Showing posts with label Lucky Gunner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucky Gunner. Show all posts

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Foundational Precious Metals Post 1 of 2

Our friends Peter formerly Bayou Renaissance Man and Jamie of My Adventures in Self Reliance have both recently mentioned precious metals. I got to looking and realized I did not have (or could not readily find) a good foundation post on precious metals. So my intent is to write one.

Before getting started it should be noted I am  not a doctor, lawyer, accountant, financial adviser or anything like that. I speak solely of my own experiences, observations and beliefs. You should check with whatever sort of people, officially licenses or otherwise, then make your own decisions. Consider yourself officially disclaimed.

First we should narrow the scope of this post. My intent is to talk about the purchase of physical precious metals. So immediately I am excluding ETF's and various places that offer to store PM's for you in terms of purchase options. Next I intend to focus on bullion metals. Bullion being various bars, coins, etc that are purchased for the value of their physical metal content. This is different from 'numismatic' or collectible type coins. Numismatic coins carry a value based on their age/ history and condition; a rare 300 year old coin in excellent condition might have a bullion/ melt value (the actual value of the precious metals in the coin) of $300 but a collectible value of $5k. Numismatic coins are a whole different ball of wax and outside the scope of this discussion. We are also not really talking about jewelry. The primary reason we are not talking about jewelry is that it tends not to be a good deal in terms of bullion value and a lot of stuff floating around is fake. The one exception I can think of is for countries where the purchase of non jewelry precious metals is heavily restricted. At that point I would buy simple jewelry like plain wedding bands, bracelets and necklaces but I digress. So we have narrowed the scope of this discussion. Also I guess to further narrow things down I am talking about silver and gold. I am not talking platinum, palladium, copper or my favorite precious metal lead.

As to buying precious metals you can primarily go to a local dealer or an online one. Both have advantages and disadvantages. That is a long conversation. I will note that it is important to consider the complete out the door cost of a given item. Online guys charge for shipping, etc sometimes at high rates. Brick and mortar guys can be a real asset, especially if you want to make a big purchase today. Also the local PM guy can be a pretty handy 'grey market' asset. Their downside is often these folks do not treat smaller, normal Joe Everyday purchasers, very well. The premiums some of them charge are ridiculous. As to putting my money where my mouth is on buying PM's. For the last 3 years or so I have been buying from Montana Rarities and have no complaints though if a local dealer would treat me square he could earn my business in short order.

The pricing of precious metals is a little weird. They are traded on the open market like any other commodity such as wheat or pork bellies. This is called 'spot price'. That being said spot price does not tell the whole story in terms of precious metals for physical delivery. This is called a premium. It is probably a touch more complicated with a wide array of fees, long term contracts, etc all but we will keep it simple.

Theoretically an ounce of gold is worth spot price when it is a bunch of little flakes in a tiny container. The folks at the South African mint making Krugerrands or any other coin have costs to turn those flakes into the shiny coin we covet. Also they have this crazy desire to make money. Those folks sell the coin along with a bunch of its friends to a dealer. That guy also has costs and a desire to make a profit. Depending on the size of the operation there may be a couple progressively smaller dealers between production and the point of sale to Joe Everyday. In fairness to the people involved in this chain they obviously should be compensated for their efforts and they operate on razor thin margins.

These costs generally represent the premium between spot and the real physical price of a given item. Generally premiums are pretty level. Say it is spot plus 5-10% depending on the item involved. This baseline part of the premium is theoretically static or at least pretty consistent.

However sometimes premiums go crazy. At times we can see significant gaps between spot prices and the actual price of a coin in your hand. Why does this happen?

In general I can see two real reasons. One I know and one I think I have seen some evidence of and tend to believe. They both tend to flow together.

One piece is good old economics 99. The reasons large institutional investors buy (largely paper/ electronic) gold is different than the reasons people buy physical precious metals. If the indicators for institutional investors are down and the indicators for buying physical PMs are up you can get a gap. Think of it like this. The Jim Beam factory had a fire so they are having a rough week but it is Friday night and bottles of the stuff are flying off the shelves inn your town. Also physical PM's are a surprisingly small market. A modest increase in demand will mean shortages. Pretty quickly this new demand will get built into the market, maybe within a week or two.

The other piece is that arguably there is considerable evidence that big banking interests, specifically Goldman Sachs manipulating gold and silver prices. With those resources it would not be hard to do but this manipulation would not necessarily cross over to the physical PM market.

Why would a person choose to buy precious metals? In my mind there are four readily apparent reasons.

-First is some sort of speculation. Buy low/ sell high, that sort of thing. Though most people do this with ETF's or such maybe a person might want to physically hold the metals because they are a contrarian investor, have some sort of worst case concerns or something. I am neutral about this sort of plan. It has worked out well for some folks so I am not against it per se, just that it is outside the scope of this discussion.

-Second is some sort of tangible investment but in a more buy and hold kind off way than the first option. I generally like this plan. PM's do not grow via compound interest the way some other investments might. On the other hand when you look at compound interest and factor in inflation the tale is a bit less favorable to those 3-4 percentage points a year. It is said in the time of Shakespeare an ounce of gold would buy a fine men's suit and it still does. If you wanted to stash say a few grand (or more) for ten or twenty years especially if the local currency is unstable or you see bad times coming PM's would be a good way to go.

-Third is as a hedge against inflation or a currency collapse. We will get to it later but I really like PM's in this context. A situation with high inflation or maybe even a currency collapsing but where the fabric of society doesn't entirely break is where I think PM's thrive.

-Fourth is for some sort of mad max type scenario. I do think silver and gold would be traded in this type of scenario but that their value would pale in comparison to say fishing hooks, AA batteries, condoms, etc or especially .22lr, various 12 gauge ammo or guns (purchased for good prices and thoughtfully sold with a decent holster/ sling a few boxes of ammo and if applicable a few mags). In this scenario a person would be most prudent to be thinking past the immediate event a year or two to the recovery which of course implies you have put considerable energy and resources into getting to that point, then put some money into a big ole bag of silver or 5 and as much gold as they can afford.

Maybe we could say there are some other reasons but one could probably generalize them under one of the ones I mentioned at least for the purpose of this conversation.

Something The Money Changer said is worth mentioning here. I think he stays heavy on silver for longer than I would but still generally good advice to consider.

So we have talked a bit about precious metals and briefly described the reasons a person might choose to purchase them. Those reasons matter because different purposes are best suited by different kinds, or at least quantities of silver and gold.

Let us talk about the pro's and con's of silver and gold in general, before getting to specific products.

