Archive for the ‘Guns and Gear’ Category
Via The Firearm Blog I learned of some great news, Defense Distributed has successfully printed an AK magazine:
Since all but the most expensive 3D printers lack the ability to work with metal (that will change) you still have to supply a spring but the rest of the magazine can be printed. You can count this as yet another nail in the coffin of gun control. Advancements like this effectively render New York and Colorado’s recent magazine bans meaningless.
Head over to Defense Distributed’s website and download the plans.
Late last year it was announced that design files for firearm related objects would no longer be allowed on Thingverse. This decision came after 3D printer designs for AR-15 lowers were posted. In response Defense Distributed has launched DEFCAD, a site to host 3D printer designs for firearm related items. As of this writing designs for a shotshell holder, an AR-15 pistol grip, an AR-15 lower, and many other items are available.
The best thing about the Internet is the fact that no information posted to it can ever be completely killed. Despite Thingverse’s attempt to censor firearm related 3D printer designs they are still available.
Like numerous other gun bloggers I was contacted by Anthony at LuckyGunner with an offer of free ammunition in exchange for a review. My guess is that these offers are being sent out as part of a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. I’m OK with that, offering free ammunition in exchange for a writeup that gives another link to LuckyGunner is a perfectly fair trade in my opinion. Unfortunately due to holiday craziness and rather unpleasant weather it took me some time to get to the point of actually testing the ammunition. LuckyGunner sent me 100 rounds of PMC .45 Auto, which I tested in my Glock 30SF, Glock 21, and Beretta CX4 (because I’m the only person dumb enough to get a CX4 in .45 Auto). Due to the weather we’re currently subjected to in Minnesota I did a simple function test. That is to say I just tested if the ammunition worked or not, I didn’t haul out my chronography to get muzzle velocity reading. Needless to say the ammunition worked in all three guns without any trouble. Granted my Glocks have eaten everything I’ve fed them and my CX4 only gets cranky when fed Wolf ammunition so I wasn’t expected any problems.
With all of that said there is one thing I want to mention about PMC .45 Auto ammunition, they use large pistol primers. I reload almost all of my own ammunition and have noticed several companies moving to small pistol primers for their .45 Auto brass. This move pisses me off because nothing puts the brakes on a reloading run like a brass case refusing to accept a primer. One of my biggest criteria for .45 Auto ammunition is whether or not the brass uses large pistol primers. If the brass does use large pistol primers it’s good, if it uses small pistol primers it’s bad. This is because .45 Auto, being a low pressure cartridge, can be reloaded numerous times. Buying factory ammunition is a painful ordeal because it involves paying far more than I can reload for so I try to recoup some of the costs in reloading the casings. The more times I can reload a case the more of my costs I can recoup.
In conclusion I have no problem recommending PMC ammunition. It functions and the cases can be reloaded, which are my only two major criteria.
Firearm laws are often confusing. In fact many of the laws are so confusing that state officials fail to understand them. Via the January 2013 Oakdale Gun Club newsletter I was made aware of a guide [PDF] put out by the Research Department of the Minnesota House of Representatives that covers Minnesota’s gun laws. I haven’t had a chance to read the entire document but it may be of interest to Minnesota gunnies, especially those who are new to the shooting sports and those who haven’t research applicable laws to much extent.
While manufacturing an AR lower on a computer numeric control (CnC) machine is possible most people still lack a CnC machine. Fortunately Zerg539 alerted me to a forum post detailing how an AR lower can be manufactured from bolted together flat pieces of metal, which can be done with tools that are more commonly available than CnC machines. Detailed blueprints can be found here [PDF].
Blueprints like this make implementing Plan B even easier. Decentralized manufacturers could pull together the tools necessary to cut and drill flat pieces of metal easier than they could pull together resources to acquire a CnC machine. Furthermore the tooling for an AR lower build from flat pieces of metal could be spread out between multiple locations which would make shutting down a manufacturing ring even more difficult. I believe manufacturing an AR from flat pieces of metal would also be much cheaper and therefore AR pattern rifles could be made even more readily available to those with few funds.
Mikhail Kalashnikov has been on this planet for 93 years. The reliability of his body has only been matched by the weapon he designed, which is why this news doesn’t worry me:
Mikhail Kalashnikov, the 93 year-old inventor of the world’s most popular automatic rifle, has been admitted to a cardiology hospital in the Russian city of Izhevsk, in the Urals.
The engineer’s health is said to have worsened during a routine check up on December 20, and Kalashnikov has stayed in intensive care ever since.
According to his biographer Aleksandr Uzhanov, the weapons designer, who has until recently regularly attended work at the military plant in named after him, “feels good and plans to leave the hospital in the coming days.”
Doctors confirm the life of the increasingly frail Kalashnikov is not in immediate danger.
Although he may seem troubled now his is assured if the doctors merely kicks his rusted bolt open again. Here’s wishing well to one of the best weapons designers in history.
Since the shooting in Connecticut it appears that the world has gone insane. Instead of rationally waiting until all the facts are in and proper analysis has been performed on what played out during the shooting anybody and everybody seems to be scurrying away from guns as fast as possible. Effective immediately Dick’s Sporting Goods is ceasing sales of certain semi-automatic rifles:
Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the world, says it has removed all guns from its store nearest to Newtown, Connecticut, and is suspending the sale of certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles from its chains nationwide.
Whatever. I purchased one firearm from Dick’s, a Remington .22 to be exact, and the experience was horrible. The individual working the gun counter had to call up a manager, which took 20 minutes, before I could even begin filling out the 4473 form. During the entire process the manager was staring me down and constantly saying, “You have to fill that form out correctly or you can’t buy the gun.” Beyond implying I was too incompetent to fill out a 4473 she was also treating me like a suspect in a crime. Needless to say I’ve never purchased anything from them since and plan to continue my boycott with the announcement of this news.
