Category Archives: Weapons Education

The 3D Printing Revolution is Over, and other Developments

We’ve had a few interesting developments in home and small office firearms prototyping lately.

The 3D Printing Revolution is Over, Part I

red_flagIn a way, the 3DP revolution is over. The revolutionaries won. Every firm in the industry that we have personal knowledge of, from the great (exchange-listed Ruger) to the small (single-digit prototype shops) is using 3D printing in prototype development or even in manufacturing. For example, Ruger’s investment-casting shop, which also casts for competitors and other third parties, Pine Tree Castings, is directly printing lost-wax patterns on two industrial printers; time, energy, and recycling effort are all signally reduced.

The firms that are not using this technology are very small, practically one-man shops, and even they are often using 3D computer design tools and CNC. For the same reason that even the starving writer in his garret is hammering on computer keys and not his granddad’s Underwood: new tools have produced an explosion in individual productivity.

Productivity and Computer Technology

Computers directly enable productivity. For example, imagine this blog in the pre-computer (or even, pre-Internet) era. The “posts” or items would be typed on paper, then reproduced into a newsletter, and mailed to subscribers. It would lose immediacy and volume for sure; it would take us much more work to produce much less.

Computers also indirectly enable productivity by increasing information flow, both in terms of volume and rate. (An ironic by-product of that is that a whole new application for computers became necessary: tools to search, sort and amplify what is to any particular user his desired signal amidst all the noise (some of which is pure noise, but most of which is someone else’s desired signal). Economists have had great success in recent decades by describing economic activity in terms of flows, not of 18th-Century concepts like capital and labor, but of information. Freeing the flow of information from unnatural restrictions generally benefits the society and the individual. It usually scares the pants of some people, especially the ones who used to be able to control the flows.

Computers moved much more slowly into actual production of tangible products, but they’re there now, and making a similarly revolutionary change on the factory floor that Steve Jobs promised to “knowledge workers” in 1983-5 when he introduced the Apple Lisa and, later, the Macintosh Office. Some of those ideas misfired in their first implementation (early Lisas and Macs are collectors’ items today), but the marketplace iterated rapidly and effectively and still does.

Today’s computer manufacturing technology is still relatively primitive, when compared to its potential; we’re about where Steve’s “Macintosh Office” was 30 years ago.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC & Around the World

Just as manufacturing of products becomes disintermediated and dissociated from large integrating manufacturing/marketing/distribution organizations, we have our version of a Luddite spectacle. A bunch of politicians, most of them captive of the economic and political concepts of prior centuries, are making a childish display of themselves, and demanding restrictions on production and ownership of a product, firearms. But they are asking the impossible: guns can be produced under the most precarious of conditions by the most primitive of shops. They do this because they want to redirect anger and retribution away from the actual generator of the recent outrage, Wahhabi/Salafi Islam, and towards targets whose destruction they would find more personally gratifying.

The guy who last changed your brake pads and wiper blades probably has everything in his shop necessary to produce automatic weapons. In fact, another terrorist outrage you may not have heard about recently occurred in Israel where two assclowns inspired by Islam attacked a restaurant with submachine guns.

Back in February, more homebrew SMGs were used in attacks on Israeli cops.

Damascus Gate SMG 1

The SMGs, made under embargo conditions in clandestine workshops in the lawless Palestinian territories, were improvised weapons. (One of which did fail during the attack. Testing is an aspect of manufacturing that technology can’t replace).

You certainly heard about the murder of left-leaning British politician Jo Cox, in the land of no handguns, Great Britain. Cox was killed with a crude improvised pistol based on an ancient US Army improvised guns manual.

Non-factory guns can be very sophisticated

Don’t take our word for it, just peruse the Impro Guns blog. Here’s a Thai pepperbox in .22LR.


This next picture is not a TEC-9. Take a good look! It’s a clandestine-shop knock-off open-bolt SMG, seized by cops in Canada last year. Restrict all guns and “prohibit” the scary ones, as Canadian laws do, and this is what anyone who wants a gun might as well build. He’s as well hung for a sheep as a lamb, eh?


Here’s a shot of Browning-style pistols produced in a one-house clandestine factory in Talcher, Odisha, India that was seized by police in the summer of 2015.

