Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday Musings

  • The Braves clinched the NL East today. That's something to make everyone feel a little better.
  • I was looking for something in the attic and realized I have a bunch of cardboard boxes from assorted. firearms manufactures. A collection of fine rifles is something to make everyone feel a little better.
  • My wife is pretty smoking hot when she pulls a pork tenderloin out of the crock pot right after work.
  • I have job where no one shoots at me nor yells at me on a daily basis. 
  • Army took the Sooners to overtime and lost by a touchdown. The Black Knights are back. 
  • The Falcons play the Saints Sunday. I'll be at the Braves game with friends from the days when I wore Boy Scout khaki. 
  • I've got a good buddy who will be real excited to reload 270 WSM for me.
  • Solo A Star Wars Story was actually really good.
  • Seeing Han and Chewie fly together for the first time was as cool as Red Leader and Yellow Leader reporting in during Rogue One
  • America is still the best country in the world. We may not have a Corvette in the drive way but out Camry is paid for and the lawn is cut

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Weapons Wednesday - Worrisome Replacement

I'm not a fan of the M-17/M-18 pistols. And that's not say that Sig made a bad gun. The concept is flawed, the program un Godly expensive for what it is, and frankly, we've got better things to worry about than a fancy new hand gun.

That being said, I'm gonna talk about the last new general issue handgun the military had. I say general issuee because a buncha buncha SOF dudes carry Glocks, M-11A1s, and a few holdout still rocking an updated version of J.M. Browning's Government Model of 1911. The Colt M-45A1 probably being my favorite pistol on the above list; followed by the M-11A1.

But, in 1985, which much scorn and fan fare, the U.S.military formally adopted the M-9 Beretta. Sorta. Lots of guys still carried M-1911A1s. And a lot of dudes in the USAF still carried S&W K-frame .38s, like my Dad who thinks DA/SA is stupid.

The Beretta has served admirably for three decades. Including several conflicts and military operations other than war. Originally, I had planned to post this last week, as a fitting Military Monday before 9/11, but then we had evacuees.

However, for me, where as I like the -1911 and Glocks, the M-9 will always be the first hand gun I was issued.

I sometimes wonder with the adoption of a polymer DAO stryker fired hand gun as the new approved service weapon, how many guys twenty years from now will be sitting at the VFW saying

"You know, when I was fighting the GWOT wars, we carried a real pistol, made of steel with a hammer."

A now old gun with old ammo
I gave into nostalgia and bought a Beretta not long ago. It's well made. It shoots good. And for a certain era of veterans, it will be the gun we watched Hollywood Heroes fight bad guys with and then the gun we fought bad guys with.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tinkering Tuesday - A bastard Magnum

The Winchester Model 70 should be offered in classic calibers. 270 Win, 30-06 Gov't, 375 H&H, 264 Win Mag, and the like. And it should also be stocked in dense walnut. And in no way shape form or fashion should it be offered in a niche, nearly wildcat, flash in the pan cartridge. Like those short magnums that have no real purpose.

So pretty much the exact opposite of this.

Yeah, I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with it either. But it's a Hartford produced Model 70, with CRF, a target crown, free floated barrel, and nicely bedded. For the employee price my manager made me on it, I couldn't let it sit on the rack.

Disregard the cheap Chinese Wal Mart special scope atop it; the older Loopy VX-III was sold to another employee.

The Short Magnums are interesting from a ballistic stand point, and I love all things Model 70. Even though I felt Jack O'Connor's scorn as I did my 4473.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Military Monday -

On December 7th, the IJN destroyed the U.S. Battle Fleet at Pearl Harbor. Which in some ways, was a good thing. With all the battle wagons out of commission, Fletcher, Halsey, and Spruance were allowed to fight their carriers. And that is obviously good. The Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons, and Santa Cruz bear that out.

But, once the Japanese onslaught was blunted, we had to slog our way back across the Pacific. And where as the fast Iowas, North Carolinas, and South Dakotas could certainly keep pace with the CVBGs, those were in short supply. The Marines needed gun fire support. And the merchant ships would need close in protection.

Enter the Ghosts of Pearl Harbor. Of the eight battleships sank at Pearl, the Navy raised and returned to service six of them. The Arizona and Oklahoma being total losses.

And the Tennessee, Maryland, and Pennsylvania found themselves under the command of at the time VADM J.B. Oldendorf.

Now, for the duration of the war in the Pacific, battleships were pulled in and withdrawn from service with the shore bombardment forces. But, generally they were all old pre war ships.

And on the night of 25 October 1944, the old battlewagons exacted a measure of revenge for theirs sisters lost at Pearl.

The Southern Force, as commanded by Admiral Nishimura moved down the Surigao Strait in an attempt to crush the U.S. invasion force at Leyte Gulf.

After intrepid attacks by the American PT boat screen, the Japanese battleships made contact with the &th Fleet Support Force. In one of those defining moments in history, Oldendorf was able to "cross the T" of the Japanese fleet. The Allied victory was decisive. And was the last time battleships fought other battleships on the high seas.

