Author Archives: Hognose

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

Total US Firearms: Not 300 Million, but 412-660 Million?

Fun With NumbersThe typical estimate of the total number of firearms in the USA is about 300 million, depending on whom is queried. For example (some of these links are .pdf):

The numbers are all over the place, and many of them seem to recursively refer to one another, not exactly building confidence in the rigor of their development. But they seem to cluster around a Narrative-friendly 300 million. But what if that number is wrong?


We believe that the correct number is much higher — somewhere between 412 and 660 million.   You may wonder how we came to that number, so buckle up (and cringe, if you’re a math-phobe, although it never gets too theoretical): unlike most of the academics and reporters we linked above, we’re going to use publicly available data, and show our work.

What if we told you that one ATF computer system logged, by serial number, 252,000,000 unique firearms, and represented only those firearms manufactured, imported or sold by a relatively small number of the nation’s tens of thousands of Federal Firearms Licensees?

ATF maintains a system, introduced in 1999, called Access 2000 or A2K (GAO report; details are in the .pdfs linked at that .html link). This system allows voluntarily participating manufacturers, importers and wholesalers (no retailers) to enter their firearms by the identifying data that goes on a 4473 directly into an ATF computer. The firms can’t see the data on this system, they can only feed it in. This system is then used by the National Tracing Center in West Virginia to respond rapidly to trace requests: given serial number, make and model they can produce an instant hit, saving field agents a trip to the manufacturer, wholesaler, or jobber. Sometimes this hit can instantly tell the trace technician what retailer was the firearm’s point of first retail sale, really expediting the trace.

The participating licensees get significant benefits from this system. They can dump their computer data directly to ATF (ATF actually provides a data-entry only terminal node for A2K in the participants’ premises) and then they never have to drop everything for an ATF trace, because ATF can track the firearm from creation (or importation) to sale out of point-of-origin from a desk in Martjnsville, West Virginia’s National Tracing Center. You can comply with your legal requirement to support crime (and found, and idle curiosity, and fishing expeditions and dragnet) gun tracing without any additional expense.

From the ATF’s point of view, it eliminates a possible source of security leaks in investigations. (This is not saying that they automatically suspect licensees more than anybody else. They just know, as Ben Franklin said, “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”) It also gives the ATF the bones of a future national registration system, a controversial idea even within the agency, but one that has its internal champions, including Deputy Director Thomas Brandon, who has been campaigning for Hillary Clinton on that exact issue.

Field agents and criminal investigators have no direct access to A2K. Only 44 employees of NTC (some of whom are sworn agents, mostly in case someone has to testify in court, but most of whom are support personnel) have access to the system. That access is controlled by an access roster set up to deny non-admitted personnel both physical access to A2K terminals and computer access to the data. Systems are supposed to be in place for intrusion detection and auditing.


None of the current academic media and academic estimates were developed with A2K data, even though this data has been made publicly available. You’re probably reading about it here for the first time.

The participants in A2K include, as of fall, 2015, 35 firms representing 66 FFLs total.

Because some of the participants are wholesalers, some firearms manufactured by non-participating manufacturers are included, in addition to all the firearms made by participants.

For legal reasons, A2K is kept separate from all other agency computer systems, and while it is on the public internet for maintenance purposes, it has no direct connection to any other ATF database.

As of 2 October, 2015, the data in A2K included 252,433,229 records, representing one firearm each. That means that at least those 250 million firearms have been manufactured, or imported, or sold at wholesale in approximately 15 years.  (Duplicate records, say from a manufacturer or importer in 2000 a jobber as a used gun in 2007, don’t increment the count; the unique serial number ties those data points together as a single “record”).

For the total count of firearms in the USA to be 300 million, the following must be true:

(A2K + all firearms made and sold by non-A2K FFLs from 1999-2015 + all firearms made by everyone 1899-1999 +  all firearms imported 1899-1999 + all firearms made or imported since October, 2015) – firearms exported = 300M.

It seems unlikely that 5/6 of all firearms were made or imported in the last 17 years.

Because one or two of these big distributors or jobbers may account for many surplus and used-firearms imports, they may include used as well as new guns, but they almost certainly don’t include resales of individual guns. And if police guns are counted once (sales from manufacturer, etc. to police) they shouldn’t be counted again (sales of surplus police guns to the  distributors enroute to the public).

We know that the ATF collects the records of out of business FFLs, and that these records are very slowly digitized but never OCR’d (they are legally forbidden to do this. They had preserved out of business records from A2K, which they deleted when GAO caught them [.pdf] in March, 2016. The preservation seems to have been inadvertent). The ATF can only estimate the number of out of business records as “hundreds of millions.” Absent computerization, there are many duplications in these records as the same serial number moves around. How many times has that World War I Mauser Gewehr 98a changed hands? As far as we know, no one has even tried to estimate this. But with the use of make/model/serial as a unique key in A2K, we do know that this 252 million does not include any significant number of duplicates.

We also know that ATF compliance with the law in this case is slow and grudging — for example, ATF’s own Chief Counsel’s Office, the nominally subordinate department that is considered by many ATF managers and agents to really run the agency, noted aspects of noncompliance with A2K in 2009, but never corrected the problem until 2016, after GAO called them on it in 2015. But that’s another story.

Now, the question of estimating how many guns exist in the United States can be restated as a single question: what percentage of all the guns in the country were handled by these 35 firms / 66 FFLs in the period 1999-2015? 

It is a difficult estimate to make in any supportable fashion. While those include some of the largest manufacturers and producers, as of October 2016[.pdf], there are 2,451 licensed importer FFLs (Class 06) and 11,093 manufacturer FFLs (Class 07) outstanding. Thus your 66 A2K paricipants account for less than one half of one percent of operating manufacturers and importers. Also, these are last year’s count of A2K participants and this year’s count of FFLs; it seems likely the participant count was much lower when A2K launched, and possible the FFL count was lower, after the mixed successes of the first Clinton presidency’s attempt to push FFLs out of business. Thus, the percentage count of participant FFLs is not constant. (For example, in October 2013[.pdf], there were 2,336 Class 06 importers and 9,082 Class 07 manufacturers).

