Category Archives: Consumer Alert!

Stolen Gun Alert

We didn’t see this alert on Facebook, because we don’t do Facebook (we promised a client as part of a pile of security paperwork. Strangely, we can blog to heart’s content, but Facebook is a “security risk.” YMMV).  But we did pick it up thanks to Miguel at Gun Free Zone, who’s a near-daily read around here (would be “daily”: if we didn’t have to work, write books, fix ceilings, build planes, maintain canine recovery program, etc.).

It looks like a trio of thieves, two white men and a white woman, hit the Great American Outdoor Show — the huge sporting and gun show held annually in Harrisburg, PA — and made off with a National Firearms Act registered firearm. It’s a 9mm Short Barrel Rifle.

9mm-SBR-prototype

This 9mm SBR was stolen last Sat the 6th of Feb, from our booth at the Great American Outdoor Show. We are offering a $3000 reward for formation leading to the return of rifle and arrest and conviction of perpetrators. Serial number F150153. Precision Firearms PF15F. It was our one and only prototype 9mm Subgun.

Share this post and make it as difficult as possible for the thieves to sell it or use it. 2 guys and a woman. White.

via B.O.L.O.: Stolen 9mm SBR Prototype – Gun Free Zone.

While our heart goes out to Mark Hostetter of Precision Firearms, we can’t help but believe he’s thought of three ways he could have prevented this, in every five minutes since the theft went down. We sure can.

Here’s hoping the ATF does a better job going after these thieves and this gun than they did going after the ATF M4 that was one of three firearms stolen from a G-ride in Milwaukee while two agents (who remain unreprimanded) advanced their extramarital affair on the clock.

It gets better. A controversial ATF undercover storefront bought one of the handguns back — and let the perp walk.

The day after the theft, Sept. 14, Marquise Jones sold the ATF its own gun, along with a second, for $1,400 at the Fearless Distributing store, according to court documents.

But ATF agents let Jones walk. It would be about a week before agents questioned him, according to sources familiar with the investigation who asked not to be identified.

The sources said Jones was allowed to leave because ATF officials worried an arrest would expose the undercover storefront operation and embarrass the agency. Court records show agents continued to buy guns at the Fearless storefront in the week after the agent’s guns were stolen.

The operation was shut down a short time later. It is unclear if the decision was made by ATF or the U.S. attorney’s office in Milwaukee, which had been briefed on the investigation.

Indeed, the whole disastrous Fearless Distributing uncercover operation produced four of the most minimal reprimands ATF can do, a “memorandum of caution.” From 2014:

[Rep Gwen] Moore (D-Wis.) issued a statement in response to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigative update that revealed the ATF gave four agents involved in the operation what is known as a “memorandum of caution” — the most mild punishment for an agent. Veterans called it a “slap on the wrist.”

Hey, ATF had agents at the Great American Outdoor Show. Two men and a woman? All white?

One highly suspects these thieves are career criminals, but this particular theft was opportunistic in nature. Here’s hoping they’re rounded up a little more quickly (and conclusively) than the Milwaukee machine-gun thieves (the M4 and the thieves remain at large, there, and what progress was made in the investigation was all made by the local cops).

And if you’re a licensee, you’re responsible for the firearms you stock, work on, or manufacture. It would behoove you to act like it. 

USAF Changes Weapons Policies; OSI Can Carry Personal Guns

The Air Force once drove small arms development for no other reason that the Chief of Staff, former SAC Commander and wartime 20th Air Force commander Gen. Curtis LeMay, was an avid shooter and gun enthusiast. But with LeMay (and his generation) long gone, the USAF devolved into, as the joke goes, “a reasonable alternative to military service.”

Now the Air Force is showing that it’s serious about force protection, with at least four new policies designed to improve commanders’ abiliy to arm their troops for self-defense. Most of them involve allowing Security Forces (the old Air Police) to be armed off-duty, but one they’ve done that is being warmly received by the Air Force’s criminal investigators is to allow them, like other Federal agents, to carry privately owned weapons, not just their USAF issue hand cannon.

USAF Keith Givens

The Top: OSI Commander Keith Givens, a Career Leader of Investigators.

Here’s the word from the top:

I am excited to announce yet another significant milestone for OSI’s weapons
program.  Late last week, the Secretary of the Air Force signed a memorandum
authorizing OSI Special Agents to carry privately-owned weapons (POWs) and
ammunition while performing official duties in the US, its territories, and
possessions.  However, before this authorization can take effect, OSI must
update its directives, instructions, policies, procedures, and training.  HQ
OSI/XR’s Policy Branch is currently finalizing Interim Change-7 to AFOSIMAN
71-113, Firearms, Use of Force, and Tactics, which will include guidance on
the carrying of POWs and is scheduled to be published in early December
2015.

