5.56 Timeline

The M18 Claymore Mine – Updated

The M18 claymore mine is maybe not a household name but I would bet it’s close to it now a days thanks to Hollywood , books and people with hands on experience in the population. The M18 is a command detonated mine that is directional. You set it up and aim it in the zone you want to blast to cover. When fired it projects about seven hundred 18-inch-diameter (3.2 mm) steel balls into the kill zone at 3,937 ft/s . very nasty. The effect range is 50 yards with a max wounding range supposedly out to around 250 yards.

I would argue it came to fame during the war in Vietnam where it was very effective.

My Dad was a Vietnam war vet and told me a story about the Claymore that is pretty impressive. One night while on watch with another soldier watching outward, a NVA soldier had crawled close to the razor wire and was about to pick up one of the claymore and turn it around to face back into the American line. Dad was beside the other guy who had the detonator. Dad said once the communist grabbed the claymore with both hands and lifted from the ground, the other guy hit the clacker. The mine went off when about 5 inches from the communists face.

After sun up, Dad and a few other went out to inspect the remains and report back. The attempted trickster was a giant red smear. There was an unexpected bonus though. He had a partner a few yards beyond him who had been watching him from behind a fallen log. He must have just had his head up enough to see over the log when the mine went off. Dad said it looked like some one had taken a sword and sliced the top of his head off from the bridge of the nose up. One of the other soldiers puked when Dad mentioned the exposed brains looked like scrambled eggs with ketchup. Dad was a huge fan of the Claymore. So much so that he had to have his own. That’s what you are looking at in these photos.

Countless books written about Vietnam by veterans tell stories about how effective the m18 was. I don’t doubt there are more than a few stories about it from the ongoing forever wars.

The mine comes with everything you need in the handy M7 bandoleer “Claymore Bag.” You get the electrical hand held firing device, or as Dad called it, the” clacker”, which in Vietnam required 3 squeezes to get the desired result. You get the legs to stick the mine in the ground and point it. You get the electrical wire for the firing device to the mine and a device to test the firing device to make sure it works.

It all packs up into the bag nicely. The flap even has instruction on how to use the mine printed on water proof fabric. Because its the military.

“Don’t point it at yourself”

I have no experience with one other than this one which sadly doesn’t work. I’m sure Kevin ( Hognose) would have lots to say about them if he were still with us. Dad told a few stories about them and how some of the locals would steal the C4 out of them to use as a fire fuel but his interest in the more technical minutia of the mine was non-existent. Maybe Howard got to use one against the haji or fellow Marines and will chime in.

The design is very popular because of its effectiveness and being command detonated. I supposed it makes the hippies of the world feel better since it’s unlikely a kid could accidentally step on it like older pressure mines. As far as I can tell around 20 countries use or produce their own copy of it,. Including Vietnam. When guys you used to blow up with it are impressed enough to adopt it, you know you had a winner.

Update – Howard

Play more with Claymore

I got to detonate one in training, set them up once but never used them outside of training. In Iraq, I think we were worried about civilian causalities and collateral damage.

It was always stressed to us to press the claymore against our chest (before setting it up) to check if it matches the curve of our chest. That way we would know if it was facing the correct direction day or night. I always felt that you should be able to easily tell by feel when you held it. I never saw the point of that bit of the training, but it probably helped someone out there.

My favorite thing about the Claymore is that it has two locations to place a detonator. This allowed you to hook up multiple claymores to daisy chain them. Detonate one, and all the attached ones detonate also.

I was once at a Modern Marine Expo and a company demonstrated a newer Claymore design. About half the size, and was suppose to be more effective. I’ve never seen or heard of that design since then.

The claymore bags make for great man-purses. Carry stripped MRE, supplies, etc. Very handy. I still have the bag from the claymore I set off. I’m not kidding, it is a great size for general purpose use.

The legs have spiked bottoms, use the spikes. In training people would just set the claymore on the ground and it would easily fall over. Push the spikes into the ground to make sure the claymore stays pointing towards enemy.

When I got to set off a claymore I was so excited. We set up targets down range and got into a bunker and I set off the claymore. When we went out to check these echo targets I was soo very disappointed. These 20 inch by 40 inch cardboard targets only had something like 1 or 2 pellets hits on them. I had expected them to be completely shredded and destroyed.

But to be fair, 1 or 2 pellets at that velocity would likely render a hostile incapacitated.

I wouldn’t mind having a couple on hand for emergencies.

The NoMar Rear M1911 Sight

Have a M1911 with the excellent fixed Novak rear sight that really wish you could have a BoMar on instead? You aren’t the only one. But, as you have likely already learned, the slide dovetail cut for one just will not allow the use for the other. Good news though. .

