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Movie Marksmanship

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Vega Force Company– The GBBR MP7 by Ivan Lam

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We have a guest review from Ivan Lam, from Hong Kong for something new today. We have  many readers from Asian countries among other, who can not own real firearms. We appreciate all of our readers, so we are going to post reviews of some of the airsoft guns that those who can not have the real thing, can still have something to read and enjoy and may help them decide on products they can find and use. Airsoft is certainly popular all over the world so we will try to  have some more future reviews on airsoft.  ( ST )

IVAN LAM

Vega Force Company– The GBBR MP7

 

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May be you’re airsofter who want to get a little bit more “realistic” feel , or may be you’re someone who lives somewhere with tight restriction on firearms. The GBBR (gas blow back rifle) is a good choice to play with. Shooting at paper, steel targets, cans, or even your friends (with eye protection) are good options when playing with this beauty.

So, why MP7 and why VFC?

 

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I threw that cardboard box right after i got my MP7. Lack of foam or any kind of soft pad to protect the gun. What I’ve got was a Magazine inside a plastic bag, the gun in a plastic bag (heavy duty though), and the manual. No BBs for test or cleaning rod included.
I think it’s okay to have this kind of packing, however some foam may be better.

Magazine
The magazine is heavy (for airsoft) , weight 550g. Holds 44 rounds, slightly more than the real long magazine. Airsoft players who use GBBR are more to the “realistic” side of the airsoft spectrum. So no more hi-capacity bull shit like 300 rounds in a AR magazine, no more spray and pray. Using Top gas (green gas) with around 80 degrees, the magazine is able to shoot 80 rounds plus.

 

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My magazine is the first version of the VFC (left one). And I just brought a 2nd version Magazine (right one) , with modifications to secure the mag better. In addition, the new version provides an addition of 0.1J power.

Recoil
I may say it’s fantastic in this size. It’s weird while the firearms industry try their best to reduce the recoil, the airsoft players just do whatever they can to increase it. Sure it’s no way to compare with the WE M14, with a much bigger bolt carrier. The video below may give you an idea how much recoil this little thing got (I think I”ve shoulder and griped this properly) :

http://youtu.be/QUHwMSZbraM

I may say this is realistic. Insert the magazine, charge it, pull the trigger, and bolt lock to the rear after the last shot. Bolt release is functional.

Full-auto is always a concern for GBBR players. You may not need this, but if your GBBR can dump one mag smoothly with one trigger pull, that means your GBBR is smooth and good enough for use. Again, with green gas and around 80 degrees, I’ve no problem empty the Mag without diminishing performance (in terms of rate of fire).

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One of the feature is, the VFC one is the only 1:1 scaled airsoft gun on the market.
And they got license from H&K, so VFC may put any kind of marking on the MP7. Probably half of the price is paid for the markings.
Compare to his competitors, Marui / KWA/ WE have a smaller scale that the real one.

Disassemble
Disassemble can be one of the fun part of using GBBR. It’s really easy to field strip the VFC MP7. Just 2 pins and the stock, bolt carrier, and recoil spring is out.

 

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power

Unlike AEG (airsoft electric gun), the power varies with the weight of the BBs. (Tons of technical shit need to explain though)
With a hot weather in my place,  around 80 degrees, this gun shoots
1.3 Joule with 0.2g BB (~375 fps)
1.5 Joule with 0.25g BB (~375 fps)
1.7 Joule with 0.3g BB (~350 fps)

Just bear in mind, GBB (gas blow back) system, or anykind of system relies on green gas/propane can be affected by the temperature a lot.
And finally A+ studio announced they’re producing  N.P.A.S. (Negative pressure adjustment system) for VFC MP7 to adjust the power.

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In-field
The stock sucks as always. It’s firm, and having 3 position for adjustment is good. But it’s really a pain in the ass putting this against the clavicle. Wearing a PC/ chest rig may help, but no after-market rubber pad for MP7 available though.

The length of the barrel is really good for CQB situations. I tested My MP7 out last weekend, and felt fantastic using this running around.
some high lights in this video:

http://youtu.be/qkrS-nNeCTg

 
Modification
Got my bolt and recoil spring guide polished as below. Unlike real firearms, compressed gas (propane/green gas) are relatively weak, and everything got to be smooth. Polishing these make the MP7 have better recoil and smoother action.

 

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REMINDER: don’t polish too much, just remove the black paint on it is ok. I used 400, than 1200 sandpaper for the work.

