Category Archives: Uncategorized

Weird Gun Doings

In New Jersey, Too Many Bears

Well, everyone knows the answer for too many bears. Black bears have been irritating New Jerseyites for a while, and have recently taken to eating them, which the state wildlife authorities think is just a little too much success on the part of the once-endangered predators.

So they put out a call for hunters to come and thin the bear herds. But the hunters are not showing up.

You’re kidding, right? Would anybody in his right mind take a gun to New Jersey for any reason, (except, of course, for criminals, whom the state seems as eager to import as if they didn’t have an endless cornucopia of home-grown ones)? Does the name Shaneen Allen ring a bell? Brian Aitken?

Enjoy your future as Purina Bear Chow, people of the Garden State. You voted for it.

In South Bend: Anti-Violence Violent Felon Reverts to Type

Color us shocked. Again.

Isaac Hunt, a man known in the community as an anti-violence activist, was arrested early Saturday morning.

Officers booked Hunt for alleged unlawful possession of firearm by serious violent felon. According to Indiana Code, “serious violent felony” includes voluntary manslaughter, a crime Hunt served a prison sentence for in the 1990s.

He was released later Saturday night on $4,000 bond with the promise to appear in court.

On Wednesday, Hunt was charged with Domestic Battery, a class A misdemeanor, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, a level 4 felony.

Right, so this guy’s a killer with a slick story, so the city and various non-profits just totally accept him as an ambassador against violence. Until he proves once again that the best guide to future behavior is past behavior. (And the “past behavior” of urban non-profits is generally “stupid.”)

If you just left the violent criminals in the jeezly prison the first time, what would you need “anti-violence activists” for?

In Indianapolis, Boss to Cop: “So, Sue Me.” So he did.

This is a strange case. The police came to a cop’s house on a domestic call, and confiscated the cop’s guns, even though the complainant was not on the scene. Later they determined “there was no domestic” (in our experience, this sometimes means a bunch of cops and/or cop wives induced a battering victim to recant her story, and sometimes means a bitter ex-wife tried and failed to get her cop ex into hot water), but wouldn’t give him his guns back.

According to the complaint filed in July 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Rebolledo asked Eden to return the firearms to him and told him his rights were being violated.

“Sue me,” Eden told Rebolledo, according to the complaint.

The complaint says Rebolledo repeatedly asked for his weapons back. Most of the weapons were taken to IMPD’s property room as “personal property found,” according to the complaint. Others were taken to the Crime Lab for processing.

The firearms were with IMPD for two months. Rebolledo had to be fingerprinted to get his guns back, according to the complaint.

The cop in question is no longer a cop. He’s in the Army, stationed at Fort Meade. (Most of the soldiers stationed there work for NSA or the 902nd Counterintelligence Group).  He already had his guns back but the lawsuit brings him $$$ from the taxpayers. Cha-chingg.

The most curious thing was the weapons that were taken to the crime lab. Sounds like they suspected, vaguely, that the cop was dirty and tried to bend the law to go fishing.

In Phoenix, two more Victims of Fast & Furious

Two more woundings, from a 2013 gang assault on an apartment building, have been confirmed to have been done with weapons provided to the Sinaloa Cartel by the US Department of Justice and, specifically, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Two US Federal Agents and scores of their Mexican counterparts (along with hundreds of other Mexicans) have already been confirmed dead in the disastrous ATF gunwalking operation. No one has been held responsible. While Katie Pavlich’s story was headlined about the confirmation that one of the ATF-furnished firearms was used in the Phoenix attack, Bob at Bearing Arms noted that her article also shows the ATF surveilled the handover of the specific crime firearm — and let it go, knowing it was going to sicarios for a drug-trafficking organization.

ATF Crime Gunwalking AK traceDarrell Smith, the ATF agent tracing the firearm, and part of the organization that provided the gun to the cartel in the first place, knew last summer of the gun’s use in the near-murders, as did ATF brass and assistant AG Jamie Cole, a Fast and Furious figure who is resigning now that his top cover — AG Eric Holder — is gone. But they conspired to keep that fact from investigators and Congress.

Remember, the “I” in “ATF” is for “Integrity.”

Great government we got here. Let’s put it in charge of ebola readiness!

And Some Micro Links

  • America might have not hit its credit limit yet, but the President has. (Actually, his card number was compromised in one of many hacks. We can relate; same thing happened to us).
  • We mentioned Joe Biden’s dimbulb sons when the word that one lost his Navy career; the other one also needed drug waivers for an Army direct commission that wouldn’t be available to you. As it happens, Slow Joe’s dimbulb daughter turns out to be a druggie also.  We’re shocked.
  • The ever vigilant Secret Service had a protective agent leave his firearm in a car, and get ripped off. Some criminal still has it. Accountability? Consequences? Come on, he’s a government worker. It’s not like they have standards or anything.
  • And in another case of The Usual Suspects, a rapper got busted with a handgun (is that a dog-bites-man story or what?) in an airport security checkpoint. It gets better: he’s a felon. It gets even better: it’s not his first charge of felon in possession. Which is supposed to be a ten-year, no pun intended, rap, under 18 USC §922(g). But he’s out on the first one, in plenty of time to walk into the second.

Yet there are people in our government who think the right answer is to prosecute the criminals less, and persecute the non-criminals more. While within a couple of days, the Director of the FBI demanded a back door into everybody’s cell phone with the old “trust me!” con-man shtick, while the FBI in Minneapolis threw an insinuation into the South Dakota Senate race — and then took the phone off the hook, so that they can’t be questioned about it. Gee, there’s one reason why we might not trust you, Mr Comey.

What ICE told All Hands about Ebola

ebola virionsPresented with only minimal redactions, the all-hands message:

A Message from Medical Officer Dr. McMillan, To all ICE employees, October 28, 2014

ICE Response to Ebola

As many of you know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported four confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States. While the news of Ebola on U.S. soil is concerning to everyone, it is important to note that the CDC has advised the American public that the risk of an outbreak in the United States is very low. Nonetheless, ICE leadership will provide guidance and information regarding safety measures to ensure the health and well-being of the ICE workforce.

