Friday, July 20, 2018

July 20, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

"Beaufort Gyre | Is It Still Stuck?"--Suspicious Observers (2-1/2 min.)
This thing traps fresh water in the Arctic, but is supposed to overturn every 5 to 7 years. It has been stuck for 20. If it were to suddenly release, it would result in a lot of cold whether for the Northern climes, especially Western Europe.


  • TGIF: "Weekend Knowledge Dump- July 20, 2018"--Active Response Training. Lots of good articles, as always, including a couple on the effectiveness of cover (one looks at appliances and furniture in your home, the other looks at the often exaggerated penetrative abilities of the .308). One article in particular deserves your attention: "The surprising factors driving murder rates: income inequality and respect" by Maia Szalavitz at The Guardian. Greg Ellifritz notes that the story is essentially discussing the Gini coefficient, which is a measure of income inequality and is a correlated predictor of homicide. An example, that you might see in news accounts or videos of street fights, are comments that the victim was "disrespecting" the attacker. This often is seen among young black men, but is an issue with any society that places a high value on "honor." From The Guardian article:
        When inequality is high and strips large numbers of men of the usual markers of status – like a good job and the ability to support a family – matters of respect and disrespect loom disproportionately.
           Inequality predicts homicide rates “better than any other variable”, says Martin Daly, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at McMaster University in Ontario and author of Killing the Competition: Economic Inequality and Homicide.
             This includes factors like rates of gun ownership (which also rise when inequality does) and cultural traits like placing more emphasis on “honor” (this, too, turns out to be linked with inequality). “About 60 [academic] papers show that a very common result of greater inequality is more violence, usually measured by homicide rates,” says Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level and co-founder of the Equality Trust.
               According to the FBI, just over half of murders in which the precipitating circumstances were known were set off by what is called the “other argument” – not a robbery, a love triangle, drugs, domestic violence or money, but simply the sense that someone had been dissed.
                When someone bumps into someone on the dance floor, looks too long at someone else’s girlfriend or makes an insulting remark, it doesn’t threaten the self-respect of people who have other types of status the way it can when you feel this is your only source of value.
                    “If your social reputation in that milieu is all you’ve got, you’ve got to defend it,” says Daly. “Inequality makes these confrontations more fraught because there’s much more at stake when there are winners and losers and you can see that you are on track to be one of the losers.”
                     Harold Pollack, co-director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, agrees. “If you foreclose [mainstream] opportunities for respect, status and personal advancement, people will find other ways to pursue those things.”
              Obviously, this is not the only predictor of violence, and its not equally attributable to all cultures and ethnic groups. The Japanese have a very high sense of honor, but their murder rate is very low. There is fighting, but it generally is broken up or resolved without police involvement. Steven Pinker noted in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature that the Scottish culture of "honor" was probably a source of increased violence in the South where there were large concentrations of Scottish settlers. 
                       If you openly carry, you are an ambassador for our cause.  Don’t be an ass.  Please.  Just stay home.  Dress appropriately, be nice, be respectful, observe proper rules (don’t play with your gun), and don’t leave retention straps hanging down from your holster.  Work on your holster to make it look like a gentleman is carrying a gun.
                         Do more than just look like a gentleman.  Become a gentleman.  Or stay home.
                             We can be a puritanical lot… “Thou dost forsake the carrying of a G34 with a U-Boat close to thine appendix in favor of the Ba’al and his liking of the .38 snubbie? For shame! Thou art accursed among men! Begone, heretic, and dwell forever in the outer darkness with the other unbelievers and their unnatural desire for the subcompact 9mm!”
                             15 years ago it was .40S&W or GTFO and .223 was good for small dogs and nothing else, now we’re moved on to other things. The music may change, but the song remains the same.
                              After I arrived, I was ushered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a microphone or taken to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audience was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys — yes, all men — from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own.
                                  They started out innocuously enough. Ethereum or bitcoin? Is quantum computing a real thing? Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern.
                                   Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”
                                    The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.
                                      This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. ...
                                • "Chuck Pressburg Talks About Combat Shooting"--The Truth About Guns. As I've noted before, shooting is not rocket science, and most any shooter should be able to quickly pick up the fundamentals without having to invest in a class. It is the other topics that go beyond the basics where you will most benefit from training. Pressburg seems to have this philosophy as well, as he states:
                                        For shooting students exhibiting significant inability to exercise any fundamentals, an isolation of flaws and focus on improving them individually should take place. In the DOD we used the “crawl, walk, run” method of teaching and training.
                                         Basic trigger press drills and sight diagnostics are FOUNDATIONAL in nature, but are crawl-level events. The only time they should be brought up with a “grown” professional is when their shooting foundation was built out of sand and they shoot like dog crap.
                                             The Left sings the praises of the “browning of America,” and the Western world as a whole, and looks forward to that glorious day when whites are finally minorities in their own nations with a religious fervor. Why whites becoming a minority in their own homelands is a good thing, and why it is necessary for the precepts of social justice to be fully realized, is never articulated; it’s simply a matter of faith that when the magical day cometh—the Social Justice Judgement Day as it were—the seas will part, an empire will collapse, and peace and tranquility will reign. The expiation of our sins may only be accomplished by a mass blood-letting, the likes of which has been openly, wistfully commented on by no less a personage than televangelist Oprah Winfrey:

