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What Makes a Folding Knife Tactical?

Sales of tactical folding knives have swelled in the past few years. Hundreds of different models are being offered and it’s rare to see a major knife manufacturer that doesn’t offer some sort of knife in this category. But what makes a folding knife “tactical,” and are they popular for a good reason or is this just a dumb fad?

Smith & Wesson M&P

Smith & Wesson M&P

Tactical knives certainly don’t look like your grandpa’s folding knives. His pocketknives featured thin blades that are extremely sharp, and usually included more than one folding blade contained in the handle. That handle was traditionally made of wood, or sometimes ivory or animal horn. The tactical folding knives are different, with a single thick blade sometimes featuring aggressive serrations, and grips made to fit the hand rather than look pretty. These knives look scary on purpose, reflecting the huge “tactical” trend that has defined the past decade and continues to grow.  But aggressive looks—blackened blades and grips made of plastic, zytel, or simply more raw metal—don’t make a knife “tactical.”  Some of the most aggressive, scariest looking knife designs aren’t tactical at all, falling instead under “fantasy” knives.  If the intended purpose is to slay dragons or protect the Klingon Empire, its not a tactical knife at all.

All Tactical Folders Have a Blade Lock

One feature all tactical folding knives have is a blade lock to hold the blade firmly in place until the user operates a lever or button to allow the blade to fold closed. The lock is a must because the tactical folder is intended for harsh tasks, where the user’s hand will be wrapped completely around the handle and gripping tightly, and where the blade may be pushed in different directions. A knife that unexpectedly collapses back onto the fingers holding is definitely an unsuccessful design!  The most popular lock type is the liner lock.  When folded inside the handle, the blade is surrounded on each side by a metal “liner.” As the blade reaches its open position, one of the liners acts like a leaf spring and jumps into the space in the middle of the handle, holding the blade open until the user pushes it back into place, allowing the blade to fold. The liner lock is simple to incorporate into a knife design with minimal cost, but it has been criticized as lacking in strength. This reputation isn’t helped by the fact that many of the cheapest knives use poorly executed liner locks, giving the design a bad name when they fail. Some tactical knives dispose of the liners entirely and use only a lightweight, skeletonized “frame lock” performing the same function. High quality knife makers often incorporate more sophisticated locking designs such as Benchmade’s AXIS lock. The AXIS lock uses a spring loaded button passing all the way through the frame, fitting into a notch cut in the back of the blade, locking it into place with great strength. The design of the lock is largely personal preference; the quality of the parts creating the locking system separates the contenders from the pretenders.

Tactical Folders Usually are Partially Serrated

Tactical folders often incorporate serrations into their blades. These little teeth aggressively saw through hard to cut materials. Serrations can add a lot of versatility to a knife—if half the blade is serrated then tough tasks which would abuse or dull the straight edge can be tackled by the serrated section of knife, saving the rest of the blade and getting the job done quickly. The disadvantage to serrations is that they dull relatively quickly and take special tools and a lot of time to sharpen. Blades without serrations are usually intended for “fine” slicing work, and blades that are totally serrated all the way down are usually intended for heavy, coarse use where no finesse is required.

5.11 Tactical C.U.B. Master 2.0

5.11 Tactical C.U.B. Master 2.0

Blade Shapes of Tactical Folders Must be Efficient

Tactical folders feature a wide variety of blade shapes. To describe all the tantos, drop points, bowie styles, clip points, and hawksbills would take a whole separate blog post (and maybe I will write one sometime), but regardless of the exact shape, the blade shapes are all intended to be used as competent self defense weapons. This is what separates a serious tactical folder from a traditional pocketknife or a fantasy knife. Personally, my first rule of knife fighting is to bring a gun, but there are many places where concealed carry of firearms is still very restricted. Yet folding knives with blades of ordinary length are often specifically exempted in state law definitions as not being “weapons” at all. Tactical folders are carried easily without scabbards, using clips that hold them at the ready in a pants pocket, and they are unobtrusive and lightweight. It’s easy to forget that you have one with you until it is needed. But once employed as a fighting knife, all the features of the tactical folder come together to benefit the user—the thick blade, the blade lock, the aggressive blade shapes and the ergonomic non-slip grips all combine to maximize efficiency. A high quality tactical knife is a better fighting knife than a plain pocket knife, easier to carry everyday than a decorative fantasy knife, and practical enough to be used for all the mundane chores that it will be asked to do in the course of ordinary life.

