Friday, July 31, 2020

Book Review: "Street Focused Handgun Training--Vol. 1: Equipment" by Ralph Mroz

Book: Street Focused Handgun Training - Volume 1: Equipment by Ralph Mroz (99 pages).

Notice: I am not being paid for this review, but I did receive a copy of the book for free for purposes of review.

      This book is the first of a three book series, with the other two covering the general topics of training and tactics, respectively. Mroz indicates the book is intended for the intermediate and advanced shooter. I would disagree, at least to this volume, because the book contains so much information that would be useful to even a beginner shooter, and probably save them hundreds of dollars and bad shooting experience. The book is intermediate to advanced in the sense that you generally don't learn the lessons set out in the book until you have become an experienced shooter. But perhaps the author recognizes that his advice might not be appreciated by someone that was not an experienced shooter.

      I can say, however, that I wished that I had been given a copy of this book when I was younger and first considering concealed carry.

      I grew up shooting, to a certain extent, because my father was a hunter but also enjoyed firearms, and so shooting trips were family activities. I didn't start to become serious about shooting, though, until my early 20s, when I was old enough to purchase a handgun for myself. That time--the early 1990s--was a time of considerable change in the firearms and shooting world. The "shall-issue" movement had just started, and only a few states required the state or local sheriff to issue concealed carry permits to eligible applicants, and widespread "Constitutional carry" was not even on the horizon. Thus, articles about defensive shooting and equipment was oriented toward the person using a handgun in the home. The "wonder 9s"--the high capacity 9 mm pistols that started to become popular in the 1980s--ruled the roost, much to the chagrin of gun writers who, almost exclusively, favored a 1911 in .45 ACP for defensive purposes. Most information on defensive shooting was delivered to the public through the major firearms periodicals, and the writers that penned those articles were typically writing from the perspective of a law enforcement background.

     So that was the general background when concealed carry "shall issue" laws began to storm across the nation, including my own State of Idaho. When I embarked on the journey of concealed carry, there was very little good information for the civilian concealed carry shooter. The gun writers, which, as I noted, mostly came from a law enforcement background, viewed concealed carry from the perspective of a plains-clothes police officer or an off-duty police officer largely unconcerned if the weapon printed or his employer found out that he was carrying a firearm, as well as being unconcerned about the carrying of a firearm by someone with physical ailments or handicaps, or women. If you were lucky, the author might have had some experience carrying a firearm in an undercover assignment. I remember reading an article by an author whose background was executive protection requiring very discreet carry, and it was like a breath of fresh air.

     The situation has vastly changed. There is plethora of good information from trainers and shooters that operate blogs, author books, and publish videos. Trainers now have decades of experience with analyzing, testing, and teaching techniques intended for the civilian shooter. So, whether their background is law enforcement, military, or some other background, quality and experienced trainers and authors have a much better understanding of the operational requirements of the civilian gun owner and concealed carrier. In addition, Internet sales of books gives us access to both old and new books on shooting and defense that weren't easily located when I was younger.

     Now the problem is an overload of data, and trying to discern between the good, bad or indifferent. One of my goals with this blog was to try and point people to different sources and information to not only allow readers to find good and useful information, but present different perspectives.

     What Mroz has done with his book is to distill a lot of information into a usable format. In addition, he has heeded the old adage that a book (or an article) should be like a woman's skirt: long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting. He also is willing to admit that there are different opinions out there on some subjects (even going as far as stating that he could argue the opposite or alternative position). And he kills some sacred cows in the process.

     The subjects covered in the book are many and varied, and pertain not just to equipment, but also to use of the equipment. Keep in mind that this book is written for the person that is looking at defense from the perspective of someone interested in defending their household or the concealed carrier defending himself. He notes some instances where the military or law enforcement has a different mission and might need or use different equipment.

     The topics include:
  • Seven must-have items that will make you a better shooter.
  • Why handguns over long guns such as rifles/carbines and shotguns.
  • A look at what is your purpose for the defensive handgun--protection of a "flock" or protecting yourself--and its impact on your decision making process.
  • Why handguns should be zeroed at 25 yards.
  • Why the author zeroes his handgun for his practice ammo.
  • Why the author doesn't worry about getting the latest and greatest defensive carry ammo.
  • Why he recommends against light triggers.
  • Handgun capacity and how much it matters.
  • Why you don't need a $2,000 wonder gun.
  • A look at why small handguns may be just the ticket for you as a concealed carrier (including a look at why you might choose the lightest snub-nose revolver you can find).
  • His reasoning why some people may be better off using a revolver for a home defense handgun.
  • Why he thinks DA/SA pistols should only be used by experts.
  • Takes a look at ankle carry and why it is generally impractical for the civilian shooter.
  • Provides advice as to what to look for in a concealed carry holster and belt, the trade-offs as between different types of holsters and methods of carry, and some advice for women (as they have a different body-shape than men which changes the efficacy of certain methods of carry).
  • Why you should avoid gimmick weapons and what other weapons (other than a firearm) or training (empty-hand skills) you should consider.
  • Off-body carry, both the pros and cons of doing so, as well as picking a pack that doesn't scream "gun".
  • A discussion on handheld and weapon mounted tactical lights, including their use, useful (or harmful) options and features, and required ruggedness.
  • A nice discussion of various BOBs and ready bags and items to include--particularly for the urban environment.
  • A look at defensive knives and their uses, and why you need to get this information from a knife guy, not a gun guy.
    If you are a newbie, I would just recommend following the author's advice because it is very good and, to be honest, I agree with most of what he says. Experienced shooters and knowledgeable individuals probably won't agree with him on certain points, and that is okay because the author explains his reasoning and it challenges you to articulate your reasoning to the contrary.

    For instance, with only a couple examples (small-of-the-back and ankle carry), Mroz appears to be fine with basically any holster or method of carry that works well for the person, even offering a defense of (gasp!) off-body carry. I know that a lot of experienced shooters will not agree. Off-body carry is generally verboten within the concealed carry community (with the possible exception of fanny-packs). Other trainers for whom I have a great deal of respect (e.g., Jon Low), take the position that safety considerations--particularly to avoid muzzling other persons or yourself--dictate strong side carry. And that may be good advice for newbies, for one of the benefits of experience is knowing when you can safely bend or break the “rules” of how best carry a handgun.

    Another example is that Mroz very much does not like the DA/SA semi-automatic pistols. His reasoning is that the widely different trigger pull between DA and SA shooting not only results in most shooters missing the first shot, but that missing on the first shot is tantamount to negligence. On the other hand, there are experienced shooters who would disagree; in fact, DA/SA pistols are experiencing a bit of a resurgence of interest. I actually like DA/SA because I like the added safety of a long trigger pull for the first shot. But I also have experience shooting revolvers in double-action, including the heavy trigger pull of a S&W J-frame and my dry fire practice with the DA/SA is always in double action. Because of that, the long DA trigger-pull is not an issue for me at standard defensive distances, and the light SA trigger pull is really just a bonus.

     But I appreciate Mroz's honesty. For instance, when discussing why he doesn't use the "best" ammo, he explains:
      Handguns are all pretty pathetic as one-shot, right-here-now manstoppers. All of them. Nonetheless, the gun geeks spend countless hours going through the shooting data (such as it is) and the ballistics (which is plentiful) to arrive at the best wonder round with which to stoke their carry gun.

      First, ballistic data is from gelatin blocks, which are homogeneous, non-motivated mediums, and thus very much unlike human beings. True, if you want to see how much destruction a round is likely to do on average in many actual shootings over time, they can provide a rough correlation.

      But we don't care about damage; we care about causing the bad guy not hurting us. And here we are dealing with actual, motivated human beings. We want them to break contact (to quote Claude Werner), not die. I believe that most of the serious researchers have come to the conclusion that there's almost no difference in handgun calibers towards this end (breaking contact), which means that there's almost no difference in the particular round you carry in particular gun. You can search for material published by Claude and by Greg Ellifritz on this subject which has influenced me on this matter.

