Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why you want this water bottle

Meet the "Polar Bottle."  BPA free, has an air barrier for insulation, a foil barrier for reflecting sunlight, is moderately priced, durable ,and best of all....Made in the USA.  

  I have four for biking.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vickers Tactical Advanced Carbine and Handgun 3 day class review

This review is written concerning the Vickers Tactical three day Advanced Carbine and Handgun class conducted at Myock, North Carolina June 17-19th, 2011 conducted by Larry Vickers, a retired Delta Force operator.

My background:

  I am a civilian with eight years of experience as an infantry Marine.  I have attended handgun and carbine courses from Larry Vickers, Todd Green, and Kyle Defoor.  I have additional long range rifle training from my brother who is an combat veteran 8541 and 8542 (Marine Scout Sniper).

Equipment used:

  Pistol:  Gen4 Glock 19 with "04" marked recoil spring assembly, White Sound Defense H.R.E.D upgraded depressor spring assembly, Gen3 smooth face trigger, Vickers Tactical slide release, and Warren Tactical 2 dot tritium night sights.  Pistol ammo used was 115 grain ball WWB (Winchester White Box).  This pistol had about 4200 rds through it at the time of this class.  At about 3500 rds, it started stovepiping regularly.  A call to Glock was made and they sent the 04 marked recoil spring assembly.  An additional stovepipe made me decide to try out the H.R.E.D depressor spring upgrade.  I have had no malfunctions since installing the H.R.E.D. and recommend it to owners of problematic Gen4 9mm Glock owners.  That being said, I will note that it is sad that I have to work on a 9mm Glock to make it run as my other Gen3 Glock 19 does.  Weapon was not cleaned for the duration of the class and was lubed with Triflo bicycle chain lubricant.  Weapon was carried concealed AIWB (Appendix Inside Waist Band) in a  Custom Carry Concepts Shaggy for the entire class.  Unless safety concerns present themselves, I will always train carrying my pistol concealed in the same manner I do day to day.

   This Glock was equipped with Todd Green's "Gadget" for the last two days of the class.  The "gadget" did not effect operation of the Glock one whit and it took no time at all to keep my strong side thumb on the "gadget" as I reholstered, thereby ensuring complete safety as I reholstered.  Larry weighed in on the "gadget" and said that he thinks it is good for those that carry appendix but he reserves full judgement until he's seen more long term data on it.  Myself, now I've taken it to an Vickers advanced class and carried concealed with it installed a month, I find it absolutely indispensable.  It does not effect operation of the pistol whatsoever and provides a seemingly foolproof way to counteract unwelcome happenings while reholstering such as clothing getting caught in the trigger guard.  Any movement of the trigger is instantly detected and readily counteracted by your thumb on the "gadget."  This is the first time this device has been used in a Vickers Tactical class.  Over 400  trouble free rds were put through my Glock 19 while equipped with the "gadget."

  I do not recommend Gen4 9mm Glocks for purchase because of my experiences with my Gen4 G19 and my Gen4 G17.  Larry Vickers does not either after observing them in classes.

Rifle:  S&W M&P15R in 5.45x39mm.  This rifle is on its second barrel and is absolutely a high performing, reliable and capable weapon, even at 14k+ rds (barrel was replaced at about 11k rds after being shot out).  It is a 16" barreled M4 pattern carbine with Magpul MOE stock and handgrip.  Magpul XTM panels allow me to use my weak hand to grasp the nice, cheap YHM lightweight rail without gloves.  A Surefire G2 incan (need an LED upgrade, I know!) is attached at about 10 o'clock using a VTAC polymer mount.  A Blue Force Gear Vickers padded sling is my slign choice and it performed perfectly with me giving thanks for having the forethought to opt for the padded model.  My trusty Aimpoint Micro H1 on a LaRue QD mount is my optic with the standard front sight tower and a YHM rear sight for the iron sights.  The entire package performed perfectly; both in reliability and accuracy, and never once let me down, even using the much maligned C Products 5.45x39mm magazines.   This was my first time training with a carbine equipped with the LaRue Handstop and the piece worked as advertised, giving me a firm index point that worked perfectly.  Ammo used was 80's era Soviet surplus 53 grain 5.45x39mm.  Triflo lube was also used on this rifle.  The rifle was not cleaned for the duration of the class.  I used Kytex mag carriers and was very favorably impressed with them.  Positive retention and easy to slip on and off your belt when say, going to lunch.


  In order to lay the foundation for the rest of the class, Larry devoted TD1 to pistol shooting.  Following a tried and true Vickers theme, no matter if the class is Basic or Advanced, you started off with the basics of marksmanship focusing on trigger control.  With a pistol, trigger control is paramount with sight picture a close second.  We paired up and worked on smooth trigger presses on an empty pistol while making sure not to knock the empty casing balanced on the front sight.  After that, we moved onto command ball and dummy.  Your partner hands you a pistol that may or may not be loaded.  You apply the fundamentals and fire at the target.  If you snatch the trigger and/or flinch, you dry fire properly five times.

