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“Surfing for Dolphins”

More quips from my time in the fuck-fuck circus.


I hate the fucking cold.


Being from the greatest state in our union, Florida, I have grown accustom to our pleasant and perfect weather.

I should probably put this in perspective. Once as a kid, my family was visiting a relatives home for Christmas and they had their heater set to 70°F. This was so miserably cold that I felt like I was in pain. Now later in my life I would work at much colder temperatures, and learn to accept that 70°F was not as terrible as I initially thought. But still, that is miserably cold.

I HATE the fucking cold.


It snowed on my while I was in Iraq. Sorta, but it did. I was in the back of a high back Humvee and we were driving in a convoy. I don’t remember if we were heading to Fallujah or away from it, but we were driving along and I was in the middle vic with the job to watch the rear vehicles and report on the radio if they break down or get lost (a common occurrence). Well it fucking snowed on me. It was just warm enough that the snow did not make it to the ground, but since I was sitting high up in the high back the minuscule amount of snow did land on me.

I HATE the fucking COLD.


I’ve read that there is some generic marker for a mutation that makes some people more resistant to the cold than others. If this is true, I don’t have it.

One winter when I was working as OPFOR for a unit in training, another gyrene and I were send to be an LP/OP, where we would be the first group the enemy would encounter and we would die in place. We would just go to the designated grid coordinates, wait until the enemy showed up. Fire some blanks and then play dead. We get there, and it is so damned cold that I am in pain. What ever part of my was touching the ground was losing so much heat that I was worried about injury from the extreme cold. I had to stand on one leg for as long as I could stand it, because of this immense cold causing pain in which ever foot was touching the ground. When the pain became unbearable, I would switch to the other foot, and repeat this process. This let which ever food was off the ground to warm up a bit before I had to put it down again. I did this for hours until the OPFOR finally showed up, late as usual.

The other guy just laid down on the ground and went to sleep.

I HATE the FUCKING COLD.


One time I was tasked along with a few others to help test a REDACTED that would go on our MOPP suits. So, I had to wear this REDACTED on a MOPP suit while I performed a normal field op. It was winter, and snow was on the ground, and I had to wear MOPP tops and bottoms. They kept me warm, and they are waterproof. I could lay down on the snow and not get wet. Somehow they were just right so I could move, run, and be active during this exercise and not overheat.

That time actually wasn’t so bad, kinda fun.


A fireteam I was a part of for a field op was tasked for ambushing OPFOR movement along a road. Snow was on the ground, and it was stupid fucking cold. Our squadleader, who would later go to the brig, actually cared about his guys. So he had us put down a poncho, then a poncho liner. We all laid down side by side, weapons towards the road, and pulled a second poncho liner over us. Spooning to stay warm, we would alternative who was in the middle and who was in the outside.

We had a guy in our team who nearly became a cold casualty during this FX, so at least I knew he was as miserable or more than me.

When our OPFOR finally showed up, late as usual, I went to engage them with my M249 loaded with blanks.
I couldn’t bend my fingers. None of them.
I used my right frozen claw like hand to prop up the SAW and aim at the enemy. Then I took my left hand, and just jammed my fingers into the trigger guard and pulled my left hand towards me to actuate the trigger. It felt like my fingers were going to snap off or shatter.

We engaged our enemy, got up, snatched up the ponchos and liners, and ran the fuck away. Ahem, broke contact.

I HATE THE FUCKING COLD!


Bonus

My squad plus attachments got sent to Bridgeport for cold weather training. Somehow I got out of this. I think I might have been on a punishment detail when they were tasking people for this, so that might have been why I wasn’t sent. If so, I am ever so grateful for that punishment detail.

My squad comes back from Bridgeport all motivated and telling horror stories about the cold. How they would get their asses chewed for leaving the heaters on all night. They were told that could cause them to die from CO poisonings. Their response, “I don’t care, I’ll die warm.” So very many stories from them.

They would proudly end their stories to me with, “… and the instructors there said we were the WORST Marines they ever saw. And we would just imagine what they would have said if YOU were there.”

Fuck you bitches, I was somewhere warm.


Bonus 2

In our workup to go to Iraq, one of the field ops we were told to only pack the intermediate weather sleeping bag. Now the Modular Sleep System (MSS) that our military used is a very good sleeping bag system. You have an bivy sack to stay dry, an intermediate weather bag, and a cold weather bag. They combine, all 3 for more extreme weather, or can be used individually. It is a good system, but there are plenty of better, more compact, and lighter options since the MSS was initially fielded.