Indian Impro 2015

And here’s video of a (US, legal) home-built .25 pistol.

Here’s the build of the same (18 minutes). Tools used include a drill press, welding equipment and circular and saber saws. He does use some well-chosen cutting tools, like end mills and reamers, and uses a rifling machine of his own manufacture. ses At one point he improvises an end mill from a drill bit (per the plans he is using). He uses the name “Clinton Westwood” which we’re sure is what his mother named him; his YouTube Channel, Clinton’s Cheap Workshop, is full of must-watch TV.

Clinton’s new adventure is making a larger, 1911-styled .380 blowback pistol. He just started in April and has made good progress, so go to the YouTube channel, click Videos, and enjoy.

You might want to archive the videos, in case YouTube (which is owned by Google, which is either owned by or owns the Clinton — Hillary, not Westwood — campaign) disappears them and unpersons Westwood in the future.

The 3D Printing Revolution is Over, Part II

In another way, the 3DP revolution is over. Many of the revolutionaries of the first wave have gone much more quiet, perhaps because they’re involved in other things, or perhaps for some other reason. Maybe they’re under pressure from a lawless DOJ determined to find terrorists everywhere except among Islamic terrorists!

Cody Wilson? Tied up in a lawsuit, his new book, and the GhostGunner project. Now, the project isn’t idle. Here’s a new video posted this week on the GG2:

And the company released a new manual for the GG1 and GG2, and new software, on 1 June, including the first MacOS version of DDCut.

James R. Patrick? Website gone, although his .STLs have made it into the distribution. Have Blue? Hasn’t tweeted since December. Is he a Norwegian Have Blue, pining for the fjords? ArmaDelite? Not since April 7. Ma Deuce? Showing a heartbeat, at least. He posted a YouTube video in his channel about two months ago, for the first time in a year.

But RollaTroll is still with us (even if his last tweet was a Weaponsman link a couple weeks ago).

And the thing is, it doesn’t matter if some of the original founders of the 3D printed arms movement 3+ years ago have gone silent, gone Hollywood, gone to ground, or gone underground: a new generation is supplementing, and where necessary, replacing them. And the new generation is larger, and the generation they energize will be exponentially larger still.

The genie’s out, and anybody waving a bottle and muttering get-back-in incantations at this point just looks ridiculous.

Safety: This is Doing it Wrong

Victim James Baker

Victim James Baker

The first report was dry and brief, but was enough to let anyone know that something had come unglued seriously:

Officials say a man has been fatally shot in an apparent accident during a concealed carry class at a gun shop in Ohio.

The Clermont County sheriff says the unidentified man was shot in the neck around 1 p.m. Saturday and died at the scene. There were about 10 people in the concealed carry class when the shooting occurred at KayJay Gun Shop in Amelia, about 20 miles east of Cincinnati.

According to the gun shop’s website, the class taught basic pistol safety, gave attendees range time and reviewed Ohio’s gun laws.

via Man fatally shot in accident during class at Ohio gun shop.

The first story neither identified the victim, nor explained anything about how this happened. More detail was soon available on Fox 19:

The owner of a gun shop was accidentally shot and killed during a concealed carry class in Amelia, the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office confirms.

Crews responded to the the Kay Jay Gun Shop on Lindale-Mt. Holly Rd. around 1 p.m. on Saturday for reports of a shooting.

Clermont County Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg said James E. Baker, 64, was shot in the neck after a class participant discharged a handgun while practicing weapon malfunction drills, striking Baker who was sitting in an adjacent room.

Investigators said efforts to resuscitate Baker were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Something went seriously wrong in that class.

If the Four Rules (or however many are in your version) had been followed assiduously, nobody gets shot. A firearm has zero tolerance for inattention to detail.


An updated story described neighbors’ and friends’ feelings of loss (warning, autoplay video with loud ad. The mute button is your friend):

Baker’s gun shop offers a long list of training courses to teach people to use guns like rifles and pistols the correct way.

Now, many in this tight-knit community say they are devastated knowing he won’t be here to do that anymore.