- Affordable. Right now spot is around $15 which puts a generic 1 ounce silver round a shade under $18 and pre 64 US Coinage 90% is at about 16x face. (This is slightly skipping ahead to specific products but my goal is to illustrate affordability here which necessitates it.) Assuming you are not a homeless junkie these are prices at much anyone can get into precious metals. Buy an ounce or two every payday and over time it will add up.

-Divisibility. The smaller dollar value per bar/ coin make silver the small bills of the PM world. If you wanted to trade for a weeks groceries either strait across or, more realistically, by selling some coins to a dealer then using the cash to buy the groceries a few ounces of silver are the ticket, not an ounce of gold.

-The small dollar amounts involved let you start off small. There is a reason a baseball player doesn't start with the NY Yankees, a lawyer doesn't argue his first case to the supreme court, etc. This way when you screw up, which you will (spending way too much on shipping, pay a silly premium to a local pawn shop, etc) the real dollar amounts involved are negligible. Ten percent screw up factor in a couple hundred bucks of silver purchased while you are learning is the cost of a pizza. 10% screw up on a 10k USD purchase after you unload those jet ski's hurts.

-Heavy/ bulky. You do not need to have too much money in silver for it to get heavy and to a lesser degree bulky in a hurry. A decent normal guy stash of 3-4 grand in silver is going to be heavy. Much more than that and it gets quickly into wheel barrow/ pick up truck territory. If your goal is to have a whole bunch of silver to trade for things over the long run this is a good thing. The downside is if you have to go somewhere.

I know a guy who has a lot of silver. He is well past wheel barrow territory and deeply into pickup truck territory. If he needed to move in a hurry, say to avoid a natural disaster or some sort of crime thing, a good chunk of the weight his truck could take would be silver. Obviously if he could only leave with a backpack the vast majority of that silver would have to be left behind. Now if he had half or two thirds of that value in gold it could fit in a small pouch in a day pack.

-Compact. An ounce of gold is worth about $1,200 bucks. A little tube holding 10 ounces of gold would be worth $12,000. You could fit that in a pants pocket.

-Recognizably.  Gold has a weird almost magical attraction. A fractional gold coin might just get you through a checkpoint you are not supposed to get through or convince a crooked official to look the other way.

-Compact. Think being in a store that only accepts bills under $20 with a hundred. In some scenarios making change could be very difficult so at a minimum your negotiating power is bad and at the worst the price of the thing could just become the coin in your hand.

You probably noted that the pros/ cons of silver and gold are polar opposites. Both have valid roles and they compliment each other well. For pretty much every scenario a person will end up with some mix of gold and silver.

As to the ratio between them.

On the lower end it favors silver. A guy who has a few hundred bucks to put into PM's should probably jut buy silver.

Long term trading favors silver.

If portability and extreme compactness are issues then gold is the way to go.

On the high end it favors gold. If a person had a bunch of money, either in one shot or over time, to put into PM's the compactness of gold is needed.

I am going to break this into a 2 part post because I am tired of writing and need to get something up since it has been a few days. In part 2 I am going to talk about specific types of gold and silver products and throw out some recommended ratios/ products that might fit different needs.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What Have You Done To Prepare Lately

I picked up a couple of budget chest rigs to fill some gaping holes in my gear stash.

The FAL needs a chest rig so I got this
I want an MVT Versa Chest Rig but right now the tactical nylon budget is tight and while I do love the FAL it is kind of an ancillary rifle. I'll probably pick one up this fall/ winter when the fairly predictable run on politically incorrect guns as well as the mags/ ammo that feed them happens.

For the old Commie Warhorse I got a

Also bought some silver a week or so back when it was under $15. These days I would say silver is a deal under $20, under 16 and fugetaboutit. The rest of my discretionary funds are getting stashed for another ammo purchase. Probably a case of 7.62x51 but if I get impatient might just get more 5.56.

Other than that there has been a renewed effort on diet and physical fitness plus some dry fire.

So that is what I have been up to. What have you been up to lately?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lucky Gunner Lounge: Choosing the Best Ammo For Your Rifle by Oleg Volk

A very good article. 

My thoughts:

1- Use appropriate ammunition for the weapon. For most this is easy and just a matter of choosing the right caliber. For older guns however this can be more complicated. As a general rule shoot the kind of ammo the gun was designed to use. A sixty year old 1911 or High Power was made to shoot ball ammo so don't get surprised if it has issues with modern defensive ammo. For some older weapons, particularly those converted 7.62x51 Mausers, be careful about pressure. You could probably get away with a few rounds of umbiguous Winchester PP 150 grain SP hunting ammo for hunting season but more is probably pushing your luck. Low recoil loads or a moderately powered hand load might work as well. If you do much additional shooting I would stick to NATO spec FMJ or better yet; give that rifle designed as a stop gap for rear guard troops an easy retirement of a box of ammo or two a year and the place on your wall it deserves.

2- Use appropriate ammunition for the task.

A- Some rounds are more value targeted than others but accuracy costs money. Expecting budget priced com blog ammo to perform like US made match grade ammo is fooling yourself. Tula is fine ammo for a day at the range or a moderately accurate rifle planned to be used inside a couple football fields but I wouldn't want it for a hunting trip where 400 meter shots are common. Accurate ammo costs more.

B- Also more potent bullet offerings cost more. Depending on how much gun you are using and what you are shooting at this might matter. If you are shooting animals at the upper end of (or arguably beyond) your guns capability then buy good bullets.

Sometimes you need to stash a couple hundred rounds of the good stuff then back it up with a case of less good but decent stuff.

3- Oleg's approach to finding the right ammo for your rifle is sold. Once you find it then stock up! We could argue about how much ammo, my thoughts on how much ammo are on the record, but whatever your happy number is get there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Progress on 2015 New Years Resolutions (Goals)

Start hunting
Continue fishing
More food (that fills holes identified in inventory)

Better organize caches
Get another grinder (Corona?)
Pick up some additional rechargeable batteries to have 2 (3 is better) spare sets per new piece of commo gear
5gal kerosene
2x 5gal propane tanks. I have added 1 to the stash.
1x kero lantern w/ 4 wicks and spare globe
Various tools TBD maybe
1x brace and bit Got a drill for my birthday so that is something.
1x buck saw or large bow saw
Chainsaw support gear (me thinks gloves, chaps, spare chain, file, plenty of 2 cycle oil, spark plugs, bar oil, etc)
Files for chainsaw and hand saws
10 pounds various nails
Cordage: Big thing o twine, some bank line, 1 spool of 550 cord, 5x 100 ft light rope
Establish E&E caches as needed

Organize a good household first aid kit Going to say I am most of the way on this one. I need to put it into a container or some sort but the general setup is pretty good.

