Election Day 2014

Not much new to report, but at least I voted today. Still busier than hell, but that should change soon. Elsewhere, I’m officially a paid writer now! Not enough to quit my day job, but every little bit helps. Come to think of it, I need a new day job now, too…

I’ve been itching to get out even more than usual lately. Plans are in the works for a big camping trip with friends down near Tucson in a couple of weeks, and maybe we can fit some range time in then, as well.

I also finally got around to ordering the replacement parts to (hopefully) fix the problem child G19. This weekend I’ll order some more ammo as well. More to follow on that.

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Picture of the Day: EDC Pocket Dump

Contents listed below in no particular order.

Folder: Zero Tolerance 0350TS serrated. I picked this up about a year ago as a replacement for the Emerson, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted. A little too heavy, not as easy to open (although it has slicked up with use), sticks out a little too much from the pocket. I chose it over the ZT 0300 series because the blade on all of those I handled opened far too slowly for my taste, and I prefer G10 scales all around. I also favor Benchmade’s Axis lock, but I’m not worried about the liner lock on this one failing as it is built like the proverbial tank (a very, very small tank).

Wallet: Saddleback Leather Co. Christmas gift from the wife a couple years back. Highly recommended.

Bandana: Always have one, even if you don’t use it as a snot rag.

Keys: I try to keep this to a minimum. Truck, house, gym scan card thing, Princeton Tec Pulsar II LED keychain light. That’s pretty much it.

Watch: Seiko dive watch with NATO band. I wore a spendy Casio Pathfinder in Afghanistan that I picked up for about 90% off at a REI garage sale. Per the tag, the original owner returned it when they couldn’t figure out how to set the date and time zone. It worked great for about a year, until it turned out not to be water resistant to the depth of a friend’s swimming pool. While the extra features of an ABC watch are certainly useful, this meets my current needs quite nicely. Plus, IMO the Pepsi bevel just looks cool.

Phone: iPhone 5 in Lifeproof case. Not pictured, obviously.

Lighter: Full size Bic in high vis yellow.

Belt: Wilderness Original Instructor belt with CSM polymer inserts that make it rigid as hell. Purchased on pre-deployment leave at the same time as the Emerson, direct from the Wilderness store. I’ve never clipped in with mine, or done any OAF shenanigans other than carrying a gat for CCW and replacing my issued rigger’s belt. A friend of mine with the 5-stitch model did have to use his as a makeshift tourniquet for a through-and-through GSW to the leg (entry and exits to the thigh and calf respectively, 4 new holes in total). Obviously not as good as having a CAT handy, but he’s still walking around, so now you have a testimonial that it works for that, too.

Sunglasses: Generic mirrored aviators. Picked these up for $10 at a surplus store to replace my 3yo ESS 5Bs that got too scratched up. I’ll eventually put in an order with Oakley SI, but these will work until then.

Friday Mea Culpa

First, my apologies for not posting this past week. I’ve been snowed under with school, work, schoolwork, and other writing projects (paid ones, for a change), feel like I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in a couple weeks, and just haven’t had the time to create even the slightest original content. No ranges this week, and hopes for shooting steel with friends this Sunday were dashed by everyone’s conflicting schedules.

Never fear, I’ve got a couple pieces in the pipe that should be going up this weekend, and I should have some pictures and commentary to post on Monday.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

As promised, I went to the gun show this morning in Glendale. As this was my first show in a few years (I think Rep. Giffords was still in office and pro-2A the last time I went), it was an opportunity to get reacquainted with the whole scene.

Crossroads of the West used to be the bigger gun show that came to town and was held at the Phoenix Fairgrounds. Due to the state fair going on right now, it was moved to University of Phoenix Stadium. I’m not sure if it was originally supposed to be larger before the change of venue, but the result was about 1/6 the size and correspondingly reduced number of vendors/booths/tables that I remember from shows past. Meanwhile, the price has gone up from $10-12 back in the day AKA 4-5 years ago (IIRC) to $17 this morning. So it looks like my gun show dollar isn’t going as far as it used to (paying 141.6% of the price for 16.6% of the goods, if my math holds up).

Quality also seemed down overall from what I remember. But rather than dwell on the rows upon rows of dollar store knives, no name optics, and knock off gear, I’ll run down the bright side:

1) I don’t think I saw a single Colt 6920 going for over $1K.
2) Lots of nice milsurps around, especially Garands and Springfields.
3) Plenty of cool old pistols also, including a decent Savage 1907 (although I’m more of a Colt Pocket Hammerless kinda guy) and a pretty good Union Switch & Signal 1911.

I didn’t see my unicorn AKA PTR 32KFR, or even the threaded 10/22 Takedown I’ve been looking out for. Good prices were to be had on CZ and HK pistols I was interested in, but I’m not in the buyer’s market right now*. Ammo prices were okay, and at least J&G still had plenty of 7N6 for sale. I did try to check out the new Kershaw/Emerson folders but what I saw didn’t impress me as a potential cheap replacement for my CQC-7. The search goes on.

*Things to do before I let myself buy another gat: new tires for my bike (since the cool fall weather means I’m out of excuses not to ride to school), new extractor/ejector/etc. for the problematic G19, a real-deal shot timer, a new EDC folder or just pony up for a replacement blade from Emerson, more 9mm and 5.56 ball, Oh, shit! I never did get those BUIS for the AR, and of course I could always use more magazines…

It never ends. One more for the books.

Link Dump, Historical Odds & Ends

1) Gizmodo put up some amazing pictures of the Blue Angels at SF Fleet Week:


Srsly amazing

More behind the link.

