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Remington Has Already Screwed Up The R-51

As I’ve mentioned previously, as both a founding member of the 3913 fanclub and a recovering C&R addict, I am unreasonably excited about Remington’s new R-51 9mm pistol. A rebirth of the unsuccessful Pedersen locking breechblock pistol of the 1920s, the R-51 looks art-deco Raymond Loewy awesome, and is something genuinely new and unique in the carry pistol market by offering (hopefully) a decent trigger in a slim single stack 9mm package that doesn’t have a cheap feeling polymer frame.

Unfortunately, it looks like things are already going sideways. To coincide with SHOT Show 2014, Remington released some promotional materials, including this video:

While slickly produced and showing some good footage of the gun in action, the tone and atmosphere is completely wrong. This is not a pistol for young, tacticool, camo pattern of the moment shooters. It offers neither the capacity nor service cred of modern double stack nines, nor is it small or light enough to be a good pocket pistol. Yet everybody shooting this gun is young and looks like they subscribe to SWAT and Recoil and read Soldier Systems with their morning MRE.

So who should the R-51 be marketed to? I’ll give you a hint:


The R-51 is, the way I see it, the modern reincarnation of the Colt 1903 or Vest Pocket. A classy, safe, coat-pocket-able pistol that’s easy to shoot even if it’s been a while. It’s not a gun for multi-case range weekend classes or 32 round USPSA stages, it’s for tossing into the glove box of your Mercedes Benz or into a Zero-Halliburton briefcase for a trip downtown.

Back issues of Gun Digest are literal catalogs of excellent, but now dead designs that were marketed incorrectly, and I hope the R-51 doesn’t share that fate. Not only has the runaway .mil and LEO legitimacy arms race done damage to our public image and led manufacturers to market products to people who don’t really need them, but I’m starting to wonder if all this gritty FDE gung-ho isn’t turning off more than a few shooters too? Even though we appreciate the excellence in design, durability and reliability that successful military or law enforcement service brings a gun, we should remember that there’s shooters out there who don’t need a pistol that’s suitable for fast roping out the space shuttle ninja camp. They enjoy taking pot shots at tin cans in the field with their tactically unhip guns and occasionally need to pack something. That’s perfectly okay, and the R-51 is the gun for them.

The R-51 doesn’t need to be advertised in Guns ‘n Ammo, it needs to be in Popular Mechanics or Car & Driver.

Minute of Dip Can

As mentioned while describing the “Nomad” AR, being able to hit a dip can as far away as one can see a dip can is a pretty decent test of rifle and shooter. Seeing as how inducing gum cancer is an increasingly rare hobby around here, I decided to make a printable target instead.


Here’s a .pdf for you to print up yourself: minuteofdip.pdf

So, print up a few and hit the range! How far out can you do it? Remember, it doesn’t count if it’s off the bench!

Even More Open Carry Fail

[h/t to Bob Owens @]

December 28: Open carry advocate Derek Poe decides to open carry his AR-15 in a Texas shopping mall to “exercise his rights”, “normalize firearms carry” and such. The popo disagrees and hooks him up for disorderly conduct.

One week later: That selfsame shopping mall, which had previously had a corporate policy against customers carrying concealed pistols on the premises but was all “don’t ask, don’t tell” by not posting against it, now has signs at the entrances banning concealed carry.

Way to go, man! You sure increased awareness and exercised your rights straight into getting lawful carry banned for everybody!

Open carry demonstration advocacy has been politically successful in the past, but only when tightly focused on a contradiction in existing law, like the VCDL restaurant visits or Florida Carry’s fishing expeditions. Every time these guys try to “increase awareness” or “desensitize” or “normalize”, they end up screwing it up for everyone, just like this and in California.

Hey guys, the root word of “normalize” is “normal”. Strutting around the mall with your AR, dressed up in your zombie rig damn well isn’t normal behavior and will make people uncomfortable. If open carry advocates weren’t so goddamned Aspie and had some capacity for being sensitive to the emotions of others, they might understand why it’s detrimental to their cause.

