SIG MPX QC Trouble? Or One Guy Got One Lemon?

We are big fans, in theory, of the SIG MPX. We’ve been following the saga of the gun itself, and of the company’s battle (a losing battle, so far) to get their innovative muzzle-brake-converts-to-suppressor-with-a-registered-tube version approved by ATF. We like the look of this modernized take on the MP5 form factor, and now people are starting to get them out in the field. And that, as Art Spiegelman wrote of his dad’s experiences, is where the troubles began.

Several versions of the MPX are shipping -- but this one looks dead for the forseeable future.

Several versions of the MPX are shipping — but this one looks dead for the foreseeable future.

Bearing Arms had a report on a problem with a production MPX. The problem was experienced by a guy named Darrell with a YouTube channel he calls “Tactical Existence” (really?); his tagline (gagline?) is: “Tactical is not just a word it’s mindset & a lifestyle.” (Punctuation his).

You don’t say.

Anyway, the guy’s website has the MPX video at the top. However, he does not show the MPX malfunctioning out of concern for his own liberty.Initially, he loved the MPX, firing it with the SIG Brace against his cheek and fastened to his arm. But then it began to double on him. His explanation:

We started with a fresh case of PMC 9mm brass ammo, and much to our surprise the gun almost immediately started to have serious malfunctions. At first we weren’t sure if the guns having some weird sort of bumpfire situation, or if it was something more serious like a double fire. After running a few quick test there was no doubt that the gun was in fact having a double fire malfunction. The weapon would fire with a pull of the trigger and then again on the reset of the trigger. this is a big problem because as most of you already know if you are in possession of a firearm that fires more then one round with a single pull of the trigger it’s your fault no matter if it is or not, well in the eyes of the ATF anyway.

That’s a reference to US v. Olofson, right there, although he might not know the name of the case he understands its legal import. And that’s why his video isn’t embedded here — since it doesn’t show the failures, it’s not really of interest to us, but we understand why he didn’t want to put incriminating evidence, at least as the ATF sees it, on the web.

The cause of the double-fire was a bit unusual:

After figuring out that we had an issue I took the lower receiver off the gun to inspect the trigger group. I found that the trigger group pins had walked out of the gun and was causing the hammer not to catch the disconnector. We then put the pin back in the gun and test fired to see if this fixed the problem, which it did for a second anyway. After about 20-25 rounds both trigger group pins were starting to walk out of the receiver again, at this point we stopped shooting the gun and called Sig for repair.

We’re not really sure how you fail to notice the pins walking out of the gun in the first place. The original AR-15 trigger module design used the springs themselves, riding in grooves in the pins, to retain the pins and was very effective at doing that. People who’ve had pins walk have usually had grooveless pins, the el cheapo kind.

Here is a video showing the trigger mechanism of another guy’s MPX at about 3:22 to about 3:50. At 3:36 you can see two pins, one of which has faint grooves and one, no grooves at all, in the upper left quadrant of the video. (We’ve cued it up to start at 3:02. You can wind it back if you want the whole thing).

This guy had the trigger mechanism out to replace the trigger spring with a lighter one, to reduce the trigger pull.

The MPX enters a crowded market for 9mm carbines and submachine guns. (The gun’s original design concept was a product-improved MP5). It’s not the market’s incumbent entry (that position is held in the LE market by the MP5, still marketed in a desultory way by HKUSA, and in the civilian market by 9mm AR clones), and it’s not the low cost entry (that would be the CZ Skorpion Evo, less than half of what scalpers are getting for MPXes right now, and with mags perhaps 1/4 of the SIG’s Lancer polymer mags). So it’s vital for SIG to get this right.

The modular rifle-caliber suppressor-host SIG MCX, which shares some components and concepts with the pistol-caliber MPX, has also had, in some examples, feeding problems. This suggests SIG still struggles with QC, but seems completely unrelated to the walking pins in this one example of the MPX.

The fanboys at have been watching this for some time. This link picks up the MPX thread on p.24 in March and you can continue forward from there, including a discussion of the Tactical Existence report. Several forum members have fired more rounds that Darrell managed to do, and none have had walking pins. A more common problem cited by the forum members is a complete lack of spare mags, so far.


  1. Darrell is thinking, no doubt, of US v. Olofson, where a guy was convicted for a gun that ATF SSA Jody Keeku and the amateur gunsmiths of Firearms Technology Branch spent four months massaging; they bubba’d it until it doubled 50% of the time. David Olofson spent several years behind bars (he’s been out for years now, but he’s a felon forever). Showing the MPX doubling would be giving the ATF all the evidence they need to throw Darrell in prison on the Olofson precedent, not that they really pay any attention to precedents.



Sunday Spelling

concentrate-hard-and-learn-your-spellings_1Spellng? Yes. Spelling. We’re taking this Sunday morning as a flimsy excuse to go off topic and off the reservation, and say a few words about the utility of proper English orthography and such ancillary arts as grammar and composition. Which are actually three different things, but they have one thing in common: young people are not learning them.

