New Oath of Allegiance: Bearing Arms Opt-Out

US Customs and Immigration Service's new Model Citizen

US Citizenship and Immigration Services’s new Model Citizen, Mohammod Abdulazeez, is about to get thousands of brethren.

For all but two years1 of the entire history of the United States of America, new citizens have sworn an Oath of Allegiance. But an important ingredient in the oath is being stricken by the Administration. No more will immigrants have to promise to be willing to bear arms for the United States; they now will have an opt-out based, not even on religious belief, but any kind of inchoate and general “feels.” Like Abdulazeez here, maybe they want to bear arms against Americans? That’s fine!

Now, because Congress has delegated them the authority to do this, it’s perfectly legal even if it’s not especially smart. Legally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services is allowed to change the oath, as long as the “five principles” outlined in Section 337(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act are adhered to. Being as the principles are:

  1. Allegiance to the Constitution;
  2. Renunciation of any foreign allegiances;
  3. Defense of the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic;
  4. Willingness to bear arms in the Armed Forces;
  5. Willingness to do civilian duties of national importance.

The Willingness to Bear Arms clause should stay in. But the CIS is now changing the clause, to streamline the path to citizenship of those preferred immigrants who not only don’t want to bear arms for the United States but are interested in bearing arms against. 

A new provision allows the would-be Americans to opt out of defending their fellow Americans if they have any reason not to want to.

The Legal History of the Bearing Arms Clause

In 1929, the Supreme Court ruled that pacifism was no justification for refusing the oath.

In 1950, the McCarran Act (much of which was subsequently found unconstitutional or repealed, but the rump of which is still used by Army lawyers to support the disarmament of off-duty soldiers) added the bearing arms lines as mandatory.

In 1953, their presence aborted the application for citizenship of British writer Aldous Huxley. Huxley, a wealthy Hollywood screenwriter, was oriented more towards a state socialism like that of the Soviet Union, but not enough that he ever considered living there.

Why Now?

Well, have we ever had an Administration more hostile to arms, or to the bearing of them, in defense of the country? Or one who seems to value immigrants inversely to the benefits they bring to us, and proportionately to the crime, violence, and treachery that they come a-bearing?

It’s not as if the nation is so hard up for people that we need to admit more unassimilable, truculent, hostile persons. There are hundreds of thousands of people who would be a credit to our country waiting patiently in the 200 countries of the world, but we seem intent on ingesting human pathogens rather than sources of societal strength.

What Exactly?

USCIS sent a policy guide on 21 Jan 2015 (.pdf) to all hands that explains wordily:

In general, a naturalization applicant must take an oath of allegiance in a public ceremony, in addition to meeting other eligibility requirements, in order to naturalize. The oath includes the clauses to bear arms on behalf of the United States and to perform noncombatant service in the U.S. armed forces when required by law. An applicant may be eligible for certain modifications to the oath to exclude the clauses based on religious training and belief or a conscientious objection. This guidance updates Volume 12 of the Policy Manual to clarify the eligibility requirements for the modifications.

 

And further:

when an applicant is unwilling or unable to affirm to all clauses of the oath… [he or she] may be eligible for modifications… [and] …is not required to belong to a specific church or religion, follow a particular theology or belief…

And the corker… an applicant who wants can provide evidence supporting his or her unwillingness to swear to defend the USA, but…

is not required to provide… evidence to establish eligibility

In other words, it’s Washington’s favorite word, an entitlement for anyone desiring to be an asp at Lady Liberty’s breast.

So, get ready to welcome lots of new citizens… whose loyalty is to something, anything, other than the United States.

Sure, hostiles could always lie and get naturalized (which may explain the Abdulazeez family and their celebrity son), but now they don’t even need to hide their contempt and hostility for our nation.

This will end well.

Notes

  1. The first recorded Oath of Allegiance was given to foreign-born soldiers in and camp-followers of the Continental Army at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania on 30 May 78. (That’s 1778). The first Naturalization Law came 12 years later, in 1790.

