Category Archives: Weapons Education

3D Printing Roundup, Number Whatever (Video / Image rich)

Did you know 2016 is the Year of Building Your Own Gun? It is. Get to it!

OK, here’s a new video on printing and assembling the Bolt lower, a bolt-together AR lower.

We’ve featured the Bolt many times before (including links to its files) but this is a new video. The names involved (Ma Deuce, RollaTroll, FOSSCAD, FP [Freedom Print]) should be familiar to everyone.

The Bolt looks like it easily would be modified for assembly with rivets, if you don’t like the idea of parts unscrewing themselves. Several mods of the Bolt already exist, like one by Warfairy adopting the profile of the Vanguard lower, and dispensing with any provision for a safety.

Homemade Charger How To

If 22 is your thing, here’s an Instructable (!) on doing a pistol based on the Ruger Charger design.

3DP Ruger Charger

The creator is another old familiar name, Buck Ofama. Sounds vaguely foreign; do you think that’s his real name?

Reminder, Here’s the Latest File Repository, “Ishikawa”.

Can’t go the mile if you ain’t got that file.

https://confab.fosscad.org/126/official-fosscad-mega-pack-v4-8-ishikawa-release

Some New Stuff — no Files yet

Ambi mag release for the Glock-mag Gluty pistol, based on Glock and AR parts.

Gluty ambi mag release

Treillage (sp?) competition stock from Warfairy — gives lots of adjustments on a regular carbine receiver extension. How it looks on the gun:

printed stock on firearm

How the parts break down, color coded:

treillage stock

Bear in mind that anything that’s still just a rendering, puts you on the bleeding edge of the tech when you go to print and use it. But for some of us, that’s half the fun!

New Videos from Guy in a Garage

We’ve already seen GiaG print, remove support material, and assemble a Vanguard AR lower in ABS plastic. But he’s been on a roll lately.

Here, he takes the Vanguard to the range — 300 Blackout with his homemade suppressor. (He blanks out his suppressor markings for privacy. Not that “they” don’t know, as it’s a registered receiver). After firing 60 rounds at the range, he analyzes the condition and performance of his lower.

Want to make your own suppressor like he did? Here he covers the regulatory issues.

He has printed at least three different AR lowers. Here he preps and assembles a Phobos, in ABS:

Here he preps and assembles a Charon, again in ABS:

Important note, he previously printed an early model and it was “off” dimensionally — this one is the 4.0 version.

And here’s a range safety bolt/chamber block for the AR. If printed in nylon, these would be oxen strong and easily dyed orange…. unfortunately we don’t know if he has released the files.

Some of these accessories are cooler than entire 3D Printed guns.

Case Trimmer Insert

Reloaders swear by the $70 Little Crow Gunworks’ WFT — World’s Finest Trimmer. The WFT2 version lets you use the same trimmer for multiple calibers with a $30 interchangeable insert (instead of a whole second trimmer). So Guy in a Garage printed his own insert for the WFT2 for .300 Blackout. This video shows it and tests it out.

Is this the first Registered 3d Printed Firearm?

Michigan has some weird laws. (Every state has a few). So the guy who made this Washbear is arguably the first manufacturer of a registered 3D Printed firearm, unless some poor wretch in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, the Cosanostrian Emirate of Cuomostan, the Alternative State of California, or some other dystopia has done so already.

Registered Washbear

The cylinder has lined chambers, and is printed of Taulman 618. If you look closely, the pistol unlike the standard Washbear, has a frame made in two parts and joined by screws (and glue). That’s because this builder’s printer wasn’t big enough to print the whole Washbear frame in one shot.

The whole Imgur thread is worth reading in depth, as almost every picture has an informative caption. Enjoy!

How about some Tech on Carbon Fiber filament

Is “carbon fiber” and other exotic filament for normal FFF printers really that much stronger? Joe Binka, Lead Design Engineer for large-format-printer maker 3D Platform, wanted to know, so he did a very engineer thing and, making a test coupon and testing the coupons to failure, evaluated all the extra-strength filaments he could get his mitts on. (3D Platform’s printers use the same FFF technology as all open-source FFF printers, and can use all the same materials). The results were a little surprising.

3DP materials test-result

In this color map, redder is better and greener is worser. Joe discovered that while polycarbonate was the strongest, it was such a pain in the neck that he recommended the runner-up, PC ABS, instead. Polycarbonate…

is a pain to print with. It warps and curls really bad and I would rather avoid it if possible.

…. If I need a really strong material, I’m going to go with the PC-ABS over the carbon materials. It’s just much easier to deal with.

Joe has promised to add new materials to the chart, as they crop up.

Before There Were Many 9MM Ultra Compacts, There Was One

Devel ASP 12Before there was the current rich supply of ultra compact 9 mm pistols, someone had to have the idea for the first time. In fact, the idea of a small 9 mm carry gun was widespread long before any factory produced one.

The market answered, after a fashion: cut-down versions of pistols were produced. Some of them weren’t cut down much, like the P-38K and the Colt Commander. Others were not really practical, like Baby Lugers, and always appealed more to collectors than self-defense carriers.

