Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

Preppers: This is Not the Publicity you Want

The article in the Toronto Star is long, detailed — and scathing. It’s hard to say it makes the local preparedness community look weird, because, frankly, we have only the article to go on: maybe it’s completely on the level and they all are weird.

The schedule for the weekend is packed: archery, GPS and mapping, first aid, “firearms 101,” and a two-part lecture from Doug Getgood, who spent over a year living in a cabin in the Ontario wilderness. Six rabbits huddle in a triangle formed by blue pipes. “Dispatching and skinning rabbits” is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.

Your typical suburban mom will read that and think: poor bunnies. As she’s preparing lunch. Pro tip: if you’re going to do this, use chickens. No one gets emotionally attached to a chicken. And it’s a good time to make the point that all North American birds are edible (although they are not all palatable, nor large enough to be worth the preparation effort). The same is true of NA mammals.

Saturday kicks off with opening remarks from Robert Studer, a co-organizer who became interested in prepping in the lead-up to the year 2000, which arrived with none of the predicted digital disasters.

The reporter is having fun with this. Why? Because Studer let him. Wait. It gets worse.

“That was kind of a downer,” said Studer. And 2012 was “another disappointment.”

If you are disappointed in a bizarre prophecy of doom from a long-extinct civilization failing to come true, your head might not be on entirely straight.

He told the audience that he had struggled with drinking and a painkiller addiction and spent years immersed in conspiracy theories.

Grrrrreat. This is just the representative you want in the press, trying to persuade people to develop their self-reliance.

“Some things just didn’t look right (about the 9/11 attacks),” he said, declining to elaborate as a man in the audience shot video.

That would be the rep from RCMP, probably. This side of the border, who’s the paid FBI informer/provocateur at meeting like this? About 2/3 of them, going by past experience. (Remember Fast and Furious? The ATF master plan to get upstream into the cartel cratered because their cartel CWs’ (Cooperating Witnesses’), CIs’ (Confidential Informants’) and UCs (UnderCover Agents’) entire upline was FBI CWs, CIs and UCs. The ,gov had agents and informants from different agents spying on each other, to the point where it was hard to get their hands on any pure-D criminals, and they wound up busting the CIs in the end).

But today Studer’s prepping is grounded in positivity.
“The more preppers there are, the better the world becomes,” he said.

Imagine how much better that would have sounded — without the lead-up of longing for disaster and drug abuse.

The weekend takes place against the backdrop of a possible nuclear war, with many presenters speaking in front of the doors to Bruce Beach’s fallout shelter, called Ark Two.

Don’t take our word for it.  Read The Whole Thing™, and you tell us if the preppers don’t come across as paranoid, juvenile and weird.

Great Googly Moogly. All the nuclear powers in the world could push all the buttons they have and the need for a bunker in rural Ontario would remain just about zero.

Now, if you get your mail in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, it might be a good time to build a bunker and lay in some iodine pills. Likewise, if your address is in Teheran or Bandar Abbas (what, you think Israelis will just take a nuke on the chin and come out negotiating? Those guys are not your self-effacing shtetl Jews who just hunker down between pogroms… push them hard enough and they’ll pogrom you right back with first-world efficiency. Which is why they’re still here despite all those mullahs’ calls for Jihad to extermination).

But regardless of the facts, the New York cynic who said all publicity is good publicity needs to have a long talk with Monica Lewinski about that. These Canadian preppers just got used like Monica, except she at least got used by a powerful politician, not a staff reporter for a struggling provincial paper.

Don’t bother keeping the blue dress.

This is Why We Don’t Click on faux-viral Clickbait

Lame, lame, lame. One of those buzzfeed- and gawker- like “clickbait” aggregators teased customers with this come-on:


The airplane, of course, is a Dassault Rafale, and while it’s homely from this angle, it’s probably one of the most beautiful fighter planes flying today. It flies, primarily, for its nation of origin, la belle France, where it’s the latest product of Dassault Systems, formerly Avions Marcel Dassault and before that, before The War, Avions Marcel Bloch. 

It’s hard to imagine what the USA has to do with France’s latest and best-ever fighter jet; the picture is why you don’t want to mess with France. But the idiots who posted that image remind us of the founder of Dassault, and thereby hangs a tale.

Marcel Dassault, née Marcel Bloch, is definitely someone you should know, unlike the miniwit marketeers who come up with these unimaginative, stupid (and in this case, dishonest) advertising come-ons.

Bloch, a son of a successful doctor, was captivated by aviation in his youth and studied under Louis Breguet, and then at the novel École supérieure d’aéronautique et de constructions mécaniques, which had just opened in Paris. His first success was a propeller that produced greater thrust than previous models, and came to be widely used in French aircraft of the First World War. Between the wars, his company Société des Avions Marcel Bloch became successful and provided several of the Armee d l’Air’s key types.

Two calamities befell Bloch in short order: the Communist Front Polulaire government seized his company in 1936, expropriating him and his family; he was kept on, on salary, to oversee production of his designs in the new firm, SNCASO. Meanwhile, Bloch started over from zero with a new start-up to promote new designs — they could seize his work product, but not his mind. But then came calamity #2: Germany invaded France in 1940. The Nazis were willing to overlook Bloch’s Jewish ancestry if he would be willing to build airplanes for the Greater German Reich. He refused, and life got harder. His brother Darius Paul Bloch (who went by Paul, and was a senior military officer) went underground with the Resistance, but Vichy collaborators seized and imprisoned Marcel and his wife and children.

