Monthly Archives: November 2016

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have ATMs

truck-squishThis isn’t the first squished-by-own-truck we’ve had here (there was a Star Trek bit actor that went a similar way this year), but it’s the first one who did it to himself at an ATM. (Space Opera Guy killed himself against his mailbox. And it was probably all junk mail anyway).

The man pulled up to a bank ATM on Fry Road near FM 529 around 11 p.m. Friday to withdraw some cash, officials said.

The man drove through the drive-thru lane and stopped next to the ATM, which was attached to the wall of the building, according to authorities.

As the man was hanging out the window of his truck to get cash from the ATM, officials believe his foot might have slipped off the  brake pedal causing, the truck to lunge forward.

When it did, the man was dragged against the wall and pinned between the wall and the truck, officials said.

The man died at the scene, according to authorities.

What a way to go, for want of shifting into Park or neutral.

Around Your Navy

Apologies to the growing cadre of non-US-ian readers, but most of you haven’t got much in the way of Navies, have you? (A direction in which we’re trending). Some of you haven’t got much in the way of armies, either — we were shocked to learn the dreaded German Panzer force is, count ’em, four operational tank battalions (+1 operational training battalion). But the US still is trying to have a Navy, despite a sex and social-justice obsessed upper management echelon, which makes these items interesting about Your Navy, if you’re a fellow Yank. If you’re one of our overseas friends, just think about this as Those Silly Yankees, #32767.

Item: Navy Blows over 130,000 Sailors’ PII, Shrugs.

A Navy contractor lost the complete Personal Identifying Information, including Names, Dates of Birth, and Social Security Account Numbers, of 134,386 sailors to an unknown hacker in October. Notified by the contractor, Hewlett Packard, the Navy sat on this information for just under a month. No one is being held accountable, and the Navy plans simply to provide the usual year of credit monitoring that has allowed other Washington agencies to escape any consequences for irresponsible data mishandling.

Payments to HP under the contract continue uninterrupted. The careless individual who put the Navy data on an unsecure laptop continues to draw pay under this contract.

Use of the term “sailors” in Navy official correspondence and PR on the matter suggests than the victims are all enlisted personnel. That might explain why Big Haze Gray is so apathetic about the breach.

Item: The CO Up and Quit

This has happened approximately zero times until this week, but you can bet it has taken the E-Ring by storm this morning: the Commanding Officer of USS Rushmore walked down the gangplank for the last time, and turned in her chit.

The “her” is why the E-Ring is abuzz; as a Valuable Diversity Bean, Commander Sarah DeGroot was, to pilfer a phrase, more equal than the other animals, at least to the sex-obsessed denizens of the big offices. Navy Times:

Cmdr. Sarah DeGroot told the head of Amphibious Squadron 3, Capt. Homer Denius, on Monday that she was resigning as the Rushmore’s CO. Three sources were unable to immediately specify why she’d taken this highly unusual and likely career-ending move.


Rushmore is an LSD, which in the Navy is not a mind-altering drug but a dock landing ship, which can launch landing craft from a floodable welldeck and helicopters and powered-lift aircraft from a short flight deck. Ships like Rushmore are also often used as flag and command vessels for amphibious and special operations.

Prior to taking command of Rushmore on 1 Mar 16, DeGroot was her XO.  At that time, Rushmore was starting a “maintenance availability” and remains in the shipyard. It does not appear to have put to sea, ever, under De Groot. At her change of command, in, the Navy released the following:

De Groot was born in Long Beach, California, received her commission, 3rd Mate commercial license, as well as Bachelor of Sciences in Marine Biology and Marine Transportation in 1998 from Texas A&M, Galveston Maritime Academy. She reported to the Rushmore as the executive officer after serving as the director of Combat Systems and Tactics Training, as well as lead tactical action officer mentor at Afloat Training Group San Diego.

So she was probably a ROTC scholarship student at that maritime academy (for the Regular and not Reserve commission).

“You have done incredible things over the nearly two years I have been [executive officer]. It has been a joy to be a part of your unbelievable accomplishments,” said De Groot. “Because of your exceptional achievements, I know without a doubt that I am the most blessed commanding officer coming into the seat because of [the crew of Rushmore].”

De Groot’s sea tours include USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) as the first division officer and the electrical officer, USS Constellation (CV 64) as the combat systems maintenance officer, USS Rushmore (LSD 47) as the 1st lieutenant and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 50 as the force protection officer.

