Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nice machine gun--Heckler & Koch HK121

I saw this demo video at http://www.weapon-blog.com/2014/07/hk-121/ and thought I'd pass it along. It's promotional material, so of course the gun comes off very well, but even so, this gun looks like a really good example of what a 7.62 x 51 GPMG oughta be. Not an asbestos mitten in sight!

On LiveLeak: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e29_1352371125

Monday, July 28, 2014

Colorado update: The 40% turkey comes home to roost

I earlier reported* on a big lie foisted on the public by Obama et al, that up to 40% of gun sales happen without background checks. Anyone involved in the gun scene knew that could not be true, that the figure was grossly exaggerated. When our reasons were shown, Obama and a Greek chorus of "news" reporters kept on saying it anyway: Forty percent, forty percent, forty percent.

Now the lie is exposed for all to see, as Colorado's new and superfluous background check law has roped in all the desperados transferring guns in above-board private sales. The law has now been in place for a little over a year. The actual number of private sales is very small, scarcely justifying the expense of a program to monitor such things. You end up monitoring shooting buddies swapping guns, or country folks adding a gun or two into a complicated horse trade for a truck. Honest people mostly get their guns through the FFL process, the exceptions are generally trivial, and crooks will not comply with background checks in any case. Colorado's universal background check law is a fraud.

We told you so. Such laws solve an imaginary problem, to the inconvenience and expense of honest gun owners, and do nothing whatever to inconvenience criminals. Repeal this turkey of a law.

News coverage:

The NRA's comments:

*My previous posts on the 40% fabrication:




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Speaking of carbines

Whatever kind of carbine you select, its absolutely required capability is speed in hitting a close target. The short range snap shot is the life saving shot, the one you must not miss or delay.

The carbine is the most versatile of fighting firearms. A well designed example can serve most functions of pistol and rifle. It will serve better for close defense than any pistol and reach out to much longer distances.

The M1 carbine, introduced in the WWII era, was a great little carbine in many ways, delightfully handy and light, but it had some problems. Its cartridge was no powerhouse and the long distance accuracy of many GI carbines was hit and miss. (Unless the little gun is set up just right it will throw fliers out of its groups.) The M1 Carbine taught the shooting world some important lessons. Ergonomic form and light weight count for a lot, but so does a cartridge that finishes the fight.

Left to right, first row: Eisenhower, Churchill, Bradley. M1 Carbines.

The current M4 carbine is, of course, a shortened M16, with some variations and adaptations to make the mechanism work in an abbreviated package. Its ergos are pretty good and it is of a handy length. Its accuracy is generally very good. Complaints about the M4 are mainly that it fires the 5.56, and does so at a lesser velocity than the M16. If the M16 and its cartridge are marginal at long range the M4 is more so. Neither weapon is ideal for long range encounters in wide open country, but that kind of fighting is unusual, historically speaking.

Marine shoots M4

The Tavor rifle counts as a carbine because it is very short, a result of its bullpup construction with the action to the rear. The person used to the balance and form of a conventional carbine will need to get used to the Tavor, but it appears to be an excellent performer, accurate and reliable.

Tavor rifle

Turning to older technology, the lever action .30-30 is fantastically successful throughout the Americas, as a general purpose weapon for outdoorsmen. It also serves some people as a defense and emergency preparedness arm. They already have a deer rifle and suppose that is sufficient; they may be right at that. The lever carbine is convenient in its operation, well balanced and comes quickly onto the target for the snap shot. It points naturally for most people, contributing to their confidence with it. I count five manufacturers currently offering versions of this historic weapon and I cannot count all the people carrying these things afield for game or for protection.

Unknown actor with lever carbine

Mossberg has startled traditionalists with its 464 SPX, a .30-30 tricked out with an adjustable stock resembling the M4's, a rail mount fore end and a threaded muzzle. I kind of like it. If these mods make sense on a modern rifle, they make equal sense on an older design. If it all seems a bit much, though, Mossberg will of course be happy to supply you with a traditional looking .30-30.

