Friday, April 21, 2017

Diversity is Our Strength: 2nd Doctor Arrested for Female Genital Mutilation

Fox 2 Detroit reports:
       A second doctor has been arrested in connection with a female genital mutilation investigation in Detroit. 
       Fakhruddin Attar, 53, and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, of Livonia, were both arrested and have been charged with conspiring to perform female genital mutilations on minor girls out of Dr. Attar's medical clinic in Livonia. 
       Both husband and wife were arrested Friday morning and are due in court later this afternoon. 
       Authorities say Dr. Attar owned Burhani Medical Clinic in Livonia, which is where a Detroit emergency room doctor who was arrested last week is accused of performing FGM on minor girls. Authorities say Dr. Attar's wife is employed at Burhani Medical Clinic as an office manager. Authorities believe the husband and wife arranged and assisted in the FGM procedures performed by the Detroit doctor, Dr. Jumana Nagarwala.

Gremlins Strike San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles?

News reports are indicating that power outages have struck San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles. The most serious appears to be San Francisco, where outages hit the financial district, affecting over 90,000 people, and shut down the city's transit system. The outages in New York City, per the reports, appear to have been limited to certain subway lines. Outages in Los Angeles hit LAX and other spots around the city.

Sources:

While no cause has been established, there is speculation that it was sabotage, perhaps a cyber-attack. Of course, this is not the first such attack on electrical infrastructure in the Bay Area. I've written before about attacks on electrical substations in and around San Francisco:

There have been other attacks on power and communication infrastructure around the country:
And there were mysterious power outages to the San Francisco BART system in spring 2016 (see here and here).

April 21, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

Suarez International  (3 min.)

Firearms/Prepping:
  • TGIF: Time for another Weekend Knowledge Dump from Active Response Training. Links and comments on articles concerning bullet penetration in a house, triggers for boobytraps and improvised alarms, muzzle velocity of 9 mm from different barrel lengths, and more.
  • "How To Properly Remove A Tick"--The Weekend Prepper. I don't know why, but we suddenly have problems with ticks in our backyard. I expect it is the wet winter and spring. I think most of them are being brought in by pets, so we will be getting some Frontline Plus, I think, to douse the pets.
  • "Reprise: Is Muzzle Energy Really a Measure of Handgun Effectiveness?"--Ballistics By The Inch. The author cites from an FBI study on the topic:
Kinetic energy does not wound. Temporary cavity does not wound. The much discussed “shock” of bullet impact is a fable and “knock down” power is a myth. The critical element is penetration. The bullet must pass through the large, blood bearing organs and be of sufficient diameter to promote rapid bleeding. Penetration less than 12 inches is too little, and, in the words of two of the participants in the1987 Wound Ballistics Workshop, “too little penetration will get you killed.” Given desirable and reliable penetration, the only way to increase bullet effectiveness is to increase the severity of the wound by increasing the size of hole made by the bullet. Any bullet which will not penetrate through vital organs from less than optimal angles is not acceptable. Of those that will penetrate, the edge is always with the bigger bullet.
       To me, kinetic energy at the muzzle (muzzle energy) or energy down range is a one of several tools for measuring the effectiveness of a particular round. Of course, velocity is important, not just for external ballistics, but also terminal ballistics; particularly when using an expanding bullet, it is important to have an idea whether your round will expand at a given velocity. For instance, 55 grain 5.56/.223 FMJ will perform well out to 100 to 150 yards because the velocity is still enough that the bullet will spectacularly yaw upon striking a soft target, but beyond those ranges, velocity typically has dropped enough that the wounding effect is much less.
       In many ways, I believe that momentum is a better measure of potential penetration than muzzle energy. The kinetic energy equation gives far too much weight to velocity, whereas momentum seems to better express the balance of mass and velocity--i.e., how difficult it is to slow or stop the object. Generally speaking, whether high or low velocity, rounds with large momentum will penetrate deeper into a soft target than those with low momentum.


Other Stuff:
       Every day, Claire Morton thinks back to that moment in November when she could have saved her marriage.
           Her husband of 24 years, the father of her three children, had come home from work and announced he didn’t love her any more and wanted to leave.
             She sat and calmly listened to his footsteps upstairs in the bedroom as he packed his bag. She didn’t think to follow him up. Not once did she ask him to reconsider. To talk it through. To try to make it work.
               ‘Bye then,’ she said, as he walked out of the door and out of her life
                  Though shocked and hurt, Claire, a 53-year-old travel agent from Colchester, Essex, admits part of her was excited at the thought of being single again.
                   While she loved her husband, like most couples in long marriages, she felt they had become a little staid and set in their ways. Their sex life was hardly the firework display of their 20s, and sometimes she’d look over at this snoring, paunchy, greying man on the other side of the bed and wonder: ‘Is this it?’
              The article indicates that she then went to Tinder to find her new exciting life. The results were disappointing and demoralizing:
                       To Claire, it sounded like a different world; a sweet shop filled with thrills and excitement, all available at her fingertips. Just the pick-me-up she needed.
                         Sadly, six months later, Claire would do anything to be back in the marital home, listening for the sound of her husband’s key in the door.
                           For she, like countless other middle-aged divorcees, has found the world of internet dating — of which Tinder leads the field — to be a tawdry, loveless, moral abyss.
                             In fact, she’d be the first to warn any married woman secretly thinking the grass might be greener on the other side to stay firmly where she is.
                      Her lack of alarm at her husband's leaving belies any statement that she loved him. The opposite of love is disinterest, and she obviously had no interest in her husband or their marriage. 

                      Thursday, April 20, 2017

                      April 20, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                      Source: "Revealed: How your bad breath, low sex drive and headaches could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency (and what to eat to combat them)"--Daily Mail.
                      Firearms/Prepping:
                      • Everything old is new again: "SOCOM Looks to Ditch 7.62 NATO For Better Long Range Performance"--Bearing Arms.  According to the article, "[t]hey’re looking at rounds such as the .260 Remington and 6.5 Creedmoor in an AR-10 sized battle rifle, and the Army Marksmanship Unit has been running an 'AR-12,' (a AR-type rifle between the AR-15 and AR-10 in size) in the experimental .264 USA." A hundred years ago, there were actually quite a few nations that either had or experimented with 6.5 mm cartridges, including the Swiss, the Japanese, and the Italians. (The U.S. Navy went with a 6 mm cartridge--the 6 mm Lee--but the metallurgy and bullet designs were not up to it).
                      • "Cartridge of the Century: The .38 Smith & Wesson Special" (Part 1) (Part 2) -- Lucky Gunner. The first article looks at the history of the .38 Special through the early 1980's, from development to its peak when it dominated the handgun market in the United States. The second part takes it from the 1980's to the present, as the revolver was supplanted and replaced by auto-loaders for both law enforcement and civilians, but how the cartridge has found a home in small carry revolvers for backup or concealed carry.
                      • "Man Traps and Other Security Measures for Your Homestead"--Survival Sullivan. Although it discusses some passive measures, this article is primarily an overview of traps for a survival retreat. I say overview, because it describes different traps, but not how to make them or their trigger mechanisms. A couple things to keep in mind: traps are indiscriminate, able to harm both friend and foe; and you can't legally do something by trap that you can't do in person. The latter is particularly important as to self-defense and the issue of whether an attacker represents an imminent threat. An intruder setting off a trap set in a remote cabin a hundred miles from your location obviously doesn't present an imminent threat to you.
                      • "Use Plastic Baggies to Stop Grip Components From Rattling"--The Firearms Blog. I mounted a rear sight from Tech Sights on my SKS (see here). It used a special tool for adjusting windage, which shipped in a small zip-lock type bag. The same firearm sported a Tapco pistol grip with a small storage compartment. I just stuffed my sight in there (in its bag) and haven't noticed any issues with rattling. The plastic on such bags are generally thicker than a standard sandwich baggy, and so are particularly good.
                      • "How To Zero Your AR15"--Ammo Land. This is an article from a few years ago, but it is always good to review the basics. This article discusses the basics of exterior ballistics and goes on to discuss the impact of various "zeros" at different distances. Of course, if you don't have a bullet drop compensator (BDC) or can't gauge the distance, the best zero is one that will get you (mostly) on target at the usable ranges. Thus, the 50 yard zero for the 5.56 will generally work: it is, of course, right on at 50 yards, arcs to about 2.1 inches at 150 yards, and is only 4.2 inches low at 300 yards. Of course, this varies with the barrel length and load, so you will need to check it with what you use.
                      • Related: "Maximum Hangtime: Getting the Most Out of your AR15 Zero"--The New Rifleman. This article covers the same topic, but goes into more detail based on a "zero" using the maximum point blank range (MPBR) of the rifle. Basically, fine tuning the "zero" over a "vanilla" 50-yard zero. The author gives you the number of inches high you should be hitting at 100 yards to get the MPBR of different loads (he uses 55 grain and 77 grain to give a high and low) out of different length barrel systems. 
                                A number of state and governors groups participated in the two-day attack simulation, which included states as far south as Virginia and as far north as Massachusetts. The region is one of the most densely populated in the nation, with many of the states sharing an interconnected energy system.
                                 One of the key findings was not particularly reassuring. "The public will face a great deal of uncertainty following a significant cyber incident that causes physical damage (such as a long-term power outage or petroleum disruption), creating a considerable challenge for public information and expectation management, particularly around restoration times," the report read.
                          Translating to regular English, the government agencies have no methods for communicating recovery efforts to the public.
                          • "Army picks Heckler & Koch sniper rifle to replace M110"--Army Times. According to the article, the Army is replacing the M110 (an AR-10 style rifle produced by Knights Armament) with the G-28 produced by HK.  Bearing Arms has an article on the topic, which speculates that this is a back-door by the Army to test out a new "battle rifle." However, just casually reading over the differences between the systems, I can see why the Army might want to make the shift: the M110 has a fixed M16A2 type stock, whereas the G-28 uses a collapsible stock with an adjustable cheek riser; and the G-28 uses a 16.5-inch barrel versus the 20-inch barrel of the M110, which makes it easier for getting into or out of vehicles or buildings. It may just be my poor eyesight, but the flash hider on the G-28 looks suspiciously like the one developed for the FAL.
                          • "What would happen if that massive asteroid zipping by actually hit us? Study reveals exactly how millions would die"--Daily Mail. Interestingly, according to the models, "[l]and-based impacts were, on average, an order of magnitude more dangerous than asteroids that landed in oceans."