  After the rehashing of the fundamentals, we were off and running in a very advanced day of pistol shooting.  We started working on speed and accuracy drills with emphasis of course being given to the latter as per Larry's philosophy developed after years of experience as a trigger puller and trainer for Delta.  The class was formed into teams for competitive drills.  Individual and team drills rounded out every lesson with "sleeper" competitors in every team.  In other words, it was a hihgly competitive environment with highly skilled fellow students sprinkled throughout the entire class.

  One drill that was 10 shots at 10 yards 5 seconds (I think that was the distance, maybe a fellow student could help?) I was certain I had won it and then a mysterious quiet fella beat me by a few fractions of a second which illustrates the caliber of the students at this class.  As TD1 progressed, a familiar feeling made itself known.  That feeling being "Holy hell, every drill we just ran today was at a longer distance than I normally shoot and I'm doing fine".  That being said, we didn't notice we were being pushed by our instructor. Everyone continued to perform well.  We ran a modified version of the "Humbler" with fellow student ShawnL winning the event and the Rudy Project glasses offered as a prize.  Shawn was way ahead of the rest of the class and used a nicely setup Glock 17 set up with an RTF2 frame and an older slide with straight cocking grooves and an X300 (I think) attached.

  Another Vickers constant was the targets and scoring.  To put it simply, accuracy is the final determination.  Hits on target count.  In this class, hits in the black count with scoring preference being given in some drills to the hits in the 10 ring.  Don't show up to a Vickers class not ready to push yourself to keep all of the rounds in the black.  Larry teaches that under stress, your group size will double hence the need to hold yourself to high standards when training.

  One of my "aha!" moments of training from my Vickers Advanced Handgun three day class was taught again; this being Larry's explanantion of the "wobble zone."  Basically, shooters whether moving or not but especially while shooting on the move get wrapped up in and discombobulated by watching the sight wobble over the target and spend too logn trying to and never achieving the "perfect" sight picture instead of taking the shot as the sight picture momentarily appears.  Learning at what distances you can shoot at what speed is important.  Obviously you can shoot faster at 10 yards than 25 yards if you know your zero and how you and your weapon perform at varying speed and distances.  There's no better way to learn this than from the instructor who will teach the concept and push you.

  Shooting on the move helped reinforce the "wobble" lesson.  A walkback drill drove home the lesson that at Vickers advancedc classes, you never know who is going to outshoot you.  It also helped me see that my rear sights needed to be adjusted right.  Luckily fellow student Stoney/Paragon6 had a Glock sight pusher on hand.

  Shooting steel both static and moving gave instant and authoritative feedback to the students.


  Today was the start of the carbine training.  We zeroed at 100 yards from the prone.  Larry pointed out that he does not see the need for magnified optics on a carbine 100 yards and in.  Aimpoints on ARs were the rule with two Eotechs malfunctioning throughout the class as Larry predicted they would.  After doing a qualifier that consisted of prone at 100, sitting at 75, kneeling at 50, and standing at 25 yard, we spent the rest of the class shooting from 50 yards and in.  Individual drills were conducted that coalesced into team drills.  One lesson learned is that a 100 yard zero quickly becomes very low at 25 yards.  Bracketing the bullseye by a good 6" or half again of the black portion of the target got hits in the center for my team (Team Short Bus!).

  Weak handed shooting and transtioning from strong hand to weak hand was taught and with the help of Larry and Stoney (fellow student and VSM instructor), I fixed my technique that needed work on.  Switching forward hands, exaggerating the downward orientation of the muzzle got the sling out of my way and made switching shoulders second nature to me.  Of course having a red dot sight made weak handed shooting far easier.  Larry firmly drove home the fact that backup iron sights should be already deployed in case of optic failure.  He advocates a 1/3 cowitness.

  This was a grueling day becuase of the heat and humidity.  I switched to some cargo shorts and running shoes from my cargo pants and hiking boots and immediately felt better.  After lunch, we got a treat in that the class got to watch the upcoming Tactical TV episode on Larry's torture test of a Daniel Defense M4.  I won't ruin it for those who haven't seen it but let's just say it was impressive to say the least.  As always, Larry was absolutely honest about the techniques and methodology used.  If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask Larry because no matter what the question is (even about the products he endorses), he will tell you the honest truth as he sees it.  The new Glock commercial with Gunny Ermey had us laughing out loud and applauding.  Folks were pushing themselves hard on this day due to the aforementioned heat.  Gatorade and salting your food is strongly recommended.

  Transition to secondary weapon (pistol) was taught today.  This was covered in a safe yet speedy method, helped immensely by a proper sling.  If at 50 yards and in or directly engaging with a carbine and you experiences a malfunction or run out of ammo, immediate transition to secondary is the fastest and best way to stay in the fight.  I will note that unlike another widely publicized training company's practice, Vickers runs this drill safely in that you practice transitioning to your pistol after your rifle is out of ammo and not ready to fire.  That negates the chance of a negligent discharge unlike a student of another training company found out.....the hard way (shot himself, is fine).