Also, some mod on the rocket valve, which reduced the power to a CQB field level.

Cons
Recoil spring guide is not smooth enough, created some weird sping sound when I pull the bolt back slowly. So I polished it. Some people broke their muzzle thread, simply because there’s a inner body in this gun. However it’s completely made of plastic. (as shown below) This make the gun itselfs lighter, which is good for better recoil. However it’s just not strong enough, I’m still wondering if I’ll put a suppressor on it. Seems there’re still no aftrer market product for the inner plastic body.

 

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The VFC MP7 impressed my a lot. If they can fix that plastic inner body problem, things will be even better.

 

Ivan Lam 

DG Works

You can check out Ivan’s youtube channel for video reviews and other airsoft related video post.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpiuJsd4Igrxs8rcftsvjJw

 

Childrens School Book Bag Protection from Gunfire

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It is a dangerous world out there, and as uncomfortable as it is to think about, the current state of the country means not every one is armed to step up to defend the most helpless among us.  With that in mind and the recent  atrocities, we decided to do some testing on something often suggested as a means for children to protect themselves in case the unthinkable happens and no one is around with a gun that could otherwise stop the threat.

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You may have heard or read about the idea of kids using a book bag as a means to trying to stop a round from an active shooter. I have even read some talking about bags lined with soft armor.  After my tests last year of seeing what common rounds would do inside a house, and the difficulty or even rifle rounds penetrating books and some tests shown on Best Defense years ago by Rob Pincus, I can attest to the ability of books to stop about any rifle round.

For the test, we filled a pack with some real text books. from a relatives left over college semester. and some magazines to simulate a note book of just paper.  Nothing else was added, not soft armor, or plates sewn in to give it any more help to stop a round. This was meant to see how it would do if books and some nylon was all you had.

Rounds used were 5.56 in M193 and M855, 9mm using NATO ball and .45ACP ball as well as 12 gauge 00 buck, slugs and the ever popular ( though absurd) birdshot.  Five rounds of each got fired into the bag to see how it would penetrate.  We could not set the Q target against the bag without knocking it down or tearing it every shot, so we settled on setting it a few inches away.  The test was not meant to show any blunt trauma, just penetration. Again, for those who will complain.. this was not scientific, nor does it prove anything as a hard fact, thought we feel it is useful and gives plenty to think about.

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First up. was 9mm ball, NATO pressure ammo, Fired from about twenty feet, as if the victim was running away. We later found even contact shots had the same result.  the 9mm failed to penetrate beyond a few inches of book and barely moves the bag.

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One manages about  3 inches, but most stopped inside the book. We fired another five rounds of 9mm to the same result. Those that did not stop in the books deflected at harmless angles. We both expected better performance since the hotter 9mm load is often touted as being a decent round for penetration.

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Next up was the .45ACP 230 grain ball ammo. Shot from the same distance

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Same results from the 45 with just a little deeper penetration into the books but with more damage to the books by this point. The bag did flop and move more violently, and for a second we thought one may have gotten through, but, once again, nothing got anywhere close.

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Above you can see the results of the .45ACP ball rounds on the books. Several 45 ball rounds were found in the books with almost no deformation.

Next up was the 5.56 fired from standard 16 inch Colt 6920 with 1/7 twist barrel from the same distance as the pistols.

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To my absolute not surprise at all. Nothing got even close. Equally ineffective was the M855 round.  Both rounds fragmented inside the books and nothing big enough to even speak or was recovered once we started to sift through the remains of the bag and books.

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Next we fired the 12 Gauge with the 00 Buck. Looking at the pictures with no back ground it may look impressive, but the pictures out of context tell a lie.  The dead center hit was from one of the pellets going high and missing the books in the bag. Sure this would happen in real life, but the point was to see what would make it through books being used as protection. Obviously a head shot would render it all a wasted effort, but that is not the point of this test. The other “hits” resulted from deflection. The buck hit the books, flattened and deformed and went around and out the sides. There was no real penetration. I am not really sure how to label this in contest of the test since none of the made it though the protective layer of books proper, but hits did get on paper.  Something to think about, and it may be a fluke because of the harder book covers and thickness, Obviously there is not real way to predict anything a round will do after it hits anything other than air.

