Archive for the 'AR-15s' Category

But No Civilian Actually Needs An AR-15, Do They?

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 3 weeks ago


After some 60 hours on the run, a pair of escaped Georgia inmates wanted for gunning down two correctional officers were caught Thursday night in Tennessee. The pair’s capture was as dramatic as their brazen escape – complete with a home invasion, a police chase, a shootout and a civilian armed with an AR-15.

[ … ]

They stumbled out of the woods and ran into a man in his yard armed with an AR-15. He held the two at gunpoint until authorities arrived.

Did you know that Patrick Hale used an AR-15 to hold the criminals?  It’s good he didn’t have to engage in a gun battle like Mr. Stephen Bayezes who had to use an AR-15 and engage in a massive gun fight with criminals to save his life and the life of his wife.

But remember boys and girls.  The controllers want you to know that no one actually needs an AR-15.  If something bad ever happens, just call 911 and wait for about fifteen minutes if you live in an urban area, longer if not.  In the mean time, just run and hide, I guess.

8 Reasons To Invest In A 9 mm Pistol Caliber Carbine

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 1 week ago

Gil Horman writing for American Rifleman gives us eight reasons to invest in a 9 mm pistol caliber carbine.  It’s an interesting article that ends with this.

Whenever possible, it makes sense to invest in firearms that can fill multiple roles instead of just one. The 9 mm PCCs fall into this category. These platforms are ideal for informal plinking, target shooting, home defense or riding along as a trunk gun. I’ve heard that a good sized part of what is driving the new interest in these guns are the new divisions in 3-Gun and other competitions that allow the use of 9 mm carbines. Imagine spending a day honing your shooting skills at a match, getting home, giving your carbine a quick cleaning and then staging the gun you know inside and out to defend your home in case of an emergency. That’s about as flexible as a carbine gets.

Now here’s one gigantic reason not to.  I don’t shoot 9 mm.  For those of you who do, I would certainly consider investing in a 9 mm carbine, but when all the pistol rounds in your safe are .45 ACP, .357 Magnum or .38 Special, it makes no sense to invest in 9 mm.  Another way of saying it is that I’ve tried to begin minimizing the number of calibers in my safe while maximizing the total count.  I think this will pay dividends in the future.  Actually, I lied.  I also have 5.7 mm, but that’s my special vice, something to which I treat myself, sort of like a little bit of “Maker’s Mark” on rare occasion.

Now, if you want to talk about a .45 ACP carbine, that’s another story.  I’ve got my eye on one, but at the moment it’s too pricey.

The Telegraph: “The AR-15 Has A Long And Bloody History In America”

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 1 week ago

The Telegraph:

The National Rifle Association says the AR-15 is America’s most popular rifle, used safely by millions of people for sport, but it also has a dark reputation as the weapon used in dozens of mass killings.

Initial reports suggest it was the gun used in the attack on a congressional baseball practice in Virginia on Wednesday.

And it was the weapon carried in some of the attacks whose names are burned into America’s memory: The Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and San Bernardino.

[ … ]

Although it has no fully-automatic mode, it is still marketed as coming from a lineage of military-grade arms.

It is modelled on the M-16 used by the US Army and Marine Corps, and carried by thousands of troops around the world.

Even for people who have never served, it offers a sense of joining the war effort.

“It speaks to the fact that there are a lot of young men in the US who will never be in the military but feel that male compulsion to warriorhood,” Tom Diaz, the author of The Last Gun told The New York Times. “Owning an assault weapon is a passport to that.”

Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster Ar-15 when he shot 20 children aged between six and seven years old, as well as six adult staff members, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

Yea, that’s it.  Let’s change its cosmetic features where it doesn’t look like it has a lineage with the Stoner system of arms and then “young” men won’t feel the compulsion to join warriorhood.

God.  Who do they get to write crap like this?  Do they pay them actual money?  By the way, the shooter in D.C. was a bitter old progressive who watches feminist tripe on television (one of his favorite shows was the Rachel Maddow show – Good Lord, what kind of a man watches shit like that?).

Oh and another thing.  No one died at Sandy Hook. Prove me wrong.  Show me a death certificate.  Just one.  I dare you.