  Reloads were covered along with Larry's excellent techniques concerning malfunction clearing.  I can only hope that the US military is using a variant of this after comparing it to the SPORTS technique I was taught in Marine Corps Boot Camp circa 1995.

  An unexpected surprise was Larry showing us his full auto dealer sample HK MP7.  The entire class shot it.  About halfway through, the weapon was getting too hot to hold on the handguards.  As a testament to HK engineering and QC, Larry cooled the weapon with a bottle of water that literally boiled out of the weapon's various openings.  No lube was added and the weapon was back in students' hands, firing full auto with nary a malfunction.

  As on TD1, we shot on paper and moving and static steel.


  Today was the logical extension of everything we had learned in the past two days.  A great deal of shooting the move with a carbine and shooting a carbine from behind barricades was taught.  As always thoughout this class, the instructor showed us all how it was done and his groups were indeed humbling.  Unfortunately, I missed out on the latter half of this training day as I had to drive home and see my brother off to overseas.  The last part of this day was spent doing shooting from a moving vehicle.

Lessons learned:

  • I need to work on bending my knees while shooting on the move.  I diagnosed this from seeing    pictures of myself during the class.  
  •  As mentioned earlier, swinging the carbine's muzzle down in an exaggerated manner when   transitioning shoulders clears the sling very effectively.
  •  "Drive the dot" (front sight of the pistol) when shooting at speed!  I found out that I need to worry a  little less about the rear sight and concentrate on this.  Larry's lecture on the "wobble zone" helped immensely.  The "wobble zone" is that area of acceptable accuracy when the sight is on target while your weapon is wobbling in different directions.
  • Know your carbine and pistol's zero at both standard and close distances.  Pick one distance for each and at least know the zero for both. 
  • Aimpoints rule the day.  You are far, far less likely to have problems with an Aimpoint than an Eotech. 
  • Padded slings are a must for your neck.
  • One doesn't need load carrying gear, multicam, and drop holsters to be competitive.  I made a point of using a minimal amount of gear and shooting from concealment and my times and accuracy never suffered.  That being said, if you are LEO or military, classes like these are an excellent opportunity to push yourself in the gear your rely upon every day.  As always, safety overrrides gear every time.  
  • Using the "Gadget" makes AIWB reholstering less of a "going to take this extra slow to avoid losing  my wedding tackle or shooting my femoral artery" exercise.  I'm sold.
  • There really is nothing comparable to learning from combat vets like Vickers.  The class is deceivingly simple in how he lays the foundations and before you know it, you hammering out  groups at distances you never have shot so well at before.
  • Searching and assessing with the weapon and having your eyes behind the sights works better for me than simply doing a visual scan.  When doing an search and assess in a training or crowded environment, Larry recommends going into a SUL position to avoid flagging innocents with muzzle.
  • You are an absolute fool if you consider yourself a shooter and do not seek out training from people like this.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another small 9mm and thoughts on the Walther PPS

Meet the Beretta Nano.  It has no external slide lock.

  This seems to be a fast growing handgun market segment.  My hazy memory returns recollections of the excellent Walther PPS as one of the first.  I believe that Sig Sauer followed in suit with the P238 1911 based pistols.  The Sigs are all the same gun under the skin but following SigUSA's philosophy of "build cheap, slather on cosmetics, sell dear," I would not recommend a new Sig.  Neither would the United States Federal Air Marshalls (FAMs), having grounded all of their shiny new .357 Sig chambered Sig P250s to the intense relief of the poor marshalls who were issued the unreliable pistols.

  Kimber released the Solo this year.  Not gonna touch it.  It might be fine for those of the "carry lots, shoot little" crowd but I like to shoot my pistols.  Maybe if someone shows me one that did 500-1000k rounds without malfunctions, preferably without cleaning, I'd be interested.

  The Walther is my pick.  I've owned one and I sold it to finance a S&W M&P purchase.  I hope to purchase one again sometime this year.  The way I describe it to friends seeking impressions of it is:

Imagine a Glock 26 cut in half with a better trigger.  A very flat pistol, good for concealment.  Needs break in but runs well after a few hundred rounds.  In other words, runs best with hotter 9mm ammo during the first few hundred rounds.

  The little PPS has differently sized backstraps for adjustable fit to the shooter.   When you remove the backstrap, the weapon is disabled from firing.  On disassembly, the internals remind one of a Glock.  Looking over the internals, it was readily apparent to me that the 25 cent Glock trigger job is relevant here and Voila!, it worked perfectly.

  The PPS only comes with one six round magazines and magazines are expensive, roughly $40 per mag.  The good news that these mags are available with and without pinky extensions (for your bottom finger to rest one when gripping the pistol) in six, seven, and eight round mags.

