A Mess of Accidents

Today  is the weekly repost honoring our friend Kevin O-Brien who passed away early last year. Kevin, AKA “Hognose” to his many readers and admirers , was the owner of Weaponsman.com.   Not a tech article this time but something a little more humors for anyone who had a bad night last night. 

 

 

By Kevin O’Brien

Hollywood, FL, 20 April 14 “Cleaning the gun”

So there he was, cleaning his .38, which he dropped. BANG. The press gives him the benefit of a cop-style passive voice: “[T]he firearm dropped to the floor and discharged, hitting the man in the backside.” Yep, shot himself in the gluteus, which makes you wonder what his cleaning protocol is. If your gun-cleaning approach has potential to shoot yourself in the rear end, you need a new approach.

And another one that just “dropped” and “discharged.” Geez, what those guns get up to if you don’t keep an eye on ’em.

Ormond-by-the-Sea, FL, 22 April 14 “You keep using that word, accident…”

An Ormond-by-the-Sea woman who told neighbors that she shot her husband accidentally, told her mother the shooting occurred when she walked in on her spouse, saw him holding the weapon to his head and tried to wrest it from him.

“He told her he was going to kill himself,” Barbara Barrells said Tuesday afternoon outside her daughter’s house on Seabreeze Drive. “He had done that before. He was an alcoholic.”

If you’re going to do weird stuff with guns, you might as well be named Barrells.

Alcohol plus Gunpowder, plus a Really Stupid Safety Demonstration

The Detroit Free Press has covered this well:

As he stood an arm’s length away from his girlfriend in the bedroom of their new home, James Jewell pressed a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.

The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office says the 39-year-old committed suicide.

His family disagrees, saying he died in a horrifying mishap when the weapon discharged unexpectedly, during a safety lesson gone wrong. They want his death reclassified as an accident.

Police also have said the shooting was accidental.

“I was there. I know that’s not what he wanted to do,” said Jennifer Jackson, 36, Jewell’s girlfriend of nearly four years.

What Jewell was trying to do, she said, was convince her to keep a gun for her own protection. He meant to show her that guns are safe.

Go Read The Whole Thing™, complete with photos of the grieving girlfriend and, from happier days, the deceased would-be safety instructor — they look like the mugs next door in any working-class neighborhood in America. The beef is that the coroner says it’s suicide, and everyone else says it’s a stupid accident. A distinction with a very small difference, in terms of the ultimate products of it.

Needless to say, a Safety Demonstration that involves a gun pointed at your temple is never a good idea.

Unintended Consequences always loom large when you’re handling guns. You need to keep your wits about you. It is one thing to live in a free country where you can demonstrate gun safety any way you like (or tap a keg on the firing line at an MG shoot, something Small Arms of the World, the website, recalls seeing in the eighties), but far from absolving you of your need to apply common sense, it puts a greater burden upon you. Q.E.D.

Anderson, SC, 14 May 14. When Testing a Bulletproof Vest:

Two things you ought to do: (1) determine conclusively that it is meant to stop bullets, not light fragmentation. You really don’t want to get that one wrong. And (2) determine that the person shooting you has the marksmanship skills to hit you in the vest as opposed to, say, in the neck or through the fringes of the thing. Blake Wardell, 26, was a Darwin Award level no-go at this station. His designated shooter, Taylor Kelly, 18, plugged him in the heart. She is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

“Stupid is as stupid does.” — Forrest’s mama.

UPDATE: It turns out that Kelly is not only stupid, she’s real stupid. Cops are now saying she didn’t even shoot the guy, a third “friend” did. She stepped up to take the rap for him. Awwww. Ain’t that special? Of course, now he’s charged with involuntary manslaughter, and she’s charged with accessory to involuntary manslaughter.

The family that fails together jails together, we guess. These three are all no-goes at the friend selection station.

Memphis, TN, 20 May 14 “Is that a pistol in your pocket, or did the film excite you?”

We suppose a two-shot .38 derringer is better than no gun at all. And loading just one chamber is better than loading no chambers. Unless you’re going to drop the gun and ND in a Victim Disarmament Zone, and right in front of an off-duty cop. D’oh!

Police said [63-year-old George] Gholson took a .38-caliber, two-shot Derringer into a movie theater in east Memphis. The gun, which was loaded with one bullet, fell out of his pants pocket and fired the round.

Police said none of the 18 people in the theater were hit. An off-duty police officer who was in the theater at the time took Gholson into custody.

