30 June 2009

"Gamers vs. Gunners"

Tom made this comment. If he taught you how to get out of the way, not fight fair, and didn't teach you to be a modern day IPSC shooter that will often fail in a real world fight because your instincts are wrong...

Warfare/combat is about moving targetS and maneuver, not individual solitary targets fixed in place or pop-ups. Those are a starting point. My two cents.

There's a lot more to learn than the three things on your list.

No offense intended to you but the above is why I got out of IPSC and IDPA. I was building real-world detrimental habits to get better speed and scores.

I would like to present a different view of competitive shooting. I don't shoot competitively, not from any ideological standpoint but mainly because my job has been "hectic" for the last couple of years and having a new son hasn't helped the schedule. This coming weekend I had to choose between a local EIC match and visiting family one last time before deployment. Without a second thought family comes first.

But I digress, on to the "shooting sports" are beneficial side of things.

The Army believes that competition shooting is beneficial to the Army as a whole. At Ft. Benning a new "three gun" range was completed in 2007. The AMU instructors who teach CQM are all active competitors. There is a lot to be learned from competitive shooting. The Sniper Instructors from the 29th Regiment all endorse "F Class" competitions for maintaining sniper team proficiency.

The skills learned in competition lead to faster and more accurate shots on target in the shoothouse, and in the two way live fire we call combat. The Special Forces CQM course shoots enough ammo through an M4 in a week to deadline the weapon. At the beginning of the course four seconds to go from "safe low ready" to a controlled pair to the head and back to "safe low ready" is a difficult task. By the end of the course 4 seconds seems like an eternity.

The tactics of a gunfight are simple, shoot the bad guys and don't get shot. Like all simple things, it ain't that simple in execution. If all your training is from competitive shooting then you are much better off than the dude who doesn't train at all. If you have learned all you can from competitive shooting and don't feel the need to compete to keep your skills up, that is just fine.

Remember, train the simple things hard, and the hard things become simple.

28 June 2009

Thoughts on Fatherhood

127:1 If the Lord does not build a house,
then those who build it work in vain.
If the Lord does not guard a city,
then the watchman stands guard in vain.
127:2 It is vain for you to rise early, come home late,
and work so hard for your food.
Yes, he can provide for those whom he loves even when they sleep.
127:3 Yes, sons are a gift from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
127:4 Sons born during one’s youth
are like arrows in a warrior’s hand.
127:5 How blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
They will not be put to shame when they confront enemies at the city gate.

There have been many insightful commentaries written over the years. This is mine, it is not as in depth or insightful as other commentaries.

Psalms 127 is not as famous as 144 (aka the Warrior Psalm) but it lays down a few warrior beliefs. This could be called the "warrior family" Psalm.

First, you can build and protect work hard to earn a living and still fail. That does not excuse us from building, protecting, and working the way Arabic culture uses "Insha Allah" (If God wills it). Failure means that our purposes were not aligned with God, and for us to be successful we need to be right with God first.

The vanity mentioned here is the vanity of spending all our time away from our family working for temporary things, which is inherently at cross purposes with God's will. God meant for men to work, but not for work to consume our lives. How can a man be a leader in the home if he is never there?

Now we get to the duties. Men are supposed to confront the enemy. Fathers are to lead the way confronting enemies, showing their sons how to be men in their own right.

The idea that we can do something to the best of our ability and still fail is very important to a warrior. The Spartans at Thermopylae knew that they would perish. The men at the Alamo knew they would perish as well. The 13th Kumaon at Rezang La fought the Chinese to a standstill.

Never mentioned in this Psalm is the term "sacrifice". And yet somehow the passage screams out that men are to do their duty, even if they fail. Men are to confront the enemy, even facing death. And what is most heavy on the soul is that we are to raise our sons to take up the same burden.

I can't remember where I read this poem:

Death, lighter than a feather.
Duty, heavier than a mountain.

How easy it is to give up and die, but that is not what the duty of a man is. When there is nothing left to fight for, you still must fight. Today I held my son and played with him as best I could. Someday he will grow to be a man. I hope that I can be the type of father that a son would be proud to stand with against the enemy at the gates.


