Khal Spencer: Do we need a Human Reliability Program for (Certain Kinds of) Gun Ownership?


Barely have we gotten out of the news cycle of the Florida mail-bomber than an extremist, anti-Semite in Pittsburgh shot up a synagogue, killing eleven and injuring four police officers in a firefight before being captured. Robert Bowers apparently left a trail of evidence of his extreme views on social media (and hints of acting out) but unfortunately, the First Amendment protects most of this garbage, as well as social media’s right to act as a toxic mind pollutant to the American psyche.

businessBut all this has a price when one also has a stockpile of guns or bombs, as per Bowers and Cesar Sayoc. Perhaps we in the firearms community need to admit, belatedly, that the 2A has two clauses and the first one mandates that the people who universally populate the “well regulated militia” with arms in their hands need to be vetted to make sure they are pointing guns at legitimate adversaries rather than figments of their warped imaginations. How far should we go in the name of preventing these demented clowns from shooting up the nation? That, as usual, is the question.

Bowers apparently left a trail of hate on the Internet. Should we be monitoring the Internet and serving people who sound like they are about to go violently off the rails with Extreme Risk Protective Orders? Should owning certain classes of small arms be contingent on something like a Human Reliability Program? I think its clear that as long as anyone can procure a firearm easily, there is a clear statistical probability that some will go off the rails at other people’s expense and the more lethal the firearm, the more the expense. Especially nowadays with politicians, Russian troll farms, and social media activists pouring on political gasoline and handing out matches. What can go wrong?

One could imagine something like a violence triangle as we do a fire triangle. One needs motive, means, and a decision to act, i.e., a defective mental circuit breaker, to go batshit crazy and shoot up a mosque, synagogue, church, school, or whatever your personal choice of imaginary enemy happens to be on a given day. Means plus motive without the mental circuit breaker almost guarantees some “fires” will start. One can remove the means, albeit with some difficulty in a nation with a Second Amendment. One can try to eliminate motive, but in an age of toxic social media, gutter politics, and tribalism, its tough to do that. Mental circuit breakers seem to be in short supply. I was waiting in line for an Rx on Saturday and some other customer simply went off on the poor lady behind the counter, berating her loudly enough for the whole store to notice. Several of us were contemplating the possibility of having to tackle the guy if it got much worse but he stormed off.

So how about this? As Mike Weisser has said, some hunting rifles and shotguns (and probably certain kinds of handguns) are rarely implicated in crimes or mass shootings. How about we go lightly on these lower public risk firearms but examine those guns which seem to beckon for misuse and raise the standards for ownership of some firearms?

To be qualified for the job that I once held for fifteen years in a Federal lab, I had to undergo annual background screening, including a sit down with a company shrink, to ensure that the public and fellow workers could trust that I would not go off the rails at everyone else’s expense. Maybe its about time we designed a scaled down version of that sort of process for those who want to own high cap Glocks, ARs, and similar weaponry that can turn a synagogue into a charnel house in a few short minutes. I wouldn’t make it prohibitive or expensive, just clear and fair to the gun nuts and the public at large. With fewer mass shootings, such a system should pay for itself, actually, even if Matt DeLisi’s numbers are a little hard to believe.

Any takers?


Ammo.Com: Asymmetrical Warfare and 4GW – How Militia Groups are America’s Domestic Viet Cong.


From Ammo.com.


“It is interesting to hear certain kinds of people insist that the citizen cannot fight the government. This would have been news to the men of Lexington and Concord, as well as the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. The citizen most certainly can fight the government, and usually wins when he tries. Organized national armies are useful primarily for fighting against other organized national armies. When they try to fight against the people, they find themselves at a very serious disadvantage. If you will just look around at the state of the world today, you will see that the guerillero has the upper hand. Irregulars usually defeat regulars, providing they have the will. Such fighting is horrible to contemplate, but will continue to dominate brute strength.”Col. Jeff Cooper

When one discusses the real reason for the Second Amendment – the right of citizens to defend themselves against a potentially tyrannical government – inevitably someone points out the stark difference in firepower between a guerilla uprising in the United States and the United States government itself.

This is not a trivial observation. The U.S. government spends more on the military than the governments of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, and Japan combined. Plus, the potential of a tyrannical government is arguably upon us – with the federal government spying on its own citizensmilitarizing local police departments with equipment and tactics from the War on Terror, and repeatedly searching Americans, which desensitizes them to this invasive process.

There is much historical precedent, however, for guerilla uprisings defeating more powerful enemies. For instance, the Cold War saw both superpowers brought to their knees by rural farmers – for the Soviets, their adventure in Afghanistan against the Mujahideen, and for the United States, the Vietnam War against the Viet Cong.

In both cases, nuclear weapons could have been used against the guerilla uprising, but were not. Even assuming the use of nuclear weapons from the position of total desperation, it’s hard to imagine they would have made much of a difference in the final outcome of either conflict. Unlike the invading armies, the local resistance enjoyed both broad-based support as well as knowledge of the local terrain.


Now imagine such a scenario in the United States. You wouldn’t be the first person to do so. From Red Dawn to James Wesley, Rawles’ Patriots series, there is a relatively long-standing tradition of American survival literature about the hoi polloi resisting the tyranny of big government, either before or after a collapse.

For the purposes of this article, consider what a domestic American terrorist or freedom fighter (after all, the label is in the eye of the beholder) organization based on the militia movementwould look like in open revolt against the United States government. In the spirit of levity, we’ll call them the “Hillbilly Viet Cong.” They would most likely find their largest numbers in Appalachia, but don’t discount their power in the American Redoubt, or the more sparsely populated areas of the American Southwest, including rural Texas.

Here we have tens of thousands of Americans armed to the teeth with combat experience, deep family ties to both the police and the military, extensive knowledge of the local geography, and, in many cases, survivalist training. Even where they are not trained, militant and active, they enjoy broad support among those who own a lot of guns and grow a lot of food.

On the other side, you have the unwieldy Baby Huey of the rump U.S. government’s military, with some snarky BuzzFeed editorials serving as propaganda.

Could the Hillbilly Viet Cong take down the USG? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s difficult to imagine that the USG could take them down.

Indeed, even with a number of nasty little toys on the side of the federal government, we live in an age of a technologically levelled playing field. This is true even when it comes to instruments of warfare. While the USG has nuclear weapons, it’s worth remembering that a pound of C4 strapped to a cheap and readily available commercial-grade drone is going to break a lot of dishes.

This sort of guerilla insurgency has a name: It’s called fourth-generational warfare (4GW), and you might be surprised to learn that you already live in this world.

What Are the First Three Generations of Warfare?

To understand how 4GW is a new and improved form of war, we first need to explain what the first three generations of warfare were:

First-Generation Warfare


The first generation (1GW) is basically what you would have seen in the movie 300. The hallmarks of this generation of warfare are armies from two different state actors leveraging line-and-column tactics and wearing uniforms to distinguish between themselves.

This generation is not entirely without subterfuge. For example, counterfeit currency was used to devalue the money supply during the 1GW Napoleonic Wars. Other examples of 1GW conflicts include the English Civil War and the American Revolutionary War.

Second-Generation Warfare

The second generation (2GW) comes with the advent of rifling and breech-loaded weapons. As students of military history know, the invention of rifling was one of the reasons that the United States Civil War was so bloody. This meant that firearms that were once mostly for show after 100 feet or so, were now deadly weapons – and tactics did not immediately evolve.

But evolve they did. Many things we take for granted as being just part of warfare – such as camouflage, artillery, and reconnaissance – are defining features of 2GW. The American Civil War is probably the first 2GW conflict. Others include the First World War, the Spanish Civil War and, much more recently, the Iran-Iraq War. The United States military coined this phrase in 1989.

Third-Generation Warfare

This phase of warfare, also known a 3GW, is the late modern version of warfare, where speed and stealth play a much bigger role. Weapons and tactics alone are less important. Instead, military units seek to find ways to outmaneuver one another before – or even instead of – meeting on the battlefield.

The era of 3GW was initiated with the Blitzkrieg, which marked the decisive end to cavalry and replaced it with tank and helicopter warfare. Junior officers were given more leeway to give orders. The Second World War was the first 3GW conflict, with the KoreanVietnam and both Iraq Warsbecoming further examples of this style of fighting.

What Is Fourth-Generation Warfare?

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The most direct way of discussing 4GW is to say that it describes any war between a state actor and a non-state actor. This is also known as asymmetrical warfare, but it’s not the only difference between 4GW and other, earlier forms of conflict. Asymmetrical warfare does, to be sure, blur the lines between combatants and civilians. This is in part what made the Bush-era “war on terror” so difficult and complicated: The war was against a set of ideas rather than a nation or even an extra-national army.

There are a number of characteristics that flow from the state actor vs. non-state actor aspect of 4GW. The first is the use of terrorism as a regular tactic, almost always on the part of the non-state actor. Particularly for the state actor, non-combatants become tactical problems – you simply can’t just carpet bomb and hope everything works out.