“He’s just a great guy, I mean, I can’t believe it happened, it’s hard to believe, just a really good guy,” Fritz said. “I’m going to miss him because he was a good neighbor.”

We also talked with a man who lives just a few houses down from where it happened.

He told us Baker gave him his very first job, calling him a great boss and friend.

Investigators aren’t saying what type of gun was used or if any charges will be filed.

Update 2

(Warning, autoplay video again). The Investigation continues, with more details trickling out.

In a media release, the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office said, “Investigators discovered that a class participant discharged a handgun while practicing weapon malfunction drills, striking Baker who was sitting in an adjacent room. Efforts to resuscitate Baker were unsuccessful and Baker was pronounced at 3:12 p.m.”

Baker regularly conducted gun training sessions.

A friend and fellow Vietnam-era veteran took a session a couple years back and said Baker was careful and experienced.

“When I took the class, nobody had a loaded weapon,” said Dennis Cooper. “I mean, you could bring your own weapon, but it had to be cleared.”

A friend at a nearby gun shop didn’t want to be identified, but said Baker had close law enforcement connections and helped to build area SWAT units.

He seemed stunned at how this went down.

Immediately after it happened, a 911 caller told the dispatcher, “We were doing malfunction misfires and we have plastic bullets and we just, I just, we just double checked the bullets and there was a live round in one of the guns and it went through the wall and shot the owner in the neck.”

Those who knew Baker feel the loss deeply.

A father and his young son placed a potted flower at the property gate Monday.

We’re told Baker was a Marine sniper in Vietnam about 45 years ago and let police in the area use his target range to recertify as they must do each year.

We wonder why they were doing malfunction misfire drills during a basic CCW class.

A Place with Two Names

The small town of Weipert was, in the German tradition, built up in the center, enough to have an urban feeling even though the population peaked at barely 12,000 souls. When the sun shone on the mountain town, the cobblestones gleamed, because the people pursued cleanliness and order. You could sometimes see a shopkeeper scrubbing the sidewalk in front of his small shop, which was a sign that everything inside was as clean as it could get. These souls spoke the German language, worshipped in the German Catholic Church, and were in all the usual small-town occupations, plus one: gunmaking. Gunmaking began here because iron ore, wood for fires and water power were all handy, and even the city crest came to be surmounted by a smith, dual-wielding hammers:

Nr.33 Weipert Wappen

Several of the kingdom’s most talented gunsmiths made their home here, who were gunsmiths already at the time people started having family names. All the way to the turn of the 20th Century, son followed father into the trade. At the end of the 19th, the most successful of these family firms even banded together to form a joint-venture factory and compete for military orders from the faraway capital. This was like the Liège gunsmiths around that time, when they formed FN; the Weipert smiths weren’t that successful, as the nation assigned rifle production to a pair of massive state arsenals, but the arsenals outsourced some parts to the makers of Weipert.

The names of some of the smiths of Weipert are footnotes to gun history. Late in the 19th Century, it was a hotbed of repeater pistols, manually actuated, magazine fed forerunners of the coming wave of semiautomatic pistols. Gustav Bittner finally had this more-or-less sorted out with a delightfully steampunk firearm that also has a Winchester-meets-Obrez vibe.

Bittner Repeating Pistol, (7.7mm?) cased with tools, ammo and en-bloc clips, from Forgotten Weapons. We believe this pistol to be in the personal collection of Horst Held.

A beautifully case-hardeed Bittner Repeating Pistol, (7.7mm?) cased with tools, ammo and en-bloc clips, from Forgotten Weapons. This is SN 192, sold by Julia two years ago; we’ve seen numbers from single digits to high 300s.

Bittner was one of those names. So was his competitor (and partner in the joint venture), Gustav Fükert. (No giggling please, the name does not share the meaning of its English false cognate. It’s just a German name. Pronounce FOOK-ert with FOO like in “fool” and you’re artillery close).


(The Fükert ad and a lot of information about the family and the firm can be found in this forum thread).

Before German orthography — spelling — was standardized, it was sometimes spelled Fückert. In fact, generations of Bittners and Fückerts made guns in Weipert, and kings and emperors collected their guns, like Fückert’s Kronen-Drilling (“Royal Three Barrel”). Fükert made some damned pretty guns. (There are some beautiful images in this thread — if you like such guns, keep scrolling and don’t neglect the following pages — but we couldn’t get them to save).

