Category Archives: Consumer Alert!

Some Thoughts on Police Trade-Ins

Favorite FFL emailed his list of customers to say that he had some police trade-ins:

Available starting tomorrow at 9AM are these police department trade in guns.

Bushmaster XM15E2S 5.56mm rifles.  16″ barrel, collapsible stocks, will come with one 30rd mag.  Used, cosmetic blemishes from being in cruiser racks however mechanically sound.  We also have a special going with our Cerakote vendor to get $25 off a refinish with Cerakote gun coating if you so desire.  $475

File photo of a Remington 870 tactical police shotgun

File photo of a Remington 870 tactical police shotgun

Remington 870 Police Magnum 12ga pump shotguns. These have 18.5″ standard barrels with sights.  Two have BlackHawk recoil reducing stocks and two have regular stocks with side saddle shell holders. These also will have some finish wear as well but are mechanically sound.  $325

They’re going to be gone by now, probably; he just had single-digits of each.

Meanwhile, SF Buddy on the phone described his new score:

An HK imported Benelli shotgun that the local detectoves used to use. They have changed (not upgraded) to Mossberg pumps.

Aside: asks your humble host: “Wha’s wrong with a Mossberg pump?”

Turns out, lots of things, but basically, the single aluminum alloy op-rod is prone to bending when used hard. When Army Mossbergs had this problem, the answer was, per Mossberg, a thicker aluminum op-rod… result? One thicker bent aluminum op-rod.

He’s very pleased with the new gun so far. It was a lot more expensive than the above-referenced 870s, but it was a good buy for an HK-era Benelli.

Pros and Cons of Police Trade-ins

Police trade in weapons when they buy new ones, in most states and cities. This lets them save a lot of money on this vital equipment, while keeping their equipment pool up to date (and sometimes, even, under warranty).

The strengths of these weapons usually are:

  1. The weapon design and manufacture was generally good. Police agencies seldom buy junk. When they trade them, it’s more likely to be because they are out of fashion than any real substantive difference between the new guns and the old.
  2. Police weapons are usually chambered for what is thought at the time to be an effective cartridge. All 20th and 21st-Century police firearms can be effective on homo sapiens, to the extent that a handgun can be, with well-selected or handloaded rounds.
  3. The weapons are usually little shot and in good mechanical shape. 90% or more of cops would sooner attend a Free Mumia rally that shoot a single round more than minimum to qualify, so few of these weapons are shot out.
  4. The weapon was subject to some kind of periodic maintenance and inspection.
  5. The police provenance may give you an entertaining story to go with the gun. Or not.

 

PSP Patch Beretta 2

The Pennsylvania State Police is one agency that disposes their used handguns — in this case, a Beretta 96.

 

Weaknesses of these weapons usually are:

  1. Because PDs so dependably follow trends, you’re probably picking up something from one trend ago.
  2. They generally only come in limited configurations. If you prefer, say, the 9mm to the .40 S&W, you don’t get to choose, the way you would with a new gun.
  3. The weapons are usually in fair to poor cosmetic shape, and may not have been cleaned in a long time — if ever.
  4. Cop trades, unless a very large agency suddenly gluts the market or the agency’s version of the gun had market-toxic lawyer “improvements” like a New York or DAO trigger, tend to be priced a little higher than similar used guns.
  5. Police guns are bought by collectors as well as users, especially if the firearm is marked with police identification.

SIG-nificant Shipping Update: MPX pistols, SBR

Back in January, 2013, we were pretty excited when SIG announced the MPX submachine gun, along with civilian-legal pistol, carbine and SBR variants. The piece we wrote then put this part-polymer MP5 analogue with AR-like ergonomics in its tactical, technical and historical context, but rereading it now, we were excited about this thing. We really wanted an SBR-SD version (and still do, and when we’re back in New Hampster we’ll enquire at the Pro Shop).

MPX-SD-Detail-L

It’s also just the thing for PDs looking at dog-eared 1980s MP5s and cringing at what HK wants for replacements; the SMG version is priced a lot more attractively than the German firearm.

