Category Archives: Administrivia

CORRECTION: ICE Bosses Deny Shooting for S&W

This morning’s story created quite a stir in ICE, both in the field offices and at headquarters. In the headquarters our little story apparently alarmed an organization called OFTP, the Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs. OFTP used to be called NFTTU, and some ICEmen still refer to it by the old acronym.

Anyway, it’s OFTP that wrote the specs for a new handgun. And insiders say that we were totally wrong — not about whether they had written the contract with one particular gun in mind; a cursory read of the specs makes it pretty clear they did just that. Nope, we were wrong about exactly what handgun they were trying to buy.

OFTP wrote they spec, so they thought, to explicitly exclude everything but the SIG P320 Compact.

The SIG P320 family. The compact is the "Goldilocks" midsize -- about the same size as a G19.

The SIG P320 family. The P320 Compact is the “Goldilocks” midsize — about the same size as a G19. (The smallest is called the P320 Carry).

Some in ICE are in deep denial about that. They remember the fiasco with the SIG 250, SIG’s previous modular polymer pistol. They have fought NFTTU, which also specifies which personal off-duty pistols ICE agents are able to use. Any agent may carry a pistol from an approved list, but he or she must qualify with the pistol, and can only be authorized to carry two firearms. The qualified pistol list is strange: for example, the Glock 26 and Glock 17, compact and full-size 9mm pistols, are authorized, but the intermediate Glock 19 isn’t; fullsized Glocks are OK in .40 but the compact G27 is verboten. Why? No one has gotten a credible answer out of OFTP or its forerunner. Agents who prefer Glock pistols have long suspected NFTTU/OFTP of bias against the Austrian sidearm. OFTP insiders deny this, and claim that the new solicitation doesn’t exclude Glock.

“But it requires an ambidextrous slide release, which no Glock has.”

“Glock could make one.”

Whether that is possible for a company that’s already introduced several new models in the last year is an open question, as is whether it would be economical. (Beretta could tell you how lucrative it isn’t, making a new version of lockwork when a single client holds its breath until it turns blue). Glock has modified its weapons for a single customer in the past, but NYPD was a large customer with some 40,000 armed officers at the time. All ICE is probably a max of 12,000 gun carriers, split roughly evenly between HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) and ERO (Enforcement and Removal Operations).

The interchangeable grip frames are possible because the trigger mechanism is the legal, serialized "firearm," a feature pioneered on the SIG 250. Absence of a hammer reveals this to be a 320 part.

The interchangeable grip frames are possible because the trigger mechanism is the legal, serialized “firearm,” a feature pioneered on the hammer-fired SIG 250. Absence of a hammer reveals this to be a striker-fired 320 part.

Another weird thing in the solicitation is this: when the competitors provide test guns, they also have to provide magazines. So far, nothing abnormal there, right? But they have to provide, we are not making this up, fifty-two (52!) magazines per pistol. We don’t think we could find 52 mags for any single make and model of pistol around here. We might have 30 or 40 M9 mags, but that would require us to shake out 30 years of rucksacks, ammo pouches, vests, and duffle bags. What earthly goal can one accomplish with as many pistol magazines as cards come in a deck?

UPDATE: Correction to the Correction

The only ICE employees authorized to carry the Glock .40 are members of the Federal Protective Service. FPS was consolidated into ICE after adopting the Glock 22, and so they’re grandfathered. However HSI and ERO agents can’t carry the G22, only 9mm Glocks. We regret not making this clear initially.

UPDATE 2: OFTP’s justification for not approving the G19 is that it supposedly failed an endurance test that the 17 and 26 did.

UPDATE 3: This issue is being discussed on the HSI SA’s forum on Delphi. Note that that is their sandbox and so we don’t usually go there to play. They are

Sunday Slippage

Yeah, uh, when we sat down at this computer we were going to write a quick Sunday post.

But we had a movie review, overdue from yesterday (and a production, actually, recommended by one of our commenters, so thank you, belatedly). And this happened and that happened and there was a plane building session and a grocery run and an exercise bike to fix and…

Well, it’s not as if we’d have said anything profound in this post if it had been up on time first thing in the morning, n’est-ce pas? 

It’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day. Noon will have to do.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 13

That was the week that was TW3The practice of posting That Was The Week That Was, an overview of the recently ended week, has tapered off here, as this kind of admin post is one of the least exciting to do. However, it’s a great way to call retroactive attention down on posts that might have been missed.

This is a truncated version of TW3, just to get the facts and posts up there (although, this will be posted late).

We really need to update our TW3 girl.

Here’s the basic stats:

posts 23
words 14597
mean 748
median 580
comments 257

Most of these are up from last week’s numbers (not yet posted, either) as we recover from some forced time off for family reasons. Thank you for all the comments, every one is read

And these are this week’s posts in brief:

We told you we’d be brief! See you next week with the numbers & posts again.