SW-semi-model-chartBut the natural host for these first-generation pocket nines in the 1970s and 1980s was America’s first pistol designed for what was then a European cartridge, the 9 mm Smith & Wesson Model 39. The M39 was a postwar design that sought to blend European and American design concepts, and not only did that but produced an attractive firearm at the same time. It combined a Browning-style tilting-barrel, and a Walther-like SA/DA operating system with a slide-mounted safety/decocker. Mag release and slide stop were also Browning style, and the barrel was positioned in the nose end of the slide by a collet bushing modeled on the one in the Colt Gold Cup.

The M39 was single-stack before single-stack was cool, and entered the market in 1954-55 after years of development. If you want to foray into the weeds of Smith auto pistol history, Chris Baker took a shot at decoding Smith’s nomenclature mess with the M39 and its legions of successors at Lucky Gunner Lounge last year, also producing the infographic on the right, which appears correct but incomplete.

But the reason that the M39 yielded those early conversions were (1) it was readily available, and (2) there was nothing vital and hard to relocate in the parts of the gun that a compact conversion hacked off. This picture from an S&W forum shows three cut-down 39s: from l-r, an Austin Behlert special on a Smith 59 (basically, a double-stack 39), a full Devel on a 39 with ambi safety, and a full devel (no ambi safety) on a 59.

Behlert Devel Devel

The first, and most exotic small Smith was the ASP, made beginning in 1970 by New York artist and espionage agency hang-around Paris Theodore, who partnered initially with George L. Nonte. This ASP picture comes from the same forum as the shot above, and illustrates the somewhat industrial finish on ASPs.

asp2

The magazine was patented, specifically for the unusual laid-back pinky rest. The open side made the transparent/translucent segment of the grips practical.

One of the ASP features that will never show in a side view is that about 40% of the width of the reshaped trigger guard was milled away on the strong side of the customer, to provide faster access to the trigger. Theodore claimed that an ASP had 212 modifications from the factory M39.

Theodore’s spy stories seem to have been cut from whole cloth, but he died young — here is an interesting, if credulous, obituary in the late, lamented New York Sun. A definitive ASP was trimmed in height and length, dehorned and softened in its angles, and fitted with a patented “Guttersnipe” trough sight and see-through grips to facilitate round counting.

The Devel was devel-oped (you may groan) by Charlie Kelsey. They tended to be better finished and often had fluted slides to reduce weight. Here are three Devels, a 59 and two 39s.

Three Devels

This is a Devel on a Smith 39-2 from a current GunBroker auction, but supplied with two ASP magazines.

Devel ASP 09

The seller says this about it:

Smith & Wesson Model 39-2 Devel Custom chambered in 9mm with a 3.5″ barrel. Used but in good shape! Frame and slide have some handling wear, couple scratches, and little bit of finish wear around the edges. Comes with two hard to find ASP magazines! Please look at the pictures for details.

Devel ASP 05

The cut-down for Devel and ASP alike was usually 3/4 of an inch to the barrel and slide, and about a half inch to the butt. The package usually included replacing the collet bushing with a plain bushing, on reliability grounds, and bobbing the hammer.

Devel ASP 06

As you can see, the gun is not only shortened but also “softened” or “dehorned,” but it’s not what Devel called a “full house” custom, as it lacks the squared-off trigger guard and lightening flutes in the slide.

Factory compacts like Smith’s own 3913 crippled the market for these niche firearms, and both ASP and Devel folded, victims of the success of their own product.

Like Paris Theodore, Charlie Kelsey died prematurely, but while Theodore lost a long and debilitating battle with disease, Kelsey was found shot and burned in a ditch in Georgetown, Texas. While there were indications he may have been suicidal, he certainly can not have set his own dead body on fire. His murder has never been solved.

 

Of course, true Dedicated Followers of Browning would not be caught dead with a 9mm flyswatter: their pistol-shrinker of choice was Detonics, or Behlert (who called his bobbed .45 the Bobcat). But that’s another story!

 

Weapons Training, Special Training School 103, SOE

Fairbairn's early techniques were codified in this book.

Fairbairn’s early techniques were codified in this book.

The following is a description of firearms instruction at STS 103, which author David Stafford describes as, “one of a network of SOE training schools, and the only one in the Western Hemisphere.” (Other schools were in North Africa, Haifa and elsewhere around the Med, and in Singapore for the Far East). It shows that even 75 years ago, even before the word “mindset” was coined, this abstraction was valued far above practical skills.

Weapons training for OSS and SOE would evolve, but it was based, and remained based, on the work of William Ewart Fairbairn, a man who studied fighting with singleminded intensity, and who along with E.A. Sykes trained the Shanghai colonial police, at a time when Shanghai was a arguably the global leader in applied interpersonal violence and a Shanghai cop had to be quick with hands, feet, knives, and firearms.

As well as being suitably trained for silent killing and on armed combat, the recruits might also have occasion to use weapons, so Camp X gave them weapons training. Sharing the language of the OK Corral, SOE was interested in gunfighting. Since an agent’s life might very well depend on how well he had been taught, instructors would not let a bad shot out of the camp. They instilled in the student mind the impression that he was actually killing the target and to shoot as though his life depended on it. “As with every sport, provided that the principles taught are sound, practice makes perfect.” The principles so diligently instilled in practiced had as their goal, within the constraints imposed by time and the supply of ammunition, “to turn out good, fast, plain shots”. Whether in the use of machine carbines like the Tommy gun or in action with a pistol, the principle was the same: “tremendous speed in an attack with sufficient accuracy to hit the vital parts of a man’s body, for killing at close quarters demands aggression and extreme concentration.”

