Thursday, November 28, 2002

THE DEADLIEST HANDGUN
Back in the late 1940's, many of America's Highway Patrol departments were concerned about a rash of shootings across the country where officers were targeted. Supremely aware that their officers were all alone and far from aid if attacked, the powers that be were trying to find a way to increase the efficiency of the sidearms that were carried. In fact it was some Highway Patrol departments that first adopted the .357 Magnum revolver back in 1935. But even this powerhouse of a cartridge was considered to fall short of the goal.

It had long been known that automatic fire was very efficient at stopping an attacker, even if the wounds received would normally be far from fatal. It seems that having two impacts occur in less than a second creates opposing shockwaves in a target, which increases the damage done. To try and create this effect with a revolver, the double tap method of firing was developed. It was nothing more than training the officer to fire a second shot in to the body of an opponent as quickly as possible. It worked, but only if the attacker was really close.

There's another way to do this. The development of more effecient powder meant that handgun cartridges were mainly empty, with a thin dusting of propellant at the bottom of the case and a bullet perched on top. Why not use that empty space?

The idea is to take several wadcutter bullets and load them in the case on top of the powder. On top of that would be a normal round nose bullet. This way the officer would be firing three, four or even five rounds with every pull of his trigger. Think about that for a minute. A regular six-round revolver would actually be loaded with thirty bullets, and each time a perp was shot it would be like being peppered with a sub-machine gun burst.

I've seen articles in old gun magazines from before WWII that talk about Army experiments with this new method of loading cartridges, but I've never seen any follow up articles that reported on the results. I came across an ad in one magazine from 1980 that advertised for a company that sold pre-loaded multi-round defensive ammo. The name of the company was "Multi-Round" (big surprise), and near as I can tell they went out of business in 1984. I didn't know why, since it seems like such a neat idea. Everybody who's serious about self defense should have been buying up their ammo in bulk lots.

In 1995 I came across 500 rounds of Mutli-Round .38 Special ammo at a gun show, and it was being sold at bargain basement prices. I bought the lot and took some to the range.

The box said that the case held three 124 grain wadcutters topped by a 160 grain jacketed round nose. Total lead weight was then 532 grains, which is about twice the weight of the heavier .45 ACP rounds. I aimed at the target down range and....

WHAM! What the heck happened? It felt as though the gun had exploded!

After making sure that my gun was alright I tried it again. Same thing. An incredible blast and the perceived recoil was worst than anything I've felt before or since. A guy at the range had a chronograph and he kindly let me check the velocity. 945 fps, about what a .38 +P would produce. I figured up the muzzle energy and found it to be 1055 ft/lbs, about what a .44 Magnum has. But there's just something about all that weight of metal flying down range that really pushes the gun back at ya'.

Now I know why this deadly, extremely effecient handgun ammo hasn't been adopted by every law enforcement agency and military in the world. It's just too uncomfortable to shoot. I suppose we'll just have to stick with the double tap method.

Or we could all buy sub-machine guns.

DELINK THIS!
So some bloggers are removing other blogs from their bloglist because of ....well, general snottiness, I suppose. It all started with this guy, who said that he wouldn't link to anyone who linked to this blog. Sort of like trying to keep the cooties off.

I dunno about you, but I put people in my bloglinks because I want to go to their blogs and read what they have to say. I'm too much of a lazy bastard to actually type in their URL's so I just do it once on my own blog. Then I can just visit this blog, click on the bloglink, and read. To delink someone because they link to a blog I find offensive would first require me to search around and find out if they link to the offensive blog in the first place. It's just too much work to be a snotty dickwad.

Oh, yeah, while I'm on the subject, only this blog, this blog and this blog actually post enough material to keep me consistently entertained. Although I always enjoy the posts that are posted on the other blogs, there just isn't enough there to allow me to waste hours upon hours of my life in front of this computer. The rest of you guys are getting as lazy as I am.

Oh, yeah, I'm also overweight 'cause I don't excercise enough.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to make and eat a turkey-n-bacon sandwich. I have to make it myself because I'm still single. I wonder why that is?

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
Back in the 1950's most off duty police officers in America carried snub nosed revolvers chambered for the .38 Special cartridge. This allowed them to carry a potent defense round in a small package.

