Kassarine Lost: Part 3

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Captain Geoffrey Poulden double checked the Sun Compass to verify their heading.  It was crudely mounted above the dash right where the windshield would have been.  The trucks used to have the newer P8 compasses but those had been ruined some time ago, forcing them to use the old and still reliable Sun Compass.  The sun remained the most reliable thing the LRDG had.  Geoffrey glanced up.  It was still there, burning exposed skin, and bleaching everything else.   Thankfully, the second most reliable things they had were their trucks.

When these trucks arrived in North Africa, they were brand new Chevrolet WB 30 cwt 4×2, straight from Detroit.   Once they got into the hands of the New Zealanders that formed the original LRDG, hacksaws and cutting torches were used to remove the tops and anything that would be otherwise useless.  Then they were painted the same color as the desert sand.  After the trucks had been passed down from squadron to squadron to the Englishmen who formed “G” Patrol there was little of the original trucks left save for the frames.  As trucks broke down, they were cannibalized savagely to keep the rest of the trucks operational.   There are been seven trucks in Poulden’s squadron, and twenty five men.  Now it was down to three, crewed by nine.

The first truck was marked with a crudely painted scorpion in a circle, right in the center of the hood.  Geoffrey rode shotgun, while Staff Sergeant Nathaniel Allum drove, and Sergeant Dale Collier, the young man from Cambridge manned the new dual Browning fifty cal machine guns mounted in the back of the truck.  Geoffrey looked in the back and saw that Collier was fast asleep again on top of a pile of rolled camo netting.  Dale was good with the guns, and while he should be keeping an eye out for aircraft, Geoffrey let him sleep.  Dale had been awake longer than the rest of them, and they were still well within friendly territory.   It would be dark soon and it wouldn’t matter.  He wanted Dale to be well rested tomorrow come sunrise.  Because they would be deep in the desert with no support then… and the skies wouldn’t be trusted.

The second truck had Lieutenant, Eugene Baskett commanding, Staff Sergeant Roger Friedman driving, and Richard O’Carroll standing in the back of the truck holding on to his dual mounted, .303 caliber Vickers guns.  Richard looked like he was wiping them down with a rag.  They were good guns, but required a lot of care. Richard O’Carroll was probably the youngest man in the squadron, having come to the LRDG from the 2nd Lancers.  He was used to tanks instead of trucks, having trained extensively with the Crusader light tanks.  Fat lot of good that did him here, but along the way he learned how to run a Vickers K Machine Gun, so he was useful.  Their truck was also their Wireless Truck.  It had several long antennas and radio sets that worked well… most of the time.  

The third truck was their Gun Truck, they called it Anvil.  Unlike the first two truck, Anvil was sporting a 37mm Bofors Anti-Tank gun.  Sergeant Roberto Goss was a wizard with it. They had tried to give him one of the captured Breda 20mm guns, but Roberto insisted that the Bofors were better and hit harder.  Most thought the Bredas were more accurate, but Roberto just laughed and asked when was the last time he missed.   No one could argue that point.  Roberto Goss never missed.   The gun truck was called the Anvil because when Roberto fired that Bofors, a few seconds later you would hear the loud “clang” of the shell slamming into target.  The gun might not be able to punch the newer Panzers, but anything lighter would be wrecked.    Roberto had made thousand yard hit on a moving German 232 Scout car.  One shot, one kill.  No one tried to take the Bofors away from him after that.

Staff Sergeant Logan Weston drove Anvil.  He was able to somehow keep Anvil from getting stuck even with the heavier weapon and ammunition she carried.    Lieutenant Philip Clayton was Anvil’s commander, and had a knack for positioning Anvil so Roberto had a good angle to biggest problems.  Philip had been given a wide brimmed Stetson hat from an American cavalry unit, and he’s worn it ever since.  

Geoffrey was a little envious.  The hat was almost ridiculous, but it did good work keeping the sun out of Philip’s eyes and off his neck.  Like the rest of the men, Geoffrey wore the Arab style headgear called a keffiyeh, which was pretty much a scarf held to his head with some black rope called an agal.  It did fairly well in the heat, but a cowboy hat would be better, Geoffrey thought.

 

Kassarine Lost: Part II.

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The men were laying around on top of supplies in improvised bunks and hammocks.  Each one was filthy looking, smelled of sweat and oil, and appeared to have forgotten what a razor was.  They had made some sort of hovel from parking three trucks together in a semi circle and used tarps to fashion a large but rudimentary tent.   

