Archive for the 'Guns' Category

The New York Times On Smart Guns

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 4 days ago


… the guidelines reignite the promise of smart guns — a promise cut short 16 years ago when the N.R.A. led a boycott of Smith & Wesson after the gun manufacturer pledged in a White House agreement to explore smart-gun technology.

The technology is available. In fact, Jonathan Mossberg, scion of the nation’s oldest family-owned gunmaker, O.F. Mossberg & Sons, patented a shotgun in 2000 that successfully blocked firing by anyone not wearing the shooter’s radio-frequency identity ring. The gun industry lacks not the high-tech know-how, but the fortitude to advance the safety of its weapons in the face of gun-lobby politics and threats. The new voluntary guidelines aim to create industry standards for reliable battery power in a smart gun, for ensuring unhindered speed in drawing the weapon and for the distance allowed between the gun and its owner’s ID device.

We’ve dealt with this before, but I’ll repeat it here for those of you who may have missed it.

… let’s talk yet again about smart gun technology.  I am a registered professional engineer, and I spend all day analyzing things and performing calculations.  Let’s not speak in broad generalities and murky platitudes (such as “good enough”).  That doesn’t work with me.  By education, training and experience, I reject such things out of hand.  Perform a fault tree analysis of smart guns.  Use highly respected guidance like the NRC fault tree handbook.

Assess the reliability of one of my semi-automatic handguns as the first state point, and then add smart gun technology to it, and assess it again.  Compare the state points.  Then do that again with a revolver.  Be honest.  Assign a failure probability of greater than zero (0) to the smart technology, because you know that each additional electronic and mechanical component has a failure probability of greater than zero.

Get a PE to seal the work to demonstrate thorough and independent review.  If you can prove that so-called “smart guns” are as reliable as my guns, I’ll pour ketchup on my hard hat, eat it, and post video for everyone to see.  If you lose, you buy me the gun of my choice.  No one will take the challenge because you will lose that challenge.  I’ll win.  Case closed.  End of discussion.

But that’s not the end of the discussion because I’ll add to it.  First of all as I pointed out above, the additional electronic components add additional failure modes to the firearm, making it more unreliable when it needs to be used than a gun without those same failure modes.

Second, the additional electronics is an additional maintenance headache because there will inevitably be breakage due to heat, shock from the recoil, and moisture and oil associated with gun usage.

Third, gunsmiths won’t be able to work on them and the guns will have to be shipped back to the factory for maintenance, or otherwise maintenance will have to be done by plug and play replacement of electronic modules.  This adds expense and time to maintenance.

Fourth, the additional electronics will add unnecessary weight to the gun.

Fifth, the additional electronics will occupy additional space inside the gun, making the gun less ergonomic and more difficult to use

Sixth, the additional electronics gives the government (or anyone else who designs the means to defeat the electronics) a door inside to cause the gun to malfunction when it’s called upon to operate.

There are more reasons that readers could add, but it isn’t necessary.  Six is enough.  Here is an engineer’s / mechanic’s / machinist’s adage that should guide your thinking.  Make the machine as simple as you can so that we can work on it.  That’s why we don’t like modern emission control systems and onboard computers.

Prior: Smart Gun Tag

Marine Corps Wants To Put Suppressors On Rifles

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 1 day ago

In a series of experiments this year, units from 2nd Marine Division will be silencing every element of an infantry battalion — from M4 rifles to .50 caliber machine guns.

The commanding general of 2nd Marine Division, Maj. Gen. John Love, described these plans during a speech to Marines at the Marine Corps Association Ground Dinner this month near Washington, D.C.

The proof-of-concept tests, he said, included Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, which began an Integrated Training Exercise pre-deployment last month at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

“What we’ve found so far is it revolutionizes the way we fight,” Love told “It used to be a squad would be dispersed out over maybe 100 yards, so the squad leader couldn’t really communicate with the members at the far end because of all the noise of the weapons. Now they can actually just communicate, and be able to command and control and effectively direct those fires.”

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christian Wade, the division’s gunner, or infantry weapons officer, said the Lima companies in two other battalions — 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, and 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines — now had silencers, or suppressors, on all their rifles, including the M27 infantry automatic rifles. All units are set to deploy in coming months. The combat engineer platoons that are attached to these units and will deploy with them will also carry suppressed weapons, he said.

