Friday Tour d’Horizon, Week 45

It’s Tour d’Horizon from New Orleans (well, actually, we flew home today). Because this week we tried to frontload the whole week so we could sightsee and hang out, we had a lot of stuff that cropped up during the week locked into various browser tabs to deliver today.


I don’t wanna work, I just wanna bang on my gun all day.

Just How Ate-up is SIG Quality Control? ITEM I

We just heard a story of one guy whose issue pistol is a SIG 229 in .357 SIG. Well, in his six years on the job his issue pistols have been 229s… four of them, of which three crapped out and were replaced.

His agency takes pistol training and marksmanship seriously, and fires more than most of our local Deputy Dawgs. But still… he’s either the unluckiest man behind a badge, or SIG needs to tighten up their act.

OK, it’s Not a Gun, But…

This thing is available from Bud-K, the legendary supplier of legendary edged weaponry (trinkets, perhaps) to legendary mall ninjas. It’s the fruit of miscegenation between the cold steel arms of the US Marine and his onetime Imperial Japanese opponent.




We call it the Ka-Bartana. It is perfectly suited to the trans-Pacific martial art of Teen Hospitalized With Serious Injuries.

Just How Ate-up is SIG Quality Control? ITEM II

A guy we do business with pretty regularly, was, in an earlier career, a smith at SIG — when they stopped test firing their pistols. Yes, you read that right. That was a factor in his pursuit of a career change.

Why did they do something as fundamentally retarded as discontinue testing of a product that people use in life or death situations? His take on it, from the rubber-meets-the-road end of the company, was to remove a pair of bottlenecks in shipping product, to wit:

  1. It takes time to test pistols; and,
  2. It takes even more time to repair and retest any with deficiencies.

If you ship the deficiencies, they might not get discovered, at least not during the warranty period, and then you don’t have to repair and retest them! It’s brilliant, in an evil-mastermind kind of way.

Correlation between this and the self-disassembling 229s? Well, they are two data points. But the best frame of reference for understanding SIG is to imagine that the company is being run by moles from Glock.nd

And Last Week’s Mystery SMG?

The SS man was carrying an MP-28/II. Several of you nailed it.


The British Lanchester was a copy of this firearm, with brass features for extra steampunk points, and was widely used by the Royal Navy. The Lanchester informed the design of the massively simplified STEN, so the MP-28/II sits in an important historical juncture between the ur-SMG (the MP-18) and the second generation guns. This is a clearer shot of an MP-28/II.


Just How Ate-up is SIG Quality Control? ITEM III

Our transfer FFL has handled a number of MPXs of different specifications. Mostly pistols, some SBRs. And he gets the feedback, as he recounts it, like this:

  1. About 50% of buyers love the heck out of them and brag up their reliability;
  2. About 25% of buyers like them but with some complaints and reservations.
  3. About 25% of buyers can’t get their MPXes to run. At all, period, full stop. One guy in particular has returned his to SIG several times; each time they promise it’s fixed, and it isn’t.

Just FYI this is not a good record, or an industry-standard one. For 2016, it’s pretty awful.

Gun Poly-Ticks

Backdoor Registration and Other Initiatives

Backdoor registration of the Schumer-Manchin-Toomey was on the ballot in at least three states. It was defeated in Maine, but passed in Nevada, both by narrow margins. In California, initiatives sponsored by wannabe governor Gavin Newsom required ammunition and magazine transfers to be treated like firearm transfers, and go through dealers with background checks and possibly waiting periods. California voters also changed the state’s ban on standard-capacity magazines to no longer grandfather existing magazines, authorizing confiscation of existing magazines.

Washington State’s Initiative 1491 allows any person to get, ex parte and no questions asked, a restraining order specific to firearms against any other person, erasing the subject’s gun rights for a period of one year, indefinitely extendable. The accused has no recourse to court; nothing must be proven, the accusation suffices; in essence, the 2nd but also 4th and 5th Amendment rights of the accused are now a nullity in Washington.  This passed by an overwhelming margin of more than 70/30.

On the gripping hand, three more states passed victims’ bills of rights, in one case over militant opposition by criminals and the defense bar.

Pro-vs-Anti-Gun Politicians

President-elect Donald Trump says good things about guns and about judges. Let’s wait and see what he does. Defeated opponent Hillary Clinton was an aficionado of restrictions, even confiscation (she often admired the long-gun and handgun confiscations of Australia and Great Britain), so the outcome from the one-issue perspective is positive.