Applying the Pareto Principle, it is possible, probable even, that a small percentage of high volume manufacturers and jobbers produce the largest percentage of the nation’s new firearms. Selecting 80/20 as a rule, which seems improbably generous over the lifespan of A2K, during this period these 66 FFLs produced 80% of all firearms traffic. Thus, the 252 million is 80% of 315 million new-to-the-market firearms.

One easy thing we can do is add 2016’s numbers, because we know they can’t be included in A2K’s 1999-2015 data set. Two ways to estimate 2016 production are to use FBI NICS checks (which are an imperfect measure) and NSSF adjusted NICS numbers (which are an attempt to make a conservative estimate by eliminating sources of upward bias in the FBI data, like one state’s monthly NICS on all permit holders). According to the FBI, there have been 19,872,694 NICS completed through 30 Sep, 2016; and NSSF adjusts that to a conservative 10,837,308.

Using a conservative algorithm to extend these numbers through the end of the year, we get 26,496,925 from FBI and 14,449,744 with NICS. (This is done by adding up the nine months’ data we have already, dividing by nine to get an average, and multiplying that average by 12 to get an annual number. It is conservative because of the seasonality in the sales data; the top sales months are always November and December). As we are making a conservative estimate, we take our conservative average-based forecast from the more conservative data source, NSSF, and we round (down) to the nearest million. We now have 329 million firearms, with fairly trustworthy data and estimates in which all the most conservative assumptions were used, introduced to the US on-the-books market from 1999-2016.

Items Excluded

Some sources of firearms are probably not numerically significant, at this time, and can be excluded. The first of these is off-the-books private production. This has increased greatly in the last 15 years, as we known from our own built-from-non-firearm-80% receives. How big this market is, no one knows. We conversed with one manufacturer last year who said, not for attribution, that he had shipped in excess of 100,000 80% lowers in the previous year and was constrained by the production schedule of the forging subcontractor he used. Assuming 80% of those were spoiled by end users, ratholed for future use or held for resale, and only 20% completed (which seems to us like a very conservative estimate), then that’s 10,000 more from one off-the-books source. There are at least ten manufacturers in the position this one is in, so up to a million more incomplete receivers move towards the (horrors!) “ghost gun” home and small-business gunsmithing market annually, and 100,000 of them make it to test fire. Given the impossibility of measuring these, and their small effect on the totals, and our attempt to make a conservative-biased estimate, we chose to leave these firearms out. But we all know they’re there.

Clandestine production by unlawful entities can not be known. It is a known unknown. And illegal importation by smuggling is known to have increased since the essential abandonment of border enforcement in 2009, but it is not thought to be numerically (as opposed to criminologically) significant. It is a small known unknown which can probably be discounted.

The most significant thing about these non-traditional and clandestine producers is that, as we have seen in places as disparate as Australia and the West Bank of the Jordan, they are prepared to fill the gap, should firearms production be further restricted by officialdom. The market is like flowing water — it finds a path, or makes a path.

So What’s Left?

At this point we have a reasonable and very conservative, very low estimate of 329 million new firearms to the US market 1999-2016. The question becomes one of estimating how many firearms were made and imported in the period from the invention of modern metallic cartridge, smokeless powder ammunition from, say, 1899 to 1998 — and how many of those survive as practical, usable firearms.

There are several ways to estimate this number:

  • We can throw a Pareto 80/20 number out there (about 412-413 million);
  • We can make a SWAG that about half the guns in circulation are pre-1999 (about 660 million);
  • We can comb old books for production data (TBD);
  • We can ask the ATF (we’re sure they’ll be forthcoming… right?);
  • Or, we can ask you for your ideas.

Absent a better idea, we can say that the US inventory of firearms is almost certainly between 412 and 660 million, not the lower numbers recently trumpeted in the media. And your ideas are welcome, in the comments or to @Hognose on Gab.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Trenches

Major B Magrath, 8th East Lancashire Regiment, struggling through a flooded trench, Foncquevilliers, 1917. (British National Army Museum).

Major B Magrath, 8th East Lancashire Regiment, struggling through a flooded trench, Foncquevilliers, 1917. (British National Army Museum).

You would think that people wouldn’t be dying in trenches any more. After all, the Great War was about a century ago, and we’ve scarcely had any trouble since then.

But you’d be wrong. A couple of guys in a utility crew were killed stone cold graveyard dead, drowned like rats in a trench in urban Boston, where guns are just about outlawed.

The Boston Fire Department says two people were killed after they were trapped in a trench when a water main broke in the South End.

The water main break broke on Dartmouth Street just after 1 p.m. on Friday.

Firefighters said two people were killed, and crews are still trying to drain the area to safely recover their bodies.

Firefighters are using a large vacuum to remove water from the trench.

It is not yet known how deep the trench is.

Deep enough. For two guys, too deep.

Water has been shut off to the area.

Firefighters said they are now moving forward as a “recovery not rescue operation.”

Even the most routine acts in the world can end in sudden death. You might want to give whomever you love an extra squeeze or wink, on your way out the door tomorrow. Just in case, no?

Damon Linker, No Deep Thinker

Damon Linker isn’t particularly special today, he’s just an illustration of an immutable law: the more time you spend in the Acela Corridor, the more you see the Outside World through a glass, darkly. This makes most Washington and New York pundits entertaining to read on the subject of war: they can always be counted on to reverse cause and effect, creating what the late Michael Crichton called “‘Wet streets cause rain’ stories”; and they often miss very large beams that are clouded by the motes of partisanship and self-regard that multiply in their eyes, like some sort of virus, lofted in the foul air of their coastal enclaves.

