1 Oct 07
Aimpoint Micro and LaRue Quick-Detach Mount:
At an Urban Rifle Course in NV last weekend, I had the opportunity to test an Aimpoint Micro on my DSA/FAL/Congo.
My good friend Mark LaRue, at LaRue Tactical, is now making a wonderful, low-profile, quick-release mount, and even I was able to install it on my Aimpoint and then the whole package onto the DSA’s top rail. I have it far forward, as is my preference, providing me with a full thirty centimeters of eye relief. Everything Mark LaRue makes is top-drawer, and this new mount fits the mold.
What a package! I can use the Aimpoint, yet easily see around it. Mark’s mount is so low-profile, my cheek-weld is satisfactory and consistent. If my Aimpoint fails, I can instantly remove it and default to iron sights. In addition, the mount is designed so that it will not release inadvertently when the latch snags on clothing.
After zeroing, I removed the Aimpoint, per the foregoing, and reinstalled it multiple times. Zero was unaffected!
This is a package that is highly recommended for anyone needing a heavy, military rifle that is intended for serious purposes. I keep mine in the car, in Transport Mode, with a magazine charged with Cor-Bon DPX. Nothing not to like!
2 Oct 07
More on rifle optics:
A student at an Urban Rifle Course last weekend in NV brought an RA/XCR in 223. On the top rail, he had a close-eye-relief, 4X ACOG. It was rear-mounted, and eye relief was less than two centimeters.
The XCR, of course, ran fine for the duration. The ACOG surely functioned also, but the student had great difficulty finding targets quickly, particularly when he was swinging the muzzle laterally. He invariably overshot the target and then had to reverse direction and come back in an attempt to find it in his scope.
When I used his rifle, I experienced the same problem! When engaging multiple targets, I would swing laterally, but, by the time I saw the target in the scope, I had already swung past it. In addition, the scope was so close to my face, that nearly all of the downrange area was blocked out.
By contrast, my Aimpoint/Micro-equipped DSA/FAL, with the optic mounted far forward, allowed me to continuously monitor my flanks and rear, and I was consistently able to swing laterally on targets and not swing past them.
I know many like 4X, and even greater, magnification, because they can make out detail not observable otherwise. One gets to see “a-lot-of-a-little.” However, when so doing, you better have someone else watching your back!
My conclusion is that 4X magnification on a serious rifle may be arguable when one is functioning as a member of a military unit, and there is thus always someone watching your back. However, for Independent Operators, any optic with magnification in excess of 2.5X is contra-indicated, in my opinion. Zero-magnification optics, like Aimpoint and EOTech, are probably best.
6 Oct 07
Sling Attachment Points:
For most serious uses, I prefer a two-point sling on urban rifles, with attachment points on the top side of the rifle, rather than the traditional, underneath arrangement.
Underside attachment points have been the norm since WWI, when rifles were routinely slung, muzzle-up, and carried that way. However, American soldiers soon found that getting the rifle into action from that posture was awkward, slow, and dangerous, as the muzzle invariably pointed in multiple unsafe defections during the procedure. During the Finnish Invasion of 1939-1940, Russian soldiers learned this painful lesson many times over, as they unhappily discovered they could not quickly unsling and return fire when attacked by rapidly-moving, Finnish Ski Troops.
South Africans were the first, as a matter of policy, to abandon the practice in favor of muzzle-down carry. Most of us have now come to accept the inherent superiority of carrying slung rifles with the muzzle down. However, in order to sling the rifle with the muzzle down, sling attachment points need to be moved from the bottom, to the top, of the weapon. Otherwise (at least when slung, muzzle-down, in front) the rifle will hang upside-down! So, we find ourselves today in a classic “cultural lag,” as the vast majority of rifles, even military rifles, are still being produced with sling attachment points only on the underside.
The Vickers Sling, produced by Blue-Force Gear, and some others, now comes with a butt harness that instantly generates a top attachment point on the butt of nearly any rifle. No gunsmithing necessary. However, moving the front attachment point presents difficulties.
