SigSpace - Weapons en Review: Boker Cop Tool <p>I recently realized that the last knife I had bought was my <a href="">CRKT M-16ZSF</a> back in Kandahar. (Mine looks like the picture, but has the <em>Operation Enduring Freedom</em> label on the blade, which is quite rare; even in Afghanistan, most knives have the <em>Iraqi Freedom</em> label.) I paid $32 for it at the PX, got halfway back to the compound, and turned around and bought another one for my buddy Matt. It's been my daily carry knife ever since. (MSRP is something obscenely higher than $32, but eminently worth it. It's still my favorite lock blade.)</p> <p><em>However</em>, it is technically illegal to carry in a number of places, particularly King County, owing to the blade length. I might be able to talk my way out of trouble, but it <em>looks</em> dangerous. It doesn't help that it flicks open at a glance with a satisfyingly snappy <em>whick!</em> sound, or that I keep it pretty darned sharp, though its primary use is to slice the occasional bagel and open letters.</p> <p>All of this, in combination with the fact that it's been over two years since I bought it, clearly indicates that it's time for another purchase.</p> <p>I wanted something more appropriate for daily carry--not overtly threatening, yet still useful in case I need to flip someone's breathing switch. As a bonus, I have developed a new irrational fear of being trapped in a burning vehicle, so a strap cutter would be ideal.</p> <p>Wilson Tactical makes <a href="">the perfect knife for my needs</a>. However, they make it in a $140 package--that's a no go on single-income E-6 I-also-need-to-buy-diapers-and-ammo budget.</p> <p>Apparently a lot of other people thought so, too, because lo and behold, Boker licensed the design, used 440C instead of D2 steel, changed the grip to a more conventional handle (instead of the parachute cord wrap, which I hate anyway) and gave us the <a href=",2,&amp;a=02BO300&amp;p=&amp;pp=0">Boker Cop Tool</a>.</p> <div align=center><img src=""></div> <p>I love this knife.</p> <p>Pluses: <ul> <li>Sharp <li>Shiny <li>Sits well in my hand <li>Very solid feel <li>Designed for prying--this is normally the first thing that voids your knife's warranty <li>Strap cutter doesn't get in the way <li>Comes with the dangly cord thing that Wilson Tactical makes, which I immediately removed and put on my keychain.</ul> <p>Minuses: <ul> <li>Comes with a sheath clearly designed more for cops than soldiers; it doesn't stay on a web belt well at all, and it doesn't have any kind of retention except for friction. The shape of the knife is such that you cannot find MOLLE gear sheaths of any kind that will work with it. I would LOVE to be able to mount this sideways on my belt on the front so I could reach it while seated and wearing body armor, but it won't happen with this sheath. Still, if you wear a police-style gear belt, this is a non-issue. <li>A regular sharpening stone is clearly right out for any but the prying edge, which isn't really sharpened. I have a little sharpening rod I keep in my miscellaneous stuff pouch in my left thigh pocket, and that should work just fine. <li>Not being an opener, I can't open and close it *snicksnick*, *snicksnick*, *snicksnick* for three hours at a stretch during briefings, which is great for unnerving the instructor and the first sergeant. <li>Made in Taiwan under license to a German company.</ul> <p>That's pretty much it, though. I love this knife. If I can modify an existing MOLLE sheath somehow, I am golden. In the mean time, it sits inside my waistband on the back, which (mostly) keeps it where I can reach it during the day.</p> <p><font color="red">Update!</font> I just discovered that the strap cutter "corner" works perfectly as a bottle opener. SWEET.</p> <p>6 out of 7 burning Humvees that don't have Sig trapped in them.</p> <p>Sig</p> Review Weapons Fri, 06 Feb 2009 21:19:43 +0000 sig 650 at Some things are just funny, and you need to get over it. <p>My wife shared an item, and then I saw the Slashdot article on it: <a href=";from=rss">Sniping Could Be the Next Killer iPod App</a>. Basically, it's a rail-mounting system for an iPod with ballistics calculation software on it, so you can have it mounted on your rifle.</p> <p>Kind of cool. Not something I would likely spend my precious coinage on, although I wouldn't mind having the rifle.</p> <p>As is usually the case, Slashdot is good for lots of knee-jerk reactionary commentary, with the occasional insightful remark. And, of course, lots of jokes in poor taste--that is to say, funny jokes.</p> <p>The reactionary stuff is the most entertaining, though. A <a href=";cid=26535937">typical example</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>Anyone who has ever taken a human life doesn't crack jokes about it. unless they are a cretin or a sociopath, or have never actually taken a human life</p> <p>so if you found the headline funny, please self identify as moron or psychopath or ignorant, and go about the rest of your day, content in the fact that you know a little bit more about your personal failings</p></blockquote> <p>In response, I can only give the following:</p> <p>Q: What's the first thing you feel when you shoot a civilian?