Category Archives: Weapons Education

Armed Self Defense in Wisconsin

Here’s a video from John Correia over at Armed Self Defense (they have a new website, so new it still has greeked text in places! No doubt they’ll fix it. On the downside, the new site has broken all the old ASP links). John talks not about the legalities of the situation, but about the tactical decision making by the defender. Most of the decisions are good, in that the defender and the bystanders didn’t get shot or dead, but as always there are lessons to be learnt from what he did wrong as well as what he did right.

Note that he got something tyro hunters are warned against: “buck fever!” In this case he didn’t have a nice eight-pointer in his sights (they always grow a few points when you miss or don’t get the shot off, don’t they?) but a guy who could have actually killed him. John has other videos where things don’t end well for the licensee or undercover cop when the criminal has the drop on him.

We never draw a pistol without hearing Paul Poole’s voice: “Bwaw-haw-haw! Dumbass dry-fired in a firefight! Bwaw-haw-haw, you’re daid!” This guy didn’t end up “daid,” but if the criminal had been less of a bozo than the usual run of his ilk, he might have been. One begins to see the appeal of safetyless Glocks. (Well, we’re on the side of the angels with a decocker-only DA/SA. And yeah, that means doing lots of controlled pair drills DA first).

At 3:28 in the video, John is explaining that Our Hero is monkeying with his safety, but also, look where he is, where his attention is, and where the robber is. Are there two robbers?! He’s face down in the mechanics of the gun — people, that old military thing of handling the gun blindfolded, assembling it inside a laundry bag, etc. is not hazing but valuable training — while the guy who pushed up the adjacent aisle is behind him at his approximate 7 o’clock. Meanwhile, one guy is in front of him, off camera to our right (defender’s left). It was a near run thing. 

He did well to holster his sidearm after firing (no doubt, police are responding, and you do not want to have it in your hand when they arrive). His decision to follow the criminal towards the door was arguable, but we call it a mistake. A robber, confronted by armed force, is not coming back. He’s running, and probably in soiled pants. Remember, chasing these guys is not your problem. It’s why Officer Friendly gets the big bucks (hah). When the bad guy bolts, your mission, to protect your, your family’s and (maybe) others’ lives, is complete.

The criminal here made some really bad decisions (apart from the obvious one of being a criminal). The first is trying to take on, solo, a group of people in a broken-up space, with multiple entrances, exits, and points of cover and concealment. Probably not the first time this Wealth Redistribution Technician has done that. (In our limited experience, robbers tend to pick one kind of venue to rob — banks, groceries, sandwich shops, small-time dope dealers, convenience stores — and stick to it until their Robin Hood life gets harshed by the agents of the Sheriff of Nottingham, or wherever). Every time this brain-dead robs a place like this he’s rolling the dice that there won’t be a guy like this carrier in here — math that was encouraged by Wisconsin’s former no-carry laws — and this time the dice came up snake eyes.

This case is also interesting because this was the first defensive gun use by a licensed carrier since Wisconsin left the dwindling ranks of no-carry states a couple of years ago. (It was the last holdout, apart from Illinois (since issuing) and DC, although there are still states like New Jersey and some jurisdictions in New York, California and Massachusetts that treat may-issue as de facto no-issue).

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Waffensammler-Kuratorium

OK, we didn’t get this up on time due to other requirements (had to drive to Boston to pick up Kid who was coming in from the Midwest) and so we’re just throwing one out to you: the Kuratoriums zur Förderung historischer Waffensammlungen, which means “Trustees for the Advancement of Collecting Historic Arms”.

If the Awful German Language is not among your attainments, you can read the Awful Google Translation of the site instead. The intro says (our translation, not Google’s):

Collecting weapons — a Fascinating Hobby

Do you like to look at weapons in museums or displays, and wonder at he gunsmith’s art? Are you interested in their historical background? Then we at the Kuratorium zur Förderung historischer Waffensammlungen have the information you’re after.

Normally we’d say more about it, but time, you know? There are some excellent historical articles, in .pdf format, albeit in German, for you to find. Enjoy.