Rob Leatham Shoots Smoke & Hope at Steel Challenge

This is one of the fastest stages at the match, with large 18×24-inch plates that are fairly close. However, it’s a mistake to not respect this stage, because the times are so fast, one mistake can really hurt. Rob Leatham knows all about the pitfalls of Smoke & Hope from his career at Steel Challenge, and in the video below he runs the new Springfield Armory XD(M) 5.25 Competition like a boss on this stage.

Rob finished the match with a 95.57, which was good enough to bring home a win in ESP and place him near the top of the overall standings as well. The new Springfield Armory XD(M) 5.25 looks like it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the competition shooting world, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action at even more matches.

Our Jedi Tech’s Picks of the Day

Federal 7.62×51 175 Grain Gold Medal Match

Item: AMM-6921

Federal 7.62x51 Gold Medal Match

Federal 7.62x51 Gold Medal Match

When I’m not tinkering with my droid collection or working on my sand speeder, I spend the sweltering summer days of August amongst the moisture farms popping womp rats with my trusty, old Springfield M1A. Nothing puts those wretched scum down quite like the 175 Grain Sierra MatchKing BTHP bullet loaded in Federal’s 7.62×51 Gold Medal Match.

The aerodynamic design of the legendary Sierra MatchKing bullet helps overcome the immense wind resistance and wind drift of the Tatooine dunes. This means flatter trajectory, higher down range energy and more accurate placement. Gold Medal’s brass cases, with specifically selected and engineered stick powders and match primers, deliver consistent accuracy and performance. The results speak for themselves. I’m known around town as “The Force.”

This load is simply the best, most accurate commercial load I can get my rebel hands on. Unfortunately, the Imperial trade embargo makes these a hot commodity in Mos Eisley, but I can get them to you for a really good price!

 

 

 

 

Gerber LMF II Infantry Fixed Blade Knife

Item: 75346

Gerber LMF II Infantry Fixed Blade Knife

Gerber LMF II Infantry Fixed Blade Knife

When you have crash-landed on a strange swap-forest planet and need to bust out an X-Wing cockpit window, chop down a small tree, and fight off an infestation of swap slugs, you absolutely need the Gerber LMF II Infantry fixed blade knife.

The thick, partially serrated blade cuts webbing with ease, will chop piles of firewood and fends off small green creatures that may jump on your back at any moment.

The over-molded handle successfully limits blistering. There is complete separation between the tang and butt cap, so the knife absorbs the shocks from hammering and prevents the shocks of electricity. Smartly situated grooves and lashing holes let the LMF II convert to a spear for cave exploration.

The low profile sheath facilitates movement, limits noise, works for parachuting, and attaches to a belt or MOLLE vest. The patented, integrated sharpener means edge retention in the swamp.

Anytime I venture into the Outer Rim Territories the Gerber LMF II is strapped to my leg and ready for action.

 

 

Eagle Industries Personal Retention and Extraction Lanyard

Item: EAG-107

Eagle Industries Personal Retention and Extraction Lanyard

Eagle Industries Personal Retention and Extraction Lanyard

How many times have you been in a light saber duel and nearly fallen to your death in the cavernous core of Cloud City? Too many times!
Every young Jedi needs to play it safe and the Eagle Industries retention and extraction lanyard is your most important piece of safety equipment. Strap yourself to a railing and call it good! No more losing hands because your mind was on the 200-meter drop below.

This nylon lanyard has energy absorbing bungee and tubular webbing construction with an internal “shock cord.” It secures with a heavy duty Climbing Technology Kong Tango double locking carbineer that will never let you fall (unlike your deadbeat father).

Win the day and keep your dexterity with the Eagle Personal Retention and Extraction Lanyard attached to your gear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surplus Magnesium Snowshoes and Bindings

Item: MGR-926

Surplus Magnesium Snowshoes and Bindings

Surplus Magnesium Snowshoes and Bindings

As a veteran of the Battle of Hoth, I know a good snowshoe when I see one. Tromping around barren ice planets is no fun, but it can be easy with these surplus magnesium snowshoes and Bindings.

