One of my favorites, the original “Die Hard” with one of my favorite actor Bruce Willis as policeman
John McClain. It’s set at Christmas
during a terrorist attack at a large multinational corporation. Of course the real star is the Beretta 92
pistol. With it Bruce dispatches several
bad guy terrorists.
The pistol became a Hollywood & Television Icon in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Beretta became an icon of the late 80s in that movie,
the same way the S&W Model 29 became an icon of the 1970s in “Dirty Harry”. The Beretta 92 became the archetypical wonder
9 pistol, even equipping the U.S. Military since 1985. The 92 is a great gun, and Die Hard is a great movie.
I never liked the Beretta 92SF (the military M9) since it
replaced one of my favorite handguns, the iconic M1911A1 in US. Military
service. Like many soldiers at the time,
I heard the rumors which stated the adoption of the M9 was a NATO payoff to the
Italians. Or the pistol was inferior to
the other entrants in the trials such as the SIG 226 or the Czech 75. None of
these were true. After three deployments to combat zones with the M9 and
experience with other contemporary 9mm handguns, I think the M9 may be the most
underrated 9mm pistol of all time. The M9 is exceptionally accurate for a
service pistol and is a delight to shoot. It’s often criticized for a large
grip, but the grip is contoured and comfortable for my medium–small hands.
The Beretta with 15 and 20 round Beretta factory magazines.
The Beretta 92FS has the smoothest action and cycle of any
pistol. The slide almost feels like it is ball bearings. The pistol’s feel and performance inspire
confidence. The pistol is roundly criticized for its grip thickness, magazines,
open slide design, locking block design, and finally “weak” 9mm cartridge.
Modern holster and ammunition choices make the M9 and excellent combat pistol.
These are complaints which are really not specific to the
Beretta M9. The M9 grip, like any grip is comfortable to some and uncomfortable
to others. This is a common complaint with widely issued pistols. Some newer
designs have interchangeable back straps, so the user may select the most
comfortable. While this may work in Police departments, I doubt it the
military, beyond Special Operations Forces, will use this feature. The military
has subcontracted for non-Beretta magazines. Some of these are poorly
performing, others are just fine. Aftermarket magazines cannot be blamed on the pistol. The open slide, used in many very successful
designs such as the German P.38, is proven and is not a liability. The same
goes for the locking block, many critics illustrate it as failure point, except
it rarely if ever fails. No more than any other part in competing designs.
The M9/92FS has served with distinction in the harsh conditions of the War on Terror
Finally, the weak 9mm cartridge, while at its best with hollow point bullet
designs, has been successful for over 100 years. The performance of FMJ bullets
in any caliber is a matter of wide and heated debate. The number of shots fired by pistols in modern combat is miniscule. Therefore many of the “reports” made by returning combat veterans really are based on perception and not facts derived by use. FEW Soldiers or Marines fire pistols in combat, when it happens, the Beretta M9 performs to the standard. Obviously, the military thinks the same this, and has delayed trials for an M9 replacement by at least another year.
For the second time in just over a year, we’re seeing a wave
of riots and it’s associated violence and destruction in large cities. This
blog does not concern itself with the politics of these uprisings. In fact, I
don’t really care about the causes and how some attempt to justify these
horrific actions. The public servants in
both Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland can’t and won’t protect their
citizens from this chaos. By the time they “call in” the National Guard and
order is restored, at least three days pass, otherwise known as the first 72 hours.
These cities, at least for a time, have become a Fergadishu and Baltadishu,
like Mogadishu, a city in perpetual turmoil and violence.
Ruined buildings in Baltimore
All I can say if the old cliché “Forewarned is Forearmed”.
The disturbing part is this violence is not localized to a single inner city,
its spreading. Sympathizers in other cities are spreading and enabling the
violence. It is only a matter of time until they isolate and engulf suburbs or
a small town. At some point, if the
unrest is widespread enough, government control and assistance will not be able
to meet the demand, and we’ll be on our own for a period of time. It seems
unbelievable but in the continental United States, the time for government
response to reach citizens “on the X” is about three days or possibly longer.
Of course, the same holds true for power outages or even
riots caused by a professional sports team winning or losing a championship.
However, racial and political violence has particularly vicious aspects. Innocents
are targeted at random or solely on the basis of their race. These riots and
mob attacks are enabled by social media, which mobilizes large groups of
hostile of hostile people and concentrates them faster than the police can
respond. The savagery of mob rule and actions make the
first 72 hours very dangerous, as dangerous as any place on earth.
There are some must have essentials. Three days of food,
water, and of course weapons for defense. Since this is a firearms blog, the question
is which kind of weapons are the most useful. In viewing the violence, it seems an urban
rifle may be the most appropriate.
The shotgun, while very powerful and intimidating, has
limited ammunition capacity. It’s a good
but maybe not the optimal choice. Shotguns are also very cost effective in
terms of purchase and ammunition price. If
a family has more than one armed member, as shotgun is a good second weapon.
The Thompson comes in two carbine models and a pistol model. The carbines are the best choice for self defense.
