The Sicilian Widow

I came across an editorial in the National Review from June 14th. While I’m a little behind times as we have family visiting, the editors of the National Review said we don’t need a new assault weapons (sic) ban. You can read the whole editorial here.

However, what caught my eye was this characterization of the AR-15:

An “assault weapon” is the Sicilian widow of the firearms world: a little scary-looking and all dressed in black. 

I love it! This can lead to a whole plethora of names for new AR builds. The old style one could be named Mrs. Corleone. A more modern one could be Francesca or Isabella or Carmella or Elena. The possibilities are endless.

No word, though, on whether an AR-15 can pull off the malocchio or evil eye.

Dom Raso – The AR-15: Americans’ Best Defense Against Terror and Crime

NRA News just released a new video commentary from former Navy SEAL Dom Raso. He launches into a very vigorous defense of the AR-15 as a self-defense weapon. I really like these couple of lines from his commentary:

AR-15s are fine for Hillary and her family. They’ve been protected by armed guards who use them for three decades. But average Americans who watch the news and feel genuine fear for their safety, and their families’ safety—Hillary wants to deny them the level of protection she insists upon herself.

The elites will always have protection, usually government-supplied, against threats from their enemies, domestic and foreign. As to the rest of us, we are, as Michael Bane and others have noted, on our own. That means you and I are our own first responders. Why should we be denied an easy to use, fairly lightweight, highly functional, medium-powered firearm that is rarely, if ever, used in criminal attacks just to appease the powerful and the ignorant?

The answer is we shouldn’t.

Horrifying! Loud! Very Loud! Bruising! Disorienting!

The headline contains some of the adjectives that Gersh Kuntzman used in his NY Daily News story about his experience shooting an AR-15 for the first time. Modern journalism has sunk lower than I thought possible. The sad thing is that some people will believe the stuff he has written.

Such as:

I’ve shot pistols before, but never something like an AR-15. Squeeze lightly on the trigger and the resulting explosion of firepower is humbling and deafening (even with ear protection).

The recoil bruised my shoulder. The brass shell casings disoriented me as they flew past my face. The smell of sulfur and destruction made me sick. The explosions — loud like a bomb — gave me a temporary case of PTSD. For at least an hour after firing the gun just a few times, I was anxious and irritable.

Even in semi-automatic mode, it is very simple to squeeze off two dozen rounds before you even know what has happened. In fully automatic mode, it doesn’t take any imagination to see dozens of bodies falling in front of your barrel.

Reading this you would think it was written by some Special Snowflake that had just graduated some Ivy League school in Aggrieved Peoples Studies.

Instead it was written by a 51-year old man who is the deputy managing editor of the NY Daily News. Someone of an age that could be expected to have some measure of maturity and life experience. A Baby Buster and not a Millennial. Someone who didn’t just get participation trophies but actually had to work for it.

According to his resume, Kuntzman did graduate from the Ivy League (Brown with a degree in Russian). His bio, which may contains some padding, says he also attended the Sorbonne, the London School of Economics, and the Yale School of Drama. I can believe that last part!

I can take the drama but what pisses me off is the tossed off claim to “a temporary case of PTSD”. There are too many good men and women, both old and young, who put themselves in harm’s way for this country and now suffer the silent scars of PTSD. It is disgusting beyond belief to lay claim to PTSD – even temporarily – after a mere trip to an indoor range.

Gersh Kuntzman – you are beneath contempt! Take your yellow journalism and go back to writing your books about baldness and plays about SUVs.

UPDATE: Larry Correia has a great sendup of Mr. Kuntzman called “Ask Kuntzman”. It will have you snorting with laughter.

Tactical Or Tacticool?

I had a chance to meet with Laura Burgess at the recent NRA Annual Meeting. We discussed the new releases from the American Gunsmithing Institute and I’ll have a review of their DVD on the FN-FAL up soon. One of the planned releases Laura mentioned was about customizing your AR-15. I got notice today that it had been released.

I’ve viewed a number of the AGI videos and they are all well done. The key thing about all their videos is that their instructors have been there and done that. They are gunsmiths and armorers first and foremost.

Below is the release on it along with an excerpt from YouTube.

