5.56 Timeline

John Wesley Hardin’s Guns

John Wesley Hardin was one of the most famous gunfighters of the old west. He claimed he’d killed over 40 men in his days but it was more like 27. That’s still a pretty damn high number. He was certainly a bit of an exaggerator when it came to his confirmed kills but one thing he didn’t BS about was his skill with a firearm.

He is well known for giving away or selling his business card and playing cards he shot with a pistol from various distances. Above you can see both displayed. He was the real deal with a handgun and a very dangerous man who would kill you as easy as breathing. No doubt he enjoyed it or at the least he didn’t lose any sleep over it.

Beyond his skill with the handgun he also was a man that thought about how best to get them into action. He had a concealment vest made that allowed him to carry two colt revolvers under his armpits on each side. He was able to appear to casually cross his arms then rapidly dual cross draw the brace of colts out in a flash.

His various guns are well documented and are preserved in various collections. Especially the ones from the end of his years.

JWH’s Colt Thunderer .41 Colt

After being released from prison in February 1894, Hardin became an attorney. His inner demons still plagued the hair-trigger tempered Hardin though, and he quickly reverted to his old ways of gambling and drink. The firearms from this notorious Texas pistoleer’s final years are solidly documented through official court records resulting from his murder. Among these were a .38 caliber Model 1877 Colt Double Action “Lightning,” which his cousin by marriage, “Killer” Jim Miller, gave him after Miller represented him in a murder case. Hardin also owned a pair of .41 caliber 1877 Colt DA “Thunderers,” a Smith & Wesson DA “Frontier” in .44-40 chambering and a 4 3/4-inch barreled, .45 caliber 1873 Colt Single Action Army (with the ejector housing removed, most likely for an easier draw from his pocket). At the time of his death, Hardin was packing these two latter six-shooters. One of Hardin’s ’77 Colts, along with his .45 Colt-chambered ’73 Peacemaker, are housed at the Autry National Center’s Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, California.”

Several examples of the Texas gunman’s weaponry have survived, thanks to court records, Hardin relatives and dedicated historians and collectors such as the late Robert E. McNellis of El Paso, Texas, who discovered several of Hardin’s documented guns and other memorabilia. Hardin’s guns at the Museum of the American West are the only ones I know of on exhibit; the rest of Hardin’s hardware is presumed to be safe in private collections”

Hardin’s watch and .38Colt Lightning

The Colt M1877 “Thunderer” was a double action design chambered in .41 Colt. The “lightning” being a .38 long Colt. You can see it looks like a slightly smaller M1873 “peacemaker.” Even thought it was a DA revolver, it wasn’t very durable. The DA spring and parts didn’t hold up well and it was hard to repair. Luckily for the owners it didn’t render the gun useless. Just single action. Which I’m sure a lot of modern readers would consider the same thing. Billy the Kid , Doc Holiday and Hardin are among its more famous users.

Writing in his book “Sixguns” Elmer Kieth said that the “41LC was a better fight-stopper than its paper ballistics would indicate” and it was “better for self-defense than any 38 load made”. Keith would go onto design the 41 magnum possibly influenced by the advantages of the .41 Long Colt. The .41 long Colt was a moderately popular chambering in several Colt models. It was available in the Model 1877 Thunderer double action revolver, the series of New Army and New Navy revolvers.

9/11 So What Have We Learned

It’s that time of year again when we all look back at the events of 9-11-2001. I think I have told this story before but, I’m going to tell it again. I watched it happen live about 10 minutes after the first jet hit. I was at work at a big gunstore/sporting good/pawn watching it on a big screen tv over in WV. One thing I clearly recall is all the guys walking in to get their bows worked on or arrows made. They would glance at the TV news footage, and barely care. Getting that bow ready for bow season in WV meant more to them.

Over the years since the Gov has destroyed our freedoms in the name of safety and the forever wars rage on and on, I often think on how these same people are the ones that just shrug their shoulders and let all this stuff happen without a whimper.