Maj. Gen. Scales Traffics In Half Century Old Rhetoric On Stoner Design

BY Herschel Smith
6 months ago

Task & Purpose:

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales hates the M16 family of rifles, and he won’t stop until everyone knows it.

Scales has spent the last few years railing against the standard-issue infantry rifle as little more than a lighter but less effective version of the infamous M16 model that left so many American troops dead in the jungles of Vietnam (In response to Scales’ condemnation of the M4 in the pages of The Atlantic in January 2015, Task & Purpose’s Christian Beekman mounted a vocal defense of the rifle).

Wednesday was no different. Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Scales decried the Department of Defense’s post-World War II small-arms programs as “inferior.” Thousands of American troops “have died because the Army’s weapon buying bureaucracy has consistently denied that a soldier’s individual weapon is important enough to gain their serious attention,” said Scales in his prepared testimony.

“A soldier in basic training is told that his rifle is his best friend and his ticket home,” he told assembled lawmakers. “If the lives of so many depend on a rifle why can’t the richest country in the world give it to them?”

[ … ]

To their credit, DoD officials are moving slowly but surely to outfit ground forces with new weaponry. In November, the Marine Corps’ 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines began conducting pre-deployment exercises to evaluate the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle as a replacement for the M4, which replaced the M16A4 in infantry battalions in 2015.

“It is the best infantry rifle in the world, hands down,” Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade told of the IAR at the time. “Better than anything Russia has, it’s better than anything we have, it’s better than anything China has. It’s world-class.”

This is a weird article.  As soon as the author is done with Scales, he launches into a discussion about how the DoD gets it with the USMC work on the IAC – which I would point out, is a 5.56 mm gun.

This is the same, tired old rhetoric we saw half century ago, and the alleged problems Scales likes to cite have all gone away.  McThag summarizes.

The M16A1 and its M193 ammunition stopped being the standard more than thirty years ago and was replaced with the M16A2 and M855.

The M16A2, where almost every part was revised, isn’t even the standard today; that’d be the M4A1.

M855, even, is on its way out with the advent of M855A1.

In a nutshell, everything that was causing problems in 1969 has been revised and replaced.  The bore diameter didn’t cause those three guys you constantly cite to die with broken rifles.

It’s far more likely the lackluster quality control from the mighty UAW workforce at Colt had more to do with it than the design.

To former Major Ehrhart; the infantry half kilometer was “lost” to artillery.

Remember combined arms?

Well, the max effective range of the small arms overlaps the normal range of artillery.  So, yes, the infantry half kilometer demands a larger bore size, I suggest 60mm for starters.  Willard even posits that the reason we’re having problems in Afghanistan is the enemy has figured out where our small arms peter out and won’t close; because to close is to die.  If to close is to die, then it means our weapons do work.

Don’t use logic on Scales.  He won’t listen, or he’ll cite the battle of Wanat, where we ensconced a platoon of soldiers in a valley after letting enemy fighters prepare for a total of one year to attack them with a battalion size force.  Scales blamed that one on the M4 too.

And don’t tell Scales that the Army doesn’t teach soldiers to shoot anymore.  He won’t listen.  Because shut up.

If you want to have a larger bore weapon, then buy one.  I have a larger bore rifle than the 5.56 mm too.  But remember that you always give up something to get something, and that all decisions concerning weapons selection are a compromise.

As for Scales, who exactly pays this guy to continue to work the Stoner system over with false rhetoric?

Daniel Defense: Second Amendment Rights Come From God, Not The Government

BY Herschel Smith
6 months ago

Enter Marty Daniel of Daniel Defense. Marty told Breitbart News that the Second Amendment must be protected because it is sourced in our Creator. He juxtaposed Second Amendment rights with the gospel and said that he views it as his job to protect both because both flow to us from God.

Marty said, “We are in business, we believe, to be a supporter of the gospel. And, therefore, a supporter of the Second Amendment. In other words, not only do we have these Second Amendment rights because God gives them to us but also the gospel.” Marty went on to stress his conviction that Daniel Defense “[supports] the freedom of the gospel by supporting the Second Amendment.”

