Category Archives: Lies, Errors, and Omissions

MSNBC Goes “Full Retard”

At approximately 2:50, the announcer in this video states that .50 caliber machine guns can be bought over the counter in the United States, and, along with assault rifles, are the weapons used in most killings in the Mexican drug war.

If we can buy .50 caliber machine guns “over the counter” here in the US – then we can buy cocaine by the pallet at Costco.

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Microtech Knives: An Exercise In Futility

From the moment I first handled one, years ago, I felt a strong urge to buy a Microtech OTF (Out the Front) automatic knife. It wasn’t just the “cool factor” of having the blade extend and retract with no more than thumb pressure…the knives seemed so well put together that the $400 price tag was nearly acceptable. Still, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy one. As I did more research, I found that Microtech’s reputation was not as stellar as I was led to believe.

Last winter, though, I saw that Microtech had apparently lowered the price of some of their knives, for what seemed like the same model I looked at in 2004 was now less than $200. It was much easier to convince myself that I could afford the knife at that price, so I ordered one – an Ultratech DE. It seemed to be everything I remembered and more. I cast aside those reports of problems, for mine certainly seemed to work…at first.

I carried the knife for a few weeks, using it almost every day, until, suddenly, I noticed that the blade wouldn’t always lock in the forward position. The switch, at that point, was useless – it wouldn’t fire any farther forward, and it wouldn’t retract. I could pull the blade forward into the locked position with my fingers, but that defeats the purpose of an automatic knife. The failure rate was only about 20%, but even 1% would have been unacceptable.

“No problem,” I thought. “I happen to know a customer service guy at MSAR who can get this taken care of for me.” I’d met MSARDave in person at the 2009 NRA show in Phoenix, and had business dealings with him prior to that. I sent the knife to Microtech (in Pennsylvania) and went on a trip outside the country, figuring that it would be at the post office when I returned.

Unfortunately, it was not. Although Dave tried his best to keep me apprised as to the status of my knife, it was eventually lost by the repair folks. Dave happened to find it (in North Carolina) almost 5 months later, and immediately sent it back to me. I received the knife today and was pleasantly surprised to find that it had also been cleaned and sharpened. Whoever sharpened it really knew what they were doing – it is exceptionally sharp.

As I fired and retracted the knife, I noticed that it required more thumb pressure than before – not a problem, especially if it meant that the knife would always function. Unfortunately, after only 8 “in/out cycles”, it failed to lock into the fully retracted position – about 3/8″ of the blade protruded from the handle. Again, I was able to pull or flick the blade forward into the locked position, but I could also do that with an $8 knife from Walmart. This time, the failure rate is around 90% – it’s rare for the knife to lock into the retracted position at all.

The bottom line is that I will never carry this knife again. I simply have no confidence in it. I don’t really feel like sending it back to Microtech, given their past performance. I can’t, in good conscience, sell it.

As if to add insult to injury, Doug Ritter’s RSK Mk1 was briefly available in M4 high speed steel at around the same time I bought the Microtech – for $50 less. I bought two RSK Mk2s in M2 HSS – basically, Benchmade Griptilians with a really great blade steel – almost 5 years ago. I still have one, and it is superb. Had I known about the RSK, I would have ordered one in a heartbeat. Of course, it was a limited run, and they’re now sold out.

I never thought that the third most expensive knife I’ve ever bought would end up in my “broken junk bin”…but it has.

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Voter Intimidation – It’s Bush’s Fault

I rarely stray from the subject of firearms on this blog. Today will be “one of those days”.

If you’ve had Fox News on in the past few days, or cruised right- or left-leaning blogs or websites in the same timeframe, you’ve probably come across reports that the Department of Justice has dropped portions of a voter intimidation case. Nightstick-wielding New Black Panther Party members stood 5 feet away from a Philadelphia polling place during the November 2008 election, verbally threatening voters and calling a black Republican poll watcher a “race traitor”. You’ve probably also seen video of one of the men involved making incredibly racist statements. I won’t cover that subject very much.

What you may or may not have seen – perhaps you have, if you saw Fox News’ Megyn Kelly verbally destroy Kirsten Powers during a debate on the subject – is that in addition to feverishly attempting to perform a character assassination of the DOJ attorney/whistleblower who resigned as a result of the DOJ decision, left-wing folks brought up an alleged case of voter intimidation in Pima County, Arizona, during the November 2006 election, a case which was not pursued by the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush. This is another “Bush’s fault” attack.

