5.56 Timeline


” All through the night of Jan. 11, Michael Redlick lay in a pool of blood on the floor of his home in Winter Park, Fla., while his wife slept, having grown tired from her efforts to wipe all of it away ”  

” The police say they could tell when they arrived the next morning, around 10, that she had been working. “

I think we have all been on some forum some where and read or heard the old chest nut about “the crazy”. It’s often given as sage , wise advice. And it’s just as often ignored because humans have to touch a hot stove at east once to learn the lesson. In old Mike’s case he won’t get to benefit from learning from his mistakes. On Jan 11th Mike found out the hard way that crazy doesn’t always mean divorce, fake pregnancies or stalking. He won’t be posting his hard learned dating or marriage advice on arfcom on this side of perdition though.

” Danielle Justine Redlick was there waiting for them, looking “disheveled,” police said in an affidavit. She had told the 911 operator that her husband, a former NBA executive with the Memphis Grizzlies, had stabbed himself to death. But that already didn’t seem right to police ― in part because she had waited about 11 hours to call them”   

Once the Top Men. deduced there was something fishy about the worst case of suicide they ever saw, they got to wondering if a wealthy man really would stab himself in the back 157 times. They then put to use that tax payer funded training to get to the bottom of this mystery with the help of the dispatcher who took the original call.

“Even the 911 operator seemed suspicious.”

“The call started with Danielle Redlick, 45, saying she believed her husband “might have had a heart attack.” But then she pivoted to say he stabbed himself in the middle of an argument, taking a kitchen knife out of her hand and suddenly jabbing it into his shoulder. The operator, seemingly befuddled, wanted to know: How come she was only just now calling?”

Yeah, um,” she said, hesitating, “I’m on probation, and I was afraid, and I didn’t think anyone would believe me, and I was just trying to get him to wake up.” She added that she was “just exhausted.”

I find her account compelling and credible

More than three weeks later, police aren’t buying it, believing she didn’t call for help the night of Jan. 11 because she didn’t have her story straight”

I don’t know about you but I sure feel safer knowing Top Men like that are out there working around the clock to bring bad guys and bad wahmyn to justice!

It goes on and on to tell the account of what happened and the lead up in the link. As the original creator of this bit used to say, ” do read the whole thing” It is a bit too much for me to give a play by play commentary on as bad as I’m tempted to.

An ex-NBA exec joked he ‘hid the steak knives’ from his wife. Weeks later, she fatally stabbed him, police say.



This week’s post from weaponsman.com is a quick lesson in land nav. Like every week we share some of the best posts from our friend Kevin O’Brien, who passed away too young coming up on two years.


The best case is to have a map and a compass. If you have a general idea of the terrain you can navigate without either, of course. But if you have to choose one or the other, unless the map is complete crap, choose the map.

Why not choose a GPS? A GPS depends on things that you cannot control, including satellites (vulnerable to interception and destruction in wartime, and failure in peacetime) and the electromagnetic spectrum (vulnerable to jamming, meaconing, EMP and other QRM — manmade interference — and sunspots, areas of bad radio propagation (like iron-rich geological formations), and other QRN — natural interference.

Jamming GPS signals is child’s play, because (1) the frequencies used are fixed and published, and (2) a satellite is sending a very low-power signal from very far away.

A GPS also depends on something that has a knack for letting a guy down: batteries. GPS navigators and other smart devices are an update of the old pilot’s joke about a flashlight: something you put in your bag to hold dead batteries. (There are circumstances in which this joke is the very living soul of not funny).

What’s a Topographical Map?

A map is a graphic description of a physical place in (usually) plan view, meaning from an imaginary viewpoint overhead. There are innumerable kinds of maps. Planimetric maps are drawn to scale (of which more in a moment), show borders and boundaries, (usually) cultural features like roads, and coast- or water-lines. If you own a house or land, you have probably seen your lot on a planimetric map. A Mapquest street map page is a planimetric map (it’s also a thematic map, which is a kind of map that has a theme, naturally. Thematic maps can be planimetric, but don’t have to be).

A topographical map is a type of planimetric map that also shows the height of the terrain. How do you show the Z axis of the real world on a two-dimensional map? The convention for depicting height on modern topographic maps is to use isometric lines. That scary foreign word just means “same distance,” iso metric, see? So each height-depicting line on the map represents the same vertical distance as the others. This has some useful applications in the real world, which is where we want to use our maps, right?

It is the isometric lines or contour lines (so called because each line follows the contour of the land at a given height relative to mean sea level) that set a topo map (as we call them to save keystrokes) apart from other kinds of maps.