And then, of course, came the long wait for shipping, compounded by SIG and the ATF going to war (well, going to law, actually) over SIG’s design for a convertible carbine/SD variant. That one is still generating billable hours, so the very welcome news that MPX variants are shipping must except, at this time, the MCX carbine. But the first three variants are shipping, says SIG on Facebook:

Good news, SIG SAUER fans! The 9mm SIG MPX is now in full production and shipping! Three variants are on their way to distributors as we speak (Pistol, Pistol with SBX brace and Short-Barrel Rifle).

And they include this triumphant picture (you know the embiggen drill):

” 9mm_mpx_shipping

That looks like the new building to us, too. Well done, SIG.

The shipping variants include the pistol (illustrated), the pistol with folding SIG brace (naturally), and the SBR. No caliber conversions or variants, but these are coming: SIG has staked its future on modularity, it seems clear from the firearms it’s promoting on the SIG Evolution website. (That’s for specs and tech. For promotions and news, the place to look is the facebook site, or the Promotions page on the website).

The polymer magazines are molded for SIG by Lancer.

If you’ve been waiting to decide on one of these until you can see and handle it in your LGS, the hour is soon at hand. Hmmm… wonder if they’ll sell us an SBR now and let us trade it on an SBR/SD when it’s ready?

NSSF Video Up for Award

Crime nationwide, including violent crime and gun crime, is down in a trend of many years’ standing. True, it’s down less in jurisdictions that have “Turn em Loose Bruce” judges and Victim Disarmement Zone gun laws (which are usually the same jurisdictions, like Chicongo, Killadelphia, and DC), but it’s down even there, just not as far down as it is in more enlightened climes.

But despite that, most people, thanks to it-bleeds-it-leads TV news, think that crime is up. The National Shooting Sports Foundation made a short video that illustrates this graphically, and the video is up for an award. First, the video. It’s called “Gun Crimes Plummet as Gun Sales Rise”:

OK, so Shane it’s not, but it’s still under consideration for an award.

The TELLY awards are a judged award for creativity and quality. The judges are previous Silver TELLY winners (there’s two levels of award, silver and bronze).

But there’s also a “People’s Telly” award, which is given based on popular ratings. By going to the TELLY site here, you can view the video (again, sorry) and rate it. If enough people rate it high enough, that’ll help get some recognition for the NSSF creatives that launches this video, and in turn, it will help get this message out far and wide.

Last year, about 125,000 people viewed and rated TELLY entries, so there’s a chance for a small but determined group (that would be, us) to put their thumb on the scales of history.

 

Ghost Gunner Latest Update

Over the transom from Cody Wilson. We’ve been seeing for some time that (1) he’s got a working shipping solution, which he’s not talking about publicly to keep Holder’s minions from chokepointing it, and (2) he’s got the MarkOne carbon-fiber printer by MarkForged that the company, good Massachusetts Party members all, refused to sell him. (There’s a shock, not). Now he comes with this on the GG. BLUF: technical problems, not shipping ones, have added a week or two’s delay to shipping and stretched, but not broken, the budget. Meanwhile, his guys have tuned up some things, such as workholding:

Lower

Over the jump to hear it in his words:

Continue reading

SunTrust Bank Celebrates Hitler’s Birthday with Choke Point

ssuntrust_logoMaybe it’s the snazzy, Hugo Boss uniforms, but SunTrust Bank is inviting Godwin to the party for Hitler’s Birthday, by sending letters to firearms businesses, punitively closing their accounts for dealing in Administration-disapproved goods and services. Effective on the day that was the highest holy day in National Socialism.

The cancellation comes with a 30-day deadline for some purposes, but with only 10 days before the business’s debit cards go tango uniform. It’s all part of a long-standing Administration plan to make lampshades out of the hides of America’s gun owners, and those businesses that dare to serve them.