As an initial response, ICE has activated a modified Crisis Action Team to coordinate, monitor and assess ICE’s internal health and safety procedures. The DHS Office of Health Affairs is reviewing the existing protocols along with ICE officials to determine employees’ potential exposure to Ebola. Existing basic personal protective equipment in the form of protective gloves and masks is available at ICE field locations now, and ICE is working to acquire additional personal protective equipment should circumstances require it. In addition to the CDC guidance on Ebola including prevention and detection methods we provided earlier this month, training for the correct usage (donning, doffing and disposal) of the enhanced equipment will be made available to ICE personnel who use personal protective equipment in the course of their duties. Federal Occupational Health staff will provide hands-on training of the enhanced equipment.

ICE is closely monitoring the situation and will provide additional guidance and training regarding required personal protective equipment to help you to continue to perform your duties in a safe and healthy work environment.

On you can keep up with the latest information on Ebola including the results of passenger screening at the five airports which all those coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea must transit through to get into the U.S. For more information on ICE workplace health and safety, including the Ebola FAQs, visit the ICE Health and Safety Program online.

If you have questions or concerns about your personal health and safety regarding Ebola exposure, please contact Dr. David McMillan, Medical Officer with the ICE Office of Human Capital at [redacted] or 202-[redacted].

If you have questions in the course of executing your duties, please contact your operational chain of command.

Dr. David McMillan
Medical Officer, Office of Human Capital
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

ICE expects to be assisting other DHS elements in dealing with Ebola patient inflows.

Ebola is actually the least of ICE’s problems, believe it or not. The biggest problem is that the Executive in general and the Department of Justice in particular are opposed to removing or deporting criminal aliens, who the politicians see as valuable constituents, both at voting time and in providing demand for services such as welfare, that those politicians can provide.

A Marine Rifleman’s View of Weapons

USMC EGA eagle globe and anchorThe new, and excellent, memoir of Marine rifleman Sterling Mace (written with pro writer Nick Allen), Battleground Pacific, goes into some detail about what Mace thought about weapons and equipment. Here are some quotes from the book:

It was George [McNevin, a friend of Mace’s before the war that he ran into on the island of Pavuvu, as the Marines prepared for the assault on Peleliu] who recommended I choose the Browning automatic rifle (BAR) as my weapon, as it suited a left-handed rifleman better than an M1 rifle….

John M. Browning in 1921 with Mr Burton of Winchester and the category-creating Browning Automatic Rifle.

John M. Browning in 1921 with Mr Burton of Winchester and the category-creating Browning Automatic Rifle. The services would later add a bipod and mess with the controls; not everyone thought these were improvements.

When Mace and his fellow Marine boots landed on the friendly-held island of Pavuvu, they had no weapons with them; indeed, he’d only handled weapons in boot camp, and during a detail at the Brooklyn Naval Yard.

Our job at the naval yard was the highly classified, top-secret duty of guarding the dockworkers payroll. That duty entailed carrying shotguns and Reising submachineguns. The shotguns were okay, but the Reising was so cheaply built that I was afraid to touch the damn thing. It seemed like it would go off at any second if you just looked at it funny.

A Reising Model 50, the variant most used by the Marines. This one has a 12-round magazine in place of the usual smooth-sided 20-rounder.

A Reising Model 50, the variant most used by the Navy and the Marines. This one has a 12-round single-column magazine in place of the usual smooth-sided dual-column 20-rounder.

Back on Pavuvu, however, the lack of weapons meant more than we knew.

We didn’t know it then – as we milled around the dock, waiting for someone to tell us where to go and what to do – but if you didn’t have specialized weapons training, in, say, flamethrowers or machine guns, the chances were pretty good that you’d be a rifleman. End of story.

The Marine Corps rifleman. Every marine wanted to be like him. No Marine wanted to be him. We were unique in our class and phylum. The lowest common denominators. Yet a whole operation – from the simplest maneuver to the grandest assault – revolved around the man and his rifle…. Our sole potential was killing a lot of Japanese. God, we loved the Marine Corps!

As riflemen, firearms were a frequent subject of discusion, a professional interest, you mihght say. For some, it was a generational heritage. Like the platoon leader Mace discusses, as he runs through some “typical” Marines he knew:

Marines like… Lieut. William “Bill” Bauerschmidt, USMC, from Pottstown, Pennsylvania, recipient of the Silver Star for bravery – with his high-top lace-up boots that were never tied up all the way but instead they flared out at the tops. Bill carried his dad’s World War I .45 service revolver into combat – engraved with the initials WB on its grip – dearly wanting to make his father proud.

You’ll have to read the book to see just how Bill Bauerschmidt made his father proud. Mace runs through his squad and platoon mates, identifying them by an unusual habit (“never wore a helmet, only a cap”) or by the weapon they carried (“He was only 5’6″ but he carried the 19-pound BAR”). You’ll know, as you read this, that not all of them will survive, not with Peleliu, Ngesebus and Okinawa in their future.

Along with these brief tone-pictures of his platoon-mates, Mace describes in precise detail what the well-dressed BAR gunner was sporting on the scenic beaches of Peleliu in September, 1944:

My equipment was easy to put on, although it weighed more than the average Marines care, because of my job as a BAR gunner. My pack itself was nothing, with its poncho looked over the top and an entrenching tool fastened to its center. To secure it, the pack was affixed to a wide strap which ran down my spine, attaching to the rear of my cartridge belt at the waist. Therefore, putting it on was akin to donning a jacket. One arm went through one strap, and then the other, leaving only the clasp for the cartridge belt to fasten below my abdomen, securing the whole getup as one piece.

On the cartridge belt were six BAR magazine pouches, three on each side, holding two magazines apiece. That’s 20 rounds a magazine, making a total of 240 rounds of .30-06 ammo, double what a marine with an M1 rifle carried. Also I had two canteens of water and a little first-aid pouch on my belt.

Strapped across my chest and hanging to my waist was my gas-mask bag, with a gas mask inside. Add that to the contents of my pack, housing three boxes of K rations, a change of socks, a dungaree cap, and a waterproof bag with my personal effects – a pocket New Testament and my wallet, including the card I received when I cross the equator – and that made me combat ready. I had to carry light, given that the weight of my BAR was another 19 pounds to shoulder – and that’s 19 pounds without the bipod fixed to the end of the barrel. The bipod was the first thing I took off on Pavuvu; it made the BAR unbalanced and unwieldy.