In this case, three men, one openly carrying a Glock handgun, were outside a polling place, allegedly to intimidate Latino voters. Two men are repeatedly identified by name – Russ Dove and Roy Warden, and they have histories of making, shall we say, inflammatory statements. Both have been arrested for various public confrontations with illegal immigration activists. Both, in my opinion, are an embarrassment to true conservatives, just like that moronic neo-nazi, JT Ready. But that’s not relevant.

In this case, they were supposedly photographing voters who didn’t speak English well enough in an attempt to dissuade voting by illegal aliens. Media Matters boldly asserts that the circumstances were “nearly identical” to the 2008 incident.

If you read the last article cited by Media Matters, though, you’ll notice that a Pima County election official makes a reference to events occurring outside the 75 foot barrier between polling places and those who are not voting or assisting those who are voting (among other allowed persons). In other words, the three men were not inside that 75 foot barrier. Many references are made to the fact that Warden was carrying a firearm, although under Arizona law, it is only illegal to carry a weapon into a polling place. It is legal to stand, armed, 75 feet away from one, even if you are not there to vote.

Section 11(b) of the federal Voting Rights Act, however, does not specify that anyone in particular has to be intimidated, only that intent to intimidate is illegal. Thus, anyone (like Kirsten Powers) who says that the NBPP thugs in Philadelphia “didn’t really intimidate anyone” – even though they did – has not read the law and does not know what they are talking about.

Still, isn’t standing 75 feet away from a polling place, armed, taking photographs and distributing a petition to require a perfect understanding of English in order to vote intimidating? That’s the case Media Matters and Kirsten Powers and everyone else on the left is making. They’re also saying that because the DOJ (under “Evil Overlord Bush”) declined to pursue any action, civil or criminal, against the men in Arizona, it is okay for the DOJ under President Obama to essentially drop the Philadelphia case, and stupid for anyone else to talk about it. “Where were you then?!” they cry. The real question, as you will see, is “where did all the lefties go in 2006?”

Clearly, though, the Bush DOJ “acted stupidly.” The whistleblower, Christian Adams, who resigned over the Philadelphia case, must have thrown the Arizona case into the trash because he is a fat white Republican, which is everything that is wrong with America. Again, this is what Media Matters is pushing.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. They do not seem to be willing to dig any deeper than citing the May 2010 testimony of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, in which the Arizona case is referenced, and news articles about the incident immediately following the November 2006 election. If they did, they might find something…in fact, it’s what you don’t find that is most enlightening.

– The ACLU had been chomping at the bit to attack Ohio over its then-new voter ID law (Arizona had just passed a similar law), which the ACLU said would result in voter intimidation; it was also concerned about voter intimidation in general.

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund) is cited by name in most articles, as is the name of one of its’ lawyers, Diego Bernal. The organization seems enraged by the account and states that it has contacted the FBI. They seem to want an investigation.

– The story was posted on the Daily Kos and other such websites.

– The Southern Poverty Law Center already had public “files” on Dove and Warden, one of which specifically mentioned a previous alleged case of voter intimidation.

After that, though – that is, a few days after the election – nothing. Absolutely no reference to the incident in any newspaper in the United States, that I could find, although the local story was picked up by several out of state papers, including the New York Times. One blog provided a link to a MALDEF press release about the incident, which has since disappeared – although other press releases from the same time frame are still online. Sure, there are obscure Youtube references and blog references in 2009 and 2010, not to mention the recent flareup, but these only cite old information. Why were all of those apparently concerned parties no longer concerned?

Because what the men did in Arizona wasn’t voter intimidation. Even according to a blogger who seemed disgusted by their actions and was on scene that day, “nothing happened”. Dove managed to get four people to sign the petition – this is not illegal or a form of intimidation – and Warden apparently did not directly interact with any potential voters. According to the SPLC, “Warden may come off like a raving lunatic, but he is well versed in free-speech and self-defense laws, and he exercises his rights to the limit.”

Presumably, Warden might also be familiar with Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act, relating to voter intimidation.

According to AAG Perez, “the standard for proof (for 11(b) violations) is high”. In fact, only three 11(b) violations have ever been prosecuted since its inception. Also according to AAG Perez, “reasonable minds can differ and can look at the same set of facts but draw different conclusions regarding whether the burden of proof has been met.” He apparently liked that line, because he said it several times during his testimony.

Still convinced that this is all Bush’s fault? Well, the individual heading the criminal section of the Voting Rights Division today is the same person that led it back in 2006 – Mark Kappelhoff, who contributed over $2000 to Obama’s campaign in 2008 and over $1000 to Kerry’s in 2004. Thus, he would have had a lot of say regarding whether to proceed with criminal charges in both cases.