                          Other Stuff:
                                   Racked by food shortages and political unrest, Venezuela swelled with what organizers are calling the "mother of all protests" on Wednesday. Demonstrators have taken to the streets in the capital, Caracas, and other major cities across the country to rally against the government of President Nicolas Maduro, who assumed office precisely five years ago.
                                     Throughout the day, those rallies often devolved into clashes between demonstrators and security forces — chaotic, violent scenes rent by tear gas, tossed rocks and even two reported deaths.
                                       The dismissals capped a five-year legal fight, longer than it took to discover, prosecute and punish Dookhan, who worked at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston. She admitted to tampering with evidence, forging test results and lying about it. The former lab tech served three years in prison before being released last year.
                                         Why Dookhan did it remains somewhat of a mystery. Investigators and former colleagues have said the Trinidadian immigrant seemed driven by a compulsion to overachieve, even if it meant making things up or cutting corners. She became the lab's most prolific analyst, a record that impressed her supervisors but also worried her co-workers — a concern that went overlooked, investigators found.
                                  • More evidence for r/K theory: "Antifa Protestor Moldylocks Has A Porn Career"--Anonymous Conservative. This is the woman who gained her 15 minutes of fame because she was hit in the head during the recent Berkeley protest fight. As AC observes, however: 
                                  She appeared to wear “sap” gloves with lead powder in the knuckles to the protest. She reportedly has a criminal history for theft, which is indicative of an expectation of free resources. And she gained her infamy be being punched by a guy while trying to hit a Trump supporter in the head with a bottle.
                                  However, I think AC is correct that the Anti-Fa fascists did not expect anyone on the right to fight back. Now that has occurred, the left will escalate the violence, just as they did in the 1960s and 1970s, perhaps moving on to using firearms or bombs

                                  Wednesday, April 19, 2017

                                  April 19, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                  Bloke on the Range (6 min.)

                                  Firearms and Self-Defense:
                                  • "Weapons: The Case For Caseless"--Strategy Page. Caseless ammunition has been largely a pipe dream for the past 30 years or so. But, according to the article, "[t]he U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army agree they may have finally found a caseless ammunition design that will work reliably in combat and be much (37 percent) lighter than conventional 5.56mm ammo." However, while the caseless is still in development, the article reports that telescoped polymer cases ammunition may actually be ready for deployment. Right now, the only weapon that can use it is the relatively new LSAT (Lightweight Small Arms Technology) 5.56mm machine-gun.
                                  • "Why fat MMA fighters can beat jacked/ripped fighters! A warning for street fights...."--SNAFU!.  Commenting on a video (which can be found at the link), Solomon observes that "Mass counts.  Fat boys if properly motivated can hit hard because they're fat!" Also, check out the comments.
                                  • "American Eagle Introduces 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel Varmint and Predator Loads"--The Tactical Wire.
                                  • The MSM has been full of stories recently about some female SJW, Louise Rosealma, that got hit in the head by a man at the recent Berkeley protest and anti-fa attack. There is obviously a social/political side to this story, best summed up by Megan Fox at PJ Media, who writes:
                                           ... Does anyone see the irony in the social justice warriors complaining that a guy hit a girl? A girl who wants equality with men showed up at a Trump rally wearing weighted gloves, tried to punch a guy in the throat, and got laid out with one punch. For as long as I can remember, the feminists have told us they're exactly the same, if not better than men. So why are we supposed to be outraged that one of them got hit in the face by a man? Isn't that exactly what she wanted when she jumped into the fray and started swinging?
                                             These people confuse me. On one hand, Moldylocks wants to be considered an anarchist warrior, bragging that she would take "100 nazi scalps" on social media. And now she's whining to anyone who will listen that she's just a 94 lb. shrinking violet who landed in the hospital after getting her clock cleaned by a big bad boy. I can't muster any sympathy. I tried. Her GoFundMe page goes so far as to call her a "poor girl." Oh, give me a break! This girl knew exactly what she was doing joining Antifa at the Berkeley rally. She was there to fight "nazis." She said so.
                                      But there are also lessons for those women who think that they are going to be able to stand toe-to-toe with men in a fight and win: it is just Hollywood movie magic. Dalrock discusses the latter issue in more detail in his article, "The terrible cost of make believe," in which he discusses several cases where women were severally injured when they attacked a man and he struck back. The irony of all of this, as Dalrock points out, is that the West is now pushing women into combat roles. 
                                      • Get off the X: "17 Most Important Gunfight Stats: Backed By Data And Real World Experience"--Three Tier Tactical. (H/t The Firearms Blog). The author provides links to the studies or statistics on which he relies. Some of the statistics are based on police encounters, so they may not be fully applicable to a civilian using a weapon in self-defense. Some of the statistics:
                                      • "If you stand still in a gunfight you have an 85% chance of being shot, and 51% chance of being shot in the torso."
                                      • "If you move and shoot you have a 47% chance of being hit, with 11% chance of a torso shot."
                                      • "Seeking cover and returning fire reduces your chance of being shot to 26% with a 6% torso hit rate."
                                             I don't know about other parts of the world, but my experience is that .22 Short and .22 Long is actually pretty rare, and so the odds of coming across those calibers does not justify having a rifle simply for the reason that you may be able to scrounge some of it, but not .22 Long Rifle. However, I would still support having a .22 that can use all three rounds. Why? For utility. The less powerful rounds, .22 Short and .22 Long, may actually be better for hunting small critters because the round is less likely to be a through and through, but dump more of its energy into what it hits. For important in my mind, however, is the sound level. Depending on the weapon, .22 Short or .22 Long (you will have to experiment) may be substantially less .22 Long Rifle. I have shot a .22 single-shot rifle using .22 Long where the report was less than you get from a typical BB gun. Something to think about in a SHTF situation.