One of the main driving forces behind this change was the desire to provide
each agent the option to employ a weapon that best suits their individual
body type and hand size for preference and concealability concerns.  Now OSI
Special Agents will have that flexibility, provided they meet the upcoming
guidance requiring them to:

– Select a 9mm POW from the extensive Headquarters-approved list
– Obtain written approval from their leadership
– Procure and maintain their POW and associated gear
– Ensure any personal ammunition used in the POW meets LE standards (JHP
with a 124-147 grain)
– Proficiency fire with their POW prior to arming for duty
– Qualify with the M-11 and remain current on arming specific training

After AFOSIMAN 71-113, IC-7, is published and all requirements are met, the
POW may be carried during any investigative or operational activity not
prevented by mission requirements – such as protective service operations,
overseas assignments, and deployments.  Additionally, personally-procured
and government-issued ammunition is authorized for the POW; however,
personal ammunition is not authorized for the issued M-11.

The approved POW list and related documents can be viewed on XR’s SharePoint
site: https://afosiportal.us.af.mil/sites/HQ/XR/WEAPONS/SitePages/Home.aspx
by going to Libraries-> Privately Owned Weapons.  Once AFOSIMAN 71-113,
IC-7, is published, the site will be updated with additional helpful
documents and templates.

From the lighter load arming requirements, to alternate holsters, and now
the POW – these big changes and ideas came directly from you!  This
authority is a testament to the trust our Air Force senior leaders and I
have in you.  Additionally, it serves to further elevate our status as a
federal investigative agency.  I look forward to the upcoming release of
AFOSIMAN 71-113 and the POW possibilities it offers!

r/Keith

KEITH M. GIVENS, Brigadier General, USAF Commander, Air Force Office of
Special Investigations MCB Quantico, VA
Office: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Cell: xxx-xxx-xxxx

POW Approved List as of 09 Nov 15.pdf

Funny, we knew a Keith Givens when he was a kid in Westborough, MA. Wonder if it’s the same guy. Probably not.

In any event, the POW list above is  couple months old. We’ve been told that there’s at least one addition, the Glock 19.

One of the most interesting teases in the whole thing is in Footnote #2 in the table. Looks like they’re still taking seriously the possibility of the P320 or the Glocks being the new service sidearm.

When CMP Got Some Carbines In…

…they sold out. In one day. Twice.

Let us explain that. They sent a message on 28 January to their mailing list:

Monday, February 1, we will begin accepting orders for a limited number of M1 Carbines for mail order. Two grades will be available, Service and Field. They include the following manufacturers; Inland, Winchester, IBM, Quality Hardware, Saginaw, Standard Product and Underwood. The manufacturer you receive will be luck of the draw, please no requests. Each customer is limited to one total Carbine this year. You will not be allowed to purchase both a Service and Field Grade. You may put down your first choice and second choice.

cmp_m1_carbine

We DO NOT time stamp orders, we only date stamp them. All orders received the same day are put in one basket. Please do not call about your order. If information is needed for your order, our sales department will contact you. Be sure to complete the checklist for the order before you send it in. Questions about orders already in-house slow down our processing which means it takes longer to send out the end product. If your payment method is a check, we will not deposit your check until your order is processed. However, some orders may go on backorder. You will be contacted prior to depositing your check should your order be placed on a backorder list. To be placed on the backorder list, you must have a form of payment with your order.

There were two grades available, in a quantity of a few dozen each. (Images below are of a Service and Field grade carbine, but these rarer Saginaw-made firearms came from the CMP auction site).

M1 Carbine Service Grade: R017SERVICE $685/each Free S&H

M1 carbine saginaw service grade

Carbines may have been rebuilt and refinished at least once and will exhibit, in most cases, varying degrees of wear on many parts and generally nosignificant pitting on metal. Metal parts are mixed USGI. While all Carbines are USGI, some may have foreign markings. Muzzle may gauge 3 or less on muzzle gauge. Stocks may be replacement marked M2 type birch, beech pot belly or USGI walnut, but may have seen heavy use with possible rebuild or other markings. Each carbine will be shipped with an empty chamber indicator, CMP Safety Manual and a CMP reprint of FM23-37. The Carbine is also shipped in a CMP hard rifle case.

NOTE: Carbines will not be sold or shipped with magazines, slings or oilers.

M1 Carbine Field Grade: R017FIELD $625/each Free S&H

M1 carbine saginaw field grade

Carbines may have been rebuilt and refinished at least once and will exhibit, in most cases, varying degrees of wear on many parts. Bores may have some heavy pitting and exterior finish may show significant wear and surface pitting. Metal parts are mixed USGI. While all carbines are USGI, some may have foreign markings. Muzzle may gauge 3 or more on muzzle gauge. Stocks may be replacement marked M2 type birch, beech pot belly or USGI walnut, but may have seen heavy use with possible rebuild or other markings or repairs. Each carbine will be shipped with an Empty Chamber Indicator, CMP Safety Manual and a CMP reprint of FM23-37. The Carbine is also shipped in a CMP hard rifle case.

NOTE: Carbines will not be sold or shipped with magazines, slings or oilers.

They received enough complete orders (with eligibility information and payment) to cover all the carbines they had, except for a few dozen they’d reserved for in-store sales.

Note that we don’t have a dog in this fight, as we didn’t read any of these messages until after the sell-out had occurred.

So then they put the remainder… under 70 M1 carbines… out in their two stores at Anniston, AL (the Talladega Marksmanship Park) and Port Clinton, OH (Camp Perry) yesterday.

