Category Archives: Weapons Website of the Week

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Tactical Anatomy

Tactical Anatomy logoAs much as the word “tactical” is overused in Gun Nation, it definitely fits here. Dr. (yes, he has a DEA number, sorry all you PhD doctor-impersonators) James Williams has a very interesting background that provides a scientific basis for his Tactical Anatomy concept and training.

He offers training classes in gunfight anatomy, yclept Shooting with X-Ray Vision, in versions for both sworn law officers and for “civilians” (wait, cops are civilians, as are we retired soldiers, NTTAWWT), and in treatment of gunshot wounds, and occasional posts to a blog that are entertaining as hell. He also publishes an instructor manual. We’ve ordered it based on his description of its content, which is highly congruent with the practical instruction one gets in anatomy at a place like SOT, SFARTAETC, or SFAUC, but we doubt it’s as useful or as much fun as attending one of his classes.

James S. Williams, M.D. … used his experience as a hunter and a competitive shooter in conjunction with his extensive trauma medicine experience to develop the Tactical Anatomy model, targets, and instructional systems. He has a wealth of firearms training experience and is an NRA-certified instructor.

via About Tactical Anatomy – Tactical Anatomy.

He served as the MO on a SWAT team for many years, and has practiced, taught, and shot in Canada and several American States (he’s now in Texas). We found his blog whilst contemplating a post on the limitations of “center of mass,” the hoary old military standby, as an aiming point in the sort of close-in social work that police and defensive shooters in general usually face.

You see, the military chose “center of mass” for very deliberate reasons, which are not applicable in a non-military-combat, often one-on-one, self-defensive shoot. We’ll probably go into that in depth in that contemplated post, if and when we get to it. We assume that military training, given the presence of vets in just about every police force and the military experience that many (not all!) of the best firearms trainers share, was the vector by which this idea infused itself in the defensive handgun world.

What Doc here says about it is pithy and, well, correct, apart from the fact that the term does exist outside of police work, in the military, and is useful there precisely because a soldier’s objective in shooting an enemy is often not the same as a policeman’s or defender’s. Here’s the meat, occasioned by a hairy firefight at short range with limited cover between a cop (Officer Peter Soulis) and a felon (“Tim Palmer,” pseudonym, who unbeknownst to Soulis was wanted for murder):

But here’s a hint as to the root of a correctable problem: the author of this article states that  “Palmer had taken 22 hits from Soulis’ .40-caliber Glock, 17 of which had hit center mass“.

The author’s implication is that a “center mass” hit is a good hit. And that, my friends, is where we descend from good tactical analysis into the Land of Bullshit.

If you’ve attended my Shooting With Xray Vision class (SXRV), or you’ve read my book, you have heard me say this before:  there is no such thing as Center Mass.  In 6 years of undergraduate and graduate level science, I never once read or heard of an anatomic structure called “center mass”. In all my years of medical school and postgraduate residency, I never read or heard of a medical term called “center mass”. And in 40 years of hunting animals for food with rifles, handguns, bows, blowguns, atlatl’s, and other weapons, I never once heard another hunter tell me to aim for “center mass”.

The reason for that is that outside of police circles, the term does not exist. And for good reason. It’s a bullshit term that has no relevance to reality. People use the term “center mass” because they’re lazy and ignorant. Sorry if that offends you, but that’s the bottom line. People who use the term “center mass” are admitting for all intents and purposes that they have no idea that critical structures of the human body exist in the human body that need to be interdicted by a police bullet to stop a felon’s violent actions. They are admitting that they have no idea where those vital structures are, and they have no idea how to visualize those anatomic structures in a real live human body.

