Category Archives: Consumer Alert!

Matt Bracken’s Enemies Trilogy on Sale… for Free.

enemies_foreign_and_domestic_miniThis is an extra post, because you don’t get a deal like this every day, and it only lasts as long as it lasts. Matt Bracken (former SEAL officer) wrote a dystopian novel of a very plausible future about 15-20 years ago, Enemies Foreign and Domestic, and then extended it to a trilogy:

  • Enemies Foreign & Domestic;
  • Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista; and,
  • Foreign Enemies (and Traitors). 

We were privileged to read some of each work while it was in progress, and have enjoyed watching Matt’s success since then. His novels are always a good buy at prices from $2.99 to $6.99, but his current promotion offers each volume in the Enemies trilogy, in Kindle format, for the irresistible price of … $0.

His current series is set in a world that’s a step closer to ours today than the grim totalitarian nightmare of Enemies, but continues to make the best of Matt’s knowledge of special operations, insurgency, and he usually works in several aspects of diving and small craft handling that are the mark of Naval special operators.

Matt’s books are aimed at adults, but they’re also a good choice for young adults who can handle mature themes, including violence and betrayal. Matt doesn’t believe he has to write foul language into his characters’ discourse or insert a jarring sex scene into every male-female encounter, so the books have a certain old-fashioned appeal despite their trendy subject matter.

This page will lead you to his books, including the trilogy on free “sale” through Thursday. You can add audio narration on checkout for another $2.

Polymer 80% Glock Frames Available for Pre-Order

Well, it had to happen, and sooner rather than later. An ATF-approved Glock-off frame that a home hobbyist can complete himself, producing a legal “Ghost Glock.”


Like any Glock frame, it’s adaptable to multiple uppers (and therefore calibers) that suit the same generation (it’s made for Glock G3 parts) and length (full length, a la G17) receiver. One frame supports two slides, three calibers, and nine Glock model-equivalents.


The frame is not only incomplete, requiring several areas to be milled or drilled out, but also Glock spare and aftermarket parts just went up in price, and some enterprising fellow that can assemble complete kits is going to have a good business. (Polymer-80 promises them, too, in the unspecified future sometime after the January, 2016 predicted date for the lowers).

Here’s some of what they say about it on their intro page:

Let’s switch gears now and briefly talk about the pistol frame design and all of its features and benefits.

The high level overview is this frame is designed as an 80% frame, and includes all the necessary end mill bits and drill bits, along with the Jig to assist completing your pistol project accurately. Most people use a drill press with a cross vise to mill out the product, many folks have drill presses sitting in their garages, or can find someone who has one available to borrow. The frame accepts Glock17 9mm slides, as well as the Glock 40 caliber slide. The Smith and Wesson 40cal slide is also compatible with the Sig357 barrel configuration, which essentially gives you 3 different calibers to choose from.

Unlike the Glock, this frame includes a uniquely extended beaver-tail, and most notably a super tactical 1911 pistol grip rather than the standard glock styled pistol grip. Even better, this pistol grip includes a built in flared magwell for speed loading. This feature will surely be a favorite amongst competition shooters who require speed and accuracy.

We note that the original 3D printed (yes!) prototype they submitted to the ATF to approval had a more traditional Glock grip angle, as this ATF photo shows:


“NFC” is a reference to the ATF’s reference collection of firearms. This image is not entirely square on, but you can see how the angle of the grip has been reduced:


The front of the trigger guard appears now to be orthogonal to the barrel axis (that’s 90º for you CMF 55 ammunition handlers). The Picatinny rail and aggressively flared magwell of the prototype have been retained.

Finally, the areas that need to be milled out to complete this project include:

  • The barrel bridge
  • The top rails of the receiver
  • The slide guide rails

Once completed, you insert the custom locking block which comes with the kit, it provides additional metallic rails up front.

We assume (that dread word) that the locking block has weight enough to meet the so-called Undetectable Firearms Act metallic minimum.

They also have a Q&A here, promising “build, buy, shoot” kits later, and multiple colors.

The ATF letter for the Polymer-80 “Spectre” [.pdf] (formerly called the GC9) demonstrates that the part is approved by Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) as “not a receiver”  (the pistol reciever blank is discussed after the firm’s .308 “Warhogg” polymer receiver blank).