Two Republican Senators were defeated by Democrats who were extreme anti-gunners, but neither was strongly pro-gun. In fact, Mark Kirk (R-IL) was as extremely anti-gun as the Democrat who trounced him, Tammy Duckworth. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), squishily pro-gun, was narrowly defeated by former NH governor Maggie Hassan, whose personal opposition to the 2nd Amendment is strong and deep. For example, as Governor she fought against constitutional carry, vetoed several pro-gun bills, and expressed a preference for Massachusetts style may-issue. Fortunately, this net loss of one Senator isn’t enough to turn the whole chamber anti-gun. Several anti-gun challenges were narrowly averted, including in Indiana and Wisconsin, where former (and in Indiana’s case, 2nd-generation) anti-gun Senators were striving to get their old seats back.

Usage and Employment

The hardware takes you only half way. The wetware in your brain housing group is what makes your weapons work. 

Jury Struggles with Cop Charged in Shooting

Officer Ray Tensing shot Sam Du Bose. That much is agreed on by all sides. Now Tensing is charged with murder by a prosecutor seeking to level up in politics, and the jury may have returned an answer today (this post was written last night). Bob Owens has a decent write-up and Tensing’s body cam video. Bob’s conclusion is that the cop screwed up, but Murder is a ridiculous overcharge.

One important take-away from the Tensing video is something we harp upon all the time — how incredibly fast these things happen.

Cops ‘n’ Crims

Cops bein’ cops, crims bein’ crims. The endless Tom and Jerry show of crime and (sometimes instantaneous) punishment. This week, we have a local ‘Shire bias in the stories.

The Cop Judge Was a Crim

She wanted to be a judge so bad, that while she worked in a courtroom, a judge let her try on the robes and try a few cases. She got caught.

Meanwhile, she ran for a judgeship (her state being one of the ones that allows this), and won. But she can’t take her seat on the bench while felony charges are outstanding.

Trannies Behaving Badly

So, a guy named Zachary Thomas McClimon is in jail, charged with shooting a co-worker at a Heritage, Pennsylvania Walmart. Why would he do a thing like that?

[He] said he shot his co-worker because he made negative comments over his decision to transition into a woman.

See, trannies are just like anybody else, they’re not mentally ill at all, and if you disagree, they’ll blow your gizzard out. Because nothing says “picture of mental solidity” like shooting someone who fails to join you in your delusions!

The guy who got plugged over McClimon’s bruised feelz is in stable condition. Which is more than you can say for the clown who shot him.

The Perils of Kathleen: Has She Learned Her Lesson?

She’s still trying to wriggle out of the clutches of justice, and keep her crooked corkscrew spine from relaxing on the comfortable bunks provided by the Commonwealth to its felons. (What’s your sleep number? And was it assigned to you by the Department of Corrections?)

  • Item 6 Nov: Both Candidates to Replace Kane Claim to be Tough on CrimeThe Democrat, a former Kane supporter, also promises to be tough on lawful gun owners. The Republican was a legislator who supported life sentences for recidivist kiddie diddlers, so he’s not all bad, even if it’s pretty weak compared to 10-20-Life.
  • Item 5 Nov: Kathleen Kane learns lesson about the lawWell, that’s what the headline says. We’d say rather that she has received a lesson about the law. Has she learned? As the expression goes, the jury on that is still out.

She’s gradually trickling out of the news.

Unconventional (and current) Warfare

What goes on in the battlezones of the world — and preparation of the future battlefields.

The Social Justice Military

This is a hardy perennial, but it’SS

Veterans’ Issues

Is it time to disband this thing yet, and letting all its bloatoverhead seek its own level in the Dreaded Private Sector™?

Nothing this week.

Lord Love a Duck!

The weird and wonderful (or creepy) that we didn’t otherwise get to. 

They Promised They Were Leaving, But Ran into Difficulties

Here’s a picture for you.


28 thoughts on “Friday Tour d’Horizon, Week 45

  1. Aesop

    Thanks for posting the Ka-Bartana. I owe myself Christmas presents, and I’ll need two, so I can wear them crossed behind my back, like Legolas.

    Because those zombies aren’t going to kill themselves.

  2. QuietMan

    Man, the Lancaster mention caused a flood of memories. We captured one in ’04. Fun to shoot, until I was…informed there was a theatre wide shortage of 9mm. We retired it in favor of a suppressed Sterling I…acquired by trading AK ammo and mags to the theatre bulk fuel NCO whose unit sent him out in an unarmored Suburban and no rifle. Some people’s kids….

    We also managed to capture a couple M1919A6s and a bunch of ammo, which led to the discussion along the lines of “I don’t care if you have ammo, you can’t use them.” No imagination.