American Gun and pawnThe Nashville-based bank has been a leader in sucking up to political overlords, perhaps in hopes that it too can grow to coveted Too Big to Fail (not to mention, Too Big to Be Indicted for Criminal Activity) status. Here’s an example of the form letter. This one was sent to Florida’s American Gun and Pawn over the computer signature of a minor bank (& The Party, no doubt) functionary, Quanisha Keel. Keel no more wrote the letter, which bears the stylistic imprints of SunTrust and possibly government lawyers and PR specialists, than you did, but her name is on one of the most blatant examples of banking corruption since the cell door closed on Carlo Ponzi.

suntrust hitlers birthday letter

It sounds like a one off letter, but when AG&P called, March 27…

…[T]hey said they are closing Gun stores accounts all over the country! We are a licensed and legal company!

OFA’s social media brigades are flooding the net with obfuscatory claims, including that (1) the letter is fake (it isn’t), the business must be crooked (so where’s the indictment?), and that maybe the account is being closed, but not because AG&P is a gun business, maybe because it’s a pawn shop (like that’s any better a reason?). To which the company’s Steve Champion replies:

You are wrong. Gun dealers are part of the account closings. I called and they specifically said it was because we are a gun dealer. I have the names of everyone I spoke with.

Even as these letters were going out, one of the great successes under the authority of Operation Choke Point, Administration Made Guy (FDIC Chairman) Martin J. Gruenberg was in front of Congress, mumbling non-sequiturs to avoid perjuring himself that Choke Point was not a thing, and if it was, it was over, and who were you going to believe, a Beltway and Wall Street Made Guy like Himself, or your lyin’ eyes?

Champion has gotten some small media play in outlets like Florida News Flash and local TV and radio, but this problem is not going away. If anything, it’s going to grow, because the Deep State bureaucrats haven’t backed away when exposed — instead, they’ve sought the cloak of secrecy. Not a good sign.

The NRA has a story with some of the industry’s (and other targeted industries’) responses to Choke Point. If you yourself have been a victim of SunTrust or another national socialist bank, the US Consumer Coalition wants to hear from you — also, if you’re an inside-banking whistleblower.

No one has been able to get a response from the Hitler’s Birthday celebrators at SunTrust. SunTrust has been one of the most aggressive participants in Choke Point, and has been evasive about its anti-gun policies and positions for at least two years. The participating banks have been threatened by the CFPB, the FDIC and the Department of Justice to keep the details of their participation secret.

Auction Alert! RIA Online Only Auction Tomorrow

Yeah, we could have posted about this earlier. There’s some really cool stuff there. There ought to be — there are 1,133 items in about 800 lots, some of which contain multiple guns. You can view the catalog sequentially or search it here.

Of course, some are not even one whole gun, like this AR-10 parts set:

Portuguese AR-10 parts kit RIA

If that’s too retro for you, there’s an AR-180 set, too.

And then there’s this tasty Walther Model 8, a single-action forerunner of the pioneering double-action PP.

Walther Model 8 RIA

The Model 8 looks very Browning-derived, but the interesting thing is that it is closer to the Browning 1910, aesthetically, than the earlier Model 2, 4 and 6 pistols. The grip monogram is that of Carl Walther.

Don’t want a Model 8? The auction also has a Model 2, two Model 4s, and a nice selection of PP, PPK, PPK/S and P.38 pistols. And that’s just the Walthers. There’s bound to be something you like. (Our problem: we like every-damn-thing from the Brown Bess on up).

Again, sorry about the late notice. But the auction is taking place tomorrow, Saturday, and so we’re just barely in time (we may be up at 0600 bidding, actually). Good luck!

The GunLab VG 1-5 Project Update

Chuck at GunLab reports on the ongoing VG 1-5 project. Pre-orders have been taken (cards not yet charged) and a list established at Allegheny Arsenal. It’s not cheap, but you’re not going to be the sixth AR in line at the range with this thing.

We’re going to catch you up on the last several VG 1-5 2015 updates, a couple of which we might have mentioned before.

Chuck had made the first few receiver reinforcement plates by hand on a finger brake. It worked but it was an ugly way of doing it, especially with hundreds of the guns spoken for by eager collectors. So he made a special pressing jig. Here it is in action:

The Magazine Release Button comprises a threaded insert riveted into a pressed dome, which is made itself from a flat laser-cut washer. Both processes are shown in the video below and explained with many photos in the appropriate GunLab post from back in January.