Attack on Pearl Harbor: Survivors Speak

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the United States’ surprise entry into World War II, by virtue of the Japanese attack on American installations in Pearl Harbor on the Island of Oahu — as mail was addressed at the time, Pearl Harbor, T.H.. The attack was quickly followed up by attacks on Wake Island and the Philippines, and on English and Dutch possessions in the Far East. Except for Wake, where the initial Jap invasion was rebuffed on December 11th, these were all resounding Japanese victories. (And they settled their score with Wake on December 23-24).

Pearl Harbor was, from the Japanese side, a brilliant air-sea coup de main that exploited Japanese superiority in discipline, ship handling, personnel selection and training and naval air innovation. Within two years all those Japanese superiorities would be reversed (except for discipline, which would become the noose by which the IJA and IJN would hang themselves). But on December 7th, that was in the unimaginable future.

Pearl Harbor was, from the American side, a shock and a calamity. Americans and Japanese each saw the other from a prism of contempt, tinged by convictions of racial superiority. Three and a half years of mutual ass-kicking across a 7,000 mile theater of war would cycle the nations’ mutual feelings through bitter hatred to, ultimately, respect. Nobody fighting them believed the Japanese to be the shifty, nearsighted creatures of propaganda. And nobody fighting them believed the Americans to be the lazy, bloated creatures of their propaganda, either.

But it all began at Pearl. Here are some oral histories from The Guys Who Were There, collected for the 70th Anniversary, five years ago (although some of the interviews are much older than that). Lead-off interviewee, Alan Sanford, was a seaman on the USS Ward, which fired the first American shots of the war. The next, Joe Morgan, was a Marine with VMU-2 and on duty at his hangar at Luke Field… it just goes on like that.

http://www.c-span.org/video/?287496-1/pearl-harbor-oral-histories-part-1

It’ll take about an hour to watch them all. Since they’re talking head interviews, you could multitask ad just listen to them, but you’d miss the facial expressions.

Along with the interview video and audio, there are some (pretty awful) transcripts, too. And here’s Part 2:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?287496-2/pearl-harbor-oral-histories-part-2

The attack on Pearl was controversial in Imperial Japanese Navy circles, unlike the attacks on Singapore, Malaya, and the Netherlands East Indies. Those attacks were central to Japan’s strategy of seizing needed resources from the southern rim of the Pacific. But could they do that alone, without making the US attack? The prevailing opinion on the Imperial General Staff was that the US would join the war if Japan attacked the colonies of England and Holland. So, therefore, those attacks should be accompanied by a pre-emptive strike on the Americans, too; to be followed by immediate peace feelers.

The minority opinion was that the US would still cling to its European focus and neutrality, even if Japan was beating the British and Dutch forces like a rented mule. Now, 75 years later, it’s only an interesting counterfactual. What happened is they attacked us, in a way that seemed particularly treacherous and enraging, and for several months they continued to beat the living Jesus out of us… and then the tide turned, and the Japanese language nearly came to be, as one American threatened, “spoken only in Hell.”

In any event, all the prattle of historians and pundits, of which there will undoubtedly be tremendous billows and blasts today, is fairly inconsequential. What is true is the voices of  these few men, those who Were There.

Glock Slide Stop Failures: Another View

even_glocks_breakWe were contacted by a longtime readers who is a professional firearms user after our post on the Glock slide stop failure (the original post is here).

(Larry A.) Vickers, Kyle Defoor, and Mike Pannone taught me to use the slide stop to release the slide. It is faster and LESS likely to induce a stoppage, despite what one of your commenters said.

You can hesitate and delay your slingshot of the slide. You take it off target by doing it!!

Boat guy said he does it on everything but his M9. So he trained heavily in one manual of arms when his duty weapon required another!

Slide mounted safety = Slingshot bad!!

The reason being, you can put the safety on with the over-the-top slingshot method. Pistols with slide mounted safeties include most first generation SA/DA autos, including P.38 and derivative Walthers, Smith & Wesson M39s and derivatives, Berettas and their clones, and others.

At this point he wound his body up with his left hand on his head and extended his right hand through the crook of his left elbow, asking, “How do you shake hands?”

“Huh?”

I don’t know who taught you to shake hands but their is another way.

How do you shake hands? Well, just because I can do it with a big retarded gesture does not mean it is the best way.