Full inventory of long term storage food
Inventory gear, spare parts and other moderately priced items
Better organize gear and such

Overall I am sucking at my goals. I have failed in part because of not regularly looking at them. Oh well. Some good things have happened, I went to a sweet pistol course, got some ammo bought a FAL and a cargo trailer. Also I got a case each of 5.56, 7.62x39 and .308. Since I am planning on most of next year being screwed for gun stuff I can work on other things.

How are you doing on your goals for this year?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Notice of Upcoming Changes at JRH Enterprises

Notice of upcoming changes-
We have sold New Pinnacle Autogated PVS14 night vision devices with a REAL 10 YEAR factory warranty at prices lower than wholesale for quite some time now. Truly many wholesalers offer LESSER PVS14's for $3300 or more- WHOLESALE (in other words to dealers buying dozens at a time, not Joe Consumer buying 1).
Our PVS14 High performance model for example has a retail from the manufacturer of $3795. We have had it on sale for 4 months now at $3,150. You'll also note that we changed from the P+ model to the High Performance model as the "Upgraded" version a few months ago. This change to a HIGHER SPECIFICATIONS unit costs us a good bit more, but gives you a unit with much HIGHER SPECIFICATIONS than the P+ unit previously sold as the "Upgraded" unit.

In short, your currently getting much more and paying the same as a few years ago
That sale price will have to end soon. We will still be able to offer it less than the almost $3800. retail, but EXPECT the price to increase in the next few weeks.
All I can say is that we are giving ample warning. The new price will still be a GREATLY DISCOUNTED SALE PRICE, but it will be higher than what is shown right now.

Remember, a "sale price" is a sale price folks, it doesn't always last forever.  
So, EXPECT the sale price of $3150. to end soon. And if you want to lock in an awesome price on a NEW REAL PVS14 with a REAL 10 year factory warranty then you need to be doing it soon.....    
Ryan here:
I love my PVS-14. They are expensive and we all have budgets as well as competing demands but if you can swing it I strongly recommend purchasing one.  Even beyond price increases the period of time where you can buy NODs, FLIR, body armor, guns and cases of 5.56, 7.62x39 and .308 rifle ammo to feed those rifles, etc may close at some point. Either our economy will go totally TU and us normal people won't be able to afford stuff we can now, or laws will change limiting access to these items. Of course if things completely break down normal commerce will be suspended and nobody would trade away stuff like NODs or military pattern rifles anyway. Well maybe for a sailboat or a cabin but certainly not for a few hundred dollar bills.

Friday, August 21, 2015

State of the AR-15 Union Summer 2015

The other day one of my soldiers brought up buying an AR-15. He knows I have one and so does another soldier who works with us. He asked my thoughts on buying one.

I asked what his budget was and he said about a grand though he would like to have some room in that for accessories, maybe swapping furniture, etc. I got onto the computer and did some digging.

There are so many AR's out there at really competitive prices. We saw a Bushmaster Patrol for $650. Not a brand that you can brag about (like LaRue, Noveski, DD, etc) but a good Chevy/ Ford tier  work horse gun. Rugers new DI gun comes in around $700. Heck we saw a Colt 6920 for $850. To be fair I am talking internet dealer prices so add $60-80 once you pay shipping and a local dealer to do the paperwork.

He talked about potentially building one. I said I'd help if he wants. However with the price of these new, solidly decent guns it would be hard to justify.

Mags can be readily had for $13 and under.  PMC M193 is 37 cents a round at Lucky Gunner.

Anyway there are a lot of good guns out there at awesome prices. Ammo and mags are readily affordable and affordable. Heck 10 years or so ago I paid $850 for a no name budget tier rifle and money was worth a lot more then. If I had left that money in a mayo jar today I could buy a Colt 6920LE which is a whole lot more gun.

I expect the non politically correct gun situation to get bad this winter, heck maybe this fall, as the election madness gets going full force. Inevitably prices will go up and availability will go down. This means almost inevitable panic buying followed by shortages and scalping. What I a getting at is that there is going to be a period, say several months on the short end and a year on the top end, where the market for AR's and such is going to be bad. Best front load purchases planned for the next year or so to the coming 3 months give or take.

Better get while the getting is good.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Training # 2: What To Train On

When I wrote my first real post on commercial firearms training I envisioned it being a 3-4 part series. The first part I wrote awhile back.

Training #1: Barriers to Training

I discussed barriers to training in that part. Now let us say we have moved past those barriers and are seriously looking at getting quality training.

John Mosby did an excellent post on this.

What Classes Should I Take?

I find little to argue with in Johns post. If my goal in this post had been to create a list of classes ranked by priority that people should take A) mine would look a whole lot like Johns and B) since John got to it first I would take that off my 'to do' list, link to Johns post and go about my merry way.

However I have a slightly different goal then John did. My goal is more to lay out a conceptual framework which you can use to set long term goals, rank order the sub goals to ultimately get to the place you want to be at.

First we have to establish where you are.

The hard part about this is that most of the people who find their selves in this predicament do not have a sufficient background to really assess their skill level. We will walk through things for Joe a hypothetical person.

Lets say we make a list of generally useful skills we have and rank order them from most capable to least capable. Say it goes like this for our hypothetical person Joe:
-Rifle shooting (big time into varmint hunting/ distance shooting)
-Pistol shooting (recreational plinking on a monthly basis).
-Combatives (wrestled in HS, did some boxing in College)

Second we have to establish where we want to go. This should logically be based upon skills we believe we will need in the future. The difference between this and the first list is what you need to train on.

Now we have to prioritize. As John Mosby says FOCUS ON THE 25 METER TARGET!  You are far more likely to get mugged than find yourself shooting that F Class 300 win mag at targets 800 meters away or be the first on the scene in a trauma situation than execute core light Infantry competencies such as patrolling, react to contact, squad attack etc. I am not saying these Infantry skills, like Max Velocity teaches aren't important. They absolutely are. It is just that you might want to  focus on the relatively likely mugger in parking lot scenario first.

Here we also want to look at out relative skills for things we can potentially 'test out of' or at least prioritize a bit lower. Remember the goal is not to be amazing at a couple things and suck at others but to be well rounded (skills not waistline;) and progress in a logical way.

A veteran ER nurse does not need to take a red cross first aid class because it is on some list. As to our fellow Joe; he has been shooting rifles at little pests for a long time. He spends weekends smoking Prairie Dogs at 400+ meters. He mostly uses a bull barreled 22-250 but sometimes takes his AR-15 out. The point I am getting at is that Joe is totally good to go on basic rifle marksmanship and good on basic to intermediate long range rifle shooting. Instead of a 'this is how to shoot a rifle' class Tim might need one on tactical movement or close range marksmen ship.

