aka, the rifle who never was(?)
My friend Murphy’s Law recently acquired a piece-of-ordinance that sparked a memory for me.
The Fabrique Nationale de Herstal Fusil Automatique Léger, aka FN FAL
(or sometimes colloquially pronounced fin’fall)
Regular, long-time readers know I got into riflery late in my gun ‘career’. My focus had largely been police and self defense oriented arms, until Bill Clinton’s assault weapon ban came to be. (#$&%^(@!)
Then, as the almighty government told me I was not allowed to have a particular sub-set of firearms, I had to have one. Or two. Or more!
Friends gifted me with a semi AK copy. Eventually, I acquired three more, in AR configuration (and one parts AR carbine in 9mm, which was never completed.) And magazines, ammunition, cleaning tools, slings and other acoutrement.
Followed by a domestically-assembled H&K 91 clone. And an M1 Garand.
Yeah, I’m a completionist!
But, I never did acquire an FN. Heard stories from shooting buddies who had, and the guy who owned Royal Bookstore (a Belgian emigre’ who became an American citizen and fought in Vietnam.) And read about them in Cooper’s Gunsite Gossip.
Of course, you know the end to the story. Burglary, 800 pound safe stolen – with all her contents.
So the FN would have been gone, regardless.
or even 5.75 mm Velo Dog?
a velo-dog revolver
When I came of (gun) age, the premier cartridge in my circle was .357 Magnum. This was because it was what most law enforcement folks carried – revolvers. (early 1970’s)
Of course, .38 Special was utilized for practice, because it was easier on the gun AND the shooter. And less expensive to shoot.
Semiautomatic pistols were just making their way into law enforcement, with 9 mm Smith & Wesson double actions leading the charge. Single action autos, like the venerable Colt 1911 in .45 ACP, were thought to be at best finicky and unreliable.
Besides, cops carried revolvers and bad guys carried semis. This is what was view as TRUTH.
But with the advancements in metallurgy and polymers, different ammunition and projectors were soon to be seen. Most notably Glock and Beretta, in 9 mm. And after the infamous FBI Miami shootout, the development of the 10 mm, which was later truncated into the .40 S&W.
Carried in DAO and striker-fired weapons, because it was believed genpop recruits (including some small Asians and women) couldn’t safely handle 10 mm or single-action autos!
Even though the military had been teaching single-action autos in .45 ACP for over 70 years!
Recent developments have shown that .45 is not as efficient as once touted. And even federal law enforcement has reverted back to 9 mm over the .40.
And I have it on good authority that even (some) Gunsite instructors decided to shoot 9 mm instead of .45 ACP, and use Isosceles over Weaver stance! Col. Cooper must be spinning in his grave.
Time marches on. As does technology.
Do you carry the ‘latest’ ammo in the ‘most advanced’ machine?
Or are you an old-school guy like me?
Well, I guess I’ll be moseyin’ down to my buggy, whip and 1911 in hand.
Velo Dog just isn’t big enough for me.
I had a conversation the other day with (you guessed his name) Bob! (of PI, gun store and recent amputation fame! – he’s doing fine btw…) (pictured below)
ANYWAY, he was bragging about a recent target shooting escapade, and his use of 9mm now as his self-defense ammunition!
I was taken aback. He’d always been an old-school, Cooper-educated type, like me. I asked him what changed his mind.
He said recent findings have shown 9mm (in modern self-defense designs) have performed better than 45 ACP!
Now, being old-school, I always relied on the findings of General Julian Hatcher, the Thompson LaGarde tests, Marshall/Sanow and Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper.
Almost concurrent with this conversation, I had THIS come across my desk (a Twilight Zone moment, to be sure!):
(in part) A military lawyer who made a presentation during the Industry Day noted that the United States is not a signatory to the Hague Conventions which outlawed the use of “dum-dum” and expanding bullets more than a century ago. It is the military’s position that the shift to jacketed hollowpoint (JHP) ammunition, which more efficiently transfers energy to the target and which presents much less of a risk of over-penetration, is more humane and less of a risk to innocent civilians downrange in modern combat where there are often no clear front lines. (…)
I strongly suspect that the Army has already taken a long and hard look at the data produced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation when they recently investigated switching handgun calibers, an investigation that led the agency to abandon the .40 S&W in favor of the 9mm. The FBI discovered that 9mm outperforms both .40 S&W and .45 ACP when using premium hollowpoints, while having less perceived recoil and much greater ammunition capacity.
We are no longer using 60 cal. musket balls. Have the new findings by the FBI and U.S. Military discounted the previous century’s research, now that the ammunition has been more scientifically designed? Or do the basic laws of physics still apply – frontal area, mass, velocity and center-mass hits?
So, what do WE think, dear readers?
h/t B. Hall, Doc, Midway, Wiki
Most of us live with our firearms. They are as much part of our daily routine as shaving, brushing our teeth, picking up our wallets and keys on the way out the door.
But, what if…?