Suppressors work by slowing the escape of propellant gases when a gun is fired, which drastically reduces the sound signature. Used by scout snipers and special operations troops to preserve their stealth, the devices are also valuable for their ability to minimize the chaos of battle, enabling not only better communication but also improved situational awareness and accuracy.

“It increases their ability to command and control, to coordinate with each other,” Wade told “They shoot better, because they can focus more, and they get more discipline with their fire.”

Readers Joe and Jack sent this to me.  I have no difficulty in believing that suppressors have this kind of positive effect on small unit maneuver warfare tactics, techniques and procedures.  Anyone shooter knows that you either wear hearing protection, or you prepare for part of your pain to be sustaining the damage to your hearing.  I can only imagine attempting to control a small unit in warfare with this kind of noise.

My only caveat with this would be what this does to (1) muzzle velocity, and (2) barrel length.  Suppressors reduce muzzle velocity, but I don’t know how much this particular suppressor affects the M193 or M855.  Even a little reduction can cause a whole lot of ballistic differences, and that in itself may cause the need for another compensating change to small unit tactics.

Finally, as my former Marine tells me, heavy front end rifles are tiring and Marines looked for ways to reduce front end weight when they can.  Reduction in this case can only take the form of reduction of barrel length, which means yet another reduction in muzzle velocity.

Frankly, I see this as a positive move for the Marine Corps, but I’d like to see more data on this before jumping to any conclusions.  Wouldn’t you?

Making Mistakes With Guns

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 3 days ago

I love brutal honesty, and anyone who says they don’t make mistakes is lying.  We all learn when we discuss our errors.  I went shooting with good friends and neighbors Saturday, a beautiful Carolina morning, breezy and cool.

The AR I happened to take with me is outfitted with an EOTech and a flip-to-side magnifier.  I would have embedded the picture below of my target at 100 yards, embarrassing though it is, but I didn’t think to take a picture.  Bad.  Very, very bad.  Surprisingly bad.  I can shoot better than that with iron sights.

I kept adjusting the dot rightward and down.  Magazine after magazine … after magazine.  It was very frustrating and confusing to me.  I just couldn’t understand it.  Then I thought to reach down and check the screw on the EOTech.  Loose.  It was flopping around on the rail.  250 wasted rounds of 5.56 mm.  Lesson learned.  Good day with friends, but wasted effort.  Check your dope before you start.

I still think I’m going to dump the flip-to-side magnifier.  Some folks do well with it, my oldest son, for instance, sees very well with it and shoots accurately.  There’s something about looking through the double adjustment that my brain doesn’t like.  Actually, since I wear corrective lenses, my eyesight (focal point) is adjusted twice (once through glasses, once through the magnifier), and then sent through a Holographic sight.  There’s too much going on.

I think I’m going to put a 1×6 3-gun scope on it, and use the EOTech for a pistol-caliber AR pistol for in-home self defense.  But I have to get rid of the magnifier.  It doesn’t work for me.

In the same vein as this admission of error, I enjoy watching videos by The Late Boy Scout.  I’ve talked over the phone with the Mossberg legal counsel and his explanation is the same one as in the video concerning why this isn’t an NFA item.  Regardless, I’m not particularly interested in the firearm, but more interesting to me is his thoughtful review of his error.  Keep up the good work, Boy Scout.

Department Of Justice Issues Voluntary Smart-Gun Guidelines

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 4 days ago

Fox News:

The Obama administration on Wednesday announced a series of specifications for smart-gun manufacturers, born out of the president’s January executive action aimed at curbing gun violence.

But there’s a catch to the new set of guidelines: They’re voluntary.

“This project was designed to spur the growth of enhanced gun safety technology – and not to mandate that any particular individual or law enforcement agency adopt the technology once developed,” the Department of Justice wrote in a blog post.

That’s not a blog post.  They don’t allow comments.

Smart-gun guidelines.  Voluntary.  Probably because they couldn’t go through the rule making fast enough to force it on federal employees (the only people they have control over short of law making by Congress).

But take note that your tax dollars have been spent on developing this wasteful foolishness.  They just couldn’t convince the law makers to go along with it, but they wanted to publish this anyway.

This is what collectivist lame duck looks like.  Still controlling, but powerless and frustrated.  Pathetic.  Worthy of ridicule.