After the attack they used to say “don’t do this or stop doing that or the terrorists win. Yea, Well. People get arrested for saying mean things online.The gov spies on everything we do and is trying it’s best to disarm us. It brings in the people who want us dead and half the country hates the other half with the heat of thermite burning. They did win.

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

The 9/11 attacks not only killed thousands of Americans, they also led to America’s forever wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iran, and elsewhere, which have brought about the deaths of thousands of other Americans and millions of foreigners. But the 9/11 attacks did more than that. They also fortified the U.S. government as a national-security state, which solidified the destruction of the freedom of the American people.

What is a national-security state? It is a type of governmental structure that has an enormous, permanent military-intelligence establishment. In the case of the United States, that means the Pentagon, the vast military-industrial complex, foreign military bases, the CIA, and the NSA. It also means power — enormous power, not only for the overall government, but also within the governmental structure itself. To place things in a general context, Egypt is a national-security state. So are China, Cuba, and Russia. And the United States.

It wasn’t always that way. America was founded as a limited-government republic, which is the opposite of a national-security state. No Pentagon, no vast military-industrial complex, no foreign military bases, no CIA, and NSA. Just a relatively small army.

That’s the way the Framers and our American ancestors wanted it. The last thing they wanted was the type of governmental structure under which we Americans live today. In fact, if the proponents of the Constitution had said to the American people after the Constitutional Convention that the Constitution was going to bring into existence a national-security state, they would have died laughing, thinking it was a big joke. Once they had realized that it wasn’t a joke, they would have summarily rejected the deal and continued operating under the Articles of Confederation, a third type of governmental system under which the federal government’s powers were so few and weak that the federal government hadn’t even been given the power to tax.

The post-World World II revolution

The revolutionary change occurred after World War II. Although the war against Nazi Germany had just ended in victory, U.S. officials told Americans that, unfortunately, they could not rest. That was because, they said, the U.S. now faced a foe that was arguable more dangerous than Nazi Germany. That foe was the Soviet Union, which, ironically, had served as America’s partner and ally during the war. U.S. officials maintained that America now faced a vast post-war communist conspiracy to take over the world, including the United States, one that was based in Moscow, Russia. (Yes, that Russia!)

U.S. officials said that the only way to prevent this conspiracy from succeeding was to convert the U.S. government to the same type of governmental system that the Soviets had, which was a national-security state. Continuing as a limited-government republic, they said, would almost certainly result in defeat for America and a communist takeover of our nation.

Omnipotent government

That’s how we ended up with a national-security state type of governmental system, along with all of the dark-side powers that come with it. Assassination. Kidnappings. Torture. Regime-change operations. Sanctions. Embargoes. Invasions. Wars of aggression. Occupations. Coups. Secret surveillance. Indefinite detention. Secret prison camps. Military tribunals. Denial of due process of law. Out of control federal spending and debt, in large part owing to ever-increasing budgets for the national-security establishment. In other words, all of the things that one would have expected from the Soviet Union were now part and parcel of the “arsenal of freedom” wielded by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

Never mind that none of this was authorized by the Constitution, the charter that called the federal government into existence. U.S. officials maintained that the Constitution was not a “suicide pact.” Continuing to follow it meant certain defeat at the hands of the Reds, they said. It was necessary to abandon constitutional niceties, they maintained, to save America.

Implicit in all the Cold War hoopla was that if the Cold War were ever to end, Americans could have their limited-government republic back. Of course, U.S. officials never thought for a moment that that would happen. The national-security state was a racket that was supposed to go on forever.

But then in 1989, the racket suddenly and unexpectedly came to an abrupt end. Financially broke and uninterested in continuing the Cold War, the Soviet Union declared an end to it, dismantled itself, and brought Soviet troops home from East Germany and Eastern Europe.