I like this a lot.  This sounds like things I’ve said before, and I said them because I believe them very deeply.  I appreciate someone going public with a statement such as this one.  Mr. Daniel didn’t have to do this – he chose to do it of his own volition.

But for me there’s a problem.  There is another Biblical requirement that bears on his guns.  It is the requirement to be wise with your wealth and how it’s used.  Money is wealth, and wealth is time off of your life.  Quite literally, when you purchase something you are giving part of your life away that could be given to your children.

For Mr. Daniel, this is a requirement on me, the customer, not you.  As for me, I would recommend that you get your costs a little better under control before I can purchase a Daniel Defense firearm.  There are a lot of carbine makers out there, and the numbers are increasing virtually weekly.  I was talking with my oldest son Josh just the other day and we were remarking that the choices seem unlimited at the moment.  The bad ones will be weeded out, but the good ones will be your competition.  Spending $2000 – $3000 for a carbine is out of the question when I can purchase one for less that works reliably and won’t fail when I really need it to function, and shoots 1 MOA.

I think you’ve got the attitude right, but you still need to work on the nuts and bolts of the price point.

Problems And Solutions In Rifle Caliber And Training

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 1 week ago

In The Army Wants A New Rifle, we discussed my view of the Army’s searching for a larger caliber rifle to replace the M4.  Experience in Afghanistan is the pretext for this need, and while as I show below I support a copious choice of weapons, selection of a different caliber won’t make marksmen out of Soldiers.  In fact, perhaps just the opposite.  You can go read the discussion for yourself.  I hope I’ve adequately dispelled the ridiculous notion that The Battle of Wanat is justification for anything at all except being smarter in the future in your COIN strategy.

Soon after this commentary, a active duty friend who has been with me for nearly ten years (basically ever since I was doing military blogging and commentary) and who can tell you more about these things in an hour than I will ever know in a lifetime, wrote to continue the conversation with me.  I am always richer when he does so, and honestly, this is one big reason for writing.  I always learn more from my readers than they learn from me.

I will not supply his name, but as you can see below, we build on our notes to each other like Lego blocks, and always have.  Each subsequent note presupposes that I recall what he told me before, which is usually a lot.  There are notes that preceded this one, on shooting uphill, mountain training of soldiers (which he knows a lot about), and various and sundry things.  But even in the absence of those notes, you may be able to benefit from his knowledge.

One “Lego block” that I didn’t add yet was that while he heaps praises on the Marine Corps shooting program, I think the MC could take a page from the army on a few things.  The MC still has in its stable of DM and sniper rifles the 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and Sasser .50.  When Carlos Hathcock did his work in Vietnam, he used the Winchester 30-06 (not the .308), which has a slightly higher muzzle velocity, and when that wasn’t sufficient he used the .50.  He was the first to do so.

When something works, it’s difficult to get the MC to change.  But their shooting program might benefit from inclusion of the .300 Win Mag and the .338 into their stable of weapons.  I know one Marine Corps Scout Sniper, in impeccable condition, his physique a literal specimen, who told me that in not too many rounds shooting the .50, he had headaches.  Why do this if it isn’t necessary?

Again as you can see, I support the inclusion of many weapons and weapons systems in the stable of tools for both the Army and Marine Corps, but I will never jettison my trusty AR-15 for CQB and medium range shooting.  With that said, here is our exchange of notes.

As ever, my congratulations to you for your tireless efforts on your Blog. You are still slamming them!

I read your “Army wants a new rifle” post with interest. I have a little different perspective. Nothing you say is wrong or incorrect. How could it be? You are more emphatic of late in general and no less here. I’ll explain myself, but I do need to admit that I think that the Army is full of shit on this issue, in general and will do something or nothing in this case, for all the wrong reasons.

I’ve tested a lot of gear for the U.S. Army over the years. The Army has a civilian in charge of boots and boot development. He’s a huge, overweight man who wears worn loafers on his own feet. But he has a Doctorate in “footoligy” or some such thing and a very keen understanding of the politic’s of procurement.  Our relationship with this idiot got so shady that he would bring bullet headed body guards with him to attempt to shut I and my peers up. So the Army has garbage boots because that is what they want.