Sources

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Washington, n.d. Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. Retrieved from: http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/naturalization-test/naturalization-oath-allegiance-united-states-america

USCIS. Policy Alert: Modifications to Oath of Allegiance for Naturalization. Washington, 21 July 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/Updates/20150721-OathModifications.pdf

 

Testing Polymer Receivers to Destruction: Factory and Printed

Here’s another embedded video from Full30.com’s InRange TV, where Ian and Karl do their level best to destroy a Cav Arms polymer lower.

They step on it, stomp on it, run it over with a Jeep, and shoot holes in it, and still it keeps on shooting. One is reminded of the old Timex ads, “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” Maybe it should be “Takes a drilling and it keeps on killing (IPSC targets).”

We’re not really shocked by this. We had AKs and SKSes in the foreign weapons arms room in 10th Group that were Vietnam captures, complete with bullet and claymore holes, and they all worked. (We kind of doubt their previous owner Mr Nguyen was still in such adequate operating condition). And we’ve seen ARs take some pretty brutal treatment and keep on shooting, including carbines that would still chamber rounds after their plastic was all burned off and their magazines blown out by a helicopter post-crash fire (we didn’t shoot them, though), and an M16A1 that still functioned (albeit inaccurately) with the barrel bent 30º off axis at the FSB1 (it was under a trooper’s armpit when he executed a really craptacular PLF2, dislocating his arm and bending the rifle).

A really good design is overwrought enough that it can be degraded by wear, corrosion, or, yes, combat, a good bit before it fails to function. And a really outstanding design delivers that with the smallest weight and bulk penalty possible.

Cav Arms made quite a few of these lowers out of durable Nylon 6 before the company was singled out for destruction by the ATF, which is a long story and off this topic. (A seemingly complete technical history of the Cav Arms lower has been prepared by Russel Phagan, aka Sinistral Rifleman, who assisted in the video). A successor manufactures the lowers today. (But the most significant thing about the lower wasn’t the company’s grim fate; it was that the lower was redesigned from the ground up to be made of polymer, to take advantage of this material’s strengths, and to shore up its weaknesses).

As Ian points out towards the end of the video, a polymer lower designed to be a polymer lower is a better bet than one that is just a molding of the traditional 7075 alloy machined forging. (Conversely, a steel receiver that follows the form factor of the alloy lower is going to be overstrength and overweight). These follow from the differences in the strengths of the three materials.

Ian notes the weakness of the buffer tower if the normal lower receiver is modeled in anything other than metal, and that gibes with the results that early lower-receiver 3D printers had, substituting much weaker ABS or PLA material for the 7075. The first point of failure to be made manifest was the buffer tower area. This led to reinforced buffer towers and ultimately such heavily-reinforced lower-receiver designs as the modern Aliamanu-Phobos.

alimanu_phobos_printed_lower

Along with the reinforcements named in that slide, the massively reinforced buffer tower is evident. But even this beefy design can fail. This one started to delaminate with just 20 rounds fired. Test firing the lower:

trouble1 aliamanu-phobosHere’s the first image of the delamination. Since all the fire control group parts are above the delamination line, the weapon should still operate, but this obviously bodes ill for any probability of it surviving further testing. (Yes, these do embiggen for more of a close-up look).

trouble1 delamination 1Here’s the other side at that 20-round point:

trouble1 delamination 2

 

Firing more rounds just cause more failure, in this case it seems that the area around the grip screw also began to delaminate, releasing the grip:

trouble1 delamination 3At this point, stick a fork in it, it’s done.

Others have had much better results, including from pretty low end perimeters, and the equipment and parameters that FOSSCAD member trouble1 used didn’t seem out of step with what the successful printers did. But you can’t call this a successful print. It seems highly probable that there is some failure in the print setup or materials (moisture in the filament?) that no one has figured out yet.