CMP M1 Carbine Release in CMP Stores

M1 Carbines will be released in our stores in Anniston, Alabama, and Port Clinton, Ohio, on Thursday, February 4. Since our mail orders sold out in one day, we thought it would be wise to notify our store customers that there will be less than 35 full M1 Carbines in each store. This is the extremely limited quantity referenced in our previous email. They will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. No rifles will be held. Please bring all necessary paperwork with you to the store. No agent purchases.

There may be someone who got a carbine in the store, and already had his paperwork in for a mail-order carbine, in which case he gets the one he picked out in the store, and his mail-order paperwork is void, and someone gets plucked off the back-order list. Other than that:

CMP’S Carbine Inventory has been exhausted and we do not expect to receive any additional shipments.

Expect many of them to appear on GunBroker at a $400-600 markup, CMP’s small contribution to the neckbeard contingent, which otherwise would only be able to survive on the profits of .22LR arbitrage.

CMP does have a few premium (condition, or rarity) carbines that were culled from the pack, including an M1A1, that they offer on their auction site.

Inland M1A1 Carbine

Note that the prices get high (here’s a carbine bayonet that’s into the hundreds with eight days yet to go in the auction). With eight days to go, this M1A1 is over $2k (it will likely wind up much higher than that).

Inland M1A1 Carbine 2 Inland M1A1 Carbine 3

It’s also worthwhile to look at the auction site to see what top-notch carbines and Garands are going for, and what CMP’s Service and Field grades look like.

See what we have to look forward to on the 1911s?

Mold-Your-Own Plastic Lower

Here’s something new, a kit to mold your own plastic AR-15 lower receiver, from AR15Mold.com.

freedom15_group_v3_ar15mold.com_102115_2910x1245_970_415__56758

Here’s what the kit looks like, with some cleaned-up receivers. It produces a 100%, ready to assemble receiver, as soon as it’s extracted from the mold and the mold flash is removed (The flash is visible in the purple and black receivers in the image above; mold flash should be familiar to anyone who built plastic models, a once-popular boyhood hobby). If you look closely, you can see that the toolmarks in the mold are replicated in every produced receiver. It’s unclear without examining one whether the mold is machined directly from plastic (perhaps nylon) or whether it is injection-molded itself.

ar15mold_kit_with_output

The parts you make with this kit are not injection-molded, they are cast. What’s the difference? Injection-molding is done with heat to melt a thermoplastic (or thermosetting) and pressure to force the plastic in and air out of the mold. (Sometimes it is done in vacuum). Casting is done at ambient or near-ambient pressure and temperature, using gravity to fill the mold. (Some casting is done with an assist from centrifugal force, but not in this case). AR15Mold.com does suggest heating its two-part resins to approximately 100ºF for pouring into the mold. Complete instructions come with the kit, which costs about $360 with enough resin for five lowers.

The lowers accept mil-spec uppers and internals, with some caveats. The buffer tower is longer along its X (longitudinal) axis for more strength, making a fixed, rifle stock impractical without an alternative buffer retaining pin retainer. The part is also molded at the top limit of milspec (right on the +.003 tolerance line) for a tight fit, which is okay if your upper’s mating surfaces are +0/-.003 (or minus even a little more, at the price of some rattle). If your upper’s mating dimensions are on the plus side of the tolerances, you’ll need to do some hand fitting.

The bare molds look like this, but something is missing:

ar15mold_kit_minus_small_parts

The element that is missing is the inserts. You see, a complex part like an AR lower can’t simply be molded using a two-sided mold. That’s because it has some areas that are “blind” to the sides of the mold, or “undercut” from the point of view of that side. These blind, undercut areas require inserts that, in effect, extend the mold into the “blind” area, but are removable to allow the molded part to be removed. This picture shows the “small parts” of the AR15Mold.com “Freedom 15” kit, including the “inserts” (which are white).

ar15mold_kit_small_parts

The white “inserts,” clockwise from top center, include the trigger pocket, the buffer tower (if you embiggen the picture, you can see it bears a negative impression of the threads required here), the bolt catch slot and pin, the magazine well, the mold plug, the bolt catch detent pocket, the two inserts for the two sides of the magazine release, etc., etc.

It is possible to break some of these inserts if one were to gorilla-grip them during demolding. It pays to watch all the videos before making a lower.

No mold release compound is used or required with this combination of materials, although some wax on the pins is helpful. The  casting approaches we have covered previously have used RTV cast molds, and using of mold release compound has been crucial.

For the novice at casting, the how-to videos located on the website’s video page and on the company’s YouTube channel walk you through every step. The one that is likely to be most useful to kit buyers is called “Tips and Best Practices.” Another one shows them gingerly inching an F-150 onto a bare receiver. You can see the temporary deformation of the magazine well, but the receiver survived with no lasting damage.

That inspired Angus McThag (whom we thank for discovering this firm and its kit) and his friend Marv to conduct their own torture test, with a Mazda pickup (a Ford Ranger that identifies as Japanese) at 30 miles per hour.

We are reminded of the statement made in the ARMold video that they’re not claiming their receiver is indestructible. Good thing they’re not; McThag would take it as a challenge.