She served ashore at the Navy’s Operational Test and Evaluation Force as a C4I systems liaison officer and as the flag secretary for Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

That’s an interesting career, with tech jobs alternating with command, and heavy on the PHIBRON assignments… almost a career gator. The Flag Secretary strikes us as an unusual job for a non-Academy type. Wonder what Commander Salamander thinks of this? Let’s check… hmmm. Nothing, yet.

Item: Functionally Unarmed Ship Named for Anti-Gun Activist to be Commissioned

The 10th Littoral Combat Ship, USS Gabrielle Giffords, has passed a set of acceptance trials not involving weapons firing, which is deprecated in today’s Navy. It did, however, demonstrate lots of proof-of-bugout-capability. Giffords is one of the few Ray Mabus ship names that seems to fit. The human Giffords is a former politician who was shot in the head, and became an anti-2nd-Amendment activist as a result; the ship Giffords is as unarmed and defenseless as its namesake was on the day, and would like the citizenry to be for all time.  Here’s hoping they keep it far away from superior surface combatants, such as Somali and Yemeni pirate dhows.

150224-N-EW716-002 MOBILE, Ala. (Feb. 24, 2015) An aerial view of the future littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) during its launch sequence at the Austal USA shipyard. The launch of the Gabrielle Giffords marks an important production milestone for the littoral combat ship program. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

MOBILE, Ala. (Feb. 24, 2015) An aerial view of the future littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) during its launch sequence at the Austal USA shipyard. The launch of the Gabrielle Giffords marks an important production milestone for the littoral combat ship program. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Like all the two-hull bipolar class of Littoral Combat Ships, Giffords can’t fight against aircraft, surface ships, shore installations, or submarines. It does, however, provide commander and command master chief billets and can launch and recover rigid-hull inflatable boats. That last capability may come in handy if it ever has to engage the patrol boats of a third-world navy, by allowing its selected-by-diversity-beancount officers to abandon ship without getting moistened.

It does have a fairly good turn of speed, if all the gadgetry is working, and decent stealth, if all its gadgetry (radar, radio, etc) is not working; thus, it will be capable of flight from enemies in littoral or deep water alike, making it the very Brave Sir Robin of surface combatants. (If “combatant” is really the word. But the Navy hates to admit these are “surface targets.”)

The LCSes that are not being named by SecNav Mabus for politicians and activists of his party, are being named for cities, names once reserved for cruisers, but the Navy seems to have given up on building cruisers: too many icky guns, too much versatility, too much triggering combat power.

Item: Navy Can’t Even Squeeze a Ship Through the Panama Canal Any More

Not if the ship is the science-fiction looking DDG-1000 USS Zumwalt, the new ship that’s so experimental that the Navy gave up on buying ammunition for it. The Zumwalt class are supposed to have an all new engineering setup that works a little like a diesel-electric locomotive, to provide previously unprecedented levels of electrical power from a non-nuclear ship. This juice is intended to power weapons of the future, but it’s having a hard time powering propulsion of the present.

USS Zumwalt, fitting out in October, 2013.

USS Zumwalt, fitting out in October, 2013.

Sam LaGrone at the USNI Blog:

A defense official told USNI News on Tuesday the repairs could take up to ten days.

The ship lost propulsion in its port shaft during the transit and the crew saw water intrusion in two of the four bearings that connect to Zumwalt’s port and starboard Advanced Induction Motors (AIMs) to the drive shafts, a defense official told USNI News on Tuesday. The AIMs are the massive electrical motors that are driven by the ship’s gas turbines and in turn electrically power the ship’s systems and drive the shafts.

That sounds like an attempt to minimize the event, as LaGrone also tells us that:

Both of the shafts locked during the passage and the transit had to be completed with tugs. The ship made minor contact with lock walls in the canal resulting in minor cosmetic damage.

That the ship made “minor contact with lock walls” and there isn’t an accompanying press release with the words “relieved when commanders determined they had lost confidence” hints at an unexpected event.

Following the transit, the Navy determined the ship couldn’t continue to its new homeport at Naval Station San Diego without additional repairs.

This is engineering casualty Nº 3, at least, for the new ship. It crapped out once, precommissioning, on arrival in Virginia from its builders, Bath Iron Works.


USS Zumwalt in Newport, 8 Sep 16

The latest casualty follows an incident in September following the ship’s transit from shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Maine to Naval Station Norfolk, Va. in which the crew discovered “a seawater leak in the propulsion motor drive lube oil auxiliary system for one of the ship’s shafts,” the Navy told USNI News at the time. A service official told USNI News the most recent incident is similar. The service has narrowed down the likely problem to lube oil coolers leaking. The service replaced all four lube oil coolers following the September casualty.

If it’s the same part again, that’s probably not the planned service life. On the plus side, maybe they could store lots of lube oil coolers in the space taken up by empty magazines?