There were certain obstacles in producing these good, fast, and plain shots. One was the recruits’ previous experience. Instructors presumed that many of their students had some “revolver training in the old style” and, while being careful not to denigrate such skills has might have already been acquired in skeet shooting, had to impart the innovative “instinctive method” of firing.

The first point was that a pistol was not a weapon of self-defence but of attack – it was a combat weapon. Armed with the weapon under consideration, usually a .22 Hi-Standard or .32 Colt, the instructor conjured up a dramatic encounter while on a mission:

Picture in your mind the circumstances under which you might be using the pistol. Take as an example a raid on an enemy occupied house in darkness. Firstly consider your approach. You will never walk boldly up to the house and stroll in as though you were paying a social call. On the contrary, your approach will be stealthy. You will be keyed up and excited, nervously alert for danger from whichever direction. You will find yourself instinctively crouching; your body balanced on the balls of your feet in a position from which you can move swiftly in any direction. You make your entry into the house and start searching for the enemy, moving along passages, perhaps up or down stairs, listening and feeling for any signs of danger. Suddenly on turning a corner, you come face-to-face with the enemy. Without a second’s hesitation you must fire and kill him before he has a chance to kill you.

This method of course meant that an agent would never fire standing straight up, nor in any of the “fancy stances” common to competition shooting, and never have time to use the sights. Since recruits under such conditions might be worried about the accuracy of their name game, they practiced “instinctive pointing”,”the natural way that any man points at an object when he is concentrating”. Students stoodt directly in front of each other and pointed, at the instructor’s commands, to such targets is the exact centre of each other’s stomach, or left foot or right eye. When doing so, no one actually looked down his finger. Rather, “instinctively”, the arm, with the finger extended, came in to the center of the body. Here the finger, and of course its extension the gun, was in position right down the line of eyesight. Such pointing gave the shooter a natural control over direction and elevation when firing.

Applegate shootingAfter demonstrations and practice in holding the pistol or crouching in the firing position, the recruits were ready for some of the more elaborate target exercises using live ammunition. For example, using the .22, students were to imagine that they were outside a German beer cellar, automatics loaded and drawn. In the old style of attack, in order to position themselves for firing, they would have to rely on a totally silent approach. This, of course, was not only dangerous but impossible. SOE felt their method was much superior: “you have reached the doorway of the cellar by a stealthy approach, making no sound whatever. Very quietly turn the handle of the door as far as it will go, And then, preparing yourself for the effort, you kick the door open and kill your targets before they have a chance to realize what has happened.”

If this all sounds rather like a B-grade movie, reads like a spy novel, or looks like a TV SWAT team in action, it’s because SLE instinctive firing was so successful that after the war this innovation swept through commando schools, boot camps, and police academies alike, replacing forever the older shooting style.

Indeed, Rex Applegate, an American instructor trained by Sykes and Fairbairn, would adapt his training notes and syllabi into a postwar book, Kill or Get Killed, that was extremely influential. (The picture above is of Applegate, and it is from this book, which stayed in print for decades).

The gunfighting style of 1942 does look extremely dated today. SOE (and later, OSS) training emphasized instinctive, point shooting, without reference to even the limited, low-profile sights of a wartime or prewar pistol. Nowadays much better sights are used much faster, and pistols are routinely shot two-handed. At the start of World War II, the Japanese alone trained for two-handed shooting; this picture shows that by 1944 Jedburgh teams were training to shoot two-handed, but even long after the war Applegate continued to train one-handed point shooting.

Jeds point shooting 1944

One suspects that William Ewart Fairbairn — by all accounts something of a drip while off duty, having no interests broader than instruction in impartial and immediate unchristian mayhem, and means of delivering same — would approve.

Sources

Stafford, David: Camp X: OSS, “Intrepid,” and the Allies’ North American Training Camp for Secret Agents, 1941-1945. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1987. (pp. 97-99).

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Max Velocity Tactical

max_velocity_tactical_webpageA long time ago a commenter recommended this site, Max Velocity Tactical, as a Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week. And indeed, we’ve read it from time to time, and it seems to be a pretty good and sensible discussion of fitness, tactics, and so forth. It’s primarily a vehicle for tactical training, both by word and by promoting “Max’s” books and, especially, tactical training classes.

The training classes include people with all levels of training and experience, but they tend to look eerily like military training, because that’s what they are, essentially. Here we have shooting on the move, live-fire. (Note the high instructor-student ratio, a must with live fires, especially with people new to the group and each other).

Max Velocity-CTT-July-Square-Range

The word “tactical” is rather haphazardly strewn about, these days, but in the case of Max Velocity, it fits. If you attend a course, read a book, visit the forum or read the posts on the website you may indeed learn something about tactics — something of some practical use.

Here is another picture that, apart from the mismatched uniforms, might have been snapped at Dahlonega or Camp Mackall (actually, we had mismatched uniforms in Ranger Class 1-83, because Army students had to wear OD green fatigues or OD-107 jungle fatigues, and the other services could wear ERDL camo or the then-new BDUs).

MVT-Training-1

Max encourages students to review and critique training, and these reviews are available on site. There’s also a discussion forum of value.

