Showing posts from 2014

Aldo vs. Nedo Nadi #fencing video and some comments

This video is posted online purporting to be the legendary Aldo Nadi fencing against his brother Nedo at Cannes in 1935. The film is probably identified correctly, but even if it is not it suffices to make my point here, for it is old footage of high level fencing, whoever is involved. Those who object to present-day fencing's long periods of absence of blade and sudden leap-in attacks are objecting to something that has been going on for a long time. That fact doesn't match up with what some fencers would like to think of as "classical" or "pre-electric" fencing. But their view of what fencing used to be, back in the good old days, is contradicted by the above video. The fencing they love, long elegant phrases, remaining in distance with continuous joining of blades, is good academic fencing. But as for tournament work, watchfulness from a distance and jumping in to engage is actually old hat. What is really new in today's game is bouncing up in d

Americans say they are safer for owning guns

Full story at This is an interesting story on several levels. Gallup finds that 63% of Americans over all think that owning a gun makes you safer, and the breakdown is interesting: 81% of Republicans think so, 64% of Independents and 41% of Democrats. But only 42% in total admit to having a gun. I've remarked on that before. It is a question with built-in underreporting. If someone calls you on the phone asking you if you own guns, you have every reason to lie. You could be talking to a thief, a government snoop of some sort, or some busybody from the political ax grinder contingent.

U.S. Navy deploys laser cannon

Story here: The laser is now afloat for a good wringing out under real conditions at sea. The following Navy footage shows last year's version. A really neat thing about ray gun weapons is that windage and drop are not factors in the shot. Another is that the ammunition, so to speak, is simply electricity. The article says firing the 30-kilowatt weapon costs about a dollar a shot. During the worst of the ammo shortages you could spend more than that much firing some pistol rounds. Still another neat thing is that the power output can be scaled down. Think of how handy that will be when the technology trickles down to hunting weapons. A hunter will not need both a squirrel rifle and a big game rifle, for he will have a power dial on his rifle. But I don't suppose I should call it a rifle, if I want to be precise in my use of words, because a laser beam needs no rif

2014 midterms were a beginning, I hope

It is premature to say that the American electorate has awoken. They still don't seem fully to understand that they are being bribed with their own money. They still switch on the TV news. They send their kids off to socialist indoctrination at school, or something that is too near it for comfort. Still, anti-Obama sentiment carried Republicans to substantial victories yesterday. An interesting snippet from the Internet news sphere notes that all of the successful GOP Senate candidates campaigned against Obamacare . Obama is offering defiance to the Republicans, post election,  threatening vetoes and executive orders . He is so completely the blind ideologue that he cannot imagine that he is not in the right: he deeply believes that his ideas naturally reflect the right way forward . What the Democrats need to live down, and they may never manage to do it, is that they went lockstep with this guy's every whim, every dream, every half baked idea for six whole years. Then th

Motivational: Go vote

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it's Bush's fault and you're a racist! — Politics and Humor (@PoliticalLaughs) November 1, 2014

Who decides who carries what, and where?

From the Washington Times: 3 robbed at gunpoint after N.C. state fair declares gun-free zone By Jessica Chasmar - The Washington Times - Thursday, October 30, 2014                                  Three people were reportedly robbed at gunpoint Saturday leaving the North Carolina State Fair after a judge ruled earlier this month that concealed weapons would not be permitted at the event. Wake County Superior Court judge Donald Stephens decided more than two weeks ago that it would be “unwise and imprudent” to allow concealed weapons at the state fair this year... Read more: Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter It appears to me that the most competent person to decide whether a gun should be carried or not is the person who might have a use for the gun. Individual rights come with individual responsibilities, and if it really is an individual right, the individ

Rube Goldberg's contribution to small arms

A look inside the M2 Carbine If the conversion of the M1 Carbine to the M2 was not done by the great master of mechanical silliness, it was certainly done by a student or admirer. An ingenious chain reaction among a series of retrofitted parts subverts the operation of the carbine's trigger group, which  worked in a straightforward manner originally, and does it in a way that will delight all admirers of perverted design. Conceptually it most resembles the old trick of tying a bit of string to the operating handle. This Army footage uses a large cutaway model to explain the M2 Kludgebine's internal operation:

New dog on the block

Very good news for fans of bullpup rifles: Steyr has just released a new version of the AUG. It has a fully modern Picatinny rail system. You add the sight base that best serves your needs. Options include an AUG scope with rail slots on it. Steyr AUG A3 M1 So now people shopping for a bullpup, and wanting to take advantage of modern options in sighting equipment, have an additional gun to look at. Steyr quality is always very good and the AUG is a well proven design. The basic AUG rifle has been around since the late seventies and is in military and police use in a number of countries around the world. A rifle in the bullpup configuration makes outstandingly good sense for personal protection or home defense and is great for hiking. Because the receiver is set back into the buttstock, you can have a usefully long barrel in a rifle of short over-all length. The idea is an old one but it has taken a long time to catch on. There are certain technical issues to sort out in b

Swordsmanship the Navy's way -- Say what!?

Contradictory instructions and a touch of historical mystery make turn of the century Navy manuals more confusing than enlightening Something very strange is to be found in The Petty Officer's Drillbook , Unites States Navy, 1904 Revised Edition: In this book there is a peculiar fencing method that combines the saber parries with point ripostes. Here is the PDF: . Herein we read "In this exercise all attacks are made by thrusting with the point of the sword, instead of attempting to cut with the edge. The attack with the point is more deadly, and there is less exposure to counter attack than there is in making slashing blows that alone render the edge effective." That, of course, echoes common talking points in the point-versus-edge controversy as expressed around the turn of the century (19th to 20th). Gen. George S. Patton or some other point-only enthusiast could have written those words. As to the provenan

Rare fencing manual free online

Fans of fencing master A.J. Corbesier will be pleased to learn that his short treatise on fencing with the foil, published in 1873, is available online. Permalink: The printed book, Theory of Fencing; With the Small-Sword Exercise,  sells for hundreds of dollars on the collector's market. If all you are interested in is the information in it you can save 100%.  As a bonus you get some extraneous diagrams of a rather curious sort of gun, a mitrailleuse, at the end of the electronic book. I am not sure how those got in there, but readers of this blog will likely enjoy them, anyhow. A plate from Corbesier's Theory of Fencing

Playing games with numbers

. . . There you have the reason why pistol caliber debates go round and round interminably. Everyone wants something that does not exist: a pistol cartridge that is small enough to be practical and is also highly effective. At the same time that the military is making noises about going to a bigger pistol caliber than 9mm, the FBI is talking about going back to the 9mm, giving up their present .40 S&W pistols. A difference worth noting here is that the military mostly shoots FMJ while the FBI uses expanding bullets. But there is a sameness too. Arguments about pistol effectiveness are debates over very little. That is to say, pistols have little effectiveness to debate. The numbers can be jiggered any way you want, of course.  L: .45 ACP;  R: 9mm Parabellum I remember that when the military's switch to 9mm was being debated back in the eighties, numbers and charts were offered showing that the 9mm was just as effective as the old caliber, the .45 ACP. This brought f

A headlight for your snubnose

I have mixed feelings about mounting a flashlight on a pistol. In some circumstances it is no doubt a good idea, giving you one thing to handle, a combined pistol and illumination unit, not two separate items. On the other hand, people got by for years and years with separate flashlights that they could pull out and use at the same time as the pistol, if needed. If your flashlight is bolted onto your pistol you may be tempted to violate  Rule Two . For safety reasons, you should not pull out your pistol-flashlight combo unit and use it for illumination when all you really need is a flashlight. All that said, here is an ingeniously compact version of the pistol light, designed for the little J-frame S&W revolvers. It is available from the NRA Store:   I am considering it, but it occurs to me that if I carry this I will still carry a separate flashlight, in case I ne

The derp of the sword (snark)