  Walther P99 night sights do fit the PPS.  The paddle magazine release located on the trigger guard is wonderful once you get used to it.  The de rigueur accessory rail is there.  If you attach a light to your pistol, please remember that is not for say, finding your keys or friends in the dark.  LEOs have accidentally shot suspects because they were using their weapons mounted light as a flashlight with their finger on the trigger.  Not a good practice.  The end of the striker protrudes from the rear of the slide when the weapon is ready to fire and it's both visually apparent (painted red) and felt by touch.

  Recoil is a bit more snappy (slightly) than the Glock 26.  My experience is only with the 9mm PPS.  I am sure the .40 version would have very snappy recoil.

  I like the PPS a lot.  I don't generally fit the weapon to my mode of dress but rather vice versa.  This is the one you should consider if you must have a smaller, more easily concealed pistol in a real caliber.  I don't like revolvers and prefer the more simple (far less moving parts), more shootable, and easily reloaded automatics.  Its dual recoil spring dampens recoil enough to make an actually shootable pocket sized pistol.  Price range is from the mid $500's all the way up to $700-ish.  I wouldn't pay more than $600 for one.

  Poor pics by me of size compared to a Gen3 Glock 19 and groupings at 25'.  The Walther is actually much smaller than the pics appear to show.

A Border Patrol whistleblower and mission creep

  Christian Sanchez was transferred from action heavy San Diego to Port Angeles, Washington as a Border Patrol agent.  He quickly found out that his job was nothing more than ten hours a day of nothing but patrolling in a vehicle.  He looked at his station's size which had ballooned from four agents in 2008 to now forty according to Sanchez.  Aghast at the waste of money, manpower, and funds; Sanchez blew the whistle two weeks ago at an open forum in Washington, DC.

  Here are a couple of articles below.  Make your own judgement but to me, this reeks of the fact that once in place, government is impossible to remove.  It does seem odd about there being ten times the amount of agents in Port Angeles now as opposed to 2006.  Canadian invasion perhaps?

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

Violation of the right of bears to be armed

Or something like that

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jon Stewart explains the media and Ron Paul

Here.  I noticed this last election but it's pretty sad that it's still going on considering that Ron Paul came within 200 votes of Bachmann in Iowa.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Viddy well my droogs, viddy well

No, this is not about the current riots in the UK but the quote from A Clockwork Orange seems fitting given the youth rampaging through the UK, eh?

  Perusing Neal Asher's excellent blog "The Skinner" I chanced upon this entry detailing Mark Lawrence's book Prince of Thorns.  Since I had been busy singing hosannas in praise of Neal's work and the fact that he is one of those libertarian types, his word goes a long way here at Rational Gun.  Incidentally, I enjoyed Gridlinked and am tearing through The Line of Polity.  Neal writes real, imaginative science fiction.  Not formulaic, not rehashed.  Go get you some of that.

  Prince of Thorns is an unabashed work of homage to A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess by first time novelist Mark Lawrence.  As such, it is dark, violent, and amoral.  You have been warned.

  Our protagonist Jorg is a fourteen year old prince who leads a gang of older criminals on the road in what (a nice twist) is a medieval, sort of fantasy Earth.  Throughout the novel, there are many hints of the world being a future Earth (with our present being the past).  Jorg also makes mention of reading Plutarch (free Kindle edition).

  Jorg is on a quest.  A quest to avenge his violated and murdered mother.  He left his father in company of criminals he freed from his father's dungeons.  We pick up after he's done a bit of robbing, murdering, and even rape (you have been warned but there's no directly narrated scenes of rape).  He and his gang of "brothers" evoke memories of Alex and his "droogs" in A Clockwork Orange as Lawrence meant it to.  Another line; "What's it going to be then?" is clear affectionate homage to Mr Burgess's seminal work.  However, the unique patois of A Clockwork Orange is not imitated.  Clear and direct English is the rule of the day here.

  An example of the style of writing and tone set is when Jorg is enjoying paying for a prostitute and not having to wait his turn on a woman.  Like I said, you have been warned......

  Another example of Lawrence's excellent prose should my previous mentions scare the prospective reader away......

I raised the knife to my lips and kissed the blade.  Count Renar and the puppet master who pulled so many strings, one sharp edge would be enough for them all.

  A wee bit of magic is encountered but really if you are looking for wizards, warriors, and whatnot, this is not the book for you.  However, if you are tired of the general formulaic plotlines and hunger for something other than predictable, happy scenes of good prevailing, look no further than this dark, brutal, brilliant novel of revenge.

  Lawrence has paid honor to A Clockwork Orange with a wonderfully dark and original fantasy (or should I say "speculative fiction?") work.  Mark, I am greatly looking forward to "King of Thorns" which is the sequel to this book.  "King of Thorns" is due next August.