Marcel was sent to a Vichy-operated concentration camp at Drancy, France, then to the authentic SS-run variety at Buchenwald. The camps were incubators for many all-but-forgotten pathogens, and at liberation Marcel was 53, infected with diphtheria — and paralyzed.

He did not recover from paralysis until 1953, but by 1949 had already restarted his company, and changed both its, and his, name. Paul, now a General in the French forces, had used the code name “tank” while underground: in French, “Char d’assaut.” Marcel liked the sound of that, and with a slight twist he and his family became Dassaults, and their firm Avions Marcel Dassault.

Dassault’s personality was said to be somewhat stiff, proper, aloof and formal, yet he has a relaxed smile in most portraits, even formal ones where he’s posing stiffly. He was described by many as “driven”; certainly he drove his company to success after success. This RAND paper (.pdf) describes the company’s unique culture as of the 1980s: quintessentially French, and yet completely unlike any other business in that laid-back, bureaucratic nation.

AMD produced the famous Ouragan, Mystère, and Mirage jets, which equipped French forces and many export customers, including Israel. Israeli success with these jets definitely produced more orders, but after 1967 De Gaulle, who was not significantly less anti-semitic than the Nazis he’d once fought, embargoed further jets and seized the money that had been paid for them.

Somehow, after that, the Israelis managed to get their hands on enough documents to start production of Mirage clones. Certainly an espionage operation in Switzerland was part of it, as was a Lebanese defector who brought his jet along. But there were already charges that Marcel Dassault had helped the Jewish state, under the table, although we’ve never seen anything a court would call “evidence.”

Some people said that Dassault wanted to help his fellow Jews. But he had converted to Roman Catholicism soon after the war.  A private man, his reasons were his own.

Marcel Dassault retired in 1971, after a career that spanned from wood-and-fabric biplanes to Mach 2+ jets. The company he established today exports, along with the beautiful Rafale, the successful Falcon business jets and industry-standard CATIA and Solidworks engineering and modeling software.

ATF Immunity: Not Just for Mexican Druglords

ATF_at_SHOTThis could be a “when guns are outlawed” story, because it’s about a mass murder you probably haven’t heard about. You haven’t heard about it, because it took place without guns — but with the eager cooperation of America’s famous gun police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Dexter Lewis and three accomplices couldn’t have bought a firearm on the open market — all were career criminals, felons. One of them, Demarea Harris, was also an employee of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and his ATF managers had promised him a get-out-of-jail-free card: just get them someone committing some crime. Harris planned to turn in the others for an armed robbery; ATF would pay him a lot more than what his share of a bar robbery would net him.

Dexter Lewis at Booking; he had a suit and fake glasses in the courtroom.

Dexter Lewis at Booking; he had a suit and fake glasses in the courtroom.

Indeed, they did. The bar robbery produced a mere $170 to be shared four ways, a lousy $42.50 each. And that’s when Lewis, according to Harris, went off script and murdered four women and a man: the bar’s owner, Young Suk Fero, and four patrons who’d stayed late. Not having a gun didn’t inconvenience Lewis: he, possibly with some help from his fellow robbers, stabbed and slashed them to death with a knife.

They killed five people for an average of $34 each.

Here are those five victims:

Young Suk Fero, 63

Young Suk Fero, 63

Tereasa Beesley, 45

Tereasa Beesley, 45

Kellene "Kelly" Fallon, 45

Kellene “Kelly” Fallon, 45

Daria "Dasha" Pohl, 21 (Richter's girlfriend)

Daria “Dasha” Pohl, 21 (Richter’s girlfriend)

Ross Richter, 29

Ross Richter, 29

You never heard about this crime, did you? No gun, no press release from Moms Demand, no urgency to cover the story in the media palaces of Manhattan. The crime didn’t end with the murders, though. These guys were just warming up.

Lewis, Harris, and the other two then set the bar on fire, thinking that would cover up their crime. It didn’t, and firefighters quickly realized that the fire was only one crime that had to be investigated, and that their fire was an arson meant to conceal mass murder. (For any murderers reading this, by the way: that never works. Trust us, they’ll get you anyway).

Demarea Harris, who got away with murder. It's a crappy picture, but then, a Federal agency is backstopping him.

Demarea Harris, who got away with murder. It’s a crappy picture, but then, a Federal agency is backstopping him.

Sure enough, three of the Spastic Four were soon arrested; Harris was the exception, thanks to his ATF handlers.

ATF was as good as their word, ensuring that Harris was not charged or indicted at all for his part in the robbery, murders and cover-up. And Harris was as good as his word, testifying against his criminal pals.

Prosecutors have charged Dexter Lewis with, among other things, five counts of first-degree murder after deliberation for the role they believe he played in a quintuple homicide inside a Denver bar three years ago.

The bodies of Young Fero, Dasha Pohl, Ross Richter, Kellene Fallon and Tereasa Beesley were found inside a burning Fero’s Bar on Oct. 17, 2012. All suffered numerous stab wounds.

Two brothers involved in the crime, Lynell and Joseph Hill, have already pleaded guilty to their roles and are in prison. Another person, Demarea Harris, was a confidential informant and wasn’t charged but was present during the crime. Harris and Lynell Hill say Lewis stabbed all five people. Joseph Hill refused to testify.

via Jury deliberates in Denver death-penalty case.

Colorado is the home to many people who object to the death penalty. One such juror, who judged the life of the Aurora theater gunman to be worth more than that of his victims, successfully prevented the punishment of that shooter last month.