2) More low level fly-bys over at Last Stand on Zombie Island. Most eye catching was this one:


Because flying over bridges is for Capitalist pig-dogs…

Casual research seems to indicate that the picture in question was a victim of some Soviet-era airbrushing (they had a lot of practice with that sort of thing), but not outright ‘shopped. On top of which, the story itself checks out.

3) The Firearm Blog has this piece about the IRA’s improvised recoilless cookie cannon. The ingenuity that went into these is fascinating.

4) Another weird historical oddity courtesy of Forgotten Weapons; a Finnish Suomi SMG with under barrel flamethrower.


Perfect

5) Reaching a little further back, I can’t remember where I found this imgur photoset looking down the sights of historic military firearms, but it sure is interesting to see how many you can identify without looking at the captions.

6) Going waaaay back now, I got this link from the Knight’s Armament FB page to demonstrations of fighting and mobility in 15th century suits of armor. It’s quite impressive to see how quickly and easily the wearers can move while wearing what appears to be fairly ungainly armor, at least compared to my own experience with IBAs, IOTVs and plate carriers.

7) Back to the present: SilencerCo has dropped another great video on their YouTube channel, with typical high production values, drool-inducing suppressors, and ’70s porno soundtrack.

Their A/V department is on point, as usual.

8) Jerking the Trigger posted this piece regarding the utility of the Law Tactical folding stock adapter for use with AR pistols. I definitely see the merit of the idea, although I don’t currently own an ARP or have needs to justify a PDW in my battery.

9) Outside magazine published a nicely done takedown of Jamie Smith, tactical Walter Mitty extraordinaire.

“At one point, Smith’s cell phone rang. Sanford recalled him turning away, saying, ‘Oh, I got to take this. It’s the number two guy for the FBI. I got a special case I’m working for them.'”

Gun Lust: 7.62x39mm Edition

My first rifle (aside from a .22 LR bolt action and a .410 O/U when I was a kid) was a Yugo SKS I purchased from J&G Sales in Prescott shortly after my 18th birthday, back when they were only $110 out the door (or $100 a piece if you bought two or more). Over the next couple of years I also had a cheap WASR-10 (I think I paid $330ish for it. Those were the days…) and a Mini-30 that I picked up for some reason at a gun show instead of the Russian Red Lancaster that I had my heart set on. The latter was such a POS that it almost turned me off from Ruger firearms forever, but that’s another story…

They have all long since been sold off, but I’ve developed the bug of late for a rifle chambered in an intermediate .30 caliber. I’ve been impressed with handling and shooting my buddy’s Arsenal SLR107, but I’m not crazy about the left-side folding stock or spending 4 figures on a piece of stamped ComBloc steel. Pricing also eliminates the higher end milled Arsenals like the SAM-7R, as well as anything from Krebs Custom or Rifle Dynamics.

Staying on the cheap side, the hot ticket seems to be another Century built rifle; either the Yugo M70 N-PAP or (if I decide that the barrel’s lack of chrome lining is a deal breaker) the American made C39. Both of these seem like decent quality, affordable gats for blowing through some cheap steel-case at the range.

On the other hand, I’m not 100% committed to the Kalashnikov pattern yet and the contrarian side of me wants to go with another oddball (despite the fact that I still have a bad taste left from that Mini years later). There’s always the VZ-58 series rifles from CZ, but they’re currently out of production (although still easy enough to find online) and require different mags than run-of-the-mill AKs. I don’t have much faith or any real interest in any of the lesser 7.62x39mm ARs like the Rock River LAR-47, and availability (or the lack thereof) rules out the unobtanium KAC SR-47. Ignore any reports you may have read about these rifles over the years, they simply don’t exist.


Pictured: the final resting place of the SR-47

Which brings me to the PTR 32.


Really, how can you say no to that face?

Match grade, chrome lined barrel, takes AK magazines (reviews indicate it prefers Bulgy Circle 10s, but who doesn’t), with HK durability and AK reliability. What’s not to like? Well, PTR Industries has them listed as “Temporarily Out of Production,” but they still turn up on Gunbroker and certain online dealers. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for a top railed version (Model 32 KFR) at the gun show this weekend.

PMCS Tracker

Here’s something I touched on yesterday. I keep a logbook in my range bag to note certain statistics during range sessions, and afterward I update an OpenOffice spreadsheet I keep around to track things such as:

1) Weapon Make, Model, and SN
2) Total Round Count
3) Modifications performed to the weapon, if any (e.g. replacement parts, change in sights/optics)
4) Maintenance performed, if any
5) Magazines used*
6) Round Count for the individual range session
7) Ammunition Manufacturer
8) Weight and Type of Ammunition used
9) Number of Malfunctions, if any
10) Further Notes (e.g. description of malfunctions, group size for rifles)

Tracking these numbers allows me to have a definitive answer to not only how many rounds the weapon has seen, but I can also follow performance trends like reliability, accuracy, and times across different modifications, maintenance intervals, ammunition manufacturers, bullet weights, and anything else I should care to take note of.

*In regards to #5, all of my magazines are marked and numbered with a colored paint pen. This allows me to diagnose any magazine-related malfunctions by noting the round count and number of the specific magazine in #10.


The results look something like this

In this case, we can see that the extraction/ejection issues have persisted since day one. I really should have replaced the applicable parts several hundred rounds ago, but I was interested to see if the issues would “settle down” over time. That has not been the case, as the frequency of malfunctions with my Glock 19 has drastically increased of late. It will be out of rotation until the repairs are made.

What statistics do you keep track of?