See if you can guess what very large beam is missing from this emphatic statement by Linker (the elisions are for brevity and do not alter his argument, as you can see at the link):

Both … nominees, [and] journalists …avoid talking about the fact that the United States is waging war in at least five countries simultaneously: Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.

Anything missing there? We have a hint, and we still have ineradicable 15-year-old dust from the place on some of our gear: Afghanistan. The word does not exist in his essay. And that’s only one. Despite the current tensions the gormless incumbents of both Presidencies have produced, US Forces have been working intimately with Filipino forces in tamping down the Abu Sayyaf insurgency there, a process that occasionally goes to Bulletsville and more occasionally racks up a US casualty, who used to be, at least, counted as an OEF casualty alongside his Afghan brothers.

So it’s seven wars. Not counting the ones we’re not counting, and believe me, they’re there: Damon Linker doesn’t know about them because the Times and the Post don’t know about them, because most of their international bureaux are closed or are staffed by host nation stringers with their own agendas. And because one of the markers of the speciation of Homo acelaicus is his distance from and revulsion by Homo combativus. 

It’s a safe bet that nobody in the Linker bloodline has suited up for combat in the 45 years since Nixon ended the draft (or in the years before that, where an array of deferments spawned for the convenience of the children of Homo acelaicus kept them out of harm’s way). The whole point of having an aristocracy is hereditary rule, dissociated from standards or merit, for the benefit of the aristocrats. 

Linker is critical of the press in his article, but only because they’re not dumbing things down enough for the real retards, the American people. You see, wars are complicated, and journalists, well:

…journalists have no faith … in the American people to process and evaluate that information in a responsible way.

Well, when the public doesn’t trust the press, and when Damon Freakin’ Linker is the guy who’s going to heal this rift, maybe he’s got the arrow of causation characteristically ass-backwards. Who is it that mistrusts whom, here?

…the press actively contributes to making our politics stupider. Instead of enlightening members of the general public, it entertains them.

Of course, his idea of “enlightening” involves socializing them to Acela Corridor values, so he’s doomed to failure outside of his coastal Echoplex. And then he whines that, this election year:

…the media has come in for unprecedented hostility and abuse….

Perhaps it deserves it? When a guy pontificating about all the wars we’re in elides the fact that his boy and his girl are responsible for many of the new theaters of war in which this one conflict is being conducted, by abandoning Iraq and Afghanistan initially, and then fomenting new wars in Libya, Syria, and even Egypt? When a guy pontificating about the wars forgets about Afghanistan?

Almost everyone I know has been to Afghanistan. To fight. Only to return to the dripping contempt of the Damon Linkers of the world, the sunken, shriveled,  fans in the press box, to whom everything that is good and holy emanates from their beloved political sports-teams.

We’re not ready to lynch reporters here, not even Damon Linker, but we would vote “not guilty” if put on the jury of someone who did.

Guy in a Garage Gets Quiet… in 5.56 and 7.62 (.300 BLK)

(Yes, 80s-90s era SF’ers, the “5.56 and 7.62” is a Blank Frank Toney reference. For the rest of you, on with the story). Our good friend Guy in a Garage (hereafter Guy) has been up to all kinds of good. You may recall that some time ago he applied to the ATF to manufacture suppressors on ATF Form 1.

He didn’t go about it by half measures. Here’s his 5.56mm suppressor, showing 3D design, computer finite element analysis of the projected flows, and parts machined, mostly, from 7075 round bar stock. The tube is Ti alloy. There’s a large chamber, followed by a blast baffle.

giag-suppressor-internal-2While the baffles are generally made of aluminum, the blast baffle is 416 stainless. Guy says:

This took a lot of work and I’m glad everything came out so well. I knew from the start that I aluminum wasn’t going to hold up to 5.56. I also knew that excessive backpressure could cause some issues in this short of a barrel. My design is based on the AAC M4-2000. It has a large expansion chamber, one blast baffle, and several clipped cones spaced closely together. This blast baffle does a lot to keep backpressure reasonable. I milled it from 416 stainless.

Here’s the 3D design of the blast baffle:giag-suppressor-part-2

The regular baffles. These are very reminiscent of some baffles Gemtech uses, as discussed below.giag-suppressor-part-3 Here’s the FEA of the baffle, showing the projected pressure drop across it. Noise suppression is all about managing pressure, temperature and time. (Software: Autodesk Flow Design, which is free as in beer).giag-suppressor-flow-sim-2

And here’s similar beauty shots of his .300 Blackout suppressor.

giag-suppressor giag-suppressor-baffle

A look in at that type of baffle. That’s not a baffle strike, that’s a feature of the design:


And here are the pair of them, completed and installed:


There are some other Guy in a Garage features there, including a home-made lower and home-made thermal sight. He used a quick-detach system designed by Yankee Hill Machine.

A suppressor (or any muzzle device) made of aluminum alloy, even a strong one like 7075, is going to have durability issues relative to one made of steel or exotic material like cobalt alloys (Inconel) or titanium alloys. But the exotic metals are much harder to machine than steel. This is one reason that selective laser sintering has been cost-effective for prototyping and limited production in such exotics. If you’re limited to subtractive manufacturing, aluminum alloys and steels are much more easily cut.

A word on baffles. We just got to try out a Walther .22 with a Gemtech suppressor that uses a similar style baffle. The suppressor was Hollywood tiny, but with subsonic ammo it was graveyard quiet. In fact, close to Hollywood quiet. (You do know the sounds of “suppressed” firearms in movies are dubbed in in post-processing by the Foley artists, right?) It made our old Hi-Standards sound like a 2″ .44 Magnum by comparison. We didn’t try the pistol with supersonic ammo, but the guy who had the Gemtech (his organization’s, we think, not personal) says it’s still extremely quiet, just not that quiet.

In the Gemtech, the little notch that looks to the novice eye like an artifact of a baffle strike — it isn’t — is turned 90º from the one in the preceding baffle. The Gemtech’s baffles are made of titanium, one reason the suppressor is as light as it is small.


