Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tale of the Tape- Week 1 - Updated

I discovered yesterday that my "accurate to 350lbs" doctors scale wasnt very accurate beyond it.

I stepped on the scale at the gym, and weighed 379, with all my gear on. I then weighed all my gear separately at 10lbs, so I weighed 369 not 364 as my home scale said yesterday.

An aside: Yeah that's the MINIMUM of what I wear every day. Often I've got another 5lbs stuck on me in various locations, and that's jsut in my pockets and belt.

Oh and 24 hours later, after having had some chicken strips, french fries, and a 2 liter of soda last night around 8pm, and nothing else sense (but having gone to the bathroom a couple times), my scale says I weigh 374, 10lbs more than it read yesterday.

No, I don't believe that either.

So I'm'na reset my week 1 starting point to be 369, and see if I can find a home scale thats accurate over 350lbs; and doesn't cost a fortune.

Crime, Punishment, and Poverty

A reader from the UK, on the Nation of Riflemen forums; brought up an interesting question:

"What's wrong with Canada? Please educate me.

I was under the impression that it had a higher standard of living by many measures than the U.S."
That was loooong time ago.

For a long time Canada was ranked fourth in standard of living, but recently the fell to 27th, primarily because of the rapidly increasing crime rate.

The Canadian per capita overall crime rate is higher than the US (again this is a recent thing). The Canadian per capita rape and murder rate are higher than the U.S. as well, when take as a whole. Of course there are areas where the U.S. rates are VERY high, and we'll get to the reasons in a minute.

The problem in Canada is mostly due to relatively ineffective court and prison system, and excessive social welfare support for the criminal underclass.

Please note, that doesnt mean all the underclass are criminals; but that most criminals are in the underclass, which is supported extensively by social welfare systems.

When criminals are not effectively punished, and in fact effectively supported by the state, then criminal behavior will be the easist path to "success" (as determined by material gain) for the underclass.

The biggest impact of welfare reform, and the rise of concealed carry permits in the US has ben a radical decrease in violent crime per capita all around the country, except in heavily urban areas where such permits are rarely if ever issued, and where state and local social welfare systems prop up the criminal underclass.

The violent crame rate in Florida was among the highest in the nation; the combined effect of CCW and welfare reform (which took effect in the same couple of year period) was to reduce violent crime by more than 20% in less than 10 years.

One might have noticed that as the welfare states of Britain, Australia, Canada, France, and other places have grown, so has their crime rate. At the same time their educational achievement, economic growth, and standards of living have all fallen, in some cases dframatically.

One might also have noticed that the less private firearms ownership there is, the more crime there is. Violent crime in the UK since the effective gun ban has more than doubled.

Why is that? Simple, and cliche but true "Where guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns"

Where everyone has guns, people don't generally shoot at each other; because they know that guns arent some magical penis extension. They are tought from a young age that a firearm is a tool, and like other tools it can be dangerous, and must be respected and properly handled. There is no mythology of power or manhood surrounding the gun, as so many liberals assume (because they dont understand, and have no experience with guns, except as an adjunt of criminals).

Not only that, but people dont shoot others, because they know they'll get shot right back.

The fact is, the vast majority of violent crime is caused by poor morals, poor upbringing, poor education, and poor people. Not any one of these things is sufficient, you need to have most, if not all of them at the same time for a culture of violent crime to rise.

Guess what, social welfare systems almost deliberately cause these factors. Social welfare encourages (and sometimes requires) the abdication of personal, and parental authority and responsibility to the state. It provides significant counterincentive to self improvement, and to personal responsiblity. It discourages real parenting, and certainly discourages the strong presence of fathers, because if you have a father, you get no benefits. It discourages education, because why do you need when when the state will pay for you; it's jsut wasted effort.

Straight up, social welfare is the single most aggravating factor in the rise of violent crime.

The only factor mitigatitig these tendencies, is the presencee of arms among the potential victims. The firearm is the great equalizer, and when firearms are easily and lawfully available, no criminal can feel safe in their crimes.

In new york city recently, a repeat violent offender held a woman at gun point while his associates collected the belongings of her companions. The woman is reported to have said "what are you going to do, shoot me"... He did.

If the criminal hadn't been safe in the ssumption that he was the only one armed in that situation, do you think there might have been a different result?

You Ever notice....

Sometimes life repeatedly and vigorously kicking you down the road like a mexican childs plaything, with perhaps an extra ball kicking or three thrown in for good measure, is EXACTLY what you needed?

I have managed to get more done in the last two weeks than I have the last .. I dunno since Christmas probably.

Sometimes you just get stuck in something and you need that painful application of boot to head (NYAH! NYAH!).

I always was better in a crisis, and under pressure. Something about my personality I guess.

This week I got most of my bills paid at once (thank you everyone for your help there), started losing weight, joined a gym, fixed some things around the house, and fixed some things on the car.

Tomorrow I'm going to the final spring training game between the Redsox and Diamondbacks with my brother,; who BTW, makes the Jimmy fallon character in the (guaranteed to be horrible) American re-make of Nick Hornbys "fever pitch" (what the hell were they thinking there I'll never know) look like a piker... or a white sox fan.

This weekend I'm renewing my CCW. I didnt have time to get it done before until the grace period expired, and so I have to take the whole thing over again (16 hours, plus a range session, usually $110 + $65 to the state for the permit fee); but I got a half price deal on the course from a guy I did a favor for (Dan Furbee of Ultimate Accessories, good guy), so off I go this weekend.

Not that I would ever carry illegally. I obviously willingly disarm myself during this time when my permit has been expired.

I've still got more to go, and I still have the job situation to work out, and all that weight to lose; now I just need to sustain that motivation.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

One More Sales Pitch

First of all guys, thank you so much for your support in the last couple weeks. I can't tell you how much it has helped, but I can say I've got my rent and bills covered for this month, with some money to eat on etc...

I'm still in the squeeze, but I have some breathing room now; from the sale, and from your generous donations, and I really appreciate it.

Ok now for the part that makes me feel a bit slimy, I still need to bank a bit more to make sure I dont go bankrupt before the end of the month.

So, I'm still selling the following items:

1. Smith & Wesson 686P : 7 shot, 2.5" barrel, boot grip. Almost brand new, with box and paperwork. Less than 100 rounds fired. Some very light surface scratches (from firing). Retail $669. Guns America prices vary from $420 to $575

I've had some interest in this, and got an offer a few days ago, but I haven't heard from the guy since, so I'm just putting it back up here.

2. Rado Sintra Platinum Chronograph which I have worn, but is in basically perfect condition because the thing is absolutely scratchproof. It's a titanium ceramic composite construction with a quartz crystal, platinum face, and saphire hands and markers. I don't have the box and papers for this, though I do have the extra links. Retail $2500, ebay and other auction prices vary from $1300-$1700.

Thankfully I won't need to sell any more guns, or any of the other stuff. If I can get these two items sold, hopefully I'll be worry free into next month, in case it takes a while longer for the new job to get going than they've been promising (I'm a bit paranoid after what I've had happen in the last few months).

Carnival of Cordite Submissions

Just a reminder folks, get those carnival of cordite submissions in to the gullyborg by Friday.

This week I've got at least one thing up there, and aI may have another.

Why bullpups aren't a great solution

For some reason, the bullpup rifle keeps being put forward as a good idea.

...Really, for the most part, they are not.

I'm an engineer and a firearms expert; by training, inclination, experience, and employment. I'm a veteran, a former security contractor, a firearms trainer, and an FFL, gunsmith and class III manufacturer.

I have a great appreciation for good engineering. Bullpups are, in general, not good engineering.

The bullpup rifle has one real advantage: bullpup designs allow for a shorter overall weapon, for a given length of barrel (typically between 4" and 7" shorter than a conventional rifle).

That's not an insignificant advantage. In some missions it's even a huge asset (particularly in urban combat, or infantry dismounted from armored vehicles).

In most missions though, that 4-7 inches isn't much of a plus.

On the other hand, the bullpup configuration has a number of disadvantages:
  • Bullpup designs are mechanically more complex, requiring a long trigger linkage, and control system linkages. This seriously degrades both control feel, and reliability, and increases bulk and weight (there may be engineering solutions to this problem).

    If current munitions infrastructure and laws allowed for electronic trigger, feed, and ignition systems, this would be a non issue, and the bullpups advantage may outweigh it's several disadvantages; but for now, that's not an option (also, electronic systems have their own issues).

  • If a bullpup has a catastrophic failure, instead of the explosion being six or eight inches in front of your eyes, it's right at your eyesocket, or touching your cheekbone or ear. The only good thing is, if the bolt flys back, it doesn't end up in your eye socket.

    Most bullpups also eject hot brass, and vent hot gasses in the vicinity of your eyes and ears (some eject downward or forward, which is a better solution for a bullpup, if it's engineered properly).

  • Mag changes on most bullpups are slower (sometimes much slower) because they require more repositioning, that positioning can be awkward, and can be difficult to see (if necessary) without fully dismounting the rifle.

    A conventional rifle allows you to see your mag changes, and is more easily maneuvered with your dominant hand, which makes mag changes easier in general.

    More importantly a human being can naturally bring their hands together in the dark. As a basic design guideline, magwells should either be in your dominant hand, or just in front of it; because it is far more difficult to manipulate anything dexterously that is located behind your dominant hand.