Slingshot bad/retarded! Slide stop good.

How fast can you hit a slide stop and engage? How fast can you slingshot the slide, hope you got it right, get back on target, and engage?

At this point, we couldn’t resist a shot, and said, “Well, I don’t need to slingshot the slide, because my P-01 has a slide release machined from steel that fits right under my thumb.” He disregarded the gibe, and stuck to Glocks.

I forget which instructor it was, but one was teaching the SEALs. He was pushing slingshot to deal with the poorly placed slide stop [on the SIG 226].

He was pushing it to the Army later and another instructor pointed out that leads to bad things with a Beretta! Had to remind him that he came up with that as a way to deal with a Sig deficiency.

But using the slide stop wears through the Glock OEM part hence the Vickers upgrade.

Interestingly enough, this guy does not run any non-Glock parts on his work Glock.

cutaway_ghost_3_17_copy_revisdedI have been using a Glock OEM extended because my job wants OEM parts.

I put Vickers on my [personal] pistols and on [a particular SF unit’s] Glock 19’s.

As for the Vickers mag release that was a fix for the too short button a Glock Gen 3. It is not needed on most of the Gen 4 pistols.

[The unit in question] even bought new trigger systems for the Glocks.

For the record, the triggers they bought were Ghost Inc’s (image right).

One cold, hard fact that lurks in the background of this whole pistol parts debate: everyone is ever seeking to get more hits, reliability, heck, electrolytes with a simple gadget. The simple gadget is ammo and range time. Anything else, and you’re one of the 99% whose pistol shoots better than you do. (We resemble that remark).

Run, Hide, Fight… and You

osu-good-somali-2In the recent Ohio State terrorist incident (you know, the one for which the press is still assiduously trying to unlock the mystery within an enigma of the attacker’s motive), campus public safety officials sent a message to all hands: Active Shooter, Run Hide Fight.

We know now that the “Active Shooter” was an error, an error that, predictably, spawned giddy glee in the gun control camp. The jihadi had a car and a machete, and followed an ISIL attack protocol we’ve seen several times in Europe this year already, but he wasn’t a shooter. However, we think that (1) the campus cops were right to send that message and (2) run, hide, fight, is good advice, and it’s probably better advice for us (licensed or authorized gun carriers) than it is for the usual defenseless collegiate population.

Let’s take those two assertions one at a time.

The Campus Cops were Right to Send, “Active Shooter, Run Hide Fight”

“But Hognose,” we can practically hear you as we write this. “There was no active shooter.” We know now that there was not, and the cops may even have had a hint that there was not. (Or not; next paragraph we’ll explain). But even if they didn’t think there was an active shooter, it was a good call for several reasons.

  1. It helps produce the desired defensive behavior (run, hide, fight);
  2. It’s a lot easier to assume that there is a shooter than to know that there is not;
  3. Historically, jihadi attacks have often involved coordinated attacks, whether it’s bombings or small arms attacks. The first thing to look for when you have one attacker is his confederates! If he hasn’t got any, you’re not as badly off for your false reaction than you would be if you didn’t do anything, and he was one of a cell of ten like we’ve seen in some attacks, or even a pair, a more common thing.
  4. And they might have thought there was an active shooter.

Why would they think that there were more shooters at large? Well, they had, apart from the room-temperature suspect, an innocent person with a gunshot wound. (This was apparently a lost round from the policeman who neutralized the suspect).

Could the campus have done some things better? Sure. But they were right to warn the campus.

“Run, Hide, Fight” is Actually a Good Protocol

A lot of armed self-defenders see themselves rushing across campus to confront an attacker in a scenario like this. We think it’s a bad idea. Better to run if you are in “escaping distance” from the threat, hide if you are invisible and unknown to the threat, and only fight if you must.

Why run? If he can already see you, moving targets are harder to hit than stationary ones. Targets further away are harder to hit than nearby ones. Opening the distance may not bring you to cover, but it does improve your odds, as does giving your assailant a target that is in relative motion, especially laterally.

Why hide? If you can access a hiding place where you are invisible and unknown to the assailant(s), you don’t ever come up in his target array.

