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The extreme novice mindset

In many, if not most, martial arts one of the first things learned is how to fall safely. Often this is incorporated into a roll allowing the individual to quickly move and pop back up in a position of their choosing. Hell, grey belt training in the USMC was pretty much just 10 hours of break falls. As students of these martial arts learned to do take downs and throws, their training partners know how to safely fall, and better yet roll out of those take downs and throws.

This is a good thing, but like all good things, there are downsides. Sometimes students get so used to rolling out of a throw or take down that they will throw them selves and roll out of it when they see someone start to perform a throw or take down on them. Sometimes they don’t don’t even realize they are doing this. It can get so bad as to where you start to do a throw on someone and before you even touch them they throw them selves and roll out of it. They end up doing you a disservice as they are not giving you a good training partner.

On the other side, if you meet Joe Averageman on the street and attempt to throw or take him down, he is deathly afraid of going to the ground. His conscious and subconscious mind knows that his head hitting the asphalt from 5’10” up could well kill him. Every grain and muscle of his body is going to be resisting that take down or throw and the person performing the technique is going to experience something completely different from the experience of training with an experienced training partner who has no fear of falling.

Working with professions is so very different from working with the extreme novice that it is not comparable. Imagine being a teacher for college post-graduate students, or being a teacher for Pre-Kindergarten. As gun nuts, the consummate informed professionals we are (or think we are), we end up being so far removed from the total extreme novice that it can be easy to forget just how ignorant they are.

I often see people say stuff like how the AK is better for novices and the AR is better for experts.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

I find when I hand an AK type rifle to someone who has no experience with one, they often can not even insert a magazine. Same with the M14/M1A. Rocking in the magazine is an unknown concept. Sometimes people will even manage to get the mags stuck in the wrong position by rocking them in back to front.

Who would guess what little button, and where, holds the action open? How obvious is it?

I once had a novice shooter tell me it was not possible to lock the bolt open on the AR15 with out an empty mag inserted because there was no control for it. He was trying to argue with me over it while I locked the bolt to the rear on his AR15. His argument quickly subsided.

Now there is no good justification for a gun owner to be that ignorant. But keep in mind so much of what we would considered inanely obvious are actually complete unknowns to the masses.

Don’t get me started on novices and the Beretta 92FS safety.

Let me share a failed gun project

I can’t say exactly when I came up with the idea of this, but I recall a couple of things spurring it on.

There was a thread on a gun forum about discrete ways to move firearms to and from the range. One person was talking about packing their firearms in a bucket. They could put the ammo, paper targets, the firearm, and anything else they needed in an innocent looking bucket and head to the range. I thought that was a really cool idea. I also was enthralled with Polish mini-Beryl and the SIG 552 Commando at that time.

Polish Beryl
Polish Beryl
SIG 552 Picture from https://weaponslover.tumblr.com/post/170539763905

I started to really like the idea of a very short barreled 5.56 that had a folding stock. Back when I was doing thing, the side folding options for the AR were pretty rare and or unreliable. And pistols braces were not a thing, so it was not something that could easily be done.

So did I want?

  • A very compact 5.56 weapon system
  • A right side folding stock
  • Ability to mount optics
  • Ability to mount a silencer
  • Right side folding stock

How did I justify it?

Well, first, I wanted it. That was enough justification. As for performance out of a short barrel. All sorts of groups around the world have fielded very short barreled rifles, From the AK74SU, G36C, Mini-Beryl, etc. There are many sub 9 inch barreled 5.56 and similar weapons out there doing serious work. Are they ideal? No, but they do get the job done. I wanted something that could be small, and discretely packed away.

I looked at options. The SIG 552 was nearly unavailable, and if one could be found it was stupidly expensive. In hind sight, had I just sprung for one, I would probably still have it and it would be a cherished part of my collection.

I saw that there were 5.56 AK rifles available. I also saw that we had all sorts of new options for upgrading AKs. Railed top covers, quad rail hand guards, etc.