  • Because of the positioning of the magazine (usually the part of a gun extending lowest) close to your shoulder when the weapon is mounted, bullpups can be difficult to fire while prone (though this is common with some other rifle designs as well).

    Note in the pictures below, the magazine is by far the lowest point of the rifle; and being located behind the dominant hand and close to your shoulder; when you drop prone it will tend to strike the ground forcing the muzzle downward.

    This can also cause problems with mags being warped, ripped out of the magwell, having the baseplate broken off, or the rifle itself being ripped out of the users hand when hitting the deck.

    A conventional rifle with a long magazine can have issues with dropping prone as well, but because the mag is positioned forward of the dominant hand, instead of forcing the muzzle down, it will tend to force the muzzle up; and though it's not advisable to use the magazine as a monopod, it's possible. With a bullpup, it isn't.

    This isn't an issue for rifles that are generally fired off bipods, so in an SAW or LMG role, the bullpup may be an appropriate solution (though having the feed system in such tight quarters with your shoulder and cheek is its own issue).

  • Charging the rifle and manipulating the operating handle is often more difficult, and sometimes can't be done without dismounting the rifle, or reaching over the rifle with your support hand (again, some conventional rifles do share this weakness; and this is a problem that can easily be solved with proper engineering).

  • Most bullpups can only be operated from the right shoulder; or if switchable, can only be operated from one shoulder without being reconfigured (this is changing, with the adoption of forward ejection mechanisms).know of, can be fired from the left shoulder.

    Because of the way most bullpups eject their brass, and cycle their actions; attempting to operate the weapon from the wrong shoulder will result in hot brass being ejected directly into your face, and possibly injuring the user... or they my simply not be able to cycle at all.
  • Bullpups are naturally balanced in a non-instinctive way.

    This is really the biggest problem, and the one that is hardest to solve with engineering.

    The balance point on most bullpups is in between your hand and your shoulder when mounted, which is unnatural. We have a natural tendency to try to balance things between our hands, not between our hand and shoulder.

    The only way to correct this is to put heavy things in front of your dominant hand, or to make the weapon short and light enough that this won't make a difference (and even then it will still be more awkward and less instinctive to point; but several modern bullpups have taken the second approach).

    This balance will tend to make a bullpup tend to shift its butt under recoil, unless it is very tightly mounted to your shoulder; particularly during rapid fire. This tendency is somewhat countered by the position of your support hand so far forward on the barrel,  by the fact that the overall leverage moment of the muzzle is lower (the muzzle isn't as far from either your shoulder, or your dominant hand), and by the fact that most bullpups have straightline recoil.

    A conventional rifle is balanced in between your dominant and support hands, and there are good reasons for that. A human being naturally handles things that balance in the palm, or in front of your dominant hand, better, because we naturally want to balance things between our hands.

    Under recoil, the muzzle of a conventional rifle rises, but just from gravity will fall into you support hand again without actually holding or pulling it down, because the fulcrum of the lever is in your dominant hand, and the balance point is in front of the fulcrum. 
Some of these issues can be solved, or mitigated with engineering (and most modern bullpup designs do resolve, or at least reduce, many of those issues). Also, a lot of this can be worked around with training.

What it comes down to though, is that bullpups are ergonomically incorrect for human beings. When you have the option, you don't train someone to do something ergonomically incorrect, you redesign the equipment to fit human ergonomics.

The only good thing about a bullpup is the short overall length in relation to their barrel length; and that is not advantage enough to outweigh the disadvantages for most missions.

Well, that and the fact that they look cool, which is the real reason so many people are enamored of them.

A lot of folks have watched a lot of stargate (or played a lot of stealth shooter video games). They use the FN-P90 PDW which isn't exactly a bullpup, but follows a similar concept; and they do just look kind of futuristic.

The Steyr AUG was designed in 1976, and it still looks like a space gun:

Several countries have adopted bullpup designes as their primary service arm, notably Austria, and Australia (the AUG above), France (the FAMAS),

and the UK (the SA80 system, now in the L85-A2 variant):

The reasons cited are usually overall length, the extra accuracy and velocity afforded by the longer barrels allowed by the configuration, and some medical or efficiency studies showing that the bullpup was actually ergonomically correct.

Here's the thing: every study that the British did showing that the SA80 design was ergonomically correct, or that the reliability issue was solved, has over the past few years been proven to have been "Unjustifiably optimistic", or some other such euphemism for fraud.

The SA80 has  proven to be ridiculously unreliable , though at least it is quite accurate when it functions properly (also the HK refit and remanufacture of the A2 variant has dramatically improved reliability... Though it's still not great).

The SA80 in fact is so poorly designed, that firing it from your left shoulder will give you a black eye (and can even break your cheekbone) and send hot brass and gasses flying into your eyes. You also can't fire the thing from the left side of cover without exposing your whole head and torso.

I have tried the P90, the SA80, the Steyr AUG, the Bushmaster M17, the FAMAS, and the IMI Tavor (the latter two held and played with, but not shot), and I haven't found any of them but the P90 to be remotely comfortable, or anything but awkward. I've tried a couple of bullpup conversions from other weapons as well, same thing (excepting several bullpup sniper rifles, that I quite liked, and as I said, the P90 which is only sort of a bullpup... it's quite handy and nice to shoot).
UPDATE: Since I first wrote this, I've had a chance to shoot with the FN F/S2000 in both semi and full auto variants: 
While it looks like a heavy and awkward spacegun, it's actually very light, well balanced, and comfortable. Reports from the field are that it is generally reliable, but there aren't a lot out there yet to establish a useful sample.  
Mag changes are still less than ideal, and the trigger is still poor; but the handling of the gun is good, and it is reasonably accurate for an assault rifle. I do worry however about the forward ejection system. It seems to me like it would be easy to jam up in the field. 
Also, since I originally wrote this, Kel-Tec has introduced their RFB forward ejecting bullpup in 7.62x51: 
Unfortunately, not many of them are out in the world yet, so I haven't had a chance to fire one; but the design seems to address some of the issues above.  I have real concerns about the forward and up ejection system, and the inability to clear a jam without field stripping the weapon however. 

Until someone has shot thousands of rounds through them, had to change mags in the dark, and in cramped conditions, had to clear jams under combat conditions etc... they can't know how unsuitable bullpups are as anything other than a niche weapon, to be used only where OAL is the most critical factor (but where SMGs are not an appropriate choice).

For example, bullpup sniper rifles make a lot of sense, particularly in .50bmg and other anti-materiel chamberings. In fact, any weapon that you would normally fire off a bipod makes sense as a bullpup, because the ergonomic issues around balance, and lying prone don't really apply.

People say "Well the designs just aren't good enough yet, I'm sure as they mature they'll get better, isn't it the natural way to go eventually?"

First of all, why would it be?

Other than the fact that the Sci-Fi network likes featuring bullpups in their television shows, there is no reason why bullpups should be "the future". They have one design advantage, shorter length, and many design disadvantages.

Now, when we use caseless ammmo loaded in 1000 round blocks, and using electronic ignition systems... sure, bullpups make sense. At that point, all the basic engineering weaknesses are compensated for, and the advantage of a longer barrel for length of weapon offsets the balance issues... if they even exist then, given progress in materials.

But for now, so long as we are using relatively "conventional" ammunition and firing mechanisms, those engineering problems outweight the one real advantage; and the ergonomic issues simply compound the problem.

Engineers aren't miracle workers. We can refine a design until it's mechanically perfect within its design parameters; but the point I'm trying to make, is that at our current level of cartridge firing weapons development, there is no way to design an ergonomic bullpup.

So, bullpups are only slightly shorter than their conventional counterparts (maybe 7" in the case of an assault rifle), nothing to sneeze at, but not a huge advantage in most cases considering the missions they are intended for; they are less reliable and more mechanically complex than conventional designs, they are ergonomically incorrect, and they are more likely to injure their user.

I'm not denying there are missions where a bullpup is appropriate (as I said above), but I can't see any conventional situation where a bullpup assault rifle is the right tradeoff to make; even urban warfare and infantry dismounted from armor.

But they look cool...

Why did you join up?

I suspect that at least half or my regular readers are either active duty, reserve, or retireed military, from various countries (which is why I amde the "how the hell did you find me" joke below).

A few months ago, Kim Dutoit asked, (referring to the men and women serving in Iraq) "where do we find these people", to which a reader responded"we make them" and another responded "we dont find them, they find us".

In the last few days, a lot of the high school and college aged posters on the Nation of Riflemen forums hasve been talking about enlisting, or applying for a comission. I gave them the advice I always give (which I'll post if anyone wants, but like I said, I think most of you already know), and it got me to thinking about this again.

So for my fellow active duty, reserve, guard, and retired service members (did I miss anyone?);
I ask why did you join up?

I've thought this through before, and distilled it down a bit. Sure I wanted fun, adventure, brotherhood, college money, and a challenge, (and I got all of that in spades), but there was something much deeper under all that.

I wanted to serve.

I had (and still have) a deep need to serve my country, and to protect it. I know in my soul that whatever it's faults we live in the greatest nation on earth, that we truly are the last best hope for mankind, and I feel it was and is my duty as a citizen to try and protect it.

It's why I went into the security business when I got out. I knew I still wanted to serve, but I also knew I wouldnt be able to put up with the bullshit of being a cop (or a teacher. or an EMT both of which I was qualified to do as well), so that was the next best thing. I got into the computer side of things because I already had the skills, and the money was good (late 90s especially).