That delamination is an interesting failure mode that’s fairly common in fused filament fabrication printing, is only one reason the technology is not yet ready to compete head-to-head with plastic injection molding. The much slower production of the additive process, and its higher per-unit variable cost, also argue against this for production. However, injection molding, with its generally higher fixed costs (for tooling), is unsuitable for prototyping and very short production runs. A hybrid of technologies that uses printed molds to reduce that fixed cost for short runs offers the potential of closing the gap. But a proper part is a part that is designed in conjunction with its manufacturing technology — engineered for production from Day One, with materials  chosen to meet the mission and simplify, speed up, and save money on production.

As Ian noted about the Cav Arms polymer lower (which is injection molded), it’s necessary to design the part to make best use of the materials and technology. Simply trying to reverse-engineer a popular firearm in a new material or manufacturing approach will only take you so far. It may, given enough iterations, be far enough.

Notes

  1. FSB = Front Sight Base, the triangular-shaped forging that holds up the front sight on the nose of AR-15 series rifles through the early M4A1. It also locates the gas tube and hosts the bayonet lug — a busy small part.
  2. PLF = Parachute Landing Fall, a specific roll that reduces the risk of injury when a para touches down.

Friday Tour d’Horizon Week 30

Due to time pressure, we’re going to limit this to simple links-and-lines tonight. Sorry ’bout that, Chief.

Guns

Sporting Shotguns and Rifles? Or works of art? Check out the creations of Austrian gunsmith Phillip Ollendorff. We want one but are afraid to ask what they cost.

http://www.jagdwaffen-ollendorff.com

Like a single-point sling? Like AKs? These Texans have the glue for you:

http://www.echo93.com/

(Their AK underfolder cheek rest is an idea whose time has come, and they can sell you Paki tape if you’re going for the in-country Hadji look).

Q: Who has the most gun permits in the violent Chicongo? The answer may surprise you (if you haven’t been in an urban gun shop in 10 years). A: People in the wealthy white  neighborhoods — and the poorest minority ones.

http://freebeacon.com/issues/report-chicagos-neighborhood-with-most-gun-carry-permits-is-55-black-34-hispanic/

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/741625/concealed-carry-permits-chicago-illinois

The Sun-Times seems to have collected this data in hopes of finding Raaaaacism (it has to have 5 a’s to be authentic raaaaacism), but to their credit, seem to have reported what they found, anyway.

War, and Rumors of War

If war there be, let it start over… lobsters? Between Canada and … Maine?

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-tiny-islands-where-canada-and-america-are-at-war/

This story tells how the Kurds are winning. (But are the Kurds really winning, or is this wishful thinking?

The US will not defend recruiting stations… among other things, Pentagon mouthpiece Capt. Jeff Davis says teaching these NCOs and POs to use firearms would cost too much money. Naturally! Letting ’em die in place is cheaper.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article28359811.html

Rangerettes

We should probably write more about this, but the three women, all West Pointers, are still hanging in there in Mountain Phase, under the glare of media scrutiny and the close eye of commissars (aka “observer-advisors”).

Here are two stories that are so similar they seem mutually plagiarized in places, or maybe they both plagiarized a third source. Maybe the Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe, and McClatchy’s Chuck Williams are just retyping press releases.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/07/17/army-ranger-schools-assessment-of-women-has-moved-to-the-mountains-but-the-scrutiny-remains/

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article27659722.html

This interesting quote, from Williams’ story, gives you some idea of the swollen heads for which Academy graduates are deservedly noted:

“West Point teaches leaders to be tenacious in overcoming obstacles,” said [Sue] Fulton, who chairs the West Point Board of Visitors that reports to the President of the United States. “At some point – probably more than once – you have to do a gut check and call on inner reserves to do something that you never thought you could do. Am I surprised that the three remaining women in Ranger School are West Point graduates? Not at all.”

It’s lucky we have these West Point graduates, for no one else knows how to be tenacious and call on inner reserves.