                                      Other Stuff:
                                             Six soldiers suffered breathing problems and another 19 were forced to seek treatment after ISIS militants launched the gas attack against the US-backed unit in the city of Mosul, northern Iraq.
                                               It is the second chemical attack against the Iraqi troop in two days, after an officer with the anti-terrorism unit said ISIS fired a rocket loaded with chlorine at the al-Abar neighborhood in western Mosul.
                                        • Related: "MIT expert claims latest chemical weapons attack in Syria was staged"--International Business Times (via Yahoo). (Warning: video plays automatically). According to the article, the expert "concluded that the US government's report does not provide any 'concrete' evidence that Assad was responsible, adding it was more likely that the attack was perpetrated by players on the ground." One of the several points is that a "shell" that allegedly delivered the sarin gas appears to have been laid on the ground and an explosive detonated atop it, rather than exploding as a shell would. 
                                        • "What's Behind the Violence in Ecatepec, Mexico City's Sprawling Suburb?"--Insight Crime. Murder rates are now about 33 per 100,000. The author blames it, not on the large cartels, but because of fights and turf wars from smaller gangs operating in the city.
                                        • But it has worked so well for us: "China Fails to Break Its Addiction"--American Interest. According to the article, "China posted its best quarterly growth figures since 2015, defying the gloomier expectations of economic analysts." However, as the author goes on to explain, this is all based on easy credit and increasing property prices.
                                        • "Misreading Putin"--J.R. Nyquist. Putin's own answers in interviews and other statements show him not to be a nationalist or anti-communist, but a strident communist and ant-Christian. Nyquist goes on:
                                                 A man who refuses to bury Lenin cannot be a nationalist. And further proof of this is found in Putin’s foreign policy; for it cannot be denied that Putin supports communist regimes everywhere. Putin supports Angola, where the communist government won its civil war with Russian help. Putin supports China and North Korea where Russia has sent advanced weaponry and military scientists. What sort of nationalism is it, then, that arms communist states? A 2014 Xinhua News report out of Managua states, “Nicaragua modernizes military fleet with Russia’s help.” The ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, under Daniel Ortega, pretends to be a social democratic party. But the Sandinistas have always been Marxist-Leninists. And the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, was also a Marxist-Leninist – while pretending to be a left-of-center populist. In fact, many communist leaders have pretended to be something other than communist. Go as far back as you please: Mao pretended to be “an agrarian reformer.” Stalin was our “Uncle Joe.” We have been told, time and time again, that Ho Chi Minh and Castro were only communists because the evil Americans pushed them into Russia’s arms – yet another lie.
                                                   How quickly we forget the deceptions of the past. In country after country, on continent after continent, communist power is building. It is arming. And we are completely blind. We do not think there are communists anywhere. Our pundits, our “experts,” our strategists, have been fooled. Let’s not mince words. When the price of this is ultimately paid, and the dead are counted, and the material losses can no longer be reckoned, mankind itself will view the current malpractice of our writers and experts as unforgivable.
                                            • "Meet The Men Who Fought Hitler — And Fought Dirty"--The Federalist. A review Giles Milton's Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Churchill backed a group, called Baker Street, whose sole purpose was to engage in assassinations and sabotage. And he had to contend with those who opposed the operation of such a group because they thought that the war should be fought in a gentlemanly manner. I suppose Churchill learned from World War 1 (and, in particular, his fiasco at Gallipoli) that war is serious business, not a game.
                                            • "China Snubbing OPEC Oil"--American Interest. China apparently has no desire to be a slave to the whims of the Middle-East (although with over 50% of its oil imports coming from OPEC countries...well...), and consequently has diversified its oil imports from other sources. The largest alternate sources are Russia, Oman and Brazil, but it has also increased purchases from West Africa, the UK, and the United States.
                                            • "Teen accidentally helps discover lost 16th-century civilization in Kansas"--New York Post. The Spaniards recorded a battle in 1601 with a Native American city, called Etzanoa, in what is today Kansas. The Spaniards estimated that the city had a population of 20,000, and would take two or three days to walk through all of it. Cannonballs were recently discovered at a site called Arkansas City (near the Kansas-Oklahoma border south of Wichita), which seem to confirm that it was the city referred to by the Spaniards. 

                                            Tuesday, April 18, 2017

                                            Black Islamic Gunman Targets, Kills Whites in Fresno

                                            Three people are dead after a shooting spree in Fresno, California. An additional person was injured. The shooting took place near a Catholic Charities building in downtown Fresno. NBC Bay Area reported that the gunman, Kori Ali Muhammad, yelled  'Allahu Akbar' while being detained, and told police he hated white people.  The Fresno Police Chief told reporters that Muhammad has a lengthy criminal history that includes weapons violations, drug offenses and making terrorist threats. The victims, all white, were apparently randomly chosen (other than for their race), and were shot with a .357 revolver. Muhammad fired 16 shots within one minute.

                                            See also reports from the Los Angeles Times and BBC News.

                                            April 18, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web

                                            "Something is Rotten in the State Denmark"--Black Pigeon Speaks (9 min.)
                                            One of the great lies propagated in our time is that immigration, legal or otherwise, is an economic boon to a nation. However, as I've cited on different occasions, studies by various NGOs and think tanks have observed that immigrants (especially illegal aliens) place a much greater burden on American taxpayers than they contribute to the economy to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. Black Pigeon notes similar results from studies in Canada, the UK, and Germany. But the one that is primary focus of his video is one conducted by the government of Denmark which quite blatantly shows that non-Western immigrants, illegal or otherwise, where ever they are from, are a net drain to the Danish economy of tens of billions. 


