Category Archives: Administrivia

Three Years (and a Million Hits in 2014) for WeaponsMan.com

Gun cake! From CakeCentral.com.

Gun cake! From CakeCentral.com.

Happy birthday to us, it’s good to be us.

WeaponsMan.com went live on 1 Jan 2012 with a post we called, “Signal to Noise Ratio,” setting out the philosophy behind WeaponsMan. We wrote:

Here’s how we’re going to try to keep the S/N high on here.

  1. Stick to what we actually know
  2. Document and source facts where we can
  3. Explain the reasoning, as well as source the facts, behind our opinions.

It’s really not ours to say whether we hit that X-Ring or not. But we know our intent to keep the blog apolitical and above the fray collapsed when we were attacked in late 2012 by anti-gun forces of the media and politics, and saw a number of Quislings in our own ranks flushed out. We’d rather talk tech, and we definitely don’t want to be just another site with predictable political rants.

We’d rather throw unpredictable weapons facts at you. But we’re not going to roll over and play dead in the face of billionaire enemies who look at the Gestapo and see, not a chilling lesson, but a model of police work and domestic surveillance deserving emulation. To hell with that. We were too young to fight the Nazis, but spent a long time fighting their soul brothers, the Communists. And we’ll fight their fifth columns at home.

That said, through 3,248 live posts (counting this one), we have tried to keep the site entertaining and informative. To that end, we posted about 30 Saturday Matinee movie reviews, as well as our When Guns Are Outlawed series where we look at some of the gunless ways people have for doing mayhem unto themselves, loved ones, or perfect strangers.

Over the years, we increased our post rate to the point where we post four posts most days, except for Christmas and maybe Thanksgiving Day. We would not be shocked to see that roll back to two or three posts a day in 2015, as we have more analog stuff to do. In 2014, we posted about 1,360 posts containing about 950,000 words, or about ten genre novels’ worth (or one Russian novel). We’re still going to give you at least one gun tech, history or usage post, and one military, SOF or warfare post, every working day.

A Million Hits on Our Humble Blog

Yes, we did get a million hits in 2014. The actual total was 1,081,435, and there was a period of six weeks (from 1 Sept 14 to 14 Oct 14) that we collected no data, so the real total was probably more like 1.2 million. (We only have unique visitor numbers from 14 Oct, and they come to 341,740).

Thank you guys! That includes the regular readers, the commenters (who are kind of like the corps d’elite of readers, no?), and especially the many fine folks from many fine sites that have mentioned us, linked to us, or gotten into pissing contests in our comments.

What are some good goals for 2015? Maybe we need some New Years’ Resolutions.

Sunday Ave atque Vale for the Year 2014

On a blog we read from time to time, one of the team posted this remarkable sentiment: “Good Riddance, 2014.” This is the last Sunday we’ll have in 2014, and as usual at year’s end, we’re taking that arbitrary1 point in time to look back. And we cannot have such a bleak view of the year that has passed.

Gun Technology in 2014

On gun technology, we’ve seen the proving-out of customer Tracking Point systems, something we find very interesting. Meanwhile, historic firearms continue to be resuscitated, with GunLab’s VG 1-5 at the ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch for approval even as we write these words. Sure, it’s a limited production thing, but a gun that only a few museums have ever held is going to be in private collections in a working, and little changed except for legally-required modifications, replica. We’ve seen the continued explosion of manufacturing technology for the little guy: industrial processes like injection molding are now in reach for the small or home shop, while advanced prototyping and additive manufacturing tools are taking off like computers in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, hobbyists pursuing firearms design, engineering, and manufacturing have never had more information, more tools, and more options than now.

The Gun Market in 2014

Ammunition returned to stores and internet sellers, with the notable exception of rimfire, which remains scarce and high-priced; and while prices are higher than before the 2012 political and media gun-ban push began, they’re at a stable equilibrium, and you can find everything.

Some manufacturers and dealers who overextended themselves in the post-2012 boom have had to retrench, but sales remain at very high levels. Some of the new entrant and non-traditional customers behave differently from our historic customers, but many of them don’t; a significant percentage of them become gun-of-the-month club, avid shooters.

The pace of innovation in gun developments slowed even as it accelerated on the manufacturing side. Your gun buyer tends to be small-c conservative, that is to say, old-fashioned, and new ideas take time to catch on. (It has taken a generation for polymer-framed pistols to go from curiosity to mainstream).

Politics and the Gun Culture

On the legal and political front, 2014 had some wins, as some of the predictions in law professor Glenn Reynolds’s “Second Amendment Penumbras” article have come to pass exactly has he has foreseen, and the vast majority of high-profile anti-gun candidates in competitive districts went down in flames. The one big victory for the zillionaires who would disarm all but their own Praetorians was in the Washington initiative petition, where they managed to win on the strength of a politically favorable jurisdiction, deceptive advertising, and — to be brutally frank — ineffective opposition.