In case Polymer-80 is hit by a truck, here’s our OCR’d copy of the letter: ATF Determination Letter for Polymer 80 OCR.pdf

Lessons from the ATF Letter

There are three points we learned from the ATF letter that are extremely interesting to us, and probably each is worth a post on its own to explore in depth:

  1. The submission was not a final injection-molded partial receiver. (Polymer-80 is up front about the fact that they’re using customer deposits to have the complex multi-part mold made). Instead, Polymer-80’s attorney submitted the part in an additive-manufactured form that was dimensionally identical to the proposed injection-molded part, but possibly manufactured from different plastic. This was insightful on Polymer-80’s part opens up a lot of possibilities for both firearms and near-gun part designers to submit for ATF designation earlier in the design process. (An approval letter will help with fundraising).
  2. As is customary for FTB, The letter goes to great lengths to disclaim any applicability to any other case. It is the ATF’s position that these decisions are non-precedential, and can change any time with the whim of FTB, or more seriously, the real managers of ATF, the chief counsel’s office. This is their document, in the instant case, today; they do not wish to be held to it at any future date or in any future location.
  3. The FTB letter goes into depth about the part’s non-firearm status under the Gun Control Act, 18 USC § 921(a)(3)(B), but also fires a shot across Polymer-80’s bow, noting that they are also regulated by Washington’s latest anti-gun agency, the State Department:

Please be aware, while not classified as a “firearm”; the submitted items are each classified as a “defense article” as defined in 27 CFR § 447.11. The US Department of State (USPS) regulates all exports from, and particular imports into, the United States. Firearms, parts, and accessories for firearms are all grouped as “defense articles” by the USDS and overseen by there Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. Information regarding import/export of defense articles can be found on their website at

This also comes, no doubt, from the extremely anti-gun Chief Counsel’s Office in conjunction with their fellow DC anti-gunners at State. It represents not only State’s grab for extra-legislative anti-gun regulatory powers, but an attempt at implementing the signed, but unsubmitted for ratification, UN Small Arms (gun ban) Treaty.


Hat tip, Mike at ENDO, one of our 2013 Wednesday Weapons Websites of the Week. Mike notes that it might be a bigger seller at a lower price. Our guess is that the firm must recoup its mold-making expenses. (Priced injection-molding molds lately? They’re a task for a very limited subset of machinists and machine shops, although for small parts and short runs you can improvise a mold with epoxy facings on an aluminum frame). In the long run, prices may come down, especially if there is market competition.

Hmm… who’s got a good 3D file of a G3 Glock lower?

SARCO has Bren Gun Kits!

SARCO is celebrating Thanksgiving with some deals, but also has dug back into the warehouse and found some Bren Gun kits. These have not been on the market much lately. The good news is that two of these old torch demils include original barrels:

SARCO Bren Mk.1 kit

SARCO Bren Mk.1 kit. Included mags not shown.

They also include some magazines and accessories, which vary by mark. For example, the Mk. I illustrated above includes five .303 magazines, and an original barrel SARCO calls “good.” On the Mk.3 kit, they rate the included barrel (a Mk. 2 and not the shorter Mk.3) “very good” and include it and five magazines (which are not shown in the kit picture).


Sarco Bren Mk.3 Kit. Included Mk.2 barrel (which does fit) and mags not shown.

The bad news? Those torch-cut receivers are almost certainly not rebuildable, at least, not economically so. If the cuts fall in critical areas of the receiver, or if there’s too much material removed, there are no easy fixes.

And any rewelded receiver must be heat-treated.

Finally, they have a true rarity, although it is barrel-less at the moment: the L4A3 7.62 NATO version. This comes with just one mag, and they’re working on having a new-production barrel which will be offered at additional cost as soon as they are available.

Bren L4A3 kit. Included magazine (1) not shown.

Bren L4A3 kit. Included magazine (1) not shown.

The reweld cautions with the other kits need to be observed here, too. In our judgment, building these guns is possible (if you’re lucky about where the cuts are) but extremely challenging and time-consuming.