It's also why I still feel guilty that I'm not in the sandbox right now. Yeah my knees are shot and I'm overweight, but you can damn well be sure that if I could pass a PFT, I'd be there right now.

What I'm drinking right now

It's called a high pucker factor, for reasons that will become readily apparent

Start with a 24 oz tumbler, and as much ice as you feel like (or a 32 oz if you like a lot of ice)

12oz 7 up (or halfway with the ice, to make it stronger)
4oz Dekuyper Sour Apple Pucker
4oz lime juice
4oz of Bacardi 151

I think you can see why it's called a high pucker factor. We mixed it up as a joke after an ... incident ... involving entirely too much of the aforementioned spirit, some unlawfully acquired government property traveling at a high rate of speed, and various scantily clad females of questionable moral persuasion.

Oh and if you dont get the inside joke, what the hell are you doing reading me? Not that I dont want you as a reader, I'm jsut wondering how on earth you managed to find me.

It has variations:

Substitute Vodka for a "Fucking James Bond Motherfucker Pucker Factor" (another inside joke)
Substitute Tequila for an "MFF pucker factor"
Substitute Gin for "The full english pucker factor"

Oh and when in the presence of anyone who has spent 13 weeks of fun in the sun with a gun, peach liqueur must be added for the "Huah pucker factor"

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Blogus interruptus

Blogger is being extremely bitchy, I have two long posts that I've been trying to put up for two days, but they aint going through.

Hopefully this little shorty will go.

Wehn blogger stops vomiting, the bullpup post will be up.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Tale of the tape - week 1

Well, it's been 72 hours since I made my decision, and started writing my post "Going on The Pill", and there's been some progress.

I've slowly eased into to the supplement stack over the last three days, and I'm up to full dosage as of this morning. When you start a supplement stack you need to load your system up to a maintenance level, or you won't absorb them properly.

I haven't deliberately changed my eating habits, but my appetite has fallen off CONSIDERABLY. I've probably eaten about half my normal intake over the last three days, and doubled my fluid intake (mostly water, but also diet soda), without really being more than a little hungry.

My energy is way up, with little stomach upset though there is always some; you wouldn't beleive the amount of sludge your body desides to dump when you go on a stack.

I've also been doing the calisthenics, and any time I have spare eneergy I'm going pushups.

Lemme tell you, my arms and chest are sore, but in a good way. I know how far to push, and when to back off. What's amazing (though I've experienced it before) is just how quickly you see an increase in tone. Literally overnight your body starts rebuilding your muscle tissue stronger, and I'm able to do more pushups without a problem.

What I'm really diappointed in, is how far I've let my stomach go. Even when I gained that first 60 pounds, I maintained a lot of muscle tone in my stomach (it's a martial arts thing), and when I'm doing my pushups it's a little depressing how the gut hangs. Ahh well, nothing to do but fix it right.

Tale of the tape:

03/25/2005 - Weight 370, waist 52", chest 56", neck 21" - 34% bodyfat

03/28/2005 - Weight 365, waist 52", chest 56", neck 21" - 34% bodyfat

I'm going to do this update every week, and we'll see how I do over the next year.

Have you ever...

Been watching Buffy, and all of a sudden realized you have had the exact conversations that the three stooges (Jonathan, Andrew, and Buffy) have in one of their more ridiculous moments?

The James bond thing

The comic book villains things

The various X-files debates

The various star wars debates

The invisibitly argument

Also, have you ever been watching Buffy and been strongly reminded that Joss Whedon is a MAJOR fan of Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, James Robinson, Warren Ellis, Tony Harris, Garth Ennis, John McRea, and Mike Mignola.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Enhanced Battle Rifle

I've been writing a lot lately about assault rifles, and the AR platform in particular; so I thought I'd change things up a bit and talk about battle rifles.

I've mentioned before that I own an M14, and that I love it; well, here it is:

I am the proud owner of a Smith Enterprises, Tactical Match Rifle , with the bush barrel conversion, the Smith gas lock front sight (basically an HK front sight), and the Smith Tactical Muzzle Brake.

This is the exact rifle (but with a different stock) the SEALs are using in the DM/SS role, as the Enhanced Battle Rifle; and is in fact built by the same guy (Ron Smith is the contractor for the EBR action rebuilds), to the same standards and specifications. Actually, mine is built on a forged, specially heat treated reciever with a TRW bolt and hardware, and a NM spec barrel, so it may be just a bit better (except for the stock, the current EBR has a McMillan job, and they are switching to the SAGE chassis).

I love this gun. It's accurate, reliable, soft shooting (to me anyway), fast mounting, and just beautiful to shoot.

I have mentioned in other postings that the main physical disadvatages of the battle rifle are it's size, and weight (the final issue being recoil of the major caliber). What most people don't realize, is that the M14 itself is actually quite a compact weapon, as shown in this picture:

That is the entire mechanical and functional structure of the gun. It's a bit blurry, but you can see the reciever itself is only 7.5" long, and the reciever with gas system is just under 24" long. The whole assembly weighs just six pounds. Though a complete rifle with a standard length barrel is 44" long; much of the length and weight of the platform is in the stock, and the longer barrel (standard barrel is 22", plus 4" flash hider, weighing 14lbs with a loaded 20rd. mag and optics).

In fact, the reciever is significantly shorter (in both length and height) than the AR, as you can see in this picture placing the barreled action, next to an AR (upper only):

In this picture you can clearly see that the M14 reciever is the same length as an AR upper (almost exactly actually). This M14 has an 18" barrel, and the AR has a 16" barrel; you might note, the end of the barrel on the M14 is only about an inch beyond the end of the barrel on the AR (the rest is muzzlebrake). If you take into account the extra 3/4" of lower revciever; then yes, that's right; for the exact same barrel length, the M14 is actually shorter than the AR. An 18" barrelled AR action, with a muzzlebrake is going to be about 1.5" longer than an 18" barrelled M14 action with the same muzzlebrake.

Now, the 18" barrel is the absolute minimum length for an unmodified M14 action (there are companies converting the gas system to be 2" shorter); and the AR can be made with a 10.5" barrel; but realistically, the AR's performance degrades rapidly in barrel lengths under 18", and especially under 16".

As to weight; as I said above, the basic weight of the 18" barreled action on the M14 is only 6lbs, the weight of an 18" barreled action on an AR is... about 6 lbs (depending on the exact configuration).

Of course all-up weight is another story. As I list above, the all up weight of the 18"m14 with scope and a loaded 20rd mag is 14 lbs. The 18" AR is going to weigh about 9 lbs with optics and a loaded mag.

The big differences in all up weight:AR stocks are very lightweight, and M14 stock are, to say the least, not; and a loaded 2ord M14 mag weighs twice as much as a loaded 20rd AR mag.

But 5lbs of extra weight for double the effective range and power...

Okay so we've got the length and weight thing out of the way, what about versatility? Thats one of the biggest selling points of the AR, it can be configured in so many different ways.

These next pics are going to make M14 lovers very jealous:

And again put up against a shorty AR (this time with a full A2 stock):

Did someone say the M14 wasn't versatile (Yes, that is an original early '60s vintage E2 stock and bipod)?

The M14 is one of the easiest weapons systems in the world to switch stocks on. Since the barreled action system lifts out in one single unit, and has metal lugs to mate up with the stock, you can swap the stock on an M14 faster than you can swap the upper on an AR.

Now this won't change calibers or barrel lengths for you, but still, it give you a lot of options; and some of those options are very versatile indeed.

NSWC Crane, in conjuction with SAGE Tactical, have just released their new EBR "chassis" to retrofit the existing EBR actions as the new Mk.14 EBR

When fitted out, the rifle looks something like this:

Actually this picture doesn't do it justice; you should really watch the video and read the article from Armed Forces Journal (some good AR and other fun stuff in there too BTW).

There are other M14 stock systems out there with similar features, but this is the first one that I found interesting; the reason being, that chassis is going to be EXTREMELY stable. The entire length is machined from a solid block of aluminum, and the M14 action locks into the chassis, just like an Accuracy International sniper rifle chassis does with an accurized Rem. 700 action.

This means no more worries about bedding, clamping pressure, stock crush, deflection, and action block fit; all of which are the main difficulties in keeping an M14 in top precision and accuracy (an M14 is relatively easy to make accurate and precise, but it's a bitch to keep it that way).

The things I don't like at all about it: the butt stock and pistol grip.

I DO like a collapsible stock with a cheekpiece and pistol grip; I just don't like THAT stock and pistol grip; and this is where the other great feature of the system comes into play; in terms of modularity, this thing actually puts the S.I.R. system to shame.

You see, every piece of the chassis except the bedding block itself is modular. You can unbolt and change each piece to suit you; even better, the stock and pistol grip are set up to accept any stock set for the most common shotgun in the world, the remington 870 (including fixed stocks).

This means that there are literally hundreds of different stock and grip options from dozens of manufacturers, and in every configuration.

Hell, you could put a traditional pistol grip stock on there if you wanted to (the kind used with most shotguns, not the kind used on an AR); or going the opposite direction, you could put an AR pistol grip and stock using one of the many adapter blocks sold for the Rem 870, which opens you up to the entire world of AR accessories.

Oh, you might have noticed, the system has a lot of rails. Well they can all be removed, or you can add more on... again with all those AR accessories....

