Monthly Archives: January 2017

Iran Deploying AK-103 Rifles

One of the benefits of the Iranian nuclear deal — for Iran, like the rest of the benefits — was the opportunity to recapitalize its military small arms, and not just its main priorities, worldwide Islamic terrorism abroad, and nuclear weapons at home.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, an independent armed service modeled on the Nazi SS, has benefited with new AK-103 rifles from Russia. The IRGC has been using the new rifles for some months now. This is an image of one of the IRGC AK-103s, presumably in 5.45 x 39 mm caliber, published by the Iranian Tasnim news agency.

In August, the same agency published this story (as translated by the AEI Critical Threats Project):

  • Iran purchases assault rifles from Russia. Tasnim News Agency reported that Iran has purchased AK-103 assault rifles from Russia. According to reports, “some units” in Iran’s armed forces will be equipped with the new rifle. (Tasnim News Agency)

The original link to Tasnim’s Persian-language story no longer works. More recently, a follow-up shows that the AK-103s have been issued and are being used in training (AEI translation again):

  • IRGC units use AK-103 assault rifles in “Imam Ali” exercise. Some IRGC units used “new AK-103” assault rifles during the IRGC Ground Forces’ “Imam Ali” exercises last week in western Iran. Iran purchased AK-103s from Russia in August 2016. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Dehghan stated at the time of the purchase, “Production of light arms has been low in the last ten years due to the prioritization of air and naval projects. This purchase was made due to regional crises.” (Tasnim News Agency)

This link to Tasnim works at present, but may fail soon.

Most intriguing is the suggestion that the Iranian small arms production capacity is insufficient. It may be an indicator that Iran has been starving general purpose forces as it spends lavishly on nuclear armament and terrorism promotion. It may simply mean that the vast infusion of American cash from the pro-Iranian Obama Administration allowed Iran to modernize forces across the board. Or we may be reading far too much into a routine replacement of old rifles.

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Snow

Even a unique and special snowflake must obey the laws — of physics.

How do you get killed by snow? Be underneath a cornice when someone sets off an avalanche gun or charge, in this case.

The victim has been identified as  Joe Zuiches, a 42 year-old resident of Olympic Valley and a member of the Squaw Valley professional ski patrol since 2012.

A Squaw Valley spokesperson said the incident occurred at the top of Gold Coast Ridge at 8:35 a.m. The cause is believed to be the detonation of an explosive charge.

No one ever died of an avalanche in Okeechobee. But then, no member of the Squaw Valley ski patrol has ever been eaten by an alligator, either. You get to choose the form of your own destructor, eh?

Why They Call it Reaper: MQ-1 Brings the FOOM!

Please enjoy the following video, courtesy of the US Central Command. In which a splodydope-piloted VBIED gets returned to kit form at approximately 58,000 feet per second. You will need a heart of stone not to chortle with glee.

The vehicle in question is a ISIL specialty, an armored-up truck or military vehicle converted to a command-detonated VBIED, with the crew and (usually) the commander who commits the vehicle having a FOOM switch. (The commander, observing, keys the switch if his boys get cold feet. The coward may die a thousand times in Shakespeare, but in ISIL he only gets one shot, no pun intended).

The vehicle is hardened against small arms fire by improvised armor made from steel plate. If you look closely, you can see that the armor on the ISIL vehicle in the video is slanted to increase thickness and deflect more projectiles, in the style of German WWII armored cars and halftracks. The guys who drive these things are suicidal idiots, but the guys who build and dispatch them are not.

File photo of a more lightly armored one from a few years back in Iraq:

Comparing that to the VBIED in the video you can see how much the technology has evolved in the last few years — not that it can prevent a HEAT round like the Hellfire missile from finding the truck’s explosive filling and producing a mighty secondary.

The crew is usually a single splodydope but sometimes the count-the-body-parts method reveals a crew of two or more, presumably as another measure to prevent abandonment of mission by the kamikaze volunteer.

But there’s no reason to let them bring the FOOM to their desired location. With the good guys retaining command of the air, these truck bomber wannabes are perfect for droning.

It’s a win-win all round, a rare commonality of objectives in the Middle East: they want to die for their moon god Baal, aka Allah, and we just want them to die.

