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- Shelley Rae has an outstanding post on the radical concept that women carrying guns to deter and prevent rape is compatible with being a feminist.
- So how about that frickin’ Rand Paul guy, huh? I like the cut of his wookie-suit. Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewlitt talk it over. This looked deliciously awkward.
- And finally, this thing that appears to be a thing, also appears to be a new thing. Hopefully it becomes a big thing. Acceptable Combat Accuracy. I’ve said for a long time that one could write an entire blog about the failings of the professional gun media, and it looks like a start! Hopefully there’s a diverse group of industry insiders and talented writers to keep up with the gun magazines.
A few years ago, I wrote some advice for getting bullets launched from your AR-15 type on paper.
I’d like to amend my post and instead recommend you read and pay close attention to what Jack Leuba and Kyle Defoor have written on the 100 yard zero. I applied this to my own rifles and had excellent results both with the irons on both rifles, and my Aimpoint.
The big advantage of the 100yd zero over the 55/200 is that the bullet does not rise above the line of sight and for precise hits the shooter only has to aim higher at 200ish yards, instead of having to remember where he’s going to hit high and where he’s going to hit low. For the vast majority of potential civilian uses, no adjustment at all is required. In fact, I ran my target out to the 200 yard line and was only hitting a few inches low.
Some post-range trip notes:
I regard the iron sights as my primary sighting device. I worked first on getting a good, solid zero with my irons before I even screwed my optic on. Unlike optics, iron sights do not break, fall off, fog up, run out of batteries, or get covered in mud, snow, ice, blood, dirt or water. Modern Aimpoints have amazing battery life and are surprisingly durable, but they still break. If your rifle doesn’t have iron sights, you don’t have sights on your rifle.
Therefore, I have come to prefer non-folding sights. I suppose a sturdy folding rear is an option if you have a 1-4x optic that doesn’t allow for a fixed rear, but I would recommend a steel unit like the Troy over the Magpul rear, which I am not impressed with. I particularly prefer a fixed front sight base to a folding or screwed to a rail front. At first I was concerned that the clutter of the sights would make using the Aimpoint confusing or difficult, but I’ve found when I’m focused on that dot, the details blend into the background.
For my iron sights, I set elevation such that I was hitting 1.5″ high at 100 yards to compensate for the natural urge to put the front post under the target. After I was satisfied, I then shot a few groups at 100 from different positions, and checked where I was hitting at 25 and 50 yards. Note that I did not perform any adjustments here, this was only to see how things looked under various conditions and ranges. Then I repeated the whole procedure with the Aimpoint screwed on.
I had a moment of derp when I put the dot on target at 100 yards and the optical blooming of the dot obscured not only the bullseye but totally covered up the target frame. After contemplating my advanced age and the cost of getting prescription glasses, I remembered the Aimpoint brightness adjusts down as well as up.
I also double checked my 100 yard zero with the Aimpoint after removing and reinstalling it, and I was hitting in the same spot.
All this cost about 60 rounds per rifle of precious brass-case ammunition. I mostly used my miscellaneous 55gr XM193 leftovers from various manufactures, but sparingly used 30 rounds of my Federal / Lake City XM193 stockpile for final verification. Then I busted out the cheap steel cased fodder and blasted through about 120 rounds per rifle. The good news is that during assembly, everything pinned, screwed and snapped together with much less aggravation than my first AR. The great news is that both rifles functioned perfectly and dumped their cases in neat little smoking piles. Accuracy was about what you’d expect from a 16″ chrome lined carbine shooting military ammunition, about 4″ at 100 yards. This opened up to 6-8″ shooting Russian steel cased ammo, but interestingly, the 62gr ammunition grouped to about the same point of impact as the 55gr.
Oh yeah, I totally forgot to lube up the rifles before hitting the road, so I stopped at a gas station on the way to the range and bought a quart of 30W motor oil for $4. This worked fine and should be a lifetime supply. I did, however, revert to my usual combo of light oil in the lower and lithium wheel bearing grease on the bolt after cleaning.