They are nowhere near giving up: the human impetus to enslave your fellow man is a strong one, and it drives people like Mike Bloomberg, Ladd Everitt, Josh Sugarmann, and Shannon What’s-her-face. They believe, based on the legislative history of things like the Hughes Amendment and the Nazi-derived Sporting-Purposes Test, that they only have to win once, while we have to win every time. That’s the challenge, and we have to face it, because they’re not going to give up their dream of absolute power over you, not while they’re on this side of the Judgment Day they consider a quaint superstition. The same urge drove our enemies past, and most of them are unknown today. Unless you have been defending gun rights for decades, names like WWII draft dodger Howard Metzenbaum, crooked senator Thomas Dodd (the who copied Nazi laws), trust-fund columnist Cleveland Amory, shifty William Hughes and more mean nothing to you. But these evil men once drove gun policy in the United States.

Yet — the gun-ban regime that the Hugheses and Metzenbaums worked for has never been more in retreat, nor has the gun culture ever been more ascendant. More Americans (and more citizens of other nations, too) have more access to their rights to own arms and defend themselves than at any time since Jim Crow ushered in gun laws in the late 1860s. A number of those victories took place, under the media radar, in 2014, in municipalities and state houses, but also outside the political sphere, where someone took a nervous housewife, or musician, or white-collar worker to a range for the first time, and empowered him or her quite literally. Just incidentally demystifying firearms and teaching that their owners are not necessarily some 300-lb neckbeard brandishing a tapco’d-out piece of stamped crap in Starbucks, but normal and healthy neighbors and friends, engaging in a variety of enjoyable activities. That is why we have won so much, that is why we are still winning, and that is why we will win further in 2015.

UW in 2014

We’ve seen a continued retreat from US responsibilities worldwide, and an abandonment of the troops in the field by their soi-disant betters, the Acela Corridor crowd. These things are without much in the way of counterweight, but note that in Iraq, Kurds, Shias and downtrodden Sunnis have nervously banded together and held a line everyone expected to see fray. In Libya, Syria and Egypt, misguided US support for Islamists has failed utterly, leaving the nation in better hands (Egypt) or has failed partially (Libya and Syria), leaving the nation in chaos, which still beats Islamist slavery.

Most of the militant dystopias of the world share a single vulnerability: they depend for their power on oil revenue. US oil production, despite attempts by NIMBYs2 and BANANAs3 to curtail it, has grown, and the Saudis have put downward pressure on oil prices for their own reasons.

Of course, when one applies pressure to a system with weaknesses, what happens is more amenable to analysis after the fact, than prediction before. But anything that works to disarm the destabilizing leaders of the world is, on balance, a good thing.

We can predict this: it’s going to be an interesting year ahead.

Notes

  1. Arbitrary? Well, yeah. The merciless savages who celebrated the solstice, and phases of the moon, had more connection to rational, physical processes, than we do when we make a big deal about January 1, a date that owes its name to one of the least of the forgotten pagan gods of a fallen empire. Then again, maybe that is our connection, not to the physical world but to our own ancestors as civilized humans. For we’re all the inheritors of the Romans and Greeks even if our personal bloodlines are African, Australian-aboriginal, or Inuit.
  2. A moderate “environmentalist,” the most usual kind; driven by selfishness to pull the boarding-ladder up: Not In My Back Yard.
  3. An extreme “environmentalist,” typically leaders of the movement; Luddites whose war cry is: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.

Please Note New Page: Gun Design Books

Please note the new page, Gun Design Books and Resources. It went live at 0600 this morning, but because it’s a permanent Page rather than an ephemeral Post, it doesn’t post to the main page. (We’re probably missing some obvious way to make it do this).

You can access it from the margin of the site, above, or by simply clicking the link in this sentence.

It is our intent to provide a comprehensive listing of books for the would-be gun designer or design engineer. We’re aware that we’re a long way from comprehensive as it stands, and we even have some sections that are unpopulated, apart from headings. But we believe that we have listed the key resources available, both online and in hard copy, with a bias towards currently in-print or available sources.

We’re also very, very interested in your suggestions for additions.

We hope you find the page enjoyable and informative.

Starting to Look Back on WeaponsMan’s 2014

We may or may not do a real year-end wrap-up. We’re doing analog stuff right now and won’t be on the computer much; there will just be a single post Christmas Day, much like we do on Sundays, although this one will be a post that tells a Christmas story.

It’s not a unique or rare story, really. One suspects many of our readers have a similar one , or their fathers do.

We had a busy 2014. When the dust settles, we will have posted over 1,300 posts, containing over 90,000 words of ad-free content — about the length of a short-end-of-average genre paperback. We will have received around 9,000 comments (although that count includes trackbacks and our replies). We will have discussed hundreds and hundreds of weapons, from arms and armor of antiquity to the science-fiction armaments now being made real in labs and workshops.