      So, I don't obsess over the particular round in my .38 snubby or my 9mm pistol. In fact, I don't really want what the data would tell me is the "best"--which usually means the most destructive--round, because this round is likely to be one that's either exotic or not in widespread use [Ed: e.g., the Federal Ranger LE ammunition which is practically unobtainable for the civilian]. Instead I want a round that is in widespread use, particularly by law enforcement agencies and issued by my state's state police if possible. I don't want an unusual round in my gun for the same reason I don't want handloads. This just opens the door to a slimy prosecutor arguing, "The rounds that our state police carry weren't deadly enough to Mr. Mroz--he had to manufacture his own super-deadly rounds in his basement [or seek out exotic super-deadly rounds from merchants of death]." [Ed: "Objection. Lack of foundation, facts not in evidence, relevance.The issue, your Honor, is whether my client acted in self-defense, not the type of ammunition he used."]. If I'm in court, it's because either the facts of the shooting weren't clear (as they often aren't) or because the prosecutor is out to get me (as they often are, either to make some bones or because they hate guns). In either case I don't need to give them extra ammunition (pun intended) by my choice of it.

       Every justified self-defense shooting involves survival of two kinds: during the fact of the attack, and after in court. If there's almost no difference in round effectiveness in the former (breaking contact), why stack the deck against myself in the latter?
As you can see from this excerpt. Mroz packs a lot of information into a small space and directs you where to find additional information. He does so throughout the book.

     So, in conclusion, there is a lot of information packed into a small amount of material in Mroz's book. He has collected and presented in an interesting manner information that might otherwise take years and substantial effort, time and/or money to learn on your own. Consequently, I believe this book is a very useful and worthy addition to your bookshelf ... or, rather, your Kindle. The book is available as a Kindle e-book from Amazon for $4.49.

Update 7/31: some edits for purposes of clarification.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

A Quick Run Around the Web (7/29/2020)

"Stop Buying Different Guns"--Warrior Poet Society (5 min.)
If you are buying weapons for self-defense, the author suggests that you focus on those few you need and stop buying superfluous firearms. If you have something that just doesn't work for you, the author is not saying to correct it, even if that means buying another gun, nor trying to discourage collectors from collecting. Flashlights, on the other hand....