Fulton is one of the VIPs kibitzing and tinkering at Ranger School during this cycle.

Poly-Ticks:

President tells Star-struck Brits he Regrets Failing, but only on Gun Control

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/07/23/obama-tells-bbc-that-he-is-most-frustrated-with-failure-to-get-tougher-gun-laws/

Hey, give the guy the credit he deserves. He finally did lower Fed flags to half-staff over the Chattanooga shooting — after he realized that his guy Abdulazeez got croaked, along with five mere servicemen.

Meanwhile, the brain trust at the FBI is completely stumped by Abdulazeez’s motivations. He was probably a Rush Limbaugh listener or something!

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Wingsuits

This video is something you might want to skip. It’s American wingsuit jumper Ian Flanders tumbling to his death in a low-quality spectator video, followed by an interview shot shortly before by a Turkish TV crew. Flanders died, his friends will say, doing what he loved.

The statistical record of BASE jumping over the years suggests that it is either the most dangerous sport ever invented, with the possible exception of Russian Roulette, or the most technical means of committing suicide.

Some people react to that by trying to ban BASE jumping from certain areas (like Yosemite National Park, for one example) or in general, naturally, for the well-being of its voluntary participants. If that national-socialist your-life-is-our-concern approach sounds familiar, maybe it’s because it is also the putative motivation of the antigun activists who would ban guns for the ostensible good of the gun owners themselves.

We are not fans of BASE jumping; it’s stupid, pointless, and extremely hazardous, and leads one practitioner after another to an early death in pursuit of a momentary thrill. But we’re even less fans of banning BASE jumping. At some point you have to accept the fact that “it’s a free country,” and people’s lives are their own, and they’re not always going to live them as we would choose to do so, which is no business of ours.

From the New York Daily News’s coverage of Flanders’s death:

An American BASE jumper filming a documentary about the perils of the high-adrenaline, high-danger extreme sport died in Turkey when a jump went horribly wrong.

Ian Flanders, 28, got tangled in his parachute lines and plummeted into a gorge along the Karasu River. The tragic fall from 900 feet above the Karanlik canyon in eastern Turkey was captured by a TV station during a nature sports festival.

The Southern California adrenaline junkie had the day before completed a similar jump wearing a wingsuit, the first wingsuit jump ever undertaken in Turkey, friend Donald Schultz told the Daily News. A smiling Flanders gushed about the experience during a TV interview ahead of his ill-fated flight.

That’s the interview included in the video above.

The disturbing July 21 disaster was all caught on camera. Flanders, obviously tangled among the chute lines, falls fast from the sky before a rock face obscures the view of him landing in the river. People can be heard screaming as the amateur footage cuts out.

He’d jumped from a cable suspended between the canyon above the river from about 900 feet up. Schultz said Flanders did a flip or two as he jumped and either over- or under-extended. The parachute never properly deployed, something called a “horseshoe malfunction,” Schultz said.

“Ian was such a safe guy – for this to happen to him is just a shock,” he said.

He was a safe guy in a dangerous sport. Parachute jumping of any kind has one thing in common with guns — they are intrinsically hazardous things that need to be operated within narrow parameters to be successful.

ian-flanders

The jump went wrong from the start when Flanders immediately began tangled in his parachute lines.

The tragedy comes just two months after wingsuit pioneer Dean Potter, 43, died during a jump in Yosemite National Park.

“Everyone in this sport has now seen enough really skilled, careful people die,” climber Chris McNamara told People magazine at the time. “There’s just this very thin margin of how things can go from ‘totally fine’ to ‘it’s over.’ And it’s really hard to do this sport a lot and have that margin not catch up with you.”

The epidemic has become so bad that some 264 people have died BASE jumping since record-keeping began, Outside magazine editor Grayson Schaffer told CBS News.

What Schaffer either didn’t mention, or they didn’t bother to quote, is that many of the founders and luminaries of the sport are among that number. Perhaps there are always some characters who gravitate to an avocation that gives you only a gladiator’s odds, and very little control over whether you win, or it’s Game Over, No Respawn.

