Bedside Guns

Over the years, many people have written to me asking what I would consider the ideal home-defense handgun. (And yes: I know that a handgun is what you use to fight your way to a shotgun. But sometimes your shotgun in locked away in your safe. So let’s just stick with the handgun, for the moment.)

Now, let’s understand what I mean by “home defense”. I don’t mean that your house is under siege by Al-Qa’eda fanatics or even the local neighborhood homeowners’ committee (California residents will know exactly what I mean).

No, what I mean is that you’re fast asleep, when suddenly you wake up and realize there’s mischief afoot, inside your house.

Let me be perfectly clear about what I’m going to say next.

If you have practiced and practiced and practiced with your trusty 1911 or SIG whatever, and the operation thereof is as automatic as breathing, by all means keep a semi-auto in your bedside drawer.

But unless you’re a total loony, if there’s a round in the chamber you should have the safety engaged. Or, if there’s no round in the chamber, it means you have to chamber one first — noise and fumbling may ensue. In other words, operation of your gun is a two-step process.

Or you can just do it the easy way, and use a double-action revolver. Nothing to think about, nothing to operate except the trigger (like that wonderful line: Smith & Wesson — the original “point and click” interface).

Ultimately, of course, you’re going to do what you want to do, with the gun that feels the most “comfortable” to you — i.e. the gun that you feel is most likely to get the job done.

And that’s fine. Just be aware of the potential drawbacks and advantages of all the options.

After all the hundreds of hours and many thousands of rounds I’ve spent with my beloved 1911 pistols, my bedside gun is a double-action .357 Magnum revolver, chambered with Federal Hydra-Shok 125gr. JHP (jacketed hollowpoints).

Ultimately, as I’ve said before, it all depends what you’re comfortable with—and if you’d rather park your Glock 17 next to the bed, be my guest. Just be sure when you’re half-awake and fumbling for the thing that you don’t hit the magazine release by mistake (it’s been known to happen, more than once)—and that can happen with any semi-auto pistol.

A revolver is like a fork: you pick it up, and it works. Here’s my old S&W Model 65, just to illustrate the concept:

 

Now for some other thoughts:

I talked a little about ammo earlier, and I need to offer some advice to people who own guns in GFW states like Massachusetts, California or New York.

If you whack a goblin in your home in a Righteous Shooting, there’s always a chance that some asshat prosecutor (or lawyer for the dead goblin) will go after you because you used “killer” ammo.

Yes, I know, all ammo is supposed to kill, but there’s no arguing about this when you’ve just used a full cylinder of Black Talons you picked up at that gun show in Alabama. If that happens, you’ll be painted as a “bloodthirsty vigilante killer” quicker than Tom Sawyer’s fence.

Here’s a tip: Use the same type of bullets as your local police force does. If you use “police” cartridges, then no one can paint you as a vicious killer.

Ask one of your neighborhood cops what kind of bullet (not just caliber) his department uses. Mostly, they’re going to use CCI/Speer Gold Dot, Winchester PDX or Silvertips, Remington Golden Saber or Federal Hydra-Shok. The caliber may vary, but the bullet type is probably going to be one of those brands. Generally, the same bullet type will be available in your caliber.

(Ditto shotgun shells, by the way—you may think it’s a really cool idea to BBQ the goblin with one of those “Dragon’s Breath” rounds, or turn him into a pincushion with a “flechette” shell, but, regrettably, it’s not a good choice. Use “game” loads: you’ll be a “sportsman”, not Rambo, and he’ll be just as dead.)

And one last caveat for everyone: whatever you’ve got in your bedside drawer, make sure that your kids or grandkids can’t get hold of it.

How you arrange that is up to you.

My kids, even when small, knew better than to go into my bedside drawer — but even so, I used to lock my bedside gun away during the day anyway, and take it out again at night. Did I ever forget to do that? Not once. After a while, it becomes a ritual, like cleaning your teeth in the morning and at night.