Those guys who were really serious about defense carried two snubbies. This was due to the slow reloading times for revolvers. Sure, there were speed loaders available, but it still took an eternity to get everything lined up and the rounds down in the cylinder. Better to have a second gun ready at hand if there should be multiple attackers.

So why didn't they just carry small autoloaders? They could reload much more quickly using magazines.

The general opinion at the time was that autoloaders weren't reliable enough to be depended on when things went south. This attitude didn't change until the late 1960's, when it became obvious that autoloaders in good condition could be every bit as dependable as revolvers.

So how many rounds should someone have with them if they can legally carry concealed? I pretty much take a hint from those old timers and suggest that my students always carry two: the gun should be fully loaded and an extra load carried somewhere on their person. Three is even better, but any more than that and you're expecting more trouble than a handgun can help you with.

Notice that I'm suggesting the same course of action no matter what is carried. If you have a snub nosed revolver with a 5 shot capacity then you should have at least one reload, and two would be better. If you favor a wondernine with 17 round magazines you should have at least one extra magazine, and two would be better. Whatever makes you feel more comfortable.

FREEZE, SUCKER!
Kevin left a very good comment on this post.

"I don't know what the current installs of the SPY 1 radar are using, but I know that they were still using intel 8088 chips in the mid-nineties because they were the only milspec approved chips."

I'm far from a computer expert so I think that Jack Burton should weigh in on this one. But I was under the impression that computer components double their capabilities every 18 months or so. Three years to four times the ability.

Weapon systems are very intricate and complicated, with design times taking years. If the design was modified every time technology improved then nothing would ever get built.

There's a point where the design is "frozen". This allows prototypes to be built, testing to be conducted, and bugs to be worked out. Many times repairs are made under less than ideal conditions, and by less than expert workman. So an effort is made to make it as easy to learn these intricate systems as possible. This means that all of the individual weapons of a particular class have to be close to identical. If this wasn't done then every warship would be unique, and it would need it's own supply of spare parts.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ THIS
I was just over at Susannah's blog and saw this post. Susannah is talking about a NRO article that discusses media bias.

I have to agree with Susannah on this one; I thought the bias shown in reporting hate crimes against those taken to be Islamic since 9/11 was appalling. Listen to the news media and you'd think that mobs are roaming the streets with torches and pitchforks to string up them thar Moo-slims. But, last time I checked, I haven't seen too many people hanging from lamposts.

IT WON'T BE AS MUCH FUN IF IT GETS OUT OF HAND
I'm attending classes at the Ohio State University. Lately we've been having trouble with hooligans running riot after football games. It's been going on for a few years. So why hasn't anything been done before now?

No one's talkin', but I think it's because the state government is situated just a mile or so down the road. All of those legislators have kids, and a lot of them are college age. You never know when the punk you haul in for rioting will turn out to have a really influential mommy or daddy.

Unless something is done this is going to end badly. These kids have a taste for arson and car smashin'. One of these days they're gonna attack a car that has an armed person inside. Nothing like a few dead kids to put things in to perspective.

SOUND WISDOM
Davidmsc is writing down some Rules to Live By.

I can't find anything wrong with the first one.

Monday, November 25, 2002

I DON'T THINK I HAVE ROOM IN THE GUN SAFE
StrategyPage.com has an article about a new weapon the U.S. has developed, the XM29. It's a .223 assault rifle with a computer controlled 20mm grenade launcher attached.

U.S. troops have a 40mm grenade launcher that can be clipped under the barrel of a standard M16A1, but the shells simply explode after hitting something. The new 20mm shells can be programmed on the run to travel a certain distance and then explode. This means that the shell can be in the air when it explodes, which allows targets behind corners or inside trenches to be attacked. Another point is that the 20mm greandes are accurate out to 500 meters and can attack bunched targets out to 1000 meters. Both ranges are outside of the effective range of most .223 rifles.

The problem is the weight. An M16A1 weighs about 8 pounds. The M203 40mm grenade launcher weighs about 3 pounds. Total is about 11 pounds plus ammunition. Well, the XM29 weighs 20 pounds, plus ammunition and extra batteries.

Most of the GI's I've talked to look at the XM29 the same way that they view the Land Warrior system: it's great for a limited amount of situations. Otherwise it's too heavy, expensive and complicated for everyone to have one.

Me, I like both the XM29 and the Land Warrior system. But, then again, I'm not the guy humping it over some hill.