And then it lost propulsion again, sometime in October.

Following its Oct. 15 commissioning, Zumwalt suffered additional unspecified engineering trouble around the time arrived at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. and spent extra time repairing and testing the propulsion system, USNI News understands.

Zumwalt entered the Panama Canal following a successful port visit to Colombia last week – a visit which the service intended to skip if it thought the engineering problems would continue, several defense officials told USNI News.

Zumwalt has a number of tests and evaluations that it must undergo before actually joining the fleet, a date that was already projected gauzily to about two years in the future, and is certain to slide further now, possibly into 2019. That is not as much of a limitation as it sounds like, though, because the decision not to procure the only ammunition the Zumwalt class guns’ magazines can handle, means that, like the functionally unarmed LCS vessels, it is incapable of more than “presence patrols,” or showing the flag in uncontested seas and ports.

While this looks like something to keelhaul a few admirals over, everything suffers teething when it’s new (to put it in firearms terms many of you will understand, many are alive that remember the M16 controversy, and you can read about the unsatisfactory initial deployment of the gas-trap M1 Garand in the 1930s; even the first AK-47 had to be hastily redesigned on the fly). And the more complex something is, the more likely you are to have teething problems — and you’d better believe an all-electric guided missile destroyer is fiendishly complex.

The ship’s engineering plant – the Integrated Power System (IPS) – is arguably the most complex and unique in the service. Installing and testing the system — that provides ship additional power margins to power high energy weapons and sensors — was a primary reason the ship delivered months late to the service.

The DDG-1000 class is also very expensive on a unit basis because the three units left after cuts must bear all the overhead and RDT&E expense of the entire project.

The other two DDG-1000 ships will be named, one for a Naval hero as was long the custom of the Navy for destroyers, SEAL MOH recipient, DDG-1001 USS Michael Monsoor, and the other, thanks to lame duck SecNav Ray Mabus, for a politician of Mabus’s party, DDG-1002 USS Lyndon B. Johnson. They will benefit from anything learned with Zumwalt’s revolutionary but fragile propulsion system — but still go to sea with empty magazines.

Item: To End on a Positive Note, HoverJug to Go to Sea Soon

In additional news, an Marine force will soon be deploying with a full squadron of F-35 STOVL aircraft on its baby carrier. So there is that.

Black Friday Gun Stuff

Here goes a roundup of roundups. It just doesn’t get meta than this!

Finally, a plug for a deserving friend of the blog. Andrew Branca offers 30% off on his Law of Self Defense books and training on Black Friday, and if you buy the book through Amazon you might get an even better deal. (It’s up to the Amazons, apparently). Here’s what he says:


Use the code BLACKFRIDAY30 at checkout to save 30% off any book, online class, or our highly acclaimed instructor program at beginning Friday.

Thinking of gifts for the holidays?  Books can be custom autographed by Attorney Branca for your family and friends.  Just specify what you’d like written at checkout.


Purchase Andrew’s book, newly reduced, at Amazon in either paperback or kindle.*

*We will reduce the price of the book on Amazon’s site by 30% (it was originally $30), but Amazon reserves the right to reduce it even further.  So your amazon purchase will be AT LEAST 30% off!

Vintage Self-Defense

colt-self-defense-gunThis vintage Colt Pocket Hammerless, made before the US entered WWI, by the serial number, and definitely over 100 years old, is still doing what it was designed to do: keeping the good safe from the world’s evildoers.

Evildoer Dejuan McCraney, 38, is a career criminal who caught the usual short sentence after a 2001 attempted aggravated murder conviction, and returned to his life of crime thereafter.

One Saturday in October, McCraney armed himself with a 9 mm pistol (believed to be stolen in an earlier burglary) and kicked in the door of an occupied home on Cordova Avenue in Akron, OH. His intent, while committing this violent home invasion, has not been clarified: was he intent on homicide, or simply planning armed robbery, with homicide reserved in case he met resistance? But he wasn’t expecting armed resistance.

The 61-year-old homeowner surprised McCraney with this gun, and held him at gunpoint while his wife dialed 911, and got her gun, a modern 9 mm.

The  cops came quickly, by modern American urban police standards — eight minutes. Imagine what a violent criminal like Dejuan McCraney could have made happen in those eight minutes, if he wasn’t being held at the point of two guns, neatly gift-wrapped for five-oh?