Interventionism and a new official enemy

That should have resulted in the restoration of America’s limited-government republic, but it didn’t. Having lost its official Cold War enemy, the U.S. national-security establishment found a new one by going into the Middle East and embarking on a killing spree, especially in Iraq, where it killed hundreds of thousands of people from 1991 through 2003. The victims including Iraqi children, hundreds of thousands of them. When US Ambassador to the UN under the Bill Clinton regime, Madeleine Albright, was asked by “Sixty Minutes” whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were “worth it,” she responded that while the issue was a hard one, the deaths were in fact “worth it.” By “it,” she meant regime change in Iraq.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. mass killing of Iraqis, along with its decision to station U.S. troops near the Muslim religion’s holiest lands, along with the unconditional military support of the Israeli government, led to terrorist retaliation, beginning with the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the USS Cole, the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa, and then the 9/11 attacks.

The 9/11 attacks then led to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, followed by the interventions in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere, which necessarily entailed a fortification and strengthening of America’s national-security state form of governmental structure. They also led to the Patriot Act, which eviscerated the Fourth Amendment as well as to a formalized assassination program, including the power to assassinate Americans … to torture people, including Americans … to indefinitely detain American citizens and others as “enemy combatants” in the forever “war on terrorism” … to conduct secretive surveillance schemes over the American people and others … and to conduct intrusive searches at airports through the TSA … to impose more deadly sanctions and embargoes on foreign citizens … and to initate more coups and other regime-change operations.

It all adds up to the destruction of American liberty. There is only one way to get our freedom back: the dismantling of the national-security state and the restoration of a limited-government republic.

Blast from the past: Fighting Though The Ring

I was wondering if I could pick up a old cheap Aimpoint on eBay, and while many were selling cheap, I got out bid on the ones I wanted. They sold cheap, but not as cheap as I wanted.

But it got me remembering something. Long long ago, in a dark and terrible age before optics were common, all the way back in 2009, Erik Lund, Senior Instructor of the United States Shooting Academy wrote a piece called “Fighting Thought The Ring”. I managed to find a copy. Here it is:

I wouldn’t bother reading it if I were you. Now I don’t plan to make fun of Erik or be overly critical, but I felt like bringing up this old argument of his. It is no longer on their site, so they may not still feel this way. But, the internet is forever, and doesn’t forget. I’m half surprised people are digging up old comments of mine and making fun of me.

In “Fighting Though The Ring” the whole article is telling you to mount reflex optics as far back, that is as close to the shooter, as possible.

Having the reflex optic as far back as possible is suppose to give the following benefits:

  • Increases the field of view though the optic.

Hold on a minute, is it that it? Well that is what the article states. That increasing the field of view is going to increase your speed, your ability engage multiple targets, etc.

Let’s back up a minute.

A true reflex sight has unlimited eye relief. It can be mounted as far forward or back as possible.

You could mount it that far forward. Pic from this article.

A more complete list of arguments for having the optic mounted towards the rear of the gun:

  • Increased field of view though the optic.
  • More forgiving of head placement.
  • Better weight balance on the firearm.

Arguments for having the optic mounted forwards:

  • Minimize any potential parallax error.
  • Leave space behind the reflex optic for a magnifier.
  • Makes it easier to “look though” the body of the optic with your non-dominate eye.
  • Better weight distribution on the firearm.

Hold on a moment, better weight balance is listed for both of them. Well, that is because a persons preference in a weapons balance is a personal thing.

Nowadays it is very common to see the reflex sights mounted high and cantilevered forward.

This picture from TNVC showing the KAC highrise mount is an extreme example.

But back in the day the idea of using both eyes open and looking though and around an optic (like the Trijicon Bindon Aiming Concept) was still pretty unknown or unpopular. Some said that an Eotech was faster than an Aimpoint because of the larger window on the Eotech.

This whole idea of “fighting though the ring” (or square for Eotech) was for the shooter to keep their focus completely inside the optic. Having a large window close to your face was to allow you to keep everything you are trying to observe in the window. Back in 09 there, Erik claimed that just by moving your optic back you would become faster just by moving the optic back.

Any reduction in threat engagement times that is gained without hours and hours of practice, by a simple repositioning of the optic is at least worth a try.

Erik Lund

What I find funny is that our optics have tended to become smaller and mounted even farther forward. I haven’t seen anyone advocate putting the red dot to the rear in a long time.