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Next up was the punishing police slugs from the 12 gauge. five rounds from the same distance as the rifle and pistol. Nothing at all on paper. The bag sure looked like it felt it though. Damage to the body even from the slugs not making a hit  would be significant in my unlearned medical opinion. But I suppose it still beats getting a 12 gauge slug through the back.

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Lastly was every moron’s favorite home defense shot gun round. Birdshot. Nothing even got mush past the nylon bag, but as soon as the shot hit the hard cover book, they all deflected. lost most of its energy and followed the inside of the bag around an came out the other side, I guess you could call it a “hit”, though the pellets did not even go all the way through the cardboard, and did not even do much to the books. The shot did scatter everywhere once hitting the harder books and then deflecting.  Since it did not penetrate even the soft cardboard, I have no idea what it would look like on a human. My guess is the skin would be broken and some bleeding and pain, but not enough to kill a grown person, though it would still be terrible on a kid.  Of course the further away the person got from the shooter, the even more useless the bird shot would become. Another 20 feet and maybe safety glasses would be all you needed after a shot to the books and bag, but still its something to consider.

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After testing the pistols and rifle rounds again at contact distance and seeing the same results, I took the books apart and we sifted through the remains out of being curious. The closer fired 45 rounds seem to deformed a bit but not much, no fragmentation to be sure. Even less from most of the 9mm, I believe most of the damage to both was from fired rounds hitting already embedded buck shot or other bullets.  The lead buck and slugs became blobs of every shape and size  with the 00 buck flattening out but still looking in some what original condition while the slugs looked to have suffered great damage.

 

Could you use a bag full or books for a last ditch protection? Absolutely. If you had nothing else and got caught in the open, you sure could do worse,  Children should be taught to try to use the bags for cover, maybe even being coached to snatch a loose one up and wear one on the front and back while trying to make an escape if possible if it was not so heavy it impeded speed.. Stack books behind a door or desk being used to hide, turning it into cover would also be a great idea. The ideas are many and I will leaver that to the people more qualified than I am to advice you on your kids protection.  But, just like strategically placed books and shelves in the home to protect you from gun fire, the books in a pack will do the same if it came to that.

Eyes, Hands, and Handguns.

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Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.

Eyes, Hands, and Handguns.

This could be about shooters with poor uncorrected eyesight, it’s not.  It could be about shooters who are cross-eye dominant, it’s not, though it will touch on both of those concerns.  If you shoot only for sport, competition, hunting, or fun, then you don’t need to read this either.  But if you train for serious social purposes…

Fifty years or so ago a fellow named John created a cut in my right eyebrow.  He used three rapid jabs with the sharp edged ring on his hand, a Boy Scout ring no less.  Being not much of a fighter then, and hopefully somewhat better now, the fight ended then.  He may have actually been trying to destroy my eye but that didn’t occur to me at the time.  Anyway, later back at my home, standing at the bathroom sink looking at myself in the mirror, one half of my face was completely covered with blood.  I started cleaning from the bottom up, I kept looking for the wound, a grievous one of course it had to be.  I was surprised when I found it in the eyebrow.

Cuts to the face may bleed a lot, some ‘knife fighters’ even advocate a slash to the forehead to create bleeding to blind the opponent.  While the wisdom or not of this move is not discussed here it is true that our eyesight is easily affected.  My eyesight has many times been affected by my own sweat or chemicals in the air which made me tear, often burning tears.  Smoke from smoke grenades sometimes was worse than tear gas.  Common household cleaners used in a small room can be affect the eyes as well as the lungs.  In years past, for reasons I never discovered, some heating systems could cause me to have serious tearing and burning of the eyes.

Never forget, there is also the old trick of throwing sand, bleach, lye, and other nasty things into eyes.  Even soda or lemonade be a problem.  Remember, the person who answers the door or approaches you ‘innocently’ holding a coffee cup or soft drink cup may not be so innocent as they appear.  Think of how much even an eyelash on your eye is so disturbing.

While constantly wearing some form of eyeglasses, prescription or protective, does help a lot, that is not the point, the point here is…can you shoot with the other eye?

Most people who train shooting for defensive purposes, hopefully, will train to be able to use either hand.  While one might prefer to shoot using both hands at the same time, the serious shooter needs to be able to use only one, either one, and should work seriously at this.  BUT (And a big BUT this is) though you may practice to be able to use either hand, can you use either eye?