                                            Survival/Prepping/Firearms:
                                            • Much of the reputation for poor accuracy is due to cheap ammo and the lack of any drive on the part of manufacturers to create accurate ammunition for the 7.62x39. The author pulled bullets from standard steel ammo and found a fair amount of variance with powder loads. Remeasuring the powder and using a better bullet (what he termed a "Mexican reload") substantially increased his accuracy.
                                            • He installed an Ultimak rail (which replaces the gas tube and upper hand guard), which he found to have actually negatively impacted his accuracy. The author believes this may be because the Ultimak clamps to the barrel and may affect the harmonics (which I find reasonable--if you have seen slow motion video of an AK firing, there is quite a bit of barrel flex).
                                            • "Who Knew? A Guide to 7.62 Ammo"--Recoil (h/t Active Response Training). Using a bolt action rifle chambered in 7.62x39, the authors tested a multitude of different loads from the various manufacturers to give you an idea of velocity (high, low, mean) and accuracy. A very useful resource for any of you that use 7.62x39.
                                            • "Barrel Race 2017"--Victory Gun Blog. Using a new Gen 3 Glock 17, the authors tested 10 of the most popular aftermarket barrels against the standard Glock barrel to determine which was the most accurate. Testing was done using a ransom rest, and three types of ammunition. The results might be surprising to some: the Glock barrel was right in the middle as far as accuracy with an average group size of 2.50 inches. This opened up a bit with a Glock threaded barrel, which was two places behind. KKM was the only manufacturer to give an average group size less than 2 inches.
                                            • "Product Review: the Glock 'Gadget'"--Lurking Rhythmically. The author used it at a MAG-40 class without any problems, and it worked great with the method of reholstering (thumb over the hammer) taught for revolvers and DA semiautos.
                                            • "OPINION: Why I Am Selling My Guns And Why You Should Too"--The Firearms Blog. Over the last 8+ years, Americans have lived in fear of government restrictions on firearms and, accordingly, been buying record numbers of firearms. Now that the threat is more distant in most states, the author suggests that it is now time to take stock of what you have, figure out a handful of firearms to concentrate on, and sell any extra firearms. The money, at least in his case, will be earmarked for better optics, ammunition, and a class or two.
                                            • "Home Security 101: Last Ditch Plans Are Not Enough – What To Do Instead"--More Than Just Surviving. The author explains that a self-defense plan is more than just "shoot the bad guy," or even what type of weapon to have. Instead, you need to consider how a burglar might target your house and how he might get in, and then take steps to thwart him (e.g., better locks or doors, an alarm system, or even making your schedule less predictable). The author notes that he added a second door to his home to make it harder for someone to break in. Several years ago, there were a series of burglaries in my neighborhood where entrance was made to the homes through unlocked back doors (people presumed that since their back yard was fenced, it didn't matter if they locked their doors). Read the whole thing.
                                            • A couple of articles from Blue Collar Prepping which might be considered loosely connected:
                                            • The first, "Got Gas?", discusses the standard underground storage tank (UST) used for storage of gasoline in the United States, and points that would allow you to introduce a hose or pump to siphon gas from said tank. Obviously, this would only for situations where there was a massive population die-off, leaving you to scrounging and scavenging for supplies, or other situations where you were having to pump gas without the benefit of electricity to the gas station's pumps.
                                            • The second article, "Pump It Up", discusses a couple of common pumps and how they work: the centrifugal pump and the positive displacement pump. 
                                            • "The Concrete Hobo Stove"--Dreaming Of Sunsets Over Ochre Dunes. The author describes how he made a "hobo stove" (similar to a rocket stove) out of concrete, and tests it out. Obviously too heavy to move around, but definitely durable.
                                            • "8 Levee Failure Survival Tips"--Survival Life.  With a wet winter and spring in many areas of the country, it is possible that levees may fail, resulting in floods. The author has tips and suggestions, but as he notes, the first step to find out if you are in a danger area (for instance, do you live in a flood plain) and keep an eye or ear on the news in the event of problems.
                                            • "7 Amazing Ways to Make Room in Your Budget for Food Storage"--Store This Not That. The most important item is to plan menus to prevent unnecessary shopping trips or having to eat out.
                                            • "How To Use The Moon To Plan Your Gardening Season"--The Survival Mom. Apparently different moons (e.g., the "harvest moon") were reminders of farming/agricultural steps: preparing soil or planting, harvest, etc. 
                                            • "6 Essentials for Prepping with a Special Needs Child"--Prepper Journal. Not a list of things you should have, but a list of planning steps: (1) inventory your needs; (2) communicating with your child about preparations and explaining plans (including what NOT to do); (3) prepare in advance; (4) prepare for the more likely disasters (e.g., if you live in an earthquake prone area, prepping for an earthquake); (5) storing the right things (including medications); and (6) learn about non-medicinal alternatives in case you should run out of medicines.


                                            Other Stuff:
                                            Turkey’s Islamists have long venerated the Ottoman period. In doing so, they implicitly expressed thinly veiled contempt for the Turkish Republic. For Necmettin Erbakan, who led the movement from the late 1960s to the emergence of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in August 2001, the republic represented cultural abnegation and repressive secularism in service of what he believed was Ataturk’s misbegotten ideas that the country could be made Western and the West would accept it. Rather, he saw Turkey’s natural place not at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels but as a leader of the Muslim world, whose partners should be Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, and Indonesia.
                                            And: 
                                            Erdogan’s ambition helped propel Turkey to this point. But unlike the caricature of a man who seeks power for the sake of power, the Turkish leader actually has a vision for the transformation of Turkey in which the country is more prosperous, more powerful, and more Muslim, meaning conservative and religious values would shape the behavior and expectations of Turks as they make their way in life. 
                                                     Within Turkey, the vote is an affirmation of the steps Erdogan has taken following the coup attempt, including a re-assertion of control of the military, political repression of the opposition, and massive purges across Turkish society.
                                                        But more importantly it’s also a symbolic end to the century-old Kemalist secular project in Turkey. Much as Ataturk wielded similar powers to end the Ottoman Caliphate and bring the Turkish Republic into being, Erdogan will now have the unfettered power to remake Turkey into a great power in the Ottomanist tradition. Whether an Islamist Turkey can remain a partner of the EU, a NATO ally, and a pillar of regional stability, however, is unknown.
                                                The fundamental problem is not Turkish democracy, but Turkish demography. Whether or not demography is always destiny, it certainly is in a democratic age. You can have a functioning democracy in a relatively homogeneous society in which parties compete over tax policy and health care. But, when a nation is divided into two groups with fundamentally opposing views of what that society is or should be, then democracy becomes tribal, and the size of the tribe determines the outcome.
                                                And that, he argues, doomed the secular portions of Turkey, which simply haven't been reproducing at the rate of the Islamic interior.
                                                The Tea Party was a peaceful protest made up of plenty of middle-aged men and women who saw themselves called Nazis and racists by the Cathedral for their efforts at reforming Big Government. Trump’s core supporters are made of tougher stock – and they know the DNC-MSM’s narrative is pre-written, no matter what happens. No one can say they’re surprised at this past weekend’s news. (OK, maybe the wedgies, though.)

                                                LEO Codes

                                                Source: Positive LEO

                                                Sunday, April 16, 2017

                                                April 16, 2017 -- A Quick Run Around the Web


                                                In this video, from Brazil, we see a gunman enter a store with revolver in hand. The security guard apparently complies with the gunman's orders, putting his flashlight on the counter and moving away from the counter. The gunman than shoots the security guard and leaves the store. At an accompanying article on this incident, Active Self Protection raises several points: 
                                                1. Evil exists in this world. In this case, the shooter was not there to rob the store, but apparently carrying out some vendetta against the security guard.
                                                2. Police cannot protect you from crime.
                                                3. Complying with demands does not automatically mean that you will be spared. The author notes that rape victims that fight back do not fair any worse than rape victims that comply as far being beaten, shot, etc., and are less likely to be raped.
                                                4. Feigning compliance might buy you a few seconds, which may give you an opportunity to defend yourself than you otherwise might have.
                                                5. An armed encounter might not work out for you--be at peace with yourself, your loved ones, and God.