                                      As long as people can be judged by the, by the color of their skin, the problem’s not solved…There’s a whole generation, I said this for apartheid South Africa, I said this for my own, you know, community in the South, there are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it, in that prejudice and racism, and they just have to die.
                                        Read the whole thing.
                                          My counsel to the conferees was simple: be always vigilant, consider yourselves and your families first, and only then worry about the world. Tikkun Olam is all fine and dandy, but to set that messianic task before the imperative of self-preservation is foolishness personified -- or as we say in Yiddish, gantz meshugàs. The many Jews abducted by socialist and communist ideologies are a testimony not only to their folly but to the power of biblical precept -- especially the Book of the prophet Amos who inveighs against those indifferent to the plight of the disadvantaged -- and the influence of Talmudic exhortation. But the world you want to save does not necessarily love you. Therefore, stay alert and temper your ideological extravagances. Don’t listen to me if you are offended, I conceded, but at least listen to your wives and children. Almost immediately, the entire New York assembly rose to a man and conspicuously walked out.
                                          [Reporter]: “You sound proud that you haven’t taken any refugees”

                                          [MP]: “Of course.” ... “…we can be called populists, nationalists, racists…I don’t care. I care about my family and about my country.”

                                              Thursday, July 19, 2018

                                              Some Additional Thoughts On "Gun Restrictions Have Always Bred Defiance, Black Markets"

                                               
                                              "DIY Sten Gun"--The Firearm Blog.
                                                     This could be considered a follow up post to my December 2012 article discussing a then newly published  December 22, 2012, article at Reason Magazine by J.D. Tuccille. Short version: After describing how much easier and cheaper it was to obtain a black market firearm over a legal firearm in New York City, the author goes on to observe that gun regulations and laws have never worked. Not only in New York, but in Europe, illegal firearms far outnumber legal firearms. Shutting down firearms manufacturers does not work, as many countries have learned, because small, black market manufacturers will spring up to meet demand.
                                                     Just how do you shut down underground craftsman who don’t seem to require much more than their skills, some scrap metal, and access to Third-World tools that barely begin to compare to the equipment in the garages of many Western suburbanites? 
                                                     That’s a rhetorical question. The evidence suggests that underground manufacturers will step up to meet any demand that arises.
                                              Most of you have seen news stories about the recent victory concerning downloadable files allowing you to 3-D print firearms. The Obama Administration attempted to prohibit distribution of such files under the rubric of a law prohibiting the exportation of firearms. The Trump Administration agreed to settle the suit, and in doing so, not only agreed that publishing the files were not an "export" but also "expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber – including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military."