Whatever kind of carbine you select, its absolutely required capability is speed in hitting a close target. The short range snap shot is the life saving shot, the one you must not miss or delay. Reject any features or modifications that interfere with it. For example, a red dot sight may do you some good, but a sniper scope is the wrong idea. Hanging a bipod on the gun will slow you down when you need to be fast. Think lean and quick.

To my way of looking at things, the carbine is a short range weapon first and foremost. I think this way because short range defensive emergencies are far the most common kind, so your weapon should be highly suitable for such use. The carbine's ability to reach out to distances that a pistol or a shotgun cannot match is merely a bonus. A defense gun that may need to serve for near or far is much more likely to be needed at near distance. A properly set up carbine deals with that reality by being optimized for close work, without ruling out longer distances.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Be vewwy quiet! Shotgun sound suppressor

Well. This should be a help in being vewwy vewwy quiet, when hunting wabbits.

There is some sharp thinking in the way this can is built. Look at how it puts extra expansion volume underneath the bore line where it is out of the way. Examine the lengthwise guide rods that allow gas to vent freely behind the wad.

There is agitation underway to have suppressors taken off the NFA rolls and sold like other accessories. The argument is that these devices prevent hearing loss for shooters and range bystanders and cause less disturbance for people near gun ranges, and quieter guns are less likely to spook game and livestock.

There really isn't a good crime fighting argument for keeping them under the NFA. A serviceable silencer is an easy workshop project. Honest citizens only register the things because they are. . .honest citizens.

Backgrounder on silencers: http://wcr.sonoma.edu/v08n2/44.clark/clark.pdf

Friday, July 25, 2014

How to get a FREE R51 pistol from Remington

Remington R51 pistol, via TFB

Send them your old one. Yep. Remington Arms says:

"Earlier this year, we launched the innovative R51 subcompact pistol to critical acclaim. During testing, numerous experts found the pistol to function flawlessly. In fact, they found it to have lower felt recoil, lower muzzle rise and better accuracy and concealability than other products in its class.

However, after initial commercial sales, our loyal customers notified us that some R51 pistols had performance issues. We immediately ceased production to re-test the product.  While we determined the pistols were safe, certain units did not meet Remington’s performance criteria. The performance problems resulted from complications during our transition from prototype to mass production. These problems have been identified and solutions are being implemented, with an expected production restart in October. 

Anyone who purchased an R51 may return it and receive a new R51 pistol, along with two additional magazines and a custom Pelican case, by calling Remington at (800) 243-9700.   

The new R51 will be of the same exceptional quality as our test pistols, which performed flawlessly.  

We appreciate your patience and support."


Sniper challenge

Sniping is the use of stealth and marksmanship to achieve surprise. As such it is not limited to any particular weapon, though a scoped rifle is the usual choice. Sly use of concealed cannons, as sometimes occurred in the World Wars, counts as sniping. So does taking out a spy across a street by the use of a sound-suppressed pistol.

All the same, the classic use of sniping as a tactic involves crawling around in the weeds with a precision rifle with an optic on it. Let's brainstorm a bit and see if we can come up with more uses for an expert shot who shows up where the enemy does not expect him. His armament may be any aimed weapon if you can get it there unnoticed.

Challenge: Think of ways to make use of the basic ideas of sniping, but think in terms of unusual weapons, unusual targets or both.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vote For @KendalBlack

Or whomever... I voted for @MrColionNoir, @TamSlick and the guys @TheGunWire .

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cloak and dagger -- a note on knife fighting

'Round the cracker barrel t'other day, the talk turned to knife techniques for self defense. Something came up that was interesting enough to share here.

One very good way to use a knife is with the knife hand held to the rear. The free hand runs interference for the knife hand and preserves the knife hand's freedom to act. You can use the forward hand to block, grab or hit, but its main job is making sure the knife hand is not pinned or obstructed.  Then, when an opportunity presents, in goes your point.


