NRA Dispels Conspiracy Theories About Large Federal Ammo Purchases

Good stuff.

Much of the concern stems from a lack of understanding of the law enforcement functions carried about by officers in small federal agencies. These agents have the power to make arrests and execute warrants, just like their better-known counterparts at agencies like the FBI.

For instance, the Social Security Administration solicited offers for 174,000 rounds of pistol ammunition. But the agency has 295 special agents who combat Social Security fraud that costs tax payers billions each year, so the order works out to roughly 590 rounds of ammunition per agent for training, mandatory quarterly qualification shooting and duty use. More than a few NRA members would use that much ammunition in a weekend shooting class or plinking session.

Survey: Public Confused About What Assault Weapons Really Are

ReasonWhat’s an Assault Weapon?

A Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey conducted this month suggests such misconceptions are common. After asking the 1,000 respondents if they thought people should be “prohibited from owning assault weapons,” the survey (which is sponsored by my employer, the Reason Foundation) asked half of the sample to “describe an assault weapon.” The answers are illuminating.

About two-thirds of the respondents described “assault weapons” as guns that fire rapidly, guns that can fire a large number of rounds without reloading, guns with a lot of “power,” or guns used by the military. More than a quarter described them as “machine guns,” “automatics,” or the equivalent (e.g., “multiple rounds with just one pull of the trigger”).

That sounds right. I’ve had some discussions with friends on Facebook recently and several of them thought that the so-called assault rifles being talked about are full auto.

When debating an assault weapons ban, it’s worth mentioning that assault weapons being discussed are semi-automatic, not fully automatic. They fire one shot per trigger pull.

Restrictions on full auto weapons

  • Full auto weapons have been heavily regulated since the National Firearms Act of 1934. You could still buy them, but there was a $200 tax stamp and lots of paperwork to buy and register them.
  • The National Firearms Act of 1968 prohibited the import of fully automatic weapons for civilian ownership.
  • In 1986 the Hughes Amendment closed the registry for fully automatic weapons. can still transfer pre-86 guns, but you can’t couldn’t order new ones from the factory.
  • Due to supply and demand the price of pre-1986 full auto weapons has gone through the roof. A cheap one is $6,000. More desirable ones like a full auto M16 are two are three times that or more.
  • Transferring a full auto – whether it’s being sold or given away, e.g., from a parent to child – requires paying the $200 transfer tax and processing ATF paperwork through a licensed gun dealer.
  • The person receiving the gun must submit their fingerprints and a photograph.
  • The ATF does an extensive background check on the applicant.
  • Paperwork processing by the ATF takes two or three months and sometimes more.
  • Not all gun dealers can do the transfer paperwork. They must be a Class III dealer.
  • Full auto weapons can’t be transported to another state without prior approval from the ATF.
  • About a dozen states prohibit the ownership of fully automatic weapons.
  • Last I heard, no legally-registered fully automatic weapon has ever been used to commit a crime.

Anti-Assault Rifle Politician Who Waved the AK-47 Was Disbarred After Assault Conviction

Anti-gun Va. lawmaker who brandished AK-47 in legislature was disbarred after brutal 1999 assault:

A Virginia lawmaker who drew gasps from his colleagues when he brandished a borrowed AK-47 during an anti-gun speech Thursday was found guilty in 2002 of committing a vicious 1999 assault, was sanctioned for legal misconduct while prosecuting a rape case, spent six months in jail for contempt of a federal court, and saw his law license revoked in 2003.

Democratic Delegate Joseph Morrissey brought the rifle to the floor of the House of Delegates to demonstrate how easy it is to carry firearms in Virginia. Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert interrupted Morrissey’s speech to ask him to remove his finger from inside the gun’s trigger-guard — a basic gun-safety practice.

Web Site for Volunteer Enterprises Commando

Right here. Great reference material. A couple of people have made Commando pages, but this is by far the best.

PreviouslyVolunteer Enterprises Commando Tommy Gun-style Stocks for M1 Carbines

Situational Awareness

Grant Cunningham – The myth of situational awareness, illustrated.

This isn’t an example of why situational awareness is a great thing; it’s an illustration of why it’s not the panacea so many make it out to be. Just so we’re clear: this doesn’t mean it’s completely unimportant or that it has zero value, only that it needs to be understood in context and subject to critical analysis instead of defended with clichéd one-liners. (Or color codes.)