                                                     Of course, well before 3-D printed gun patterns were available, there were a plethora of instructions and plans on how to build your own firearm, such as the following:
                                              And for those of you that have followed this blog for a while, or follow the Impro Guns blog, you will note frequent stories of police seizures of "homemade" firearms. Many of those from Canada, Australia and Western Europe have actually proven to be very nicely made and finished submachine guns. And therein lies the wisdom of the Trump Administration dropping this matter. If firearms production goes underground, the firearms produced are not going to copies of the Remington 700 or the Colt Python, but copies of the Sten, Mac-11, Uzi, or other simple open-bolt submachine guns.

                                              Wednesday, July 18, 2018

                                              This Is A Very Big Deal If True: Lisa Page Claims It Was The Chinese that Hacked Hillary's Server (Updated)

                                                     Former top FBI lawyer Lisa Page testified during two days of closed-door House hearings, revealing shocking new Intel against her old bosses at the Bureau, according the [sic] well-placed FBI sources. 
                                                     Alarming new details on allegations of a bureau-wide cover up. Or should we say another bureau-wide cover up. 
                                                     The embattled Page tossed James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Bill Priestap among others under the Congressional bus, alleging the upper echelon of the FBI concealed intelligence confirming Chinese state-backed ‘assets’ had illegally acquired former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 30,000+ “missing” emails, federal sources said. 
                                                     The Russians didn’t do it. The Chinese did, according to well-placed FBI sources. 
                                                     And while Democratic lawmakers and the mainstream media prop up Russia as America’s boogeyman, it was the [sic] ironically Chinese who acquired Hillary’s treasure trove of classified and top secret intelligence from her home-brewed private server.
                                              Update: "Facebook, Google, Twitter Don't Know—or Don't Care—if China Tried to Meddle in 2016 Election"--PJ Media. The story is, basically, that executives from these companies refused or evaded answering questions about possible Chinese or North Korean meddling at a Congressional hearing yesterday.

                                              Video: "Mass Immigration As A Form Of Warfare"--The Alternative Hypothesis

                                              "Mass Immigration As A Form Of Warfare"--The Alternative Hypothesis (23 min.)

                                                      I have contended, as have many others, that mass immigration should be considered an invasion by a hostile power. I've also noted before the lesson that should have been learned from when the Roman Empire permitted barbarians to "immigrate" into the Empire, and how it led to the dissolution and collapse of the Empire. The author of this video discusses such incidents in greater detail, as well as raises the point that mass immigration is generally something forced upon a nation which has been defeated in war. It is how the enemy gains and retains control. (The loss of the Crusader Kingdoms arguable was because the Crusaders did not resettle European peoples into the region).

                                                     Anyway, a thoughtful video on the subject. Watch it when you have a chance.

                                              Tuesday, July 17, 2018

                                              July 17, 2018 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                              "What are cosmic rays?"--Suspicious Observers (4 min.)
                                              A brief overview of cosmic rays and how they interact with the atmosphere.
                                              Since we are currently receiving elevated levels of cosmic rays, you might find this interesting.