The non-state actors tend to be highly decentralized. One faction can stop fighting as another 10 crop up in its place. Funding and source of manpower and material comes from a wide array of sources spread out over nearly the entire globe. This necessarily makes 4GW long and drawn out over years or perhaps even decades. The psychological warfare, propaganda and lawfare aspects are an integral part of the conflict.

The genesis of 4GW lies in the Cold War and the post-colonial era. Insurgent groups and counter-insurgency groups vied for power, often times with state actors operating behind the scenes and in the background. Sometimes the goal was to establish a new state or reestablish a defunct one. However, many times the only goal was to delegitimize the existing state and create a power vacuum.

Places such as Laos, Myanmar, Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, the Congo, Cuba, East Timor, Korea, Poland, and Afghanistan were all pieces in the global chessboard of the Cold War as various insurgency and counter-insurgency groups backed by the Soviets, the Americans, and/or the Chinese fought one another or fought against occupying forces.

What Is the Difference Between 4GW and Asymmetrical Warfare?

Put simply, all 4GW is asymmetrical, but not all asymmetrical warfare is 4GW. It refers to virtually any asymmetry in combat. This can be as simple as one military having more advanced technology than another – for example, the English longbow at the Battle of Crécy gave the English forces a decisive technological advantage. The Spartan forces were greatly outnumbered by their Persian adversaries and used the landscape to compensate.

In one sense, 4GW can be seen as asymmetric warfare come to full fruition. The less powerful forces must find a way to compensate for their relative lack of strength. On the other hand, the stronger forces must paradoxically find ways to compensate for their abundance of strength. This is because of the all-important propaganda war, an integral part of 4GW. State actors often seek deniability during war by proxy when engaging non-state actors.

John Boyd, Chuck Spinney, and 4GW


Colonel John Boyd may be the most remarkable unsung hero in all of American military history. Widely considered to be the greatest U.S. fighter pilot ever, Boyd developed the F-15 and F-16, revolutionized ground tactics in war, and covertly designed the coalition battle plans for the 1990-91 Gulf War. He foresaw 4GW, and he shunned wealth, fame, and power in his pursuit to get things done, despite the bureaucracy of the Pentagon.

Boyd closely studied Sun-Tzu (The Art of War) and Carl von Clausewitz (On War). This informed his push for greater adaptability and agility of United States fighting forces. Simple, cheap, effective, dependable, durable weapons were prized over flashy tricks. Decentralized command, control and communications were Boyd’s cause – looking for a way to avoid burying boots on the ground underneath layers of officers with potentially less field knowledge than they had.

Franklin C. “Chuck” Spinney became the voice of 4GW preparation after Boyd’s passing inside the Pentagon. He spent more than 20 years campaigning against rigid forms of thinking and budget bloat. Spinney believes that the 9/11 attacks should have been a wake-up call for the United States military, and sees 4GW as something beyond mere terrorism, but rather a new form of warfare. He believes the United States military is stuck in second-generation warfare thinking and is woefully unequipped for 4GW. Ultimately, Spinney believes that the United States military’s response to 9/11 in particular and 4GW in general was not enough.

Where Is 4GW Happening Today?

While many think 4GW is something in the far-off future, it’s actually happening right now. The most archetypal 4GW is perhaps the conflict with ISIS – a non-state actor with recruits all over the world in conflict with several states. Some of the conflict is classically military, but there is also the propaganda war taking place all over the Internet. In fact, ISIS was using the PlayStation network to communicate because they correctly believed it wasn’t being monitored by international intelligence services. These attacks on the West were not limited to the area controlled by ISIS, but extended all around the world.

Counter-attacking ISIS was a bit like trying to catch water in a net. Attacking ISIS proper was possible: There was territory. But attacking the support of ISIS was a whole other problem.

It’s worth noting that the international Islamist movement is not limited to ISIS. Al-Qaeda and its offshoots still exist. What’s more, they seem to multiply over time. This is another feature of 4GW. A state actor can make peace with one faction of a group while other, more militant factions simply retreat deeper into the metaphorical mountains to continue the fight – which is precisely the situation that the Republic of the Philippines has faced in its struggle against the Moros separatists of the Southern Philippines.

But the Philippines and Syria are all likely far away from where you live in terms of geography, sociology, demographics and culture. What does 4GW have to do with London, Paris or even Springfield, MO? Probably a lot more than you think.

Is 4GW Coming to the Developed World?

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Is fourth-generational warfare coming to the developed world? Quite possibly, especially when you consider the spectre of failed states in the West.

Many Western states are not quite as stable as they are made out to be. Sweden and France in particular have extensive problems with No Go Zones. Other parts of Europe want to secede, such as Catalonia in Spain, and are being violently suppressed from doing so.

Elsewhere around the world, previously first-world countries like South Africa are deteriorating in the span of a generation due to government mismanagement. The United States, for its part, is in what some have described as a “Cold Civil War,” with many futurists agreeing that the potential for outward civil war is greater than you’d like to think.

How might such a 4GW scenario play out in the West? There are two potential scenarios, one for Europe and one for the United States. Each of these is worth considering.

4GW: The European Model

For our purposes, we’re going to call this the “European Model” of 4GW. This is because this model is based on the political and social realities of life in Europe today. It is by no means the only place something like this could unfold, nor is it impossible that 4GW could unfold in an entirely different way in Europe.

4GW in Europe will likely be an outgrowth of No Go Zones and resulting failed states. Geographic areas within European nations will likely increase in size. And conflict will likely develop between the de facto areas of the No Go Zones, as well as more militant elements of the civilian population. While there is not much of a militia movement to speak of in Europe, in true 4GW fashion, people will find ways to improvise weapons out of what they have available to them.

It’s impossible to talk about this phenomenon in Europe without discussing the ethnic and religious character of the areas, as ethnic and ethno-religious conflict will likely be the infrastructure for such a war – especially since many of these areas have legal and social structures based on Islamic laws and customs.

In a scenario leading to a 4GW conflict in mainland Europe, attacks on civilians will escalate while the legitimate civilian authority is increasingly incapable of dealing with it. There will be both an inability and an unwillingness to maintain legal norms within larger and larger areas in Europe.

Next would come the formation of militias. The model here is close to what happened in Lebanon during its civil war. Militias will form around political, ethnic and religious lines. Some of these will be the No Go Zones attempting to consolidate their power. Others will be European civilians seeking to protect themselves and their neighborhoods from the growing power of the No Go Zones. This, in turn, will further fuel the breakdown in government control. Members of the government, both law enforcement and military, will increasingly pick sides in the conflict, leaving their allegiance to the rump state behind. In the end, this will make it more difficult for the state to assert its power.

The remaining government will begin taking measures against free speech and free association in an attempt to crack down and regain lost power. But at this point, the battle will mostly already be lost. Factions of the government will cease cooperating with one another, making it harder and harder to maintain order. These factions will, to varying degrees, start lining up behind the militias and parallel legal structures that have begun cropping up at the street level. This will also be the time foreign governments will step in and begin supporting local militias more. An example of this is Serbian-backed militias in Croatia and Bosnia during the Yugoslav Wars, or Israeli support of Maronite Christians and Iranian support of Shiite Muslims during the Lebanese Civil War.

Crime will increase, but not just petty street crime. Insurgent movements have a long history of using organized crime to fund their operations and the 4GW conflicts in Europe would be no exception to this. The drug trade, human trafficking and financially driven kidnapping are three examples of how militias will fund themselves using extra-legal means. This will serve as an additional cause to restrict freedom of movement through both de jure and de facto means within a nation’s borders, another case where the Yugoslav Wars and Lebanese Civil War are instructive cases. Conversely, refugee scenarios will develop, which will further complicate the situation.

4GW: The American Model

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The American 4GW Model is somewhat different and is based more on ideological and political differences than ethnic and cultural ones – though the ethnic and cultural differences will play a role, as we will soon see.

In the United States, the federal system of government can play a key role. For example, while the prospect of a gun ban causing the peasants to pick up their pitchforks and torches is unlikely, a scenario where states simply refuse to enforce the law is far closer to the realm of possibility. Consider that this is already starting under the Trump Administration – cities and states are refusing to comply with the President’s directives on federal immigration law. Flipping the script, it’s worth wondering just how much state and federal compliance a federal ban on AR-15s, a high tax on ammunition, or a call for widespread registration would generate.

This could happen one of two ways: Leftist states like California and Massachusetts balk at a new federal law, or more conservative and libertarian states like Arizona and New Hampshire refuse compliance. It’s worth noting that states themselves are not monoliths. California is largely still a conservative state outside of Los Angeles and the Bay Area, while several municipalities in deep blue Massachusetts went for Trump. On the other hand, Arizona has blue enclaves like Flagstaff and New Hampshire’s cities vote almost identically to Boston.

The red state / blue state divide is very real, but it also exists within states as well as between them. In the event that a cleavage between the two political and cultural halves of America started, this divide would become increasingly unstable within the states themselves.

