5.56 Timeline

Is your hard weapon case good?

I just recently picked up a Zenith MKE MP5 clone. It came in this little thin case that is kinda flimsy, but over all pretty nice. The Zenith website had them listed last week for sale for about $12 each. They are no longer listed, I would have picked up a couple of cases for other guns. It was nice and light weight and would have been good for the trip to the range.

Some guys like Mark Fingar make up some really awesome custom cut foam inserts on their hard cases for their even more awesome equipment.

But let us back up a moment.

We use gun cases for any number of things, but usually it comes down to storage, protection, and transportation.

Something as simple as a towel wrapped around a gun can make it more discrete and protect it from dings and scratches.

Some people will use something like a gun sock to protect guns from banging into each other while they are in the safe. But that isn’t exactly something you can throw in the back of your truck for the drive down the washboard roads to the range.

There are some cases purpose made for a specific firearm, such as this Barrett case above.

Now to get to the point. All these cases have pros and cons.

I saw a post of a forum where someone was storing their Barrett .50 BMG in the case here in Florida. Well it got all rusty. These cases can trap humidity, and it is always humid in this greatest state. Open cell foam can catch and trap water and humidity. If you are going to be using a case for long term storage, try and get closed cell foam or a custom hard molded plastic. Add some sort of desiccant to try and prevent rust.

That small and light Zenith case I first posted is great for quick travel to the range. But it would offer no where near the protection of something like a Model 472-PWC-MP5 Pelican case:

But consider this. That case above is $340 dollars. It also weights 20 pounds. While it may be the ultimate in travel protection for your firearm, it is going to take up a good bit of space, and be heavy and clunky when fully packed.

John Farnam recently posted up a quip talking about his traveling with a hard case. The TSA checked if the case (while locked) could be pried open enough to pull something out while locked. The case he was using failed this test so he ended up changing brands. Farnam doesn’t mention which brand failed, and which worked. I wish he would have, as that which one to buy if we travel.

I know that the Plano cases I have have locks built into them. But, you can easily pry open the latches while they are locked. Someone made a video about this:

So, if you use a case, it is really secure?
Is it really a good choice for storage?

What do you use?

Army has a new BZO target

I just learned today that the Army adopted a new target for 25 meter zeroing. Made by Rite in the Rain, this target is weather resistant and clearly marked with the adjustments for different optics and MOA markings on the target.

The Army got these back in 2017, but no one told me until now.

I think these are pretty cool. Having the 1 MOA markings on the target allow you to quickly and easily adjust pretty near any optic or sight. Having the various adjustments of standard issue Army optics and sights will really help prevent confusion and bad information.

The back of the target has further information, instructions, and offsets for obtaining a 100 200, or 300 meter zero with M855 or M855A1 ammunition with various optics.

In the military I used Rite in the Rain notepads and I still use them due to this thick water resistant sheets. You do have to make sure that your ink won’t run in the water, but you know the paper is far more likely to survive. I read that these thick sheets make it easier to see and measure groups fired on them.

This target is sold in a pack of 100 for $19.95. NSN: 6920-01-660-0348
Not a terrible price at 20 cents each.

Personally, I think I will stick to my cheap sheets of paper and just use a ruler.

Stay away from reject ammo.

Some years ago I saw on one of the gun discussion groups this really great deal on blemished M855 ammunition. I wanted to buy a great deal of it, but didn’t have the money for it.

Glad I didn’t, as it turned out it wasn’t just blemished ammo, it was reject ammo.

Similar thing happened again recently. I had just bought a bunch of Barnaul ammo for plinking and close range practice then suddenly www.theamericanmarksman.com had M855 “blemished” ammo for sale for 17 cents a round. Great price, right?

I have no qualms with buying blemished ammo. Some companies (like Black hills ammunition) will sometimes get rejected by the factory(not the military) for cosmetic reasons and will be sold at a discount. Unfortunately, sometimes these sellers are not selling this blemished ammo, but instead factory rejects.

AR15.com user jaqufrost bought of this reject ammo, and posted up pictures:

Ammo like in the second photo might shoot, but the ones in the first photo are going to give you a bad day if you try and jam it in your rifle.

Now cheap ammo often isn’t bad, but try not to buy factory rejects to save a few pennies a round.

Safety Rules

I’m going to be taking some new people to a range tomorrow. So I get to teach them the safety rules of shooting.

There are usually some posted rules, between 3 and 5ish. Written up like the ten commandments and obeyed just as well.

So I explain these things. Instead of just reciting a rule once or twice, I explain why we have that rule.

Rule 1: Treat every weapons as if it were loaded.

Well if we got someone who never handled a gun before, and doesn’t know jack about them, this phrase doesn’t exactly mean much does it?

Eh. On that note, are we running a hot or cold range? Gotta explain that too. So I like to start with this other rule:

Never point a weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot.

See, we gotta start getting clear here. BUT I don’t know what these other people intend to shoot or not. Some people seem to think it is acceptable to point a gun everywhere. So I start to clarify the specifics.

Don’t point a gun at Howard.
Don’t point a gun at Howard’s car.
Don’t point a gun at Howard’s stuff.

Now, slightly less importantly, don’t point the gun at your self, or someone else, etc.

Depending on the range, I instruct the novice to either keep the weapon pointed up, or down, or only downrange.

I point out the designated impact area of the range, and explain that that is where your shots need to be landing. I explain not to shoot out of bounds, not to shoot the target frames, etc.

That pretty much leads into:

Know your target and what lies beyond it.

I point out the importance of paying attention to what is going on. If the range is hot or cold, if it is time to shoot. What is going on around the targets and behind the targets. Why it is important to not shoot over the berms, or the wrong directions, etc.

I might repeat the story of the Cop who was shooting at a snake in front of a bush and killed a boy who was fishing on the other side of the bush.

Now at this point, I go and cover the “Keep your damned finger off the trigger unless you are actively shooting“.

Here is where you have to keep watching the novices as the moment they stop actively paying attention they will screw this up.

Then the keep the weapon on safe until you intend to fire. This is probably the harder to get new shooter to do as they tend to forget and are not truly familiar with the manual of arms of the firearm.

Shooting steel
If we are shooting steel, I explain minimum ranges, which ammo that is allowed, and it is explained that unless you have wrap around eye protection, you stay either facing the steel or facing away. Don’t need anyone taking any frag to the eye.

I tell novices that if they drop a gun, to let it fall.
If you drop a long arm, there tends to be plenty of stock and forearm you could grab safely. But on pistol, especially smaller ones, it can be very easy to end up doing something very unsafe in the attempt to catch it.

I might share the story of when I dropped my Glock 19 and caught it. Looking down, I saw that I had caught it with my thumb on the trigger and the muzzle pointing at my belly button. Could have been much worse. Most all modern guns are rather unlikely to fire if dropped. Safer to just let it hit the ground.

Reciting all the safety words is good, but what ultimately matters is making those novices work safely until these practices are internalized. That is the hard part. When I’m supervising novices or doing instruction, I do very little anything other than being as vigilant as possible in helping them work safely.