Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts

Zero distances for carbines
By Pudge

So, Mack called me up the other day and asked if I’d ever heard of the 36 yard zero. I hadn’t, so the search for information on the best battle zero for Mack began. For this battle zero I’m talking about for your 5.56 carbine with either irons or a red dot. Other rifles are going to go in a whole different direction. From what I read it sounds like the Marines used to use this zero with their old M16 muskets and apparently if you want to be a Navy SEAL then this is the zero for you as well. However, what happened to the 25/300m, 50/200m, or the 100m zero. Notice how these use meters and the wonderful guys that like boats and the sea are talking yards.

I’m not sure what started the 36 yard zero fad but I can tell you the 25/300m definitely started with the big green machine. It doesn’t mean it is right for everyone but for them it is. I used this zero while in the Infantry for a little while. It worked enough for the majority which is why it was chosen. Once I began eating snakes, I changed my zero a couple times for different reasons. With my 14.5in carbine and ELCAN I chose a 100m zero because it is set up that way and has a bullet drop compensated reticle for our guns and ammo. (A quick note that BDC reticles are only accurate for the specific setup they were designed for. Don’t be mad when your Bushnell 1-4 isn’t dead on where it is supposed to be because you are using quality ammo they didn’t test it with.) Anyway, I chose this setup and the 100m zero because I was getting ready for a deployment to Afghanistan and knew I would need it for longer engagements way more often than close in running and gunning.

This was an interesting day of trying to zero with our partners.
 Fast forward a couple years and I now run a 10.5in carbine with Eotech and a 50/200m zero. Uncle Sam now uses me for close in running and gunning where extreme precision is more important than popping bad dudes at longer distances. Additionally, the 50/200m zero is where I keep my personal carbines set at as well. I like it the best because from muzzle to 250m the trajectory is about as flat as you can get it. To me it is the most preferable for urban work. (I don’t like to think anymore than necessary. Don’t want my brain getting in the way.)

I’m not saying one is better than the other. I’m just stating why I chose each one and that each has its place. You have to figure out what is right for you. But don’t go running to the newest fad just because some guy wearing skinny jeans tells you it is the best. Whichever of the thousand zero options you choose, just make sure to verify at incremental distances out to where you think your farthest likely engagement will be. No matter what I use for my zero distance, I always do my best to confirm at intervals out to as far as possible. Each person’s carbine and ammo choices are going to give them slightly different results. These different zero distances: 30yds, 25/300m, 50/200m, and 100m are just the most prevalent that you’ll see.

With all that said, I understand most people especially in the nice urban centers of this great country are only going to have access to a 25m indoor range. Because of that, I have added a couple of links at the bottom where you can download each of these different zero distance targets that are adjusted to be used at 25m and give you at least a somewhat close to your preferred distance zero. Do what you can with what you’ve got just like Burt and then go verify at longer distances as soon as you get the chance.

Hopefully in the next installment of what do I do for zero distances I can muddy the water even more when discussing red dots on handguns and at what range to zero them at and why. Or maybe I’ll take the plunge into the deep end of different zeros for your laser. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Weapons Wednesday - Steadfast Smiths

So, we all know that when I'm not singing the praises of the tactical tupperware, that I'm a big time fan of those awesome hammer fired bottom feeders from Springfield, Massachusetts.

Immediately after World War II all the way until the late 2000s, Smith and Wesson made some variation of their Model 39 pistol.

Now, when I say variant of the Model 39 I am taking a bit of liberty. Because S&W made a whole bunch of different guns that sort of kind of used the same SA/DA system.

Oh, and they started making a double stack version and called it the Model 59. Oh, and then they made it in stainless as the 659. Or something.

S&W model numbers are something I have a working knowledge of but don't claim to be proficient in.

But I am smart enough to know that when I see a damn near new Model 469 in the case at the old pawn shop to yell shut up and take my money to Kurt Man. Who did just that. Good man that Kurtis.

Not a fan of the after market grips, but they'll suffice for now.

The thing shoots pretty well. Which is to be expected of an all steel bobbed hammer SA/DA gun.

As far as impulse buys go, this was pretty good. I got it for three c-notes.

