AR-15 Ammunition And Barrel Twist Rate

Herschel Smith · 19 Feb 2017 · 7 Comments

There are a lot of articles and discussion forum threads on barrel twist rate for AR-15s.  So why am I writing one?  Well, some of the information on the web is very wrong.  Additionally, this closes out comment threads we've had here touching on this topic, EMail exchanges I've had with readers, and personal conversations I've had with shooters and friends about this subject.  It's natural to put this down in case anyone else can benefit from the information.  Or you may not benefit at…… [read more]

New York Times: “Give Us A King Like All Of The Other Nations”

BY Herschel Smith
2 days, 15 hours ago

Building a Mini-State With Avocados and Guns.

There is something intoxicatingly utopian about the story of Tancítaro.

This small town has succeeded at self-rule in a part of Mexico — the state of Michoacán, drug war ground zero — where so many similar experiments have failed. It is free of the drug cartels as well as the Mexican police and politicians who are widely seen as part of the problem. It has homegrown institutions. It is safe.

“It’s a nice town. You can walk around at day or night. It’s very nice,” Guillermo Valdés, a former head of Mexico’s national intelligence agency, told us this August. “They take care of themselves.”

Mr. Valdés told us about Tancítaro at the end of a long interview at a Mexico City cafe, where we had met him to discuss towns that were seceding in subtler ways. It was the sort of comment sometimes made after the formal questions have ended and the notebooks have closed, the casual aside that changes the whole story.

He’d recently visited Tancítaro for a book he was writing on the drug war and found its experiment in self-rule intriguing. It’s a global center in avocado production, exporting about $1 million worth every day. The orchard owners use that money to fund militias that guard and police the town.

But the more we heard about Tancítaro, the more that something seemed off. Something Mr. Valdés said stuck with us: “They expelled all the criminals.”

O.K., but how did they separate criminals from innocents? Who did the selection? There’s a version of this that sounds like frontier justice, rough but fair, and there’s a version that resembles towns controlled by drug cartels.

“It’s very hard to believe that Tancítaro is just this island of peace and perfect transparency in Michoacán,” said Romain Le Cour Grandmaison, who studies Central American security issues at Noria Research and has visited the town.

Falko Ernst, his colleague at the think tank, added, “You have an armed group acting on behalf of the real political authority, the grower’s council” — a body of wealthy orchard owners — “doing the cleansing in their name and in their interests.”

The more we learned about Tancítaro, the less utopian it sounded and the more dystopian.

But the truth, or at least what we came to understand of it, wasn’t exactly one or the other. And it wasn’t somewhere in the middle, either. It was, or seemed to be, both utopia and dystopia simultaneously.

Tancítaro is indeed pretty safe. The first evening that Dalia Martínez, a Michoacán-based journalist who worked with us on this article, visited town, there was a big street festival with families out. The streets were, as Mr. Valdés had said, safe, even at night. They were clean.

The avocado orchards were safe as well, guarded by another set of uniformed militias. There was a palpable change at the town’s perimeter, marking the edge of what militiamen called “tierra caliente” — hot ground, meaning cartel territory. The avocado trade appears to be booming.

But after a few days of scratching beneath the surface, it became clear that Tancítaro had become very good at providing security, but had developed almost none of the other basic functions of a state.

1$ million dollars per day of produce.  Frontier justice.  Oooo … we wouldn’t want frontier justice, now would we?  We need to have government functions, government programs, and according to the rest of the article, “ways for the citizens to get involved.”

So apparently the authors would like to see the cartels come back and horde the money for themselves and force others into slavery, while beheading the authorities.  This is the kind of moral equivalence only possible from graduates of American Marxist and feminist sociology programs.

And notice the most important thing.  Government functions and programs justifies a monopoly on violence in the minds of these authors.  As long as the powers give “free” stuff and enable “community involvement,” they have a right to the use of armed force, and no one else does, not even in self defense.  If you presume to defend yourself, according to these authors, you’d better be prepared to give stuff to people and enable community programs.

The Deep State And The “Alarming” Memo On FISA Abuses

BY Herschel Smith
2 days, 15 hours ago

Via WRSA, Fox News.

A four-page memo circulating in Congress that reveals alleged United States government surveillance abuses is being described by lawmakers as “shocking,” “troubling” and “alarming,” with one congressman likening the details to KGB activity in Russia.

Speaking with Fox News, the lawmakers said they could not yet discuss the contents of the memo they reviewed on Thursday after it was released to members by the House Intelligence Committee. But they say the memo should be immediately made public.

“It is so alarming the American people have to see this,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said.