The link in Doc’s article does not work, but the story is still there at — here’s a corrected link; if that one too goes bad, just do a search at LawOfficer — it was a hell of a fight and it’s a hell of a read, despite Doc’s quibble about the “center mass” term. Here is a period news story about the shooting — one of at least five Soulis was involved in during his time as a cop — and reading it probably explains why thought it worthwhile to change the name of the criminal. We know you guys have too much class to hassle a criminal’s innocent mother, unlike newspaper reporters. And the shootout became a made-for-TV episode calling Soulis an “action hero” last year, the season finale of ABC’s “In an Instant,” available online for viewing. But we digress; back to Doc’s site.

Wile-E-Coyote-Genius-Business-CardIf you think his view of Center Mass as a concept is entertaining, you should read his post occasioned by some Wile E. Coyote Super Genius asking him why it was a good idea to — we are not making this up! — shoot an assailant or hostage taker in the kidneys. One more taste, but you then have to go Read The Whole Thing™.

Military snipers train to incapacitate their targets with a single shot. Incapacitation on the battlefield is highly congruent with rapid death of the target. Centerfire rifle bullets are designed to produce incapacitating injury as quickly as possible. Incapacitation by GSW entails putting the bullet into the primary or secondary target anatomy. The primary target is the CNS, and the secondary target is the cardiovascular system that supports the CNS. The kidneys are part of neither. The kidneys are small, deep in the body, and in anatomic locations that medically-untrained snipers would have significant difficulty visualizing in the 3D human body. As such, deliberately targeting the kidneys is so far from practicable I actually laughed out loud in disbelief when I first read your email.

Let me be perfectly clear: shooting an enemy combatant anywhere other than the CNS/CV bundle target zones would be, first, a failure to fulfill the tactical mission (incapacitate your target asap), and second, wanton cruelty. This is at best comic-book mall-ninja material, and should be rejected out of hand.

Exercise for the reader — point to your kidneys, from the front, back and side.

Q1: Are you sure?

Q2: For extra credit: Describe that target in terms of size, criticality, recognizability, vulnerability, effect — hell, do a full CARVER on it — vis-a-vis the brain stem and cerebellum.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week:

198We’re a little late on this one, and a little brief. But this site came up in a search, and we think we have not referenced it here before. (Yes, we didn’t search our own site to see. Shame…)

Did you know you can find a great deal of interesting stuff on For instance, here’s our little search for “Arms Production” and its first few hits among the documents archived there.

A couple of those look tempting… and that’s the problem with, is it’s a colossal time suck. We did find what we were looking for (text of a recent SF training circular, which did suck just as much as we remembered it did) But we also found that 1987 thesis on arms production in Venezuela1948 and 1949 documents from the National Military Establishment R&D Board; TM 9-2210 Small Arms Accidents, Malfunctions & Causes, 1942 (describes what causes typical accidents in the M1903 and M1917 rifles, the Browning .30 LMG and the M1917 revolver); a Britsh paper on Small Arms Manufacture, 1865, complete with some description of both the mechanics and the economics concerned….

…and yeah, all this stuff is free. You can read it on the site, or download it in one of many formats (.pdf, .mobi, .epub, etc.).

And that’s just the Documents. There’s also the Videos, and we haven’t even gotten to those yet!

So you see why we’re not really alarmed by the possibility of this W4 being a double-tap. If we used this once before, fine and good. It’s that interesting.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: This Ain’t

this_aint_hellJonn Lilyea’s veterans’ site, This Ain’t Hell, isn’t really a weapons site, but it’s one of our first stops for checking on veterans’ affairs, and one of the sites that still keeps the heat on veterans’ impersonators and valor thieves.

If you see some drunken assclown claiming to be a Green Beret (what? You’re a hat, dude?) chances are he’s nothing such, like this assclown, and chances are good that Jonn and his writers have the goods on him — like that assclown.

It’s not all valor-stealing aassclowns all the time (although we’ll be returning to the bozo above in a bit). Sometimes there are “feel good stories” about criminals that have been given an opportunity to turn their lives around, like this Florida perv:

Our first stop this morning is the Hollywood Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida where a woman called the tribal police right before her housemate perforated the fellow she found peeking at her from her yard. According to the article the police took the peeper to the hospital to be treated for his six wounds.