So in closing:
1- Do an inventory of your current skills
2-Figure out the skills you think you will need based on the situation(s) you foresee.
3-Rack and stack the classes you need to get from 1 to 2 prioritizing more likely to be used skills and putting the skills you have a start on and less likely to be needed ones at the bottom of the list.
4- Get started.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

RE: Peter Talks Arms and Ammo

I was talking about mags and ammo then our friend Peter replied with a thoughtful comment that merits further discussion.

All good points. I congratulate you on thinking things through, making informed decisions based on your own situation and likely needs, and acting on them. I wish more people would do the same.

I'm in a situation where my health is dictating what firearms I can handle. After a heart attack in 2009, I ended up with quadruple bypass surgery. With a chest held together by copper wire (not to mention a fused spine and damaged sciatic nerve from an earlier injury), I find that I simply can't shoot a heavy-recoiling weapon for more than a couple of shots at a time without some pretty serious aches and pains cropping up. As a result, I'll be getting rid of most of my shotguns, keeping only a couple of 20ga. weapons that will have to do for times when I need one. I have a bunch of 12ga ammo, including really good stuff like Brenneke slugs and Federal Flite Control buckshot, but if I can't realistically expect to use them, it's time for them to go. I'll use the money I get for them to go towards a FLIR/NOD.

In the same way, I'm cutting back on all my rifles with the exception of those I regard as essential for defensive or hunting use. I'll probably standardize on .30-30 as a hunting round, because it's relatively low recoil and lever-action rifles are relatively light and handy. I have several AR's: I built them all myself, buying a few assembled lowers, buying other stripped lowers and assembling them myself, and putting on quality top ends from Bravo Company, Troy, etc. I have several thousand rounds of 5.56mm to feed them and enough magazines for now. However, I have to seriously think about my heavier-recoiling 7.62x51mm. battle rifle and the 1,500+ rounds of .308 ball I have in stock for it. Given my chest and back issues, should I sell them and apply the money to things I need more urgently? Trade-offs like that are important.

I think you're doing a great job of balancing needs versus wants, and acting accordingly. I'll try to do the same.

Ryan here:

Peter, It seems like you are being intentional about things which is always a good start.

You mentioned shotguns. Honestly the 20 gauge will do most everything the 12 gauge does with lower recoil. I stick to the 12 gauge for commonality but well I am a healthy man with enough meat on my shoulder to take the recoil. Going to 20 gauge is a fine call.

As to rifles which are more the point of discussion. You seem to be vested in AR's and the 30-30. Both are fine setups. The AR in 5.56 is plenty for a defensive cartridge and they are darn handy. The 30-30, though I sold mine is a fine short range medium to large  game round. It is a fine round roughly equivalent to 7.62x39.

Peter mentioned a 7.62x51/308 rifle. Also if I recall, previously mentioned buying a paid of AR-10's.

My answer to that question would be if you perceive a need for that capability, specifically shooting at longer ranges or at people behind some sort of light to moderate cover. 

Without getting into the intermediate vs battle rifle mess 7.62x51 hits hard. I recall a thread where a guy said he experimented with at 5.56 AP ammo, hollow point ammo, bonded ammo and barrier blind ammo then decided to just buy a darn .308 and load it with plain old FMJ ammo. Something to be said for a bigger bullet.

 If that is a capability you want to retain the question of whether to keep 7.62x51 rifle(s) on inventory is answered. The new question is how do you temper the recoil of a .308 to comfortable levels to  allow a reasonable amount of training and use if needed.

When discussing recoil we have two angles to work from the cartridge and the gun. Since we are talking about 7.62x51 the cartridge angle is pretty much settles.

Though to play devils advocate let us look at other available alternatives. There is stuff like 6.8 SPC and 300 black out that, while they exceed 5.56 stats still do not come close to 7.61x51. That being said they might pass the 'good enough' bar and merit consideration. The downside of these special snowflake cartridges have massive issues with commonality and fail the hardware store test miserably (though I did see 300 blackout at Wally World the other day).

If we are solid on 7.62x51 that leaves us with the gun. I will go point by point on this.

-Weight. Heavier guns have less recoil. Think of it like engines and vehicles. A 454 big block in a corvette is a recipe for speed.  454 in a bus or a dump truck is adequate but not impressive.

We see this all the time with people choosing super light guns for the ladies in their lives. A little polymer .380 like my LCP or an Airweight J frame is going to have some recoil. A steel gun or a larger gun in general is going to be more pleasant to shoot. The recent trend of almost AR-15 weight AR-10's sort of worries me in this regard. A 6 pound M4 style AR-10 is going to have considerably more recoil than a traditional 10-11 pound battle rifle.

Of course weight has its own issues. However depending on your concept of use for a rifle a heavier gun merits consideration. If your concept of use is for a gun for defensive use at a relatively fixed location like a 'retreat' or a check point, which I think are excellent roles for a full powered cartridge, this is an easy decision.

-Muzzle devices. I use this as a generic term for the various breaks/ compensators/ flash hiders that are currently available. A good muzzle device can really do a lot to temper recoil and there are a lot of good ones available these days at all price points. For whatever it is worth my AR has a battle comp.

-Recoil pad.
A limbsaver does a lot to make harder kicking guns more tolerable.

Roll it all together and you will have a milder recoiling rifle. An 11 pound FAL/M1A with a good muzzle device and a limb saver is going to be a lot different than a 7 pound AR-10. 

In conclusion I think by intentionally setting up a rifle you can probably have a setup that will work.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bug Out Trailer #1 of ?

So after much deliberation I purchased a cargo trailer. It is a single axle 6x10 enclosed trailer with a side door and a ramp in back. Like most trailers in that size range it is rated for a ton of cargo.

On a related note Peter of Bayou Renaissance Man did a  couple good posts on trailers 1 and 2 that are worth reading.

I wanted the larger option (vs a 5x7-8) with moving various longer objects than with additional supplies. While weight is definitely a concern, especially since the tow vehicle is not entirely optimal the extra space could come in handy for lighter bulkier items like clothing or a couple of mattresses. Also my general observation from using trailers is that floor space is at a premium. A trailer will often, especially with odd items, have the floor fill up and only be packed halfway to the top. While not with trailers I have experience packing in a hurry and know we are always less efficient than when packing in a deliberate manner. As such it is probably wise to plan on having more cargo room than you really need.