BAR with bipod removed as Mace did to his, from the VT Military Museum.

BAR with bipod removed as Mace did to his, from the VT Military Museum.

My head was covered with my pisspot (helmet), unbuckled at the chinstrap, swathed with the fall motif camouflage cover. On my legs I had a pair of tan canvas leggings, enfolding my dungaree pants close to my legs.

That was what the well-dressed Marine was wearing to His Imperial Majesty’s ball on Peleliu. Mace took some camouflage face-paint that other Marines were passing around, and drew a whimsical mustache on his face.

On his way into the beach, he ran his hands over the cool steel receiver of his BAR. It was the only thing he could count on to keep him alive.



Photographer ME Stanley has some photos of battlefield relics, including some from Peleliu, taken long after the war.

A Weapon is Where You Find It

Kevin Vickers opens ParliamentWho knew that Canadians in their Parliament would defend themselves with such intensity?

By now, everyone knows about Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers, a middle-aged retired Mountie in a ceremonial position that often involves dressing funny and carrying weird implements, to wit, a Ceremonial Mace (carried at the opening of Parliament, and called “a Foolish bauble” as log ago as 1650 or so, by Oliver Cromwell — of course, Ollie was talking about the English version, but that was the origin of the Canadian tradition). Vickers dashed to his desk, picked up his Smith & Wesson 5906, and returned to the scene of the fray, curing all the ills of the Sudden Jihad Syndrome sufferer with a couple of well-placed therapeutics. “Readiness is all, said Hamlet; Mr Vickers and company were ready,” the Globe and Mail intoned in a satisfied editorial.

Yeah. We knew about all that.

maple_leaf_1964But we didn’t know about what the parliamentarians themselves did. Imagine a gunman loose in the halls of the US Capitol — it’s not hard to figure out who would pee himself, who would hide, and who would vie with one another to draft the most abject terms of surrender imaginable.

The Canadian politicians did none of that. Now, the PM did hide in a closet, which is only partly excused by the fact that it was his bodyguards that stuffed him in there. At least he had the stones to reject his American counterpart’s invitation to call this “workplace violence,” American-style. But the rank and file MPs took action:

Some positioned themselves on risers that flanked doors, ready to attack an assailant.

“There were 15 flags up at caucus and all but two were taken down,” one MP recalled.

“These guys were up there holding these spears ready to impale anyone who came in,” the source said.

“It was that or get mowed down,” the member of Parliament said of the threat posed by a gunman who was ultimately shot dead by Parliament Hill security.

The MPs-turned-halberdiers (or at least, pikemen) didn’t know that the PM was still in the caucus room, or the closets thereto, until a flying wedge of Mounties swept him out of there.

It looks like Canada will be springing for new flags, as the MPs who manned-up during the attack have grown attached to theirs.

Some MPs kept their flagpole weapons as souvenirs.

“Everyone was taking their spears home,” the MP said. “I’m going to frame mine.”

Tory MPs reunited with Mr. Harper Wednesday evening at the Foreign Affairs building and Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre brought his spear as a memento, another source said.

We have no idea what a Democratic Reform Minister does, and probably wouldn’t like it if we did, but we can’t help but have warm feelings to our fellow North American, Minister Poilievre. We’ll even suck it up and have those warm feelings in English and en français, in deference  to the way our neighbors do things. Toujours l’audace, Pierre, to quote another famous Francophone (The ill-fated Georges Danton, specifically).

Remember, your weapon is your mind. The raw materials necessary to bring those conceptual weapons to immanence are all around you.

File photo of a 94 -- TEddy Roosevelt's Maxim-silenced version

File photo of a 94 — This one is Teddy Roosevelt’s Maxim-silenced version, actually, but it was the 94 photo at hand.

Many have commented on the excellence of Vickers’s performance, but we also have to highlight that he went up with a pistol against Jihad Boy’s long gun (a .30-30 Winchester 94, according to Dean Weingarten). Fat lot of good the rifle did the wrongdoer, once Vickers showed up: Canada 1, Allah 0 from that point on.

(Does Larry Vickers have cousins in Canada, or what?).

The Moslem assailant did nail two Canadians before Vickers terminated his spree: one soldier, Nathan Cirillo of the Argyll & Sutherland Regiment, and one of the regular security guards. The guard, whose name was not released as far as we know, will recover, but Cirillo passed away from blood loss as a pick-up team of first-aid-trained passersby urgently strove to keep him alive.

The gunman fired four shots at Cirillo. The Canadian trooper and his partner, ceremonial guards  at the National War Memorial, had empty C8 rifles. He appears to have bled out from a compromised artery due to an abdominal wound.

Many Canadians seem shocked that the terrorism has come home. In the past, the terrorists asps suckled at Canada’s breast, like Omar al-Khadr, have turned their fangs on America. But it was just a matter of time.

Rather shamefully, Canadian Armed Forces have ordered their men not to wear their uniforms in public. Here’s hoping they also give the two fellows at the War Memorial, and any other ceremonial guards, some pointy bullets. (The details are closely held, for sensible reasons, but the guard mount at, for example, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the moral equivalent of Canada’s War Memorial cenotaph, has always had deadly force capability). That would have resolved this whole thing without terrorizing the MPs.

Whether Canada (or the US, for that matter) wants to do something about the cuckoo’s egg of Moslem immigration is a policy question, one the parliamentarians may consider when they put aside their improvised spears. But whether to give guards live ammunition is dead in the lane of a Weapons Man. And we say: if you don’t trust your guards with bullets you probably shouldn’t trust them with weapons. And if you don’t trust a man with weapons, he probably should be confined or at least under supervision.

This Day is Called the Feast of Crispian

So, Miguel at GunFreeZone posted video of the “Band of Brothers” speech from the excellent cinema version with the talented and committed Kenneth Branagh (then, about the age Henry V would have been). It’s our favorite version, but it’s far from the only one.

Here’s the traditional way of doing it. Mark Rylance, a great stage actor with a shelf full of Tony and Olivier best-actor awards, on stage at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, in 1997.