Trigger locks are okay, I guess, if you don’t want to mess with locking the gun away — just remember to lock it every morning, and unlock it every night. That I have forgotten to do (unlock it, I mean) — and it’s no fun to be fumbling with a trigger lock when all hell is breaking loose in your house, which is why I prefer to lock it away during the daytime.

I can’t stress this enough. A gun is a lethal object in a kid’s hands. A dozen or so kids, and their parents, find that out every year, and I just want to smash my head against the wall every time I hear about another incidence of that, because it’s so unnecessary.

And when the kids get older, teach them about guns and about gun safety. The incidence of accidental shooting deaths among kids who have been trained in gun safety is almost zero. Follow the stats, folks.

But most importantly of all, if your kid have friends over to play, lock the damn gun away. You may be able to trust your kid, but a group of kids has the collective responsibility of a treeful of drunken chimpanzees, and that will include yours.

Don’t give yourself a broken heart by your carelessness — and don’t give the gun-fearing wussies more ammo to use against other gun owners, either.

Here endeth the lesson.

At Long Last, Sanity

Yeah, and it’s about time.

After carrying the M16 or one of its cousins across the globe for more than half a century, soldiers could get a peek at a new prototype assault rifle that fires a larger round by 2020.
Army researchers are testing half a dozen ammunition variants in “intermediate calibers,” which falls between the current 7.62 mm and 5.56 mm rounds, to create a new light machine gun and inform the next-generation individual assault rifle/round combo.
The weapon designs being tested will be “unconventional,” officials said, and likely not one that is currently commercially available.
Some intermediate calibers being tested include the .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .264 USA as well as other non-commercial intermediate calibers, including cased telescoped ammo, Army officials said.

All those who’ve heard me rant endlessly about the Mattel (M16/M4) rifle and its poodleshooter (5.56mm/.223 Rem) cartridge may now breathe a sigh of relief at the upcoming cessation of ranting, as the Pentagon is finally facing up to the reality that the aforementioned were inadequate pieces of shit that our kids should never have had to carry into combat.

I really have no input into what rifle/machine gun/”delivery platform” the Army is going to implement, other than I hope its an adaptation of an existing, proven design — “ground-up” (i.e. wholly-new) designs are generally shit unless created by John Moses Browning (BBUHN) — but considering that the Army always has to dabble with the new-and-untried (because otherwise how else could they kill more of our troops unnecessarily?), I’m probably wasting my time.

As for the cartridges: Doc Russia and I had a long and detailed discussion about this topic. I like the .260 Rem because of its meaty energy at 500 meters, while he likes the 6.5 Creedmoor because of its proven accuracy — as he says, all you need for a combat round is accuracy, range and power. Any half-decent quarter-inch- to 6.8mm bullet with a mass of about 140-150gr will do the job, almost without exception. Here are two of the cartridges mentioned in the article (from left to right), the .260 Rem (142gr) and the 6.5 Creedmoor (140gr):

  

Either would be an excellent choice, and there’s absolutely no need for the Army to come up with any new cartridge. Why? Because over the past century of cartridge design, just about everything has been tried and tested, and quite frankly, the answer is already out there e.g. with either of the above cartridges.

All the talk about the need for a bullet to penetrate body armor is mostly silliness, by the way. If you’re hit at short range in the body armor with a high-velocity medium-caliber bullet, the bullet will penetrate any armor, and even if it doesn’t — say, with a glancing blow — the impact is most probably going to knock you unconscious and/or cause massive internal trauma — broken ribs, collapsed lungs, etc. (Steel-core 6.5x55mm Swede — my favorite of all medium cartridges ever made —  can blast straight through both sides of body armor at 300 yards, but it’s not an optimal cartridge in today’s world because of its weight and length.) Penetration is also a moot issue because anything would be better than the current poodleshooter 5.56mm cartridge, which can barely penetrate drywall at 300 yards (some hyperbole there).