Happy Thanksgiving from WeaponsMan

wild turkeysHappy Thanksgiving to all of you. To our foreign readers (apart from Canadians, who have their own Canadian Thanksgiving custom, but at a different date), the last Thursday in November is the day that has been set aside for giving thanks for all our blessings, in the tradition of some of our earliest white settlers at Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, did after surviving the winter of 1620-21. They probably survived in part because they landed in such an austere area that the local Indians, insted of stomping the settleent out, made common cause with the newcomers, because they were barley surviving, too.

It would be barely a couple of generations before the Indians and Englishmen were at each others throats, but in 1621 they were mostly getting along. Lets all try to do that, for one day. The day after we can begin strangling one another again.

In that spirit, will be off its normal publishing schedule on Thanksgiving Day. Instead, please look at some of our back stories that may appeal to you (The Categories links may help), or take a look at the links on the top of the page for our Pages on Gun Design Books and Resources and our not-recently-updated Best of Weaponsman Gun Tech (we’ll take suggestions for either in the comments to this post).

Thanksgiving = Black Friday Gun Deals?

For some, the Thanksgiving Holiday is without religious or even historical significance. Instead, ir marks the brief pause before the onslaught of the Christmas shopping season. You know who you are. For those of you inclined to put a firearm in someone’s gun stocking (or maybe a gunsock in someone’s Christmas stocking, if you’re a cheapskate New Englander), you might want to check out Slick Guns’ Black Friday Deals Page. It’s not entirely comprehensive (we didn’t see Brownell’s which has a rolling menu of deals all week, for example) but it’s a good place to start.

Conversely, has a pile of deals (as usual) but makes nothing out of Black Friday. AmmoSeek has a couple of coupons. Their gun deal search is worthless; search on “9mm Luger” for a 9mm handgun, for instance, and you get a lot of listing for bb guns and airsoft toys.  God knows what you get if you search for that stuff; probably 9mm handguns.

Our message to many of those “deal” offerers: If your idea of a Black Friday Deal is 30% off your closeout 2015 logo t-shirt, don’t waste our time. (Springfield Armory USA, we’re lookin’ at you).

Our observation is that the present softness in the market has produced some very good bargains. We’ve seen S&W AR15s in the $500 neighborhood, Bushmasters below $600, and your local retailer might just have some Glocks at prices he can’t advertise (ours does). We’ve seen prices hundreds lower than last month on such disparate guns as the Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine repros and the silencer-ready version of the CZ-75 SP01.

How do we have softness in the market, even though we continue to have sales at record or near-record levels? Let us don our Master’s Hood (which is totally a thing) and explain. Prices are a function of supply and demand. When demand went through the roof after political moves for gun control in 2012, and supply became exhausted or limited, prices rose. (In fact, they didn’t rise fast enough for the market to remain in equilibrium, producing shortages; but buyers heaped opprobrium on sellers who raised prices). These high prices incentivized people who were holding guns but not using them to sell, and (producing greater numbers of firearms on the supply side) incentivized producers to produce more guns. New production lines opened up; new products were released to production; new vendors piled on the production of such commodity products as AR-15 parts.

So now, in the holiday season of 2015, we have production capacity at a level it would have been at had demand kept rising nonstop at the unsustainable rates of 2012-13. But demand didn’t do that.

On the other hand, despite crowing from the anti-gun press, demand didn’t really recede much. We still, as we just said, “continue to have sales at record or near-record levels.” This reflects new shooters who have joined the gun market (and who will provide, long-term, exponential growth as they “infect” new shooters in turn). But the supply has increased by an even greater amount. Hence, softness in the market, or, a buyer’s market.


Bubba’s Glock is Baaaaack! And, A Safe Alternative

Something about the way a Glock’s nylon parts interact with a Dremel, a woodburning tool, or a soldering iron, seems to bring out the best beast in Bubba. For example, we had the infamous “stricken with Gleprosy” Glock we described as “a marital aid for a Komodo lizard” back in May, 2014:


Can’t unsee that, can you? That was ugly, but the one that probably inspired the most shock and horror was this one, from 4 July 2013, which we billed as: The Continuing Adventures of Bubba the Gunsmith — Glock edition.


