1 Jan 11
Your life will depend upon your gear! This important lesson from a patrol officer and colleague:
“In our department, we all have our own beat-cars, set up to our individual liking.
Two days ago, another officer, a recent hire, had to use my vehicle, as heavy snow prevented her from getting to hers, and we had to put a shift out. My individual patrol rifle was in my vehicle, in a rack. I asked the officer to return my rifle to the precinct station at the start of her shift. She forgot! She does not have one of her own, and is not yet rifle-qualified.
This morning, I finally retrieved my rifle. It had been sitting in the vehicle, much of the time in minus-zero temperatures. I suspected the batteries in my EOTech were dead, so I took it to our indoor range before my shift started and checked them. Sure enough, they were dead!
I replaced the batteries, and my EOTech sprang back to life. In addition, I decided to fire several rounds, just to confirm zero. To my surprise and wrath, I discovered my optic was way off, and my sling was unusable!
A pointed discussion with my rookie officer revealed that she had accidentally “adjusted” my optic’s POA when she turned the adjustment knobs, thinking she was turning the unit on! Of course, she neglected to tell me until I pressed the issue. She also apparently decided to “adjust” my sling!
I wanted to know why she was messing with my rifle at all. She had no answer!
In any event, I readjusted my EOTech’s POA, reconfirmed zero via live fire, readjusted my sling, detail-inspected the rest of the rifle (just in case she had decided to “adjust” something else and not tell me), got everything squared-away, and went out on patrol.
Sure enough, twenty minutes into my shift, I responded to a bank alarm. First one in several years, and it happened today! I had to deploy my rifle, and I was surely glad I had confirmed its status earlier in the day!
In any event, it was a false alarm, and we cleared it after several tense moments.
I’ll not allow something like this ever to happen again!”
(1) Don’t let other people, even co-workers, “use” your rifle, nor handle it, nor shoot it, nor even touch it! The rifle you have set-up for serious purposes doesn’t need someone else “adjusting” sights, sling, nor any other critical aspect. The exact status of your rifle can never be in question!
Sight-settings vary significantly from person to person. “Zeroed” for one person, the same sights may be way off for another. Rifles cannot be “shared.”
(2) Verify the duty-status of all your critical gear, regularly. Confirm serviceability under hard training. Many accessories that look great in the showroom, prove fatally flawed during hard use. Legitimate training is where we discover, and correct, such discrepancies.
(3) Replace batteries regularly. Don’t wait for them to go dead! Our chronic over-dependance upon batteries is bad enough. Don’t allow personal carelessness to make it any worse!
(4) The careless, clueless, and nonchalant live short, tormented lives! Don’t be one of them, and don’t associate with them! They habitually imperil themselves, and everyone close to them.
“When you don’t know everything, you really don’t know anything!”
Stud-poker player’s axiom
1 Jan 11
“Zero” for one, zero for all?
During Rifle Courses, a drill I find useful is “Battlefield Pickup,” where students have the opportunity to shoot rifles other than their own, personally experiencing various sighting systems, sling set-ups, and other customary, but important, variations among commonly-encountered rifles.
And, once a rifle is “zeroed” by its owner, particularly when zero-magnification optics are involved, that sight setting ought to serve most other shooters adequately for most practical purposes, but not always. I hinted at this in my last Quip, but the subject needs expansion:
How is it possible that a rifle, once zeroed by its owner, can still be unsatisfactory for another shooter?
(1) Parallax. Parallax is inherent to all lenses, including human eyes. The effect is that all lenses induce some degree of object “displacement.” That is, none of us see objects exactly where they are. Sometimes, a shooter’s natural parallax is actually “corrected” by rifle optics. Other times, it is aggravated. We typically see significant, and inconsistent, displacement among individuals using optics and who have strong, corrective glasses, cataracts, astigmatism, and other vision issues.
(2) Barrel motion during launch. The rifle’s barrel is in motion, mostly upward, while the bullet is still in it. The degree and severity of upward motion varies with size and weight of individual shooters, and with the way the rifle is held. That is why I like to zero rifles from a standing position, where both rifle and shooter are allowed to recoil naturally, rather than artificially holding the rifle down on sandbags.
(3) Appearance of the sights themselves. For example, those of us with astigmatism, when looking through an Aimpoint, will see a red “slash,” rather than a red “dot.” What part of the slash represents the correct aiming point? I try to use the top, but, as a practical matter, another shooter, one with younger eyes, will see the dot differently than will I, and will thus inherit a slightly different POA.
And, when I use iron sights, the front sight is never in clear focus and thus appears fuzzy. It still can be used, but a fuzzy front sight will invariably appear lower than will a sharply-focused one. Again, the same front sight will render a slightly different POA when used by a shooter with younger eyes.
(4) Rotation of the rifle. Rifles need to be zeroed as they are being held with sights directly over the boreline. But, when shouldering rifles, some natural rotation is unavoidable with most of us. So long as such rotation is slight and consistent, the zero thus derived will be useable. However, another shooter will invariably have a different degree, even direction (when he is left-handed) of rotation, and thus throw bullets into a place divergent from where you have your sights set.
With all that said, most accuracy issues are still trigger-related, not sight-related. And, as Instructors, we must be sure that our students have realistic expectations of their fighting rifle. “Accuracy,” like “attractiveness,” is a relative term!