This AK for example has a right side folding stock, railed top cover, and other cool upgrade.
This Krinkov by Kreb’s Customs was somewhat similar to what I wanted.

I saw people were making aftermarket right side folding stocks. Why a right side stock? Because the right side is the RIGHT side. Only godless commies or euro weenies would make a stock that folds to the left.

Aftermarket right side folding stock on an AK
Aftermarket right side folding stock on an MP5

I look at the option of buying a SIG 556P, going though the SBR process, then installing a Samson quad rail and an ACE side folding stock. But I was hearing a good bit of bad reviews on the SIG 556 line.

After some thought and researched, I looked into options like it being 7.62×39 or 5.45×39. I finally settled that I would use the AK platform. I would, over time, have a Kreb’s quad rail. I’d use a Tango Down front grip, and have a light mounted on the left side. The barrel would be slightly extended and threaded for use for a silencer. I’d have something like SIG diopter sights installed. At this time it was not uncommon to have HK diopters welded to an AK. Down the road, I might add a M16 mag well and use AR mags. I also liked the idea of using a rail mount on the AK rail to add my favorite optic, the ACOG.

What could go wrong?

I picked up an Arsenal SLR106UR rifle.

I decided I’d settle for a left side folding stock, as this style folding stock is pretty great. When open, it is like having a fixed stock.

I went with the rifle, as I read all these people say you could cut down the barrel and it would just work. I wanted to have the barrel cut down a little long, and threaded for mounting a modern western silencer like my Surefire 556K.

I had a local dealer SBR it. When I chopped the barrel it didn’t run right afterwards. I ended up having to send it off to have the gas port worked on.

The Arsenal finish was especially bad. It seemed to come off when I looked at wrong.

I tried a few different front hand guards.

SAMSUNG

An Ultimak worked, but got very hot fast. It would burn my fingers.

A bought a rarer set of machined delrin hand guards. I was going to run this bottom with the Ultimak top, but I realized it would take massive amounts of fitting to get this to work, so I got rid of them with out ever using them.

Eventually I ended up using the Kreb’s quad rail I planned to get from the beginning.

I had issues with excessive windage preventing zeroing. Reliability was just not there. It looked cool and was fun to play with, but it felt heavy for the size and just not very good.

I tried different different set ups, never got anywhere near the performance I would consider acceptable.

I had even picked up two different AR15 magwells for the AK. Either would have required modifications to the receiver, but had that work been done, I would have been able to switch between using AK mags or M16 mags. Had it been working well, I would have had that modification done.

In the end, I parted out the accessories and sold the gun at a loss. Put a lot of time and effort trying to get an end result with out realizing that what I was starting with was never really going to do what I wanted.

I’m not saying a “Krinkov” style AK is bad, it just wasn’t what I wanted to begin with. It wasn’t as light or compact as I wanted. Mounting a suppressor didn’t work out. Optics mounting never worked out the way I wanted. It just kept slipping father and farther away from my initial goal.

Don’t make the mistake I did. Don’t sick money into a nebulous project with out knowing if you can get the result you want in the end.

I did learn that I like the idea of a 5.56 AK. So the only AK I own is a 5.56 AK.

Anyways, thought I’d share that gun project of mine that didn’t work out. At least I learned from it.

Or maybe not.

still folds to the wrong side

Odd thoughts about riots

With all the news about the Hong Kong protests, it got me thinking a fair bit about riots. I have wanted to talk about riots previously, but I was never really sure how to approach the subject. I’m certainly no expert on it.

What I can say is that I have been on both sides of “simulated” riots. It is an interesting experience. Here are a few comments and thoughts from what I have been though, but don’t take this as proven advise.