Karl Beining custom gunsmthing extraordinaire and Brandon Bunker has come up with a very slick solution

The Nomar sight base is the solution for the large numbers of 1911s being sold with Novak Low Mount fixed rear sights.  Many Colts, Springfields, Rugers, Dan Wessons, Rock Island’s etc come right from the Factory with a Novak Low mount rear sight cut.  This is a fantastic sight cut if you want fixed sights, but the adjustable options that fit the Novak LM dovetail are all lacking.  Some have very limited adjustment, some have no windage adjustment at all, but they all have small sight faces resulting in less than ideal sight picture for precision work.  The Gold Standard for 1911 Target sights is, and has been for decades, the Bomar Adjustable sight, the issue is once a slide is cut for a Novak LM rear, you cannot cut it for a Bomar cut, so a workaround had to be designed.  I teamed up with Brandan Bunker at Bunker Arms on designing a new base for the Bomar style blade (Mfg By Kensight), and the Nomar was the result.  We worked through a couple tests and redesigns to arrive at the current iteration that we feel looks the best and will work with the widest breadth of OEM Novak cuts.  Believe it or not, not every company cuts Novak rear cuts the same, so we are looking at making a taller base for STI slides and possibly others in the future.   The Nomar is not a wholly new idea, Rich Dettlehouser of Canyon Creek made some similar bases nearly 10 years ago, but seems his website and access to this part are gone.
The Nomar base does require professional installation as the Novak sight deck will need lowered and extended forward of the dovetail, pocket for the sight blade cut, and hole drilled and tapped for the elevation screw.

I’ve been watching this project and the pictures Karl has shared on various 1911 groups he and I both belong to. They look great and the work is first class. If you have a 1911 with a Novak cut but wish you had a BoMar you now know what to do.

for Professional Installation on your slide, contact Karl G Beining at www.kgbcustom.com

For the Nomar base, contact or order on Brandan Bunker’s site at https://www.bunkerarms.com/product-page/nomar-conversion-base

For the Sight leaf and other parts, contact Kensight and order a ‘Bomar BCMS Rebuild kit with complete sight leaf’  https://stores.kensight.com/

Where are they now? – Redi-Mag edition

The name of the picture above is, “CarbinePerfection001.jpg”. Among the many accessories this gun wears, is a Redi-Mag.

What’s a Redi-Mag? It is a magazine holder that you clamp to the side of your gun. It is like having a second mag well. When you drop the first mag, you then use the mag on the left side of the gun to reload.

There are several version of the Redi-Mag, and there was apparently enough demand that Blue Force Gear offered a modified version of it (now discontinued). Older models have been discontinued and replaced with a lighter machined aluminum version. Most Redi-Mag mag holders had a lever to release the magazine in the Redi-Mag, but there was a model that was slaved to the rifle magazine release. When you would need to reload, you would grab the mag in the Redi-Mag with your left hand, hit the mag release to button to drop the mag in the gun and release the mag in the Redi-Mag. Then you would reload as normal.

Never been done before, right?

Oh wait, it pretty much fills the same niche as a mag coupler. Unlike a mag coupler, you jettison the spent mag, and have the option of putting a replacement magazine in the now empty Redi-Mag.

Now let’s take a trip back in time.

It is 2008ish. Most all commercial AR15s come with heavy barrels. We are installing heavy quad-rails, lights, lasers, vertical forward grips, and optics. Our guns have a huge increase in performance than the older slick iron sighted rifles, but our guns have massively grown in weight and bulk. Instead of carrying a 6-7 pound rifle or carbine, we are carrying 9+ pound railed mess of tactical gear. A great increase of capability at the cost of weight.

So the idea of slapping on a half pound accessory that is suppose to make you faster was not exactly disliked. Then adding another pound of loaded magazine was not considered terrible.

Especially when you had folks like Tarvis Haley and Larry Vickers pushing the product.

Look at that gun above. Two optics, light, laser, silencer, redimag, you have one heavy gun there.

The Redi-Mag was most often recommend for police officers. The idea being that often when they grabbed their patrol carbine they did not grab extra ammo, or a chest rig, etc. Having a Redi-Mag meant that they would have a reload right there on the rifle. Sort of like a side saddle on a shotgun.

So where are all these Redi-Mags?

I was noticing that I haven’t seen a rifle with a Redimag for a long time now.

I guess people don’t want to spend 100-200 dollars to slap a pound and a half on the side of their rifle now.

Nowadays more rifles are coming with lighter weight barrels, light weight free float tubes, and our optics have gotten smaller and lighter. We don’t want another pound a half on our guns slowing down how fast we can swing them from target to target.

Would you use a Redi-Mag now? Comment below.

SIG SAUER Down-Selected by U.S. Army

Looks like SIG is really proud of their stuff big achievement, though I wouldn’t get too excited about it myself. For those reading who aren’t familiar with how this works, Down Select does not mean officially adopted as standard A . It really means. “Ok we are gonna take a look, so we are buying a few more for testings.”