When bad things happen people are quick to rationalize why they happened, and why the same thing won’t happen to them. “That guy didn’t practice situational awareness, but I do, so I’m safe.”) Depending on the situation, Monday morning quarterbacks who blame the bad outcome on a lack of situational awareness might be right, or they might be kidding themselves.

Storing Guns Safely

Rich has an article about storing guns in a house with kids.

I use a big safe and then a small quick access pistol safe. The pistol safe is a DAC Sport Safe, which is an electronic safe with a mounting plate at a great price. The DAC Sport Safes fell victim to Herblock’s Law – “if it’s good, they’ll stop making it.”

Volunteer Enterprises Commando Tommy Gun-style Stocks for M1 Carbines

A reader emails:

i saw your webpage about the commandos, and as you seem to know alot about them, i thought id try to find out something about a rifle i picked up years ago.

its an m1 carbine in a nice machined tommy-gun style stock, and its marked COMMANDO MARK I. it looks like it may have been some kind of prototype, but i have no idea who to contact to find out.

can you help at all? thanks.

I’ve had a post about Commando stocks for M1 carbines in the drafts folder for a long time. I first heard of them in this comment at Michael Silence’s blog:

This may be a bit off topic but…I recently bought a Volunteer Enterprises Commando Mark I, in .30 cal with a fixed shoulder stock and two hand grips. The stock is aluminum. The receiver was made by Plainfield and the barrel is unmarked. Anyone have or know where I can find a manual for this? History of this Mark?

I’m pretty sure what Phil’s got is an M1 Carbine, which is .30 caliber. During WWII they were made by a large variety of companies to meet the war effort. Plainfield wasn’t one of the WWII suppliers. They were a post-war commercial manufacturer who used a mix of surplus parts and new parts. Some of the parts are GI spec that are interchangeable with war-era M1 Carbines and some aren’t.

There was a Commando Mark I stock made for the M1 as an aftermarket part. There was one in this (now expired) listing at Guns America, which also happens to be a Plainfield M1 Carbine with a Commando Mark I stock:

This thread on The High Road has some history of the stock and M1 compatibility:

Most stock makers make different stocks for the US GI M1 and the Universal M1. Volunteer Arms Knoxville made tommy-gun look-alike stocks for the M1 carbine and their literature says the stock will fit the US GI M1 and the Plainfield M1 but NOT the Universal M1. (Volunteer Commando I had a fixed Thompson wood butt; Commando II had no butt; Commando IV had a detachable butt; Commando I II and IV were actually just stocks for M1 carbines. Commando III and V were sheetmetal .45 tommy-gun replicas

And from another thread on The High Road:

Those were pretty fascinating old guns. A Hawkins County deputy let my son fire his (he was carrying it as a patrol rifle). Here attached are some pages from a 1970s sales brochure, which includes the Mark I Mark II and Mark IV stocks. (Mark III was the .45 tommy-gun look-alike that used grease gun magazines and the Mark V was the one that used the Thompson magazines.)

Larry Ruth in his book on M1 carbines ”M1 Carbine: Design, Development & Production” Gun Room Press, 1979, Chapter 9 Post-War Manufacturers, page 220 shows a Plainfield Machine Co. M1 Carbine in a “Commando Mark II” stock, apparently came from the factory that way, but Ruth wrote that PMC never answered his letters inquiring
about their products.

Hope this helps, Carl

More Commando catalog pictures after the jump.

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It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Luckygunner Labs tests eye protection for shooters. Good stuff.

Congress Finds Holder in Contempt

Passes 255 to 67, with 17 Democratic defections. The rest of the Democrats staged a walkout. In comments:

65/193 Democrats = 33%, meaning that two thirds of House Democrats were not willing to go on record as defending Holder. That seems to me to be a bad sign for the administration.

And yes, I believe that the “walking out in protest” stunt was nothing more than a convenient excuse to avoid being on the voting record as protecting Holder. In addition to being a massive abdication of their duty to their constituents.

5.56mm vs. 223

LuckyGunner (who now has a blog) looks at the difference in depth. As in pretty darned serious depth. Good stuff.

Review – Streamlight Stylus Pro LED Flashlight

Streamlight Stylus Pro

This is second review of a stylus-type light. See yesterday’s review of the 4Sevens Preon 2.