McCraney has a new zip code for the time being, at least, until the Ohio courts tap his wrist again and send him forth to commit more crimes.  He’s charged with aggravated burglary (the “aggravated” presumably being “armed,” in this case) and “weapons under disablity,” which is the OH state charge for Felon In Possession. Technically, he’s a violator of 18 USC § 922(g) and probably 18 USC § 924(e) (Armed Career Criminal Act) also, and the prosecution is a slam-dunk (all the elements of the crime are in the police report), but the ATF doesn’t think the easy stat is worth the paperwork, in part because they know the AUSAs can’t be bothered with these cases, and even when they are, they do such a listless job that the average sentence for these convictions is below Federal guidelines’ minimum! (.pdf)

Now, we don’t recommend vintage or heirloom guns for self defense, even though those early John Browning designs like these Colts and the FN M1910 that’s a kissing cousin are really excellent firearms — for their day. But the bullets of the day were roundnose, and these oldsters may not feed modern defensive loads well. Still, you cannot deny that this homeowner got the job done and did what the State of Ohio seems to be unable to do: interrupt Dejuan McCraney’s life of crime. For now. No doubt he’ll be out in a few years, and will keep it up until he commits a crime like murder for which he’ll finally go away for good, or until a cop or citizen pops him in commission thereof, and provides society with a Final Solution to the Dejuan McCraney problem.

When Guns Aren’t Outlawed, Let’s Give Thanks

It would be churlish, on this day of national Thanksgiving, to post some story about some wretch hurting himself or others in some oddball fashion, so instead, let’s consider the degree to which guns are not outlawed, and give thanks.

  • Let us give thanks to those who fought to preserve this right for us, from the Magna Carta which secured the right for King John’s noble vassals, to the lawmakers who have removed literally thousands of restrictions on self-defense and gun-ownership in the last decades, and the activists who fought, and continue to fight, for the rights of free men.
  • Let us give thanks to the peculiar circumstances that brought an unusually brilliant circle of republic-oriented Englishmen to these shores, to craft an experimental limited government, in the Age of Gilded Kings that was Europe’s Baroque Era.
  • Let us give thanks to the rough men (& a few women) who visit violence on those who would do us harm — and the gentle ones, who never seek violence but who draw a line around their homes and families, and will fight to keep them safe. (Every one of both of those groups makes every one of us safer).
  • Let us give thanks to the designers and business executives who bring us new and wonderful weapons, and to the engineers and production workers who turn their plans into solid reality.
  • Let us give thanks to the activists, not just our own but also the ones around the world who seek to bring the blessings of armed self defense to the good guys and gals in Mexico (which has held its first hearings to consider legal liberalization) and Russia and around the world.
  • Let us give thanks to the lawyers, scholars and law professors who have shaped gun and self-defense jurisprudence lately.
  • Let us give thanks to the collectors, curators and just general gun geeks and anoraks who preserve, decode, understand and interpret these historical artifacts for us.
  • Let us give thanks to the writers who use the written word and the photograph to extend our gun world beyond all the things we can own, shoot or do ourselves.
  • Let us give thanks to our enemies, for their general incompetence and obtusity. (Maybe we owe this to the Creator and His sense of humor).
  • Let us give thanks to our families, for putting up with us if for no other reason.
  • Let us give thanks to the religious refugees of the 17th Century, strange folk to our way of thinking, who established this tradition of harvest Thanksgiving for our nation, and the 19th- and 20th-Century leaders who revived it.

And above all, let us give thanks to our Lord and Creator, on this solemn and joyous day. (You atheists, you can give thanks to random happenstance and primordial slime, if you like. The Lord works in strange ways, his miracles to perform).

We give thanks to each of you, dear readers, and wish you all the delights of the day and the season. God bless you, one and all.

Guest Post: Matt Golsteyn Shows how SF Gives Thanks

Matt Golsteyn receiving the Silver Star that then-Secretary of the Army John McHugh would revoke with a penstroke.

Matt Golsteyn receiving the Silver Star that then-Secretary of the Army John McHugh would revoke with a penstroke.

Matt Golsteyn is a name that should need no introduction. Basically he is not the first, but one of the best known, SF guys to have put himself in the crosshairs of anti-military, SJW-converged Washington.

(If you need details, you can get our previous reporting, or the pro-Golsteyn version at the Washington Times or Free Beacon, the Death To Soldiers attorneys’ version at the Washington Post, the Russian FSB Agent of Influence spin at The Intercept, or the Company Town Paper version at the Fayetteville Observer).

He did this by applying to another government agency, and during that agency’s in-depth security check, telling the truth about an incident he and his men had kept secret from their command, for fear of the warrior-loathing, enemy-enabling lawyers. They had handled the situation by Big Boy Rules. Wise or not, this put him in the crosshairs of warrior-loathing lawyers again, and he was stripped of earned valor decorations and came this close to being cashiered and imprisoned. In this letter, which was being circulated to the press last week (and was turned down by multiple MSM outlets, and ultimately only picked up by military-oriented media), Golsteyn doesn’t talk about himself.