The hands and arms are very likely to be injured if you take incoming fire, after all, they are out there in front of your face and body but the eyes are also easily disturbed.  You may train to be able to shoot with either hand equally or near equally well but do you always use the same eye?  Aligning the gun to the eye and even just to the face can be very different than what you are so accustom to.   You may get a big shock the first time you try it.  Your performance will not be the same, you may find it difficult to align the gun with the target for ‘non-sighted’ fire let alone trying to align the sights.  This might be an ‘eye opener’ that your skills are really less than you thought.

Try these drills, some slow fire and some acquiring the target and getting off a shot quickly.

Right hand, right eye.

Right hand, left eye.

Left hand, right eye.

Left hand, left eye.

Most shooters will quickly notice that the drills where the hand and eye do not ‘match’ are the most difficult.  The good news is that improvement comes quickly.  While such drills need not be done at every practice session, they should be done more than just ‘once in a while’.

For those of us who always wear prescription eyeglasses or contacts, sometimes TAKE THEM OFF, put on clear protective glasses and shoot with no correction for bad eyesight.  Even sometimes do it in connection with the ‘hand/eye’ drills.  (If you are at a public range or other people are shooting, face AWAY from other shooters and not down range while changing glasses)

At close contact, when being hit or grabbed, often one of the first things which happens is that the wearer of eyeglasses loses them,  Can you shoot without yours?  I should ask instead  ‘Can you hit without yours?

Even doing a little bit of these drills can can cause significant improvement, even more important is learning exactly what your limitations are.  Don’t wait for a gun fight to find out.  Consider if you have to explain to a judge and jury why you shot at someone when you couldn’t see very well.  It’s better to not just have the skills, but to be able to accurately explain that you knew just what you could and could not do.

Battle of the Concealed Carry Compacts, Smith & Wesson is Winning

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Glock and Smith & Wesson have been going toe to toe for several years in the Law Enforcement market. While Glock has slowly been screwing up their reputation, by fielding new pistols with Metal Injection Molding (MIM) parts, reliability issues from those parts and single stack 380′s that no one has asked for, Smith & Wesson has introduced an M&P line that has been eroding Glocks estimated 65% LE market and a single stack 9mm with the Shield. Now Smith & Wesson is capitalizing on Glock’s failure to answer the Shield in 2014, with a single stack 9mm of its own, and is getting a leg up on a future Glock single stack 9mm. Smith & Wesson has listened to the complaints about the Shield, which was mainly the external/manual safety, and has now released information that the Shield will be available without an external safety.

S&W Shield no Safety

S&W Shield no Safety

I am a hardcore Glock fan as most of our readers know. If you have read my articles on Glock, you know my disappointment in the G42, its caliber choice and the issues with MIM parts since 2009. Glock’s failure to maintain its reliability by saving cents on the dollar to go to MIM parts, and its failure to recognize the single stack 9mm market, is really hurting them in my opinion. Smith & Wesson is slowly chipping away at Glock’s  hold on the LE and Civilian market. With Smith & Wesson’s announcement on the new Shield, it is continuing to chip away at Glock’s future ambitions in the single stack 9mm market.

Shield No Safety Option

Shield No Safety Option

The main reason I never really liked the Shield was the external/manual safety. There is nothing wrong with an manual safety but I like to keep all my defensive firearms as close as possible in operation.  I think this is where others, who were used to carrying Glocks and M&Ps without the safety, wanted the Shield to mirror the same feature. The Smith & Wesson Shield is relatively inexpensive and have a few years of reliability on them. It looks like Smith & Wesson is winning in the single stack concealed carry 9mm world, now and in the near future.

With the recent announcement of the H&K VP9 Striker fired pistol, Glock might want to rethink what it has been doing over the past five years.

Heckler & Koch VP9

Heckler & Koch VP9 Striker Fired Pistol

Final Thoughts:

I have only been buying pre 2009 Glock’s for defensive carry and home defense as they do not have MIM parts. Hopefully Glock will re-evaluate the steps it has made in the last five years. For now it looks like the Smith & Wesson Shield is continuing to solidify its place as king of the single stack 9mm’s. Even if Glock comes out with a single stack 9mm next Shot Show, there will still be the MIM part issues and as we have seen with the G42, possibly reliability and part upgrade issues.

Duncan.

 

First Focal Plane vs. Second Focal Plane

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Often I have had to explain to people the difference between the first and second focal plane scopes.  Now Primal Rights has a nice article explaining the difference between the two.  The article can be found here.