Smallsword, mid-18th century Online discussion groups tend sometimes to be weird echo chambers where people repeat each other as authorities, add to and encourage one another's suppositions and at last come up with ideas existing only in the hothouse environment of online fora. Case in point--While looking online for something else, I found some talk going on in sword and fencing discussion boards that concluded that the smallsword must have been ineffective, lacking in "stopping power." Let us grant that it is true that the smallsword was a deficient weapon. Then let us apply a little logic and see where that takes us. (Nyuck, nyuck.) We must conclude that the typical socket bayonet was likewise ineffective, since it had a smallsword blade profile: hollow ground, triangular cross section. Top to bottom: Socket bayonet, another socket bayonet, rod bayonet, knife bayonet The numerous triangular, cruciform and square section poniards, stilettos and

Yes, cops have trust issues

(H/T to ) Properly understood, there is nothing particularly anti-cop about this, it's just reality. When the blues arrive at the scene they are coming upon a situation they do not yet fully understand and they are trying to make sure they live long enough to figure it out. So if a cop treats you like a suspect or a criminal although you are the good guy, please remember that it is nothing personal. It's simply business.

Invasion USA -- 1952 B movie

If you were wondering where Occupy Wall Street got its rhetoric, here you are: The clip starts at 1:06:10 . But watch the whole movie. As well as promoting a strong national defense and opposing military cuts, it is in several ways a fifties nostalgia gem. A glaring glitch in the film is that the foreign invaders are flying US aircraft. It was common to use military stock footage in movies back in the fifties, whether it actually fit into your movie or not. A little later in the film the careful observer will see the US forces flying US planes too. Okay, maybe to the average moviegoer a plane is a plane. A ship is a ship, a gun... A Russian PPSh-41 prop gun appears at about 36:45, but the Roosky's sidekick has a good old American M-1 Carbine, stock movie gun wherever a gun was required in the fifties. Cheap war surplus... those were the days. The ubiquitous William Schallert has a brief role. He was the obnoxious bureaucrat in Star Trek TOS's "The Trouble With Tribb

Meanwhile, in Syria...

H/T to The Weapon Blog

Smallsword simplified

"Fencing made easy" is an impossibility, but in earlier times there were some attempts made to at least simplify it a bit. The smallsword developed as a shorter, lighter rapier, very fast to maneuver. In its ultimate development it lost its cutting edges, the blade being formed as a hollow-ground spike of triangular cross section, very light, and very stiff for its weight. Thus all other qualities were sacrificed for speed, and attacks were perforce made with the point. This is the weapon that gave us the intricate maneuvers of foil and épée fencing. As anyone knows who has tried it, such fencing involves a complex apparatus of defensive techniques--parries and deceptive moves and attempts to push the other fellow's blade around. Use of the smallsword is, though, simple in one respect. All attacks work alike. You extend your arm, pointing your blade to the target, and then you lunge. The reason for the many and complicated defenses is that it is very easy for both

Pick just two guns: one short, one long

There are some people who will get hives from even considering the question, so they are excused from the following exercise. Select one handgun and one long gun for self defense, with the idea that these will be what you rely on permanently, come what may, till death do you part. It will be interesting to find out what other people say. For me the choices are a .38 snub and a 12 gauge riot gun. The snubnose revolver is small, easy to conceal and vastly reliable in any good brand. Because you can carry it discreetly there is little reason not to have it with you, provided you have honored the legalities. The ballistically correct and tactically grim crowd will roll their eyes and say, "Ken, that's not much of a gun! You need at least a..." I have thought about this and experimented over the course of many years. I conclude that people who say you can conceal a full sized fighting pistol in everyday life don't get out much. In some settings, in some modes of attir

When is a scout rifle not a scout?