Weipert had its own proof house until 1918.

The German Hunting Gun Society notes that:

Although Weipert had fewer gunmakers than Suhl, Zella Mehlis, Ferlach or Liege, very fine hunting guns were made here. The first gunmakers guild was formed in 1734.

The society identifies the following as Weipert or nearby smiths:

Bartl, Josef
Bittner, Gustav
Bittner, Joseph
Diemelt, Anton
Fükert, Gustav
Fükert, Johann
Gahlert, Alfred
Gahlert, Vincent
Hoffman, Josef Jr.
Morgenstern, Wenzel & Son
Ritter, Josef
Schmidl, Norbert
Schmidl, Eduard
Thiele, Rudolf
Thiele, Xaver

Of these firms, only Morgenstern is known to have survived the war and produced sporting arms into the late 1940s, before his assets were nationalized into the Lověna Prague firm circa 1948. Because Weipert, you see, isn’t Weipert any more. It was always known by two names, the other being the Czech name, Vejprty. And thereby hangs a tale.

Weipert/Vejprty is right on the border of Germany and Bohemia — once a kingdom of its own, usually a vassal of or subordinate to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now the westernmost province of the Czech Republic. In the age of empires, no one really expected national borders to align with ethnic groups’ distributions, but by the 19th Century, the forces of nationalism threatened the Austro-Hungarian Empire (arguably the most successful multinational, multicultural state in history, certainly in European history). Of course, it was nationalism within the Empire that struck the match that lit the fuze of the Great War — which ended the Empire.

After the War, in which the Bittner/Fückert/etc factory produced parts for Steyr, Weipert was a part of the new state of Czechoslovakia. Its people were among many, many Germans in the new state, and by the 1930s, with the German population convinced they were suffering more than Czechs and Slovaks from the consequences of the Depression, the Germans turned to nationalism — German nationalism.

In the parliamentary system in interwar Czechoslovakia, there were numerous parties, including German parties that mirrored the political landscape in Germany — socialist parties, conservative parties. In the 1930s, the Sudeten German Party (SDP) rose as an analogue of the Nazi party in Germany, and became the most popular party among the German population of Czechoslovakia. The ethnic Germans welcomed the bloodless seizure of the Sudetenland and then the remainder of Czechoslovakia by Germany in 1938, and under the Nazi Reichsprotektorat they prospered.

By late 1944 the shoe was on the other foot, and the Deutsche Wehrmacht was retreating. Many ethnic Germans followed the Army back to Germany. Those that remained found that the new Czechoslovakia was done with having a German minority, and remaining Germans were expelled in a case of tit-for-tat ethnic cleansing.

Weipert was, for all intents and purposes, no longer in existence by that name. It is now known only by its Czech name, Vejprty, and the Czechs that made up approximately 6% of the prewar population are now functionally 100% of the population. Perhaps the cultural dislocation was inevitable, after the disloyalty of the German citizens; but one of the losses is the gunmaking culture of Weipert, which was completely erased. The factory stands in ruins.


And to the best of our knowledge, there is no gunsmith, nor even a gun shop, there today. As a Czech might say, To je škoda — that’s a pity.

Are Rifles Used a Lot in Homicides?

AR-15 3387A great barrage of information is coming from the left , Bloomberg-owned organizations, and the media (threedundancy noted) about the necessity to immediately ban “assault weapons” (a term deliberately left undefined) or the “AR-15 used in the Orlando attack.” (Never mind that an AR-15 was not used in the Orlando attack, but one reporter made that “fact” up, which is what reporters do, and every other reporter plagiarized the first, which is what reporters do. (Remember that Walter Duranty, Steven Glass, Janet Cooke, Mike Barnicle and Jayson Blair were all top award-winning reporters, and all fabricated, plagiarized, or both).

