So what do we say to this? “Close enough for government work”? That ATF is a one stop shop for firearm theft?

The agents are searching for some of their own retired service weapons as well as guns from other federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and DEA.

All of the weapons had been sent to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Firearms and Ammunition Destruction Branch in Martinsburg, W.Va., to be shredded, according to court documents and congressional letters. 

A longtime guard at the ATF facility has admitted to carting off thousands of firearms, gun parts and ammunition and selling them over several years. Hey those were supposed to go to Mexican cartels!

Christopher Yates, 52, a guard who worked as a contract employee for ATF for 16 years, was charged in federal court in West Virginia. He pleaded guilty in April to possession of a stolen gun and stealing government property.

Yates is set to be sentenced in August. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, but is unlikely to get the maximum under federal sentencing guidelines.

The ATF has recovered more than 4,000 guns and parts that had been reported missing while Yates worked there, according to Yates’ plea agreement.

Yates admitted to stealing at least 3,000 slides, a key part of a gun allowing it to fire, from Glock semiautomatic handguns. He also admitted to stealing dozens of guns, including at least four fully automatic machine guns, which are closely regulated by the ATF. HAW! Apparently not regulated very closely once they have them in their hands!

It’s not clear from the plea agreement if all of those machine guns have been recovered. Comforting

Yates told prosecutors that when he was alone at the facility, he stole the weapons and parts and then sold them.

The agency did not provide many details to Congress on the scope of the theft in a letter to senators sent in March and obtained this week by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In the March 28 letter, to U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), then-Acting ATF Director Tom Brandon said he could not say much because of Yates’ open case. By that he of course means he has no frigging idea but isn’t going to very well say it.

Johnson, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, and Peters, the committee’s ranking member, had written a letter in March asking for answers from the agency, saying they had been told about 600 guns and parts were stolen. “About”. Read- have no clue.

“We cannot at this time characterize the scope of the thefts from the Martinsburg facility,” wrote Brandon, who retired from the agency at the end of April. 

Less than two weeks after Brandon’s letter was sent, many details of the case were laid out in Yates’ plea agreement filed in federal court in West Virginia.

The agency is still not publicly saying how many guns and gun parts have been taken, only disclosing that the loss was “significant.” Federal agency vague non-answer, check.

On Wednesday, ATF spokeswoman April Langwell noted in an email to the Journal Sentinel that “the total number cannot be released pending the ongoing investigation & recovery operations.” ” We haven’t a clue lol , but we sure ain’t gonna let the masses know that”.

FFLs. Please chime in and tell us if the ATF would accept that as an answer from you if a couple guns turned up missing during one of their friendly visits. Never mind, we all already know the answer to that one.

Asked why the agency did not disclose details to Congress that were in Yates’ plea agreement, Langwell wrote, “The investigation was ongoing and the timing of the release of information was a result of the regular judicial process.” “We have no intention of having to face any accountability because of our incompetence as the gov’s TOP. MEN.” “retirement pensions and dental plans may be at stake!”

Agents have been “running around the clock” trying to find the weapons, which has taken time from other investigations, according to several sources familiar with the effort to find the stolen guns. Sure.

It’s ok though, the world is now safe from bump stocks.

You can read the report on the ongoing complete failure of the ATF’s ability to keep track of the guns in their own possession here and bask in professionalism of some of the nation’s most TOP MEN here.

The Still Useful MIL-DOT

The Mil-dot reticle has been around a while now and I am sure most shooters consider it old and nearly useless compared to the newer Christmas tree reticles. It still has some life left in it though you just have to have a little imagination.

The Mildot system is a great way to use holdovers,but seems to limit us at the range we can apply them. With a traditional zero striking dead center on the crosshair. we have 5 Mils of drop still available to us for use on the reticle. 5 Mils is enough to compensate for the drop of most cartridges out to the 500 to 600 yard range plus or minus some. Depending on exact round used etc.

By changing the point of the reticle we use to zero, we can get more out of the reticle. In the diagrams we have four standard Mildot reticles.

1.The traditional zeroing aiming point. 2.Shows the amount of holdover available before running out of mils with the traditional crosshair type zero. If we re-zero our rifle to the 4th Mildot above our crosshair, as shown in the 3rd reticle, we are extending the hold over points our mildots provide.

Instead of only having 5 Mils of drop available, a simple change can give us 9 mils of holdover, as shown in reticle 4. Having holdover out to the thousand yard range instead of only 500 is a huge advantage, and at no cost to the shooter.