We should have initially included these, in which Guy (username Flood_) answers many questions: Imgur thread and Reddit thread, both from three weeks or so ago. Don’t forget to click the “More comments” button at Reddit.

Spooky Sunday

At some time today, we’ll be putting the Demon Dog and other Halloween decorations out, which makes it Spooky Sunday.

We’ve been engaged on the new social media platform Gab, which is still in beta. Imagine Twitter, but with more than twice the characters per post, and an institutional commitment to free speech (vs. Twitter’s commitment to social engineering). Highly recommended. Your Humble Blogger is, of course, @hognose and frequently gabs about #guns.

Had a week of sticking to diet but off-and-on on exercise, so we saw — we are not making this up  — a one day gain of 3.3 lbs (1.5 Kg), followed by dieting off a half-pound a day… ending the week at a new low that was a half-pound below last week’s record. It makes for a weird looking graph for this month so far:


Especially when you consider our real objective has to be below the bottom of that graph. It doesn’t look quite so bad when we look at the whole thing:


It’s more work than we might like. We know what we need to do (doesn’t everybody, about most things?) and we just need to ruck up and execute.

Not all the news is even that good. Got the news that Tom Greer died after an incredibly brief illness. He is best known to the public as author Dalton Fury, a name guys ribbed him about. He was a legendary special operations leader, who came up from a private in the Ranger Regiment; even there, his contemporaries tell us, he was marked for advancement. (I do not recall him ever serving in SF, just Rangers and other special operations forces).  Here’s a non-fiction essay of his worth reading. We lost a good one there.

We spent 3:30 (that’s three hours thirty minutes, not three minutes and a half) on the phone with a friend (and former leader) in Fayetteville. He came through the storm all right, just lost power for a few days (others are worse off). His wife is fighting severe illness, and it gets him down. On the phone, all that dropped away and we solved all the problems of life, the universe and everything (especially special operations).

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon and evening with an old teammate (an 18E commo man, but he’s a gun guy, naturally) and introduced Small Dog Mk II to his rambunctious German Shepherds. (Yes, plural). However, because we wrote and queued this post up before leaving for his house, we can’t tell you whether SDMkII got eaten or not, unless or until we update the post.  Still, he has such separation anxiety, we didn’t want to leave him.

Finally, we’re meeting the Blogfather in New Orleans soon. We don’t know the city; we’ve never done anything except drive on through. We know the former D-Day Museum is a must see (now the National WWII Museum), and we saw online the LA Guard museum, an old fort, and a Confederate War Museum… we’re wondering if readers have any recommendations, and that’s not just gun stuff, but also food and entertainment options. We’ll be in town about five days.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Plunging Pickups

san-diego-crash-1It was a mass casualty event at the gritty urban park under the Coronado bridge in San Diego.

Four people were killed almost instantly and nine others were injured, authorities said. Two of the injured victims suffered major trauma.

Yikes! What happened?

[A] pickup swerved over a San Diego-CoronadoBridge retaining wall and plunged 60 or more feet onto vendors’ sales booths during a festival in Chicano Park.

The driver was traveling from a northbound lane on Interstate 5 west onto the bridge when he lost control of his GMC pickup about 3:45 p.m. The tan truck with Texas license plates landed steps away from a stage, where the Los Angeles blues-roots band The 44s was in the middle of its performance, witnesses said.

“I saw a truck come right off the freeway. It was going so fast it flew over the stage and landed in front of the stage on a tent, a booth that was set up,” said Chase Dameron, who was about 30 feet away.

Hmmm… we smell the unmistakeable aroma of Judgment Juice™. Are we right?

The driver, who was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, was in shock within seconds of the crash and asked witnesses who rushed to his aid to please contact his commander at a nearby military base.

via 4 dead as pickup plunges off Coronado bridge, lands in Chicano Park – The San Diego Union-Tribune.

san-diego-crash-2The dead were a couple who had participated in a motorcycle rally, and were browsing in a t-shirt vendor’s tent, and the couple operating the concession in the tent. They were killed instantly by the falling truck. The drunken sailor in the truck apparently was not seriously injured, although he was arraigned in the hospital. The nine injured were all expected to recover, although one woman had a compound fracture of the femur; for her, the recovery road will be long.

Comparing Nuclear “Deals”: South Africa and Iran



The Foreign Policy Institute has an interesting, brief comparison of the Iran deal, which they opposed, with the nuclear disarmament of South Africa.

They point out that the President said this, announcing the Iran deal:

An unprecedented inspections regime.

The most comprehensive and intrusive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated.

The most vigorous inspection and verification regime by far that has ever been negotiated.

Pretty much every word of that was a lie. There is, essentially, no independent inspection; there is no verification; there is instead a date certain that erases even the fiction of inspection. Iran, of all nations, has been put on the honor system, as if “honor” means anything to mohammedan savages, anything but a handy excuse to murder your daughter or sister.

The contrast they use depends on a fantastic report, Revisiting South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Program, that does a thorough analysis of the rise and fall of this historically unique program — the only time in history that a nuclear power unilaterally disarmed. The document is here with links to free .pdfs. FPI describes it thusly:

Revisiting South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Program provides a detailed account of the development of South Africa’s nuclear program, from its embryonic stages, in the 1950s, as a nuclear research and development center to its eventual production, beginning in the late 1970s, of six nuclear warheads. According to the authors, Pretoria, in the program’s early years, likely wished only to acquire the option to develop nuclear weapons but harbored no desire to operationalize this capability. Ultimately, however, the apartheid regime altered its strategy largely in response to rising fears of Soviet expansionism, hoping that the mere possession of the warheads — rather than their actual use — would deter aggression.

It’s actually quite a good study of a little-known armament program.