Personally I prefer first focal plane as my reticle and my target will always stay the same proportions to each other.  One thing to note is that newer FFP scopes have much better designed reticles then older scopes.  Many of the old FFP scopes used reticles designed for SFP scopes, so the reticle would end up being very thin or very thick on one or both extremes of magnification.  Most newer FFP scopes have well thought out reticles that remain useful thoughout their entire power range.

But in the end, the important thing is to know your scope.

Earth tones

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I’ve heard it said more than once that coyote brown/flat dark earth type colors are not a good choice for the greener areas of the eastern US.

I’m no expert, but it seems to blend pretty well to me.

Just sayin’…

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D-Day 70 Year Anniversary A Micro Gimpse Onto Omaha Beach

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O the wild charge they made!

      All the world wondered.

   Honor the charge they made!”

 

An important anniversary is coming this year.  It is not only an important day for our country, but the entire world. On June 6 1944 the fate of not only the USA , but the rest of the free world hung in the balance.  It was a lot closer to failure then many people think.  As most know, it was D-Day, the beginning of operation Overlord and the allied invasion of Europe. The people and industries of the free world had put their full effort into what was going to happen, The industrial feat that provided equipment and support to the men who would throw themselves at Hitler’s Atlantic wall in an attempt to establish a beach head was staggering.  The men had been trained and sharpened to a fever pitch for this all out effort. It had to work.  This crusade was meant not as a conquering invasion to subdue, pillage, destroy and make slaves, but to free Europe from the Nazi Empire.  It was the largest amphibious invasion in history.

This is not a complete history of Overlord and Neptune, but a focus on on a small portion of the action on and around Omaha beach.Of course a lot more happened that day, but the action on Omaha was unique because of the unimaginable horror and violence the men who assaulted it had to face.

 

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The beach is crescent shaped, about 10 kilometers wide with firm sand at low tide that stretches for about 300-400 meters from the water line.  The only obstacle across the beach as they would move in was a shingle band 1 to 4 meters high that was impassable for vehicles. Beyond the shingle for a large section of beach was a sea wall of wood or masonry. Inland of the sea wall was a flatter area with tank ditches, swampy areas and then the bluff. The bluff was grass covered and offered no way for a vehicle to climb. It looked featureless, but actually had many folds. This would turn out to be very advantageous because a man could still climb the bluff. Cutting the bluff were 5 small draws that went up the bluff to the top with a small paved road leading up the bluff through the exits.  All of it was heavily mined with obstacles. The Germans had strong points, pill boxes, machine gun nests and trenches for firing on the beach in enfilade so as to cover the entire beach in cross fire. In addition there were observation points for artillery from mortars up to the bigger guns further inland as well as artillery that could enfilade the beach.  Ammo and men could be brought up in the trenches to reinforce quickly and form smaller counter attacks. According to Ambrose, “The waters off shore were heavily mined and along with the beaches the promenade, which had concentina wire along its length and the bluff. Rommel had twelve strong points holding 88s, 75s,and mortars. He had dozens of tobruks and machine gun pill boxes supported by an extensive trench system.”

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Set to assault the beach were the 1st and 29th infantry division with companies of the rangers attached with assorted smaller units. They faced 3 battalions of the 352 Division.  Intelligence reported a smaller unit of inferior troops that would be knocked out by the air and naval fire.  After the pre invasion prep had let up and the landing craft were about to assault the beach, just before H-Hour, Captain Walker on an LCI took a look as the smoke lifted.  “I took a look toward the shore and my heart took a dive. I could not believe how peaceful, how untouched, and how tranquil the scene was. The terrain was green. All buildings and houses were intact”.

The air bombardment was a failure, nothing on the beach was hit and the fire from the battleships was too short, though firing smoke had obscured the beach for direct fire.

As the first landing craft went in. the defenders opened fire. Mate Sears, an electrician’s mate remembered, “We hit the sandbar and dropped the ramp, and all hell poured loose on us. the soldiers in the boat took a hail of MG fire. The Army LT was immediately killed, shot through the head”  Captain Taylor Fellers and every man in the leading boat of A Company was killed before the ramp even opened. It either hitting a mine or took a hit from an 88.  At any rate, it was there one second and vaporized in an instant.