Indeed, most sentient Bubbas would disclaim any involvement in the horror above.

The Gunbroker auction (which has now aged off GB) ended, if we recall, without the gun meeting what struck us as a stratospheric reserve.

Well, guess what? It’s baaaack!glock-19-trigger-guard

Hat tip Miguel, who says “The Fitz Special is NOT a fashionable or safe thing.” We’d actually disagree with that, because a Fitz Special was a double action revolver, so it had a stiff enough trigger pull that it would not, essentially, shoot you itself. In 2013, Bubba was selling the Frankenglock with a “DeSantis Belly Band,” which made us note:

‘Cause nothing says “Bubba is My Gunsmith” like a testicle with a 9 or 10 millimeter hole in it.

We’re not sure the twitter ad is for real because the Glock in the GB ad is described as a G23, and the Glock in the twit pic is described as a G19, even though it’s the same picture from 2013. It may be a sales scam or a come-on for a holdup.

On the other hand, the 2013 bravado about a belly band is a pretty good match for the

Anyway, if you feel unreasonably impeded by trigger guards, and don’t want to blow your balls off (or, maybe you’re a female without any, or Caitlyn Jenner/Bradley Manning looking for some way to get rid of a pair, but you’re still diffident about inflicting gunshot wounds upon your nether regions), then consider a real Fitz Special. Here’s a nice one from GunBroker; it’s on a .455 Colt New Service military pistol, with uncertain origins, but it sold for $1,000.

Colt Fitz Special

Here’s another undocumented Fitz, with a story it’s an original Fitz on a Smith and Wesson Model 37, again a completed auction from GunBroker. This one sold for $400 — somebody got a steal, even if it’s a clone.

Smith 37 Fitz Special

Conversely, the muzzle of this one looks a bit crude. Not Bubba crowning, but not as good as it might be. And the host gun is an economy-priced Charter Arms .44 Bulldog, so it’s priced accordingly: starting bid of $250.

Charter Arms Bubba Fitz

Exercise for the reader: compare the old revolver Fitz Specials or clones, to this abortion of a Glock, and count your blessings that the capability to hack metals is not as widely indulged as the capability to butcher plastics.

And if you want a Fitz Special, be patient and set a GunBroker alert. One will come to you in due course. You can stick that safely in your belly band, unlike a similarly hacked Glock.

And leave the sex-change surgery to board-certified surgeons.


Ghost Gunner Update x 3

Today, we have not one, but three, Ghost Gunner updates for you. The first is from the website, and brief; the second is a longer, official one, from Cody R. Wilson of Defense Distributed. The third is our own, and it is unfortunately briefer, as we have received the unit but haven’t had time to put it into production. We had a post half-drafted with some complaints, but as Cody, if not exactly answering, does explain why we have those complaints, we thought we’d let him go first.

Website Update

Here’s what went on the website on 15 November. It differs slightly from the longer email sent to owners, and includes more detail on the improved power supply.

The GG team spent the summer upgrading our machine and creating new business relationships. All Ghost Gunners will now ship with a 160w power supply and upgraded cutting tool, to take better advantage of our higher speed settings and address the latent power issues we’ve had time to observe with some machines in the field. These new machines make a distinctively different species of chip.


If you look at that picture (we changed the orientation 90º clockwise) you san just see the spindle working in the trigger pocket. The characteristic plastic 3D Printed hold-downs are one of the innovations in the Ghost Gunner technology. Before anyone asks, no, the GG is not configured to work with coolant or cutting fluid.

The GG and the software that comes with it works with milspec-dimensioned forged and some billet lowers (as you can see in the image, where a billet lower is in process).  Back to the update:

In early October we celebrated shipping our last order from 2014, and we’ve been working to take hundreds of backers off our wait list since May.

I’ve thought for months now that we’d start selling GG through distributors, but there is a large appetite for the product from simple word of mouth, and we have committed to making another 250-350 units for Q1 of this year and still more if the demand is there. As well, we’ve made the decision to offer custom lower receivers for sale.

There’s often confusion about what lowers to use with our machine, even though we try to make consistent recommendations. So from now on, we’ll begin offering billet 7075 80% lowers that were vetted for use with the GG. We’ve got quite a few in stock now.