FPI then contrasts South African open disarmament with Iran’s mockery of international engagement, whilst maintaining a clandestine nuclear arms and delivery systems (the ballistic missiles are a key nuclear technology, after all) program.

The essential difference, however, seems to have been missed by FPI’s Tzvi Kahn. The RSA, unlike the Islamic Republic of Iran, wanted to disarm. (It’s also a fact that they didn’t want to leave a nuclear capability in the hands of a nation that has potential to give rise to a Mugabe or Amin). The Iranians are not the least interested in disarming. It sounds like madness, but their cult preaches to them that they will rule the world, and they mean to do just that. Nuclear weapons are a means to that end. Iran has no interest in disarming, and must be disarmed by force or economic pressure — neither of which is palatable to an administration more attuned to Iran’s aspirations and interests than to America’s.

Thing From the Vault: Pinfire 9mm Double Pistol; Worst Trigger Ever

In this Thing From the Vault, we have a double pistol gifted to us recently by a friend. It is a 9mm  pinfire of uncertain European (Belgian, perhaps?) make. It’s an oddity with a number of screwball design features; maybe it was French, because it has some of the sorts of quirks our long-departed Citroën had. Wait… it is Spanish, we just figured that out, and we’ll tell you why. First, a picture. (All pictures here do embiggen).


The pistol is furnished with a carved walnut grip and is finished in the white. We’ll give you a quick walk-around, starting from the hammers and proceeding clockwise. There are two single-action hammers, each with a full cock and a half-cock position. The hammers are serrated at the top of the spurs. The retractable triggers only extend at full cock; with the hammers at half-cock or at rest, they are approximately flush with the bottom of the pistol.


pinfire_pistol_3Forward of the hammers, atop the barrels, is the sight, a simple notch; there s no front sight. The sight slides and forms the safety (we’ll show you later how this works). The barrels are octagonal in section and 9mm in caliber. Beneath the barrel, the pivot screw, pivot spring and locking block are evident.

pinfire_pistol_6The main lock of the pistol shows trigger and hammer pins, and is curiously cross-hatched.

The grip is rather crudely formed to fit the decorative shape of a steel grip cap with lanyard ring.

The right barrel bears black-powder proofs from Eibar, Spain in the 19th Century.


The markings on the right side are Xº1 9,9 [an Eibar proof crest with antlers] [an Ebar black powder proof with three non-interlocking rings] and the strength of the proof, 700 Kgs (Kilograms/square centimeter pressure). The markings on the left side of the barrels are a serial number, 05435; what may be 2.2 in a lozenge shape; and CAL. 9.



The pistol must be half-cocked to be opened. With the hammers on half-cock, pushing the locking bolt from right towards left allows the barrels to be opened. No extraction is provided; the pins in the cartridges can be used for that.

Pinfire  was an early cartridge system that was quickly made obsolete by the rim- and later center-fire cartridges. There’s actually a lot to say about early cartridges (including a great three-volume work by George A. Hoyem). Pinfire allowed self-contained, more or less hermetically sealed, metallic cartridges, but they had to be inserted so that the pins fit into the slots in the barrel. The pin was like a little firing pin built into the cartridge, and activating an internal priming compound set against the inside of the cartridge case. It sure beat muzzleloading and paper and linen cartridges, but the popularity of the rimfire after 1850 consigned pinfire to the history books — and the Vault. By 1900, pinfire was a dead concept, but cartridges were made for existing firearms as late as World War II. A few die-hard enthusiasts remanufacture and reload pinfire cartridges today.

For more, including a look at the primitive safety, click on the link below.

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Friday Tour d’Horizon, Week 42

This week’s Tour d’Horizon is upon us. In which we clear up the spindle and make ready to haul up to one of our old commo men’s houses, to solve the problems of the world over good food, good guns, good dogs, and, when the guns are stowed, good liquor in front of a fire.

He asked for something for his man-cave. “What do you want?” we asked.

“Do you still have the helicopter seat?” We do. The right, aircraft commander’s seat, complete with composite armor, from a Vietnam-era UH-1B attack helicopter. It’s his now, but since it’s 250 pounds or so and upstairs, and it’s raining and we don’t feel like driving the truck on up, instead of a comfortable car, we’ll deliver it some other time. So we’ll write it, and its story, up in these pages before it goes. It’s a good and truly SF story, with much destruction, and a little pleasure.

We have something in most of the categories this week, maybe even in all of ’em.


I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

A Classic Bess

If you love an old flintlock musket as we do, follow the link to John Slough of London, where this remarkably high-condition Sea Service Brown Bess is for sale, for £8,500.


This musket was made by W. Brazier in 1715, the barrel is clearly marked with William Brazier’s mark and government proof marks.  William Brazier was contracted by the Board of Ordnance to make sea service muskets which he did between 1714 and 1715.

300 years old, this beauty. And she might have spent over a century of that in service to the Crown. Oh, what tales this musket might tell! Did she fire at Frenchmen? (And were they King Louis’s, or Napoleon’s?) Rebellious Americans? Pirates? Slavers?

Do check all the images, which embiggen as this one does. And yes, this is the very same John Slough who once made a very high-end CZ-inspired target and service pistol, the Spitfire, back in the mists of time when Her Majesty’s Government would rather trust Britons with a pistol, than replace them with itinerant Middle Easterners.

Low-Cost Low-Tech (Drill Press) AR Lower

Here’s a very interesting Imgur photo essay on doing a lower with a low-cost jig and a tabletop drill press.


It’s most interesting because he makes (and points out) some mistakes, and still makes a usable firearm in the end.

Atlas Laser Targets

The ATLAS Dry Fire Laser Training Target is extremely interesting for dry-laser-fire training. Most of the examples they offer are military…

atlas-swat-trainingBut some are not. A target like this has many uses.


Has any of you tried them?

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way. The wetware in your brain housing group is what makes your weapons work. 

Brought a Machete to a Gunfight

Spoiler Alert: he didn’t win.