You never know what gems will show up. For a single current example, this recent report from one of the site’s associates deals with one of the most necessary and, especially when starting out, unpleasant fundamental skills: rucksack marching. Here’s the briefest taste:

[S]tart some run/walks with some added weight.  Don’t start with a full load out.  Just like any other progressive training program, start with 15 lbs and maybe 2-3 miles.  Work up to a goal weight of say 35 lbs.  I would take 4 weeks on this.  Then get off the pavement onto the trails.  This will really start to condition your feet and ankles and lots of other stuff.  At this point you would also switch to your trail runners/light hiking boots (duh) and regular hiking clothes.  Another 4 weeks here.  Then you take it up hill.  This will be  real eye-opener.  You thought you were in shape.  Hell you are in decent shape.  But this is a whole ‘nother level.  Hard to believe you can be breathing hard, close to red-lining when you are just walking up a hill.  But you will.  Another hard 4 weeks (this is based on fitness level, see below).

At each stage, drop the weight, and lower the distance again, and work your way back up to goal load and distance targets.  Speed becomes a relative thing now, because you are moving as fast as you can sustain, for whatever the terrain allows.

I can’t think of any other physical activity that is directly applicable to what we may have to be doing in the future. It is a hell of a lot of work, but it is also immensely satisfying. So get out there and get in touch with your inner Mohican.

The author also makes the point that you should be running. That hits hard here, because Your Humble Bloghost can’t run, and doesn’t even walk so great (when they said don’t turn the MC1-1C below 200 feet, they weren’t just whistling Dixie). Here’s his point:

[M]y running base made a huge difference in being able to switch gears and do serious ruck marching. Your feet, ankles, knees, and other body parts take a serious pounding in this activity. What this tells me is every one who is serious about preparing for uncertain times needs to get out and establish a running-based fitness program. Along with calisthenics, this will prepare you body for the rigors of field work.

If you don’t do this, when it’s go-time, the fitness curve is so steep that your body will inevitably break down, leaving you combat ineffective at the moment you need to be at your best. It’s not just about cardio or muscle strength; it’s also about all that connective tissue being conditioned to take the pounding. Feet, ankles, knees, hips, lower back. This goes double for older folks. All that shit is not as supple as it was before so you have to work harder to make sure you stretch it out and strengthen it to take the load.

Now, that’s all from one post, and that by a guest author (but it got us to figure out where the ALICE is… under a bunch of books in the library… and shake it out and take out some of the weight that was in it for an initial shakedown).

Here’s another guest post: a one-post history of the German invasion of Russia, 1941-44, and its consequences for Germany, which along with the crushing of the Japanese Empire constituted the most complete and thorough defeats of nations since the national exterminations of ancient warfare. (Had Stalin, and some Americans such as Baruch had their way, Germany might have gone the rest of the way to the fate of Carthage and Troy).

Many of the real gems that MVT has to deliver you will have to pay for, like the courses and the training plans. This is how he, and his assistant instructors, pay the bills. It is not very expensive for training that can save your life and that of your family (consider this post on the recurring problem of shooting friendlies, and how to avoid it, complete with video of a real puckerful moment where the camera-equipped shooter ceases fire just for an instant because a teammate runs in front of him, oblivious). Even the free parts of the site are very worthwhile, and that would make their dollar value infinite, wouldn’t it?

There are no great mysteries to combat tactics, now “jaw-dropping shortcut” or “One weird trick,” to use the argot of clickbait. There are fundamental principles, which the tactical training programs of every professional armed service in the world follow, and tactics, techniques and procedures, which are variable so long as they preserve the inviolable principles. If your “militia” shoots now and then on a flat range but can’t organize and conduct a patrol, establish a defensive position, or advance by fire and maneuver, it’s not a militia but a mob. (Call it a “nilitia.”) Max and his guys have been working to close this gap, and they deserve recognition and attention.

Names for Malfunctions

“I’ve never had a malfunction on paper.”

George M. Chinn

On this page at the international website all4shooters, we noted the following paragraph from Andrea Giuntini:

American experts invented names and achronyms for all kind of gun-related malfunctions, yet there isn’t one that suits this. That was definitely not an FTF (“Failure to Feed”), as the round were fed and fired properly, nor an FTE (“Failure to Extract) since, as a matter of fact, the case was extracted and ejected; nor it is a stovepipe malfunction − if it was, the case would be stuck vertically in the ejection window.
May you, ALL4SHOOTERS.COM readers and followers, invent a name for this kind of malfunction? Tell us about it, and about any peculiar kind of malfunction you may have experienced in your everyday shooters’ lives!

The article actually looks into a screwy, one-off malf of a Glock 17, in which a fired casing got turned around backwards and jammed the slide from going into battery on the next round:

Glock-jamming

We couldn’t duplicate the jam with a G17 and dummy rounds in the office, but Andrea traced it to a piece of metal debris under the extractor (his Glock was brand new).

A gun is a machine, and a machine does the same thing every time, given the same input; therefore, a machine never fails for no reason, and the reason is always discoverable, given the right theory, concept, and inspectional technique. Basic troubleshooting, which worked for Andrea Giuntini and should make a good post here some day. But meanwhile, it got us thinking about what are the types of malfunctions?