Buy your Kindle edition here

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sometimes just looking cool seems to be enough

All you need to do to look cool is slather black "tactical" clothing all over one's self (including knee pads) and.....completely disregard the four Rules of Firearms Safety. Seriously folks, check out 1:34 in the video (picture below).

This the most incompetent, dangerous group of instructors I have ever seen on the innernets. American Defense Enterprises, you are bad for all gun owners that take training seriously. Speaking as someone who has been shot by a negligent discharge, your company is an accident waiting to happen.

The woman is in the line of fire of the men. The man in the right hand corner has just fired at a target to the left and forward of her.

Then check out 1:43. Reholster, then pull two knives..... Yeah, he went there.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When you see something like this on a gun manufacturer's website



  RUN.  AVOID.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vickers Tactical deal for Gen 3 Glocks

Disclaimer:  I get NOTHING out of posting this link.  Neither Nettac nor Larry Vickers knows that I'm doing this.

   Glocks are kind of like AR15s.  Very easily customized to your tastes/fit.  From custom slide cover plates to the Glock based Lone Wolf Timberwolf, you can set your Glock up any way you want.

  Myself, my Glocks get a 25 cent trigger job, my very favorite Warren Tactical Sights, a Vickers slide stop, a Vickers magazine catch, and  a Glockmeister frame plug (contour of it helps in guiding the magazine in during reloads).  I also grind the finger grooves off and contour the front corner/edge off of the triggerguard.  It's my feeling that doing so reduces the likelihood that the square edge of the stock triggerguard could catch on clothing as I reholster.  Always reholster slowly!

  Here is how my current carry and training Gen4 G19 looks.

  So, the whole point of this rambling post is to to draw your attention to this deal on a combo package of the Vickers Tactical Slide Stop and Magazine Catch from  These pieces are "Goldilocks" sized.  Not too big, not to small.  Contrasting the Glock OEM pieces, you have two choices:  the factory and "extended" parts.  In other words; too small or too big.  Also, Larry took the time to change the shape and serrations on the slide stop to be more like that of the S&W M&P's slide stop.

  I have and use these parts on all of my Glocks.  I have literally thousands of rounds through my Glocks using these well thought out and moderately priced parts.  They make it easier for me to operate the pistol and do not snag when carried nor at training classes.  Can't recommend them enough.  Grab'em for your Glock.  You will notice the difference.  For now, the magazine catch is only for the third generation Glocks.  The slide stop will fit any Glock.  It may require slight fitting.  Mine did not.

A thousand HK fanboys say "we told you so!"

  Remember this blog post?  Definitely looks like it was based on flawed if not fabricated information from the New Yorker article on the SEAL Team that carried out the Bin Laden raid.

  Certain details like the reporter mentioning what one of the team members looked like gives the impression that the reporter; a Mr. Nicholas Schmidle, had directly interviewed the SEALs.  He inventoried  the contents of one guy's pockets not to mention going into detail on the weapon supposedly used to kill Bin Laden and the other weapons carried that day.

  Well......NPR just posted this little blurb after speaking with Schmidle on the air last week (link here):
We incorrectly said that reporter Nicholas Schmidle had spoken with the Navy SEALs who participated in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Schmidle used information from others who had debriefed the SEALs; he did not speak with them himself.
  Schmidle got called out pretty publicly here  during a live online Q and A session.  Note how quickly he ended the session when called out.  Also, this is telling:

I talked to a number of people who were intimately involved in the raid, though none of the 23 SEALs who were on the ground in Abbottabad that evening

  For those of you interested in reading more about the veracity of Schmidle, I recommend this article.  Good reading but disappointing that someone like this is writing for the New Yorker.
 Back to the question of "what weapon was used to kill Bin Laden," I can point you to Larry Vickers' Facebook page, an entry on May 15th.

Well I am sure many of you have heard UBL was done in with an HK416 - I must admit I get a sense of satisfaction knowing a weapon I helped create brought him to justice, in the exact manner it was intended for. Definitely a story for the grandkids!!

  Side note:  Larry's FB page is awesome.  Chock full of good advice, firearms trivia contests, and free hat give aways!  Strongly recommend if you do the whole FB thing.  Larry's Facebook page

  Many thanks to SWAT's Ed Lawrence who pointed out the problem with the truthfulness of Schmidle over at one of my favorite forums; Firearms Training and Tactics

Friday, August 5, 2011

Aug 5th Friday 2011 link roundup

  • Shooting on Philadelphia bus captured on tape.  Good thing the guys clearly don't know how to handle their weapons.  
  • Sharps MilSpec is doing something very different for the AR bolt as seen here.  Supposed to make a big difference in fouling and debris (running dirty).
  • Looks like reports from the field on Melonite long range rifle barrel treatments are all favorable.  Less cleaning, slightly increased velocities. 

Detonics, back in the game again with radically new products for a boutique 1911 manufacturer.  This company has been in business and out of business since the 70's.  I have no idea who the new owner(s) is but it's a bit surprising to see Detonics offering a polymer handgun, the "DTX."  The design looks a little like Steyr M or Kimber's never released KPD.