I’ve tested and trained and conducted training on lots of weapons too; long arms, sniper rifles and the full suite of Warsaw Pact weaponry.  My favorite is the SVD with the wacky Soviet scope; it’s quick, easy to shoot, accurate and people are scared of it. The RPD is an LMG that is greatly underrated. That is because the “PiKa”, Pkm, PK, is so dominant. I cannot say enough good things about getting hosed down by this bad boy. It is  a real attention getter!  Even beyond it’s 600m sweet spot, its plunging fire is stunning. The 240B is a honey but the Pkm has it beat for down and dirty warfighting.

5.56 v/s 7.62; ask a man who has taken 7.62 rounds into the chest or back plates, who also has the experience of dumping 5 or 6 rounds of issue 5.56 into an enemy to stop him. He will tell you that one 7.62 round in the plates will knock you down now and that the 5.56 will not return the favor. A few of the high-speed-low-drag elements get special 5.56 rounds that are one-shot-one kill specials. Our General Purpose forces don’t get this round though.

The Marines have established in their 24-72 hour protracted, static, fire fights in Southern Afghanistan, that three 30 round magazines will do the job, if you have NCO directed, well aimed and properly spoted fire. Shoot from cover, control your security and do not allow an element to maneuver unobserved on your position. Maintain indirect fire back-up for surprises and to exploit enemy error’s. It sounds basic but we do not routinely practice this doctrine. So we kill and maim our troops because of and regardless of, the grain count of our issue rounds. As you point out.

I’ve trained lots of guys to shoot both 5.56 and 7.62 in all sorts of long arms out to 1000m and lots of it on a high angle range; aim low, practice shooter spotter and get your point of aim and point of impact details worked out ahead of time. I can teach an experienced and confident soldier to shoot an Acog equipped M4 out to 600m with an hour of class room time and with 30 rounds on the range.  He will of course have to practice these new shooting skills to develop their value.

I cannot train an inexperienced and unconfident shooter in this ridiculously brief time span and round count. In fact I’ll make him a worse shooter because he will do so poorly and understand zero of what I’m telling him. Even shooter/spotter will blow his mind. The exception here is with young Marine’s. They can often hang enough to get in their heads what is going on.

If you give me a 7.62 round weapon, even the M14 variants kicking around, and a little more time; I can get the confident guy consistently out to 850m. He’ll be able to read bullet trace, call his shots and walk a less experienced shooter quickly on to a target.

Good for me, so what. Hopefully the details are instructive. Again, as you point out, unless there is a solid grounding in the fundamentals of marksmanship, and or well trained NCO leadership in all our maneuver units; we may be better equipped to kill if we carry spears. We can conduct the training. But our Army does not currently know how to train, so maybe new magic rifles with new magic rounds are the answer.

Thank you,

[Name Redacted]

I respond.

Very good to hear from you.  I like the MC idea of a number of DMs who have something a little different.  My own son was trained as a DM even though he was a SAW gunner. [But] The notion the new 7.62 guns will make all soldiers marksmen is overreach versus what big army management wants.  Too many poorly educated kids from homes with no fathers who look to the *.gov for a meal and education.

He responds.

You are correct; the DM is the way to go. The Army took this seriously from about 2005 to 2010. The POI was really the 1st week of Sniper school; grouping, range E, calling your own shots and wind, point of aim/point of impact. And they issued a lot of “black rifle rigged ” EBR’s. A good shooter, but without a LaRue tactical mounting system for the optic, it would not hold a zero.  The iron sights are fine but that is another training challenge.

So if we could get a Marine or a Ranger Regiment soldier, he got the EBR and a chance to step up!

Lets face facts though; the Marine Corps base of marksmanship training is superior in every way and the U.S. Army’s base of rifle training is a hand wave. This disparity puts a lot of pressure on Army units gaining Basic Trainee’s. If the US Army has a trained DM in every Infantry Squad, then we have an opportunity to make up for this ridiculous institutional disparity.

In fact, as a First Sergeant, I’d get soldiers back from their Basic Training and Infantry AIT who had never qualified with the M4!  One young man was so bereft of basic skills that I issued him a black plastic, “rubber duck” rifle, until his platoon was able to prove he could safely carry the real thing. We did turn him into an Infantryman. But as you point, we were fighting 17 years of neglect.