If you want to do Open Carry right, don’t be a dick, put the rifle and MOLLE away, put on a decent pistol in a retention holster (ie, not an XD in a Serpa), dress up neatly, obey the law, don’t be a dick, and go about your business.

Otherwise, this is what you look like to the normal people who you’re trying to convince:


Yeah, that’s normalizing all right. How’s that workin’ out for ya, Cali?

Operation: Blank Check

Life is the management of compromises and tradeoffs. Do I buy a less expensive house further away from the city but spend more time and money on my commute? Should I get the full rack of baby back ribs or the giant plate of chili cheese fries? Our desires always have to fit inside the envelope defined by our resources and abilities.

Such as building up an AR-15. When I built my guns, I had a set of requirements in mind, but I also had a fiscal ceiling to work under. More than a few component decisions were suboptimal based on my budget and what was available at the dawn of the Great Panic. Don’t get me wrong, both ARs work fine and I’m quite happy with them, but they’re not what I’d put together if I could get exactly the parts that I wanted and could afford them.

So what would that AR look like? As luck would have it, sick of talking to me about 1911s, Gunsmith Joe and I have been batting ideas for our next AR-15s back and forth. His requirements mirrored mine: a lightweight and reliable rifle, easy handling, friendly to shoot, capable of dealing with targets from bad breath distance to down the street, with an emphasis on up close over distance shots, an all day carry rifle instead of a heavy tack driver for the bench. A fixed stock and mid length gas system for comfort, smoothness of recoil and reliability, and that we wouldn’t be sharing the rifle with others who might benefit from an adjustable stock.

And after a few backorders and horse trades came through, here’s how his turned out:

Jackalope Rifle Company "Nomad" Mk1 Mod0

Jackalope Rifle Company “Nomad” Mk1 Mod0

Apologies for potato grade picture, he still hasn’t gotten around to either getting a real camera or understanding that whole “lighting” thing.

Here’s how the build went down: Starting with a custom engraved lower from York Arms, Joe installed a set of Colt internals, including recoil buffer and receiver extension, except for a Rock River Arms 2 stage trigger group. Buttstock is a noname A2 length fixed stock, and a Tango Down TG-16 pistol grip was fished out of the parts bin. The upper receiver and barrel were sourced from Bravo Company, using their 14.5″ midlength gas and lightweight barrel profile. A Noveske KX3 “Firepig” flash suppressor was pinned and welded onto the barrel per ATF specs to bring total barrel length to 16″. Then a Midwest Industries gas block was setscrewed in place under a 15″ Troy Alpha free float tube. Front and rear sights are fixed with a Troy up front and a Noveske in back. Bolt carrier group and a Gunfighter Mod4 extended latch charging handle are also from Bravo Company.

A few components were selected because they were on hand, and will be replaced when able. In particular, the RRA trigger group will be swapped out for an ALG set and an A1 length buttstock will replace the A2. Sling setup, white light and optic are yet to be determined, but the rifle is ready for use as is. It weighs in at 5.9 pounds empty and test firing has gone smoothly so far, despite the Great Panic limiting 5.56 to what was ratting around in a shoebox. Joe reports the gun will shoot into a dip can as far away as he can see a dip can (You know you’re in the South when…), and is quite agreeable in the hands. Envisioned support equipment include a lightweight Rhodesian style chest rig with 20 round Pmags and a single 30 on the first line belt. It isn’t a “stand and deliver” bullet hose for when the zombies are at the gates, but something to keep Evil at bay while you cover a lot of terrain in a hurry.

I think the “Nomad” has a lot going for it in a setup that isn’t available off the shelf, but within the reach of a reasonably competent hobbyist. I don’t think mine is going to look much different. But about that .300 BLK…

Duckface Bunny Cheesecake: We Must Demand Better, Guys

True to his job description, my friend Caleb brought the controversy on Facebook by questioning Melissa Gilliand’s photo shoot in Sure Shots Magazine, a digital website publication.

I have a serious question for my lady shooter friends: Is this really the image you want presented of female shooters?