Whether you blame video games, unionized teachers, indulgent parents, tee ball and participation trophies, or the temper of the times, if you have any exposure to today’s teens and twenty-somethings you have had more examples of horrid English language expression before you than you care to remember.

The event that occasioned these thoughts was a recent entrepreneurship competition, in which your humble blogger was one of a panel of judges. It goes like this:

  1. Undergraduates at a small state university, which caters to lower-middle-class strivers (often the first in their family’s entire history to attend college), take a single course in entrepreneurship, which is quite new.
  2. The class is taught by two smart professors, who do not have a business background. (One of them is one of the most natively-intelligent people I’ve ever met, I think).
  3. The students come up with an idea if they can, and present it to a panel of judges and to the non-voting retired CEO who initially sponsored the contest, first by writing and then in a personal presentation.
  4. The judges score the students’ planned businesses on several axes: Idea (originality/scalability, etc); Viability (Practicality, likely ROI, etc); Research (did they do their homework on market, competition, financials?); and, Presentation (did it “pop”? Do they think on their feet? Etc.).
  5. Four cash prizes are awarded. All entrepreneur cubs get an encouraging call from the CEO. The judges (themselves all business people with startup experience) and the professors put their heads together on how it can be better next time. Rinse and repeat.

We were ill-prepared this year, and discovered on the morning of that we’d left key parts of business dress 1,500 miles from home at Hogney World. So an old pair of never-worn almost dressy dark-soled Topsiders were found in the closet and the other missing items were bought when stores opened. The shoes were a matter of trepidation — it’s hard to find things you can stuff 9EEEE paddle feet into without problems, and usually we stick to Clark for dress and New Balance for casual — but they worked fine.

Some may blame the public schools...

Some may blame the public schools… er, wait, what schools?

But the written presentations — Gah, what a collection of disasters. In our draft of this post we originally put a couple of samples here, but we took them out lest we crush the poor little dears when they stumble upon their own words — the Intertubes may not be forever, but so far that they bid fair to outlast Ozymandias’s statuary. Suffice it to say that spelling, verb-subject agreement, pronoun use, paragraphing, capitalization, everything involved in effective written communication was as wrong as a pedophile’s picture album.

Although for the record, it was not this university.

Although for the record, it was not this university.

None of these young folk’s works was really good, although there were some gradations of awful. They were like the Five Lee Sisters: Ug, Home, Ghast, Beast and Gnar. Not one but two packets suffered from an absolutely gobsmacking deficiency: the spelling or the name of the business itself was not consistent internally in the document. As it was, it was sad.

One of the best-written presentations of an idea, which was still substandard, came from a young man who’s not a native English speaker. That’s twice as sad.

And the ideas? For a contest intended to produce the next big idea, they were… small. The best presented of all was an idea for a food truck. Not a food truck franchising operation: One. Food. Truck. A couple more were clear attempts at turning hobbies into employment.

Some blame the general decline in the culture....

Some blame the general decline in the culture….

On the plus side, there weren’t any apps this year. Last year everybody had an app… but their spelling was better.

We mentioned this to the profs and to the administrators at the U (there’s one gal in administration who’s key to this whole event happening, a vital connector between the business and admin world). And the profs told us, in some despair, that, “That’s the way kids are today.” Sheesh. But they’re telling the truth; one of them has tried to enforce some kind of spelling and grammar on her undergraduates, and has been savaged for it on

And others keep returning to the baleful influence of education bureaucrats...

And others keep returning to the baleful influence of education bureaucrats…

The judges normally have a conference call to shortlist the packets for presentation. If we were grading these the way VCs would, they’d all go to the shredder unanswered: they were that bad. On the other hand, these were undergraduates. We also remembered that, in the past, there wasn’t a strong correlation between the quality of the written packet and the quality of the presentation. So on all eight of them went to present in an auditorium on campus, in front of a shark tank of real entrepreneurs.

Of course, however bad your spelling error, it could be worse. You could be this guy.

Of course, however bad your spelling error, it could be worse. You could be this guy.

Fortunately, the oral presentations were all stronger than the writtens. And, perhaps because of the efforts of those hard-working professors,  their presentation slides had been purged of any typos or misspellings, and everybody’s business naming was consistent.

Well, the purpose of a University is education, isn’t it? Perhaps we’re helping. But Great Googly Moogly, those written presentations.

Monday, we’ll be back to the usual topics. Later today, we’ll post and backdate a Saturday Matinee (yeah, we said that last week, but only had time to watch half the movie. We suppose we could review them without watching them, like the guy at The New Republic. But we figure you guys deserve a higher level of discourse than that).