The other images on the web update are the same as the ones below in the email update.

Wilson’s GG Update

Verbatim as Received, only bold subheadings added for clarity’s sake.


We spent the summer months overcoming our banking and payments issues to forge strong relationships with many providers in our industry. As well, we’ve been able to keep maturing the Ghost Gunner itself after shipping over 700 and watching them in the field. All GG’s now ship with upgraded cutting tools and power supplies, as well as improved cutting and operating code.

Celebration-last 2014 backorder

After we celebrated taking care of all orders from 2014 to early January, we’ve been taking backers off of our wait list by the hundreds. Please check your spam folders since I know many of our wait list invitations have been lost and many of you have waited a long time for your chance to get your machine.

Before we get to still other news, I’m please to announce that we are now selling Ghost Gunner 80% lowers directly. For now, just 7075 billet lowers, but we’ll add forged lowers and the AR-10 as time goes on. Our lowers are specifically manufactured for use in our machine, to clear up all the confusion we’ve seen over the months about how to best use our jigs or just what is or isn’t a mil-spec piece.

Pile of Lowers
Quite a few in the shop now.

What’s the Holdup With More Options?

As for further software options or jigs for sale, I’ll explain the delay this way. Our expectation when launching the product last year was that we’d be able to have a user’s forum where those who purchased the machine (and the public) would be able to quickly iterate on our work and drive some of the necessary improvements that would lead to the implementation of better cutting code and support for other kind of gun components or projects. What we got instead was a hostile US State Department literally threatening us and our attorneys over the suggestion of our forum in our user’s manual. To date our forum is not active because the federal government takes the insane and asinine position that a public Ghost Gunner forum would violate their invented definition of a defense technology export.

So since last year our team has been doing all the software and hardware development it can while we support and manufacture the machine. The money is often thing because of our ongoing lawsuit against the State Department; our fight to make sure that the Internet is recognized as the public domain and that all people have the right to speak about and share information related to their Second Amendment.

Updates to that case can currently be found on our parent website. And the last I’ll say about it is that we expect some success when we are before the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans in the month of March.

We’ll interject here to add the link to the court case files:

Looking Forward

Looking forward, we’re committed to producing at least another 300 machines for Q1 of the upcoming year, and more as demand permits. We’ve been courted by distributors for months, but as word of mouth and public interest stays where it is, I don’t see the need to go there yet. I want to make the machine as cheaply and quickly as possible to show our commitment to the cause rather than to profit. To that end, we’re adding another shift at our shop and hoping to double our capacity by the end of the year.

For now, the only way to get in line for a Ghost Gunner remains to join our waitlist at

I’ll announce improvements in software and fixturing as they become available.

A Final Thanks

Lastly, I’d like to thank Alan Gottlieb and the Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear arms for recognizing the work of Defense Distributed through our lawsuit and our Ghost Gunner project at the most recent Run Rights Policy Conference in Phoenix, AZ. I’m more proud of this recognition than anything else, and it really helps us keep going over here.
Thank you all for your patience and, as ever, if you have questions, need support, or have an address change or other important update, please email us at

While we’re excited about the GhostGunner for its technological promise, Wilson is motivated by something completely different: the disruption he’s seeking is political, small-l libertarian, even small-a anarchistic. Well, maybe not completely different; different, perhaps, in degree. We doubt we would meet his standards for ideological purity. But the fates put us shoulder to shoulder in this pass, with the horde of national socialist persian government lawyers advancing, threatening to blot out the sun. So the least we can do is pick up the sword.

We believe you have the right to give your friend in a foreign country a copy of Stuart Otteson’s The Bolt Action Rifle, or to put the dimensions of a 7.62mm NATO chamber reamer on the web for any and all to see. The national socialist lawyers believe you do not. And all the judges come from their ranks, not ours.

Still think the Thermopylae reference was over the top?

Our GG Unit Update

Our Ghost Gunner was received finally in September and is sitting in a corner of the office, partially unpacked. It can’t go into the shop because that space is full of an airplane stabilator, half a fuselage, and two in-process wings at the moment. A bit hard to swing a cat in there. In adddition, we’re busy with work and life and a little blogging, so it’s been a bit hard to fit it in. (It’s not the only machine that is sitting idle. So is our 3D printer).