No offense intended to Ms. Gilliland, whom I’m sure is a nice person. I’d much rather see women in the industry represented by women who don’t feel the need to pose in bikinis to get attention and instead let their skills do the talking.

I thought this was a good question, and enjoyed the discussion that ensued. But I was bothered by something else.

Sure Shots seems to be a very nebulous, web 2.0 thing that you’re not supposed to link to specific articles, so here’s a screenshot of the opening to Gilland’s article:

"Better pull a duckface while I check my dope"

“Better pull a duckface while I check my dope!”

This picture manages to be more insulting and condescending than the usual “booth bunnies” holding and displaying firearms. It’s arranged to be an “action” picture, yet it’s obviously and ridiculously artificial. The layout of the photo is supposed to make her look like an expert, but the details make her look like she has no idea what she’s doing (although she is a competitive shooter when she’s not posing for pictures). We’ve crossed the line from “sex sells” window dressing into “men will only listen to female industry reps if they’re flawless 10s”.

So turn the “page”, and here’s what we see:



Not only does the 30 Cal Gal, an accomplished, match winning, expert shooter in several disciplines, have to share column space with a woman whose only qualification is her appearance, but she has to take second billing! And compare the content of their pieces: Wachter is introducing people to long range competitive rifle shooting, Gilliland is explaining what it’s like to pose for a calendar shoot. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Wachter is smokin’ hot, but she’s never had to rely on going desperate to succeed. Unfortunately, a quick check of their Facebook fan pages reveals preferences: 246000 “likes” vs 6000.

I don’t mean to blame Gilliand and Sure Shots specifically for this situation. They are merely responding to market pressure, and that market says that we want boobs rather than substance. There is certainly a time and a place for cheesecake, and it can be done better and tastefully while remaining sexy and aspirational.


The continued survival of the shooting sports and gun rights in general is going to increasingly rely on our ability to sell our culture to groups that have not historically shared it before, and women in general are perhaps the most important and relevant. Young girls aren’t going to be inspired by Gilliand to take up shooting any more than the supine and greased models on the cover of Lowrider Magazine will inspire them to become ASE mechanics. So guys, let’s be more selective with our support and dollars. Are we really going to be satisfied with shallow titillation, or should we instead do what we can to get more ladies involved and active in our world?

Life In Obama’s America

So in Chicago, model city for the nation, a round of applause for the police as they quickly tracked down and apprehended Luis Alberto Pantoja for the brutal rape and assault of a 15 year old girl, who remains hospitalized in critical condition. The attack was reported at 5:25AM, and after feverish work by detectives and evidence technicians, a solid case was put together and Pantoja was in cuffs that afternoon.

But as reported by my favorite CPD blog, Second City Cop, that’s not the whole story! Not only is Pantoja a frequent flyer in the Cook County corrections system, but not even 8 months ago:

In August of 2013, Pantoja was arrested for criminal sexual assault. The attack happened at about 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 15 on the 5400 block of West Diversey Avenue when a 24-year-old woman was walking.

According to court records, Pantoja grabbed the woman by the arm, pulled her into an alley and sexually assaulted her. Pantoja was arrested after an investigative alert was issued in the case.

On Aug. 29, a public defender was appointed and appeared before Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil, who set bail of $200,000.

On Pantoja’s next court date Sept. 17, Judge Laura Marie Sullivan dismissed the charge on a finding of no probable cause, records show. Details were not available.

Emphasis mine. So not only was Pantoja previously convicted of violent felonies, but they caught him out raping women and the Chicago system let him go to do it again, and someone in the court system disappeared the documents to fuzzy the trail.

What gives?

Perhaps the evidence was obviously skimpy, but I can’t imagine the DA’s being that sloppy. No, what I think was more likely was the relentless pressure from the Mayor’s office to do something, anything about the crime rate.

But how does letting a proven sociopathic scumbag back onto the streets reduce crime? Oh no, the point isn’t to reduce crime, but to reduce the printed crime rate. A charge that is dismissed is a crime that never happened, and putting a thumb on the scale is a lot easier than piling more gold on it. As we say in engineering, you get what you measure.

