Saturday, October 05, 2002

THAT'S A REALLY BIG SHOTGUN
The 30mm gun was originally developed to provide air defense. Since WWII it has been one of the major armaments that aircraft have been equipped with (little bit of irony there). The Navy has used them for last ditch anti-missile defense. The greatest use has been in the area of anti-armor defense.

The gun isn't big enough to punch through the armor of a main battle tank, but it's proven to be very effective against smaller armored vehicles. And the original role of air defense is certainly still important.

Considering the role of the gun, most ammunition either pierces armor and sets fires or else it pierces armor and blows up. Thanks to StrategyPage.com I've just heard of a new development.

It's 30mm ammo that releases a cloud of flechettes. The idea is to destroy sensors and mess up vision blocks so the crew can't see through them. According to tests, no tank can still function after only two solid hits from the new ammunition. The reader can just imagine what the new round does to troops in the open.

A REALLY BIG SILENCER
Just another post full of unfounded speculation about the recent Maryland shootings. Police are saying that in most of the attacks the weapon used was a .223 rifle. Those things make a fair amount of noise, so how did the shooters cut down on the ruckus?

Well, I notice that the police are still looking for a van or panel truck. Since no one's been arrested yet we don't know for sure if there really was a van or truck involved. But if there was, then the vehicle could be used to muffle the sound.

All anyone would have to do would be to cut a head sized hole in the side of the vehicle. It could be covered with a peice of board painted the same color as the outside of the truck when not in use. The shooter would fire while inside the van/truck, standing a few feet back from the hole. Most of the noise would be contained inside the body of the truck, and it would sound to an observer standing outside as if something heavy had fallen on to the floor of the van.

This would also explain many of the tactical questions that some people have been asking, such as how the shooter was able to fire while facing the sun. (As long as the sun was not sitting down on the horizen the shooter inside the truck wouldn't be bothered) This would also explain why no one has seen anyone with a rifle wandering around, since no one would be able to see anything unless they actually stuck their face in to the hole and peered in the dark truck at the shooter.

Anyway, for what it's worth. This is just the way I'd do it if I was a jerk who wanted to kill innocent people, instead of a jerk who's interested in protecting them.

Friday, October 04, 2002

DISTURBING PICTURE
Via Reynold's blog comes this very disturbing picture of Jerry Patterson, who's currently running for Texas Land Comissioner.

Why is this disturbing? Well, that's a new Colt 1911A1 Mr. Patterson is holding (don't ask me which model. Model 70, perhaps?). As I've noted before you really have to watch those 1911 enthusiasts. They'll act like you're an idiot if you buy anything other than a .45 ACP.

Other than that, he could have my vote if I lived in Texas.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

KILLIN' TIME
There's been a spate of random killings in the D.C. area. Five people are dead so far without any witnesses or suspects.

There's been speculation about it, though. Reynolds mentions it a few times on his blog, and he links to a post made by Susanna Cornett. Ms. Cornett speculates that the killer has had some sort of special tactical training and is, at the very least, an intense gun hobbyist. She also states that it's unlikely that there's any more than one individual involved.

Ms. Cornett makes some good points and it's well worth it to read the post I linked to above. But I have a different take on the situation.

For one thing I don't think I agree with Ms. Cornett's statement that the shooter had to be an intense gun hobbyist, although it's likely that it will turn out to be the case when the perp is caught. Although the info in the news services is sketchy, it doesn't appear that the shooter displayed any more skill than an average hunter would possess. Heck, anyone who goes out to the range a few times a year to punch holes in targets with his favorite rifle could have done as well. The mainstream media has shown an intense dislike of private firearm ownership over the past few decades, so I'm sure that they'll do anything to paint the perp(s) as real gun nuts even if they only own one gun.

Let me say again that it's more likely that Ms. Cornett is right about the perp(s) being intense gun hobbyists, though. I just don't think that it's neccessary.

Another point that I'm not sure that I agree with is Ms. Cornett's statement that it's most likely that the perp is acting alone. I think it's very likely that there's two people involved. This would allow for the precision in choosing the right time, place and victim for each shooting. There's also ample evidence of two serial killers that would only kill when together and lead less violent lives when apart.

It's pretty early to come to any conclusions about this case, or to make too many speculations. It could very well be that everything Ms. Cornett said in her post is correct. I just don't think it seems to fit.