Although slightly used, these snowshoes are in great condition. Constructed with a magnesium frame, the plastic-coated twisted steel cable adds durability and the high-strength nylon bindings attach to any shoe or boot. These lightweight shoes spread out your weight and keep you moving when the snow piles up.

Don’t get stranded in a blizzard without a good pair of snowshoes. If your Tauntaun dies, you’ll be left for the Wampas to play with! Trek out of any sticky situation in style with these surplus snowshoes.

Chinese Surplus Mortar Tube

Chinese Surplus Mortar Tube Storage Container

Chinese Surplus Mortar Tube Storage Container

Chinese Surplus Mortar Tube Storage Container

Chinese Surplus Mortar Tube Storage Container

It is generally not a good idea to bury components in the ground without sealing it in a watertight container first. Although when it comes to some firearms, like an old AK or Mosin Nagant, you could probably store one in a muddy creek bed for a few decades and they would still cycle like the day they rolled off the Siberian assembly line. For those of us who want something a little more secure however, this Chinese surplus mortar storage container is perfect for burying your ammunition, knives, barrels or anything else you can think of. Burying supplies in a random location and marking the GPS coordinates might also do the trick. If the apocalypse comes, it will be nice to have little supply caches all over town. Like most ordinance storage containers, this one is watertight and measures in at 2-feet long and has an inside diameter of 3.5 inches. The rubber seal and locking lid ensure that no dirt or moisture will get in. If western civilization falls, you can sleep well knowing that looters will have no idea where you stored all your valuable supplies.

Our Favorite Picks of the Day

Bleeding Zombie Target

Item: Target-300

Chris the Bleeding Zombie

Chris the Bleeding Zombie

OK, so he doesn’t amble and stumble towards you slowly, but this dude actually “bleeds” when you shoot him. Chris is a life-sized, 3-dimensional zombie target that makes perfect practice for when your training for the apocalypse. He stands 33.5” tall and comes with a mounting stake. Even better, Chris isn’t an alien zombie, he was “born” in the United States.

Zombie Industries fills their zombie target with biodegradable material, so clean up is a cinch. It can withstand 1,000 of rounds of various calibers, so shoot away! Even if you are not into the whole zombie apocalypse thing, Chris makes a fun and different target to shoot at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackhawk Fury Gloves

Item: 2-BH8093XLCT

Blackhawk Fury Gloves

Blackhawk Fury Gloves

I’m not really a fireman, but I play one TV. Well. Not really, but these Blackhawk Fury Gloves with Nomex are what I would wear if I was fighting fires. The Fury gloves made with Nomex are heavy-duty work gloves perfect for extreme heat environments. Nomex is also good for electrical work and for the oil/gas rig. The Fury gloves have padded protection on the knuckles and the back of the hand.

The fit is secure and comfortable and still allows for perfect dexterity of your fingers to work or fire your weapon effectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink is the new black!

Item: 2-AACO101325

Advanced Armament Girly Shirt

Advanced Armament Girly Shirt

Who says you can’t look tough in pink? Believe me, who is gonna mess with a girl carrying a gun anyway? Besides being just a t-shirt, Advanced Armament adds some excellent suggestions on multiple uses for your shirt:

  1. Blot lipstick
  2. Touch up eyeliner
  3. Win wet T-shirt contest

Not only that, but Advanced Armament recognizes that guns and skulls and pink on a women’s sized, (sizes range from small to xx-large) non-baggy, cute form-fitting shirt beats out big and baggy manly shirts any day. Well, for girls anyway.

Did I mention that it’s pink and has a gun on it?

American Eagle .223 Priced Cheap Enough for Plinking

American Eagle Tactical .223 Remington ammo is manufactured by ATK/Federal Ammunition, the same company that makes all the ammo for the US military.  Each 20 round black box is glued shut all around to avoid spilling rounds during storage.  Featuring an M193 specification 55 grain full metal jacket boat tail bullet screaming out the muzzle at 3250 feet per second, this round’s accuracy is proven in barrels of any standard twist rate from 1:7 to 1:12.  Loaded to SAAMI specifications of not more than 55,000 psi chamber pressure, this ammo is safe to shoot in rifles marked either “.223 Rem” or “5.56 NATO” and is a natural choice for AR15s and Ruger Mini-14s.  At this price, why not leave the .22 conversions behind on your next range trip, and get some practice in with the real stuff?