Of course this leaves your forward hand vulnerable if the foe has a knife. One old answer is to wrap your cloak around the forward arm to protect it, the origin of the term "cloak and dagger." But have you ever heard of knife and hat? That one's from Spain, the method of using your hat in your off hand to distract and to defend, intercept another's blade or smack him in the face or whatever.


All such methods bear a family resemblance to the classic way of using the Roman sword. The legionnaire used his shield to screen and protect his short sword and sword arm until he was ready to make sudden use of his sword.


Street improvisations you might use these days: You may use a briefcase, an organizer notebook, or what have you, as a shield. Or you may use a flat cap or a ball cap, or some other type of hat that might be used to catch an opposing blade. The basic tactic remains the same whatever you substitute for a shield. It is an ancient tactic but from that we may conclude it is pretty good, since stupid ideas are generally customary for only a generation or two, not for centuries. That is why a long tradition deserves some degree of respect; it worked for somebody!

Lots of people carry knives for everyday utility purposes with the idea that a knife might serve also as an emergency backup means of self defense. Often they do not have much in the way of a plan that tells them how they are supposed to use a knife for defense. Here is a plan that is simple and proven. Once you learn it you are not likely to forget it. It is better in those respects than fancy martial arts techniques that appear to involve a lot of waving in the direction of the adversary.

Col. Rex Applegate, the fellow in the top illustration, wrote a short instruction book on this kind of fighting. It spends too much time extoling the virtues of a fighting knife he designed, but otherwise the book is good--clear and direct in describing the technique.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Heckler und Gloch?

Glock-inspired striker fired pistols are popping up all over the defense gun marketplace. They're everywhere you look.

In the previous century, something happened to dramatically change the revolver market. Everybody who made revolvers took a careful look at the then-new Smith and Wesson Hand Ejector revolver. The thing just worked. The cylinder swung out the side and the empty cases were pushed out, all of them at the same time, using a rod sticking out of the front of the cylinder. Then you reloaded the cylinder and swung it back into place in the frame, and were ready to fire again. Before long, nearly everyone who made double action revolvers made them that way. Break top actions, side gate loading and the neurotic Merwin Hulbert mechanism went away in favor of the Smith system, which allowed revolvers to be quick to reload and also strongly built, with solid one-piece frames.

Something like that is now happening with auto pistols. More and more pistol makers offer striker fired DAO pistols resembling the Glock. Latest onto the bandwagon is Heckler & Koch. Here is a commercial for their entry in the Son of Glock sweepstakes.

I was wondering how the technology was going to work out: the question of which 20th century pistol would become the defining technology heading into the 21st. With so many pistol companies now on the same bandwagon it looks like we have a winner, it's the Glock. Truth to tell, I was rooting for the SIG Sauer P22X pistols with their decocker lockwork, hammer fired action and DA/SA functioning. But that wasn't what caught on. Now even SIG is offering a Glock-like striker fired pistol.

You can, to date, buy a Glockalike pistol from Ruger, Springfield, Smith & Wesson, Taurus, FN, SIG, H&K and likely some that I cannot now remember. Who will be next to offer such a gun? Colt, maybe--late to the party as usual.

Converging technology indicates that makers and purchasers have arrived at a matured consensus about how things ought to work. Nowadays, cars are enough alike that you can get into a strange one and drive it away with no trouble, but things were not always like that. The gearshift pedals, hand throttle and spark advance of the Ford Model T are things you will never see again. Likewise, recent double action revolvers, with few exceptions, are enough alike that if you are checked out on any one of them you can shoot the rest: Smith, Ruger, Colt, Taurus, Armscor, Charter or what have you.

In the last century, auto pistol designs converged upon the tipping barrel, short recoil Colt-Browning system, but there were as yet many variations in safety catches, mag releases and lockwork. It now it looks like we are converging on the Glock as the inspiration for how pistols ought to work.