Unlike Europe, the United States has a homegrown militia movement that is heavily armed and, to varying degrees, ready for battle. When the AR-15 is talked about as a “weapon of war on our streets,” it is frequently mentioned in the same breath how an insurrection in the United States would never stand a chance against the modern weapons of war wielded by the federal government. This would be news to the Viet Cong. People who make such statements are unaware of the dynamics of 4GW.

While the political aspects are very real, so are the demographic ones. In particular, there is the spectre of the Scotch-Irish in Appalachia. These are a people with hundreds of years of long skepticism (and often outright hostility) toward the federal government. It’s also, geographically speaking, a very difficult place to conquer. Eric Rudolph evaded the feds for five years in the mountains of North Carolina, despite being on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List.

This segment of American society has a significant connection to both the police force and the military. Simple suggestions that local police, SWAT teams or even the military will be quick to crush such a rebellion are ill-informed on two counts. First, the aforementioned one: In many cases, the military and police who are being sent out are going to be friends, family and intimates of the Hillbilly Viet Cong. What’s more, due to the extensive military experience in this area, many of the foot soldiers of an anti-government rebellion centered in Appalachia would not only just be trained, but also battle-tested. Divided loyalties always play a role in 4GW, and the United States will be no exception.

The weapons of war are leveled in 4GW. There is air war by drones, but also the role of computer hacking, kidnapping and other unsavory activities. The point of 4GW, from the perspective of the underdog, is less about “winning” in some quick and dramatic fashion, and more about dragging out the conflict as long as possible, causing the dominant power to lose through blood loss and death by 1,000 cuts.

Consider the Vietnam Conflict: Between the end of the French occupation of Vietnam in 1954, through the Fall of Saigon when U.S. forces abandoned the city to the Viet Cong, the American Vietnam War lasted approximately 20 years. And that doesn’t count the seven bloody years of French occupation post-WW2, when French colonial forces lost approximately 100,000 troops attempting to put down the guerilla movement in Indochina.

Finally, there’s the U.S. government’s track record in 4GW. The United States does not have a solid track record of being able to defeat guerilla insurgencies. From the Filipino Insurrection in the late 19th century to the current Afghan insurgency – the United States military can make inroads against 4GW actors, but it’s never really able to seal the deal.

4GW in America: The Battle of Athens


There is a history of 4GW in the United States and we don’t need to go very far back to find it. In 1946, there was an uprising of the citizens of Athens, TN (in McMinn County) to reestablish the rule of law. The story illustrates how American patriots resisting domestic tyranny can succeed in their struggles.

Citizens of Athens had complained about election fraud since 1940. The town was filled with battle-hardened veterans from both the European and Pacific theaters of World War II. This filled them with a militancy that did not exist before the war. Several citizens of Athens had complained, but the administration of Franklin Roosevelt did nothing, perhaps because the town was ruled over by an entrenched Democratic Party machine.

First, the men ran one of their own, a GI named Knox Henry, for sheriff. They wanted fair elections, so they petitioned the FBI to monitor, a request which was denied. The machine, for their part, imported 200 strong arms to “protect” the polling places from voters. In one case, a deputy pointed his revolver at a GI, ejecting him from the polling station and telling him “If you sons of bitches cross this street I’ll kill you!” Poll watchers were arrested and in one case, a black poll watcher was shot. Finally, the party machine locked the ballot boxes up in the county jail.

Despite lacking in numbers, ammunition and arms, the veterans used the key to the local armories belonging to the State and National Guard. This evened the score considerably. They went to the jail house and requested the release of the ballot boxes, but were rebuffed with the sheriff’s men shooting two of the GIs. A firefight erupted and the GIs were reinforced by men from neighboring Meigs County and their IEDs. Eventually, the sheriff and his men surrendered, releasing the ballots.

After obtaining the ballots, the men cleaned and returned the weapons. The GI candidate was elected sheriff and several others were elected to key county positions.

This demonstrates 4GW in miniature in the United States. For those concerned about nuclear retaliation or other heavy guns the USG has, it’s worth noting that the underdog can always obtain some of these weapons by hook or by crook.

The Militia Movement and 4GW


No discussion of 4GW in the United States would be complete without touching on the militia movement, something specific to the U.S. While Europe has a history of factions in the military who oppose the government (the French Secret Army Organization is the most famous of these), it does not, to nearly the same extent as the United States, have men actively training in the woods getting ready for civilizational collapse or 4GW.

The militia movement began in the early 1980s, when it was known as the Posse Comitatus movement. It exploded (no pun intended) after the attack on the Oklahoma City Federal Building and the showdown at Ruby Ridge. By the mid-1990s, the militia movement had a presence in all 50 states and was comprised of approximately 60,000 people.

Note that the militia movement is no longer limited to the political right. Left-wing organizations have begun openly training with arms since the election of Donald Trump as President in 2016. In any kind of 4GW scenario in the United States, it’s likely that these two strains of the militia movement would come into conflict with each other, as well as the United States government. And don’t forget about the narcissism of small differences that tends to plague fringe political movements – the most bitter enemies in a 4GW conflict in the United States will likely be competing factions of left- and right-wing political movements.

Skills Required for 4GW

Combat isn’t the only helpful skill for 4GW. If you’re concerned with 4GW and want to get ready for everything to go down, here’s a list of skills for you to acquire in preparation for 4GW.

  • Weapons Versatility: Let’s just get this out of the way. Combat training with a variety of weapons is important for 4GW. This is because in 4GW, combatants often have to use weapons commandeered from their enemies. What they capture can vary widely from what their unit ordinarily uses.
  • Survivalism: Knowing how to live off the land is an indispensable skill for any SHTF scenario, and 4GW is no exception to this rule. 4GW combatants must know how to hunt, fish, trap, track, stay hidden, find potable water, and prep game.
  • First Aid: Any time there’s combat, there are casualties. 4GW requires the knowledge of first aid at the very least. Knowing other medic skills is a welcome addition to the toolkit as well.
  • Physical Fitness: Those involved in 4GW combat will have to walk long distances, often with a lot of weight strapped to their back. Being in top physical condition can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Navigation: 4GW combatants need to know the area, but they also need to know how to find their way around unfamiliar terrain. That means without electronic equipment, and instead using items like compasses and maps.
  • Demolition: This might also be filed under weapon versatility. Demolition is a big part of 4GW for depriving the enemy of a base and cutting off lines of communication and transit.

Many of the above skills are just as helpful when it comes to general survivalism, so you don’t have to be getting ready for 4GW to make them worth acquiring. And as with any kind of SHTF preparation and training, we hope you never have to use what you learn.


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Where Are All Those ‘Responsible’ Gun Owners?


New group has emerged pledging “to propel cultural change and prevent unnecessary gun deaths in the United States.” And how does this group intend to propel cultural change?  They can speak for themselves: “There is a middle ground where most Americans can agree. We’ve found that middle ground and are working to unite like-minded citizens. Behind the scenes, we are effecting real change to stem the tide of gun violence.”

Gun Safety Alliance              This effort is the handiwork, so it seems, of some of the companies which in one way or another decided to cut links to the gun industry (read: the NRA) after the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High.  This includes Delta Airlines and Hertz, who no longer offer discounts to NRA members, as well as Gucci which ponied up some big dough to support the March for our Lives demo in March, a bank that won’t underwrite Visa-Mastercard gun shop accounts, plus Dick’s and Walmart, the latter upping its age for all gun sales to twenty-one, the former pulling black guns out of some of their stores.

I happen to know one of the managers of the Hertz Rental at the Hartford Airport, and when I mentioned the company’s decision to drop its NRA discount, he stared at me in disbelief. Not that he was necessarily opposed to the decision, it’s that he had never been told this was going to happen and frankly, he couldn’t care less. So I went back to the Gun Safety Alliance website (that’s the name of this new group) and to my utter surprise discovered that not one single individual is identified with any of these companies that are now trying to ‘propel’ cultural change.

I happen to find anonymous advocacy websites offensive and I won’t donate a penny to any organization which refuses to identify the individuals whose so-called commitment to their cause doesn’t require them to give out their names. Want to reach Mike the Gun Guy? It’s mike@mikethegunguy.com.  Want to send me a letter? The gun shop is located in Ware, MA and both the address and telephone number can be accessed at any time. And believe me, I have received many nasty and threatening communications from gun-troll land (as well as from some very dedicated gun-control activists) over the years. But I simply will not subscribe to the idea that I can or should advocate anything without telling my audience who I am.

My other objection to this new organization is their belief that they can ‘unite’ like-minded citizens’ who share their desire to reduce violence caused by guns.  These happen to be code-words, no different from referring to ‘most’ gun owners as ‘responsible,’ or calling for ‘common sense’ gun safety laws.  What about the non-gun owners?  How many of them have demonstrated their responsible behavior by passing a background check? Even Pew Research admits that nearly half of all Americans want an end to gun-free zones.   I guarantee you that this number includes just about every one of those ‘like-minded’ Americans who happen to own guns.