During our gear inspection prior to the FX, we had to show the intermediate weather bag. We all did. After the inspection I put it away in my room and packed the cold weather bag. If I was going to bring one bag, I always bought the cold weather bag. I could sleep on top of it when it was warm. I could leave it unzipped if it was cool.

That night, it was horribly cold. Everyone was miserable and didn’t get much sleep. Everyone except for two people, the platoon sergeant and my self, who each packed the cold weather bag.

Fuck you bitches, I slept warm and well.


I’ll skip the story about the night patrol I was on where they forced us not to wear warming layers because we would be so active. Then, instead, they had us lay prone on a road for most of the night. I got so dehydrated because all the water I was carrying froze and I couldn’t warm any of it up to drink.

Well, I suppose, I didn’t skip that story, that was pretty much all of it.


~FIN~

Optic of the Week: AN/PSQ-18A M203 Day/Night Sight

I really really wanted to like this but it just sucked so bad.

I mean, it provides a capability that nothing else does, but it is so awkward to use I’d rather live with out it.

Part of the problem with equipment like the AN/PSQ-18A is that when you see one for sale, it is often stolen military property. If you see one with the serial number removed, it probably fell of the truck. Now there are legit units out there, but you still are not likely to get any service from Insight should anything break. A short while back I found a unit for sale that I felt comfortable buying.

The sight comes with a case, manual, and detachable accessory rail.

The AN/PSQ-18A is a day/night sight for the M203 grenade launcher. The night sight being the important aspect as there are very few sights for the M203 that work in darkness.

PSQ-18A mounted on a M4, an Aimpoint Comp M4 mounted on the accessory rail.

This sight slides onto and clamps to the barrel of the M203. This might make it one of the most consistent sights for the M203 as there is a great deal of slop and movement between the barrel and the action on one.

This sight is adjustable from 0-400m in 5 meter increments. It has flip up iron sights with tritium inserts for use at night, and it has an IR laser for aiming with night vision. You can take the accessory rail and mount it on the top of the side of the unit to attach an additional visible laser or day optic.

This optic will let you, in total darkness, aim and fire your M203 out to 400m in 5m increments. That is something special.

But, it is large, heavy, awkward, and a pain in the ass to use.

With out batteries, you can still use the optic day or night with the iron sights. The rear sight has two positions, each with an odd design.

One position of the rear sight is a post with a tiny little notch in it. Far too tiny to put the whole front sight in it. The other is a circle with tabs letting you center the front sight and align it vertically with the tabs.

There is a knob on the front bottom of the unit to adjust the range. If the unit is off or unpowered, there is a scale on the side next to the M203 so you can manually see the range.

Yeah, I can’t read it either.

When you power it on, then is when the cool features become available.

It takes a single AA battery that installs in the front bottom.

Then you can use the selector to turn it on and select which features you want to use.

Note there is a lockout for high power, so you can disable high power when training.

When turned to day mode, there is an LCD at the back that shows what range the unit is set at. The LCD will flash if the firearm is canted. There is also a green light near the front of the unit that blinks to show if it is canted.

A 25mb video becomes a 125mb gif. I cropped it to 31mb just so you wouldn’t have to hit play on a video.

Note how both the green light and the black bar on the LED screen flash when the M203 is canted. If you are using the IR aiming laser, the laser will flash while the unit is canted.

On the right side of the barrel, in the perfect position to hit with a thumb if you are left handed, or your support hand trigger finger if you are right handed is a button to activate the IR laser.

There is a version of this device made for the M320 launcher. It is similar but instead of clamping to the barrel it attaches to a side rail (left side of a weapon). I am told that to use the IR laser on that model you much use a tape switch.

So, this thing seems awesome. The ability to precisely aim your indirect fire weapon day or night with passive or active aiming, what is there not to like.

First, it is bulky, really bulky.

Then, because it is mounted to the barrel, it is really low on the weapon. While you can use it for 0-300m, I was not able to shoulder my weapon and find a way to look though the irons, or an attached optic in any sort of reasonable fashion. Ergonomics were terrible. Now once it was set between 300-400m. That it when I was finally able to use it well. To be fair, that is also past the range the most commonly used sight, the leaf sight, goes out too.

When I took this out to the range to use it, I was going to fire a couple rounds at 50m for fun and to get the feel of it. I could not aim down the sights on the PSQ at 50m. I realized this just was not going to work for me. I feel this sight is only really useful at night or in the 300-400m distance.