“It’s troubling. It is shocking,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said. “Part of me wishes that I didn’t read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.”

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said he believed people could lose their jobs after the memo is released.

“I believe the consequence of its release will be major changes in people currently working at the FBI and the Department of Justice,” he said, referencing DOJ officials Rod Rosenstein and Bruce Ohr.

“You think about, ‘is this happening in America or is this the KGB?’ That’s how alarming it is,” Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry said.

We don’t need to see a document of any sort to tell us that Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein, Mueller, the FISA judges, and many other judges like Theodore Chuang, are deep state apparatchiks.  You’ve seen that on the pages of The Captain’s Journal for more than a year.  You’ve seen it elsewhere for at least that long.

They all deserve to be hung by the neck until dead, but unleashing the Department of Justice on them is apparently not something Jeff Sessions is willing to do.  Sessions is more concerned about people smoking pot.  The Senate and Congress could shut down the deep state in a single day by shutting the government down and withdrawing all funding for these rogue agencies.

But what do we have instead?

On Thursday, the Senate voted 65-34 to reauthorize a FISA provision that allows U.S. spy agencies to conduct surveillance on foreign targets abroad for six years. The bill, which already has been passed by the House, now heads to the White House,where President Donald Trump has said he will sign it into law.

We get continuation of the very deep state scaffolding that gave us what they are now telling us is “shocking.”  And yet everyone knows, because of Snowden, that the real purpose of all of this is to spy on Americans.

We get continuation of the deep state, while we invite immigrants into the country in order to supply the democrats with voters and the republicans with workers, these immigrants undermining the very security and national cohesion they claim they want.

This is all theater.  It doesn’t matter if anyone is fired.  The deep state will continue unabated.

Two To Three Seconds Of Dead Time When You Pick Up Your Gun

BY Herschel Smith
3 days, 17 hours ago

The Media Line:

Seasoned gun advocates often concede that the most difficult part of any debate over gun safety comes when the conversation turns to the frequency with which children are killed or maimed by loaded weapons belonging to a parent or guardian. Once discovered, it’s an even bet that the gun will quickly morph from an instrument of protection to the lethal toy that kills about one kid per week while leaving countless other lives in shambles.

A gun safe offers a reasonable degree of protection – if the safe is nearby when the weapon is needed, or the gun owner actually returns it to the safe.

A handgun outfitted with a biometric grip is an effective safety device – unless the gun owner’s hands are wet or greasy at that critical moment of life or death.

A new mechanism developed in Israel by a pair of army Special Forces veterans is proving to be an undeniable alternative to chain locks, safes, biometrics and even careful handling. The ZORE X core rapid dial gun lock – named from the Hebrew word for ‘flintstone’, the stone used to fire muskets of yore –has a cartridge shaped lock that fits into the gun’s chamber like a round of ammunition. When the need arises to activate the pistol, the mechanical locking mechanism that had been chambered is unlocked by a battery-operated element that unlocks the gun, ejecting the lock assembly while replacing it with a round of ammunition, all in one action. The manufacturers insist the entire procedure for disabling the locking mechanism to firing the weapon is about 2 to 3 seconds.

Ohad Levi, a 31-year old lawyer and gun owner who was introduced to the ZORE X by his wife who heard about it and thought it sounded like a reasonable way to protect children …

How many of you are willing to give up that 2 to 3 seconds?

Hey, I wonder if they’ve taken my challenge on “smart guns” yet?  I’m sure somebody would want to see me “pour ketchup on my hard hat, eat it, and post video for everyone to see.”

But here’s the deal I made with you smart gun folks.  If you lose you have to buy me the gun of my choice.  To date, no one has taken me up the challenge.  What gives?

Yet Another “New Rifle” For The Army?

BY Herschel Smith
3 days, 17 hours ago

Good grief.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has waged a relentless war against the Department of Defense’s acquisition process (hereafter referred to as “purgatory”) to replace the decades-old weapons currently in soldiers’ kit with new pistols and other small arms. So far, he’s had some major successes on the pistol front with the Army’s adoption of the Sig Sauer P320 as the XM17 to replace the M9 Beretta as the branch’s sidearm of choice.

But finding an upgrade for the M4 carbine has proven a more elusive challenge. In November, the Army’s plans to purchase a 7.62 mm off-the-shelf rifle as an intermediate solution finally gave up the ghost after months of budget-related uncertainty.

Now, the Army is currently evaluating a rifle that could actually be fielded relatively soon, Milley said Wednesday at an Association of the United States Army event in Crystal City, Virginia.