The manufacturer has already demonstrated reinforcing a lower with a steel insert and fiberglass.

There is now no earthly excuse for not making your own AR-15 lower, if you want to try, and live in a jurisdiction where it’s legal, which includes most (but not all!) of the United States. The methods include (in descending order of antiquity):

  1. Manual or CNC Milling from a raw forging;
  2. Manual or CNC Milling from billet;
  3. Manual or CNC Milling to complete a partially finished alloy receiver blank (aka “80% lower”);
  4. 3D printing a plastic receiver of PLA, ABS or Nylon, among other materials;
  5. 3D printing a plastic pattern of PLA, and lost-PLA-casting the receiver;
  6. Manual or CNC Milling to complete a partially finished polymer receiver blank;
  7. CNC Milling to complete a partially finished alloy receiver with the GhostGunner micro mill;
  8. 3D printing parts of a plastic receiver and gluing them together;
  9. 3D printing parts of a plastic “bolt” receiver and bolting them together;
  10. Cold-resin casting a lower using a mold taken from another lower; and, now,
  11. Cold-resing casting a lower using this kit.

We note that the resin casting has been done before; indeed, we’ve reported on it before. What ARMold.com has done is to provide a practical and complete kit for doing this. They have submitted to Firearms Technology Branch of the ATF for a determination letter; this may take some time, but it’s highly probable the determination letter will be forthcoming, because, frankly, nothing they send you can be plausibly defined as “a firearm” within the specific language of the Gun Control Act of 1968 or the National Firearms Act of 1934, as amended.

We also note that the more recent methods, near the bottom require fewer resources and less skill than the old “take this orthotopic rectangular cuboid of alloy and mill off everything that doesn’t look like an AR lower” approach. In other words, the trendline is towards lowered cost and difficulty.

The “Maker” spirit so animates the hobby gunsmithing community now, that it probably can’t be overcome. You can’t stop the signal, Mal.

 

Graphic Novel of A-10 Action — a Deserving Indiegogo Campaign

Ladies and Gents,

Here’s a draft of the cover from the second volume of Valerie Finnigan and Richard O’Hara’s forthcoming graphic novel of aerial action in Desert Storm.

A-10 Tiger on the Storm book page

Well, it’ll be forthcoming if enough people subscribe to Valerie and Richard’s Indiegogo campaign, which they haven’t yet. The video is pretty dreadful, and frankly, we’re a little bit old for comic books… but the description below makes it sound awfully interesting.

Based on the journal of the late Maj. Gen. David Sawyer, Tiger on the Storm is a comic book miniseries honoring the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing and their service in Operation: Desert Storm. Two of the creators involved in Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan reunited to collaborate on this project- Valerie Finnigan (Korean War, vol. 2, Why Not? Presents….) and penciller/inker Richard O’Hara (Second Dawn, Futurians Return). Just in time for the 25th anniversary of Desert Storm, you can also join in, help cover the expenses of creating and printing these books, and see that this part of history is never forgotten.

Funds raised beyond what will cover those costs will go to Heroes Fallen Studios, a non-profit dedicated to providing a safe, nonjudgmental forum for veterans and their families to share their stories and educate the general public.

via Tiger on the Storm – An Illustrated War Journal | Indiegogo.

This sounds like it’s a worthwhile thing for the vet community to get behind, especially those vets of the US Air Force (a great alternative to military service!). But when we came across this, nobody had subscribed yet.

Why, we’re not sure. Maybe because by usual crowdfunding standards, the video’s kind of lame.

There’s now one supporter on the clock. Please forward this link to your Air Force and A-10 fan community friends.

Update

Valerie and Richard were kind enough to submit to email interviews. We have no idea what to ask graphic novel creators, so we guessed. They answered, instead of blowing us off, so we can’t have been too far off.

First, before we get to the Q&A, Valerie has a correction:

The book is happening no matter what. Issue number one is in print right now. The difficulty is getting a quality print run when I’m pretty much self funding the project on the budget of a disabled former emergency responder.

And a comment:

There have been previous attempts at crowdfunding this book which have garnered various degrees of support from vets, history buffs, and even a few comic book fans. Setting a donation jar out at events like Salt Lake Comic Con has proven to generate a lot of excitement, too. But yes, everyone’s on a tight budget.

OK, here are our questions (if they’re lame, it’s because we really don’t know what to ask graphic-novel creators) and Val and Richard’s answers:

What got you interested in doing this kind of art in the first place?

Valerie: I’d been interested in writing as long as I was able to read, which is as far back as I can remember. My parents raised me on a steady cultural and literary diet full of heroes, adventures, and grist for the creative and intellectual mill. Comic books became my preferred medium for writing because envisioning how a scene is supposed to appear on a page poses a greater challenge to me than writing the same thing as a short story or novel. Besides, Spider-man, the X-Men, Sgt. Rock, and so forth look a lot better as comic book characters than as characters of a novel. I also enjoy the teamwork that comic book creation requires, especially since I do not draw.

Richard: I started reading comics in 7th or 8th grade. I started with John Romita Jr’s run on the X-men and collected back to the first Cockrum run.