Shooting at longer ranges is growing in popularity at a faster rate than I have seen in my lie and many people are dipping their toes into the game. Reality is for most , several thousand dollar rifle optics with the new cutting edge reticles are not an option. especially when just starting out. The new shooter can still find very high quality optics with MILDOT reticles considerably cheaper than the same optics with the artillery grid reticles. The MILDOT is what we used for years and good work was done with it. I still use MILDOT reticles on many of my precision optics and have not been handicapped. Give them a try or take another look at an old favorite for hunting or long range varmint shooting. The MILDOT still can be useful contrary to popular internet belief. even if it is paired with 1/4 MOA turrets!

diagrams from PS Magazine

Stoeger “STR9” or Glock ?

A member of B-ARFCOM has recently discovered something familiar about the new Stoeger STR9. It calls to mind the S&W SIGMA.

” So a couple weeks ago we got in the Stoeger STR9. After handling it initially we found it very Glock-ish. Take it apart, it’s damned near an identical copy.

Today we took it down side by side with a Glock 19 Gen 4. Curiosity got the best of us, and we discovered the STR9 slide will go right on the 19 Gen4 frame. (But the 19 Gen4 slide won’t go on the STR9 frame)

Not only will it go right on, the trigger functions and resets, and dropping a pen down the barrel and pulling the trigger, the striker launches it with authority.”

Stoeger left, Glock right

Enhance….Stoeger left, Glock right

Stoeger left, Glock right. Looks familiar…

Lawsuit incoming in 5…4..3…2…

Brady In Vietnam

Last time I wrote about Brady and one of his miss-adventures you guys asked for more. So today I thought I would share a few stories he told from his time in Vietnam.

The first post about Brady is immediately below for those who haven’t seen it yet.

I thought today I would tell several little short stories Brady related to me starting from his earliest days after being drafted. After being processed and starting his basic training one of the SGTs asked Brady’s group if anyone wanted to earn their military drivers license. Brady, a life long lovers of cars and racing told me he was quick to raise his hand hoping to be able to drive around various Army vehicles. He then related that he learned a lesson. He spent the rest of the week pushing around a wheel barrow full of sandbags for his enthusiasm.

After going through all of his various training from basic to airborne school and then ranger school Brady found himself in Vietnam. He was assigned to a small ranger team attached to the 199th Brigade.

Brady told me that before getting to Vietnam the three things that worried him most other than the enemy , was poison snakes, poison bugs and the M16. Having heard all manner of exaggerated horror stories no doubt aimed to scare him by vets he encountered, he was afraid to use the M16 in combat. So in his first days he volunteered to carry the M60 on his team.

His first time out on ambush patrol did not start off well. As the chopper hovered over a rice patty, Brady jumped out before it go lower and promptly sunk up to his nipples in mud. The rest of the veteran team waited until the chopper was lower and got off, and ran into the tree line. There they waited for nearly an hour to make sure they were not observed and about to get attacked while Brady baked in the sun stuck in mud. Once they team decided it was safe they came back and pulled him out.

That night was the big night and after setting up on a trail for their ambush, the Viet Cong arrived. Brady told me , visions of Audie Murphy flashed in his head as he got ready. It was his job to kick off the ambush as the M60 gunner and to use his words ” I was gonna end the war that night by God!”

It didn’t work out that way. When they got in the kill zone, Brady pressed the trigger on his M60 and …pow!. One round fired. He quickly hand cycled the M60 again and ..pow!.. one round. The ambush was ruined as the commies vanished. Apparently while cleaning the M60 the night before making sure it would be extra clean, Brady had missed some vital mistake he made. Rendering the belt fed machine gun a single shot rifle. “I got a serious lecture about the care and PM of the M60 machine gun after that one.”

As time went on, Brady found the M16 wasn’t what he was told. In fact he found that it was very reliable, durable and accurate. He loved it. Eventually becoming the teams quasi-sniper, Brady was issued a suppressor for his M16.

On another ambush patrol one night, Brady and his team came upon a small group of Vietcong cooking around a fire and enjoying heroin. Not exactly the revolution’s crack troops apparently. Once everything was ready, it was up to Brady once again kick off the ambush with his suppressed M16 in an attempt to use it to get more than one before things went crazy. Brady lined up on a VC with his back to him and took aim at the back of his head.