                                                Firearms and Self-Defense:
                                                • "Shot Timers or No? Metrics and Mediocrity"--Tom Givens at Breach Bang Clear. Another discussion that you need to employ some method to quantify your performance. Using another person with a stop watch or a shot timer gives you the ability to quantify, and therefore, improve your speed. Adding to what the author states, if speed of follow up shots is your primary concern, games with reactive targets (such as shooting it fast enough that it keeps getting bounced around or getting it to bounce up the side of a hill faster than your friend) can help improve speed and accuracy, although they still do not quantify your shooting.
                                                • "TIHK HK2 – The Tiny Inconspicuous Handcuff Key Receives an Upgrade"--Jerking The Trigger. This is a small, polymer handcuff key designed to clip to the belt or waistband of your pants. It has been upgraded with teeth in the clip to make it more difficult to accidentally slip off. I would also note the tip I recently read about (I think from Greg Ellifritz) about attaching a small magnet via short tie to the key--the purpose is to anchor the key to the handcuff should you accidentally drop the key while manipulating it.
                                                • "More bullets are valuable, but not necessarily the answer"--Bayou Renaissance Man. Some useful thoughts on size versus quantity when considering handgun ammunition. Peter Grant notes that against multiple attackers you want more cartridges, while against a single attacker, you should weigh in favor of larger (and, theoretically, larger bullets). You should also consider Grant's earlier article "The myth of handgun 'stopping power': Part 3 of 3" (which I recommend because of its succinct explanation of momentum and bullet effectiveness). But there is more. In the first of the aforementioned articles, Grant quotes from Louis Awerbuck about how the finer points of training or finesse tend to go out the window in an actual life and death encounter:
                                                         It is ugly, it is brutal, it’s at halitosis distance, and all your neato audio-instigated range commanded dog-and-pony-show Mister Cool orchestration goes out the window. At seven or eight feet in a gunfight you will have about six degrees of peripheral vision, your auditory system will be distorted and your biochemicals will pump enough juice into your system to keep a crack addict wired for a week.
                                                           You will lose mathematical track of rounds fired, distances, and passage of time. And if it’s that close and violent – and you live through it – you will swear blind that your buddies dubbed and photo-shopped the video of the fight, because you know damn well that you didn’t actually do what’s portrayed on the video screen during later viewing. Except that you did. Even down to the ongoing foul language during the encounter when you never do that, you fine upstanding church-going gentleman, you. Nothing like a close-up gunfight to bring out your evil, abrasive, foul-mouthed clown twin....
                                                             So what can you derive from the post-analysis?
                                                               All the “hold the trigger to the rear and then ease it forward after firing to feel the sear reset” trigger manipulation goes out the window. You still need trigger control, but it will be quick shooting – so you may as well practice the same trigger operation during close-quarters range training that you will employ in the street.
                                                                  You probably won’t be shooting “two body, one head shot” drills, unless you’re very, very lucky and it’s offered to you on a rare occasion. Not in a violent six-to-ten-foot confrontation you won’t. You’ll be moving, the shootee will be moving, and you’ll be delivering multiple rounds to the biggest piece of meat and bone you can acquire until the threat stops.
                                                                   Why so many rounds? Because (a) you don’t have the time to shoot a couple of rounds and then take the time to assess the results at this distance. If the initial BBs didn’t work, it’s too late. And (b) What Doctor Lewinski terms “stop reaction time” is the same as your personal reaction time. In essence, even if your cognitive processes have realized your enemy is dropping, another three or four rounds will be fired before your finger detaches itself from the gas pedal – which is why you lose track of the rounds-fired count.
                                                                      So the gist is do you – or can you – carry a large format large caliber high capacity pistol, do you carry a smaller-calibered high capacity pistol, or do you pack a low round-count handgun and forsake multiplicity availability of ammunition IN THE GUN? Because even though this is a rhetorical question for the reader to decide, nobody is getting a reload executed under the above-mentioned circumstances. If you need a dozen quick sequential rounds and your pistol contains only six, you need either at least two guns or it’s all over unless you’re Rambo, Bruce Lee, and Miyamoto Musashi combined.
                                                                       What’s the ideal answer? There isn’t one, because of the legal and societal restrictions and ramifications mentioned above. But forewarned is forearmed (no pun intended), and you can at least apply some rational thought to the problem before it occurs.
                                                                          No, it’s not a perfect world, but a battle without a prior battle plan is a battle lost before it’s started. And it’s unlikely that Hell is about to undergo an Ice Age in the foreseeable future...
                                                                  • "Street Fighting--The Essentials"--Loadout Room. The author attempts to boil down to short statements the essentials of what is important, how to make it work, and useful training/exercise for preparing for a street fight. Obviously, since his article is a bare summary, it does me (or thee) no good to attempt to distill it further. Go read the whole thing.
                                                                  • "Do Bullpups Have Better Balance? A Different Perspective"--Nathaniel F. at The Firearms Blog. Nathaniel F. discusses the issue of point of balance in a couple exemplars weapons (a bullpup RDP and an AKM) to illustrate not only issues of balance when maneuvering the weapon, but also when carrying the weapon. While the point of balance of the bullpup are toward the rear of the weapon, making it generally handy when swinging the barrel, it makes it very poorly balanced for normal carrying. 
                                                                  • "Jeff Gonzales: When it Comes to Everyday Carry, Size Matters"--The Truth About Guns. Since small handguns are not conducive to good marksmanship or lots of practice, the author recommends that new concealed carry gunowners get larger handgun first to practice with, then branch out to the smaller weapons after they have developed their basic shooting skills. I suppose, in theory, his recommendation is sound. I would certainly recommend that any new pistol shooter get a .22 pistol (Ruger, Buckmark, etc.) for learning the basics. But in practice, getting a larger weapon will often defeat the purpose of the new carrier getting the weapon in the first place, which is to have one with them when needed. Getting a firearm and not carrying it just develops a habit of leaving the weapon behind, and finances or licensing issues may keep the person from being able to buy a second weapon. The answer may be getting a handgun balances concealability with shootability, such as a .380 or compact 9 with a large enough pistol grip (with or without a finger extension) to allow a full grip on the firearm. I know that a subcompact XD with a finger grip extension, a Glock 26 with finger extension, and standard R51 are perfectly adequate for practice and learning. I assume other comparable pistols are the same. The .38 Special snub-nose may be more difficult, but changing grips (such as the Delta grip from Ergo) can make a huge difference in felt recoil.

                                                                      Other Stuff:
                                                                      • Related: "Silence in Paris"--City Journal. On April 3, Sarah Halimi, a 66 year old Orthodox Jewish woman, was thrown out of a window to her death by a neighbor, an African man aged 27. According to witnesses, he shouted “Allahu akbar” as he threw her. French media, however, has refused to report the incident, probably fearful that it would help Marie Le Pen in her presidential campaign. 
                                                                      Persecution of the world’s largest religion has intensified throughout the 20th century and that trajectory has only intensified in recent years, especially in Muslim-dominated countries. Jihadists appear to have repeatedly carried out one of their oft-stated goals of erasing any trace of Christianity in some regions, while in others persecution against Christians and other religious minorities are being held at bay — for now.
                                                                      Christianity's prospects of surviving in Europe and North America likewise seems grim. 
                                                                             At a time of declining church attendance across America and growing disenchantment with traditional religion, a Catholic parish in Hyattsville, Md., thrives by embracing the very orthodoxy other congregations have abandoned.

                                                                             St. Jerome Catholic Church and its affiliated school, St. Jerome Academy, have both experienced dramatic growth over the past few years, largely due to an influx of families drawn to the parish's reputation as a haven for conservative Catholics seeking to live among others who share their values.
                                                                               Nearly every nation in South America has been jolted by large protests or violent clashes in recent weeks, a continental surge of antigovernment anger unlike anything in years.
                                                                                   On the streets of Venezuela, opponents of the left-wing government are squaring off against riot police nearly every day. In Paraguay, angry crowds sacked and firebombed the country’s parliament building after lawmakers tried to alter presidential term limits. Powerful unions in Argentina crippled the country’s transportation networks this month with a general strike.
                                                                                    Whether leftist or right-wing, the governments of Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and even tiny French Guiana are all facing major demonstrations, abysmal approval ratings or both.
                                                                                      The political dynamics vary across the continent, but analysts see common threads. The global commodity boom that ushered millions of South Americans into the middle class has burned out, crimping government finances. And a more politically engaged and plugged-in citizenry has lost patience with rank corruption and the feints of authoritarian leaders who chip away at democratic checks on their power.
                                                                                       In several countries, populist leaders who cast themselves as national saviors and demonized their opponents have turned electoral contests into supercharged life-or-death showdowns, making democratic transitions and ideological compromise all the more difficult. 
                                                                                           “South America is part of a global pattern, marked by a search for fresh and effective political leadership in agitated and often polarized societies,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank, noting significant protests recently in South Africa, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
                                                                                             Two studies by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto and their collaborators from the US, UK, France and China, show that six- to nine-month-old infants demonstrate racial bias in favour of members of their own race and racial bias against those of other races.
                                                                                                In the first study, "Older but not younger infants associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music", published in Developmental Science, results showed that after six months of age, infants begin to associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music.
                                                                                                 In the second study, "Infants rely more on gaze cues from own-race than other-race adults for learning under uncertainty", published in Child Development, researchers found that six- to eight-month-old infants were more inclined to learn information from an adult of his or her own race than from an adult of a different race.
                                                                                                   ... "The results show that race-based bias already exists around the second half of a child's first year. This challenges the popular view that race-based bias first emerges only during the preschool years." Hear Dr. Lee discuss the research results.
                                                                                                     Researchers say these findings are also important because they offer a new perspective on the cause of race-based bias.
                                                                                                       "When we consider why someone has a racial bias, we often think of negative experiences he or she may have had with other-race individuals. But, these findings suggest that a race-based bias emerges without experience with other-race individuals," said Dr. Naiqi (Gabriel) Xiao, first author of the two papers and postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.
                                                                                                         The problem confronting the West today stems not from a shortage of power, but rather from the inability to build consensus on the shared goals and interests in whose name that power ought to be applied. The growing instability in the international system is not, as some argue, due to the rise of China as an aspiring global power, the resurgence of Russia as a systemic spoiler, the aspirations of Iran for regional hegemony, or the rogue despotism of a nuclear-armed North Korea... Nor is the increasing global instability due to a surge in Islamic jihadism across the globe, for despite the horrors the jihadists have wrought upon the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, and the attendant anxiety now pervading Europe and America, they have nowhere near the capabilities needed to confront great powers.
                                                                                                           The problem, rather, is the West’s growing inability to agree on how it should be defined as a civilization. At the core of the deepening dysfunction in the West is the self-induced deconstruction of Western culture and, with it, the glue that for two centuries kept Europe and the United States at the center of the international system. The nation-state has been arguably the most enduring and successful idea that Western culture has produced. It offers a recipe to achieve security, economic growth, and individual freedom at levels unmatched in human history. This concept of a historically anchored and territorially defined national homeland, having absorbed the principles of liberal democracy, the right to private property and liberty bound by the rule of law, has been the core building block of the West’s global success and of whatever “order” has ever existed in the so-called international order. ... The West prevailed then because it was confident that on balance it offered the best set of ideas, values, and principles for others to emulate.
                                                                                                             Today, in the wake of decades of group identity politics and the attendant deconstruction of our heritage through academia, the media, and popular culture, this conviction in the uniqueness of the West is only a pale shadow of what it was a mere half century ago. It has been replaced by elite narratives substituting shame for pride and indifference to one’s own heritage for patriotism. After decades of Gramsci’s proverbial “long march” through the educational and cultural institutions, Western societies have been changed in ways that make social mobilization around the shared idea of a nation increasingly problematic. This ideological hollowing out of the West has been accompanied by a surge in confident and revanchist nationalisms in other parts of the world, as well as religiously inspired totalitarianism.
                                                                                                                National communities cannot be built around the idea of collective shame over their past, and yet this is what is increasingly displacing a once confident (perhaps overconfident, at times) Western civilization. The increasing political uncertainty in Europe has been triggered less by the phenomenon of migration than it has by the inability of European governments to set baselines of what they will and will not accept. Over the past two decades Western elites have advocated (or conceded) a so-called “multicultural policy,” whereby immigrants would no longer be asked to become citizens in the true sense of the Western liberal tradition. People who do not speak the national language, do not know the nation’s history, and do not identify with its culture and traditions cannot help but remain visitors. The failure to acculturate immigrants into the liberal Western democracies is arguably at the core of the growing balkanization, and attendant instability, of Western nation-states, in Europe as well as in the United States.
                                                                                                        Read the whole thing. 