And, our students need to absorb from us a problem-solving, analytical attitude, so that they are always looking for a way to win, regardless of what they have to work with. The last thing we want to do is provide students with a convenient pretext to lose or give up.
But, vision issues, particularly among the middle-aged, still makes “sharing” rifles a bad idea! Shooters need a high degree of confidence in the way their rifle’s sights work, and in the exact way they are set.
Degradation of confidence in a rifle’s sighting system renders the piece a good deal less than useful!
5 Jan 11
Operator or Pretender?
On New Year’s Eve, a local city councilman in the Phillippines was murdered as he stood next to his car, surrounded by his wife and children. He was shot at close range by a pistol-wielding punk, against whom the councilman had testified in a car-theft case. The councilman died at the scene from a single gunshot that penetrated his upper chest.
Suspect has been identified, but is still at large.
Curiously, the councilman was armed at the time. He was carrying a 1911 (concealed), in 45ACP, in a holster. No word on the condition of his pistol, nor whether it had been “taped,” as is the policy among Philippine police over the holiday weekend (described in my Quip of 28 Dec 10). In any event, this hapless victim failed his Test, and died, not even knowing if his family was safe. It seems VCAs don’t go on vacation. Imagine that!
The councilman never drew his pistol; never fired a shot. He took no action to defend himself, despite the fact that he, and his entire family, were in direct danger, and even though, by all accounts, the murder suspect presented an easy, stationary target at close range, clearly representing an immediate, lethal threat, and there was plenty of time for the councilman to identify the threat, draw and engage him with several, carefully-aimed shots, all before the suspect finally got around to shooting.
As my friend and colleague, Ken Hackathorn says, and I often quote, “When you lack confidence in your ability to perform a task, under stress you’ll not even attempt it!”
This councilman had been “trained” by the Army Reserve Command and actually carried concealed most of the time. Yet, he apparently never “thought it through,” nor, obviously, had he trained and practiced sufficiently so as to be up to the task when his Test came!
Lesson: Right this minute, there are many, like the hapless victim described in the foregoing, who are carrying concealed guns, and who do carry on a regular basis, some police among them, who couldn’t shoot their way out of a paper bag!
At some point, they may have learned how to operate a gun, and may have even punched a hole or two in a paper target. That’s where real training has just begun, but that’s where most “training” ends!
The world is a terrible, desperate place. Always has been, and living in it is a job from which you don’t get to resign. We are ever confronted with two kinds of pain: the pain of discipline, and the pain of regret. You can avoid one, but never both. When the time to perform arrives, the time to prepare has passed!
“A superior man, when resting in safety, forgets not that peril is ever present. When in a state of security, he forgets not that ruin is only a breath away. When all is orderly, he forgets not that chaos ever hovers over him. Thus, his state and clans are preserved.”
6 Jan 11
“Celebratory” gunfire, alive and well in Detroit, MI.
From a friend who lives there:
As a general statement, Americans are the most responsible gun-owners in the world. While the percentage of gun ownership among the general citizenry has climbed steadily during the past decade, gun accidents are actually way down, by any measure.
However, there are still plenty of irresponsible idiots with guns, and they still represent a deadly threat, both to the people around them, and to our rights as citizens:
“For ten years, I’ve lived just north of Detroit’s city limits. A decade ago, ‘celebratory’ gunfire could be heard from my back porch around midnight of New Year’s Eve. But only a few shots, and it didn’t last long.
This New Year’s Eve, I went out on my back porch shortly before midnight. A few minutes prior, shooting started, sporadic, but much more than years ago.
At midnight, the evening virtually erupted into what sounded like a major, military operation! There were thousands of rounds fired in the first ten minutes following the stroke of twelve. Heavy fire continued for twenty more minutes thereafter. Firing continued, albeit at a diminishing pace, until two in the morning, when I went to bed.
There may have been firecrackers mixed in, but nearly all of it sounded like conventional gunfire to me!
I am concerned, as is every other sane person who witnessed this madness.
Our corrupt news media reported none of it, nor did they report shooting injuries. They pretended it didn’t happen, as did local politicians. However, among the rest of us, it is common knowledge!
The City of Detroit, after enduring one crooked mayor after another, finally (for a change) has one who is at least not an abject thug. He seems to have the welfare of the City, and region, at the forefront of his concerns. Detroit may be turning around, but this kind of grievous behavior confirms the opinion of many that the entire City is unsalvageable. It discourages tourism and development, as would an outbreak of the Plague. Of course, our unworthy ‘media’ would cover that up too!
Racial division has harried Detroit for decades. Damage done to race relations, because of this behavior, is incalculable. Unfortunately, it is the portion of the population that is trying to lead good and decent lives, who go to work every day, who do their best to be productive, raise families, and improve their surroundings, who suffer from stereotyping when they are unfailingly lumped-in with these reckless hoodlums who have no regard for life, property, decency, nor public order.
And, of course, thoughtless actions of a few idiots predictably fuel shrieks (at least among leftists) for even more onerous restrictions to be heaped upon law-abiding gun owners, the ones who aren’t committing crimes and whose guns remained silent over the Holiday!”