When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws will have Mothers. Again.

mom tattooWait, didn’t we just have this story a couple days ago? No, we had a completely different mother-induced disaster. This one involves Mom, Mary Jane, an address on you-couldn’t-make-this-up Hobbit Street, and a gravity assist:

On April 14 Austin Essig launched himself through a plate glass window at 1050 Hobbit Street, an apartment complex near Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
In a post on Fort Collins Police Services’ Facebook page Essig, 19, wrote that he followed the recommended dosage, he only ate one brownie and that his reaction to the marijuana was “far from normal.”
Essig told police he ingested marijuana but wouldn’t say in the post where he got it.
On Thursday, Police arrested Julieane Jablonski for tampering with a witness and providing marijuana to an underage person. Tampering with a witness is a felony. Jablonski, 38, was booked into the Larimer County Jail.
Through their investigation, police learned that Essig consumed one dose of an edible marijuana brownie. He had not consumed any other substance prior to or after consuming the brownie and started acting strangely.
According to witnesses Essig ran toward the living room window and jumped out of it without hesitation. The fall three stories seriously injured Essig.

via Mom Arrested For Giving Edibles To Son Who Jumped From 3rd Story « CBS Denver.

To be strictly technical, it wasn’t the 3-story fall that injured Austin Essig, it was the sudden stop at the end. As we use to say in the paratroop racket, “He cam down” — no pun intended — “with deceleration sickness.” And again, to be strictly technical, it’s not a “fall” if the guy jumped. 

Julieane Jablonski, who gave the Makes You Think You Can Fly Like Superman® brownie to Essig, is his mother.

Since when is a 19-year-old an “underage person?” That’s about the median for our infantry Marine and combat paratrooper riflemen these days. Of course, they’re not being fed doped brownies by their dope moms.

Or are they? Wait, don’t tell us.

Would-be Rangerettes Factual Update

Ranger Training Brigade scrollWe’ll try to at-ease our cisgendered heteronormative patriarchal opinionating for this post and just address the facts as they exist so far.

The Ranger pipeline for men includes preparation at their own troop unit (or training station in the case of men who are in initial entry training), a briefing by a Ranger-qualified officer or NCO, a PT test to Ranger standards, and a volunteer statement. Contrary to common belief, not all Ranger students are parachute qualified, but the vast majority of them are, and the qualified soldiers will conduct up to three combat equipment jumps during the course. (The schedule is tight so the jumps can weather out). Parachute-qualified Rangers are allowed five hours sleep the night before a jump for safety reasons. That’s the longest stretch of sleep anyone gets in the two-month course, which is recognizably the same as it was at the time of its establishment circa 1950.

Having women in the pipeline has required some changes to the physical plant and schedule, but they are minor, for example, providing women’s toilet facilities and increasing the time for personal hygiene — slightly.

The military officers and NCOs assigned to this include both people who are known yes-men, and people who are not and who are sworn to uphold Ranger standards. (One example of the latter: CSM Jeff Mellinger).

The Ranger Pipeline for women takes advantage of the pre-Ranger course, the Army National Guard’s Ranger Training Assessment Course (RTAC), which was established to give reserve component soldiers some conditioning and psychological preparation for the Ranger School environment (it was established because RC soldiers were failing at a higher rate). Several RTAC iterations were opened to women with the hopes of getting 100 female volunteers ready for the first co-ed Ranger course this month. That number was not achieved for several reasons, including but not limited to:

  1. Fewer women volunteered for Ranger training that Army leaders anticipated;
  2. Fewer women passed RTAC than anticipated.

Most men who attend RTAC pass. Of 138 women who started RTAC, 19 passed, but it’s interesting how those numbers came to pass. The first several iterations of co-ed RTAC involved 77 women volunteers, but only 12 passed (16%) despite encouragement, the Corps of Commissars, etc. Moreover, one of the five women who passed the very first RTAC iteration then voluntarily withdrew. Her reasons are unknown to us.

ranger_school_signThe command made two attempts to increase the numbers, with only one more RTAC class available before the first coed Ranger class. First, a record 61 female volunteers were crammed into the last-chance RTAC. Secondly, the VW, or quitter, was persuaded to un-quit, an opportunity that’s never been offered to a Ranger candidate before. Again, we do not know the circumstances of this decision, or why that unique accommodation was made, or even who did the persuading. That’s all a black box, despite the presence of media shadowing the female candidates. We only know that it was done.

The idea of trebling the female input to RTAC, to increase the output, certainly seems logical, but doesn’t seem to have worked. Of the 61 candidates, only seven did not fail, medically drop, or quit. This was a pass rate of only 11% of this group, with an overall pass rate of 14% for all female RTAC candidates (19/138).

Aside: a word on fail/drop/quit. On one level those mean the same thing: the candidate is out of the course. On another level, they don’t, usually. A student who voluntarily withdraws (i.e., quits) an Army course is generally discouraged from returning, if not banned outright. (SF does this in its courses with the dreaded “NTR Letter,” telling the student he’s Never To Return. Tim McVeigh is probably the most famous recipient of an NTR Letter; most if not all VWs, all honor-violation drops, and some truly hopeless failures get the NTR). A student who fails, though, usually faces no such discrimination and can opt to attend the course again in the future. For officer students, this can sometimes be done on an Army quota while doing a change of station, but units are loath to use their limited number of Ranger School slots on a soldier who’s already failed once, when there are always more good troops wanting a slot than there are slots to hand out.  Medical drops can always come back if they can recover from their illness or injury, and can get a slot and time in their schedule. There are other rare administrative drops (for example, death in the immediate family) that are also not held against the candidate in the way that quitting or even failure is.