Also the ramp will be very handy for moving heavier items.

I thought about doing some sort of travel trailer conversion setup but, at least for the time being abandoned that idea.  What we would like will not work in the space available so that idea is indefinitely postponed. For it to be feasible we would need to adjust expectations downward to say sleeping everyone but still storing stuff in tubs, cooking outside, etc.

Note to self: I might be able to figure out a way to set up some short (usually you can do say 1 6 foot high shelf or 2x3 footers) shelves on the sides  then put a piece of plywood with some 2x4 reinforcement down on top then put some foam or something on top to sleep on it. On a really budget side gas cans and or ammo cans would work till I could buy shelves. So this project could get in play for maybe $40. That is in my budget so it is a lot more actionable. If I put that in the back half the side door would still be accessible. May have a solution here.

On a semi related note a small travel trailer is a great option if you have the cash to afford one. A 'toy hauler' with the ability to comfortably sleep, cook, etc plus a dedicated cargo space would be awesome for this. You could use that space for a 4 wheeler or all sorts of sweet bug out stuff.

USNERDOC recently purchased a sweet trailer that looks to be totally set up for a bug out situation.

Seems like a sweet set up. The wood stove and solar being ready to go are pretty awesome. Nice work if you can get it I guess.

What are the next steps?

1- Really firm up my vehicle based bug out setup. Basically a cushy car camping setup along with food, the coleman stove and lantern with propane, pots n pans, some water, the Berkey water filter, the genny, chainsaw, fuel, solar and medical plus of course some guns n a half dozen cans of ammo.  May include my sun oven and some other things, will have to play with it.

2- Have this stuff ready to go in big rubber made type tubs. This stuff might potentially be stored in the trailer. I'll have to play with that one.

3- Figure out how I am going to put that stuff in the trailer in an organized way. Toying with the idea of shelving. Kind of want to have my cake and eat it too here as I want to be able to use shelves yet get them out of the way when they are not desirable. The best idea I have come up with yet is to get some of those pre fab metal shelves and strap them into the trailer.

4- Be much better prepared and happy.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hot Summer Days EDC

It has been awhile since I have done one of these and things change. Right now it is a hundred degrees outside with humidity in the 35-45% range. It's pretty much like a sauna all the time.  So right now my EDC is set up to be as light as possible while still having the core needs covered.

From left to right.

-Knife Al Mar Eagle HD.

-Chapstick. Not a preparedness item but can have a handy second use for fire starting.

-Spare mag for Ruger LCP

-Bic Clic Lighter

-Ruger LCP ina Safariland Model 25 pocket holster. I love this little holster. You might notice the spare mag is loaded with plain ole 90 grain FMJ. There are a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost ball ammo is 100% in my gun. Hollow points gave it at least one jam and with the price of em I can't put enough through to be sure it will be reliable without going broke. Second with a caliber that has notorious penetration issues (over for FMJ and under for many other offerings) I am confident FMJ is going to make two holes in a person. More moles equals more bleeding which, for my purposes is a good thing.

-Wallet. Usual ID, cards, etc and cash. I try to have $100 as my 'zero' so it floats between 200 and a hundred.

Not shown. Phone because it is taking the picture. Keys because, well I am not sure why.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More on Ammo and Magazine Numbers

I talked about this recently and a couple things seemed worth mentioning.

As to ammo numbers. My stated numbers, long on the record, do not factor in training, zeroing a new scope, etc all. This was my biggest lesson from Firearmagedon. To include training ammo one could be really intentional, figure out how much ammo they average shooting every month and how many months they think a shortage will last. So if I shoot 100 rounds of 9mm a month and believe a shortage will, as is about average, last almost 6 months that would be 600 rounds of 9mm I need for training. Say I might want to take a class during that time, well we should round it up to at least an even case of 9mm, maybe even a case and a half. Ditto for the rifle. On a lazier end a person could just get 500 rounds if they do not shoot a lot.

As to mags the primary driver of my minimum magazine numbers is not some SHTF Rorkes Drift storming the walls gun fight scenario. I have no illusion about living through so many SHTF gun fights that 5.56 30 rd PMAG # 20 is going to come into play. Instead it is actually a ban scenario where, as Commander Zero says, what I have is ALL I AM EVER GOING TO GET. Having 10 or more factory full capacity mags per Glock might seem silly now. Say a ban happens (though I think we are safe for 2-4 years). In 2 years I have a good buddy who buys a Glock 19 and really wants just 1 full capacity mag to keep with the gun in his bedside table. He was dumb for not buying mags for a gun he planned to get but he is a buddy and I want to help. In 3 years a mag gets lost in the grass while shooting. In 5 years a mag has the feed lips just plain wear out. You get the idea.

When it comes to mags I stock them DEEP. As a shooter I had the unfortunate luck to come into gun owning age during the tail end of the 1994-2004 Assault Weapons Bag. Full capacity factory Glock mags were going for $150 (in 2002/3 dollars) and it was a sellers market. As soon as that ended I snagged some full capacity mags. (Note, they will not make the mistake of allowing a sunset clause into anti gun legislation again) As I became more of an intentional survivalist I bought more mags. At that point good surplus AK mags were going for 6-7 bucks a pop so even a college kid could afford a dozen. Fast forward a couple years and there was a presidential election coming up. Of course one side wanted to get rid of all that stuff. I happened to graduate from college and start a big boy job where I made decent money.

Swore to myself I would do everything possible to avoid being stuck without the tactical advantage that a good supply of full capacity magazines offered. So I did without other non essential things I wanted and spent some money on mags. Bought mags not just for the Glock,  AR or AK I had but for the one I wanted to purchase down the road some time. Not going to say my situation there is perfect because of course resources are finite and there are competing demands. Still you won't see me paying silly panic prices for mags and if I want to give a couple to a buddy I have them to spare.

Remember kids, the second amendment does not cover full capacity magazines. From a legislative perspective they are definitely the most vulnerable piece since 1) they are not protected and 2) they wear out and are at best semi disposable.

That is all I have to say about that. Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

 Ordered another dozen mags for the FAL as well as the sight adjustment tool it needs.

Ordered a Dutch Oven which was long overdue.
Dry fire-
Gear- Glock 19 withBlade Tech AIWB holster.
Drill- 1 shot from concealment.
Par time- 1.7 seconds.
Extreme low- 1.3
Extreme high- 1.8 seconds
Average 1.35-1.55

This session was better than yesterdays. The overall average was down .05-.1 of a second but the extreme high was down more like 2 tenths of a second.