“There have been some research and testing done down at Fort Benning, [Georgia] and with industry partners that indicates that we could — it’s possible — have a rifle in the hands of American soldiers or Marines in the not too distant future — I don’t want to put a timeline — that can reach out at much greater ranges than currently exist with much greater impact or lethality and with much greater accuracy,” Milley said.

The rifle’s increased lethality can be attributed to the type of ammunition it uses, its chamber pressure and its optics, Milley said at AUSA’s Institute of Land Warfare breakfast. He did not reveal any specific information about the rifle, such as whether it chambers a 5.56mm or a 7.62mm round or if it is fully automatic, like the M27 infantry automatic rifle used by the Marines.

“It’s an excellent system,” Milley said. “They’ve done some proof of principles on it. It is real. It is not fantasy and industry is moving out quickly and we expect that, with appropriate funding, we should be able to have this particular weapon in the not too distant future – I won’t define what ‘not too distant future’ is.”

Although Milley said that soldiers currently have a rifle capable of matching adversaries anywhere in the world, the problems with the M4 and M16 have been well documented.

The M4s biggest design flaw is its gas impingement operating system, which can easily be fouled, causing the weapon to jam, said retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales.

“That’s the fatal flaw of the M4,” Scales told Task & Purpose. “You cannot fix it.”

Here’s what cannot be fixed.  Old farts who don’t know when to shut up because they’re being paid to say ridiculous things.

Hey, here’s a unique idea.  I just thought of it.  Why don’t you train Soldiers to shoot, and then supplement their units with a designated marksman like the Marines, and hold them to higher standards?

Police Accountability

BY Herschel Smith
3 days, 17 hours ago

John K. Ross:

Cleveland police officer: I shot suspect, killing him, after he declined to get out of car, reached for gun. Witnesses: The suspect was kneeling on the ground with his hands up when the officer shot him in the back of the head. Jury: Excessive force. District court: Pay $4 mil. Sixth Circuit: Affirmed. (The officer is still on the force.)

Protecting and serving the shit out of people.

Comment Of The Week

BY Herschel Smith
3 days, 18 hours ago

moe mensale on the Keymod vesus M-LOK debate:

“I think that debate is also stupid. That’s why my 10″ and 20″ Colt AR15s are fitted with full Picatinny rails! When did AR15s become overly heavy? I think maybe some people need to put down their double frappe mocha italiano grande caffes and pick up a kettle bell.”

Pistol Ammunition Ballistics Part 2

BY Herschel Smith
4 days, 16 hours ago

In Oversimplifying Ammunition Ballistics I had an argument with Tam, who is an NRA writer, and she doesn’t like the idea of “flying dimes.”  Ridiculous, said I.  And you can read the rest for yourself.

Today I passed through The Firearm Blog, and normally I like what I see there to some degree, including the comments, but this one just caused me to laugh.

They have a picture of a man (obtained via Facebook) who had a bullet lodged in his head, still visible.  Must have been a squib load, must have been a reload, he must have been wearing a helmet, and on and on the comments go.

Pitiful .45 ACP, said a few.  Shooter should have used something else like the much more effective 9mm.  One commenter said that the .45 ACP penetrates farther than the 9mm, and so there must have been shielding in between the muzzle and his head (like a helmet).  The response to this commenter was that he lost all respect because he said that the .45 ACP penetrates farther than the 9mm.

Good grief.  So much chaos in one place is mind boggling.  I don’t know how many readers actually dropped by the ballistics tests run by Lucky Gunner that I linked in my original post, but probably not many.  I usually have readers for under two minutes, so blogging is something that must be done where readers can digest quickly.

But after I read those comments, I did a little bit of calculating on those test results for 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.  Here is what I got for their self defense loads.  I discarded the 2 (two) lowest penetration depths for all three rounds, as they appeared to be outlier data points.

9mm: Average penetration depth = 17.762 inches, standard deviation = 2.777, maximum penetration = 26.5 inches.  This gives a fractional standard deviation (FSD) of 0.156 or 15.6%.  Mass of bullet achieving maximum penetration = 124 gr.

.40 S&W: Average penetration depth = 19.034 inches, standard deviation = 5.637, maximum penetration = 32 inches.  This gives a fractional standard deviation of 0.296, or 29.6%.  Mass of bullet achieving maximum penetration = 180 gr.

.45 ACP: Average penetration depth = 18.867 inches, standard deviation = 5.009, maximum penetration = 31.2 inches.  This gives a fractional standard deviation of 0.265, or 26.5%.  Mass of bullet achieving maximum penetration = 200 gr.