Republicans are constantly accused of being part of a “War on Women” and men are demonized as maintaining a “rape culture” “patriarchy”, but who is it letting rapists escape punishment so they can violate women some more? Somehow I doubt (the female) Judge Sullivan is a Romney voter.

But do not lose sight of the larger picture. The current occupant of the White House is a symptom not the disease itself. The real disease is the culture of corruption, graft, payoffs, exemption granting and beak-dipping in America, and the epicenter of that cancer is Chicago. I can’t imagine that a narcissistic sociopath like Rahm doesn’t have designs on higher office. We should prepare.

Operator, Please

So today the Firearms Blog gamely and politely reviews the $850 MSES AQC sight distributed by, of course, the leading importers of tactical derp, Command Arms Accessories.

While appearing at first to be a fairly faithful EOtech clone, the AQC’s main selling point is that it offers three different reticules to the shooter, switchable at the press of a button. Left unanswered is under what conditions a shooter would desire to do that, and why that capability would be worth almost double the tariff of an EOTech 512. Apparently the designers felt this would need to be done in an awful hurry, as an additional cost option is a remote PTT switch so you can switch reticules with your support hand. Gosh!

I don’t mean to reflexively poop on everything new, but new is only better when it solves existing problems, not when it’s brewed up to just be different or because the designer can. What’s next? Different colors? Ringtones? Bluetooth? A text when it’s time to reload? Unlockable achievements?

Designers and engineers, get off the drawing board and get back to the range. See what’s bugging shooters and why, and try to fix that.

Love Letters From The Patriarchy

A handful of years ago, a good friend called me up late at night with a crisis of confidence. He just had a long term relationship broken off and was drifting about single, and unexpectedly found himself courting an unattached lady, who was courting him right back.

“Man, what do I do? I’m not ready for another long term thing, I hardly know her, am I just using her? Is that fair to her? I want to but I don’t want to hurt her, help!”

In a sleep deprived haze and right before I hung up, I dispensed one of my simplest and I believe most profound pieces of advice:

“Dude, chicks like to fuck too.”

Enlightened, my friend went on to have a happy but short relationship with the lady, and while it didn’t end up going anywhere, two adults found comfort and pleasure in each other for a while, and parted ways wiser and happier for it.

So imagine my surprise when TLG informed us all that this is wrong, and in fact traditional heterosexual penetrative intercourse is in fact, always rape! Always. Okay? You see, the patriarchy has brainwashed and conditioned women to trick them into believing that they enjoy sex, when in fact it is destructive, harmful violence against their genitals.

Seriously, go read. I’ll wait.

It is tempting to handwave this away as the rantings of an anonymous internet crazy person, or to make jokes at her expense, but I will resist this temptation…

Okay, one joke: This girl must have a stunning collection of cats.

Okay, one more: With writing like this:

PIV is a man mounting on a woman to thrust a large member of himself into her most intimate parts, often forcing her to be entirely naked, banging himself against her with the whole weight of his body and hips, shaking her like he would stuff a corpse, then using her insides as a receptacle for his penile dejection.

If she finds her career paths of either academia or fast food service unfulfilling, she has great promise in certain genres of erotic literature. Rowr.

Okay, one more: She must be a delight at parties.

Okay, I’m done. The problem isn’t that she’s explicitly wrong, which she is, or that by equating consensual sexual activity to violent assault by denying the possibility of consent she is trivializing real rape. I mean, if women have to be conditioned from birth to enjoy sex, why does the church invest so much time in making them feel guilty about it? That seems rather convoluted and suggests a simpler explanation! And when your thesis hangs on the thread of entire swaths of demography being systematically deceived about their bodies response to stimuli, from birth, for generations, it needs a rethink. If your map disagrees with the terrain, the terrain is always right. Always. Okay?