I was relived that most of my component choices not only worked, but worked well together. The only thing I’m going to replace is the Cavalry Arms A1 buttstock. It’s too short for the Blackhawk buttstock magazine pouch and doesn’t allow the charging handle to be fully retracted. The Magpul furniture is superb. The handguards fit well and are comfortably shielded, even after firing two magazines fast enough that the assembly lube was smoking. The MOE fixed stock is the perfect length for me, for all field positions. The MOE grip is pleasantly meaty without feeling bulky, and has a subtle rubbery texture instead of the hard GI plastics. The days of stuffing a foam earplug in the A2′s pistol grip gap are over, get a real grip. They’re only $20!
I did not notice any difference in perceived noise or recoil (it’s a 5.56! It doesn’t recoil!) between these 16″ carbines and my 20″ A1. The heavier barrel profiles and the flashlights made them feel less lively, but this is a subjective judgment and I didn’t bring my A1 along to shoot back to back.
I think the ALG ACT trigger group is a tremendous value. For only $60, you get a consistent trigger pull with all the durability of the stock GI trigger group. It is a single short rolling stage of about 6 pounds. It’s heavy enough to be safe, light enough to allow for precise shots, and the break is enough of a surprise that your concentration can be on your front sight. An unexpected benefit is the smoothness with which the safety lever glides from position to position. It locks positively in either, but the motion between is like sliding an ice cube across the counter. I do have one issue with one rifle, the safety is difficult to engage with the bolt locked back. I’m not sure if this is an issue or not, I have an email out to the ALG people.
The “primary” carbine weighs in at 11.46 pounds ready to roll, with 2 loaded 30 round Pmags onboard. Heavy, but not cumbersome. Backup carbine tips the scales at 8.7 pounds with a loaded Pmag, flashlight and sling. I will be adding a MOE buttstock, Blackhawk magazine pouch and Aimpoint as funds allow, but it is quite useable for now.
For the future, the only thing I want to do with Primary is shoot it some more, whenever ammo becomes reasonably available again. I also have a strange lust for the newly announced Troy Battle Rail Delta Midlength, which combines my love of fixed front sight towers with the slim and trim free-float tube trend. It wouldn’t do anything for me other than make the rifle look about 20% more ninja, but I still want it.
The smarter thing would have been to spend about the same amount of money and get two Colt 6920s from Wal-Mart, but I thoroughly enjoyed piecing together my own rifles and feel that I’ve learned more about the platform in the process. I can’t recommend you do the same and can’t promise you the same results, but the state of the modern AR industry is truly amazing. We have never had such a richness in options, support and quality from which to choose.
When buying parts hither and yon for my ARs, my original plan was to mount my favorite weaponlight, the LED Streamlight TLR-1 to a short rail stub on the handguards. But for Reasons(tm) (possibly curiosity or browsing the internets while drinking), I ended up with a Primary Arms 3x CR123 LED “Ultimate Weaponlight”. It sells for $90 and promises 450 lumens for 2.5 hours on 3 batteries. It comes with a mount and has an inexpensive optional tape switch, and is also available in FDE.
At 8oz, it is twice the weight of a TLR-1, and that much mass hanging at the end of your rifle is noticeable. Despite being made in China, it does seem to be constructed well and solidly fits the Magpul MOE rail stub. It does throw an impressive amount of light, taking it (detached from the rifle!) outside at night, I could easily spotlight stuff down the street. I like the operation of the clicky tailcap, it doesn’t offer any modes other than off or on, and has both a momentary on and a latching on/off.
I can’t offer any opinions on battery life, durability or longevity yet, but the light and switch still function well after about 300 rounds of zeroing and function testing.
So is 450 lumens too much for indoors? I don’t think so, but you do have to be more mindful of white walls, mirrors and glass picture frames. Rehearsing your ninja pie-moves inside your house during the daylight hours is time well spent. Remember always that a light on your gun isn’t a flashlight with a gun on it, but a gun with a flashlight on it. You must never directly point the flashlight (and therefore the gun) at anything that you aren’t willing to put a bullet through. Get in the habit of illuminating rooms by pointing the light beam at the floor.
One problem, the mount was loose after about 200 rounds. The mount is two pieces held together by these two small Phillips head screws on the opposite side from the thumbscrews.
These screws loosened up and the mount was fine after I tightened them down. When I got home, I added some blue locktite and screwed them down again. If you get one, I recommend you do the same.