My biggest complaint is the adjustment. Having to turn a dial is slow. Going from 100m to 350m zero setting is slow. Even worse, it doesn’t always acknowledge that you made a click. I could make a click adjustment unit would not recognize the adjustment.

I tried to show the issue in this video. Sometimes when I make a single click, it would not recognize the adjustment. Or sometimes when I might make multiple clicks, it would show an adjustment less than what was done.

Now if you are using a M203 at night, with night vision, this would be an excellent tool. But past that, it was just so awkward to use I didn’t even bother trying to shoot with it. I went ahead and sold it off.

Let’s us 3D print a gun – Part 4- It’s alive!

Fun stuff first.

I took the 3D printed lower to the range and tested it out. Ran fine.

When I first was thinking about doing this project, I expected to 3D print a gun, then shoot it until it broke. After I printed the Gluty lower, I realized if I tried to do that I would end up shooting all my ammo, that would be kinda hard to replace right now.

I fired 190 rounds, I stopped because the handguards got very hot. I did have a couple of minor issues. The first mag I tried was a Lancer mag (I think they have a new generation, if so, this is a first gen mag). I over inserted it and had a hard time removing it from the gun. So I didn’t use the Lancer mags, and instead used a USGI mag and four Magpul 40 round mags. One of the Pmags did not have the follower come up completely causing the bolt to fail to lock to the rear upon firing the last shot. I would call this a mag problem, not a gun problem. I’ve previously reported about having these issues with my Magpul 40 round Pmags.

I have no doubt, that with quality magazines, I wouldn’t have had a single issue.


Now let us back track.

I was printing the Gluty 9mm pistol. It would use a Glock barrel and mags, and the bulk of the chassis would be printed. While the bolt is in a printed shell, it is mainly a big hunk of steel rod with a notch cut out of it and holes drilled though it. The work can be done with a Dremel and drill press, but most of my tools are packed away in my horder’s nest, so I decided to pivot to a simpler project. An AR15 lower.

There are a number of good options. I had a hard time picking which one to print, finally picked the “Aliamano Phobos AR-15 lower”, made by ArmaDelite, which is “based on the JT-Vangard and Phobos models”.

This one was picked because it looked like it would be easier to print than some of the other options. I don’t know if that is truly the case, but it is why I picked it.

I was able to print it in a single piece, out of PLA+ filament.

Online, you can find many a person who says that ABS would be the better choice for printing a firearm. But when you read reports of people who are printing firearms using FDM printers like mine, they talk about ABS been weak along the layers and needed acetone or MEK welding, or other reinforcements. I’ve never worked with ABS in printing, so I decided to try PLA. That is also what I had on hand and I wasn’t about to spend money on this project.

I don’t so much printing with supports, so I tried settings the support material to be printed at a 45 degree angle to the main part. I hoped that would make it easier to remove. That was a mistake. Instead of peeling off in large chunks, the support material came off in very small pieces and I spent about 8 hours taking this print from the state it was off the printer, into being an assembled lower.

Pretty much all the holes had to be drilled out to size. With the exception of the firing pin holes, those came out perfectly in spec.

After 6 hours of scraping and peeling away support material bit by bit, the lower was still covered with it.

The worst part ending up being the threading where the receiver extension (buffer tube) goes. Some of the support material at the top would not come out at all. I finally had to take a sanding drum for the Dremel, melt away much of the plastic, and use a receiver extension to tap all those threads. That was miserable work, and I was afraid I was going to scrap the lower. I even got ready to print another one with different settings right before I finally got the receiver extension to screw in all the way.

I ran into a few other problems as well. The slot for the magazine catch printed undersize and I had to spend a while with a file to clean it out. Then I found the cheap old parts I had laying around were screw up.

I don’t know what brand that is, but it is a plastic mag release catch button I pulled out of an old AR15. It screws onto the match catch crooked.

So the mag release on this gun binds slightly. It works, but not as smoothly as it should. I could spent more time filing away plastic to account for this out of spec button and the tight slot in the lower, but it works. I’m not looking for perfection here, just functionality. “Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly.”

The other issue I ran into was that when I went to tap the grip screw hole in the receiver, the tap I used just ripped the plastic out of that hole. Reaming it out over sized. I started to try a couple different solutions, finally decided to go an easy route and printed up an AR15 grip and glued it to the lower. I left out the spring and detent for the safety and I didn’t want to permanently leave them in this lower, and the safety is already quite stiff as it is.

A crummy fix, but it works, and that is the goal here.