Hong Kong Police Munitions Used This Weekend

Some residents of HK who are friends with me on facebook have been showing me some of the munitions used by the Hong Kong police over the weekend.

You can see here in this picture taken by the protestors, some less than lethal shotgun rounds. Also used are some 37MM and 40MM munitions.

A common tool used by the Police is this paintball gun that fire pepper balls. Thirty per magazine.

two 30 round mags taped together

No firearms used so far they say?

Discussion on starting guns, continued. . .

The other day I wrote about what I would buy if I were starting over. Article here.

Some people have complained about that article, and seem to think that I am telling them to buy what I would buy. That the stuff I talked about is too expensive, etc. I never said you need to buy a Colt 6945 and set it up EXACTLY the way I have mine set up.

I NEVER said you need this gun, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live with out one.

That write up was about what I would buy if a fire or hurricane, etc destroyed my collection. For example, one bit I omitted, I love my M203. I wouldn’t recommend it as a serious gun for anyone (unless you have a source for HEDP). I find mine so very fun that it would be one of the first guns I’d order a replacement if mine were destroyed in a disaster or lost in a boating accident.

If you read that last article, you now know what I would be ordering if I was standing in a gun shop with an insurance check right after a tragic disaster.

When people ask me what guns to buy, I give the same answer. Colt 6920 with an Aimpoint PRO and a Glock 19.


The quote above was the very second paragraph in that previous article.

Let us think about this for a moment.

If someone who has no guns, suddenly for what ever reason, decides they need/want a gun. That is a complicated situation. “Why?” becomes the important question. If they are only interested in hunting cape buffalo, the advise for them would be very different than someone who is in fear of their life because of a local gang.

Generally it is our assumption that someone is going to buy a firearm for two main reasons. Protection of life & liberty as well as for the fun and joys of shooting.

Most any firearm can be fun to shoot, but not every gun is a good choice for self defense.

I always recommend the Glock 19, but plenty of other Glock models are available at good prices used. J&G Sales has used Glock 42s for $350. Other vendors have G22 for $270, G23s for $340. There are some LE trade in Gen 3 G19s for $380 shipped to your dealer, that includes 3 magazines. The .45 GAP model Glocks are nearly being given away at $260 or so.

Why a Glock? They work, and tend not to be fucked up by previous owners. There are less people taking files to the guts of the Glock than their 1911, Highpowers, etc. They are common and extremely easy to service. There are a great deal of cheap Beretta 96 .40 cal hand guns out there, but if a novice has a mechanical issue, it is so much harder to work on.

Someone out there is going to advocate some C&R or surplus gun like a CZ82 , PA63, or a Star/Lama, etc. Now some of these guns are great guns. Some of them have broken and sitting in a box for five decades. You are still generally talking at least $200 for many of these, and if it breaks or doesn’t work it you might not be able to get replacement parts. Many of these old blued steel guns can rust easily and require more maintenance than a Glock. Maintenance that a novice or spend thrift is not likely to do.

I could go on and on. If someone can buy a used Glock for $300, isn’t their life worth that cost?

They are still going to need to get some ammo, some training, time to practice. Buying a gun is just a very small part of the process of defending ones self and others.

Now once they have that Glock, they need to buy a Colt 6945 and set it up exactly like mine, the one above. Just joking. From the self defense side of things, many would not have need of a long arm. It irks me when people recommend a pump shotgun to the novice for home defense. While the shotgun has nearly countless merits, it is larger and heavier and most importantly a two handed weapon. Watch a novice holding a bad guy at gunpoint with a shotgun while trying to use their cell phone to contact the police. It is a mess. A shotgun will not easily be able to use it in a compact car to defend ones self. The point I am trying to get to is that a pistol is handier and most importantly, concealable. For the person worried about self defense that only has one gun, a pistol is what makes the most sense in our modern society.

There are tons of cool things out there, and plenty of cheap stuff out there, giving countless options. There are many good choices out there, but a used Glock handgun is just a very simple, less expensive, and easy way to get off on a good start.