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ItemDetail.aspx?sku=AMM-2031&utm_source=Blog&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=20110816-AMM-2031..223ammo

Legendary Spread Gun

If I could only have one gun.

Mossberg 500

Mossberg Shotgun

Seen in many forms around the world, the Mossberg 500 and 590 series shotguns are one of the most prolific shotguns in production. Featured in countless movies and television shows, the 500 series enjoys a status among owners as one of the most varied shotguns in the world. Countless builds and modifications are available making it one of the most versatile guns ever produced.

Produced in 1961 by O.F. Mossberg & Sons, the Mossberg 500 quickly built a positive reputation. Many shooters appreciated it for its high level of reliability and ease of maintenance. Mossberg designed the tolerances in such a way that the gun can operate in very harsh and dirty conditions such as waterfowl hunting or warfare. Because of the tolerances, racking a shell into the chamber of a Mossberg is quite noisy compared to some other pump shotguns. Some people view this as a positive, since the sound of a shotgun chambering can be intimidating. This ability to function regardless of the surroundings gave the 500 a very positive reputation in a very short time.

Why is this shotgun so popular? Value for your dollar is most definitely a huge reason. The Mossberg 500 carries a reasonable price tag, and has a very good reputation for being reliable. It can also chamber a three-inch shell and fire just about any kind of specialty shotgun ammunition. The Mossberg also features an aluminum alloy receiver, rather than steel. Some shooters view the aluminum receiver as a negative, but others see it as an effective way to keep the gun lighter, making it easier to carry long distances.

One of the main advantages to a Mossberg 500 is the number of options a shooter has from which to choose.

  • Field Models: These are basic hunting models, which have a variety of barrel lengths and finishes.
  • Home Defense Models: Available exclusively in .410, these models are intended for defensive situations at very close range. Achieving less wall penetration with the far less powerful round is important for bystanders as well.
  • Law Enforcement Models: Feature heavy barrels, metal trigger guards and metal safeties.
  • Special Purpose Models: Intended for tactical use, these models feature shorter barrels and often have a large variety of specialty parts. They are not the same as the law enforcement models due to the lack of heavy-duty barrels, as well as metal parts on the trigger guard, and safeties

A US soldier in Ar Ramadi, Iraq in 2004 armed with a Mossberg 500

The Mossberg 500 series has many positive design features. The safety sits on the tang of the gun, and is accessible for both left and right-handed shooters. The slide release sits just at the left rear of the trigger guard; this allows minimal adjustment to cock the weapon. Originally, the 500 used a single action bar, but this Mossberg later replaced with a dual action bar in 1970.

The Mossberg 500 is currently in service with the United States Military, Malaysia and the Netherlands’ Korps Commandotroepen, their elite Special Forces unit. Despite the much higher cost, the Marines have officially switched to the Benelli M4. Other branches are still ordering new Mossberg 500’s however.

Fifty years of service has allowed the Mossberg 500 to develop into a top-notch shotgun that owners can modify to suit almost any purpose. Mossberg clearly stuck to the philosophy that if it isn’t broke, there is no need to fix it.

Back to the Drawing Board

Mankind has always been very good at killing one another. We tirelessly pursue the most effective way to rid ourselves of our enemies. Our passion for warfare over the years has manifested some creative weapons of war, some good, and some bad. In this post, we are going to mention just a few of the weapons that were, shall we say, ill conceived.

Holy Firebomb Batman!

Bat Box Release

Bat Box Release

The bat bomb was the brainchild of dental surgeon Lytle S. Adams, who submitted the idea to the White House in 1942, where President Roosevelt later approved the project. The idea behind this crazy device was to employ a bomber to fly over a Japanese city, and release a large bomb with parachutes attached. At a preset altitude the casing would open, and release numerous Mexican free-tailed bats, each attached to a small timed incendiary device. According to the plan, the bats would nest in eaves and attics. The incendiaries would start fires in inaccessible places in the largely wood and paper construction of the Japanese cities that were the weapon’s intended target. During testing, a large number of bats escaped on the military installation. The bats ignited, and incinerated the test range while roosting under a fuel truck. Later, the project changed hands several times until Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King canceled it when he heard that it would likely not be combat ready until mid-1945. This weapon could have possibly worked, but with the invention of the atomic bomb, flaming bats were quickly deemed obsolete.