Why fight? There’s really one best reason: if you’re cornered and must defend yourself or others’ lives. Don’t go hunting the guy; first, you moving lets him ambush you. Second, if police or a hostage rescue force strike, and you’re on the X with a gun in your hand, guess what prize you just won? Finally, if you must (or get the opportunity to) pop the guy, one of the key questions prosecutors will ask as they review the case is, “Who was the aggressor?” Don’t be that guy. It’s potentially not self-defense if you’re the one attacking.

Mental Rehearsals and “Run, Hide, Fight”

It’s important to form a mental picture of what each of these steps would look like in any place where you could potentially be attacked. We have found the drill of “mental rehearsal” worthwhile. Consider, as you go about your daily business, what would you do if this place turned into the San Berdoo social services office, or the Bataclan venue in Paris. Which way would you run? Where might you hide? Where would be the most effective place to fight?

So, as you can see, the “Run, Hide, Fight” mantra also provides you a handy mnemonic for worst-case-scenario planning and preparation, or for your “mental rehearsal.”

It’s likely that you will never face such a serious incident as the faculty, staff and students of OSU did. If you do not, the time and effort spent on preparation is a sunk cost. But if you do, nothing but time and effort spent now on preparation can avail you anything at all.

Take care out there.

Even Glocks Can Break

even_glocks_breakAnybody recognize this little bit? If you run a Glock you probably do.

It’s the thumb button from what people trained on 1911s or other classic firearms tend to call a “slide release” and what Glock insists on calling a “slide stop.”

Why does Glock call it a “stop” and not a “release”? You’re looking at the reason. The cheap stamped part is not designed or manufactured to take the load of being used to release the slide. Official and canonical Glock practice is that you close the slide on a fresh mag by pulling it to the rear and letting it go — like a Luger or P.38, not guns that have Browning’s handy slide release. 

Of course, the slide release of a 1911 or BHP is machined from steel billet and heat-treated appropriately. JMB Himself intended you to mash your opposable thumb down on it to close the slide, because you needed your left hand to manage the reins of your cavalry mount anyway!

This image comes from Kyle Defoor’s Instagram, where he says:

Seeing some military and LE Glock 19 Gen 4 slide stop levers breaking more than a few times. Never seen this before so often.

A lot of his commenters are… well, we’re not willing to trade commenters with him, let’s just say that. But one of them had this observation, which gibes with what we’ve heard about Glock training.

I’m a factory certified Glock armorer and at my last recert they discussed their position that the slide stop is not a slide release and using it in this fashion can, over time, lead to failures.

And couple more had the sensible comments that,

If not a slide release why the ridges on face for grip?

…and…

It seems to me that it would get more abuse from going into slide lock than slipping out of the notch to send the slide foreword again. What am I missing?

To which the Glock armorer guy replied:

[T]hat’s a valid point and an acute observation. I am remiss in failing to ask my Glock rep, who was in my office just yesterday, for clarification on this.

OK, let us offer our own opinion (note, opinion) on this.

  1. In our opinion, the “don’t use it as a slide release” is a retrospective position that was created by the Glock organization ex post facto when someone broke a slide release. But the oldest official Glock documents we have on hand (a January, 1992 armorer’s manual, and a Glock G1 exploded view dated 1991) already refer to the part as a “slide stop lever.” (The part owners often call a “takedown catch” is, officially, a “slide lock,” not to be confused with the slide stop lever).
  2. Re: “why the ridges on face for grip?” On p. 14 of the 1992 armorer’s manual, it describes how to lock the slide back, and includes a picture. “[L]ock the slide open by pushing up on the slide stop lever while pulling the slide to the rear with the non-shooting hand.” (It then tells you to “Pull back slide to release slide stop lever and close action.” But it doesn’t warn you not to use the slide stop lever to release the slide).
  3. “Why does it break?” OK, here’s a couple pictures of Glock slide stops. First, here’s an OEM slide stop, photographed from the inside. glock-oem-slide-stop-insideNow, we didn’t have a handy photo of this from the outside, but this photo of a Vickers Tactical extended slide stop (we’ve got this part on our own Glock) shows what the other side looks like. glock-vickers-slide-stop-outsideCompare this to the failed stop at the top of this post.