  Detonics seems to have dropped their pitch of customizing the 1911's slide in order to cock the hammer easily (for Condition Two Carry which is hammer down, round in chamber, loaded magazine inserted).  That's probably a good move on their part.

  What's odd (besides the truly awful Flash website) is their pitch for their "Primal Sights."  You'll have to visit the link to see them but they sure look familiar (scroll down to the trapezoid sights).

  Detonics, best of luck.  Get the new stuff out to some no BS type writers like Ed Lawrence of SWAT and  please rework your website.

Thinking out of the box on bike locks

  Inventor Joshua Newman took a look at bike locks and put a new concept forth that changes everything in my book.

  Meet the TiGr bicycle lock.

   I commute to and from work every day.  Since I also stop off at the pool for laps, I carry a bulky and somewhat heavy cable lock on my Maxpedition Monsoon backpack.  My bike is carbon fiber with limited mounting options.

  Newman's design is elegant and simple, the hallmark of good engineering.  It is a flexible titanium bow that mounts along frame, complete with a protective coating to avoid scratching up your bike.  No cables dangling, no mounting brackets (uses straps).  An Abloy high security, pick resistant lock rounds out the paradigm shifting package.

  So, less weight, less bulk, and great security.  Hat's off to the inventor.  Now to save pennies in a Mason jar to buy one!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

From the front: firefights and humor in Afghanistan

From another personal friend, currently serving in Afghanistan.  US Army Infantry, went to Afghanistan shortly after graduating Ranger School.

The development of the Knight's Armament SR-25 EM Battle Rifle

by Kevin Boland; a personal friend of mine and the Knight's Armament Company Military/Government Product Liaison.  Kevin has the unique experience of having been there and done that in both of our current theaters for the Canadian Army and as a private military contractor.

  Shortly after 9/11 elements operating in Afghanistan noted that the M4A1  even with our (KAC) MRE FF RAS, and S&B Short Dot was not up to the task of going from the CQB fight to the edge of the villages or out in the mountains, and while the 18" Mk12 Mod0 and Mod1 are capable in the accuracy department, that they where neither very handy for CQB, nor would 5.56mm, even with then newly adopted 77gr AA53 round (Mk262) capable of barrier penetration at range.  

  Larry Motherf---in' Vickers did a segment on Tactical Arms to air this year where he talks about why the M4 was picked over the MP-5 for CQB, as to somewhat paraphrase him “you sometimes need to step out of the house and make a 100m or 200m shot,” he then relates to the 7.62mm SR-25 EM Carbine, and the 7.62 Battle Rifles, “well in Afghanistan, sometime you need to step out or go up on a building an make a 400-600m shot, and 5.56mm is not ideal for that.”

  We had built pre-ban SR-25K 16" guns, and some other 7.62 carbines, however they where not really designed for the “M4 type” roles that where being envisioned.

 We came up with the SR-25 14.5" Battle Rifle:

 With the idea is that it was very similar in appearance to the M4's and not going to draw undue attention, as well unlike the majority of systems, it used the same manual of Arms as the M4/M16, so soldier who have years on the M16FOW, don't have issues relearning drills, especially valuable under stress.

 7.62mm is more optimized in longer than 14.5” barrels and really wants at least a 16" barrel, and a lot of concerns about the reliability of the 14.5" gun were being given, so shortly after the 16" SR-25 Battle Rifle was developed, which was really just a longer barrel.

 We had never envisioned a 7.62mm gun being run like an M4, and especially with a suppressor neither the 14.5 nor the 16" gun where at the reliability level that was desired.

  Especially suppressed, I ran the 16" SR-25BR at training classes, and product demonstrations. 

  Accuracy even with the chromed barrel was always good, sub-MOA and a fair amount under the 1/2MOA mark.

  It is a good gun, but in high suppressed round counts it got dirty and finicky.

  Near the first quarter of '09 we started work on a PIP (Product Improvement Program) of the 16" gun, as well as the 20” M110 (current USMC and US Army issue sniper rifle). 

 High-speed video, lots of rounds, more high-speed video, changes to the gas system, and more rounds and video, a lot more stuff and changes to the bolt carrier, the recoil system resulted in the SR-25 EM Carbine.

At the same time, the optical industry was busy working on a 1.1-8x scope to give the user the ability to take advantage of the added capabilities of the 7.62 round.

   What we ended up with was in our opinion the finest 16" 7.62mm gas gun on the planet.

  We shot several EM’s for over 1,000 rds fully suppressed with no additional lube, with no stoppages

  We have done extensive lifecycle work on the guns, endurance testing etc.

  We wanted to build the best gun we could, so if someone on a mountain top in Afghanistan or wherever else needed to have a gun that would go and go and go, it would.

  If he has to dump it in snow to cool it down, it would go and go and go.