The first phase of Lewis’s trial did conclude with a guilty verdict at 1100 local Monday. The death penalty phase began Tuesday. One juror who thinks that Dexter Lewis’s life “matters” more than  that of Young Fero, Tereasa Beesley, Kellene Fallon,  Daria Pohl, or Ross Richter, is all that it will take to ensure that Lewis, too, gets to live.

After all, the ATF already decided that Demarea Harris’s life and freedom was worth more than the lives of Fero, Beesley, Fallon, Pohl and Richter put together. 

Because hey, this was not a gun crime. ATF, and the Bloomberg elements who pull its managers’ strings, don’t care.

Lewis’s defense attorney is going to play the white guilt card as hard as he can, to try to get his client’s black body off the execution gurney. It may work, especially if the judge doesn’t prevent him from sneaking in sly comparisons to the Aurora theater shooter case. (“A white guy… and he didn’t get the death penalty, but my client, a black man, has been singled out…”).

Meanwhile, somewhere in Denver, Demarea Harris is trying to talk a couple other street criminals into a big score. He knows that whatever happens, ATF has his back.

ATF immunity: it’s not just for Mexican drug lords any more.


burboa_mugshotOne of the Fast & Furious defendants, who was caught at the scene of the murder of Brian Terry with two ATF-furnished AK47 clones, just had his case wrap up — on the QT and away from the public eye.  Rosario Rafael Burboa Alvarez swapped a guilty plea and a promise to hold his silence and protect the ATF, for one count of murder with 27 years prison, max (he can opt to serve his time in Mexico, where he’ll be released much sooner than if he stays under US authority). Another member of Burboa’s “rip crew” who was wounded and captured in the fight that killed Terry, Manuel Osorio-Arellanes,  received a similar sentence in 2012, and ATF’s conduit who delivered the weapons to the rip crew, Jaime Avila Jr., got a wrist tap (5 years and a day).

Burboa was ordered deported due to prior crimes, but his deportation was stayed along with most others as part of national border non-enforcement policy. ATF had nothing to do with his arrest and little to do with the investigation; both Burboa and Osorio were arrested by the CBP.

Update II

An investigation into cross-border arms trafficking has stalled in international acrimony and finger-pointing, as the Mexican equivalent of attorney general (PGR) has refused to let ATF agents question suspects in Mexico, not because they’re inalterably opposed to the idea, but because ATF will not let Mexican PGR agents question suspects that are in custody in the USA. (Spanish language & paywalled).

It’s almost as if the senior managers of ATF and the Department of Justice don’t want anyone investigating cross-border arms trafficking. Guilty knowledge?

One Year’s Neglect

That’s what it took to produce this ghastly picture:

rusty Mosin M91-30

And this beastly one:

rusty Mosin M91-30 bolt

Take enough picture, you have the six Lee Sisters: Ug, Home, Ghast, Beast, Gnar and Fug. And here’s the explanation of how that Mosin acquired its granular orange FeO2 finish job:

my brother gave me his mosin that has been neglected for a year or so and the bolt and barrel are rather rusty. anyone have any tips for cleaning barrels back to a firing state?

via help cleaning rusty barrel of a mosin-nagant. : guns.

More pictures on Imgur.

So, how does a firearm get like this? A year of neglect is all it takes, given Old World, old-fashioned metallurgy and metal-finishing techniques.

How it Happens

European firearms of the 19th and 20th Centuries, and many contemporary sporting guns, tend to be rust-blued with occasional bare parts (like the Mosin bolt) or, especially in German arms, heat-strawed or flame-blued small parts. In fact, most 20th Century Eurasian Communist AK and SKS rifles are finished similarly. This is a very beautiful finish and probably met 19th Century expectations for durability. By the mid-20th Century, phosphate finishes were widely in use and are commonly seen on US arms (“Parkerizing”) and late-war German arms. But even Parkerizing has its roots in the early 20th Century; while it should still be used in restoring those historic arms for which it is appropriate, the moving finger, having writ, has moved on, and modern electrochemical treatments and surface coatings are superior.

The bore of that Mosin may not be as bad as it looks, because the USSR was quick and early to start chroming bores after the technology was invented by Olin in the 1920s, and if it’s a later-30s or up rifle it might have that chrome bore. (The US Army did not adopt it until WWII for cannon and certain machine guns, and the 1950s for other small arms, including rifles). The real risk to the accuracy of this rifle is if the rusting produces permanent pitting in the muzzle crown. It can even get under the chrome if it starts up there. That’s why you see some “arsenal-rebuilt” Mosins that are counterbored at the muzzle. (We put “arsenal-rebuilt” in scare quotes because we suspect that a lot of this is done in the States by importers and jobbers).

As rusty as it is, the Mosin would certainly still function as is. Like many Russian and Soviet arms, it was designed with durability as an objective. But its beauty is seriously damaged.

How to Prevent It

If your gun looks like this already, it already has lost some value and quality (probably accuracy, too), but cleaning it up is fairly straightforward. But how do you prevent this kind of disaster?