Nothing gave me as much confidence, in a platoon, as a shit-hot SAW gunner.  Imagine one man who can fill in for a two man machine gun team. Would not believe it unless I was a witness! The enemy does not like the SAW either!  It takes a huge amount of skill and dedication though. Its worth the effort but it puts a lot on one mans shoulders.

You are most welcome to print what you choose Mr Smith! All I can say is; don’t quit! We need what you are doing.

As you can guess, I am actually much more concerned about how we incorporate these lessons in our work than with whether Big Army incorporates anything I have to say.  Let’s make it more personal.  I’m much more concerned about whether I incorporate these lessons than anything else.

Do Not Mount The Carbine This Way

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 1 week ago

Shooting Illustrated normally does fairly well with their articles.  This time they bombed.  In The Right Way To Shoot An AR-15, there is this picture.

He’s standing with a modified Weaver stance, much like he’s hunting deer with a bolt action rifle.  That’s okay for hunting deer with a bolt action rifle, but it’s not okay when so large a solid angle has been rendered unmonitored and inaccessible by you.

That area is threat-sensitive in an assault, and that’s one reason why Marines are taught to shoot with the “plates-forward aggressive” stance.  We discussed it in John Lovell On Mounting The Carbine.  John also gives some practical advice on how to counter shoulder exhaustion when using the “thumb-over-bore” grip, otherwise called “C-Clamp” grip.

The Army Wants A New Rifle

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 1 week ago

Popular Mechanics:

On the heels of the Marine Corps’ desire for a new rifle for its infantrymen, the U.S. Army now says it is contemplating a dramatic switch in rifles. The service is considering going back to battle rifles—heavier rifles that can hit targets at longer ranges. The last time the Army fielded such a rifle was in the 1960s.

The story, broke by Soldier Systems Daily, says that U.S. Army troops feel they’re “in a street fight with a guy with longer arms.” That longer arm is the 7.62x54R cartridge, the cartridge used by the PK machine gun and Dragunov SVD sniper rifle. The PK squad machine gun is extremely common; it’s in use by the Taliban, the Islamic State, and most insurgent and terrorist groups worldwide. Longer and heavier than the 7.62×39-millimeter round used in the AK series of assault rifles, a PK with the 7.62x54R round has an effective range of 800 to 1,000 yards, versus only about 350 yards for an AK-47.

On the Army side, the maximum effective range of an M4 carbine against man-sized targets is about 500 yards, depending on the skill of the rifleman, and 700 yards for the M249 squad automatic weapon. Both fire the same cartridge. That leaves a dead zone of roughly 500 to 1,000 yards where the bulk of a nine person infantry squad can’t engage individual enemies. In a platoon of 40 soldiers, on average only about six soldiers armed with M249s, marksman rifles, and M240 machine guns have the range to engage an enemy in the dead zone.

U.S. Army troops may have an edge on paper, but guerrilla groups don’t adhere to a bureaucratic equipment roster that says each unit can have a certain number of weapons. Taliban and IS groups routinely have a large number of heavier machine guns, and what they lack in skill they often try to make up in firepower.

While there are a number of readers who would applaud this move in favor of a 30-06 (the old Garand) or .308 (7.62mm), a “real battle rifle,” I think it will go nowhere and lacks traction.  It certainly lack traction with me for reasons I’ll explain.

The excuse that the Taliban shoot machine guns and longer range weapons is disingenuous.  As I documented in my coverage of the battle of Wanat, the issue with fighting the Taliban had nothing to do with the M4, and everything to do with deployment of Soldiers in bad locations, slowly enough that the Taliban had time to mass troops on a roughly ten to one ratio.  They had a near Battalion size group fighting a platoon size group of Soldiers on low terrain.

There were other problems with Soldiers in the Hindu Kush such as the lack of training in shooting uphill (as well as not owning the high ground).  One problem that could be corrected is that the M4s the Army fields have been shot so many times and the parts so worn that they malfunction easily.  Many Soldiers don’t know enough to modify their own weapons, wouldn’t be allowed to if they could, and lack the funds to do it.  But there are ways to assist your rifle in its accuracy, reliability and longevity.