Instead, Golsteyn advocates for a Congressman who advocated powerfully for him. Not what we were going to have for you in this time slot on Thanksgiving Day, but here’s an SF guy giving thanks by trying to advance a rare Washington warfighter. Take it away, brother. –Ed.

In the wake of a momentous presidential election, it’s obvious that Americans demand something different from their government. Those of us who’ve been at the tip of the spear in our country’s 15-year war on terrorism demand something different from the Defense Department as well.

There is cause for optimism in hearing the names of potential candidates for key positions in the executive branch. One of the Marines with whom I served in Afghanistan, now a company commander, contacted me recently to say that he and his Marines are excited at the prospect of seeing one name in particular elevated to a position within the Pentagon: Congressman Duncan Hunter. As I offer my support for his leadership, I am passing along theirs as well.

One could ask why the U.S. military would be excited about a young congressman from California. The short answer would be: Semper Fidelis, the Marine Corps motto meaning “always faithful.”

You may or may not be familiar with the war the Department of the Army waged against me since 2011. The rank and file in the U.S. military, particularly in the Army and Marine Corps, most certainly are. And through all of it, as others turned their backs, it was Congressman Hunter and his staff who were fully invested in the fight with me, unafraid to defend what others wrongly suggested was indefensible.

In my case, the Army alleged that in 2010 I killed a known Afghan bomb maker by acting outside the rules of engagement. The bomb maker was responsible for the death of at least two U.S. Marines supporting the fight in Marjah, Afghanistan, when conditions there were at their worst.

Congressman Hunter never faltered in my defense. Why would he expend his political capital on an Army Green Beret? Maybe it was because, as a Marine officer himself, Congressman Hunter had served in Fallujah, Iraq, and thus understands the realities of combat. Maybe it was because he saw a moral necessity to intervene.

Either way, he was my fiercest advocate, and I credit him, along with my legal counsel, for successfully resolving the Army’s case against me. He has rightfully earned a reputation as a force for action, supporting many other war fighters who’ve been wronged.

The case against me was anything but an isolated instance of organizational insanity. It is part of an organizational norm that is rooted in a progressive decay of moral courage in the Defense Department’s military and civilian leadership. Consider too the cases of Clint Lorance, Jim Gant, Will Swenson, Jason Brezler, Jason Amerine, Rob RichardsCharles Martland, Lawrence Hutchins and Rafael Peralta. These cases reveal a vicious military bureaucracy struggling to live up to the values it espouses.

Congressman Hunter has been a beacon of hope for the oppressed in uniform. Among the names mentioned above, he is responsible for the award of a “lost” Medal of Honor, the return to active-duty service after wrongful termination for another, and the renewed push to prevent service secretaries from revoking past valor awards. This list goes on.

Herein lies the problem that Congressman Hunter and the few like him recognize. Remote command centers now consume a majority of our force structure and nearly all of the military’s officer corps. Combat has become a spectator sport for senior leaders glued to kill-TV. For too many, their exercise of battlefield command is commensurate with a round in the board game “Risk.” And we have witnessed loyalty to the war fighter falter because some leaders fear the risk to their personal advancement.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan represent the longest period of sustained conflict in American history. Their human and economic costs have been steep, and now the Pentagon advocates further intervention in Syria. At the same time, the Defense Department’s leadership has focused on integrating women into all-male combat units contrary to the findings of a peer-reviewed scientific study; naming warships after social activists instead of war heroes; and writing transgender manuals into military doctrine after losing two wars.

The nation’s war fighters have had their fill of quibbling micromanagers who live in fear of the 24-hour media cycle and the social sensibilities of political elites. The Defense Department has lost its way, and we need a war fighter with the relevant experience, moral courage and youthful energy to lead and refocus the institution.

I can think of no one better suited for that task than Congressman Duncan Hunter. Count this Green Beret among the many others who hope that President-elect Donald Trump will task him with a national security position in his administration that will enable him to make a greater impact than he has already. He’s the type of leader our military desperately wants and needs.

Pro Tips on Zeroing a Carbine

Here’s a video from Travis Haley (hat tip, Herschel Smith). In this video, Haley applies the basic steady hold factors (the Army teaches 8, which are a little different from Haley’s) and some excellent TTPs on holding the carbine and zeroing the firearm with both iron and optical sights. (Irons first).