Corporal Carter looked around at the men, offended by their lack of decorum and military bearing.  “Where is your Commanding Officer?  Who’s in charge here?”  Carter said, with a raised voice full of repudiation.  

Continue reading Kassarine Lost: Part II.

Gear Review: Exos-Gear Bravo Pack

I’ve not heard of Exos-Gear before, and I don’t personally know the owner or designer or anyone at the company… So this review is completely without any built in bias.  I’ve been looking for a good Tactical Pack to ungrade from my little Drago Pack that I used as an EDC laptop and work bag.  Mainly it packs my laptop, various tech accessories I need, and a notepad and pens.   And it’s a carrier for some spare handgun magazines and a couple blades.  But really that’s about all it can carry.  If I was going to go Adventure I needed something more capable.  From what I’ve seen online, the EXOS-GEAR’s BRAVO packs seemed like a perfect solution, so I had to try it out.   And I’m glad I did.  This is a solid pack.

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One thing I like about this pack is that it’s light weight for it’s size. It’s also simple and everything is straight forward and easy to understand. You don’t need a Manual for this pack.
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One important aspect of a good pack, is it’s ability to actually be a Pack and not a glorified Shoulder Bag. The straps are sturdy and well padded. In testing and some actual use as a pack… it’s comfortable, even when carrying a good amount of weight.
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The Hydration compartment carries a Camelback bladder perfectly, and away from main compartment contents.
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The Hydration system’s tube can feed through the inner port, and out this covered port that can is otherwise velcro’ed closed. Just one of the details that I appreciate. They actually thought things through. That’s impressive.
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This pack expands as needed, going from a regular Day-Pack to a full on RUCK Mode. It also has enough Molle Webbing to easily attach other bags and such to fit most any mission requirement.
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The Main Compartment is cavernous. Several pairs of jeans, battle-kilts, and socks… whatever you need for a proper adventure… be it a weekend from home, business trip, camping, a week at SHOT SHOW, or hunting Orc. You can fit it in here.
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The Secondary Compartment is also large enough for a good laptop. School books. Your sniper Dope-Book. The built in pouches work great for holding spare magazines.
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The Tertiary compartment is good for knives, compass, GPS, pens… it’s big enough for all sorts of gear. A Pocket Holster fits in there, allowing for a great secondary handgun carrier.

It’s really easy to say that this is a great pack for the money… Because this is NOT an expensive pack.  In fact… It’s cheap.  It’s less than $40 bucks.  But saying that it’s a great pack for the money really doesn’t do it justice.  It’s a great pack.  Period.  The fact that it’s Un-Expensive is just a total bonus.

If I had any complaint about the pack, it would be that I’d have liked more area for moto-patches.  Just because I like patches.   There’s a spot for patches on each side, but not on the face of the pack as I’d have liked to have seen.  But that’s a small complaint and really a Non-Issue because I’ve never seen a mission critical patch before.
Having got one just to try out – I’m going to be ordering a few more for my Sons, because they need some good packs too.   The other option I was looking at was literally double the money for a pack that is no better.  So I’m pleased with this one.

The Bravos Series packs – and Exos-Gear makes a more Urban one – comes in some other colors.  Black, OD-Green, and Grey, as well as the Coyote Tan as pictured.  Order one Here.

Specifications:

  • Liters: 34L, 2073 CU in. Capacity when measured in accordance with Standard ASTM F2153
  • Inner Main Compartment: 18″ x 10″ x 5″
  • Inner Secondary Compartment: 16″ x 9″ x 3″
  • Outer Top Compartment: 5″ x 8″ x 3″
  • Outer Bottom Compartment: 10″ x 8″ x 3″
  • Material: 600D Polyester
  • Double-Stitched Grab Handle
  • Heavy Duty Zippers and Utility-Style Cord Pulls
  • Side and Front Load Compression System
  • Ventilated Mesh Padding for Strap & Back Area
  • Durable Polymer Buckles & Anchors