    My Iraqi counterpart had a Lend Lease 1911A1 loaded with Egyptian .45ACP (?!) which was made of cut down 7.62. Lord only knows where he got bullets. That didn’t bother me nearly as much as the discovery of cut down .357 in Webley revolvers. Thank goodness there was no search when you came back from leave, as my duffel bag was a two man lift.

    Then we got Gaz jeeps….

    Good times.

  3. 1 With A Bullet

    So if there’s no proof required or consequence for reporting someone under Washington’s 1491, who’s to say that every member of the legislature that voted for it and every LEO that enforces it isn’t a threat to the citizenry and should therefore be disarmed?

    1. Jay Dee

      My thoughts exactly but include anyone belong to a gun control organization. We “know” they are projecting their own feelings on gun owners.

    2. John Distai

      I like the idea you’re presenting! Wait until it is in law, and then pro-2nd Amendment people file the same against every one of those people. They are disarmed and….”wait…what!?!? That law was for the little people, not me!” Protest at it’s best.

      In my recent discussion with my pantsuit friend, she was all in support of the no-fly list being a disqualifier. I explained that people were against it because there was no Due Process regarding the list. Stupid libtards don’t get the whole idea of Due Process. Visit the concept upon them, and perhaps they’ll learn. Probably not on this one, though.

      I want one where you can revoke someone’s driving privileges and car for a year for accusing them of texting and driving. Then they’ll learn.

  4. Dave

    Finally! I’ve always felt that my swords were missing something, and now I can have it: partial serration and a f***king finger choil.


  5. 2hotel9

    I know someone who got the Ka Bartana and it is crap, not a machete. On the gripping hand(Love those novels) I got a Musashi katana from True Swords for my birthday a few years ago and it IS a true sword, have practiced with it on deer carcasses and performs to spec(that is 1650s spec).

    Been hearing bad things about newer production SIGs for awhile. That makes me sad, SIG has always been a well reputed manufacturer and their pistols set the standard for many years, now they appear to be just another NonGlock brand Glock. Too bad y’all can’t see my sad face.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Everything Bud K sells seems to be a novelty, not a knife…. Yet, when cops get a “Man with a sword” call, it’s usually a Bud K toad skewer the nutball is swinging.

    2. Aesop

      For $29.95, you get what you pay for.
      You can’t even get the actual Ka-Bar knife for that price (at least anytime since about 1980).
      Anything that cheap is expected to be an expendable item.

    3. John M.

      I hear only very sporadic quality problems with Glocks. SIGs seem to be running through a quality problem cycle every few years. Or maybe the one from 10 years ago never ended.

      -John M.

  6. Sean

    Reference SIG – my personal history and experience. My apologies for being long winded.

    In service – had great things to say about my P226, and have a personal bought West-German marked P226 which still runs just fine.
    Transition to law enforcement in early 2000’s… our issue handgun at the time was the P220. The 90’s era guns ran great as well, with minimal armorer attention required. @650 sworn FWIW.
    Then – we do a swap for the P220R series, so we can get weapon lights on the street and replace older guns.

    Less than six months in, and with sub-2000 rounds on my new P220R, the breach block cracks where it rides over the hammer. SIG says “It can’t do that.” We reply with pictures and hard evidence, and they replace the assembly.
    At the same time, we are noting other significant failure issues. Frame holes “wallering” out under normal use and takedown for cleaning. Abnormal wear throughout handgun. Etc.

    Get my P220R back, and within a documented 500 rounds, lo and behold, another crack in the same area of the breach block.

    SIG is blaming all of these issues on our ammunition choice (which was within SAAMI specs and weapon warranty provisions). Definitely a SIGNIFICANT amount of foot-dragging and finger pointing, with no efforts to address the root issues.

    Coincidentally, around this time, we get a copy of the email floating around regarding their vaunted failure to properly heat treat a batch of guns, under the theory “it’s a .gov contract, they’ll just buy more.”

    So, following all of this, and a large internal agency debate and process, we ended up transitioning to Glocks. Haven’t looked back, and from an instructor and armorer standpoint it was definitely much easier to shoot, teach and maintain.

    Personally – while I have heard they made efforts to improve, I won’t buy a new SIG due to the whole way they treat QC problems such as this.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Beretta had similar issues with the M92 / M9. My original 92S (long before its progeny was officially adopted) took tons of abuse. We had one burn in when it exited the holster on chute opening, and when the gun was recovered after the bounce it was scuffed but serviceable. Then in the late nineties and oughts we started to get the locking-block problem with the new process locking blocks. One thing they never seemed to consider was going back to the original process (complicated machining job on a steel forging). I think it took them six iterations of the locking block to fix it (the Army and Beretta independently developed solutions, then cross-tested them) but one ear would shear off, shortly followed by the other, downing the pistol.

