Want A New AR Rifle? Don’t Buy A New Gun, Just Buy A New Part.


One of highlights of the gun business is going to the SHOT Show each year and looking at new products.  The gun industry is awash each year in new products for the simple reason that gun makers have to find ways to sell more guns to the same consumers, even if these same consumers already own more guns than they really need to own.  Actually, the last time the gun industry changed the basic design of any product was when Gaston Glock substituted a striker for a hammer and stuck it inside a polymer frame. Otherwise, all the various doo-dads that you find on guns may change the look, the finish or the feel, but a gun is still a gun.

ar              This may not be the case with a new product from an AR custom shop out of Nevada, Franklin Armory, that specializes cobbling together various components to create various different styles of black guns.  And while a gun is a gun is a gun, this time around the folks at Franklin Armory appear to have come up with not just a new type of AR rifle, but a new technology design which differs very significantly from the traditional way in which assault rifles actually work.

It’s called a binary-trigger system, which means that you don’t just get off a shot every time you pull the trigger, you also get off a shot by letting the trigger snap back to its standard firing position rather than waiting for the trigger to snap back to the firing position while the bolt slams shut and then pulling it again. In other words, because the firing mechanism is activated by the trigger moving in either direction, you are getting 2 shots even though you are only pulling the trigger once.

The company has sent relevant engineering and design documentation to the ATF, and while they haven’t gotten an official ‘yes’ as regards this new design, they also haven’t received a ‘no.’  The ATF test lab is the last word on whether any gun can be sold in the United States, which means that right now there’s a teeny chance that all guns sold with this firing system will have to be recalled, but I wouldn’t bet the barn that this would happen anytime soon.

You can catch a discussion about this new firing technology on a video posted on the Guns America website following SHOT.  You can also see the BFS system in actual use by going to the recoil.com website linked above. In the interests of full disclosure, I have not personally tested the Binary Firing System myself.  But if it performs the way it appears in the videos I have watched, there may be a real change in assault-rifle technology looming ahead.

The AR-style platform is popular because of its modular design, which means you can pull out just about any part of the gun and replace it with another, similar part of your own choice.  It’s the ability of gun owners, particularly younger owners, to customize virtually every piece of the AR which makes the gun so popular because you don’t have to buy a new gun to get a new product, all you have to do is buy a new part.  And if or when Franklin Armory gets the official go-ahead from the ATF, I’ll guarantee they will start selling this BFS module to any AR owner who wants to use it with their own gun.

Now here’s the problem for my friends in GVP.  Because of the way the binary trigger works, a gun with this system delivers shots faster than the standard AR. It’s not a full-auto gun, but you are basically shooting semi-auto mode twice as quickly as when the trigger has to be pulled for every shot.  If I need to spell out the implications of this technology to anyone who is concerned about the lethality of an AR, I suggest you go back and read this column again.


Why Can’t We Use The Militia To Defend Ourselves?


Now that the Bundy Militia has decided that eating dinner at home is better than freezing in the administration building on the Malheur Preserve, I decided to spend a bit of time reading about the whole notion of militias, if only because the bunch at Malheur seem convinced that they represent some kind of unquestioned Constitutional mandate to protect liberty and justice forever.

rubio               Actually, if the modern-day Boy Scouts who go out on weekends and play soldier boy in some gravel pit with their AR rifles would take the trouble to read the Constitution, they might actually discover that as members of a militia they are first and foremost required to follow the dictates of their most hated enemy, a.k.a., Barack Obama, who happens to be Commander in Chief.  I quote from Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 which says: “The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.”

But why let facts or legal texts stand in the way of shooting your mouth off on Fox News?  And it stands to reason that the group at Malheur would call themselves a militia since the modern militia movement has descended directly from anti-government ‘patriot’ groups which, if traced back to their origins, bear a certain clear resemblance to racialist groups which go all the way back to the Ku Klux Klan.  How could it be otherwise when Ammon Bundy’s father Cliven was about to be lionized by Sean Hannity until he screwed up the whole thing by saying, “Let me tell you about your Negro,” followed by a few other choice words.

In this respect, I just read an interesting Letter to the Editor of the Kansas City Star. The author pointed out that the Kansas State Constitution requires the Legislature to organize and equip the state’s militia, and he was wondering (obviously tongue-in-cheek) whether this meant that the Legislature had to supply these self-styled militias with guns.  It’s an interesting concept when you think about it, because currently 23 states have organized militias, usually referred to as State Defense Forces, which can be pressed into service if the National Guard units have been deployed somewhere else. And although such units are sanctioned by Title 32 of the U.S. Code, they are wholly volunteer outfits serving solely at the discretion and direction of state officials, normally the Governor and the Adjutant General who also commands the National Guard.