Gone Shooting!

Trying out a new range. It’s an hour plus away, but it’s supposed to be good. Kid and I have three objectives, well four objectives:

  1. Check it out. Do we want to join?
  2. Test fire the lower that he built. Does it function with live ammo?
  3. Test fire the Afghan build M4 and maybe zero the iron sights.
  4. Blast away with an M9 for sheer shits and grins.

Talk at you later.

Sunday Services

The word service is a remarkable one.

You can be in the service, get your car serviced, follow a preventive service schedule. Artillery crews learn the Service of the Piece. You can do a small service or a great one, as befits your capabilities and intentions. While we were in the service, we occasionally were called upon to service targets.

Much like a bull is expected to service a cow.

After all, without that you could never “try the veal!”

You can go to services. Many of us will today, or another day as our faith traditions bid us.

And you can try to be of service. That’s what we’re trying to do right now. Expect the level of posting to pick up, and tomorrow we kick off with a guest post by Andrew Branca, featuring one of the most bogus and laughable self-defense claims in the long, grim history of murderers trying to wriggle out of the consequences of their actions. This wriggling commenced with the question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and it has not let up from that day unto this.

In the Scripture, the question is not accepted as an answer. You might say it was not of service.

Please Bear With Us as Light Posting Continues

We continue to deal with a death in the family, not unexpected but still disruptive. We will make an effort to get one usable  post up per day until things are resolved. This isn’t that post.

Expressions of condolences aren’t necessary, but we appreciate the sentiment. Back with you soon.

Heads up — light posting is possible

Due to a family emergency, we’re going to be in travel, busy, then travel mode for approximately 10 days. We’ll try to maintain the posting schedule (4x weekday, 5x Saturday, 1x Sunday) but we expect that reductions are going to be a fact of life.

We’re pulling an all-nighter tonight with bills and tax paperwork. How much fun is that? Short answer: less than it was thirty years ago.

There’s a very large number of people that have offered links, ideas and even parts for builds in the comments or via email over the last few months, and if we get some downtime on this trip we hope to contact you, to thank you if nothing else.

We’re also trying to help a plan come together so a dad can surprise his son on a big day. Nothing to do with the family problem, but we’re touched that someone reached out for us to find just the right firearm for the occasion, and we take great joy in putting seller, buyer/dad and recipient/kid together. We’ll write about it afterwards.

Sunday Sunshine

We’ve finally had two or three days above freezing… two of them in a row, even. And yeah, the record snowfall has indeed produced one roof leak here. $#^!!

But the sun is expected to shine, off and on, today, and we’re expecting to enjoy several days in the forties this week. Hmmm… where’s the dusty, neglected range bag?

Sunday Silence

The cap of snow in the yard hasn’t melted a bit, but it’s about 40 inches lower. (It had gone all the way to cover the bare trunk of the arbor vitae that’s most beloved of the local deer; they’ve eaten everything they can reach, and the poor thing just has a bit of greenery above buck neck-stretch. The snow had been up to the green, and now it’s about 3 feet 4 inches lower). Some of the invisible undulations in the ground are now reflected, a little, and you can now see little humps where the stone walls lie.

The silence of winter is mirrored here inside the home, as Plaintiff and Kid are off on a skiing adventure, Kid’s first. So Small Dog is distressed to have less than his usual attention.

Not feeling joyous about the plane work today, even though we got the whole horizontal stab spar, which is quite an interesting built-up box structure, test-fit and clecoed together. We’ve ordered better countersinking tackle from Cleaveland Aircraft Tools.

Our movie review is unfinished for the best of reasons: the movie itself was put on pause last night, and we embarked on a nocturne: steeplechase through dreamland.

Sounds like the title of a dreadful, unlistenable ’50s bebop album.

We’ll be back tomorrow with dreadful, unlistenable gun stuff. Until then, mind your topknot.

Sunday, Still Snowing

Global Warming my @$!#^!!

OK, we get that it’s winter in New England, and that means it snows some, but this is ridiculous. We’ve spent hours removing drifts that are, in places, 4 and 5 feet thick, from our roof. Lest it collapse.

That is very seldom required around here. In fact, this is the year we finally unboxed and assembled a snow rake we bought in 2012. Or maybe it was 2011. We haven’t had enough snow to use it since them.

Snow! We are damned sick of the damnable stuff.

At least the Germans at Stalingrad had the flimsy excuse that someone had ordered them to go there. At least the Russians were at home, so they were used to it.

We have dealt with this much snow in February before. But that was in Harstad, Norway, at 68º 48′ N.  We are at 43º 00′ N. Why, that’s even south of Stalingrad!

Lord Love a Duck.