Streamlight Stylus Pro Specs

The package includes an extra rubber cover for the tailcap switch in case the original gets worn. I put mine in the bottom of the holster so I wouldn’t lose it.

There are multiple colors to choose from, including flat black, blue, lime green, red, and orange. I prefer continuous materials to coatings, so I went with silver, which is just a satin finish on the aluminum body. I figured the uncoated aluminum would show scratches the least and be the easiest to find in the dark.

The flashlight comes with a simple nylon belt holster. I had never carried a flashlight that way, so I strapped the Streamlight onto my belt for a few days so I could review the holster. Having a flashlight holster hanging down off my belt made me feel like a big nerdlinger, but the holster keeps the light nice and snug.


Since this is a thin, stylus-style light I mostly carried the Stylus Pro clipped in my back pocket, same as the 4Sevens Preon. The Stylus Pro carried much better in a back pocket than the Preon. The Streamlight’s stiffer switch didn’t accidentally activate the way the 4Seven’s switch did, so I never buttflashed anyone.

The Streamlight’s stiffer clip also held it in place more securely than the Preon. The clip is removable. You can reverse it and move it to the other end of the flashlight for bezel-up carry, or attach it anywhere in the middle of the light. That means I can use my favorite trick: clipping the flashlight to my ballcap when I need a hands-free light.


This won’t take long. Push the tailcap switch the light comes on. Push it again the light goes off. Partially press the switch for momentary on. That’s it. No power levels, strobe, or Pink Floyd laser light show.

Compared to the Preon you lose features, but you gain simplicity. Tough call. If I still did a lot of backpacking those emergency features would be tempting. In day to day use I like simple flashlights and never use the fancy features beyond multiple brightness levels.

4Sevens Preon 2 or Streamlight Stylus Pro?

At full power the Preon 2 has three times the lumens, which will be the deciding factor for a lot of people. You can go from a battery-saving low that’s dim enough for reading to a high that’s bright enough to scan the far reaches of a backwoods trail. If I was still doing a lot of backpacking I’d get the Preon 2 for the output and emergency features. If you’re a connoisseur of quality machining the 4Sevens is the better built of the two.

The Stylus Pro carries better in a back pocket by virtue of a tighter clip and stiffer tailcap switch that’s less likely to come on and drain your batteries. The simpler interface is a better fit for how I personally use a flashlight on a daily basis. The fact that it costs half as much makes it attractive for someone like me who tends to frequently misplace his EDC flashlight. Speaking of which…

How did back pocket carry work?

I’ve always carried a flashlight in my front pocket. I wanted to free up space there, so carrying a thin, stylus-style light clipped to my back pocket sounded pretty good. Comfort-wise, I had no complaints. Clipped to the outside edge of the pocket I never noticed the light when sitting in a computer chair, car seat, or on the couch.

Security of the lights in a back pocket is the Achilles heel. The lights sometimes came unclipped from the pocket. They would fall into the pocket or sometimes out of the pocket and I’d find them in my car seat or chair. I gradually learned to bend the clip in to tighten it. I misplaced the Preon 2 and still haven’t found it. I won’t say lost, because I’ve never permanently lost an EDC light, thought my record for misplacing one is nine months. For back pocket carry I’d definitely choose the Stylus Pro, which went rogue much less often than the Preon 2.

Review – 4Sevens Preon 2 LED Flashlight

This is the first of two reviews of long, thin, stylus-style flashlights. Tomorrow I’ll review the Streamlight Stylus Pro.

4Sevens Preon 2 Flashlight4Sevens Preon 2 Specs

  • 160 out-the-front lumens maximum
  • Runtimes: Low: 23 hours @ 2.2 OTF Lumens, Medium: 6 hours @ 22 OTF Lumens,  High: 0.8 hours @ 160 OTF Lumens
  • Runs on 2 AAA batteries, included
  • Waterproof to IPX8 standard
  • Aluminum body
  • “Optical grade” glass lens
  • Price paid on Amazon: $43
  • Manufacturer page

The fit is snug and waterproof and the machining is well done. Spare o-rings are included in the box and the screw threads come from the factory with a healthy dollop of waterproof lubricant.