The man did not follow police orders to put down the machete, Zak said. Around 9:28 a.m., a call of “shots fired” was aired over the police scanner and officers reported the suspect was down in a stairwell inside the center.

A Boulder officer and a CU officer fired shots at the man, according to Boulder police Chief Greg Testa.

Testa said he did not know how many shots the officers fired.

We can answer that question: enough.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment.

When the Cop was a Crim, DEA Again

dump your drugsWe heard these were DEA Special Agents, but a look at the press release tells us they were task force officers. Well, before they were indicted and fired over a drug-trafficking conspiracy.

Karl Emmett Newman, 49, of Kentwood, Louisiana, and Johnny Jacob Domingue, 27, of Maurepas, Louisiana, were indicted by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on Oct. 7, 2016.  … Newman was originally charged on May 13, 2016, in a now-unsealed indictment, and was arrested on that date.  Domingue was arrested on a now-unsealed criminal complaint on May 12, 2016.

In addition to serving as DEA task force officers, Newman and Domingue previously served as deputies with the Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, Sheriff’s Office.

Domingue is only charged with falsifying records, which is bad enough, but Newman is charged with a pile of offenses, including “using a firearm in commission of a felony.”

Yeah, what we really need is for firearms to be restricted to the po-lice.

He Got Away with It, For a While

This guy illustrates a sad fact of humanity: like the poor, the creeps are always with us.

On the day of [Holly] Grim’s disappearance, [Michael] Horvath was late for work and claimed he had a flat tire. Authorities continued to question Horvath over the past three years as a person of interest.

In 2014, a blood sample found at Grim’s home matched his DNA.

Then, over the past couple of weeks, authorities searched the inside and outside of Horvath’s home on Woodhaven Drive in Ross Township. Tests showed that several bones belonging to Holly Grim were buried in the backyard.

So how creepy was he? Pretty creepy:

Investigators are still trying to determine a motive and testing is still being done to determine how Grim was killed.

Police say numerous tapes and DVDs relating to murder, sexual deviance, and “hunting humans” were found in Horvath’s home.

Condolences to Ms Grim’s family, and what a shame they’re not hanging Mikey Horvath in the morning, the Color-Sergeant said. Kudos to the investigators; the secret to success in investigation as in life is this: Never give up. Never surrender!

Tranny Jailhouse Action, Part I: She’s a Man, Baby

pichardoSo one Flor Pichardo (right) is a middle-aged “transgendered woman” from the Dominican Republic that got bagged by cops in Miami on an old drug beef. While this person is absolutely convinced he is a female, he retains male chromosomes, and, not to put too fine a point on it, male equipment. After examination by a medical professional, off to male jail Flor went, and was… what’s that word again? — twaumatized. 

Pichardo, married with three children, was placed with 40 male inmates in an open cell where she was allegedly taunted and sexually harassed. She was 50 years old at the time.

Well, you should probably stay out of jail then, or they’ll taunt you a second time.

She was so in fear of going to the bathroom, which was in an open area, she “urinated on herself,” her lawyer said.

Not in fear of that? Look, prison is the ultimate environment where it pays to be the Grey Man. Even if you’re convinced you’re not a man of any color at all. Whizzing in your orange jumpsuit will not help.

[The ambulance chaser] said his client suffers from PTSD and continues to be under psychiatric care because of the incident. They filed the lawsuit because they “want to get some answers,” he said.

Funny, he didn’t ask for “some answers” in the lawsuit. He asked for five million dollars. That’s a lot of answers, for making one crazy person face his mental illness for less than half a day.

Tranny Jailhouse Action, Part II: She’s a Dead Man, Baby


Note the Paleolithic physiognomy of Florida She’s-A-Man-Baby Man.

A dead Florida Man, at that. Meet Justin Lee Naber, who was so serious about wanting to be called Stacy Lorraine Naber that he hanged himself when the screws said, “No.” He was suing; his initial handwritten jailhouse complaint had been adopted by the Atheist Criminal Lovers Union, for whom he pushed all the right buttons: currently trendy sexual minority, life-sentence awardee, and, not least brutal murder, which always turns the ACLU’s prisoner groupies on.

Naber was sentenced to life for a violent 2013 stabbing murder, but was also a suspect in a 2005 murder in Albuquerque.

The ACLU argued that a name change would be “medical treatment” for Naber, but it turned out all he really needed was an improvised rope, the cure-all for the twaumatized jailbird.

The Bargain Freezer that Wasn’t

She got a good deal on the freezer. But it wasn’t empty.

“I saw toes and a foot and ankle,” the woman said. She slammed the freezer shut.

It must be fake, she thought to herself, opening the lid again.

This time, she was sure it was real.

“I have a serious problem,” she told the 911 dispatcher. “My neighbor sold me a deep freezer. I just opened it and there’s a body in there I think.”

The contents of the freezer? Apparently, the seller’s mom. The neighbor kept cashing Mom’s social security checks for months while keeping Mom, as it were, on ice.

The woman told the Washington Post: “My heart was in my throat.” Well, that’s OK, so long as it is your own heart.

Saving the Taxpayers’ Money

One down, one to go.

One down, one to go.

Some people would criticize Veronique Henry for killing herself. But as the career criminal faced dual murder, robbery and conspiracy charges along with her husband Paul, she should probably be celebrated for saving the taxpayers a lot of money.

The Henrys fatally shot Foday Cheeks, 31, and Danielle Taylor, 26, before ordering two other women and two boys, aged 12 and 14 years old, to hand over their cell phones and keep their heads down, according to investigators.

The couple then asked where the drugs were stashed and searched all over the house, police said. They left without finding any, telling the witnesses they would shoot them if they moved from their spot on the floor, according to the state police.

Arrested soon after, the couple were locked up, and Veronique took her own life within 24 hours.

Sure, it’s hard on the corrections officers who had to clean her cell up after she hanged herself, but it’s a multilevel win for the taxpayers. Now if only her husband will follow suit….