No Fly No Buy

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I have a problem with the No Fly No Buy thing.   Now, on the surface, the idea that someone who can’t get on an Airplane shouldn’t be able to buy a gun – is fine.   The problem isn’t that rule.  The problem is that list.   The No Fly List is shrouded in Mystery and Secrecy.  You can all to easily be put on that list, and you have almost no way to get off of it.
What are the requirements that must be met to be put on that list?
What are the oversights?
What are the rules that manage that list?
What is the Due Process?
If you are on that List by mistake, how do you get off that list?
Is this going to be like the IRS and can it be used to illegally target groups that are out of favor with the standing administration?
Can it be used to harass Political Adversaries?
Can it be used to punish someone that pisses off some unnamed, faceless Bureaucrat?
Who controls the List?
See… the problem that I have with the No Fly List being tied to guns is that it can be far too easily used to strip people of Constitutionally Protected Rights with absolutely ZERO Due-Process.   Especially since Officials of the Government have admitted that 35% of the names on that list are there by mistake.  That’s a pretty big percentage of error.   If you are going to take away anyone’s Rights – It need to be done through a Court.  Not a Bureaucratic Cog.
EVEN IF HE OR SHE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION by the FBI.  WHY?  BECAUSE WE ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!!!!!!!
This is the main problem I have with it.  This rule would mean that if you are on this list you are guilty – Guilty without a Trial.  Guilty just because you have a similar name to someone else…
Due Process is Promised us by the Constitution and this takes that away.
This is Un-American.
This is disgusting.
And I’m straight up against it.  We give up too much.  Way too much.  With nothing in return.   We always give up our Liberty.  And we do not get anything in return for it… it’s a bad deal.

Things I’m just done with.

I’m done with some very bad fads that became all too common in the Gun Industry… Things that were heralded as being good or cool or tactical – but really are more of a pain in the ass than a help.
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Ramp Sights.  When these came out forever ago, it was really the only step up from the GI rear sights on most 1911’s.  Because they were a cool looking alternative, and provided a good sight picture – they became popular.  They made 1 Hand manipulations a severe handicap, but back then everyone had GI length guide rods so it wasn’t that big of a deal.  But shortly after these came out, full length guide rods became popular as well.  Now, 1 Hand manipulations became more of a problem.  Then this autoloader cancer spread to other guns… Like the CZ-40… and I’ve seen them on a lot of others too… XD’s and M&P’s and other guns that have no place wearing Ramps.  The only gun I have that I don’t mind the Ramp Sight on – my Ruger GP100 Match Champion.  If I need to One Hand Rack the slide on my GP100 – I’m in big trouble.   But on a 1911?  These need to die in a fire.  I’ll never have one on any new auto pistol ever again.  Ever.

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Single Point Slings.  These only have a place with Tactical Ted wannabe Operators who have never lived with a rifle in their hands all day long every day.  Sure – they might have a place in some situations.   But most of the time, a good adjustable two point sling will ultimately be a much better, more useful option.   Some slings that can go from Two to One point – fine.  That’s fine.  But I’ve racked my self in the nuts more times than I care to think about… and have had my rifle just be in the way more than it ever should have, simply because I was running a stupidass Single Point Sling.  Two is better than One.  Best things in life come in pairs.  Think about that.

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Quad Rails.   The idea of being able to easily attach something to your weapon is a good thing.  But quadrails are the Fax Machines of Firearms.  They need to stay the hell back in the 90’s and let’s just move forward with M-Lok or Key-Mod… I don’t care.   Or even proprietary screw on rail sections… that’s fine.  But Quad Rails just SUCK.  They are heavier than they need to be and they are very uncomfortable and then you add on covers and you just add more weight to them.  They are terrible.  A Picatinny rail across the top is perfect.  But anywhere else and your rifle is just… Faxed Up.   And if you have a free floating handguard that has a rail across the top – Let’s get rid of those fixed front sights.  The Triangle Front Sight on an AR should go the way of the Carry Handle.  And both should go where the Fax Machine needs to go.

What I look for when looking at an AR type firearm.

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I’m the guy that wrote the “Why I Hate the AR” article a couple decades ago.  But I’ve come around to them now… after 50 years of continual development, AR’s are pretty much all decent enough now.  They all work pretty well.  But…  I’m really picky when it comes to AR’s now.   I’ll dismiss most AR’s in any gunshop.  Being jaded as I am… having seen everything on the market with little that actually impresses me… People ask me all the time what I look for.  What I look for in an AR first and foremost is Accuracy.  It’s all about that Barrel.   I want it Cold Hammer Forged.  If it’s not – I’m just not going to spend my money on it.  Period.  So I am going to look for those markings on the barrel to ID where it came from, so I can know how it’s made.  CHF barrels are no guarantee of it being super accurate – just consistent.  And that’s where accuracy starts.  With traditionally made barrels – some can be very accurate.  Others, less so.  You don’t know what you are getting until after you bought it.
CHF Barrels, takes away that variation.
I’m also going to look for a free-floating barrel.  Traditional A1 and A2 and other similar handguards that are connected at the front, are things I am going to always avoid.  You can have an accurate rifle with those… But simply gripping them differently will apply different pressures to the barrel and effect the Harmonics.  Variations in Barrel Harmonics will effect accuracy.