  With well over 50,000 rounds thru it, including a day where Mr. Knight and I stood in a puddle of muddy water splashing the gun to cool, we feel we are there.

  Unlike our previous carbines, which we showed at SHOT (I have a pic somewhere of me holding the 14.5" gun at SHOT'04 when I was still in the Canadian Army) and never really publicly released for sale, we wanted a short 7.62 like this this gun to be our Flagship.

   So it's here, and available.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A policeman expounds upon dealing with citizens carrying concealed pistols

  First off, this is an excellent, pro CCW article.  In it, the officer describes the appearance and demographic of American citizens carrying a concealed handgun.  He takes pains to expound upon how to tell a legally carrying citizen from a thug.  He reiterates that CCW permit holders are almost always law abiding citizens who will come to an officer's aid should he or she need it.

  He goes into extreme detail on how to spot a CCW holder.  Every piece of clothing that is common with CCW holders is mentioned.  This man knows his police work.

  Some of the more valid points covered for we citizens:

  • many if not most CCW holders dress like cops.  That means the same brands of "tactical clothing such as 5.11, Eotac, LA Police Gear, etc.
  • a piece of gear I detest, the "tactical carry vest" is mentioned as a target indicator.  Folks, buy a good IWB (Inside Waist Band) if your'e serious about not being "made."
  • the ubiquitous flashlight and knife clips on the outside of pants pockets are mentioned.  I've strongly considering spray painting mine tan for this reason.
  • he refers to groin area carry as "deep cover carry" and notes that it will be hard to pick up visually, usually only found by a pat down.  He is referring to AIWB (Appendix Inside Waist Band) carry which is the mode of carry I prefer and practice due to the superior speed of draw, unparalleled concealment, and comfort with a purpose built holster.
  What's laudable about this article is that the author takes the time to advocate education; not enforcement, should the CCW holder not know the local law pertaining to carry in his current jurisdiction.  Personally, I agree but anyone carrying concealed has assumed the duty of knowing the law.  "I didn't know" is not an excuse you should plan on using.  

  Whenever you are approached by an LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) and you are carrying, exercise extreme caution.  Remember, the LEO doesn't know you from Adam and really, really wants to go home at night.  DO keep your hands up if commanded.  DO immediately inform the officer that you are carrying as it will save you potential heartache down the road.  If commanded to disarm, repeat the command back with an affirmative as to what you are doing exactly.  "I am removing the pistol from my right hip with my right hand and laying it down on the ground, Officer."  Be calm.  Often, once the LEO apprises the situation and realizes he or she is dealing with a law abiding, respectful citizen, their demeanor will drastically change.  Always, always take the time to calmly repeat the officer's commands back as you obey them.  If you don't understand a command, request verification.  NEVER make a move without the officer's consent and always tell the officer exactly what you are doing before you do it.  "I am now reaching for my wallet in my right rear pocket with my right hand to give you my ID as told to, Officer."

  One tip that was taught to me by a very seasoned, now retired BATFE agent (incidentally, a huge proponent of the right to keep and bear arms) was that if you are ever approached by police and commanded to show identification, flipping open your wallet while holding it high, triggers a subconscious process in the officer's mind as that's exactly what LEOs are trained to do when dealing with each other - showing the badge.  Be slow, verbally telegraph your movements.  

  Being a calm, respectful CCW holder will go a long way towards public and law enforcement acceptance of our lifestyle and will make your own life easier.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Train for the moment you're naked in a locker room full of male rapists.....

  "SouthNarc" of Total Protection Interactive, speaks his mind on carbine training and the American gun culture in general here at Pistol-Forum.  Gun forum post o' the month.

Personally I think that if a man is naked and is standing in a locked room with ten other naked men, and can't keep at least half of them from raping him, then the last thing he needs is a carbine course. 

  He then explains himself and honestly, I agree with him.  Fitness is the bane of folks that talk guns and tactics everyday.  People get wrapped up in muzzle brakes, optics, ballistics, and never once mention PT nor techniques.  SouthNarc again:

 A lot of people I see taking firearms training are scared and soft. I believe that building fighters and tacticians is first and foremost and everything begins with mindset and software.
Where I would start is at the bare bones, no hardware level, which is fitness and defending yourself with.....yourself.
Alot of folks try and buy confidence and capability. When all the toys and cool guy gear is stripped away what's left? The naked man analogy is an amusing way of getting the point across.

  SouthNarc's bio can be viewed here.   A video overview of his ECQC (Extreme Close Quarters Combat) class can be perused here.

CIA Contractor Raymond Davis - gear and tactics

  Raymond Davis is the former Army SF (Special Forces) dude that recently touched off an international incident in Pakistan.  Raymond was working there as a contractor for the CIA.  It appears that he was tasked with helping the CIA agents do their job and more importantly; to protect them.