No, what bugs me is isn’t that this argument is last spasms of dying Dworkinite feminism nor the insane gibberish of someone emboldened by an internet pseudonym, but that it represents the logical conclusion of the rape culture theory. If you believe that sexual assault isn’t due to opportunistic actions of individual sociopaths, but rather is enabled en masse by a permissive atmosphere that encourages men to see, take, and use women as property, then what other explanation is there for women who desire male attention? If you assume the culture of maleness is rape all the way down, then it becomes difficult to believe that women choose to be a part of it. So obviously they’ve been hoodwinked.

If I want to cross the street without being hit by a car, I look both ways, wait for traffic and quickly make my way when it’s clear. This isn’t blaming people who have been hit by cars, nor is it enabling a cars hitting people culture. The person most responsible for your continued well being, is you, and you can’t get there by holding pedestrian awareness rallies or speaking up against crosswalker shaming.

Fighting against “rape culture” is a fool’s errand, because it doesn’t exist except in the minds and pages of theorists. (At least in the West. Rape culture is a reality in the Third World where forced underage marriages, family shame murders and acid attacks, and female genital mutilation are daily atrocities. But you’ll never see radfems go after those people, either because a) those brown people just don’t know better, or b) those people will kill you!) Rapists, however, do exist, and you can oppose them by not only denying them targets (staying out of bad parts of town late at night, not partying alone, and watching out for people taking advantage of your fellow partygoers, etc), but if all else fails, drawing your piece and shooting him in his rapey face if he doesn’t comprehend “No.”

Remington’s New-ish R-51 Pistol

As we approach SHOT Show 2014, Remington decided to get ahead of the curve and held a press demo for their new/old 9mm semiauto pistol, the R-51, a retooled and modernized development of the Depression era John Pederson designed model 51. Read all about it, and some decent pictures, at The Firearms Blog.

Here’s the info I found most relevant:

  • MSRP $389
  • Forged stainless slide and locking block
  • Aluminum frame
  • 9x19mm, 7 round single stack magazine
  • Ambi magazine release
  • Weight: 20oz empty
  • Width: .96″
  • Length: 6″
  • Height: 4.5″
  • Barrel length: 3.4″

Should hit dealers in February, but I expect them to be back ordered for a year. Compared to the S&W Shield 9mm, the R-51 is $100 cheaper, only an ounce heavier, offers an aluminum frame instead of plastic (not that it’s a big deal in practice, but it does feel more substantial in the store), doesn’t have a thumb safety, and has a 0.3″ longer barrel, all while offering a level of art-deco cool design that we haven’t seen in a new gun in years.

Apart from the fact that it’s to be made by Para-USA under the Cerberus Group umbrella, I can’t find anything to dislike about this. The ambi-magazine release looks a little close to where you’d put your trigger finger, but I’d have to have one in hand to make a determination on that.

I’m not gonna lie, as a member of the S&W 3913 fanclub and a recovering C&R addict, I want one. I think if they don’t fuck it up the way they did the Remington 1911, they’ll sell every one they can make.

Hope Y’all Had A Merry Christmas, Stop Doing The AR-15 Wrong

As America’s Rifle, the AR type has enjoyed unprecedented popularity, accounting for almost 25% of new long gun sales in recent years. But with great numbers come great numbers of mistakes, as people being people, attempt to find corners to cut or shortcuts to skill. How fortunate for you, that I polled some knowledgeable friends and compiled a long list of the most common mistakes we see people make with the AR! I’ve separated them into Hardware, Maintenance, and Software, and of course they’re over at the money blog.

What, you thought I’d do that for free? Haw haw!

One thing I didn’t cover because I recognize good arguments for and against, is the forward assist. I’m actually pretty ambivalent towards the forward assist myself. I honestly can’t remember the last time I used it, but I don’t think having one on your gun gives you cancer either. Every semiauto rifle with a reciprocating charging handle already has a forward assist of sorts anyway. If you find yourself hammering on the button to seat a round against a mechanical obstruction, you’re just creating more trouble for yourself. But giving it a love tap after a chamber check or manually charging a round probably isn’t a bad habit to get into either. I’d feel weird if my AR didn’t have one, but I’d accept a decent rifle that came without one (the LMT MWS (le sigh) leaps to mind) too.