That left 19 plucky female Ranger candidates in the first formation of Ranger Class 06-15 that began on 20 April 2015. Most (all?) of them were officers. By the end of that first day, three women had failed. The three failed the PT test, as did a large number of men, mostly men that had not had RTAC preparation.

PT Test Attrition

This failure of PT tests, which have a widely publicized standard, generally results from the fact that at Ranger School the test is graded with scrupulous adherence to the standards in Army field manuals; at troop units, a soldier (of either sex) may get away with merely bobbing his or her head and wiggling arms a little, and getting that thing counted as a push-up. At Ranger school, a cadre member will be counting these repetitions: “Zero… zero… zero…” and by the time the candidate figures out that what passed for a push-up at the fo-fo’ty-fo’th mo-po doesn’t fly at Harmony Church, he or she may be too weak to do the requisite number of real push-ups.

The students (male and female) have had to meet the following standards:

  • 49 push-ups to Army standard
  • 59 sit-ups, ditto
  • 6 pull-ups
  • 5 mile run in 40 minutes even

3 of 19 women (16%) and 78 of 381 men (20%) failed this test on the first day. (Something doesn’t add up in these numbers from the Army, as only 399 roster numbers were initially assigned to class members, and 381+19=400. But they’re the figures we got, and the ones that were on the Chief of Staff’s briefing slide — you bet he’s watching this).

Other RAP Week Attrition

The first week of Ranger School (the first four days, really) is called RAP Week (Ranger Assessment Phase). It’s a combination of check-the-box tests and gut checks that makes sure that the students here really want to be here, and are really ready to tackle the course. Hisorically, many aren’t, as the normal 15-20% attrition on PT tests shows.

This young soldier is a ROTC Candidate at Maryland, but she's showing the combat water survival swim in ACUs with rifle.

This young soldier is a ROTC Candidate at Maryland, but she’s showing the combat water survival swim in ACUs with rifle.

Other attrition generators in this phase of Ranger school include a short swim (15 feet or so) in uniform with a rubber rifle, Ranger Runs and rucksack marches. The principal ruck attrition comes from a 12-mile ruck march with a nerf ruck (35 pounds), that must be completed as an individual in under three hours. Some short-legged people need to jog to do that, but it’s certainly not a physical challenge for anyone in infantry shape, and the fall-outs are generally the injured and/or people who were not remotely prepared for the course in the first place (for comparison’s sake, junior enlisted coming from the Ranger Regiment’s operational battalions, NCOs coming from Special Forces and other SOF elements, and junior officers in the initial infantry training pipeline never fail this event). There is a written test that also causes some failures, but it is unlikely to trip up these women, who as officers are already selected for above-average intelligence.

Three of the female candidates failed the initial land-nav exercise (so did a number of men, but we do not have the number). Normally there is an end-of-week retest (without retraining) available; we do not know if the commissars are providing retraining to the female failures.

With the ruck march a significant contributor to attrition, five more females failed other RAP Week events, leaving 8 to continue in the school. They must complete all events, not get injured, and take at least four graded patrol leadership positions, and pass half of the ones that they take. (Squared-away students may graduate with four patrols, but ones that struggle to lead will get more and more leadership positions up until the class ends in hopes of dragging them above 50%, or at least teaching them something. Word is that any female candidate that gets above 50% will be exempted from further graded positions, but this is not very different from what happens with the men).

Overall pass rate for men in the pipeline is 40-50%. Our pass rate for the ladies so far can be no higher than 8/138 or 6%, about 1/7 of the overall male pass rate, despite command emphasis on getting them through.

Of this class’s women, 11 of 19 have already failed, dropped or VWd, or 58%, and 8 of 19, or 42%, continued in training after four days. There are 59 days left in the course.

Ghost Gunner is Shipping

Cody Wilson sent an update to Ghost Gunner buyers, along with this atmospheric video:

The Defense Distributed email says:

Today [24 April] the first wave of orders has finally shipped for our pre-order campaign that began all the way back in October! It’s difficult to even count the obstacles we’ve faced since almost that very month, but by your patience and support we are today able to announce our product’s shipment and the release of its design files and operation software to the public. We thank you immensely.

Over 100 units are shipping/will have shipped since the end of last week. Our output is at such a pace that we estimate current backorders from the original campaign will all be fulfilled within six to ten weeks’ time. Our manufacturing processes were difficult to engineer and perfect since December because of our troubled part stream, but we now realize our capacity and are doubling our work force to increase throughput even more than in the past two weeks.

They’ve also opened up orders for the first 200 of those on the wait list, as opposed to those who already paid and are in the queue (wait list members paid a small sum for a place on the list).