One of the things that Mrs. AmericanMercenary hates about me is that I take time to make decisions. My when there is time to ponder before coming to a conclusion I like to take that time.

In the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell the author makes a good argument for snap decisions over major issues. However he makes an equally valid point for mulling over mundane decisions.

Iran represents both a major issue and a mundane issue. First off the major issue of democratic elections, this is a no brainer, even though the election of Mousavi wouldn't have changed the face of Iranian politics having a political system that accounts for the votes of the people is a good thing. There is no argument there.

The minor or mundane issue is one of Iranian Politics. The difference between American Tea Parties and the protests in Iran was the level of violence by both the protestors and the Government. This is what has been mulling around in my head for the last few weeks.

It isn't like we haven't had our share of violence in the US. Kent State and Ruby Ridge are two examples that come to mind. No this is about control. The Iranian Government will use violence to maintain control of the population. Not exactly a startling revelation for those who have been paying attention.

There are those that claim that Iran is a vibrant and diverse culture. From my position I see those that support terrorism. It doesn't matter to me the variation of economic means, or ethnic background, only that they all have been brainwashed into hating the "Great Satan" and "Little Satan". There is no diversity in hatred. Just like a German can tell you all about the differences between a Berliner and an Austrian, but in WWII all we saw were Nazi's.

Iran may in fact be diverse, but I won't see it until half the population is telling the other half to stop killing Jews and Americans. These recent protests are nothing more than an embarrassment to the Clerics who really run Iran. It is a pity that the Iranian government wasn't MORE heavy handed so that it might touch off an internal insurgency.


People get training from all sorts of places. I don't know how many "Firearms Academys" were around in 1965, but I guess that the number would be significantly less than today.

Which brings me to my point, that there are lots and lots of firearms training opportunities available today because the market for such training is able to support multiple schools in multiple areas. I've also noticed a "new trend" of middle aged people getting into the shooting sports for the first time.

A while back Tam commented that those who have gone to "gun summer camp" at least know and embrace safe firearm handling. Uncle Timmy with the grey beard and 22 rifle may not look like a gangsta but his firearm handling skills may not be any better. My internal racist will probably not worry as much about being shot in the head or spine by Uncle Timmy, because I expect middle aged guys to know how to handle a firearm safely.

Which reminds me of a few "young black males" who were looking at the merchandise of "Shooters" gun store in Columbus, GA outside Ft. Benning. They dressed like "gangstas" and immediately began pawing the AK rack. But hey, it is a free country (sort of) and a scotsman has no business offering anyone fashion sense.

I guess that the initial rush of God like power that comes from holding a real firearm for the first time leads to a pretty normal series of developmental events.

1. When everything is new. Firearms are cool. Safety is what again? The more rounds downrange the better. Accuracy is just a word in the dictionary. Everybody around you seems like an expert telling you how you are doing it wrong.

2. When new starts to get boringly familiar. Firearms are cool tools. Safety is not shooting yourself or your buddies. Ammo is starting to get bloody expensive. Accuracy means hitting the target. Everybody around you has an opinion.

3. Nothing is new. Firearms are just tools. Safety is first and formost. Accuracy is hitting where you want every time so you try to hit every time faster. Ammo is outrageously expensive but you roll your own. People ask you for advice based on your expert opinion.

You can get from stage one to stage three without ever going to a "Gun Camp", but IT WILL HELP. Every time I get a chance to train with the AMU or instructors from Ft. Benning I learn something. It isn't that you need to spend time and money, it is that you will spend it either with expert instruction or without expert instruction.

The "Ghetto Grip"

Also known as the "Vertical Foregrip" it has the distinct reputation as being the sure sign of a "mall ninja".

Well, that may be true, "Mall Ninja's" may in fact be ghetto grip aficianados, but that does not stop the vertical foregrip from having one very distinct useful feature (and one ergonomic feature). The ability to quickly shift shoulders making it easy to clear weak side corners during CQB scenarios.