Regardless of the bullet size, though, I love the idea of lightweight polymer cartridge cases — brass is great but heavy, relatively speaking — and the Army doesn’t reload, so polymer seems to fit the bill. And brass is a commodity metal, prone to supply shortages, whereas if you’re running low on polymer sheets, you just build a new factory and the problem goes away. (Of course, should the military demand for brass slacken, that could make regular ammo cheaper for the civilian market, but let me not be swayed by base personal motives here.)

I worry, of course, that too much time will be spent trying to create a perfect cartridge (to do “everything”) and the perfect rifle (with a jillion bells and whistles), instead of getting something which is a 90% solution and running with it. In truth, I think an intro date of 2020 is far too distant, and the M4/5.56mm system sucks so badly, it should be replaced now, let alone three years hence.

I welcome additional thoughts and input in Comments.

No Time To Think

When examining the Snowflake Test a while ago, I answered this question thus:

You’re in Starbucks with two friends. Someone runs in and says someone is coming in with a gun in 15 seconds to shoot patrons. They offer you a gun. Do you take it? What do you do next?
— I don’t need someone else’s gun because I always carry my own. Next, I’d tell everyone to get on the floor (so I get a clear field of fire), then find some cover from which to shoot behind, and finally slip the safety catch off the 1911. It’s an unlikely situation per se because I never go to Starbucks, but I understand the general issue you’re addressing.

…whereupon Longtime Reader Felix Estrella made this comment:

“I’d be concerned about your “Starbucks and gun” answer. How do you know that, for example, the guy running into the Starbucks didn’t just steal a cop’s gun and the ‘assailant’ about to come in isn’t the cop chasing after the stealer? Why would you want to get into a fight on the say-so of a complete stranger? Wouldn’t you want to assess the situation before opening fire? Why are you trying to be the hero? Do you thrive on hero-worship?”

Leaving aside the two snarky comments at the very end because they’re not worth answering yet, it’s an interesting comment which I’ve had to think about for a while. “Interesting” because it’s one of those intellectual discussions which works well when one has a great deal of time to analyze it but  which, when one has literally only a couple seconds to make life-and-death decisions, is far more likely to cause indecision and ultimately, tragedy.

In the first instance, a guy who has just stolen a cop’s gun isn’t going to run into a Starbucks hoping some hero is going to waste the pursuing cop — a gun store, maybe, but Starbucks? No. And why would the guy with the gun be looking for protection from the guy without the gun? Even if this were the case, the pursuer is going to be holding his cop’s badge in his hand (or should be), whereupon Hero Kim will hold fire, you betcha, and start looking for the first guy. Unless I see a gun in the second guy’s hand, I’m not going to fire. Rule #1 in COINOPS, Felix, and you should know that.

In the second instance, “assessing the situation” is one of those actions which sounds nice when it’s asked in a courtroom, miles away from the Starbucks and light-years away from the situation itself, but in the few seconds available, it just isn’t a sensible option. Hesitation, in this case, means that the guy running into the store with a gun is going to shoot a couple of folks while I’m standing there, pondering (like Teddy Kennedy at Chappaquiddick) the implications of what’s happening in front of me.

Sorry, that ain’t gonna happen. I stand by my original answer, because I think it’s the correct one.

Now for Felix’s snarky closing comments. I don’t have a hero complex — in fact, given the choice, I’d prefer to be at home and far away from this situation. But I do take my civic duties seriously, and this would be one of those times when obligation takes precedence over druthers.

And Felix, you committed the first cardinal sin on this website: gratuitously insulting the host. Here’s my comment: go fuck yourself. Longtime readership earns you no favors against rudeness.

This topic is now closed.