Dick’s aren’t the only ones being dicks. Cheaper Than Dirt! announced via Twitter that they will cease online firearm sales:
Cheaper Than Dirt! is suspending online sales of firearms effective immediately.We are reviewing our policy internally, and will continue…
Cheaper Than Dirt! has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with gun owners for a long time now, it’s sad to see that they’ve decided to terminate it. Who else has decided to terminate their relationship with gun owners? Cerberus Capital Management. Cerberus has announced that they will begin selling off Freedom Group immediately:
U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management said on Tuesday it will immediately begin selling its investment in gunmaker Freedom Group in light of last week’s school shooting in Connecticut.
Cerberus acquired Bushmaster in 2006 and later merged it with other gun companies to create Freedom Group, which reported net sales of $677.3 million for the nine months ending September 2012, up from $564.6 million in the same period a year ago.
Apparently even evil capitalist profits aren’t a good enough reason to stand in support of gun owners. Never let it be said that corporations will do anything for money. Either way this news may lead to the breakup of Freedom Group, which is a good thing in my opinion. Too many major manufacturers are owned by Freedom Group and I would prefer to see the firearms industry decentralize a little.
Who else is moving as fast as they can to distance themselves from the firearms industry? Televisions networks. First the Discovery Channel announced that it’s canceling American Guns:
A Discovery rep told FOX411 that “American Guns” – which is out of production and not currently broadcasting new episodes – has been canceled and will not return for a third season. This comes as something of a surprise given its growing popularity. The show had a 50 percent ratings increase for its second season premiere, and one of its stars, Renee Wyatt, recently said she would “definitely” be interested in returning for season three. The rep, however, would not link the show’s cancelation to the Connecticut school massacre.
The best part about that story though has to be the following statement:
“I know you all have to make money but would Discovery Channel PLEASE consider ceasing to broadcast the show in the U.K.? Sadly your program makes buying/owning guns seem fun, glamorous, even normal,” wrote one.
Oh my gods, the show makes owning firearms seem fun and even normal? Perhaps that’s because owning firearms is fun and perfectly normal. Sure, it’s not considered normal in the United Kingdom but it should be.
In the end I’ve never watched an episode of American Guns so I can’t really comment on how good or bad it is. What I do know is that the Discovery Channel isn’t the only network running away from the firearms industry as fast as it can, NBC has announced the cancellation of 3Gun Nation:
Citing the recent tragedy in Newton, CT the NBC Sports Network, broadcast home of popular shows such as 3Gun Nation has placed an indefinite moratorium on the broadcast of any firearms related outdoor shows.
Once again I never watched 3Gun Nation so I’m rather indifferent about this announcement.
It seems everybody is in panic mode right now. As I mentioned yesterday, this nation is now run by individuals who prefer to react irrationally before all of the facts are in. Instead of developing policies based on proper analysis of factual data people rush to the television networks to get some face time in order to make an announcement that they hope will advance their political careers. Politicians aren’t the only individuals who do this, major corporations also do this.
I’ve mentioned my interest in the Tavor rifle but expressed concern about the price. Back in April a representative of Israeli Military Industries (IMI) said they were aiming for a manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) of “under $2,000.” As I expected, the rifle will have an MSRP of $1,999.
Thus continues my love-hate affair with bullpup rifles. I like the concept of having a rifle that fires proper rifle cartridges in a compact form factor but I don’t like the prices being asked for any of the currently available options. For $1,999 I can buy a nice AR-15 and AK-47 with change to spare. On to of that the bullpup form factor doesn’t solve enough problems, especially when the problems it introduces are considered, to justify that notably higher cost in my book. Then again value is subjective and I’m sure there are a lot of people who are willing to shell out $2,000 for a bullpup rifle. My only hope is to know one of these fine individuals and ask them to let me fire it a few times.
Earlier this year I mentioned some interest in the new Israeli Tavor. Two things have stood between myself and getting trigger time with that rifle. The first was cost. A manufacturer suggested retail price of “under $2,000″ didn’t fill my heart with hope that the rifle would be cost effective. The second problem was the fact no American firearm manufacturer had expressed interest in importing the Tavor. That second problem is no longer an issue as the manufacturer, Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI), has launched a subsidiary in the United States:
Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) has announced their new US subsidiary IWI USA Inc. The new company has leased a 21,000 sq. ft. facility in Harrisburg, PA. They plan on selling the TAVOR SAR rifle in a number of different configurations as well as the UZI Pro pistol.
If anybody can manufacture a bullpup rifle that is affordable and addresses the most common issues with that style of firearm it’s a company that manufactures weapons for a government that can’t get along with its neighbors for more than two minutes.
Earlier this year, amateur gunsmiths got together to see if they could print out some parts that could be used to construct a fully functional AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Last weekend, a 3D-printed lower receiver was tested to failure shooting real bullets, and made it through six shots before suffering what you could legitimately call a catastrophic structural failure.
Some people are pointing at this test as a failure because the lower failed after six rounds but I see it as the dawn of a new age. Technology, as a rule, has a tendency to improve. Even though this first lower failed after six shots it proved that the concept is workable. Now that the concept has been proven viable it’s time to improve the technology. This may involve using different materials or making design changes to reinforce weak points. It is my hope that someday future generations will look back at today and say “Man, they had it hard back in the early 21st century. Did you know that most people had to buy their firearms from dedicated manufacturers? It’s crazy! I’m glad we can just print up our firearms at home, going to the store would be such a hassle.” Decentralization makes suppression impossible. If anybody can simply print a firearm at home controlling firearms becomes impossible.