Most of what an Internet search will find is the same stuff repeated endlessly, which probably comes, ultimately, from Cooper. We leave finding it in Cooper’s voluminous bibliography as an exercise for the reader; his Commentaries are online, for example.

Cooper, in turn, followed Chinn. But an even earlier taxonomy of malfunctions comes from then-Captain Julian Hatcher and his assistants, Lieutenants H.J. Malony and Glenn P. Wilhelm,  at the Machine Gun School of Instruction at Harlingen, Texas in March, 1917.

Jams, Malfunctions, Stoppages

Distinguish carefully between these terms, and use them correctly. Any accidental cessation of fire is a stoppage. It may be due to a misfire, or to the fact that the magazine has been emptied, etc. In this case it is not a malfunction.

A malfunction is an improper action of some part of the gun, resulting in a stoppage. For example, a failure to extract the empty cartridge case.

A jam is some malfunction which causes the mechanism to stick or bind so that it is difficult to move. Do not use the word “Jam” too much. Most troubles with the guns are merely temporary stoppages due to some malfunction, and real jams are comparatively rare.1

An alternative version comes from the Royal Armouries of England and Great Britain. In the 1960s, its standard report format (which we saw in the Vz 58 report) contained this boilerplate key2 to malfunctions:

ABBREVIATION STOPPAGE OR MALFUNCTION DESCRIPTION
1. b.f.c. Breech Block fails to close. The round has been fed into the chamber but breech block not fully home.
2. b. f. r. Breech Block fails to remain to the rear. When the trigger is released the breech block fails to engage on the sear.
3. d.t. Double Tap. When the mechanism of the weapon is set to single shot firing two rounds are fired with one pressure of the trigger.
4. f. e. Failure tc Eject. This occurs when the round is correctly fired and fired case is extracted from chamber but not thrown clear of the weapon.
5. f. e. c. Failure to Extract Fired Case. This occurs when the round is fired correctly but the fired case is left in the chamber when the breech block moves to the rear.
6. f. f. Failure to Feed A conplete failure of the breech block to contact the base of the round and remove it from belt or magazine i.e. breech block closes on empty chamber. Position of round in magazine or belt indicated where possible i.e. 19th
7. hf.      Hangfire This occurs when the time interval between the striking of the cap by the firing pin and the firing of the round is apparent to fixer. Definite time lag in milli seconds is however used by Ammunition personnel.
8. l. s. Light Strike This occurs when the cap of the round receives a slight indentation from the firing pin which is insufficient to ignite the cap composition.
9. p. f. f. Partial Failure to Feed or Malfeed. This is a partial failure in that the round has beer taken partially from the magazine or belt by breech block but has not chambered.

Position of round in magazine or belt indicated where possible, i.e. 19th round etc.

10. mf. Misfire. This occurs when the cap of the round has been correctlv struck but fails to ignite the charge and fire the round.
11.  r. g.  (3),(4),(5), etc. Runaway Gun. No. of rounds in brackets. When the mechanism of the weapon is set either at single shot or auto and continues firing after release of trigger,
12. s. c. Separated Case This occurs when a portion of the fired case is left in the chamber, the remainder being extracted normally. The succeeding round will fail fully to enter the chamber and breech block will fail to close.
13. s. n. r. Snubbed Nose Round. This occurs when the nose of the bullet does not enter the chamber correctly but on striking the barrel face is crushed by the foiward movement of breech block. This snubbing may take place at various points on the barrel face or lead in and where possible, is indicated as SN 3 o’clock SN 9 o’clock etc.
14. t. f. c. Trapped Fired Case. This occurs when the fired case is correctly extracted but on ejection the fired case rebounds into the mechanism and is trapped between some portion of the moving parts (usually the breech block) and the body of the weapon.
15 Failures through Breakages These will obviously cause stoppages and will be described in full.

The fact is, malfunctions are conceptualized differently by the engineer, by the armorer or gunsmith, and by the firearms operator. From the operator’s-eye view, you don’t need to get wrapped around the axle trying to name them al. What you really need to know is what sorts of malfunctions a particular weapon is prone to, and how to correct them. And there is no better way than experience to master the art of malfunction correction.

Notes

  1. Hatcher, et. al. p. 1.
  2. UK Ministry of Defence, Inspectorate of Armaments, Woolwich, Small Arms Branch Testing Section, RSAF Enfield Lock, Form 7248/1. Retrieved from: http://weaponsman.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/RSAF-SATB-Small-Arms-Trial-Report-Vz58-1966.pdf

Sources

Hatcher, Julian S., Wilhelm, Glenn P. and Malony, Harry J. Menasha, WI: George Banta Publishing Co., 1917.

UK Ministry of Defence, Inspectorate of Armaments, Woolwich, Small Arms Branch Testing Section, RSAF Enfield Lock, Form 7248/1.

It’s a Knife! It’s a Gun! It’s… Any Other Weapon

Any Other Weapon is a portmanteau category in which the ATF throws things that it wants to discourage, using one of its most powerful tools: the Pigovian tax and glacial bureaucratic delays of the National Firearms Act. The most common AOWs are things like ultra-compact shotguns and disguised weapons like cane and belt-buckle firearms. This unusual device, the GRAD RS1, conceals the action of a .22 revolver in the fat grip of a knife that roughly resembles an AK bayonet.