  • Related to the topic discussed in the video above: "TX2GUNS: PUTTING THE FIGHT BEFORE THE TOOL"--American Partisan. Key part: "As responsible CO’s we have to be careful not to become more TOOL focused than FIGHT focused. The entire mentality of WINNING THE FIGHT, lies not in the tool itself. As Jeff Cooper famously said,  'Any GUN will do, if you will do'; or to say it another way, 'Any TOOL will do, if you will do!' It lies in having the mindset of 'I am going to survive this day, no matter what it takes.'"
  • Having just mentioned a video warning against buying lots of different firearms: "Walther’s New PPK: What Is Old Is New Again"--Guns America. I think it has been nearly 2 years since Walther started saying that it was going to release an American made PPK. But, for some inexplicable reason, Walther decided to concentrate on producing a new PPK/S (a hybrid using the larger PP frame and the PPK slide and barrel, originally intended to get around the "sporting purpose" import requirement of the 1968 Gun Control Act). I take it from this article that Walther is finally starting to release the smaller framed PPK. Now if only they'd make it in .32 ACP so it can be the true Bond gun!
  • Grant Cunningham has a new Hump Day Reading List up. Topics this week are a look at what defensive skills you really need, the fantasy versus the reality of a defensive shooting, and a look at the practice of everyday carry.
  • "Selco: 'Here Are Some of the WORST Pieces of Prepping Advice I’ve Heard'"--Organic Prepper. I have to admit that I haven't heard some of the advice articulated by preppers (but I also don't hang around on AR15 or other boards). For instance, the last one on his list has to do with recommending skate boards for post-SHTF transportation. The first one he mentions is pretty important: "Handle everything with violence." I don't know anyone that has seriously suggested that; and, obviously, it is nothing to which I subscribe. I suppose even if unsaid, it could be inferred from how much a person's preps or advice have to do with armed conflict: beware the prepper who only stockpiles arms and ammunition. On the other hand, people tend to pontificate about what interests them and/or about which they are knowledgeable. And let's face it, no matter how important you believe food storage to be, discussing the merits of dial gauge versus pressure gauge canners will never be as interesting as the perennial issue of what is the best defensive caliber: 9 mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. And, to be honest, if you have to deal with violent people, such as Selco often describes in his experiences from the Balkan wars, you will have more leverage if you are able to deal violence in return.
  • "“Don’t Run in a Straight Line” and other Bad Advice"--Active Response Training. Greg Ellifritz used his students to test whether running in a zig-zag motion or in a crouched position to get to cover was actually better than just running in a straight line. The basic answer is "no." He found that a zig-zag motion was better for avoiding getting shot in the head or center of mass, but that your change of getting shot was about the same between all three, with running in a crouched position as the worst of the three. He writes:
Surprisingly for me, there wasn’t much difference in hit rates between any of the running methods.  No matter which method the runner employed, he or she got shot 52%-55% of the time.  Despite the “experts'” recommendations against it, the straight line run resulted in the smallest percentage of hits.  But even more importantly, it also resulted in the fewest number of SHOTS FIRED.  The runners were moving so fast that in three of the test runs (25%), the shooters were unable to fire a second round.  Even if hit percentages are similar between the three methods, anything we can do to reduce the total number of rounds a shooter will fire is likely to improve our chances of a safe escape.
  • "Fighting Leather: The Cross Draw"--Revolver Guy. The author in this article gives a detailed history of the cross draw holsters starting with cavalry holsters in the 19th Century, but with a primary focus on the police holsters that were used up into the 1970s. Interesting article for those interested in firearms fighting history. While the author focuses on the influence of cavalry on the adoption and use of cross-draw holsters in the United States, there was actually another, more practical reason that most militaries and police worse holsters on the left (weak hand) side: back when people actually used to wear belts around their waists (instead of the hips as today), the firearm was too high on the body to be drawn from the same side. (You can actually infer this from watching older Westerns where the gunfighting belts hung much lower than the pants belt). I think Lindybeige on YouTube has done a video on this (which I could not locate) as well as Bloke on the Range
       I'm currently evaluating a cross draw holster I received from Craft Holsters, so I thought this article was serendipitous. I haven't used cross-draw before to the best of my memory. And unlike the video, I have positioned it in front of the hip bone. This makes it easier to reach and more comfortable sitting down. I was surprised at how well it conceals underneath a loose shirt. Anyway, I'll have a review up shortly. 
  • And another important type of fighting leather: "Best of the Best Survival Gloves"--The Survivalist Blog. Even if you have heavily calloused hands, barbs, splinters, power tools, and hot (or very cold) objects don't play well. The author of this article has split his picks up as to the type or purpose of the gloves--e.g., work gloves, mechanic's gloves, cold weather gloves, etc.--and then listing brands/models that he likes. Since I shop at Costco, a tend to get Head brand gloves for cool or cold weather. My favorite pair for general wear is the light weight synthetic "running" gloves that allow the use of touch screens (here they are at Walmart). These generally do a good job of keeping my hands warm if I have taken the trouble to otherwise dress warmly (including a good hat--i.e., the old saying of "if you feet are cold, put on a hat" applies to hands as well). They also work well also for shooting (because they are tight to the skin) and light or medium duty labor (because they are actually quite durable). The problem is that they don't work well when wet.
  • You can't block the signal: "The FGC-9 Fulfills The Promise Of 3D Printed Guns"--En Bloc Press. The full set of files, plans, and instructions essentially allow you to build a 9 mm handgun using a 3-D printer and parts that you can easily find and purchase even in areas with significant gun control. They even tell you how to use electrical etching techniques to rifle a barrel. Impro Guns has a nice photograph of a fully completed, nicely finished version
  • Storing fats and oils--some articles I've found:
The common thread through all of these is that it is difficult to store oils and fats for a long time without them going rancid--particularly cooking oils. There are some easy things to do: keep the oil in a cool, dark place and away from oxygen (this means that you are better off to have several small bottles over having a single large bottle). Some oils or fats can be stored long term in refrigerator or frozen (for instance, butter does very well frozen). Some oils (specifically, coconut oil) will store longer than typical vegetable oils. And, of course, from a nutritional standpoint, you can store canned, fatty meats. 
  • In a similar vein, some articles on storage of sources of protein:
  • "The Ultimate Guide to Survival Lighting in Emergency Situations"--Alpha Survivalist. This is a good overview of lighting from EDC flashlights to different types of home emergency lighting (candles, kerosene lanterns, etc.). My only complaint is that the author skipped over propane lanterns. While flashlights and electric lanterns are fine for a short power outage, my wife and I have relied on propane lanterns for longer outages (as well as camping). They are clean and provide good light. Ever since Greg Ellifritz started discussing using a rechargable flashlight for his EDC light, I've been taking a closer look at those, particularly for high output lights. One advantage I see for the prepper is that they can be recharged using a power pack, which can, in turn, be charged from your car or a solar panel.
  • "How to Help a Cop During a Life-Threatening Struggle"--Active Response Training. Like a doctor, the first rule is to do no harm. Don't make matters worse. So, keep your gun concealed as you approach; identify yourself to the officer and ask him if he needs assistance; and if you do have to fire your weapon, holster it immediately afterward so other officers showing up on the scene don't shoot you! Needless to say, read the whole thing.
  • "Century Arms C308 Sporter" a review by Pat Cascio at The Survival Blog. A low cost option for a 7.62 NATO battle rifle. Cascio's only real complaint was that it was difficult to pull back the charging handle, which seemed to correct itself with polishing the face of the hammer (over which the bolt carrier and bolt rode) and use. Unfortunately, he doesn't describe the problem except to say that it took a lot of force. My first rifle build projects was a CETME Model C (the rifle on which the HK G3 is based), and I had intermittent problems with cocking the rifle. As some background, the way the CETME and the G3 work is that when the cocking handle, which normally is folded down to keep it out of the way, is pulled out, it pushes back on the bolt carrier and forces the locking rollers on the bolt to pop loose so you can draw back the bolt. Occasionally, on mine however, rather than unlocking the rollers, it simply pushed the bolt back a slight bit and then the still locked rollers would pull the bolt back into it forward position. The reason, I determined, was because the head spacing was slightly off--just enough that sometimes the rollers would not unlock. The solution (and this is how to fix head-spacing issues on the rifle) is to install different sized rollers (in my case, I needed larger rollers). It's not a difficult job, so I purchased new rollers (the rollers are interchangeable between the CETME and the G3), switched them out, and that solved the problem.
  • "Purdue and US Army Develop Explosive for Nontoxic Ammo"--The Firearm Blog. The military is attempting to develop a lead-free priming explosive. Since ammunition manufacturers have already done so, I'm not sure what is the point.
  • "Chinese Scientists 3D Print Gunpowder Substitute"--The Firearm Blog. Essentially they have 3-D printed a disk shaped structure with cells and an explosive (RDX--the precursor to plastic explosives like C-4) is placed into the cells. The disks can be stacked to adjust the amount of propellant.
  • "What's the Best 38 Special Ammo for Self-Defense?"--Shooting Illustrated. For defense against criminal attacks, the author believes that Speer 135-grain Gold Dot Short Barrel is the best overall cartridge.
  • ".38 S&W Variants and History"--Shooting Times. Another look at a cartridge that was once one of the most popular defensive cartridges with millions of firearms in circulation, but faded almost into extinction, and its mild come-back (at least enough so that there are actually commercial loads available in most larger retailers). From the article:
          Former British possessions were given surplus Enfield .380 revolvers after the United Kingdom adopted the 9mm Luger cartridge. Our overseas distributor reported one such country had issued a “tender” for a very large quantity of newly manufactured .380 Mk IIz ammunition. No new .380 Mk IIz ammo had been made in years—and no one was bidding.
            We also thought “no bid” until an engineering manager said, “Not so fast.” Through our contracts department, they had developed and supplied CCI Blazer .38 S&W unprimed cases for a client who made grenade launcher training cartridges powered by a .38 S&W blank. That meant we had tooling for cases, the hardest and most time-consuming component to develop.
               We said we were interested if they would accept a modernized version with new component designs and U.S. pressure standards. They were ecstatic to get any interest and said, “Send samples!” All they asked was that we work up the loads to produce 640 to 660 fps from an Enfield No. 2 revolver. That set a lot of things in motion.
                Our purchasing staff located surplus Enfields for testing, ranging from “average” to “unissued” condition. We had our very adaptable Speer TMJ series, so it did not take long for us to create a 178-grain, 0.359-inch Speer TMJ profiled to match the original Mk IIz design.
                   We had several propellant candidates, and the finalists made 660 fps within SAAMI pressure standards from the test Enfields. We also tested it in worn Enfields to check for “old-revolver” issues. Everything performed without a hitch. The ammo even shot very close to point of aim at 25 meters.
                     The clients were ecstatic with the samples but had an odd request: reduce the velocity. Their old ammo, stored in horrible tropical conditions, had lost some of its oomph, and testers complained about the new ammo having more recoil. They said if we loaded to 600 to 620 fps, they should be able to order.
                      Then the deal fell through. The country had another department, clueless about the .380 Mk IIz project, that negotiated the purchase of used 9mm Luger Browning Hi-Powers from another country. All Enfields were pulled from service.
                         A waste of time? Absolutely not! We had young engineers for whom this was a priceless exercise in manufacturing flexibility and reaction time. It went on to pay for itself many times over in subsequent ammo projects where short turnarounds were critical.
                  • "How to Zero Your Rifle for Maximum Point-Blank Range"--American Hunter. Sighting in a rifle for hunting is generally not just to make sure that the scope is dialed in at a particular range, but to adjust the scope so that you maximize the ranges at which you can hit a game animal in the vitals without having to adjust your scope or hold over the target. A typical example is to sight the rifle in so you are shooting 2-inches high at 100 yards. This should allow you, when using a .30-06 or .308, to strike a deer in the vitals out to 300 yards without having to make any holdover. The author explains:
                           A rifle’s MPBR is the total distance over which its bullet will travel without flying above or below the vital zone when you aim for its center. For all game the size of pronghorn and larger, most modern, popular “deer” cartridges can be set up for a 300-yard MPBR. Faster rounds extend MPBR as far as 400 yards. If that doesn’t accommodate more than 90 percent of your shooting opportunities, you aren’t trying.
                             An easy way to understand this is to imagine shooting right down the middle of a 400-yard-long pipe the diameter of your target's vital zone. So long as your bullet doesn’t strike the top of the pipe, it remains in the kill zone until it hits the bottom of the pipe far downrange, your maximum point-blank range. Here’s how to set up your rifle for its MPBR.
                              First, determine the vital zone diameter of your game. Eight inches is a safe bet that covers the heart and lungs of pronghorns, whitetails, sheep and anything larger that is standing broadside. It leaves a couple of inches of “fudge factor” too.
                                Next, from a solid shooting rest, zero your rifle to strike 3 inches high at 100 yards. Then fire two or three shots on paper at both 150 yards and 180 yards. That’s the peak trajectory distance (maximum ordinate) for most cartridges. If those land more than 4 inches high, re-zero 23/4 inches high at 100 yards and try again. When you’re hitting no higher than 4 inches at 150 to 180, shoot paper at 200 yards, 250 and 300 yards. When bullets drop 4 inches below POA, you’ve reached your MPBR.
                                  As easier way to start this process is with an online ballistics calculator. Play with the numbers and zero ranges until you find the perfect MPBR. Then double-check it with the field-testing described above.
                                    The reason this works is because you’ve angled your barrel up enough that, like a center fielder throwing toward home plate, you’re throwing your bullet high to compensate for the long-range drop. As long as you don’t throw too high at midrange, your bullet will stay in that 8-inch vital zone.
                              • "Handloading Blackpowder Rifle Cartridges"--Shooting Times. A look at some data from testing blackpowder cartridges and how reloading these cartridges differs from smokeless powder. The most significant is that the powder charge needs to be compressed before the bullet is loaded, and at pressures exceeding what could be done by simply using the bullet to compress the load (at least without deforming the bullet). "This was something Olin applied to the tests he conducted. He built a compression die to let a steel punch do the compressing while the case body was supported to prevent its swelling under the force. This seems to be one key to better burning and uniform performance."
                              • "Building Tribe: Someone’s Gotta Be In Charge"--Lizard Farmer. He envisions a community resorting to the use of a tribal council.
                              So we have each family designate one adult to represent them.  And among those adults they elect a primary “Chief/Mayor/Spokesman” (don’t get hung up on gender here) or whatever you want to call it.  Now among this group we also need some representatives for critical aspects of tribal life.  So we designate one person to be in charge of those areas like Medical (got Doc/Vet/PA/LPN/RN?), Security (former LEO/.mil?), Communications (Ham guru?), hell even Education (if you have wee ones).  These aren’t the inclusive areas – I’m sure folks will come up with others but let’s keep it simple for now.  So for the sake of argument let’s say we ended up with ten adults representing the ten families with four of those members representing critical areas – Security, Medical, Communications, and Education.  Don’t sweat it for now – I’ll be touching on processes in a later entry.