Anyway, so far, so good. I really can’t unreservedly recommend it, but I can’t tell you not to try one either. Primary Arms is a good crew and has a reputation for responsive customer service. If you need a longer light throw distance than a TLR-1 but can’t afford a Surefire Scout light, I think this has a lot going for it.
John Edwards was partially right: There are two Americas, but they are not separated by income. One has less crime than Europe (even in the poorest areas (that are knee deep in a meth crisis)), has stable family units, values education and personal achievement, works in the productive economy and saves for a rainy day.
The other America looks like this:
There are many ways to pigeonhole this divide: skin color, the “snitches get stitches” culture and the markers thereof, voting patterns, living on government handouts and Rent-A-Center, hostility to education, and plenty of others.
Personally, I wonder how many of these youths had a close relationship with their fathers.
Also amusing are the increasingly futile and condescending attempts by the media to sanitize these events despite living in an era of instantly distributed video. Nowhere in the Chicago Tribune’s piece will you find pictures or descriptions of the perpetrators other than the new codeword: “youths”. And “A group of older youths” I guess for the really scary ones. Occasionally, the news will slip up and publish a photo, but will dare not name the color. Why do they do this? Does the media believe these youths are motivated by negative feelings and will therefore cease their destruction if Evil White People do not know who to hate? I can’t think of any other explanation!
I think the lessons are fairly obvious: Distrust the establishment media and seek primary sources. And for crying out loud, carry your damn guns.
Read his take, but in short, using the flashlight in the manner in which Kel-Tec suggests in concert with a pistol significantly increases the chance of a ND during use, especially under stress.
I also do not mean to pick on Erin specifically (again!), she’s an excellent writer and enthusiastic advocate for the second amendment in areas we might not be reaching ourselves. But with the slow death of the traditional gun print industry and the rise of the hobbyist blogger reviewer, this has been happening a lot everywhere and will happen more in the future.
I am not immune. I have received more than a few industry freebies in the past and been entranced at the idea of basically getting free stuff in exchange to shoot and write, things I normally do for free! But I’ve given up on seeking out more opportunities like this. It is essentially a conflict of interest and I felt my blog was slowly morphing into a means to acquire loot, rather than to entertain and enhance the hive mind. I do not wish the fear of jeopardizing future loot to decrease the odds of delivering an accurate, if harsh, review.
But that’s not even the biggest problem here. The real question is, what qualifies the reviewer to make a judgement on the object? Erin is not qualified to review this flashlight. It may be harsh, but it is true: Paul spotted the flaw, she did not.
I am also not saying that there is no value in hobbyist reviews. People who use these things because they enjoy them — not because they have a deadline to meet or product to sell — will give a different view than the manufacturer, and their perspective will be valuable to others. But do seek out more than one source for these things, especially if it is something you may use to defend your life or the lives of others. If you are reading about the item on forums, make sure it isn’t a forum dedicated to that item! The 1911 forum will always find something nice to say about any 1911, no matter how cast or Philippine or Taurus crappy it is.
Please bear in mind the qualifications of the reviewer and how it relates to the item in question. If there is a significant mismatch between A and B, proceed with caution. And above all: Don’t buy Kel-Tec stuff.
Knowing more than a few people who enjoy eating but are too busy or intimidated to cook themselves, I thought I’d type up a couple of my favorite stupid easy recipes. Today, I urge you to shun the dessicated under a heat lamp Walmart rotisserie chicken and roast your own damn chicken.
Here’s what you need:
- One fresh whole bird
- Olive oil
- Good sized onion
- Spices: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, (optional: granulated onion and rosemary)
- Aluminum baking sheet (a rack is nice, but not required)
First, take your chicken:
Remove from plastic, and be careful to not nick the skin or fat layer when you’re cutting the plastic off. I did this (shut up, I was drinking). Set it on the pan.
See all this junk inside the carcass?
Throw it out.
Take your onion and peel it, then cut into eights. Then stuff that sucker up in there:
You could also put in a lemon or something similar if you had one on hand.
Those spices? Put ‘em in a bowl:
The exact amounts and proportions aren’t critical, but I generally go with 2:1:1:1 salt:pepper:garlic powder:granulated onion. Don’t put in the rosemary yet.