Various bullet masses were used for the tests.  This doesn’t give room for either (a) Tam to claim that lighter weight bullets are “flying dimes,” or (b) the commenter at TFB to claim that .45 ACP penetrates farther than 9mm (at least, not much farther).  It also certainly doesn’t give room to tell that commenter that he has lost all respect of the firearms community.  Such exaggeration is juvenile.

Here is the problem.  An astute Monte Carlo analyst would tell you that these problems haven’t converged.  Most analysts like to see on the order of 5% – 10% FSD before developing any confidence in the system.  There may also be some issues with these rounds, in that there was inconsistent or incomplete expansion of every “maximum penetration” round for each of the three calibers.

More data is needed, and I didn’t run a VOV (variance of the variance) on these samples since the sample size is so small.  The problem needs to converge before developing confidence in the system.  The trouble is that this takes ammunition, ballistics gelatin, denim, test apparatus, and human resources.  None of this is cheap.

There is also the issue of differing masses of bullets, but since the sample size is small for caliber, it’s even smaller for bullet mass within a caliber.  But suffice it to say that lighter mass bullets aren’t flying dimes, and you can examine the data for yourself.

It’s also clear that each round performs well and penetrates far enough to do massive damage (except perhaps for the outlier data points).  Ammunition brand is also a consideration.

The point of all of this is that if you want to make hyperbolic and exaggerated statements concerning much of anything, be my guest.  I prefer to be a thinking man.  And if Lucky Gunner wants assistance in analyzing the performance of any other tests, I’m available.  But I do recommend proper convergence of the data sets.  That requires more shooting.

Armed Antifa Apparently Involved In Charlottesville Death Of Heather Heyer

BY Herschel Smith
4 days, 17 hours ago

Gateway Pundit:

Dwayne Dixon, a University of North Carolina anthropology professor and leader of the armed Antifa group Redneck Revolt, has admitted to chasing James Alex Fields Jr. with a rifle just before he drove into a group of protesters — killing Heather Heyer.

This new revelation adds some insight into what was happening in the moments leading up to the fatal incident.

In a Facebook post by Dixon on January 7, obtained by the Gateway Pundit, he wrote:

“I take perverse pleasure in having carried this Spike’s lower in the defense of Justice Park on August 12th. I used this rifle to chase off James Fields from our block of 4th St before he attacked the marchers to the south. Spike’s needs a good lesson in ethics and antifascism.”

Apparently, they are involved to some degree or other.  I know I’ve panned Redneck Revolt before, and true enough they appear to be generally incompetent, lazy, philosophically incoherent, goofy and miserable.

But the moral of the story here is that if you intend to go armed at rallies for the purpose of protecting others, you’d better be prepared to use those arms and suffer the consequences for it, whatever they may be.  This isn’t a game folks.

Frankly, I am of the opinion that no rally is going to convince anyone to rethink their flawed views of history, question their world view, or ameliorate bad decisions in politics.  A rally cannot undo the effects of a century of false teaching embedded into the consciousness of multiple generations.

The sons and daughters of hippies are statists and collectivists.  It’s always been this way.  If you believe nothing, your children will believe anything.

If You Live In Hawaii, Do You Own Guns And Ammunition?

BY Herschel Smith
4 days, 17 hours ago

You’d better.

The Hawaiian state government’s emergency preparedness guidelines are equally deficient. Note the total lack of any discussion on having the means of defense, that is, on having adequate firearms, ammunition and training to deal with catastrophic disasters that will leave people on their own for untold lengths of time.

No, of course a gun won’t defend against North Korea launching a nuke, but there would be plenty of survivors of such an attack. They would have an almost unimaginably horrible aftermath to deal with …

The ridiculous episode is a function of human performance system failures, which is something I could help with (double verification, self-check, independent verification, training in the proper tools such as STAR [stop, think, act and review, QV&V which stands for quality verification and validation, etc.).

But regardless of the screw-up the fact of the matter is that dystopia is possibly closer than you think.  You’d better have the means of self defense.  I know there are a number of gun owners in Hawaii, and you can be sure they’d be carrying whether permitted or not.

The KeyMod Versus M-LOK Debate

BY Herschel Smith
4 days, 17 hours ago

Over the past couple of years I’ve seen a proliferation of online debates over the issue of KeyMod versus M-LOK.  One side declares the other incompetent and an abomination, the other side declares the opposite site dead and good riddance.

Just for the record, I think that each has its advantages and accomplishes what it sets out to accomplish, which in the end is weight reduction.  Use what you like, and don’t buy a gun because it has one rail or barrel shroud versus another.

I think the whole debate is stupid.



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