The sport — an acronym representing the four fixed places people jump from: building, antenna, span and Earth — is inherently dangerous and often illegal. Schultz, who met Flanders through BASE jumping, said he’s now retired from the sport. The buddies last saw each other in Perris, Calif., where they did some jumps before Flanders took off for Turkey. The adventure enthusiast even served as a best man in Schultz’s wedding earlier this year in South Africa.

One last bit. Emphasis ours:

“At the time of his death, Flanders was actually working on a documentary about all of the deaths that have been happening in the BASE world, and… it’s just an incredible tragedy that he would die this way,” Schaffer told the outlet.

Pity that the documentary will probably go unfinished. We think that Ian Flanders was out of his mind to make this suicidal sport the focus of his life. And we will defend his right to do that. It is — it was — his own life, and if you are only free to do the things others approve of, you’re not really free.

Say what you will about Ian Flanders, but he lived — and died — a free man. Ave atque vale. 

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.

Note

  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:

ssr_lays_an_egg

D’oh.

(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).

aimpoint_comp_m2

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.

comp_m2

You’re welcome.

The Alternative to “Judged” or “Carried.”

Law-ScaleAndHammerWe’ve all heard this bluster before:

I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6!

(To our foreign readers, most criminal juries in the USA, for serious charges, have 12 members, who are the finders of fact in a criminal trial; the judge can shape their decision with his or her superior understanding of the law, and has authority to impose most sentences, but the judge cannot, except in exceptional cases, alter or set aside a jury verdict. And 6 is the usual number of pallbearers who carry a decedent’s casket).

Why do we call it bluster? Well, it’s normally delivered in the same tone that a rotund INSCOM NCO once used to deliver this deathless line, explaining why he could not come within hailing distance of a passing score on a PT test:

You run your two miles. I’ll stand and fight!

fat-soldiersThat did not work out too well for Sergeant Heavy Drop (although having achieved certain milestones of old age and rotundity, we’re not as unsympathetic as our 1980s Weaponsman manifestation was). And “judged by 12″ has not been working out well for some people who thought they had a solid self-defense case.

The thing is, going to court is a losing proposition, second only to going to the churchyard. It’s a calamity if your self-defense case is very weak (think Michael Dunn, doing life in prison for what he thought, very mistakenly, was a self-defense shooting) or you’re in a jurisdiction where the law and the biases of judge and citizenry are stacked against you (think Brian Aitken, although his wasn’t even a self-defense case; he got seven years for legal possession of unloaded firearms). But it’s almost as disastrous if your case is strong. Consider George Zimmerman, who was tried and convicted by a press that was not above making up facts and altering evidence, and tried again by a prosecutor who was unconstrained by the facts, the law, or the Constitution in her search for a scalp. Sure, George “won” acquittal, but when you check out of the courtroom after a “win” like that, all you get back is your bail money, not your life. 

George Zimmerman artThe process is the punishment. But that’s only the beginning.

George Zimmerman is never going to have an ordinary life again. He’s still pursued by paparazzi who are still willing to falsify a story to “get” his scalp, and the press have stirred up enough people that one actually stalked him and took a shot at him. (Which the press then reported as, “George Zimmerman in another shooting!”) Bad, bad, naughty George. He didn’t fall in line with The Narrative™, and there is no greater sin in media world than a mere subject of a story who refuses to read his lines as the part is written.

If you are involved in a self-defense shooting, you can expect to be treated like that, especially if you are (in Wolfe’s pungent term) The Perfect White Defendant, like George (hey, he’s Hispanic, but whatever, The Narrative™ called for a white guy, so “white” the New York Times declared him, a label they later modified to “white hispanic” which is Times speak for “a Hispanic we don’t like”). And we haven’t even mentioned the money. There are two kinds of legal defense: good, and cheap. There is no Venn intersection of the two sets. For “good” and “cheap” you can substitute “thorough” and “slapdash.” Thorough? Thorough costs money, and it takes time, which costs, of course, more money.