US M17 Pistol Comes with Ball and Hollow-Point Ammo

From Mark Miller we learn the following:

According to Jane’s “The US Army has confirmed that its new XM17 handgun is to be a 9 mm Sig Sauer model P320 and the contract allows the government to buy Sig Sauer’s proposed XM1152 Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) and XM1153 Special Purpose (SP) ammunition and training rounds.”

The secret to making (new) 9mm outperform (existing) 9mm, which the RFP required, was, per Mark, “hollowpoints.” Presumably, the XM1153 is the holllow-point, and the 1152 an improved ball round. The actual RFP also requires numerous oddball rounds like blank and dummy.

It’s interesting that SIG introduced new hollow-points last year, and new ball ammo in 125 and 147 grain at this year’s SHOT Show.

Mark’s conclusion:

While the P-320 is a great choice for the M-17, we may find that hallow point ammunition makes a much more significant contribution to U.S. defense than their gun.

He’s probably correct there.

Mark’s site, The Arms Guide, is becoming a regular stop on the net. Check it out.


A Deal on Cases

Funny that this should come up right the same day we run a thing on flying with one’s hardware: a clearance on two models, rifle and pistol, Plano cases at Midway.

  1. Plano Military Spec Field Locker Double Rifle Case with Wheels 56-1/4" x 18" x 7-1/4" Polymer Black
    Plano Military Spec Field Locker Double Rifle Case with Wheels 56-1/4″ x 18″ x 7-1/4″ Polymer Black



    Regular Price: $199.99Save $62.47 (31%)


  2. Plano Military Spec Field Locker Large Pistol Case 17.90" Black
    Plano Military Spec Field Locker Large Pistol Case 17.90″ Black



    Regular Price: $79.99Save $33.30 (41%)


We don’t like Plano cases as much as Pelican or Hardigg, but they’re okay, and these two are reasonably priced.

We’re not sure that the buttons will work from this page. If not, go to this link and they’ll definitely work from there.

(And no, we’re not getting anything from this).

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have SUVs

Mark Baumer, a man on the weirder side of eccentric, posted this recently. Now he really feels like a ghost!

Didn’t we just have this one a week or so ago? Not exactly… this one is different, in the specific way in which the decedent’s Hubris summoned his Nemesis.

Apart from that, this is a story that has happened seemingly every day since Benz and Duryea hitched up motors in place of horses: person à pied tries to argue with a truck, and the truck gets the better of the argument.

Police say 33-year-old Mark Baumer was walking along the shoulder of U.S. Highway 90 in Walton County on Sunday when a driver lost control and hit him. Baumer was pronounced dead at the scene.

What makes this one special, though, is the delicious irony of a Global Warming true believer getting centerpunched by his religion’s version of The Great Satan.

A Rhode Island native walking barefoot across the U.S. to raise awareness about climate change has been struck and killed on a Florida highway.

That’s a bummer, Baumer. He was a “talented poet and artist” according to his friends. At leased he raised $14,000 for awareness of the dangers of SUVs, although he was probably more concerned about pollution, and less concerned about roadside safety, than he ought to have been. 

It should go to give him a swell funeral. On the plus side, he’s already barefoot so that’s one step he can skip.

Stick to real gods, people. The false ones don’t stand by you in your miles per hour of need.

Yemen Raid: US Loses 1 SEAL & 1 MV-22 Osprey; 4 Injured

A JSOC raid in the Al-Qaeda stronghold of al-Baydah Province in Yemen this weekend ended in mission success — the targeted HVTs were killed — but at a heavy price, with one frogman from the unit commonly known as SEAL Team SIX being killed and three more suffering unspecified wounds.

In addition, a damaged USMC MV-22 Osprey was abandoned and destroyed in place. One man was injured in the Osprey “hard landing.”

The enemy lost fourteen AQAP fighters, and three named AQAP leaders:

Yemeni security and tribal officials said the assault in central Bayda province killed three senior Al Qaeda leaders.

The surprise dawn attack killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims, Yemeni officials told the Associated Press. The al-Dhahab family is considered an ally of Al Qaeda, which security forces say is concentrated in Bayda province. A third family member, Tarek al-Dhahab, was killed in a previous U.S. drone strike years ago. It was not immediately clear whether the family members were actual members of Al Qaeda.