And then there’s the safe-storage issue that always rears its ugly head when the ‘responsible’ citizenry gets together to figure out how to reduce violence from guns. In 2016 it is estimated that at least 110,000 people were killed or injured because someone else shot them with a gun. In 2014 the number was 76,000 – gee, that’s only an increase in two years of some 45 percent. Know how many of these injuries and deaths would have been prevented if every gun owner practiced safe storage?  Not one. There is not a single study which shows a differential in gun homicide or aggravated assault because people ‘safely stored’ their guns.

Want to propel a cultural change that will reduce gun violence?  It’s very simple. Just find a way to reverse the culture of a majority of Americans who believe that owning a gun is more of a benefit than a risk.  And when you figure that one out, please remember to sign your name.

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Chris Ward: Six Great Guns for Security Guards.



You can reach Chris at his First Security Services website.

 For a security guard, having the proper gear to stay safe on duty and to be able to protect the people and places they are hired to protect is the most important aspect of the job. Whether you’re an unarmed security guard who needs a radio, a good knife and a little self-defense training or you’re an armed guard who must carry a gun, having the best gear on hand can mean the difference between life and death.

Unless you work for a large corporation, most armed security professionals must supply their own gun for work. (source: FirstSecurityServices.com) This means that knowledge of the best handguns is important to know. if you’re just getting started as an armed guard or you want to have a quality handgun to use for personal protection, here are six great guns for security guards that many civilians choose to carry as well.


Glock 19

With an overall length of under 8 inches and weighing only 23 ounces, the Glock 19 has long been a popular gun with security professionals and law enforcement nationwide. Introduced in the 1980’s, this handgun is made of plastic, which initially turned many die-hard gun owners off because they were afraid the gun just wasn’t rugged enough to withstand rapid fire. It didn’t take long however for people to realize what a great gun this was, and still is today. The Glock 19 is very reliable and is an easy to use semi-automatic gun.

Quick Specs:

 Caliber: 9×19

Magazine Capacity: 15/17/19/24/31/33

Width: 1.26 inches


Smith and Wesson M&P Shield

The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield is a very lightweight handgun that is easy to conceal, will fit in the palm of your hand and is easy to handle. It is comfortable to fire and is great for self-defense. This gun is a preferred gun for many armed security guards and civilians who want to be able to protect themselves but enjoy being able to do so in an easy, simple to use fashion.

Quick Specs: 

Caliber: 9mm

Magazine Capacity: 7+8, 8+1

Length: 6.1 inches


Taurus Judge

First, the Taurus Judge is a beautifully crafted weapon that can hold both .410 shotgun shells and .45 Colt ammo and has been one of the more popular guns since it was introduced in 2006. This is a great gun for short distance targets when using shotgun shells or long-distance targets when using .45 Colt ammo. The Taurus Judge features a rubber grip for comfort and handling, the Taurus security system that lets gun owners use a key to disable the gun and a transfer bar the prevents firing unless the handler pulls the trigger all the way back.

Quick Specs:

Caliber: 410 gauge (3-inch chamber) or 45 Colt ammo

Magazine Capacity: 5

Barrel Length: 3 inches

Weight: 36.8 oz.


Ruger GP100

Pictured: The Ruger GP100, Model 1764

 The Ruger GP100 is an action revolver that offers a comfortable shooting experience for those who handle the gun. The gun is available in 27 models and capacity ranges from 5 to 7 rounds depending on the one used. This is a double action revolver that makes target shooting fun but is perfect for armed security guards to carry or for civilians to use for personal protection. Each style is easy to assemble and maintain and all offer unprecedented security to prevent discharging the gun accidentally.

Quick Specs:

 Caliber: 44 Special, 357, 10mm Auto, 327 Federal Mag, 22 LR (Varies)

Models: For a complete list of models and to compare features, be sure to visit the Ruger website at: https://ruger.com/products/gp100/models.html


Sig Sauer P226

The SIG P226 is a powerful, full size service weapon that is available in several models and depending on the model can fire 22 LR, 9mm, 357 SIG or 40 S&W ammunition. The gun resembles the SIG P220 but holds a higher capacity magazine instead of a single column magazine. The SIG P226 has long been a popular gun for law enforcement and security personnel as well as civilians who want tough, yet easy to handle personal protection.

Quick Specs:

For a complete listing of models and specs, be sure to visit the Sig Sauer Website at this link: https://www.sigsauer.com/products/firearms/pistols/p226/.


CZ 75-B

The CZ 75-B is an all steel handgun used by military, law enforcement and security patrol from all around the world. Manufactured in the Czech Republic, this gun offers a 3-dot sight system, double and single action and ergonomic grips for better handling and control as well as comfort when firing. The is marked with a “B” to alert those who handle the gun that it comes with a firing pin block safety system to prevent accidental firing. The CZ 75-B is a great gun for armed security patrol and offers a powerful punch in an easy to handle handgun.

Quick Specs:

 Caliber: 9mm

Capacity: 16

Weight: 35.2 oz.

Length: 8.1 inches

Whether you are searching for a gun to carry during security patrols or you want something to keep on hand for personal safety, it is very important to remember that guns are weapons and it is wise to take a gun safety training class to learn to operate the gun safely. You should also check your local laws to see what type of gun you can legally possess, how to obtain a permit to carry and how many guns you can legally own.







Tom Gabor: Preventing Gun Violence Through Voluntary and Non-Governmental Initiatives.


Independent of efforts to change laws, it is worth considering non-governmental and voluntary measures and programs that can protect the public from gun violence.   Voluntary programs are those run by volunteers and/or those in which participation on the part of the public is voluntary rather than mandated by law.

rallyWith a group of committed volunteers, the support of local agencies, and perhaps some limited fund raising, these programs can be launched without delay and impose little or no burden on public agencies.  As they are voluntary and require no change in the law, they cannot be derailed by those who fight any proposed legislation designed to prevent gun injuries and deaths.  Voluntary, grassroots initiatives can also raise awareness of the benefits of safe practices and empower those who want to take action, no matter how modest, to make their communities safer.  Some measures require paid staff but still fall outside the public sector.

Here are some examples:

Securing Guns in the Home

Close to five million American children live in homes with loaded, unlocked firearms.  Inadequately stored guns contribute to teenage suicides and violence, deadly accidents among children, and gun thefts.  School shooters often obtain their guns from their home or that of a relative.  There are no federal laws in the US requiring the safe storage of firearms and just one state, Massachusetts, requires all firearms to be stored with a lock in place.

In Broward County, Florida, attorney Barbara Markley and fellow members of the Gun Safety Committee of the League of Women Voters (LWV) have initiated Lock It Up, a program that is spreading rapidly.   League members learned that the Veterans Administration maintains a large inventory of trigger locks due to the elevated suicide risk of veterans.  The VA has donated thousands of locks to the LWV which is distributing them to a wide variety of agencies and professionals: law enforcement, municipalities, libraries, churches, pediatricians, family therapy and university clinics, and daycare centers.  They have also produced a brochure to raise awareness of the dangers of unlocked guns around children and teens.


Gun Buybacks

Gun buybacks allow people to turn in guns, usually to the police, for cash or gift cards with no questions asked.  They provide the public an opportunity to turn in weapons that are not being used, are possessed illegally, or that may be a danger to the household.  In some cases, hundreds of guns have been bought back.  Most initiatives involve law enforcement agencies, which receive the guns being turned in, and some partner with physicians and medical centers that can counsel gun owners about safety.  Evaluations of voluntary gun buybacks tend to show that they do not reduce gun violence as the number of guns turned in is just a small proportion of all guns in the community.  However, proponents argue that some violence or suicide may be prevented and that buybacks encourage people to consider the risks posed by guns in the home and enable people to adopt safer practices with firearms.  At a recent event in Hillsborough County, Florida, the Sheriff’s Office received 1,173 guns in five hours, including some stolen guns.  At a previous event in that county, 2,541 guns had been turned in.


Consumer and Investor Activism

Consumers can pressure stores to refrain from selling military-style and other highly lethal weapons through letter-writing campaigns, personal appeals to store managers and executives, social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, and boycotts.  Individuals and pension funds can also refuse to buy and divest from gun stocks or mutual funds containing gun stocks until those companies stop selling military-style weapons and start producing weapons with certain safety features (e.g., magazine safeties, loaded chamber indicators) and personalized (smart) weapons. Also, through their elected representatives, citizens can pressure the military and police to stop buying guns from companies that do not incorporate safety devices into guns.  Forty percent of all gun industry revenues come from governments.

Given the targeting of several campuses by mass shooters, some academics are demanding that their retirement funds be “gun free.”  In one initiative, over 4,000 faculty members threatened a firm managing their funds with the transfer of their money to gun-free funds if they continued to invest in companies that manufacture assault-style weapons.

Driven by outrage over the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and backed by some of America’s largest institutional investors, Sister Judy Byron of Seattle and a small group of shareholders have forced two gun makers, Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands, to produce reports detailing the use of their guns in violent crimes and what steps the companies are taking to develop safer weapons.  Although, the companies urged their shareholders to reject the proposals, a majority sided with the activists in both cases.