San Angelo, TX 23 May 14

There was a little too much of the store’s namesake at Action Pawn in this West Texas city, when a regular customer retrieved a .45 he’d pawned… and promptly shot himself with it while loading up.

That’ll leave a mark.

“He was handling the gun and apparently didn’t know that it was loaded. He was handling the gun and it discharged. It was an accidental discharge,” Keeling said.

The bullet went through his hand and he was taken to Shannon Medical Center. Sgt. Keeling said the man was in the process of loading the gun before he left the store and accidentally fired it into his hand.

The gun was a .45 caliber handgun. Sgt. Keeling said there was no criminal intent.

The man is 53 years old and a regular customer of Action Pawn. The store will remained closed for the forseeable future to allow staff time to clean up the blood.

That is one of the weaknesses of the 1911 system, in that the safety has to be off to load the firearm. Still, what about the rule that starts, “Never point the firearm…”?

Chicongo, 18 Feb 2009 (hearing 23 May 14) “I feel terrible for my mistake”

How “accidental” this one is depends on your point of view, because the decedent killed herself. But one of the things that cops are not usually eager to talk about to muggles is the way a few cops see “damsel in distress” calls as a chance to… score. Sergeant Steven Lesner met a woman named Catherine Weiland (and got her number) at a domestic disturbance call, and that night met her for booze, TV, and whatever else came up.

“Whatever else came up” was Weiland shooting herself with Lesner’s service pistol while he was in the bathroom.

“I urinated. I washed my hands and heard a pop, a bang,” Lesner testified.

He said he came out of the bathroom and saw his gun — which he said had been in an ankle holster when he set it down — on Weiland’s lap.

“I realized she wasn’t moving,” Lesner testified. “She looked DOA . . . I saw blood dripping out of her ear. I called 911 immediately.”

Weiland was not specifically reported to be suicidal, but testimony suggested that she suffered from bipolar disorder.

Five years after the incident, Lesner’s still on the job, and the case is unresolved. The case appears not to have even been investigated until the media got hold of it years later. His attorney insistes that Lesner is “not responsible for her death.” He might have a point if he moved the period three words to the left.

Edgewater, FL 27 May 14:  Cop has Negligent Discharge with AR-15

If he was in Ranger Battalion, he’d be dragging his duffel bag across post to a line unit already. But being a cop means never having to say you’re sorry, and an Edgewater patrolman was saved by a converging department after he negligently broke a round “while investigating a possible hostage situation.”

If there had been a hostage, that probably would have been the end of the hostage, but Officer Butterfingers (he hasn’t been named… he’s a secret policeman) has a great flimsy excuse: his keychain did it.

Police said an internal investigation found the officer was carrying the rifle while investigating a possible hostage situation on Kumquat Drive when it got caught on a key ring attached to the officer’s duty belt and discharged.

Note the passive constructions: “it got caught” and “discharged.”

The patrol rifle was pointed toward the ground when a round fired and didn’t cause any injuries.

And “a round fired.” Ah, those willful rounds!

Police said officers will no longer be permitted to wear key rings on the exterior of their uniform to prevent another accidental shooting.

At least the guy wasn’t muzzling anybody when he popped off.

Auto Ordnance Thompson “SMG” Carbine

Dredging up another old post for those who may never dip into our back archives. I know I said we would start doing this back in the early summer. I forgot.  Anyway…  Here is a look back on a review of an utter piece of crap no one should buy.

Howard – I had an Auto Ordnance Thompson back in 2002.  It was garbage.  The sights fell off.  It was unreliable.  Extremely heavy horrible trigger pull, etc.  All the Auto Ord guns I have seen since then have been bad.  The fit and finish and the profile of the wood stocks have improved, but the sights and reliability have not.

 

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A few weeks ago I got my hands on one of the  .45 ACPThompson Semi Auto carbines. The gun is obviously a semi auto copy of the iconic WW2 Submachine gun that every one has seen knows it on sight if not by name.  I have been curious about these for years ,I have fired Class III full auto originals before and it is very fun SMG and very, very easy to use and control.  So when offered a chance with one I was more than happy to get some time with it.  My fun ended very fast once I started to work with it.

The gun is a heavy brute like the original and the 16 inch barrel does not do it any favors. That is to be expected though since it is what it is.  One thing I noticed right off the bat was the butt stock was not made correctly. The angle of the butt plate was at such a degree the gun stock would slide off the shoulder. It was very hard to keep it on the shoulder during firing. It required a very awkward effort to keep it up  while fighting the weight.   The next problem was the tolerances of the gun around the magazine well and breech. When firing the gun, your off hand would get burn up with burning and un burnt powder and anything else it felt like spitting out of the gap. Very hard to concentrate while shooting and not pleasant at all. At times, even with gloves and long sleeves I was had some real painful small burns.