The biggest news, perhaps, is the release of the design files, software and manual.  These files are contained in a .zip that can be downloaded from here or here. (Note: this does not work with the Safari browser; Safari users will need a Plan B). The manual looks like this:


It is 30 pages long, although you only need the first six of them if all you plan to do is run .DD files created by others. The rest of the manual is an intro to creating .DD files and otherwise using Grbl to control the machine.

And we strongly urge you to read it now if you have a GG coming. It contains several things you’ll want to know before unboxing, like system requirements (in this initial version, “it’s complicated”), and what not to use as a handhold when pulling the machine from its box (the stepper motors!).

The machine’s planned cross-platform promise is not delivered yet, with the initial version of DDCut software, the automated software that runs a .DD file off on the router, initially live only on Windows 7 (and, if you’re brain-dead or your computer is, Windows 8). They still plan to make this work on Linux and MacOS, but it’s not there yet.

Users of the unix-like systems are not completely out in the cold, however. You can run g-code on these computers, controlling the mill by using GRBL. There’s much more of a learning code than that.

One of the problems with relying on someone else to write your DD file is that g-code is extremely powerful. A miscreant, then, could, if not exactly brick a Ghost Gunner, at least cause a head or spindle crash — not a good thing. Fortunately, Wilson and his merry men have included a short set of instructions about what g-code commands are usually safe and which are potentially hazardous, allowing any user to evaluate a .DD file’s safety. For better security yet, they suggest using only files from trusted sources.

We’ve been following this for a while (and yes, we have one on order, but we’re well down the list). We see real potential in g-code and .DD files.

UPDATE 0930R 20150425

This post was written rather rapidly last night when we came in from a long drive at 2300 with no 0600 post in the queue, so we have a few more points (both ours, and Cody’s) to get across to you.

How are the machines shipping? The answer seems to be, via US Mail.

When we say we see real potential in g-code and .DD files, here are some of the things we could see people developing and sharing:

  • Profiling files, for converting an M16A2-profile lower to an A1 profile for a vintage/retro repro.
  • Engraving files, to duplicate retro markings or to make custom designs.
  • Lightening files, to remove metal and skeletonize a lower (which, we must stress, saves no significant weight; it’s a style thing. Imagine a steampunk AR… now it can be done, and the design shared).
  • Things we can’t even imagine yet. If that doesn’t make you squee, what will?

Wilson sees that, too, maybe clearer than we do. Re the closed forum for owners only, he says:

As you receive your machine in the mail, you will find in your package a card with credentials to give you access to the Ghost Gunner forums. We expect this will be a place of exchange and development that will quickly travel more adventurously afield of DD to see just the range and extent of Ghost Gunner’s capabilities.

We note that Ghost Gunner does not require internet access to run, unlike some other modern manufacturing technologies. (MarkForged, we’re lookin’ at you, although we’ve been told they will be selling an extension to their software that will let MarkOne buyers opt out of the MarkForged cloud and run their own servers, in that pungent Silicon Valleyism, “Real Soon Now”). Yes, there is a forum for  Ghost Gunner users, but you don’t ever need to go there. You bought the machine, you own it. What you do with it is your business. (We suspect Wilson shares our loathing for hardware and software involuntary “licenses”).

[F]orum membership is not a must! Everything you need to operate the machine comes in the box, software and guide included. No need to connect to the internet to access what you’ve purchased.

And, in a very important and (to us) unanticapated update, the Ghost Gunner will now be offered Internationally, outside the USA as well. Release of the software was held up for months because:

[T]he Feds literally took until last week to give GG a commodity classification.

It’s anyone’s guess where the hold-up was. It could have been Fed animus towards Wilson personally, but Occam’s Razor suggests that it’s just Feds moving at their usual snail’s pace. But an aside of the classification and approval is this:

[W]e will begin selling and shipping Ghost Gunner outside of the United States. Many of you are not from the US and have inquired for months about access to the machine. Well, we now have the clearance to ship to over 30 countries, of which you are likely a citizen. Our international backers will be reached out to individually at this time, but you will note a separate path to get on the wait list if you’re outside the US when you now visit

Finally, it seems meet to close with Cody’s own elegiac closing, expressing as it does gratitude to those of us who have waited through all the Ghost Gunner drama.

Above all else, THANK YOU for your support. We’re a small shop of friends and relative kids from Texas (and parts) around who had no business opening a manufacturing operation. But we wanted to see this concept succeed, and we wanted it to succeed on bold and defiant terms.

Though it will still be some weeks before we’re caught up with orders, we know it was you, our backers, with your patience and good will that allowed us to get to this moment.

I for one will not forget it.

It’s unclear from the email when ours will ship. It looks like the first hundred is well in hand, but we’re just barely into the third hundred.

Friday Tour D’Horizon

A Cynical View of the H&K G36 Problem

From a few months ago, by a smart Aleck named Riller.

Some Ammo Cross-Sections

Found on ARFCOM.