Handguns are certainly portable, concealable, and some have
respectable capacity. The limited
effective range of the pistol constrains its’ usefulness. Most people are unable to hit distant targets
under stress. But at close range the pistol is very effective. Everyone should
have a pistol in addition to their long arm.
Many people would choose the intermediate cartridge rifle. ARs and AKs are a great choice. They only
negative is the power of the cartridge. When fired indoors or in a confined
space the noise and flash are a problem. This especially true if no hearing
protection is worn.
The Thompson carbine is heavy but it is also a strong deterrent.
This leaves one of my favorite types of weapons, the pistol
carbine. There are many available
pistol carbines. A small list would include High-Point, Ruger PC9, Marlin Camp Carbines,
Thompson Semi-Auto Carbines, and the M1 Carbine. Some of these are no longer in
production but are available on the used gun market. The list would also include the dozens of
military lookalikes such as the Uzi, the PPSH series, the Finnish Suomi, and
pistol caliber AR carbines. Finally, the pistol caliber lever action rifles are
good choices for defense and are widely available.
The Suomi M31 has excellent capacity, a 71 round drum, but it's a heavy weapon.
Magazine capacity is always an issue and should be a major
consideration. Simple sights or optics are both excellent options for the
citizen. Since most targets (hostiles)
are engaged at ranges well under 100 yards. Simple iron sights are adequate. Low
power combat optics or red dot sights are useful in low light situations, but
may increase the cost of the complete weapon.
The Ruger PC 9 is a simple, rugged, and reliable carbine. Designed for law enforcement, it would serve the average citizen well.
As a rule I don’t care for added complexity or
prone to fail batteries, or even flashlights. Remember, the point here is
purely self-defense not a dystopian world where offensive combat or police
actions take place. With the effects of
adrenaline and seemingly a million things running through one’s mind, simpler
On the matter of ballistics, pistol rounds and the 30
carbine perform well in 16 inch barrels. I would use +P rated ammunition for
serious pruposes, and regular ball for practice.
The 30 cal M1 Carbine is a powerful weapon for it's size, original and newly made carbines are an excellent choice with 15 or 30 round magazines.
The following pictures are from a 303 British rifle round of ammunition. I have to say the pleasure of shooting cordite ammunition during our ANZAC Day Rifle Match was a great experience. The sound, the smell, and the clean up are all unique to cordite ammunition. I was surprised by the mild recoil and consistency of the ammunition. Cordite was used in everything from rifle ammunition to cannon shells. It was last used in small arms ammunition in the early 1970s. I sure plenty of cordite ammunition was used in the Indo-Pakistani Wars of the 1960s and the 1970s. It's interesting that some is still around today.
A surplus .303 British round with a 174 gr bullet and cordite powder
Today’s gun owners and shooting community is well funded, well organized.
Victories against tyrants in Colorado and the defeat of anti-freedom gun
legislation in the last year are a welcome contrast to the bleak days after the
oppressive 1994 gun ban. Kansas has become the 5th state to pass Constitutional
Carry into law.
Bad news! The war
on freedom continues. The Obama administration is blocking the return of
American M1 rifles from South Korea. I hope the importers can wait another
three years, until our inevitable regime change in 2016, when hopefully adults
may again be in charge of our government.
YouTube Madness! I’ve seen a number of videos “testing guns
to destruction”. I don’t find them interesting. Firearms should be treasured
and respected. To simply abuse them until they break for video sensationalism
seems foolish and disturbing.
Open Carry?Is it a
good idea? As a boy, growing up on a cattle ranch, we open carried all the
time, in the pastures and woods.We
often had firearms with us in ranch trucks and tractors while using county
roads. We used mostly rifles, but there were revolvers occasionally present.
This would be open carry by today’s standards, and a good idea.Walking around a large or small city with a
rifle or openly holstered sidearm seems like a very bad idea. Constitutional Carry
of concealed weapons seems like a much better idea.
Ammunition is once again widely available for every caliber
except .22 Long Rifle cartridges. I hope that situation improves soon. The
shortages over the last few years were sheer frustration for many shooters. I
hoped manufacturers learned a few lessons.But, I’m afraid the days of inexpensive surplus are gone.
The war on police seems to continue. This is one battle
where we cannot remain neutral. It’s one side or the other.I’m with the police.
ISIS is a more dangerous for of Al-Queda. They will come to
these shores, just as AL-Queda did, and we must get ready. Training, preparation,
and common sense, the three actions to take now.
If you are a fan of classic guns you'll be very pleased to know Colt is turning out at least two versions of this classic gun. The first is a military version of the pistol with a phosphate "parkerized" finish and a serial number and history which corresponds to the General Officer the original military gun was issued to. This version will be great for military buffs who want a modern version of a service connected pistol which they can carry use in competitions or reenactments.
The second version is blued steel and hopefully an option for a nickel finish. Again a great gun which can be carries and used. As of right now, 32 ACP is the only caliber available, but I think a 380 version may follow at some point. My take, although controversial, is that practically speaking there is no discernible difference between the two.
Early 1904 vintage Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless with an early 1900s pocket holster.