                                                      Here’s the truth…
                                                        You need both kit and skill.
                                                           The pesky part of this truth is you must have a deep desire to learn how to use your kit to improve your skills through your experiences. This truth is the hardest for most of us to wrap our heart and hands around.
                                                  • "Gear Review: High Sierra Cirque 30 Back Pack"--Baugo Blades. The author was looking for a pack to replace his Alice pack, with the intent to be used for on-the-road, luggage, or weekend backpacking. He borrowed a friend's Sleeka Snugpak 35 Liter pack, which was the right size, but he wanted a pack that didn't have a "tactical" or "military" look. He settled on the High Sierra pack and has good experience with it over several years. In any event, the review goes into more details about the back, including photographs of many of the features. Check it out.
                                                  • "Carrying Essential Weapons Parts (and other items) For Your Firearm"--Mason Dixon Tactical. This isn't so much an article on what to carry, but figuring out creative ways to carry it. For instance, the author uses a para-FAL sporting an M4 style stock ... which means that he has an otherwise empty tube attached to the butt of his rifle. So he carries extra parts in that. Ditto for some pistol grips which are hollow and can accommodate small parts.
                                                  • "The FDA has approved the use of this potential life saver for troops on the battlefield"--Military Times. Freeze dried blood plasma has a proven track record going back decades, but the FDA has refused to approve its use. The DoD finally had reached the point that it was simply going to ignore the FDA and, miracle of miracles, the FDA approved the product for evaluation by the military.
                                                  • Words of warning: "Negative Outcome – Again"--Tactical Professor. The author writes:
                                                             People labor under the illusion that a two year old can’t pull a trigger. What a toddler does is put the gun on the floor, where the kid spends most of its time. Eventually, the gun ends up with the butt down, the muzzle up, both of the kid’s thumbs on the trigger, with the kid pushing down on the trigger as hard as it can. Any toddler weighs more than the trigger pull so it has the mechanical advantage to press the trigger all the way through, even on a double action revolver.
                                                              A head shot is almost the inevitable result. That’s why so many of these are fatalities and not just wounded casualties.
                                                        To the naive, the simple answer is to always keep your firearms locked up. However, a defensive firearm is useless if you can't get to it and use it in a timely fashion. (Grant Cunningham addresses this issue and suggests some of the quick access lock boxes, but I know that even if they are aware of them, most people won't use such devices). Thus, many people keep a firearm in a nighstand while sleeping, or some other easily accessible place. And to safeguard against a child coming into your room at some ungodly hour and finding the handgun and having an accident, you may consider using a semi-auto pistol with nothing chambered. I have taught and gone shooting with not only my children but countless nephews and nieces, and one thing that is clear is that most children, including many younger teens, can't cycle the slide on a semi-auto pistol--particularly hammer fired models such as the Beretta 92, Sig 226, Browning Hi-Power, etc.
                                                        There are at least 4.5 million anchor babies in the U.S. under the age of 18, Breitbart News noted. This estimate does not include the potential millions of anchor babies who are older than 18-years-old, nor does it include the anchor babies who are living overseas with their deported foreign parents.
                                                        And:
                                                        The 4.5 million anchor babies estimate exceeds the four million American children born every year. In the next decade, the CBO estimates that there will be at least another 600,000 anchor babies born in the U.S., which would put the anchor baby population on track to exceed annual American births—should the U.S. birth rate not increase—by more than one million anchor babies.
                                                        • The new colonialism: "World View: China’s Railway Contractor in Kenya Accused of ‘Neo-Colonialism, Racism and Blatant Discrimination’"--Breitbart. The article reports that "[r]acism is rampant, to the point where the Chinese have apparently set up an apartheid system." Meaning that the Chinese workers can't eat with or socialize with Chinese workers. The article also indicates that the Chinese company running the railroad will not teach Kenyan's the technical skills necessary to operate and maintain the railroad, and the locals that were hired for technical positions are instead forced to do menial jobs or risk being beaten. Needless to say, the Kenyan government is taking the side of the Chinese over that of the native workers. 
                                                               The article also goes on to report:
                                                                China is building infrastructure projects in many countries as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China does not build a project in a country for free. It loans the money at harsh terms with high interest rates. Furthermore, it demands that almost all of the work be done by Chinese workers, who get paid out of the money that has been loaned, so most of the money that China loans to the country is returned to China in the form of remittances and payments for services, but the country still has that debt, and has to repay the same money to China again, with interest.
                                                                  Theoretically, the Chinese workers are supposed to train the local workers, and responsibility for the project is supposed to be turned over to the country within a few years. But as we are seeing in the case of Kenya’s SGR, the Chinese masters are forcing the Kenyans into menial jobs, are segregating themselves from the Kenyans, and maintaining all signs in Chinese so that the Kenyans are not being trained.
                                                                    This is being called “Debt Book Diplomacy” (as opposed to “checkbook diplomacy,” which the U.S. used to be accused of). The poster child for how it works is the Port of Hambantota, a Chinese infrastructure project in Sri Lanka, funded with a loan from China, with almost all the labor performed by Chinese workers. Sri Lanka was unable to repay the loan, and the government was forced to give the Port to China. So now Sri Lanka has a large seaport owned by China, and a large Chinese enclave with hundreds of Chinese families, with no benefit to itself and to its own people.
                                                              The author warns that Kenya is about to suffer the same fate: the railroad and the port which it services may soon fall into Chinese hands as Kenya heads toward default.
                                                                      It's not just African nations that are at risk. The foregoing article mentions what has already occurred in Sri Lanka, and it appears that China may soon be in a position to seize Venezuela's oil industry. It shouldn't be too many years hence, and China will find itself embroiled in some brush wars.
                                                                  "If you look at the science fiction movies, all of the space military folks, they're all admirals, which is, of course, a Navy rank," Bridenstine said.
                                                                    On a more serious note, George Friedman argued for a space force in the 1990s because the United States needed to keep control of the metaphorical high ground, being Earth's orbit, the Moon, and key orbital positions such as some of the Lagrange points. To our knowledge, it does not appear that the Air Force has shown much enthusiasm for the project. But that should not be surprising as the Air Force still views strategic bombing as its key mission (which is closely tied to air superiority to protect said bombers), and to hell with close air support or other tasks. Moreover, it is apparent that jurisdiction and authority for space-borne projects are spread across many different agencies. Certainly, it would behoove the government to consolidate these tasks into a few agencies, such as a military agency (the future space force), a civilian agency (NASA), and perhaps an intelligence agency (probably the NRO).
                                                                              A couple points. First, this is a climate regulation mechanism. The climate gets too warm, and the melting of ice caps will release fresh water, which will, in turn, cause the earth to cool. Second, I don't see that this research contradicts the comet impact theory, because that theory predicted rapid melting of glacial ice, which would then contribute to the cooling of the Younger Dryas.