The only real problem with the thing is, it aint cheap (well, that and the kinda ugly thing, but function has it's own beauty). The system is available from Fulton Armory for $499, but that's just the bare stock pictured above; figure another $250 for the rails, sling mounts, rail covers etc... (If you didnt think a buttstock could get more expensive than the Crane LMT, you were wrong.)

Of course, a McMillan glass stock, before it's properly fit and bedded, is actually going to run you just as much; and it wont be adjustable or collapsable, or have all those rails. Add in the cost of a good fitting and bedding job (about $400 for top quality work), and it's actually a bargain.

Actually, I'm willing to bet that with a good fixed butt stock attached to it, this chassis will produce better precision than the McMillan will; and for longer, in rougher conditions.

The EBR rifle itself as delivered runs about $2200-2350 depending on your exact details, and the reciever supplied (About $450-600 for the action, $1750 for the EBR conversion including heat treating, machining, bolt, NM bush barrel, NM trigger, NM gas conversion, sights, parkerizing and bedding); That's of course IF you can get Ron to build you one, and you can't because he's busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.

Fulton does a similar package for pretty much the same price ($1799 plus the donor rifle)

Given the price of the rifle itself; and that, as I said above, a brand new McMillan stock will run you $600, plus another $300-400 for bedding job; it's not unreasonable to spend $500-750 on a stock setup like this.

I love my E2 stock, it's gorgeous; but if I had to deploy with my M14, this is the system I'd want for it.

Now, that brings us back to the advantages disadvantages thing. We've addressed length, versatility, and handiness; the only issues left are weight, and recoil.

The SAGE system is reasonably lightweight; a SAGE Mk. 14 EBR rifle will be about 3 lbs lighter than an M21 with the same length barrel (standard is 22"), and loses 2-4 oz per inch of reduced barrel length (depending on profile), for a maximum of a bit over 4 lbs weight reduction, to about 9.5lb total weight (without optics or mag). Since the biggest issue the M14 has is controllability with the heavier recoil of 7.62 nato, you really don't want to go much lighter; and again, in comparison to an 18" standard profile AR, theres only a 1.5-2lb difference.

Of course there's still the difference in ammo weight, and that's definitely a big deal.

I have said before, I consider 7.62NATO the ideal battle rifle caliber. It is accurate and hard hitting out to about 800 yards, and certainly to 600 yards. The only real problems with it are the bulk and weight of the weapons chambered for it (which we adressed above), the bulk and weight of the ammo itself, and the heavy recoil.

I'm a very large, strong, and well trained man who has no problem controlling an M14 in long rapid fire strings. I can empty a mag as fast as I can pull the trigger while keeping my hits on a torso at 50 yards; and make normal rapid fire (1 shot per 2 seconds or so) torso hits out to 300 yards (with optics), with no difficulty whatsoever.

There is always going to be a tradeoff with recoil and weight, but the extra power and range of the 7.62 definitely compensate for it; in roles where full auto fire is not required, individuals of reasonable strength can be selected, and proper training is available (such as DM/SS)

I suppose the best thing I can say about the M14; is that if I had to deploy again, this is the rifle I'd want with me, and this is the configuration I'd want it in.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Self Defense Stories

Reader Dave Dembiski posted in his blog about buying a Ken Onion blackout on my recommendation in "The Gift of a Knife".

This quote struck me:

"You can compress the handle against the meat of your hand with four fingers and flick the torsion bar out and up with a thumb fairly easily, and this opens the knife faster than my eye can follow. Throw in a little wrist action and it's near-instantaneous, and very sure. "Authoritative" was a word I've read describing the action, and that just about does it justice."
I think maybe I'm the one who described it as authoritative; or rather I know I have before, I'm just not sure if he's referring to me specifically in his quote.

Anyway it reminded me of some stories I'd posted up on the Nation Of Riflemen forums about self defense, and I thought I'd share them here:

I've never been in a firefight in civvy life, but I have been shot (it's no fun, believe me), and I've had a few times where I had to excercise my rights to defend myself (a side effect of my appearance, winning personality, and choice of work).

In Ireland (where I lived for three years) it's basically illegal to carry any kind of self defense device; but that never stopped me from carrying a simple little Ken Onion Blackout (or on occaison other things, but I ALWAYS had the blackout).

I was walking through a not so great neighborhood in Dublin when these two skangers started following me. Finally, they sidled up and the dirtier one said "So there, y'american are ya". I just looked at him "not exactly, but it'll do for now", "Ahh yeah, well... we'll be havin your wallet then" ... (knife I've palmed in my hand since I noticde them flicks out with a nasty little snick) ... "No I don't think you will".

If it were just a regular knife I'm guessing they would have kept pressing til someone (them) got hurt, but that authoritative little flick (and it is little, only a 3.5" blade) was just intimidating enough that they ran like schoolgirls.

Story number two also happened while I was in Ireland:

I played semi-pro American Football for three seasons with the Dublin Rebels. I used to spend my non-football weekends "mentoring" kids in temple bar (a neighborhood in Dublin). Basically I was just trying to give them some interaction with an adult who gave a damn, had some of the same interests as they did (heavy metal, role playing games, the goth thing etc...); and to try to keep them out of petty crime and off drugs. I was cool, American, military, had tatoos and knew metal; and I'd always spring for some food, or protect them from getting hassled or beaten up.

This fine day I was talking with some of the kids on a corner when this junkie, and what looked like his little brother, start to try and steal a bike a few feet away. I sent one of the kids to get the gardai (the Irish cops) and kept an eye on him. Well, as this progressed, one of the kids said "look at this fucking skanger stealing this bike here" loud enough for the scumbag to hear it.

The scumbag started getting hostile at that point and starts yelling "what did he fucking say". I just looked through him, gave him the dead face and said "I don't know, and I don't care; AND NEITHER DO YOU".

Well that shook him a bit, and he started to walk off; but then I saw the box cutter come into his hand. I pushed the kids back behind me just as he spun around and came at us screaming "Im gonna cut you fuckers".

I had a little bit of an Arnie moment and said "Now that isn't nice, you shouldn't threaten people with knives; and don't fucking swear".

While I was playing action hereo, I stepped inside his arc, got wrist control (to avoid the blade) and crossed him up; but he managed to give me a nice little slash across my cheek (shallow and ragged, healed without a scar thankfully).

I couldn't get a good angle on his hand and maintain control of him so I let the open wrist loose, came up under for a cross arm head lock, and pulled him in to try and establish head control so I could disarm him easier.

Well when I pulled his head in, the fucker managed to bite a quarter sized chunk out of my right pec (that one left a heck of a scar; looks worse than the bullet scars). That kind of pissed me off, so I stepped round him, came up into an arm bar choke, and then took his head off the corner of a brick building a couple of times.

The fucker kept trying to free his hand though; he just wouldn't stop fighting me.

At that point I had him completely under control so I just said "drop the knife or I'm going to keep hurting you".

Well, he didn't, so I reached up and started twisting his ear. "I'mna say it one more time, then I'm gonna kill you. Drop the knife".

Again, he didn't drop the knife, so I twisted a little harder and said "ok, thats it, in about three seconds I'm breaking your neck".

That got him to drop the knife.

A few seconds later the Gardai showed up and took him into custody; at which point he started trying to claim that I attacked, beat, and brutalized him, and that they should arrest me. Of course there were 50 or so witneses to what happened, and the whole thing was on CCTV from 4 different cameras.

It turned out the guy was a heroin junky, HIV positive, syphilitic, and had hepatitis. I had to get an HIV test, hepatitis etc... (actually three sets of them, once immediately, once after six weeks, and once after six months which I do anyway, every six months); thank god, all were clear. I also had to be chemically deloused (every hair on my body below the neck gone. Very itchy).

They charged the fucker with grevious bodily harm, and assault with an offensive weapon. They told him they were going to charge him with attempted murder (because of the HIV); and when they showed him the video tape and witness statements he plead out to 3 years. I was pissed the sentence was only three years, but I was glad the case didn't drag out into a long trial.

Oh and the kid was in fact his little brother; the junky was only 20, his brother was 11, and both had tracks covering both arms. Renews your faith in humanity eh.

So a few months later, I'm sitting up in bed reading at around 3am; and I hear a big clang.

I lived at the end of a dead end cul-de sac that has some footpaths running past it, with pubs at both ends of the paths. It wasn't too unusual to hear late night noises, but this one caught my attention.

Now I'm not the most trusting individual, so I go to the window and take a look, and I see some fucker messing around the side of my house; looks like he's trying to attach somethign to the house.

I slipped into my shoes; grabbed my tachi (no guns allowed in Ireland), and my mag-lite; slipped out my back door around the side of the house; and I popped the light.

Picture this: 3AM, you're doing something nefarious, and a 6'2", 24 stone (335lb), bare ass naked man holding a 3-1/2 foot sword and a big ass flashlight confronts you. What do you do?

Well he takes off running, and here I am chasing this fucker down the street, sword over one shoulder, flashlight over the other; screaming verious obscenities punctuated with the occaisonal "Im gonna enjoy killing you" and the like.

The guy managed to jump over a pretty good sized wall, so I let him go, and went back to the house to check out what he was doing.

I get in there, and I see the guy was messing with the gas meter. There was a timer, some bare wires, and some model rocket igniters on the ground. I called the Gardai, and they came out and took the report etc... but they didn't do anything with it (I can't begin to tell you how corrupt and incompetent the Gardai can be).