  1. Inspect your guns on a periodic schedule. Twice a year is better than once, once a month is better than semiannually, twice a month beats that, and weekly is good if it’s practically attainable. (Don’t set your inspection schedule more frequently than you really can do it, or after a few missed dates you’ll be inclined to let it slide completely.
  2. Store them in as dry a place as possible. For most people
  3. Make your storage place as dry as you can. For example, here in the Mad Science Lab, we have an electromechanical dehumidifier draining into a sump hole (with sump pump, just in case), and additional rechargeable dessicant units inside the gun safes.
  4. Keep lube on your guns. Oxygen causes corrosion, so keep a barrier between it and your arms.
  5. Keep bare fingers off your guns.  Ever notice that when the NRA Museum does a video of some rare treasure, the curator holds it in gloves? Ever notice that the guns in the museum stay in really fine shape? Exercise: 2+2= _____. Cotton gloves are OK, so are nitrile gloves. Use them once and throw them away (nitrile) or launder them (cotton). We knew a guy who used nitriles. Then he peeled them off and dropped them on the bench… they’d naturally be inside out. Next time, he’d put them on and all the skin acids and oils that had been on the inside of the gloves were now on the outside. 

Repeat after us: Inspection, dessication, barrier, hands-off. Inspection, dessication, barrier, hands-off. Inspection… and all that. And remember that vintage guns need more care than the more durable (if less beautiful) finishes like Melonite and Cerakote on modern firearms.

Entertainer Geraldo Rivera: What, He’s Not Dead?

In a perfect example of a fading celebrity’s desperate dying grasps at fame, Geraldo (née Jerry Rivera; the Jewish-Puerto Rican all-American mutt was renamed early in his career by a producer looking for an ethnic bean to count) has been tweeting S2 lately.


Yeah, that’s S2 alright. Another example:

Geraldo, dahhling, if people had penis envy they wouldn’t want to be lion hunters. They’d want to be you — a walking, talking, camera-seeking male reproductive organ. You’re not an example of penis envy. You’re an example of penis envy made flesh and perfected.

Let us tell you a personal story of Gelato, a perfect illustration of the sort of shallow, self-referential and narcissistic Gawker celebrity that has replaced actual reporters in American media.

So there we were, stuck at Bagram after a trivial injury and a medevac driven by an overcautious MD. As Forrest Gump said, “It happens.” Now, we had a clean bill of health, a fresh set of rabies booster shots, and all that was left to do was to catch one of the couple of daily rotator CH-47s that flew around to the SF A-camps / outstations / safe houses in the OEF theater. We were one chopper ride away from the guys — and the war.

Unfortunately, our medical blessing, in which the doc told us, essentially, “Go forth and sin some more, just not this same way because we’re sick of you,” arrived in Bargam synchronously with one Geraldo Rivera. And the three largest things he comes with — hair, ego, and entourage.

So much for daily rotators, as the stressed and strained -47s were needed, absolutely needed, for the vain star of pseudo TV news, and of whatever strange movie he stars in, in his own diseased mind.

Now, there were “other heliciopters,” but the Night Stalkers weren’t accessible to CJTF-180 or CJSOTF-A for organizational reasons, and because they had to sit alert because Osama was going to be found Real Soon Now®. NSDF, at least, for the guys actually prosecuting the war at the time. (Later, the guys they were waiting for would make themselves real busy, but at that stage of the war they were licking wounds and waiting for intel).

And there were other, “other helicopters,” but the CJTF-180 organic airlift, apart from the workhorse Hooks, comprised a small unit of ancient UH-60As from the 82nd Airborne, and the machines’ rotables were so near timing out that they, too, were not anxious to launch — not to mention, they lacked the speed, altitude, and load-carrying performance of the Chinooks.

And the Hooks that had been flying the rotators? Like we said, they needed one for Geraldo and his entourage, including make-up and hairdresser. And one for his second, Army, entourage, a bunch of useless appendages of the US Army, including various airheaded PAO dollies (of both nominal sexes) and a no-$#!+ personal security detail, assigned to keep the Taliban from puncturing Mr Rivera’s more-precious-than-you-GIs hide.

A waste of the efforts of good GIs, that. Compared to any private in the entire expeditionary force at the time, including the dirtbag who was in pretrial confinement back on K2, we can’t imagine a more complete waste of skin, or a more thoroughly expendable human being, than Geraldo. Not that we wish him or his family ill; we just recognize that in the real world, he’s half as practically useful as a pink lawn flamingo.

Geraldo showed his character: sucking up to high ranks, and [relieving himself] on everyone but the peak. We didn’t see any of his reports, for obvious reasons. But we could probably write the scripts for them, every one of which focused on just how daring the intrepid Geraldo was to fly from liveshot in safe area to stand up in safer area.

In the end, Geraldo went back to New York, taking his own entourage with him. This probably lowered the mean IQ of New York and Afghanistan. His Army entourage dissipated, and they restarted the daily rotator. As we (finally!) boarded the aircraft to go back to where our guys and our ANA clung to a patch of rocky hills, we told the crew, “We’re sure glad you’re not flying Geraldo around any more.”

You’re glad!” a crew chief burst out. “Imagine how we feel about it!”

Question: Why does Geraldo like to wear turtlenecks?

Answer: To hide the circumcision scar.

If there’s a man in America who has an understanding of “penis envy” so deep it’s surgical, it’s Geraldo Rivera.

Domestic Jihad’s Tennessee History

The incredible exploding deal.

What do most of the world’s terrorists have in common? The FBI confesses complete and utter puzzlement.

Writer James Kitfield has a remarkable article in Politico (not least, remarkable because an unsparing look at jihad seldom appears in such a reflexively partisan and multiculturist outlet) that ties the most recent Sudden Jihad Syndrome shooting to a much earlier one (2009), and casts superficial blame on Tennessee, an easy layup for Politico’s Beltway, Acela Corridor, and wannabe audience. He also makes the unsupported allegation that the 2009 incident was the first, which would be news to Nidal Hasan on death row

But it also looks into how an ordinary American kid was cut out of his family and radicalized, turned against his own people and acculturated to the most extreme and febrile strain of the death cult of Mohammed.