                                                                      Sunday, July 15, 2018

                                                                      Guns for Fun: The Beretta 84

                                                                           I've argued before against having a large number of firearms per person for prepping purposes, because of the cost both in money to purchase the firearms plus accessories, and lay aside a sufficient stock of ammunition, and time for training and practice. But I have also stated that I didn't want to discourage the reader from collecting firearms if firearms are their hobby.

                                                                             I have a friend who likes to collect firearms, and his latest quest is to find a Walther PPK or, if necessary, a PPK/S for a reasonable price. Why? Mostly because he wants the James Bond gun. Of course, Bond's PPK (at least in the books) was a .32 ACP model which are rarer than the .380 ACP models, but I think my friend would settle for a .380.
                                                                      Box cover for the Top Secret role playing game

                                                                            I too have long wanted a "spy" pistol, but for me, the quintessential "spy" pistol is the Beretta 84. Why? Some of you may remember that I was a fan of role playing games (RPGs) when I was a youth. One of my favorites was TSR's Top Secret, which, as it name implies, was an RPG in the spy and espionage genre as typified by the James Bond films and books, the Mission Impossible television series, The Man From Uncle, and so on. And featured on the cover of the Top Secret box was an '80s version of the Beretta 84.

                                                                            Needless to say, I've wanted one since I was a kid, but for one reason or another, didn't get one when I was younger. Obviously, I couldn't even hope to get one until I was 21, but at that point, I wanted a pistol in something more powerful than .380. Also, the Model 84 has always been relatively expensive, and so finances have also played a role. And, what with family and jobs and many other things, the thought of one disappeared from my conscious thought ... until a few months ago.

                                                                           The first thing that probably started to dredge this up from my subconscious was my friend's quest for a Walther PPK at the right price point. I started keeping an eye out for something that might fit my friend's criteria. Thus, when I was going through a gun show a few months ago, instead of concentrating on something for my AR, I was paying more attention to handguns. And that is when I saw it (or them, because there were two): a couple of used Beretta .380s with the older swept trigger guard just like that pictured on the box above, rather than a squared off trigger guard as found on newer versions of the pistol.