Ruger has announced  that they now offer their Gunsite Scout Rifle in 5.56/.223. This contravenes the scout rifle's very definition, which calls for a full powered cartridge, but it will prove a fine rifle none the less--nearly recoilless, cheap to feed, handy and accurate. When Steyr introduced a scout rifle in the same caliber, Col. Cooper dubbed it the " poodle scout ," and spoke rather scornfully of the idea of a light caliber scout rifle. I see his point of view; such a weapon is useful for fewer things than one chambered for his recommendation, .308. He wanted the scout rifle to be useful for as many things as possible. But we need not be persuaded by his reasoning. A scout in .223 goes against the scout rifle concept, but it is not inherently a bad idea. It would be a great gun for pest control, small deer as found some places in Europe, and likely some other things as well. Of course Cooper was right about the versatility factor. There are varmint loads for t

Self driving Cadillac to go on sale in 2017

Details here: It'll no doubt be expensive. I've experienced the far more basic GM traffic sensing technology that is available now, in a rented 2014 Impala, and I'm led to believe the upcoming system will work, but not in all conditions, just as the above-linked article states. The sensors do a great job of detecting vehicles in front and to the sides, of figuring out where your lane is, and warning of conflicts. The only false positives I experienced were warning beeps and flashes on a twisty mountain road, where for an instant it can seem that cars are heading for each other when in fact they are simply negotiating a bend while going in opposite directions. Linking the sensors to the steering wheel and pedals is a dramatic move and will be marketed with all possible hype, but it really isn't a big step technically. The computer already knows where you are, where you

Reflecting on ammo shortages

Optimistic voices are arising around the web to say the ammo drought seems to be easing. That's nice, if so, but the shortages of recent years have underscored a couple of points for those paying attention. 1. Keep an ammo reserve that you will not dip into for practice purposes unless and until you can get more cartridges to replace the ones you shoot. How many cartridges to keep on hand and what kind are up to you, but a gun without ammo is useless and your ammo stockpile should reflect that. There is a lot of variability in ideas about how much is enough. The proverbial one box every few seasons deer hunter is good to go if he has a few spare boxes. I refer to the chap who fires a few shots at the start of the season to be sure he is still sighted in, uses another shot or two to get his deer and is then done with shooting for the year. In contrast, a 'prepper' prone to entertain lurid future scenarios will want much more. I fall somewhere between the two in my own thi

"Atomic Attack" -- a TV thriller from 1954

If you are of such and such an age you will remember the fears touched upon by this 1954 television drama. This is actually a fairly mild representation of the fears many people felt back in the Cold War era. If you are altogether from another time, no doubt you have your own fears, of altogether different things. Give it a watch and figure out why old folks aren't all panicky about global warming, large sodas, evil hamburger chains and a lot of other contemporary "concerns."

Infantry gear through the ages

 Interesting slide show presentation from the UK Telegraph. Go see the whole thing here: It shows all the stuff soldiers carried, in thirteen examples from the year 1066 through 2014. Battle of Agincourt, 1415. Longbow, short sword and rondel dagger WWI, 1916. Notice the mace, at left  Present day, quite a burden  

Nice machine gun--Heckler & Koch HK121

I saw this demo video at  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:

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

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. Th

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:

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,

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.

Vote For @KendalBlack

Or whomever... I voted for @MrColionNoir, @TamSlick and the guys @TheGunWire . Who are your favorite firearm personalities that you follow online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, etc? What do you like about them? — Brownells, Inc. (@BrownellsInc) July 25, 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 f

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 strike

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 dr

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

U.S. military wants a new pistol

Time to get rid of it? Article here: 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 c

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

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 ju

Mass shooters: look at their eyes

In many of these deranged killers I see a couple of peculiar things. Their eyes are wrong and their cheeks are wrong, in ways that produce a creepy effect. Mass shooters get tons of press. It is because they have now become the poster boys for leftist gun control. We had mass shootings in the past but the news coverage had a different character. Now the coverage always includes many calls for political interventions, mainly for further gun laws restricting everyone, and thus lasts longer than it would if it were merely a matter of some people getting murdered in, say, Chicago's streetz or some other drug fueled free fire zone. But the media circus does have a useful side effect. We see the killers' faces repeatedly. As a result of seeing so much of them, I have noticed something distinctly odd about those faces. There is a similarity of facial expressions. I think that is useful to remark on, for an explanation of it may further our understanding of such crimes. In man