                                                                                                        Happy Easter

                                                                                                        BBC Scotland 


                                                                                                        Survival Weapons: The AK Rifle

                                                                                                        Source: "AK-47, AKM/AKMS and AK-74 Blueprints"--The Firearms Blog
                                                                                                               The AK (Avtomat Kalashnikova) series of rifles were originally developed as select-fire military rifles. Due to U.S. laws, the variants that you will encounter (at least in the United States) will be semi-automatic only weapons. The AK system is widely distributed--I've seen estimates of between 80 and 100 million manufactured--with many variations and modifications depending on the country of manufacture and, with civilian versions, variations between manufacturers and per the tastes of the individual buyer. The majority of AK weapons fire the 7.62x39mm cartridge; in the 1970's, the Soviet Union and certain of its satellite countries adopted a 5.45x39mm cartridge in response to U.S. adoption of the 5.56 mm M-16.

                                                                                                               Because the AK can be accessorized and customized almost as much as the AR series of weapons, it would be fruitless to discuss all possible variations. Accordingly, I am going to focus on the "standard" Soviet and Warsaw Pact weapons that you will most generally see converted to semi-auto and sold in the United States.

                                                                                                        A Brief History

                                                                                                               The AK rifle (really a carbine) was part of a program of development to produce a weapon comparable in performance to the German STG 44 Sturmgewehr ("storm rifle" or "assault rifle"). Prior to and during World War 2, the Soviet Union, Germany and the United States had put considerable effort into developing semi-automatic and automatic weapons in the hands of standard infantry troops with varying success. Most of the major combatants issued submachine guns to limited numbers of troops, and although the use of such weapons increased as the war progressed, it was never a satisfactory solution as a primary infantry weapon. The United States, of course, had adopted the semi-automatic M-1 "Garand" rifle in the late 1930s, and was the only major combatant to issue a semi-automatic rifle as a general service weapon. It was augmented with the M-1 Carbine, another semi-automatic weapon using a light weight cartridge. The Germans and Soviets experimented with different semi-automatic and select fire weapons, even issuing some to specialized troops, but the results were not satisfactory for various reasons, including the recoil impulse from the standard rifle ammunition, weight, and complexity of such weapons.

                                                                                                               The M-1 Carbine should have pointed the way, but it didn't. Rather, that fell to the STG 44 which was significant because it introduced an "intermediate" cartridge: the 7.92x33mm Kurz, which was simply the German 8 mm round put into a shortened case. Combined with a select fire mechanism and detachable box magazines, it had many of the advantages of the submachine gun, but with the greater range and power offered by the intermediate cartridge. The weapons saw quite a bit of use on Germany's Eastern Front, and impressed the Soviets who wanted to field their own weapon.

                                                                                                               Somewhat surprisingly for being a communist country, the Soviet Union decided to use a competitive system to develop its assault rifle. Gathering several teams of designers, engineers, and craftsmen, each team was to develop a prototype, which would then be tested against each other, and then go through repeated cycles, where the teams could borrow ideas from one another, until the number of prototypes were whittled down and a winning design adopted for production. (If the United States had followed a similar procedure, we might have avoided the fiasco that accompanied the long and expensive development of the M-14, its problematic roll out, and its early withdrawal from service).  Mikhail Kalashnikov was the lead designer on one of the teams--the team that ultimately produced the winning rifle--and thus his name was attached to the weapon system. (Kalashnikov was a prodigious inventor whose interest extended to all sorts of machinery besides firearms).

                                                                                                               Although the final rifle has a similar layout to the STG 44, the two rifles are very different. Kalashnikov used a bolt system similar to the M-1 Garand, but simplified by putting the gas tube over the rifle. The rifle used a long-stroke piston with generous tolerances, which made it very reliable although magnifying the recoil impulse somewhat. The trigger mechanism is very simple (no German could have invented such a simple system--the CETME started out with as simple a trigger and, when fully gone over by German engineers, wound up the heavy, complicated monstrosity found on the HK series of rifles and submachine guns).

                                                                                                               Reflecting the cold weather fighting and use of gloves by Soviet troops, the stock is somewhat short to allow its use with heavy clothing, the pistol grip is smaller in order to accommodate using gloves, and the trigger guard is over sized. Because Soviet doctrine revolved around the mass employment of firepower from line infantry, the sights were adjustable from 100 to 1,000 meters (later reduced to 800 meters) to allow indirect fire, but with a "battle-field" setting of 300 meters. All AK rifles were issued with a cleaning rod, and for those rifles with fixed stocks, a cleaning and maintenance kit was included in a trap in the butt stock. The result was a short, handy weapon that was simple to maintain in the field.

                                                                                                               The weapon (initially designated the AK-47) was intended to be produced with metal stampings to as great an extent as possible, including the receiver, dust cover, and trigger guard. However, the Soviet's manufacturing capabilities were not quite up to mass production using stampings, and so after a brief time, the Soviets switched over to using a milled receiver, which made the rifle much heavier. However, these difficulties were overcome and so, in 1959, the Soviets introduced a new model of the AK designated the AKM which main differences were the use of a stamped receiver, a simplified trigger assembly, and the addition of a slant muzzle brake. (Although generally referred to a muzzle break, I suspect that the primary purpose of the device is to prevent dust from being kicked up when shooting from a prone position or off a support like sand bags, a wall or roof).