These Firearms are Extremely Common

While the rifle used in the Orlando assault — not an AR-15, not that you’d ever learn that from ban-happy reporters with the bit of The Narrative™ in their teeth and, no doubt, an honorarium from Bloomberg in their pockets — was an uncommon and expensive firearm, the semiauto AR-15, AK-47, and other firearms are extremely common. Nobody knows how common (we have an idea for a methodology for a future post) but this year, approximately 30 million NICS checks will be conducted, and our estimate is that 2 to 5 million of them will be for AR type rifles alone. Some individual manufacturers of AR type rifles have, over time, sold millions of the things. 20-25 million ARs in circulation in the US is plausible, and probably near a low bound. Their penetration into hunting, target shooting, collecting, and self-defense markets continues to grow.

To put this in perspective, ARs are more common in the United States than some things you see every day, even if (unlike, say, us) you don’t see AR’s every day:

  1. Toyota Priuses (about 2 million to North America so far of 5.7 million built);
  2. First generation (1965-73) Ford Mustangs (about 3 million);
  3. Fire hydrants (about 6 million total installed).
  4. Motorcycles (8.4 million registered in the USA in 2014)
  5. Boats (about 12 million in use, including jet-skis and other personal watercraft);

To put it in further perspective, even though your probably got stuck in traffic behind one of these yesterday, every Prius shipped to America, ever, is not a number equal to the number of ARs not in circulation, but that are added to the ones in circulation annually. Do you have neighbors who own boats, or motorcycles? Your neighbors don’t show them off in their driveways, but they are twice and three times as likely to have an AR-15 type rifle.

How Often are Rifles Used in Homicide?

To begin with, we have to use “rifle” because the FBI, whose grim duty it is to compile crime statistics, only breaks things down to rifle/handgun level. Read on and you may understand why.

One crime is in the news. How common is this kind of crime? It turns out there are real stats. Let’s talk first about the numerator: how many crimes. Someone has already graphed things out, using data sourced from the FBI Uniform Crime Report. Here is how often a rifle has been used in a homicide in the last twenty years:

rifles alone in homicides

The numbers were never high, but they’ve been declining along with other homicides pretty steadily. Why are homicides declining? Pick your panacea, but it’s probably more than one of these factors:

  1. End of the crack wave?
  2. Better ER medicine? (This is one of our personal favorites. But shootings are down overall).
  3. Locking more criminals up and keeping them locked up longer?
  4. Increasing legal concealed-carry?
  5. Kid brothers deciding that big brother dead/doing time is a suboptimal role model?
  6. “No more violence” marches and vigils? (Hey, the people doing these must think they’re worth something).

We Can Rule One Thing Out

One thing it definitely wasn’t was an assault-weapon ban. The Federal Government had one in force from 1994 to 2004, which the maker of the graph hash helpfully coded red (ban in force) and blue) ban expired. Some states retain assault weapons bans, and some such as Massachusetts, California, New York and New Jersey retain bans, many of them stricter than the expired Federal ban. Those four states, for example, continue to struggle with homicides higher than demographically similar neighboring states. For example, Massachusetts has five times the population of New Hampshire, but eleven times the murders. If MA had NH’s murder rate, more lives would be saved every year that were killed and wounded in Orlando. MA has among the most restrictive gun laws, NH among the most lax.

Some More Aspects of Rifle Homicides

They’re really, really rare compared to handgun homicides. They’re also declining (but at a low rate, as you might expect for something that only occurs at a low incidence already).

rifles in homicides

So why do many people perceive these crimes as extremely commonplace? You’ll have to ask the people in the media who make (sometimes, as with the “AR-15 in Orlando” media myth, sometimes literally “make”) the news. They claim to shape people’s perception (they will deny it when they’re accused of propaganda or misleading people, but watch what they tell firms they’re pitching ad sales to).

Since Rifle Homicides Don’t Compare Well to Handgun Homicides, What Do They Compare To?

Well, here’s a clue. The red line is “rifles”, and this includes rifles of all kinds, not just the tens or scores of millions of AR-15s:

rifles versus non firearms weapons

So today’s murder victim is nearly twice as likely to be bludgeoned as shot with a rifle, and three times more likely to be punched, kicked, strangled or shoved to his doom by his murderer’s bare hands or shod feet.