We now have several clues as to why the stops are failing.

  1. People continue doing something the manufacturer says not to do.
  2. The slide stop is made from a single piece of sheet metal, stamped (“pressed” for Europeans) and folded to net shape.
  3. There is a small rounded notch, adjacent to the part of the stop that folds over to the inside, right where the part Kyle photographed began to fail (see where the failure crack is kind of gray at the top? That’s the oldest part of the failure. When it weakened the slide stop enough, the rest failed all at once — that’s the shiny part of the crack). The reason for the notch is to prevent a “stress riser” from causing the part to begin failing at this point, and it obviously is not working in 100% of use conditions.
  4. And that the problem just started showing up with greater frequency, suggests that some aspect of the manufacturing of the part may have been changed recently. Manufacturers are always making small changes in parts to improve something about them (often something that matters to the manufacture, like lower cost, or increase speed of manufacture, and doesn’t matter quite as directly to customers). Manufacturers also are known for making parts in-house and outsourcing other parts to subcontractors. These subs can change at any time.
  5. Putting thumb pressure on the slide stop stresses it several different ways. It can load it in torsion (twist), for which the engineers probably didn’t do the math on this part. It will definitely bend the part laterally (per the gun’s orientation). That stresses the outboard (left) side of the slide stop in tension, and the inboard (right) side in compression. Another way to think about it is when you bend a plate or bar, the side bent convex is loaded in tension, and the side bent concave is loaded in compression. Our best guess (and based on one picture of one part, it can be no more than a guess) is that this part began to fail from tension at the upper outboard corner of the slide stop.
  6. It’s a trivial physics or engineering problem to calculate the stresses on the part, but to know whether they exceeded the design strength of the part, we’d need to know the exact materials and heat-treating condition of the part.

A question on the Instagram page about whether this is happening primarily in high round-count guns isn’t answered, but round count doesn’t necessarily load the slide stop. A lot of cop guns are seldom fired, but are loaded and cleared at least once every shift. If they’re thumbing the slide stop a lot, they can bust their slide stop without even firing a shot.

One last thing: the failure of this actuating button end of the slide stop makes it impossible (or very difficult, requiring tools) to lock the slide back without an empty mag in the pistol. However, without the end of the stop, it looks to us like the basic running of the gun would still be OK, until you needed the slide stop to handle a malfunction. So in combat terms, this failure of the slide stop is fail safe.

So, What Use is TrackingPoint?

Here’s the deal that’s currently on. Tuesday they let us know that they’re down to 50 of them left, so they might be gone by now.

And here’s what it can do. Duel 1: 350 Yards, Off Hand, on a windy Texas day. Bruce Piatt is a National Champion — dude can shoot. But he gets one miss and one on the edge. (He’s using decent combat gear, including what looks like an FN carbine, and a 4×32 ACOG). Taya Kyle was at the time a novice shooter. She puts two in center of mass, using the Precision Guided Weapon.

Here’s a capability that you just don’t have without the PGM. Duel 2: Blind Shots, 200 Yards. Being able to engage the target without exposing yourself to enemy observation and fire is a completely novel thing. Sure, we’ve seen Talibs shoot at our guys like this, but these “Blind Shots” are aimed shots.

Yes, this is a completely unfair test, because it asks Bruce Piatt to do the impossible. With the ShotGlass, for Taya Kyle it’s possible.

Several of you have asked, why not spend the money on training and improve your skills? Bruce did that. He’s world-class good. (Yeah, soldiers and Marines shoot at this distance, but we’re shooting larger targets, and from a prone or foxhole supported position.

Taya didn’t do that, and yet, by exploiting the technology, she outshot Bruce. That is not to say Bruce’s skill acquisition was wasted time! After all, he’s lethal without all the gear. And he’d just be even better (more accurate and faster) if he was using the technology.

What use is Tracking Point? When we first started writing about it, we reminded you all of something Ben Franklin said. During his residence in Paris, one morning he was on his way to see an ascent of the pioneering French aeronauts, the Montgolfier brothers. And an intelligent lady, bemused by the American’s enthusiasm for this novel applied science, asked the great man, “What use is it?”