Grad RS1 knife pistol

ATF says:

The GRAD RS1 is a knife with a revolver concealed within the handle of the knife. The revolver will hold 5 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition (some models will hold 6). The projectile is fired over the top of the blade by depressing the trigger into the handle of the knife. Only a handful of these were made.

The GRAD RS1 is considered an “Any Other Weapon” under the NFA.

This particular Grad is from the ATF’s reference collection, and the photos are ATF official.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Doomed Soldiers

doomed_soldiersWhat was so doomed about the “doomed soldiers?” They were freedom fighters. For a nation squeezed between two of the great nightmare totalitarian tyrannies of the 20th Century; at first, the two mighty powers combined to conquer and divide the nation of the doomed; then, one of the two double-crossed the other and started a war, with the doomed’s land a battlefield going and coming; and then, the other gang of totalitarians triumphed, and proved to be even worse in victory than the first bunch had been.

The doomed, of course, were the bold resisters of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa); their nation divided by the de facto Axis allies, Nazi Germany and the USSR, in 1939, only to become a battlefield again when the Nazis turned on their fellow totalitarians in 1941, and for a third time in 1944 as the Red Army harried the Wehrmacht back towards Berlin.

Then in later 1944, the Russian NKVD began to hunt the AK implacably, with unlimited resources, and with a ruthlessness that put the mere Nazis to shame.

A message from one monster to another tells one part of the tale, as Russian troops began to disarm and jail their ostensible allies of the Polish Home Army:

July 20, 1944
L. Beria to J. Stalin
Nr. 778/b
Top Secret
State Defense Committee

[For:] Comrade Stalin, J. V.

Following information regarding operation to disarm enlisted men and officers of the Polish Home Army were received from comrade Serov and Tcherniakovsky: All in all, according to the preliminary assessments, during two days of the operation, 6,000 men were disarmed. Among them, 650 officers and NCOs.

During the disarming, confiscated were 5,100 rifles, 350 machine guns, 230 light and heavy machine guns, 12 light artillery pieces, 27 vehicles, 7 radio transmitters, 350 horses, and large amount of ammunition.

The Polish enlisted men and officers [of the Home Army] are transported under security to the assembly points.

Some of the Poles saw what was up and scattered. The last time Poles had been taken prisoner by the Soviets, in 1939, the officers had been murdered almost to the last man on the direct orders of Stalin via Beria.

It seems as if Beria, at least, was willing to do it again:

2. Enlisted men and NCOs who expressed desire to join the [Communist Polish People’s] army are to be directed to the reserves’ regiments of the Main Recruiting Board, in order to use them in the future as rear units of the Red Army.

3. The officers’ cadre of interest to NKVD-NKGB, counterintelligence, and “Smersh” [… unintelligible]

4. The remaining officers are to be transported to the NKVD camps, because under the present circumstances, they will begin to [re-] organize various Polish resistance organizations.

The Doomed Soldiers site is dense with information and the pathways through it are not always clear or logical. We found it rewarding to hunt up primary sources like the above, and survivor interviews. Plus, there are the many dimensions of human courage, from the guy who broke away from a mass execution (“the PPSh fired… I felt a bullet go through my shoulder”) to the officer who got himself captured and condemned so that he could get eyes on what the Germans were doing in Auschwitz.

The site definitely has a point of view, and sometimes seems to lapse into paranoia. But if you were as ill-used as the poor suffering bastard’s of the Home Army, is it really paranoid to think that everyone’s out to get you?

A Mystery in Springfield

Meet Colt XM16E1 Serial Number 50,000, held by ATF SA Allan Offringa on a visit to the Springfield Armory Museum.

SA Allan Offringa w sn-50000

The ladies flanking him are forensics types: Nancy McCombs of the California State DOJ, Katherine Richert of the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, and Lily Hwa of the Houston PD. Might as well keep the names with the picture, yes?

This M16 has some sort of a gold finish, and is a bit of a mystery gun. Most likely it was dressed up because of it’s serial number: 50,000. It was made in 1963, and Springfield Armory National Historic site notes a rumor that it may have been intended for presentation to President John F. Kennedy, himself something of a gun buff (Kennedy accepted a gift of an AR-15 at some time, and that rifle is in a collection in the USA). It didn’t come to the Museum until 1966.

XM16E1 SN50000 left

Springfield describes the rifle like this:

U.S. ASSAULT RIFLE XM16E1 5.56MM SN# 050000
Manufactured by Colt, Hartford, Ct. – Special presentation XM16E1 assault rifle. Gold finish and black plastic stock and black sling. Weapon has forward assist. 85,000 manufactured under Contract “508” at a cost of $121.84 each. Weapon complete with 20-round detachable box magazine and in good condition. There is some belief that this weapon was intended for presentation to President John F. Kennedy.

Markings:
Magazine housing: COLT/AR15/PROPERTY/OF U.S. GOVT./XM16E1/CAL. 5.56MM/SERIAL 050000.
Frame: COLT’S PATENT FIREARMS MFG. CO./HARTFORD, CONN./U.S.A.

Weapon transferred to the Museum on 8 February 1966. At that time weapon was appraised at $250.00.

Army card #8986 – “Presentation weapon.”