A Cynical View of Army Morale

The subject that’s practically been our theme for this week gets covered pungently at Ace of Spades. Read the Whole Thing™. They can’t understand why morale is so messed up, with so many from the Beltway Peerage working so hard on it. Us neither. For another cynical view, Dalrock.

NY TImes Discovers .mil Health Care Stinks

If they had any veterans on staff, they might have known that already. But it’s always Baby Duck Day at the Times when they interface with the services. Of course, they find the bad guys right away: military officers, who, in the Times caricature, are heartless, inhuman monsters, withholding health care from the needy.

This story actually revives a series that started almost a year ago and produces about a story a quarter, whether you need it or not. Considering that the Times seems to pre-write most of their stories, with a designated Good Guy and Bad Guy selected well in advance, you’d think they could swing a little more productivity than that.

Crime: Vault Heist in London

These pictures, from the Metropolitan Police tell the story.

From the outside lookin' in. (yes, it embiggens).

From the outside lookin’ in. (yes, it embiggens).

From the inside lookin' out.

From the inside lookin’ out.

A team of four to six thieves jimmied an elevator and rappelled down the shaft (a favorite drill — not — of CT units). They forced entry for the second time, into a basement that abutted the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit firm’s main vault, then they drilled their way through the walls of the vault. Once they were in, on a Friday night, they stayed for nearly twelve hours (during which they tripped an alarm, about three hours in). They came back, not that night but the next night, and spent eight more hours, presumably going through those safety deposit boxes.

The Grauniad has this graphic showing how it was done:



Like all the images, that embiggens with a click (probably not necessary).

And this juicy detail:

The gang that raided a safe deposit vault in the heart of London’s jewellery district were inside the building when police decided not to respond to an alarm that could have led them to interrupt the multimillion-pound heist.

The Metropolitan police said investigations were continuing into the decision not to send a police officer to investigate the alarm, which was triggered after the robbers had been inside the building for three hours.

The cops are pretty defensive about that, and probably should be. Note the various linguistic evasion “tells” in the following statement:

An alarm call from Southern Monitoring Alarm Company was received at the Met’s central communications command at 12.21am on 3 April, saying that an intruder alarm had been activated at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd.

The call was recorded and transferred to the police’s computer-aided dispatch system. A grade was applied to the call that meant that no police response was deemed to be required. An internal investigation is ongoing to identify why this grade was applied to the call in conjunction with the alarm company.

Ow. Sounds like Inspector Lestrade the Scotland Yard plod that was always having to call Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock’s a fictional character. Pity.

The TSA Continues to Excel

TSA PervReally? Well, maybe not.

According to law enforcement reports obtained during the CBS4 investigation, a male TSA screener told a female colleague in 2014 that he “gropes” male passengers who come through the screening area at DIA.
“He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”
Although the TSA learned of the accusation on Nov. 18, 2014 via an anonymous tip from one of the agency’s own employees, reports show that it would be nearly three months before anything was done.

The fix was in, and while a couple of the TSA miscreants (not all of them) were fired, the case was quietly broomed away, no one was charged, and the TSA refuses to release the videos and case reports, “because we believe it would be contrary to the public interest.”

Nobody good, decent, competent, intelligent, moral or ethical has ever been employed in TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

TSA Again: Who’s Got the Gun?

A Federal Air Marshal, part of the TSA and determined to show it, left his or her firearm behind on boarding a flight.

Nobody good, decent, competent, intelligent, moral or ethical has ever been employed in TSA in any capacity whatsoever.

DHS? ICE? Other Unhappy Fed? There’s a Tip Line

According to Federal News Radio, t goes to the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). Use it wisely.

And Here’s Part of Why They’re so Unhappy

Here’s an edit of a cynical agent’s rewrite of one of the overhead tuskers’ resumes.

I am pleased to announce the selection of XXXXX as the new Chief of Staff for HSI. XXXXX comes to XXX office from HSI International Operations, where XXXX has served as the Operations Chief for the Asia-Pacific region (PLACE WHERE NOTHING HAPPENS AND CANT SCREW UP) since returning to HSI headquarters (CAN’T HANDLE THE FIELD) for XXX second tour (WHO GOES BACK???) in 2013.

Before XXXX current headquarters tour, XXXX served in several critical (SERIOUSLY? CRITICAL?) field office and headquarters positions. Immediately preceding XXX assignment with HSI International Operations, XXXX was the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for Investigative Services in New York( IN OTHER WORDS, NO REAL INVESTIGATIVE GROUPS TO TRUST WITH AND WAS NEVER A GS) XXX has also previously worked on the EAD staff (MET PEOPLE) as a liaison and program manager (COULD MAKE POWERPOINTS), where XXX was responsible for supporting (MAKING COFFEE) the daily operations of the HSI front office. Other assignments included XXXX work on the Cornerstone Initiative (WAS MAYBE ASSIGNED AND DID NOTHING) and as a criminal investigator (COULDN’T MAKE GS OR A CASE SO WENT TO HQ) in Los Angeles.