Crime doesn’t pay, does it? Perv.

By the way, the valor-stealing assclown mentioned above, before the perv, is currently under arrest for telling cops he was going to kill them. He is also running for President. Why not? Among other things he says he will…

fix k to 12 and higher egurcation

That’s a relief. We had a feeling ergucation was broken.

Anyway, if you’re a vet, you may like This Ain’t Hell. If you’re not… well, we’ll have another W4 next week.

W4: We Are All Hickok45

Funny thing is, before the events of this week, we had a Hickok45 video in our tabs, meaning to comment on it, once we came to grips with how. It was this video on the Beretta M9A3, with a suppressor, which left us … both appreciative and bemused.

First, we have a longstanding prejudice against long, rambling gun videos. Now, Hickok is far from the greatest offender here; he usually stays on point. But his videos run longer and ramble more than we usually like. The reason they are worth watching — like the Beretta video above — is because there are gems of knowledge and informed opinion.

He also has a good grasp of the technological and market position of the firearm and — this is not universal among his peers on Yout’ Tube — he can shoot.

There’s a few things he misses — details, not targets. For example, while he prefers a pistol safety on the frame and wonders why Beretta puts it on the slide, those of us that were carrying Berettas when that change was made remember why: the customer, specifically the US Army, demanded a Walther P.38 style decocker. So Beretta did what the customer wanted, and the safety of the M92 — on the frame where John Browning put it (and where Beretta had it in the forerunner M1951) vanished from the frame and reappeared on the slide, as a decocking safety, on the M92S. (That one itself would also be modified further by customer demand: moving the grip-butt push-button mag release to the Browning/1911 position at the junction of grip and trigger bow; and a firing pin safety would be engineered into the slide for the final 92FS/M9).

But nit-picking Beretta geekery aside, this is a good video introduction to the latest version of the venerable 92, and above all, Hickok’s knowing respect for the gun comes through, in a world where hipster sneering sometimes substitutes for knowledge. Hickok delivers knowledge. That makes up for some lengthy videos.

And then… ZAP.

Because of the quality of the videos, Hickok45’s YouTube channel grew and grew. He had many followers… 1.8 million. And then, it was gone:

hickock banned

Repeated violations? What was that?

Well, it was a video channel about guns. And YouTube belongs to Google. YouTube has a pretty strong, politically partisan anti-gun position, and individual YouTube employees are empowered to nuke a channel like this if it they want to do it. Like government employees, the minions of Google have great power and no responsibility, no accountability.

And no commitment to the Western republican (whig, really) ideal of free speech. No one at Google has any problem maintaining the instruments of repression that have come to be called the Great Firewall of China. No one at Google has any problem with assisting the secret police of China and other totalitarian states in finding, fixing, and finishing political dissidents.

It’s what they do.

What they do have a problem with is, apparently, the sort of lawful, inoffensive-to-rational-persons video Hickok produces, and with the lawful, licensed, regulated and ethical business, firearms sales, that his sponsor, high-volume FFL Bud’s Gun Shop, practices.

So they nuked him clean off the internet. Because they don’t want their politically partisan anti-gun position to win a battle of ideas, but because they like to use their power to carry out the totalitarian suppression of alternate ideas.

After a broad public outcry, they reinstated Hickok45 amid some mumbo-jumbo about how it was all his fault for having a Google+ account (a useless account — literally useless — that Google pushed on all users of Google anything, including Yout’ Tube), because Google+ is even more political and anti-gun than Yout’ Tube.

hickock banned2

So for tonight, we are all Hickok45. You can find his YouTube channel here (until some empowered, unaccountable intern at Google nukes it again) and you can find his Facebook page here. 

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Isayeret

isayeret_websiteA long time ago, a website named Isayeret: The Israeli Special Operations Database was an occasional visit. It had a nice blend of facts, information on units and weapons, and lots of good action photos, presumably official IDF releases.