The technique is as follows, if you are right eye dominant you hold the foregrip with your left hand and right hand is on the pistol grip, the buttstock firmly pushed into your right shoulder. All of a sudden you have to clear a right corner, so you simply keep your hands in place and shift the buttstock to your left shoulder.

Using a zero magnification optic like a red dot or holosight you just keep both eyes open and clear the corner as normal. Although if you have trained in "reflexive fire" at all, you can normally get away with not actually using the sights. After a few days of training I watched one of my soldiers put the neoprene cover over his ACOG and shoot off of muscle memory with excellent results.

Now the ergonomic benefit to the "vertical foregrip" is that you will not strain your wrists by having to cant your hand to grip the forend of your rifle. This is normally not an issue, but patrolling with the same rifle day after day, week after week, it can cause some "repetitive stress injury" to the wrist (especially if the damn tactics Nazi doesn't allow you to use the magwell/magazine as a grab point.

The best vertical foregrip out there is really a hybrid of two products, a grip and a bipod. Just so happens that the company calls themselves "Grip Pod" so it makes sense. It isn't a perfect grip, and it isn't a perfect bipod, but it succedes well enough in each role that I have to give it the nod.

24 June 2009

Socialized Healthcare, what it will look like

Right now Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA are the largest national healthcare activities.

And they all suck. D.W. Drang brought up the point that Republicans could bring forth a damn near endless line of Veterans who have been screwed over by the VA in terms of diagnosis, treatment, or denial of care. There was even a movie about it, "Article 99" which dramatized the very real issues of too many patients and not enough resources.

In the propaganda piece "Sicko" Michael Moore painted the very best picture of national health care systems. Let me paint the real picture, 4 out of 10 intensive care patients in Scotland will develop a severe case of drug resistant infection.

National Healthcare will become the label for the "National Waiting List"

And the "uniform quality of care" promise proves to be of the campaign variety.

Or how about all that "cradle to grave" care where we "honor our seniors"?

All the efficiency of the DMV, all the compassion of the IRS, all the with budget of an inner city library.

22 June 2009

Time is passing, oh so quickly

Each passing day counts down a day closer to when I get on the big bird to leave the States. Time is speeding by at a crawl.

It doesn't help that the lung congestion I've had for the last couple days has been transferred to the wife. Hopefully I'll be better tomorrow so that we all aren't under the weather at the same time.

19 June 2009

Socialized Healthcare?

Follow the money.

The only real opposition Republicans in Congress have for healthcare plan HMObama are two simple questions; How much will it cost? and Where will the money come from?

And they should be shouting those questions from the very rooftops until the Dems are forced to say, "We can't afford this, it requires massive deficit spending".

And massive deficit spending is a bad thing. Obama has already started his attempts to answer "How much and who pays" by proposing cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Now that seems like a good start until you remember that you can't get away with robbing Peter to pay Paul. Cutting funds from one program that services population X to fund another program that services population X doesn't save you money. Those in population X who were serviced under the old program will simply transfer to the "new" program.

The problem with complex accounting is that it can hide the fact that you can't afford something. That is why simple "Money in/Money Out" accounting is avoided by swindlers of all types, from Enron to Congress. Looking at the "Money In/Money Out" in terms of revenues to expenses shows that we CAN'T PAY our bills without borrowing money.

That is a quick way to end up in bankruptcy. Why does Congress continue to believe that credit is unlimited and will never dry up? Disturbing news from the bond market shows that bonds are not doing very well...

Looking at the money, and it always comes down to money, we can't afford the current budget nor can we afford a massive new entitlement program. Simply can't be done.

18 June 2009

Mental Training

The idea of an "American Insurgency" has been floating around my head quite a bit lately.

And it seems to be floating around the heads of politicians as well. Michael German, national security policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the report "crosses the line" and shows a disregard for civil liberties.

"It seems to implicate people who are engaging in First Amendment protected activities and suggest that something as innocuous as supporting a political candidate for office would mean that you're harboring some ill-intent," German told FOXNews.com. "It's completely inappropriate."