Oh yeah almost forgot WE GOT A CARGO TRAILER! More on this later. All in all between the FAL, spare parts kit, mags, the case of Federal 7.62x51 XM80 and the trailer this was the most expensive month of preparedness ever. Not intentional, just sort of how things worked out, but still a lot happened. Obviously most months are not like this. 

What did you do to prepare this week?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Range Report and Sunday Randomness

Took my DSA Arms SA 58 Voyager, which for the sake of simplicity will hereby be referred to as FN-FAL or simply FAL out to the range today. Apparently you need a tool to adjust the front sight. Not like a tool is nice to have but like you need one, or maybe 4 hands. I need to So that downgraded this trip from a zero session to a familiarization fire. The gun was pretty close to zeroed for Federal XM80 149 grain FMJ out of the box though it seemed to shoot a bit left.

Zero is an interesting discussion for 7.62x51 as it's trajectory is a bit more angled than the 5.56. In 5.56 I favor a 50 meter zero though the angles are flat enough one could argue the whole discussion is just mental masturbation. The point for a fighting or  general purpose rifle is to keep the rise and fall of the round inside a fairly narrow box, both up and down, for as long as we can. Of course less up means the down comes sooner but life is full of trade offs.

Generally speaking for 7.62x51 if you are 2 inches up at 100 you will be 2 inches down at 200. Beyond that one will need to adjust their sights (including utilizing some sort of BDC) or hold over about 18 inches for 300 meters and a yard or so for 400. In any case that didn't get done today.

The recoil on the FAL was suprisingly light which makes sense I suppose due to the adjustable gas system and fairly heavy weight of the rifle. The trigger was a little heavy but crisp. It'll do fine, I just have to get used to it.

On a random note in case you weren't already feeling inadequate this guy played (well was drafted and practiced) in the NFL then became an astronaut. Like an actual NASA went up to space astronaut. Talk about excelling at a truly elite level in two widely varied fields.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Response to Reader Questions

(1)Blogger tpals said...
Showing my ignorance: what exactly is a stripped lower?
July 17, 2015 at 5:10 PM
(2)Blogger Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?

Ryan here:
1) A stripped lower is technically the serial numbered part of an AR-15. It is the metallic piece of the lower without the internals gut and such.
 This is all the parts for an AR-15 lower receiver (and a sight/ carry handle). Put this all together and you have an AR-15 lower. Note the trigger, hammer, springs, take down pins, receiver extension, butt stock, etc. All of these are put together to have a functional AR-15 lower.
The stripped lower is shown in the picture above this text. Saying it is 'stripped' just means it is without all the pieces (trigger, hammer, takedown pins, receiver extension, etc) attached or included. You need to order a lower parts kit, receiver extension, buffer and buffer spring to make this into a complete lower that you could attach an upper to and make a complete rifle.

I said before that the lower is the serialized part of the firearm. In the eyes of the law that little block of aluminum is the gun. You can buy the rest of the pieces anywhere and just walk out or order it online, then get it shipped right to your house.

Stripped lowers are quite affordable. They are regularly available under $50 and always under $100. I don't care about brands much though I do avoid polymer lowers. As Chris said "the most important part of a lower is the roll mark (that shows brand). Brands only really matter to brag to your friends that you have a Noveske, LaRue, Daniels Defense or whatever lower. If that matters to you and you have the extra cash then by all means do it. I would rather put that money into P mags, and start saving for a case of 5.56 ammunition.

The specific advantage a stripped lower has is that under most past US gun laws older pre existing stuff is grandfathered in. So if a gun ban were to happen which I think we are safe from for at least a few years that stripped lower is 'the gun' and is grandfathered in. You could order the stuff to finish it later when you can afford it.

This probable grandfathered status plus the affordability of stripped lowers makes them pretty handy. For a likely gun ban scenario a stripped lower is in effect a physical version of a stock option to have an AR in the future. Maybe you cannot afford to buy an AR today but want one down the road. Most folks can probably scrape up sixty or eights bucks to get a lower then just put it away. Case in point I would like to be able to have a rifle for each of my kids but right now I do not have 1,600-2,000 dollars to do that. On the other hand I could buy a pair of lowers and build the rifles in the future.

A person looking for profit who found a good deal on lowers and mags could do very well in the gun run I have tentatively scheduled for this fall/winter or even better than that if a ban happened. A 'AR party pack' of a stripped lower and 7 new in plastic PMAGs could probably triple their money.

(2)Matt LBS said...
Also, I've seen your thoughts on ammo quantities, but what is the number of mags per weapon that puts you in a happy place?

Yes my thoughts on ammo are on the record.

My thoughts on mags are also but to briefly recap:
 Core Defensive rifle-20
I stock AR-15 mags

Core Defensive pistol-10
I stock Glock 9mm magazines

That roughly correlate to 3x combat loads rounded out a bit. My general thinking is one set to use, one set to replace those when they are worn out/ damaged/ lost and one set for trade/ charity. Lots of people have a rifle and 2-3 mags or a pistol with two. I am happy with those numbers though more is of course merrier.

It is worth noting those numbers are PER WEAPON not per weapon type. So if you have 2 rifles it would be 40 mags. Buy a third rifle and get another 20 mags.

I hope that answers both questions. If not hit me up in the comments section.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Rucking N Other Things

5 miles with 35 pounds in 70 minutes. 14 minute miles are not amazing but aren't too shabby either.

Next week I will be doing a speed ruck so it will be shorter but a faster per mile split will be the goal.

Also I picked up that stripped lower I have been wanting.

So now when things get silly, say this fall, I will have a viable option to build the budget(yet still serviceable) AR that is my next planned rifle acquisition. The concept of use will be a reasonably priced AR that can serve as a backup to my primary rifle, a 'truck gun' and such.

Tomorrow after running some math I will pick up more FAL mags. The planned purchase should put me into 'happy numbers' of mags. To round out that setup I will still need to buy a couple cases of good 7.62x51 surplus in due time. Ammo matters a lot but for a ban scenario ammo, which could feed Bubbas bolt action deer rifle, is a lot less likely to be targeted than say guns and military pattern rifles and the standard capacity mags that feed them.

The Max Velocity VERSA chest rig is almost ready for sale. I am excited and totally want one. My Costa Leg Rig it can rock FAL mags. That this setup can rock 5.56 and 7.62 in the same rig is a huge plus. I need to buy a chest rig for the big boy rifle and being able to swap out to AR stuff is a plus. I plan to purchase one of these to fill that role.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Over the last week or so I have....

-Bought a case of XM80 Federal .308 FMJ.

-Bought 100 rounds of .380 ammo.

-Rotated 10 gallons of gas. I promptly stabilized the new gas.