It notes something that the US media, which always prefers the pre-Islamic names for American jihadi converts/reverts1, seems loath to recognize: Carlos Bledsoe really did become Abdulhakim Mujahid Mohammed. Mohammed was the guy who shot up a recruiting office before, on 1 Jun 2009, killing one and maiming one soldier (Privates William Long and Quinton Ezeagwula respectively).

The Partisan Political Police formerly known as FBI remained utterly flummoxed by Mohammed’s motivation (as they are by the latest case of Sudden Jihad Syndrome, Abdulazeez’s — “maybe it was a domestic?”), and political appointees in the Pentagon displayed their contempt for Long and Ezeagwula by denying the victims recognition that they suffered their mortal and serious wounds in a terrorist attack, and spitefully withholding the Purple Heart medal from Ezagwula and from Long’s next of kin until Congress forced their unwilling hands.

Yet long before the five U.S. service members were murdered this past week in Chattanooga, before the Boston Marathon bombers, the Fort Hood shooting or the rise of the Islamic State, it was another troubled teenager from [Tennessee] who embarked on a journey of jihad and ended in the first deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil after 9/11.

The road to jihad began here, where Highway 40 bisects the state Abraham Lincoln once called the “keystone of the southern arch”….

Somehow, in ways that a heartbroken Melvin Bledsoe even now doesn’t fully comprehend, his beloved son Carlos was transformed into a murderous jihadist, a hate-filled man who called himself Abulhakim Mujahid Mohammed.

Carlos, to a certain extent, was patient zero in the phenomenon of homegrown, lone-wolf terrorism, a scourge that struck the nation once again this past week, when another young man went on a shooting spree at a recruiting station in Tennessee. The parallels between the life stories of that alleged shooter, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, and Carlos Bledsoe’s are chilling and, perhaps, instructive.

via Tennessee Is the Capital of American Jihad – James Kitfield – POLITICO Magazine.

The whole thing is long, and quite good, so good it’s a puzzlement why Politico ever published it. (Maybe the editor just skimmed it, and saw Kitfield’s dishonest description of Mohammed’s SKS as an “assault rifle,” and tagged him as a political fellow-traveler?). So do Read The Whole Thing™.

And take care to keep your distance from, and your eyes and your gun muzzle on, American practitioners of the terror cult of Salafi/Wahhabi Mohammedanism.


  1. The term “revert” is often used by extremist converts, and may be a flag for extremism of the Sunni variety (Salafi/Wahhabi/Deobandi — the distinctions matter not, they’re all hostile to civilization, militant and violent). It is based on the theological conceit that all men are born moslems, but some are misguided into other faiths until they “revert” to extremist, murderous Mohammedanism.

Let’s Further Abuse the Army’s Primitive Small Arms Maint Policy

Guns and uniforms change.  but progress eludes maintenance and storage.

Guns and uniforms change. but progress eludes maintenance and storage. Q: Do you maintain your car like you did in 1955? Your home?

Yesterday, we said a few unkind things about Army small arms maintenance policy, more or less in passing. Let’s elaborate on that today.

If you have been an armorer in the Army for many years, you could very well be pig-ignorant of how firearms fail and what maintenance they require, without that lacuna in your knowledge having the least effect on your advancements and career prospects. You will, however, have mastered maintenance paperwork and the Illusion of Maintenance. Then you can become a Small Arms Maintenance Warrant Officer, and reign over all kinds of rusty barrels, mismatched parts, and forgotten & unrecorded round counts. Finally, let’s not forget the defunct optics, which as everyone knows, are merely storage repositories in which unit armorers and supply sergeants keep dead batteries.

Don’t believe me? Let’s look at this 2014 list of “Small Arms Do’s and Don’ts” that was sent out in February of last year by Fort Stewart’s stalwart maintenance support organization, and published here on an Army maintenance website. Blockquoted text, indented and in italics, is what the original document says; bold inside that is their emphasis. Plain text like this is our commentary. At the end, your own opinions may be solicited.

Small Arms Do’s and Don’ts

    The Ft Stewart Logistics Readiness Center (LRC) offers these do’s and don’ts to keep your small arms armed and ready:

Do understand how to fill out a DA Form 2407-E.  That’s how you open a job order to get something fixed at LRC.  The SAMS system generates the form for you.

Like we said, it’s all about the forms. As far as Army big-L Logistics is concerned, an SF company with 84 ready-to-rock M4A1s and a company with 84 correctly filled out 2407s are utterly fungible. However, only one of those is capable of engaging the enemy, a matter of indifference to Army logisticians.

Don’t lock bolts back for storage and transport.  If bolts are left locked back, the springs can’t relax and soon have to be replaced.

This is, for any term or period in which this model firearm, let alone this specific one, will be in United States Service is complete and utter bullshit. Springs can experience elastic fatigue when held in compression for a very long time, but given the specification of this particular spring it will still work if you lock the bolt back and forget it until you dig the rifle up in 2065. Like most well-designed springs, it is actually designed for infinite life1. Spring design is not rocket science, no more is it the sort of voodoo to which comments like this try to raise it. It is engineering, and a well-developed, well-supported, branch of engineering that anyone can learn with a little mathematics and application.