Something odd about all this is that the Glock 17,  pattern and basis of subsequent Glocks, was Gaston Glock's very first firearm design. Was the result beginner's luck, or was it the advantage of bringing fresh eyes to a problem?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Self defense strategy

I may be going on too much about this. It's the third time I've brought it up. The last two times didn't stir much reader interest. The shooting community in general, even the defensive and practical shooting segment, does not seem to be deeply interested in examining strategy as it applies to personal defense.

None the less, I will go on about it a bit more, hoping to generate some interest in the matter. I have identified several force multipliers you can use in personal self defense with a firearm.

  • Take an ensconced defender role. As a defender fighting from chosen cover you have at least a three to one advantage, which ideal circumstances can boost as high as eight or nine to one.  

  • Maximize your hit probability. Do all you can to improve your likelihood of connecting with your target. This involves choosing your weaponry based on efficiency not style and also carefully evaluating how you go about target practice. Most shots fired in anger miss. You want to drive down your proportion as best you can. 

  • Use surprise if possible. The advantage of surprise can be enormous or slight; it depends on how big a surprise it is. At Pearl Harbor it was the decisive factor of the battle. Some other attempts have not come off so well.

Doing any one of these will increase your odds of surviving a gunfight. Done together they represent a very substantial increase in your chances. I concluded that from reading dry military studies and applying a bit of common sense to them. I have never been in a self defense shooting situation--will be pleased if I go to my rest without doing that--but I think preparedness and knowledge are good things. If you own a gun for defense it takes more than the occasional sunny day at the range to be really ready to use it to best effect. A bit of planning helps.

I will be writing more about these three strategic advantages, returning to the subject from time to time. Knowing about them and factoring them into my thinking makes me safer if some bad thing happens and I need to defend home and hearth.

Are there any advantages I have missed? Other strategic advantages can be identified but they do not seem highly relevant to personal self defense. They have more to do with the movements of armies and securing big swaths of geography than with individual efforts.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Bah humbug, not hurrah, for the Fourth of July

1776: The most important thing that the people can demand from their government is freedom.
2014: The most important thing that the people can demand from their government is free stuff.

How have the mighty fallen! Generations since have squandered what the Revolution gave us. Washington, Madison, Jefferson and the rest gave us the gift of freedom. We have little left to show for it.

I don't suppose I should feel too responsible.  The fall of America was in progress before my parents were born. The die was cast in 1913. That was the year we lost the Constitution's built-protection against unlimited taxing and spending. You can read about that here.

1913 was a bad year in other ways. It saw the passage of the 17th Amendment, changing for the worse the way we choose our senators. They were no longer accountable to the state legislatures because they were no longer beholden to them for their jobs. All congressional power was consolidated in Washington, D.C.  1913 also saw the creation of the Federal Reserve.

After all that, we never had a chance. 1913 was the tipping point. It will be one of those years historians remember for watershed events. It was when we gained the tools to take up in real earnest the policy of bribing ourselves with our own money.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

U.S. military wants a new pistol

Time to get rid of it?

Article here: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/07/03/army-wants-a-harder-hitting-pistol.html?ESRC=todayinmil.sm

The story is that the Berettas and SIG's are getting old, they fire a round without enough stopping power and so forth. A pistol is of slight importance in the military, unless you happen to be the one armed with it when trouble occurs. It then, doubtless, seems plenty important to you. So I'm all in favor of the military having good pistols.

Personally, I see little wrong with either pistol the forces are using. If effectiveness is the big issue here, perhaps putting a flat nose on the 9mm FMJ bullet would be something to explore. Other ammunition innovations that stay within the letter of the law of the Hague convention could be tried out, as well. A spoon nose profile could be tried, or a bullet balanced strongly rearward to encourage early yawing.

Abandoning the 9mm NATO cartridge would in one way be a bad idea. It is a cartridge in widespread use in many places around the world, making supplies of it easy to come by. That it is so widely used forces a conclusion that a lot of people have found something right with it. As to what that good thing is, I think the 9mm sits right on the balance point between power on the one hand and controllability on the other. It is about as much cartridge as people can handle if they are briefly trained on the pistol.