And this is all rifles, of course, not just dangerous AR-15s like the one a guy didn’t use to blow away a bunch of harmless, defenseless (literally) gay guys dancing a few nights ago. (Remember, he used a rifle, but not an AR-15.

A guy from a radical, extreme mosque who also followed a jailbird violent imam, and was a registered member of the party that is intimately associated with gun control. You won’t find any of those details in the New York Times, Palm Beach Post, Boston Globe or Philadelphia Daily News, but you will read about the bad guy’s AR-15.

It is practically a typological marker of politicians everywhere, that when a great misdeed is committed, they make convoluted excuses to lift the blame from the shoulders of the criminal who did it onto the necks of those multitude who did not.


We did this post at oh-dark-hundred and were remiss in that we did not credit the source of the graphics. They are plotted here, complete with the scripts that generate them and links to the source data:

We regret the oversight and apologize to the creator of these graphics. All his comments at that link are worth reading, especially his note on correlation, which strongly implies that weapons choice is a subordinate factor in homicide (at least, that’s how we read it), due to the high correlation coefficients of all weapons choices with overall homicide rates. In other words, looking at weapons choice as an independent variable suggests it’s not really an independent variable.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Nuclear Archives



It’s obsolete, it’s defunct, and it hasn’t been touched in nine years. But it’s still worth looking at. It’s the Nuclear Weapons Archive, last updated in 2007 after a rocky ride around various sponsoring non-profits and hosting sites, and it’s full of interesting nuclear documents, like this short British run-down on what it will take to make His Majesty’s first nuke, as of 1947. (The link is to a .pdf).

Another, similarly defunct site that was a parallel and cooperative site with the Nuclear Weapons Archive was the Trinity Atomic Web Site, which appears to have assumed ambient temperature in 2005, but exists in a sort of undead (and un-updated) state.

But if you really want to understand the technical factors involved in the production of the first A-Bombs, factors that are often glossed over by highly verbal but innumerate and scientifically weak writers, you need to buy one book: Atom Bombs by John Coster-Mullen.

Coster-Mullen is not a professional historian or archivist, but you would never know that from his book. (He is actually — we are not making this up! — a truck driver). Through sheer determination and hard work, he mastered the subject and wrote the definitive work on it (with equally definitive documentation and illustrations). If you go to the Amazon link, and select all buying options, the seller coster60 is the author himself.

3D Printed MP5 Lower, Update 1 (Installment 2)

Here’s Guy In A Garage again, with a follow-up for the 3D printed prototype he cooked up that allowed AR-15 lower receiver parts to operate an H&K MP5 (he’s using a clone). We had his first video on the MP5/AR hybrid last Wednesday, so go there to catch up if you need to, before coming back to see Part II of this adventure in home manufacturing.

In Update 1, the lower is much more developed. It’s still missing one thing to be mature, though.

The one thing that’s missing? An ejector. The MP5 ejector is a quite ingenious thing that always provides a good stout kick

Guy in a Garage has been busy! He’s also posted 3D backup sights for 1″ scopes. The files are available at SendSpace; he got the idea from this article in Recoil, the gun magazine best remembered for its former anti-gun editor and Jack-the-Lad attitude.

And that’s not all. He also had this followup on a 10/22 receiver project…

… and a super-lightweight home-made carbon fiber handguard.

If you’re interested, you can follow all his videos here:

Real Live Tueller Drill, 2016

Thanks to the Boston Herald and for this video; you get to see a real cop threatened by a real knife-wielding nut case. We’re looking at events from a security camera — five cameras in all captured this shooting, as is getting to be more common — as an officer who has not yet been named responds to a call that a man is harassing pedestrians on Broadway in Everett, Massachusetts (a part of Boston in fact if not within the city limits thereof). This video is instructive, and you can get a lot out of studying it. The whole evolution plays out in barely more than half a minute.


First, notice where it takes place. It’s not on a range, it’s not in a classroom, it’s not in an alley with only the officer and the nut job present. It’s in a bright sunny city intersection, with tons of people around and a million distractions — moving pedestrians, moving cars, all the sensations of a busy city.

At first the cop moves right in on the suspect, one Mario Mejia Martinez, whose criminal history and immigration history (if any) are being closely held by the Massachusetts authorities.