German, who claims the number of fusion centers nationwide is closer to 70, said the centers present several troubling concerns, including their excessive secrecy, ambiguous lines of authority, the use of data mining and military participation

First off this document was not created in a vacuum. Somehow intelligence was fed into this "fusion cell" to build this report. Any college student who uses the internet for sources on a college paper does so at their own peril. I am sure that the bulk of intel came from analysis of internet sources such as blogs and forums, but for this report to be published there would have to be more "solid" evidence than net mining.

You can find the original report here. And some of the more pertinent points of the report is all the "foiled attempts" by militia members to commit crimes against the government. If a plot is foiled, it means that the investigation was happening before the crime would have been committed.

Who is doing the investigating? Well the FBI is the main player, but I suspect that the BATF has probably got a few "deep cover" agents working the gunshows as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

I was required to list my blogs, social networking accounts, etc, with the US Army through my battalion Intelligence Officer. I know that my activities are being monitored, and as a public servant I think that such monitoring is probably for the best. However, private citizens who are being spied upon by their own government probably should be forming the militias that the government is spying on them for belonging to...

If I were to start a militia, I wouldn't start by stockpiling weapons and ammunition. After all all the people I would contact via face to face already have plenty of both. I would do my damndest to stay away from all electronic communications. A "platen code" is old school tech, but it works. If had to send electronic mail, there are options to encrypt your transmission, the purpose of this post isn't to go into detail on secure cell communications, but it can be done, after all we haven't caught Bin Laden yet...

Blending in, living as an upstanding citizen in your private life and electronic activities is probably the best way to avoid infiltration by government agents. Or at least from "Fusion Cells" looking to target "right wing extremists".

The future force, follow the money

The US Military has traditionally been small except in a time of war, when it blooms into a huge leviathan that crushes everything in its path.

The Cold War was the justification for the only large standing military (all branches) and we saw a drawdown at the end of the cold war, whether that drawdown was smart or not is fodder for another post.

This isn't an earth shattering revelation to anyone who has paid attention. Standing Armies are expensive, and so are the 11 Supercarriers in our active Naval fleets. The war in Iraq brought out our reliance on "contractors" which some have called a polite way of saying "mercenary".

If the second Bush administration hadn't made the decision to invade Iraq then there would have been no need to hire so many contractors, or even grow the Army in wartime. But the dual front war on terror has shown that America's Military Might exists not only in her Armed Forces, but in her civilian contractors, ie the "mercenary" force.

PMCs (Private Military Companies) have been used in every recent conflict. In the Balkans a PMC composed of retired Colonels and Sergeants Major was hired to train the side that we liked so that they could stop the ethnic cleansing. The training worked. It was only a natural step from "trainer" to "fighter" as companies like Blackwater (aka Xe) and Triple Canopy began selling services for protection and security.

The history of Mercenaries in Africa is colorful and filled with stories of professional men triumphing over long odds. Mercenaries are the solution when the problem requires force, but sending your own boys would be distasteful. A few million dollars to get the outcome that you want is cheap compared to deploying a combat brigade.

And I predict that such will be the future of the US Armed Forces. The Regular Army will be "leaned down" to bare essentials and continue to focus on fighting a conventional force. Our SOCOM assets will continue to do all the non-conventional warfare that they do, and the bridge between RA and SF will be contractors who bring a little bit of everything to the table. Eventually we will see PMC's offering services for jet attack/fighter aircraft, probably Russian at first but with others to follow. PMC's already have attack helicopter assets. The services you need to get the outcome that you want, all with a price tag up front.

Now, all predictions are guesswork, and mine could be totally off. The world could break out into spontaneous peace and we could all be out of work. However the history of the world makes that an unlikely possibility.

16 June 2009

Stir Fry

The wife and I finally got out from under one of our long term debt obligations, and the payoff left a bit less in the checking account than is normal for this time of month. Don't worry about us, this is temporary and we have more than enough saved to get us to next payday.

But since we "feel" poor since there isn't the safety padding we normally have we decided to not go out to dinner. When you have an assorted pantry and not a lot of time (no point in starting a stew at 5 pm) a quick stir fry makes sense.

So I threw some basmati rice into the rice cooker, chopped up some chicken thighs and stir fried with garlic, added wheat free teriyaki sauce and chopped carrots. When the rice was about done I added in more garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, basil, sweet basil, and snap peas fresh from the wife's little backyard garden.