If the spring is left deflected under full load and the load is more than the yield strength of the material, then the “resulting permanent deformation may prevent the spring from providing the required force”2

But even worse, if the bolt is locked back and someone forgot to remove a round, the weapon can fire if the truck hits a bump during transport.  This happened at Ft Stewart.

We call bullshit, again. The only weapons in the world that can do this from this cause alone are open-bolt firearms guns with fixed firing pins. If this happened with an AR, think about it: sudden blow releases bolt carrier group from hold-open. Bolt slams home, into battery, chambering the round carelessly left in the mag carelessly left in the truck. Then what? Until somebody pulls the trigger, the hammer’s held back.

Maybe that’s what the statements said happened, and somebody’s covering somebody’s ass here.

Do change machine gun barrels at the range and keep barrels matched to receiver.  Many M249, M240 and M2 barrels are ruined every year because units go the range and fire hundreds of rounds through the same barrel.  A single barrel can cost $800.  Simply switching barrels, which takes just seconds, can save your unit money and grief from your CO.

This is actually really, really good advice and unfortunately most small arms users (including armorers!) are never taught the hazards of sustained low rate of fire in damaging a barrel, sometimes in ways that physical inspection won’t find.

Don’t grab just any barrel.  The M249 and M240 barrels have been headspaced to a specific weapon.  If you use the wrong barrel, you could damage the weapon and injure yourself.

You would think this would not be the case in this era of interchangeable parts, but it is — for these weapons. But what about the self-headspacing latest version of Ma Deuce?

Even with the new M2A1, which can use any M2A1 barrel, it’s a good idea to  use only the two barrels dedicated to that particular M2A1.

That’s the Army for you. “Hey, this anal retentive program has no practical value, but it shows how concerned we all are.” “Yeah, let’s also do more than it requires!”

That will save you accountability problems later when you turn in the two barrels for that specific M2A1. All barrels should have a dog tag with the serial number for their weapon.  It’s a good idea to use a marker to highlight the receiver’s serial number so Soldiers can quickly find it.

Do transport M2s either in a rack or lying flat and secured to the truck bed.  If you stand up an M2 and its barrels, they will take a tumble within the first mile.  That breaks components like the sights and ruins barrel threads.

But… but… but… Big Green says weapons transport cases are a waste of money, and that SF and other SOF have been “squandering” their money on this kind of thing.

Millions for broken sights and barrels, not one cent for prevention. There’s Army Maintenance in a nutshell.

Don’t disassemble your weapon more than you’re supposed to.  If you do, the  parts are often lost or the weapon is reassembled wrong.  With the M16 rifle, it’s usually the trigger assembly that is put back together wrong.  Then the rifle can fire on auto when you’ve got it set for single shot.  That’s dangerous. Clean and lube your weapon like its -10 says.  Then stop!

You know, if more people were taught how to do that, someone in the unit could fix it if Joe over-disassembled his M16 or M4. We understand why higher echelons of maintenance discourage this; there are at least four reasons:

  1. They do indeed get weapons that some idjit disassembled, in a unit where no one can assemble a weapon, or that some idjit reassembled improperly. (Note that Army armorers often can’t fix this kind of problem, because they know less about the weapon than you learn in the Colt or SIG or S&W (etc). 4-hour “armorer school.”)
  2. They do get weapons where some idjit who disassembled them improperly assembled minus a part. The parts most vulnerable to improper assembly are springs; the parts most vulnerable to loss in the field are extractor pins and extractor springs. (Last we checked armorers at company and battalion were allowed to keep spare extractor pins and springs for just that reason).
  3. They do get weapons damaged by improper assembly. Since hardly anybody in the Army has been taught to properly detail-strip a weapon, there are cases where improper tools are used, or pins are forced in or out violently. This is happening less thanks to the dissemination of correct information online, but it still does happen. One of the most common damaged parts is the pistol grip attachment screw, which tends to get scarred up from wrong-sized, hardware-store screwdrivers that don’t fit right.
  4. If you know how to do it, it’s not their secret any more. That’s why they have the jaws even when SF weapons men (who are trained and authorized to do this on organizational weapons) maintain lower receiver internals. They will often fall back on shibboleths about the Army’s holy Echelons of Maintenance at this point, like an imam trapped in a losing argument, groping for a suitable hadith. The Echelon concept is, of course, part of the problem, not the solution (don’t get us started on what it means for radios).

Do turn in both machine gun barrels when you send a weapon to maintenance.  Your direct support will need both barrels to do the required repairs and gaging.

Want to know a secret? In 1942, the army fielded a machine gun in which any barrel would headspace “well enough” to any gun. And spare barrels became a supply item rather than a serial numbered weapons component. Pretty neat, huh?

Of course, it wasn’t our Army, but the enemy. Naturally, when we tried to copy that weapon,the German MG42, we botched it. Then we incorporated a few features from the Rheinmetall wonder gun on our next GPMG, and got most of them wrong, including barrel interchange. Now that we can ignore serialization on one single weapon (the M2A1 .50 caliber machine gun), the maintenance griots continue to pass down the same primitive, voodoo folkways on that weapon, too. Pitiful.

Do thoroughly clean your weapon as soon as possible after firing close combat mission capability kit (CCMCK) rounds.  If the wax left in the barrel from the rounds becomes too hard, it’s very difficult to clean out.  Then a round can stick in the barrel.  Sometimes it’s impossible to remove the round without damaging the barrel.  Pay particular attention to the chamber and barrel.  If you can’t clean out all the wax, tell your armorer.  He’ll use dry cleaning solvent.