Here’s the next chapter of his video, where he talks about longer range zeroes. The 25/250 meter battlesight zero is falling into eclipse among gunfighters, and 200 and even 300 m zeroes are becoming more common. Haley’s preference is (given his background, not surprising) a 36m battlesight zero confirmed at 300, as is preferred in the USMC. The 25/250 and 36/300 zeroes depend on the fact that the bullet at the shorter distance is passing through the line of sight, rising relative  to the LOS, and at the longer distance passing through the LOS, descending relative to it.

Here’s the Army issue “8 Steady Hold Factors” from the M16A1 era, circa 1970. Our comments in Italic type.

  1. LEFT ARM AND HAND: Rest rifle in “V” formed by thumb and fore- finger. Relax grip, left elbow directly under the rifle. Nowadays, we can shoot lefthanded, so today we talk about “weak” and “strong” hand, not left and right. Travis shows a more modern method of using the weak hand with the thumb over. Also, nowadays, your weak hand pulls the rifle back into the shoulder pocket to avoid putting wayward stresses on your trigger finger.
  2. BUTT OF STOCK IN POCKET OF SHOULDER: Place the butt of stock firmly into the pocket of the shoulder.
  3. GRIP OF THE RIGHT HAND:. Grip weapon firmly but not rigidly. Exert a firm rearward pressure to keep butt of stock in proper position. Clenching the strong hand hard is not necessary, because the weak hand now provides the rearward pressure.
  4. RIGHT ELBOW: The exact position of the right elbow varies from position to position. The right elbow is important to the maintenance of a good pocket for butt of stock.
  5. STOCK WELD: To obtain stock weld, lower head so that cheek contacts the same place on the stock each time you fire. If you have to “lower” your head to get a good cheek weld, your sight is mounted too low; the more common problem with AR platform rifles is that the sight is too high and it’s hard to get a consistent cheek weld. Hence all the aftermarket stocks and cheekpieces, etc. But the Steady Hold Factor’s point is solid: your connection of face to rifle stock needs to be solid, and most of all consistent: same cheek weld, exactly, every time.
  6. BREATHING: Take a normal breath, let part of it out, then hold remainder by locking throat. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HOLD BREATH FOR MORE THAN TEN SECONDS. It seems to help beginners to tell them, take a breath and let it half way out. 
  7. RELAXATION: Learn to relax as much as possible in any firing position. If a firer finds that he cannot relax, the whole position should be adjusted. “Relax” isn’t really the way we’d put it. You want to be loose and not tense, but not sloppy or slow. Too much tension does make your body (and rifle) shake. A sure sign of a novice is a tightly clenched jaw or grinding teeth!
  8. TRIGGER CONTROL: Press the trigger straight to the rear with a uniform motion so that the sights are not disarranged. The trigger finger should be placed on the trigger so that there is no contact between the finger and the side of the pistol grip. Smoothness on the trigger press is devoutly to be wished. Ideally, you want to tighten the trigger when the sights are on target, stop pressing and hold if they move, and tighten again. If the firing of the weapon surprises you, that’s okay, and a lot better than a jerked trigger.

Some points on zeroes:

  1. You absolutely must be able to fire the rifle consistently to zero it. Lots of trouble is caused by “social promotion” of guys that haven’t zeroed from the zero range to the rifle qualification range. Resist that promotion; master the tight group first, and the rest all falls into line.
  2. The Army love to have you take your previous zero off and start with a “mechanical zero.” This is stupid; don’t do it. Mechanical zero, which centers the sights, is like boresighting an optic; you use it when your old zero is lost or the specific serial number gun is new to you.
  3. If you confirm a zero, you’re done zeroing.
  4. The Army zeroes with a three round group. This is… you guessed it… stupid. Five rounds, please.
  5. Most Army units have “that guy” who can’t zero, or several of ’em, and often the problem is “those guys” who are coaching “that guy” can’t teach, can’t coach, and usually can’t shoot either.
  6. Shooting is not rocket surgery. Get good instruction and follow it and you will get better. Most people who suck at shooting assume they know it all. In the Army, it’s a truism that women learn to shoot better in basic than men do. Why? Our guess is that they don’t come all bound up with a male ego that already “knows it all” with respect to shooting.
  7. We have learned something from every instructor who’s ever taught us.


Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Firearms History

firearms_historyThis is a first-time, never-before thing: a second shot at W4 for the same website.

Why? Because Firearms History at has spent most of 2016 doing a deep dive into the history and technology of black powder, starting with the raw materials, and working their way up to industrial production.

A look at as much of the archive menu as we could screencap shows you what we mean. Open up these archives, go to the bottom and find “What is a Saltpeter Man?” and work your way up, if you’re at all interested in how gunpowder — original, black, gunpowder — was and is made.