Then it went behind a paywall, and we were never that interested in the IDF. We’re never likely to face them as an enemy; we’re almost as unlikely to never have them as a coalition partner. Now, they have emerged from the paywall and are definitely worth a visit. The site is now supported by donations, so if you really like it, you know what to do.

Our favorite part of the site is the photography, and what it tells us about the small nation’s many interesting and unique SOF elements. For example, Your Humble Blogger has looked like this guy, in various places like the Dovrefjell, the Hindu Kush, and on Cotopaxi. Didn’t know that the Israelis had, or needed, an Alpinisti unit, created after the Syrians seized snowy Mount Hebron in 1973.


His firearm’s a Knight’s Armament Corp . SR-25, a good choice. The Alpinisti are all reservists, and many of them are immigrants from wintry lands, or who enjoyed alpine sports in their original homes.

Another all-reserve SOF outfit, Rimon, is oriented solely to desert warfare:


They have standard Israeli small arms, but US-pattern desert camouflage of the 1992-2003 pattern (left, very effective) or 1983-92 pattern (right, not so much).

Israeli weapons have changed since their Six Day War kit of FAL, FALO and Uzi. The Galil was replaced by the M16 Carbine in a peculiarly Israeli configuration, and that in turn has been replaced by two generations of Tavor. The original Tavor with the large trigger guard has been replaced in these units, at least, by the Micro Tavor.

Their pistols have likewise evolved from Beretta 1951 to BHP to local produced BHP to unlicensed CZ copy (Jericho) to Glock. It is probably only a matter of time until they reverse-engineer the Glock, too.

American attitudes towards the IDF have evolved, and not in a positive way.  At the time of the Six Day War in 1967, many Americans identified with the Israeli underdog, and books and magazines about the IDF remained popular for another 15 years. 30 and 40 years ago we thought  of the Israelis as great allies and of the IDF as an admirable force, fighting with righteousness against iniquitous enemies. For some Americans, that’s changed. Maybe there’s a story in how that happened.

For the rest of us, the Israelis will always be those paratroopers who fell to their knees on liberating the holy city of Jerusalem, the pilots who swept the MiGs from the sky, and the commandos who rescued a planeload of hostages in Uganda (well, except for the one that Idi Amin ate. But that, too, is another story).

And it’s always interesting to see what another professional army is up to

Wednesday Thursday Weapons Website of the Week: NYPL Public Domain

First, two apologies: one, that we’re a day late on this as a result of processing all this new data, and, two, that this W4 is so off topic that we’ve barely found anything on topic in it.

However, it’s so ineffably cool that we had to get it out to you.

We speak of the New York Public Library Public Domain photograph, image, and document collection.

True, librarians tend to be nasty, censorious SJWs that incline to banning for whatever (ideological?) reasons under false and fabricated pretexts (Indiana Public Libraries, we’re lookin’ at you). But in this case they’ve done the public the sort of public service that makes Andrew Carnegie, wherever he is, realize that not everything he gave to libraries is a waste.

All hail the librarians of the New York Public Library system, and their techie myrmidons who brought this collection out of the stacks. It is an immense public service, not only to New York, but also to the world.

brian_foos_interface_to_nypl_pd_pagesThere are several different ways to view the collection. Brian Foo of NYPL Labs has remixed it so that you can sort by the photo or artwork’s Century Created, its Genre, its Collection, and by Color. The image to the left here is a thumbnail of his micro-thumbnails (the meta’s getting thick around here!) of some of the roughly 71,000 images created in the 19th Century.  Conversely, there are “only” 34,000 20th Century images.

This one embiggens...