Do you have a formal education in the arts? Or, more generally, how did you learn?

Valerie: I nearly obtained a degree in music with an emphasis in opera and musical theater before ditching all that for a career I found more useful and heroic in nursing care and emergency medical services. From my experiences in theater, I was able to get a pretty good understanding of the mechanics of script writing. Writing a script for a comic book is a little different than writing for stage or screen, but it wasn’t too big of a stretch for me to make.

I also learned about commitment to research, the importance of personal accounts in what could otherwise be very dry academic reading, and the impact simply listening to people and doing their stories justice  from one semester when the English Lit textbooks never arrived. Instead of book work, we were to conduct an ethnography study. I chose to write about homeless kids living in the Boise area, where I lived at the time. Up until then, I never felt prouder than when one of the kids I interviewed got on her feet and secured enough in financial aid to become a social worker and devote her life to helping other kids in the streets

Richard: Yes, I went to Clemson, and the Univeristy of North Texas.  I currently teach art to Middle and High school students in High Point, NC.

So what’s the balance between native talent and learned talent?

Valerie: Talent, whether native or acquired is like a muscle. Use it or lose it.

Richard: Talent helps, but without hard work, talent is meaningless.  One has to develop the skills and work at it.  Walt Simonson recently posted “I think I might have this hand thing down, almost.”  The guy is a master, but he still isn’t happy with it.  That’s what makes it work.  You always have to attack where you feel weak.

To what or to whom do you attribute your interest in our troops, vets and the war?

Valerie: Oh, where to begin? I’m an Air Force brat, and every branch of the military (including the Coast Guard!) is represented in my family and circle of friends. I have to confess, though, that I took them for granted until 9-11. The sound of those hundreds of PASS alarms in the rubble of the World Trade Center is the worst sound I’ve ever heard. As soon as I could after that, I tried to enlist. Nothing came of that but a medical DQ, but I’m not letting that stop me from trying to help by at least sharing true stories and educating the civilian public about our own history.

My own interest only increased after a particularly nasty emergency incident cost me full mobility, nearly cost me my life, and granted me some first-hand understanding of what PTSD can do to a person and how important it is to listen without judging and keep each other motivated on our often sleepless journeys.

How do you find collaborators to work with?

Valerie: I’ve been very fortunate. Social networking has helped, but oftentimes, mutual friends play an important part. If I see someone’s work- say, a page of sequential art- and I think it would suit a story I’m doing, I’ll ask them if they’d want a job. However, it helps to know something about them personally, like if they can turn in quality work on a tight deadline. Richard and I had both worked previously on Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan, and he came highly recommended by a mutual friend of ours, Paty Cockrum, who used to work in the Marvel Comics bullpen of old.

Richard: Valerie Finnigan I met through Paty Cockrum and Clayton Murwin.  We worked on Untold stories from Iraq and Afghanistan, 1, and the unpublished 2, as well as a start-up for untold stories from 9/11. But if someone were trying to break into the industry, I’d advise, go to cons.  Go to small presses there, talk to Artists, ask questions, get critiques.   Lots of critiques.

What question do you wish somebody would ask — and what’s the answer?

Valerie: What’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything? 42.

Richard: “What are you going to do with all those lottery winning O’Hara?” I’d start a comic press, a funny idea Paty Cockrum and I kicked around, ‘OFC’ comics, y’know, we’d say it meant ‘Official’ but it would actually be ‘Old Fart Comics’, and in so doing, we’d have a mag or two that was for old pro’s to do work in that they kept rights, sort of like Creepy or Vampirella used to be.

As far as we know, Richard has not yet won the lottery, so please go to Indiegogo and support this project.

Update: Come on, folks. They’re at 1% with 40 days to go. 152 of you have read this post (not counting the even larger number who read it on the front page, we think; we get ~6000 unique visitors a day). These are hard working artists, and there’s probably someone you know who would enjoy their graphic novel. (Maybe if it’s successful enough, there will be a “posable action figure,” for those of you guys… heh). Don’t make us go back and donate again!

Update on OPM’s Data Breach

The OPM Logo: an eagle being stretched on a rack, or maybe drawn and quartered.

The OPM Logo: an eagle being stretched on a rack, or maybe drawn and quartered.

Well, a memo went out to all data-raped hands by the Interim Nº. 1 of our quaint little clearance-data village. It went like this:

Update – January 19

This is an update on the cyber incidents at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The following is an important message from Beth Cobert, Acting Director of OPM:

Dear Colleagues:

Who are you calling “colleague,” you incompetent leech?

All of us at the Office of Personnel Management want to wish our Federal family and all those who help support the important work of the nation a Happy New Year and a successful 2016.

We want to take a moment to update you on our response to the malicious cyber intrusion carried out against the Federal Government.

One fact you’re not going to see is that any of the overpaid, underworked technology weenies in the .fed has been held accountable. No one has been held accountable.No one is ever held accountable. Losing, to a foreign intelligence agency, the entire security clearance packets of the entire DOD and DOE cleared world, because they could not be bothered to take minimal precautions, is not serious enough for someone to suffer such a traumatic experience as having to answer questions or losing one’s five figure “bonus”.