                                                                      Beretta 84FS "Cheetah".
                                                                      I don't really like the squared off trigger guard.
                                                                            I wasn't prepared to buy anything right then, but it started nagging the back of my mind, so, eventually I decided to go to the store which had the table at the gun show to see if they still had the pistols in stock. They did, but either I had remembered the wrong price or they had jacked the price up $100 or so. So, I didn't get one. But I still kept thinking about it. I looked around locally, but no one else seemed to have any on hand. I went on-line and found a good deal on a used Model 84BB, which I believe is the model shown on the Top Secret box cover.

                                                                             The particular firearm I picked up was apparently a police trade-in from some European country, so it has a lot of finish wear from carrying, but probably hasn't been shot much. Although it looks rough, it seems to function just fine.

                                                                      Mine
                                                                             The pistol has an obvious visual similarity to the Beretta 92, except much smaller. Because it is in .380, it uses a simple blow back system. It has an aluminum alloy frame with steel slide, barrel, and trigger mechanism.

                                                                            The Beretta 84FS is listed as having a weight (unloaded) of 23 ounces, an overall length of 6.8 inches and a barrel length of 3.8 inches. Mine weighs 20.5 ounces without a magazine.

                                                                            Speaking of which, it uses a 13-round, double-stack, detachable box magazine. Because Beretta still manufactures the Model 84, you can purchase new factory magazines. Mec Gar also makes magazines for the pistol that are a bit less expensive. The only difference I see is that the Mec Gar use a plastic base plate (the magazine that came with mine had a steel baseplate), and the witness holes are on one side of the magazine instead of its spine. I suspect that Mec Gar (which is also an Italian company) makes the factory magazines. Certainly the Mec Gar magazines have worked in my pistol without issue.

                                                                            The pistol is a double-action/single-action (DA/SA), where the first shot is fired double action, or the hammer can be cocked and shot single action. Of course, subsequent shots to the first are all in single action. I don't have a trigger pull gauge, so I can't tell you what the pull weight is, but I would guess about 12 pounds in double action (it is less than my .38 J-frame) and about 3.5 pounds in single action. The double action is actually very good--better than many revolvers--with only a slight hint of stacking. The single action has a bit of take up, a nice break, and fairly minimal over travel due to the over travel bump on the back of the trigger. Reset is easily discernible and pretty short.

                                                                            The newer models employ a de-cocker style safety. However, the 84BB uses a two position safety which is engaged when the safety is pressed upward. Thus, when the hammer is cocked, it blocks the trigger and prevents the hammer from falling; and when the hammer is down, the safety disengages the trigger so it won't actuate the mechanism. The pistol has a "half-cock" which is designed to catch the hammer if it slips when you are manually de-cocking the pistol. You can engage the safety in half-cock, but do not carry the weapon this way. At least with my pistol, which doesn't appear to have any mechanical defect, when the safety is engaged in half-cock, it may appear to disengage the trigger, but if you pull the trigger all the way back, there will be a wall, and then a bit more pressure will cause the trigger to fall. This is not a de-cocker feature. Although the hammer is only falling a short distance, mine at least had enough force to ignite a primer and discharge a cartridge (of course, the weapon won't cycle with the safety up because the safety levers will catch on the slide). In examining my pistol, I couldn't find any evidence of mechanical breakage or wear that would explain what happened, but I also couldn't find any reference to this happening to anyone else when I Googled it. However, I did find admonitions that the pistol should not be carried on half-cock. So, don't carry the weapon at half-cock and safety on.

                                                                             Take down is similar to the Model 92, except that the take down lever is on the right side of the frame. If you haven't field stripped a Model 92, I will just add that it is probably the easiest take down of any semi-auto pistol in existence. There is a small plunger that holds the take down lever in place, which you depress, and then push the lever down and that's it--just slide the slide and barrel assembly off the pistol.

