Over at Shooting Times, John Chapman has all this to say:

Modularity is both a blessing and a curse, and the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR), also known as the AR-15, has it in spades. The plethora of rails, flashlights, lasers, optics, grips, pressure switches, flare launchers, vertical grips, muzzle brakes, flash hiders, hand stops and accessory mounts designed and produced for the AR-15 is simply mind-boggling—and has turned the MSR into a Lite Bright for bad ideas. The good news is the millions of dollars and man-hours spent in the pursuit of the MSR accessory market have produced some truly inspired designs, which have increased the platform’s effectiveness as a military, law enforcement, defensive and recreational tool.

He then goes on to outline all the accessorizing options, from the basic rifle:

…to a kitted-out version:

All this is well and good, and it’s a good article; but I have to tell you, something is nagging at me about it — and I think it happens right there in the first paragraph.

Look, I know we’re trying to defuse the Left’s obsession with the term “assault rifle”, but let’s be honest, ourselves: the AR-15 is not a “sporting” rifle outside perhaps the realm of 3-gun or smallbore competition. Sure, you can use it to hunt varmints (it’s mostly banned from deer hunting), and as recreation it’s super fun to pop away at the range (paper targets, metal poppers and so on). But once again, neither of these is the core purpose of the AR-15. When it comes to whacking critters, you can do a lot better with a heavy-barreled bolt-action rifle like this Cooper Arms beauty (in .223 Rem, even):

…and when it comes to semi-auto plinking, nothing beats a Ruger 10/22 or Marlin 60 — even with the low-low-low prices one currently finds .223 ammo selling for.

Most damning of all is that Chapman’s suggestions for accessorizing the AR-15 are geared pretty much towards one end only: self-defense / whacking goblins.

Now some of my Readers may suggest that goblin-whacking is a sport — I, for one, think it should be an Olympic event — but almost by definition it cannot be, simply because the occurrence isn’t predictable. You can’t say of a Saturday morning, “My ol’ buddy Cletus and I are going to sit inside his house tonight and whack a few goblins when they try to break in.” Not only is this most likely going to be a waste of time (except maybe on Chicago’s South Side, L.A.’s Compton and most of Baltimore), but some damn prosecutor is doubtless going to start flinging words like “entrapment” and “premeditation” all over the place (because these flunkeys have no sense of humor).

I don’t think that we should attempt to put the AR-15 round peg into a sporting-rifle square hole. In non-military/non-police (i.e. our) hands, the AR-15 is first and foremost a weapon of self-defense — and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I don’t care about the gun-confiscators’ whining about “military” rifles, as though this is a disqualifier for civilian use (it isn’t). I don’t even care that these dickheads find the appearance of an AR-15 to be “frightening” or “threatening”; after all, my Constitutional freedoms are not dependent on how they make others feel.

I just think that we gun owners shouldn’t be ashamed of what the AR-15 is and what it represents. You can call it an assault rifle, or a military weapon or whatever scare term the hoplophobes come up with next. But calling the AR a sporting rifle is akin to calling a switchblade a Boy Scout knife.

Sure, a Scout could use this Omerta “Sons of Italy” cutie for whittling and cutting ropes (if the modern-day Scouts even allow such things anymore [5,000-word rant deleted] ) but that’s not what a switchblade is, really. We all know what it is, and that’s my point.

I’m heartily sick of pussyfooting around with our language and terminology, trying to soften the impact of words to protect the feelings of the timorous, or to disguise the harsh realities of life. Things are what they are: the AR-15 and the AK-47 are assault rifles; Ruger 10/22s and Marlin 60s are plinkers; Savage 110s and CZ 550s are hunting rifles, and that’s it. You can use all the above rifles interchangeably between self-defense, hunting or plinking, with varying degrees of success / cost, but that’s just a lovely side-benefit.

In similar vein, the Colt 1911 Government pistol can be used in IPSC or IDPA competitions; but its original purpose was to kill bad guys (which it did and continues to do very well), and I don’t want to have to justify owning my 1911 by saying it’s a “sporting” handgun — not when I’m carrying it loaded with massive jacketed hollowpoints, it ain’t.