Side By Side

I can’t afford a new shotgun, or even a decent second-hand one, but I am going to need one for High Bird Shooting (and Missing) later in in the year, so I’ve been looking in more or less a dilettante fashion to see if I can get one that is acceptable but which does not require the sacrifice of a firstborn child. I have a shotgun already, of course, but it’s an old, ugly thing of uncertain provenance and even more uncertain performance — and it’s in the much-derided 16-gauge chambering, which would cause untold me embarrassment if uncased on Lord Whatsit’s estate (for ’tis there where I will be shooting in early November). Hence my problem. Even worse is that, current no-name El Cheapo shotgun aside, I do have some fairly rigorous standards about shotguns I want to shoot, let alone own.

And here are the details of the features I’d like:

1.) Side-by-side barrels, at least 29” long. Longtime Readers will remember that as an old-fashioned man, my motto about shotgun barrels is that they should be placed side by side, like a man and his dog, and not over and under like a man and his mistress.

2.) Concealed hammers. I’m not that old-fashioned.

3.) Boxlock action. Okay, I am that old-fashioned. I just like the looks of the boxlock. (Here’s a fine summary of the differences between boxlock and sidelock actions. I should note that with modern steel, a boxlock action is every bit as strong as a sidelock, and the boxlock shotgun weighs considerably less than a sidelock.)

4.) Double triggers. I prefer knowing that when I pull the rear trigger, the left barrel will discharge first. This is especially important if some time has elapsed since firing the first shot, or if one has to replace a dud cartridge.
Here’s a pic of all my desired features so far:


To continue:

5.) Full choke in the left barrel, Improved/Modified in the right. (“Full” and “Three-quarter”, for my Brit readers.)

6.) Chambering: 20ga. I know, I know… it’s not the mighty 12ga, but Mr. Free Market shoots the 20ga (for medical reasons), and I’d far prefer to mooch ammo off him Over There, rather than going through the schlep of carrying 500+ U.S.-bought shells over The Pond into Britishland.

7.) Little or no engraving on the receiver/barrels or checkering on the stock. Actually, I’d prefer no carving at all. I love the feel of smooth steel and smooth wood, and my hands don’t perspire, so there’s no danger of the stock “slipping” in my grasp. And speaking of stocks, I want an English-style “splinter” (small, tapered) fore end.


…and a “straight” stock (no pistol grip), which is also sometimes called an “English”-style stock:


8.) Safety: Not automatic. An “auto safety” on a shotgun typically engages [duh] automatically when you open the action for loading. Thank you, but I’m fully capable of deciding for myself when I want the safety engaged or not. When I load a shotgun, I want to shoot something, and when I close the action, I want to be ready to go.

9.) Ejectors: Adjustable. There are times when you don’t care where the empties go, and you have to reload quickly, and on those occasions a “full-eject” is desirable. Then there are times when you need to remove the fired cartridges manually, and put them away in a bag or something, so you don’t have to go grubbing around in the dirt for the past mile you’ve walked, looking for the spent cases. Also, if you haven’t fired and need to extract the live cartridges, it’s far better not to have them drop into the mud.

Not that I’m picky, or anything.

Sadly, there are few such animals on the market at the moment, so I’m going to be searching for some time — especially considering my parlous financial state, which will require some kind of bargain before I purchase one. Unfortunately, most shotguns of such beauty and features are seldom “on sale” because of their relative scarcity and high demand (see here for one such “bargain”, or here for another ), so it’s going to take me a while, and I may have to sell if not the firstborn, then at least the Forgotten Middle Child Whom Nobody Loves.

This being poor thing really bites.

Great War Rifles (Again)

[Note: please forgive me for re-publishing this old piece. The past week has been absolute hell — I thought I was going to pass out from exhaustion from all the house-clearing-out activity, and a new post just didn’t suggest itself in time for publication. That said: of all the hundreds of posts I’ve written about guns, this is my favorite.]

 

May 19, 2007
2:00 AM CDT
We know all about WWII-era rifles, and of course the more modern ones. But let’s step back just a tad earlier, and consider the ones from my Grandfather’s generation: the bolt-action rifles which functioned, and functioned superbly, in the mud of Flanders and Verdun, in the deserts of Mesopotamia and Palestine, and the snows of Italy, Austria and Russia. I’m not going to look at all the rifles used, just the principal ones.