Distractions or no, we bet that officer’s perceptual field was stopped down to about f/32. He didn’t see anything but Martinez attacking him — and maybe he didn’t see anything but Martinez’s knife.

(Everett, MA 04/21/16) Police investigate an officer involved shooting on Broadway in Everett on Thursday, April 21, 2016. Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki

(Everett, MA 04/21/16) Police investigate an officer involved shooting on Broadway in Everett on Thursday, April 21, 2016. Boston Herald Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki.

That means he definitely didn’t see his backstop. He seems to have hit Martinez with all four shots (we believe from watching the video that he fired four shots, and witnesses reported hearing four), which reduces the risk to all the pedestrians and motorists you see in the video.

The officer, who hasn’t been identified (Martinez’s family are said to be looking for revenge, in the courts and on the streets), did just about everything right.

  1. He tried to take charge of the situation. This often works. This time it didn’t.
  2. When Martinez reaches back behind his back for a weapon (which turned out to be the knife, the cop backpedals. He doesn’t seem to draw at this time (a point you could argue either way) but he keeps talking to Martinez (who keeps talking also, while moving).
  3. When Martinez attacks, he draws and fires and keeps firing while the threat remains in being.
  4. He sidesteps Martinez, still engaging him.
  5. With Martinez down, no longer a threat, he disengages.
  6. He secures his firearm as the tape ends.

The outcome of the whole thing validates the officer’s training and judgment, in our opinion.

Judgment is hard (but not impossible) to teach meaningfully. But it’s of supreme importance. It’s very rare that a cop, soldier or self/home defender loses his or her life (or gets jammed up in a court) because his or her level of marksmanship did not pass the ultimate test. These unpleasant and tragic outcomes are more often associated with judgment errors.

In a completely unrelated matter, the liberal Republican Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, partially reversed the “sanctuary state” policy of his predecessor, liberal Democrat Deval Patrick. Now, the state still will never ask a criminalien where he’s from — that would be waaaaacist with five a’s — but at least they’ll hold him for 48 hours if ICE wants to trebuchet him back over the nonexistent border fence.

The policy shift comes nearly 17 months into Baker’s first term and nearly a year after the feds fully implemented the Priority Enforcement Program. His aides say there wasn’t a particular incident or arrest that prompted the change, and David Procopio, a state police spokesman, said he was unable yesterday to quantify how many detainer requests police may have refused from ICE under the old policy.

Part of the problem, Baker said, is “the commonwealth stopped asking for them.”

The usual suspects — the kind who, like Deval Patrick, would have preferred the incident in this video to end with the cop on the slab — are outwaged. That’s a great weeping pity, isn’t it?

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Engineering Design Handbooks, Guns Series

We’re pretty sure we’ve called DTIC a W4 (Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week) before. The Defense Technical Information Center is kind of like the granddad’s attic of DOD information — full of cool stuff, but not remotely what you would call organized.

But today we’re going to steer you to something specific in the military’s attic — a series of engineering design documents from the 60s and 70s that will enhance your library in .pdf format, and that cost you only the time and bandwidth to download them. (If you’re American, you’ve already paid for this with your tax dollars. If you’re one of our global readers, they’re free (as in beer and speech) to you, too; if you’re so inclined, thank a Yank.

Yeah, ‘Murica. We give away more free bleeep before 0900 (well, technically, at 2200) than you’re ever going to get out of Burkina Faso or Lichtenstein.(We’re sure they’re lovely places, though, even if not at the forefront of small arms design.

The books in question are from an expansive series of Engineering Design Handbooks that were published by the US Army Materiel Command (the successor to various Ordnance headquarters that were consolidated decades ago). While there are a great many EDH’s (the Environmental one is especially good on corrosion) the ones we are interested in fall into the Guns Series.