Not surprisingly, these modern-day militias tend to be called out in response to natural disasters, more than 2,000 SDF personnel participated in rescue and cleanup efforts after Hurricane Katrina, to cite one very important case. On the other hand, SDF units do not receive any regular training nor do the Feds provide any dough for weapons or other equipment and supplies.  Know what happens when a state government has to bear the entire cost of any program?  There usually isn’t a program.

Maybe the Bundy boys and their militia buddies aren’t really so off the mark when they claim to be standing up for their Constitutional rights against the abusive power of the Feds.  After all, wasn’t it Rick Perry who, as Governor of Texas, raised the possibility that Texas might secede?  Which means he would need some kind of armed force to make good on his threat, which means maybe he would use the state militia, which means that the Bundy brothers and their gang could drive down to Texas, volunteer for militia service and finally get a chance to use all those AR rifles to defend their God-given rights.

If you are thinking that I’m just having a little fun because Donald Trump lost the Iowa primary you’re right.  But let’s remember that it was Marco Rubio who took a day off from campaigning to buy a gun as a response to the looming ISIS threat. You think the boys at Malheur are the only crazy ones around?


Can The ATF Beat The NRA? I Won’t Take The Short Odds.

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Last week I wrote about the decision by the ATF to ban certain types of 5.56 ammunition based on whether it could be chambered in AR-style handguns, several of which have been on the market for the last few years.  And while nobody can show that any cop has ever been shot or even menaced by one of these guns, the fact that there are now weapons classified as handguns that use such ammunition means that this ammunition might be carried in one of those guns, thus constituting a violation of the 1986 ‘armor-piercing’ law.

As suspected, once the ATF began asking for public responses to this possible change in the regulations governing the definition of ‘sporting’ ammunition, the usual suspects began cranking up on both sides.  Mark Glaze, former head of Everytown,  got himself onto Fox and Friends while Josh Sugarmann, who runs the Violence Policy Center, put out a long piece on Huffington Post.  Both of them argued that the ATF wasn’t trying to find a back-door method of getting rid of AR ammunition, but only responding to product innovations developed by black gun manufacturers whose AR-style handguns loaded with M855 and SS109 ammo, would be capable of penetrating bullet-proof vests. I can’t pass up the opportunity to mention, by the way, that the most popular AR-style handgun is made by Bushmaster and is appropriately called the “Patrolman’s Pistol.”

bushmaster pistol                Meanwhile, not to be undone by the spate of gun-sense activity, the pro-gun folks swung into high gear, launching not only a national petition campaign through the usual social media channels, but also getting one of their Capitol Hill minions, Congressman Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) to author and circulate a letter in the House of Representatives that raised “serious concern” about the ATF’s proposed new guidelines for exempting ammunition from the ‘armor-piercing’ ban.  The letter quickly garnered over 230 signatures, and while you could probably get as many House members to sign a letter stating that the Earth was flat, I’m not so sure that the importance or true intent of this letter is clearly understood.

The Congressional letter to the ATF is a milestone for the pro-gun community because, for the first time, a significant number of elected officials are supporting the idea that the AR-style rifle should be considered a ‘sporting’ gun.  In fact, according to the letter, such rifles are used for “target practice, hunting, organized and casual competition, training and skills development, and instructional activities.”  The gun industry has been trying to promote AR-style rifles as ‘sporting’ guns because the market for real sporting guns – hunting rifles and shotguns – is drying up.  Millennials don’t hunt, but they do grow up playing video games, and the most popular games are shooting games which feature black guns.

The Congressional letter is important in another respect because it raises an issue that is toxic to the pro-gun crowd; i.e., the idea that something related to guns is being banned. Here’s the relevant quote: “Under no circumstances should ATF adopt a standard that will ban ammunition that is overwhelmingly used by law-abiding Americans for legitimate purposes.”  I don’t know if the NRA wrote this letter for Goodlatte or not, but to refer to the new ammunition guidelines as a method to “ban” ammunition is to guarantee that every gun-owning activist in America will climb on board this campaign.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not criticizing groups like the Violence Policy Center for framing their side of the argument by supporting common-sense policies that will protect cops. But if the intent of the framework is only to keep people from using the ‘armor-piercing’ ammo in new handgun designs, why not just issue an advisory letting everyone know that loading M855 or SS109 ammo into a semi-automatic handgun was against the law? The gun-sense community had to know that the ATF’s decision to withdraw the exemption for all uses of this ammo would be construed, rightfully, as a ban.  Want to take the short odds on the ATF in this argument?  I don’t.

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