First, I would not recommend being part of a riot. Things can get out of control very quickly. For example, times when I was a “simulated rioter” when the exercise would be completed and we would be ordered to disperse, the “simulated riot” response would be to yelling obscenities and throw rocks. In hindsight, I don’t know how no one got thrown in the brig over these events. If you find your self in a large gathering that has the potential too, or is becoming a riot, try to get towards the edge (preferable an edge away from law enforcement/military responders). Then separate your self from the crowd and get out of there. Failure to do so can easily lead to injuries. Easy to be trampled, struck by less lethal munitions, beaten down by riot police, etc.

THIS IS AN ILLEGAL DEMONSTRATION.

IF YOU DO NOT DISPERSE,

WE WILL BE FORCED TO USE FORCE AGAINST YOU

I always found that line, “forced to use force” funny.

I hated riot duty. Figured it was one of the worse things I had to do. It seems to me that if you have a line of law enforcement or military, and that the rioters are up against this line you are already at a major disadvantage. Preferable you will have some space between your shield wall and/or baton twirlers and the rambunctious hoard. Better for the health and well-being of both groups. Riot control will feel less need to immediately use force, and should a rioter get froggy and charge the shield wall or troops there will be an extra moment of time to prepare for them.

If they are up against your line, any attempt at incursion need to be addressed immediately. Someone attempts to reach past the shields, you smash into their arms with the shields and hit their hand the batons. The individual will, at most, only do this twice. If you are the rioter, breaking the lines is best done if you can get whole individuals past the shield/barrier/baton lines. Once a spearhead is formed, you can quickly expand disrupt the riot police response, but expect that response to be brutal.

In the military I saw CS gas used countless times. CS is an irritant, and while it may discourage groups, it will not stop a motivated attacker. OC on the other hand is much more potent, and can stop some motivated attackers. CS gas may motivate some recalcitrant groups of people to disperse, but I would not bet on it to actually do anything useful. Still it is a nice warning step in an escalation of force against rioters. OC can be sprayed on individuals or small groups to try and ensure compliance. Deploying CS gas is either to going disperse a non-motivated crowd, or enrage a motivated crowd.

CS exposure is like eating a spicy chicken sandwhich from your local fast food joint. Might clear out your sinuses. OC felt more like the angry fury of an Old Testament god.

Our SOP was that if we spotted a higher value target or an instigator in a riot, we would engage them with either OC or a less lethal weapon system (bean bag, foam baton, etc). Push comes to shove, or if you have limited resources, a 5.56 round to the thigh. Then an opening is made in our line and a small group (usually 4ish) would attempt to snatch that individual from the crowd. This would work if done quickly, before the crowd could react to what is going on. Hesitation or delay would cause this to fail.

I never got to see a Stinger ball(TM) in action. A few times we had them, but were not deployed due to concerns about eye injuries. I really wanted to see one in action, but I’m glad I didn’t as I might have been on the receiving end.

What ever you bring to use against the rioters will end up being used at some point by them against you. Between all the bodies, arms, etc, they will grab at and eventually get OC cans, CS grenades, batons, weapons, etc. Don’t have your front line riot control troops bring firearms unless they are allowed and willing to use them. Even little thing like CS smoke grenades will be thrown/kicked back towards your location. As a “roleplayer rioter” few things were more rewarding and fun than beating one of the riot response team members with their own baton.

I hate to say it, but the most effective thing I ever saw to break up big “simulated riots” in training was the good old fashioned beat down, and it always came down to it. The “good guy” riot responders would lose their moral high ground, and just start wailing on people with batons. Once one or more of those “simulated rioters” started getting Rodney King style beats downs, with all the blood, bruises, and broken bones, that this entails, then the rioters would decide to disperse.

Peaceful protest is a great thing, but riots are a whole different animal where all parties lose. As seen in many third world counties, and occasionally in second world countries, the belt fed machine gun is a rapid way to end a riot, but also a rapid way to get the entire world to identify you as the bad guy. So don’t bring your damned tanks and belt feds unless you plan to to use them. Conversely, if you are a rioter having loads of fun tossing rocks, returning CS grenades, and the like, get the hell out of there if you see them packing crew served weapons.

Riots are just terrible all around.