We have completed the initial mailing of the notification letters to individuals impacted by the background investigation records incident. If you have received a notification letter, we encourage you to take advantage of the identity theft protection and credit monitoring services the government is offering at no cost to you.

Of course, they’re squandering vast amounts of taxpayer money, but squandering money is what they do. 

You can enroll in these services through the OPM website, www.opm.gov/cybersecurity. Individuals with enrollment questions may also call 800-750-3004.

As part of the budget law enacted in December 2015, OPM has been directed to provide identity theft protection and monitoring services to those affected by either the personnel files or background investigation records incidents for at least 10 years. We are fully committed to providing these services and are working through the details on how we will implement the new law. We will keep you informed as decisions are made.

We are happy to report that so far, about 2.4 million people have enrolled in the identity theft protection and credit monitoring services from the background investigation records incident in addition to the more than 1 million who enrolled as part of the personnel files incident. That enrollment rate is about triple the industry average, and we are glad that so many individuals are taking advantage of these services.

It’s been a big windfall for the crony, single-source “service provider” who got this business because of connections to the same OPM incompetents who caused the problem.

We would also like to remind you that OPM has established a verification center to assist those who have not received a notification letter but believe they may have been impacted by the background investigation records incident.

If you contact the verification center, you will need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth.

To the people whose track record is entirely losing your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and more! Boy howdy, that sounds like a plan.

You will then receive a letter in the mail stating whether or not our records indicate your Social Security number was compromised in the intrusion involving background investigation records.

The verification center is also available to help those who have received a letter, but whose 25-digit PIN code is not working, and individuals who need a copy of their letter to be resent. The verification center can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, via a link on the OPM website. You can also contact the verification center by calling 866-408-4555, Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET.

We encourage anyone with questions about the cybersecurity intrusion to visit www.opm.gov/cybersecurity. We continue to refresh this site as new information becomes available and individuals may sign up for automatic updates.

That’s kind of like asking your friendly neighborhood Catholic priest for advice on heterosexual sex between consenting adults, isn’t it?

OPM and our partners across government continue to work hard to protect the safety and security of the information of Federal employees, contractors and others who provide their information to us.

‘Cause in the .gov, output never counts… just the appearance of input.

Thank you for your service to the American people, and for your continuing support. Have a wonderful 2016.

Sincerely,

Beth F. Cobert
Acting Director, U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Exit questions:

  1. Are they aware it’s a Diversity Violation to wish us a happy 2016? For Sunnis, it’s 1437. For Shias, 1393. In Japan, Heisei 28. For Jews, 5775. For baby ducks and Communists, it’s Year Zero. For them, it’s always Year Zero.
  2. Has anyone sincere ever signed off “sincerely?” Coming from Beth Colbert, the effect is that of a sign saying, “Honest Abner’s Used Cars.”)

SHOT Show 2016

First impression, from 2,000 miles away: in terms of new products introductions, it was lighter than recent years. It is perhaps the case that manufacturers and importers are not waiting for SHOT, but introducing new products at the NRA show or even in the middle of the year, if that’s when they’re ready. We’re not there, but the press conferences on the schedule look like we didn’t miss much.

That said, there were a lot of intros at the range day and in booths, not in the press conference setting; and there’s a few new firearms and more action in optics and accessories.

General Trends

Things that extend the AR platform remain popular, and a bunch of new ones are out there, including many new calibers including mass-produced .300 Win Mag ARs (as opposed to the handcrafted custom jobs we’ve seen already). Our favorites for the moment are the Monster Hunter International limited editions from JP Rifles.

Concealed Carry firearms are red hot. But as we’ve found out in the search for Blogfather’s pocket pistol, it’s a market that is, perhaps not saturated, but well-fed by an array of producers. The much-liked (until they were all recalled) striker-fired Caracal pistols from the UAE (but designed by the same guy that designed the Steyr) came back at the show.

Suppressors are also accelerating in the market. SilencerCo previously demo’d versions of the company’s integrally suppressed 9mm, the Maxim, but the new version uses SilencerCo’s own frame — and G17 magazines — instead of an M&P host. A definite .22 host is the new S&W Victory Model, which Shooting Sports Retailer reports is designed to be a modular system — with an aftermarket ecosystem — from the very beginning.

Price sensitivity is a real thing, and every stratum of the market is reacting. Colt has a new AR version at a $699 list price point; if it’s a quality gun, that puts them nose-to-nose with less venerable names. But TrackingPoint also has the .300 HogOut, a special .300 Blackout precision guided firearm that’s optimized for putting the whack on feral pigs — at a lower price than previous Tracking Point ARs.

When Are SHOT New-Gun Introductions Available?

This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and is also influenced by the popularity and manufacturability of the new firearm. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the firm, the sooner after SHOT they’re shipping. Large firms? It can be a year, or more than one year; they may use the show to tease a firearm that’s months out, or even complete vaporware. For example, our friendly local FFL just got a couple examples of the Glock G40 MOS Hunter (a long-slide 10mm with optic), one of the new SHOT Glocks — from SHOT 2015. SilencerCo said their Maxim9 will ship … although there are no guarantees! — before the end of 2016.