XM16E1 SN50000 right

Contrary to common belief, there is no definitive difference between an “XM16E1” and an “M16A1” except the roll mark, which was changed when the rifle was finally standardized on 28 February 1967. All of the changes that collectors discuss as if they marked the transition from XM16E1 to M16A1 were actually running changes on the production line: the closed-end “birdcage” flash hider, the protective boss around the magazine release, and the parkerized instead of chromed bolt and carrier, were among the hundreds of changes that the M16A1 rifle experienced during the first three or four years of its long production life. Every XM16E1 and M16A1 from Day 1 of production had the forward assist.

Number 50,000 has some markers of a very early production rifle. The stock appears to be Type C (it’s hard to tell without a comparison in the picture). The magazine is a very early “waffle” type. The lower receiver is one of the earliest forgings, with no protective boss and a reinforcement line that lines up from lower to upper receiver. (It is possible that, when the receiver change came through, one or more of the now-surplus older forgings was set aside for use on “specials” like this presentation gun. Colt often used obsolete parts on tool-room prototypes, and was still using slick-side first-generation forgings on SP1 semi-autos into the late 1980s). This firearm is not semi-auto — you can see the sear pin quite clearly above the safety/selector, thanks to the contrast between the Parkerized pin and the gold-finished lower receiver.

The gold finish must be some kind of plating or paint. Is it possible to get plating to adhere evenly over aluminum (the receivers) and steel (the barrel) at all?

By the time this gun arrived at the Springfield Museum, the writing was on the wall for Springfield Armory. This gun’s page at the Museum website includes extensive quotes from a news story that also ties Colt (maker of this M16) and Springfield: in 1966, Colt was recruiting soon-to-be-unemployed Armory workers for its busy plant an hour south, down newly built Interstate 91.

Springfield Union, July 1, 1966 – “Business & Industry. Colt Firearms Div. Gets Recruits from Armory. Hartford Plant Said Capable Of Matching Job Skills Exactly.
Springfield Armory workers, apparently resigned to the projected closing of the installation by the Department of Defense, are responding in undisclosed numbers to a recruitment program at Colt’s Firearms Division of Colt Industries, Hartford, Conn.
That word came Tuesday from Bruno Czech, personnel director of the firearms manufacturing concern, who said that recruitment for the Hartford plant from Greater Springfield in on the increase.
Workers Hired – Skilled and unskilled workers are being hired by Colt’s which now has a training program in operation for the first time in its history.
The facility manufactures hand guns, shotguns, machine guns, the AR15 rifle and military pyrotechnics.
Czech said that although the firm is generally recognized as a military producer, more than 60 per cent of its sales are commercial.
Plans for an increase in military production of heavy weapons systems had in part resulted in an expected 30 per cent increase in employment by the end of the year, he said.
Armory Conference – ‘When the proposed Armory closing was announced by Secretary MacNamera,’ Czech said, ‘we conferred with officials there pointing out that we desired capable workers and that if the closing became a reality, we would definitely offer positions in our plant.

One wonders how it felt for former Springfield workers to be offered work on the production line of the M-16 — the very rifle that many of them blamed, fairly or not, for their unemployment.

More General Harbord for your Reading Pleasure

MG James Guthrie HarbordWe’ve before enjoyed the great prose and center-of-the-action position of World War I’s Major General James G. Harbord in the form of his (curated and edited) collection of letters to his wife at home, Leaves from the War. Harbord was a very central figure in the American participation in the war: from the start he was Chief of Staff to AEF Commander John J. Pershing; then he commanded the Marine Brigade; then he commanded the 26th Division; then the Services of Supply; the war was over.

So it was with some delight we found further Harbordiana on Archive.org, made free by the relentless workings of time on the copyright laws. (The last book was so entertaining we wish there was somewhere we could PayPal a small honorarium in honor of the great man to his living posterity, if any). The description of the work on archive.org was promising:

Outline biography of Maj. Gen. James G. Harbord.–A year as chief of staff of the American expeditionary forces.–The Army as a career.–The American general staff.–A month in Belleau woods in 1918.–The dedication of Bois de Belleau.–The Chattanooga war memorial

via The American expeditionary forces; its organization and accomplishments : Harbord, James G. (James Guthrie), 1866-1947 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive.

In fact, it was a collection of speeches, something that became clear only on the reading. Had we known that we might not have clicked, for what soldier has not sat through a speech from some ancient VIP, and what speech of those has not droned on interminably in the direction of Judgment Day, with nought to show for it but the knowledge that you sat where Authority sat you and endured what you were tasked to endure.

Soldiers being soldiers, some of the recipients of these speeches, like classes at the War College, may well have felt that way, but today, from a dry page, they raise the ghost of this dead period of history and make it come alive before you. These are not the anodyne speeches that today’s enervated, deracinated, homogenized political generals and admirals read haltingly from a TelePrompTer; they’re war stories from a man who was, at one time or another, in every key seat not occupied by Pershing himself: Staff Chief, Brigade Commander, Division Commander, Commander of the Services of Supply.

You sit with Harbord and Pershing in Room 223 of the old State, War and Navy building (now the Old Executive Office Department; principally the offices of the Vice President and his staff and the First Lady’s staff, both of which staffs are larger than that with which we planned and conducted our million-man contribution to the Great War). The staff was, shall we say, select in that it was small enough to get things done, unlike today’s bloated headquarters. How small was it? Small enough to put a name to every key officer in a single paragraph.