As a kid, for whatever reason, the resurrections of the battleships from Pearl fascinated me. To this day I will angrily rant that the USS Nevada, as the only battleship to get under way on 7Dec41, should have led the fleet into Tokyo Bay.

And whereas the capitulation of the Japanese empire was formally held on the deck of an Iowa class ship named after the President's home state, one could make a case that post paid was put to the account of the IJN on 25Oct44, when old slow battleships commander by Admiral Oldendorf defeated them in a night surface action.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday Stories - Pop's Mags

As Florence dies down and the Coasties get there day in the sun, I have reclaimed my den. Our refugees have headed back to Norfolk.

Watching football today, I somehow got on the subject of M-14s. And that brought up a memory guranteed to get a chuckle out of everyone whom has worked a gun counter or been down range.

So, when I was assigned to an infantry platoon, in preperation for heading to the Sandbox, we were issued M-21s as Squad and Platoom DM rifles. Cool. Good use for the old platform. Except the Army did not issue anything in the way of ancillary equipment. To include magazines, cleaning kits, magazines, mag pouches, magazines, slings, oh, did I mention magazines?

Now for the most part, all of the above could be taken care of at Ranger Joes and Bass Pro, both of which had convenient Hinesville/Savannah locations. Except magazines. Damn, we could not find those anywhere we looked. Probably because the average M1A owner doesn't buy all that many. And the whole Brigade was in the same boat, so every local gun store had been canvased.

Enter my Old Man.

Now Pops, isn't exactly a fan of the M-14, having lugged one around Lackland during Basic. He doesn't much like the M-4 either, but that's a different story. Sorry Pop, we can't all go to war with an M-3 Grease Gun and a cut down riot gun.

But, anywho, one day I called home. And talked to the Old Man before I talked to my Mother. And in passing I mentioned something along the lines of:

"The Damn Army gave us damn M-21s but didn't give us any magazines."

Pop responds: "What's an M-21?"

"An updated M-14 with a scope on it. Each squad should have one to give them a little more punch."

"Oh. Gotcha. Here's your Mom. Bye."

Fast forward a little bit, I get a package slip in my Q. And its a big plain cardboard box. With 100 CheckMate M-14/M1A magazines. Return address was the old family farm. No note, packed with the local small town newspaper.

Now, my Dad never made much mention of said magazines. But I finally got the story out of my Mom.

In a small down in central Georgia, there is a NAPA Auto with an attached gun store. A really really big attached gun store. Run by an old Southern Gentleman named Bo. Now Mister Bo sells a whole bunch of guns. And accessories. And has very fair pricing. To the point where you don't much haggle with Mister Bo. Maybe, if you got cash, you might ask for that old Ithaca for $350 out the door but that's about it.

But, according to my Mother, Pop shook Mister Bo's hand, and asked if he hand any M-14 magazines. And Mr. Bo said he did. And Dad said he needed a whole bunch. Mr. Bo asked why and my Dad replied, very evenly without any fuss or dramatics:

"My boy needs them for his Platoon. They are shipping out soon."

And Mister Bo sold my Old Man 100 CheckMate M1A/M-14 mags at cost.

Now, I don't know what that cost in 2008, but I know today it would be a whole heap of money.

I made sure all my dudes who had M-21s were liberally equipped and then traded those mags for stuff here and there. NODS, better Commo, etc. Sgt Peterson of "The Green Berets" would have been proud.

And when the Bde who relieved us showed up, I handed them over to the guy who got my sector.

I sometimes wonder if those same mags are still getting passed around.

This week we're gonna talk about Admiral Jesse Oldenorf, the M-9 Beretta, and some bastard magnums.

Y'all have a good week.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Weapons Wednesday - Welcoming the Refugees

So, there will not be a whole lot of posting this week. The 5th Fleet put to sea from Norfolk. And non essential personnel were told to evac with their dependents. So, my brother in law showed up with his family.

Currently, there is a teenage girl on an air mattress in my den. Kinda puts a crimp on your normally half drunk halk nekkid creative process.

Y'all be safe and go read the folks on the side bar.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Military Monday/Tactical Tuesday - A Day of Remembrance

Afghanistan has become a generational war. My Father fought there. Right after 9/11 he shipped out. The Air Commandos called upon to get the SOF dudes in quick and fast. My first platoon sergeant fought there as a squad leader. He was my platoon sergeant when I went to Iraq in '08. I went back to the A-Stan in '10 and '12, as a squad leader and later as platoon leader. Kids who worked for me at my Boy Scout Camp have been there. Some more are currently gearing up for up coming deployments there.

People often ask why I went. And then went again. And again. Duty. College money. The fact that I like to fight. All play into it. But the real reason is because of guys who woke up one morning. Put on a gun or checked their rigs. And went when called upon. And those guys didn't come home. But they died on the bounce, doing their damn best to save lives, follow duty hard, and uphold the obligations of oaths they swore.