Byron persuaded the Adrian Dominicans, a Catholic religious institute, to buy gun stocks and organized other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility to join her, pooling their holdings in three companies: the retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods and the two above-mentioned manufacturers.  Following the Parkland shooting, large investors in the companies joined Byron’s effort which gave them the votes to pass the measures at Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands.   While the companies are not required to follow the resolutions to change their operations,   it is expected they will comply rather than risk shareholders’ anger.  Byron appealed to the companies to not only seek profitable returns for investors but also to mitigate the adverse impacts of their products.


Protest Actions

In the era of Donald Trump, protest actions have become common, ranging from countless  rallies to the occupation of government buildings and offices, with the largest nationwide protest occurring on March 24, 2018, when high school students led millions of Americans in the March for our Lives.  Evidence indicates that since the Parkland mass shooting enthusiasm has been growing for meaningful gun policy reforms.  Protests, media coverage, and activism following the Parkland shooting led to gun reforms in Florida and other states.     At Stanford University, 2500 doctors and nurses marched for action on gun violence, demanding more research and training to deal with the national crisis.

Supporting Victims of Abuse

Much gun violence and the majority of mass shootings have a domestic violence connection.  Many women killed with a gun are shot by a domestic partner.  Programs that empower women to take action if they are in an abusive relationship may keep the relationship from escalating to serious violence.  Especially dangerous is the post-separation period and the fear of violence often keeps women from exiting dangerous relationships.  Programs that offer victims shelter or support while they remain in their own homes can be empowering and help keep them safe.  For example, the REACH program in Massachusetts has an Emergency Shelter Program providing crisis intervention and support services for victims of domestic violence who are not safe in their own home.  Services include assistance with finding longer-term housing, support with legal issues, and access to other resources to help families heal physically and emotionally.  REACH’s Community-Based Advocacy Program offers a similar range of services to domestic violence survivors who do not want to leave an abusive relationship or who are not seeking shelter.  REACH can help with safety planning, finding a job or housing, or accessing benefits.  REACH is a charitable organization.

Public Education Initiatives

Educating the public about gun safety prevention can offer them tips on making their homes safer (e.g., securing guns with trigger locks or other locking devices) and the steps they need to take to protect their children when visiting the homes of gun owners.  Safety presentations, videos, written materials on gun violence and safety, and PSAs can shift public opinion, especially when done on a large scale.  One example is the League of Women Voters, an advocacy group run by volunteers that presents educational forums on gun safety, lobbies legislators, makes appearances on television and radio, and reaches out to the public in a variety of other ways.

Over the last three decades, the gun lobby has been successful in selling the idea that guns make us safer from violence.  Pew Research Center reports that, in 1993, just 34% of Americans said it was more important to protect gun rights than to control gun ownership but, by 2014, some of its polling showed that the number had climbed to 52%.  Recently, in the aftermath of large-scale mass shootings, opinion is shifting once again in favor of gun control.  Increasing grassroots activity, including educational efforts, on the part of groups favoring tighter regulation of guns may be a factor.

Mobilizing the Community

In many targeted school attacks, information was available regarding the shooter’s preparations.  The most notable case was that of Nikolas Cruz, the young man who committed the atrocity at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  Cruz was the subject of dozens of 9-1-1 calls to law enforcement and two separate tips to the FBI.  He came to the attention of the Florida Department of Children and Families.  He was well known in the community and in school for violent behavior, including threats made with guns and his desire to be a school shooter.

Many school shooters have a history of depression, suicide attempts or of suicidal thoughts.  In more than three-quarters of the school attacks studied by the Secret Service, at least one person—usually a friend, schoolmate, or sibling—had information that the attacker was contemplating or planning the attack, and, in the majority of cases, more than one person was aware of the impending attack. In addition, before nearly all the school attacks, the perpetrators exhibited behavior that caused others—school officials, parents, teachers, police, fellow students—to be concerned.  All of the above reinforces the need for schools and communities to set up mechanisms to encourage those with information of a possible attack to come forward.


It is a serious mistake to simply expel troubling kids.  Cruz and Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, were loners who fell through the cracks of the mental health and educational systems.  Cruz was expelled for his troublesome behavior and was left to his own resources following the death of his mother.  Social isolation is a factor in many mass shootings and, whether it is a cause or effect of the disturbing behavior, it is in our collective interest to intervene and monitor the behavior of highly alienated individuals who exhibit threatening behavior.  Sandy Hook Promise, an organization founded by family members of victims of the mass shooting in Newtown, funds a program that helps students develop the social-emotional skills to reach out to other students and include those who may be chronically isolated in order to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness in school and the community.  The program is funded through charitable donations and products sold with the Sandy Hook Promise label on them.

Research on Gun Violence

Research is needed to gain a better understanding of guns in America, gun violence, and solutions that would prevent violence.  Basic questions remain unanswered due to Congress’ suppression of research at the behest of the gun lobby.  There are gaps in regulation as well as in the recordkeeping required when firearms are transferred.  Information is needed to determine the number of guns in America, the number of assault-style weapons, and how many guns are sold each year? What types of guns are most likely to be used in crime? Are there more gun deaths in areas with higher gun ownership levels? How many Americans own guns and are stricter gun laws and lower levels of gun ownership associated with fewer gun deaths?  What prevention and intervention strategies are most effective in reducing gun violence rates?  In addition, the National Violent Death Reporting System should be expanded to all states to provide comprehensive national data on gun violence.  Research is also needed to guide the assessment and identification of those at risk of violence and suicide.


Aside from the need for funding of government entities, such as The CDC, National

Institutes of Health, and National Institute of Justice, research can proceed through private sources (e.g., foundations) and independent researchers can conduct studies through self-funded initiatives.  Many resources are available free of charge through the internet.  Interviews, too, can be conducted with little cost via email or through the internet.


Voting for Change in Gun Policies

One of the easiest steps citizens can take to effect change is to vote.  Informed voters can support candidates who are committed to serious reforms in our laws.  There are indications that the electorate is quite enthusiastic regarding the gun issue, a departure from the past when it was largely gun owners who were focused on gun policy.  One useful tool to determine where candidates stand on guns is gunsensevoter.org.  At that site, the large grassroots group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, endorses candidates who support laws shown to be effective in combating gun violence.

Tom Gabor, Ph.D. is a criminologist and author of Confronting Gun Violence in America.  He is grateful for the feedback of Barbara Markley, Gun Safety Chair of the League of Women Voters of Broward County, Florida.




Wildcat Rounds: A Guide to Wildcatting and Customized Cartridges

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From Our Friends At Ammo.com.

Wildcat cartridges, sometimes referred to as simply “wildcats,” are custom-designed cartridges – meaning they are not mass produced, but instead made by individual shooters. The purpose of a wildcat is the cultivation of some attribute not sufficiently present in a commercially available round. Wildcats aren’t great for law enforcement or military purposes, but they aregreat for hardcore shooting aficionados, handloaders looking to take things to the next level, and gunsmiths who want to homebrew ammunition for their homebrew weapons.

The number of ways that a round can be wildcatted is theoretically endless, as there are thousands of wildcat cartridges created and available for gunsmiths and handloaders with a “can do” attitude. A wildcat round could be built from scratch from the ground up, but most are commercially modified. The equipment for reloaders and gunsmithing can frequently be found through the same distributors, which is another reason why shooters who are into one are frequently into the other. The wildcatting hobby is, unsurprisingly, concentrated in the United States.

A Brief History of Wildcat Cartridges

The term “wildcat” is derived from the same source as the other meaning of the term – a labor strike not authorized by the union brass. Wildcatting probably began after the American Civil War, when the .30-06 was considered by most shooters to be the only round that a hunter was going to need. American ingenuity and innovation, however, quickly decided that something more could be made out of the materials at hand.

In the late 1800s, Charles Newton was perhaps the first American to leave his profession (in his case, law) out of a desire to spend all of his time wildcatting. Along the way, he developed a number of rounds that became indispensable for shooters of his era. He tuned the .30-06 into the .25 Special and 7mm, which were the raw materials that crafted the 25-06 and .280 Remington. Newton wanted to build rifles more than anything, but circumstances beyond his control eventually shut down his business. In the end, he was the man who lit the fire of wildcatting in the United States – and many were more than willing to pick up where he left off.

Some of the first names to follow in his wake are legends among wildcatters in the know. These are names like Harvey Donaldson, J.E. Gebby, Grosvenor Wotkyns, John Sweaney and J.B. Smith. By the 1940s, Parker “P.O.” Ackley changed the wildcatting game by making small adjustments to rounds that greatly improved their overall performance. The most famous of this era, though, was Roy Weatherby, the son of Kansas sharecroppers.

Roy was earning $200 a week at the Automobile Club of Southern California in San Diego, which was a seriously solid wage back in those days. When the shop was closed, however, he used a lathe and a drill press purchased at Sears to make his own homebrew ammunition. Among these was the .220 Rocket, built off of a Swift parent cartridge.