All along Omaha German machine gunners let loose a withering amount of fire, one German vet reporting firing 12,000 rounds that morning. Because of a strong current and obstacles, the landing craft landed in the wrong spots.  When the skippers saw one LCI make it in, they followed close by leading the men to be bunched up, making easy targets for MG42 gunners.  That is, if they even made it to shore to begin with. Those who did make it to shore in the first wave had to ditch their gear. Sand bars and mines kept many craft from going in closer. The men stepped out into deep water and had to drop gear to keep from drowning. The ones who did drag ashore were tired, and demoralized.  Most also had multiple wounds.

When the ramp let down, the Germans raked the front of the boat with Machine gun and artillery fire. Entire craft of men where killed by machine gun fire or hit with mortars and exploded, killing everyone. The men in the water found that if you stood up, you would get hit, so many floated in with the tide.  Sgt Valance was one such men. “I abandoned my gear which was dragging me down into the water. it became evident rather quickly that we were not going to accomplish much. I remember floundering in the water with my hand up in the air, trying to get my balance, when I was first shot through the palm of my hand, then through the knuckle. PVT Witt was rolling toward me. I remember him saying they were leaving us to die like rats, just die like rats…”  Valance continued, ”…and staggered up against the seawall and sort of collapsed there and spent the whole day in that position. Essentially my part of the invasion had ended by having been wiped out as most of my company was. The bodies of my buddies were washing ashore and I was the one live body in amongst so many friends, all of whom were dead, many cases very severely blown to pieces.”

On another boat, LT Tidrick was first off. While jumping from the ramp to the water he was shot through the throat. Getting up to the sand he fell and said to a PVT “advance with the wire cutters”  As soon as he said it, a machine gun ripped the LT from groin to the top of his head. On another boat coming in, every man in a thirty person assault team was killed before they could get off.

Survivors huddled together and helped each other up to the sea wall. Medics did what they could with what little was left. Most men had little left from having to ditch earlier. Gear was strewn all over Dog Green sector of the beach. Though the first wave was slaughtered, the gear would be proof they had not died in vain for the follow up waves.

“Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell”
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell – See more at: http://www.nationalcenter.org/ChargeoftheLightBrigade.html#sthash.lGiazNtY.dpuf
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell – See more at: http://www.nationalcenter.org/ChargeoftheLightBrigade.html#sthash.lGiazNtY.dpuf

 

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d & thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell – See more at: http://www.nationalcenter.org/ChargeoftheLightBrigade.html#sthash.lGiazNtY.dpufBut getting to the sea wall was as bad as getting off the boat. It was 200 meters from the water line to the sea wall which afforded false cover. The Germans had the sea wall pre-sighted with artillery, mortars and MG fire.  Sgt Barre relates, “I tried to get my men off the boat and make it somehow to get under the sea wall. My radioman had his head blow off three yards from me. The beach was covered with bodies, men with no legs, no arms, God it was awful.”  “I could feel the cold fingers of fear gripping me.”

As the men tried to cross the open beach to the single and sea wall, their wet clothes and gear weighed them down and made it seem as if they were running in slow motion.

As SGT Warner Hamlett of F company made his way up the beach, he found the weight of the wet clothes full of water and sand really made it hard to run. He could hear men and officers shouting the only chance to live was to get off the beach.  While he was resting in a shell hole a young private fell in beside him. “I said, Gillingham, lets stay apart, cause the Germans  will fire at two faster than one. He remained silent as I ran forward”. A shell burst between them and he looked back,  “It took Gillingham’s chin off, including the bone, except for a small piece of flesh. He tried to hold his chin in place as he ran toward the shingle. He made it and Bill Hawkes gave him a shot of morphine. We stayed with him for around 30 minutes until he died. The entire time he remained conscious and aware he was dying.”

Private Parley landed a kilometer off target. “As our boat touched sand and the ramp went down, I became a visitor to hell. I shut everything out and concentrated on following the men in front of me down the ramp and into the water.”   Another man reported “Sgt Robertson had a gaping wound in the upper right corner of his forehead. He was walking crazily in the water. Then I saw him get down on his knees and start praying with his rosary beads. At that moment German machine gunners cut him in half with their crossfire.”

The same man then had an 88 go off beside him,hitting him in the cheek. “It felt like being hit by a ball bat. My upper jaw was shattered. The left cheek blown open. My upper lip was cut in half. The roof of my mouth was cut up and teeth and gums were laying all over my mouth.”

 

“Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
   Someone had blundered.
   Theirs not to make reply,
   Theirs not to reason why,
   Theirs but to do and die.”