Unless you have occasion to work with very old maps, military topographic maps will be calculated in SI units, with isometric lines a fixed distance apart in meters and marked elevations (of benchmarks, hilltops and other significant Z Axis features) in meters as well, and distances and a scale in kilometers. In the US, topo maps made for civilian use will have these items marked in Imperial units — feet and miles.

Globally, topographical maps are very similar. Anyone who has used a British Ordnance Survey Map, USGS Map, or NATO military map can pretty much make the translation to the others no problem. Even a Russian or Chinese map is very useful (the Russians have always made superior maps). Even if you can’t read the language you can still see the terrain. The various grid systems used are not always interoperable, though. (We’ll get to that).

What’s On A Topographical Map?

There are essentially three things: the geological features, which include the basic shape of the terrain, things like hills, rivers, coastlines, and slopes; the cultural features, which are the things that grow on the terrain or that people build on it, like forests, villages, roads and railroads; and navigational and informational features, including various things that let you use the map.

Geological Features

HILL terrain feature

A map can give you a good handle on terrain features, if you read the contour lines. This bit of instruction uses the topography of human hands to walk you through the most common terrain features. There’s a lot more the lines can tell you, and you pick it up instinctively sooner or later. For example, on any given map, since contour lines come only at one interval, the closer together the lines on the map, the steeper the terrain. You will notice that watercourses are always in the low point, and that contour lines form a V across the watercourse, with the narrow end of the V pointing uphill and upstream. Bodies of water and watercourses are geological features, and they are always depicted in blue.

This web page recycles government training materials meant to train soldiers to understand the association between the contour lines on their maps, and  the terrain on the ground. It shows the basic terrain features; the hill above is one of them. (The page may have an annoying popup. Just dismiss it).

Cultural Features

Cultural features include vegetation, usually shown as green, and anything humans built on the land, including roads, bridges, trails, railroads, power lines, structures, cities, etc. As a rule of thumb, geological features are more stable and useful for navigation that cultural ones. Barring Air Force intervention, a hilltop’s height isn’t going to change. The shape of roads and borders of towns change all the time.

Navigational and Informational Features

There are many of these, including the Legend, which describes the sorts of features you might see on the map; the declination diagram, which we’ll deal with in the next installment; the indicator of north (part of the d.d.) which is rather important; and information about the datum used (this is the mathematical description of the shape of the Earth that undergirds the navigational features) and the grid system. This is where we run into differences by nation and even by purpose of the map and its recency. Datums are occasionally updated and this means grids aren’t interoperable (some US maps still used the North American Datum of 1927 (NAD27)  during our service, and other maps used WGS83 or another datum — a hazardous combination when you’re slinging lead and steel around). The Russians and their allies, for example, use a different grid system (Gauss-Krasovskiy) than NATO and their allies (MGRS, which is a superset of the Universal Transverse Mercator system). This gets interesting when you have lots of nationalities interoperating in one battlespace, but for most of you, the way to deal with this is:

  1. Check that everybody’s map has the same Datum and grid system.
  2. If not, get help! Your friendly SF intel sergeant can probably do MGRS to GK grid conversions, and your weapons guy can deal with artillery tuned with different numbers of mils in a circle.
how grids work

Maps have grids that are set up for a military-type grid reference system, which should let you plot a point quite accurately, or alternately for latitude and longitude, depending on their intended use. Lat/Longs are hard to use in an on-foot situation, because in most of the world parallels and meridians don’t intersect quite squarely. The good news is, that even a map only gridded with lat/longs usually has ticks you can use to set up a UTM grid.

Grids are always read right and up. In map terminology, that’s easting and northing. How and why the grids are set up is part of every military map reading class, but do you know what? You don’t need to know it, any more than you need to know how a torque converter works to drive a car. Yes, it’s great to have knowledge in depth, but right now, you need knowledge you can use. 

Some Homework if you want it:

Reading Topographic Maps, by the OK Geological Survey.


Golf tips for the discerning shooter Part 2

I often tell people you can take golf training tips and replace golf with “shooting” and they apply.

Once again we look at a golfing calendar and see how the golf tips apply to shooting.

All credits goes to whom ever made that golfing calendar.

Lets look at the advise for January 2019:

Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfied the soul and frustrates the intellect.

Arnold Palmer

Once again replace Golf with Shooting and the quote applies perfectly. Shooting is very simple, lining up with the target and firing. But the nuances of trigger pull, sight alignment, optimizing loads, etc, can become extremely complex and frustrating.