Relocating the front attachment point to the top may occlude the sighting plane. Leaving it on the bottom makes it impossible to use a co-axial flashlight on the underside of the rifle, as the light will do little more than illuminate the sling! Thus, the best place for the forward sling-attachment point is on the side of the forend. With rifles like the RA/XCR, which come with mounting rails on the top, both sides, and the bottom of the forend, this is no problem, as an after-market attachment point can simply be plunked on the side rail at any point. Again, no gunsmithing necessary. To make this change on other rifles may indeed require the services of a gunsmith, but it needs to be done.
Just a many new pistol owners never think about holsters and other carry options until it suddenly occurs to them that their shiny, new pistol will be a scant use if it is not with them constantly, urban rifle owners need to think about how they are going to comfortably carry their rifle for long periods, yet still have it instantly available when the need arises.
Again, untested gear, great as it may look in the showroom, will be the source of monumental unhappiness after the fight starts. All tactical gear must be (1) carefully selected, (2) sternly tested, and (3) frequently exercised, if it is going to have any chance of serving its owner as intended.
6 Oct 07
Hypocrisy, the curse that haunts Western Civilization:
In our Advanced Classes, I often find it necessary to remind students that many pay lip service to the Way of the Warrior, but few actually live it. Heaven knows, we’ve all fallen short, but professing one personal philosophy, yet living another, smacks of “Do as I say, not as I do.” No place is this more evident than among “professing” gunmen.
Here is the way a great general put it:
“You profess to have boldly claimed your own magnificence, yet you act as if you were worthless! Where are your weapons? Why do you wear them only when at the range? Why does your professed “plan” include things that you admittedly won’t have?
You profess to be the proud protector of your family, and that they can all count upon you in an emergency, yet you act is if they were all expendable! Are you really in a position to protect them? How?
You profess great faith, yet you act as if God has abandoned you! Warriors are dashing and daring, animated by unshakable belief and righteous elan. But, you are fearful and confused. Instead of acting boldly, with strength and audaciously, you exhibit only timidity and disarray.”
Again, when we think wrongly, we will act poorly, no matter how thoroughly we’ve deceived ourselves. “Self-esteem,” when it has no legitimate foundation, is little more than groundless arrogance. It will fall apart when the first shot is fired.
9 Oct 07
Here is our new contact in Country in Iraq. I’m sorry all this took so long.
CWO5 Daniel K Luke
3/23 H&S BN Gunner
FPO AE 09509-3142
I’m sure when you get hold of Dan directly, he can tell you what items are needed in addition to our standard list.
Let’s let these guys know they are not forgotten!
10 Oct 07
New List of needed items:
Gunner Danny Luke tells me that these items are what he currently needs most and is unable to get his hands on otherwise. He’ll probably add other things as time goes on, but this is the current “critical list.” This is what he now needs to take care of his Marines.
Shipping from CONUS typically takes ten days.
T50 Arrow staple gun (heavy duty), needed for target construction and repair
T50 Chisel-point staples, 3/8″ and 1/2″
Snap link (carabineer) 150 lb strength, black, needed for putting rifle slings together
Bore Snake, 5.56 mm (22 cal), needed for weapons
Nomex flight gloves, “coyote” color, S, M, & L
Cordless, 18V drill and trim-saw with blades, bits, and #2 Phillips bits, needed for range and
target maintenance as well as gun positions in isolated areas.
3″ and 1 5/8″ sheet-rock screws
The Supply System does the best it can, but it is, as always, ponderous and often unresponsive in any kind of timely way. That is where we come in! We don’t need anyone’s “permission” to do this, and we don’t have to convene a ‘committee.”
I’ll stay on top of the situation from my end.
Thanks to everyone!
10 Oct 07
South African Police are sheepishly acknowledging that 3,856 firearms are currently missing from their own inventory! This is just what they’ve been forced to admit to. The actual figure is, in all probability, much higher. This is what we can look forward to with universal gun “registration” and “control” by government:
“Police lost many additional firearms during the past year than they did during the one before, says SA’s Auditor General. He went on to say that firearm control registers are not properly maintained. Further, compulsory, bi-annual firearms inspections are only rarely actually performed. The audit also found substantial ‘inventory discrepancies’ between what the police actually have in their stores and what are shown in their records.”