“My dear lady,” the prescient Philadelphian replied, “what use is a newborn baby?”

A century from now, weapons that don’t range and track targets for you, whether you’re a soldier or a hunter, will be nostalgia items, like muzzleloaders today.

Update:

Here’s the Shooter’s Calculator, a way to work your dope (at least initially) if you’re still doing the math somewhere other than inside your Tracking Point Precision Guided Weapon. Sent in by a reader who prefers to remain anonymous.

Update II:

If the embeds do not work (at least one Eurostani reports they are blocked at his location) then these raw HTML links to Vimeo might work.

https://vimeo.com/193109385/

https://vimeo.com/193110497/193109385

https://vimeo.com/193394792/

If the raw links don’t work, we don’t know what to try next.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Manowar’s Hungarian Weapons Page

Behind this 1990s interface lurks more information on Hungarian small arms that you can find anywhere else -- online or off.

Behind this 1990s interface lurks more information on Hungarian small arms that you can find anywhere else — online or off.

For some reason, people don’t think about Hungary when they think about European small arms. Maybe it’s because most of Hungarian history has taken place under somebody’s boot-heel or the other, like the Habsburg Empire or Soviet Union. Or maybe it’s because the Hungarian language is a complex tongue, quite unrelated to Germanic, Slavic or Romance languages, that few foreigners master. (It does, fortunately, borrow some firearms words, as “rifle” is the same in Hungarian and western Slavic languages, “pushka”, for instance).

But Hungary not only has a lot of European charm that’s uniquely its own, it also has its own small arms history. Naturally, there are collectors who focus on that nation and its fascinating small arms history. Those collectors rely on the definitive information at Manowar’s Hungarian Weapons & History page.  (The URL is www.hungariae.com).

manowars_kiralyEarly Hungarian cartridge arms, during the period of the Dual Monarchy, were sometimes Budapest-made variants of Austrian designs, and these less common variants of Mannlicher rifles and Roth-Steyr pistols are sought as variants by Habsburg weapons collectors. But during the brief Hungarian independence 1918-44, Hungarians developed many of their own weapons. The Frommer Stop pistol and the submachines of Király would be standout designs in any nation. His fascinating delayed-blowback lever design was unique (although the French FAMAS rifle owes Király a debt).

manowar_misconceptionsOne of the best things about the site is its “misconceptions” page, a small segment of which is shown at right. For example, we always thought the 7.65 Frommer Stop pistol was chambered for the 7.65 Browning or .32 ACP cartridge — Manowar sets his readers straight on that.

Even if you think you are completely uninterested in Eastern European arms in general, and Hungarian ones specifically, we defy you to spend only a couple of minutes at hungariae.com. We bet you can’t!

Book Review: Sporting Firearms: A Designers Notebook by Richard Florer

soorting-firearms-a-designers-notebookWe found this on Amazon and scanned the part of it that was visible online. We didn’t think it was valuable, lacking the sheet music (equations and other engineering data) of standard texts like Balleisen’s Principles of Firearms and the Rheinmetall Handbook, but then we thought — “If it’s no good, we should put a heads up on the Gun Design Books and Resources page.” And then we thought, “It would not be fair to write a critical review without reading the actual book. So we had better order it, and see.”

We’re very glad we did, because Sporting Firearms: A Designers Notebook is a good and useful book. Our mistake was in expecting it to be a mechanical engineer’s text book, like the indispensable Balleisen. But it is just what the title says: a designer’s notebook, full of the designer’s tips and tricks, and descriptive of his experiences in designing specific firearms.

The case studies in this book stem from Florer’s double-barreled capabilities: he’s a mechanical engineer and has worked as one in the industry (rising to chief engineer), but he’s also a practical gunsmith at home with the lathe and milling machine (not to mention a set of files).

One of the most interesting projects here is a redesign of the Weatherby Vanguard short-action mechanism (the same as the Howa mechanism, not the Weatherby Mark V) to take extra-long cartridges. Why would a designer want to do that? Bear in mind that these are hunting rifles, chambered for typical short-action cartridges like the .308 or 7mm-08. The SAAMI spec for cartridge overall length of the .308 is what has defined the length of the short action, so that you’re forever limited to bullets that are no longer than the 1951 descendant of World War vintage M2 ball that was loaded in the GI 7.62. But modern hunting bullets are longer, for both aerodynamic and penetrative reasons.