I was less than amused. I asked around and the word I got was that the guy I put away was a runner for a gang and they wanted revenge. I also heard it was the fuckers cousin, but we couldnt get any proof so the investigation never went anywhere.

The last story is from my college days:

In my last year of college a good friend of mine was raped and beaten by her "boyfriend". Now I'm not by nature a violent man; or perhaps I should say I am one who is very good at violence, but does not generally choose to use it. It takes a lot to get me angry, but one thing that will do it every time is rape or abuse of any kind.

My friend refused to go to police with what happened, and ended up getting hooked on prescription drugs. I was extremely unhappy about this; and in some places where I knew the scumbag hung out, I made very clear that I took exception to his continued breathing.

A couple nights later I get a knock on my apartment door at about 2am, and silly me, I open it without looking out first; experiencing the true joy of having a gun shoved into my chest for my stupidity.

Well, I was somewhat annoyed by this fact. Here's this guy, shaking like a chihuahua on speed (actually shaking like a piece of subhuman trash on speed, which he was) with a gun shoved very hard into my chest.


Even better, the genius was pushing so hard that the weapon was out of battery; and the safety was on.

I quickly slapped an offhand wrist lock, twisting the gun out of his hand and breaking his wrist and two fingers in the process; then popped his elbow and dislocated his shoulder with a palm strike. A quick followup with an elbow to the head and a knife hand strike to the throat, and he was down.

So I called up a couple of friends (including his victim); and we took him out into the desert, stripped him naked, and left him there.

Honestly I have no idea what happened to him; he was alive, breathing, mostly conscious and not seriously bleeding when we left. We even left him his shoes and a gallon jug of water. I never read anything in the newspaper, and no-one ever came after us over it; but I never saw the guy again, and as far as I could find out neither did anyone else in the area.

Yes, what I did was legally wrong, and was probably a sin in that it was only self defense because I goaded him into it; but I don't care. My conscience is clear and the statute of limitations has expired.

A little problem I'm having

So Head has finished his AK74 build, and he chose to use Brownells Alumahyde II .

Take a look at these pics:

I asked him about the finish, specifically the abrasion resistance and the thickness, and he came back with this:

If applied properly and allowed to cure fully, Alumahyde is the same as Gunkote. I've had the stuff of a beater SAR-1 for 5 years and over 20K rounds, multiple cleanings and lots of abuse, it even melted to a truck bedliner once because it was tossed hot into the truck bed. Alumahyde never failed. Abrasion resistance specifically, I don't know if you mean crawling through gravel or abrasion like slide against frame?

Its very thin maybe like a light coat o paint, thicker than molycoats but not as thick as such horrors as high temp engine paint. Think of the paint on an HK rifle, it is a perfect match. Doesn't affect moving parts at least on an AK. I don't spray the bolt itself and mask the breech area, while thin it is still a coating and I don't want to have headspace issues.

It sounds like this might be an interesting solution to a problem I have.

I have ridiculously corrosive sweat (I dissolve stainless watches and eyeglass temples over time). My EDC piece is a first generation Kahr K9, and I carry in a Kydex IWB.

The slide is stainless, but the finish on the corners is gone at this point, and if I don't wipe it down with oil after I take it off for the day, the bare spots will rust overnight pretty thoroughly.

You can see the results here in this pic of the Kahr superimposed over a G21:

Actually the rusting isn't as bad as it looks, for some reason my camera sometimes makes the highlights of my guns look orange (you can see the effect on the plastic frame of the Glock, which obviously can't rust), the pic on the right is what it looks like after it's cleaned, and you can see the bare spots.

I've tried cold blacking the piece a couple times, and it works for a few holster draws, but wears off too quickly; no matter how many coatings I use, which formula, and how long I let it cure.

I dont want to hardchrome the piece (I dont like the color), and black chrome over stainless can flake or chip, plus both are a bit pricey.

So what I'm looking for is a spray on finish that is somewhat self lubricating, corrosion resistant; and will stand up to being presented from, and carried in Kydex.

For a while I've been thinking about using Brownells GunKote , but I'm wondering if this might be a better option. I've seen a few gunkoted guns, I like the results, and I'm wondering which finish might be the better choice; so if anyone out there has experience with both, especially in hard use situations, drop a comment.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Carnival of Cordite #6 is up

And the esteemable (not estimible as some would put it, wrongly) Gullyborg had this to say of me:

Speaking of military weaponry:

Chris of The Anarchangel has a lot (more) to say about military small arms. His post comes complete with a LOT of high-quality photographs of the arms he writes about, so be sure to check it out. Regular readers will know by now that when it comes to small arms for military, police, and personal defense, Chris know his stuff.

Well thank you very much sir; and to my readers, go, read, be enlightened.

Good Friday

Good Friday - The Black Crowes

We've been avoiding this for so long
Luxury is temporary than it's gone
I thought that we would happen
I guess I'm wrong
Well say hi on the street,
Then well move along
I know this will be awkward
But not for long
Cause soon you'll have a new boy
To sing you songs

I will not forgive you
Nor will I accept the blame
I will see you on good friday
On good friday

I'm sorry I couldn't do this yesterday
And tomorrow I am busy and what
It is I can't say
And saturday's no good
I got a show
So it's got to be good friday
Then it's so long

I will not forgive you
Nor will I accept the blame
I will see you on good friday
On good friday

You, you come and go when you please
I know unfulfilled heads
I know you do too
But i, you know I never see
Things through,
Never paid attention to you
But honey I tried.

I will not forgive you
Nor will I accept the blame
I will see you on good friday
On good friday

Expressions that irritate me.

There are certain words and phrases that just REALLY irritate me. They're used all the time, and every time I hear them I just want to smack the speaker

"Irregardless" : A conflation of irrespective and regardless. Common in the northeast, especially Boston, it's not a word, but if it were it would MEAN THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO SAY!!!!!!

"I could care less" : No..... you COULDN'T care less genius, if you COULD care less, that means you actually care MORE.

"Needless to Say" : Needless to say? ... So DON'T FUCKING SAY IT!!! (honestly, 'm guilty of this one too).

"Accuracy Vs. Precision" : Most people think they are the sme thing, and use them interchangeably... NOT EVEN CLOSE

Accuracy is the tendency for something to be correct, or to perform to a minimum deviation from the desired result.

In gun terms (where it is most frequently mis-used), accuracy is the ability of the gun to put the bullets where the sights say they are going to go. If the sights are lined up with the X, the bullet hits the X.

Precision is another ball of wax entirely. Precision is the measure of consistency; the ability to preform the same action in the same way every time.

In gun terms precision is the ability of a weapon to group well.

What we want are Accurate shooters, and Precise guns.

An accurate weapon is a nice plus, but that's what adjsutable sights, or kentucky windage are for. The accuracy of the weapon itself isn't all that necessary to good maksmanship if the shooter is well trained and accurate. Precision (both that of the weapon, and the shooter) on the other hand is critical to good marksmanship. If a weapon doesn't put the bullet in the same place if you shoot it at the same place, it doesn't matter how well trained you are, you will not shoot well with that gun.

And finally...

"Proactive" : This is the ultimate no-no to me. It's become such a buzzword, and people have NO ACTUAL IDEA WHAT THEY ARE SAYING.

It's not a word. It's a prefix and a suffix with no root. People assume the root is act, or active, but in the definition used here, active is actually a suffix. If active WERE the root, the prefix pro would make the statement redundant, making the meaning active-active.

Proactive is a pseudo word that people take to mean the oppostive of reactive, but this isn't the case; the opposite of reactive is ACTIVE.

What people really MEAN to say is active , preventative, or pre-emptive, which means acting on existing information or supposition to prevent forseeable undesireable outcomes, or to ensure desireable outcomes.

Whenever someone says "proactive" to me, I know they are full of shit (at least on whatever they are talking about).

UPDATE: One more thing; I despise the current usage of multiple sentences where multiple clauses are more appropriate. Apparently; the proper use of the comma, the semicolon, and the parenthetical expression, have been forgotten by most.

Some have accused me of writing run-on sentences; but this is unjustified. I write sentences that use proper clause structure, and correct punctuation. The semi-colon is the proper punctuation mark for the separation of clauses; commas are the proper punctuation marks for separating phrases or subclauses within a clause; and the parenthtical expression is the proper punctuation set for digressions from, or asides to the main text (as well as annotation of abbreviation, or for references when a document is not footnoted).

(Yes, I deliberately wrote that paragraph so as to use many semicolons and commas as a demonstration)

In colloquial writing (as I most often use), this division is made relatively clear by the length of the pauses that would properly be used in speaking the text (and the parenthicals of course would be used for the asides). Colons are used for ordered lists, or to terminate the preface of lengthly external quotations; semicolons are used for long pauses, and to separate multiple clauses that have comma separated subclauses (if you could substitue " ,and ", or " ,but " , you should probably use a semicolon); commas are used for short pauses, and to separate subclauses within a clause. There are many cases where there is ambiguity in proper punctuation for a sentence, or a clause; and in such situations it is generally accepted (in colloquial writing) that the less formal mark should be used.

I may be dyslexic as all hell; and I think formal grammar is silly, as is the formal and stilted clause structure it enforces ; but I know my vocabulary and punctuation damnit. Formal punctiation serves a useful purpose; it allows you to read aloud in your head as the author intended; and it should be properly observed.