</p> <p>A: Recoil.</p> <p>Humor at its finest.</p> <p>Sig</p> Humor Stupid People Weapons Thu, 22 Jan 2009 04:38:11 +0000 sig 645 at Let's agree not be crazy. <p>Neoceocon has a great article on avoiding the dangers of <a href="">Obama Derangement Syndrome</a>. I have already been accused of this, in essence if not in name, for asserting that I will not vote for Obama in 2012. (Apparently it's prejudicial to disagree with a political agenda and believe that you'll still disagree with it in four years.)</p> <p>Her basic argument is that we should not take counsel and direction from our fears about what an Obama presidency will do, but instead focus on evidence as it arrives. It's good advice.</p> <p>Here's the first batch, from a since-removed posting of President-elect Obama's agenda for urban policy:<br /> <blockquote>Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn't have them. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.</p></blockquote> <p>The bitter gun clingers at NRA-ILA have a summary <a href="">here</a>, along with a <a href="">cached copy</a> of the agenda so you can read it yourself.</p> <p>The cached page also had the bit about raising the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour. Let's have a moment of silence to admire the stupid.</p> <p>I was going to buy a pistol, but now I'm wondering if I shouldn't save for a so-called assault weapon before they skyrocket in price--and then become unavailable.</p> <p>Sig</p> Constitution Politics Stupid People Weapons Tue, 11 Nov 2008 00:15:40 +0000 sig 608 at In defense of <p>From <a href="">this story</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>I never thought I would be threatened in a situation outside my job or need to come to the aid of someone else being threatened. However, I would have been devastated had I awakened the next morning and read in the newspaper, or watched the television news, to see that one of those young women had been beaten and killed by Mr. Need because I chose to drive by and not intervene.</p></blockquote> <p>Which would be worse? To defend yourself, or another in need, with lethal force and then live with the consequences of that action for the rest of your life--or to fail to do so because you were not prepared, either mentally or physically, to intervene and be forced to live with the consequences of <em>that</em> for the rest of your life?</p> <p>I have more cause than many to know that there are bad people running around who wish us harm. I know for a fact that my experiences have colored my perceptions of the world around me. One of the reasons that I don't like going to the mall is because there are a <em>lot</em> of people there--and I can't watch them all at once. Is that rational? Probably not. After all, what are the odds of someone deciding to employ lethal force in a public place, such as a <a href="">university</a>, a <a href="">strip mall</a>, or a <a href="">church</a>?</p> <p>Linkage aside, the odds are against it. However, the odds are also against my participation in a serious automobile accident--yet I wear a seat belt every time I get in the car, because the potential consequences are too grave to leave to chance.</p> <p>Sig</p> Philosophy Politics Weapons Tue, 26 Aug 2008 01:07:06 +0000 sig 593 at On machine guns and pistols <p>I'm reading <a href="">the transcript</a> [pdf] of the oral arguments in <em>District of Columbia v. Heller</em>, the case heard before the Supreme Court yesterday. Background information can be found via WSJ <a href="">here</a>; it's actually a pretty good layman's guide to the significance of this case.</p> <p>I'm about halfway through the arguments. The justices seem to be grilling both sides pretty thoroughly. My biggest complaint thus far is that when discussing machine guns (in the context of what reasonable restrictions on arms might be), one of the amicae remarked,</p> <blockquote><p>I think it is more than a little difficult to say that the one arm that's not protected by the Second Amendment is that which is the standard issue armament for the National Guard, and that's what the machine gun is.</p></blockquote> <p>Later, it is asserted that pistols are necessarily included in this right, even assuming that it is based solely in the need for a "well-regulated militia."<br /> <blockquote>Because when people have handguns --handguns are military arms, they are not just civilian arms -- they are better prepared and able to use them. And, certainly, when they join the military forces, they are issued handguns.</p></blockquote> <p>It's such a nitpicky thing, I know, but the <a href="">M-16</a> (or M-4 if you're not stuck in the stone age like we are) is not a machine gun. It's a semi-automatic rifle. An "assault weapon," if you will--and that term is a legal fiction, frankly. I personally have never been issued a pistol, despite carrying a series of them while in Afghanistan. I <em>was</em> issued a <a href="">machine gun</a>, but that is by no means a universal military experience.