And that kind of represents the problem with the 2nd and 3rd Gen Smiffs. They were just too expensive and didn't offer that much in a qualitative value over things like the Glock or Ruger P- series pistol.

Which is why you can find them in pawn shops cheap.

Which is kinda sad though. Cause those old Service Smiffs served very well and have been effectively cast off to the dust bin of service sidearm history.

So, whenever I pick up one cheap, I like to clean it up real good and then go shoot the hell out of it.

Somewhere that pistol, in a previous life, was some tough cop's off duty piece. Or maybe a DEA agent carried it while doing plain clothes work in Miami.

Old pistols are like old airplanes. Everyone I pick up or look at I instinctively wonder what its past life was like. And hope that it gets an honorable retirement.

And that's exactly what I hope to give to this humble 469. Shot it the other day and when we start bowling pin matches again it will do good work in the retro class.

Thanks for stopping buy. And remember; don't wear socks with your loafers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Thinking Tuesday - Away Game

So, Pudge has gone forth and made some real high speed words over at Major's Rawles'  place.

And yes, that is the same fellow that wrote the "Patriots" saga.

So, everyone head on over and read his thoughts on SOPs.

It's a good write up and definitely something all the self reliant minded of you should go read. Which covers most of you.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Film Friday - Siege of Jadotville

So, this week on Film Friday we are gonna cover a film a couple of y'all mentioned. Or in the case of Mr Garabaldi hounded me for quite some time to watch. So I watched it. And made Jackie watch it too. And then had to make tacos.

Pudge writes:

Siege of Jadotville-
Let me start off by saying, “wow, what a different time and way personnel conducted themselves on the battlefield.” This was quite a movie that I really enjoyed. I think the best part about this movie is the information and history that it brought to light. I hadn’t heard of the battle prior to this movie but have learned lots about it since.

One of the Soldiers was played by Pat Quinlan’s grandson and my understanding is that he believes the movie followed very closely to the actual events that transpired. After some research it definitely appears that way. It is remarkable how well the Irish unit held their own with so little and no prior combat experience. Amazing how the right people with the right knowledge can make such a difference. It also shows what a determined group of Soldiers who will fight for each other can do.

I’m glad that the men were finally recognized for their actions. I wish it would have happened sooner but politics always have a way of squashing the truth. It is a shame that these men had to go through what they did with only negative recognition until very recently. Not just because I really liked the movie but because we can’t let history like this disappear, I highly recommend you all go watch this movie as soon as possible.

Counter Jockey writes:

So, first off, I enjoyed the movie because it made the UN look impotent and about worthless. But I got some issues. 

First off, I was rightfully grumpy when some pissant Irish conscript referred to the weapons of A Company as obsolete. Listen, I'd take a company into combat today if they were armed with FALs, Swedish Ks, Hi Powers, BRENs, Vickers guns, and Enfield sniper rifles. Good damn guns. Which I thoroughly enjoyed seeing in the film. Yay gun porn!

Which brings me to my next point: Why in the holy hell of all that is Guinness beer did the "sniper" use a BREN gun sans magazine to kill the evil mine executive? It shoots the same bloody round as the Enfield. And the Enfield is more accurate! Bah! 

Okay, moving on, in 1961 any UN contract helicopters are gonna be beat to shit old H-19s. Not new Hueys. Nor is the UN gonna have damn Hercs. Hell, a couple of years later, the Belgiums had to ask the USAF nicely for C-130s to undue all that lovely independence bullshit. Google Operation Dragon Rouge. 

And speaking of airplanes, in 1961 the USN were the only guys flying the Phantom. Anybody want to explain how a Phantom could make all the way into the Congo to shoot down the Secretary General's airplane? Bullshit. A whole bunch of pro Commie bullshit. 

So, yeah, I guess it's an okay movie. But damn, lot of leftist bullshit. That being said Commandant Quinlan got a raw deal. And did his level best to do his duty and complete his mission. I can certainly relate to that. I'd like to buy him a pint. 

And this all comes full circle because of the all the valuable minerals that Africa provides. I've gone on at length about how we were both morally and strategically wrong to abandon Rhodesia. The issues in the Congo are similar. 