This one embiggens…

The collection is also divided by sub-collections, many of them donated or bequeathed to the Public Library by lifelong collectors. Inside these collections are many gems. Given a background in Human Terrain, it was a thrill to find a book of photographs purporting to represent the races of (British Empire era) India1; we meant to find a Waziri or Adam Khel tribesman but were distracted by this photo of a very dignified member of something called the Lepcha who are noted as aboriginal, and from the mountain province of Sikkim. (Sikhim, in the period notes). This book alone would provide hours of fun, considering that Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh were all part of the Empire of India at the time; many of these tribal identities are probably deracinated to some extent in today’s slightly more homogenized India and Pakistan, but the Afghan tribes are the Afghan tribes — only the firearms have changed.

Indeed, maybe this Indian isn’t here by accident. Maybe it was the fact that he’s clutching what appears to be a muzzle-loading fowler that caught our eye?

This shows, in a very scaled down image, how the library captured the whole page. So if you want to see him in detail, click the other image above.


The color scale is a very, very good idea; we have to get one for when we scan old books and magazines with the Fujutsu book scanner (not every library scan seems to include this). These New York library technicians have probably forgotten more about scanning than we ever can hope to learn.

The collections include things you might expect, like , and also logical but welcome surprises, like Atlases of New York City, with over 10,000 images. If you’re an NYC or Long Island resident or native, chances are good there’s a historical map of your home here that would make a fantastic wall hanging — and since this stuff is public domain, there are no copyright questions in bringing it in to Office Monster or Kinkos and running off a copy in that size.

While we enjoyed searching through Foo’s elegant interface, looking for something on topic for a bunch of weapons geeks. We searched for Naval Gun and there were some interesting images at the result link, including this postcard of a 12″ Naval Gun firing from…?

12 inch gun postcard

But we also saw this unusual, 18th-Century-looking document. What was it?

privateer commission

The individual document page (if that doesn’t work, try this link, flagged as a permalink on the page) was primary document paydirt:

D. S., John Hanson. Countersigned by Cha. Thomson, Secy. Printed form filled in. With Naval seal attached. 1 page. Fo

The cut-off word is perhaps “folio”, referring to the size of the page. But what the document is, is a September 17, 1782, commission for a privateer.

Granting licence and authority to David Phips, commander of the Brigantine called the Hetty of the burthen of 120 tons, belonging to Elias Shipman & Co., mounting 8 carriage guns, and navigated by 35 men, to fit out the said brigantine in a warlike manner, and to attack and seize all ships and goods belonging to the King or Crown of Great-Britain.

Now, if you don’t think that’s cool, you may be on the wrong blog.

Unfortunately, we struck out on higher-resolution downloads on that page… they’re available, but they all hang. Maybe you’ll have better luck, or maybe we’ll all hang separately.

Returning to our document, it was from something enticingly titled Series IX. Lossing’s Field Book of the Revolution. You can look at the Lossing’s Field Book sub-collection (it’s from something titled the Thomas Addis Emmet Collection, 1483-1876) at this link, or you can View as Book. We haven’t done that yet, as we have a blog post to finish, and every click on this website takes us further down the rabbit hole. Well, here’s one more page from Lossing:

fort wilkinson inventory from NYPL

It’s the Return of Ordnance Stores from Fort Edward, NY, on 15 July 1777, signed by Jasper Maudle Gidley, Conductor and countersigned by one Col. Wilkinson. (The Library says “13 July,” but that seems to be an error on their part. Look at the number in the upper right area of the page very closely). Looks like they had powder, shot, cartridge paper and thread, and flints, but their muskets were in a bad way.

The search engine they use does not accept regular expressions or booleans, so, if you search for Maxim you’re going to get a ton on Maxim Gorky, even if you try Maxim -Gorky or Maxim NOT Gorky (in fact, the latter two cases get you only Maxim Gorky. And NYPL has a ton of photos of his ugly personage). You need to specify Hiram Maxim or Maxim Gun.

One more hot tip: if you’re going to download documents, don’t choose “original” size unless you’re planning on having them printed. The resolution is unbelievable, the documents are enormous, and even on a high-speed connection they take forever to download. Look at the pixel sizes available… usually the second largest numeric size is plenty big enough, if you’re not going to print with the file. (The inventory above was downloaded at the 1600px setting).