In order to ship it to us, they had to run our name and SSAN by a prohibited persons list maintained by the Department of State. As far as we know, this is simply an attempt by the national socialists at State to maintain a registry of these devices in hopes of receiving authority to confiscate them later.

The Ghost Gunner was very well packed and arrived complete. It is heavy and well made. There are a couple of parts that we’d have deburred a little more thoroughly and/or radiused a little more before sending them out for finishing, but that’s us… we don’t care for sharp edges on stuff. Most of the parts do not have this issue, and the overall impression is of a quality device from an experienced company, even though we know it is a debut product from a bunch of Texan revolutionaries. It doesn’t have Apple level industrial design, but neither does the stuff from post-Jobs Apple, whose business model seems to deliver twice the sanctimony but without the technical superiority and innovation that made even the old levels of Silicon Valley sanctimony bearable.

We’re pretty cynical about revolutions around here — they usually end with the survivors worse off, and damnably few survivors — but we bear Wilson’s revolutionary rhetoric, in part because we agree with him, and in part because the device promised technical superiority and innovation, and we’re suckers for that.

We don’t know if we got the improved cutting tools and power supply. We don’t know how to tell, or whether it makes a difference. We have asked DD, and if we get an answer we’ll append it here as an update, unless it merits a post of its own.

The documentation is still the 1.0 version that is available (mirabile dictu, seeing the way they’ve been attacked by partisan hacks at the Department of State) on the website, and it is somewhat inadequate if you want to really understand things, and develop new fixtures and new G-Code. So the machine is, at present, a bit of a black box for grinding out AR lowers, which is not what we want. (Although it’s a useful capability).

One thing we’d really like to have is the ability to engrave lowers with ATF-legal marks; this would let us mark our lowers for our retro collection and maybe open the door to doing some Form 1 SBRs in house. We can’t believe we’re the only ones looking at a GhostGunner and trying to figure this out. We’d have to fixture the lower differently, and two ways if we also want to engrave on the right side.

If anybody knows of a good g-code tutorial in pixel or print, kindly clue us in.

The lack of the planned forum really crimps the utility of the GhostGunner, and is part of why we haven’t set ours up and run it off yet. That is, of course, why the anti-gun politicians at the State Department have suppressed the forum to date.

Washbear 3D Printed Revolver Update

Back in September, we introduced the Washbear, the first successful 3D printed .22 revolver (although it looks like a pepperbox, it has a rudimentary barrel), and we promised you more information, including the files, when it was time.

It’s time.

James R. Patrick has continued to develop theWashbear and he now has it working even better. In addition, the files are available. This is his rendering of the current version:

Patrick Washbear Release Rendering

It is all 3D printed, except for one roofing nail (firing pin), one elastic band (mainspring), and a grip-enclosed steel mass if one must meet the requirements of the United States’ Undetectable Firearms Act.

This video is a design analysis by Patrick himself, followed by a brief video of a shooting session of a version printed by FP (FreedomPrint) of the FOSSCAD group. There are two separate cylinder designs: a eight-shot cylinder, with steel liners, for printing in ABS filament; and an six-shot cylinder that requires no liners if printed in nylon filament. The cylinders are interchangeable. There’s no reason you couldn’t print a nylon, lined, 8-shot cylinder, too, for increased strength.

It is designed with more attention to safety than to perfect function at this point. The clever mechanism rotates the cylinder half-way on trigger release, so that the DAO trigger only has to move the cylinder half-way — but also so that the firing pin rests on the cylinder between chambers, in between shots, rendering the firearm drop-safe. (We would suggest making a notch in the cylinder’s rear face to receive this firing pin, locking the cylinder between shots and ensuring the cylinder can’t be torqued sideways and initiate an out-of-battery fire, for added safety. That would not be a factor in a center fire version, which would probably require materials advances). James Patrick notes that the current mechanism leads to a suboptimal trigger press.

Well, it’s early days.