Comment: “Celebratory” gunfire is always associated with “third-world” and “undeveloped” countries. Its presence here, and the fact that it is apparently tolerated, causes many to point to it as yet another sign of this civilization’s relentless decline. And, the fact that, at a official level, we’re in denial, pretending it isn’t happening, represents further proof!
10 Jan 11
Hog hunting in South FL!
Today, at a large ranch in South FL, I spent the entire day hunting local, wild pigs! I’ve hunted on this same ranch many times in the past. I use my RA/XCR in 7.62×39, Aimpoint T1, Vickers Sling, Lasermax pulsating green laser, Laser Devices co-axial flashlight, and 130gr DPX ammunition.
This morning, I shot and killed a 220lb female. Range was six meters, and the pig was ensconced in a hollow log. I could not make out the shape of the body, but I could hear her snorting angrily. My flashlight was of little use, because ambient sunlight was so bright. I estimated where her head was and pressed off my first shot. It hit her lower jaw. Through and through. She convulsed, and I finally made out the body profile. I caught the link and delivered a second shot, this one through the neck. She broke and ran, but collapsed within twenty meters, DRT.
Both rounds came out the opposite side, leaving ragged exit wounds. Copious bleeding was indicative of extensive internal damage.
This afternoon, I shot and killed a 350lb male. Large tusks and a negative attitude! Range was ten meters, in heavy brush and ten inches of water. We chased him into a swamp!
By the time I caught up with him, I was exhausted, having tripped and fallen in the mud several times as I ran. He was half-submerged in water and facing me. Once again, it took several seconds for me to figure out what I was looking at!
I put my red dot just to the left of his head, holding a little high to compensate for mechanical offset. My first shot went past his face and hit his shoulder, ranging into his body. He did a neutral turn and ran directly away. Within the next second, I fired four more shots at him as he ran. All four hit! He went down after running only five meters. Of my five rounds, none exited.
The first shot was fatal, but I didn’t know it, and apparently neither did he!
Again, there is nothing like an Aimpoint for this kind of hunting.
My XCR has never failed, and it is, in fact, on-duty tonight!
Every chance I get to hunt live game with my military rifles, I take it. I regard it as suburb training!
It was a great day!
12 Jan 11
Today, during a Training Course at a local Pistol Range in FL, I had the opportunity to use a SIRT, laser-training pistol.
It is an inert pistol-prop, modeled after a G17, with two, visible lasers. One (red) turns on when you touch the trigger. The second (green) turns on when the trigger breaks. Both follow the same path and are visible downrange.
I found it useful in helping students to fully understand the way the motion of the trigger affects the path, and impact point, of the bullet.
I may find more uses as I continue to use it, but first impressions were positive.
16 Jan 11
Several students have reported to me, over a number of years, that the red dot of their Aimpoint T1/H1 sometimes suddenly goes dead during recoil, only to pop back on when the brightness adjustment knob is adjusted. To be fair, the phenomenon is extremely uncommon. I have a number of Aimpoints, both T1s and H1s, on several rifles, and have never personally witnessed the problem, until last week.
A student brought an RA/XCR in 7.62×39, equipped with an Aimpoint T1, to one of our Urban Rifle Classes in South FL. Sure enough, the dot unexpectedly went dead, upon recoil of one of his shots, during a Movement-and-Cover Exercise.
Like mine, his T1 was set-up on a LaRue, Quick-Release Mount. So, I took the T1 and Mount off his rifle and put it on mine. After several shots, it did the same thing when mounted on my rifle. Conversely, my T1 continued to function normally.
I subsequently talked with friends at Aimpoint, and they told me about the issue:
“The problem you describe is usually do to the battery-cap not being tight enough. But, when tightening the battery-cap doesn’t solve the problem, take the battery out. Clean it off. Put it back in, and acutely re-tighten the cap. Replace the battery if it is over a year old. That will nearly always make the problem go away.
However, Aimpoint is absolutely insistent upon customer satisfaction. So, when the quick-fix delineated above is not efficacious, get hold of us, and we will repair/replace the unit. No problem!”
That’s what I wanted to hear!
As I said, this phenomenon is rare indeed. I’ve had many Aimpoints in Courses, and this is the first time I’ve personally witnessed it.
And, Aimpoint’s splendid attitude in the realm of customer service insures that I will continue to recommend the product.
16 Jan 11
Red-Dot Over-Dependance? These comments from an LEO:
“Doesn’t anyone practice with iron-sights anymore? And, how many times have you stressed the point of keeping to the basics by using your iron sights?”
Hard to dispute!
In my Urban Rifle Courses, one drill I always try to include is:
During a Movement-and-Cover Exercise, stop the student mid-way. Turn his Aimpoint, EOTech, Z-Point, etc off, then invite him to continue the drill. We call it the “Battery-Failure Simulation.”
Of course, he must deploy his iron sights and use them to hit all remaining targets.
All rifles equipped with optics need (1) co-witnessed iron sights, or (2) a way of getting the optic off the rifle entirely, and quickly, so that “non-co-witnessed” iron sights can be employed.
Sometimes, we find “co-witnessed” iron sights to be way off. The student has them, but has never sighted-in the rifle with them!
This drill opens a few eyes, to be sure!
A solid foundation in the effective use of iron sights is essential for anyone claiming to be a competent Rifleman and Operator.