                              Old school methods for setting up a shooting position to make sure you can still effectively use your weapon with little or no light.
                                       In what is a widely underreported event, protesters from the Black Lives Matter group of Los Angeles purposely met in the oldest Jewish neighborhood in the region to destroy Jewish businesses, schools and synagogues. In all, they managed to loot a large number of stores, three Jewish schools and five synagogues. The next day, locals woke up to scrawled graffitied images reading an obscene message attacking Jews, “Free Palestine,” and, perhaps scariest of all, “Kill the Jews!”
                                         On the night of May 30, while the rioters looted and burned without the intervention of the local police, they chanted an obscene message attacking the police and saying “kill the Jews.”
                                    On the other side, we have the NAACP beginning to wonder why "whites" (i.e., Antifa) have co-opted what were supposed to be protests over the death of George Floyd and the larger issue (a fantasy, to be sure, but nevertheless an issue) of police violence against blacks.
                                             The author of the Santa Barbara News-Press article wisely compared the BLM attacks on Jewish property to pogroms under the 19th Century Czar rather than to the Nazis or later Soviet persecution because it otherwise raises a troubling issue--something we saw play out badly in pre-WWII Germany: the conflict between the international socialists (communists or Marxists) and the national socialists (e.g., "NAZIs" and Italian fascists). While BLM is definitely a Marxist organization that is part of the international socialists, I doubt that most black protesters would agree. To them, the current protests (and the whole reason behind the slogan "black lives matter") is to focus on the needs of black people (i.e., the black nation), not on the broader communist agenda. In other words, your average black protester is a national socialist. On the other hand, like it or not, Jews have always been closely tied to the international socialist movement. They have historically made up a disproportionate share of Marxists/communists and many (perhaps even a majority) of the Marxist thinkers, particularly the Frankfurt school which is the primary source of the current Marxist movement in the United States and Europe. 
                                               What we are seeing here is a potential rift between Antifa and BLM supporters, that could develop into a more violent rift such as Germany experienced which resulted in street fights between communists and NAZIs. We'll see where this goes, but I could see the large donors currently backing the BLM taking the view that attacks on Jews is a type of "biting the hand that feeds you."
                                        • Related: The hand: "George Soros directs $220 million toward efforts to achieve racial equality"--The Hill. "Some of the organizations receiving the grants are fighting for expanding voting rights, while others are fighting for police reform. Recipients of this set of investments include Black Voters Matter, Circle for Justice Innovations, Repairers of the Breach and the Equal Justice Initiative, according to Open Society Foundations."
                                        • How to lose friends and influence enemies: "Race Hate Comes Down On A Toddler’s Neck"--The American Conservative. An op-ed from Rod Dreher about the black man who posted an image of his kneeling on the neck of a white toddler with the message "BLM NOW MF---". 
                                        • Related: "DeKalb County Teacher Resigns After Disturbing Social Media Post"--Patch. His post was to tell the guy kneeling on the toddler's neck that he was doing it wrong: "Again! You're doing it wrong! One knee on center of the back one on the neck and lean into it until death! You saw the video! Get it right or stop F*****G around." I wonder how many white children this special education teacher has abused?
                                              Americans are fleeing urban areas in huge numbers. Big cities are just too mismanaged, they’re too dangerous. Unless you’re very rich or very poor, you’re getting out. New York City lost 53,000 people in 2019 – they will lose far more than that this year. Most of these refugees have relocated to the suburbs, where they imagine they are safe from the effects of disastrous urban policy. But they’re not. Democrats want to abolish the suburbs. They are too clean and nice, therefore by definition, they are racist. The Biden campaign has highly specific plans on how to do this.
                                               It’s called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, it’s a HUD regulation, it was written during the Obama Administration. Biden’s advisor’s plan to enforce it. It will cut off critical federal funds from municipalities unless those municipalities submit to federal control of urban planning. Towns will be ordered to abolish zoning for single-family housing – because single-family homes, needless to say, are racist. Low-income, federally subsidized apartments will go up in the suburbs. It’s a good bet you won’t see any of this, you won’t see projects being built in Aspen or Martha’s Vineyard or anywhere else Eric Holder vacations. But in your neighborhood? Oh yeah.
                                            The article discusses the AFFH program in more detail and how it will bring the inner-city to where you live. Read the whole thing.
                                                    Viral video out of Seattle shows a mob of African immigrants assaulting a white man in the street while screaming racial epithets and proudly flying the flag of the terrorist separatist group the Oromo Liberation Front.
                                                      The mob is seen swarming the man -- outnumbering him around 7 to 1 -- and punching him repeatedly and kicking him while he's on the ground as shocked onlookers scream in horror.
                                                • More news of the peaceful demonstrations:
                                                • "1619 Project Creator Admits 'It Is Not A History' But a Fight 'to Control the National Narrative'"--Legal Insurrection. A reminder that SJW's always lie.
                                                • The Left wants you disenfranchised: "New Trump Policy Would Restore Voting To Its Rightful Owners — Citizens"--The Federalist. It isn't just the Chamber of Commerce that is upset about Trump restricting immigration and cracking down on the fruits of illegal immigration. Trump has proposed not counting illegal aliens for purposes of calculating the number of representatives (and electoral votes) to which a state is entitled, and it is vociferously opposed by Democrats. Why? "According to the White House, a single state [ed: California, no doubt] includes 2.2 million illegal aliens, more than 6 percent of that state’s population. Counting this population would result in allocating two-to-three more congressional seats to the state than it would have otherwise received." Also, "[s]imilarly, a December 2019 Center for Immigration Studies analysis estimated that by counting illegal aliens in the 2020 census, the federal government would be redistributing three seats, one each from Ohio, Alabama, and Minnesota to California, New York, and Texas."
                                                • Ditto: "Top Black Lives Matter Activist: ‘We Will Incite Riots Everywhere if Trump Wins’"--Burning Platform. This is just a way of intimidating voters into not voting for Trump. This is a conspiracy to deprive people of their civil rights, and should be investigated and prosecuted as such.
                                                At a Black Lives Matter demonstration in London on Sunday, a speaker who is a self-described mixed-race member of the LGBT community declared that "there is one common enemy: the white man," and "once we've realized that we're all fighting the same fight, it just strengthens the army," before finally saying, "all of these groups of people, the issues they face, it all comes from the same people: white men — so we need to get rid of them."

                                                The slug is the A.R.M. Gatekeeper slug--a solid copper slug that reliably expands to 40 mm (about 1.6 inches).
                                                      Online porn viewing in Washington, dormant since most offices closed in March, has started to spike as more workers have returned to their cubicles in the federal city.
                                                        According to one popular website, Stripchat, weekly users have gone from about 3,000 in Washington during the coronavirus shutdown to about 55,000.
                                                          In data shared with Secrets, the “highest daily marks in traffic” beginning on July 8 were during office hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
                                                      A sign of weak amygdala and, hence, liberalism. I suspect that firing the offenders would do more to clean out the Deep State than most anything else that could be done.
                                                      • Related: "Chicago mayor mounts police raid on church's Sunday service"--Disrn. This story was published on May 25, 2020, but is still illustrative of the Left using COVID-19 as an excuse to clamp down on Christianity. "Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state," as a famous national socialist (and former communist) once asserted.
                                                               Let’s start with what the left thinks they are doing: 
                                                                 They think they’re bringing about their utopia, their heaven on Earth. 
                                                                   They have been programmed – indoctrinated, really – from birth via the media, education, entertainment, and – heaven have mercy – even churches and synagogues into believing what amounts to a heretical Christian sect.
                                                                     There are many variations of the Communist mythos, mostly Marx, but with its roots firmly in Rosseau. They range from racial ones (one to each race) to feminist ones. There are probably others I haven’t even heard about.
                                                                       The myth goes like this: in the beginning, there was no capitalism (the cult’s quaint name for any free buying and selling or trade. (This is why they call monarchies capitalism or private property.) This was the dawn of man, the perfect state of humanity. Because there was no property there was no envy and no crime. Man (and particularly woman) lived in a time of innocence. In this perfect utopia – feminist version – women ruled, sex was free, babies were brought up communally, and every woman could do as she pleased. In the racial version, the poor now-oppressed race were the rulers, and therefore there was no property, etc., etc. No crime.
                                                                          But then the serpent evil white race showed up. Or males rebelled. Whatever. Because, you know they didn’t like paradise. And they instituted private property and “capitalism” and since then there’s been this great struggle by the good to overturn the evil. In the end, the good prevails, they confiscate and redistribute all private property and reeducate the people maimed by living under the unjust capitalist system and we go back to living in a utopia.
                                                                            The liniments of the story should sound familiar if you come from a Judeo-Christian background. It’s the story of creation, fall, and eventual world-redemption, only stripped of a creator, any power superior to the Kommissars and the idea of personal redemption. In fact, in this heresy the individual doesn’t matter at all, only the group he belongs to. 
                                                                             I doubt any Marxist has been told this story as such, but I promise you it is in the background of a lot of their books, from “non-fiction” to novels. The idea, bonkers as it is and as easy to dismantle as it is, is in the background of their thoughts.
                                                                      • Related: "Marxist Revolution's 'Satanic Mendacity'"--The Pipeline. The author explains that "unemployed, but over-educated, young people, having been indoctrinated into the nihilistic belief that there are neither heroes nor principles, and that reason is merely a tool of oppression -- have given themselves over to iconoclasm, howling at anyone who disagrees with them on any point. You would feel bad for them if they weren't attempting to obliterate the memory of better men than themselves."