We actually spent much less range time in 2014 than in 2013. That’s a bad trend that we will look to reverse. On the other hand, we did welcome some interesting new hardware and tools, and have even more cool stuff on order.

We wasted too many recycled pixels, we think, on politics and on international affairs, but both of them have been rather fraught as of late. The US is underperforming the disastrous Ford & Carter years of the 1970s in the world, and that’s a failure that translates to real people losing their lives and their freedom — as it did in the 1970s. We thought it would be bad, although we didn’t know how bad. What does that make us, some even-worse Cassandra who didn’t believe our own prophecies?

In any event, a machine off center can only center itself, or destroy itself through vibration. Interesting times lie ahead.

We would like to think we upheld the standards of our Regiment, but only the Regiment can judge that; we wouldn’t be so presumptuous to make the claim.

Subterranean Sunday

Eh, that’s where the workshop is — in the catacombs of Hog Manor.

We have repaired the hole in the ceiling where the laird of same attempted a dynamite PLF out of the attic whilst guiding the exterminators around. They have left baits in the basement and other places, because it is incumbent on us to knock down the deer-mouse population before we can bring in the specialists to deal with the bats in the belfry and the flying squirrels in the eaves. Apparently the well-known predilections of bats for bugs, and flying squirrels for nuts and other normal squirrel chow, are inoperative when the environment teems with tasty, snackable Peromyscus maniculatus. 

So we taught Kid how to assemble an AR lower last night. He’s beside himself. We had a few special tools, and a few standard-issue ones, and a book to check our progress with, and quality parts (a NoDak Spud NDS-16A1 lower receiver, the guts of a scrapped Colt Commando police gun, and an original Colt vinyl-acetate-coated aluminum stock and buffer tube that we had lying around). Turns out we were missing a necessary tool — the spanner wrench for the old-style castle nut. It’s finger tight for now, but the receiver’s been mated with an upper for now, and it passes a function check, mag lock/drop check, and everything else we could think of. Probably should have shot some pictures but it was more important that Kid have a good experience. It was also important that he pick up the tribal-knowledge: the importance of taking your time, using the right tool, protecting the finish, and always being aware of what’s steel, what’s aluminum, and what’s just a coating a half a hairsbreadth thick. He learned there’s no shame in checking and double-checking, and no speed in rushing. He learned that the tools are at hand because we put them away last time — which is why we put them away this time.

He will learn these lessons again, except he’s not like some others (cough). He actually retains what you tell him one time. On the plus side, that’s pretty awesome. On the minus, it eliminates the possibility of benefiting from the occasional tactical (that word!) lie.

He also learned two ways to look for lost parts, the Knee Crawl and the Magnet Sweep. “Ah, this is why you’re always telling me to control the spring’s energy, right?” Right. We still have the Low-Angle Flashlight to teach him some other time.

Just because we taught him all he knows, doesn’t mean we taught him all we know. But in time, maybe we will.

We expect to spend more workshop time today.

Update

After drafting this we discovered why Dog was snarling and snapping in the general direction of the downstairs, er, facilities. We now have proof positive of our flying squirrel infestation, for Rocky was hors de combat in the bowl. He must have gotten in there, and been trying to swim his way out, and climb the slick porcelain with claws optimized for trees, until he exhausted himself and drowned.

Fate of the crew of the Indianapolis, minus the sharks and the madness from drinking seawater.

PETA is probably upset that all our crappers don’t have Rodent Ladders so the little dears can climb to safety.

Rigor hadn’t set in and the nearest any of us knew we hadn’t used the bathroom in about five hours. The animal was small, maybe 100mm not counting the tail — tiny compared to the grey squirrels that are the dominant species around here. He (we’re saying “he,” no one was terribly enthusiastic about trying to determine the sex of a dead rodent) was red-brown on his dorsal and lateral aspects, white on the ventral, with the “web” membranes and flat tail of a flying squirrel.

“He’s got one of those wing suits built in,” Kid observed. See, you can get an education surfing YouTube for BASE jumping videos.

First reaction on finding the ex-squirrel was to think Kid was spoofing us with roadkill, but his denials seem sincere, but where in the name of Niffelheim did the animal come from? Kid suggested he could have swum up the pipes. Since we have a septic system, that seems improbable. More likely, he came down from above somehow.

Rocky rests now in the morgue, also known as the garage freezer, for the benefit of the exterminators when they come back. It seemed like the best way to preserve him was to do him like a biological sample, so into the freezer he went. (If we were still working in bio-D, we’d totally slip him into one of the sample freezers as a practical joke).