The sweet spot on a golf club is a pin-sized location where the center of gravity lines up directly behind the ball providing maximum energy transfer on impact. Missing the sweet spot by an inch (2.5 cm) results in a 10% loss of energy. Worse though, it will cause undesired spin creating a hook, slice, excessive loft or top spin robbing you of distance. While companies advertise clubs with a bigger sweet spot, than their competitors, this is slightly misleading. The exact sweet spot cannot be altered buy by distributing the club’s weight differently, they can make a head that is more forgiving of misses.


So. . .

Shooting precisely requires doing several things correctly at the same time. Aligning up the gun with the target correctly, pressing the trigger with out pulling the gun out of alignment with the target, and following though with the shot. No piece of equipment can compensate or eliminate bad form on your part. But good equipment can make shooting oh so much more easier.

Nowadays it is common to immediately have a trigger overworked or replaced, replace sights or add optics, etc. All those things can be major improvements to the “shoot-ability” of a firearm. But we just need to keep in mind that those might make a gun more forgiving, misses are still our fault.

Traditions and training

I wrote this up as a response affirming and adding to a article I saw.  If it was worth saying elsewhere, it is worth repeating here.

Years ago, I used to read a site made by a former Army Ranger that had a great deal of good advice on it.  But I remember they had written that Night  Vision shouldn’t be used.  That was said because the guy writing it had only used the first gen NV that required IR illumination to work.  Using it let anyone else with NV instantly know where you are.  He was giving good advice for the equipment he was familiar with, but not modern equipment. 

While I was in, our training was focused on teaching us howto win a conventional war.  When we deployed, we did a sort of bastardized combo of policing action, urban warfare,and counter insurgency.  I remember some of the new guys complaining that all the training they had received (for conventional warfare) was a waste of time. I’d try to explain to them that what they were doing was build on those same principles. 

We are left with two issues.

First is that when something works for someone, they can be left believing that it is the only way and/or the best to deal with a problem.  It is discussed with law enforcement that when a cop often successfully does something in one high stress event, they will often try to default to it later.  Let’s say a cop was in a situation where they were justified in the use of lethal force,but they manage to talk the bad guy down, they may be hesitant to use force next time and try to talk to the bad guy in a situation where it wouldn’t work.  Or the other way around.  The soldier that charges the enemy machine gun position and survives might tend to think it easier than it normally is.  When we learn from other people, we need to keep in mind that what worked for them with their situation and tools might not be ideal for us. 

The other issue is that people often blindly follow advice without knowing the reasons behind it.  While I was in there was all manner of stupid stuff we did because it was cherished traditions of the Corps.  For example, we were not allowed to put our hands in our pockets.  Later I learned it was because a century ago it was considered that only effeminate men put their hands in their pockets.  Because some long dead guy had some bias, we were all standing around in the snow sticking our hands in our belt line.  Yea, I’m sure that looks oh so much more professional.  I like that silly example better than the stupid things we did in combat, as those were truly infuriating.

If you know the reasons and reasoning behind a piece of advice,you can better understand if and when it would work for you.  Don’t be like the classic example of the martial artist that makes his fist with a finger extended, not knowing that technique came from an instructor who couldn’t bend an injured finger.

Golf tips for the discerning shooter Part 1

I often tell people you can take golf training tips and replace golf with “shooting” and they apply.

Yesterday, at work, one of the vendors I purchase from sent me a calendar that has golf tips.  Let us have some fun and see how well they apply to shooting.

All credits goes to whom ever made that golfing calendar.

Lets look at the advise for December 2018:

Golf is the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off.

Chi Chi Rogriguez

Replace “Golf” with “Shooting” in that quote and I would agree.

There are plenty of ways to work on your long and short game in the off season.  Up the difficulty of the shots on your practice may by placing a tee upside down on a coin and try to touch it with out knocking it over.  This will be nearly impossible but will greatly improve your control.  To work on your chipping, place a towel or garbage can about to feet away and practice getting whiffle balls to drop on the towel or in the garbage.  For your drive, head out to the garage and swing a weighted club.  Doing this all winter will make swinging your normal driver feel effortless.


So. . .

They are saying you should dry fire when you can not get out to the range.  If you are sick or snowed in, you can still dry fire at home for free.  Other practice alternatives can include air rifles, air soft, etc, to help you get practical trigger time when you are at home.

Also they say it is good to vary it up with harder to shoot, heavier, or greater recoiling guns.  If you practice a little shooting double action only with your revolver your Glock or 1911 trigger is going to seem even easier to shoot.  If you practice shooting a heavier guns, your standard guns are going to feel lighter.  I like doing the occasional practice with a .40 or my Glock 30 as it makes shooting the 9mm seem like nothing.  Just the same with rifles.  If you can run a 308 rifle well in rapid fire, the 5.56 will seem trivially easy.  Make practice harder than what you expect to need to do.

Standby for the next installment of golf advice for shooters.