As to the supposed failure to investigate the 2006 incident:

“The Voting Section sent lawyers to Arizona to investigate these allegations. They were told that the people in question (who were apparently there with some sort of English-only petition) did not enter the polling place and stayed outside the state-imposed limit around polling places where campaigning is forbidden. No one (including Democratic poll watchers) saw them talking to any voters while they were there — nor could the lawyers find any evidence that they prevented or discouraged anyone from entering the polling place (which is directly contrary to the witnesses in the NBPP case, who testified that they saw voters approaching the polls turn around and leave when they saw the Panthers blocking the entrance to the polling place).”

Thus, Media Matters’ claim that the two cases are “nearly identical” is laughably false, and they would have found that out if they had bothered to do a few hours’ worth of research. Then again, this is the same group that cited fake Research 2000 polls, right along with the Daily Kos (which is now suing Research 2000), because they fit their preconceived notions about the right. The same thing happened here. “It looks good for our side, so don’t dig any further.”

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Filed under Lies, Errors, and Omissions, News Stories/Events/Opinion

AR-15 Build Quality – Demand More

“All AR-15s are parts guns” – I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that statement. I’ll even admit to thinking that way once. It is, now that I’ve had time to think about my sins, wrong.

What the people who say such things don’t realize – or choose not to realize – is that the person who put the weapon together has a tremendous impact on the overall quality of the weapon.

While the process of assembling one may seem really simple, it’s also very simple to screw up. When combined with cheap parts, this is a recipe for disaster (see the threads on various forums that start out with questions such as “I built an AR using a grab bag of cheap parts, and it ‘jams’, what should I do?”). Even if quality stuff is involved, the weapon will not perform to its full potential, and may not function at all.

Case in point: a used upper assembly that I recently tore down (no, I didn’t put it together). Here are some of the issues I encountered:

– PRi front sight/gas block was not properly aligned with the gas port. It was both canted and too far back towards the receiver. This was a relatively easy fix. Carbon marks on the barrel indicated that the gas block had probably not moved since it was first fired, though the screws that clamped the gas block to the barrel were barely tight.

– Because the front sight base was canted, the gas tube was crooked in the receiver, and contacted one side of the gas key on the bolt carrier.  The gas tube was replaced as a precautionary measure.

– Loctite was used thoroughly on the heads (not the threads) of non-essential screws on the PRi handguard, which serves no real purpose – if you’re going to use Loctite, put it on the threads.

– No grease was used on the large nut that secures the handguard to the barrel nut, resulting in galling of the threads.

– The barrel nut was damaged, most likely by wrench teeth that slipped out of their “holes” – the direction and location of the damage indicates that this was done during installation, and by a two-pronged wrench. The nut required over 150 ft/lbs (a conservative estimate on my part – I had to use a 1/2″ breaker bar attached to the armorer’s wrench, with an extension attached to the breaker bar) of force to come loose. I’m not the strongest guy in the world, but I’ve never had to go to such lengths to remove a barrel nut. When it did break loose, there was a loud “cracking” sound – nothing was permanently damaged, this was the noise that results from two threaded pieces that have been stuck together for a long time suddenly coming loose. In other words, no grease was used on the threads.

– The dowel pin in the receiver extension was damaged/deformed, possibly when the extension was being attached.

– An unidentified substance was applied to the barrel extension where it interfaces with the receiver, making barrel removal very difficult. I would almost describe it as some sort of epoxy. If this was some sort of attempt to increase accuracy, it was probably negated by the overtorqued barrel nut.

The parts used in the build were all pretty expensive and high quality – but the person who put them together either hadn’t built many uppers before, or was having a really bad day. Retail value of the parts used was approximately $1300 – and yet the quality of the work involved was nowhere near that level.

Now, many people only care if bullets come out the front end of the barrel and make round (or nearly round) holes on paper at 25 or 50 yards. The previous owner did not indicate that there were any functional issues. I believe that the issues I saw would have had some effect on the weapon at some point, especially if the gas tube was allowed to be damaged even further, and the overtorqued barrel nut may have had an effect on accuracy. A good hit to the barely tightened gas block might have moved it further out of alignment – it was already on the ragged edge of being misaligned.

When one pays big bucks for an AR upper, don’t they deserve to have a weapon that was assembled properly and with high attention to detail? Frankly, shouldn’t that apply to pretty much every upper out there, at any price range?