Mix in some olive oil:
Again, the exact amount isn’t important, but you can’t have too much.
Then, take your mixture and anoint yon bird:
Cover evenly. You can use a brush or something if you’re all fancy like.
Then throw some rosemary up on there:
You’re done! Throw in the oven for 60-90 minutes at 350F. Ovens lie, so you’ll have to keep an eye on your first one. You want the skin golden brown and the internals to about 160-170F.
It’ll look like this:
For best results, let it stand for 10 minutes or so before carving. For sides, you can toss some diced potatoes and onions in the same spice and olive oil mixture you used on the chicken and roast on the same pan for about 45-60 minutes. It goes well with a salad or some steamed veggies if you’re super lazy. I like a sweet white wine with this like a Moscato.
Look at that. LOOK! Are you not hungry? The meat cooks up tender and super juicy, and the skin is like chicken candy bacon. If I didn’t have to feed 3 other humans off this, I could stand there and eat the whole thing from the pan.
Life’s too short to eat crappy food. Get out of Applebee’s and cook yourself something awesome.
The Killer Democrat Mayors Who Are Destroying America — Or — A Begrudging Admission That Despite Better Sense, I Remain A Republican
I hate to be a blogjerk, but I’m going to crib pretty much an entire post from somebody elses’ legwork.
Here is a list of the 30 most dangerous cities in America, listed in order of their per capita murder rate, with their current mayors and political affiliation:
1. New Orleans – Mitch Landrieu (D)
2. Detroit – Dave Bing (D)
3. St Louis – Francis G. Slay (D)
4. Newark – Cory Booker (D)
5. Baltimore – Stephanie Rawlings Blake (D)
6. Oakland – Jean Quan (D)
7. Kansas City – Sly James (I)
8. Philadelphia – Michael Nutter (D)
9. Atlanta – Kasim Reed (D)
10. Cincinnati – Mark Mallory (D)
11. Stockton – Ann Johnston (D)
12. Cleveland – Frank Jackson (D)
13. Memphis – A.C. Wharton (D)
14. Washington DC – Vincent Gray (D)
15. Miami – Tomás Regalado (R)
16. Chicago – Rahm Emanuel (D)
17. Pittsburgh – Luke Ravenstahl (D)
18. Milwaukee – Tom Barrett (D)
19. Buffalo – Byron Brown (D)
20. Tulsa – Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr. (R)
21. Mobile – Sam Jones (D)
22. Indianapolis – Greg Ballard (R)
23. Columbus – Michael Coleman (D)
24. Dallas – Mike Rawlings (D)
25. Omaha – Jim Suttle (D)
26. Toledo – Michael Bell (I)
27. Boston – Thomas Menino (D)
28. Oklahoma City – Mick Cornett (R)
29. Tucson – Jonathan Rothschild (D)
30. Ft. Wayne – Tom Henry (D)
Perhaps correlation does not strictly mean causation, but 24/30 — with no R’s in the top 14 — is a strong elbow to the ribs.
So what’s going on here? Does electing Democrats turn a jurisdiction into a crime ridden war zone? Do the people who benefit from living a crime ridden war zone vote Democrat? Is it incompetence? Is it that Democrats naturally thrive in conditions that favor corruption? Is it a desire to hold their constituents in the cycle of poverty and handouts so the politicians can claim to be their saviors?
Like a lot of complicated and chaotic systems, I believe the answer is all of the above in concert, none singly. What we have is not a coordinated conspiracy, but a confluence of incentive vectors that all align with the core ideology of the DNC: the expansion of state power. Say what you want about the GOP (and #DEITY knows I’ve said most of it), but the only place limited government advocates can even get a foot in the door is with the Republicans. First principles do matter, and the tarnished but still intact Jacksonian core demands above all that the reach of the state be limited to its base functions, and is only legitimate so long as it has the consent of the governed.
Alternatives? No. The Libertarian Party has been a bad joke for 30 years, a bunch of unorganized clowns who couldn’t put together a gangbang in a whorehouse because they’d prefer to sit around and debate the ethics of making everyone wear a rubber. Power in America lies within the two establishment parties, as distasteful as that may seem. Like Friedman said, the way to success in advocacy politics is not to hold your breath waiting for the perfect Prince Charming candidate to ride in on his white horse and save us, but to create the conditions for the wrong people to do the right thing.