                                                                            Newer models have a chrome lined chamber and bore, but mine appears to be plain blued steel.

                                                                             The sights are fairly small, as standard for the period. Mine sport a white dot on the front sight and a single white dot on the rear sight just below the slot. The rear sight fits into a dovetail on the slide and is, therefore, adjustable for windage.

                                                                            I'm very pleased with the pistol. First of all, it looks really "cool" in my opinion. It fits my hand well and the ergonomics are great. It is hard to describe, but between the short length of the cartridge (which is reflected in the pistol's grip) and the thickness of the grip because of the double stack magazine, it nicely fills the hand. Mine is mechanically sound, and has reliably fed both ball and hollow point ammunition that I have fed it. I've only shot it at 7 yards or less from a free standing position, but accuracy is more than acceptable. My wife thought the recoil was snappy, but she is rather sensitive to recoil. I don't find the recoil uncomfortable at all. In short, I like it.

                                                                             I'm sure a lot of gun gurus would not see much reason for this pistol anymore. It's size and weight is comparable to a lot of smaller 9 mm pistols. And .380 is considered by many as inadequate for self-defense--or, at best, only marginally effective. However, just as advances in bullet technology have made the 9 mm a more effective defensive round, so too the .380 had benefited from advances in design. And, as I've discussed in this blog, and pointed to other's discussion on the topic, shot placement generally counts far more for a handgun than the size or power of the cartridge. In any event, this handgun falls into a nice medium where it is large enough to shoot for fun at the range, but small enough it could be used as concealed carry weapon. It is enough for me that I enjoy owning and shooting it.

                                                                      Saturday, July 14, 2018

                                                                      Range Report: The Hateful 8 Drill

                                                                             So earlier this week, Greg Ellifritz discussed a drill called the Hateful 8, which is 8 shots in 8 seconds at 8 yards at B-8 center bullseye target. Oh, and you start from the holster with only 4 rounds, and have to make 2 reloads with only 2 rounds in the second and third magazines. Lucky Gunner has this to say about the drill:
                                                                      (Source)
                                                                      So while the Hateful 8 is an incredibly soul-crushing disappointment of a drill — not because it’s not awesome, but because it shows you what you’re doing poorly — there’s not a passing or a failing score, really. It’s supposed to be a gateway. So the first goal is to make all the shots in the 8-inch circle under the par time. Second goal is to make all the shots in the black under par time. Then when you’re really getting good, if you can shoot 76 out of 80 — awesome. 
                                                                      He also mentions:
                                                                             If the eight second par time seems way out of reach or you find yourself struggling to even stay on paper when you’re shooting at that speed, you might consider starting with a 10 or 12 or even 15 second par time. The goal is to push you out of your comfort zone for speed while still maintaining a high standard of accuracy. So go at a pace that’s going to be challenging for you at your current skill level.
                                                                             I think of the Hateful 8 as an accuracy drill disguised as a reloading drill. You have to have a smooth and consistent reload in order to do well on this, but you also can’t let the reloads distract you because it takes a lot of mental discipline to keep your hits in the black for all 8 shots.
                                                                      If you don't have B-8 targets, you can download a printable version from Lucky Gunner.

                                                                             I decided to give it a shot this weekend, and it is extremely humbling. I had set up two of the B-8 targets and used them multiple times, so I can't score the targets, but I was using a shot timer to measure my times, and it was rather pathetic.

                                                                             My set up was the target at 8 yards, of course. I was using a Glock 36 from a strong side waist holster (basically 4 to 5 o'clock position), with a magazine holder on the opposite side. My conceal garment was an untucked T-shirt. I ran the drill 10 times (well, actually 11, but I had to drop one because I had only loaded 7 rounds total). My times ran from 13.01 seconds all of the way up to 17.21 seconds, and my average was 14.74. However, that was because of a few outliers; the majority were under 14.5 and four of my attempts were under 14.

