In this helmet cam video, we see a team of Dutch Marines fastrope from a helicopter and retake a container ship that had been boarded by Somali pirates.
How could I not post this video, since my blog title means "Firearm" in Dutch?
Beyond that, though, it's pretty neat to watch. The pirates, facing real resistance from highly trained forces, quickly surrender. The crew, having locked themselves in a "safe room", emerged after the ship was retaken, unharmed. The ship apparently had good "passive" anti-piracy countermeasures, but lacked armed guards. Although the pirates were armed with AKs, RPGs, and Tokarev pistols, they tend to look for soft targets.
One other interesting fact is that the commander of the Dutch ship took the initiative to retake the ship after being authorized to do so by his nation's military commanders, rather than waiting for approval by European Union commanders, for the Dutch ship was under EU control. In this situation, it was definitely the right thing to do.
Something I noticed while watching the video was that the Dutch Marines were armed with 14.5" M4 type weapons, and in the tight passages of a ship, such rifles are a little long. That's why our VBSS (Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure) teams use 10.5" M4 type rifles, aka Mk18s. Still, this didn't prevent the Dutch Marines from doing an excellent job.
I'm going to deviate from the subject I normally cover on this blog and discuss current events.
As pretty much everyone knows by now, the governor of Arizona recently signed legislation relating to illegal immigration. There has been loud and, at times, violent opposition to the law. Some of the strongest voices against the law come from Mexico - in fact, the Mexican government has condemned the law and issued a travel advisory informing its citizens about it. Perhaps misinformed would be the proper term, but that's another topic for another day.
The Arizona law allows state and local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they stop or detain for probable cause - not for probable cause of being brown, but, say, having a broken taillight or for speeding. You know, stuff that you'll already get pulled over for. There are exceptions for victims of crime or those reporting crimes - that is, if a Hispanic woman tells a police officer that she's been raped, immigration status is not relevant.
This has infuriated the Mexican government. Why, then, is the title of this blog post "The Hypocrisy of Mexico"? Well, Article 67 of Mexico's Population Law states, "Authorities, whether federal, state or municipal ... are required to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country, before attending to any issues."
In other words, if an American woman had illegally crossed into Mexico and was raped, Mexican authorities would be more concerned with her immigration status than the fact that she had been assaulted.
While the above situation is quite rare, it is common for people from Central America who are traveling through Mexico on their way to the United States to be harassed by Mexican law enforcement authorities, as this AP article describes.
So I ask you - which government treats illegal immigrants with more respect and dignity...Arizona or Mexico? When I hear of Arizona law enforcement officials stealing the belongings of illegal immigrants and leaving them to be assaulted by roving bands of human predators, I might change my mind. Until then, the answer is pretty clear to me.
Recently, I've been hearing a lot of people say "You know what the AR-15 market needs right now? More M4 profile barrels."
Actually, no, I haven't heard people say that.
And yet, it seems that every new carbine length upper or rifle in the last year or so has the M203 cutout in the barrel. Even the Bushmaster ACR, which cannot possibly mount an M203, sports the cutout for said purpose.
So why are companies offering products that no one is really asking for? I do see many people clamoring for lightweight barrels and midlength gas systems. Of course, the entire AR market isn't on the internet. But Joe Gunowner, unless he wants something that kinda looks like the military M4, might choose something else if M4 type weapons didn't dominate the racks at every gun store in the country.
I'm relieved to see that Spike's will be offering lightweight versions of their LE upper, and they've already sold plenty of midlength LEs.
Bravo Company has come out with the 16" lightweight midlength and the 14.5" midlength uppers.
Daniel Defense is introducing, or has introduced, 16" and 14.5" midlengths.
But it seems that, when carbine gas systems are being discussed, the M4 profile reigns supreme.
What advantages does it offer? Well, for the hundreds of thousands of civilian M203 owners out there - oh, wait a second. No, we don't need the cutout in the barrel for the M203 grenade launcher.
The cutout does provide a visual breakup for the barrels of 16" rifles, as opposed to the 14.5" versions used by the military. It doesn't seem as long, at least to some.
However, we'd all be much better served from a functional standpoint if the extra steel in front of the FSB was moved behind it. The barrel will generally get hotter under the handguards, so a barrel that's thicker in the hottest portion will outlast a barrel that's thin at the hottest portion under sustained full auto fire.
Don't care about full auto, or even rapid semi auto, shooting? How about balance? With the weight moved under the handguards, the rifle won't feel as "tipsy" - it'll feel a little more stable with the weight concentrated close to the center of gravity.
Although taper profiles, such as the Noveske N4 Light, are a more complicated machining task, it would be fairly simple to make the area under the carbine handguards just slightly thicker, while at the same time making the barrel past the FSB .625" or so.
Of course, we'd have to break the institutional love affair with the M4 profile barrel first.
In a recent AR15.com thread, it was claimed that Federal 9mm ammunition identified as XM9HA was a contract overrun of 147gr HST hollow point projectiles loaded to the impressive velocity of 1180 feet per second. That's 9mm Major territory - and beyond. It was also reported that this ammunition had a high rate of failures to feed or failures to fire in a variety of handguns.
I was recently sent a small quantity of this ammunition for testing via a chronograph. It was requested that I use a Glock 19 as the test firearm.
Although I only fired 10 rounds through said Glock 19, I did not experience any failures to feed or fire. Unfortunately, I also did not experience anything approaching the claimed velocity. The fastest round was 1009.42fps, the slowest 973.06fps - with an average of 992.56fps.
For comparison, I also fired 10 rounds of Winchester Ranger Bonded 147gr through the same firearm. The high was 992.21, the low 963.15, with an average of 974.8.
If you can acquire this XM9HA ammunition for a fair price, and it functions reliably in your firearm, it would appear to be adequate ammunition. However, I wouldn't expect 9x23mm performance from this cartridge. As a side note, recoil felt pretty tame compared to my 115gr handloads at 1200fps (which are not particularly hot to begin with).
Over the past few weeks, I've been putting a fair amount of match ammunition through the BCM Mk12.
Most of that has been Prvi 75gr Match, but I've also shot Hornady 75gr, Black Hills Blue Box 68 and 75gr, and my own handloads.
Recently, a number of 10 shot groups were fired at 100 and 200 yards using two of the above: Prvi 75gr at 100 yards, and Black Hills 68gr at 200 yards. These groups were shot from the prone, using a Harris bipod for support, a Rock River two stage trigger, and a Bushnell Elite 3200 10x mil-dot scope in medium height rings. I'll be able to post up more groups in the near future.
At 100 yards, the 3 10 shot groups were:
For a 30 shot average of 1.13".
Here is the smallest (.99") group:
The 200 yard groups were shot on a different day and with different ammunition, as noted above - Black Hills Blue Box 68gr Match.
This ammunition was very consistent, with the following 3 10 shot groups:
For a 30 shot average of 1.6". That's roughly .8 MOA at 200 yards.
Here is the 1.65" group - a photo of the 1.45" will have to wait for technical reasons:
The rifle, sans bipod and optic - other uppers were being tested as well.