Rylance’s Henry leaves us cold; the quintessential English hero ought to have an English accent, and this rings to us as nearly a Scots one (Rylance is as English as a bowler hat, but grew up partly in America). He’s got a different sort of the common touch from the one Branagh delivers. Maybe you will like it — horses for courses, to quote another great Briton.

The classic performance pre-Branagh was, of course, the 1944 one by Sir Laurence Olivier, then in his late thirties. It clearly was inspirational to Branagh. Olivier (who was, like most of these actors, of quite common origins) perhaps takes the accent too far in the direction of “plummy.”

A recent TV version had a heartfelt delivery by Tom Hiddleston, complete with a suitably 2013 black York among his anachronistically diverse followings. This video is only the second half of the speech, but Hiddleston does well enough, and his accent strikes us as just about right:

Every military unit seems to have someone who can do the St Crispian speech — even fictional ones, like Private Donnie Benitez from the forgotten Danny DeVito vehicle (directed by Penny Marshall), Renaissance Man. In the movie, DeVito has to teach remedial English to a class of the sort of hollow-braincase losers that Hollywood imagines soldiers to be. Shakespeare turns out to be what engages them:

There’s a whole raft of parodies and ironic uses of the speech, but note that that was not the intent of the Renaissance Man version. Instead, it shows the development of the Benitez character, and bedamned if the drill sergeant character doesn’t undergo the very elevation of station that Henry V promises to his loyal few in the speech. It was a nice touch we didn’t notice on first viewing the film.

And, for comparison’s sake, here is Branagh, although you can go over to Miguel’s and see him there (and Miguel always has something to read).

For an idea of how The Speech has changed war itself, here’s an older and experienced Branagh reciting, word for word, the pre-war speech of Col. Tim Collins of the Royal Irish Regiment on 19 March 03, the evening before the Royal Irish went in.

Collins seemed to have taken Branagh’s performance as Henry on board — and now, here’s Branagh playing him. How recursive can one military tradition get?

Whilst most of the focus has always been on “we few, we happy few, we band of brothers,” this speech abounds in phrases that resound through the centuries, especially in the hearts of men who have faced combat.

“This story shall a good man teach his sons….” Yes. But our favorite must be, “All things be ready if our minds be so.” Amen.

Hat tip, Miguel, mi hermano.

Friday Tour d’Horizon

The objective is to clear out our extra tabs, and make up a little for the slow posting this week, by throwing all the links at you that we wanted to post about this week, and didn’t.

Guns and Stuff

Does anybody know what happened to Rutgers Gun Books? We’re not the only ones to have benefited from their great customer service, albeit not in a while. But the website comes up unregistered.

Speaking of books, the American Society of Arms Collectors has a web page of recommended books. Biased towards collectors of American martial arms made before the manufacturing and materials revolution of the 1960s. Bunch of other good stuff at their website (we were there looking at their serial number lists, check the left sidebar).

“Applied Ballistics” is company name and mission statement all in one. Bryan Litz and Nick Vitalbo at Applied Ballistics are names you need to know, if you need to understand and develop the ability to make the smallest deviations from intended point of impact at the greatest range under the most varied conditions.

Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you. That seemed to be what was on the bear’s mind the second time the bruin broke into Victor Peters’s house. (Warning, autoplay spam). The first time, it came for the dog food on Peters’s porch. The second time, he’d moved the dog food, and the bear seemed willing to settle for him — till he shot it (his other precaution had been loading his gun at night). The quarter-ton bear was removed by authorities. “It was the biggest bear I’ve ever seen,” said Peters, a former wildlife officer who’s seen a few bears. Hat tip, Dean Weingarten (whose recounting of the story does not have autoplay spam).

This Canadian Company makes a very good compact AR-15 stock, reminiscent of the simple M231 Firing Port Weapon stock but higher quality and more ergonomic. (It still lacks a decent cheek weld, a failing of many compact stocks, but sometimes compactness trumps utility). Just the ticket for a PDW or SBR on the AR platform. It’s “available” at Brownell’s but has been temporarily out of stock, well, permanently.

Don’t bring a machete to a gunfight. You’ll lose, like this guy. So sad. (Not really).

In New York, another genius attacked a group of cops with a hatchet. He’s cold on a slab, but in true NYPD fashion, the ill-trained New York cops with their inaccurate New York Trigger Glocks shot and nearly killed a bystander, too. The cops were all recent Academy graduates. Unfortunately, one of the cops, 25-year-old Taylor Kraft, was critically wounded with a hatchet blow to the head. The other wounded cop and the bystander have been treated (surgically in the bystander’s case) and will probably recover. The press has been reporting this as “a disturbed loner,” but was it Sudden Jihad Syndrome? You be the judge, here’s a screencap of his Facebook page:


SF History and Lore

Knives — yes, SFQC grads and long-tab earners (who have not had their tab yanked) can still get a Yarborough knife. The procedure is fairly straightforward, and if there’s interest we’ll put it on here. And for present and former soldiers of the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), there’s a Harsey-designed commemorative just for you. Order here; you will be expected to document your bona fides. 

Unconventional Warfare

A jury convicted four former Blackwater Worldwide employees, members of a State Department personal security detail, for a variety of crimes stemming from a 2007 gundight, including one charge of murder (for a marksman who shot one Iraqi) and many charges of manslaughter (for three carbine-armed guards who shot about two dozen other Iraqis, killing about half of them). The managers who instigated the attack were granted immunity, for the testimony the prosecutors wanted, so the outcome isn’t entirely surprising. (The immunity bit is buried in one of the last paragraphs of the Washington Post story, which appears to have been fed them by the prosecution).

The Ukrainian secret services have found a weapons cache and arrested an agent, in the aftermath of an attempted assassination of a Ukrainian pol. They blame the secret services of a bordering nation — any guesses whom? The cache contained two Igla-M MANPADS and was mined.

Igla-M gripstock.

Igla-M gripstock reportedly found in a cache in Ukraine..

A few days before that, they caught a saboteur with plastic explosive molded into a candle in the shape of an ancient Russian “Bogatyr” warrior.

UKR splodey head PM577image002

That’s a plug-ugly decoration, even if it wasn’t high-explosive.