It’s a priceless resource. There is no other place where all this information is available in one place. It’ll be even better if he follows up with the early history of smokeless powder, which saw simultaneous development of multiple technologies in multiple industrial nations.

PT 305 Leaves the Nest

Obviously, we picked the wrong week to go to New Orleans, because this week, PT 305 left the restoration building. (Thanks to jfre in the comments and OTR in texts for the heads-up). The Higgins-built PT Boat is a rare survivor. (Ask anyone with experience with either wooden boats in general, or Allison engines in general, to explain the miracle of something, that combined two such short-lived and low-survival-rate items, surviving to be restored, to you. We grew up with a wooden Penbo boat and are expert in hand sanding).

Yesterday, we used a photo from the National World War II museum’s website of a much earlier stage of PT-305’s restoration. At this point, they were addressing the 13 feet that previous owners had shaved off her, so that she could be an oyster boat without requiring a USCG Captain’s License (all boats >65 feet need Documentation and a licensed captain, so the poor 305 got its tail docked).


Here’s a picture from a March article, showing how much further along the restoration had gone…


And the March article at Fox News included quotes from two sailors who went to war on this actual boat in 1944.

U.S. Navy Torpedoman 1st Class James Nerison was part of the PT-305 crew patrolling off the coast of Corsica in 1944 when a pair of German destroyers locked onto them. The Higgins Industries Patrol-Torpedo boats were known for their speed and maneuverability, but they were up against superior Nazi firepower.

The young sailor was referring to a 5-gallon can with chemicals that emitted smoke as a distraction. He was given the approval to toss the container over the side, and the German warships quickly started firing at it as PT-305 slipped off into the darkness.

“We got off to one side and they weren’t able to find us that night,” Nerison said.

Joseph Brannan, Lawrence Petroni, Gregory Dosch, and George Rowland relax on the bridge and chart house of PT-305. Two swasktikas represent a German Flak lighter that PT-305 sank during the Invasion of Elba in 1944, and an Italian MAS boat she sank near Leghorn, Italy in 1945. (Joseph Brannan)

Joseph Brannan, Lawrence Petroni, Gregory Dosch, and George Rowland relax on the bridge and chart house of PT-305. Two swasktikas represent a German Flak lighter that PT-305 sank during the Invasion of Elba in 1944, and an Italian MAS boat she sank near Leghorn, Italy in 1945. (Joseph Brannan)

The California native’s experience is just one of many among the 44 officers and enlisted men who called PT-305 home during World War II. Now Nerison, along with Joseph Brannan, a former 1st class gunner’s mate who also served on PT-305, hope to ride the boat once again.

A volunteer crew, which includes people from all walks of life — from students to architects — has already worked more than 100,000 hours on the project at the museum’s restoration pavilion.

Period photos guided the resto crew in painting the 305 boat to match its wartime appearance (link).

Period photos guided the resto crew in painting the 305 boat to match its wartime appearance (link).

The boat was restored, in part, with $205,000 in Kickstarter donations from people like you. It was definitely worth saving:

The battle-hardened boat, which operated in the Mediterranean along the coasts of southern France and Northern Italy, conducted more than 77 offensive patrols and operations, fought in 11 separate actions and sank three German ships during its 14-month deployment, according to the museum.

PT-305 also conducted reconnaissance missions, landed troops on occupied coasts and carried generals, making most of its movements at night underneath the cover of darkness.

“German planes would see you in the daytime and come out of nowhere and strafe you and bomb you,” Brannan, 93, told

“There were no railings on the outside of the boat and we never lost anyone,” he added.

Brannan, an Arkansas native who said he was “very excited” about the project, started serving on PT-305 in December of 1944.

In June 1945, Brannan and Nerison’s squadron [MTB Squadron 22 -ed.] returned to New York from the Mediterranean and the war ended before PT-305 could be overhauled for deployment to the Pacific.

But the boat didn’t look the same as the first time it crossed the Atlantic.

Nerison, who wanted a fix for the stuffiness of the crew’s quarters, said when the crew was based in Saint Tropez in Southern France after fighting began to subside, he managed to find some brass portholes at a boatyard.

A PT Squadron in the Med, possibly at St. Tropez.

A PT Squadron in the Med, possibly at St. Tropez.

Now, there’s a TV Series we’d watch — PT boats based in St. Tropez, tangling with German Stukas and E-Boats by day, and French women by night! Kind of like McHale’s Navy, but serious.

He asked the skipper if he could install one on each side of the boat — and the problem was solved.