They must either be loaded deeper in the casing, robbing powder volume, or loaded only in long-action guns. But Florer devised a modification that lets one load 180 grain bullets in a .308 with the base of the cartridge seated exactly where it is on a 150 grain soft point. The modifications allow the loading of a cartridge with an overall length of around three inches, even a hair more, compared to the SAAMI spec of 2.81″ for the .308.

The modification requires increasing the bolt travel, and lengthening the magazine box 0.200″, both of which are practical on the Vanguard action. (The resulting rifle can accommodate longer handloads, but still works with factory loads. The chamber and headspace are untouched and unchanged).

sporting_firearms_contentsWe won’t, and most readers of this book won’t, ever hack a Vanguard for longer, heavier bullets, but the value of the book is in what it teaches about the thought processes that go into developing such a modification safely.

Another set of case studies involve development of unique necked .22 caliber wildcats, one for a rifle and one for a revolver.

A case that may be more broadly beneficial is a walk-through of the collaborative specifications development process for an unnamed firm’s new bolt-action hunting rifle. This is the framing device for Part I of the book (see contents at right), while Part II covers various specific projects..

Finally, there’s some ingenious mechanisms in here, including an adjustable tension (for accuracy) barrel forend bedding device, and several variations of set triggers, but, unfortunately, the technical details on these are sparse.

As sophisticated as firearm design is these days, publicly available information about it is still scant and scattered. Sporting Firearms: A Designer’s Handbook is a worthwhile addition to the canon.

Amazon link

Book publication press release (3 Jan 2013).

Deal Coming from TrackingPoint: 700-yard 5.56 AR

The TrackingPoint "Tag" button , here on one of their early bolt guns, locks the gun on target.

The TrackingPoint “Tag” button , here on one of their early bolt guns from three years ago, locks the gun on target.

If you’re already following the company by email (or perhaps other social media?) you are eligible for this. If not, maybe you can get to their site and get registered. (Tell ’em Hognose sent you). Here’s what Tracking Point founder and CEO John McHale sent us last week (emphases ours):

One year ago, TrackingPoint held the American Sniper Shootout pitting Taya Kyle against NRA World Shooting Champion Bruce Piatt. The shootout marked the re-launch of our business and I am pleased to report that thanks to you, TrackingPoint is resurgent and strong. On Monday, in celebration of this success and in celebration of the one year anniversary of the American Shootout, TrackingPoint is offering only to our current followers an Anniversary Edition M700 Sniper Kit. The M700 is a custom TrackingPoint gun built specifically for Taya to use during the American Sniper Shootout. The M700 is a unique semi-automatic 5.56 that has extended range out to 700 yards. 

Next week our newsletter will include the seven minute American Sniper Shootout Documentary and each day we will send you a unique out-take of specific shots taken during the competition. You will see extraordinarily challenging shots made under battle stress conditions including moving targets, off-hand shots, blind shots, and more.

If you guys would like, and we can pull it off technically, we’ll post these clips here. We’ll also notify you with all information about the M700 Sniper Kit that McHale lets us release. We have been strong supporters of TrackingPoint from the very beginning, through its near-death brush with bankruptcy organization, and we’re starting to see the emergence of some of the incredible capabilities that we always saw lurking in the future development of Tracking Point’s Precision Guided Munition technology.

We hope you enjoy the American Sniper Shootout videos and keep your eye-out for the Anniversary Edition M700 Sniper Kit. Once again thank you for your business and incredible support in bringing tremendous success to TrackingPoint.

If 700 yards won’t do it for you, or you’re a fan of the NATO cartridge, Tracking Point still has a few of the incredible M900 Limited Edition Kits available — $14k if you don’t add the Torrid thermal option. The kit includes the rifle, integrated scope, and has a 900-yard lock range and 20-mph target track velocity.

tracking-point-m900-limited-ed

One downside to the TrackingPoint systems is that they are tuned to their proprietary ammo, and the ammo is very expensive — the 7.62 lists at nearly $3.50 a shot, in case (200-round) volume.