Comment: SA AG’s own data clearly shows that the very governmental agency that is tasked with the responsibility of controlling legal firearms in civilian hands, itself losses firearms at a rate nearly five times higher than do average, gun-owning citizens!
When naive Liberals flippantly pontificate about “sensible restrictions” of privately-owned firearms, this is the kind of tragi-comical catastrophe we can all logically expect. How would any reasonable person expect anything more?
12 Oct 07
From a friend just returned from the AUSA Show in DC. Yet another indication of the wrong direction in which Western military thinking is currently directed:
“… just returned from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) exhibit in DC.
On display was an ‘Advanced Combat Helmet,’ which includes a ‘mandibular-protection’ feature. It protects the soldier’s lower jaw while still allowing him to shoot from prone. It also features a visor that replaces goggles.
Seasoned NCOs who saw the helmet all commented positively about its frightening/intimidating look.
Conversely, O5/O6 staff officers were horrified that the helmet’s look was ‘too intimidating!’ They were concerned that it might frighten people and went on to point out that it would never be adopted, just for that reason.
It became rapidly apparent to me that NCOs universally understood the concept of winning the fight, while staff officers understood only PR, accounting, and ‘career-management.’”
Comment: “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most quickly pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”
15 Oct 07
Many of us carry five-shot, 38Spl, snubby revolvers, like S&W’s excellent 340PD, particularly as a back-up pistol. However, when reverting to the snubby, we often routinely fire all five shots in a single burst. It is bad practice!
Bad practice, because, once all five shots are simultaneously expended, you are faced with the prospect of a agonizingly slow reload, even with the aid of a speed-loader. Accordingly, once all five shots have been fired, (whatever the result) options dry up quickly!
Instead, I recommend thinking in terms of “Three-and-Two.” When deploying your snubby, fire three rounds. Then, stop, move laterally while accessing, keeping the last two rounds in reserve. This strategy will provide you with flexibility and preserve your options a while longer.
The snubby’s advantage is ease and thoroughness of concealability, extreme retainability, and speed of deployment. On the other slide of the ledger, the snubby lacks power, range, and has an severely limited reserve of ammunition, combined with, as noted above, a slow reload.
The “Three-and-Two” strategy, when thoroughly practiced, will be helpful in dealing with the latter.
16 Oct 07
“Complications” associated with an accidental/self-inflicted GSW, from an LEO friend:
“Our ND survivor had to go back to the hospital for several days of additional treatment. He developed a blood clot in his left calf. Blood thinners and bed-rest were prescribed! He’ll be okay, eventually. This officer is in his fifties, so he isn’t healing quite as fast as some eighteen-year-old Lance Corporal in Ramadi!
He accidentally shot himself through his thigh, from inside his fanny pack. The bullet (FMJ from a G27) went through-and-through without hitting the big artery or the femur.
Not sure why he was carrying FMJ and not our duty-load. Had it been our duty-load (Gold Dot), his leg would surely have been torn up a great deal more that it was, no doubt!”
Comment: (1) When an “officer” is not serious enough about his job and sworn duty to even carry effective ammunition, he probably needs to find something else to do!
(2) When you make contact with the trigger of a gun, expect it to discharge at that instant! Who has the habit of pointing guns at himself is in for such an unhappy surprise. Just a matter of time!
(3) Although most pistol GSWs are not fatal, “complications” often develop which will seriously disrupt one’s lifestyle, sometimes for months! While not fatal, most are still permanently disabling/disfiguring.
Getting shot is no fun, particularly when it is the direct result of abject stupidity/carelessness!
16 Oct 07
On military pistols, from a friend who currently works in the Green Zone:
“Who carry pistols here openly have 92Fs (M9), Glocks, and SIGs, mostly in 9mm but a few in 40S&W. Now and then, one sees a 1911 in 45ACP. Lots of shoulder holsters and tactical leg rigs.