Red dots are surely helpful, but we need to be careful with the over-dependancy that will inevitably creep in with over-use! Indeed, some red-dot users has forgotten entirely what a consistent cheek-weld is, or they never knew in the first place.
If nothing else, competent Operators are resourceful and adaptable. We don’t paint ourselves into corners!
17 Jan 11
Comments too good not to share, from an ageing Warrior:
“Has not a single one of these ‘modern warriors’ ever crawled through the mud, trying desperately to stay down in the mud, dragging his rifle along by the sling?
Are guys of our generation completely out of date? During our Wars, we were lucky just to keep our muzzles out of the mud, and our rifles pointed in the general direction of the enemy, on those rare occasions when we even knew where the enemy was!
Everything after that, up to and including hitting an enemy combatant with an aimed round, is in the category of a miracle. With a simple, reliable weapon, that always ran, we were able to make it happen, with much effort and determination.
I wouldn’t want to try it with one these perplexing, temperamental, multi-functional tinkertoys, that are rumored to have a rifle buried somewhere inside!”
Comment: Like my friend and colleague, I still say iron-sights are king, but red-dots assist us in finishing the task quicker. Serious rifles need both, set up to complement each other.
And this, from my colleague, James Yeager:
Rifle in Carry Mode or Transport Mode, as appropriate: Check
Collapsible-stock length adjusted correctly: Check
BUIS, firmly mounted, up or down at your discretion: Check
Optic, firmly mounted and up and running at the correct brightness: Check
Co-axial flashlight, firmly mounted and running: Check
Magazine, locked in place and fully-charged (but, not over-charged): Check
Sling, adjusted properly and securely attached: Check
Extra magazine(s), fully charged and in carrier: Check
Pistol, fully loaded and holstered: Check
Add to the List, at your discretion!
“Earth is a desperate, terrible place
Where beauty and honor are quickly displaced
With filth and iniquity, enslavement for all
Lest the bold and audacious answer The Call”
Russ Vaughn, 2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment,101st Airborne Division, Vietnam 65-66
17 Jan 11
2011 SHOT Show, Las Vegas, NV, Range Day:
We’re here in Las Vegas, NV for the 2011 SHOT Show, starting tomorrow. However, the live-fire Range Day was today at a local outdoor range complex.
Aimpoint, LaRue, Gemtech, US Ordnance, Hans Vang, and LMT all had their wears on display and available for live-fire for those inclined.
There are currently a number of attempts to combine optics suitable for close-range shooting with long-range capabilities, creating a rifle with a wide spectrum of capabilities. Most are bulky and require close eye-relief, but there is clearly significant interest in such a system.
Leupold’s HAMR (Highly Accurate, Multiple Range) optic combines a compact, ruggedized four-times optic with a piggyback, zero magnification mini-screen on top.
Their CQBSS Mark-8 is a 1-8 times optic with multiple functions.
LaRue combines a long-range scope with a piggybacked Aimpoint T1.
Aimpoint has a offset mount that permits the shooter to sight through his scope on top of the rifle, but, with a slight move of his head, switch to a T1 mounted at a forty-five degree angle on the right side.
Again, all are designed to allow a sniper to fight his way to a position, engaging close targets on the way, then switch to effective long-range shooting once he gets there. And again, the price one pays is bulk, weight, and close eye-relief.
LaRue and LMT, both well-known for high quality and superb customer service, had on display 308 rifles, on the Stoner System. LMT also chambers theirs for 243, 260, 338 Fed, and 7mm/08 Rem.
US Ordnance, makers of heavy weapons for the military, had on display their M2 (Browning 50cal HMG). It ran fine, but the days of tediously adjusting head-space (using “go” and “no-go” feeler-gauges) when changing barrels is over! Head-space is “set” at the factory, and a barrel change now takes less than ten seconds! Quite an advance.
Their upgrade of the troublesome M60 LMG, called the M60E4, has finally turned a historically untrustworthy weapon into a reliable one. In Vietnam, we could not keep M60s running, despite meticulous maintenance. Those days are now over! The E4 runs well, and US Ordnance will be busy for the next several years refurbishing all the old M60s, now found throughout the world.
I talked this afternoon with Alex Robinson of Robinson Arms. He will be down tomorrow with his XCR, now available in 308. I’ll have my hands on it shortly! So, those in need of a battle-rifle in 308 will now have yet another excellent choice!
Show officially starts tomorrow morning.
18 Jan 11
2011 SHOT Show, first day.
On the first day of the Show, I try to see all major manufacturers, renewing friendships with CEOs, and others, and seeing what is new.
All the shortcomings of the Sands Convention Center were still there, but this year the SHOT Show folks made a real effort to address complaints from last year. Staffing is adequate. Restrooms are more plentiful. Booth-marking is now intelligible, and comprehendible!
Critical Safety Equipment (www.CriticalSafetyEquipment.com) had on display an ingenious device intended to go on the front bumper of beat cars. It’s called the “Talon,” and it is a set of giant teeth that is designed to grab the bumper of another car, thus locking the two cars together. I can see this as a legitimate alternative to the PIT Maneuver. Beat car comes up behind suspect vehicle, glomms on to it, and applies breaks. Both vehicles slowly come to a stop. Clever!