NAPA, CA (May 2013) – The American Gunsmithing Institute, producers of the most authoritative instructional Gunsmithing DVD courses, and also the Nation’s Premier Gunsmithing School, today released a new course, AR15: Practical, Tactical or Tacti-Cool, hosted by Master Gunsmith Sgt. Mark Foster. Foster has over 30 years of gunsmithing experience and is a 20 year veteran of a California Sheriff’s Department where he is the Chief Armorer and Training Officer. In this course, the student will see many examples of triggers, grips, optics, lights, rails, barrels, stocks, muzzle brakes, compensators, flash-hiders, sights, hand guards, gas systems and more. For each category, Foster outlines what works well, tells the viewer what to avoid and explains why. His daily field experience combined with his armorer experience working on fellow officers’ weapons gives him practical knowledge regarding the reliability and functionality of each of these options.

After reviewing the accessories thoroughly, Foster builds a variety of “mission-oriented” ARs and reviews what he chose for each and why. For example, he tailors the AR for: CQB, general hunting, SWAT, 3-gun, varmint hunting, home defense, plinking and Zombie killing, just to name a few.

After watching this course, the viewer will be able to design and build his or her own ultimate AR. Foster also discusses and shows some of the tools needed for changing barrels and hand guards, but more importantly, demonstrates step-by-step how to change a barrel and install a free-floating hand guard.

The AGI AR15: Practical, Tactical or Tacti-Cool is a must have for any AR-15 enthusiast and is available at for only $79.95 (plus s/h) (Product ID#3464).

Ladd Everitt: Noted Ordnance Expert

Modern day journalists have this obsession that borders on compulsion to balance any comment that could be be remotely considered “pro-gun” with one from a gun prohibitionist.

Thus, it isn’t surprising that David Trinko of the Lima (Ohio) News reached out to Ladd Everitt in an article entitled “Few mechanical differences found between AR-15s, hunting rifles.” The article noted that there were few differences between an AR-15 and the Ruger Mini-14 given that both use the same .223 Remington cartridge, both are semi-automatic, and both have detachable magazines.

As most readers of this blog would agree, the major difference between the AR-15 and Ruger Mini-14 is in the action. The former uses a direct gas impingement system while the latter uses a gas operated piston. The rest of the differences are just cosmetic. Not so says Everitt.

Those additional features are really at the heart of the debate about gun violence in America, says Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in Washington.

“They’ll tell you these features are pieces of plastic and are merely scary-looking. They’re just cosmetic,” Everitt said. “That’s just nonsense.”

The article goes on to note that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 would ban firearms with more than one of the following features: folding or telescopic stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, or grenade launcher. The article mistakenly says S. 150 hasn’t gotten out of committee yet. It has and is supported by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic) because “those additional features on AR-15s” concern them.

“The world’s not affected by scary looks. It’s specific features and
what they do,” Everitt said. “Pistol grips, the specific purpose is to
keep level and steady during repeated fire. A flash suppressor is to
disguise sniper fire at night. A barrel shroud keeps your hand safe
while firing round after round so it doesn’t heat up and burn your

While Everitt is correct that the barrel shroud does provide a heat shield, the rest of his statement is full of nonsense. Pistol grips in a variety of shapes and sizes have been on bolt action rifles for many a year. Look at this page of McMillan stocks – every one has a pistol grip and each one is intended for a bolt action rifle. The main purpose of a flash suppressor is to keep the shooter from being blinded at night by the flash – not to disguise “sniper fire”.

Finally, Everitt gets around to discussing semi-auto versus full auto and magazine size.

The speed someone can repeatedly fire a semi-automatic rifle makes it just as dangerous as a fully automatic weapon, Everitt said.

“It’s a nonsense argument that you can’t hold down the trigger so it’s safe,” he said. “You can fire as quickly when you repeatedly press the trigger. It’s highly insulting to those who are victims of gun violence.”

Instead, much of the debate centers on how many rounds should be allowed in a magazine for a semi-automatic weapon. The 1994 law only allowed 10 rounds per magazine. Feinstein’s proposal also used the number 10.

“No one in the world needs more than 10 rounds at a time unless you’re hunting humans,” Everitt said.

Let’s be clear about one thing. All firearms used improperly are dangerous. It doesn’t matter if you have a single shot Cricket or an AR-15 with a standard capacity magazine as either could be used to kill or injure. That said, if I am protecting my loved ones from a pack of home invaders, I’d prefer to have the AR-15 with multiple standard capacity magazines. More and more, home invasions involve multiple invaders. Furthermore, tests of the 5.56 round show less over-penetration than with most pistol calibers.