Easy or even assured success? LOL, no. The tragic comedy of our situation is that we have to work within a system that only rewards success to those that grow the system. Remember the fundamental axiom of government: Government exists only to give out money, power and influence to the clients, employees and patrons of government. Squaring this circle is the seemingly impossible task of the limited government coalition, and may only be possible when the state finally runs out of other people’s money.
The smart money may be to run. The problem is the lack of places to run to, and personally, I am not wealthy enough to run. We may be outnumbered twenty to one by the moochers of the state, but as in the past, five percent may be enough to turn history.
We can witness every day the foul results of runaway state power: 500 murders a year in Chicago. The silencing of critics in Argentina. Price controls, food shortages, slavery, war, Gulags, ethnic cleansing, genocide, forced medical experiments — these do not occur because of racism or sexism or other mean feelings but always and directly when too few have too much power over too many.
The GOP is certainly home to many jerks and numbskulls. Face it, if they were competent or ethical or honest, they’d be able to hold down real jobs in the productive economy. But at the core, down in the bedrock, where it all finally matters, (most?)(some?) Republicans are comfortable with trusting their constituents to own military and police grade weaponry and controlling a (larger) portion of their productive labor. In comparison, the Democrats are only willing to trust us with the decision of where we wish to stick our genitals, and demand everything else be reserved to the state — how much money you are allowed to keep, your public safety, your health care, even what lightbulbs and laundry soap you are permitted to buy — everything. And as fond as I am of my genitals, I do not find this a difficult choice.
For the 18 years that I have been a registered voter in NC my voter registration card has read “independent”. This year, it will read “R”. I submit that if you prefer liberty to servitude, that you do the same. We must get involved and start bending the RNC where we have the most leverage: in the primaries.
I was flattered when Caleb used my Evil Assault Rifle Mk1 Mod0 as an example of a well set up, uncluttered rifle. However I’m also a little ashamed to admit that said rifle has since sprouted an Aimpoint and sling and a buttstock magazine pouch and is pushing nine and a quarter pounds. It has crossed that ill-defined border from “handyland” and is now encroaching upon “awkwardsville”.
So does my rifle have too much stuff on it? Is it time to ditch it and get a Garand instead? No, and here’s why.
What Caleb was getting at, and I’m sure you’ve seen, is to avoid making your rifle into a parts hanger. When you’re looking in the catalog for things to add on, and not for solutions to a specific problem, you’ve got a parts hanger.
For a general purpose, self-defense carbine, I think you are best served to add, in order: A white light, an Aimpoint, and a sling. The white light makes it possible to identify threats in poor lighting (it is not for searching!). The Aimpoint makes it easier to get your sights on the target quickly and in poor light. The sling exists to quickly get the rifle out of your hands, but maintain control of it (it is not for steadying your aim at self defense distances). Of the three, the sling can be eliminated if you don’t anticipate having to have the gun out of your hands for long. It’s quite possible to get the sling tangled in things or people and can make your life more difficult if it’s not managed correctly. You could save a lot of money and weight by not running an optic, but the benefits are so huge that I personally wouldn’t be without one. The white light is probably the only real necessity, because without one your rifle is useless in poor light.
So, what’s the vertical fore grip for?
Originally, the VFG was designed to protect the shooter’s hand against high heat generated by sustained firing when an integrated aluminum rail system was installed. It does offer some additional leverage for hanging on to the gun, but for shooting, it’s an awkward solution and generally a flat bottomed handguard will be more friendly to use.
The first error shooters make is to install a VFG for no other reason than because they’ve seen others install them, especially the military, without understanding the how or why. Then they get installed in the wrong position, and used incorrectly.
The obvious way to use the VFG, is usually wrong:
“Choking The Chicken” is awkward and offers poor stability and tracking.
Instead, try this:
Cup your hand in front of the VFG and use it as a rearward handstop. This offers a solid grip, pulls the rifle back into the shoulder pocket, and is a consistent hand location that’s easily and repeatably found.