All exposed pistols are empty. No chambered round and no magazine inserted. Some carry one or two charged magazines separately, but most don’t even do that much. All with these empty weapons have to go to the clearing-barrel in front of the mess hall a minimum of three times a day, and the longer soldiers are here the more careless gun-handling/muzzle awareness becomes. For one, I avoid the area near clearing-barrels (AKA, “ND Centers”) like the plague!
I’ve long-since grown weary of this institutionalized stupidity, so I carry my (fully loaded) pistols, and blades, concealed, never saying a word about them. A few other Operators do also. That thought, of course, never occurs to VBCs, who constitute the vast majority here.”
Comment: One of our students, an O6, was “caught” carrying an obviously loaded M9 in the Green Zone earlier this year. The fellow colonel who turned him in (real “camaraderie” here!) had heretofore never seen one carried loaded!
My student soon found himself standing before a two-star who asked him where he learned to carry a loaded pistol. He explained he picked up the practice at our Military Pistol Course at Camp Pendleton, CA and was thus persuaded that carrying the pistol any other way was really silly! The two-star continued by saying the practice of carrying loaded guns is dangerous. My student enthusiastically agreed!
In the end, our colonel was told to stop carrying loaded pistols. Like my friend above, he responded by switching to concealed carry, not wishing to continue arguing with idiots!
Pistols are seldom a critical factor in the grand scheme of modern warfare. Pistols are designed only to preserve the lives of those who carry them (loaded). That is why they are considered optional/trivial/unimportant by those who don’t have to risk their own lives!
For a soldier getting killed, the war has already gotten as big as it can get!
16 Oct 07
A problem shared by dive-computers, airplane instruments, defensive firearms, and residential alarm systems. A friend who installs and services residential security systems says this:
“I’ve spent decades in the home-alarm business, and I can say with authority that the vast majority of home-owners who purchase, at great expense, sophisticated electronic residential security systems (usually right after a violent crime in the local area) actually use it for only two weeks! Then, they stop turning it on, because it is so ‘inconvenient.’ Thereafter, they never have it serviced/checked/upgraded, and it is promptly forgotten. It just sits there, turned off, gathering dust!”
Comment: These are the same people who buy a gun, because they’re ‘afraid,’ and it thereafter sits in a dresser drawer, in the box it came in, unused, unloaded, unmaintained, and extremely unlikely to ever be used for any legitimate purpose. Its owner quickly forgets it is even there!
These are the same people who buy airplanes and boats, and equip them, at great expense, with all the latest electronic gadgets that are designed and purported to notify the pilot/captain when a safety issue develops, and then never turn any of it on!
These are the same people who, when SCUBA diving, spend big bucks on sophisticated dive-computers, again designed and purported to warn the diver when a safety issue is developing, and, of course, never turn it on either!
On those rare occasions when any of this stuff is actually turned on, and alarms, because the home is being violently invaded, the airplane is (unknown to the pilot) flying upside-down, or the diver’s air supply is about to drop below what is needed for a safe accent, these are the same people whose reaction is predictably, “That can’t be right! Let’s just turn it off.”
And, of course, these are the same people who, in a panic, get to their gun, belatedly try to figure out how to load it, and usually end up shooting themselves and/or being victimized by violent burglary suspects, whom they are otherwise unable to deal with effectively.
And, these are the same people who subsequently whine from their hospital beds about how all this is so “unfair.”
The real problem is not forgetfulness, nor naivete, nor even stupidity. The real problem is adolescent, narcissistic arrogance! The naive, foolish belief that some erstwhile-unemployed guardian angel has been assigned to protect me, personally. The naive belief that politicians can legislate all the uncertainties out of life. The naive belief that nothing bad can happen to me, because that would violate some cosmic rule about “fairness.”
“It can’t happen to me” has been the famous-last-words of more than at few naive fools, who should have known better. Who want to die only from old-age had better take note, and grow up!