  1. According to the Library, the book is:
    Watson, J. Forbes (John Forbes) (1827-1892) (Editor)Kaye, John William, Sir (1814-1876) (Editor), The people of India : A series of photographic illustrations, with descriptive letterpress, of the races and tribes of Hindustan, originally prepared under the authority of the government of India, and reproduced … (the title trails off in the Library record). London, India Museum, 1868=1875. Retrieved from

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Civil War Arsenal

(Yes, we’re nearly a day behind. Can’t be helped. Right now, just call us … an aspiring wrapper. We’ll be catching up throughout the day, and expect to make only one brief post tomorrow. Saturday we return to the normal schedule. -Ed).

1863 Richmond Arsenal Carbine (copy of a '53 Enfield).

1863 Richmond Arsenal Carbine (copy of a ’53 Enfield).

The Civil War is often thought of being boring from a standpoint of small arms development. Nothing could be further from the truth. At the war;s outbreak, many second-line and state militia outfits were armed with smoothbore percussion muzzleloaders, despite the Army’s adoption of a Minie-ball rifle-musket five years earlier. Some of those smoothbore muskets were .69 caliber converted flintlocks. Even at Gettysburg, whole regiments in both armies were firing round balls from smoothbores. By war’s end, the metallic fixed cartridge breechloader had proven its superiority and adaptability, and thanks to this new technology, new repeaters and machine guns were entering service, and something like a recoiling carriage was developed for artillery (it would take decades more for hydraulics to enable a truly practical version, however).

These developments were closely watched by European and Asian officers detailed as observers to the American armies and so they spread worldwide with great rapidity.

In addition, some of the Europeans’ small arms got a combat test, because neither the industry-poor Confederacy nor the industry-rich Union could produce enough modern firearms fast enough to arm new regiments and to reconstitute after losses. (The Austrian Lorenz, an equivalent to the M1855 or M1861 from the ill-fated Harper’s Ferry and surviving Springfield arsenals, was probably the most widely issued of these).

Confederate Dickson-Nelson Rifle.

Confederate Dickson-Nelson Rifle.

And the same logistics problem that made the Americans of both nations willing to scour the arsenals, factories and arms bazaars of Europe, meany that every small shop that could perhaps produce muskets, parts or bayonets was rapidly reorganized for that purpose. This was especially true in the South, where both manufacturing capacity and raw materials feedstocks were critically low.

Enter the website Civil War Arsenal, one man’s blog about the CW weapons that he, descended from Revolutionary and Confederate soldiers, collects. There is a heavy emphasis on Confederate weapons, a field of collecting beset by confusion and fakes.

This page is Gene West’s personal contribution to the memory of his ancestors, but it’s also a fine resource for anyone interested in Civil War arms, especially Rebel ones.

If you’re needing a little more Civil War wisdom, here are some more links:

Those links are all good stuff. But today, the tile of Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week belongs to Gene West’s Civil War Armory.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Kanshoan Sword Shop

Kanshoan, a sword shop in Japan, offers up this poem, the origin of which we do not know. Perhaps they made it up:

When you have trouble and you are at a loss,
just look at a sword.
A sword will encourage you.

When you’re angry and you have flown into a rage,
just take a deep breath and look at a sword.
A sword will quietly ease your mind.

Look at a sword, and touch a sword.

Of course, if your mind doesn’t ease, you still have the sword, and can set to lopping off heads. There is that.

But a Japanese sword is an item of beauty as much as practicality. Consider this katana from the Onin Warring States Period c 1467-68, well before Ferdinand and Isabella secured Spain and sent an Italian navigator on an exploratory mission.

kanesada-warring-states-periodThis sword was half a millenium old when Sergeant Pepper was released, and before cars had to have headrests and shoulder belts in the USA.