                                                                      With the military (specifically, the Navy) admitting that it still studies UFOs and that it might have recovered material or debris not made on this world, it looks like 2020 is shaping up to be an unusual year in many ways.

                                                                      • This should be the story of the year, but hasn't gotten near as much attention as I would have thought: "Pentagon's UFO hunting department was NOT disbanded in 2012 as stated and could now give public reports every six months amid claims it found 'vehicles not made on this earth'"--Daily Mail. The story broke via the New York Times, but the Times article is behind a paywall. The first part of the article is about Congress demanding reports and briefings about the findings of the Navy's Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, but then there is this: "The new calls for greater transparency come as officials who previously worked with the unit reveal some of the objects discovered in their investigations were items humans 'couldn’t make ourselves' and 'vehicles not made on this earth'." I would like to know who is the source and why he thinks the items could not be from Earth. Just because the materials may represent alloys we cannot currently make does not necessitate an extra-terrestrial origin. For most of recorded history there have been small groups or an industry which had proprietary metal smithing technology or alloying that most other peoples did not possess. Heck, it was only about 25 or 30 years ago that the secret to making the true "Damascus" steel (a high-carbon yet non-brittle steel alloy) developed in ancient India was rediscovered (the process had to do with a controlled slow cooling of the alloy to essentially make a steel supersaturated with carbon but cooled so slowly that the carbon didn't precipitate out of the solution). 
                                                                             The Mediterranean Sea was 3.6°F (2°C) hotter during the Roman Empire than other average temperatures at the time, a new study claims. 
                                                                              The Empire coincided with a 500-year period, from AD 1 to AD 500, that was the warmest period of the last 2,000 years in the almost completely land-locked sea.  
                                                                                The climate later progressed towards colder and arid conditions that coincided with the historical fall of the Empire, scientists claim. 
                                                                            Notice that warmer temperatures are related to better outcome, and cooling temperatures are related to collapse and chaos.
                                                                            In Wednesday’s issue of the journal Nature, scientists reported on artifacts found in a mountain cave in the state of Zacatecas in north-central Mexico. Ciprian Ardelean of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas and others say they found stone tools and debris from tool-making that they dated back as far as 26,500 years ago. There’s some indication that some artifacts go back beyond 30,000 years, but so far the evidence isn’t strong enough to make a firm claim, Ardelean said.
                                                                                   The tools belongs to a type of material culture never before seen in the Americas, with no evident similarities to any other cultural complexes. Importantly, more than 200 specimens were found below an archaeological layer that corresponds to the peak of the last Ice Age. (Archaeologists call this peak the Last Glacial Maximum.)
                                                                                      During this time, between 26,000 and 19,000 years ago, ice sheets were at their greatest extent. Evidence from Chiquihuite Cave, therefore, strongly suggests that humans were present in North America well before Clovis.

                                                                                  * * *

                                                                                           The analysis showed there were humans in North America before, during and immediately after the peak of the last Ice Age. However, it was not until much later that populations expanded significantly across the continent.
                                                                                            This occurred during a period of climate warming at the end of the Ice Age called Greenland Interstadial 1. The warming began suddenly with a pulse of increased global temperature around 14,700 years ago.
                                                                                              We also observed that the three major stone tool traditions in the wider region started around the same time. This coincides with an increase in archaeological sites and radiocarbon dates from those sites, as well as genetic data pointing to marked population growth.
                                                                                                 This significant expansion of humans during a warmer period seems to have played a role in the dramatic demise of large megafauna, including types of camels, horses and mammoths. We plotted the dates of the last appearance of the megafauna and found they largely disappeared within this, and a following, colder period.
                                                                                                   However, the contribution of climate change in faunal extinctions, represented by abrupt warming and cooling, cannot be fully excluded.
                                                                                            • "DNA study reveals how the slave trade’s dark history of rape, disease and deadly working conditions shaped the modern-day genetics of black people in America"--Daily Mail. The real story here is that North America/United States accounted for a very small portion of the slave trade: some 400,000 versus the 4.9 million just to South America. In fact, almost all of the slave trade went to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The study also shows which parts of Africa were most likely to sell their fellow Africans into slavery (at least, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as the study doesn't touch on the vast slave trade into Muslim lands).
                                                                                            • "The Uncertain Future of Ham Radio"--Spectrum IEEE. Not about certain states (California) charging the operators of repeaters stations to use public land, but the lack of growth in the hobby because it doesn't have the appeal to younger people. (No discussion on the impact of licensing requirements or costs, however). It also notes that the future of Ham may be the analog-to-digital systems that essentially allow people to use Ham as an alternate to other forms of digital communications, including software defined radios (SDRs).
                                                                                            • "‘After a 20-year relationship, I’m giving up on Mexico’"--Mexican News Daily. An expatriate explains how corruption and the lack of the rule of law finally convinced him to leave Mexico. Essentially, his story (and others) is one of having land stolen out from under him, but no real recourse under the law to get it back. 
                                                                                            • A reminder that we live in the 21st Century: "A New Map Shows the Inescapable Creep of Surveillance"--Wired
                                                                                                     OVER 1,300 PARTNERSHIPS with Ring. Hundreds of facial recognition systems. Dozens of cell-site simulator devices. The surveillance apparatus in the United States takes all kinds of forms in all kinds of places—a huge number of which populate a new map called the Atlas of Surveillance.
                                                                                                      A collaboration between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the University of Nevada, Reno, Reynolds School of Journalism, the Atlas of Surveillance offers an omnibus look not only at what technologies law enforcement agencies deploy, but where they do it. From automated license plate readers to body cameras to the so-called fusion centers that centrally process scores of surveillance data, the project drives home just how common these sophisticated tools have become. In fact, despite offering 5,300 data points from 3,000 police departments, it’s still only a sample of surveillance’s true sweep.
                                                                                                         “We’re never going to be comprehensive,” says Dave Maass, a senior investigative researcher at EFF who helped lead the project as a visiting professor at the Reynolds School. “If our goal is to keep neck and neck with the growth of the surveillance state, we’d lose.”
                                                                                                           Which reinforces the point. The map is unsettling enough in its current configuration. It’s almost impossible to imagine how crowded it would be if it included all of the 18,000 federal, state, county, and local agencies that comprise US law enforcement, by the Bureau of Justice Statistics' count.
                                                                                                      Here is the link to the website of the group creating the map.

                                                                                                      Monday, July 27, 2020

                                                                                                      E-Book Resource: Collection of Materials on Surviving a Nuclear War

                                                                                                      So when I discussed some of the more general sources of info recently, I generally listed some major repositories with the warning that you would need to explore those repositories to find the books and information that might interest you. But I thought I would periodically post more specific links to a collection, library, or specific titles that would be of interest to the prepper/survivalist.

                                                                                                            Although in our current focus on civil unrest and pandemic, nuclear war may seem to be a low probability risk, it is nevertheless it poses a great deal of harm should it occur; and, therefore, it may be worthwhile to be familiar with the survival literature on the topic. Accordingly, I would direct your attention to the following collection, "You Will Survive Doomsday & Nuclear Fallout pack" at The Eye.