Note: The upper in question was acquired secondhand – not received for T&E. It has no connection to any product (or company) that I have reviewed before. I will not entertain questions as to the origin of the upper.

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Why Fox News is Wrong About the M4 Carbine

Today, Fox News published this article about the M4 Carbine. It contains numerous inaccuracies which seem to be in three areas – accuracy, reliability, and terminal effectiveness. I will address each of these in turn. However, I must clarify a few things first.

The first line of the article states that the AK-47, as employed by the Taliban, is more effective for use in Afghanistan than the M4. This is so false as to be laughable. The weapons and ammunition used by the Taliban are a far worse choice for the task than the M4 and its 5.56mm ammunition. Scoring a hit on a man with a worn out AK at 600 yards is an exercise in luck, not skill. As for other issues relating to Taliban marksmanship, read this article.

Next, the “study” cited by Fox is actually the master’s thesis of Major Thomas Ehrhart, who is currently a student at the Command & General Staff College – a person with an opinion to be respected, no doubt, but this is not the same as a US Army study. The paper was titled “Increasing Small Arms Lethality in Afghanistan: Taking Back the Infantry Half-Kilometer”. For those that don’t know, a “half kilometer” is 500 meters.

It is unfair to Major Ehrhart for Fox News to take sections of his paper out of context and attempt to draw conclusions from said out of context quotes. Sadly, news organizations do this all the time. Now, that said, I do not agree with all of Major Ehrhart’s conclusions, and will explain myself accordingly.

Had the folks at Fox actually read the paper, they would have noticed where it stated that “the most immediate and cost effective improvements come from training and education. Soldiers and leaders need to understand the capabilities and limitations of their organic weapons. They need to understand what is required to maintain their weapons and keep them operational in all environments”.

Accuracy

In other words, current training does not teach the Soldiers how to wring out the most capability from their weapons – both in a reliability sense, and in an accuracy sense. While the US Marine Corps trains to shoot at targets that are 500 yards away, the US Army only trains to 300, and qualification standards are not high enough. It is important to note that, while the Army uses far more M4s, a significant number of Marine units have been equipped with the M4 (including the platoon I deployed with), and they do not complain about the limited range of the M4 to nearly the same extent.

There seems to be a belief that the shorter barrel of the M4 makes it less accurate than the longer barrel of the M16A4. This is simply not true. Both the M4 and the M16A4, and the ammunition they fire, are held to the same accuracy standards. Variances in manufacturing from rifle to rifle and cartridge to cartridge aside, a Soldier with an M4 is no more or less capable of hitting a target at 500 meters than is a Soldier with the M16A4. I have personally fired M4 carbines at 600 yards, using military ammunition and optics (or iron sights), with accuracy comparable to that of an M16A4 using the same ammunition and optics. The weapon will be capable of delivering accurate fire to the range at which the projectile starts to go from supersonic to subsonic.

Furthermore, the optic utilized on the M4 by a lot of Army units – the M68 CCO, manufactured by Aimpoint – is a fantastic sight for close quarters combat, but of very limited use past 300 meters. There is no way to accommodate for the drop of the 5.56mm round with a single red dot, as used by the M68. Also, this sight does not aid in target identification. In case you couldn’t figure it out (Fox News apparently couldn’t), people shooting at you from 600 yards away aren’t going to make themselves easy to see. The phenomenal Trijicon ACOG, used by the USMC and some Army units, aids in target identification at range, but is not really a substitute for a dedicated rifle scope for long range shooting. It is, however, far better for the task than the Aimpoint.

What I am getting at is that Soldiers, and frankly a number of Marines as well, do not have confidence in their weapons. They are not trained or even told that their weapons are accurate at such distances, so they have no reason to believe that they can accurately hit a Taliban fighter shooting at them from 600 yards away. Because they don’t think they can hit the bad guy with their rifle, they either do not engage the target at all, or they do not use the principles of marksmanship that they were trained with to do anything but lay down suppressive fire, while they wait for the guy with the radio to call in an airstrike.