This search finds at least some of them:

We don’t know how many there are/were (but we bet Daniel Watters does). Four volumes that turn up are:

  1. Guns Series — General. The history of guns, their classifications, and sample gun design problems). August 1964.
  2. Guns Series — Gun Tubes. Regions of the tube, thermal and pressure stresses. There’s some interesting continuity and discontinuity between small arms and artillery tubes. Ever consider the effect of rifling torque? It’s in here. February 1964.
  3. Guns Series — Muzzle Devices. If you’ve ever wondered what they were trying to do with that silly-ass cone on the M2 carbine, or wanted to know how much recoil you can reduce with a muzzle brake (a limited amount, because the brake can’t affect anything until the projectile exits the barrel, by which time most of the recoil is history already), this is your answer. May 1968.
  4. Guns Series — Automatic Weapons. Almost 350 pages of design engineering goodness from an overview of AW types to angular velocity calculations to  what makes a good belt link. February 1970.

And when you’ve learned all of that? Then, you can start looking at the “explosives series.” Heh.

We, for one, Welcome Our New Polymer Overlords

Let’s have another one from Guy in a Garage. In this case, he’s test-firing a James R Patrick Songbird .22.

You see some of the limitations of the 3D printed plastic firearm here.

But you also see some potential.

Barrels were never going to be the best test case for fused filament fabrication type 3D printing, for the same reason that even commercial manufacturers deeply committed to polymer firearms parts have never produced polymer barrels.

Polymer receivers go back almost 60 years to the Remington Nylon 66 (1959) and its derivatives, which had unitary receivers and stocks of DuPont Nylon 6/6, a polyamide that was then one of the toughest injection-moldable plastics available. Polymer handguns go back nearly almost 40 years — to 1979-82 and the development and launch of the Glock 17. Millions and millions of polymer frames have been made, but zero commercial polymer barrels.

There have been experimental barrels that were made of wound fiberglass, or fiberglass around a metallic rifled liner, such as the ones that Armalite of Hollywood, California experimented with for shotguns and some early AR-10 prototypes.

AR-10 barrel blowout Image 12590-SA Springfield

These early experiments left some of the Springfield greybeards wondering if Armalite was sourcing parts from Acme…


177913-1…and having them installed by graduates of the Wile E. Coyote School of Gunsmithing.

Modern composite technology such as carbon fiber filament and tow, and filament winding machinery, has finally brought the technology into line with Armalite’s vision. Carbon fiber (lined, of course) barrels have also been adapted to modern rimfire arms as well.

What does this mean for the future of polymers? Well, it’s a fact that after all these years, good old Nylon 6/6 is still a competitive material for high impact uses. What has happened in the injection molding industry over that span of time is increasing use of inserts and overmolding to make molded parts out of multiple materials.

This is almost certainly the wave of the future — or one wave of the future — in 3D printed firearms parts. Many printers now have the capability to print in multiple materials or to pause for the insertion of an insert (such as a threaded socket for a screw; you’ve probably seen molded plastic parts with inserts like these).

We can still expect 3D printing to be used for convenience, short runs & micromanufacturing, customization and personalization, prototyping, making jigs and fixtures, and making molds and patterns for traditional manufacturing processes.

But if you really want to, you can make a gun out of it.

Another Way to Use 3D Printing

Chuck of GunLab and his friend Orin have a dream: to wit, bringing a rare and “dead” single-shot design, the Remington Hepburn, back to life. To do this, Chuck got a scrapyard special Remington Hepburn and reverse-engineered the rusty, pitted action into SolidWorks. Then he passed the solid model to Orin, who tested it by 3D printing a model.

First print success!

Now, we’re not sure what plastic he used here. If he were to do it in PLA, he could have it lost-PLA cast. It would take a professional foundry to do it in steel or iron, but it might be strong enough (and very beautiful) if done in silicon bronze. (Of course, many modern foundries doing investment casting can now work direct from an STL file, printing in wax using a specialty printer).

They followed up with a Phase II: Orin designing a cutaway receiver and the various internal parts:

GunLab pre printed partsAnd then printed them:

GunLab Orin printed partsThis way he can check (and observe) the fit and the quality of his reverse engineering.

These are all good (and soon to be standard) uses of 3D printing technology as a resource extender, time saver, and general force multiplier for design, engineering and manufacturing.

Chuck, for one, is sold. He just took delivery of his first 3D printer… he got a great deal on a discontinued model… and has been machining the aluminum alloy parts it needs to replace its brittle, failing plastic ones.