18 Oct 07
Proper mind-set? This from an LEO friend in a Midwest city:
“Last weekend, our officers responded to a report of a distraught woman on a downtown sidewalk, screaming at passers-by. One of our patrol officers made contact. She found the woman leaning against the side of a building, talking with herself.
Our officer approached cautiously, using a pillar for cover. When she verbally contacted the suspect, the woman turned away, conspicuously ignoring the officer. Our officer then moved forward. The suspect suddenly turned and rushed the officer, pushing her backwards into the pillar, ripping the radio from her hand. Backup was already on its way.
At this point, our officer panicked. She disengaged, ran back to her beat car, and locked herself in. Her sergeant and several other officers arrived less than a minute later. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident. Our officer came away from the incident with scrapes and bruises, a bump on the head, and a torn uniform. No one else was hurt.
Our officer fled the confrontation, despite the fact that she was armed with OC spray and an ASP expanding baton (local politics have, thus-far, kept Tasers out of our hands). She has been with the department for fifteen years, but quit paying attention ten years ago. Ever since, she has been content to ride around in a beat car, take reports of incidents long-since concluded, “respond” to alarm calls hours after they are received, and always be the last one to arrive when sent to any kind of “in-progress” disturbance. Not surprisingly, she does no self-initiated, traffic enforcement.
She doesn’t think tactically, complains incessantly about having to participate in defensive tactics training, hates guns, and has an all-inclusive (and obviously misplaced!) faith in her ability to talk to people out of violent actions.
Our ”management” continuously ducks the issue by insisting that we have a training issue, rather than a personal performance/commitment issue.”
Comment: Even with aggressive recruiting, some people should never be hired as police officers! They’re just not suited to the job, and all the training in the would won’t magically convert them into a different person. They need to get out, or be ushered out!
18 Oct 07
Sage comments on mind-set from a seasoned, female agent, with many years of operational experience:
“I can only hope that the responding officers pointed at her and reminded everyone else on the
job that she isn’t worth her salt. It’s time to call foul on everyone who will not stand and fight when that is clearly their duty.
For one, I am weary of women’s law-enforcement associations that ‘fight’ for women’s ‘rights.’ A WOMAN POLICE OFFICER’S RIGHTS ARE PRECISELY THE SAME AS A EVERYONE ELSE’S! You have the right to go to work, knowing it may be your last shift; to take care of your partner and the public, at the risk of your own life; to receive no recognition nor special dispensation because of your sex, race, size, creed, etc; to expect nary even a ‘thank-you’. There are no other ‘women’s rights’ in this job, and none should be expected. Welcome to Planet Earth!
Scars are proof of life. You don’t get them, and the stories that go with them, by sitting on your fat ass while everyone else does your job!
Disgracing neither our families nor our regiment is, and should be, more important to us than life itself. Our ‘regiment’ includes thousands of years of our fearless, warrior ancestors courageously fighting battles that couldn’t be won, but were.
In their honor, you need to either paint, or get off the ladder!”
“Who do evil should be afraid, for police do not bear arms in vain. It is in the service of God that they visit wrath upon wrongdoers.”
“Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore, give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions and determine to pay the price of a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast, and one day you will build something that endures; something worthy of your potential.”
“It is better, by noble boldness, to run the risk of being subject to half the evils we anticipate than to sit in cowardly inaction, for fear of what audacity might bring forth.”
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win great triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the dreary, gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
The Clock of Life is wound but once, and no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop, at a late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time, my friend… for The Clock will soon be still!
19 Oct 07
“Numbers” do not provide protection, as many naively think. This from a friend in CT:
“Wednesday evenings are ‘Bike-Night’ here in CT. A dozen of us gather in a local parking lot, then ride off to Hartford where we meet up with a larger group.
This Wednesday, our group was parked as normal. I heard a loud bang! I turned around to see a hooded, armed-robber, with a pistol inches from the face of one of my friends! The robber apparently either had an ND or deliberately fired the pistol as a warning. In any event, no one was hit.
The robber then put the pistol in his pocket, climbed on my friend’s bike, and rode off.