Gah. All this whining by the Left about the scawwwy AR-15 “weapon of mass destruction” is having a bad effect on me.

I don’t own a poodleshooter AR-15 because I already have an AK-47, thank you. But as the wailing from gun-fearing wussies intensifies, I might very well end up owning one soon. Because fuck ’em.

And if I do, it will all be Chuck Schumer’s fault. (How’s that for an example of Lefty-style blame deflection?)

Gratuitous Gun Pic – Westley-Richards (.318 Nitro)

From Mr. Free Market comes this gem from the past, a Westley Richards takedown rifle, based on a Mauser 98 action:

Westley Richards & Co. has been around since the early nineteenth century, making them one of the oldest gunmakers extant. They have made both rifles and shotguns, the latter including models designed by the brilliant gunsmith John Deeley (which I’ll talk about some other time).

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Rather, I’d like to talk about their proprietary cartridge, the .318 Westley Richards (or as it’s more commonly known, the .318 Nitro), which came onto the market around 1907/08. Here’s a pic (from Wikipedia) which compares the .318 to other, more famous medium-game cartridges:

Note the long, thin(-nish) 250-grain bullet*, akin to the 7x57mm Mauser (a.k.a. .276 Rigby) and the 6.5x55mm Swedish bullets. This gives the .318 exceptional penetration, and given the times it was popular, it should come as no surprise that the .318 Nitro has felled more elephant —  in their thousands — than just about any other cartridge. Walter “Karamojo” Bell used it to great effect along with his other elephant-killer, the .276 Rigby, as did many other Great White Hunters.

The.318 Nitro was superseded by later medium game cartridges (like the superb .375 H&H Magnum) which had “belted” cases to handle the extra pressure. It will come as no surprise to Longtime Readers that this is of no concern to me, because I happen to think that many of the “older” cartridges are perfectly fine, thank you. (I have an old essay on this very topic, and as soon as I find it, I’ll re-publish it.)

I’ve never fired the .318 Nitro, nor have I ever fired a Westley Richards rifle, but I have to tell you all that after looking at Mr. FM’s picture… I have no idea what the rifle costs (several arms and legs, no doubt), but it’s irrelevant: it’s just drop-dead gorgeous. Sadly, though, Mr. FM’s following comment is quite true:

“Another one of those calibers that looks great on paper but trying to get ammo would be a nightmare.”


*In modern nomenclature, the .318 would be termed a .330 because nowadays we measure bullets from the inside-groove depth rather than from the “lands”, which was the British custom when this rifle was made.


Resolve (January 19, 2004)

From Reader Todd, who (unfortunately for him) lives in the People’s Collective of New York:

My first instinct is to agree that all households should be armed; yet I have a question about it. If a goblin comes strolling into my home in the middle of the night and I come out of the bedroom loaded for such, isn’t it possible that I have created a distinctly more dangerous situation for me and my family if I don’t/won’t have the resolve to drop the scum bag? I mean, most good Americans like me have never shot anybody and I am concerned that I may get stage fright. Practicing at the range is fine for honing the technical aspect but what about the emotional end? If this is an issue, how do I prepare for it should the situation arise?

It’s an excellent question, and one I should have addressed a long time ago.

Civilized people, quite correctly, shrink from causing harm or death to another human being. This is perfectly normal, and is indeed laudable. (Sociopaths, of course, have no such compunction, which is why they themselves should be killed.)

And quite apart from any legal issues, the moral issue of taking a life is a weighty and terrible one.

Probably the best way to approach this issue is to look at how an army teaches its recruits to kill, and it follows three different paths simultaneously.

The first is through rigorous and continuous practice. As Todd points out, practice hones the technical aspects of shooting, which is well and good — it behooves everyone to shoot accurately, and competently.