“Actual members of al-Qaeda”? The reporter that wrote that is a blockhead. What does he expect them to have, membership cards? Secret decoder rings?

In addition to the enemy casualties, sensitive site exploitation gathered significant intelligence on site.

Drone strikes on 20, 21, and 22 January in the same vicinity killed five targeted AQAP operatives.

Statement by GEN Joe Votel, Commanding General of the US Central Command (CENTCOM):

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our elite servicemembers. The sacrifices are very profound in our fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the globe.

Statement by Donald J. Trump, President:

“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism. The sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces, and the families they leave behind, are the backbone of the liberty we hold so dear as Americans, united in our pursuit of a safer nation and a freer world.

via US Navy SEAL killed, 3 injured in raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen | Fox News.

Meanwhile, the loss of the SEAL and the other mens’ injuries have been overshadowed by the Islamic-terror immigration freeze. While the usual paid protestors and let’s-trash-its have swarmed the airports, and one Senator was on TV crying for the poor Yemeni terrorists who killed and wounded these guys, nobody in public life seems distressed about the loss of the GIs.


According to David Cincotti at The Aviationist, two crewmembers were injured in the MV-22 crash, and this photo is the destroyed aircraft:

Two points to whoever set the charges… not much of intel value to recover there.

Flying With a Gun

We could use loaner guns when we travel, and sometimes it makes the most sense. At least it brings us into compliance with the First Law of Gunfights. But we have some very carefully crafted firearms and it is a comfort to have them in any locale, so we prefer to bring our own.

It’s been interesting to transport our guns on commercial air, as an ordinary muggle, compared to the way it used to be as a servant of the sovereign. In the old days it was pretty straightforward:

  1. Show up, show your ID and travel orders, with the magical line to the effect that “carriage of government firearms is authorized and required”;
  2. Wait for those at the counter to summon superiors;
  3. Wait for those superiors to summon or contact their superiors;
  4. Repeat Step 3 recursively until they actually reach someone au courant with airline and government policy;
  5. Graciously accept their apologies for the delay;
  6. Escort, or detail one man to escort, your container of weapons to the airplane and see it stowed. They are also escorted by a retinue of airport hangers-on that can include airport, state or port authority police, airline personnel, and TSA mouth-breathers;
  7. Be escorted through a door into the airside, and walked to the jetway, where you can enter the jetway from the airside and take your seat with sidearm, when so authorized, without making any magnetometers or Rapescan machines beep and whir.

Often there would be minders to meet us and whisk us through destination airports… that’s something we’ll never have again, and you don’t realize what a convenience it was until you’re shut off from it.

There are some details of more recent procedures that we’re leaving out for reasons the astute readers of this blog should be able to deduce without strain to the brain.

Here’s how it went for the first leg of this week’s trip:

  1. Learn the airline’s policy. These policies vary from line to line.
  2. Know the gun control laws in your airports of departure. For example, Your Humble Blogger travels frequently between FL (where he’s legal) and NH (ditto). One way to do that is to fly from Boston Logan airport — where they will arrest you for trying to check a gun in a bag. Needless to say we don’t give BOS (or JFK, LGA, EWR or ORD, where similar policies reign) our business.
  3. Commit to a checked bag whilst ordering tickets. That’s the “gun bag.” (Some lines require ammo to be in a separate bag; we chose to simply buy fresh on arrival).
  4. Secure a sturdy, lockable bag. We use a Pelican case with two heavy-duty padlocks.
  5. Empty everything, including the foam, out of the gun bag. This is to make sure there is no ammo or casing in there. We then pack the gun bag, our objective being to keep “gun stuff that makes TSA freak” out of other bags, whilst having minimum stuff in the gun bag to facilitate fast inspections:
    1. The gun. We also use a piece of day-glo weedwhacker cord through the barrel to demonstrate clear, and leave the magazine out.
    2. Spare magazines;
    3. Holster, optics, other must-have accessories;
    4. Owner ID. We use a business card and a printout of the boarding pass.
  6. Show up about two hours early, because checking the gun bag is a bit more involved than checking the usual Samsonite.
  7. Declare the gun bag to the airline employee at the counter. He or she will ask if it’s loaded (there is only one right answer to this question in this situation; here, Rule 1 does not apply). Airline depending, they may want to see it. They may place a copy of the baggage check ticket inside, and attach one to the outside. (That one is very important: the barcode on it manages the routing of your bag). Then…
  8. An airline official will escort you to the TSA station where checked bags are inspected. TSA will advance one agent — in this case, it looked like he was selected by that process where penguins push one off the floe to test for Orca — to see that it is, in fact, empty. The agent may ask you to remove any foam, etc. in the case. It is a great help to have bare minimum stuff in “the gun case.” Most agents will not want to touch your firearm. Once in a while, one is a gun guy or vet and will have questions.
  9. When TSA is happy, which only takes seconds or minutes, they’ll ask you to secure your bag. Then they’ll run it through the x-ray machine. But they’ve already inspected it manually? Never mind, procedures. Once they take it, your escort will bring you back out of the station and turn you loose to go to your boarding gate.
  10. On arrival, some airlines want you to go to an office to receive your firearm, but almost always the baggage busters just throw it on the conveyor with the other stuff.
  11. Before departing your plane, ask your Flight Attendant to get you the baggage carousel number or code. She or he can usually get this as you taxi in or before the doors open. Since FAs are extremely busy at debarking, it helps to prime your attendant inflight for this coming request.
  12. Have a concrete plan, if you travel without ammo as we did, for picking up defensive ammo on arrival. (We didn’t, went to the first gunshop we found, and had to select a new brand and loading).