I hope to all that is holy that I am wrong. But I fear that I am not. We will fight the Chinese, if not force on force, than by proxy in Africa. And it is all because of mistakes we made from 1961 all the way until 1993. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Somber Saturday

Everyone else has eulogized Hognose is some from or fashion today. And He is certainly deserving of it. I don't have a whole lot to add other than I miss him everyday.

Kevin and I met online virtually round about 2015 or so. We talked about where to put the old PEQ on the M-4 quad rail and where we ran it while in service.

And after that I read his blog everyday; I would comment often as well.

I had told him that when ever he found himself in Georgia he needed to come walk Kennesaw Mountain and Chickamauga Creek with me. Show them damn Yankees where we stopped them cold.

Sadly, that never came to be.

I know wherever he is that there are CZ guns, old airplanes, and Diet Dr Pepper available. Or at least I fervently hope so.

This hasn't got any easier over the last three years.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Film Friday - 13 Hours

Thanks for tuning in for our second Film Friday which is actually posted on time. Damn. Pudge is like the best accountability partner ever. This week we're taking a look at "13 Hours"

Pudge writes:

I want to start out by saying that of course I like this movie because of the action but also because of the willingness of certain individuals to find their way to yes so that they could provide assistance any way possible. It is a tragedy of what occurred but to know there are those out there willing to risk everything to save others is the silver lining. It is hard to stomach the response to the crisis. It may not have altered the outcome but it couldn’t have hurt. All we can do is remember those that sacrificed and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I really don’t have anything bad to say about 13 Hours. My only complaint would be the extra little drama thrown in here and there. I know it is for extra effect but not always needed. I cannot vouch for the specifics of some of the so called ‘over the top’ scenes but I can say that things like this really do happen. In many countries you may run into checkpoints controlled by militia, you will get looked at strange or followed because you are American, and if someone is bold enough to carry out an attack, they will throw everything they have at you.

I very much liked the intense scenes where it takes a wise crack or smart ass to diffuse the situation. Again, not unrealistic at all. One thing I’ve noticed is that no matter country, race, religion, ethnicity, is that all fighters are the same to some degree. At some small level we are all bonded by what we do. This is how a tense situation can be diffused by what may seem like a dumb gesture to the uninitiated. I can provide many examples of this just from my perspective.

My favorite part about this movie and others like it is that it can be a way of honoring those who lived it. Telling their story and letting us learn from it makes these my go to movies. I love watching one and then going on a deep dive fact finding mission. I’ve probably learned more history this way than any book has taught me.

Mack writes:

The movie is hard to watch. Doubly so if you have a combat arms back ground. There are a couple of scenes, where, when things are really effing bad, that you can't help but think: "Damn, I wish I could have been there. Maybe with one or two of my battle buddies. Might could have made a difference."

I'm not exactly the biggest fan of the current CINC; but, this film illustrates why He was certainly the best choice for the American people in 2016. 

My minor quibble has to do with firearms. None of the Operators actually carried Gucci Glocks but they do look cool on the big screen. 

Other than that, I can't recommend this film enough. Watch it and be thankful that America has such warriors willing to do such hard things for Her and Her People. 

Sidenote: Tig is cool as hell. And GemTech makes a pretty good can. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Thankful Thursday - Twister Edition

So, a bunch of jokes get thrown around down South about tornadoes. And yes, they do kind of sound like a freight train going through.

So, early Monday morning an F3 tornado that was ten football fields wide tore through my county.

Amazingly, the only fatality was a goat and an unknown number of chickens.

And for that I'm very, very thankful. My parent's house was spared. But barely. We're talking feet.

In addition to the fortunes that befell my small town that morning, I was reminded of why I love this country and living in an area that prizes self reliance yet still has a strong since of community.

When the sun came up; the sound of a hundred dozen chainsaws could be heard.

No need to wait for international aid, the Federal Government, or hell, even the National Guard when you got your own generator, a good saw, and a four wheel drive truck. I think Hank Jr sang about that.

My cousin rode up and down the main highway, where the damage was the worst, with his chainsaw and a bunch of bottled water. I was coming but still an hour a way and kind of hungover. Monday was supposed to be my day off.

