Monthly Archives: June 2010

AR-15 Weight Calculator

One common topic of discussion relating to AR-15s is weight.

Frequently, someone will want to know what a certain accessory will weigh, or how much difference there is between a heavy barrel and a light barrel, and so on.

I have created a very simple calculator – with links to resources from other websites – that will assist those who are looking for the total weight of their weapon. I cannot guarantee that it will be perfectly accurate, given variables relating to manufacturing processes and scale calibration, but it should provide a fairly accurate weight assessment.

It is a work in progress, so please excuse the rather boring appearance for now. More data will be added to the “Stock and Optic Weights” page soon.

I would like to thank (USMC03) and (rob_s) for allowing me to reference the data they have painstakingly compiled over the past few years.



Filed under AR-15, Firearms

McDonald v. Chicago

The bottom line: In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court incorporated the Second Amendment – in other words, found that it applies to state and local governments as well as the federal government.

The full decision can be read here.

My favorite quotes from Justice Stevens’ dissenting opinion, followed by my translation:

“…a rule limiting the federal constitutional right to keep and bear arms to the home would be less intrusive on state prerogatives and easier to administer.”

Translation: It’s too difficult to protect this right. Additionally, the Framers got it wrong when they made the Second Amendment so broad.

Never mind the fact that the First Amendment states in part “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…”, and yet, it has been discussed by the courts for generations and will continue to be discussed as long as the Republic is alive. If only Justice Stevens could stand in front of the Constitutional Convention and explain that defending liberty was just too difficult and confusing.

“Your interest in keeping and bearing a certain firearm may diminish my interest in being and feeling safe from armed violence.”

Translation: Although the Chicago handgun ban has completely failed to prevent handgun violence, it still makes sense in the recesses of my mind.

This is the essence of the dissent: ignoring logic and historical precedent, we personally feel that you should not have this right. Stevens’ first-person description is, in my opinion, telling.

“…although it may be true that Americans’ interest in firearm possession and state-law recognition of that interest are “deeply rooted” in some important senses… it is equally true that the States have a long and unbroken history of regulating firearms.”

Translation: The Court has allowed this injustice to stand for so long that we must simply continue to allow it to stand.

Sounds like squatters’ rights to me. States have squatted atop the Second Amendment long enough that it doesn’t belong to the people any more.

From Justice Breyer’s dissenting opinion:

“In my view, (the historical record) is insufficient to say that the right to bear arms for private self-defense, as explicated by Heller, is fundamental in the sense relevant to the incorporation inquiry.”

Translation: Citizens do not have the right to defend themselves in their homes with firearms if their state or local government says they don’t have that right.

I don’t think I need to expand on that point.

“There is… every reason to believe that the fundamental concern of the Reconstruction Congress was the eradication of discrimination, not the provision of a new substantive right to bear arms free from reasonable state police power regulation.”

Translation: As long as everyone’s rights are deprived equally, there’s nothing to see here. Move along, subject.

This (and similar opinions) ignores the historical precedent of gun control legislation being enacted to deprive minorities of the right to keep and bear arms.

“…our society has historically made mistakes—for example, when considering certain 18th- and 19th-century property rights to be fundamental.”

Translation: That private firearm ownership is allowed under current property law is just as bad as when slavery was legal – when one human being had the right to “own” another human being.

“…the Amendment’s militia-related purpose is primarily to protect States from federal regulation…”

No translation is really needed here, though I suppose Justice Breyer is eagerly awaiting a court challenge to the 1916 National Defense Act, which allowed the President to “federalize” the state militias (National Guard).

Perhaps Arizona Governor Jan Brewer could activate the Arizona National Guard to conduct armed patrols on the US/Mexico border in Arizona, with orders to locate, close with, and destroy armed drug smugglers entering the United States, and provide humanitarian aid to illegal immigrants while detaining them for the Border Patrol. Naturally, President Obama would federalize the National Guard troops and order them to conduct useless unarmed patrols. Governer Brewer could then claim that the state’s Second Amendment rights had been violated by the National Defense Act, and Justice Breyer would write the majority opinion which would return control of the state militias to their respective governors. Actually, that probably wouldn’t happen.

“Moreover, the Civil War Amendments, the electoral process, the courts, and numerous other institutions today help to safeguard the States and the people from any serious threat of federal tyranny.”

Translation: Subject, the federal government is here to provide a safe and secure environment for you. You don’t need a weapon to protect yourself against criminals or a tyrannical government!