You can save so much money by going for “slapdash” that you can pay your lawyer from your prison commissary account. Over time. (That’s just a joke. Criminal lawyers, like bankruptcy lawyers, expect to be paid up front. Even cheap, slapdash ones. For obvious reasons).

So you don’t really want to be Judged By 12 unless the only real alternative is to be Carried by 6.

Fortunately there’s a Third Alternative.

The Third Alternative

Pilots have a great saying that we’re absolutely going to steal. It comes from the safety culture that has turned “retired fighter pilot” from a one-in-dozens rarity in the 1950s and 60s, when the USAF and Navy crashed 1,000 jets a year, to something pretty common today.

 

usaf_aircraft_accidents_graph(Indeed, most people only know one or two casualties from their UPT class after 20 years, and some people retire without burying a single squadron mate or friend). We gun folk could use a safety culture like that, which is a bigger issue than just this blog post. But the saying is this:

A superior pilot uses his superior judgment so that he doesn’t have to make a vulgar display of his superior skills.

That’s the Third Alternative, and that’s what we want you to do: use your superior judgment so that you don’t ever have to slap leather for real. Yes, it’s boring never being in the hospital with tubes up your nose, never being reviled by the anti-gunners on the evening news, and never sitting at that awkward little table like George Zimmerman, sweating bullets about whether your lawyers were good enough — and whether the publicity hadn’t poisoned the jurors against you already.

That doesn’t mean be a coward. That doesn’t mean shrink from a fight — always. It does mean shrink from a fight that’s not yours or not necessary. If the guy’s going to go away, let him go. If the guy’s not directly threatening your or yours, let him go. Let the cops chase him. That’s why the get the big bucks (hah), and even though they may not get your criminal tonight sooner or later they get them all. No career criminal never feels the long arm of the law.

So make up your mind:

  1. I will fire if it is the only way to prevent death or serious personal injury.
  2. If those are not in the cards, I’ll hold fire.
  3. If I can, I’ll keep my gun concealed.
  4. If I can, I’ll move away from the threat.

Doing mindset exercises ahead of time is excellent preparation; actual drills are even better, which is why more and more PDs are going to photorealistic or even force-on-force training simulations. But you have an option, if you are a civilian lawful self-defender, that the cop does not: you can get out of Dodge. The cop has to go into the alley, into the building, into the crack house or ghetto ‘hood to put the cuffs on his target for tonight. Unless you’re a cop, you don’t. (And even if you’re a cop, you may have an alternative. The day after the ATF lost 3 agents to hostile and 1 to friendly fire at Waco, Texas, line agents who hadn’t been asked figured out they could have grabbed Koresh on his daily run or when he went to the post office, where he kept a post box).

Here are a few other ways to use your superior judgment:

  1. Know where the exits are.
  2. Conceal yourself, and stay concealed. If an assailant pursues you and winkles you out, shoot him then. 
  3. Keep your mouth shut and don’t make hand gestures. An amazing number of questionable self-defense shootings seem to begin with a few obscenities and a flipped bird.
  4. Don’t try to de-escalate the situation — you can’t reason with angry, stoned or stupid people very well, and that’s pretty much a who’s who of who goes around attacking people. Just don’t escalate the situation.
  5. Be the grey man (or woman). Yes, that is encouraging the assailant to attack someone else — and you can make your egress and vector the cops in. Of course, if you do this early enough
  6. Use best judgment about where you go, when, and in what condition. For instance, there are two bars within a short bike ride (<6 mi) where we could pretty much count on seeing a fistfight at 0200 on Thursday through Saturday nights. Even if we were still in yout’ful bar mode (that ship has sailed), care to guess where we would not be at that hour?