In other Spy Stories, in 1971, the recovery of imagery of a HEXAGON satellite was underway, and the mid-air recovery of the data package (including film) failed because the recovery parachute failed. The data unit hit the sea at about 350 knots, and kept booking towards Davy Jones’s Locker, finally embedding itself in primordial muck 16,400 feet below mean sea level. A manned submersible, DSV-1 Trieste II, was sent to recover the priceless data. Now declassified (with redactions) in the CIA’s Electronic Reading Room. Release of the documents triggered a symposium at the National Air and Space Museum (TV stream).

You know, the first counterinsurgents were the empires of antiquity. So it helps to read that “old” stuff. And it might help to have a Dictionary of Roman Military Terms.


Laws and Cops and Stuff

The Justice Department is claiming Executive Privilege for 15,662 documents that tell the story of Operation Fast & Furious, one of the ATF’s several gunwalking initiatives that provided deadly weapons to Mexican drug cartels, to drive crime up and create impetus for more US gun control laws. The index to the documents is 1,323 pages long. (Ayn Rand and Dostoyevsky are reportedly jealous). Sharyl Attkisson is on it, no shock considering this is the story that got her fired from CBS for lèse-majesté.

Here in New Hampster, we have a different view of violent crime than, say, a Chicagoan or Angeleno might. Here’s a typical, initially alarming, report from the nearby “Big City” (population 28k), culled from the police blotter.

5:54 a.m.: A 911 caller reported a disturbance at Motel 6, reported a woman being tortured in some woods and said someone was “shot in the face.” After police responded to an area off Gosling Road, where the crimes were reported, police determined there were no emergencies and arrested Bradley Paradise, 46, of 1338 Woodbury Ave. #2, on a charge alleging criminal trespass.

Imagine being that cop or cops, responding to a report of violent crime, no doubt on razor’s edge (every cop for miles around knew the police chief murdered and at least some of the DTF cops wounded by a small-time dope dealer in 2012), and you wind up with… a freakin’ trespasser. The area where this took place has a number of seedy motels and bars, but even the “big city” goes for years without murders. But it’s gotta be life-shortening to have all that adrenaline etc., dumped into your bloodstream, to have the danger fizzle out. The rest of that blotter is some dull stuff. Being a cop is hours of boredom punctuated by moments of exasperation, most places, most times.

And then there’s the kid who swears revenge on the whole school. With a gun.

Police said the student responsible for making the threat confessed to Detective Joseph Byron….they don’t believe the student planned to carry out the threat. The school has taken disciplinary action against the student.

In 1974 he got laughed at. In 2014, he gets an introduction the court system in all its glory. All of life is an IQ test, and some 16-year-old just failed.

Meanwhile, back in New York, Frank Serpico is still a pariah at NYPD, not for being a bad cop, but for turning bad cops in. In a long essay at Politico, Serpico writes that it’s not just a New York problem:

And today the Blue Wall of Silence endures in towns and cities across America. Whistleblowers in police departments — or as I like to call them, “lamp lighters,” after Paul Revere — are still turned into permanent pariahs. The complaint I continue to hear is that when they try to bring injustice to light they are told by government officials: “We can’t afford a scandal; it would undermine public confidence in our police.” That confidence, I dare say, is already seriously undermined.

“I tried to be an honest cop in a force full of bribe-takers. But … police departments are useless at investigating themselves….” Serpico writes. Read The Whole Thing™. Here’s another graf that really struck us:

Today’s uncontrolled firepower, combined with a lack of good training and adequate screening of police academy candidates, has led to a devastating drop in standards. The infamous case of Amadou Diallo in New York—who was shot 41 times in 1999 for no obvious reason—is more typical than you might think…..It’s like the Keystone Kops, but without being funny at all.

We don’t think things are as bad as he makes out, but any organization is useless at investigating itself. Serpico’s 6-point plan for a better police is outstanding. We already said Read The Whole Thing™, so why are you still here?


We’ll spare you nonsense about the midterm elections in this posting. Instead, we’ll just direct you to retiring Senator Tom Coburn’s annual tradition, the Waste Book. The Waste Book chronicles government waste, so it’s as massive as government itself. There’s plenty of military and weapons wastage in there, along with the usual squanderathon that’s modern Washington.

Towards a Nobel War Prize

NobelThe Nobel Peace Prize, administered by a gang of left-wing Norwegian politicians, has become a laughingstock. PJ O’Rourke notes that it has been bestowed about four times for actually making peace, and some 65 times for “wishful thinking.” Essentially, it’s a Big Gong for Stuff White People Like. O’Rourke has, naturally, a modest proposal:

I propose a Nobel Prize for just that. The Nobel War Prize. There are, after all, worthy and decent wars. What was America supposed to do after Pearl Harbor, put the keys to the Golden Gate in an airmail envelope and send them to Tojo?

Peace creeps to the contrary, you can usually tell who’s right and who’s wrong in a war. Which is more than can be said during peace, witness peacetime politics.

There are always lots of wars going on so the Nobel Committee would never have to skip a year….

Despite it being at the usually worthless Daily Beast, you should go Read The Whole Thing™, it’s O’Rourke after all.

Wars produce heroes widely recognized by the public. Nobel War Prizes could have been given to Marshal Foch, George Orwell, Winston Churchill, the French Resistance, the U.S. Marine Corps, the Tuskegee Airmen, Charles de Gaulle, FDR, Ike. This is an improvement on the Permanent International Peace Bureau, Charles Albert Gobat, and Ludwig Quidde. The Nobel Foundation’s P.R. profile would be considerably raised.

We’re not sure Orwell rates, although you should probably read Homage to Catalonia before reading the sort of tripe about the Spanish Civil War that the veterans (or, probably, wannabees) of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade infected American schoolbooks with. Spain fought a bloody Civil War, but they dodged a long Soviet nightmare.

After all, war never solved anything, except for slavery, colonialism, Naziism, Japanese imperialism, the Persian conquest of Europe, the Moslem conquest of Europe, and the spread of pernicious Carthaginian Baal-worship.

Then there’s what often comes after a war, which is usually less silly than what comes after a Nobel Peace Prize. Look at the U.S. and Great Britain. Once we got past that 1776 thing we’ve been—with a brief time-out for the War of 1812—road dawgs.

The Southern States and the Northern States after the Civil War? We’re so close that we date-swapped the political parties that had been screwing us.