The damage was kind of bad. Some folks are homeless. But no one died. The Guard is there, and hell, most everyone has power again.

And after running my saw out of bar oil once and running it out of gas a handful of times, the chain decided it was done. Yeah. Gotta go to a professional for that. What's funny, is my Dad, Father in Law, and cousin all looked at that and said some variation of "I've never seen one do that before."

I took that as a sign and went home. The secretary at work said that I really couldn't leave for three days in a row again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Tuesday Training

Training Under Quarantine-
By Pudge

During the quarantine I figured I might as well be a little constructive with my time. So, I set about figuring out the best way to work on my handgun skills while not getting to hit the range as much as normal. So yep, you guessed it, I really began to focus on dry firing. (Probably should have been doing this more anyway!) The difference now is that I’ve incorporated a laser training device and yet another one of those endless apps on my phone. I actually feel like this app is useful and will make me better though. I’m a cheapskate so I’m using the free app version recommended with the laser cartridge that I have. It is not bad and does everything I was looking to get out of it. (I’m using the G-sight 9mm laser cartridge and the G-sight app on iOS.)
A great way to take dry firing to the next level.
I’ve mostly been focusing on using my SpaceNAG. I’ve really been working at getting better with a red dot through proper grip and draw stroke. It is amazing what happens when you incorporate a red dot when you’ve used irons for so long. I’m sure any of you who have used a red dot before, probably spent at least a little while ‘searching’ for the dot as you got used to it. This has allowed me to really work on my draw and presentation. Since doing this I very rarely have to search for the dot because I’m actually being consistent with my draw and presentation. Before, I would make minute adjustments as the irons came into focus and not even realize it. With a dot this isn’t possible. You have to have a consistent grip, draw, and presentation for everything to line up correctly. In turn, using a red dot as increased my proficiency with iron sights as well, because now I am minimizing any extra movement needed to bring my handgun into a proper firing position.
My accuracy while dry firing has already seen improvement as well as my speed to get the handgun into action. It definitely can’t hurt to spend time dry firing and it is fun finding ways to incorporate it during my daily routine. I’ve recently been doing some drills while working out. It has helped out in both realms due to me really having to focus on my breathing. I like to get my heart rate up then do the dry fire drills during what would normally be my rest period between sets. It has also helped break up some of the workout routine monotony.
Hopefully soon I’ll get to see how much will translate into live fire. If nothing else, it has helped me in my draw stroke and proper presentation. And it is enjoyable, which is worth a lot to help keep my sanity.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Film Friday - 6 Days

 Today, we are gonna do something a little different in that we will have joint movie review from both Pudge and myself. Six Days is currently streaming on Netflix.

Pudge writes:

6 Days Movie Review
I just wanted to throw some quick thoughts down about the movie 6 Days that is streaming on Netflix. The movie is about the Iranian Embassy Siege in London from 30 April to 5 May 1980. If you have any interest in how the UK and the US for that matter, respond to hostage situations, like history, or are just plain bored during your lockdown, watch it. There are some small spoilers below but nothing that should keep you from watching the movie. (Or go watch it now then come back and read the rest of this post.)

As a current member of one of the US Special Forces Crisis Response Forces I thought they did a very good job showing what would have been going on prior to the assault on the Embassy by the 22 SAS. What impressed me most was the little subtleties or wording thrown in throughout. The very first thing the SAS did was get alerted and in route created their emergency plan for if they had to assault right away. Once they were on ground and began to let the situation develop, they continued refining their plan. This was to be there deliberate plan if they were allowed to choose the timing. I really enjoyed the movie demonstrating how thorough these special Soldiers are. They did everything they could to create a perfect mockup to practice. They wanted to make sure that when going into the Embassy everything would be second nature. Bringing in the curator, who told them about the incorrect building layout, was amazing. Always know someone’s worth. The guy you may look down on may in fact be the guy who has the keys to the castle. Knowing how and where to find these people are key. At that level of the profession it is the milliseconds and inches that matter, not minutes and feet. The way they practiced the bus assault was also very inspiring to see in the movie. It again demonstrated how it is milliseconds that can differentiate between a successful mission or a failed mission.