We should probably have shot a picture of him, too. And we might have dried him a bit before bagging and freezing him. One hopes that a frozen, ice-covered flying squirrel will have some kind of information for the exterminators.

To his fellow flying squirrels, he’s MIA, or, considering his watery doom, On Eternal Patrol as the Silent Service puts it.

It’s a good job we found it, and not Herself, who is out with friends.

Soldier’s Sunday

m-ammermanIt’s a good day to reflect on the days past, the fellows served with, the ones still serving, the families still waiting.

The families whose wait never ends.

Another SF guy got whacked recently. None of the papers really noted it; his hometown did, that’s it. Remember when every new combat death was “a Grim Milestone” in the press? Well, since their boy was sworn in, those milestones got a lot less grim — or a lot less newsworthy — in the somewhat suspicious judgment of the Acela Corridor monoculture that would tell you what’s important.

You know, like made-up “rape culture” on college campuses that, on examination, turn out to be some of the safest real estate in the entire nation, with the exception of cop bars and gun shows. The “rapes” turn out, when investigated, to be a flowering of vestigial shame after bad mating judgment, in most cases.

And then there’s the protesters, largely pasty-white well-off bums chanting “Black Lives Matter!” as if anybody thought they didn’t, all bent out of shape that the police have killed some black criminals. And in New York, blocking an accident victim’s livesaving path to Bellevue, the trauma center best suited to treat his traumatic leg amputation.

He was a black guy, we’re told. It’s Black Lives that matter, not this one lower-case black life. We fail to see the distinction.

It’s interesting that the more the trust fund babies at expensive colleges whine about being oppressed, the less clue they have about the real oppressed in the world — and the real liberators setting them free.

Like that SF guy who got whacked this month. The guys from his unit and from his SFQC class remember him as a great guy. His name was Matt Ammerman, he was from Noblesville, IN, and he served in the 7th Special Forces Group. He had two combat tours in the infantry before going SF as a communicator (18E). This was his first tour in SF. He was 29 and is survived by his wife Emily, his brother Anthony, and his parents. Aside from local news and veterans’ or military sites, not a peep about him.

Or the several other SF soldiers who sustained wounds in the same action in Zabul Province. They’re not useful to those infected with the Acela virus, so they treat them as if they don’t exist.

Sorry We Misled You about “Eaten Alive”

eaten alive2We did flag you, our readers, to this TV show last month, saying:

Words fail, so here’s the quote: “In Eaten Alive, naturalist and wildlife filmmaker Paul Rosolie aims to be devoured by an anaconda while in a custom-built snake-proof suit.” Snake-proof suits and hokey religions are a poor substitute for a blaster at your side, kid.

Well, the show ran, the verdict’s in, and it was a phony, empty fraud. Rosolie turns out to be a charlatan, who at the end of two hours was not “devoured by an anaconda.”

Today says… it sucked.

And Twitchy collects Twitter blowback, the main point of which is… it sucked.

It did provide some scope for making mock of the channel and the show. Like this:

Eaten Alive

And that’s about all.

The Discovery Channel and Paul Rosolie better live long and prosper on the checks for this one, because when your reputation is “lying, cheating, self-aggrandizing huckster,” the checks are going to come along less frequently.

Again, we apologize sincerely to anyone who watched this craptabulous show because we linked it. We promise never to link the Discovery Channel again.

Sunday Slackin’

Some days we sits and thinks, and some days we just sits.

This has been one of those Type B days so far.

We scarcely posted anything Saturday, which wasn’t entirely intentional, but is just a consequence of life at this time of year, between holidays, family, weather, and projects old and new all getting demanding all at once.

We Give Thanks

On this, our day of national thanksgiving, we give thanks for many things:

For God and Family.

For freedom and prosperity.

For the loyalty of a dog — who sleeps a foot away from this desk, because two feet is too far — and the warmth of a good house.

For the health to shovel the snow, less than two years after acquiring a cardiologist and a bunch of junk to keep the ticker ticking.

For the cold steel of a sword, the walnut stocks of a gun, the skill to use them, and the incredible blessing of a new generation of warriors that let us sheath the sword, rack the rifle, and retire, secure in the comfort that the ramparts are watched, the enemies are confounded, the frail are protected, and the fallen are avenged.

For the good fortune that lets us cook a turkey when so many in the world may have to skip their daily rice ball.

For the humanity that makes us wish to spread the freedom to all with the will to take it up, and anon, join us in the prosperity. Turkeys for all!

And, for good friends and family, here, far, and connected only by these novelties of electronic communication.

For all these things, we give humble and unworthy thanks.

 

UPDATE

For a look at how a friendly foreign nation developed a tradition of Thanksgiving, read this article by Keith Nightingale at Small Wars Journal. Since being posted last week, it’s become one of the most popular posts at SWJ. I don’t know Nightingale, but a friend of mine speaks well of him.