If you want peace, have a war. Just make sure to have a good, prize-winning one.

via Up To A Point: What We Really Need Is a Nobel War Prize – The Daily Beast.

The “date-swapped” line alone is explanation enough of why someone at the Daily Beast cuts paychecks to O’Rourke, despite his politics being at odds with essentially all of his stablemates there.

A Working Man’s Gun Auction: 1030R 8 Nov 14 (Saturday)

Savo Auction 8 Nov PUMPED-001When the election’s over, whichever bunch of corrupt anti-gun knuckleheads wins, you’ll probably want to console (or prepare?) yourself with a new gun. Our Pennsylvania pals send us the page from the next outing for Savo Auctioneers in the Philadelphia area. What’s nice about this auction house is that it has pieces that are desirable, yet attainable to normal human beings, not to those of you who have to make the tough decision between a new gun and a new Bentley this year.

Along with items that RIA or Julia wouldn’t bother with or would put in a mass lot with three other guns you don’t want, Savo, being a smaller house, has rather more reasonable terms and a lower buyer’s premium. (Against that, they have a little less expertise. For example, one lot they offer is a “bayonet,” unspecified. It’s actually a Czech Vz58 bayonet, a common piece at the moment). Everything’s on the page, but here are the basic feeds and speeds:

Sat, Nov 8 @ 10:30 A.M.

14 Kennedy Drive
Archbald, PA 18403

Preview @ 9:00 A.M.

Firearms, Militaria, Antiques & More

via Auction: Sat, Nov 8 @ 10:30 A.M. – Savo Auctioneers, LLC.

The catalog shows some nice Winchesters. These are highly desirable collector pieces, both the classic Model 12 shotguns (which are in 16, 20 and 28 gauge) and the 1906 .22. They will likely be bid well up to real retail, as will the practical hunting guns (judging from its observance, the most important holiday in Pennsylvania is the First Day of Deer Season. NTTAWWT). But this kind of auction is a great place to buy up something idiosyncratic: many of the bidders are FFLs who will stop when they can’t make a profit on a piece, and not bid at all on items that they fear would hang around on the shelves.

There’s also a lot of militaria in this auction, and some interesting knives and bayonets. The auction is small enough that you can see it all on one page. Here are a few items that caught our eye, not necessarily the nicest stuff. All pictures embiggen.


Let’s start with one of the strangest hermaphrodites to ever put a 7.62 NATO round downrange, the La Coruna FR8 looks like something conceived by Bubba in a moment of Ebola fever, but was actually a product of a Spanish arsenal, the eponymous La Coruna. Two versions were made, the FR7 (based on 1893 7mm Mausers, the ones that so impressed us in the Spanish-American War that we promptly adopted a copy of the Mauser action), and the FR8 (based on the M1916 Large Frame Mausers). To this action, the barrel and associated hardware of a CETME or H&K was grafted on, and the whole thing shortened to a carbine that some find attractive and some fugly. Draw your own conclusions:La Coruna FR.308


Another interesting long gun is this  1898 .30-40 Krag “carbine.” We use the scare quotes because a lot of Krag rifles were carbine-ated by early surplus dealers like Bannerman, and this example appears to have a rifle serial number. (Also the carbine versions of the M1898 were M1899, and this guy’s receiver is marked ’98). It would serve well enough as a whitetail gun, if you wanted a bolt equivalent to the old standby Winchester 94, or would serve as a representative Krag that didn’t take up all the wall space of a rifle. These things must have seemed modern as tomorrow to troopers trading in Trapdoor Springfields — until they ran into high-velocity, strip-loaded opposition in Cuba and the Philippines.1898 .30-40 KragMoving to short guns, here’s one of those “the stories it could tell if it could only talk” guns. Small .32s like this were the bread-and-butter self-defense guns of 100 years ago (they are generally chambered in .32 S&W or .32 Colt, which are the same cartridge by two different companies who did not deign to speak one another’s name. Third parties, like H&R, Ideal, or Iver Johnson, who manufactured this example, generally went with .32 S&W. Single-layer nickel plating was a common finish on these pocket pistols. This one is hammerless, with a trigger safety (lookee here, Glock fans), and… paper tape around the grip. This may be because the original grips, probably hard rubber, are crumbling, or it may have been an attempt to keep fingerprints off the gun. Like we said, the tales it could tell! A lot of these guns are fine to shoot given a careful review by a smith, but they’re not economically repairable if anything breaks. On the other hand, they’re not really worth anything, and a working one is a blast to shoot.

Iver Johnson .32SW


Waaaay up the revolver class scale, but made around the same time, is this curiously finished Colt Official Police. By the midcentury decades, cops carried this (or the Police Positive) or its S&W equivalent, the Model 10. Believe it or not, the round-nosed, FMJ .38 special was considered a real manstopper. Of course, those police departments were stepping up from the anemic .32 S&W or the larger .32 Long Colt /.32 S&W long (yes, they did the same thing). On the .38 Special, Smith insisted it was the .38 S&W Special, and everyone else, including Colt, just called it the .38 Special. For a 20th-Century American, this silhouette said, “Cop gun”.

Colt Official Police .38Before we move on from that pretty Colt, note the unusual finish of nickel-plate and gold-plated controls. It’s lethal jewelry! The better condition of this gun than the tape-handle IJ above is partly because this showpiece has clearly been handled less in the last century. It may also be because the plating is higher quality, thicker, and atop better-prepared metal. That could be true whether the plating was done by Colt or by some post-manufacture smith.

It would be interesting to get a letter from Colt and see if this revolver shipped like this. If so, that would add to the value considerably. Most owners don’t do that because the letter takes time — and they don’t want to see their bubble burst.

The next one is something completely different: a 2-shot, rotating barrels, percussion derringer. Derringers are interesting; a Philadelphia gunsmith named Henry Deringer made well-crafted pocket pistols in the mid-1800s, and achieved boundless notoriety when one of his pistols was used in the century’s most shocking murder, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at the hand of an actor who led a stumblingly incompetent gang of Rebel irredentists. Many smiths and small manufacturers thought to capitalize on Deringer’s unsought fame, and the custom became to add a second “r” to a generic “derringer” to keep Mr Deringer’s lawyers away from your profits. Today, a “derringer” is any one- or two-shot small pocket pistol. Defensively, they’re long obsolete.