You know how some rifles prefer loads of different bullet weights and velocities?  Reloaders will play with powder loads to find that perfect load for max accuracy – what they are really playing with is Harmonics.

Allow me to explain.  When a shot is fired from the barrel, that barrel starts to move.  A lot more than you would think.  An accurate rifle has a very consistent movement and the bullet exits the muzzle the same place in the barrel’s movement every time.    Things that change the way the barrel moves effects this – and thus effects accuracy most often in a negative way.

I want the Upper and Lower receivers to be tight.  With as little movement as possible.  In some builds, designed for close quarters, or in AR Pistols, this isn’t so big of a deal.  A little movement isn’t going to effect anything.  But for a rifle configuration for longer range work – I want this to be a bank vault fit.  Or if this is a build that is supposedly a super high quality build… or anything north of 900 dollars… I want this to be a bank vault fit.

The other thing I look for in an AR is a good trigger pull.   I don’t care about the weight in most AR triggers.  But I want that break to be crisp and clean.  I want it to break like a hard thought.

These are the main things I look for in an AR.  Everything else can be altered and changed out easily.  So they don’t matter so much.  But what I described – that’s the foundation to build your Configuration on.

Left Lane Campers

Dear Carolina Drivers, I love you guys.  You guys are some of the best drivers in the Nation.  No, seriously… you really are!  You guys are polite and friendly… you guys let people merge and there are few times when horns get used.   You guys are great.
Save for one thing.   Some of you guys are chronic Left Lane Campers.  You guys are awesome until you get on the Freeway where you move all the way to the left and just camp there.  You guys are going to just set that cruise control to the speed limit, and just ignore the whole freaking world around you.   Or worse yet, you decide to set your pace to the freaking truck right next to you!   Either way, you are in violation of a simple principle…
SLOW TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT.
Let me make it easy for you.

If there is no one in front of you, and people behind you… You Need to Move Right.

If there are people Passing you on the Right, you need to move to the Right.    Let’s give you an example… Look at this picture:

Tailgating

Now… We see 3 vehicles.  A Blue Van, a Silver Car and a Blue Car.
The Blue Van is a LEFT LANE CAMPER.  He needs to move his slow ass over to a lane on the Right.  GTFO of the Fast Lane!
The Silver Car is needing to back off a bit.  But he’s trying to communicate to the Left Lane Camper… But you can’t.  Left Lane Campers are too busy text messaging to pay attention to actually driving.
The Blue Car, if he’s over taking the other two, is probably contemplating moving to the right and passing on the right.  When he does so, the Silver Car is going to be fed up with the Blue Van’s bullshit and he’s going to move to the right as well, but without looking because he now has anger issues.  As as result, the people in both cars are going to explode and die… all because of the Flaccid Left Lane Camping Sphincter driving the Blue Van.

Don’t be a Flaccid Left Lane Camping Sphincter.  Don’t make people explode and die… Move to the Right.

Random Image Drop:

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Shooter 3.0

Say hello to Shooter 3.0.

Gun Woman

Let me back up to explain what I’m talking about.  Shooter 1.0 is the generation of people who grew up with guns as just part of their every day lives.  They grew up learning the traditions of shooting, and of hunting, and of gun safety and it was never a mystery to them.
Shooter 2.0 is the non-traditional group of new shooters who had no background of firearms, but took up an interest from movies, tv, and video games and wanted to try them out in real life.  Shooter 2.0 comes from a diverse demographic background, but are usually younger, enthusiastic, technology savvy, and are willing to learn everything they can about firearms.  They don’t look like Shooter 1.0’s typically… because Shooter 2.0 may have Tats, Piercings… and do not look like or dress like they came from that Conservative Upbringing that 1.0’s came from.

Shooter 3.0 is a bit different.  They are primarily people who are waking up to the realization that the Second Amendment applies to them.   They are primarily women, and primarily Women of Color.  Black, Asian, Indian, and Latino Women are the bulk of Shooter 3.0, with Black Women being the largest segment of this group.   Shooter 3.0 often comes to the table with no background in Firearms Knowledge from any source or media… But they know that they have the RIGHT to learn.  And that’s a BEAUTIFUL thing!

For the last couple of years I’ve been the guy manning the booths at public events and being that ambassador to the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade.   We see a lot of people walking by.   Having a Booth for a Gun Range at these public events has been an education.

Shooter 1.0 guys tend to ignore us almost completely.   They are “Too Cool For School”.  They will walk past, keeping their heads forward, but eyeballing us as hard as they can rotate their eyeballs in their skulls.   Once in awhile, they will ask us for some information “For their friend”.