As far as the sights go, the rear aperture was not even close to zero. The POI was often a 10 to 12 inches low  from 25 to 50 yards. Once I used the open notch at the top of the rear sight intended for very close range, I was able to shoot close to point of aim.

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The shots at the bottom were aimed at the highest dot. I tried several distance and got no better until moving to the open notch.

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This group is fired form 25 yards off a bench with an old bunch of Winchester silver tip .45 ACP. I was shocked to say the least. The gun is certainly capable of very decent accuracy.  The group below was fired at 25 yards under the same conditions but using Federal Hydra Shock.

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Both groups are 5 round strings. Of course I had to use the rear sights open close range notch on the top of the sight. Otherwise there was not way to get close to POI or even shoot a group of any quality.

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The group above is from 100 yards using Winchester Ranger T   230 grain hollow points. Again I had to use the close quarters notch. Not too bad considering what we are using. Since it was starting to get dar I was not able to move the bench and fired prone using only the old elbows in the dirt method. It is not to bad regardless,and some conclusions can be drawn from this target and the 25 yard groups. I would  expect the gun to be fairly accurate.

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Lastly I fired a little over 10 rounds at the head of the Q target from 50 yards off hand, This was very hard to pull off thanks to the improperly made stock and its freakish angle that made holding it on the shoulder for a cheek weld is  an Olympic level event.

Now, the biggest problem in addition to these other complaints is… The gun just will not work.  I was able to sometimes get as many as 10 consecutive rounds to feed before I was clearing malfunctions. Often it was failure to feed, bolt not going fully into battery. Double feeds, failures to eject or any number of strange things. While helping me test the gun I and my friend found that sometimes we could use our thumb to close the bolt  when the gun would not fire and often we would have to pull the trigger four times before the FCG would work. The bolt is small and smooth and hard to get a hold on. Both of us had our thumbs and hands mangled trying to clear it and keep it working. After about 500 rounds and a bucket of oil to try to keep it working we gave up.

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Do not buy this “gun” it is pure garbage.  This is typical of my experiences with Auto Ordnance products personally from this POS to the companies “1911” clones.  I have never seen anything good from them.  It really is a shame for a once great name.

Toggle-Locked Orphan: the Benelli B76

Today we have another article from our now gone friend Kevin O’Brien, or “Hognose” as he was known by his many fans and admirers. Kevin was the owner and writer of weaponsman.com and  passed away  in spring of 2017.  We repost his work here to save it, introduce it to more people hopefully and to honor our friend.

If you have a well-rounded firearms education, the name Benelli needs no introduction. Now part of the Beretta family, the marque has been known for its semi-auto shotguns since its founding in 1967. But Benelli made an attempt, in the 70s and 80s, to make a NATO service pistol. It’s interesting for its unusual toggle-lock mechanism (one we missed when we covered toggle-locking), its fine Italian styling, and its relative rarity: internet forum participants, at least, think only about 10,000 were made. (We do some analysis on this claim below, and posit a lower number).

benelli b76 pistol

There were other Italian semi-autos at about the same time, like the Bernardelli P-018, competing in part for European police contracts, as many Continental police departments replaced 7.65mm service pistols during the 1970s and 80s rise of European communist terrorist groups like the Red Brigades and Baader-Meinhof Gang. But the Benelli was a unique blend of design and functionality. Arriving too late into a market saturated with double-stack double-action pistols, it might have been a killer competitor for the P1/P.38 or the Beretta M1951 twenty years earlier, but by the end of the eighties, the market was heavily oriented towards double-stack, double-action, and often, ambidextrous-control service pistols. Even European police services who had thought 8 rounds of 9mm a real fistful of firepower had moved on — and so did Benelli, retreating to a concentration on its market-leading shotguns.

Mechanics of the B76

The toggle-lock is not truly a lock in the sense of a Maxim or Luger lock, but more of a hesitation lock or delayed blowback. Other weapons have used a lever in delayed blowback, like the Kiraly submachine guns and the French FAMAS Clarión, but the Benelli one is unique. It’s described in US patent No. 3,893,369. The toggle lock or lever is #5 in the illustration below, from the patent.

US3893369-1Benelli B76

Benelli often cited the fixed barrel of its design as a contributor to superior accuracy in comparison to the generic Browning-type action.