XXXX’s extensive management (NEVER A GS OR REAL MANAGER?) and law enforcement experience (ARRESTED ANYONE?), coupled with XXX expertise in human, financial, and information resources (NOTICE NO CASE WORK???), make XXX an ideal (SERIOUSLY?) candidate to serve as Chief of Staff and to work with (MAKE COFFEE FOR) the HSI executive leadership in our efforts to move the agency forward (YEP..WE ARE A PRIME LE AGENCY..MOVING FORWARD WITH THESE WINNERS). Please join me in congratulating XXXX on XXX new position.

Sheesh. But according to Jeh Johnson, those guys are so dumb they wouldn’t knoe that they were so unhappy if those meddling kids in Congress didn’t break the Code of Beltway Omertà and tell them their morale’s for the birds.

Movie Reviews: James Jay Carafano

Analyst Carafano reviews a set of six movies about “thumping defeats,” and doesn’t even get to one of Hollywood’s Alamo retellings. We agree with him on most, including Khartoum, Zulu Dawn, Gallipoli and They Died With Their Boots On. We haven’t seen Dien Bien Phu, and we thought Hamburger Hill was not terribly good. He has trailers for most of the six at the review.

Poly-Ticks: 10 Anti-Gun Republican Senators Vote for Ammo Bans, ATF Gunwalking

A vote to confirm Loretta Lynch was a vote to continue the policies of the present DOJ. At her confirmation hearings, Lynch refused to swear off ammo bans or to stop gunwalking to Mexican cartels. It became clear that at least five Republicans had defected to the anti-gun side, and with Lynch’s confirmation inevitable, five more squished on over to try to get some liberal talking points before this year’s election. Most of them are the usual suspects; Mark Kirk votes the straight Democrat line on guns, chinless (and that’s not all-less) Mitch McConnell owes his seat to the Democrats who saved him from an actual Republican in the primary and never seems to stop paying them back, and Lindsey Graham has to vote how he has to vote because Harry Reid has photos of him and a [redacted], probably taken in Graham’s office in the Senate cloakroom closet.

If you want to know if your Republican Senator is one that doesn’t want pro-gun votes in 2016, The Hill has the story, with the list.


When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws have Frozen Rivers

609302_Augusta.searchWe’re always hearing about “gun deaths,” with numbers that seem high because they include justfied shootings (a small number) and suicides (by far the majority of deaths by gunshot in the USA).


The picture at left shows the bleak events of a March search for an apparent suicide who demonstrated terminally than one does not need a firearm to make a permanent solution to all of one’s temporary problems.

The Portland Press-Herald reported:

Two women who watched the events from the nearby Kennebec Plaza apartments said it appeared the woman was talking on a cellphone. They said she put the cellphone on the ice and then stepped or jumped into the open water, clinging briefly to the ice.

They watched as police threw a roped buoy to her, but they said it looked as though she pushed it away. Police recovered an item the woman left on the ice, but it was not a cellphone and did not help to identify her, Mills said. Mills did not specify what the recovered item was.

The Press-Herald’s headline was a sensitive one, referring to the woman who “went into the river.” It didn’t say the “s” word; that’s for a coroner’s inquest, perhaps, but some journalists do, from time to time, get the facts into the story without pouring gratuitous salt into the wounds of bereaved family members, struggling to understand. (Normal, sane people probably can’t understand the thought processes of a suicide).

No one will try to ban rivers because of this untimely death. That would be silly, right? But what if this unhappy woman had chosen an S&W .41 Magnum instead of a cold river as the stage for her final act? You can probably name the politicians who would be all but gargling her blood to push gun bans.

It seems a customary reaction for a certain type of person, on hearing of someone doing something irresponsible with an object, is to try to punish everyone else who has such an object and hasn’t done anything irresponsible with it.

GIs in Red Heels: Cadet Command Responds

Nope, not to us. To, where they knew a friendly reporter (one Bryant Jordan) would spin it as best as could be done. And he complied. Still, there’s more than a whiff of Combs’s CYA in this statement.

While ROTC command acknowledged that units were told to take part in the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it “did not direct how the units would participate,” command spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick said in a statement.

“We are currently gathering facts in order to review how local ROTC units implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” he said.

1347531Cadets with Arizona State University’s ROTC unit also took part in the walk/run there, many donning heels but not their uniforms.

Photos from the ASU ROTC Facebook page show that that last sentence/paragraph above is a falsehood, as two minutes on the net would have told Bryant Jordan. So he had the story pre-written and/or didn’t spend those two minutes fact-checking it, and neither did his “layers and layers of editors,” or the high-heels-in-uniform pictured of Sun Devil battalion cadre and cadets would, one hopes, have caught his eye.

This statement from the mouthpiece Haverstick tells you where the Command is going with this: they’re going to deny, deny, deny and throw the commanders of the individual cadet battalions under the bus.