Some Overdue BlogRoll additions

I dont usually announce additions to my blogroll, but I figured I shouldn probably toss these ones on the fire here so to speak.

First, I've read the AAAARGH! (AHA thedonovan )for quite some time, but never bothered blogrolling. Well I've been getting a lot of traffic from them lately so I figured, hmm, I should probably blogroll them.


Next, Says Uncle, same thing. Read forever, lots of traffic, you're blogrolled


Next up, snugg harbor. Hom is the sailor, home from the sea, and writing good stuff


David and Cheries new freedom blog started shwoing in my log,s so I started reading, and havent stopped


And finally I'm adding heads bunker, the firehand, because I think they's cool'n stuff


I'm pretty sure Im missing some folks, but I've been up since this time yesterday, and they arent in my logs right now.

Oh I know who Im thinkgin of but I cant remember his blogs URL right now, the frequent commenter, Robert.

UPDATE: That would be

Going on the Pill

Or rather Back on the Pills; Those pills right there... 35 of them in fact.

This is how you cheat when you want to lose weight, especially when your diet has been shitty for a year or two, and this is why:

The blurry picture on the left is me the day I joined the Air Force, at 265 lbs. The picture on the right is me, about 10 years later at 370 lbs.

I've been a very large man for more than half my life. I stopped growing when I was 13, at 6'2" and 265lbs. I spent the next about 10 years between 265 and 285 at around 12% bodyfat. The maximum allowable weight for my height is s'posed to be 218, but I was never on that chart, they always had to tape me, and I NEVER recieved a conditional.

A few minutes ago I got on the scale; 370 and I don't even want to think about my actual bodyfat. I stepped off the scale and took that picture. This is the heaviest I have ever been in my life.

The difference? I expended 3500-5000 calories per day for 8+ years, then I had a severe knee injury and didn't walk more than 6 feet without a cane for six months. I gained 60lbs of straight fat, and lost a lot of muscle in that time (which of course was replaced by, more fat). That was more than 5 years ago, and the lowest I've been down to since is 295, about 18 months ago, and of course that was without gaining back all that muscle mass.

I am an immensely strong man. I can easily take my bodywight over my head, even today, and I haven't seriously worked out in years. I can still leg press more than 4 times my body weight (I tried it again last year), even with my knees.

Unfortunately strength doesnt equal fitness, or clothes that fit properly. My health is OK; my blood pressure is low, and my choleterol is fine etc... but what it comes down to; I'm not happy with my weight, my shape, or my fitness right now. I used to run 2 miles in 12 minutes, today I get winded with too many stairs. When I was 19 I did 74 pushups in 2 minutes; I just timed myself, and I did 28. I used to do 68 crunches in 2 minutes, now, 38.

A few years ago (the month before my 8 years ran out) I was recalled to active duty. I didn't find out about the recall for a few months, because I was living in Ireland at the time and failed to notify the AF. I came back to the states that christmas to be closer to my mom, and soon after I got back, I went down to the Social Security Administration to get a new card. A few days later I got a registered letter telling me to report to my nearest armed forces recruiter, national guard armory, or enlistment processing center (I forget the exact wording) within 24 hours of recieving the letter or I would be subject to immediate arrest.

So I go down there and find out that I had been issued a recall order, and that I had been recalled to extended active duty. Of course I hadn't responded to the order because I was in Ireland at the time and didn't receive it. I got torn a new asshole, and I was threatened with all sorts of charges (I was seriously in the wrong, without doubt), and reduction to my permanent enlisted grade of e5 (I hold a reserve commission as a Captain which can be revoked), and they said that I was going back in. One little hitch, I was 345lbs, and had a 50" waist and 21" neck, for their bodyfat standard of 32%.

They said that I wasnt going to get off that easy, and that I would need to come back in and restest every six weeks until I made the weight, or until I turned 34.


After three months I made it to 295 and a 46" waist with that same 21" neck (it doenst get any smaller, jsut bigger when I bulk up), for a 26% bodyfat, then I levelled off and didnt change at all. After few months they decided that I only had to come back once a year. I think they accepted I wasnt going to make the weight, and the press about people not showing up for duty had died down.

The air force PFT standard is 1.5 miles in 9:36, 55 crunches, and 62 pushups, and a maximum of 20% bodyfat.

You can figure the military bodyfat measurement using some basic measuerment (its innacurate, but it's what they use) as shown here: Body Fat Standards

My measurements in the pic on the left:

Weight 265, waist 38", chest 52", neck 20.5" - 13% bodyfat

My Measurements in the pic on the right:

Weight 370, waist 52", chest 56", neck 21" - 34% bodyfat

The last couple years have not been kind to my weight, or my size. I've rollercoastered all over the place with my work involving so much travel, then my mother ... anyway I'm jsut not where I want to be.

Let me say this right now, if I thought I could EVER make PFT again, I would be doing it right now. I would be working for whatever it takes to get down to 20% bodyfat so I could serve again. The second biggest regret in my life is leaving the Air Force (I left because of Clinton. The biggest is marrying my ex-wife). It was the right decision at the time, and I wouldnt have missed the experiences I've had since then, but I miss my service every single day.

At my weight today, my knees are getting worse, faster than they should be. I'm worried about diabetes. My clothes dont fit right or look right.

This was me last september, about 20lbs lighter:

I can see a huge difference in what I look like today, and what I looked like just a few months ago, and I'm not happy about it.

Enough breast beating, enough whinging, enough bullshit, I'm going to change this. I'm tired of it, I'm not going to stay this way. I'm going to change this.

My birthday is April 27th; On April 27th 2006, 13 months from Sunday, I plan on weighing a maximum of 285lbs, with a maximum 46" waist, 52" chest and a 21" neck (giving me a 26% body fat score, and most likely a lower actual bodyfat).

Funny thing is, if you take the bullshit BMI calculation, that would still make be Obese with a BMI of 37 (26 is overweight).

I have an ideal goal of 265lbs, a 42" waist, 52" chest, and 21" neck. This would bring me down to 20% bodyfat by Air Force standards, and I plan on being able to pass all but the run section of the PFT. Honestly there's very little chance I will ever be able to run 1.5 miles again given my knees, but I can definitely bike instead, and I will. Hell, there's even a chance I'll make the new Air Force PFT standards (which are a little easier than they were when I went in). Since 2004, they allow people who can't run for medical reasons to ride the bike instead. If I do make it, then maybe 14 months from now I'll be back in uniform, I don't know, let's see.

So, how am I going to do this?

Well as I outline in my post "Fit, Fat, and Thermodynamics" it's not all that hard to lose up to 10% of your bodyweight, which in my case could be 37 lbs, and it's not shatteringly difficult to lose the second 10%, which would bring me down to jsut under 300. The last 15-35 lbs are going to be the real btich, in fact I expct theyll take up the last six months of that 13 month period by themselves.

The "secret" to maintaining or losing weight is thermodynamics. Eat whatever the hell you want, so long as you burn as much, or more calories than you eat. In terms of bodyweight, your body can't tell the difference between eating 1lb of fat (3500 calories) and 2lb of sugar (about 3500 calories).

If I want to lose 85-105 lbs, in 56 weeks, I'm going to need to average about 2 pounds a week.

Not only that, but because of my muscle structure (pretty damned massive), I tend to actually gain weight to start as I work out, because I gain lean muscle mass very rapidly, and lean muscle mass weighs 1.7 times as much as fat.

Really, I want to lose 145 lbs of fat, and gain 40 lbs of muscle, so in effect I'm going to need to burn 2.5 lbs of fat every week. Thats an extra 8000+ calories per week that I'm going to need to burn, and I'm going to need to get drastic to do it successfully.

My first step, I'm going back on the supplements. This supplement package is specifically designed to make MY body burn fat, and gain muscle (you need to get a professional to figure out what you need, everyones body is different). Every day I'm going to be taking the following

Morning afternoon and evening:

5 grams of creatine
100 mg 1-Androstene-3beta, 17betadiol (1AD)
600mg 19-nor-4-Androstenediol (Norandrodiol)
35mg guggelosterone
200mcg chromium picolinate
50mg ephedrine
65mg caffeine
100mg asprin
A broad spectrum muscle performance oriented multivitamin

Before Meals:

120mg Xenical (blocks absorbtion of up to 35 grams of fat)
500mg chitosan (blocks absorbtion of up to 10 grams of fat)
2 cblocks (Blocks absorption of about 35 grams of complex carbohydrate)


3 ZMA (hastens muscle rebuilding, and allows sterones to metabolize better)
A broad spectrum muscle performance oriented multivitamin
5 grams of creatine
200mg of Ester C

After a month I'll run out of the 1AD and the Norandrodiol because the FDA regulated them last year under new rules for supplements, which made every manufacturer drop these products for fear of liability suits. That said, it's the first month they'll be most effective.

I'm going to regulate my caloric intake to below 3000 a day, though I'm not eating much mroe than that now, in fact most often I'm eating less, but more importantly I'm going to be reducing both fat, and sugar in my diet. Protein protein protein; I'm not going to restrict complex carbs like on atkins, thats not good for you, but I am going to focus strongly on protein.

That means lots of chicken, nuts, and beans, some cheese, some pasta, some rice, a lot of broths that sort of thing. I've done it before when I was in hgihschool weightlifting and wrestling.