I had never carried a 2 x AAA stylus-type flashlight before. I normally carry a AA or CR123A flashlight in my front pocket. I wanted to try this style of light so I could carry it clipped in my back pocket. More impressions on back pocket carry after tomorrow’s review of the Streamlight Stylus Pro.

A couple of downsides of back pocket carry with the Preon are that the clip is a bit loose, so the light sometimes fell into my pocket, or fell out when I sat down or took off my pants at night. Removing the clip and bending it inwards helps some, but the clip just isn’t as stiff as it needs to be.

The switch is also a little too easy to activate if it presses against your hip. My wife noticed the light would sometimes switch on and off as I walked, so ninjas should beware of buttflashing their enemies. But seriously, you may wind up draining your batteries and not realizing it. I carry spares batteries no matter what flashlight I’m carrying, but with the Preon 2 it’s essential.

Some people buy a Preon 1, which has a recessed tailcap switch, and screw its switch into the Preon 2 body. You get the foolproof Preon 1 switch with the dual AAA battery capacity of the Preon 2. That works for diehards if m0ney is no object.

The all-black model I bought looked cool, but was showing small scratches within a few weeks under the clip and would be nearly impossible to find in the dark. If I had it to over again I’d get the silver-tipped model. or something else that’s more visible, like blue or red.


Click the switch once for low. Click twice more for medium and twice more again for high. The shortcut is to click once for low and then half-press for medium and half-press again for high. 4Sevens got the sensitivity for the half-press just right. It isn’t so soft that it changes brightness when you barely tough the switch and it isn’t so hard that you wind up with a full click.

Sometimes my light would inexplicably act up and no amount of clicking would get it to act right. The solution was usually to give it a 10 count and start over, which is frustrating on a fifty dollar light. None of the Amazon reviews mentioned this problem, so it was probably just my sample.

Like most lights these days you get strobe and SOS/beacon mode. I guess those features could save my life at some point and they’re definitely attractive in a hiking light, but I’d use them once in a blue moon if ever, so I prefer them to be out of the way. The Preon’s interface designers had the same philosophy. To access the strobe and beacon you cycle through low/medium/high three times and then strobe and beacon come next. They’re there if you need them, but they won’t get in your way in daily use.

Tomorrow: a review of the Streamlight Stylus Pro and a comparison of the two lights.

Lee Segal on Watches

“It is possible to own too much. A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.”
— Lee Segal

In the world of firearms there’s the phenomenon of gun owners who buy so many guns they can’t possibly shoot them all enough to know where they’ll hit. That led Elmer Keith to quip “Beware of the man with one gun. He probably knows how to shoot it.” If Keith had been a city mouse watch nerd instead of a country mouse gun nut he might have said “Beware of the man with one watch. He probably knows what time it is.”

Tech-sights on the Ruger 10/22

Recent 10/22s are drilled and tapped for scope mounts and the rear part of the Tech-Sight uses those holes in the receiver. Just remove the protective screws from the receiver, put a little Loc-tite on the new screws, and screw the rear sight in place.

To install the new front sight tap out the old one. The instructions say to use a brass punch and hammer. I don’t own a brass punch, so I used a steel punch I had handy and covered it with two small pieces of duct tape to keep from scratching up the old sight. A half dozen taps pushed out the factory front sight.

The new front sight didn’t want to go in. I used a file to lightly file down the leading edge of the new sight using about as much pressure as you’d use to file your nails. One stroke didn’t do it – it still wouldn’t quite go in. After the second stroke of the file I was able to get the front sight into the dovetail. I only took a tiny, tiny amount of material off to make it fit. After the front sight was in I used the supplied set screw and hex head wrench to screw it into place so it wouldn’t come loose.

The factory 10/22 rear sight is located on the barrel. The Tech-Sight rear ditto is on the very rear of the receiver. That adds about eight inches to the sight radius, which helps a bit with accuracy.

Conversation About a Burning, Bullet-ridden Car

ME: That’s gonna leave a mark.
TAM: That’ll buff right out.
ME: The driver may not notice it now, but he’s really gonna feel it in the morning.
TAM: A good mechanic could have it running again in a couple of hours.
ME: I don’t think we’re getting the deposit back on our rental car.
TAM: No, it’s cool; I got the rental insurance. It turns an economy car into a recreational vehicle.

P.S. Is LuckyGunner doing the Memorial Day machinegun shoot again this year?