Reliability

The article, and to a lesser extent, Major Ehrhart’s study, also discusses reliability. While Major Ehrhart breaks down the factors affecting reliability, the news article does not, and simply lays the blame on the “notoriously unreliable” M4. I will discuss what the thesis states are the four causes of malfunctions in the M4, in order of importance –

1. worn/unserviceable magazines

2. a lack of proper lubrication

3. worn parts, specifically the components of the bolt

4. dirty ammunition

I agree and disagree with some of the above. First and foremost, the magazine issue. The news article seems to demand a replacement for the M4, while failing to note that nearly every proposed M4 replacement uses the same exact magazine as the M4. In other words, all those worn and unserviceable magazines would still be in the supply line, and would still be in the hands of Soldiers and Marines – and they would still be the leading cause of malfunctions, with any rifle. In the case of the XM8, it failed previously for a different, but important reason – the receiver cracked when it got hot.

Second, lubrication. I believe that lubrication is very important, especially when a weapon has been fired several thousand times without cleaning. I believe that a weapon that is dirty (that is, with actual dirt, from the earth, not carbon from spent cases) can also benefit from lubrication. However, as shown by Mike Pannone, the M4 carbine can be fired without lubrication over 2400 times before it experiences any malfunctions.

Third, worn parts. As with magazines, many of the proposed M4 replacements – such as the HK416 – use the same springs as the M4 (or would use similar springs that would also wear out with use), such as extractor spring and action spring. A spotlessly clean, well lubricated rifle with quality ammunition in a quality magazine will – without exception – malfunction if the action spring and extractor spring are unserviceable. Gas rings are also important after 5,000-10,000 rounds. Unfortunately, the tracking of rounds expended is almost never performed by the average line unit that bears the brunt of combat operations, even in training, where the majority of rounds should be expended.

I was discussing this issue with Mike Pannone (the author of the above article regarding fouling), who told me about a Marine who had replaced the action and extractor springs of all the malfunctioning rifles in his unit, and was very nearly punished for it. That the weapons went from malfunctioning to not malfunctioning at all had almost no bearing on their desire to punish the Marine – he’d gone outside proper channels, and that was wrong.

Finally, “dirty ammunition” – this was more of an issue with the original propellants used by the 5.56mm cartridge in the Vietnam era. I believe that fouling (that is, without proper lubrication) is no longer an issue, that is, as long as the shooter does not expend more than five or ten times the average “combat load” –  6 or 7 magazines, or 180/210 rounds. I am unaware of any case in which a serviceman had to fire 1000-2000 rounds from his M4 and did not have a few minutes to check over his equipment.

The news article cites the battle at Wanat that, sadly, left nine American Soldiers dead. Incorrectly, however, the article states that the M4 had problems with “locking up”, and lead the reader to believe that the malfunctions led to the deaths of the Soldiers. This is false. I have read the entire rough draft of the report on the battle of Wanat, and could find three references to inoperable M4s – one undescribed malfunction, one weapon damaged beyond repair by an explosion, and one rifle that had been fired continuously for so long that the Soldier shooting it described it as “too hot to load”. Not that the weapon “locked up”, but apparently that the receivers of the weapon were so hot from continuous firing that the Soldier could not touch them. Relating to my above comment about fouling, this particular weapon was fired 360 times – twice the standard combat load – in 30 minutes, and did not malfunction during that time.

So we have one genuine malfunction – which was, by the way, reacted to by the Soldier discarding the weapon, rather than clearing it as he was trained to do – one weapon that was destroyed in an explosion along with an M14 (as would have been any other small arm) – and one case of a rifle that was used as a machine gun, and became incredibly hot as a result. Of the thousands of rounds fired during the battle, American forces only reported one actual malfunction. These issues relate more to training, discipline, and doctrine than they do to equipment.

To sum all of that up, as Major Ehrhart pretty much states in his thesis, Soldiers aren’t trained to maintain their rifles at the individual level, and if they were, reliability problems would be reduced dramatically. If company armorers were more concerned with replacing worn out parts than making sure every rifle in their armory was clean enough to eat off of, the guys using the rifles would be much better off.

Terminal Effectiveness

Finally, terminal effectiveness. This is where Major Ehrhart and I disagree on a few points. First, the news article states that the M4 won’t kill anyone past 1000 feet. This is, simply, false, and it fails to separate the rifle from one particular cartridge fired by that rifle. The thesis does discriminate on that basis, and states that “the M855 cartridge is most effective to a distance of 200 meters after which its effectiveness is limited unless hitting a vital area of the target.” This is true and false. First, the terminal effectiveness of any cartridge fired by an infantry rifle is limited unless hitting a vital area of the target. The thesis relates an anecdotal account of a Soldier who was shot with a 5.56mm round in an extremity after another Soldier had a negligent discharge with an M249 SAW – the victim had no serious injuries.