Continuous practice, however, achieves another objective: it turns an unnatural act into an instinctive one. This is why professional golfers spend countless hours on the driving range and in the practice bunker: they’re training their muscles and instincts to make the shots as automatic as possible, so that under the stress of competition, the stroke will be identical to the thousands of ones they’ve practiced.

The same is true of self-defense. Under circumstances of great stress, your instincts take over — and those instincts should include the firing of a gun, that will have come about through hours of practice. There is no other way.

Any other outcome is a bad one. Hesitation may cause a struggle for the gun, and poor marksmanship can have undesirable consequences, too.

And practice with a “silhouette”-type target, not one of those silly “bullseye” things.

The second way an army teaches its recruits to kill is by dehumanizing the enemy. Whether done through propaganda or with dispassion, the message is: “This guy is trying to kill you. If you don’t kill him first, he will.”

By making the first statement, the concept being conveyed is that the person attacking you is no better than a wild animal — and a carnivore, at that.

This, by the way, is one of the reasons I don’t refer to violent criminals as anything other than “goblins”. To me, anyone who will resort to invading a person’s home, for whatever reason, is no longer a human being, but a predator — actually, a raptor (the literal meaning of which is “taker”) of life and/or property.

As such, I’m trying to strengthen that perception among my Readers. Unfortunately, as Western civilization has progressed, one of the less-desirable aspects thereof has been to instill in people’s minds that violent criminals are just misunderstood, or that their actions are somehow excusable.

They aren’t, and this fiction is one of recent vintage. All through the millennia of history, men have treated violent criminals with violence, either in situ or through civil punishment. Plato, for instance, talks of execution as a “deterrent”, not to deter others, but “so that the criminal may not strike again.”

It is only in the past fifty years that killing bad people has become a Bad Thing, with sophistic arguments like one being “judge, jury and executioner” — when the criminal, just by virtue of his own actions, has already condemned himself to lie outside the pale of civilized society.

I’m trying to reverse that stupid trend of “criminals are humans, too”, because they aren’t, and because ultimately, that mindset benefits only the goblin, while being deletorious to society as a whole.

Finally, the army will teach its recruits to kill by instilling camaraderie  that by killing the aggressor, you’re protecting others close to you. (The self-defense aspect, one would hope, would be instinctive — although in these modern times… oy.)

Fortunately, this should need little work on the part of a citizen at the wrong end of a burglary or robbery. Protection of one’s loved ones is one of the primal instincts, and suppression of that instinct (“leave it to the police”) is one of the basest constructs ever imposed on mankind by our supposed “civilization”.

Richard Pryor once remarked that after making the movie Stir Crazy on location at Arizona State Prison, he was really, really glad that prisons exist. He illustrated that by quoting an actual interview with a convicted murderer:

—“Why did you kill all the people in that family?”
—“Cuz they was at home.”

Think about the uncaring sociopathy in that statement. Now think of that same scumbag playing his ghastly little games of death with your kids. No, you don’t know that the goblin you confront in your bedroom hallway has that on his mind: but he’s already made the first step towards it by invading your house.

Statistics indicate, by the way, that the more burglaries a man commits, the more likely it is that he will eventually turn violent towards someone resisting that crime—in his mind, because he’s got away with it so many times before, it’s not your property, it’s his, and you’re at fault for trying to prevent him from taking what’s “rightfully” his.

Remember that protecting yourself and, more especially, your loved ones and property is not only a right, it’s your duty.

And for all those pussy laws which babble about “undue violence”, “proportional violence”, “life-and-death situations” and the like, I have only this to say:


Now quit reading my fevered rantings, and get your ass out to the range. You need to practice, because as I write this, some scumbag may be planning to rob your house or murder your family, tonight.

It’s NOT The Guns, Stupid

I’m getting heartily sick of people yammering on about America’s “gun culture” (usually spoken in terms of horror and disparagement).

It’s not a “gun” culture; it’s a culture of self-reliance . For the same reason, we’re also a “car” culture, because while guns give us freedom (in general), cars give us freedom of movement. Just as we’re not wholly dependent on the State to protect us thanks to our guns, with our cars we’re also free to move around freely, not dependent on Government to supply us with transport.