Melody Lauer aka Limatunes recently made a choice to put her gun away for an entire year! Or in her words…
If you could put my blog into a category it would be “self defense.”
To me, however, it’s a little more than that. It’s my story–my unique journey. If others can glean a little from my experiences and thoughts I’m honored, if not, it’s no big deal. There have been times, however, when I’ve purposely withheld parts of this journey from my readers because I wasn’t sure how what I had to say would be received. Or I may not have been ready to put it out into the virtual void. This is one of those times.
I’ve been hanging on to this post for almost two years and it feels like a good time to get it off my chest.
I want to tell you about my biggest “break-through” year in self defense. It was a year I learned more about how to defend myself, increased my confidence, improved my overall skills and expanded my horizons. I learned how to manage fear and angst and to trust my instincts. I learned how to manage medical emergencies, have fun and express myself in many other ways. This was one of the best years of my life.
It was the year I put my gun away.
My journey, my work, my goals have all been a means to build confidence in myself, not a tool. I chose a tool to aide in my journey, not to define it. I sought to be well-trained with a tool, not ruled by it. Guns, to me, are tools to master in a long list of other tools to master (including my sewing machine).
I have always wanted real self-defense solutions, not crutches or bandaids, platitudes or false security. So when I felt my gun was becoming a crutch I decided it was time to get rid of it–or, at least put it away for awhile.
I want to tell you about why I felt compelled to put it down and why I picked it up again and why I always knew it would find a place on my belt again, when I was ready.
While my husband and I were packing for a much-needed vacation to a place without reciprocity I felt nervous at the prospect of having to leave my gun behind. I started thinking about all the “what if” situations and wanting my gun.
I hated the feeling.
It exposed everything I’d wanted to avoid about carrying a gun in the first place. It exposed my weaknesses and my fears, my shortcomings and false security. I showed me I wasn’t confident that I could protect myself without my gun. I was using that gun as a means to “feel” safer, but that didn’t make me safer. It was becoming a cliche I wanted to avoid.
I honestly evaluated myself and decided it was time to rip off that bandaid, throw out the crutch and walk on my own.
You should really go and read her whole essay. It does turn mindset on it’s head.
The firearm blogosphere is replete with tales about armed folks taking down charging water buffalo from 100 yards, and failed suicides using .25s to the temple, which subsequently fell out of their largely undamaged head.
PawPaw’s House tells us yet another story whose lesson is USE ENOUGH GUN.
You should visit the link and read.
There’s a rule with regard to gunfighting – ‘have a gun’. Certainly, if a knife-wielding bad guy is advancing on me, or if there’s a crew of street thugs, it’s comforting to know I have something with which I can defend myself.
God made Man; Colonel Colt made them equal.
That is certainly true.
But, there is (or rather should be) an addendum to the have a gun rule.
And that should be have ENOUGH gun.
This goes back to carrying a talisman, or one of those decoy guns companies are selling now to wear as a deterrent!
There is a rumor that some of the neo-Gunsite folk have backed off of the .45 ACP/1911 meme of Jeff Cooper, since his passing, in favor of calibers such as 9mm – because it is ‘easier’ to shoot!
Have enough gun. Or at least a real gun, in a real caliber.
Street criminals might just call your bluff. And then you are stuck with an antique in VeloDog, or a worthless look-a-like.
The accompanying cutting, from today’s Mercury, serves to confirm that South Africa is indisputably on a Zimbabwe-style road to rack-and-ruin: Black ANC government ministers, including King Kong himself, regularly attend overseas’ business conferences to attract Overseas’ Investors. Any potential Investors must, however, be warned about the accompanying article and be warned about the treachery of our black leadership scum. Furthermore, I must remind potential investors about the perils of the ANC government’s racist Affirmative Action/Employment Equity, and BEE, regulations: inexperienced, poorly-educated, parasitical blacks must be given employment preference, irrespective of more competent, better-qualified Whites.
Stipulated minimum wages, furthermore, are proving to be very inflationary in the light of poor productivity. Similarly, Black Economic Empowerment is a situation in which politically-connected blacks get handed huge sums of cash, to start their own businesses, but these morons seem to think that “turnover is profit,” and spend everything on big homes, luxury vehicles and expensive clothes, etc. The BEE success rate is estimated to be less-than 10% but government continues with this drain on our fiscus!
A long story but l would certainly think twice before investing in this Gucci-Socialistic, crime-ridden country!
Focus on land reform
THE ANC is placing emphasis on the need to speed up land redistribution amid increasing pressure from opposition such as the EFF and Numsa. ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said yesterday that the ruling party was calling for a cap on land…
Land redistribution? Sounds suspiciously like neighboring (communist dictatorship) Zimbabwe. And the preferential treatment for Blacks, regardless of ability, education. Sounds like racial quotas. In other words, racist.
I thought the ANC was bringing Heaven-On-Earth to the beleaguered ‘Republic’? Once the nasty White overlords were run out of office.
Substitute one evil for another. Yeah, that’ll work!