I’m sure after watching it some may wonder why they treated everyone as suspect and laid them all face down outside until they could verify each person. If you are ever in this situation it may suck but please follow what you are being told. This is used to identify a sleeper terrorist. It sure would suck to sit through all that, get rescued, then get killed because each person wasn’t verified of who they said they were. In the actual events, this is how the last terrorist was identified.

Really the only complaint I had against the movie is how slow they moved inside the building. During hostage rescue it is no longer about the safety of the assaulters but the safety of the hostages. They would almost be running through the building and would flood as many people as possible inside.
I would definitely recommend this movie. Hopefully I can find some more good ones to pass on. I’m also open to any suggestions in the comments

Mack's thoughts:

Good movie. Well paced and certainly entertaining. My biggest qualm from the tactical side was that the raid was depicted as having barely half a dozen SAS men. Operation Nimrod hit the embassy with like 24 operators give or take. And as Pudge said, the raid was over in an instant. 

Minor quibble would be that according to the film you'd not be mistaken in thinking the 22nd SAS was a Scottish Regiment. That would be akin to having everyone in the 75th having a mid west twang. 

I give it two thumbs up. (Mainly because of old school MP-5 goodness)

Let us know if you have any other films you'd like one subject matter expert and one washed up frat boy to review. Thanks for stopping buy. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Talk About It Tuesday

By Pudge
No, we aren’t going to talk about Mack’s feelings today. Sorry buddy. But what we are going to talk about today is AARs. What is an AAR and why should you be doing them? AAR stands for After Action Review. It is a thorough review that is normally used by us in the military following an operation. I believe they should be conducted for everything you are trying to get better at. My very first post talked about mindset and asking myself, “what did I do to be a warrior today?” They can be that simple. Asking that question to yourself on the drive home and reviewing your day. They can also be as complex as discussing the intricacies of a raid that your team just conducted. A detailed AAR should cover everything you did from start to finish, both good and bad.
Conducting a post raid AAR. Notice the notes in my hand to keep me on track.
Different units conduct their AARs to varying degrees. My Team takes pride in the way we conduct our AARs. That is a piece of the puzzle that helps separate us from other units. It is extremely important during this time to have thick skin. We never rag on anybody but do our best to provide constructive feedback for every member of my Team, myself included. I’ve found it is best to choose one person to run it. That person controls the AAR. They follow an agenda so that every part is covered and nothing left out. Start discussing what you are reviewing from the beginning with others providing input where necessary. It doesn’t matter if you are the senior guy on the team or the junior guy who showed up yesterday, your input is valuable. It is important during AARs that everyone is provided the ability to share their thoughts and opinions. We hold them after every training event or operation so that the next one is better.
Not quite an AAR but a Before Action Review (BAR) can also be very helpful. These are not as in depth but can be a quick refresher prior to planning to make sure you cover every part of the plan meticulously. They are also very beneficial for those instructors out there to use at the start of class to gather students’ expectations of what they hope to gain from the class they are about to begin. This will greatly help you focus or adjust your training style. (Remember those square pegs in round holes we’ve discussed here before?)
Nothing mind blowing here. We all discuss and think about things that have happened. This is just another way to frame it and learn from it. Now go get talking!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Weapons Wednesday