</p> <p>In case it's not obvious, I'm very much in favor of an individual right to keep and bear arms subject to reasonable restrictions. If it were up to me, we would just tack on another amendment specifically delineating the individual right and responsibility to reasonable means of self-defense. It's no one's job but mine to guarantee my own safety. I should be able to arm myself appropriately for the task.</p> <p>If we're going to insist on limiting the 2nd amendment to well-regulated militias as understood in the late 18th centuries, well, I'm in one of those, and I will immediately head down to the armory and check out my rifle--to be kept clean and ready at my place of residence in case the Redcoats come back.</p> <p>Sig</p> <p><font color=red><strong>Addendum</strong></font>: <em>ZING!!!!</em></p> <blockquote><p>JUSTICE SOUTER: Can we also look to current conditions like current crime statistics?<br /> MR. GURA: To some extent, Your Honor, but we have certainly --<br /> JUSTICE SOUTER: Well, can they consider the extent of the murder rate in Washington, D.C., using handguns?<br /> MR. GURA: If we were to consider the extent of the murder rate with handguns, the law would not survive any type of review, Your Honor.<br /> JUSTICE SCALIA: All the more reason to allow a homeowner to have a handgun.<br /> MR. GURA: Absolutely, Your Honor.</p></blockquote> Law Politics Stupid People Weapons Wed, 19 Mar 2008 16:06:32 +0000 sig 568 at Other duties as assigned <p>I occasionally refer to our section in the office as the "battalion labor pool." Since we're low-ranking and our jobs are relatively unimportant, we frequently get pulled away from them to do other things that need doing. This is usually something like picking up garbage around the armory parking lot or moving heavy objects from one place to another, or making photocopies of 2,000,000,000 personnel records or something.</p> <p>Once in a while, it is something cooler. A few weeks ago I stood on the baseline at Safeco Field for Armed Forces Appreciation Night on day 2 of the Oakland-Seattle series, one of five people representing the Army National Guard. I'm not a big baseball fan, but I'm perfectly willing to watch a game on someone else's dime, and I didn't have to dress up or anything. (Rightfully, as a ceremonial/public relations occasion, we should have been in our dress uniforms like all of the other services, but since mine is woefully out of date anyway, I'm not complaining.) Highlight of the evening was Oakland's Mark Swisher veering off in our direction to flirt with my (female) coworker. I had my 3 seconds of fame when the television cameras focused in on him while we happened to be shaking hands. My company commander sent me a video clip.</p> <p>On Thursday morning of this week, as I was trying in vain to get into the translation I was doing, SSG Huggie Bear stopped by. He said something about Captain-Major [name] (so-called because he has just been promoted and we never remember that he's a Major now) and guns and shooting and weekend and skipping drill--good enough for Sig.</p> <p>Turns out that the annual interservice Small Arms Firing School was going on Thursday through Sunday and they had a lot of vacancies. Half an hour later, SPC Slash (she who once stabbed a staff sergeant) and me were meeting nationally ranked rifle marksmen (including at least one member of the <a href="" rel="nofollow">President's Hundred</a>) who were going to spend the weekend giving us individual instruction in how to kill someone from very far away using a rifle.</p> <p>(<a href="" rel="nofollow">Here</a> is an article about last year's course.)</p> <p>One of my big pet peeves with the Army is how we all get Basic Rifle Marksmanship during Basic Combat Training--and never get anything else. Subsequent rifle training is a repeat of BRM. It also often feels like the blind leading the blind, as the instructors are frequently just teaching as they have been taught without any real understanding of why. Unless you go to sniper school--virtually impossible for anyone not infantry, certainly impossible for a Guard MI puke--you never get much else. And only shooting twice a year (at best) to qualify, you never have the practice to develop good shooting habits.</p> <p>[Recently, the Army has started pushing its Squad Designated Marksman program, which puts training and an accurized M-16 into the hands of soldiers for situations between 300 and 600 meters, which BRM does not cover. Many units also end up using M-14s, our combat rifle before the M-16, as they are insanely accurate at long ranges.]</p> <p>Anyway, I spent Thursday and Friday in a classroom learning and practicing dry-fire and stances and various positions under the tutelage of people who do this competitively at a level where the difference between 1st and 2nd place is not measured in points, but how many X's you hit. Yesterday we fired a modified National Match Course at 200, 300, and 500 yards. If you had told me before this week that I could take a standard rack-grade M-16A2 that I'd never fired before and within 15 minutes be putting 5.56mm holes in the 10 and X ring from 200 yards away <em>while standing</em>, I'd have laughed in your face.