Aliamano Phobos AR-15 lower

If I were to complain about this lower, I would have two main gripes. It is not compatible with an upper that has a forward assist, and the trigger guard is a little thin for something 3D printed, and I believe it would break under abuse. I feel like I could break it by hand. It wouldn’t stop the lower from functioning, but it could be much beefier.

A smaller issue is that the reinforcement make it a little harder to access the safety. I was able to quickly access the safety for rapid shooting drills, but it is no where near as easy as on a standard lower.

The massive reinforcement where the receiver extension screws into makes installing the receiver extension a major pain. I placed the receiver extension in a vise and use a wrench on the lower to turn it. Took a lot of effort. I was worried the lower would break. Turned out fine.

But the receiver is really wide in the back. You will want to use a larger, satellite dish sized, charging handle latch. I read that other people who have printed AR lowers tend to be fond of using side charging handles on them

“That just sounds like an AK with extra steps.”


This lower has a very cut away magwell. Over the years I have seen several ARs with cut away magwells and they have all functioned fine. This one is even more cut away. Inserting a magazine I found I could move it a fair bit side to side or tilt it forwards and backwards. So when shooting the gun, I tried tilting the mag back, forwards, left, right, and to the extreme diagonals, but I was unable to induce a malfunction during rapid fire.


I have no doubt this lower could withstand short term heavy use. But PLA degrades with time. Some like to push that PLA is better for the environment because it is biodegradable. Time, humidity, and high temperatures will all make PLA degrade faster. But it still is a plastic, and it won’t completely biodegrade any time soon under normal conditions.

I looked into the longevity of PLA printed parts, and I couldn’t find any hard numbers. I do know that stuff I have printed in PLA seems to get more brittle over time. So I am going to stash this lower away for a while and see how to holds up a few months from now.

It is likely that a PLA lower would hold up for several years.

Still for the time and effort involved, I think 3D printing firearms is more an exercise in novelty than a practical production. It does help show the futility of anti-gun laws.

Does it take Glock magazines? New Retro Glock17s, Gen1s.

Guess Glocks are old enough to be retro now.

The P80 (AKA Pistole 80, not the new company Polymer 80) was the designation of the original Glock 17 used by the Austrian army.

Libseys has teamed up with Glock to do a limited gun of collectors gen 1 Glock 17s.

They are even going to come with the classic “tupperware” container set in a collector’s box

Personally, I’d rather buy a new gen 5 G19MOS, but I have no doubt all of these will sell.

If you want to know more, check out:
https://www.lipseys.com/crm/glockp80

“Surfing for Dolphins”

I’d been talking to an Army guy about some of my USMC experiences and it got me remembering a whole lotta stuff when things get quiet. I figure I am going to start writing some of these down and sharing them.


SEMPER FIDELIS*

*may not apply to wives and girlfriends

When I got to my first unit, there was a guy there who made fun of me and picked on me. We’ll call him LCPL. Wally. I don’t think he was being malicious, or a bully, or the like, but it did annoy me a good bit. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the guy, but I don’t like getting picked on.

Finally, one day we were going out for a field op and we had all gotten into the back of the 7-ton trucks to ride out to the field. LCPL. Wally was clearly having a bad day. He was really down in the dumps and appeared to be depressed. Mind you, many Marines are depressed. I think I was depressed for 4 years straight. I got out and felt happy and I didn’t know what that emotion was or how to deal with it. Anyways. So LCPL. Wally is clearly miserable, more so than the normal Marine misery. He looked like he just found out that his dog died, and his grandparents passed away, and his girlfriend left him all on the same day. Me, being the clueless yahoo that I am, didn’t pick up on this until some some of the guys started chatting with him and he indicated that he was feeling down. So I chimed in.

“Hey LCPL. Wally, when ever I feel down or depressed I have this way to cheer my self up. It works EVERY time.”

Now at that time I was rather quiet and reserved, I didn’t really know the people in the unit, so this got people’s attention. Everyone in the back of this 7-ton truck shut up and listened. LCPL. Wally perked up a bit and responded, “Oh?” as he waited for me to continue.

“Well. . . when I feel down, or bad, I tell my self, ‘At least I’m not Wally.‘”

I could never describe that look on his face, but I could feel that I applied the right weapon at the right time. It was like something inside him broke. You could see the instant it happened. A moment later when the others grasped what happened, they started ragging on Wally. I just returned to my stoic silence for the rest of the ride.

Wally never picked on me again.


You can actually pin point the second his heart rips in half.

Bart Simpson S4E15

I was going to write more, but this might have been my finest movement. I’ll write on other memory some other time.