Aesthetics & Ergonomics

The styling of the B76 is a little like its Italian contemporary, the Lamborghini Countach: angular, striking, and polarizing. You love it or hate it, or like Catullus, both at once: Idi et amo. It came in a colorful printed box, resembling consumer products of the era…

BenelliB77Pistol in box

…or in a more traditional wooden case.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The somewhat blocky slide needs to be protected by a holster with a full nose cap, if you intend to carry the B76. It’s a large pistol and it would be prone to print if you did, much like any other service pistol like the M9, the Glock 17, or various SIGs. Where the pistol comes into its own is when you handle and shoot it. The safety falls right to hand, like that of a 1911, although as a DA/SA gun it’s perfectly safe to carry hammer down on a loaded chamber. The grip angle is much like the P.08 Luger, making for a very natural pistol pointing experience. The pistol’s steel construction and roughly 1kg (2.2 lb) weight makes it comfortable and controllable to shoot. The heavily-contoured grip on the target models makes it even more so.

The guns are known for reliability and accuracy, and their small following is very enthusiastic, reminding us of the fans of the old Swiss SIG P210 pistol: the sort of machinery snobs whose garage is more accustomed to housing premium European nameplates than generic American or Japanese iron, and who not only buy premium instead of Lowe’s tools, but who can take you through their toolboxes explaining why the premium stuff is better.

Production and Variations

The Benelli company was relatively new when it designed the B76. The US Patent application for its locking mechanism dates to 1973, and the planned start of production was 1976 (that may have slipped).

There were several variants of the B76, most of them sold only in non-US markets. The B76 was the name ship of the class, if you will, but there were several variants. The B77 was a scaled-down model in .7.65 x 17SR (7.65 Browning/.32 ACP); it was a completely different gun. The B80 was a 7.65 x 22 (7.65 Parabellum/.30 Luger) variant, largely for the Italian market; only the barrel and magazine differed from the B76. The B82 was a variant in the short-lived European police caliber, 9 x 18 Ultra (sometimes reported, mistakenly, as 9×18 Makarov). In addition, there were several target pistol variants, including the B76 “Sport” with target sights, grip, longer barrel, and weights, and a similar target pistol in, of all things, .32 S&W Long called the MP3S. We’ve covered some of these exotic Benellis before, in the mistaken belief that we had brought this post live, which we hadn’t. (D’oh!)

The one modification that might have brought Benelli sales to police departments or military forces was never done, and that is to develop a double-stack magazine. A “mere” 8 rounds of 9mm was already insufficient in 1976, when many NATO armies already issued the 13-round Browning Hi-Power as their baseline auto pistol, and the novel Glock 17 coming on strong.

Benelli dropped the pistols from its catalog in 1990. The company still produces its signature shotguns and a line of high-end target pistols, and even some rifles based on the shotgun design, but its foray into the pistol market has left Benelli with bad memories, red ink and a few curiosities in the company museum. But the curious pistol buyer looking for a firearm with a difference will find here a remarkable and character-rich handgun. If you’re the sort of man who can rock an Armani suit or avoid looking ridiculous in a Countach, this might be a good companion piece.

We’ve mentioned the internet claims of production of 10,000. The highest serial number we found on the net (5462) was well below that, but we certainly don’t have a statistical grasp on production yet. With 7 known serial numbers we can make a rough calculation that there’s a 9 in 10 probability the total production is under 6400, and a 99% probability it’s under 8500. That’s assuming our rusty MBA-fu still retains its potency.

Market

No B76s are on GunBroker at this writing, and only very few — single digit quantities — have moved since 2012. The guns offered were all in very good to new-in-box condition, and they cleared the market at prices from $585 to $650. One went unsold at $565 against a reserve of $600, hinting that, despite these guns’ character and quality, there’s just not much of a market for single-stack full-size DA/SA autopistols.

For More Information

We’re seeking a better copy, but for the moment, heres a .pdf of the manual. Unfortunately, it takes greater pains to describe the mundane DA/SA trigger system than the rare, patented breech lock!

benelli_b76.pdf

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

My Firearms: Glock 30, a forgotten glock.

Years ago I would buy used ACOG scopes cheap, use them for 6 months to a year, then sell them for a small profit in order to repeat the process with a different ACOG.  One of these times I was offered a Glock G30 with a large number of accessories in trade for an ACOG I had hardly any money in.  It was such a good deal for me I was going to get the G30, shoot it for a bit, then flip it for a profit when I got tired of it.

I still have it.