And so, finally, we get to the latest update, from 9 Mar 15, in which a test-mule VG 1-5 is test-fired. As Chuck writes:

We looked at everything from the barrel chamber and flutes to the firing pin length. We needed to check the recoil spring length and tension. Is the buffer spring too strong or weak? Will the fire control group work properly? All the drawings showed that everything should work but these are all questions that can only be answered during a test fire.

A problem is found, is rapidly troubleshot, and a new problem is found.

While the videos are a brief and on point, and have the advantage of motion, we strongly urge going to see the actual posts, because the many photos there and the descriptions reveal details not clarified in the videos.

We have every confidence that troubleshooting will be successful. How much confidence? Well, our VG 1-5 is on order.

There are several other cool things happening at GunLab, and they are worth checking out. (If you’re typing the address in, try to remember it’s gunlab.net. Someone has acquired the gunlab.com domain, but we don’t know who).

UPDATE

Sorry about the missing test-fire video. Should be fixed now.

Poly-Ticks: Comment on the ATF Ammo Ban

ATF BadgeMany are celebrating and enjoying a victory bask after the ATF retreated from its political partisan attempt to ban M855 “green-tip” ammunition.

Not so fast, basilisk.

You see, ATF didn’t say they were dropping the ban. They said they were delaying it. And in an appropriations hearing, ATF Director Byron Todd Jones, the man behind the plan for a ban, said that while he didn’t want to move forward now, he wanted Congress to help him out.

How?

By banning all AR-15 ammo.

Jones’s anodyne prepared comments (.pdf) (does any Washington bureaucrat ever make cathodyne comments, to coin a word?) didn’t contain a peep about the ammo ban, or for that matter ATF’s controversial storefront operations (aka “let’s tattoo some retards and see if we can get ’em to break the law) or gunwalking  efforts (“Hey, if we’re going to ally with the Iranians and the Muslim Brotherhood, why not the Sinaloa Cartel?”).

ATF_at_SHOT

Of course, it did contain a few interesting bits, like an $8.1 million budget uptick for Martinsburg which is supposed to add ten examiners to deal with the NFA backlog. It must be hard to get good help in WV these days, if unskilled clerical help is going for $810k a pop. (We guess they all found something to do when B. Todd’s padron closed the coal mines). Some of the $8.1M, it says here, will be used for other Martinsburg efforts.

ATF-Molan Labe

One wonders why Jones’s focus is on harassing legal gun owners when he himself admits:

Recently, ATF completed enhanced enforcement initiatives in New Haven/Bridgeport, CT and Chicago, IL. In total, 350 defendants were accepted for prosecution and ATF seized or purchased more than 350 crime guns during these operations. In Chicago alone, the approximately 200 charged defendants had almost 3,000 prior felony arrests.

Cause of problem (pick one):

[  ] too many guns on the streets; or,

[  ] revolving door that turned loose criminals with an average of 15 felony arrests per skell.

Naturally, Jones and his gang pick what’s behind Door Number One, because that lets them, in true Washington style, punish the innocent.

But Here’s What He Said

As so often happens,  the written testimony is prolefeed for the reporters, but the real discussion happened in the Q&A. And when asked about it, Jones clearly indicated his sustained interest in banning AR ammunition, not just Green Tip. When asked about the M855/SS109 ban, he had this to say, according to the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard:

It probably isn’t going to happen any time soon. We are not going to move forward.”

Instead, he suggested that he needed a broader ban, and he wanted Congress to write one. Bedard again:

…Jones said all types of the 5.56 military-style ammo used by shooters pose a threat to police….

“Any 5.56 round” is “a challenge for officer safety,” he said.

Any ATF director is a challenge for individual liberty, but this one is a constitution-burning armor-piercing cop-killer assault director.