                                                                             A few points. First of all, it doesn't seem like the slightly longer distance of 8 yards should make a lot of difference, but it seemed to--I felt like I was having to slow down to make my shots count. I had a few instances where my handgun got caught up in my T-shirt, which cost me a couple of seconds each (it is much easier to draw and shoot when using a shooting vest to conceal the weapon, versus using a T-shirt). I also haven't been practicing handgun reloads for a while and had gotten lazy with my switching magazines, tilting the firearm to one side to accept the magazine which slowed me down a bit. I also seemed to hesitate a bit between shooting the weapon empty and moving to grab a magazine.

                                                                            In any event, the drill lives up to its name (I haven't seen the movie, but just mean that the drill is "hateful"). But it gives me something to work on.

                                                                      Video: "Infantry Weapons and Their Effects 1943 US Army; World War II Weaponry"

                                                                           Jeff Quitney's channel on YouTube features a lot of old educational films, including some produced for our troops during World War II. Below is one that gives an overview on the capabilities of various standard infantry weapons at the time, from the 1911 pistol to the 105 mm Howitzer. What makes this video interesting is that it provides a brief demonstration against different types of targets, from a German steel pot helmet for the small arms, through various vehicles, and up to walls and fortified positions.

                                                                              This video should be sobering for anyone who thinks that they can fortify their home or retreat to withstand an attack by much more than an unarmed mob or handful of bandits--especially if those attackers have obtained military grade weapons.


                                                                      Friday, July 13, 2018

                                                                      TGIF: This Week's Weekend Knowledge Dump

                                                                            I'm afraid that I won't be able to post much today, let alone one of my "quick run around the web" posts. Hopefully you will be mollified by heading over to Greg Ellifritz's blog to check out the links and his comments in this week's "Weekend Knowledge Dump."

                                                                      Border Patrol to Dump the .40 S&W

                                                                              The standard sidearm issued to Border Patrol agents are currently the HK P2000 double action LEM (Law Enforcement Modification) pistol in .40 S&W caliber. Per HK's website, the LEM trigger is a reduced weight double action trigger, where pull has been reduced to 7.3 – 8.5 pounds of pressure. It uses a 12-round magazine. Prior to the HK pistol, agents were issued the Berretta 96D "Brigadier" pistol, which was also a double-action only .40 S&W handgun, except magazine capacity was only 11 rounds.

                                                                             The Firearm Blog reports today that "[t]he US Border Patrol’s parent agency the US Customs and Border Protection have released a solicitation for a family of new 9x19mm striker-fired, semi-automatic pistols." Of course, like everyone else lately, they want pistols with adjustable back-straps and for the weapons to be adaptable to full-size, medium, and compact sizes, or, at the least, offer different models of those sizes using mostly common parts. There are a bunch of other specifications as well, but, in short, it appears to me that the solicitation is aimed specifically at the Sig P320, but that the agency is open to considering Glocks or other brands of striker fire pistols.

                                                                             Of course, this merely continues the trend away from the .40 S&W by law enforcement. And, in that regard, the Border Patrol is behind the curve. But the solicitation also requires that "[t]he full and mid size pistols should be optics ready with cutouts and cover plates for mounting red dot optics." You might remember that recently Houston P.D. approved the use of red-dot sights on its duty pistols. I believe that we are going to see this trend continue and spread.

                                                                             As for the .40 S&W, what will become of it? I was reloading some .38 S&W recently, and in looking for some information on the round, came across a discussion asking why .38 S&W ammunition is so uncommonly found, if at all. After all, it was the premier police and self-defense round for decades, with probably millions of handguns made in that caliber, and widely found and used even into the 1950s. But once it fell out of favor, the fall was hard. Although it is possible to find the ammunition at Cabelas' over the past several years, I remember trying to find some in the 1990's, and it was rarer than a hen's tooth. Will that become the final fate of the .40 S&W? To slide into obscurity becoming somewhat of a niche caliber?