SIG SAUER Selected by U.S. Army for Next Generation Weapons with New Ammunition Technology, Lightweight Machine Gun, Rifle, and Suppressors
Published Date: 09/03/2019

NEWINGTON, N.H., (September 3, 2019) – SIG SAUER, Inc. is proud to announce the official award of a contract by the U.S. Army in the down-select process for the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW). The award encompasses the complete SIG SAUER system consisting of 6.8mm hybrid ammunition, a lightweight machine gun, rifle, and included suppressors. SIG SAUER will provide single-source manufacturing for ammunition, weapons, and suppressors allowing for less risk and increased capability for the U.S. Army.

“The U.S. Army is leading the world in the first significant upgrade to small arms in decades to meet the growing demands of soldiers on the battlefield. We are honored to have been selected for the Next Generation Squad Weapons program bringing increased lethality to the warfighter over the legacy weapons,” began Ron Cohen, President & CEO, SIG SAUER, Inc. “At the core of our submission is our newly developed, high-pressure, 6.8mm hybrid ammunition that is utilized in both weapons, and is a significant leap forward in ammunition innovation, design, and manufacturing.”

The SIG SAUER 6.8mm hybrid ammunition is designed for increased penetration at greater distances. Cohen continued, “using patent-pending technology the SIG SAUER Ammunition division has engineered a completely new cartridge resulting in a more compact round, with increased velocity and accuracy, while delivering a substantial reduction in the weight of the ammunition.”

The primary objectives set forth by the U.S. Army for the NGSW-AR was a weapon with the firepower and range of a machine gun, coupled with the precision and ergonomics of a rifle. The SIG SAUER NGSW-AR submission is an ultra-light, medium caliber machine gun with AR ergonomics, and chambered in 6.8mm hybrid ammunition. Features include quick detach magazines, side opening feed tray, increased available 1913 rail space for night vision and enablers, folding buttstock, and suppressor.

Additionally, the Prototype Project Opportunity Notice (PPON) requirements were inclusive of an NGSW-Rifle. The SIG SAUER NGSW-Rifle submission also chambered in 6.8mm hybrid, is lightweight and features a free-floating reinforced M-LOK


handguard, side-charging handle, fully ambidextrous controls, folding buttstock, and suppressor.

“The U.S. Army challenged the industry to bring forward significant improvements to the legacy weapons. The SIG SAUER NGSW-AR is lighter in weight, with dramatically less recoil than that currently in service, while our carbine for the NGSW-Rifle submission is built on the foundation of SIG SAUER weapons in service with the premier fighting forces across the globe. Both weapons are designed with features that will increase the capabilities of the soldier,” commented Cohen. “The final component of the SIG SAUER Next-Generation Weapons System is our suppressor, which through exhaustively researched design enhancements, reduces harmful backflow and signature.”

As outlined in the recent award issued by the U.S. Army, SIG SAUER will deliver a complete SIG SAUER system inclusive of the SIG SAUER 6.8mm hybrid ammunition, lightweight machine gun, rifle, and suppressors.

“SIG SAUER has designed the most comprehensive solution to meet the requirements of the Next Generation Squad Weapons to enhance mission effectiveness. We are looking forward to partnering with the U.S. Army throughout this process and ensuring our soldiers are equipped for the demands of the modern battlefield,” concluded Cohen.


Of course Sig would like to believe they are the chosen one. Reality is they are not the only company to be down selected for further testing.


“In its announcement on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the Army said it had selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, AAI Corporation Textron Systems and Sig Sauer as the three finalists for the program”


The M1914/17 Mounted Cartridge Belt

Yesterday we looked at the belts used for the gun team that supported the BAR gunner in its early years. Let’s go back even further to the days when the US Army still rode around on horses.

Everyone has seen the normal cartridge belt seen mostly in WW2 on every rifleman issued either an M1 Garand or M1903. There was an earlier issued version of that belt for the Cavalry. The horse cavalry.

Mounted rifleman’s cartridge belt

The belt was specially made for the rifleman who would be riding a horse for his main transport. With the standard pockets to hold 2 stripper clips of 5 rounds of .30 caliber rifle ammo, it also had mounting hardware for the rifle.

Of course on horse back slinging the rifle is not very easy. Not easy to get into action or to sling when not using. One way the Army cooked up to solve that is seen above.

The belt came with a leather lanyard strap with hook to attach to a point on the rifle. The belt had a metal and leather donut to drop the rifle down into muzzle down when not in use. To its right is a leather extended attachment point for the leather M1911 cavalry holster. Since the belt is set up for a pistol, the front of the left side of the belt also has a space t mount the double magazine pouch for the M1911.

Above the bracket in its up position for use.

A view of the back side of the belt shows how the hardware was attached.

The “doughnut” was apparently not very popular or well liked so most of them were removed. The leather strap lanyard being more practical for not dropping your rifle while being shot at while under full gallop.

It didn’t take too many more years before all this was deemed irrelevant as you can imagine.