Long ago evil prevailed and an assault weapons ban (AWB) was passed in the United States.  Part of this limited magazine capacity to 10 rounds.  Many consumers felt that if they could only have 10 rounds, they would rather have the largest rounds they could practically use.  This helped bolster the already ever popular .45ACP.

Glock had made a full sized pistol in .45 ACP, that is the G21.  Many people, including my self, find that the G21 feels especially awful in the hand, very brick like.  Even more so than a standard Glock.  While still very accurate and reliable, the 13 round capacity large G21 never seemed to be that popular from what I could tell.  Still sold more than enough to be a commercial success.  During AWB, guns built around a 10 round capacity became popular.  Glock designed a compact pistol in 10mm that held a 10 round mag, that is the Glock 29.  Soon after, they made a version of that in .45 ACP, the Glock 30.  The mags had to be a little longer to allow for the larger diameter of the cartridge.  That is why the G30 mags have a larger base plate on them.

It would be reasonable to expect the G30 to have the same awkward feeling grip of the G21, but much to my surprise it feels comfortable in the hand.  I’d had several other people who hated the G21 and had to be coerced into firing my G30 comment similarly.  I don’t know why this pistol feels better in the hand than the G21, but for me, it just does.

Accuracy and Reliability all fall right in line with Glock “Perfection”.

An annoying thing is that Glock doesn’t make the G30 any more.  They have 3 models replacing it!  The G30S, the G30SF, G30Gen4.

Glock took the generation 3 Glock 30 and made the grip a little smaller to make the G30SF.

There is the Glock G36, which is a single stack .45 ACP that is thinner.  The G36 had some teething issues early on and developed a reputation for being finicky.  But people found that you could put the thinner lighter G36 slide on a G30 frame.  After that started to become popular, the G30S came out which is a G36 thinner slide on the G30SF shorter frame.  The G30S is often said to be the best choice of the bunch for CCW as it is slimmer and lighter than the others.

The Generation 4 G30 is the same as the G30SF with the option to change the backstrap.  With out any of these inserts installed it has the shorter grip like the G30SF, and you install back straps to give it the standard sized grip or larger.

As of when this article is written, there is no Gen4 G30SF and no Gen5 G30 models.

 

I think the G30 and the variants are overlooked.  That is a real shame as this is compact great shooting .45 with a greater capacity than a standard 1911.

Where are they now – Muzzle Standoffs

The second AR15 upper I purchased had a Phantom flash hider with the crenelated front pin and welded to it.

It looked the the bottom flash hider in the picture.  Not only was the Phantom flash hider a superior flash hider, it could be used as a pain compliance tool on others.  The sharp front on it would cut holes in my rifle cases.  I chose to get rid of that upper for that reason.

Shawn and I were just talking on the phone and he mentioned pistol Standoffs.  That got me wondering what ever happened to them.

Some years back, there seemed to be a very short burst of popularity of having a standoff on a pistol in case you have to fire at contact distance.  That popularity seems to have died off quick.

I mainly saw Standoffs sold for the 1911, Glock, and CZ.  I did a quick search to find a good picture of one, and I see that ProofMark still sells one for $120.

That one actually looks pretty nice compared to others I have seen.  It combines all the desired features of a Muzzle Standoff.  It looks pretty rigid, and has a surface with a profile that would encourage compliance of someone it was pressed against.  It appears to have an inserted glass breaker.  There is also a rail on the bottom so that it doesn’t remove your ability to mount a light or laser on your pistol.

Why is the Muzzle Standoff not a massive popular commercial success?

  • Cost:  Not a great deal of people want to drop $100+ on an accessory.
  • Perceived need:  Many people buy their firearms to be toys, or don’t expect to be in a close fight.
  • Possibility for failure:  Debris or clothing can get stuck between the standoff and the slide and induce malfunctions, or the standoff can get bent or damage allowing for malfunctions.  The polymer frame of the Glock can flex enough to cause some standoffs to create reliability issues.

Striking with the firearm or contact shots are a serious concern.  There is the very real possibility to push your pistol out of battery where it wont fire if the muzzle is in contact with the target.  Firing a shot at contact distance can cause enough flesh, meat, and bone from the target to come back into a firearm and cause a firearm to stop working.  Striking with a firearm can break it.

Self defense tends to be up close, and there is the possibility of having to grapple or ground fight with a pistol is something you NEED to prepare for if you choose to carry a pistol for self defense.  But despite all that, the issues of contact shooting can be mostly mitigated with training and techniques.  It is not good to spend money on equipment when training would be better.