(Aside: thanks for sending us the names and numbers of the Cadet Command SHARP commissars. You know who you are. Although the temptation to turn those numbers and email addresses loose on the Internet is strong, we don’t think our side wins by flooding the inboxes of low-level flunkies. They already know we don’t like them: that’s why they’re trying to destroy us).

German Defense Minister: “No Future” for the G36

In a decision that echoed from Oberndorf to Berlin, Defense Minister of the German Federal Republic, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced that the discussion is over — and so is the G36’s 19 year run as the standard rifle of the Bundeswehr. 



The rifle was beloved of HK fanboys worldwide, enough so that American fans kitbash G36 clones from HK SL8s and surplus parts of demilled G36s. There are many such on HKPro and on ARFCOM, and probably 99 other places on the net as well.

Here’s what the German paper Die Welt (The World) wrote about the ill-fated service rifle:

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen considers the standard weapon of the Bundeswehr, the Sturmgewehr G36, unusable due to massive problems with accuracy. “This rifle, so, the way it is built, has no future in the Bundeswehr”, the CDU politician said according to meeting participants Wednesday, after a meeting of the Defense Committee of the Bundestag [the legislature — Ed.]. At the present time, around 167.000 of these rifles from the firm Heckler & Koch are in troop use.

Von der Leyen is a member of the CDU, a center-right party who are normally the defense hawks among German politicians.

The technical problem that sank the rifle:

The phenomenon of the increasing size or shot groups and declining hit probability with a G36 heated by firing posed “a significant deficiency, from a military perspective,” an internal paper has been quoted by the media. The problems were of “significant combat relevance,” in that soldiers in combat could not be confident of engaging their opponents at 200 meters [and beyond].

A Google translate of that article is here.

This brings to an end a lot of debate on the rifle, at least in German officialdom (the debate will continue on the internet forever. Hell, we’re still arguing Brown Bess vs. Charleville nearly 250 years later). As recently as 2012 the MOD was defending the firearm, and as recently as this month, HK still was fighting to keep it alive.

The heat problems that ultimately sank the G36 seem to be different from the heat problems that cropped up in US testing of an Americanized version, the XM8 weapons system; in the end the XM8 was sunk less by technical faults than by the spastic nature of US small arms procurement, but it looks like the US GI may have been lucky to avoid the rifle.

What Comes Next?

What von der Leyen has not said is: what comes next? Germany has only a few firms that can make modern small arms in national quantities, including Rheinmetall and HK itself, but Rheinmetall does not have a current design. For fast re-equipping, the Heer will have to select some variation of the HK 416 or, something that must be unimaginable to Germans, select a foreign weapon like the SCAR or a Beretta.

The Belgian and Italian assault rifles have been getting better reviews than the unfortunate G36, and the HK416 has achieved some of the export success HK once wanted for the G36, selling to allies as disparate as Norway and the USA (for some SOF, some of whom aided its development, and the USMC’s Infantry Automatic Rifle program). HK claims that the G36 sold to 35 countries, but the only large adopters have been Germany and Spain.

Loss of the G36 program must have been long anticipated, as well as feared, at HK. Their last Bundeswehr G36 order was in 2012 for 3,770 rifles.

The future of highly leveraged HK is threatened, not necessarily by the direct financial consequences of this failure, but possibly by the psychological consequences of losing the home military market. In early April, the firm’s bond prices collapsed as the Germans neared this decision, despite assertions from the firm’s CFO that Bundeswehr G36 orders and refurbishments were a negligible part of the firm’s expected revenues. HK bonds had already collapsed, and never recovered, in September 2014, but the company continues to issue new bonds. They are a speculator’s investment at this time.

When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws Will Have Mothers

mom tattooUsually, a mother is a good thing to have. But sometimes there are mothers who don’t live up to the name.

Like this cretinous wench who dumped her handicapped son so she could go play The Dating Game, interstate version. Literally dumped, not Joe-Biden-Literally.

A mother abandoned her quadriplegic son in a wooded area of a Philadelphia park for nearly a week so she could visit her boyfriend in Maryland, police said.

The 21-year-old disabled man was found by a passerby on Friday night lying on leaves and covered by blankets with his wheelchair and Bible nearby, said Philadelphia police Lieutenant John Walker.

Police said the man who was abandoned in the woods is unable to talk and suffers from cerebral palsy.

Miraculously, this kid is likely to live, no thanks to his dam, Mother of the Year for Philadelphia. (And what is it about Philadelphia anyway that gives life to these people?)

Walker said authorities plan to file charges of aggravated assault and failure to care for a dependent person against the mother, whose name was not released. She is still in Maryland, Walker said.

Investigators believe the quadriplegic man may have been stuck in the woods since Monday. Officials at the school he attends became alarmed when he did not attend last week, and they called the man’s mother and aunt. The aunt reported the man missing on Tuesday, police said.

Well, it’s nice his aunt gave a rat’s rump about him, even though his mother didn’t.

Here’s hoping her next visit with her Maryland Romeo involves Visiting Day in a Pennsylvania jug.