Wildcatting developed as a way for the amateur shooter to tailor rounds for their individual purposes. This was commonly to comply with caliber or bullet weight permitting regulations for specific game, though performance also drove the rise of wildcatting. Metallic silhouette shooting is a popular field for wildcatters, as many competitors seek to adapt rifle rounds they can fire through their pistols. Autopistol hunters and competitors have also used wildcatting as a means to improve feeding.

In the last 30 years, wildcatting has taken off as a common man’s hobby – resulting in a lot of great, innovative rounds as well as many that are not so great. At the end of the day, it’s the chase for a better round that matters.

Main Features Wildcatters Seek to Develop

  • Higher velocities: This feature is selected for by either reducing the caliber of a round or increasing the capacity of the case.
  • Increased energy: Increasing the capacity of the case or the caliber increases the overall energy of the round.
  • Increased efficiency: Shortening the case, reduction of the case taper or increasing the shoulder angle all result in increased overall efficiency, which means increased accuracy.
  • Greater consistency: Tinkering around with the weight, diameter or velocity can increase the consistency of a round, which likewise leads to improved accuracy.

Methods of Altering Wildcat Rounds

  • Increased case length: When the case length is increased, more propellant can fit inside. This is what transformed the .38 Special into the .357 Magnum – with the latter having three times the energy. It’s much easier to create a new case from scratch than it is to modify an existing one (commercially produced rounds). It’s possible to modify existing cartridges through stretching them out, but this is a very advanced form of wildcatting requiring highly specialized tools.
  • Cold forming: A heavily lubricated case is carefully forced into a reloading die for the desired caliber. This can only be used to reduce the overall dimensions of the round.
  • Fire forming: This is actually a rather ingenious method of wildcatting, whereby a parent case, or case partially formed through cold forming, is fired out of the desired firearm using only a light load of powder and bullet. Sometimes fast-burning powder is topped off with Cream of Wheat, creating a specialized blank that will expand the size of the case.
  • Rim modifications: Highly precise turning is required to modify a rim, making this another wildcatting modification primarily done by commercial enterprises. Most rim modifications remove the rim entirely or make a rimless round into a rebated one. This allows for larger rounds to be loaded into the weapon than the action was designed for.
  • Trimming to length: Both cold forming and fire forming come with the same problem: The case is generally still too long for the purposes the wildcatter is looking for. So the case has to be trimmed down to the appropriate length, which is a standard reloading procedure.
  • Changing the shoulder angle: This is a means of making the casing more closely resemble a standard cylinder, allowing for a more efficient burn. Moving the shoulder back requires cold forming, while moving the shoulder forward requires fire forming.
  • Case taper reduction: A hot forming procedure whereby a cartridge is made into more of a standard cylinder, similar to changing the shoulder angle.
  • Changing the Case Diameter: Also known as “necking up” or “necking down,” this is the most common method of wildcatting. It changes the range of bullets, which can be loaded into the case. That significantly increases the velocity, power or wind resistance of a round. It is the most common method of wildcatting because it is relatively easy and also so versatile.
  • Necking back: This cold forming operation reduces the overall case capacity, making rounds more appropriate for shorter barrels. It is useful when trying to change a rifle round into something more appropriate for a pistol.
  • Blowing out: A fire-forming variety of wildcatting a round that increases case capacity by moving the shoulder forward.

Each of these methods requires a different set of equipment to execute, so don’t think that because you can do one you can do them all. Some companies catering to the hobby offer special dies designed specifically for the purpose of making wildcatting easier. Even if you’re looking to wildcat an unusual round, these companies generally have these dies available for special order. What’s more, some are very simple, albeit powerful, while others take extensive training and have a very small margin of error. As with any hand reloading, be very careful and err on the side of caution. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll end up learning the hard way.


Notable Wildcat Cartridges

It makes sense once you hear it, but it might surprise you to find out that there are more wildcat calibers than there are commercially available rounds on the market. To make a list of all the wildcat cartridges of the world would be a book, not an article. However, there are some wildcat cartridges that are representative of the field in general and are worth mentioning:

  • Thompson/Center Ugalde: This is an entire family of wildcat rounds. Necking up .223 Remington cartridges to accept larger bullets is the main modification. These were created for the Thompson Center Arms Contender single shot pistol. The basis of this is the Contender pistol. Because of its bolt action, all that is required for a caliber change is the changing of a barrel. Variants include .30 TCU (.308 caliber), 6mm TCU (.243 caliber), 7mm TCU, .25 Ugalde, also known as .25 TCU (6.35 mm) and 6.5mm TCU (.264 caliber, really a 6.7 mm bullet).
  • .22 Eargesplitten Loudenboomer: Perhaps one of the craziest wildcat cartridges ever made, this was specifically designed to set a world record for firing at over 5,000 feet per second. It failed to do so, topping out at 4,600 fps. This is a modified .378 Weatherby Magnum cartridge case necked down to .224 calibre. The round is primarily a curiosity without any practical applications.
  • 6MM PPC: The 6mm PPC (Palmisano & Pindel Cartridge), commonly known as the 6 PPC, is a centerfire rifle cartridge prized for its accuracy. At up to 300 yards, it’s one of the most accurate cartridges on the market, which makes it ideal for benchrest shooting, where it finds almost exclusive use. The accuracy is made possible thanks to its barrel of a frame. This aggressively necked-up round is based on the .22 PPC, which is in turn a modification of the .220 Russian round.

Wildcatting Around the World

Wildcatting is most popular in the United States, which isn’t surprising considering the gun culture and degree of gun freedom in the U.S. However, there is one other country where the hobby of wildcatting ammunition is relatively common: Australia. While gun grabbers were mostly successful in eliminating private firearms ownership in Australia, gun ownership was not completely eliminated. Wildcatting still persists, albeit in an extremely niche circle of die-hard participants.

One of the cool things about wildcat cartridges is that they tend to be regional in nature. What works for hunting local varmints in South Carolina might be useless in Australia – where wildcatting is generally used for making better hunting rounds for game like deer and kangaroo. Nearly every Australian wildcatter is operating off of the .303 British round, thanks to the widespread availability and popularity of these after the Second World War. What’s more, there is an abundance of inexpensive Australian Lee–Enfield MkIII military rifles capable of firing them. Surplus rifles are often re-barrelled into .257 caliber, also known as the 303-25.


Wildcat Rounds on the Commercial Market

Some wildcat cartridges are so good that the market can’t help but pick them up and start making them on their own. Typically, this requires a commercial weapon manufacturer to make a firearm with a chamber to accommodate the round. This can be a tipping point for a wildcat cartridge. Word spreads that the round is ideal for some purpose, then a company begins manufacturing an appropriate firearm, then the cartridge is effectively no longer a wildcat round, but a standard commercial round.

Some former wildcat cartridges that became standard commercial rounds include:

  • .22 CHeetah: This was originally a 308 BR benchrest round, until wildcatters began necking the round down for a flatter trajectory. It’s one of the most effective varmint rounds within 300 yards. Wichita Arms and Shilen Rifle Company both manufacture weapons specifically for this round.
  • .303/25: This is one of the Australian rounds we talked about above – a .303 British that has been necked down to fire a .25 caliber round. Primarily used in pest and varmint control, the round is largely obsolete, but still popular among a group of collectors and enthusiasts.
  • .454 Casull: This is an extremely powerful round developed from the Colt .45 specifically for big game hunting. For years, Wyoming-based Freedom Arms was the only real manufacturer of this round. However, due to its popularity and its power, Ruger and Taurus began manufacturing firearms chambered for this round in the mid-1990s. In 1998, SAAMI released its first specs for the .454 Casull, which meant that it was no longer a wildcat round.
  • 7-30 Waters: People have been wildcatting this round out of .30-30 Winchester ammunition since the 1890s. Wildcatters wanted to improve the performance of this lever-action round, making it much faster than the parent round without sacrificing much in terms of bullet weight.


How to Get Started With Wildcatting

You’ll likely need to read several books before fully understanding how to make the best wildcat cartridges in your home. However, we can give you some information so that you can decide whether or not wildcatting is something you want to learn more about and pursue further.

The first question is whether you want to start making wildcat rounds of someone else’s development or if you want to start coming up with your own improvements. The latter is a far more involved task and one that requires gunsmithing know-how if you ever want to actually fire the rounds – not to mention, you’re going to have to accept trial and error as part of the process. If you’re just making something someone else has already developed, you’re going to have a much easier time.

The good news is that there are programs that provide theoretical outcomes of potential rounds. Two of these programs are QuickDesign and QuickLOAD – programs used by wildcatters to see what their rounds are going to do when fired in the real world. This allows you to get a look into what your dream round will perform – or not perform. An example of how programs like this can save you time and money, is that they allow you to make crucial changes in your experimental ammunition before you start actually making the rounds. This also provides a safer way of checking to see if your pet design is actually going to work when fired.

Most of the equipment needed for wildcatting is the same as what you need for reloading. Anything you need beyond that depends on what kind of ammunition you want to make and what processes you want to use to make your rounds. You may need additional equipment, but your hand-reloading gear will have you off to a good start.