We should probably write about the CCMCK system, which is the Army’s attempt to standardize (and bureaucratize) the Simunitions type force-on-force training SOF has been doing for what, 20 years now. One advantage of Sims is that they don’t use the same barrel as lethal munitions; the CCMCK was specified to use the standard barrel, and they’re right that it leaves the barrels messy and congeals into a difficult plaque.

Don’t forget to remove batteries from sights before storage.  Each year, many sights are ruined because batteries  left inside leak. There’s no fix for that.

The ARMY way -- optics off. (This commercial, non-issue rack would support storage optics on).

The ARMY way — optics off. (This commercial, non-standard rack would support storage optics on — of course these old A1s have fewer optic options).

Well, as the saying goes, you can’t fix stupid. This is a valid point, but there are several layers of ways to prevent this from happening. Why would an armorer accept a weapon for turn-in that still had batteries in the optic? OK, things get hurried, mistakes get made. So you have a Joe assist and double-check? Just having a system like that reduces your quantity of mistakes by an order of magnitude.

Then, why not have the armorer get a Joe once a week, and while doing an inventory, double-check optics (assuming, of course, the optics didn’t have to come off to rack the guns anyway) to see that the nasty little acid containers are out of ’em?

(And, incidentally, it is possible to design electronics so that failed batteries don’t damage the gadget, or at least damage only inexpensive, and easily replaced, contacts. The Army just doesn’t specify this when they order stuff).

The guys who wrote and disseminate this list of Do’s and Don’t’s are trying. The problem is, they’re trying in a system that is stacked against them. And their weapon of choice remains tribal knowledge (at best), voodoo folkways (at worst), and passed-on oral sagas and legends that they don’t understand.


  1. Valsange, P.S.  International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications (IJERA), Vol. 2. Issue 6, Nov-Dec 2012. P. 514 (section 1.1.3). (Note particularly the application of Zimmerli’s data that renders torsional endurance limits for all intents and purposes a constant in steel springs). Retrieved from:
  2. Ibid., p. 514 (section 1.1.5).

Snap, Crackle, and Pop

Well-known (and respected) trainer Kyle Defoor was conducting training at for a military unit when one of the unit’s long guns went down, due to this:

defoor bolt failure

Yes, that’s an AR/M16/M4 bolt with a single lug fully failed. Possible causes for the failure include (at a fundamental level) manufacturing error, corrosion or fatigue. It’s hard to judge from this hole, but going way out on a limb, it looks like there’s a somewhat granular failure at the left end of the fracture, with a smoother “sudden” fracture face on the right end nearer the extractor, presumably because the fatigue failure left too little of the remaining metal to bear the stress of firing locked in battery, and the remainder of the part failed from the crack due to overstress. But it could also be caused by swapping a fresh bolt into a gun with a worn barrel extension (or vice versa) in the field, so that only one lug was bearing all the tension of locking — result, failure. Or the gun may simply have been made without the locking lugs all engaging properly — it’s happened before.

A gun with a failure like this may or may not continue to fire for a while. But if overstress on one lug was a factor, the loads formerly too much for seven lugs now bear upon six — it would not be wise to bet your life on this firearm.

Kyle, though, had another issue with the failure — and the unit whose arms room coughed up the firearm that did it.

On 9 July, he posted this image to his Facebook feed, saying:

Maybe I should start to amend contracts to include an armorer and spare parts?

With a hilarious set of hastags including, but not limited to:

#‎takecareofgear‬ ‪#‎ittakescareofyou‬ ‪

…and the snark-infused:

‬ ‪#‎logisticswinswars‬ ‪#‎waistingtrainingtime‬ ‪#‎youdontpaymetoplumb‬

The part was, as you can see from the markings, a factory Colt, magnetic particle inspected, bolt (or a counterfeit thereof that somehow got into the supply system — not impossible). It had unknown hours and rounds, because Big Green is not in the habit of keeping meaningful usage and maintenance records on small arms.

Apart from spelling “wasting” wrong, there is not much to argue with in Defoor’s response. Apparently the unit in question did not provide an armorer for the range event. In most units, the armorer doubles as a supply clerk and is not thought of as necessary for a range evolution (except to manage draw and turn-in of weapons at the Arms Room). In addition, the Army has been working to reduce the number and kind of spare parts available at organizational level. This is due to politically anti-gun policies, and Army civilian political appointees who believe (however lacking the evidence may be) that Army stocks are a significant source of crime guns.

Even if the parts were by some miracle on hand, the standard Army armorer, one each, is neither trained nor authorized to replace a failed bolt. Armorers given scant and cursory training on maintenance.  Instead, their course, an add-on for supply clerks, concentrates very extensively on paperwork, records-keeping, and the process of appearing to be conducting scheduled maintenance. This is also borne out by what actual combat units and their commanders value, based on how they judge and critique their armorers. No one is ever graded on the only maintenance measure that ought to count, the combat serviceability of the unit’s firearms; everyone is constantly graded on the process, on the appearance of maintenance, and on maintenance busy work. While we’d bet nine out of ten of the readers of this blog could fix this rifle in minutes, the only thing a company, battalion or even brigade armorer can do with it is turn it in.

Military maintenance bureaucracy does all it can to limit effective maintenance of small-unit equipment, notably including small arms, optics, and radios. Problems with these are most effectively solved by trained, experienced personnel at the lowest organizational level, so naturally such personnel are just flat not available.