Again, back in September, we promised you the files when James was ready to release them. He released them this past weekend. You can download the zipfile from Sendspace here. Follow that link and click on the blue button:

Note that James’s own website remains blocked by some antivirus software. Should you not be under that handicap, it’s here:

Are we still the best place to get technical firearms news on the web, or what (they said modestly)?




Next-Gen HMMWV: Marginal Improvement, 10X the Price

Oshkosh's JLTV won, but LockMart is disputing the contract. Since 2008, tens of millions have been spent and zero vehicles produced.

Oshkosh’s JLTV won, but LockMart is disputing the contract. Since 2008, tens of millions have been spent and zero vehicles produced, apart from handbuilt prototypes..

In Roman times, a bad unit was “decimated” — which meant, in the precise Roman terms, that the unit would form up, count off, and every tenth man would be put to the sword. Pour encourager les autres, naturally.

Something like that seems like a good idea to apply to the Pentagon, after their latest spending binge. Except maybe for not killing every 10th man — instead, whacking the other nine.

Hey, it’s a start.

We complained in 1980 when they replaced the simple, light M151 Jeep with the large, complex, and unwieldy HMMWV, a vehicle so larded with requirement after requirement that it had the same four cramped seats as a jeep, but didn’t fit the roads of most of the world. It was, at the time, about ten to eleven times the cost of the M151, which were being bought by DOD for around $3,000 a pop; the new HMMWV, that was a bare improvement on the 151, sold for $33,000 — before the Pentagon started tinkering with it.

Lesson learned: When price is no object, we can make the grandest jeep ever. Three JLTV contenders.

Lesson learned: When price is no object, we can make the grandest jeep ever. Three JLTV contenders.

Now, the supposedly unlimited expansion headroom built in to the HMMWV has hit the wall, and they need something new, which is this abortion, the JLTV or Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. It’s still, tactically, a jeep, but it’s now a $400,000-a-unit Jeep. It’s so expensive that the Marines, after going along with the project, are drawing the line at the $2.2 billion of overpriced jeeps they’re already on the hook for, and trying to protect their budget for their amtrack replacement, the ACV, Amphibious Combat Vehicle; that project too is wildly over budget and setting record unit costs.

One of the losing contenders.

One of the losing contenders.

That’s right, the new jeep is 12 times more than the old one, and over 130 times more expensive than the admittedly Spartan One Before That.

Q: What’s the difference between a Pentagon procurement official and a glutton? A: The glutton may feel shame.

The Army will get approximately 11,500 of the overpriced, overweight JLTV jeeps. Each one weighs well over 15,000 pounds — contractors are having a hard time meeting the weight cap of 15,639 lbs (roughly 7100 kg) which is driven by the lift capacity of the services’ heavy-lift helicopters. Unlike the Hummers, which weighed from 6,000 to 11,000 pounds depending on armor and configuration, the new vehicles can’t be lifted at all by utility or cargo helicopters smaller than the heavy-lift champion CH-47F and -53K.

And what’s the services’ political leadership up to? Well, one of them is pursuing crony-capitalism deals that will line the pockets of the best-connected solar “entrepreneurs” and, no doubt, the secretary himself after he leaves office.

CMP 1911s: Likely a Go after Compromise

M1911A1bAccording to Al Jazeera, which is bent out of shape because the language forbidding the closure of Guantanamo remains, the President will sign the changed National Defense Authorization Act.

The President’s reasons were many and various. The two he most often gave were the use of off-budget “Overseas Contingency Operations” funds to circumvent military spending caps, and the maintenance of spending caps on domestic programs.

The Republican Congressional leadership yielded to the Democrats across the board, discarding the budget sequester principle and going on a spending spree in domestic/welfare spending. Ironically, the OCO money remains, and is increased — but the increase is tapped off for domestic spending also.

The Guantanamo language remains, and more to our point, so does the CMP transfer language.  (We discussed it recently, and explained the many gotchas in the text. The law limits CMP sales to a max of 10,000 firearms a year).

At this writing it does not appear on the President’s Pending Legislation calendar, but we’ve been told to expect a signing, if not tomorrow (Friday the 13th!) then next week. After that, it will take months for the firearms to be transferred from the Army (which is tired of paying to store them) to the CMP, and for the CMP to prepare them for sale at its two locations and through the internet. Unlike CMP rifles, which are transferred under a different statutory provision with a NICS check conducted at the CMP, the organization must acquire an FFL and transfer the firearms from CMP to an FFL in your state, to you. This is black-letter law in the new bill.