While this could be a period piece, the loose fit, oak grips, and imitation of Remington rimfire derringer styling makes us suspect it’s a more recent production, possibly even something built from a kit. It’s in the .36 caliber of the Colt 1851 Navy and many other Civil War era guns.

percussion derringer .36Hopefully, that gives you a little taste of what Savo’s got. You might also like the USAAC flying helmet or Soviet service uniforms that are part of the auction, the original US WWI style helmet, or American and German fighting knives that appear (from a single picture, mind you) to be genuine. Other things are going to be auctioned in the May 8 sale, but the firearms are first up.

All information you might want for bidding is on Savo’s site, linked above.






New from TrackingPoint

TrackingPoint has refreshed its AR lineup in three calibers (5.56, 7.62, and .300 Win Mag) and also offers three things calculated to increase the appeal of their precision-guided firearms: lower prices, financing, and a virtual reality glass device, the Shotglass.

If you ever wanted to break the last taboo and enjoy a shotglass while shooting, now’s your chance. This one doesn’t hold a precise measure of amber nectar brewed by Scotsmen, though:


The Shotglass can be used to aim and fire the weapon from complete concealment cover. It can record video. It’s most likely use in the real world, though, is as a way for the spotter to direct the sniper on target. We expect we will see more of these used with TrackingPoint’s long-range bolt action rifles than with its ARs, but time will tell. If you buy a TrackingPoint PGF by 30 November 2014, the Shotglass is free; after that, it’s an additional $1k. We’ll probably discuss it in greater depth when TP puts up their Shotglass video; for now, we can’t imagine anyone who wants or has the gun turning the Shotglass down.

The lower prices are relative — they’re still nosebleed-high, just not arterial-nosebleed-high any more. For example, the 5.56 AR is $7,495.


For that, Tracking Point offers:

  • Perfect impact on targets out to 0.3 miles, moving as fast as 10 miles per hour.
  • The same Tag-and-Shoot™ technology found in fighter jets
  • Advanced target tracking technology
  • Comprehensive, purpose-built shooting system.

We’ve discussed the TrackingPoint technology before, but the implementation in the ARs differs from that in the bolt guns. First place, you don’t need the guided-firearm voodoo to just shoot. The optic comes up with a crosshair reticle with mil-dots and a red dot at center. Different TP releases have called this “Standard” or “Traditional” mode. Note that the interface does give you range in this mode, but not wind speed or direction.


Next up is “Freefire” mode, which is present, so far as we know, only in the gas guns, not the bolt guns. In this mode, you range something near a group of targets, and the scope adapts to that range and to the atmospherics (note that the wind speed is displayed in this mode). The reticle cues you that the Freefire Mode has been selected, and it eliminates the mildots. Those are not necessary in this mode, because your point of aim is computer adjusted to equal your point of impact. In “Freefire” mode, the Guided Trigger is not activated: the trigger works like any AR trigger.


In Advanced mode, the reticle changes yet again. In this case, it takes several shapes depending on whether and where the Tag has been applied. In advanced mode, the tag is applied with the red button, and then the reticle changes color and shape. The illustration below shows a tag applied to the running coyote. The blue reticle indicates that the shooter is not ready to take the shot: he is not holding the trigger back. When he holds the trigger to the rear, the color changes to red, and the weapon will fire when it is in proper alignment. At any point, the shooter can safe the gun by releasing the trigger.


Advanced mode does something that was considered impossible for centuries: it removes most sources of human error from marksmanship. This is the sort of thing that becomes possible, when you embed a complete Linux computer in a rifle optic, and tie it in to the physical rifle several different ways.

You’ve probably noticed that TrackingPoint expresses distances in decimal tenths of a mile, rather than the yards or meters common in the shooting world, which suggests that they may see their customer base as coming from outside the present limits of the shooting world. (To which we say: welcome! While it’s cool to have a gun that can calculate all this, it’s incredibly empowering to have a head that can calculate all this, and yet, it is possible and available to you. So may your new TrackingPoint firearm be a gateway drug to a new plane of existence for you).

In any event, 0.3 mile is about 480 meters (which the US Army considers the effective range of the individual rifle platform) and 530 yards.

The guns each have a limited effective range which seems like it was programmed into the weapon as a maximum “lock range” (the system has an integrated rangefinder and environmental sensors). This may be intended to ensure that shooters have a positive experience with the precision-guided firearm, but it may also serve to ensure that the ARs don’t cannibalize the higher-end sniper and hunting rifles.


The top of the AR line, the .300 Win Mag monster, offers the same claimed benefits as the 5.56 version, except that it offers “perfect impact on targets out to 0.5 miles, moving as fast as 20 miles per hour,” for a more-than-your-pickup-truck $18,995. (Our pickup, anyway: 4-banger, 2 wheel drive). (Half a mile is 800 meters or 880 yards). Unfortunately, now that somebody’s actually built an AR that’s perfectly sized as a bayonet handle, there’s no bayonet lug.

The 7.62 AR offers slightly less performance (0.5 mi, moving targets to 15 mph) for slightly less money: $14,995. If these prices seem high for ARs, well, they are, but no other ARs do these things, this well.




When TrackingPoint first announced the AR line this spring, there was a .300 Blackout version available. A prototype, using a Daniel Defense upper, was clearly visible in their first AR video, but the gun is not on their price list today. The TrackingPoint technology offers the potential to have a firearm that automatically corrects its zero for the Point of Impact shift common with suppressors; it can also, potentially, store several load profiles. (The ballistics-adapting capability of the weapon depends on it being fired consistently with a load whose performance parameters are known to the software).

The bolt-action rifles, which have not been updated, offer similar performance, actually, in similar calibers. Only the mighty .338 LM extends range to 0.75 miles (1200m — 1320 yards). The bolts are priced differently than their semi-auto kin, a little lower in 7.62 but the highest-price version of the .338 is near-as-dammit $28,000. With great power comes great liabilities, Spider-man. In addition to that, you might want to think hard about budgeting for the extended warranty and the software maintenance contract — software maintenance alone is a stiff $2k/year.