CCW Breakaway (www.ccwbreakaways.com) trousers feature an integral gun pocket that will conceal most carry pistols. Access is fast and smooth. I ordered pairs for both Vicki and me!
Night Stick (www.nightstick.biz) makes an ingenius police flashlight that shines both forward and down, so you can see the ground in front of you, as well as whatever is ahead of you. They also make a small, 200 lumen conventional flashlight for $40.00. I ordered two!
Cor-Bon has just introduced a new line of ammunition, called “DRT,” for “Dynamic Research Technologies.” It features a pre-fragmented bullet that is designed for safe use with steel targets, even at extremely close range, and even in rifle calibers. However, the bullet is also designed for serious use. Available in both pistol and rifle calibers, bullet and primer are both lead-free. I’ll have a quantity for testing shortly!
I saw the new Kel-Tec KSG, pump shotgun. It is a bullpup design and features two, parallel, 7-shot magazine tubes, so it is a compact 14-shooter! Magazine tubes must be selected manually, and, with one’s finger in register, the slide pinches it when it comes to the rear. Not perfect, but interesting.
S&W introduced their copy of the Taurus “Judge” pistol. S&W’s version is called the “Governor.” S&W’s is a six-shooter, rather than a five-shooter, and it is nicely done in scandium and a fully-rifled bore. It comes with full-moon clips!
S&W’s line of serious pistols now has three layers: The Sigma, a $350.00 pistol, the “SD” line, which is an upgraded Sigma, with night-sights (takes Sigma magazines and comes apart exactly like a Glock), a $450.00 pistol, and the M&P, a $550.00 pistol. I have an M&P, but I really like the SD. It has no magazine safety and no manual safety, both of which I will never regret not having!
All of S&W’s former pistols with two-stage decocking levers are gone. Not even on display!
Not to be outdone, Taurus now has a “Judge” Pistol in 28-gauge! I’ve never seen 28-ga buckshot, nor slugs, but they might be produced somewhere. Probably will be, now!
I like Taurus’ “Slim” line of single-column carry pistols, in 9mm and 40S&W. Nice carry guns!
FN’s SCAR rifle was on display in both 223 and 308. The 308 version is very nice! I like the way it comes apart, and I really like the reversible (R or L side) bolt handle. The handle does reciprocate as the guns fires and can be used as a forward-assist.
Hans Vang at Vang-Comp (www.vangcomp.com) makes a clever shell-caddy (the “DSAC”) for the Rem 870 Shotgun. It is a velcro strip the mounts of the left side of the receiver. Fabric shell loops can than be stuck to it, and removed, at the operator’s option. I now have a copy!
At the Kahr booth, S&W’s old P99 (with the decocking “button” on top of the frame) is now the Kahr MR9. Kahr has acquired Magnum Research and is now marketing the Desert Eagle and the “Jericho” like of pistols. My copy of Kahr’s M1 Carbine continues to run well!
At the SIG booth, I handled the new P290, SIG’s compact 9mm, 7-shooter carry-gun. No manual decocking lever. No manual safety. In my hands, it requires a two-finger grip, but I’m going to get a copy as a backup-gun. For a small 9mm, it rivals Kahr’s excellent MK9.
At Ruger’s booth, I saw and handled the new LC9, yet another thin, compact carry-pistol in 9mm. It is an 8-shooter, and I can get a full grip on it. It has an exposed, but deeply recessed, hammer, like SIG’s P290.
CZ is now marketing the excellent Dan Wesson line of 1911 pistols.
It strikes me that the Arms Industry continues to go after the concealed-carry market with great enthusiasm, with many small 380s and 9mm, specifically designed for continuous, concealed carry. The trend is definitely away from manual, decocking levers, and manual safeties.
The other item we saw many of is video-simulator training systems. The trend is in the direction of non-tethered (prop) guns and high-quality, detailed video images. The most interesting of the lot was Laser-Shot’s sniper system, where the shooter has a panorama of a middle-Eastern village and must look through a high-powered scope and locate, and identify, threats.
Resolution of the video images is now so precise, that, even through the scope, threats are detailed and recognizable. Missed shots kick up dust next to the target. Very realistic!
20 Jan 11
2011 SHOT Show, Second Day:
My goal today was to get my hands on all military rifles currently manufactured in 308 caliber (7.62×51). I didn’t get to all of them, but I did get a chance to look at:
M1A, from Springfield Armory, LRB, and others. Gas-piston rifle with a long history of reliability. Good choice.
FAL, from DSA. None better! “Defender of the Free World” for over fifty years. DSA’s product line is excellent.
PTR/91, from PTR. American-made HK91. Extremely reliable, but hard-recoiling. An elegant bruiser!
XCR, from Robinson Arms. I handled this rifle today, and it is going to be a real contender. I own several XCRs, and I am persuaded of the viability of this design. Heavy bolt lugs, heavy extractor, and a piston, op-rod, and bolt-carrier that are all one piece and continuous. Available later in the year. I’ll have a copy as soon as RA starts taking orders!
REPR, by LWRC. Beautifully made, but expensive. Gas piston. Three-piece op-rod. Stoner-style bolt.
P308, by POF. POF rifles enjoy a good reputation. Gas-piston. Three-piece op-rod. Stoner-style bolt.