Ladder 118 on the bounce to their last call

I like to think the guys on Ladder 118 may have joked that this was bad, but hey, we take care of this, we get in the paper and maybe free Mets tickets. The Mets finishing 3rd in the NL East that year. But that was not to be. However, as Americans, we tend to take solace in bravery. And I can think of nothing better than that.

I wore a FDNY patch on my plate carrier for the better part of the year. Danny wore a Yankees hat under his Kevlar. I couldn't bring myself to sink to such theatrics.

I've never been one to get sappy or melodramatic on 9/11. We were attacked. We figured out who did it. And then we kicked the ever loving shit out of them. The 3/75th took an airfield in the space of an evening that the Russians couldn't take in two years.

Afghanistan is still a shit show. But I like to think that the guys who answered their last call on that pleasant September day have been well and dutifully avenged.

I also like to think of a rugby player who said "fuck this" and took on some goat fuckers hand to hand in the confines of an airliner. We won our first victory of the GWOT in a field in Pennsylvania.

I think of the British Coldstream Guard and their regimental band playing the National Anthem on the 12th.
The Brits, Canadians, Aussies, and New Zealanders all following the directive of the Queen to fight the bad guys who attack the wayward Colonies.

And the French and the Germans, who saddled up to help as well. We helped liberate one and defended the other from Communist aggression, so the help was appreciated. And man, those French Paras can be mean.

I like to think of the heroism that reigned supreme that day. An old Air Cav guy taking a head count, and when coming up a few numbers short, heading back into hell with a couple of guys to try and find everyone of his charges.

And an electrician, janitor, and cop got the Honor Medal with crossed palms because they were last seen heading up, doing their best to be Helpful.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Stories - The Science of Smith & Wesson

I have a litany of stupid human tricks. Some of which infuriate my wife. Such as being able to pack for three weeks in the space of ten minutes and fit it all in my old duffel bag, which is convient at the airport because it still has a name strip sewn own to it. I also am not terribly afflicted by jet lag, I just set my G-Shock to local time an go. And another trait I have is that I am fairly conversant in Smith and Wesson model numbers. Kinda like ancient hieroglyphics, if you immerse yourself in the language you'll eventually learn enough to get by.

So, let that set the stage for today's Sunday Story. Which actually has me on the other side of the counter.

In the spring of 2017, the then girlfriend (wife select) and one of her bridesmaids went dress shopping. I was dropped off at a convenient local gun show and told not to spend money on anything other than the door charge and a hot dog for lunch.

So, I'm pursuing the tables of fake Nazi stuff, beef jerky, and the veritable sea of AR variations. But way back in the corner, I find a table with a couple of old S&W 3rd Gen autos, including a 1006.

All the guns are cable lokced so you can pick them up, so being a fan of all things 10mm, I'm of course playing with it when the table proprietor lumbers over. Now, I'm definitely rocking a post DD-214 bod, but geez, this dude could have been in the Armor, and served as a tank. We're talking big boy. And his girth must be choking off blood flow to his brain.

"That there's a 10mm. The old FBI gun." He says.

"Yes, sir. 10mm is a good round. The FBI used it briefly in the 1076." I say, at first thinking I misheard what he had said.

"Yeah, kid, that's what I said. The FBI used that gun."

"Um, sir, this a 1006. The Feds used the 1076, which was D-A-O."

"Yeah, they're the same gun." At this point, I set the gun down and go about my way. More than a little grumpy. The funny thing being that I was wearing a S&W t-shirt, because at the gun show you must signal your tribal affiliations. Stupidity flows freely on both sides of the counter.

This week I'm submitting another piece to Loose Rounds, and hope to talk about the M-9 Beretta here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Wandering Wednesday

I have not been arrested by the BATFE. Nor have I flown to Syria to help wage reverse Jihad on the goat fuckers. I did something much more mundane.

I went on vacation. And I drank a lot. And did a lot of touristy things. Much fun was had. Dennis and I did some serious drinking. And not much fishing. But hey, Charleston encourages such things.

Charleston harbor lends itself to bad decisions.
I also took great pleasure in making fun of MAJ Anderson. Who retreats to an island? I mean is that what they teach at West Point?

Jackie in the galley making Joe

So, while enjoying our luxurious accommodations, I didn't do a lot of writing.  That being said, I have made words elsewhere on the internet. Click here to read a rambling essay on why the Army needs more than the 5.56mm and more options than the M-4 carbine.

This blog  is a good read. Shawn is doing great work there, both with original content and keeping up Hognose's legacy. He's asked for some guest content for me. So I'll be posting there occasionally and still updating here when I don't decide day drinking and fishing take precedent.

Somber Sunday

 So, been wearing a badge for seven months now. I enjoy it. Have had good days, fun days, bad days, and even dare I say it, boring days. Tod...