Tupperware Regatta-
By Pudge
I’m going to start with a disclaimer: yes, I have tupperware guns, yes, I can shoot them quite well, no, I still don’t like them but they do have their place. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the subject at hand. I picked up a butchered G17 the other day for an absolute steal so I figured since I’ve always disliked Glocks but understand their merits, why not try my hand at shaping plastic or what is called ‘gunsmithing’ on real guns. After I finished perfecting perfection, I decided to do some hillbilly testing between my NAG19 (my G19 sized P80), my SpaceNag (G19 sized P80 with Agency Arms 417 Compensator), and my new tinkered on chopped grip G17 with (G17c) and without a ported barrel. I really just wanted to see why everyone talks smack on ported handguns. I also figured if I had questions and was wondering some of these things then there had to be others out there with the same questions. We’ll discuss my ‘scientific’ findings and then discuss some compensator and porting myths.
The finest tupperware party gathering.
I did my testing with 115, 124 and some 124+P ammunition. Another disclaimer: I know that the testing may be slightly askew because I don’t have all factory guns to test but sometimes you’ve just got to do what you can with what you got, just like my man Burt Gummer. And if anyone wants a more exact test, please let me know and I’ll gladly take your money to purchase stock guns. On to the testing. The first thing I did was shoot all handguns in no particular order with 115 gr. After initial thoughts I essentially put them, based on what I thought, into a bracket to compete. Then I conducted the same side by side comparison with the 124 gr followed by the 124 +P.
I really just wanted to know how effective the porting and a compensator actually are on these guns. I know 9mm is already a sissy caliber and some people will call me a wimp for wanting to make them softer shooting, but if you could shoot a 9mm like a .22 then why in the world wouldn’t you. I’m pretty darn good at what I do but I still like to stack the odds in my favor whenever possible. I never try to go into a fair fight because that’s just dumb. Anyway, after this first test, I would put them from harshest muzzle flip to least in this order: G19, G17, G19 with compensator, then G17c. However, if using +P I would switch the G17c and the G19 with compensator. It appeared only the +P ammunition was engaging the compensator to the fullest. There was still a difference with the other ammo, just not as noticeable.
Now that I had tested the recoil impulses, I decided to test them by running them as fast as I could to see any difference they would have during rapid fire. The porting and the compensator didn’t really change the recoil, but greatly reduced muzzle flip allowing for an easier time tracking the sights. I ran a few timed drills with each handgun and the porting didn’t make me any faster, the average split times were actually the exact same on all but the SpaceNag. (more on this in a little bit) But it did perceive to allow me to remain a little more target focused, due to lack of muzzle flip, which is a very good thing. The G17c definitely ran flatter with the ported barrel. I was able to achieve faster splits with the SpaceNag but only because I wanted to experiment with a flat trigger and it definitely made a difference. Thank you Serpico Performance (read Monday's post for the review on this trigger). Prior to changing the trigger though, I’ve ran this same drill and had the exact same split times as I got today with the other handguns.
On to some myths and BS about ports and compensators. The first is that they will ruin your night vision. False! I’ve ran low-light competitions and I train extensively in dark environments whenever I can with my SpaceNag and I’ve never once been blinded by the excess flames. Just think about all those guys running giant brakes on the ends of their rifles and for some reason no one tells them they are going to blind themselves. There are other reasons to not run them on your rifle but that’s not the topic today. Second, retention shooting is going to maim you. Wrong again. I’m not saying I want to do it a lot or that I’m going to choose it all the time. What I am saying though is even though you may crisp your side ever so slightly more than a regular barrel, you will be ok and it will heal. Let’s think about wheel gun shooters. You understand some of that blast comes out between the cylinder and barrel, don’t you? Hmmm, so why all of a sudden is it bad to shoot something similar the same way? Third, the extra slide cuts and porting or compensator are going to get full of gunk and cause your gun to seize up at an inopportune time. I’m going to call BS. I’ve ran mine in some really dirty/sandy/wet/muddy conditions and haven’t had issues due to the extra slide cuts. I’ve carried a worn-out Beretta in A-stan and even with its exposed barrel it ran fine in some crappy situations. Lastly, the loss of velocity with a ported barrel. (Doesn’t really apply to compensators.) I didn’t have a way to test this one but have done a lot of research on the subject. Yes, you will lose some velocity. However, it is not very much in the scheme of things. A G17c and G19 will run the same ammo at about the same velocity. So, if it is ok in a G19 then why would you worry that it is ever so slightly slower than a standard G17. If it was effective ammo in your G19 then it will be effective in your G17c.
After all that blathering on, I am extremely confident in throwing both my G17c and SpaceNag into my grab in case of emergency column. I wouldn’t worry about using them in the harshest or darkest conditions. (The red dot on the SpaceNag actually allows me to run it with night vision very effectively with no need for white light. Even with the compensator on it. Who would’ve figured?!) Me and my blow your face off ported and compensated handguns are going to keep on shooting the way we do without worry so you should too no matter what you carry.

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...