Afghan Police, Afghan National Army, and just about everyone else, including children, women, and us. Then, suicide-bombers and VBIEDs went off, peppering the area with shrapnel.
Beslen-style, Taliban gunmen attempted to protect themselves with human shields they grabbed off the street, and then they advanced on us, pushing their human shields out ahead of them. We had no choice but to shoot them all!
I was forced to use both my pistol (G19) and AK. I shot as many of them as I could, and ended up at the Serena Hotel, 1km away, after expending nineteen magazines of 7.62X39! At the Serena Hotel, other contractors were shooting over us (with covering fire) from the inside as we entered through what was left of the glass entry-doors.
I don’t know how many people I shot, but I do know, of twenty AK magazines in my kit, I had only one (partial) left when shooting finally stopped. I was nearly hit so many times, I lost count. By the grace of God, both my driver and I lived through it!
The point is this: These people are coming to the USA. In fact, they here now, thanks to our non-borders! And, when they pull something like the foregoing here, in an attempt to ambush our police, and others, this is what we need to keep in mind:
1) There will be no time! No time to ‘plan,’ no time to establish a CP, no time to cordon-off the active area, no time to coordinate, no time to control traffic, no time to get SWAT there. In my experience, action is sudden, fluid, rapidly developing, not likely confined to any one area, extremely violent, and starts with no warning. We should not be surprised when they take innocent hostages, including children, and then use them as human shields. They will use military rifles and explosives, maybe RPGs. They’ll likely be poorly trained, but there will be a lot of them. They have absolutely no morals, and they all know that their mission is ‘one-way!’
2) Every patrol officer must have instant access to heavy firepower, and it matters not where you work. You will desperately need it. Mark my words! Shotguns are no longer adequate. We need high-capacity, military rifles in the cab-portion of our patrol vehicles, not the trunk. You won’t have time to retrieve your rifle from a trunk. Ask me how I know this!
3) For each rifle, we need at least a dozen fully-charged magazines, in easily-carried bandoleers. For each pistol, we need at least six fully-charged magazines, on the belt and, again, in bandoleers. In an intense, protracted gun-battle, you won’t believe how fast you will go through ammunition!
4) We probably have far less time to prepare than any of us think. We can’t, at our level, confuse political symbolism with reality, just as ‘restraining-orders’ and ‘warning-signs’ are not to be equated with a bullet. ‘Treaties’ and ‘understandings’ mean nothing to these thugs.
Brothers and sisters, the time to prepare is now!”
“The Art of War teaches us to rely, not upon the calculated likelihood of the enemy’s coming or not, but on our own readiness to receive him… no matter what he does.”
“Revolution is not a dinner-party… It is an act of violence, through which one class overthrows another”
26 Sept 11
Twist-rates in 5.56×45 military rifles, from friends at LaRue Tactical:
“A twist rate of 1:9 is adequate for most 55 bullets. However, with heavier bullets, poor accuracy will result.
Best universal accuracy, adequate for nearly all bullets, is yielded with a 1:8 twist. Noveske and LaRue barrels are now all 1:8, with Wylde chambers. The combination yields excellent reliability and superior combat accuracy.”
Comment: When Mark Larue talks, I listen!
I’ve seen, albeit rarely, bullet-break-up (55gr hardball) with 1:7 twist barrels. 1:8 works well with nearly all bullets, without the break-up issue. With milder twists, such as 1:12, break-up is not an issue, but they are not nearly as accurate, particularly with heavy bullets.
55gr hardball has been the “standard” for decades, but that round has long-since been superceded with heavier bullets in the American military, and these heavier bullets are now making their way into general commerce.
I like a rifle that may not be perfect for any particular round, but will shoot them all adequately. At present, 1:8 seems to represent the best compromise.
30 Sept 11
The “Rogatti Treatment”
I’ve had a copy of my friend, Paul Buffoni’s, wonderful M4 Rifle (Bravo Arms/BCM) since March of this year. Of all folks making ARs, Paul’s are among the best. Mine has run flawlessly. Paul’s customer service, rarely necessary, is also top-drawer.
However, I’ve also been impressed with NGAs (Next Generation Arms) proprietary ceramic coating on my copy of their equally-wonderful AR, called the X7. Surfaces are sleek, hard, and impervious to corrosion. Best of all, minimal lubrication is necessary to keep the rifle running. All parts and surfaces, internal and external, are so-treated.
In any event, I decided to send my BCM/M4 to my long-time friend and colleague, Robbie Barrkman, at ROBAR, for his famous “ROGONPTI” (for “RoGuard on the Outside, NP3 on the Inside,” pronounced “Rogatti”) Treatment. It sounds Italian, but Robbie is actually from South Africa!
All internal parts received ROBAR’s famous NP3+ coating. NP3+ is a proprietary metallic/Teflon process that yields a hard finish that is tough, yet self-lubricating, and, like NGA’s ceramic coating, impervious to all species of corrosion. Outer surfaces receive ROBAR’s equally famous “RoGuard” polymer coating. Dark in color and also impervious to corrosion, RoGuard is perfect for external surfaces that get rained on.
ROBAR offers many other excellent surface treatments, but, for factory pistols and rifles intended for serious use, the Rogatti Treatment is hard to beat.
We’re currently doing Urban Rifle Programs out here on the West Coast, and my Rogattied BCM/M4 now runs even better than new. Smooth and slick, it makes a car-gun second to none.