                                                                                                            And a few miscellaneous books that caught my eye:
                                                                                                      • Radio Monitoring: The How-To Guide (PDF) by T.J. “Skip” Arey. This appears to be a book from the late 1990s or early 2000s. It runs nearly 350 pages.
                                                                                                      • Survival Guns (PDF) by Mel Tappan. This book dates back to the mid-1980s, so it is obviously dated as to the specific recommendations. Nevertheless, it is an interesting read. And although I don't agree with Tappan's philosophy that you need dozens of different firearms to cover your needs, his reasoning as to various choices may also be of interest.
                                                                                                      • The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency (PDF) by John Seymour. Similar to the book Back to Basics, this is an overview of a wide-range of topics relating to homesteading and self-sufficiency. 
                                                                                                      • Wilderness Evasion (PDF) by Michael Chesbro. A look at caching and escape and evasion techniques.
                                                                                                      • The Ultimate Sniper (PDF) by John L. Plaster. This is a large book at 580 pages. The copyright dates are 1993 and 2006, and I note that it includes a section on sniping in Iraq, so I assume that the book was updated between the two dates.
                                                                                                      DisclaimerI'm not the author of any of the documents or things in the collection and/or library linked above and cannot vouch for their accuracy or completeness--use them at your own risk. I am not responsible for the posting or offering of any of the documents or things in the collections and/or libraries and have no control over whether they are posted or taken down.

                                                                                                      Friday, July 24, 2020

                                                                                                      New Weekend Knowledge Dump...

                                                                                                      ... from Active Response Training. Lots of interesting links to articles and videos, as well a commentary from Greg Ellifritz. Topics this week include, but are not limited to: the importance of a strong grip on a handgun; the need to be effective communicator for purposes of self-defense; a more detailed look at the appendix carry, including advice on re-holstering, the benefits of appendix carry, and attributes of a good holster for appendix carry; methods of escaping from hand-cuffs (carrying a universal key is probably the easiest, though); and a look at how reliable (or unreliable) are tasers.

                                                                                                            As to the latter article, it notes that surveys of officers indicates that most officers believe that Tasers are only effective about 40 to 55% of the time. The article also mentions that the LAPD studied the matter, and also came up with about a 50% effectiveness rate. Both the surveys and the LAPD study apparently revealed that newer Tasers (models made after 2009) are less effective than the older models, probably because of reduced power and shooting the darts at a slightly different angle. One part of the article caught my attention in particular:
                                                                                                      APM Reports found more than 250 fatal police shootings nationwide between 2015 and 2017 that occurred after a Taser failed to incapacitate a suspect. In 106 of them, the suspect became more violent after receiving the electrical shock, according to a review of case files and media reports, suggesting the Taser may have made a bad situation worse.
                                                                                                      In early January of this year, I had linked to the following video:


                                                                                                      The video shows two officers--a man and a woman--trying to arrest and subdue a man that was obviously having some mental issues or drug reaction. The officers ultimately resorted to Tasers, which did not work, resulting in the male officer shooting and killing the suspect. I had linked to the video back in January because the death was the result of the incompetence of the female officer (who shot herself with her own Taser). But, relevant to today's discussion, the video also shows that the man was cooperative until he was shot with a Taser by the male officer and shocked: it didn't disable him, but the pain obviously enraged the suspect.

                                                                                                      POTD: Saturn in Summer

                                                                                                      Source: "NASA captures summer on Saturn in an amazing new snapshot from the Hubble Space Telescope"- Daily Mail.

                                                                                                      Thursday, July 23, 2020

                                                                                                      Wilder: "But What If You're Wrong"

                                                                                                      John Wilder has a new piece up: "But What If You're Wrong." He observes that: "As I get older, like [Mark] Twain, I’m not sure that I can tell good luck from bad on any given day.  So, I try to take it as it is."
                                                                                                      I came to this conclusion after one day when I looked backward at my life around the age of 32 – the things that I had hoped for – recognition, money, and a bountiful supply of PEZ® hadn’t made life better.  The things I had tried to avoid – a near zero bank account, 16+ hour days as a single dad with a job, and life without a spouse made me a better man and made me think about the relationships between virtue, money, and meaning.
                                                                                                      Sage advice. Read the whole thing.

                                                                                                           I'm reminded of a quote in C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity:
                                                                                                      Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

                                                                                                      Wednesday, July 22, 2020

                                                                                                      New Humpday Reading List ...

                                                                                                      ... from Grant Cunningham. Topics this week are (1) double action revolvers and what their place is in self-defense (i.e., they may be better for some people than others); (2) self-defense after you have had surgery (linking to an article by Greg Ellifritz); and (3) an article collecting some responses from various prepping experts on how to address the relative or friend that says something like "when SHTF, I'm just coming to your house."

                                                                                                      Ebook Resource: Firearms Assembly/Disassembly

                                                                                                      So when I discussed some of the more general sources of info recently, I generally listed some major repositories with the warning that you would need to explore those repositories to find the books and information that might interest you. But I thought I would periodically post more specific links to a collection, library, or specific titles that would be of interest to the prepper/survivalist.

                                                                                                           One of the key needs, if you are to work on your firearms, is to know not only how to field strip a firearm, but how to go about disassembling and reassembling the firearms beyond the basic field strip. For instance, replacement of parts of a trigger mechanism, certain feeding mechanisms, replacing a firing pin, etc., require that the firearm be broken down beyond that needed for general cleaning and maintenance. Often, such assembly and disassembly have to follow a certain sequence of steps, or there may be certain "tricks" to the process--things that cannot necessarily be discerned from inspecting the firearm or consulting an exploded diagram of the firearm. So, starting in the early 1980s, Gun Digest began publishing a series of books that described the assembly/disassembly process for the benefit of gunsmiths and hobbyists, which each book focusing on a particular class or type of firearm. Obviously, these books cannot include all firearms, makes and models. But often you can find examples of a firearm close enough to what you have that, even if not the exact model, is close enough to give you guidance. Gun Digest has updated these books over the years, and some are into their 4th, 5th, or even 6th editions. In fact, I would point out that Gun Digest is currently, at the time of this writing, offering a sale on the whole current collection (in PDF format) for $84.99.

                                                                                                            But if you are only needing the information for one particular project, even that cost may seem too much, and perhaps your local library does not have the books in its collection. There are older editions that you can sometimes find on the Internet that have been scanned and made available. Some of these are as follows:
                                                                                                      The current series has added a new volume on antique firearms, and the "Law Enforcement Weapons" has been renamed "Tactical Weapons". I was able to find a downloadable PDF copy of the volume on Tactical Weapons (Third Edition), which appears to be the latest version. It includes a variety of handguns, shotguns, rifles and carbines, and submachine guns that would fall into the "tactical," "defensive" or "combat" variety.

                                                                                                      DisclaimerI'm not the author of any of the documents or things in the collection and/or library linked above and cannot vouch for their accuracy or completeness--use them at your own risk. I am not responsible for the posting or offering of any of the documents or things in the collections and/or libraries and have no control over whether they are posted or taken down.

                                                                                                      Monday, July 20, 2020

                                                                                                      A Quick Run Around the Web (7/20/2020)