Some time ago, I laughed at the way that liberal “intellectuals” (who are neither) and European weenies used “cowboys” as an epithet — little realizing that the cowboy embodies everything we true Americans love about our society: he’s on a horse (independent transport), and being armed, he doesn’t need the sheriff to look after him. Cowboys, by the way, were and are largely self-employed, moving from one ranch to another as need for the cattle roundups and drives changes — and we all know that the above-mentioned bastards would prefer that we all work a.) for the State, or at least b.) for companies and institutions (like colleges) that are under the control of the State. (The first system is Communism and the second is Fascism, just so we’re all clear on this topic.)

So when misguided children and malevolent gun-confiscators talk about doing away with the “gun culture”, please be aware that what they’re really talking about is making us all dependent on, and subservient to the State for our protection. For the kids, that’s an unintended outcome because, duh, they’re kids and can’t think past the next hour; and for the confiscators and their ilk, that’s the intended outcome, as per Marx and Mussolini.

The same, by the way, is also true of people who want to do away with cars and make us all use public transport, thus taking away our freedom of movement and subjecting it to government diktat. (It’s another reason why I think “driverless” cars are going to prove to be an abomination — giving up driving means giving up control of your own movements, eventually. Just watch.)

I once wrote that I don’t just want the freedom to bear arms, I want everything that goes along with it: responsibility, personal safety, freedom from government control, the whole damn thing. But what that really means is that I want to be part of a culture of self-reliance. And in the spirit of that culture, allow me to post the following pics:

…or if others feel exactly as I do, but would prefer to be All-American:

That’s my dream, and a pox on those who would deny me that dream, whatever their oh-so noble intentions.

Dramatis personae, from top:

  • AK WASR-10 in 7.62x39mm, with a 30-round magazine
  • 2018 Maserati GT 4.7-liter V8 (454 hp)
  • AR-10 in 7.62x51mm equipped with, yes, a modifier
  • 1969 Stingray L79, 327 cu. in. V8 (350 hp)

All four are, if you’ll pardon the expression, loin-stirrers for us self-reliant types — and objects of horror and loathing to the weenies (who would go with *911 and an auto-drive Prius).

I’m pretty sure I can guess which option my Loyal Readers would choose.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Uberti 1873 & Stallion (.45 LC)

In the comments to this post last week, Staff Martin mentioned that the glorious .45 Long Colt cartridge was “revolver-only” — meaning of course, that it couldn’t be chambered in a semi-auto pistol because of its rimmed cartridge case.

Of course, that only applies to handguns because there’s a plethora of rifles chambered for the .45 LC.

Which needless to say triggered one of my longtime fantasies of owning a rifle and handgun as “companion” pieces (i.e. with a shared cartridge chambering), such as these two exquisite offerings from Uberti: the 1873 “Sporting” rifle and the “Stallion” single-action revolver. Note the matching case-hardened finish, as a bonus:

Note too the octagonal barrel on the 1873, and the long tube magazine which holds twelve rounds. Now for the Stallion revolver:

Now I know that the purists are going to complain about my inclusion of reproductions rather than the original Winchester ’73 and Colt SAA , but have you seen the prices that the aforementioned are demanding these days?

And frankly, I love the case-hardened finish on these guns. They are drop-dead gorgeous.

Old Essays

I’ve had quite a few requests from Longtime Readers to republish some of my older essays, and sadly a lot of them seem to have crumbled into dust, digitally speaking. To my great delight, however, while paging through my archives, I stumbled upon all the old Gun Thing Articles I wrote lo those many years ago.

Unfortunately, a lot of them have become dated — overtaken by recent events, referring to obscure / forgotten public figures, and so on. So what I’d like to do is republish them, but I am going to “refresh” them with new perspectives, or else I’ll simply cut the offending passages out. In the next post you’ll see the first of these. I may make them a regular weekend feature; we’ll see.

What is quite interesting is how well a lot of them have stood up to time, whether in sentiment or, amazingly, in their predictions.