Traveling from Pease International Tradeport to Fort Lauderdale with both a cabin pet (Small Dog MkII) and a checked firearm, last week, was … interesting. Allegiant Airlines is a small, low-cost carrier that operates on thin margins, but they handled both the gun and the dog professionally — until arrival at FLL.

There, the system broke down because Allegiant wasn’t updating baggage carousel information in Fort Lauderdale’s computers. The Blogbrother had to go hunt down an Allegiant worker to find out where the bag was… and since relatively few bags had been checked, the firearm case had been sitting unattended for ten minutes on a stopped conveyor. Now you know where recommendation #11, which wasn’t in the first draft of this post, came from.

Traveling with your firearm is well within the penumbras and emanations of the natural right to life, and therefore, to self-defense. But there is an arcane and complex public-private regulatory labyrinth that seems maliciously crafted to discourage you from exercising that right. The more we do it, the less strange it will seem to airline and security personnel, and the more smoothly it will go. Stay within the law (even the questionable interpretations pushed in backward boroughs like Boston) and in time, we can address the laws. Win the culture first: make travel with arms something to which everyone is accustomed.


This post has been updated. Images have been added and one verb has been changed (from “maliciously crafted to prevent you” to a more accurate-feeling “maliciously crafted to discourage you from”).

Subtropical Sunday

Just enjoying life in South Florida today, even though it’s raining.

Small Dog MkII travels well, but he’s been hard to talk into going out in the rain to do his business.

Learned a few things about flying with guns and dogs.

Can’t write more, time.

That Was the Week that Was: 2017 Week 04

That was the week that was TW3Well, with the first of these we made a lot of promises. The second and third were missed (we still hope to catch up on them, sometime) and this one, the fourth, goes up days late.

But hey, it does go up.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were:

  • Posts: 29 posts — one extra (Saturday’s Breaking: Today’s “Refugees” Being Detained)
  • Word count:  20,231.
  • Central Tendency Measures: Mean and median were low end of normal range at 698 and 520.
  • Posts below 100 words in length: 1
  • Posts over 2,000: 2
  • Posts below 500: 14
  • Posts over 1000: 4

Significant milestones: None observed.

Traffic continues to be satisfactory.

Comments This Week

Comments: 658 as of 2200 Saturday. (At the same time, we show 752 for Week 3, 852 for Week 2, and 659 for Week 1. Too early to establish a trend).

Most commented post: Tuesday’s A Master Class on Influence Operations at CIA, with 82.

Second most commented (i.e. runner-up) was Wednesday’s Careerism and the Military, with 69 comments.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (If the links are not live, they will be fleshed out later).

Going Forward

Next week promises to be fraught with work and travel and stuff, so things might get slow on the posting front. How slow? Somewhere between a sleepy Small Dog Mk II and a FOIA request to NSA. But we will endeavor, as ever, to provide for your education and entertainment.