</p> <p>It wasn't as consistent as I'd have liked, but I was putting killing rounds downrange almost every time. We also fired seated at 200 yards; the 300 and 500 yard fires were done prone.</p> <p>The guy I worked with the most, Dave Merdich, was excellent. While the course was primarily geared toward competitive rifle shooting, he had lots of practical advice for both competition and tactical situations. He strongly encouraged me to get into the sport and to convince my wife to let me buy a match grade rifle.</p> <p>I don't know about that--I have enough expensive hobbies. But I <em>really</em> enjoyed the course and I'm a lot more confident of my ability to do it when it needs doing in real life.</p> <p>Unfortunately, I am home sleeping off a bad cold today instead of doing the last course of fire, the National Guard Combat Rifle Course. I'd been fighting it off all week, and being out in the elements on really short sleep just made things worse. No way was I going to handle a loaded rifle when I keep going into massive hacking fits.</p> <p>But, downer ending aside, I had a lot of fun this week. Any day you draw weapons is a good Army day.</p> <p>Sig</p> National Guard Weapons Sun, 15 Apr 2007 21:02:35 +0000 sig 477 at Christmas keeps on coming <p>Yesterday afternoon we had a combined welcome-home-Sig and happy-birthday-father-in-law lunch. That meant dead animal flesh, several varieties of potatoes... and presents!</p> <p>I'm going to continue to not ask for stuff, because people improvise very well. My mother-in-law was dead set on fulfilling some unknown need that I had, and my beloved's youngest brother remembered how I had serious spotting scope envy when we went out to the range. So I have a new spotting scope with which to try to find out where my rounds went.</p> <p>Also presented were a nice shirt that I may wear to my interview on Tuesday--her other brother and his wife supply half of my non-military wardrobe, I think, possessing much better taste than mine--and a soft rifle case for my earlier Christmas present. I was worried it wouldn't be long enough--but too long for Sweetie's baby 20-gauge--and we'd have to buy another shotgun, but it fits perfectly.</p> <p>Hurray for toys! It's like people are encouraging me to find a bell tower, but I can't very well do that now because everyone would feel guilty. You can't very well tell the reporters "We didn't see it coming" when you provide me with half of the tools used on the rampage. So I guess I'll behave.</p> <p>As mentioned, tomorrow I have a job interview--of sorts. It's actually sort of a getting-to-know-me interview with a contract agency that's going to be trying to find me work. They had a few openings that they called me about, but neither really fit in my price or commuting range; they'd still like to meet me, though. Even a practice nothing-will-come-of-this interview is probably of value at this point.</p> <p>But today we're going to go visit Mike to drink beer, eat food, and play video games.</p> <p>Sig</p> Family Unemployment Weapons Mon, 29 Jan 2007 16:43:23 +0000 sig 423 at It's like, um, a Russian study aid or something. <p>Merry Christmas! My brother-in-law acquired one of <a href="" rel="nofollow">these</a> for my personal amusement and edification. I gotta get it all cleaned up so I can go to the range.</p> <p>Sig</p> Weapons Mon, 15 Jan 2007 17:51:26 +0000 sig 412 at "Roger, engaging." <p>I have been fired at on a number of occasions--I'm not going to say 'many' times, but more than a few. Not so often that I become used to it, but not so rarely that it's a super big deal.</p> <p>This cut, taken from the day after Thanksgiving, is the first time I ever had opportunity to fire back. I still don't know if I hit anyone, but I was doing my darndest to make them keep their heads down.</p> <p>The firing in the background, which sounds like a woodpecker on crack, is a M-240B 7.62mm machine gun--distance and a microphone not really designed for high fidelity make it sound much smaller and insignificant than it is. The pop-pop-pop noise (always in threes) is a 25mm cannon--in person, it's a boom-boom-boom noise.</p> <p>Particularly amusing to me is the BONG noise at the end of every burst. The SAW spits out spent brass shells down and to the right side. They richochet off the armor of the humvee, leaving little divots all around the turret, and then bounce off the front plate--that's the BONG noise. I'd never heard it before--it amused me greatly.</p> <p>Depending on commentary, the tides, and my mood, I may post another longer segment (7 minutes or so) which highlights the brilliant chaos of combat. Incoming rounds and RPGs can also be heard, usually followed by intemperate language.</p> <p>Sig</p> Afghanistan Audio Weapons Tue, 05 Dec 2006 08:00:03 +0000 sig 402 at The SAW at night <p>This is my weapon. There are many like it, but this one is mine.</p> <p>More on <a href="" rel="nofollow">the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon</a> at Wikipedia, for the interested.</p> <p>Sig</p> Image Weapons Sun, 03 Dec 2006 06:15:50 +0000 sig 400 at