That’s pretty much what Pol Pot’s troops told the Cambodian people during their disarmament, which preceded genocide. It’s happened elsewhere, too.

I’ll be updating the blog throughout the day as I read more of the opinion(s) of the Court. Make no mistake, all of this adds up to one thing: “reasonable restrictions” aren’t the goal of anti-gunners. Only the complete disarmament of law-abiding citizens will satisfy them. These comments expose their extreme goals.


Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion

Understanding Extractor Lift in the M16 FOW

For most people, the following test will be as interesting for the methods used as it is for the conclusions that were reached.

Understanding Extractor Lift

Alternate link to presentation

This presentation was initially shown in May of 2003; the “other comments” page would seem to be especially prescient in light of all the “improvements” that have been made to the AR platform in the years since. Some I fully support, such as midlength gas systems (especially for 16″ barrels), while others (such as poorly engineered “piston conversions”) I do not.

The following sentence is also quite interesting:

“Case extraction and ejection successfully occur as long as the case is held against the bolt face by the residual chamber pressure while the extractor lifts and returns to position.”

Although it is easy to put together an AR-15 from an amalgamation of random components, it seems lost on many that the AR-15 is a system that must work in harmony. The AR-15 is more than the sum of its parts. Many commercial manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to “improve” the system in order to make it work with cheap ammo, or be cheaper to manufacture, or simply because they do not understand why something was done a certain way. Such actions can reduce the service life of the weapon and compromise reliability.


Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion

Info on 5.56mm Effectiveness from Sweden

Here’s a great PowerPoint presentation on how effective 5.56mm ammunition is from a military standpoint.

I say it’s great because I agree with a lot of what it has to say, but it really does have some good info, whether you are a proponent of 5.56 or not.

I’ll let the presentation do the talking.

“Is there a problem with the lethality of the 5.56mm NATO caliber?”

One of the most interesting parts of the file is page 21, which lists muzzle velocities at various barrel lengths, from 8.3″ to 20″.


Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion

Don’t Bring Your Ammunitions to Mexico

Feel free, however, to stand a few feet away from the border with them.

The enormity of the vital task entrusted to (perhaps foisted upon would be more descriptive) an inadequate number of Border Patrol agents is not truly apparent until you’re standing on the border. I thanked all of the agents I encountered today. Without exception, every agent was very polite and professional.

The “big fence” becomes a series of welded-together “vehicle barriers”, which gives way to a simple barbed wire fence a few miles later. This is what separates the United States from Mexico. This photo was taken at the border, looking towards the east, from 31.450788,-111.44285 (Lat/long provided for easy Google Maps reference).

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Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion

Vltor A5 is Most Reliable M16A4 Stock Replacement

As I reported back in January, the USMC is looking to replace the ungainly fixed stock on the M16A4 with a collapsible stock, and one of the options is the Vltor A5 stock assembly.

They did some testing, but apparently the results aren’t approved for release yet.

The A5 “done good”, though. I think that’s safe to say.

(rest of the post removed for above reasons)

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Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion

ToolsAviation/PowerPax Battery Caddies

I’ve come across a number of items that never really appealed to me – such as this “Battery Caddy” – before I actually used them. When I received two examples as a gift (during the Christmas Exchange), I thought, “What are these for? Holding batteries? What’s wrong with just having them in a box?” Then, as I said, I started using them, and found them to be very practical devices.

They’re injection molded polymer, and the 4xCR123 and 4xAA examples that I own weigh less than an ounce “unloaded”. As you can see, they’ll hold a variety of standard and rechargeable batteries – above, from left to right, Surefire CR123, TrustFire 16340, Tenergy RCR123A, and Tenergy CR123s fit just fine. Batteries are easy to remove with just a firm push of a thumb or finger, but I’ve never had one fall out or even partially slide out inadvertently. I’ve found them to be an excellent alternative to other battery holders, which are often flimsy and have lids that aren’t very secure – while I haven’t intentionally abused one, I’ve accidentally dropped both examples on hard surfaces without any negative effects to speak of.

The battery terminals are protected, even if you don’t slide them in the “right” way. As you can see, they’re available in a tan color, as well as OD green, red, yellow, orange, black, clear, and “Moonshine” – glow in the dark.

$4.95 seemed a little pricey to me at first, but it’s pretty reasonable for what you get, now that I’ve used them for a while. It’s nice to just grab a “pack” or two for a long trip, rather than having half a dozen batteries rolling around inside a suitcase or backpack.


Filed under Other Nifty Stuff