You know, I always admired Col. Cooper for his work with firearms. His world view, in spite of his Master’s Degree in history, not as much. But, he called it on the future of South Africa, 20 years ago!
h/t Brock Townsend
There’s an old joke about a woman who gets to the Pearly Gates, and wants to know if her husband is there. She tells St. Peter that his name is Frank, and he said he would turn over in his grave if she ever had relations with another man after his passing. St. Peter had trouble identifying which Frank, then suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, you mean Pinwheel Frank!”
I saw this thing from Guns & Ammo about a new 1911. I became excited. I like 1911s. And this was a Browning!
Then I saw the caliber…!
1911 – .380 ACP
I do agree that any gun is better than none, but I was disappointed.
What’s next, a Velo-dog single-action semiautomatic?
(uh, Col. Jeff Cooper, for the uninitiated, was a big proponent of the .45 ACP caliber. He passed in 2006. I suspect he’s taken Frank’s place.)
h/t Maddened Fowl
Another fine shooting teacher and gentleman gone.
Beginning in South Africa, and emigrating to the United States, he was a range officer @ Jeff Cooper’s Gunsite, before striking out on his own with Yavapai Firearms Academy.
No word yet as to what happened.
h/t Tamara Keel, Facebook
The Guayabera or Mexican Wedding Shirt
I believe for CCW folks to ‘fit in’ with the mainstream, they must dress in a similar fashion. Most of the time here in the Southwest, this is not a problem. Hawaiian shirts, square-cut camp shirts, and Mexican wedding shirts are in abundance, and even the lowly colored T-shirt can provide enough concealment for casual wear in this 100+ degree environment. (not me in the photo!)
This has not always been so for me. Working @ TMCCC, initially men were required to wear shirts and ties (management being from the Eastern United States clothing meme) and as the company prohibited weapons, one had to be discrete with regard to what kind and where one was possessing. Being a known quantity (the gun guy) in my department, I was especially singled-out for surveillance. One time, a black nylon eyeglass case I wore was accused of being a holster, another time, management prohibited all personnel beneath a certain level from carrying brief cases!
Style also enters into this equation. Col. Cooper oft made pronouncements pooh-poohing fashion, saying the utility of proper concealment was of more importance. Of course, he lived in the high desert outside a small town and could pretty much wear whatever he wanted. He wasn’t constrained by a business environment expecting 80’s cut suits (with tiny belt loops – in the 80’s). Last time I saw him in person was a warm day during which he wore a very heavy (and not stylish) suit coat over his 5″ 1911 (in a holster on a beefy belt). I know he was wearing the 1911, as he removed the coat, much to the consternation of the young turk law enforcement types in the audience at the time. You see, he was speaking on a community college campus and firearms were not permitted there. A couple actually lunged out of their seats, as though they were going to wrestle the old man to the ground and arrest him!
Women who CCW are a whole different issue. Many choose not to carry on their bodies, but use purses, briefcases and backpacks designed for such a purpose. This, of course, has both utility and drawbacks. If one chooses to leave their purse in the car, or with an unknowing luncheon partner while visiting the restroom, for example. Or grabs their wallet out of the armed purse to run into the
stop and rob convenience store, because the purse is such a pain-in-the-ass to lug around!
Of course, they might utilize one of those new bra holsters, and carrying something like a .32 or .380?
The point is that one must make allowances for fashion, but decide what works specifically for them. I’ve a fused right hip. Wearing an ankle holster on my right leg is hardly a valid choice for me. And wearing a heavy suit jacket in the Summer just invites attention. (Reminiscent of those ‘guys in suits’ (security) who hang around Las Vegas casinos not gambling in the Summer!)
I remember visiting the shopping district in a high-end neighborhood some years ago. I paid particular attention to the men I thought might be carrying a concealed weapon. I think I spotted nine men, no women, because their clothes didn’t quite fit right (they kept adjusting their belts) and seemed overly concerned about how their jackets or shirts were riding. One doesn’t do that with a cell phone.
Make right choices, for both your clothes AND your armament.
Be safe, but be comfortable. And inconspicuous.
I fondly remember Col. Cooper telling the story of the grunts in the movie theater, watching some movie wherein a woman produces a semiautomatic and fills some guy with lead. A guy in the crowd yells, “Okay Lady, police your brass and move off the line!”, to the knowing roar of the crowd.
Policing brass. The curse of the responsible (and green) shooter. Many times over the years for me, it meant bending over in the desert picking dusty brass out of the dirt, cactus and gravel, and putting it back into the boxes from whence it came. Or a Ziplock, or a plastic grocery bag. Or a jeans pocket. To be sorted and cleaned later. Maybe.
I’m disabled. I’ve a fused right hip (amongst other infirmities). This makes policing brass problematic at best. But, when I can, I do it.
Unlike so many others who lay waste to the desert with non-biodegradable target materials and spent brass!
Reportedly works well on concrete, desert floors not-so-much…
(That big blue plastic tarp drop cloth still looks pretty good, huh? )
h/t New Jovian Thunderbolt
FTC – Ammo Up give me nothing!