-Picked up some zip ties and rebar tie wire.

-Replaced various consumables, 3 cases of TP, some canned goods and the like.

-Learned to field strip the FAL. Man that is a simple weapon. I can see why it was so popular.

What is up for this week:

-Got to fix a better solution to protect my tomatoes.

-Mark the date/ fuel/ add in's for the cans I just rotated.

-Rotate some more gas.

-Be better about dry fire. Today was session 1 of the week and I want to hit at least 4x this week.

-Burn up some 7.62 NATO ball at paper and get the FAL zeroed.

-Confirm zero on another rifle.

-Do a short term grid down test run. Cook with non grid power, dust off the Berkey water filter and purify my water, utilize non grid communications, etc.

-Reengage working on the ham license.

-Probably order some silver.

-Probably order some more FAL mags.

-Maybe get some ammo cans and put away a bunch of ammo for the long term.

-Maybe go cargo trailer shopping. Then again I doubt that will happen unless the range trip falls through. They are both in nearby big towns in opposite directions. The trip to go shoot the FAL near Alex is going to burn most of weekend day. The other weekend day will probably be used to go to grocery shopping and do house keeping/ chores. Trailer shopping may be part of my fun weekend day (maybe hit Academy to look for .22lr, a nice meal out, etc) for the weekend after next.

Today's dry fire
Weapon- FN-FA
Drill- 1 rd from low ready
-Par Time- not established
-Average time window: roughly .68 to .99.
-Extreme low: .64.
-Extreme high: 1.13.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Sort of Repost- Southern Prepper 1 Scenario Video and Ammo Discussion

I have posted this video before, twice if I recall. Anyway it brings up a very good point. Ammo matters a lot and it is prudent to consider A) stocking it deep and B) the opportunity for resupply in your chosen caliber during some sort of event.This is a point I like to occasionally revisit.

After watching this video I opened the safe and pulled  out my ammo and mag records. I am very pleased to say we are finally above my desired ratio of 5.56 ammo. 3,000 rounds per military pattern rifle is not a bad place to be. You can always use more ammo but I am happy with my 5.56 situation. I have spent a lot of money to get here but the blissful calm that came over me when I saw that the stash exceeded my desired ratio was worth it.

This video is, for me, a sort of gut check that I occasionally revisit. Buying the FAL sort of complicated my situation but then again I sold a 30-30 so it is a wash on logistics and a capability upgrade. This gut check sits well with my goals for the rest of the year which are (roughly in order):
An AR stripped lower receiver (more of a gun ban insurance thing than a SHTF thing)
10-20 more FN-FAL mags
Some more FAL spare parts. Specifically springs.
Another case of 5.56
A case of 7.62x51

maybe some Glock mags if I get to it.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

RE: Selling Stuff, Specifically my 30-30

The balance between keeping spam down and letting the conversation flow authentically is a touchy one. I have fiddled with different things. Right now we have the capcha on and I approve comments over 14 days old. This lets people talk but keeps the spam to a minimum. Aside from keeping spam down, which is the primary goal, I saw in time there was a secondary benefit of letting me see the comments. Usually I scan through the last week or so's posts pretty regularly but comments on older posts tend to get missed.

Today I saw a comment on my post about selling stuff
"Prepper Next Door said...Non standard? 30-30. I'm getting old. Eliminating a caliber is a good thing? My motto: Never let prepping get in the way of your gun collection. I understand. You want to sell some guns to buy some guns. In the future you'll look back and regret selling it. It won't happen today. It won't happen tomorrow. But it will happen."

Ryan here:

1- The 30-30 Winchester is certainly a plenty common caliber. It solidly passes the hardware store test. However relative to my collection it was not 'standard'. It was the outlier in my collection. For anything but a highly legislated nanny state the FAL will out perform the 30-30. Anything the 30-30 can do the FAL can do better. If/ when I get into hunting I will likely get a light general purpose .308 bolt gun like the Savage Hog Hunter and put a 1.5-6x Burris MTAC on it.

2- The thing about logistics is that I like them to be DEEP.  I have mumble mumble number of rifles in 5.56, 7.62x39 and 7.62x51/.308 with mumble mumble cases of ammo for those guns. When it comes to guns plus their mags and to a slightly lesser degree ammo I try to keep in mind Commander Zero's point (to paraphrase) "What if the stuff you have is all you are every going to get. Do you have enough guns/ mags/ ammo to last the rest of your life?" For core roles I like to have multiple guns of a given type with lots of magazines, spare parts and ammo. While it puts the fun in redundancy this type of deep supply has a considerable financial cost to it. This cost strongly incentivizes being vested in relatively few types of weapons. It also incentivizes ditching outliers. While a fine rifle my 30-30 was definitely an outlier in the battery.

3- Honestly I just didn't use it much. The particular 30-30 I sold had been in my collection for about 3 years. I purchased it and shot 20 rounds of Winchester 150 gr SP through it then oiled the gun up and put it in the safe. Every few months I took it out of the safe to fondle but that was about it.

4- As I have piveted into .308/7.62x51 the desire to remove the outlying 30-30 grew stronger.

5- As to collecting guns vs preparations. I think we all have to make choices about where to be sentimental and where to be calculated. Honestly I sort of transferred my sentimentality about the 30-30 into the FN-FAL. In doing research on battle rifles I just got a real desire to own one so that is the way I went. From a financial perspective a PTR-91 would have made more sense and from an ergonomics standpoint some kind of AR-10 would have really been ideal.

6- If I decide that I want a lever gun down the road I can get one. Honestly I think in 2-3 years I will own a .357 mag lever gun, either a Winchester or a Marlin. That would give me the sentimentality of an old school lever gun without the hassle of a different cartridge. Being able to go into the woods with a revolver and a lever gun with 2 boxes of the same ammo would be awful convenient.

7- If I decide to get back into 30-30 Winchester there are plenty of rifles available. There are probably a couple million 30-30's floating around the US. As Aesop once said there is a running joke among firearm dealers that the difference between a 30-30 and an STD is eventually you can get rid of the STD.

Well I hope that shares my opinion on that. Thoughts are always welcome.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Book Review: 299 Days Book Three

Here is what Hoss USMC thinks.

Now my thoughts. Book three starts where book 2 (previously reviewed together with book 1) left off. Without getting too deep into spoilers at the beginning of book 3 Glens family and 'the team' arrive. Grant starts working to get everyone settled in. The broader community's reaction to the events as they unfold. Also the group takes a trip to town.

Also in book 3 we see how events unfold for people from Grants conservative workplace.