Shooter 2.0 guys will ask us about what guns we carry in stock, and will ask about tactical training opportunities… and they will often bring their boy friends or girlfriends who are not yet comfortable.  Their Safe Word is “Breakfree”.   We get a few of the 2.0 people a day at whatever location we are all.

Shooter 3.0’s are the ones who walk straight up to our booth, they smile, they ask good questions about all the learning opportunities, and it’s the Shooter 3.0’s that are signing up for the classes.  Because.  They.  Can.   They are proud to embrace the rights that they have been told is for Other People.   Guns are a Man’s Thing.  Or Guns are for Rednecks.   And they now know that a RIGHT in America is for All Americans.    And here’s the great thing about the Shooter 3.0 Crowd… 3.0’s actually Listen.  They drink in the FREEDOM like a dehydrated guy crawling in from the desert drinks in water.   The 2nd Amendment is for them too.  Self Defense is a Human Right.   And we WELCOME them into the Freedom Lifestyle.

Shooter 3.0 Students are the ones filling our Concealed Carry Classes.

The black women as a group are also the ones having the most fun with all of this.  We’re seeing them coming into the range with their friends more and more often… when only a few years ago we’d almost never see any.   They are having a blast!  The Freedom Lifestyle welcomes everyone.   When you are at the range – there is no Hate, there is no Racism… You find that at Liberal Arts Colleges.

Unfortunately there is some Sexism.  You find that in some of the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Marketing and in some of the SHOT Industry Vendors…   Looking at you EAA, specifically, and a lot of others generally…   Can we NOT actively try to alienate the whole new customer base that is keeping the industry rolling?   Just asking.

How I hope it plays out…

  1.  Hilary and Trump finalize as the Candidates…
  2. As we get near October, the FBI pushes for the prosecution and Hildabeast is Indicted.
  3. The DNC scrambles and whoever they put up gets soundly trounced by Trump.

    Here’s why I hope Trump Wins:  SCOTUS Picks.  Specifically for this guy:

Thomas R. Lee, Utah
Born: 1964
Position: Utah Supreme Court
Background: Justice Lee, who has held his current post since 2010, is the brother of Senator Mike Lee of Utah (who endorsed Senator Ted Cruz in the Republican primary) and the son of Rex E. Lee, who was United States solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Senator Mike Lee a few times, Back in, what was it?  2010 when we were both running for office.   Mike Lee impressed the hell out of me with his absolute in depth knowledge of the Constitution, his reverence for it, and his love of the freedoms that it gives America.  His patriotism was clear.  He had said that he was “Raised that way”.   If Mike was raised that way… then his brother Thomas was raised that way too.  And THAT is the kind of man we NEED in the SCOTUS.

Trump will have the pick of 1, and probably 2 more Justice seats.  This will fundamentally make or break our Nation.  If we get in 1 liberal… it’s going to suck.  If we get in 2 liberals…. Our Nation is truly finished.  I am not being overly dramatic here, but the fact of the matter is that the Liberals/Progressives/Communists will Legislate from the Bench everything they can’t get done in Congress and there will be zero hope for our country.

The OGRE EDITION 1911

I was asked about my ideal 1911 Configuration… The Ogre Edition 1911, if you will.   My dream 1911.

BOBTAIL

It’s really simple.   We’re going to start with a Lightweight Commander platform, give it a Beavertail and a Commander style hammer.   The rear sight will be neither a GI or a Novak, and it wont be adjustable.  It has to be able to facilitate one hand slide-racking in an emergency.  And it’s going to have the “Bobtail” conversion not just for looks, but for feel and concealability.IMG_1903

The Muzzle end will have a deep target crown and will be flush with the bushing.  Also note, it’s going to have a Bushing and a GI style spring plug.367fg170

The front sight will have either a Trijicon HD, Big Dot, or Gold Dot front sight post for MAX Visibility.  NO FIBER OPTIC.  The rear will be nice wide notch, sans the 2 rear dots.  I don’t like double dot rears.

The overall gun will be slightly “Melted” to soften any hard edges.
Serrations will be simple GI style, with nothing forward.

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The grips will be rich Cocobolo wood, thin, and low profile, edges slightly rounded.  The front strap of the grip frame will be 30LPI checkered.
The gun can either be all black, or black over a light colored frame.

The Caliber will be 10mm.

This is my ideal 1911.  Though no one as of yet makes it.

EDIT:  UPDATE:  
Ha!  Looks like my tastes have not really changed all that much…

The Ogre Edition 1911