There’s a lot of truth in the old saying, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” A bullet in the sternum is a fairly unbeatable stupid prize, although a stint at the defendant’s table is nothing to cough at. Conduct your life in general and in detail in such a way that you’re not misidentified by anyone as a contestant in the Stupid Games Olympics.

Use your superior judgment, and you just might never need to fall back on your superior skills.

Isn’t She a Beauty?

The girl, Maria Butina, isn’t too shabby either. More on her in a moment.

OlegVolk-RussianGunLawPoster

What? The beauty we were talking about is the Baby Browning in her hand. What did you mean?

Anybody who’s been in the gun world in the US in recent decades recognizes the spare, classic visual style of photographer Oleg Volk, and this is indeed Oleg’s work. (See it here on Oleg’s blog). It’s a poster meant to promote Pravo na Oruzhie, or The Right to Bear Arms, in Russia.

Ms Butina isn’t just a pretty face. She’s a founder of the Russian gun rights group of that same name, and for Russophones the website is ongun.ru. For those of you who whose linguistic attainments don’t include Russian, they have thoughtfully provided a presentation translated into English (.pdf). The president of the organization is named Igor Shmelyev, according to the website.

The main caption of the poster reads:

Powerful, long-ranged rifles for hunting and sport — legal.
But even the weakest pistols for self-defense — banned.
Where’s the logic in that?

Russian gun laws seem rather backward to Americans, and also to Russians who are interested in shooting sports, self-defense, and gun-law liberalization. The laws, for example, forbid automatic weapons and handguns to Russian citizens. Using a firearm in self-defense is as fraught with danger as it is in the bleakest US states, like New Jersey or Massachusetts.

These laws haven’t prevented Russian criminals from arming themselves, of course. (They’re criminals. Breaking laws is all in a day’s work for them, right?). But the rights campaigners have an uphill fight in a country that trusts authority a lot, and the citizenry very little. Even when pollsters describe a very restricted right, say, restricted to military veterans and off-duty soldiers and cops, support for gun rights doesn’t break 40% — yet. But the trend is positive.

There’s a long way to go, but given that positive trend and the enthusiasm of the Right to Bear Arms folks, improvements in Russian firearms law, once impossible to consider, become more possible with every passing year.  Gun rights are human rights, and Russians ought to have them. So should every person on earth.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Bungees

de abreuOutlawing guns, as Britain did for handguns and many long guns after a series of spree killings in the 1990s, has the salutary side effect of eliminating all accidental deaths.

Except for the ones with illegal guns. There is that. And except for the ones with some other instrumentality of death, like the botched bungee jump that ended the life of Kleyo de Abreu (right) at a too-young 23 years. The Daily Mirror (UK):

A British woman from London has reportedly died while bungee-jumping off a bridge in Spain.

The 23-year-old holidaymaker is understood to have smashed into a support column after leaping from the bridge near the city of Granada.

The tragedy happened just before 3pm today near the mountain village of Lanjaron in an area known as the Alpujarras, which clings to the southern flanks of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

“She was staying with her aunt for a few days and that relative was present when the tragedy occurred.”

Paramedics who rushed to the scene after being called by a passer-by could do nothing to save her life.

This next image is the Tablate Bridge in Lanjaron, Granada, where the mishap occurred. Its 80m clear span makes it a bungee jumpers’ mecca.

Granada-bridge

De Abreu jumped from the upper span (a steel arch bridge) and struck the older stone arch bridge in the lower right of this picture.

A source said: “The British woman was still tied to the rope when specialist rescuers reached her.

“That would appear to point to a miscalculation involving the rope or that something’s happened to the rope as she jumped.”’

De Abreu's blood remains at the scene of her death by deceleration trauma.

De Abreu’s blood remains at the scene of her death by deceleration trauma.

via British woman, 23, killed in bungee jumping tragedy in Spain – Mirror Online.

Aha, the old 120-foot-rope-from-a-90-foot-bridge trick! (Or maybe it was the old 90-foot-rope-from-a-120-foot-bridge, but we-forgot-nylon-rope stretches to 1 1/3 times its static length!)

