The Naked Emperor

22 August 2007

The Guns of August

Well, we're now deep into hurricane season again. I just can't believe that it's been two years as of next Wednesday.

We all watched Dean for the last week or so. On last Friday, one of the more reliable models, he GFDL showed Dean hitting between Lafayette and Baton Rouge. Ohhh, Goody!

Fortunately it was just a glitch. The model swung dutifully away and we breathed a sigh of relief.

But it put my preparations into sharp focus. They say we need three things to survive, food, water, and shelter. But "They" forget one of the most important categories. Let's face it, all your food, water, and shelter do no good if you can't defend them.

Which brings us to weapons.

OK, to start, DON'T have weapons if you aren't skilled in their use, and aren't familiar with the laws governing their use.

I shoot regularly and hold a concealed handgun permit.

During Katrina days, I carried my Taurus PT99 9mm openly. Nobody ever looked twice at me. But with all the shooting going on, I felt a bit naked.

Coming underdressed to a gunfight is not only tacky but potentially fatal.

So I needed something better.

I looked to history for an answer.

Before WWII, the US decided it needed something more potent that the beloved .45 Auto for non-infantry types. These are the guys who don't shoot for a living. But they wanted some assurance that the non-shooters would be well enough armed is the feces impacted the rotating blades.

Solution: The M1 Carbine. Simple, light, rugged, easy to maintain, an ergonomic dream. But it fired a dubious cartridge, and performed poorly in extreme cold.

Well, I'm not law enforcement or military. I don't shoot for a living. And here in south Louisiana, we have had very little problem with extreme cold.

So an M1 was a candidate.

I was concerned about the cartridge, but then a deal killer hit me.

Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics.

In the post storm days, it was a major challenge to get food or gas, let alone ammunition or parts for a rifle the military hasn't used for 40 years.

So the M1 was dead.

I looked ahead at military type weapons. We've used the M-16/AR-15 for those same forty years.

True, it's heavier. And more finicky. It is a maintenance nightmare. The standard AR-15 didn't handle as well as the old M1. And it still fires a dubious round.

So much for progress.

But the military and the police use them, so it's possible to beg/borrow/scrounge spares and ammo. So it was a strong candidate.

But the best argument in favor of an AR-15 was what I found in my closet.

She's a Colt A2 Heavy Barrel that I bought in 1994 the day Congress passed the assault weapons ban. (And I didn't have any ammunition for her during Katrina. DOH!!!)

Very accurate, but she handled like a pig. And that heavy barrel made her heavier than I wanted to carry for any amount of time.

So I began the modifications.

First, I went with a 14.5" barrel upper with the Phantom suppressor permanently attached. That brings her up to 16.1", and makes her legal. Thanks, Bushmaster! She now handles MUCH better and is much lighter.

I decided to not go with a flat top receiver or optics. Why?

The ACOG is great at distance. The Eotech is great at close quarters battle (CQB).

But I don't know if or when I might have to use her, and under what circumstances.

I know that iron sights are good at any distance, and I'm used to them and good with them. In a crisis, stick to what you know.

Also, no optics means no batteries, lowering my logistic needs.

The next decision was the stock.

I know that a folder would be a little lighter, and more convenient.

But the A2 stock has the storage compartment.

As I said before, the AR-15/M-16/M-4 is a finicky beast, and doesn't like to be dirty. So I got an Otis buttstock cleaning kit that fits in the storage compartment.

That way if all I have time to grab is that weapon, I know I can keep her functioning in the field.

So here's what she looks like now.

Okay, I know the buttstock mag pouch can get in the way. But if all I can grab is the weapon, I'll have a maintainable weapon and 60 rounds. The mag in the stock pouch will go in a pocket first opportunity.

I got the bandoleer with 6 mags that function well with her. If I have a half second more, I'll have 240 rounds available. That should be enough for my needs. If not, maybe I'll get religion.

As for the green furniture, I have no good reason. Just a bit of vanity on my part.

Since This was taken, I've added a Mamba three point sling. Very handy. Also I clipped on a Maxpedition RolyPoly dump pouch to the bandoleer.

So what's next?

Well, I've always been a fan of bipods. They're a great way to improve accuracy. But unfortunately they're rather bulky and rather heavy.

But recently I've been looking at a GripPod from It's a vertical handgrip with a spring loaded bipod inside. Low profile and only 7 oz. They run about $149.

But the problem is that they're designed to mount to a rail system. I didn't want one on her.

First, they're expensive. About $200 to $600.

And second, they might tempt me to violate the KISS principle that I designed this weapon for. I might decide I need a light/laser/Night sight/gps/tissue dispenser.

All of the above would add weight and complexity.

So how will I attach my GripPod?

Fortunately, has a solution. It's called the Add-a-Rail.

Cool, huh? This way I can keep her a KISS weapon, add almost no weight, and not break the budget. They're only $20 for pete's sake.

Here's what MountsPlus has to say about them:

Add-A-Rail from Mounting Solution Plus

The ADD-A-RAIL SYSTEM is an easy and affordable solution to add rail mounted accessories with out the cost the and frustration of add full railed forearm. ADD-A-RAIL SYSTEM works with factory standard AR-15 forearms. Designed to allow use of a
detachable rail mounted accessories such as a Surefire flashlight, Harris Bipod or foregrip, or other . ADD-A-RAIL comes in two version and can be used on either TOP/BOTTOM or RIGHT/LEFT side of your forearm.

Mounting Solution Plus specializes in tactical mounts and gun accessories for professional and competition shooters.

Click Hear to learn more

So next week, when I'm off duty I'll make an order. Then, what someone I grew up with has dubbed the "Katrina Kannon" will be finished. I can't wait to give the new goodies a try.

Until later,



At February 8, 2010 at 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At February 8, 2010 at 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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