Archive for January, 2014

Finger On The Trigger, Head Up His Ass

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

There are only 4 safety rules when handling firearms.

1) Keep the gun pointing in a safe direction at all times.

2) Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.

3) Keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

4) Be aware of your target, and what is beyond.

I have my students memorize the rules by rote, and then break it down further into a mantra.  They have to remember Point, Finger, Unload, and Target.  Simple, simple, simple.

The safety rule they have the most trouble with is #2.  Firearms are made so that the trigger is easily reached by the finger, and most people find that their fingers tend to want to come to rest on the offending bit of metal.

finger on trigger

Dangerous as this is, it usually results in a Negligent Discharge (ND) when someone is holstering their weapon.  If the finger is on the trigger, then the edge of the holster will push against that finger.  This means the trigger will move and, BLAMMO!, someone gets a round in their leg.

holstering a handgun with the fimnger on the trigger

(Picture source.)

Subjective though it is, my experience tells me that this is the most common form of ND out there.  Lucky thing this sort of screwup usually results in only the idiot with the gun getting shot, and innocent bystanders are most often left unscathed.

knirirr was kind enough to send me a link to this newspaper article, which tells the tale of a police officer in London who shot himself in the leg while holstering his handgun.  No matter how they spin it, I know exactly what happened and why.

What must be particularly galling is that the police officer was a member of the elite Flying Squad, whose officers one would think would be well versed in firearm safety.

Handguns That Look Like Rayguns

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

I know exactly what popped into your mind when you read the title to this post.  “But aren’t some rayguns already handguns?

cork popping raygun

(Picture source.)

star trek phaser mk ii

That is true enough, but rayguns are science fiction fantasies.  Movie props or toys for children which cannot actually be used for self defense.

My purpose today is to discuss a few of the stranger firearm designs which have come along over the years.  The reason for their odd appearance is usually due to engineering considerations, as weapon designers tried to sidestep the patents which kept them from offering something that looked more traditional.

Bah!  Enough blather!  On with the weirdo bang-bang beauty contest!

The Deer Gun

C.I.A. Deer Gun Single Shot Pistol

C.I.A. Deer Gun Single Shot Pistol 2

The Liberator was an extremely cheap single-shot pistol developed during WWII.  The idea was to air drop them by the tens of thousands inside Nazi occupied territory in order to provide resistance fighters with something they could use to shoot their oppressors.

It never worked, but the idea was revisited during the Vietnam War by the CIA.  This time around the pistol was known as The Deer Gun.  By all accounts, the weapon was just as effective as the Liberator which came before.

I found the above pictures at this site, which has an excellent writeup of the weapon.  Please click on over and give it a read if you are interested in the subject.

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Anyone An Expert In Historical British Uniforms?

Monday, January 20th, 2014

triumphant pistol team circa 1900

(Click picture for larger version.)

I came across this picture on the Intertubes, and thought it was very interesting.

Okay, so I thought it was a compelling image.  What is the story behind the photograph?  I have no idea.

If I had to speculate, and I am about to speculate even though I don’t have to, I would say that it is a British Army pistol team circa 1900 or so, posing with the trophy they won.  That is why I am hoping that someone reading this is interested in the history of British uniforms.  I’m certain there is a great many details to be gleaned from the insignia and gear that would help nail down the where and when.

Lastly, please take a look at the officer seated on the left side of the photograph.  Note how his hands are blistered and peeling.  Something tells me that he was recently operating in a desert, where the only part of his pale skin exposed to the sun was his hands.

Borrowing From The British Raj

Monday, January 20th, 2014

This is a Webley revolver, famous sidearm of the British Empire.

webley mk i revolver

And this is a Nirbheek, a revolver just introduced in India.

nirbheek revolver

Note the stirrup latch, which is the kind of swooping lever close to the hammer.  The revolver breaks open for loading and unloading, just like a Webley.

Webley_mk4_open

(Picture source.)

But there is a big difference.  While the British guns were usually chambered for the robust .455 Webley cartridge, the Nirbheek is chambered for a far less impressive .32 cartridge.