The electricity to drive all this juju comes from batteries in compartments in the stock or the AR and in integral battery compartments in the optics of the bolt guns.

TrackingPoint’s managers are keenly aware that the prices of these guns are an obstacle to sales, and so they have a financing program with decent terms: 10% down, 36 months, 10% interest. (They don’t say how it’s compounded or what the APR is). There’s also a 30-day, no questions asked, money back guarantee, “You can feel completely confident that TrackingPoint stands behind its products.”

We’re not sure it’s really, in their words, “the most incredible shooting system known to mankind.” But we are sure want one of these pretty badly. Just not $18-30k badly. Yet.

For $2k you can spend the day at TrackingPoint in Pflugerville, Texas, meet the staff, see the plant and fire the gun. If nothing else, you’d learn how to pronounce, “Pflugerville,” and maybe even who Pfluger was.

What the Well-Armed ISIL ASIL is Shooting

car_ammo_Count on the guys from ISIL to have rounded up whatever they could get their mitts on, in the way of small arms and ammunition. And count on the guys from Conflict Armament Research, who have already done a report on ISIL small arms (.pdf), to round up a few of ISIL’s rounds and analyze them. From their report on ammunition (.pdf of course), a snapshot of their methodology:

[The report’s] findings derive from a series of Conflict Armament Research (CAR) field investigations conducted in the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq and northern Syria 22 July–15 August 2014.

In Syria, the CAR investigation team worked alongside Kurdish People’s Protection Units
(YPG) to document ammunition captured during offensives against IS forces—primarily near Ayn al-Arab (Kurdish: Kobanê) and Ras al-Ayn (Kurdish: Serekanî). In Iraq, the team worked closely with Peshmerga forces loyal to the Kurdish Regional Government to document spent cartridges from captured IS positions.

This recovered M16A4 was made by FN for a US FMS contract. ISIL presumably captured it from the Iraqi Army.

This recovered M16A4 was made by FN for a US FMS contract. ISIL presumably captured it from the Iraqi Army. A previous Conflict Arms Research report covered small arms like this rifle. 

So that’s the good news: they got on the ground in this area, and collected what rounds they could, often soon after the ISIL forces were beaten out of an area (during the summer, when these reports were made, the Kurds were holding their own. More recently, they’re retreating). And from those rounds, they drew some interesting conclusions, such as these:

The sample includes ammunition manufactured in 21 countries during a period of nearly 70 years (1945–2014). The variety and age of ammunition used by IS forces indicates a large array of ammunition supply sources, which is attributable to the group having captured materiel during numerous engagements, and against various opponents, across Iraq and Syria. China, the Soviet Union/Russian Federation, and the United States (US) are the top three manufacturing states represented in the sample. Ammunition in service with Iraqi and Syrian defence forces is also significant in the sample.

The sources of ammunition with recent headstamps skewed differently from the overall numbers. Note how small the number of recovered rounds really us.

The sources of ammunition with recent headstamps skewed differently from the overall numbers. Note how small the number of recovered rounds really is.

Turkish 9mm ammo, fresh from the factory to the pistols of ISIL executioners. But by what route?

Turkish 9mm ammo, fresh from the factory to the pistols of ISIL executioners. But by what route?

Given the rounds reported here, the two most common probable sources for ISIL’s ammunition are battlefield recovery and the international arms market. Particularly interesting were quantities of ammunition from Sudan and Iran, both nations under embargo, at least, theoretically. But as the table above shows, it’s hard to draw inferences from the very low numbers of cartridges recovered — that includes a whopping 2 cartridges from Sudan and 10 from Iran, not a case you’d want to take in front of a judge. More interesting, perhaps, are the recoveries of recent 9mm ammunition from Turkey (illustration on right). Is Turkey actively supplying the ammo? They certainly won’t admit it, but the enemies of their enemy Bashar Assad includes all of ISIL and the other groups fighting to overthrow him — and Turkey’s AKP party shares some aspects of Islamism with the shadowy wannabe Caliph leading ISIL.

Sometimes the enemy of your enemy is still your enemy.

The 5.56 ammo seems to skew from the middle oughts, when the US was supplying prodigious quantities to the Iraqi security forces.

The 5.56 ammo seems to skew from the middle oughts, when the US was supplying prodigious quantities to the Iraqi security forces.

The Conflict Arms Research analysts also noted that they recovered a lot of crew-served ammunition, and not quite so much for individual weapons. Very little 7.62 x 39 was recovered, and the recoveries of 5.56 NATO ammunition were all in Iraq, not Syria.

CAR is an international anti-gun group; you won’t go far wrong by thinking of them as Bloomberg with international aspirations. But there is one place where they diverge from such American gun-rights opponents as Bloomberg: they try to report what they observe straight down the middle, rather than beat their findings to fit some preexisting political agenda. And they are doing what no one else who reports to the public will do: go to conflict scenes and actually observe what arms and ammunition are being used. National intelligence services do that, but they don’t generally issue public reports.

We can suggest explanations for some of CAR’s findings:

  • Captured small arms are being used opportunistically, perhaps sometimes by defectors to ISIL from their enemies. Thus, you’d expect recoveries in Syria to be biased towards calibers the Syrian military uses, and likewise for Iraq. There’s no reason to haul 5.56 rifles and ammo to Syria when there are no shortages of individual weapons in Syria. This is exactly the pattern CAR documented. Opportunistic battlefield recovery arms and ammo will generally be used near the scene of their capture.
  • It’s not surprising that they recovered more crew-served ammo than rifle ammo. When an army (even an irregular one) is in retreat, it and its members tend to ‘lighten ship.” It is much more common to see non-standard ammo and crew-served ammo discarded at this time; when guerrillas turn in ammunition on demobilization, they usually turn in a much higher percentage of crew-served than of individual weapons ammunition. Thus 7.62 x 54mm far outnumbered 7.62 x 39 in CAR’s analysis.
  • Some of the findings they make are just not justified by the amount of ammo captured, either as a matter of statistical probability, or simply as a matter of common sense. This is not a trivial complaint. Inferences were drawn from a single Russian 7.62 x 54mm casing, and from a total of two cases with Sudanese headstamps. There’s just not enough meat in those quantities to hang a solid theory on.