Nazi ACME Rocket Planes

Messerschmitt Me 163B

Messerschmitt Me 163B

Before the days of surface-to-air missiles, military strategists deployed point defense aircraft to defend particular locations or air bases. During WWII, the Germans engineered a tiny little plane powered solely by a rocket engine. The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet is the only rocket powered plane known to have been operational on a wide scale, and with good reason. Aside from the obvious lack of control one would get from being strapped into a flying rocket, pilots only had about seven minutes of flying time in the original model. Allied pilots quickly made note of the short flying time, and would simply wait for the planes to run out of fuel, and engage them while unpowered. The first actions involving the Me 163 occurred at the end of July, when two USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress’ were attacked without confirmed kills. Combat operations continued from May 1944 to spring 1945. During this time, there were 9 confirmed kills with 14 Me 163s lost. Feldwebel Siegfried Schubert was the most successful pilot, with three bombers to his credit. During their short operational period, the Komets were often grounded due to the high cost of rocket propellant. As a result, allied planes would often strafe German air fields and destroy these rocket planes while on the ground.

More Bark than Boom

Dog Training School

Soviet military dog training school

In a desperate attempt to combat the German war machine, the Soviet army employed the use of the Anti-Tank Dog. In theory, these specially trained K-9s would associate the underside of tanks with food, and when they crawled underneath, a mine strapped to their back would detonate, neutralizing the target. In practice however, the concept was flawed. During training, the dogs were used to crawling under tanks that were not running and firing. The loud concussion of the German main gun often scared the dogs back to the trenches where their handlers exploded along with the unfortunate pups. Aside from being downright cruel, the project prompted the German army to issue standing orders to shoot any dog they came across on the battlefield. Another serious problem was the fact that the dogs had been trained to look for food under Russian tanks, not German ones. Some dogs would reportedly find the nearest T-34 and cause mayhem in the Russian lines. After 1942, the use of anti-tank dogs by the Soviet Army rapidly declined, and training schools were redirected to producing the more needed mine seeking and delivery dogs.

Steel Plated Stupidity

MacAdam Shield Shovel

MacAdam Shield Shovel

During the First World War, Sam Hughes, the Canadian minister for the Department of Militia and Defense, took an idea from his personal secretary, to develop a shovel that could double as a bullet shield. The shovel weighed a whopping five and a quarter pounds, adding a large amount of weight to an already cumbersome amount of carried gear. The design proved to be useless; the designers installed a large sight hole on the plate of the shovel so a shooter could hide behind the plate, and fire through the hole. When used as a shovel, loose sand could simply fall through the hole, making it a little like drinking coffee with a fork. In addition, soldiers complained that the shovel was far too heavy to be a practical shovel. Unfortunately, for the soldiers, the three-sixteenths-inch thick plate would not stop even the smallest enemy bullet. An executive order soon came down to scrap all of the shovels, and try to recover some of the cost. The salvage operation recovered $1,400 out of the original $33,750.

Not Exactly OSHA Compliant

Type 94 Pistol

Type 94 Pistol

As the Second World War dragged on, Japan’s lack of resources forced production quality to diminish toward the later part of the war. The Japanese marketed the Nambu Type 94 Pistol to officers who, at the time, had to purchase their own sidearms. The pistol fired an 8mm round and was light, weighing in at only 1 pound, 11 ounces. The gun had one horrible design flaw. If you put pressure on the exposed trigger bar on the left side of the receiver, the gun would cycle. As a result, an officer could simply holster his sidearm, and the gun would go off. If you set the gun down on a table too hard, the gun would go off. The Japanese produced large numbers of the Type 94 for military use. Records were lost during World War II, but it historians say that over 72,000 Type 94 pistols were manufactured.