We were all astonished that someone would walk up to a large crowd and commit an armed robbery in front of so many witnesses, and in broad daylight!”
Lesson: We’ve all been told that there is safety in numbers. It’s a lie! Desperate, determined, and evil men are not dissuaded by all the trendy niceties that we’re been told will substitute for personal preparedness.
This kind of brazen criminality will become more common as VCAs realize how little there is to fear from clueless VBCs who have been spoon-fed “learned-helplessness” their entire lives.
“It never troubles a wolf how many the sheep be!”
19 Oct 07
On “youthful offenders,” from an LEO friend with a large, metro PD:
“Here, the average age of VCAs falls every year. I’m confident it is now under eighteen. And, with this generation of young criminals, the trend is in the direction of violence- extreme, precipitous, and frequently serving no logical purpose.
Young felons have no concern over human life, even their own, especially their own! Few expect to live long enough to see their 20th birthday. Those who do fully expect to live most of their adult life in prison. In fact, being arrested for a violent crime is a rite of passage. School visits from probation officers is now a highly-coveted status symbol! In most inner-city schools, resource officers are now augmented by probation officers who spend most of their time there anyway. Schools have, in fact, become de-facto, ‘day-prisons!’
Against these VCAs, high-profile ‘security measures’ are largely ineffective. They’re not dissuaded by cameras, nor warning signs, nor even uniformed guards (who are all unarmed anyway). Banks foolishly thought highly-visible security would keep them from being robbed. Not any more!
When they confront you, don’t expect compliance to keep you from being hurt. They’re just as likely to murder you, either way. They must be gunned down immediately, while you still have half a chance. If you let them take control, we’ll find your mutilated body the next day!”
Comment: This is a clear sign of a declining civilization. Our Criminal Justice System is obviously unable to deal with this level of depravity it in any effective way, much less reverse the trend. Politicians predictably ignore it. Most of the rest of us do too, until it is too late.
The lesson here is, once again, each of us has to be in a position to effectively repel criminal violence by ourselves, with no assistance, and at any time. It is only going to get worse!
22 Oct 07
Comments on mind-set from an LEO Trainer:
“Those of us who are jealously faithful to our oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and to our vows to relentlessly pursue the lawless, enforce the law with spirit and determination, and to restore order where there is none, should be relentlessly purging our ranks of the slackers described in your Quip. The issue is not just that they are stealing a paycheck, but that they are actively betraying the uniform, their Charge, their Office, and the rest of us.
These derelicts, with nauseating presumptions moral superiority, indulge themselves in a false pride attached to accomplishing nothing. They are an epitome of arrogance.
In some quarters, law enforcement has become a sort of dole, a system of public welfare, where the indolent can spend years getting paid for doing little more than occupying space.”
Comment: No one should be paid for existing! Productivity and devotion to duty needs to be strictly required of all of us. A law-enforcement career is no soft affair. Who can accept it at its face should go forward boldly and fearlessly. Who can’t, need to get out, any way they wish!
23 Oct 07
This note has just been received from Gunner Danny Luke in Iraq. Some requested items have already arrived, and more are in the pipeline. Additional, needed items are mentioned below:
I appreciate all the support you and your friends have offered. I’m just now getting back to e-mails that have been sent my way. I ask that you forward this to your friends as an explanation for things I have asked for and one more thanks for you and their support.
I have asked for bore snakes due to the heavy “Moon dust,” as we call it in our AO. Additionally, the request for heavy duty 2″ to 3″ paint brushes is for the same reason. These items expedite the daily cleaning process of all weapons. Saving even five minutes in our schedule helps like you would not believe.
I have asked for squeegees because of the same conditions. We require all vehicle glass to be cleaned before every patrol to aid in the detection of IEDs, unusual items on the patrol route, and
Cordless power tools we need for construction of many things. We don’t have nearly enough extension cords, so the “cordless” feature is critical. I believe my request has been filled for these tools and am very appreciative!
The baby wipes are for health and comfort. Our head facilities are mostly burn-crappers. Not much has changed since Vietnam, eh?