Germany

Of course, the Mauser K98 needs little introduction to any longtime Reader of these pages, but its precursor, the Gewehr 98 (or Model 98, as it’s sometimes called), was an excellent rifle by any standards, even modern ones.

The Gewehr 98 can be distinguished from its successor by its straight bolt, longer barrel (29”), and in earlier variants, by the “ski-jump” rear sight, which was graduated out to 2,000 meters (!). Add a 17” bayonet to this beauty, and the Imperial German Army had a weapon of outstanding value. Chambered for the fine 7.92x57mm cartridge (aka. 8mm Mauser and 8x57mm Mauser), this is a rifle for the ages.

The Mauser bolt action is still the most reliable ever made, as evidenced by its many copies, some of which we’ll see below.

Austria-Hungary

If the Mauser action is the zenith of bolt-actions, the Mannlicher action would be the next best, and not far behind, either. Imperial Austria-Hungary’s Mannlicher Model 95, chambered for the hard-hitting 8x50mmR cartridge, was characterized by its straight-pull bolt, and the self-contained clip which ejected itself from the magazine when the last round in the clip had been fired. The sights were graduated using the archaic schritt measure (0.75 meter), to a maximum of 2,400 schritten (1,800 meters).

 

If the Austro-Hungarian Army left a lot to be desired, it was certainly no fault of its main battle rifle. The later rework of the Model 95 into the M95 “S” carbine (which paralleled the change of the Mauser Gew. 98 into the K98), and its re-chambering into the 8x56mmR cartridge, simply turned a fine rifle into an excellent one.

Russia

Essentially unchanged since the 19th century, the Mosin-Nagant Model 1891/10 was the perfect rifle for the Russian Army and its unsophisticated soldiers. It was reliable to a fault, used the wonderful 7.62x54mmR cartridge, and while not as smooth an action as the Mauser, the Mosin’s clunky action could not be broken—as evidenced by the number of old “91s” still in action today. Like the abovementioned Austrian M95, the Mosin 91’s sights were graduated in an archiac measure—the Russian rifle sights being measured in arshins, or .71 meters.

The 7.62x54mmR cartridges were loaded with a five-round stripper clip:

…but the WWI-era bullets were not pointed, but roundnosed (top):

Unlike what the Germans and Austrians did with the Gew. 98 and M95 respectively, though, when the Russians improved the 91 into the 91/30, they retrofitted and rebuilt their existing arsenal rather than reissue new rifles, so original 1891 or 1891/10 models are extremely rare today. Not that it matters much. The 91/30 is a fine rifle, and has all the qualities of the old one (and its sights are graduated in meters, withal), and the carbine versions (M38, M44 and the like) are still faithful to the old principles of simplicity and durability.

Great Britain

When the German Army was first repulsed by British defensive fire at the Battle of Mons in 1914, the Germans believed that they were being fired upon with machine-guns. Not so. The withering rapid fire came from professional British soldiers armed with the Short, Magazine, Lee Enfield Mark III Number One rifle (known then and now as the SMLE or “Smelly”), issued to all British and Commonwealth troops from 1907 onwards. Sights were graduated in yards, and the maximum (and optimistic) setting was 2,000 yards.

To work the butter-smooth bolt action of the SMLE is to fall in love with it. Also, unlike all other rifles of the era, which only had four or five rounds in the magazine, the SMLE’s magazine contained ten rounds—hence the volume of fire which a group of experienced soldiers could put down onto the foe before needing to reload. The SMLE’s mag is removable for cleaning purposes, but troops were only issued with one, which meant that reloading was done with stripper clips—and because said stripper clips were five-round clips, the mag had to be reloaded twice. Regardless: chambered for the powerful .303 Enfield cartridge, and with that action, the SMLE hit hard and quickly.