And on my rifle, it puts my thumb here:
To do this:
I never have to go looking for my flashlight button, because the VFG puts my hand in the right spot to find it, every time.
We all make fun of the guy with “too much stuff” on his rifle. But the problem isn’t his stuff, it’s that he’s bought it and added it without an understanding of how the rifle is to be used and how these parts can make that job easier. And the only way to get that understanding is to get off the couch, turn the computer off, get off the internets and hit the range and shoot your damn guns! Take a class, shoot a match. See what others are doing and how it works and doesn’t work out for them. Ask to shoot somebody elses’ gun!
It’s tempting to get overly curmudgeonly about these things and shun all modern enhancements and go back to shooting a K-Frame, 870 and a Garand (although you’re certainly not totally unarmed if you choose to do so), but the new hotness will make your life easier if you fit your gear to your requirements and not the other way around.
I say “boring” because due to lack of time and sudden inability to replace my ammo stockpile, I haven’t even shot these yet! So here I am talking about gear I haven’t even used.
Anyway, here’s AR #2. The Plan was to complete this one after I’d had a chance to test out AR #1 and see if my component decisions were correct. Well, certain events forced my hand and I moved on getting the rest of the stuff in to complete it.
The big difference is the Cav Arms A1 fixed stock in place of the Magpul MOE fixed stock. This alone saved a good quarter pound in weight! The stock is fairly sturdy, but doesn’t seem as bombproof as the MOE. It’s also a touch shorter. The buttplate is, unfortunately, complete trash. It’s flimsy rubber that doesn’t even fit well and I managed to completely screw the top screw right through it. The good news is a Colt buttplate will screw right on, and one is trucking its way from Numrich right now. I really can’t recommend it, but it is an option. I think if you want a fixed stock on your AR, the best bets are the MOE, or a surplus A1 stock ($15!). I also used a Daniel Defense fixed rear sight instead of the Troy. They’re interchangeable, pick whatever one you think looks best. For a white light, I chucked a Surefire G2 LED into an old Chinese aluminum 1″ scope ring I had lying around. It also saves a lot of weight over the Primary Arms unit, but only throws about a quarter of the candlepower. It’s probably better for indoors, but either will work.
One thing I immediately like about AR #2 is that it’s a good half pound lighter than AR #1! It’s not a huge difference and for a short duration of use, irrelevant, but I can totally see what people on a lightweight AR kick are on about. I don’t think I’d bias all the parts towards weight savings, but lightness is a good thing if the parts meet your other requirements.
AR #1 also got some attention:
Sling is a BFG VCAS with a Brownells MASH hook up front on a Magpul loop, and a QD swivel on the outside rear of the MOE stock. I picked up an Aimpoint Comp M3 with mount and spacer on an absolutely obscene discount from SKD instead of the Aimpoint PRO. The only thing I don’t like about the M3 package is the ridiculous donkey dong of a quick-detach screw hanging off the left side. But the mount was free and it’s hard to argue with free.
Another thing I’m trying out is the ¡Blackhawk! buttstock magazine pouch. I wanted some way of keeping another magazine with the gun without resorting to a mag clamp or the expense of a Readi-Mag. I’ve been biased against these in the past because I had assumed they would make shooting off the wrong shoulder difficult if not impossible. But oddly enough, with a magazine inserted, the pouch forms a comfy cheek rest! The lid is adjustable to fit anything from an old GI straight 20 to a PMag. After practicing the reload dry, I’m convinced it’s useable. I just rotate the rifle to the left, wipe my hand down the stock to unhook the lid and pull out the mag, then get it into the gun as usual. It’s a touch more cumbersome and slow than reloading from a chest rig, but I think the utility of always having a reload on the gun is worth the tradeoffs. I think 60 rounds should see the average citizen through quite a lot of excitement and is one less thing to grab and ready in a crisis. Be sure to tighten the pouch all the way the rear so the front strap doesn’t prevent the charging handle from retracting all the way. Once I cinched everything down, I had a good half-inch of clearance. I recommend you check one out if you keep an AR ready at home. I’m not sure how well it would work on a telestock, but it’s great on a fixed stock. I have another one on the truck for AR #2.
Anyway, both carbines are progressing along swell, and I’m eager to see if they work out live as well as they do dry.