 

 

Landscape

 

Despite all of this, junior officers and NCOs were starting to organize the survivors who made it to the sea wall. They started to make the men believe their best chance to live was off the beach. Men ran back to the beach, stepping over bodies and equipment to get what they needed to work their way up the bluff. All of the armor, truck, jeeps and bulldozers floundered or were being knocked out by 88s. From one end to the other the beach was full of blown up and burning vehicles with only a very few working tanks supporting the infantry. Men had to step over bodies and in some cases walk over them to start to get up the bluff.  The invasion plan and fallen apart. The infantry would be alone with no artillery support on the beach and only a few tanks firing at strong points.  Later in the morning some of the destroyers off shore got dangerously close to the beach to place direct fire at pill boxes to relieve the withering fire.

Sgt John Slaughter relates that the incoming fire was horrible. “this turned the boys into men.”  “Some would be very brave men, others would soon be dead men, but all those who survived would be frightened men.” Some wet their pants, other cried unashamedly, and some had to find it with themselves to get the job done.” When he reached the sea wall. “The first thing I did was take off my assault jacket, and spread my raincoat so I could clean my rifle. It was then I saw bullet holes in my rain coat. I had to rest and compose myself because I had become weak in the knees”  “Colonel Canham come by with his right arm in a sling and a .45 Colt in his left had. He was screaming at the officers to get the men off the beach. ‘Get the hell off this damn beach and go kill some Germans!’ There was an officer taking cover from mortar fire. Colonel Canham screamed, ‘Get your ass out of here and show some leadership!’ To another Lt he roared ‘Get these men off their dead asses and over that wall!’”

This was the battle started to turn as the US Army recovered from the brutal, murderous unrelenting fire.  The men found what it took to start up the bluff. They cleared the wire and went through the thousands of mines and up the bluff taking out enemy pill boxes along the way and taking prisoners that they sent back down the bluff.  When men saw others make it to the top, they thought to themselves ,”Hell if they can do that why can’t we?”

Most of the troops to hit the beach in the first wave had no combat experience, and it was purposefully designed this way. Th commanders knew that experienced troops who knew what high velocity bullets and shrapnel could do to the human body would not be as fast to assault the beach. The 16th Regiment of the 1st Div was an exception in the first wave.  One of those was Pvt Romanaski.  As his boat came in, he looked to his right and saw a boat blow up and then he looked to the left and that boat hit a mine. He saw a man blow about 10 feet into the air, arms and legs covered in flame. The ramp dropped and he was in the water.  “There was already men there, some dead, some wounded. There was wreckage. There was complete confusion. There was a body rolling in the waves. And his leg was holding on by a chunk of meat about the size of your wrist. the body would roll and then the leg would roll. Then the leg would roll back and then the body would roll back.” He joined an unknown officer and started up the bluff.

 

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Above: A path up the bluff through mines marked for safety

To the commanders offshore in the invasion armada, it looked like a total disaster. Bradley considered putting follow up waves on the other beaches and suspending the landings until they knew was what going on.  But the men on the beach had made it to the top and were making penetration into and behind the defenders.  As D-Day went on, the infantry were fighting in mixed units. sometimes with Navy beach master, clerks, tank crewmen with no tanks, and HQ soldiers fighting as infantry.  Toward the end of the day, the exits were opened by the engineers and extra paths made, mine field trails cleared and the vehicles stated to get a foot hold inland and into the battle. The men at the top started to encounter the normal hedgerows and the expert defensive line positions the Germans had prepared. All D-Day objectives were not hit, but there was a beachhead and there would be no gap between Utah, Juno and Gold.

It would turn into a long slog in the hedgerows in France, but the Allies had a foot hold. The decisive moment was over and the US Army had assaulted and taken the most effective defenses the German Army and its best General could think up.  It was the US Army’s finest hour.  They accomplished an amazing feat. The cost in terms of men and equipment was appalling, but the USA  flung its best at the Atlantic wall, and they did achieve success.

PVT Wiehe, on his assault had found himself crying for what he thought was hours, before pulling himself together and doing his job perfectly. But on reflecting back on it he said in his oral history. “To this day I have never shed another tear. I would give anything to have one good cry or one good laugh. I hurt inside but I cannot get my emotions out since that day. I have never been able to.”  The people freed by these men, and those of us that live in the world that they secured, can never imagine the cost these men paid to win.