What I'm NOT going to do is stop eating the foods I like. I'm just going to tweak my habits a bit.

The most important thing I'll be doing however, is excercise.

My Condo is right across the street from a gym. I get a free month there. That month stats Monday, and I'll be in there at least 1 to 2 hours a day, every day but Sunday.

Every morning, and every night, I'm going to do 50 pushups, 50 crunches, 50 side straddle hops (jumping jacks), 50 leg lifts, and 50 flutter kicks.

I'm going to pick up a cheapass slant board, a weight bench bench, and some free weights (yard sales I'm thinkin) and stick it them in my home office, and instead of just sitting on my ass watching tv while I surf the web, I'm going to be doing random excerscise.

I'm going to buy a bicycle (another yard sale item), and ride every night, for at least 30 minutes (it gets too hot here during the day), in addition to the 30 minutes or more I'm going to do on the excercise bike in the gym.

I'm going to have more sex; No I'm not kidding, the more sex you have the better, it's great excercise, and great motivation. Even at my heaviest, getting sex has never been a problem for me, it's finding someone I actually want to stay with who isnt psychotic that's the problem.

I have a girlfriend, and we have lots of sex already (though not the last two months), we're just going to have more. I'm reasonably certain she'll be 0pleased with the idea as well.

Ok, sure, I'm going to fuck up. I'm going to miss days, I'm going to overdo it some and have to stop for a few days, I'm going to get lazy, but I'm going to keep going at it, until I'm where I want to be, and even then, I'm not going to stop.

At that point I should be burning 4000-5000 calories per day, and only eating 3000. Take that across a 6 day week (one day of rest), plus the 3000 for the sixth day, and I should be able to burn 4 lbs of fat per week under ideal conditions, which means I might be able to average half that, and that's about what it will take to get me to my goal.

I'm going to have to get used to being hungry, tired, and sore. but damnit, I'm tired and sore half the time now as it is, at least then I'll be tired, sore, and looking good.

I'll update the story as it goes along.

Comics Lovin

Some days, all your favorite comics are right on, all at the same time. A sample:

How many times I have had this conversion I can't tell you; "You said this, but what you really meant was this" No, I really meant what I said "No, I know you think you meant what you said, but actually what you meant was..." Man I jsut want to shoot those people.

The central joke of this oen...yes, yes you can indeed. I stop crackers for a living, and "Hackers" has nothing to do with hacking (except the fun in jokes and references inserted by the "technical advisiors"), but its got everything to do with style, and I love it for that.

I wrote it before, but oh how the mighty have fallen.

Chris Muir, genius, nuff said

The Carnival of the Recipes is up

And I put in my "More Beef Than Stew" for this week.

Great stuff.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Thank ME? No, thank YOU

I just got the greatest email.

I've been having a rough couple of weeks (read the post immediately below for why) ... actually a rough year really, and I've notbeen in the best of moods today especially (my battery died, then after I recharged it, I spent 9 hours at my mothers re-fixing the computer I just spent three days fixing as of monday)....

Anyway, as I was saying, I just got an email that made my night.... errr morning (it's 0537, i've been up since 0900 yesterday, what exactly would you call that). A reader thanked me for writing this blog, and for the stuff I write over at the Nation of Rifleman forums (where I'm the moderator as well). She thanked me because I make her think about things a bit differently, and I make her laugh.

Folks I can't tell you how great that makes me feel, because that is exactly what I want out of life... or at least out of my writing.

I've been writing professionally since I was a teenager. I had a few magazine articles published, a couple of poems, and some supplementary materials for role playing games. Unfortunately I stopped writing a few years ago because of work, and family, and life in general.

Let me tell you, things build up inside for a guy like me, and I have to let them out. I'm a pretty intense guy in some ways, and a pretty laid back on in others. I'm easy going, I don't get angry or mad like other people do, I'm not a yeller, but I get very... forecefull when Im passionate, or I get VERY sarcastic or jsut humorous, but it has to come out somehow.

A lot of things in this world strike me as absurd, or funny, or sad, or appalling... hell, a lot of things just strike me. I look around, I notice things... mostly I notice other people NOT notcing things, and that bugs me.

I love the free and open exchange of ideas. I love debate. I love argument. I hate PC bullshit that stifles these things. I hate when people look at conversation as a competition that has to be won. I hate that people take disagreement personally.

I want to talk about things. I want people to think about things in new and different way. I want to be contentious, and to stir people up, because then, you're actually think about things, rather than jsut going though the motions.

If I can do that, then maybe those things can change, or get better, or the good things stronger, and maybe people will give a damn a bit more. Yeah, it's corny, but if each of us, one at a time, starts changing peoples minds about things, then eventually the good guys CAN win.

If I can do that, than anything else I do wont matter, and I'll be damned happy, and consider myself damned lucky (emphasis on the damned part I think).

I feel profoundly grateful that I am able to express myself in this way; that I have both the capability, and the forum; and that I have people who want to read what I write.

Well, don't thank me boys and girls, I need to thank you.

Beg, Borrow, and Sell

Ok, sob story time.

I left my regular full time consulting gig last year because of a disagreement with my bosses boss. My boss was great (I've got great references), his boss was a slimy little fuckweasel.


Just a few weeks earlier, I had bought a house with my mother; really for her, though I planned on living there too. I had about 10k left over in cash and my cashed out mutual fund, so I figured all was well.

A few weeks after that, my mothers health took a dramatic turn for the worse. As I noted in comments she's been going through multiple cancers, and various problems that arose from the treatment of them. She had over the course of a few weeks 5 aneurysms (actually we dont know how long they were ther, but they were discovered over the course of a few weeks).

Basically the result has been her partial paralysis, limited mobility, and the loss of some co-ordination and mental function. She's still the smart, funny, stong lady I love, but she forgets things, drifts off in the middle of sentences, forgets youre in the room with her, that sort of thing.

Well, as I said, I bought the house with her, and I was helping with things, and still paying my expenses as well (they total out about $1600 a month, not huge, but not nothing). With her downturn, expenses grew pretty rapidly.

Heres the thing though, my mother refused to live with me during this time. Everything woulf have been sustainable if I only had one mortgage, cable, electric etc.. instead of two. I understand her reasoning though, she is a very proud woman.

One thing was very clear though, she needed me more than my normal jobs would allow. Most of my gigs involve months at a time of traveling all around the country, and the world. Even when I'm in one spot, it tends to involve 80 and hundred hour weeks. Obviously that wasnt going to work, so I decided I was going to limit my work.

A friend of mine was closing up his gun shop, and he needed the help, so I worked there for a couple months, inventorying, pricing, prepping for auction etc.. Actually it was pretty tough work, but great fun (especially since this is one of the bigges Class 3 dealers in the state of AZ. You would not BELIEVE some of the things we found that no-one had any idea... anyway thats another story entirely). He couldnt afford to pay me in cash, so I got merchandise instead, including a few guns, and tons of ammo and accessories.

I've also done other short term gigs in between (a week here, three days there that sort of thing), and for the first time in my life I actually collected unemployment.

Things got more complicated around christmas when my brother moved back from North Carolina, broke... It took him til a month a go to get a job, and I was covering him until then (he's paid me back some, which hes never done before, maybe theres some hope for him yet.)

January rolled around and my brother was back, so I decided I could let my brother handle the load (and he's been doing ok with it since the end of Jan.) and I started looking for full time gigs in earnest.

Well in february, actually about a week before I started this blog I think, the unemployment and my savings both ran out at the same time. So I sold a couple of guns (lord I hate doing that), and a friend loaned me some cash, so I could get through till I had a job. I was still doing some short term stuff, a few hundred coming in hear and there so all should have been good.

I got a job offer after a few weeks, and then a couple days later the company told me they wouldnt be able to hire me (broke, position put off, changed etc...). I mean I literally had a verbal offer not jsut dancing around, and they came back a bit later and said, sorry, we can't. So far this hasnt happened to me once, or twice, but THREE TIMES.

I'm not bitter, really I'm not.

At the end of february I got a firm job offer, but they wouldnt be able to start me until the middle of April. I said I'd think about it, and call me if anything changes, or when you are ready.

A week later I got the exact same deal somewhere else.

I still had a couple hundred coming in every couple weeks, I figured I could probably hold out til april.

Three weeks ago I got another job offer, this time I got the whole benefits package, laptop requisition, everything but siignature on the dotted line, because the start of the gig ws going to be two weeks off. After a week of not hearing from the guy I started calling.

Today, two weeks ater I started calling him, he finally got back to me. The job is mine, but it wont be starting til mid April.

In the last three weeks I have had three of my temp gigs either not happen, or not be able to pay me, or just disappear (without payment), and I've only had one of my gigs pay (and thank you very much, I ertainly needed the money). Because of the other job I had expected to get a paycheck by the first of April, so I payed some bills that I needed to pay, but maybe could have put off.

My insurance renewal jsut came due 7 days ago . I have 8 days left to renew it or I lose my registration. I live in Scottsdale Arizona, and I'm a consultant.

What it comes down to is, I'm in deep shit.

What I'd really like, is to be working again (and not be screwed around by potential employers). I'm good at quite a lot of things, and I'm a professional at several others. My IT resume is here (my physical security resume isn't distributed publicly), and if anyone would like to employ me, temporarily or permanently, just drop me a line.