The new revolver is being marketed to women as a deterrent to rape, which seems to be a big problem in India.  If it wasn’t a major crime in that country to carry a handgun without a permit, and if it wasn’t so difficult and expensive to acquire a permit, then small guns such as this might just be worthwhile.  As it is, I’m pretty sure anyone who can afford this gun can also afford to hire professional bodyguards.

Another barrier is one of price.  The Nirbheek is selling for about $2,000 USD, but the average yearly salary in India is about $1,400 USD.  I suppose the manufacturer, a state owned official armory, can get away with that considering that only rich people can legally own guns there.

I mean, holy crap!  Two grand for that little gun!  I can afford to build a racegun for that kind of cash!

Wavy Blades

Friday, January 10th, 2014

I posted something below concerning a firearm of antique design called the Apache.

unfolded apache with gold leaf

This prompted Steven to ask a question …

Why is the blade on the Apache wavy? Is it must more cutesy adornment or is there a practical reason?

The most famous weapon with a wavy blade is probably the kris, a dagger popular throughout Indonesia.

kris knife with wooden sheath

Europeans got into the act with the flamberge, or flame sword.  The wavy blade is supposed to be suggestive of a tongue of flame as it writhes and flickers in the air.

flamberge sword

(Picture source.)

In modern times, I’ve come across the occasional switchblade and other street-fighting knives which sported a wavy blade.

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Folding Firearms

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Lots and lots of guns have folding stocks, but the idea here is to find those weapons which will not function if folded.  There are a few.

folding russian handgun

The KB-ST GNOM.  A prototype which never went into production, and chambered for the 9x18mm Makarov round.

(Thanks to Tony for the heads up!)

french folding submachine gun

mgd french folding submachine gun

The MGD PM-9 submachine gun, a French offering chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge.  Seems that several thousand were made between 1954 and 1955, but they were more expensive than other subguns available at the time.  Considering that there were plenty of cheap surplus weapons available of all types that soon after WWII, and that the PM-9 design offered no advantages when the gun was being used for its intended purpose, the existing guns were seen as little more than pricey novelty items.

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Bad Cop

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

A coworker was relating some of the things he learned while attending a CCW training class.

He said that the instructor had mentioned some footage from a police dash cam which went viral a few years ago.  A police officer in Canton, Ohio had gone berserk when he encountered a law abiding citizen during a traffic stop who was legally carrying a concealed handgun.  Although the private citizen was doing nothing wrong, and never offered the slightest resistance, the officer still arrested the hapless motorist.  Not only that, but he repeatedly and graphically threatened the life of his prisoner!

canton police officer daniel harless

The instructor went on to reassure the class that they had little to worry about, two years after the fact.  The officer in question had been put on trial, and was now serving a long sentence!

A police officer went to jail for verbally abusing someone?  Color me astounded!  I had never heard of such a thing!  So I decided to check it out.

It seems that the officer in question, a Daniel Harless, has had a long history of threatening unresisting suspects with death.  Any reasonable person who views the dash cam video taken on the night in question might very well recoil in horror at the violence Mr. Harless promises to bring down on the heads of peaceful citizens, but he obviously thought of such behavior as business as usual.

Any private citizen who was so quick to threaten the lives of others would, of course, be sent up the river at warp speed.  But that didn’t happen to Mr. Harless, even though his guilt was recorded for all to see.

According to this news article, Mr. Harless was fired by the city for his outrageous behavior.  But a variety of lawsuits brought by Mr. Harless caused him to be reinstated.  He was finally worn down by the courtroom wrangling, and both he and the city government agreed to drop all lawsuits as long as he never works for the city of Canton ever again.

So no jail time, and the city even tossed in $40,000 in back pay to get rid of him.  This is hardly what I would consider to be justice.

What really bothers me, however, is that part of the settlement between Harless and the city is that he will be issued a retired police officer ID.  This means he will still be able to carry concealed firearms for his defense, just like the poor citizen he so enthusiastically abused.  The big difference being that Harless won’t have to bother enrolling in any safety classes like an innocent man would have to.