308AR, by LaRue. Stoner-system. Beautifully made, as is everything from LaRue.
308MWS, by LMT. Stoner-system. LMT also enjoys a wonderful reputation for quality and superb customer service.
Folks a C-Products showed me a 25-round 308 magazine that will work on most of the current crop of military rifles in that caliber, except for the ones where magazines rock in from the front (M14, FAL).
Since the death of friend and colleague, Lou Alessi, two years ago, we’ve wondered what happened to his company, makers of superb leather holsters, particularly shoulder-holsters. I met the new owners today, and they are currently making, and delivering, everything in the original catalog. They are carrying on. They’re making several for me now!
Friends at Rohrbaugh, makers of the smallest 9mm pistol currently available, informed me that their 45ACP version will be out later this year! Proportionally larger, but still the smallest available, this new pistol will be a significant addition to their line. Product quality and customer service continue to be magnificent!
At the ASP booth, I was shown the “Triad” flashlight. Six inches long, with a one-inch tube, and a legitimate 265 lumens! This qualifies as a real non-lethal weapon. It is the one I want to carry, and will be shortly!
Lumen “ratings” are currently fraught with fraud, particularly with off-shore manufacturers. American manufacturers, like ASP, are doing their best to establish universally-accepted testing procedures, so that advertised lumen ratings can, once again, be trusted.
ASP’s new Air-weight Ultra handcuffs have no flexation and weigh almost nothing! Superior to all others I’ve seen. Their lever-locking “Agent” Baton, designed to re-collapse silently, via turning, rather than via striking on a hard surface, is designed for concealed carry. I’ve carried my copy since last year’s SHOT Show!
Insight, makers of top-drawer flashlights, showed me their MRDS mini-red-dot sight. The MRDS is ruggedized and represents the new generation of small red-dots, small enough to go on serious pistols, and beefy enough for serious service. I may have one at some point!
20 Jan 11
2011 SHOT Show, Third Day:
Back at SIG’s booth, I was re-examining the new 290 this morning, when I was informed that a 40S&W version will be available toward the end of the year.
The new SIG “P244″ will be a reduced-size 229, to compete directly with the G19/23/32. Out later this year.
On display was a version of SIG’s 556 rifle in 7.62×39. I handled it. Takes Kalashnikov magazines!
Most of SIG’s rifles on display were equipped with SIG’s copy of Aimpoint’s T1, called the “Mini-Red-Dot.” At $150.00/copy, it is a good deal less expensive than the Aimpoint.
Kimber had on display their new “Solo” pistol, yet another compact, single column 9mm, designed specifically for concealed carry. Striker-fired, nicely rounded, this pistol is set-up to compete directly with Kahr’s PM9, SIG’s P290, Rohrbaugh, and other 9mms designed for concealment. The Solo features a seven-pound trigger with a deep reset, similar to Kahr’s, but heavier. Not a bad seven-shooter, but pricy at $750.00. A silly, and superfluous, two-position, manual safety is the only “feature” not to like.
Remington’s version of FN’s SCAR rifle, called the ACR, is now marketed by Bushmaster. Only available in 223.
Friends at Lasermax showed me their new “Genius” pistol laser. Mounts on any rail. Pulsating, green laser, and it is rechargeable. No batteries! A slower rate of pulsation indicates to the user that the unit needs recharging. I’ll have a copy shortly!
One 308 I failed to mention yesterday is Knight’s version, the EM Rifle. But, at 5k, and up, it is well out of the mainstream.
Another I mentioned only in passing was LRB’s version of the M-14. Expensive, but a true mil-spec rifle, in every detail! Receiver, bolt, and most other parts are forged, not cast. Best of the bunch! But, $2,500.00, and up, and there is a long wait!
At Blue-Force Gear, I was shown their new system for instantly converting a two-point sling into a one-point sling, and visa-versa. Very clever!
Dummies Unlimited had on display their “Cuff-Man.” It is a mannequin with arms, hands, wrists, and legs that flex naturally. Perfect for full-speed handcuffing exercises, with little risk of injury. Every training academy should have a copy. No point in injuring people during training, when it is unnecessary!
Friend and colleague, Ernie Emerson, showed me his new “Road-House” locking folder. It is a flat, rugged four-inch folding knife. Quick opening, with a handle that is designed to keep your hand from sliding forward. Excellent for carrying. Ernie’s blades are second to none!
HR218, signed into law by then-president GW Bush, authorized sworn, and retired, LEOs to carry concealed in any state. Most of us have done it for years anyway, but GWB made it official. However, in NJ in particular, state law still prohibited even out-of-state LEOs from possessing hollow-point ammunition. Once again, I never worried about it, but it was an issue with some.
Now, the latest revision of 218 has clarified all that. NJ’s hollow-point prohibition no longer applies to LEOs! Actually, it probably never did, but this makes it official.
21 Jan 11
2011 SHOT Show, Last Day
The Show is over!
Nearly all vendors I talked with indicated they were pleased with the volume of traffic this year. There were all the usual complaints, of course, but the Show was much improved over last year.
This year, it seems everyone is making ARs, flashlights, and AR accessories. More new brands than I can keep track of. I think flashlights are a bigger industry than guns!