As technology advances, there are always hurdles along the way. As long as there are human beings, the world will get to witness new and fascinating ways of annihilating each other. Some of the world’s best weapon designs often stem from ideas that don’t perform flawlessly until you make a few trips back to the drawing board. Just ask Eugene Stoner.

The Finest War Museum You Haven’t Seen: The National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial

The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri may just be the best American war museum you’ve never been to.  At this point, the Great War does not occupy the same place in our national consciousness as World War II, although over 116,000 American troops lost their lives in just over one year of fighting.  While that’s more than double our death toll from Vietnam, the American losses make up just 2%, yes that’s two percent of the Allies’ total combat force losses during “the war to end all wars.”  Yet when was the last time you heard someone mention World War I?

Allied commanders at the groundbreaking

Allied commanders at the groundbreaking, John "Blackjack" Pershing fourth from left

It wasn’t always like this.  After the end of the war in November 1918, a nationwide call went out for some sort of memorial to be constructed, and in 1919 a fundraising drive to build a monument raised $2.5 million dollars from private donors (that would be over $31 million today) in just ten days. When the site was dedicated in Kansas City in 1921, all five Supreme Allied Commanders of the victorious Allies came together for the ceremony—the only time all five were ever in the same place.  100,000 people came from around the world to see the groundbreaking—and the memorial wasn’t even built yet!  Fast forward to the present day, and the museum has over 80,000 square feet packed with artillery pieces, small arms, ammunition, clothing, medical supplies, propaganda posters, and all sorts of other original relics of the war.  Only the aircraft hanging from the ceilings are replicas, everything else is original. Racks of grenades, pistols, rifles, and bayonets flank larger pieces such as a Harley Davidson scout motorcycle in running condition and a Renault tank that still has a gash in the side from the artillery shell that knocked it out.

Half of the museum is dedicated to the course of the war from its beginning until America’s entry in 1917.  After a spectacular, and eardrum bursting, widescreen multimedia presentation about the causes of America’s late entry into the conflict, the second half of the museum shows the rest of the war from our perspective.  There is more here than you can easily see in one visit—to view a larger collection you’ll need to go to the Imperial War Museum in London, England.  Interactive video maps about the massive battles use computer-generated graphics to show moving lines of advance and retreat.  Full size trenches show the differences between fighting conditions for German, British, and French soldiers.  The trenches are always a hit with kids, but adults wince at the thought of being shelled by artillery while surrounded by walls of cold mud.

A few favorite bits of knowledge I’ve gained from my visits to the Liberty Memorial:

  • Right now it’s popular to make fun of the French military for surrendering in World War II.  But during the Great War one out of four Frenchmen of military service age were killed in less than four years, yet they never surrendered.  Count up your friends and family and imagine one out of four gone, and then see if you are in a hurry to do it all over again a few years later.
  • The firing rate of modern artillery was greatly underestimated.  At the beginning of the war, stockpiles of ammunition that had taken years to manufacture were used up in weeks.  But industry caught up—during the final offensive at the end of the war, American and French troops had an artillery piece for every 8 yards of front, and they rained a quarter of a million rounds on the German positions in just the first day of the assault.
  • The passenger ship Lusitania, famously sunk by a German submarine with the loss of nearly 1,200 lives, was in fact carrying weapons from New York to Liverpool on the voyage.  How do I know this?  The ship’s manifest is on display at the museum, and opened to the page logging the types and quantities of arms stowed aboard.
  • An incredibly large painting of the war called the “Pantheon de la Guerre,” which was originally over 400 feet long and took 130 European artists to create, was later cut apart and reinstalled at the Liberty Memorial.  It features the portraits of hundreds of important figures from the war, including many Americans.  Among them is a shy-looking artillery captain wearing round glasses.  Almost 30 years after the painting was finished, Harry S. Truman would be President of the United States.

It has been nearly a century since an assassination in Sarajevo sparked a fire that engulfed the world. But if you care to understand the political problems of today, and the history of how the United States rose to become a major player on the world stage, World War I cannot be ignored. For this reason alone the museum is worth visiting on your next trip to the Midwest, even if you don’t care to see the U-boat torpedo, the British naval deck gun, or the 240mm trench mortar. I guarantee you’ll find something else on display that will capture your imagination!