The Perils of Kathleen: If it’s not good-bye yet, it’s not good

The main effort showing up in the news this week is Kane’s attempt to prepare the battlefield for next week’s sentencing hearing. Her objective is to stay out of jail or prison, and unfortunately, the judge seems inclined to at least listen to her. After all, lawyers and politicians may have intramural squabbles, but always reunite against the tumbrils and torches of the peasantry.

  • Item 21 Oct: Kane Supporters Flood Press With Leniency Letters in what appears to be an organized effort. Linked letter is an example, by Kane partisan Alan Bronstein. (which, we not, was Trotsky’s real last name. Coincidence? You be the judge).
  • Item 20 Oct: Judge Orders House Arrest Study. This was requested by career criminal Kane’s attorneys, and resisted by prosecutors, who point out that she has never accepted responsibility for any of multiple self-serving lies she told grand juries, or for leaking information to friendly reporters. She theoretically could get 28 years, which sounds about right, but state guidelines suggest 6-12 months in state pen.
  • Item 18-19 Oct: Kane Propaganda Theme: She’s Humbled(Another example with similar wording. All the papers have ’em!) Appearing in several newspapers at once! But the famously haughty Kane has shown no signs of actually being humbled. It’s just her lawyers saying that, as she wriggles on the billhook of judicial decision.
  • Item 13 Oct: Union to Stop Fighting Report ReleaseAs Kane was in trouble, she spent somewhere between half a million and a million dollars on a report generated by a friendly law firm that trolled through her critics’ — and everyone else’s — work emails applying a bluestocking reading to off-color informal communications. (For example, a couple of women were censured for using the term “boobies,” in emails related to a breast cancer event). The press has been aching to see the report and point-n-shriek at the politically incorrect things it might find within (most of which has been leaked to them already, if not by Kane, by her minions and successors). The narcotics agents’ union fought this release, but has given up, so there’s nothing holding the document back except the new AG.

Kane’s sentencing on 24 October will produce a barrage of Kane coverage. Anything short of prison is disloyalty to the people of Pennsylvania, but a walk-out-of-court seems to be what the Establishment is queueing up for one of its own.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields.

The South Could Have Used this 150-odd Years Ago

telegraph-keyAn archive of telegrams were saved by a Union telegraph operator, including both routine and urgent dispatches. Trouble is: they were in code. But by crowdsourcing a solution, about half of these vintage secrets have been decrypted.

The Philippines Chooses the Strong Horse

Here’s a long thumbsucker by Max Boot at Foreign Policy about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his response to the weakness and moral posturing of the US: a major shift to align the island nation with China and Russia. Boot says that it’s all down to Duterte, a “crude populist” and his  “peculiar psychology.” We suspect he has absolutely nailed the reason for the Filamerican schism, but he’s focused on the wrong crude populist’s peculiar psychology. Who, after all, is most responsible for America’s self-abnegating and ally-undermining foreign policy? We leave it as an exercise for the reader.

Don’t Call the Air Force’s New Race Quotas, “Race Quotas.”

segregated-drinking-fountainThe Air Force document [.pdf] is dense with unintelligible diversicrat jargon, but all told, it adds up to a diminution of merit in the promotion and assignment process, and its replacement with a racialist ethos that measures all airmen not by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin.

Racial and ethnic minorities may elect to be assigned to career fields that in the view of HQAF racists are not “diverse enough,” in return for a de facto skin-color bonus. Of course, far from making race immaterial to an Air Force career, policies like this centralize it instead, ensuring that racial identification, racism, and racial conflict will grow all the time — great news, for diversicrats.

While the racialist aspects of the document have been discussed widely, there are also sex-linked mandates in there. One all but forbids the service from assigning USAF personnel married to other airmen to separate locations, which will predictably result in make-work jobs created (or qualified personnel dumped) to make room for the not-needed spouse, sticking commands with OFTPOTs. (One For The Price Of Two).

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™?

VA’s “Satisfaction Surveys” are Bogus

VA-veterans-affairsThe VA has been claiming for a long time that it provides superior care, based on an endless battery of customer-satisfaction surveys that are directly comparable to those used by real hospitals. But comparable? Not so fast:

Dr. Peter Almenoff, special adviser to the secretary, was asked in a recent phone interview what surveys his bosses are referencing about patient satisfaction.

He did not identify one.

When asked again how one might honestly compare veterans’ hospitals with non-VA facilities, he told The Arizona Republic, “I can’t answer that.”

So that whole claim is bogus — made up.

Wait, it gets better:

In an October 2014 speech for the Institute of Medicine, McDonald declared: “Since 2004, the ACSI has consistently shown that veterans receiving both VA inpatient and outpatient care give VA higher satisfaction ratings than patients at private hospitals.”

Just one problem: ACSI spokesman Chaat Butsunturn said the company does not do VA health-care surveys….“Though the Department of Veterans Affairs has called it an ACSI report, that is an error,” he added.

They just made it up.

Is it time to disband this thing yet?

New Leadership? New Lies from an Old Liar

Bob McDonald says:

more than “90%” of the VA’s medical centers have “new leadership” or “leadership teams” since he took over the troubled agency in 2014.

But USA Today says he’s lying. He’s just hired eight out of 140. Mostly, he’s transferred embattled leaders away from places where the press might have their number, to places where their toxic leadership falls on new subordinates and veterans. And, of course, with VA’s usual enormous costs and hyper-generous moving allowances.

Read The Whole Thing™, which documents this whole game of musical slugs.

Reason’s Scott Shackford called it, “Reupholstering the deck chairs on a sinking ship.

The VA administration claims money is an issue. Salaries for directors are about half of what they can make in the private sector, and they blame Congress for failing to raise the salary cap.

Of course, the problem with that argument is that the VA has a history of blowing money it’s given, and that has increased congressional skepticism of giving them more. The VA got $15 billion in funds but that didn’t improve veterans care. And over the course of a decade the agency spent millions on artwork while care languished.