  Raymond was in Lahore Pakistan, driving a Honda Civic.  He was armed with a Glock 17 9mm (3rd Gen) and 75 rds of ammo.  Two magazines according to the post at but I see what could be Glock magazines alongside what are clearly AR15/M16 aluminum magazines and what looks to be a third Glock magazine in the picture with the Glock and magazines encircling a pile of ammo.   I'm not a flashlight guy so I can't ID his lights; maybe someone else can.  I can see what looks to be a filter or diffuser on the light pictured.  

  Raymond was driving the Honda Civic and stopped because of traffic.  A motorcycle with a passenger had pulled in front of his car and stopped.  A motorcycle carrying two young men following Raymond that he had noticed doing so earlier.  The passenger turned towards Raymond in his Civic and cocked his weapon (most likely a revolver).  


  In an instant Raymond's mind switched from CIA contractor attempting to be the "gray man" (blending in, inconspicuous) to fighting for his life.  He knew he was alone in a foreign city, marked and easily found because of his race.  He knew that being outnumbered and being the lone white American male in a crowded Lahore neighborhood made for stacked odds against his survival unless countered with an immediate and aggressive counterattack.  He had almost certainly seen the grisly home videos of what happens to wayward Americans when kidnapped by militants in Islamic countries.  Not that these two Pakistani men's motives were ever clearly identified.  

  Raymond shot a five round group with his Glock 17 through the windshield at his attackers.  A tight group, almost certainly fired one-handed.  He hit the passenger in the stomach, behind the right ear, the left arm, and the left thigh.  Only one shot did not hit the passenger.  

  The man driving the motorcycle fled as his accomplice dropped his pistol and collapsed.  He ran towards the intersection as Raymond exited the Civic and shot him at least three times.  Twice in the back, once in the chest, and one grazing his thigh.  Apparently not fleeing.

  Both assailants having been killed, Raymond walked back to the Civic, got his camera, and calmly, deliberately took photographs of their bodies.  He contacted his team for assistance and extract but a mob formed against him.  He attempted to escape in the Civic and did get away from the crowd only to get caught by another crowd and a traffic warden.  Luckily, the local police took him into custody before the mob could kill him there on the street.

  Meanwhile, the international incident boiled over.  The team sent to extract Raymond ran over and killed a motorcyclist whilst going the wrong way against traffic in an attempt to get to Raymond.  The Land Cruiser did make it to the scene of the shooting but Raymond had already fled the mob.  A Pakistani man approached the Land Cruiser and flung the door open, only to be persuaded to leave by the muzzle of an assault rifle pressed to his head.  The Land Cruiser then fled to sanctuary of the American consulate.

  Raymond endured months in Pakistani prison.  Never said a word.  He was released after the US government paid diyah; the traditional Islamic law allowing for monetary restitution when bloodshed is involved.  He was also fined $235 for carrying an unlicensed firearm.

  Now back in the States, Raymond worries about getting work to make a living.
  For further reading, look no further than this excellent Men's Journal article by Matthew Teague.  

  I hope that Raymond is back in our country's service.  I hope that our country recognizes the debt owed to him.  

  Mindset and training kept Raymond from being another grainy execution video or simply a missing person.  


Monday, August 1, 2011

Update on the weapon used to shoot Bin Laden

  It's sort of common knowledge in certain circles that DEVGRU does indeed issue HK416s and have been doing so for years.  So, you need to read the New Yorker article and make your own call on whether or not the operator interviewed was referring to all M4 style carbines as M4s or he was actually being specific.

  Myself, I've got an email out to a former DEVGRU guy that should know the answer to this question but I'm of the opinion that if the reporter went into enough detail as to mention the HK MP7s and the suppressor on the "M4," that this could have been an exact description.

  Pic of me firing Larry Motherfuckin' Vickers' personal MP7 on the banner of this blog.

A thousand HK fanboys fell silent...........

  The hotly debated question has finally been settled.....

  What gun was used to kill Bin Laden?

  Was it a 7.62x51mm Colt CM901 rifle?

  NO, it was an HK416!

  Well, according to the first in depth interview with the DEVGRU SEALs that executed the mission, it was a suppressed plain ol' M4.  You know, one of those gas impingement rifles that "shits where it eats" and malfunctions all of the time according to some folk.

  A second SEAL stepped into the room and trained the infrared laser of his M4 on bin Laden’s chest. The Al Qaeda chief, who was wearing a tan shalwar kameez and a prayer cap on his head, froze; he was unarmed. “There was never any question of detaining or capturing him—it wasn’t a split-second decision. No one wanted detainees,” the special-operations officer told me. (The Administration maintains that had bin Laden immediately surrendered he could have been taken alive.) Nine years, seven months, and twenty days after September 11th, an American was a trigger pull from ending bin Laden’s life. The first round, a 5.56-mm. bullet, struck bin Laden in the chest. As he fell backward, the SEAL fired a second round into his head, just above his left eye. On his radio, he reported, “For God and country—Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo.” After a pause, he added, “Geronimo E.K.I.A.”—“enemy killed in action.”