The wife was happy.

Protector or Oppressor?

Why do businessmen pay the Mafia? For "protection".

The "protection" is nothing more than extortion. That means that the "protectors" are really oppressors. The "protection" payments always go up, and the "contracts" never get renegotiated to the benefit of the businessman...

Our government is acting quite a lot like the Mafia lately, offering "protection" that comes with a lot of strings attached.

Does anyone else see the similarity?

14 June 2009

Polite disagreement

Proposition 71 is a grass roots initiative here in Washington State to repeal the "Everything But Marriage Act" giving legal status to same sex relationships. One of the less savory tactics used by opponents is to publish the names of everyone who signs in favor of Prop71. The idea is that given public exposure citizens will be shamed into not signing as they won't want to be viewed as homophobes or sexist or whatnot.

The petition signatures are publicly accessible and for good reason - if you aren't prepared to publicly stand behind your signature on a petition, then you really shouldn't be signing it!

The fact those signatures are public and may deter fence-sitters from signing is one of our few defenses from the "herd mentality" and/or pretty-sounding random idiocy.

If you can't take the heat, don't sign. Grow a set. And if folks cross the line into criminal conduct, then - call your friendly local sheriff or police department, or in case of immediate threat to your life or physical integrity, take what action may be necessary to avert such threat

I don't understand how trying to get someone to sign the way you want by bringing public pressure on them is going to "avoid the herd mentality". Isn't that enforcing the herd mentality?

The Civil Rights movement managed to achieve legal equality without resorting to intimidation and harassment. They stated their grievances and won the support of the MAJORITY. At that time the majority was white, heterosexual and today the majority is white and heterosexual. Of course there were the "militants" like the Black Panthers, but armed black men marching on Governor Ronald Reagan had the OPPOSITE effect than the marchers intended. Instead of equal rights California began adopting a series of increasingly draconian restrictions on EVERYBODY, including the continued allowance of Chief Law Enforcement Officers to discriminate who will be issued a Concealed Weapons Permit, and who will not.

You won't find my name on "whosigned.com" because I think it is a particularly bad piece of legislation. The "everything but marriage act" is a step in the right direction for not discriminating legal privileges against a segment of the citizenry.

But I am skeptical of the "if you signed you should be proud of it" mentality.

When newspapers publish the names and addresses of Concealed Carry Holders? After all, it is nothing more than a government record right?

Or how about all the Jews? Sure made kristallnacht easier...

Or how about all the gays? Wouldn't it be nice to have a handy reference for everyone to know who is gay? By cross referencing the CPL list with the Gay list all the idjits who want to go gay bashing will know what houses to avoid.

The "secret ballot" method of Union Voting was a big issue so that Union organizers wouldn't harass those voting not to unionize.

There is no purpose behind "who signed" other than for groups like ACORN (community action groups) to organize and harass those who don't agree with there position. This is not the way that equality is achieved, this is the beginning of a reign of terror. Remember a successful revolution only requires a dedicated minority and tacit approval of the majority. When the majority gives tacit approval to intimidation and harassment tactics it can be a precursor to concentration camps and corpse ovens.

Gay_Cynic is a good man who has been fighting the good fight for a long time. Now that progress has come so much closer to an ending point it is understandable the frustration felt from such openly discriminatory legislation.

11 June 2009

rifle barrels

There are many folks out there with decades more experience than I when it comes to making and using accurate rifles. But I will try to expound on what makes a tight shooting barrel.

Chamber, throat, rifling, muzzle crown. These are the four parts of the rifle barrel that come into contact with the cartridge and bullet.

There isn't much debate about match chambers. Match quality chambers are generally cut to minimum spec in order to provide maximum support to the cartridge brass during the firing process. But having a "tight" chamber doesn't necessarily mean that a rifle will shoot well, nor does having a "combat" chamber mean that it will shoot loose. As long as the cartridge behaves consistently in the chamber then you should be good.