I feel that I should also relate an anecdotal account of a lack of serious injuries resulting from a negligent discharge of a machine gun by US personnel. Like the above account, this resulted in an extremity hit on an American serviceman. In this case, though, the personnel involved were Marines, and the weapon was an M240B, firing the 7.62X51mm cartridge. A Marine sergeant, walking along a road on Camp Fallujah, was struck in the left bicep by said projectile, and the wound was surprisingly small: there were entrance and exit wounds, but no damage to bone and no long-term damage to muscle. The Marine remained in Iraq and returned to duty after a few weeks. I was part of the team that treated that Marine.

The wound was, essentially, much like those described in the thesis, but it couldn’t be attributed to the much-maligned M855 cartridge. While I am not enamored with M855 and do not believe that it is the correct ammunition for our current engagements, I also do not believe that current 7.62x51mm ammunition is the quantum leap in performance that it is made out to be.

While, as Major Ehrhart states, terminal performance would be increased by a change to a 6.5mm or 6.8mm caliber, it would also be increased by utilizing the existing 77gr Mk262 cartridge, designed for long range shooting and greater terminal effectiveness, or the 62gr SOST “barrier blind” round that is not as dependent on velocity for terminal effectiveness. Simply switching to 7.62x51mm and using the current ball ammunition, as the news article seems to suggest, would not offer the improvement that they desire.

It’s important to note that millions of dollars were spent over a period of at least 10 years on “lead free” ammunition. That’s right, environmentally friendly bullets. That project was finally declared a failure. These bullets were not supposed to kill the bad guys any “deader” than M855 – because that would be in violation of international agreements.

The US currently follows the guidelines of the Hague Convention of 1899, which places restrictions on ammunition usage. It’s ridiculous to assert that the US Military cannot use expanding 5.56mm ammunition because it causes “increased wounding”, and yet allow 2000lb bombs to be dropped on Taliban fighters. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the bomb will cause a little more “wounding” than the comparatively tiny bullet.

Conclusion

The steps that the US military could take to rectify the above issues are:

1. Train everyone who carries a rifle or carbine to effectively shoot that weapon to its maximum range. That is, the range at which the projectile is no longer stable.

2. Stamp out the “white glove clean” standard. Train Soldiers and Marines to properly maintain their weapons. Document rounds fired through weapons in the training environment. Replace parts accordingly.

3. Ensure the widespread adoption and use of effective 5.56mm ammunition.

4. Use optics suited for the task. Soldiers and Marines can’t shoot what they can’t see.

Replacing the M4 with a different rifle does nothing to correct the serious deficiencies in training and doctrine that plague the US armed forces. Problems would continue. If the above “fixes” were implemented, complaints about the M4 would be hard to find. I could suggest a few fixes for journalists covering military topics, too, but I’ve already broken 2,000 words.

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Fake Tourniquets

Because I’m seething with rage at the moment, I won’t write very much, other than that fake tourniquets, manufactured in China, are apparently finding their way into the hands of American servicemen overseas. These fake tourniquets cannot be used to control bleeding and have reportedly contributed to at least one fatality. They are intended to be indistinguishable (to the casual observer) from real CAT tourniquets currently in use. A PDF file of the differences between the two tourniquets can be found here. Please forward it to anyone you know who is in the military, especially those deployed overseas.

We can thank the airsoft community for this fake product that can cause very real harm.

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Federal XM9HA Chronograph Test

In a recent AR15.com thread, it was claimed that Federal 9mm ammunition identified as XM9HA was a contract overrun of 147gr HST hollow point projectiles loaded to the impressive velocity of 1180 feet per second. That’s 9mm Major territory – and beyond. It was also reported that this ammunition had a high rate of failures to feed or failures to fire in a variety of handguns.

I was recently sent a small quantity of this ammunition for testing via a chronograph. It was requested that I use a Glock 19 as the test firearm.

Although I only fired 10 rounds through said Glock 19, I did not experience any failures to feed or fire. Unfortunately, I also did not experience anything approaching the claimed velocity. The fastest round was 1009.42fps, the slowest 973.06fps – with an average of 992.56fps.

For comparison, I also fired 10 rounds of Winchester Ranger Bonded 147gr through the same firearm. The high was 992.21, the low 963.15, with an average of 974.8.

If you can acquire this XM9HA ammunition for a fair price, and it functions reliably in your firearm, it would appear to be adequate ammunition. However, I wouldn’t expect 9x23mm performance from this cartridge. As a side note, recoil felt pretty tame compared to my 115gr handloads at 1200fps (which are not particularly hot to begin with).

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