Is Wildcatting Ammo Worth It?

This is one of the big questions you’ll run into early on, and the answer is mostly a function of two other questions: First, do you absolutely need (or at least really, really want) the features provided by your customized ammunition? And second, do you enjoy the process?

Both of these questions will provide you with the answer to whether or not you’re better off just buying wildcat ammunition from a small provider or skipping it altogether and just using standard, commercially available rounds.

Don’t look at the hobby of wildcatting as a way to save money, or you’ll likely find yourself frustrated. Instead, look at it as a way to spend more time enjoying your firearms hobby, while getting a better feel for the ammunition you use. When approaching wildcatting this way, the frustration will become part of the fun. At the end of the day, the best part about wildcatting might not be improved ammunition, but rather what you learn about something you already love.


Is Kavanaugh A Threat?A Little Debate.


Ladd Everitt: The Kavanaugh Court is an Existential Threat to Gun Violence Reduction Efforts

“Justice Kavanaugh your life and family are not ruined. Try having a child murdered by a weapon that you refer to as ‘common use.’ You will get through this and hug both of your children tonight.” — Parkland survivor Fred Guttenberg

The national nightmare of Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Supreme Court has dire consequences for the health and welfare of millions of Americans on a range of different issues. One area of particular concern is the ongoing, high rate of gun violence in the United States (to include daily mass shooting horrors). Kavanaugh — the serial perjurer and subject of multiple allegations of sexual assault — has made it clear he would allow no innovation in firearm regulation and roll back what few gun laws America still has on the books. If he remains on the Court, it seems certain he will join conservative majorities in rulings that cost lives by further bastardizing the meaning of the Second Amendment.

Before Justice Anthony Kennedy retired to make way for Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court rejected a series of cases from lower courts dealing with gun regulations including state assault weapons bans and permitting systems for individual who carry concealed guns in public. After Justice Antonin Scalia’s expansive rewriting of the Second Amendment in the landmark 5–4 ruling in D.C. v. Heller (2008) — which ignored our Founders’ writings and debates about the Second Amendment, choosing instead to exalt gun laws in the antebellum South — Kennedy was apparently unwilling to provide a fifth vote for further efforts to erode public safety. Brett Kavanaugh has no such compunctions.

The scorn with which Kavanaugh treated Parkland survivor Fred Guttenberg at his first confirmation hearing is reflective of his total lack of concern about the human impacts of gun violence.

In a 2011 dissent in a second Heller case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit [Heller v. D.C., commonly known as Heller II], then-judge Kavanaugh articulated a radical and dangerous view of the Second Amendment. While echoing propaganda from gun lobby groups like the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sport Foundation (NSSF), Kavanaugh opined that the District of Columbia’s popular assault weapons ban and firearms registration law are unconstitutional.

His analysis of D.C.’s assault weapons ban ignored entirely the damage that semiautomatic battlefield rifles like the AR-15 are capable of doing in civilian settings. Because AR-15s and similar weapons are now in “common use” among Americans, Kavanaugh insisted (using an arbitrary test Justice Scalia created in the first Heller case), they must be constitutionally-protected. “Common use” was not defined, but assault weapons wouldn’t seem to be in common use in the United States under any reasonable definition. The NRA and gun industry have been mass-marketing and selling assault weapons since the late 1980s, but in 2014 only 22% of Americans reported owning a gun of any kind, much less an assault weapon. Assault weapons constitute a small percentage of the 393 million privately held firearms in the United States.

Kavanaugh also declared the District’s firearm registration system unconstitutional in Heller II because he believes it is inconsistent with the “history and tradition” of firearms regulation in America.¹ Again, it’s difficult to see how this conclusion was reached. Gun registration requirements are as old as the Militia cited in the text of the Second Amendment. As historian Saul Cornell has pointed out, state governments kept lists of privately-owned weapons required for service in our Founders’ militia. Kavanaugh also ignored the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA), a federal law that requires registration of fully-automatic machine guns held by civilians. The law has been an overwhelming success — machine guns have rarely been recovered from crime scenes in the 80+ years since it was enacted.

While Kavanaugh has never publicly commented on concealed carry, during his time on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit he did embrace a lower-court ruling that would have struck down the District’s permitting system as unconstitutional (pending appellate review). In a dissent in the case of Grace v. District of Columbia, Kavanaugh was sympathetic to the plaintiff’s view that the city could not require “good reason” from residents before issuing them permits to carry concealed firearms in public.²

financially-struggling NRA plunked down $1 million to pay for TV ads to get Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court. They knew exactly what they were paying for — a Justice who will reliably vote against gun regulation at each and every turn. Any faith in Chief Justice John Roberts to moderate the Court, or Justice Neil Gorsuch to tarnish his pro-gun bonafides (e.g., Gorsuch has already indicated he believes the Second Amendment confers an individual right to carry a pistol in public) seems to me to be tragically misplaced.

Reform efforts aimed at addressing gun violence (more than 38,000 gun deaths and somewhere between 25,000 and 115,000 injuries per year in the United States³) face an existential threat in the Kavanaugh Court. The practical effect of the Heller I ruling in 2008 was not great (Scalia’s ruling did not affect a single policy being worked on by an American gun control organization), but the gun rulings of the Kavanaugh Court will be devastating. The new conservative majority will cast off important, democratically-enacted laws aimed at disarming violent individuals and demilitarizing our society. They will accomplish this by writing further fiction about the Second Amendment that ignores the original intent of our Founders (who never would have used the amendment as a cudgel to beat off attempts to save American lives being lost to an epidemic of violence). The interests of the gun industry will be prioritized over the safety of citizens. George Zimmermans and Adam Lanzas across America will be emboldened, their violence facilitated. Americans’ most fundamental freedoms (our inalienable rights to life and liberty, the First Amendment right to assemble peacefully in the public space, etc.) will be forfeit in favor of a legally sanctioned gun culture in which the last (white) man standing is king.

Many Americans are questioning the legitimacy of government in the era of Donald Trump, voter suppression, and (unrestrained) foreign interference in our elections/politics. Brett Kavanaugh, with his perjury and partisan threats, further weakened Americans’ faith that our current government represents them. When government repeatedly fails its most basic duty, to protect its citizens,⁴ the people must answer to a higher power and act in order to preserve life and prevent suffering. Gun rulings by the Kavanaugh Court that present a threat to our communities and families should be met with bold and widespread acts of nonviolent, civil disobedience. This should include elected/appointed officials refusing to enforce Court rulings they know will lead to further gun violence, and accepting the legal consequences for their actions.

As other observers have pointed out, this is not an ideal way for democratic government to function, but creative, outside-the-box solutions are needed to prevent the further destruction of American families and communities. The GVP movement should begin planning for the Kavanaugh Court’s rulings now, as pro-choice advocates have. That means communicating about our government’s gross dereliction of duty concerning public safety, preparing advocates to engage in direct nonviolent action (like we saw on Capitol Hill during the Kavanaugh hearings), and offering a clear and inspiring vision of a future America with fewer guns and safer communities.



1. The conservative majority in Heller I took no issue with the District of Columbia’s firearm registration requirement. The majority opinion authored by Justice Scalia ordered the city to allow plaintiff Dick Heller to register his handguns so he could keep them at home.

2. In D.C., permit applicants weren’t allowed to simply say “I want to defend myself.” They were required to cite an actual threat (i.e., from a stalker, because their job requires them to deliver millions in cash, etc.).

3. The figure for gun deaths is from CDC’s WISQARS fatal injury data for the most recent year available (38,658 gun deaths in 2016). Estimates of annual gun injuries range from 25,000 (National Impatient Sample) to over 115,000 (CDC WISQARS).

4. The very first line of the Constitution indicates that one of the chief purposes of the document is to “insure domestic Tranquility.”

You can read Ladd Everitt’s original piece on Medium.

And My Response:

My response to Ladd’s piece should in no way be taken as any kind of personal criticism for what he does or what he says. Ladd has been an extremely effective advocate for gun control and I trust he will continue in that vein. Nevertheless, I believe that those who agree with Ladd (including myself) that gun violence is an irreparable stain on American society, as well as a tragedy of uncalled-for proportions for those whose families, friends and neighborhoods have been impacted by shootings or the threats of shootings, still need to hear different opinions and different points of view. Unless, of course, if Ladd believes that only he should be defining the argument for everyone else, which I am sure is not the case.

Ladd says he is writing about the ‘Kavanaugh court.’ But actually, it happens to be the Roberts court, and Ladd is somewhat selective in explaining how and why the Roberts court has dealt with the issue of guns. In fact, it is not accurate to assume that Kennedy represented a ‘swing’ or ‘soft’ vote on gun issues, and that his replacement by Kavanaugh represents a hard swing to the Right. Yes, Scalia only needed to convince 4 other justices that he could use selective historical information to rewrite legal precedent on Amendment Number Two. But in fact, not five, not four, but only two justices (Scalia and Thomas) agreed with Ladd when he says that the Court “ignored entirely the damage that semiautomatic battlefield rifles like the AR-15 are capable of doing in civilian settings.”