The throat. This is where the projectile has the most chance of being deformed. Some competitors polish the throat every 100 rounds. The purpose of the throat is to force an oversized bullet into an undersized bore to create a tight gas seal so the propellant won't escape along the grooves of the barrel rifling.

The rifling of the bore imparts spin. The best accuracy comes from rifling that is uniform across the length of the barrel or tightens slightly as goes to the muzzle. Rifling that loosens towards the muzzle is not conducive to accuracy.

The Muzzle is the last part of the barrel that has any contact with the projectile. The gas must eject true so that it doesn't disrupt the aft of the bullet as it flies.

Accuracy is all about making a bullet fly the same path every time you pull the trigger. The rifle stays with you, the bullet is the only thing that touches the target.

08 June 2009


Tonight I am packing my rucksack and duffel bag to be placed in a shipping container. The shipping container will then be trucked to a port to be loaded on the slow boat to Kuwait.

This ritual of packing isn't new to me, but this time it will be for the farthest and longest trip of my career. The wife and I have done three months apart before, but this time we don't know when I'm coming back. It could be three months, it could be fifteen months. Of all the problems, not knowing is the hardest for my wife. She has focused on the worst case, 15 months because she doesn't want to get her hopes up for a short tour.

It is weird, all this preparation so far in advance, it looms over us like a thunderstorm. Here in the Northwest a black thunderhead will come over the ridge line like an anvil, lightning flashing with the power and fury of mother natures finest. You can see the storm coming from miles off, maybe even hours off if those measurements make sense to you. And sometimes it comes, the temperature drops, the air smells pregnant with the promise of rain, and it blows right over you. You just don't know if all that drama will yield a drop of rain.

Deployments are like that, you see them coming from a long ways off, and all the risk that goes with it. Sometimes the drama blows right past you, sometimes it rains.

07 June 2009

Gun Design: Accuracy

In my last post on Gun Design I wrote about pressure and recoil impulse.

This post will be about how to turn channel that energy into accuracy. There is a difference between accuracy and precision. For example in benchrest competitions where the group is on the target paper doesn't matter, it can be a very precise group, but not very accurate at hitting the point of aim (in fact some shooters deliberately adjust their point of aim so that their aiming point isn't destroyed by the bullets in the shot group).

Accuracy comes from consistency, and consistency comes from highly uniform ammunition in a firearm that can consistently shoot that uniform ammunition.

There has been a lot written about accurate rifles, and it is my experience that barrel harmonics are quite an important part of the equation. Using a heavy barrel bolt action rifle chambered in 308 Winchester with a 1:10 barrel twist I can change group size from almost 8 minutes of angle to 3/4 MOA simply by changing the ammunition. For example Federal 180 grain commercial ammo does not shoot well at all through my rifle, they group horribly at 100 meters. But 168 gr match ammo shoots tight.

It isn't that the 180 grain ammunition is bad ammunition, far from it. What happens is that the 180 grain bullet does not leave the muzzle of my rifle in a consistent manner. This is because the bullets are not leaving the bore at the same time, same velocity, or both.

When the powder in the cartridge is ignited it creates pressure, a lot of it. This pressure presses outward like a hammer blow to the steel chamber, and this sets up vibrations and resonance throughout the barrel (and consequently the entire firearm). While the pressure is pushing the bullet down the bore, it is also pushing the rifle rearward, sometimes as much as 1/16th of an inch before the bullet leaves the bore.

The commercial Federal ammunition did not consistently set up all the movements in a consistent manner in my rifle. My rifles barrel is "stiff" because it is massive, and this means that the oscillations of the muzzle will be smaller in magnitude than a thinner barrel of the same length. This means that both muzzle oscillation and bullet velocity were involved in the large group size.

Imagine the nozzle a firehose moving free as it sprays water, it isn't entirely chaotic. The muzzle of a rifle does the same thing as the bullet travels down and out the bore. The stream of water has a different arc depending on angle and velocity, and if someone was turning off the water the pressure would rise, and in order to keep the splash on target the angle has to get higher.

Up until now I have focused on ammunition consistency, now I will go on to rifle consistency.