      The engineers kept saying things like, “It never reaches plastic deformation, let alone yield, under finite element analysis.” Well, that’s the problem with computer models, they’re models.

      1. Sean

        Absolutely agreed – I came in the service just as the Team guys were transitioning from the 92 to the 226 for that reason (heard some of the stories of slide separation from guys who experienced it). Engineers tend to overly rely on projections rather than end-user data, which I’m sure went all the way back to the ancient days…

        “Og rock fail.”
        “Rock no fail, Og use wrong.”

        Be that as it may, my issue with ANY company isn’t if they have a failure issue (as long as not endemic to platform) – any tool made by man will fail. It’s how they address the failure and the fix. That’s where SIG burned too many bridges.

      2. Sommerbiwak

        Oh the engineers would love to not only model the design in AutoCAD or similar software beforehand. All eng I know love seeing their ideas being put to the test. Then the MBA come and say it is too expensive to test the newly designed devices or parts thereof to destruction. Time is money and thorough testing takes time and thus money the accountants do not want to spend.

  7. SPEMack

    Snicker. You and OldNFO are my daily morning coffee reads.

    It is much fun to ask him what it was like to sail into Manila Bay with Dewey.

  8. Daniel E. Watters

    The late Todd Louis Green used to share horror stories of the bean-counter mentality he encountered during his tenure at SIGarms. Remember that the current CEO of SIG-Sauer’s US branch, Ron Cohen, had previously been CEO at Kimber.

    One tale involved how an executive noted that the P22#-series pistols were renown for their accuracy, and proposed substituting cheaper barrels into the stock pistols. That way, they could offer the current barrels as aftermarket upgrades at a higher cost. TLG once recommended making the SRT action parts standard, as they were no more expensive to make than the basic action parts. Again, the idea feel victim to the the logic “We can charge extra to install them as an aftermarket upgrade.”

    1. John M.

      MBA Wunderkinder strike again. I leaned the Schlitz beer case study in my undergrad B-school. Why are people still learning this lesson the hard way?

      -John M.

      1. Sommerbiwak

        “Schlitz beer case study”?

        A curious mind would like to know more. An internet search turns up studies about the aesthetics of old Schlitz brewery advertisement for me.

        1. Jordan

          Try a Google search for “schlitz beer downfall” and click the link from beerconnoisseur, it should be at the top. The title of the article is “How Milwaukee’s Famous Beer Became Infamous”. I’d post the link myself but it would get held up for approval.

          1. Hognose Post author

            Thanks Jordan, I’ve been too busy for rapid moderating these days with a road trip followed by cool house guests. Here’s the link, everybody:


            There are great stories in brewing. My favorite story (although he seems to have been a cad on Flashman level) was brewery heir Grover Cleveland Bergdoll of Philadelphia. Pioneer aviator (his Wright Flyer hangs in the Franklin Institute), WWI draft dodger and escapee from Federal prison.

            I was an early investor in Long Trail (which is quite decent beer, actually).

            ETA: I did not read the Schlitz case in B-School. But this bit from it stands out:

            By 1967 the company’s president …was … polo-playing, 6-foot-4–inch-tall Harvard graduate Robert Uihlein Jr….. Robert decided that if he could not sell more been than Anheuser-Busch, he would at least make his company more profitable than his St Louis rival.

            So he turned one of the nation’s two leading beers, which he wouldn’t be caught dead drinking himself, to crap. But things were about to get worse:

            Robert Uihlein was diagnosed with leukaemia, dying just a few weeks later. An accountant… became the company’s CEO, and a geologist… was appointed chairman.

            Top. Men.

            …the Schlitz brand lost more than 90 percent of its value between 1974 and [1981].

            The other 10% soon followed; Pabst owns Schlitz’s name and trademarks now.
            Men of my father’s generation drank Schlitz, a now forgotten brand that once boasted it was “The beer that made Milwaukee famous.” (And the slogan was used from 1900 to 1965 or so). By my high school graduation, it was widely recognized as beastly swill.


          2. Cap'n Mike

            Very educational
            I kinda lived through Shlitz’s downfall at my Dads bar, but being a wee lad of 10, the details were lost on me.

  9. Cap'n Mike

    I bought my first Sig in 1990, I have been issued 2 since then and recently bought another. I must have won the quality control lottery, as they have all been trouble free.

    1. Hognose Post author

      About $1,000 of that is the incredible hand finish and polish, James. That’s why it would cost about that much if Colt ever made Pythons again. Thing is, there is a market for $2,500 guns, and I dunno how many $3k 1911s I’ve seen. Hell, price a Wilson M9 sometime! (But OTR has found a better option for custom M9s, that I have to write up).

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