THIS STUFF IS TOO NEAT TO IGNORE
A comment for this post came from davidmsc, who wants to know if there's a chart that shows the relative combat power of the world's air forces.

Haven't found one yet, but I'm still looking. In the mean time I thought you'd like to see some of the stuff I came across during my search. You can find the official U.S. Air Force photo web page here. Plenty of links are listed to the left that will take you to a plethora of really cool pictures, from bombers to helicopters to rocket launches at night. Lots of material for some really neato wallpaper images.

Another neato pic, this one shows a Blue Angel pointing the nose of his plane towards the sky. Notice the fog on top of the wings. This is caused by low pressure forcing the moisture in the air to condense.

This picture is of three aircraft from different eras flying in the same frame.

I found a database of warships in handy chart form, but the data seems to be a bit screwy. What's with the dollar signs, anyway?

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

TREKKIN' THROUGH
James Lileks thinks that he watches too much Star Trek. He discovered this when he watched an episode which revolved around time travel.

"I don’t know how my car works, but I know about those chronoton particles."

Welll......Yeah! Heck, I'll pay more attention to how my car works when it can fly to another planet. Or when Lt. Uhura is in the front seat fiddlin' with the radio.

Monday, September 30, 2002

FIREARMS FOR DUMMIES: SUB-MACHINE GUNS AND MACHINE PISTOLS
Sub-machine guns are just small rifles that fire pistol ammunition. This means that they're easier to control than full powered rifles, and the operator can carry more ammunition for the same weight. Since they fire pistol ammunition, the Europeans call such guns "machine pistols".

Though the Italian gun making firm of Glisenti is accredited with making the first sub-machine gun, it was an American named General John T. Thompson who really refined the idea. His weapon could fire from a variety of feed devices, from a 100 round drum down to a 20 round "stick" magazine. The ammunition was located at the center of the weapon, making it well balanced. Equipped with an efficient compensator on the front of the barrel and a extra handle in front, the Thompson was very easy to control during full auto fire. Rugged and reliable, the Thompson was also accurate enough for individual aimed shots out to 100 yards.

Very impressive. But it was soon noticed that the weapon was expensive and heavy. To save weight and expense many of the features that made the Thompson stand out were removed in later versions. With a shorter barrel, no compensator or accurate sights, and the front handle removed the Thompson was a much less capable weapon. Accuracy was reduced to 50 yards, controlling the weapon during sustained bursts was problematic, and with only 20 or 30 round magazines to choose from the ability of the weapon to lay down suppressive fire was severly curtailed.

The German's came up with a cheaper and lighter alternative. Made from stamped steel parts and equipped with a folding wire stock and firing the lighter 9mm cartridge, the MP40 was an effective and cost effective weapon.

The British decided that they could do even better as far as cheap and light. They came up with the STEN sub-machine gun. Firing the same 9mm that their Browning Hi-Power pistols used, the Brits could churn out STEN's for about $11.00 US. Not to be outdone, the U.S. came up with the M3 Grease Gun, which fired the same .45 ACP cartridge that the Thompson used. Based largely on the STEN, the Americans couldn't resist putting many little extras on the weapon which drove the cost up to $15.00 each.

What is probably the definitive machine pistol is the Uzi. Short and light, cheap yet rugged, the Uzi has embraced the concept of the machine pistol as a saturation weapon. The primitive sights are set for 100 or 200 yards. Individual aimed shots at either distance isn't realistic. Instead the idea is to just spray the area where the target is standing and you'll almost certainly hit them. The Uzi is also small and light enough to be carried anywhere, such as in a vehicle or cramped tank, without too many problems.

But what about the original idea of an accurate weapon that could produce pin-point automatic fire when needed?

Accurate 9mm machine pistols equipped with telescopic sights are capable of individual aimed shots out to 100 yards, just like the original Thompson. Many police entry teams are equipped with assault rifles modified to fire the 9mm pistol cartridge. This increases accuracy out past 100 yards, yet still provides a lower level of penetration than rifles.

The idea of suppressive fire isn't dead yet, either. Some companies actually specialize in producing high capacity drums for a variety of sub-machine guns. This means that your favorite automatic weapon could be used to keep a whole drug gang at bay.

I don't know, though. Just call me old fashioned but I'd prefer to stick with the tried and true.