Where to Learn More

We’ve found a number of sites to be particularly useful. But first among them are these official sites from NSSF. We think that you will be able to get to them all without an NSSF membership.

And these blogs or web magazines are covering the show: The Firearm Blog (timely, detailed reports); Guns, Holsters and Gear (good!); Guns.com; and Shooting Sports Retailer. (Edited to Add: We forgot Soldier Systems Daily! They’re more gear than guns, but they cover guns and accessories and are very prolific. Sorry ’bout that, Chief).

Right now, there is more information on those links than any of us can use today. But, like the judge said to the octogenarian he’d just given a thirty-year sentence: “It’s okay, Bugsy. Just do as much as you can.”

 

Kimber Announcement Today – a Revolver?.

2016_REeVOLVE_HeroImageReceived, in the comments to Sunday’s post, from regular commenter redc1c4:

On Monday, January 18, 2016, Kimber will be releasing a new platform that will change the way that you think about concealed carry.
This “revolutionary” new handgun will be on display in the Kimber bay at the SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range on January 18, 2016, and in the Kimber SHOT Show booth (#11762).

For all of our loyal fans and consumers that will not be attending 2016 SHOT Show, we will be running a live feed of this product launch and other SHOT Show on-goings within our SHOT Show media page and throughout all social media platforms. Also, detailed new product information will be available on kimberamerica.com on the afternoon of January 18, 2016.

That, of course, raises the question: where’s the Kimber SHOT Show media page? What, do you think we’d make you find it on your own? It’s right here:

http://www.kimberamerica.com/shotshow

At press time, last night, it 404’d, but it should go live when the show opens today.

The Kimber product is suspected to be a revolver judging from three things:

  1. The teaser image of a six-shot cylinder posted on all their social media in advance. This is what intelligence officers call “an indicator.”
  2. The cute phrase “revolutionary” new handgun with the “revolutionary” in scare quotes in the language above, which Kimber also has been dropping in all their social media lately;
  3. The trademark REeVOLVE, which Kimber has likewise associated with this new product, for instance with this URL and in that image, whether as product name or tagline isn’t instantly clear.

Kimber did this announcement just right — teased just before SHOT after being close-held until then. They even made a “new product announcement” that left everybody thinking their new Micro 9, a 9mm version of their Micro .380, would be their big SHOT Show announcement.

All the big press conferences at SHOT (or any other trade show) are frontloaded into the first day or two. So expect a barrage of new product announcements from those that are there.

Update 0800R — nothing on the page yet, we’re thinking that it won’t be live until 0900 or 1000 Las Vegas Time (the P time zone for those of you who got stuck in Iraq as the Secretary of State says). So we’re looking at 1100 or noontime Eastern before we see boo from Kimber.

Some places you might see early press releases (depending on the embargo) from SHOT are The Firearm Blog and Guns.com. Some manufacturers might have had a midnight embargo, but most will key their new-release press release embargo times to the start of their press conference today. Sellers do this for maximum coordinated media impact.

Update 1100R — Kimber has posted a video on their SHOT Show Video Page, but it’s a generic company promo. And all the guns in it are 1911s or long guns (mostly 1911s), except for this one photo of a revolver displayed on a Kimber employee’s workplace photo assortment. Teaser? Probably not. More likely someone’s private firearm. Looks a little like one of the old interchangeable barrel Dan Wessons.

kimber_employee_s_mystery_revolver

Why would a revolver of this nature have the hammer spur removed? We can see doing it on a belly gun, but… On this massive hogleg?

The Kimber SHOT Show video page has nothing else at present, nor does the Kimber SHOT Show live blog. The live blog page, though, has a company twitter feed, which promises the video page will be showing live from the booth RSN (Silicon Valley slang: Real Soon Now, meaning, “when they get to it.”)

Update 1130: Here it is, the Kimber K6S.

Kimber-K6s-revolver

Looks like a Manurhin design, made and labeled in Kimber’s New York factory. Not the cylinder is not fluted, but simply chamfered between chambers. Key specs: .357 Magnum, stainless, list price ~$900.

Source: http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/2016/01/18/kimber-k6s-revolver/

That website has put up a number of SHOT Show press releases.

Farewell, Shotgun News

Firearms News IssueThe magazine in the newsstand caught our eye. It looked a lot like one we used to subscribe to… Shotgun News. The title was a throwback to many, many decades ago when shotguns were one of main things traded in the gun-trading paper. It’s new, more fitting name is Firearms News.

In its pages and on its website — where typing shotgunnews.com redirects to firearmsnews.com — editor David Hunter Jones explains:

…the title in your browser now reads Firearms News rather than Shotgun News. This is no mistake, but rather it’s a sign of what Shotgun News has become in both the digital and print world.

Since I took over editorship of Shotgun News, I’ve been bombarded by questions about how things are looking in the world of scatterguns. As you know, Shotgun News is much more than simply news about shotguns. The title of the magazine has long been somewhat of a misnomer, and for 2016 we decided to put an end to questions about what the magazine and digital edition are all about: all kinds of firearms, not just shotguns. Hence the name change.

via Introducing Firearms News – Firearms News.