Original artillery pieces surrounded by uniforms and ammunition

Original artillery pieces surrounded by uniforms and ammunition

Vietnam-era Military Flechettes by the Pound!

These flechettes were used in the Vietnam-era M546 APERS-T 105mm artillery shell, known to Vietnam vets as “The Beehive.”  This devastating round was designed after the Korean War as a way to stop the human wave assault tactics used by the Chinese in that war.  At a distance of 75 meters the Beehive shell detonates and sends 8,000 of these steel darts screaming downrange towards the enemy.  Each steel flechette is roughly an inch long and weighs 8 grains or so, and upon impact they bend into a hook shape, with the finned tail section often breaking off to start a second wound channel.  At close range the high velocity of the flechettes made the M546 extremely lethal; it was described as the world’s largest shotgun round.  Legend has it that after the Beehives were used to repulse an attack, the enemy dead were often found in the field of fire with their hands nailed down to the wooden stocks of their rifles.

We are selling these flechettes as a piece of historic militaria only, and we do not recommend that you try to weaponize them, but we know what you’re thinking.  Flechette ammo is illegal in some places, like Florida, so know your local laws before you stuff some of these in a 12 gauge shell.  They are sold by weight, and each pound contains about 950 of these hardened steel projectiles.

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity—Is the Fruit Getting Ripe?

Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin

Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin

With the passage of Wisconsin’s concealed carry legislation this year, 49 states now have some sort of concealed carry law on their books.  Of those, 36 states have “shall issue” right-to-carry laws comparable to Wisconsin’s.  Only Illinois, which predictably also frowns upon open carry, stands completely alone in denying its citizens the right to bear their arms.

The 49 states that do feature some sort of concealed carry on their books have different regulatory schemes, different requirements to acquire a permit, and different rules about where guns may and may not be carried.  They also differ in one other important way—reciprocity.  Reciprocity is the legal process by which one state may recognize the laws of another, as they do with driver’s licenses for example.  Many states do in fact recognize permits from certain other states, but many others do not, or their recognition is limited to certain states.  Without recognition of an out of state concealed carry permit, a law abiding citizen must then obey the wide variety of state laws regarding firearm possession and transport for non permit holders.  This makes it legally risky for folks taking a simple family vacation from Missouri to Pennsylvania, for example, to bring a self protection firearm along with them.  There are websites online which can act as a guide for law-abiding gun owners to navigate this confusing situation, but the fact that they exist at all drives home the point that the hodgepodge of state laws are difficult to understand and follow.  And if you’re a trucker who sees several different states each week, the 2nd Amendment probably seems more like something you just read about online than a basic human right which could save your life someday.

U.S. House of Representatives members Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Heath Schuler (D-NC) have a solution.  In February 2011 they introduced HR 822, a national right-to-carry reciprocity bill that, if passed, would force every state to recognize the concealed carry rights of visitors with concealed carry permits from their home state.  That’s it.  No national ID card, no national database of concealed carry permit holders, just the radical yet simple notion that states should recognize each other’s concealed carry permits as they do a driver’s license.  Surprisingly, HR 822 has its basis in existing federal law.  Due to the Armored Car Reciprocity Act of 1993, every state, including Illinois, currently recognizes the permits carried by employees of Armored Car companies to carry firearms in their vehicles and on their persons.  How simple is that?

While this may seem like a simple change, getting the bill through Congress and signed by the President will be anything but.  Representative Stearns has filed a version of this right to carry reciprocity bill every year since 1995, which means that the bill has failed for sixteen straight years.  Like seeds planted in barren earth, each bill has withered and died.  But there are some indications that the bill’s chances are improving.  The landmark legal case of District of Columbia vs. Heller affirmed in 2008 that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right, not a collective right.  The Heller decision now backs up HR 822 from the standpoint of constitutional law, but more than that, it has helped turn the tide of legislation in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere.

While the BATFE and the Justice Department are reeling from scandals involving the government’s involvement in trafficking firearms from the United States to Mexico and Honduras, there are indications that this Congress is refusing to go along with gun control proposals.  The House of Representatives has adopted a provision protecting gun possession on land owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, and has shot down two anti-gun schemes by the BATFE and the Justice Department by removing funding from them.  By contrast, HR 822 now has 241 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, more than half the total number of members.   The bill is currently before the House sub-committee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.  If it can be successfully attached to an important piece of legislation coming through that committee, it is feasible that President Obama would sign it into law as part of a larger package, as he did with a bill allowing concealed carry in National Parks in May 2009.