A CHILL WENT DOWN MY SPINE
I was reading Prof. Reynold's blog when I saw that he had linked to this picture. It's of a monument to Nazi death camp victims that was defaced.

Now, Germany is rightly horrified at their role in shaping history in the 20th century. They've made great strides in combatting this sort of thing in their culture.

But there's just something about the Nazi symbols and the cops walking by, the German eagle prominant on their shoulder badges. The association is just a bit too strong.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

THIS ISN'T HAPPENING ON MY STREET!
So the riots in Nigeria have resulted in 215 dead. The news agencies are trying to place blame on Christians retaliating for protests against the Miss World Pagent, but I could have sworn that the whole thing started when a newspaper stated that Mohammed wouldn't have objected to the contest.

So this is the "Arab street" that's gonna kick our butt if we invade Iraq. Hey, I just wish they'd bring their riot to my street.

I just can't figure out how I should be quakin' in my boots because some illiterate, unarmed yahoos living in some mudhole are pissed off at me. Someone needs to explain it to me.

PRE GUNPOWDER SEIGE WEAPONS
Feel an indescribable urge to build an engine of destruction from the time of the Roman Empire? Well, do I have good news for you!

This website has ballistic tables to help you place your shot! Scale models are for sale, as are concealed carry models.

I wonder if the BATF has jurisdiction when it comes to regulating these?

THIS MAKES MY RUBBER DUCKY LOOK LIKE A BOOGER
While writing the post below I came across a mention of a brand new Visby class corvette that the Swedish Navy is considering.

Corvettes are tiny, tiny ships that are uncomfortable for the crew and are loaded to the gills with weapons. Easy to kill they are fast, go anywhere ships whose main selling point is that they're cheap cheap cheap.

Okay, so Sweden has a high-tech tiny lil' warship that they're gonna build. So what? They're so small that they'd be sunk in a trice if they get too close to a 40mm anti-aircraft gun.

It's not the ship that I find neato but the weapons control console. Damn, can't all of you computer gaming geeks just see one of those bad boys in the den? You'd have to put it somewhere with a door that you can lock or the wife and kids would pester you while you were doing some serious business, like going on line and saving the world from Nazi agression!

The Swedes say that the weapons control officer would never use the equipment for frivolous purposes. Yeah, right!

THIS MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA
Before 9/11 the U.S. Navy was considering building a fleet of small shallow draft ships to get in close and mix it up with the enemy during a beach assault. The project was named Streetfighter, and the Navy was taking a serious look at fast radar-stealthy catamarans to fill this role.

A catamaran on rough seas would be a miserable place to be. But it was considered the best idea available because the mission that Streetfighter was to fill was basically suicide. These ships were supposed to nose around close to shore and look for camouflaged anti-ship missile sites. Since some types of effective short range anti-ship missiles are small enough to be mounted on trucks, the only way to find out if any of them are around is by letting them shoot at a nice juicy target (that's what the stealth tech is for, to make these ships harder to hit).

Well, 9/11 has sidetracked the project for awhile. But it's still moving forward. I think that the final design, which we'll probably see in ten years or so, will be very interesting.

Just as long as I don't have to serve on one. As soon as rough seas hit I'd be puking my guts up all over the deck.

MAKIN' DO WITH LESS
Back before the French and Indian Wars, a major effort was made to construct an impregnable heavy-gun fort that would command the entrance to the Great Lakes. This citadel was called Fort Ticonderoga. Since everybody knew that Ticonderoga was unassailable the British troops manning the garrison there became woefully lax. A group of independant partisans called the Green Mountain Boys (commanded by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold in his pre-traitor days) snuck to within pistol shot of the fort and rushed it. They took Ticonderoga with 83 men.

This feat was remembered when the U.S. Navy was designing a new missile cruiser in the 1970's. This state-of-the-art warship was to be as automated as the computer tech of the time could make it. In an emergency only 5 people in the Command and Control Center are needed (though the ship will fight at a reduced capability). These ships are the Ticonderoga Class, and ton for ton they're probably the most heavily armed and capable ships afloat.

The reason that I'm mentioning this is because I came across these articles on StrategyPage.com. It would seem that the Navy has had serious problems attracting people to enlist. In an effort to make the period of enlistment easier to take, the Navy has tried to make the deal a little sweeter. But the problem just won't go away. So the Navy has taken a good hard look at automating as many tasks as possible. I'm interested to see if this will work in the long run.