But hey, she didn’t get killed by a firearm. There is that.

The Mirror has a follow-up story at this link.

Another victory for gun control and Darwin. But mostly, Darwin.

Lost PLA Based 10/22 – From Data to Print to Cast Aluminum

We have mentioned before that the great benefits of 3-D printing include not only the direct printing of parts, but the printing of tooling, models, and patterns. It was inevitable that sooner or later someone was going to 3D print a PLA (polylactic acid, the easiest and most common plastic for 3-D printing) pattern for a firearm receiver, and then make an aluminum alloy casting using the Lost PLA process, essentially identical to the lost wax process used by jewelers and dentists for millennia. And now someone has done it, yielding this receiver, which builds up into a clone of the popular Ruger 10/22.

lost_pla_10-22_complete

The 10/22 is a good choice, as a vast quantity of aftermarket parts are available for this rifle, and the original receiver was designed to be produced by investment casting in the first place.

Here is the lower receiver as a 3D .stl model, set up for slicing and printing.

Here is the lower receiver as a 3D .stl model, set up for slicing and printing.

In Lost PLA, the pattern begins as a 3D dimensional file.

Receiver as printed. Note that all pictures in this post can be clicked to embiggen.

Receiver as printed. Note that all pictures in this post can be clicked to embiggen.

The receiver is printed (allowing for a shrinkage percentage), then rods of PLA or wax are attached to form sprues, runners, fillers, and risers (sprues attach multiple parts; runners direct molten metal to parts or to areas of parts; fillers are used to pour the metal in, in most cases there should be only one per sprue; and risers allow air to escape, and signal the completion of the pour).

Investment packed into a flask. one of the tubes leads to a filler and one a riser.

Investment packed into a flask. one of the tubes leads to a filler and one a riser.

Then the assembly is invested with high-temperature plaster or plaster and sand mixture. The wax / plastic pattern is then burned out of the mold, and the metal is heated and poured in to the investment.

The casting with filler and riser still attached.

The casting with filler and riser still attached.

After the pour has had time to solidify, the casting is removed and any risers and screws are cut off.

Another thermoplastic like ABS can be substituted for PLA, but not a thermosetting (for obvious reasons). We expect PLA to be superior on castability.

In this case, the casting looks like it needed some cleanup (here’s a close-up) before it was built into an actual firearm. That’s not uncommon for investment castings, although industrial investment castings get nearer and nearer to net shape all the time.

lost_pla_10-22_closeup

 

You want tutorials? We got tutorials.

Here’s an Instructable in which a series of lost-ABS Yoda heads (people want Yoda heads? Takes all kinds to make a world…) are attached to a wax sprue, invested and cast. You could easily see this done with small parts and some other metal (although most home and small foundries aren’t going to be casting iron or steel due to the temps required). There are many practical tips for insuring casting success in this one, and an 11-minute at the end that ties it together (mute the sound). Read the comments too; the guy has decided PLA is better than ABS for this purpose.

Here’s a walk-through of another lost-PLA art project. Note that burnout temperatures are specific to materials and, especially, investments. Follow the instructions of the investment maker.

Here’s the original lost-PLA project we first cited some years ago, but it’s still valid.

And a Hackaday they’re hacking lost-PLA in a pair of Microwave Ovens. Here’s a quick overview with many links, and here’s the actual project. One Microwave is a standard one, and uses a susceptor (think metal, focusing the energy) for burning out the PLA. The other is converted, removing the rotisserie and using a top emitter to melt aluminum. Of course, this is limited in size/volume/weight of part it can do.

We would give them a safety thumbs down on their cardboard-box flask. Cheap, yes, but… and they don’t disclose much about their aluminum melting mod to the microwave.

And finally, in Make’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing in 2014, they showed a couple of other ways to make metal parts, some decorative (like low-temp bismuth alloy).