In 1964 while visiting Omaha, Eisenhower told a reporter while looking down on the beach, ”It is a wonderful thing to remember what those fellows twenty years ago were fighting for and sacrificing for, what they did to preserve our way of life. Not to conquer any territory, not for any ambitions of our own. But to make sure Hitler could not destroy freedom in the world.“

“I think it is just overwhelming. To think of the lives that were given for that principle, paying a terrible price on this beach alone, on that day, 2,000 casualties. But they did it so that the world could be free. It just shows what free men will do rather than be slaves.”

 

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

 “When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!
   All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!”

 

 

 

UZI

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From watching them pop out of Secret Service brief cases during the assassination attempt on Pres. Reagan, to reading stories of Israeli conflicts and African bush wars on the pages of Soldier of Fortune Magazine, to hearing Arnold Schanzegger ask for a “UZI nine millah meetah” in the first Terminator film I think few could argue there are many firearms more recognizable than the classic UZI.

So does the gun live up to the mystique?

We here at Loose Rounds were recently loaned one to find out. Our particular UZI is an actual Israeli Military Industries (IMI) manufactured model imported by Action Arms, and was purchased new by the owner in the mid 80’s. It differs from the military models in that it fires from a closed bolt, and has a 16” barrel to meet ATF regulations.

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This particular UZI came with a rather nice case. It’s molded to hold the weapon, five mags, an inert display barrel, a mag loader, and weapon tool all while lacking any moisture trapping foam.

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Upon handling the weapon the first thing you notice is its weight. For no bigger than it is, the UZI is a bit of a porker, weighing in at 8.4lbs. Its all steel construction and massive bolt carrier no doubt come in to play. You’ll also notice its somewhat awkward ergonomics. The grip is rather large and bulky, and the trigger guard cuts into the knuckles. The folding metal stock has one of the worst cheek welds of any shoulder fired firearm I’ve ever handled, which is probably why Stallone, Arnold, and the like spent so much time hip firing.

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Disassembly is straight forward. The barrel is easily removed by unthreading the barrel nut and sliding the barrel out of the receiver. Next unlatch and remove the top cover, then pull the bolt/carrier/spring assembly out.

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Upon firing the UZI almost everyone remarks at how little felt recoil there is, an upside to the weapon’s weight. Rapid fire groups are easy to hold on target and one can see why the full auto variants were so popular given their controllability on auto. We did not shoot for groups given the inability to add an optic and the crap tastic cheek weld, but we did find the UZI would consistently ring a 18”x12” steel plate at 200 yards. It’s accurate enough to get the job done.

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(Shawn showing proper Rambo style UZI firing stance)

 

Mags come in both 25 rd and 32 rd capacities.  There is no bolt hold open feature after firing the last round, so a click when you’re expecting a bang tells you you’re empty.

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As for reliability, our particular UZI didn’t appear to have been cleaned in quite a while and was bone dry of lubrication. It ran happily along until almost the end of the day when it finally choked, with a single failure to eject after mag dumping several mags of some of the dirtiest shooting steel cased 9mm I’ve shot in a while. It ran longer and better given the conditions it was operating under than I had a right to expect it to. A wipe down of the bolt and some oil and the UZI was back motoring right along.

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In its day I can see why the UZI was popular. It was an easily controlled auto in a compact package with a robust design.

However that day has passed.

Its poor ergonomics, inability to easily add optics/sights, and that in the end its still a long arm firing a pistol cartridge all mean there are better choices today. While I wouldn’t feel bad about taking an UZI into a fight, a good MK18 AR would be a far better choice if compact firepower is what you need. It’s a fun gun to shoot and would make a nice addition to any Israeli or weapons of the 80’s themed collection, but as a fighting weapon I’d pick something more modern.

Video: Larry Vickers on SOCOM weapon clones.

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Larry Vickers posted up a nifty eight minute video about some of the copies of US SOCOM firearms available.

Unfortatly he only covers some of the ones made by High Caliber Sales(HCS).  I purchased a HCS MK12MOD1 upper and had to return it due to the multiple issues it had.  Also they have started using Bolt Carrier Groups that are not staked, cheaper non-Colt receiver, etc.  I can not recommend High Caliber Sales due to my bad experience with them.

The supply of MK12 parts is drying up.  If you want one, it will be better to get it sooner rather than later.  Items like the correct handguards (for both the MK12MOD0 and the MK12MOD1) are getting much harder to source.

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