The article mentions that the troops are having trouble with the Beretta's safety lever, applying it when they do not mean to when racking the slide. That has been a well known thing you need to watch out for since that style of safety appeared in the 1920's. It can hardly be that the Army did not know about it when the Beretta was adopted. It is a train the brain issue, not a mechanical defect. The supposed problem of the too-long trigger reach on the Beretta is easily solved. Just cock the hammer.

Anyway it appears that we are off to the circus with yet another weapon selection program that will generate a lot of entertainment for gun cognoscenti. If I ran the circus the soldiers would get some sort of light DAO trigger, no external safeties to fool with and an improved 9mm bullet. But that's just me. The clustering bureaucrats will see to it that the selection process will produce lots of controversy for gun bloggers to cover. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Open carry activists

Those who work against your interests are not doing you good, whatever they say they are doing. Any number of things may claimed to be for your own good, or for the public good, that are not good. Such claims are inherently unconvincing. An easy refutation is that I know what my own good is and you are not doing it. Quit doing me such favors.

The open carry activists need to stop what they are doing and listen to what everyone else is saying. This is not the right time for this fight, or this is not the right fight for these times. You're scaring the horses, so cut it out.

Most recently these self-appointed bubbas of 2nd Amendment righteousness have gotten Target stores to "request" they go away.

You know what? I'm requesting it too. Go away. If you think you are making a point by displaying your guns where it is not customary or welcome--even if it is, narrowly, legal--you'd better reconsider what point it is that you are actually making. Apply a test of results. Creating annoyance is not victory. Creating welcome and acceptance of gun owners and guns is victory, and you are not victorious. It's not victory to create lousy press that encourages the other side. It's not victory when one business after another closes its doors to people with guns, due to the ill conceived stunts of a few.

It has crossed my mind--wild thought--that these in-you-face open carry activists might be working against our interests intentionally. By "our" I mean gun owners' interests in general. But naah... That couldn't happen, right? Not in America, where everyone is on the up and up, and you never see a false flag. Tell me I'm right, somebody. Please.

If I look at the matter squarely, I cannot believe that the open carry movement is simply a case of good intentions gone wrong. There has to be something else going on. What they are doing gets consistently negative results--negative legislation, negative press and more and more businesses prohibiting guns on their premises. And yet these allegedly pro-gun activists keep on doing the things that produce these results. If it isn't a false flag operation, then maybe it is a matter of useful idiots, talked into doing things they do not understand. There must be some motive beyond their stated one. Otherwise the matter just doesn't add up. The right to bear arms is not advanced by bringing about further restrictions. You would think anyone would see that.

The only other explanation I've heard that is the least bit plausible is that they don't care about the harm they are doing. They are rewarded by their fellows' approval; they are happy to cause others distress while placing themselves in a weird limelight of public notoriety. They like the attention that comes from stirring people up. They love getting on YouTube. Could that be all there is to it, just a gang of attention seekers, unfortunately using guns as their props as they seek fifteen minutes of fame?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Where to get the manual for your Browning Double Auto shotgun

The owner's booklet is online as a PDF file. Randy Wakeman posted it several years ago, but I did not find out about it at the time. I came across it this evening while searching for something else. The factory instructions are exceedingly hard to find in printed form.

The PDF of the original manual:

Browning's Double Auto shotgun is a great favorite of mine, perhaps because it is a so bizarre: two shots (one plus one capacity), semi-automatic. There is no magazine tube. The second shell is held on the lifter. The gun will serve all the roles of a double barrel gun and is sleeker and handier. It makes sense to me, but it didn't to a lot of people. It was never one of Browning's good sellers and the design was shelved more than 40 years ago.

The gun is light, responsive, well balanced, swings easily. It might have been a big success if Sporting Clays had existed back when the gun was being made. It's just right for that kind of shooting: fast and adaptive responses to what you see.

Nice article about the gun:

I bought a used-excellent Twelvette model some years back but got no handbook with it, so I had to look at the NRA Firearms Assemblybook to figure out how it worked. It's nice to read the factory manual at last. Belated thanks to Randy.