Consistent final lockup. This means that the rifle positions the bullet properly in the chamber, aligned so that the bullet enters the barrel throat without massive deformation.

Consistent trigger. The trigger needs to be break at the same time every time. Some shooters don't want to know when the trigger breaks, but the trigger should break with the same force applied each time.

Consistent ignition. A fast lock time is not as important as consistent ignition (the AR15 has a slower lock time than the m98 action). The firing pin needs to hit the primer the same way every time so that the primers can perform consistently with each other. This means the closer to center the better, and a consistent hit strength. Having an out of round firing pin channel and hole can cause the firing pin to hit at a different position on the primer. Having a bunch of grit and crud on the firing pin can cause the primer to hit with a different strength and velocity.

Consistent harmonics. The "stiffer" and "tighter" a rifle is the less variation it will have. This means tight bedding for the action (or even a barrel block for some rifles) so that there won't be any shift between stock and metal. This also means that shorter stiffer barrels are going to shoot tighter than longer barrels of the same diameter.

True muzzle crown. The gasses that fly out of the muzzle behind the bullet need to fly true so they don't impart yaw and make the bullet fly less than true.

Add it all together, consistent ammunition, good trigger, consistent lockup and ignition, tight harmonics, true crown and you should have a tight shooting rifle.

There is a lot more to talk about, but these are the broad basics that accuracy is built on.

06 June 2009

Urban Combat

Recently in "the art of the rifle" forum at thefiringline.com the subject of the 5.56 and urban combat came up. It seemed to me that "home defense" was treated the same as "urban combat".

I disagreed with JohnKsa's understanding of "urban combat" even though we agreed on the effective use and limitations of the 5.56 round.

"Urban Combat" is simply military operations that happens in built up terrain. This can be the warehouse district of a port city or a downtown high rise.

"CQB" is "Close Quarters Battle" and it is an integral part of "Urban Combat". "CQM" is "Close Quarters Marksmanship" and consists of accurate fire from 0 to 25 meters in various movements. Individual skills are the foundation of team drills that allow us to seize terrain.

JohnKsa seemed to believe that Urban Combat was short range affair and that Squad Designated Marksmen were specifically trained and equipped for long shots.

As to the first supposition, Urban Combat is largely a short range activity with the exception of support by fire, Small Kill Teams, sniper/countersniper ops. Streets provide long straight fields of fire.

As to the second supposition. SDM's are not "squad snipers" they are usually not even the best shot in the squad (usually the Squad Leader or one of the Team Leaders is the best, not all the time but it is the trend). The purpose behind SDM's is to give a Squad Leader a soldier who can take down targets out to 600 meters without resorting to the use of the m249 SAW. The most common SDM rifle is an M4 with an ACOG on top, although in Iraq/Afghanistan an M15 with 7.62 reticled ACOG or Leupold is not uncommon (though some still use the iron sights). Remember, SDM's still have to do EVERYTHING that a normal member of the squad has to do, they are not specialized tools.

Make no mistake about it, the battlefield isn't just "short range".

04 June 2009


I've been sidetracked into LTC John Nagl's "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife".

The mark of all successful insurgencies is pretty much the same.

1. Destroy the marks of legitimacy of the current government.
2. Win the active support of a small portion of the population.
3. Win the passive support of a large portion of the population.
4. Go for the "endgame", direct confrontation with the old government.

And all this can be done with a very small fraction of the population.


02 June 2009

Fred's Comment

I fail to see how a "conservative Christian man" can not oppose the gay life style. The gay life style is condemned in Romans and leaves no wiggle room. Condemnation should be done in love; not in hate.
A Christian conservative man.

Fred is correct, but not only is homosexuality condemned in the New Testament, it is condemned in the old testament. Polygamy is never condemned in the Bible except for deacons and bishops, but it is illegal in the US. Where do you stand on polygamy Fred?

Jesus gave mercy to the woman caught in adultery. Maybe if all those Catholic Priests weren't molesting children us Conservative Christians would have a higher moral ground to tell other people how to live. Jesus also said something about millstones, drowning in the sea, and those who offend children.