It is attributed to a master swordsmith named Kanesada, was engraved by a named master, and was made for a swordsman named Fukazaka, of which nothing is known except that his taste in swords was sublime. It can be yours for something over a million Japanese yen.

Japanese swords are unique in the world of edged weapons. Their engineering was, for the day (and for today, for that matter), remarkable. They mastered the impossible task of making the same blade strong, rigid, flexible, durable and razor-sharp. Normally metallurgy presents the engineer with a series of properties, but only lets him choose a few of them, for a metal that takes a razor edge, for example, seldom can hold it long; a sword that can slice through a man’s torso, powered by a strong warrior’s swing, seldom can take the blow of a thrust upon its tip. The Japanese innovation was in using laminated forged steel (much like Damascus steel) to give a blade multiple properties, and then using separate heat-treatment techniques for separate parts of the blade to produce, again, multiple properties.

There was nothing like it before, and there has been little like it since, although there has been a renaissance of blade-making (something watched with a beady eye and stringent licensure by the authorities). The finest Japanese swords arguably date from before the shogunate, and the very best of them are restricted from export, as they are considered part of the nation’s cultural patrimony. The bulk of the antique swords offered by dealers like Kanshoan are from later periods. For example, the Meiji Restoration era (1800s) is well represented. Twentieth century, Showa-era swords, particularly the many swords made for military use during Japan’s long midcentury war, are in a hot spot in Japan as they are not considered culturally desirable artifacts, but they are still swords and proscribed from most Japanese owners. (Showa-era swords that are products of individual artisans are on somewhat firmer ground as works of art).

Kanshoan divides their available swords by vintage: a sword is either “Historical” or a “New Age Sword,” by which they presumably don’t mean it’s intended to be used by a drum circle in Sedona. It means it’s produced by a living (or recently-living) swordsmith.

All historical swords (and the “new age” ones, too, frankly) are irreplaceable, unique works of art and science. But that doesn’t mean they’re staggeringly expensive. This is a detail of a Meiji era (1902) sword blade made by master Minamotono Masayuki.




If you have to ask, maybe you can afford it: while the ¥650,000 price seems daunting, it’s really $5,300 — if Japanese authorities will clear it to leave the country, which they probably will.

Kanshoan explains their name like this:

Our name recalls the legend of Kansho, a famous sword smith
from the Go country of ancient China.

As he worked by the forge, his wife, Bakuya, cut her hair and
nails and threw them into the blazing furnace.
Just then, two swords of unparalleled beauty were created.
The “Kansho-Bakuya” swords were to become known throughout the
country and by all ages as the finest ever produced.

We named KANSHOAN for this legend, as a place where you can
find historical and modern swords of such high quality and
legendary craft.

And they have this hope:

KANSHOAN hopes that its customers will act as golden
bridges between the past and the future, by passing on to
future generations the rich cultural heritage embodied in
Japanese swords.

Hear, hear.

Kanshoan is only one of several shops specializing in Japanese swords for the worldwide market. It makes a good visit if you have any fondness for beautiful weaponry.

We started this post many weeks ago, and set it aside when we ran into a complication. Tonight, we unearthed it again, after looking at a sword.

The sword eased our mind, and encouraged us. There may be something to that poem. A friendly Banzai to Kanshoan Sword Shop.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: David Yamane’s Gun Culture 2.0

gun_culture_two_point_ohWhat would it look like if a social scientist set out to study American gun culture, not from a criminological standpoint, and not as some deviant or deficient subculture, but as something worthy of honest study from the standpoint of intellectual curiosity?

It would look a lot like David Yamane’s Gun Culture 2.0. As far as we know, there have been a lot of academics in the gun culture, but never one that has studied the gun culture with an open mind a sociologist or anthropologist might bring to another culture somewhat foreign to him. Indeed, even the social scientists who have joined the gun culture have usually begun from a launching point of a priori opposition, and social science professional organizations often have positions on gun control that are not distinguishable from those practiced by 20th Century mass dictatorships, minus only death penalties for violations. Yamane says he is inspired by this quote from Baruch Spinoza1, the posthumously influential 17th-Century Dutch Enlightenment philosopher:

I have sedulously endeavored not to laugh at human actions, nor to lament them, nor to detest them, but to understand them.