Onto the usual format:

The Good: As with the rest of the series this book portrays realistic situations and interactions.

The lack of body armor came up again. I say this as a good thing because it drives home the point that you need this stuff.  Lots of folks have a ton of guns but no body armor and that is real dumb. Body armor is just not that expensive. I get how not everyone owns a NOD. The good ones cost about as much as a decent used car. Maybe they are just too expensive, for a young family making 30k a year with 5 mouths to feed spending a tenth of that on a NOD is not realistic. Also maybe a person just isn't there in their individual preparedness yet. Still body armor is not in that category. For the proceeds of say a 30-30 that was gathering dust in the safe you could get a set of body armor.

When the group went to town dividing up into groups to go to different places was a sound idea. Instead of say each family/ household trying to go to the grocery store, the hardware store, etc all having one person with the master hardware store list, another with the grocery store list, etc makes sense.

A lot of the book was about the political posturing Grant was doing within the community.  Maybe social posturing is a better way to put it. Trying to set the place up to take care of their selves and build the type of robust community needed to survive the mess they find their selves in by properly guiding and framing the conversation is a lot of what this book is about.

Also the way a local guard force is started by a respected local person, in this case Rich the Sheriffs Deputy, makes a lot of sense. This seems to be the way things unfold in emergencies. The community sees a need and fills it led by the most capable willing individual present. I think many places would find that Officer Anderson, Retired Deputy Johnson, 1SG (Ret) Smith or some other capable individual would find a leadership role in the group of residents that guards the community.

People have a way of looking after their selves. In America there are so many guns in the hands of normal citizens.  I think people in most places will find a way to look after their own security against most small time threats. They could deter small groups of bad guys and could put up a pretty good fight against say a dozen or dozen and a half  semi trained bad guys. 
These small groups of bad guys are certainly the most likely threats in any situation and I would say the most dangerous threat in a regional disaster like say Hurricane Katrina. Granted in a nastier/ larger/ longer term situation the most dangerous threat is going to be worse. If the local guard forces thing they can beat a smaller group of legitimate professionals or a larger group of serious hard core criminals they might not be looking at things objectively. I would not want to bet on the U Loot We Shoot boys against say a a professional Infantry Squad or a 30 man professional violent criminal group such as the Zeta's, a roving biker gang, etc.

The Bad:

Grant didn't stock ANY feminine hygiene supplies at the cabin. He was too embarrassed to buy any. The guy has a cabin and a pretty sweet setup but not a single box of tampons. You have got to be kidding me.

This can be a touching subject. Being the crazy guy I am I brought up the issue of stocking feminine supplies with Wifey. She said she would keep a 90 day supply and for me to stay out of her business. That seemed fair enough to me.

Regardless of how it could be handled the total lack of a plan was completely inexcusable.

That 'the team' showed up with basically no food seemed real dumb to me.  They had case upon case of 5.56, 7.62x39, 9mm and such but didn't think to get a couple cases of canned food or even a few superpails of rice, potato flakes and such. Heck even a big bag of rice and a big bag of beans is something.

Also none of the characters had much fuel stored. Grant was stocking up a cabin for the collapse of civilization and, if I recall correctly, stored 2x 5 gallon gas cans. We could certainly have a conversation about how much fuel a person needs to stock but these guys were way short.

I think that while the overall scenario laid out in the book series is realistic the power and water staying on all the time is probably rather optimistic. It just doesn't match the scenario. A more realistic scenario would be that while power worked sometimes there would be intermittent black out's some of which lasted an hour or two but others for multiple days.

The fanboyism about how 'the team' looked like military contractors was a bit deep.

Also it is clear 'patriot' was the buzz word of this book. If you want a work out read this book and do 10 pushups every time they say patriot.

The Ugly:

This book is sort of dull. Aside from the brief trip to town it is pretty dull. It makes sense and is necessary within the context of the series but looking at it in isolation this isn't exactly an overly action packed and exciting book.

[For the sake of full disclosure having read further on in the series this book sets conditions for the rest of the series. As such, while the stand alone value is arguably lacking, it has a value within the context of the series.]

Overall impression: It is an OK book and going from book 2 to book 4 is hard so if you liked the first two you should read this one.

Friday, July 10, 2015

US Army Looking at JHP Pistol Ammo

Our Army is looking hard at JHP ammo in the new handgun trials.

As to the ammo it is long overdue. The particular pieces of the Geneva Convention on ammunition:

"The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions."

To employ arms, projectiles, or material{sic} calculated to cause unnecessary suffering;"

 This whole thing is really dumb. Bullets are dangerous. Bullets are intentionally designed to kill things. The whole point of war at a tactical level is to seize key terrain and kill the other side in support of your sides goals.

One could argue that JHP ammo is safer as it expands and tends to stay in the person who was intentionally shot instead of passing through them and moving dangerously downrange. One could also argue that it is actually FMJ ammo that causes unnecessary suffering. Plug a guy with a couple rounds of 9mm JHP to the central part of the torso and he will be dead in short order. Plug a guy in the same place with FMJ and he might suffer for hours or even days.

Also since we have never fought anybody who plays by the Marquess of Queensberry rules for war why the hell should we play by them? An American soldier fighting in the Central Command AOR who is captured can expect to be beaten, repeatedly raped then have their head cut off on video tape. Why should we go out of our way to play according to some rules?

Put it this way, if I am rolling with a buddy or even fighting a guy in an organized competition I will follow the rules; however if I am (not employing a weapon because I am unarmed which means it is a felony to carry there, I am getting drunk or swimming) attacked by some goblin I will use all available options to wreck that guy. Particularly I favor striking at the neck and slamming heads into hard stuff. The point is that he is not following the rules so I will not either.

Anyway to be honest I believe the only reason we are having this handgun competition (as well as the last 4 rifle competitions and 1-2 machine gun competitiions) is to justify the existence and pay checks for a whole bunch of people at Rock Island and Ft Benning. Being realistic our Army is between wars and in a severely tight financial crisis. We do not have the needs or funding to replace all of our handguns.

We do however need to upgrade our ammo. Honestly any sort of JHP round would be a massive game changer over FMJ 9mm ammo. I am carrying 115gr Federal Classic Personal Defense JHP these days because well I have it and the load is solidly adequate. (I am looking hard at moving to the 147 gr Speer Gold Dot.) I think something in the 147ish grain range, in line with the new FBI load such as the Speer Gold Dot or 147gr Federal Hi Shok would be a darn good option.

Anyway Ryan's thoughts are 1) The handgun competition is silly because we are almost surely not going to buy any of them and 2) We should move to JHP pistol ammo. 
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