                                                                                                               Based on their observations and experience in the Vietnam War, the Soviets were suitably impressed by the United States' M-16 rifle and lightweight 5.56 mm cartridge and embarked on developing a similar cartridge. However, wanting to minimize changes in manufacturing processes, the Soviets were determined to make the new caliber use as much of the same parts as the AKM as possible. Thus, in 1974, the Soviets introduced a new rifle using the 5.45x39mm cartridge. The primary differences between the new AK-74 and the AKM, besides a change in the bolt size because of the different caliber, was the introduction of a true recoil brake, a different forward sight assembly that was threaded to accept said brake (the AKM had used a barrel threaded at the end), and, due to the new ammunition, the gas port had to be drilled into the barrel at a 90 degree angle rather than the 45 degree angle of the AK-47 and AKM. Thus, instead of a gas block with a distinctive 45 degree slant on the front, the AK-74 used a gas block that was squared off and vertical to the gas port. Another important difference was that the Soviets switched to using polymer (initially Bakelite) magazines instead of the heavier stamped steel magazines.

                                                                                                               Obviously, Russia has continued to modify and improve their rifles, including adoption of polymer stock systems, folding stocks, and differing barrel lengths for different troops. Variants of the rifles were not only made by Soviet bloc countries and allies (including China), but also appeared in Finland (the Valmet) and Israel (the Galil).

                                                                                                               The majority of parts kits imported into the United States were AKM (or variants of the same), mostly from the former East Germany, Poland, Romania, and other Soviet client states and satellites. AK-74 (i.e., 5.45 mm) kits were imported in much smaller numbers because it has been less widely adopted prior to the fall of the Soviet Union. Most of these kits were from Bulgaria and Poland as they joined NATO and, perforce, were required to upgrade their infantry weapons to NATO standards. Parts continue to be made in Bulgaria (and possibly other former East Bloc countries) and imported, in addition to companies in the U.S. beginning to make their own parts, so new AK weapons will continue to arrive in the U.S. market.

                                                                                                        Specifications

                                                                                                               The specifications for the AKM are as follows:
                                                                                                        • Weight: 6.83 lbs (3.1 kg)
                                                                                                        • Length (overall): 34.6 inches (880 mm).
                                                                                                        • Barrel length: 16.3 inches (415 mm).
                                                                                                        • Caliber: 7.62x39mm.
                                                                                                               The specifications for the AK-74 are as follows:
                                                                                                        • Weight: 6.8 lbs (3.07 kg)
                                                                                                        • Length (overall): 37.1 inches (943 mm)
                                                                                                        • Barrel length: 16.3 inches (415 mm)
                                                                                                        • Caliber: 5.45x39mm.
                                                                                                        Basic Operation

                                                                                                               The operation of both the AKM and AK-74 are the same. There is a combination safety/selector lever on the right side of the weapon. When it is pushed up all of the way, it not only blocks the cocking handle from being drawn back, but also closes off the opening behind the cocking handle to keep dirt and other debris out of the action. Obviously, with a civilian weapon, the only other setting for the selector/safety is semi-automatic firing, which requires pushing the selector lever down until it hits its stop.

                                                                                                               The selector level is made of stamped steel, with two small shelves at the front of it to push the lever up and down. The most efficient method of operating the safety is, with the thumb of your right hand hooked behind the pistol grip and the rest of your hand flat, use your first or second finger to catch the shelf on the selector lever and move it up or down as needed. (See the video below: 17 min.)



                                                                                                               The cocking handle is attached to the bolt carrier group (and thus reciprocating), and projects out of the left side of the weapon. Cocking requires that the bolt carrier be drawn to the rear and released to pick up a round from the magazine.

                                                                                                               Civilian weapons are semi-automatic, and so each pull of the trigger will fire one round. Like most military style rifles, it uses a two-stage trigger with a moderate take up before finally hitting the wall and releasing the hammer. Unfortunately, the AK series does not have a bolt hold open, so there is no indication that you have reached the end of the rounds in the magazine until you hear or feel the "click" on an empty chamber. For U.S. made weapons, the Tapco G-2 trigger group seems popular. However, I prefer the Arsenal trigger group. I polished off the rough matte surface with a brass brush on my Dremel and had a very smooth, light trigger with the appearance of blued steel. If this is not good enough, however, I've seen recently that there are match trigger "drop in" units available. However, whichever trigger you use, you can be rest assured that the AK triggers are superior to many other combat rifles.

                                                                                                               The magazine release is a lever conveniently located centrally under the receiver between the trigger guard and the magazine well. Although it could be longer, it is adequate. To unload the magazine, the general practice is to grip the magazine at the top with your hand, and use your thumb to pull the lever forward. Then rock the magazine forward and down. Inserting the magazine is the opposite: insert the front of the magazine into its catch and then rock the back of the magazine up until it locks into place. There are three methods of making a quick reload, which are aptly described in the video below (15 min.): (1) using the new magazine to strike the magazine release and knock the old magazine out and then rock a new magazine into place; (2) grasping the new magazine in your support hand, use your thumb to actuate the magazine release and knock the old magazine out; and (3) as you bring your support hand back to make the reload, first drop the old magazine before bringing your hand all of the way back to get the new magazine. As you will note, the author of the video turns the rifle on its side to allow him to reach and operate the cocking handle with his support hand.




                                                                                                               The standard AKM does not have a method of attaching an optical sight. The Soviets developed a side rail to which you can attach a scope mount. However, many civilian models--whether an AKM or AK-74 style--will have the side rail.

                                                                                                        Accessories and Parts

                                                                                                              While there are not as many after market accessories available for the AK as the AR, there are still a large selection of accessories compared to any other rifle, and the variety and number of available accessories keep increasing--there is much more available now than even a few years ago, with some major players, such as Magpul, having entering the market. I have found K-Var to be a good source for parts and accessories.

                                                                                                               Some of the common accessories people get are more ergonomic pistol grips, updated hand guards (especially with rails or attachments for installing rails), and an upgraded stock. One of the issues to be aware of is that rapid fire can heat up the hand guard fairly rapidly. Polymer hand guards, unless they incorporate a heat shield, can and will melt. Not an issue for a range toy, but since this article presumes that the weapon is intended for self-defense/combat, you really should have a hand guard with a heat shield. Arsenal sells a polymer hand guard with a metal heat shield, as does Magpul. The Arsenal hand guards are similar to the Russian polymer hand guards, including the palm swell that is located just ahead of the front of the receiver. The Magpul hand guards have M-Lok slots to which rail sections or other items may be attached.

                                                                                                               There are various attachment options for sights, but most are not very good. Some attach to the side rail (mentioned above) which allows the sight to be mounted close to eye, but may interfere with removing the dust cover and bolt carrier group to clean the weapon. Others replace the iron sight with a device (e.g., Midwest Industries AK Mini Dot Mount) or rail (e.g., Scout Scope AK Mount Kit) to which an optical sight can be attached. Some methods use a rail system that locks into the mount for the iron sight, and extend back over the dust cover and lock to the rear of the receiver; typically, these are "hinged" at the front so they can be unlatched and tilted up to allow access for cleaning and maintenance (e.g., Krebs Custom Rear Sight Rail System). Finally, there are both replacement gas tubes (e.g., UltiMAK Optics Mount top cover) with rails and replacement front handguards with rails for mounting an optical sight, such as a red dot. Tactical Life has a review of 14 such systems. I would eschew any such system that requires removal or replacement of the rear sight, unless mounting something like Krebs system. I have used the Midwest Industries product, and although Midwest Industries products are normally very good, after using it for awhile, I feel the AK Mini Dot Mount is too fragile for use in the field.

                                                                                                                There are several manufacturers that make better quality pistol grips, such as U.S. Palm and Magpul. I have used the Magpul pistol grip, and find it to be very comfortable, with the added bonus of a storage compartment.

                                                                                                               There are many manufacturers that make stocks for the AK, with two of the most prolific being Magpul and Tapco. There are also attachments available that allow you to use butt stocks designed for the AR. Some AKs come with folding stocks (which generally use a different receiver and rear trunnion from the standard AKM or AK-74). Aftermarket folding stocks are available, including several that are designed to fit on a standard rear trunnion.