A representative for the agency also noted that the hiring process is very slow and heavily favors applicants with federal experience.

Yeah, because how can you be sure you really have a high-functioning slug if he doesn’t come with the GS Seal of Approval?

Tick, tock…

One of Those Slugs…

Robert Callahan, new boss of the Wilmington (Delaware) Veterans Affairs Medical Center, formerly at the Lebanon, Pennsylvania, VA center

…chose not to notify the inspector general that a nurse at the facility was charged with diverting narcotic pain relievers morphine and oxycodone….

He was not held accountable for covering up felony theft by one of his employees (who was, also, not held accountable by VA) — instead, he was promoted. (His predecessor in Wilmington was kicked upstairs too, to Pittsburgh).

What time is it, kids?

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to. 

And here, too, we got nothin’. Hey, you guys wanted this posted sometime before the Sun goes nova, yes?

Poly-Ticks: Another Sports Figure Dumps on Military, Country


This cartoon’s from an entertaining 2013 column at — home of Michael Vick inter alia.

Some of the players of the National Football League, when they’re not getting paid vast sums for entertaining people with a ball game, have been letting their maturity show in a variety of protests against the United States, Police, etc. This is kind of unwise for a group of people of whom about a million hits come up for the search phrase, “NFL player arrested,” the latest of whom, on a gun charge, was busted yesterday on 2 or 3 October. (But hey, cut that Philadelphia Eagle some slack. This one wasn’t for a violent crime, like his last arrest three months ago).  Indeed, the NFL is such a hive of scum and villainy that there are at least, count ’em, one, twothree webpages that do nothing but track NFL busts for the public. The NFL even has a guy, a fixer, whose whole function is to spring arrested NFL thugs before they get into the news. (We recall the New York Times article, but can’t find it). Wait, they have two of ’em.


But, hey, some backup quarterback for some also-ran team wants to make his, and the league’s, loathing for the country and the police into a news story. Maybe he wants a job on ESPN after his team releases him. It’s a free country.

Meanwhile, the NBA, which takes a close second to the NFL for arrested thug players, wants its own protest.

Inmate rec time.Enter a rookie at the New York Knicks, a team which has conducted pre-season training at the facilities of the US Military Academy at West Point. This leads to a dinner invitation that usually becomes a mutual admiration society between the cadets and the ball-players. But that was far too militaristic for this round-ball greenhorn:

The Knicks, who are training at West Point in preparation for the upcoming season, were invited to a team dinner with a retired Colonel and with West Point Cadets. [Joakim] Noah’s rationale for not participating in the team event is best explained by Noah himself, “It’s hard for me a little bit — I have a lot of respect for the kids here fighting — but it’s hard for me to understand why we go to war and why kids have to kill kids all around the world. I have mixed feelings about being here. I’m very proud of this country. I love America. I don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.”

Gee. A stupid basketball player. Like that never happened before.

On the publicity his skipping the team dinner generated he stated, “It’s not my way of saying anything — I was not comfortable.” To Noah’s discredit he either doesn’t understand or chooses not to accept basic facts about life on planet Earth.

That’s from a pretty devastating essay by John Calvin (hmmm. Not the John Calvin, obviously. A pseudonym?) at the American Spectator. Calvin calls Noah infantile, a word that probably applies to his protest role-model, second- or third-string San Francisco football quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as well. Calvin:

Noah’s mentality is …. If only we didn’t have a military the world would be nice to us and we wouldn’t need a military. If we banned guns bad guys wouldn’t have them. If we raise the minimum wage dramatically it won’t impact employment. If we redistribute wealth it won’t dampen creativity, innovation, or hard work. If we let in all the Syrian refugees, they will all be so grateful none of them will become terrorists or insist on Sharia law.

Someone else recently called it ,”Lennonism.” (He may have been inspired by this guy’s use of the term back in March). It fits. You can almost hear this ball-tossing tosser warbling “Imagine all the peo-ple… sharing all the world, yoo-hoo.”

Good luck with that, kid.

To be a modern liberal is to be perpetually immature, which in itself is an annoying enough personality trait, but liberals are usually not content to just be immature, often pairing this with a certain condescending smugness, totally oblivious that their deep thoughts and well held philosophies are sophomoric and stupid when considered rationally.

We’re not huge fans of Academy graduates, having found that they’re either very good or very not good — none of them, thank a merciful God, is mediocre. But the meanest of them — and yeah, we have a specific individual in mind, a moral and physical coward — the very least of them has made a commitment over and above anything likely to come from some jerk who is celebrated for his mastery of a ball. Calvin gets that:

Every year about 15,000 young men and women apply to West Point. These applicants have many options to choose from, but unlike Joakim Noah they have thought seriously about the world we live in and have decided to dedicate a portion of it, at least, to serving our country. Of these 15,000 applicants, only 1,000 or so will be accepted to join that long grey line. Upon getting commissioned as officers, the West Point graduates will take an oath in which they pledge to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. A far cry from dedicating themselves to running around the world killing kids, as Joakim Noah believes.

Now, Joakim Noah is not going to make us boycott the NBA. We were already not watching the second most boring game on television (behind tennis, and ahead of golf and soccer). That what passes for the intellectual side of the NBA is so thoroughly shallow and empty is hardly a surprise.

Who’s got Joakim Noah and the Knicks in the Fantasy NBA Arrest League for this season? In that sport, we could actually play NBA teams against NFL teams. And the scoring would be more interesting!


While nobody’s boycotting the NBA yet, are they boycotting the NFL? Not us. We were already not-watching! But the numbers suggest that 10-20% of last year’s NFL watchers are sitting this year out, and up to a third of NFL watchers told Rasmussen that the league’s anti-American and anti-police ethos is their reason. (Details here; follow the links if this interests you. He also blames Thursday games for fan — and player — discontent).