I saw Colt’s contender for the 308 military rifle race. It’s a very light, Stoner-system rifle, called the “901,” and it comes with a Vortex flash-suppressor, standard. A nice feature! Shipping in the spring at 2k, and up.
Friends at Barrett showed me the way they’re addressing the “bolt-carrier tilt” issue, common with gas-piston ARs, like their excellent REC7. My copy has always run fine, since I first saw it a year ago. But, with some rifles on this pattern, the bolt-carrier tilts downward as it is struck by the op-rod (instead of going straight backward). On the REC7, the diameter of the bolt-carrier is increased at the rear end. Combined with a generous bevel, the effect is minimized. Problem solved! Again, everything Ronnie Barrett makes is top-drawer!
Today, I saw the famous “upside-down revolver,” the “Rhino” by Chiappa Arms. The barrel is on the bottom, instead of the top! It takes, standard, S&W M10 speed-loaders. In 38Spl/357Mg, it is serviceable, but heavy and clunky. Not something that would interest me for daily carry.
Simmunitions is now making a line of “limited range” rifle ammunition, designed for use on pistol ranges, where downrange danger is a concern. The round is lethal, but the downrange danger-area is limited to 600m, about the same as with 00Bk from a shotgun. The bullet itself is frangible, so the ammunition can be used on steel targets designed for pistol bullets, with no damage.
Back at the Kel-Tec booth, I handled the “PMR30,” a plastic-framed pistol the size of a five-inch 1911, chambered for 22Mg. Magazine hold thirty rounds!
Mossberg had on display their “Maverick” shotgun, a short, over/under break-open, with rails on top ad bottom. Uncomplicated, and at $500.00, it will appeal as a serious home-defender/car-gun to many. 12ga only.
Friend and colleague, Robbie Barrkman of ROBAR, showed off two new coatings: Poly-T2, and NP3+. The former, designed for internal and external surfaces, provides stellar corrosion protection. The latter, an improvement over the original NP3, is even tougher and more wear-resistant. I’ve made arrangements to send several guns to Robbie for both new treatments. Robbie’s quality and customer service are unequaled. Always have been!
Friends at Truck Vault has vastly expanded their line of heavy, lockable containers designed for trucks and cars. My Truck Vault is twenty-five years old, and has been is four different vehicles, Suburban and Excursions. I use it every day. It has never failed.
There was more than one room I didn’t even get to. SHOT is a big trade show, and four days is not enough to see everything, even everything I wanted to see. This year, for the first time, you could download a no-cost application onto your i-phone that allowed you to search for any vendor and get his booth number. I found this service enormously helpful in planning my day, and in finding things on short notice.
The 2012 Shot Show will be in the same place once more.
23 Jan 11
These comments with regard to SIG’s Chinese copy of Aimpoints’s T1, from a friend and trainer:
“SIG’s knock-off of the T1 is made in China, and I have been continuously disappointed with the quality. It may be suitable for a novice shooter, who is on a budget and trying to get up to speed. But, he will soon want to shed this marginal imitation and buy the authentic Aimpoint T1/H1.
I am a fan of rugged equipment that always runs, despite hard use in the field and continuous lack of maintenance. Chinese knock-offs, like this one, monotonously fail the test. In my opinion, they are only suitable for non-serious purposes.”
Comment: For one, I’m only interested in the top ten-percent of anything, particularly when it comes to emergency equipment.
Second-best need not apply!
24 Jan 11
Poignant remarks on declining civilizations, from an expert, a friend, and retired Army Officer, in SA:
“I knew a number of vain, self-righteous pseudo-intellectuals during my time in the Army. They all had elegantly-appointed offices, with double-overlaid carpeting in the floor and expensive paintings on the walls. They fairly dripped with assumed self-importance and constantly boasted of ‘political connections’ up the food-chain.
They wore starched uniforms, but were always far removed from my young lads and me in the ops-area, up in Angola. With sand, blood, and dirt between our teeth, we lived in mud, with our dead and wounded lying in ditches, some on stretchers in the back of idling C130s, their body fluids running down the rails, onto the loading deck, and ultimately accumulating in grotesque puddles on the tarmac.
Many of these curiously ‘never-deployed’ types actively participated in ‘negotiations’ to ‘end the War.’ Conversely, those of us who were personally involved in the War were kept away. In fact, a cabinet minister once said to me, when I mentioned that the ‘negotiations’ were little more than a conspicuous sell-out, ‘What do you know? You are merely a soldier.’
Twenty-two years ago, I nearly died fighting for my country. Many of my men did, and many others were permanently maimed and disabled. Those of us who lived through it are bitter and angry when we remind ourselves that our sacrifice was apparently for nothing. Two decades later, no one remembers, nor cares, and everything we fought so valiantly to preserve, is today long-gone or unrecognizable!
We ‘survivors’ spend what years we have remaining talking softly, out-of-doors at parties, nursing mutual memories and old wounds, out of earshot of course, of the more ‘refined’ amongst us, who self-indulgently cringe at the mere sight of a gun, or at the stark appearance of those who stand guard at night.
Keep spreading the sunshine, my friend! You, for at least a little longer, still have something worth fighting for.”
(1) No political goal has ever been carried through, without filth being swept under the carpet.