This is the new logo and the old. By using a similar block-serif typeface to the old, the design maintains a little continuity.

Firearms News logo

Shotgun News Logo

Jones explains that it’s more than just a cosmetic changeover; you can expect more color and more… well, we’ll let him explain.

It used to look like this...

It used to look like this…

Here are a few highlights:

  • Twice as many color glossy book-sized issues per year
  • A heavier, thicker paper stock for easier reading and better image fidelity
  • Each of the 30 issues will feature a gun on the cover
  • New optics column penned by expert David Fortier
  • A news section entitled “Shotgun News” that will bring you breaking news from industry insiders
  • Redesigned more attractive features

One of the interesting aspects of this is the caterwauling from longtime users in the comments to Jones’s post. They liked the cheap newsprint listings.

And now, it looks like this.

And now, it looks like this.

I just hope they keep the gunsmithing and historical articles. That’s why we used to subscribe (and the irregularity of those articles is what sent us to the newsstand).

Poor Man’s Rapid-Fire, New and Old Methods

What do you do when you have the need for speed — for cyclic-rate ammo-to-noise-combversion speed — and your daughters aren’t worth enough at an ISIL slave auction to cover a pre-’86 transferable AR lower? Here’s Military Arms Channel with the latest voodoo AR trigger. This Franklin Armory Binary Firing System trigger fires once on trigger pull, and once on release. As far as the ATF is concerned, that’s two separate actions, and therefore it’s a perfectly legal semi-auto trigger.

You may recall we’ve been here before, with the Tac-Con 3MR trigger. We’ll look at that in a moment, but first, here’s the Franklin Armory trigger in action.

We’d have liked to know a little more about the details of how it works, but that’s not forthcoming in this video. For instance, if you have fired a shot, and then a range officer calls cease-fire, do you have to hold the trigger back while you clear your firearm, or does the safety render the weapon safe enough to clear, while pointed downrange? We don’t know, and he probably didn’t, at the time he made the video. We suppose we’ll have to buy one to try it out.

(Update: The safety works to hold the second round, you just have to hold the trigger and not let it reset while you put the safety on with your off hand. Franklin Armory has posted a video showing this).

The trigger has some training issues or perhaps teething problems. One of the ones that renders this absolutely a range toy vs. a working firearm is that it doesn’t always go bang. Really, the only reason a weapon has a safety-selector system on it is to ensure it goes bang every time the operator wants, and only every time the operator wants. The didn’t go bang happens in at least two cases: intermittently, on first trigger pull, no go bang; and frequently, when an operator’s (meaning rifle operator, not 7th dan ninja) trigger-pullin’ outruns the hardware, the hammer follows the bolt carrier down, and no go bang. 

There’s also a mag stovepipe he blames on the (Surefire) mag he’s using, but we do recall that one thing that was very strongly correlated with failure to feed, fire, and extract in the early days of the M16 was a higher-than-designed cyclic rate of fire.

He seemed to think you could train that away, which is interesting, because at the beginning of the video he suggests that this, unlike the Tac-Con, can be used by anybody with little training (and does demonstrate with his cameraman as gun test dummy).

There are two other interesting gadgets in the video, the new Magpul 60-round drum is shown briefly, and there’s a trick QD mount for the Aimpoint PRO made by Kinetic.

For consistency’s sake, here’s MAC’s review of the Tac-Con — you can see he struggles with it, in part because he’s freezing. After that, we’ll have another video of somebody else firing it… who does a little better.

OK, here’s Jerry Miculek firing it. Jerry sounds like he’s firing full-auto even when he’s shooting a Ruger No.1, so he’s pretty quick on this.

Now, the thing is, you can get (or if you’re Jerry, you already are) just about as fast with a good competition trigger, like a Geissele or maybe a Hiperfire. Here’s a comparison of splits on double-taps with the Tac-Con 3MR and the Geissele SuperDynamic 3 Gun, and with an M16 lower, all on the same upper. The results? MG, 0.10 seconds between splits. Tac-Con 0.14 , and Geissele SD3 splits the difference at 0.12.

That’s the equivalent of a cyclic rate of 600 RPM for the MG, 500 for the Geissele, and 430 or so for the Tac-Con. It would be interesting to see if (1) Jerry’s splits were much faster, and (2) how the Franklin Armory BFS stacks up next to these other rapid-fire solutions.

And just because somebody had to do it, here’s a guy who combined the Tac-Con 3MR and a a Slide-Fire bumpfire stock. If you want to hear his opinion of it, there’s about nine minutes of that to the left of where we start you in the video — at the range.

As is usual with these rapid fire gimmicks, there’s a learning curve, but he gets better with practice. At the end, he seems to dump a whole thirty rounds without any snags.

If you want his opinions at length, and a description of how he set it up, just move the video slider back to the beginning.

It isn’t — none of these speed trigger tricks is — something you’d like to use for self-defense, but it’s a great range toy. We’d reiterate that none of these gimmicks is a good idea in a defense gun or officer’s patrol carbine — not even the Geissele SD3, which is a race trigger for competition. Instead, get a Geissele service trigger like the SSA, or its equivalent in another brand you like. You’ll have almost as much speed with more safety and positive control.