This seems to make him the odd man out in today’s social sciences, almost as odd as if Spinoza himself in full 17th Century tradesman’s raiment descended upon today’s academy, declaiming in the Latin in which he published.

For example, here’s David’s commentary about why he goes to meetings of the American Criminological Society, even though he’s not a criminologist, and the gun culture he’s interested is that of the peaceable gun owners and users, not that of murderers and suicides:

I began attending these meetings when I started studying guns not because I am interested in criminology per se. To the contrary, I have been critical of the problems of studying guns only in connection with crime and social problems.

I attend because these are the only professional meetings where I can find with a large number of social scientists studying guns, even if their primary concerns are illegal activities with guns and mine is legal gun culture.

via Attending the 2015 American Society of Criminology Annual Meetings | Gun Culture 2.0.

It’s a fascinating, literate, temperate site with interesting links to interesting ideas and research.


  1. Spinoza was far enough ahead of his time to have his books banned by both the Jewish authorities (who expelled him from the Jewish community as a youth) and the established Catholic Church, which slapped him on the Index Expurgatoris. He made a living as a skilled tradesman, a lens grinder. Both the Jewish and Calvinist traditions claim him, now! It is an interesting choice of champions.

Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: DSIAC Journals & Legacy Journals

There was once something called the Weapons Systems Technology Information Analysis Center, just a few years ago; it published great stuff like this 2008 issue of its Quarterly (.pdf) with an interesting analysis of CQB lethality of the 5.56mm round (this is an analysis of M855, not the improved rounds run by the Army and USMC — which resulted in part from this analysis.   (The study examined 16 weights of 5.56 round, two different 6.8 SPC rounds, and several competitive and control rounds from 9mm to 7.62 x 39 to .30-06).



One key finding: we’re not just whistling Dixie with that “double-tap” thing.

So, we went looking or WSTIAC to see what they’d been up to lately. Only to find they were gone. Apart from some documents on DTIC, gone seemingly without a trace.

What happened is that several Army R&D centers merged, and along with specialty operations for things like aircraft combat survivability, what’s left of WSTIAC is now crammed into the IT- and electronics-oriented Defense Systems Information Analysis Center.

The DSIAC has its own Journal which is less interesting to us, perhaps, but still has some good articles. For instance, the current issue (Fall 2015: Volume 2 Number 4) has a fascinating article on Infrared history, even if it does misidentify the device (and even the decade) of an American system in an illustration caption.  The next issue promises information on an experimental Hoverbike; all the DSIAC journals are archived on a single page.

But what makes the site worthwhile is that the “legacy journals” of the former research centers that rolled into DSIAC are also available online. Those are the journals of:

  1. AMMTIAC: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Technology Information Analysis Center;
  2. CPIAC: Chemical Propulsion Information Analysis Center. Replaced in 2011 by JANNAF;
  3. JANNAF: Joint Army-Navy-NASA-Air Force Interagency Propulsion Committee;
  4. RIAC: the Reliability Information Analysis Center
  5. SURVIAC: Survivability & Vulnerability Information Analysis Center, and yes,
  6. WSTIAC: the Weapons Systems Technology Information Analysis Center.

All the legacy journals are available at this link.

The quality of the articles visibly declines during the late oughts as the sponsoring services become overwhelmed with alternative energy evangelism.

Frequently a .gov or .mil link just goes dead. It’s usually just because somebody felt like reorganizing for reorganizing’s sake, and the data are often still “out there.” It’s the finding that can be a challenge. In this case, a whole bunch of defunct journals have been hanging out at that legacy-journal link.