When the SMLE was later “improved” to the No.4 Mk.1, the action was left more or less untouched (thank goodness), but the rear sight was improved, from the barrel-mounted “V” sight to a receiver-mounted peephole, with two settings of 300 and 600 yards, and accuracy (the only knock against the SMLE) improved immensely as a result.

Italy

Amazingly, the Italians in WWI did not have their own bolt-action rifle, using instead a modified Mannlicher action in their Mannlicher-Carcano Model 91, which sported a 31” barrel.

Unlike the Mannlicher, though, the Carcano action was turnbolt (like the Mauser), and not the straight pull of the Steyr-Mannlicher Austrian rifle.

All other European (and American) rifles were chambered to shoot 7mm/.3xx bullets, but the “Carc” fired the smallest diameter bullet in Europe, the 6.5x52mm Carcano round, which was actually not a bad choice. The smaller, lighter bullet meant less recoil and its long, thin dimensions guaranteed excellent penetration.

Like almost all the other European nations, Italy would modify their WWI battle rifle between the world wars: the M38 (as the M91 became) had a shorter (21”) barrel and was re-chambered—I think, needlessly—for the heavier 7.35x52mm cartridge. The sights for the new rifle, instead of being adjustable, were fixed at 300 meters.

France

Of all the Great Powers, France alone came to WWI with an outmoded and obsolete battle rifle. The original 1886 Lebel rifle still fired the 8mm Lebel (8x51mmR) rimmed cartridge. Because the original Lebel had a tubular magazine, not a box, the bullets were roundnosed, not spitzers. Even when the Lebel was later transformed into the Lebel-Berthier Mod 1907/15 (below), with a three-round (!) Mannlicher-style magazine, French military doctrine still insisted that soldiers load cartridges one at a time, and use the magazine only under attack, when heavier volumes of fire were called for. The newer Mod 07/15 was only issued to the Army in large numbers in 1916.

A later version allowed for a five-round clip to be loaded in an extended magazine. Here’s what it looks like:

Only well after WWI did France introduce a brand-new bolt-action rifle, the MAS 36, in the new 7.5x54mm chambering—only to find that it, too, was soon out of date compared to the new wave of semi-automatic battle rifles.

Japan

In 1906, Japan introduced the Type 38 rifle to replace their Murata Type 22 rifles (which fired the 8mm black powder cartridge). The Type 38 was mostly derived from the Mauser bolt action, and had a 31 ” barrel. Called the “Arisaka” after the man (Colonel Nariake Arisaka) who headed the Army’s commission to test and adopt the rifle, the Type 38 was chambered for the rather weak 6.5x50mmSR (semi-rimmed) cartridge.

The Type 38 was known chiefly for its bolt carrier dust cover, which was supposedly added to protect the bolt action’s workings from dust and especially moisture, but which rattled alarmingly in action, and most soldiers simply removed and discarded them.

In the late 1930s, the Japanese would replace the Type 38 and the 6.5x50mm Jap with the shorter Type 99 (26” barrel) and much more powerful 7.7x58mm cartridge (a rimless copy of the British .303 Enfield).

United States

Alone among the Western Allies, the United States issued two rifles to their doughboys: the Springfield M1903 (top), chambered for the fine .30-06 cartridge, based on the Mauser 98 design, and the M1917 Enfield (also known as the Pattern 17 or P17). The latter was based on the Lee-Enfield Pattern 13 (itself a Mauser-like design), and like the ‘03, chambered for the .30-06.

The ‘03 had problems because of inferior metallurgy (later improved) in the receiver—that, and the shortage of ‘03s, resulted in more doughboys using the P17 than the Springfield. Like almost all the WWI battle rifles, the ‘03 was later modified/improved as the ‘03-A1, except that unlike the other rifles, this one saw service as late as the Vietnam War. The P17 pretty much disappeared after the war, but lived on in gun safes and hunting lodges all over the United States. Both are superb rifles, as much for their respective heritages as for their reliability, accuracy and efficiency.