                                                                                                      • Light Infantry Tactics for Small Teams by Christopher E. Larsen (66 Mb PDF). I purchased a copy of this book and reviewed it years ago. Good overview for small team tactics, and also including camouflage, using hand signals for communication, and radio communications. 
                                                                                                      • "More on Tribal EEFI and OPSEC"--Lizard Farmer. He begins: "During the entries on comms we briefly touched on two critical concepts: Operational Security (OPSEC) and the Essential Elements of Friendly Information.  Techniques to control Spillage was also covered.  During this entry we’ll look at how EEFI should flow within our AO – whether by comms or other means."
                                                                                                      • "Priming Compounds and Primers Introduction"--Bev Fitchett's Guns. The article discusses the history of priming compounds, including the move to non-corrosive primers. An excerpt:
                                                                                                            Up to early 2000, the most common primer composition encountered was still the lead styphenate, barium nitrate, antimony sulfide and tetrazine type. In this priming compound, lead styphenate and tetrazine are the sensitive explosive ingredients; barium nitrate provides additional oxygen to increase the temperature of the flame, and antimony sulfide acts as a fuel to prolong the burning time. Aluminium, and occasionally magnesium, can also be encountered, but mainly in the higher-powered magnum pistol or rifle calibres.
                                                                                                              Powdered glass was also often added to the mixture to increase the friction and to assist detonation when the mixture is crushed by the firing pin.
                                                                                                                Modern 0.22" calibre rimfire ammunition is slightly different in that the composition almost invariably consists of lead styphenate, barium nitrate, tetra-zine and powdered glass.
                                                                                                                 Lead-free and non-toxic primers. It began to become apparent in the early 1970s that in heavily used training facilities, the range personnel were suffering from the symptoms of lead poisoning. Whilst a large proportion of this lead was being volatilized from the base of the bullets, a portion was obviously coming from the lead styphenate primer.
                                                                                                                   The US National Bureau of Standards claims that when lead-based primers are used, 80% of airborne lead on firing ranges comes from the projectile and 20% comes from the priming composition. These percentages obviously depend on whether the bullet is plain lead or jacketed. In the case of a non- jacketed bullet, the rifling will strip lead from the bullet' s surface, thus dramatically increasing the percentage of non-primer-based airborne lead.
                                                                                                                     The change to a bullet with a copper/zinc jacket extending over the base was a fairly simple matter of reducing the bullet sourced airborne lead, but finding a non-mercuric non-corrosive non-lead-based primer was another.
                                                                                                                      The problem was first solved in the early 1980s by Geco, who released a zinc- and titanium - based primer which they called " Sintox'. Since then, there have been a number of other lead-free primers produced by, for example, CCI Blazer, Speer, Federal and Winchester (Haag, 1995). The exact composition of the priming compounds used is not available, although SEM/EDX (scanning electron microscope/energy dispersive X-ray) analysis generally shows the presence of strontium in the Speer and Blazer cartridges, potassium in the Winchester cartridges and calcium and silicon in the Federal cartridges.
                                                                                                                         Most of the more recent primer formulations contain an initiator explosive compound called 'dinol', the chemical name of which is DDNP (diazodinitrophenol).
                                                                                                                    • "More Info on Weapon-Mounted Lights"--Active Response Training. Ellifritz responds to some questions posed by readers of a recent article he did on weapon mounted lights. One of the questions that came up was using a weapon light indirectly for illumination, such as carrying a weapon at low ready and using the light splash to search for an intruder. He again believes it is too dangerous due to the possibility of a negligent discharge:
                                                                                                                            We see far more negligent discharges with handgun mounted lights compared to long gun mounted lights.  My guess as to why this happens is either the fact that both hands are in very close proximity to each other when using a handgun WML or the fact that some handgun WMLs are actuated by the trigger finger.  Under stress, it’s relatively easy to press the trigger when you are trying to turn the light on.
                                                                                                                               That’s a problem no matter where the muzzle is directed.  If using a proper ready position, damage can be minimized if you get on the trigger rather than the light switch.  That’s a good thing.  But it doesn’t completely relieve you of responsibility.  An errant round fired into the floor or ceiling is better than one that is fired into another human, but it is not inconsequential and it may injure either yourself or someone else.
                                                                                                                                In my mind it’s best to avoid the negligent discharge entirely.  When using a handgun with a WML, do your searching with a handheld light.  We rarely see negligent discharges of any type when people do this.  The one exception is when people are using the “Harries” flashlight technique.  Numerous NDs have been reported with this technique.  Some folks believe that the close proximity of the two hands when using the Harries light position lead to “hand confusion” and result in negligent discharges. 
                                                                                                                          • "THE ORTHOPEDIC HOLSTER"--by Massad Ayoob at Guns Magazine. This article looks at some holsters for those suffering from back pain, particularly lower (lumbar) back pain, or where range of motion (ROM) is an issue, such as after a rotator cuff injury or surgery. Ayoob makes a few suggestions, including a shoulder holster (as long as it is balanced out), appendix carry, cross-draw, or a pocket holster. 
                                                                                                                                   The key to the back pain issue is to either balance the weight (such as you might be able to do with a shoulder holster), or keep the weight as close to the center of the body as possible. Thanks to Craft Holsters, I've been able to try out a few holsters over the past several months, so I can tell you that a shoulder holster (in my case, a .380 on one side balanced by a couple spare magazines on the other) works well to minimize back pain--enough so that it is now my standard carry method. (See here for a review of a different brand of shoulder holster). I was also surprised to find that a quality small-of-the-back holster worked well. I have received a cross-draw holster for review that I will be trying out soon and I'll let you know how well that works. I've used pocket carry extensively in the past, but believe that the biggest advantage to someone with back problems using that method is that by carrying in the pocket you are forced to use a smaller, lighter gun.
                                                                                                                            • A while back I complained about the lack of articles explaining how to know if a handgun correctly fits your hand. I did some digging and found these articles on the topic:
                                                                                                                            • "Grip Fitting 103" (PDF) by SFC Richard Merrill and the USAMU International Pistol Team.
                                                                                                                                   With the exception of the last article and "Grip Fitting 103" article, these articles deal with selecting a standard handgun to fit your hands. If you want measurement to look at, Hebert's article is the place to go. Most of the other articles discuss ways to check whether a particular gun fits you. For instance, from the Bearing Arms' article: 
                                                                                                                                     With a very, very unloaded gun, assume a normal firing grip and point at a safe backstop. Now move your finger to the trigger as if you’re going to fire. Hold that position.
                                                                                                                                       I want you to look at the lower portion of your index finger – the area from where it plugs into your palm up to the first joint. When your trigger finger is ready to press, do you see daylight between the gun and your finger?
                                                                                                                                         If your finger looks something like the picture here, you’re good to go. If the bottom surface of your lower index finger is pressed against the side of the gun, you’re having to reach for the trigger. This means that your grip is too large for your hand size. That matters because as you flex your finger to press the trigger, your index finger will be contacting the side of your gun and gently encouraging it to move off target! The good news is that if you’re a lousy shot, you can blame the fit of your gun.
                                                                                                                                           This second test is a little less obvious. At the range, I see all sorts of shooters struggling with accuracy and ability to control recoil as a result of a crooked arm / gun relationship.
                                                                                                                                             What does this mean? It’s simple. When you hold your gun in a firing grip, with your trigger finger placed to pass test one above, the gun barrel should be in perfect alignment with your “radi-ulni.” That’s short hand for the two bones in your forearm – the radius and ulna. You don’t just want the gun barrel to be parallel to these two bones, you want it to be a direct linear extension of these bones.
                                                                                                                                               If your gun grip is too large for you, there will be a necessary tendency for you to grasp the gun so that the web of your hand wraps around towards the trigger, so your index finger can reach. This means that your thumb moves around and is directly behind the gun. Check out this picture to see an exaggerated view of what I mean.
                                                                                                                                          • "CUTTING-EDGE COMBATIVES"--Off Grid Magazine. A look at the pros and cons of using a knife (particularly, a folder) for self-defense, as well as some tips. For example:
                                                                                                                                            Only deploy your weapon (whether blade or firearm) when you have enough space and distance between you and your assailant. How much space and distance? As much as possible. If a bad guy is within arm's reach, the situation can go sideways in a blink, as your attention and hand are focused on drawing your tool rather than on the incoming attack. If the thug is too close or already on top of you, your first option should be to slow or neutralize the threat with your empty-hand skills before reaching for the weapon. The reality is empty-hand fighting skills are necessary in many situations.
                                                                                                                                              Lots here, so read the whole thing.
                                                                                                                                              • Some firearm/crime history: "Real Live Machinegun Crime: Roger Waller and his Full Auto .380ACP MAC-11"--Guns America. "Since 1934 there have been two cases wherein the legal owner of a registered machinegun committed a crime with his weapon. Only one is well documented." The miscreant in the latter incident was, as you guessed from the title, Roger Waller, a thirteen-year veteran of the Dayton, Ohio, police department. His job was to collate information about drug distribution, but one day he learned of possible drug dealing from his HVAC repairman, and the two decided to do their own investigation and, well, things didn't go so well.
                                                                                                                                              • Speaking of things not going well: "Cop is accidentally killed by his training officer during crossfire after suspect opens fire on their patrol car"--Daily Mail. Jonathan Shoop died after being shot by his training officer Mustafa Kumcur. The criminal suspect,  Henry Eugene Washington, had exited his vehicle following a crash and before the police arrive. When the officers pulled up, he began shooting at the officers while they were still in their own vehicle. Per the article, "Kumcur was in the passenger seat of the police car when he returned fire, shooting 'multiple times' at Washington. One of Kumcur's bullets hit Shoop, in the driver's seat, killing him."
                                                                                                                                              "Don't Talk to the Police"--Regent University School of Law (47 min.)

                                                                                                                                                    Herschel linked to the foregoing video in his post, "Massad Ayoob’s Bad Advice." Herschel's post is more in the perpetual debate over whether you should talk to the police after a defensive shooting or no. Obviously you cannot literally say nothing because you will at the minimum have to identify yourself--police are entitled to that information. But beyond "name, rank and serial number" type information, what should be said?