What You Can Do:

Comment on the proposed ban. Keep your remarks temperate (i.e., quoting our “constitution-burning armor-piercing cop-killer assault director” is probably a bad idea) and keep them on point. Remember, this move by the ATF:

  • Does not reflect a real threat — cops are being shot, but mostly by people encouraged by his boss the Attorney General and his buddy Reverend Al, and not with these rounds.
  • Attacks ammunition that does not even meet the standard in the Act
  • Is a politically partisan move, as betrayed the fact that no members of the ATF’s political party signed on to the House and Senate letters opposing the ban.
  • Making the ATF an overtly partisan one-sided political police is likely to redound to the disbenefit of the ATF and its missions, as FFLs, SOTs and individuals who are the source of most of ATF’s enforcement leads come to understand that ATF is abusing their trust for partisan political ends.
  • Distracts from a focus on crime which is (at the risk of being hit with the Tautology Tautog) unlawful things that criminals do by focusing instead on “stuff” that criminals (and literally millions of non-criminals) have. 
  • Violates the Administrative Procedures Act by not being published as a full NPRM (yes, we’re using Alinsky’s Rule #4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules”, on one of Alinsky’s own disciple’s disciples).
  • Disrupts the channels used by DOD contractors to dispose of large quantities of ammunition that meets commercial SAAMI but not stricter DOD standards.
  • Because it will require the above ammo (for example, that sold by Federal as “XM855″) to be scrapped rather than sold, will have negative knock-on effects on military and law enforcement budgets and training.

Bear in mind that the ATF only asked for comments on how to implement a ban, not on whether to implement a ban. Therefore you should probably make two comments, one with your objections overall, and one with specific, targeted comments on how the ban be implemented, so that even if the ATF waves its magic bull-scat wand over the comments and deletes all that take about the whether as “not germane,” they still have another comment of yours that they have to field.

You have until close of business on the 16th (Monday) to comment. Details per this prior post:

ATF will carefully consider all comments, as appropriate, received on or before March 16, 2015, and will give comments received after that date the same consideration if it is practical to do so, but assurance of consideration cannot be given except as to comments received on or before March 16, 2015. ATF will not acknowledge receipt of comments. Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method):

ATF email: APAComments@atf.gov

Fax: (202) 648-9741.

Mail: Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.

As of Jones’s testimony (and his heart-dump of his intentions vis-a-vis all 5.56mm ammo) on Friday, ATF had received 90,000 comments, almost all negative. If we can launch this post whilst dealing with a family issue, the least thing you guys can do is push the ATF’s comment counter into the six figures.

Most Recent Ghost Gunner Update

We received the following from Cody Wilson on 7 March 2015. We could pontificate at great length on what he’s saying here, but we’d rather just pass it on. It wasn’t on the GG website.

Ghost Gunners,

No doubt many of you heard of our recent shipping snafu with FedEx. If you haven’t, Wired had a relatively thorough coverage. The short story is that FedEx has capriciously declined to ship the machine, citing the mere suggestion of a legal controversy in doing so.

You and I know there isn’t any. But for better or worse the chatterati does not. So firstly, I’d like to assure you that only FedEX has actually declined to ship the product and that, as a very last resort, USPS is bound as a government agency to ship it. We are not without shipping solutions, and I would like to thank many of you for offering your help when you learned we had been left hanging. This has so far been only another unexpected annoyance.

On Monday I’m making a test shipment with our new preferred shipper. And shortly thereafter you backers in the first group will be seeing your fulfillment emails.

Two
***

Though you haven’t heard from me in a while, these GG boxes have been on the move and, before it became unpopular, were actually shipped by FedEx and another courier from independent locations. We’ve even tested air shipment.

P1020477
P1020476

Someone’s interested in our work.

***

As for the manufacturing, our supply problems are completely reversed. Since the middle of February we’ve been receiving more parts from our new supplier than our previous two were able to provide in months. The GG shop is full of workers and we’ve finalized all of our assembly and testing processes.

Ten
Seven
20150306 205419
Nine

I can only thank you for your patience as we are toyed with by those who have the power to delay us. Everyone here laughs at the pained lengths to which our enemies go to frustrate us. We are so eager to show what we have made for you.

My next email is a shipping update.