At the shot, Brady recalled that the man across from his target was immediately splattered across his face with his pals brains. The now dead man pitched face first into the cooking fire while the rest of the VC stared in shock and confusion as he started on the rest and the balance of his team opened up. He speculated they were too doped up to realize what was going on before it was too late.

My favorite story was about his week stay on a firebase at one point. The base had a betting pool where every day a name was drawn and whoever it was allowed to take one shot from a M2 browning on a tripod at a target close to a mile away.

Way off in the distance was a Vietnamese straw hut that double as a brothel. every morning a vietcong soldier would come out at about the same time. He would put his shirt on, stretch and stand there and wave at the firebase mocking it. While he did this, the lucky soldier whose name was drawn would take a shot with the .50BMG in an attempt to hit him. Whoever hit would win the money. Brady said that it had become the major sport of the base with artillery observers and engineers carefully plotting on maps ,taking readings of wind and weather. All trying to have the range and ballistics of the 50 figured just right to win the cash. No one made the shot while Brady was there but the show repeated every morning. Brady figured that as small as the straw hut was, the Viets where actually picking it up and moving it several hundred feet to the left or right or forward etc during the night. Being in wide open flat land in the southern part of the country with few other huts around it was hard to tell.

While at the same firebase one night an attack occurred. Brady manned the same M2 and let loose. Forgetting a fuel bladder full of JP4 was temporarily stored just outside the wire. Luckily the next it was assumed that the enemy blew it up with a RPG. Brady knew better though but kept his mouth shut.

On a downer note. Brady had been married and had a new son. After his 1 year tour he would have had to stay in the Army on state side duty for a time. He was offered a choice of staying in combat for 6 more months and then being able to leave the Army immediately or going home and spending nearly another year on stateside duty . Brady opted for the 6 months of combat duty so he could get back to his new wife and son quicker. After being pinned in a muddy water filled shell crater by a sniper for 24 hours and even having the heel of his boot shot off he got back to base only to get a letter from his wife telling him she was leaving him and taking the boy. Brady did not tell me much of the horrific things he no doubt saw but that had to have been the low point of the war for him. After he was home he met a wonderful lady and has been married since with the close call of the Model 41 grips.

Brady is one of those guys who saves everything. One of those things in the pair of jungle boots he had on in that muddy shell crater. The right one with the heel shot partly off. I have seen and held those boots in my own hands and its a reminder of how close my mentor came.

If you like this , let me know and I will continue sharing stories about Brady and my time with him.

Russian Perst IR Lasers

I was chatting with some people about IR lasers and I found most did not know about the new PERST lasers on the market.

A few key points to start. In the US we have regulation on how powerful a laser sold to the commercial market is. Those limits do not apply to foreign made lasers. So these Russian lasers are full power. These PERST lasers I am listing also have adjustable power output. The tape switches have a dial so you can adjust the output to suit your environment. Some of these also have a pulsing option. But, they are Russian, marked in with the Russian language, and if you need some warranty work that may be a problem.

That said, for you night owls out there, these PERST lasers seem like a great deal. There are several models, I’ll just touch upon a couple of them.

  • The PERST-4+ is an aiming laser with a 18mw green laser and a slaved IR aiming laser. Price runs about $450. Think like a DBAL-i2, but MORE POWER.
  • PERST-3 has a 18mw green laser, 20mw slaved IR laser, and a 500mW IR illumination. Imagine a PEQ-15, where Tim “The Toolman” Taylor cranked up the power to 11. Price runs about $1,325
  • The PERST-2 is like a PEQ-16 where it includes a flash light built right into it. 18mw green laser, 20mw IR laser, 740 lumen light, and a 1200mw IR illuminator. A couple things to note is that this can run of a rechargeable 18650 battery. Price is about $1,760.

In the world of IR lasers, these are cheap. Compared to the civilian legal US offerings these lasers feel more like the death star. I think I’d rather have one of these than a DBAL-i2 or an old PEQ-2 due to the increase in functionality and smaller newer tech. That said, because these are Russian, imports of them might stop at any time and should you have an issue, it might be impossible to get it repaired.

But, there is a reason US lasers are limited. Our big bro government doesn’t want you destroying your eyes. The Russians don’t care about such things, so these lasers are dangerous. They can, and will, damage your eyes in an instant with out warning. So be safe with them if you use them. Treat your laser like the muzzle of your firearm.