“That was a modification that I don’t think any other PT boat in the Navy had at the time,” Nerison told

Following the war, the Navy burned 118 boats off the coasts of the Philippines to downsize its fleet.

Only a handful of PT boats survived – PT-305 being one of them – and it was sold as military surplus for $10 along with the rest of the squadron, the museum said.

There’s more good stuff in Norman’s article, so you know what we’re going to tell you to do next: Read The Whole Thing™!

PT-305's original flags: combat flown battle flag (top), commissioning pendant (below).

PT-305’s original flags: combat flown battle flag (top), commissioning pendant (below). donated by Mitch Cirlot, sone of the late plankowner Joe Cirlot, who was the last “original” to rotate off the boat.

A more recent story by the same Greg Norman on Fox gives an overview of the Boat’s history and restoration, and covers the boat’s transit by wide-load vehicle and barge to its new home. The video is absolutely incredible. (If it doesn’t embed here, do follow the link).

PT-305, its masts removed for transit through the streets, then went the rest of the way by barge. In the med, German barges packed with flak guns were one of its opponents!

PT-305, its masts removed for transit through the streets, then went the rest of the way to its new home by barge. In the Med, German barges packed with flak guns were one of its opponents!

PT-305 will be used in Lake Ponchartrain (a big lake north of New Orleans) to provide rides for paying passengers — as a fund-raiser for its own maintenance and operation, and for the museum. It will have its own custom boat house. There’s a launch party in March! And tours of the boat, and 90-minute rides ($350), begin in April.


For more on the 305 boat, there’s a category at the Museum blog, a Friends of PT-305 Newsletter you can sign up for, and its own website:

Hmmm… anyone up for a trip to the launch party?

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Fists

powIn this case, ex-con Matthew Smith, a convicted felon, didn’t need to be a felon-in-possession to kill elderly Patrick Gorman. Smith killed Gorman with one punch, and then fled. He only lawyered up and turned himself in when it became clear that cops had the murder on video, and were closing in on him.

Why did he do it? Gorman bumped into Smith’s woman (whether it’s a romantic relationship, typical female hybristophilia, or pimp-working girl, is anyone’s guess). And then said “excuse me.”

Sure, that deserves killin’. Apparently, New York’s famously soft prosecutors think so too, because they already broomed the murder charge.

matthew_smithThe man who allegedly fatally sucker-punched a stranger in Queens was arraigned on just an assault charge Tuesday after a count of criminally negligent homicide was dropped by prosecutors, officials said.

Matthew Smith, 42, who turned himself in at the 75th Precinct stationhouse in East New York on Monday, originally was slapped with both counts — but on Tuesday he faced only a charge of assault with intent to cause physical injury.

The attack on Gorman is colloquially known as a “one punch homicide.” In most instances, there is no proof of any felonious intent, according to the Queens DA’s office.

At most, a prosecutor can charge assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor, which requires only the intent to cause physical injury, the office noted, as it explained why the homicide charge was dropped before Smith’s court appearance.

Patrick Gorman was walking near Queens Boulevard and Main Street in Briarwood when he bumped into Smith’s 39-year-old girlfriend, Elena Makarova, just after midnight on June 26, police sources said.

“Excuse me,” said Gorman, 64, before Smith belted him in the face, sources said.

Surveillance video shows Smith punching Gorman, who is seen falling squarely on his back as the duo calmly amble off.

Gorman tried to get back on his feet, then collapsed. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he died the next morning, police said.

The city medical examiner ruled Gorman’s death a homicide late last month.

Naturally, Smith’s lawyer believes that Gorman needed killin’, and Smith dindu nuffin anyway.

Smith’s lawyer, Michael Wilson, defended his client at the arraignment.

“My client has only one prior conviction of which he received five years’ probation, which he completed to such satisfaction that he was granted early discharge,” he said.

Gee, only one conviction. Why, apart from the small detail of killin’ this dude, he’s practically a choirboy!

But that’s the law. Everybody in our criminal justice system has representation, rights, and the solicitous concern of The System. Except for the victims: to hell with them.

“Also, your honor, he’s been charged with an ‘A misdemeanor.’ This is not a homicide. The people are alleging that a single punch killed this man? I don’t think they will be able to charge him with murder. We believe this case will remain assault in the third degree. The defendant has been accepted into the supervised release program and we ask that he’d be allowed to be participate in the supervised release program.”

Sure, let’s let him off on a technicality, so he can kill again. Resolved: lawyers are termites, gnawing out the joists and lintels of society. Take the pro or con position.

On Sunday, Makarova, who has not been arrested, also came to her man’s defense on social media.

Well, there’s another data point for hybristophilia.