                                                                                                                                                     The video is an excellent explanation of why you shouldn't talk to police, and how anything you say will be twisted and used against you in a court of law. The primary speaker is a law professor and experienced defense attorney, but he is followed by an experienced police detective. Interestingly, one of the things mentioned by the professor is that police may interview you and then, whether by mistake or purposefully, "forget" or mischaracterize something you say, and without a recording, it will result in a he said/you said situation at trial. The detective, when it was his turn to speak, started by saying that he agreed with everything that the professor had said, but later admits that while he will record interviews, he only uses it for making up his notes, and then deletes the recording "because it is not evidence." But according to the professor, the recording potentially had exculpatory evidence if there was ever a dispute about what was asked or said during an interrogation. Essentially, then, the officer was admitting to destroying potentially exculpatory evidence. 

                                                                                                                                                    But a second point I would bring up is that the video is discussing the more general issue of interaction with police when the police are investigating a crime or a potential crime, and not the specific instance of a defensive shooting. Remember that if you claim self-defense, you are admitting to assaulting and/or committing battery, but that the use of force was justified. In that case, Ayoob is contending, you want the police to think of you as the victim and not the perpetrator, and you want to make sure that the police don't miss some crucial piece of evidence or witness testimony. 

                                                                                                                                                   I've thought a lot about this topic, and am still not sure what I would do. However, I'm leaning toward some basic comments ("That guy tried to shoot me" or "That guy broke into my house") and then shutting up.


                                                                                                                                              "Causes of Earth Rotation Glitches, New Solar Cycle | S0 News Jul.19.2020"--Suspicious Observers (6 min.). Rotation Glitches essentially refers to changes in to the rotation such as might result in the earth's tilt changing or changes in the length of day. The relevant portion begins at the 3:27 mark.

                                                                                                                                              Mexico is a contemporary depiction of what is being defined as a ‘criminal insurgency’ which has plagued the country since late 2005. Authorities in the region estimate that upwards of 40% of the country suffer chronic insecurity, characterised by homicidal violence, kidnappings, a significant death rate and high levels of population displacement. While Mexico is not widely considered a failed state, there are clear examples of sub-state failure with a multitude of non-permissive areas that are not under control of the legitimate state and have been contested for many years. The evolution of organised criminal networks, otherwise known as the cartels in this context, in Mexico can be described in a three generational model focusing on three metrics: the degree of political activity undertaken, the internationalisation or level of global reach, and level of sophistication in the establishment of alliances, conduct and the use of high-end technology. The motivation for criminal activity, regardless of its complexity, still remains as profit and power.
                                                                                                                                                    The Jalisco cartel is regarded as Mexico's strongest gang, along with the Sinaloa Cartel formerly led by jailed kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman. 

                                                                                                                                                     It is often credited with infiltrating poorly paid and trained police departments across the country to protect its wide-ranging criminal rackets. 

                                                                                                                                                    The cartel based in the central state of Jalisco has spread across Mexico and increasingly has posed direct challenges to the government.

                                                                                                                                                    Mexico City's police chief, Omar García Harfuch, blamed the cartel for an elaborately planned attempt on his life last month - an ambush on the capital's most famous boulevard.

                                                                                                                                                     The Jalisco cartel operates in 24 of 32 states in Mexico and has shipped cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and fentanyl-laced heroin to the United States.

                                                                                                                                                     The cartel, is known to be in control of between one-third and two-thirds of the US drug market. 
                                                                                                                                                       A soldier's body cam recorded the dramatic moment the Mexican military came under attack from multiple cartels in western Mexico.
                                                                                                                                                        Members of the army and National Guard were on a patrol mission of the Michoacán city of Aguililla on Friday when they were met with fire from members of the United Cartels.
                                                                                                                                                          The military arrested at least five cartel members following the gun battle which left at least one soldier injured. 
                                                                                                                                                      Also, according to the article, "United Cartels formed in October 2019 in response to the ongoing battle the Jalisco New Generation Cartel has been involved with the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, which then sought and received the military-like backing from the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel."
                                                                                                                                                      • Related: "Now We Have Proof Dr. Fauci Is Full of Crap and Can't Be Trusted"--PJ Media. Fauci praised New York's response to the Wuhan virus and said that "they did it correctly." The article then goes into all of the things that New York did wrong, the most egregious being the ordering of COVID-19 patients into nursing homes:
                                                                                                                                                        On March 25, New York state ordered nursing homes to accept patients regardless of their coronavirus status—a deadly mistake. Even then, it was known that the elderly were more vulnerable to the virus, so having patients who tested positive for the coronavirus in nursing homes allowed the virus to spread rapidly, killing thousands.

                                                                                                                                                        "Where was the Tower of Babel? - Dr. Douglas Petrovich"--Was Genesis History? (23 min.). If you just want to know the answer without all of the evidence, the answer is that Petrovich believes it to be the site of Eridu

                                                                                                                                                               Recently, Shaun King, a champion of the Black Lives Matter movement, called for the destruction of Christian iconography, statues, and stained glass, if they represent Christ, His mother, or any of the apostles as white. This, according to King, makes the iconography nothing more than a “gross form of white supremacy” and “racist propaganda” created to be “tools of oppression.”
                                                                                                                                                                 To King, the only proper response to any fossil of racism or oppression is to destroy it. As any depictions of Christ or the Virgin Mary with light skin represent “white supremacy,” according to King they’ve all got to go.
                                                                                                                                                              After discussing recent vandalism of Christian churches and iconography, the article continues:
                                                                                                                                                                      The reason for the attacks becomes clearer when considering that Black Lives Matter and Antifa are Marxist organizations and Marxism is an enemy of Christianity. It has to be. An atheistic system that sees economic Hegelianism as god will have to consider all transcendent religions the enemy. It’s why the Soviet Union was an atheistic state, which replaced God with the Communist Party.
                                                                                                                                                                        Another reason comes from the hatred Marxism holds for Western Civilization. The dream of Marxism is to eradicate Western civilization and replace it with itself; its reaction to the legitimate evils that have been committed by Occidentals is not reform but obliteration.
                                                                                                                                                                         Marxism assumes that because the windows are dirty and cracked, the entire house must be demolished. We see this same hatred today in the insurrections occurring right now. There is no reason for mobs pulling down statues of Ulysses S. Grant or Hans Christian Heg or calling for statues of Abraham Lincoln as the Great Emancipator to be removed.
                                                                                                                                                                            But if Western Civilization is evil, that means all the elements that went into creating Western Civilization must also be destroyed. That includes Christianity.
                                                                                                                                                                               The incident is the latest in a growing trend of vandalism against Catholic churches in the past week.
                                                                                                                                                                                Earlier this week, a statue of Jesus was beheaded in the Archdiocese of Miami and a statue of the Blessed Virgin at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Colorado Springs was tagged with red paint.
                                                                                                                                                                                  A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was beheaded last weekend at a church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
                                                                                                                                                                                    On July 10, a vandal spray-painted the word “idol” on the statue of the Virgin Mary at a prep school and seminary in the New York City borough of Queens.
                                                                                                                                                                                      The following day, the face, head, and upper body of a statue of the Virgin Mary were damaged in an arson attack at a parish in Boston.
                                                                                                                                                                                       On July 11, a man crashed a minivan into a Catholic church in Ocala, Florida, and then lit it on fire with gasoline while people were inside preparing for morning Mass.
                                                                                                                                                                                         At the same time that fire began, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles the church of the Mission San Gabriel was destroyed by fire. The 18th century mission was founded by St. Junipero Serra, whom Pope Francis canonized during his 2015 visit to the U.S. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and is being investigated for arson.
                                                                                                                                                                                      There has been a total of 11 attacks on Christian churches in the U.S. over the last few months
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Related: "Report: China Forcing Poor Citizens to Trade Faith for Welfare Checks"--Breitbart. The article reports that "The economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic has hit China’s low-income households hardest, many of which rely upon state-funded welfare benefits to survive. In recent months, the CCP has reportedly forced Christians across the country receiving state-funded welfare benefits to remove religious symbols from their households and replace them with images of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mao Zedong; some are told to renounce their faith altogether. If Christians refuse, the state cancels their welfare payments, according to the magazine."

                                                                                                                                                                                      They Really Do Hate You: The Left's Double Standard and Virtue Signaling

                                                                                                                                                                                            Glenn Reynolds likes to point out that with the left, if it weren't for double standards, they'd  have no standards at all. An...