Travis Haley On Shooting Stance

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 4 days ago

This is interesting, and from what I see, he is advocating a sort of admixture of forward aggressive and modified Weaver.  I’ll have to try it to see what I think because I lean forward more than he recommends.

Inside The M4 Carbine

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 6 days ago

Vickers Tactical.  Nice video.  Courtesy of reddit/firearms.  Eugene Stoner rules.

Huge Trove Of Remington Rifle Documents Is Made Public

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 6 days ago


Owners of Remington’s popular Model 700 rifle can now examine for themselves literally millions of pages of internal company documents that have led critics to conclude that the guns are unsafe.

The documents — more than 130,000 files in all — have been assembled in a searchable online database by the advocacy group Public Justice. The organization, which battles against secrecy in the courts, fought successfully last year to make the documents public.

“These documents show the extreme danger of court secrecy,” said Public Justice Chairman Arthur Bryant. “They prove that court secrecy kills. Literally.”

With millions sold since the design first went on the market in the 1940s, Remington claims its Model 700 is the best-selling bolt-action rifle ever made. But lawsuits have alleged that for decades the company covered up a deadly design flaw that allows the guns to fire without the trigger being pulled, resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. The company has denied the allegations.

The documents show Remington engineers wrestling with what they called a “very dangerous” situation as early as 1947 — before the guns went on sale. Company officials eventually decided that a design change was not worth the added cost, a conclusion they would reach again and again.

We’ve discussed this at length before.  While shooters are responsible for following all of the rules of safety, firearms manufacturers are responsible for designing and producing firearms that don’t discharge a round when the trigger isn’t being pulled.  It’s called “defense in depth.”

Take a look at the incredible cache of documents there.  It’s staggering.  As I’ve said before to firearms manufacturers, when you find problems you’d better admit them and get out in front of the problem, recall it, announce it, and fix it.

Engineers, don’t ever sacrifice your ethical integrity at the behest of corporate lawyers.  You say, “But this pertains to my career and this is a very difficult decision to make, and it could affect my ability to support my family.”  Yes it does, and yes it may.

That’s why it’s call ethics.  It isn’t ethics when it’s easy.  Been there, done that.  I know what it’s like.

Using Guns To Save Lives And Stop Home Invasions

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 1 day ago

Police say an Iowa man had stabbed two people repeatedly last month before a man pulled a gun and ordered the attacker to get on the ground.

Adam Scott Jacobsen, 28, stabbed Jeffrey Miller 24 times and Denice Bennett eight times at an apartment complex before Daniel Williams drew his firearm, according to police. “He pulled the gun and ordered him to lie on the ground,” said Cedar Falls Police Chief Jeff Olson. He said Jacobsen stayed on the ground until police got there, and that Williams holstered his gun before police arrived.

[ … ]

Authorities say the man with the gun, Daniel Williams, had a permit to carry. Police wouldn’t say whether they believed Jacobsen would have continued stabbing people without Williams’s intervention.

That last paragraph is only there in the article because some idiot reporter wanted to know if use of a gun was really, truly, absolutely, really, really necessary, or if perhaps Williams could have de-escalated the situation without even unholstering the gun.  You know that’s what happened.  Or some idiot reporter wants to know if perchance the situation would have ended peacefully if a gun had never been present.

In other news, a grandmother in Georgia stopped a home invasion with a gun.

Two men and a woman have been arrested after grandmother with a gun thwarted an attempted burglary at her home in Coweta County, Ga., according to deputies.

“I don’t know why they selected that house, but they picked the wrong one,” Colonel James Yarbrough from the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to a report, Elaine Stiehl, 78, was getting ready to take a nap when she heard a noise coming from inside her home on Mount Carmel Road around 3 p.m. Friday. Stiehl loaded her gun, opened her bedroom door and saw two men standing in her hallway, the report said.

Officials said the men were in the process of stealing furs and tools from the home, but after seeing Stiehl’s gun, the men reportedly ran out of the residence and fled in a car.

“Neighbors were able to give us a description of the vehicle we pulled it over and took the subjects into custody,” Yarbrough said.

Impossible, ridiculous, absurd and preposterous.  We all know that a gun is no protection from crime, and that if anyone other than a LEO uses one, it takes on a life of its own and spins wildly, shooting innocent people at random.

How could this happen?

The Hearing Protection Act

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 2 days ago

With the possible removal of silencers/suppressors from National Firearms Act control, a number of legal questions around the devices emerge.