“Canned air” is for our computers. Believe it or not, we are in the computer-war-fighting era!
“Tuff-Stuff” spray-in foam is extremely useful in sealing cracks in plywood shelters we sleep in.
Again, we are here for you and appreciate everything done for us.
CWO Daniel K Luke
3/23 H&S BN Gunner
FPO AE 09509-3142
23 Oct 07
New Ruger SR9:
At long-last Ruger, it seems, finally “gets it,” at least some of it! Ruger’s new SR9 is a Glock-like, autoloading pistol. Striker-fired, plastic-framed, and with variable grip-geometry, this pistol is designed to compete directly with Glock and S&W’s M&P series. Adhering to Ruger’s MO, it is attractively priced at well under $400.00. Ruger has finally realized that heavy, maladroit autoloading pistols with, user-hostile, two-stage, manual decocking levers are of no interest to police-department purchasers.
Unfortunately, Ruger has equipped this otherwise promising pistol with their version of a magazine safety. It is the worst of the worst! With the magazine removed, the trigger functions normally, dropping the hammer, but the gun is prevented from firing. Magazine safeties on S&W pistols simply make the trigger go slack, which is sensory input to the shooter that the magazine has become unlocked or is not inserted at all. Either way, the shooter instantly knows what to do to correct the problem and get his pistol running. With the Ruger, the magazine safety, when activated, will still allow both trigger and hammer to function normally. It simply blocks the firing pin! Upon hearing a “click,” instead of a “bang,” the shooter knows little, because the pistol has told him little. Chamber might be empty. Might be a dud round. Magazine may be unlocked. To me, this is a source of needless confusion. Happily, the SR9’s magazine safety is easily removable, at the option of the owner. Upon acquiring a copy, this would be my first act!
The pistol also “features” ambidextrous, two-position manual safety levers. A manual safety on a pistol like this is, of course, a silly redundancy, but it can be easily ignored, which is what I’d do if I carried one.
The pistol is nicely rounded off, devoid of sharp corners and edges. Trigger is similar to SIG’s DAK.
On balance, the SR9 is a positive development. Ruger is a grand, old American gun company, and it is in all our best interests that they be successful. After floundering in irrelevance for decades, Ruger, at long-last, has a main-stream, serious pistol that will compete legitimately with Glock, SIG, S&W, H&K, Beretta, Kahr, et al. I only wish they would spend at least some of their time talking with people who actually carry guns for serious purposes, rather than just lawyers, nanny-state politicians, and purely-recreational, target shooters!
24 Oct 07
Birdshot for defense? This is from an LEO, and one of our instructors, in WY:
“One occasionally hears the suggestion that birdshot, from a shotgun, is an effective home-defense load. The argument is that is won’t penetrate excessively, that it is ‘effective’ at close range, ad nauseam.
I’m currently involved in a murder investigation that has convinced me, beyond all doubt, that the use of birdshot as a defense load is a poor idea indeed!
Our perpetrator, in a high state of intoxication, decided to settle an old score with the victim. After informing the victim of his intentions, he armed himself with an old, Winchester M97 and charged the tube with WW, full-power, 9-pellet, 00 buckshot. Meanwhile, the victim locked himself in his auto-repair shop, and, anticipating the confrontation, also armed himself with, of all things, another Winchester M97, but he charged his tube with low-brass, #6 birdshot. The evidence suggests that the victim didn’t know much about guns in general, shotguns in particular, and virtually nothing about shotgun ammunition. He obviously thought ‘ammunition is ammunition.’
The lethal confrontation took place in the repair shop, with the two combatants separated by less than two meters.
The perpetrator opened festivities by using his shotgun to blow the lock off a locked door. It took two rounds of buckshot. The lock was demolished, and the door blown open. There was a refrigerator just inside the door, and the victim was a few feet away, on the other side. As the perpetrator advanced, the victim fired one round at him. His aim was poor, and most of the lead shot hit (and failed to penetrate) the refrigerator door. A few struck the perpetrator in the face, destroying his right eye, but penetrated less than one inch.