As the saying goes: “In the First World War, the Germans had the best hunting rifle, the Americans the best target rifle, and the British the best battle rifle.”

I think, however, that it also behooves us to look at two European rifles of the same era which saw no combat: the Swiss Schmidt-Rubin K11, and the Swedish M96 Mauser.

First introduced in 1896 and improved in 1911, chambered for the powerful 7.5x55mm Swiss cartridge, the K11 had a straight-pull bolt action, and was unquestionably made to the highest quality standards of any rifle of the time (and higher even than many production rifles of today).

The K11 is a marvel of functionality, its workings intricate and precise, its accuracy outstanding. Interestingly enough, the Swiss would do to the K11 what the Germans would also do to the Gew 98: shorten the action a tad and shorten the barrel to carbine length, but retain the original chambering (7.5x55mm for the new K31, and 8x57mm for the K98). Both rifles were immeasurably improved by what was basically a simple set of changes.

The Swedish Army issued their soldiers with the Model 1896 in that same model year, choosing to chamber it in the superlative 6.5x55mm cartridge (probably my favorite medium-caliber cartridge of all time), and they didn’t change anything about the rifle (other than creating a carbine version) until they changed their entire infantry philosophy and armament to semi-auto rifles in the mid-twentieth century.

If I’d had to go to war in those times, I would have felt quite comfortable being issued with either the Mauser-action Gewehr 98/Springfield ‘03, or the Enfield-action SMLE/P17.

As a “second-tier” choice, I wouldn’t have felt that short-changed with the Steyr M95 or Schmidt-Rubin K11 either.

But of all the rifles issued to soldiers of that era, the one I’d have chosen to go to war with would have been the Swedish Model 1896 Mauser. It has moderate recoil, yet the bullet travels flat and hits hard. The rifle is also fantastically accurate: consistently-placed head shots at 400 meters and torso shots at 600 meters are quite possible even for an average shot like myself.

It’s too bad the rifle itself never saw service, because it would have acquitted itself well against any of the others.

Here’s the interesting thing about these rifles as a group: all performed well in the horrible conditions of First World War trench warfare; all provided their owners with excellent striking power (as witnessed by the millions of soldiers felled by them), and all were, essentially, first-generation bolt-action rifles shooting smokeless powder cartridges. Later on, faced with the next world war, all would be improved, whether in length or (occasionally) in caliber. The WWII generation of these rifles would be better than their forebears—but not that much better.

Only the advent of a revolution in infantry tactics and the introduction of the semi-auto rifle would finally put these fine old bolt-action rifles to rest. But despite all that, most are still capable of working as effectively today, over a hundred years later, as they did on the day they were issued.

We should all be so well-made.

All We Could Do Was Scream

…because, you see, Germans aren’t allowed to carry guns unless they are police officers.

Here’s the whole story, but all you need to read is the last few lines:

Frantic footage from a smartphone has captured the moment terrified passengers fled the scene, with many screaming as they sprinted away from the station.
Recalling the terrifying moment the axeman struck, a witness said: “I have never seen anything like that I my life.
“He suddenly jumped out of the train and started to strike at people with an axe – just about two metres away from to us.
“But no one could help, it was impossible. We just stopped and screamed.”

Please, someone make the comment about how this response is morally better than an armed citizen shooting the asshole in the face. Then explain that to the 13-year-old girl who nearly had her arm hacked off.


Update: The comments to this post brought back to mind a comment I made at Insty’s place a while back.

I don’t need the government to tell me how to protect myself, my family and my community. I especially don’t need the government to tell me why I shouldn’t protect myself, my family and my community (and to run away like a goddamned coward).
I’m armed, well trained and ready to die to protect the above against criminal aggression. I’m the “citizen militia”, the “gun hiding behind every blade of grass”, and I’m the situation all criminals fear when they’re about to perpetrate their evil deeds.
If government wants to help me in my endeavor, well and good. If they won’t or can’t, they need to stay out of my goddamned way while I go about my business.