There are experts and then there are propagandists who like to portray themselves as experts. The first are useful and the second are useless. Ladd Everitt is in the second category.

Hartford Courant On The AR-15 And CT’s Gun Companies

The cover of today’s Hartford Courant featured the following headline – “America’s Rifle”: Factories Boom. Under the title the subtitle read, “As Debate Goes On, State Gun-Makers Cash In On Popular AR-15.”

Reporter Dan Haar of the Courant had two stories regarding the AR-15 and the role that Connecticut gun makers have in producing it. Both stories were well-balanced and fair. While the Violence Policy Center and Josh Sugarmann got quoted, so too did the heads of Colt, Stag Arms, and Mossberg.

The first story concentrated on the investments that Connecticut firearms manufacturers have made in upgrading plant and equipment. Combined the companies have spent well over $50 million in upgrading their plants with most of the investment going towards making the AR-15. Given that investment, the head of Mossberg agreed that it would be hard to up and leave the state even if they couldn’t sell rifles there. That said, the crap they are getting from their own legislators doesn’t give them a warm and cozy feeling.

Echoing other local owners and executives, Bartozzi said Mossberg would never threaten to pick up and leave if Connecticut were to adopt a strict ban. “That is not our style,” he said, and besides, he added, it’s not only a history the company has in Connecticut but more to the point, a skilled and loyal workforce.

“It is damn hard to move a factory,” he said.

On the other hand, Bartozzi said, “To say that Mossberg is not looking at other options would be wrong. … I’m not feeling a lot of love from many of our legislators. It’s getting tiring. It really is getting tiring. … It takes a lot out of you.”

Mossberg, with a factory of similar size in Texas, has had active talks with officials from Southern states trying to drive a wedge between the firm and its home state. All of the firms have similar stories.

 The second story by Haar looked at the history of the AR-15 and its rise in popularity. He did a good job of examining the versatility of the AR as contrasted to its “military cosmetics”. The article did an excellent job in looking at the development of the AR-15 by ArmaLite which was an offshoot from Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corp., the role of Colt in licensing the design, and how other companies entered the field.

I don’t normally say good things about the mainstream media but in this case, the Hartford Courant and Dan Haar, did an excellent job. Just as importantly, they played it straight and they got their facts right.

“It’s Too Hard For Women To Use” – Carolyn McCarthy

I know I shouldn’t be surprised when I hear nonsense about guns coming out of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s mouth. I really shouldn’t. That said, I’m just shaking my head over this little tidbit. It leaves you wondering just how someone like this could ever have been elected much less re-elected numerous times.

To read the transcript of this little interview, go to Breitbart.

Wouldn’t This Make Them “In Common Use”?

The Fontana School District is buying 14 Colt Model LE6490 AR-15s to equip school police officers. They will be stored at school police headquarters to be used in case of an active shooter situation.

I won’t even touch up on the level of firearms ignorance espoused by the opponents of the police being armed with AR-15s.

However, as SayUncle pointed out yesterday, he doubted that the most popular rifle type in America is “unusual” taken in the context of the Heller decision. Sebastian takes this a step further.

I’ve also advocated that the courts should consider police use when
making a determination about “common use.” If a type of weapon is part
of ordinary police equipment, it can’t be dangerous and unusual, and
ought to be defined as in common use, even if it’s only in common police

I agree with both SayUncle and Sebastian that the AR-15 is in common use. One could argue that the move by the Fontana School District and their police force puts the “normal” AR-15 into common use in California. There is no mention of the police having to have bullet buttons or reduced capacity magazines in the report from CBS Los Angeles. This is something to bear in mind if the California Assembly tries to adopt even more draconian gun laws.

Smart Move In Arizona

Given the recent spike in sales in AR-15s, the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association is holding a class called AR-15 101 for new owners of the carbine. They estimate 7,000 have been sold in that state within the last 10 days.

The class will be held this coming Saturday, Jan. 5th, at the Ben Avery Shooting Complex and costs a mere $10.

Follow this link for more information on the event.

I think this is a brilliant move and one that other gun clubs and gun rights organizations should copy. It brings new owners into the gun rights fold as well as gives them a taste of training.

H/T Firearms and Politics List