The startled perpetrator pulled his head back but immediately rolled back out from behind the refrigerator and fired a single shot. All nine pellets of 00 buckshot struck the victim in the center of his torso. The victim probably suffered a fatal injury, falling where he was hit. The perpetrator then walked over to the victim, who was laying on his back, and fired a second shot into his face from only a few inches. The victim’s head was blown to pieces. When we found the body, he was, long since, DRT!
Our perpetrator then walked out the shop, got in his truck, and drove nearly one hundred miles to the small, ranching community where he lived. Only when his eye injury was pointed out to him, as well as the fact that his shirt and trousers were soaked in blood (mostly his own), did he grudgingly concede that he might need medical attention. Hours later, we arrested him at the hospital where he sought aid. He is now on trial for murder and will most likely spend the rest of his life (albeit with only one eye) in prison.
Just another local idiot who had too much ‘liquid courage!’”
Comment: When it is your intention to defend yourself successfully, particularly against evil and determined individuals, you’re well advised to use a weapon and load that will end the fight quickly and decisively. And, and you better be an adequate marksman too, as you’ll likely not get a second chance!
It’s an age-old lesson that this victim learned the hard way. Unhappily, he didn’t live long enough to put his new-found knowledge to work!
29 Oct 07
Another birdshot incident:
“My agency is investigating a recent AD that took place during a hunting excursion. A dropped TC pistol, when it struck the ground, apparently fired a chambered 410 shotgun round upward at the person who had been holding it. The #7.5 birdshot hit him in the groin area. From the muzzle to the point of impact was three feet.
The shot never left the plastic shot cup. The whole thing hit in-tact, but never penetrated into the abdominal cavity. The entire shot cup stopped in the fat layer and abdominal muscle.
The victim never lost consciousness, remaining animated and normally responsive while walking around. He was treated at a local hospital, but released within twenty-four hours. Full recovery is expected.”
Comment: I am confident that there will never be a “scientific” study of ballistic effectiveness, because there is no way to generate a body of uncontaminated, empirical data from which we could even begin to confidently draw conclusions. What we have, all we have, and all we’re ever going to have, is anecdotal incidents, like the above. In this particular case, birdshot was utterly ineffective in producing any species of “stopping effect.”
29 Oct 07
Adjustable gas systems on military rifles:
The FAL is one of a number of military, gas-piston, autoloading rifles that feature and adjustable gas system. The user may adjust the amount of gas pressure, and thus the degree of robustness of the cycle of operation, by altering the size of the “purge vent,” and thus amount of gas that is bled off and whose energy thus does not contribute to pushing back the operating rod.
This feature permits the user to alter the amount of recoil and literally “tune” the rifle to the particular ammunition being used. Instructions that come with the rifle advise the owner to adjust the size of the purge vent by measuring the distance ejected cases are flung and whether or not the bolt reliably locks to the rear when the last round is fired.
For the recreational user, that is all fine, but my advise to the serious user is to close off the purge vent completely and leave it that way!
The only advantage associated with enlarging the purge vent is lessening the recoil and (at least in theory) lessening wear and tear on the rifle itself. Again, my advise is to stop worrying about any of that and concern oneself more with the reliable operation of the piece, no matter what kind of ammunition is being used.
In a Vehicle-Defense Course last weekend in IN, a student brought a DSA/FAL and a mixture of 308 ammunition. With ammunition becoming ever more expensive and scarce, these days one needs to use whatever he can get! In any event, one round in a half-dozen short-cycled and created a stoppage, to the increasing annoyance of the rifle’s owner! After witnessing the problem for twenty minutes, I asked the shooter where he had his gas-adjustment set. The purge vent, as it turns out, was half open. My colleague, Henk Iverson, and I both suggested he close it up completely. When he did, the short-cycle problem immediately went away, and the rifle ran normally for the rest of the day.
Serious users of FALs and other gas-adjustable rifles, never knowing what brand of ammunition they may be compelled to use, are thus well advised to forget about adjusting the gas system at all. Close it off and leave it that way!