Instead, you must tag the weapon or other piece of equipment down. Naturally, there are different rules for weapons and weapons equipment, vehicles, radios, and special weapons (i.e. WMD-related stuff), although the Army does try to squeeze them all onto standard forms (DA-2404 for regular maintenance, DA-2407 for turn in, nowadays it’s an electronic form, DA-2407E, done in the SAMS logistics computer system).

The weapon can’t be sent directly to the level that can fix it, even when (like this) the level is obvious and the weapon could be inspected and classified by a well-coached Helen Keller. It must go up the operator-organizational-direct-depot support chain, getting a new inspection at each

Plus, while the weapon is turned in, what is Joe Snuffy supposed to shoot? No Army unit maintains operational floats or spares (unless it is, by happenstance, or the customary incompetence of all Army personnel managers and activities, understrength). So Joe will get the weapon of whoever is on sick call or leave when the unit goes to a range, unless it’s one of the very large number of units that does an absolutely crap job of tracking who is assigned each particular weapon, in which case it’s musical chairs and the last one that shows up gets a new weapon.

The Army actually tries to bill giving a guy a new rifle for every annual, semiannual or quarterly trip to the range as a plus, believe it or not: “Everybody gets valuable experience in zeroing.” (Meanwhile, of course, everyone loses confidence in the ability of his gun to hold zero).

It does not help that the standard M12 rack does not accept a rifle with optics. In the Arms Room, it’s still 1988.

Moreover, the Army’s weapons records are a chaotic mess of rack numbers, serial numbers, weapons cards, hand receipts, pencil sheets, green-and-white property book printouts (that may not put all your unit’s rifles, for example, together on the same pages), and unofficial Excel-spreadsheets and Access databases, which interface more or less (mostly, less) with one another and with the unit’s personnel assignments. This means that every time you cross-level personnel from 2nd platoon to 3rd platoon, if your arms room is nicely organized by platoons, Joe Rifleman is going to get a new rifle and be off zero until next range trip, and so is Bill Bulletician who’s coming from somewhere else… that’s another reason why no Army unit beyond the Ranger battalions and the 82nd Division Ready Battalion actually dares to ship out to combat without a trip to the zero range.

In addition to the deployment delays that come because no one has confidence in his optic zero right now, we also endure a colossal waste of time because weapons inventories are unnecessarily hard. (One of the nice things about HK 416s? Their serial numbers are highlighted. Seems like a small thing, until you’ve tried to inventory a couple hundred M16A2s by the light of a flickering fluorescent bulb that there’s no budget to replace. And if you highlight the number with paint or permanent marker, you can actually get dinged on inspection). Every arms room needs to be inventoried periodically by senior personnel who have better things to do, and many aperiodic inventories are demanded by regulations. The faster these go, the better for everyone, but the Army has a settled way of doing things that proceeds from the assumption that the net value of a soldier, NCO or officer’s time is always zero.


Guess Who Turned Up in a Pot Raid?

mad-magazine-trading-private-bergdahlWho was it that turned up in a raid on an industrial pot facility? Everybody’s The President’s favorite deserter1, who’s supposed to be in the jug awaiting trial for desertion, turned up in a massive marijuana raid in California.

The cops looked to return the peripatetic accused to his military base, only to get a “don’t bother” from military officials.

The Unique and Special Snowflake™ whose desertion to the Taliban led to the loss of a half-dozen lives of loyal Americans looking for him, as he gave them aid and comfort, wan’t AWOL at all. Knowing how Special he is and how much people in High Places prefer him to the usual ruck and scrum of enlisted swine, he’d been basically told, in that favorite phrase of sergeants everywhere, “You’ve got nothing to do. Don’t do it here.” The authorities knew he was in California and were cool with it.

Bergdahl was visiting with “old family friends” who apparently just happened to be hemp-huffing hippies. We hope this doesn’t shake your faith in Taliban-Americans.

Meanwhile, the President finally got around to putting flags at half-staff for the Chattanooga jihad victims, although the Partisan Political Police that are the FBI still express utter bafflement at the shooter’s motivations. Several commentators have been very critical of the President’s reluctance to memorialize the deaths of service members, something he does not like very much, at the hands of an Islamic nutball, something he seems much more kindly disposed towards.

Who’s saying he lowered the flags for the victims? Maybe he did it for the shaheed, Mohammod Abdulazeez.


  1. Yeah, the court hasn’t convicted him yet. But we have.

Is this a “Red Not” Sight?

Screenshot from Shooting Sports Retailer, generally a really good online trade mag:



(The sight in question is a Trijicon TA01NSN scope, the model we had on our M4A1 in Afghanistan. It’s a traditional four-power scope with a tritium-illuminated reticle and bullet-drop compensation for the M855 round from a 14.5″ barrel. It’s not a red dot).

We used them mostly just like this, with the backup iron sights, although some guys ran them with a Docter or RMR red dot mounted on top of the scope for servicing both close and distant targets.

The sad part of it is, the story is pretty good. Especially when you consider what the author is trying to do, provide some primary education to gun-shop clerks about red dots so that they can better serve their customers.

You’d think they could have found a picture of a red dot sight to illustrate it. This is the Aimpoint Comp M2 aka the M68, the contemporary of the ACOG shown above. (We pulled these pics off of GunBroker, where this optic is currently up for bid).


The Comp M2 has a feature most don’t need, along with several degrees of visible-light brightness the dot has night-vision-compatible settings. (The NV “red dot” looks green through your PVS-7s, but then, so does everything).

Here is why it is called a red dot.


You’re welcome.