(2) There has never been an armed conflict without soldiers bleeding and dying, ultimately without recognition (as if further insult were required).
(3) Great civilizations are never conquered from the outside. They unilaterally commit suicide, without fail!
“God and soldiers we adore,
In time of peril, not before!
Danger past; all things righted,
God forgotten; soldiers slighted.”
25 Jan 11
Officer deaths and serious injury up in 2011.
Already this year, officer deaths via criminal violence are way up from previous years. Some of it is probably just coincidence, but some of it is due to inappropriate use of “less-lethal” techniques and instrumentalities.
I actively recommend Tasers and believe that every officer should carry one. OC, bean-bags, and other “less-lethal” options also represent real advances in modern police work. Verbal commands and hands-on techniques have their place too.
But, it strikes me that some of us are getting all this mixed up!
Tasers are for obnoxious drunks and other non-compliant, even mildly combative, suspects. Tasers are particularly useful when the alternative is injury-generating, physical contact. However, neither Tasers, nor even verbal commands, are appropriate for gun-wielding, active murderers! Such imminent, direct threats need to be neutralized via gunfire, immediately.
Sometimes, all those choices slow an officer’s response. They shouldn’t!
On television, we see episode after episode of “crime drama,” where actors portraying police officers routinely expose themselves to suicidal risk in order to avoid harming the poor, misunderstood, gun-wielding criminal. This all makes great drama, I suppose, but it represents poor tactics. Real police who imitate it, and the public who has been brainwashed to expect it, are both in for a rude dose of reality!
Back in the days of black-and-white television, I remember Roy Rogers and Gene Autry shooting guns out of the hands of bad guys, with monotonous regularity. Today’s television dramas are doing exactly the same thing! I’m sure network executives make a nice living, then as now, pumping this sewage over the wire, but the unrealistic expectations it generates do us no good service.
We are at a crossroads: We’re either going to see more dead suspects, or more dead police officers. It will be one or the other! We need to start shooting actively violent criminals, when appropriate, without hesitation, and without apology!
To be sure, “less-lethal” has its place, but not when someone is threatening you with a gun, or other lethal weapon.
In case you missed it, death is “one-way!”
29 Jan 11
As residents of Detroit discovered recently, even local police precinct stations are not “safe” places. We can now add them to churches, schools, political events, as well as the “old-reliables:” sleazy bars, trailer parks, rock-concerts, family reunions, and foreign countries with crumbling governments!
Even your own home is no safer than the thickness of your front door, or the ease with which windows can be broken.
In the case of the Detroit Precinct Station, all legitimate residents were carrying guns, so the armed invader enjoyed only an abbreviated tenure before he was shot to death by officers who courageously and unhesitatingly responded in kind, but with more skill and precision. Had they all been unarmed, as would be the case with denizens of most schools and churches, the criminal’s deadly spree would have gone on and on!
The fact that those DPD Officers were routinely armed and ready, even in the “office,” saved many innocent lives.
In the wake of any lethal-force event in which you find yourself involved, voluntarily or involuntarily, and no matter where it decides to take place, two vehicles will eventually arrive: (1) a police vehicle and (2) an ambulance. Your decisiveness and level of preparedness will determine which one you leave in!
Either way, few, besides yourself, will remember, nor care!
You’re on your own, and always have been. For the clueless and unprepared, it is only luck that has protected them thus far.
Recent events make ugly facts impossible to deny. Ignore them at your peril!
31 Jan 11
Earlier this month, a single Indian Gurka soldier (retired) foiled an armed robbery attempt, involving a large criminal gang. There were forty of them! He also prevented at least one forcible rape. The Gurka himself is okay, but three robbery suspects are DRT. At least eight others were badly injured and ultimately arrested. The balance fled!
The Gurka was aboard a train in India when the robbery attempt took place. He sat silently while the gang snatched cash, rings, jewelry, cell phones, etc from terrified passengers. They threatened with knives and pistols. But, when several robbery suspects attempted to rape a teenage girl, the Gurka sprang into action! With consummate skill, he employed his stock-and-trade weapon, the famous Khukuri blade.
The bandits were no match for him!
With blinding speed, he dispatched them as if they were chickens. Who could, fled for their lives!
In the process, the courageous Gurka suffered a knife wound to his left hand, but was otherwise okay. None of the other passengers were seriously injured.
Unlike in America, the Gurka’s bold actions were praised by government and media alike. He is officially recognized for the hero that he is, not denigrated, castigated, and remotely psychoanalyzed as would be his fate over here!
Good show, Bud!
Unlike so many these days, this Gurka knows right from wrong! He knew he had to act, and he knew he had the skills, equipment, and heart necessary to prevail. The last thing these bandits expected was forceful resistance. When it came their way, they couldn’t handle it!
He (1) sized-up the situation, (2) made a plan, and (3) exploded into action.
He neither hesitated, nor dithered. He swept his mind free of clutter and focused completely upon the task at hand.
When he made the decision to act, he attacked with all he was worth, holding nothing back.
With consummate skill and daring, and with superiority of purpose, he became a precise, seamless whirlwind of motion- unbeatable, unstoppable. To their horror, these bandits found themselves completely outclassed!
“Never tell me the odds!”
Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford), Star Wars, 1977