Christianity isn't about making OTHER people live your faith. The phrase, "in the world, but not of the world" is used to describe how we can live faithfully in a fallen world. After all, righteousness does not come from any political system, righteousness comes through the blessings of faith.

Now as for living righteously, Fred should have no problem living under Sharia Law. After all Sharia Law is more closely aligned to Biblical Doctrine than US Law.

I don't see fred packing up and moving to Tehran where all the women dress modestly, polygamy is recognized, homosexuality is punished... C'mon Fred, if you want all your neighbors to live righteously you need to go where the laws reflect your views right?

Even when the law tries to impress morality and righteousness, it fails miserably because humans will still be humans. We will drink, fight, cuss, sin, whore around no matter what the laws are, simply because that is what we do. Humans rebel by nature. That is also spelled out in the Bible, repeatedly. Even in Romans.

Freedom means that other people get to make their own choices, even if Fred views those choices as wrong. The Bible also states that all sin is sin, and that the only difference between a believer and a non-believer is that the believer has been forgiven their sins. God's Teaching and Instruction, the Law and the Prophets, failed to impart righteousness to the Hebrew children.

My faith doesn't make me any more righteous than anyone else, just forgiven. My political support of homosexual rights comes down to the fact that if I get to tell someone else what to do, eventually someone else will be telling me what to do. This country was founded on religious intolerance, which is why the Constitution specifically guards against religious tests for office. How else could we unite 13 States except by removing religion from the equation?

I have a hard enough time living my own faith to have any business telling other people how to live their lives. And that Fred, is how I can support gay rights. Because stomping on the little guy in the name of God doesn't work.

01 June 2009

Legislating Morality is Wrong

I know, the title of this post is rather ironic.

I am a conservative Christian man. However, I do not want to live in a theocracy. The "Holy Roman Empire" wasn't a fun place to live, and neither is Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Afghanistan. Theocracies are inherently oppressive and given all the historical examples it is safe to assume that any attempts to legislate morality will continue to be oppressive.

Inherently oppressive regimes oppress everybody, including the ideal citizens. After all, everyone is guilty of something.

This is why I don't oppose same sex marriage or marijuana use. It is not that I am passionate about either cause, although I probably should be more politically involved in the causes of those who are oppressed, my personal crusade is about firearms rights.

I don't want to live in a world where a cleric or bureaucrat has the power to tell me what to do. What I want from the Government is the same thing I want in my neighbors, a distant and honest indifference.

Theocracies are not the only attempts to legislate morality, both Socialism and Communism are based on the premise that if you take away all the "nasty competition" you can make better people through "peaceful cooperation and coexistence". But I don't see people moving to North Korea in order to take advantage of all the advanced humans who have moved beyond want and hunger.

The greens are just as bad, telling you how much you will have to give up in order for the "greater good" without a scientific leg to stand on, only scare tactics of the "precautionary principle" and a the religious zeal of a true believer. You don't see Al Gore making his mansion more efficient do you?

And that is why I have no problem supporting gays, potheads, and gun toting rednecks. If we allow our majority to trample on a single minority we stop being free, and we will become our own tyrants, chaining ourselves in regulation and rule about how to live.

That is why attempts at legislating morality, from prohibition to the ban on same sex marriage is wrong. The legislation never accomplishes what people want, it only oppresses everyone.

Internet advice

Now on the internet advice is free and often times you get what you pay for.

The the question about an older Win70 not grouping so tight... here is a fine example of completely useless advice.

With handloads you could get 1/2 groups,I use ballistic tips
Factory ammo 1 1/2
Premium factory ammo 1 inch maybe
Scope nikon 3 X 9 or a Luepold

NOOOOOOO don't cut the barrel shorter longer is better

The reply states that the shooter could get 1/2 groups with handloads. This is after the original poster replied that he had done a load workup with several different projectiles in several different weights and was only getting about 2.5 inch groups at best.

As a handloader I know that some rifles are just never going to shoot cloverleaf patterns at 100 yards. Some will, some won't. And that is ok.

When someone asks for advice, normally I can give a pretty good starting place to diagnose a problem. It doesn't always turn out that I am right, but more often than not it gets people looking in the right place.