                                                                                                               Russian and Bulgarian folding stocks (both the triangular steel and polymer models) generally fold to the left of the weapon, which allows the safety and trigger to be operated even with the stock folded. Unfortunately, the cocking handle protrudes to the right, so a case for a folded weapon must be able to accommodate the cocking handle sticking out the opposite side.  Most U.S. designed folding stocks (including the system offered by Magpul) fold to the right, and thus this is not a problem (although it prevents access to the selector lever). So, it depends on whether you want the most compact package, or be able to use the weapon with the stock folded.

                                                                                                               Replacement rear sights and front sight posts are available to allow you to customize the weapon as you like. Night sights with tritium elements can also be purchased. However, if you are intending on using an optical sight of some type, I think you might just as well leave the standard sights in place.

                                                                                                               As discussed above, the selector lever is not as easy to manipulate as on an AR. Krebs offers an aftermarket "enhanced" lever that sports a shelf closer to trigger guard allowing you to use your forefinger without breaking your grip and, as a bonus, a slot to hold the cocking handle back to allow easier access to the chamber. Frankly, however, the latter feature allows debris to enter the mechanism. And, given how easy it is to remove the dust cover and bolt carrier, having a slot to hold the cocking handle back seems to be of dubious value unless it is simply to make it easier to satisfy a range-Nazi that the weapon is, indeed, unloaded. There are other replacement levers offered, however, that don't have the slot to hold the bolt open and may be of interest. (Update: It has been pointed out to me that the slot to hold the bolt open would be useful for helping cool the weapon after a long string of shots by holding the blot back and, thus, allowing air to circulate through the barrel).

                                                                                                        Thoughts and Impressions

                                                                                                               I have shot both the 7.62 and 5.45 models, and, frankly like both. The weapon is easy to operate and maintain (born out by its popularity throughout the Third World). With good ammo, accuracy is acceptable at battlefield distances. The problem being that most people do not use good ammo, but inexpensive plinking ammo of varying quality. The standard sights, being a notch and post variety, are quick for close up work, but harder to use for longer ranges. All of this contributes to an unwarranted reputation for being inaccurate.

                                                                                                               The primary point to remember about this weapon, and why it is still widely used, is that it is reliable. Everything from the simple mechanism, generous tolerances, chromed barrels (at least for the original barrels), the selector lever sealing the inside mechanism, a strong extractor, and even the tapering cartridge cases, all contribute to reliable feeding and extraction. Although it does not perform as well as a sealed AR when put to the "mud" tests popular on many You Tube channels, the weapon is certainly more reliable than most any other rifle in the world. However, having a shovel full or two of mud dumped on top of your rifle is not the biggest risk facing a prepper. Rather, general exposure to the elements and lack of cleaning are probably more of a problem. If you have a chromed barrel, or similar, the AK will tolerate both elements and lack of cleaning.

                                                                                                               It is also a fairly rugged weapon--a descriptor that I would not use for the AR. Where this shows up, besides the stock assembly, is the cocking handle. The cocking mechanism on the AR is thin and lightweight. The cocking handle on the AK is affixed to the bolt carrier. If you had to kick the cocking handle to open the bolt, you could do so.

                                                                                                               The only issue I've noticed is that if the weapon gets wet (such as carrying or using in the rain), there are a lot of nooks and crannies where water can hide and, if your finish is worn or scratched, result in rusting. This is especially problematic around the lever and block that locks the gas tube into place. I suppose a large number of nooks and crannies is a problem with most modern combat rifles. But, the point is that, unlike a typical hunting rifle which is easily wiped down, the AK will take a bit more care after a rain storm or dunk in a stream if you want to keep it in a pristine condition.

                                                                                                               There are some subtle features to the AK that I also like. As I noted above, the weapon was intended for colder climates (the infamous Russian winter), and the dimensions and design of its stock, pistol grip handle, and trigger guard are premised around heavy clothing and gloves. There is a "hump" on the bottom of the hand guard, where the hand guard abuts the receiver, which is intended as a palm swell. That is, if you put the palm of your hand under the "hump", it naturally places your arm in a good position to hold the weapon.

                                                                                                               Recoil of the 7.62 round is noticeably more than a 5.56, but certainly much less than .308 or other medium calibers. The primary problem with the 7.62x39 round is that it lacks wounding potential. The bullet is so stable, that there is minimal yaw; and the velocity is low enough that, except at short ranges, expansion of even soft point ammunition is questionable. (See, e.g., my prior post on "Wounding Effects of the AK-47 Rifle...." and the "7.62x39 (M43)" article at Terminal Ballistics Research). The Russians developed a special bullet to address this issue--the 8M3. Absent that, however, I would recommend stocking up with soft-point bullets or other bullets intended for hunting.

                                                                                                               The 5.45x39 round is very comparable to the 5.56 ballistically, although the recoil is somewhat less. However, the Russians initially had a problem with the 5.45 not yawing either. This was remedied by a change in bullet design to include a hollow cavity in the tip of the bullet that caused it to violently yaw upon striking a soft target. If you are shooting surplus 5.45, it likely will be very effective against a target notwithstanding being full metal jacket. The 7N6 surplus 5.45 will outperform M855 at ranges beyond 150 yards. (See "Graphic Results from live-fire 7N6 Surplus 5.45x39mm rounds – video included"). Unfortunately, 7N6 can no longer be imported because it uses a steel core. Nevertheless, in looking at this video (6 min.) of Red Army Standard 69 grain 5.45, the results in ballistic gelatin is still impressive.


                                                                                                              Twenty or thirty years ago, it would have been insane to use a Soviet bloc weapon such as the AKM or AK-74 as a survival/prepping weapon because of the lack of parts and ammunition. Today, 7.62x39 ammunition is readily available, and parts and accessories are common. 5.45x39 is harder to find (at least in my area), but there are sources of ammunition on line, and Hornady makes high quality ammunition for the more demanding shooter.

                                                                                                               For a long time, AK rifles (whether imported or built from parts kits) offered a distinct advantage over the AR in terms of price. That advantage has largely evaporated (although ammunition prices are still generally less). AKs now fall within the same general cost range as ARs, depending on quality and features. Nevertheless, I think that the AK is still a very viable option for the prepper/survivalist. That its basic design is still being used, even as new models roll out, and its adaptability, speaks highly of the weapon.

                                                                                                               To me, one of the biggest advantages to the AK rifle is that when you purchase one, you have a complete rifle. Sure, you can upgrade bits and pieces, but its all there. ARs seem increasingly to be sold without a full set of sights, or sights that are only suitable as backup sights. Many don't even come with sling swivels.

                                                                                                               On the other hand, in this day of optical sights, the AK really suffers because it simply was never designed or intended to carry an optic. A significant improvement in the most recent AK models to appear in Russia is to replace the flimsy stamped steel dust cover over the receiver with something more substantial and solid and sporting a rail allowing optics to be mounted. That said, if all you are going to use is a red dot (especially some of the smaller, lighter weight units), changing out the gas tube/upper hand guard with one sporting a rail, and mounting the red dot forward on the weapon is an entirely acceptable solution. And if you want flashlights or vertical fore grips, etc., there are many hand guard systems available that sport rails or allow you to attach rails or accessories. I have the Magpul MOE system, and it is an inexpensive and easy solution allowing to mount accessories to the weapon--far better than some of the older options that clamped onto the barrel.

                                                                                                               Another thing about the AK is that it is not a rifleman's rifle. The barrel is not (and cannot be) free floated. You can shorten the barrel and gas system (with the help of a gun smith), but there are no heavy barrel options. You cannot mount different uppers in different calibers or configurations. What you see is what you get.

                                                                                                               As I noted above, the safety/selector lever is not as easily manipulated as on other weapons, and is noisy. It also is not amenable to being converted to an ambidextrous system, if that is important to you.

                                                                                                               In short, the stock AK system is a viable defensive weapon. While there are those that argue that it is obsolete compared to the AR, they are comparing it against a modern AR. It is no more obsolete than a 1960s or 1970s AR would be. And it is easily updated to carry modern optics and flashlights. It is a weapon intended and usable for CQB and ranges within 300 yards. But if you want something sporting a telescopic sight or a larger/heavier red-dot sight, it probably is not the rifle for you.
                                                                                                             
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