UPDATE: A couple of people have emailed me asking if they could just send me some money. I am a man of pride, and of honor, but I am a realist. There is no dishonor in taking help when it is needed, and offered. So if you wnat to give me money, I'll take it (dont be surprised if you recieve odd gifts in future however). i've also set up a donation link, jsut below my profile.

UPDATE: I've made my rent and bills for the month, so I've taken down the forsale links, but I'm still leaving a couple items for sale , to give my self a little more breating room in case something goes wrong.

!£$%&$!£$%'@; Bushmaster clinton crippled mags

Does anyone know how to remove a bushmaster 10rd mags baseplate?

My mags are getting filthy and I want to clean them, but I cant figure out how to get the damn thing off without drilling it out.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate Democrats, and especially Motherf***ing Bill F***ing Clinton?

Oh, and I already tried popping the follower out between the lips and trying to get at it from the inside. No dice, take a look:

"Not easily modifiable to hold more than 10 rounds" actually meant something to Bushmaster I guess; that stupid plastic block is part of the baseplate, and takes up half the mag body.

Colt OTOH made it kind of a joke. With my colt mags all I did was pop the baseplate off, and pull the sheetmetal spacer out, instant 20rd mag.

Oh and yes, now that the follower is out it's gonna be a bitch to get back in. I'd rather just drill the damn thing out. I've got half a dozen of these things to do as well YEARGH!!!

How the hell did they ever expect to be able to replace springs, or followers? This is an AR, followers break, and wear out.

Again with the Clinton hating.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Instructive Value of Fuck

In most languages, including english, there are four basic types of utterances

Expletive - An excited utterance
Imperative - A command or instruction
Interrogitive - A question
Expositive - A declaratory statement, description, or account

I was thinking about language commonalities, differences, advantages and disadvantages, occaisoned by me re-reading ot the excellent Bill Bryson book "Mother Tongue".

Specifically I was reading about Noam Chomsky, and there came to me a realization: fuck is one of the few words that can be all four.

Allow me to demonstrate

Expletive: Fuck!
Imperitive: Fuck Off!
Interrogitive: What the fuck?
Expositve: This is fucked up

As so many have pointed out before, Fuck is possibly the most useful word in the english language, but until just now, I hadn't realized its potential scope of applications in the field of linguistics instruction.

Perhaps I should write a FUCK YOU note to Noam Chomsky.

Y'ever wish you had thought of something first?


It's funny, I really love shocking liberals and socialists.

I'm a genius (by the numbers anyway), I have two degrees, I was born and raised in Boston, and my family was in Massachusetts politics. I write poetry and magazine articles. I've read everything they have. I'm not a christer.

They expect me to agree wholeheartedly with their liberal socialist groupthink, but I hate everything that they stand for.

Here's the thing, I actually know that theres a difference between right and wrong, that judgement isn't a bad thing, and that thinking for youself is a very good thing.

I know that collectivism, "progressivism", marxism, maoism, and communism in all it's forms is EVIL.

I know that enviromentalism, as practiced by the environmental movement is nothing but fear mongering and class warfare; or worse, it is the subterranean agenda of a death cult that believes all human life should be destroyed, exept the priviliged few who can "live in harmony with nature".

I know that feminism achieved all it's real substantive goals in the 70's, and has been taken over by socialist man-hating harridans who teach women that all sex is rape, and that only lesbian love is legitimate; So legitimate in fact that "The Vagina Monologues", which glamorizes lesbian rape (14 year old girl with 30 year old woman, that's rape) has become the seminal cultural expression of the feminist movement.

I know that the only path to freedom, and to real equality, is through equality of opportunity, the cornerstone of which is equality under the law. Setasides, quotas, preferences, minimums, maximums, incentives, extra credit, and eased standards are ALL WRONG.

I know that coerced diveristy is a completely llegitimate concept, exclusively designed to promote those wrong preferences in a more pallatable way. No matter how you clothe it, it is WRONG.

I know that western cuture is the greatest that earth has ever seen, and will continue to be so for the forseeable future; that in fact if we were forced to live in the other cultures being pushed on us by socialists, most of us would die, which I believe is what they want.

I know that the constitution says exactly what it says. It is not a living document. It doesn't change to suit the needs of society every day.

I know that the constitution does not grant rights, it affirms them, and restricts government form infringing on them. I know that those rights our ours by nature, and cannot be taken or limited; but by force, or by willing consent.

I know that I, and only I, am responsible for myself, and for my actions. The government isnt responsible for me, my parents arent responsible for me, society is not responsible for me. If I fail it's my fault, if I succeed it's my achievment.

Most importantly, and most aggravating to the collectivist, I know I'm right. I don't think it; I don't have an idea about it; I dont have a consensus of my peers supporting it; I know it.

I'm right, they're wrong, that's it.

Nothing More, Nothing Less

In a comment on another blog, someone said "I don't see why people need submachine guns" and "I don't see why anyone needs an arsenal"...

Heres the thing; you don't need to see why someone could have "an arsenal" or a sub-machine gun, because limitations on rights aren't about justifying why I should be able to do something, they are about you justifying why I shouldnt.

Oh and what exactly is "an arsenal" (no I dont want to get into the legal definition, I know it already, I'm talking about what the anti-gunners think an arsenal is)? One man can only shoot one gun at a time, how is it more dangerous that they have several? How is it more dangerous that someone has a lot of ammunition?

Disregarding that as the irrelevancy it is, why should a law abiding individual be treated like a criminal because his possesions could be used in an unlawful way?

The last time an automatic weapon (which is what a Sub-machine gun is) was generally avialable to the civilians outside of law enforcement was 1934. Since the passage of the National Firearms act of 1934 there have been extremely strict restrrictions as to who can buy or own an automatic weapon of any kind. ALL Firearms, from single shot to fully automatic, were restricted even further with the gun Control Act of 1968 (conventionally known as NFA and GCA'68 respectively).

Most new machine guns of any kind were banned in 1986, and the rest were banned by 1994 (actually back-banning items that were already here before '86, but somehow missed being banned before), except for the most strictly limited purposes... or of course for the military and law enforcement.

You can still own the machine guns made before '86, but you have to go throuh a 1 year FBI investigation and background check as well as a background check and approval from your local senior law enforcement official (police chief or sherrif generally).

Again, this is true unless you are in law enforcement. Ironically, since 1934 there has only been one murder commited with a legally owned machine gun, and it was a police officer who used a department owned weapon to kill his wife.

Stepping away from automatic weapons, the department of Justice estimates that approximately 70 million people legally own firearms in this country, out of a population of 295 million. Of those, one in 140,000 will commit a crime with that legally owned firearm.

1 in 140,000.

Almost all crimes commited with firearms are commited by prior felons who have been banned from owning firearms since 1968 federally, and in most states long before that.

Of all fatal shootings, at least 25%, and some estimate as much as 40% are one criminal killing another. Another notable statistic, 50% of all deaths from gunshot wounds are suicides (or more, considering some are reported as accidental). Further restriction of guns isn't going to change the number of deaths here, it will jsut change the means; actually it probably wont even do that, because in many states it is FAR easier to purchase a gun illegally than legally. I can go jsut about anywhere in this country and get a gun for $100 in an hour.

Restricing legal gun ownership wont in any way change these problems; putting people who commit crimes with guns in jail will.

Justifying gun restrictions "for the greater good" is nothing but illogical rhetoric.

Thats just like saying that because 44.5% of all prisoners are black, and 28.5% of all black men in America will spend some time in prison, that black men are a menace and should be locked up.

Sure, not all black men are criminals, but given the percentage, isn't it worth doing, for the greater good of society?

(statistics from human rights watch)

Please note again, the percentage of law abiding gun owners who commit crimes with those legally owned guns is ridiculously small. 1 in 140,000 is .0007%, and amounts to about 500 actual criminal acts performed per year with legally owned guns out of the 70 million owners of 200 million or so legally owned guns in this country.

Guns don't make people into criminals, nor do they make them more likely to be criminals. A gun is a tool, a piece of metal, an inanimate object. Guns have no inherent danger; the danger is in the intent (or negligence) of the user.

Those who would restrict, or ban guns are simply saying that no-one but the state is responsible enough, or adult enough to own a gun. They are convinced that guns are the cause of crime, and that they must be controlled by the government. This is risible on it's face. If you subscribe to this logic, let me point you to this:

Sensible Penis Control

What guns ARE to those who would misuse them, or who would ban them, is a symbol. To the immature and criminal, they are a symbol of power. To hoplophobes (people who are afraid of weapons), they are a symbol of hate, and fear, and evil.

But neither of these is a rational evaluation. Symbology is not reality.

Guns are tools which allow you to extend your reach and power. They allow the weak to defend themselves against the strong. They are a fine mechanical instrument, and skill in them is personally gratifying.

Used rationally, and responsibly, a gun is far less dangerous than common houshold chemicals, or your car (both of which kill far more people every year than guns do, especially if you factor out suicides, who will find a way to die whether they have a gun or not, and even more so criminals killing criminals).

People who want to ban, or restrict gun ownership are actually saying they dont believe that people are capable of being rational and responsible.

Of course they dont see it that way, they see themselves as "helping to reduce the danger", but this is completely facetious. The danger exists in mens hearts, and minds, not in a piece of steel.

All they are doing is assuaging their emotions; fear, doubt, and irresponsibility.

Nothing more, nothing less.