But take a closer look at what they’re asking for.  They want to field the 7.62mm, with its weight additional weight and the weight of the ammunition, and they expect their men (and women, unfortunately) to be able to shoot accurately beyond 500 yards and up to 1000 yards.  This will require the use of good optics, not an ACOG or the Army equivalent, but scoped shooting.

Consider The Firearm Blog and one writer’s position that the Marine Corp Scout Sniper training is the best combined precision and marksmanship observation packages in the United States.  It has a high failure rate, and takes months to complete.  No unit can go without Marines for long enough to send hundreds or thousands of Marines to this training.  And there aren’t enough classes or instructors to go around even if they could.

My son, Daniel, has been through all of the shooting instruction in these classes, albeit not the observation and tracking.  It does indeed take months of training to understand and use high power scopes for precision shooting.  For the Army to pretend that they’re are going to send thousands of brand new Soldiers at Fort Jackson into classes to learn parallax, windage adjustments, elevation and humidity effects on shooting, and so on, is a pipe dream.

I’m not suggesting, by the way, that you or your family not have your own higher caliber and bolt action precision chassis weapons as well as your CQB and shorter range weapons, or that you forego the time and accoutrements to use them properly.  Every gun has its purpose, and you need all the right tools for the job ahead.  I’m suggesting that America isn’t going to make snipers out of their Soldiers by switching from 5.56mm to 7.62mm.

Homeowner’s Son Shoots And Kills Three Would-Be Robbers With An AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 3 weeks ago

Via Instapundit, this report comes to us about defensive use of an AR-15.

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (KTUL) — One person is in custody after three suspects in a Wagoner County home invasion were shot to death Monday afternoon by one of the residents.

According to the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office, the suspects’ getaway driver has been arrested. The 21-year-old woman turned herself in at the Broken Arrow Police Department hours after the shooting, saying she had information.

Investigators haven’t released the names of anyone involved but say the deceased suspects are between 16 and 18 years old. Two of the suspects were armed, according to investigators. One with a knife and the other with brass knuckles.

[ … ]

Mahoney says the suspects broke in through a glass door in the back of the house. After entering the residence, the suspects encountered the homeowner’s 23-year-old son who also lives there.

“There was a short exchange of words and then gunfire happened,” he said.

Two suspects died in the kitchen and a third ran from the home but collapsed and died in the driveway.

Both residents are cooperating with investigators. The homeowner’s son volunteered to go to the sheriff’s office to give a statement.

“Preliminary investigation, it looks like it was self-defense,” said Mahoney.

This is impossible.  We all know that no one needs that awful high capacity magazine, and no one needs an AR-15 for self defense, even against multiple intruders.  And we all know that it’s more dangerous for the homeowner to have a gun than it is for the assailants.  Guns take on a life of their own and turn and shoot the innocent like they have an evil brain.  The report must be mistaken.

No, I’m pretty sure it says what it says, and he is alive and well, and the assailants are not.  He did one thing right, and one thing very wrong.

First, what he did right.  He assumed that if he had not used his weapon, the assailants would have harmed him.  If an intruder is in your home, you must assume they are armed, and armed with more than you can see in the instant you are making your decisions of life and death.  And you must also assume that they are capable of using their hands to kill you.  Finally, you must assume that if they are in your home, they intend you harm.  It may not be correct at the time, but you simply don’t know that and cannot discern their intentions with certainty.

Now to what he did wrong.  He talked to the police.  Boys and girls, don’t ever talk to the police.  Not even if you shot in self defense, not even if you have nothing to hide, and not even if you’re an honest and decent human.  Don’t talk to the police.



John Lovell On Mounting The Carbine

BY Herschel Smith
7 months, 4 weeks ago

He uses an interesting method to assist his left hand grip, and specifically, to keep his deltoid from fatiguing.  When I discussed the so-called “thumb-over-bore” grip with Daniel, he told me that this is nice for very short work, but if you’re using the rifle for extended periods of time there is simply no way that is sustainable.  He had to find other compromises in Fallujah.

I have tried the thumb-over-bore grip and it works nicely – for a short period of time.  That’s all.  John also explains the stance that Daniel used in all of his time in the Marines, and the stance he taught me for the carbine, which is the forward-aggressive stance.

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