With every state but one having concealed carry on the books, more than half of the House of Representatives co-sponsoring this bill, a recent Supreme Court decision affirming the 2nd Amendment, and a president who has previously signed pro-concealed carry legislation into law, is national concealed carry reciprocity an idea whose time has come?  Cliff Stearns and Heath Schuler think so.  They have been watering this tree with care and have watched it grow over time.  Is the fruit of their labors finally getting ripe?  Will the mishmash of conflicting laws be replaced by a simple edict that the states are to respect the rights of each others’ citizens?

Giant Double Rifle Case Does it All

The ModGear Ultimate Double Rifle Case can replace multiple bags and gun cases, simplifying your next range trip.  Use the heavy-duty dual zippers to pack two full-sized rifles in the 42 x 13 x 3” main compartment.  After removing them, the 40 x 24” main compartment divider comes out for use as a shooters mat.  A 13.5 x 10” handgun case on the side can protect a large hand cannon in its padded pocket.  There are three 10 x 4” mag pouches that each hold four 30-round AR-15 mags, and another 10 x 10” exterior pouch for your eye and ear protection.  The pouches have PALS webbing so you can attach MOLLE compatible items to them.  After loading up you’ll need the heavy-duty padded shoulder strap and nylon webbed handles to lug it all to the shooting bench, but you’ll only have to make one trip!

Zombie Life in the Day of Team Cheaper Than Dirt, Part 3

David "Rampage" McCormick

David "Rampage" McCormick

Yesterday four of us managed to get ourselves cornered in an alleyway. Two of us laid down covering fire while the other two pulled a dumpster sideways, creating a choke point. We radioed for help to the remaining members of our team. We held off the crowd of dead heads for what felt like an eternity. Shortly afterwards, a truck pulled up at the end of the alleyway, and a towrope came flying through the air. We clipped the tow strap to the dumpster and jumped in. The truck tires squealed and we started sliding to safety, firing out of the side window of the smelly metal container. Next time I hope it’s a recycle bin instead.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Ravenblack

Dr. Ravenblack

Last night, Sharp-Eye showed me a rash she had developed overnight. I was in my make-shift lab all day, so I’m not sure what the group got into yesterday. Everyone seems to disclose just enough that is relevant to the situation at hand and hardly anything more. So, I’m quite pleased she feels she trusts me enough to tell me. Or maybe it’s just because I’m the only one with such extensive medical training. I dressed her wound and applied some Antiseptic from the first aid kit. To avert any suspicion, I encouraged the whole group to dress in long sleeves to avoid sun exposure. I lead them to believe that our first aid supplies are dwindling and that heat stroke is detrimental to our survival. In regards to the rash, I’m not too worried, though I did take a scrape of it to take back to my lab for dissection.

 

 

 

Earl "The Duke" Jenkins

Earl "The Duke" Jenkins

I’m not all by myself no more! I had to risk the sporting goods store because I was running low on filters for my Katydyn water purifier, and I wanted some other necessities, like clothes that don’t smell like burned zombie. And candy bars. I tried out the camera tripod spear and it works real good so I didn’t burn up all my ammo getting around. I’d already scavenged all the 9mm I could carry and I was shopping around for a new backpack when I heard the same machinegun as the other night, but this time real close. I got down on my belly and started yelling out as loud as I could that I’m Duke Jenkins, famous photographer and author, and I ain’t no zombie. I need to write a chapter in the book on how to not get shot when you run into people that are still, you know, people.

There’s a whole crew of these survivors and they seem alright to me. Not a good ol’ boy among ‘em, but if they made it this long they can’t be total idiots. And boy are they well armed, this feller that calls himself “Rampage” totes an M60 belt-fed machinegun around with him everywhere he goes, and it’s the same gun I heard the other night. Turns out they saw the fire from the gas station I torched too. None of ‘em has a radio or we might’ve found each other days ago, instead of me almost getting shot up in the men’s dressing room.