The Field Regulations of 1914 provided for three sections of the General Staff. Majors John McA. Palmer and Dennis E. Nolan were detailed from the War Department General Staff, and from stations outside of Washington General Pershing secured Captains Hugh A. Drum, Arthur L. Conger and William O. Reed, who became members of the General Staff of the American Expeditionary Forces and joined us before departure.

Are you listening, Pentagon? General Staff for planning a war (which, by the way, we won, beating the nation that gets credit for inventing the General Staff): 1 x Colonel, 2 x Major, 3 x Captain. Six guys. There was probably more brass involved in the 2015 decision to supply that same building with tranny lavatories.

In all about fifty officers of all grades and departments, including a number of medical and other reserve officers, sailed with General Pershing for France on May 28th,1917.

Along with special staff, those fifty included prospective unit commanders.

For long after our arrival abroad requests for additional officers were grudgingly granted in the light of the numbers we had taken with us; and, in the preparation of this paper, I have read an approved history which states that General Pershing took an “ample staff” to France.

Getting some of the officers out of the States and away from their independent branches was difficult:

The myopic vision of the War Department of what lay before us in France was shown by the reluctance with which staff officers were furnished us at the beginning. Embarking for the greatest war of all time, there were some officers performing duties “too important” to admit of their being spared for a mere war.

At first, Harbord, then a colonel, was not sure Pershing, with whom he had been very friendly, but hadn’t seen since that man’s return from Mexico, wanted to see him. He was afraid that Pershing would feel that Harbord had snubbed him, by not joining the human wave of supplicants and preference-seekers that descended upon the commander-designee.

On meeting Pershing again, the friendship and working relationship were just about perfect. Pershing initially did not want Harbord for Chief of Staff, because he believed that either the Commandant or the Chief of Staff for the American Expeditionary Force in France ought to speak the French language; he was disappointed to learn that Harbord no more spoke French than he did himself.

That, in the end, didn’t matter. After considering two other, presumably Francophone, officers, Harbord’s performance in the position as an “acting” chief changed Pershing’s mind. The Language of Love was going to have to fend for itself.

Pershing never regretted that decision, and Harbord never let him down, drawing one tough task (how about an Army officer commanding a Marine Brigade!) after another. And quite a few of those stories are told in this book.

Since the speeches were often to officers or veterans, this book has more martial detail than Leaves from a War Diary, which is an edited collection of personal letters to his wife.

Cop Shot His Own Partner… No Consequences

We’ve discussed before the problem of cops shooting their own undercovers. Here, a hopped-up officer in Albuquerque shoots his own undercover, that he’s partnering with on this drug bust. The video, from shooter Lt. Greg Brachle’s body cam, is heavily redacted by the Albuquerque PD, but the audio is pretty clear; only Brachle’s (understandable) obscenities are bleeped.

Jacob Grant, one of two undercovers in the car, survived thanks only to blind luck and his own toughness.

Classic moments in police work:
“Are you okay?”
“No.” (Check the tone on that statement).

No kidding, Dick Tracy. Brachle’s marksmanship was as good as his judgment bad, and the story says Grant was shot nine times (however, Brachle only fired eight shots). Supposedly, every organ in his chest had a bullet or a wound channel in it. Only good basic health, superhuman efforts by the emergency room and surgeons, and blind luck kept him from sleeping the long sleep, starting that night.

Brachle seems to have done everything wrong. He skipped the briefing, approached on the opposite side from the other officers, and most seriously, fired without recognizing his target. Then, he broke down on recognizing his error… and then pitched in to run and get a first aid kit, blubbering miserably while still more or less functional. (That he was able to do this, even if it took him two attempts to find the kit, in the emotional state he was in, is better than one would expect. Perhaps it’s a testament to his training).

Ultimate outcome: for the taxpayers of Albuquerque, lifetime responsibility for Grant’s medical care, and a large lump sum ($6.5M) for Grant and his lawyers. For the leadership of the department, no consequences. For Brachle, no consequences, even though it’s his second bad shoot; if he hadn’t been up for retirement, he’d still be out there protecting and serving the living Jesus out of Albuquerque.

ABQ has shelled out $40 million in settlements in the last six years, largely due to police shootings. But they’re not going to fire anybody. Indeed, their list of what they’ve done is a  catalog of organizational eyewash, and pretty much guarantees another bad shoot soon.

And oh, yeah, the drug dealers they were trying to catch? Not wanting to discuss this in a courtroom, the ABQ PD let ’em all go.

Feel protected enough yet?

Update

While this event happens really fast — too fast, after all, for poor Greg Brachle to have any idea who he was shooting until it was too late — that’s typical of real world Use of Force incidents. Check out this post by Murphy’s Law at Lagniappe’s Lair. There are two videos there (officer’s body cam and dashcam of the unit showing up behind him) and the guy really doesn’t have much time to decide at all. Crazy person acting crazy?

We don’t see much need to add to what ML has written there. Just that it is in your best interests to think through uses of force (and armed self-defense) so that observation & orientation don’t take up too much time.

If you encounter a cop in his or her professional capacity, most people know what to do. Freezing, hands up, is pretty safe. Closing the distance to the cop with an axe in your hand? Not safe. Not bright, either. That’s how these angelic souls keep ascending to an astral plane, lighter by the weight of their bodies, but heavier by a few 125 grain JHPs.