The production pictures were, to us, the most interesting part. We’re really excited about trying this thing out (and also, about trying to program it to do new stuff. We just spend a lot of time making a dishwasher repair part out of sheet metal — that kind of thing is fun but the repetitive part of it was not).

We strongly suspect that Defense Distributed’s shippers are being hassled by The Man, and we strongly suspect that it is happening because, as with the M855 imbroglio (the ban’s prospects still not over, quoth the ATF, just delayed), the forces of the bansters vastly overestimate the popularity of their means and their ends. (Yet, deep down, they must know their ideas are unpopular, because they go to great extremes to conceal them and mislead the public about their ideas and objectives. For example, the college campus carry bills now under consideration in Florida have produced a Bloomberg opposition ad that misrepresents the bills as allowing grade school students to carry!)

A Blast from the Past — Literally

FOOM!There is been few blasts like the one that blew up USS Maine in Havana harbor, on 15 February 1898, the forward magazine of the ship blew up at 9:40 PM. A crew of 355 was nearly annihilated; there were only 16 uninjured survivors, and 75 or 80 wounded ones. Because the mishap happened at night, and officers’ country was in the aft end of the ship, the officers survived at a higher rate.

1024px-Telegram_from_James_A._Forsythe_to_Secretary_of_the_Navy_-_NARA_-_300264The captain of Maine, Charles Sigsbee, sent an urgent cry for help via Capt. James Forsythe, commanding officer of the Key West naval station.

The investigation that ensued ruled that the ship was subject to an attack by a naval mine. It was only the first of many investigations, and there remains to this day no conclusion, although the balance of expert opinion seems to suggest a mishap aboard ship is more likely than Spanish hostile action. The destruction of Maine became a casus belli in the hysteria-induced Spanish-American War of 1898. Indeed, it was probably the most influential cause, or pretext, for the US to have initiated that war.

The Maine was an odd ship, but she was created in the 1880s and 1890s at an odd time in naval affairs. “Armored Cruisers” seemed to be what Navies needed, ships that could combine sail and steam — she was initially designed with three masts — and that would attack headlong. Accordingly, Maine had a ram built into her bow, and her two gun barbettes (mounted in left-front and right-rear sponsons) were arranged so that she could deliver her full “broadside” — four 10-inch guns — only straight ahead or straight behind.

Maine also had advanced armor for her day — Harvey Steel, an early form of face-hardened armor. But it took so long for America to build, launch and commission this pre-Dreadnought battleship (ships characterized by guns in sponsons and coal-fired steam piston engines) that she was, although nearly new at her sinking, soon to be obsoleted by that British revolution in naval arms.

Our interest, of course, is easily led from the 10″ main battery on down through the 1.5″ anti-torpedo-boat armaments to, inevitably, the personal weapons.

Julia Maine Recovered Lee Navy

Like every Naval vessel, Maine had some small arms lockers, and in February, 1898, they held the unusual M1895 Winchester-Lee 6mm (.236 Navy) rifle. The rifles, at least some of them, were salvaged and were sold by Francis Bannerman of Bannerman’s Island fame. Ian at Forgotten Weapons has an excellent video showcasing one of these rare rifles, now featured in a Julia auction. James Julia expects a five figure knock-down on this. Julia explains his documentation of provenance:

Also accompanied by a copy of pages 34 and 35 of a reprint of The Bannerman Catalog of July 1907. Page 35 lists the serial numbers of 54 6mm Lee Straight Pull Rifles salvaged from the USS Maine, including this exact rifle.

Julia Maine recovered Navy

It also lists the SNs of six 45 cal Springfield rifles recovered at the same time. These rifles were sold to Bannermens [sic] through the Navy Yard at New York in Jan. 1900. These 54 Lee rifles and 6 Springfield rifles are the only officially documented small arms recovered from the USS Maine although there have been one or two others that have surfaced in the last few years that were undoubtedly authentic. Regardless there are probably no more than about 60 or so of these relics in existence.

How many guns came by their pitting this honestly? No doubt someone will take great pride in adding this piece of history to his collection.