The current mechanism for change, H.R.3799 — the Hearing Protection Act — is stuck in the U.S. House but would likely see a stronger reboot in the next Congress in 2017. If a new bill gains enough momentum to make it through Capitol Hill and onto the waiting desk of President Trump, it would leave a few things undecided if signed into law with its current language.

Today, some 42 states have legalized suppressor ownership for civilians, several within just the past few years. As the HPA simply removes the items from the purview of the NFA, the states that ban them now can continue to ban them into the future. On the other hand, states that currently allow ownership could move to restrict it should the items no longer be shackled with requirements for tax stamps, registration and extensive waiting periods caused by paperwork.

“It’s no different than the states that prohibit the sale of machine guns or even certain Title I firearms,” Adam Kraut, an attorney specializing in Second Amendment rights with the Firearms Industry Consulting Group, told

While on the outset this fact would seem to hurt the legislation, it largely removes much of the steam from anti-gun lawmakers hailing from states that currently ban suppressors such as California and Illinois …

Oh, I would never underestimate the ability of collectivists to control everything.  Visit and read the rest of the article, which is an interesting analysis of other questions, such as what happens to the current registry of suppressors if the law were to pass?

This is all well and good, and I hope we see progress on this front.  I mainly hope that not because of the hearing protection such devices provide (since one can currently wear hearing protection when shooting), but mainly because wearing such devices inhibits proper man-machine interface.  For example, do you find it rather difficult to get a good cheek weld on your rifle if you’re wearing muffs?  Or another way of asking it is this.  Do you find that you are modifying the way you would do things naturally because you are wearing muffs?

Again, this is all well and good.  But what about my SBR?  I want to see SBRs removed from the NFA list.  Are you listening?  I want SBRs removed from the NFA list.  You didn’t hear it that time either?  Okay.  I WANT SBRs REMOVED FROM THE NFA LIST!!!!!

ARs For Deer Hunting

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 3 days ago

Outdoor Hub:

There’s no question – the AR-15 doesn’t look like your daddy’s deer rifle. Of course, the Winchester Model 94 lever-action rifle your granddad used doesn’t look anything like his father’s Hawken, either.

However, we see progress all around us. The smartphone is nothing like the rotary phones I grew up with, and if my grandpa stepped in my pickup truck, he’d think it was a spaceship.

The American hunter is experiencing this same thrust into the 21st century. While it might not have the lure, feel and warmth of walnut and blued steel, performance matters over nostalgia. I’m not suggesting you trade in your old .30-30 on an AR, or regulate your bolt rifle to the closet for all eternity. What I hope you will do is consider the many factors that make the AR-15, and its bigger brother the AR-10, ideal for deer hunting.

We’re living in a brave new world and the AR is the hunting rifle of the new millennium – and here’s why.

He goes on to describe a number of things my readers already know about the AR that make it a good choice, including man-machine interface, modularity and adjustability, reliability, etc.  Then there is this.

There does exist more powerful options for those who demand it. Nine of the 41 states permitting centerfire rifles for deer hunting prohibit the use of the .223 Remington. If you hunt in one of those states, the 6.8 SPC or .300 Blackout are an option, as is the new .25-45 Sharps, which duplicates the performance of the old .250 Savage. If you want to stretch your range or just think you need more power, you can step up to an AR-10 and choose a cartridge like the .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Winchester, and in some cases even magnum cartridges.

The semi-automatic AR-15s that shoot anything but the 5.56/.223 or 300 Blackout are non-existent to my knowledge, and the AR-10s that shoot anything else can be very pricey (except for .308).  Or in other words, designer cartridge black guns are very expensive – even the AR style bolt action guns.

But I do like the idea of the 300 Blackout, where I can swap out an upper receiver quickly and easily and have a larger round, slightly slower muzzle velocity, but better long range ballistics than the 5.56/.223 (while I would also assert than the 5.56/.223 is ideal for many situations that don’t suit the 300 Blackout).

So in summary I would say to the old time hunters with puzzled looks at the kids bringing out the new fangled black guns, you need to welcome them and perhaps even learn something.  They are carrying on a proud tradition.  To the Fudds who refuse to accept it, I would say get over it.  Your opinions don’t matter.

But here is a word of caution for the AR hunters.  Know you rifle, know your round, and know your limitations.  Make ethical shots.  Only make ethical shots.

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