In 2013, a suburb of Chicago, Highland Park, banned assault rifles in their town. They didn’t ‘grandfather’ in existing guns, their law said that if you owned an AR-15 and didn’t want to get rid of it, you had to move out of town. This was the first and only time that a government jurisdiction not only banned the ownership of this gun, but also did not compensate assault rifle owners who had purchased their guns legally in prior years. In other words, Highland Park didn’t copy the Australia assault weapons ban, it also didn’t copy the Clinton assault weapons ban passed in 1994.

The law was upheld by the 7th Circuit and was then denied certiorari by the Supreme Court, with only two justices dissenting. What was the reason why the law was upheld on appeal? Because both the circuit court and then the SCOTUS agreed that the law effectively demonstrated that assault rifles were a threat to public safety, and government has a ‘compelling interest’ in protecting its citizens with properly-written laws. Incidentally, the exact, same opinion was written by the Chief Judge of the 2nd Circuit, William Skretny, who upheld Andy Cuomo’s SAFE ACT because it also was based on the idea that government had the unquestioned authority to deem certain behaviors (such as owning an AR) contrary to public safety and health. You should know, by the way, that Skretny was appointed to the Circuit Court by G. H. W. Bush.

Ladd believes that the gun violence prevention (GVP) movement should begin preparing to deal with a ‘Kavanaugh court’ by “communicating about our government’s gross dereliction of duty concerning public safety,” but to date, every time a governmental authority can show that a new gun-control law is a response to threats against pubic safety, the law has been upheld. In May, a federal trial judge upheld California’s ban on open carry, citing the testimony of none other than John Donohue:

“California relies on the expert report and testimony of Professor John J. Donohue III of the Stanford Law School. . . . Based on the evidence California has submitted, it has shown that the State reasonably could have inferred that there was a relationship between prohibiting individuals from carrying firearms openly in public and promoting and achieving the important governmental objective of public safety. That these objectives would be advanced could be inferred from Donohue’s findings that the enactment of right-to-carry laws lead to increased violent crime rates. . . .”

Could the SCOTUS, with the addition of Kavanaugh, rule on gun laws and ignore what is now a substantial group of recent decisions which supports the government’s right to determine public policy based on government’s ‘compelling interest’ to keep us safe? They might, except that even Kavanaugh’s own opinions and statements about gun control don’t actually support that point of view. Everitt claims that Kavanaugh’s minority dissent in the DC registration case (Heller II) is based on a wrongful claim about whether assault rifles are in ‘common use,’ echoing Scalia’s rationale for Constitutional protection of personally-owned weapons in 2008. He says, “ ‘Common use’ was not defined [in the Heller decision] but assault weapons wouldn’t seem to be in common use in the United States under any reasonable definition.” After all, according to Ladd, only 22% of Americans actually own guns.

For the percentage of American gun owners, Everitt cites a study from the Violence Policy Center which is based on a study by our friend Michael Siegel who published an article that correlated gun violence with gun ownership in all 50 states. But Siegel’s study used a ‘proxy’ for determining state-level gun ownership, namely, the number of gun suicides which occur in each state. Which is all fine and well if you want to believe that regression models should be considered definitive when it comes to explaining cause and effect. The bottom line is that numerous public surveys by the most credible research organizations (e.g., Pew Research) estimate national gun ownership rates at between thirty and forty percent. Not only does Ladd cherry-pick his sources to promote an argument about the Kavanaugh ‘threat’ which may or may not be true, but he certainly knows that in many states, particularly the South, the Midwest and the mountain states, gun ownership runs much higher than fifty percent.

I happen to believe, and I have said this again and again in print, that walking around with a gun in or outside of your pocket does not, as Ladd says, ‘promote domestic tranquility.’ I also agree with Ladd that the GVP should be “offering a clear and inspiring vision of a future America with fewer guns and safer communities.” But it just so happens that many Americans think that the benefit of gun ownership far outweighs the risk, despite clear evidence which points the other way.

Ladd is an effective and ardent communicator for his cause. But he might think of channeling a bit of his strength and talent to crafting a gun-control message that would appeal to gun owners rather than just preaching to his own side.

Express VPN: Four guides that will help improve your digital security.

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January 31, 2018

The ExpressVPN blog features advice, explanations, reviews, information security updates, online privacy, politics, ExpressVPN products, and all the things about which we are passionate.

Some things, however, don’t easily fit here, often because they’re too long or detailed. Most of this long-form content finds its home in the Internet Privacy pages.

With Safer Internet Day just around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to highlight all of our internet privacy and security guides.


Tech safety for survivors of domestic violence

Technology is often used by abusers to monitor, track, stalk, and control their victims. But technology is also a tool to defend against abuse and allows people to maintain an important lifeline to supporting family, friends, and organizations.

The guide has five sections:

  1. How to trust your devices in an abusive home
  2. Online accounts and your data
  3. Communications
  4. Achieving financial independence
  5. An introduction to TAILS and how it can help you.


How to defend against online stalkers and doxing

This guide covers the benefits of pseudonymity and discusses threats to your location and legal name.

Threats not only come from people we know, but also from the people we meet online. To protect our readers against unwanted harassment online becoming a physical threat we have published our guide against online stalkers and doxing.


Protect your financial privacy with Bitcoin: A comprehensive guide

Bitcoin is often criticized for both being too anonymous and for not being anonymous enough. In this guide, we explain how Bitcoin works from a privacy perspective and what methods there are to de-anonymize your transactions.

This guide contains step-by-step instructions on how to make anonymous payments with Bitcoin.


Everything you ever needed to know about mobile security

Your mobile phone is always with you. It contains information about where you are and where you have been, who you have contacted, plus private photos and financial information.

The ExpressVPN mobile security guide discusses everything from how a telco or government can triangulate your location to how to secure your mobile apps and phone.


Do We Really Need More Gun-Violence Research?


Later this week I am scheduled to attend a two-day conference at the Academy of Sciences Health and Medicine Division Institute in Washington, D.C. The conference topic is: “Health Systems Intervention to Prevent Firearm Injuries and Death.”  The purpose of the conference is to update recommendations for additional gun research, a task recommended by President Obama after Sandy Hook. Of course this would mean that the CDC research spigot would be turned back on.  Yea, dream on.

smith manual              I’m not going to the meeting because I do not believe we need any more research on gun violence.  What are we going to find out? That there’s some way to point a gun at yourself or someone else, pull the trigger and not suffer an injury or death? Oh, I forgot. We can always do yet another study which assumes that keeping the gun ‘safely stored’ will reduce gun violence.  Except other than a couple of hundred youngsters who are accidentally shot each year by a dumb parent or older (or younger) child, safe storage doesn’t do squat.

You don’t walk around with a gun safely stored. You walk around with a live gun because you believe it will protect you from someone else who has a gun, or from someone else who wants to steal your money, or from someone like the kid in Corpus Christie this past weekend who got into an argument with another family member “over nothing” (according to a witness) then pulled out a banger and – bang! – four people were dead.

The Urban Institute study indicates that one out of three adolescents and young men in certain Chicago neighborhoods either have or plan to walk around their neighborhood with a gun. These neighborhoods experience killing rates twenty or thirty times higher than the national fatal gun-violence rate. How did that happen?

If one more physician tells me that he or she would like to advise patients to avoid guns but, after all, the Constitution gives the patient the ‘right’ to own a gun, I’m going to suggest that said doctor go back and read the Hippocratic Oath which happens not to mention the Constitution at all. If a patient walked into a clinic and admitted to being a smoker, would a physician dare avoid telling the patient that he shouldn’t smoke? Because in case you didn’t know it, smoking is also a Constitutional ‘right.’  It’s Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 – the Commerce Clause.  I can buy as many cigarettes as I want.  In my state I have to be 21 to buy smokes. But I also have to be 21 to buy a handgun.  How come the doctor insists that I shouldn’t exercise one Constitutional ‘right’ but I should just behave in a ‘reasonable’ way when I want to exercise the other Constitutional ‘right?’

Lester Adelson was Cuyahoga County coroner for almost thirty years. He had plenty of experience with gun violence and wrote a remarkable textbook on forensic homicide which should be read by everyone in the gun-control crowd. In 1980, he published what I believe is still the best and most concise opinion-piece on gun violence, and you can download it from my website here. I quote Adelson apropos of what happened in Corpus Christie: “With its peculiar lethality, a gun converts a spat into a slaying and a quarrel into a killing.”

Next time you buy a gun (ha ha) open the box and you will find an owner’s manual. If you don’t want to buy a gun, you can read one right here.  Notice right on the first page it says in big, bold, red letters: “FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE WARNINGS MAY RESULT IN SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH TO YOU AND OTHERS.”

If gun makers don’t try to hide the fact that their products are dangerous, why do we need more research to learn the same thing?  Since the medical community hasn’t figured this one out I’ll explain it: you reduce gun risk by getting rid of the risk. Gee, that was a tough one.



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