Would You Buy a Shirt for a Thousand Bucks?

The seller thinks somebody would. His reasoning? It’s not just anybody’s shirt. It’s on eBay right now. It’s this guy’s:

Singlaub Shirt 3

Jack Singlaub is not just a legendary soldier, he’s at least five to seven legendary soldiers in one.

  1. He served in the OSS Jedburgh Teams in France, behind Nazi lines. That makes him a legend.
  2. He served in the OSS in the CBI, behind Japanese lines. Double legend.
  3. While doing that he was involved in the immediate postwar liberation and recovery of 400 US and Allied POWs. That’s worth another legend in our book.
  4. He served in Korea both as a combat officer and as a loaner with the CIA. One legend or two? You decide!
  5. Then, he went to Vietnam as Chief, SOG. And his greatest public display of moral courage was still ahead.
  6. In 1977, when President Carter intended to unilaterally withdraw US Forces from Korea and leave South Korea to the mercies of Kim Il Sung (Carter had a beef with South Korea’s human rights record, but not the North’s), Singlaub went public with his own opinion of just how crappy an idea that was. Carter, of course, fired him forthwith, but his plan to pull the rug out from under South Korea was exposed and defeated.

That’s six or seven times a legend. (You’d never know this, by the way, if you read his Wikipedia bio, which is a farrago of shameful slanders).

Singlaubs Assignments

Since his retirement Singlaub has been active in veterans’ and anti-Communist causes; born in 1921, this national treasure is still with us and usually attends the annual reunions of the Special Operations Association, where he’s met with near-reverence. Particularly for this:

Singlaub Shirt 4

Maj. Gen. Singlaub returned to the United States late on the 20th of May. The following day, President Carter held two publicly scheduled meetings. The first was with Habib and Brown to finalize preparations for their consultations with the South Koreans [on the unilateral US withdrawal – Ed]. The second was a brief thirty minute meeting with Maj. Gen. Singlaub. Less than an hour after this meeting the Secretary of Defense. Harold Brown, announced Singlaub’s dismissal as Chief of Staff. U.S. Forces, Korea. [The announcement was prepared in advance]. Officially, Brown’s position was that he had recommended the reassignment of Singlaub, because his public statements challenging announced national policy compromised his ability to carry out his duties in Korea. In particular, the administration pointed out that part of his duties as Chief of Staff involved conducting negotiations with the North Koreans and that his statements had damaged his ability to effectively perform this duty..)4 Singlaub himself was slated to return to Korea only to gather his family and belongings and return to the United States pending the identification of a new assignment. Parallels were almost immediately drawn with Truman’s firing of MacArthur, who had also publicly opposed the Korean Policy of a President.

From a paper available on DTIC, which suggests that Singlaub wasn’t actually trying to beard Carter, not then, nor later, when this occurred:

Barely a year later, during a question-and- answer period following an address to the Reserve Officer Training Corps candidates at Georgia Tech. Singlaub termed the administration’s decision not to produce the neutron bomb ridiculous and militarily unsound. …. Mal. Gen. Singlaub was again summoned to a meeting in Washington, D.C.

This time, Carter got his scalp for good, and Singlaub retired. In retrospect, Jack was right about the Enhanced Radiation Weapon, too, a perfect weapon for outnumbered defenders to use on invading tank armies. But he didn’t win, this time. Still, it was one more act of moral heroism.

Singlaub Shirt 1

Something to think about: as usual, Jack was right. As usual, Jimmah was wrong. And as usual, the guy with the higher rank emerged “victorious,” although looking much diminished.

So, do you want this guy’s shirt, or not? It’s on eBay.

Do you want it $1,000 worth? For those of you not inclined to drop a mortgage payment on a used shirt, we can recommend his book Hazardous Duty, co-written by an excellent defense and espionage subjects writer.


Here’s a decent interview with Jack from a couple of years ago. Check out the picture of him with his Jedburgh team (he’s the one in the middle with the jug ears. His radio op had ’em too!)