Legendary Marine Colonel John Dean “Jeff” Cooper was possibly one of the greatest ambassadors of the arts of combat shooting. The Colonel was and remains among the most influential thinkers on modern tactical shooting yet his greatest foray into the handgun market was the ill-fated Bren Ten.
Though he often taught pistol with 1911s, Cooper was a fan of the Czech designed CZ-75, a 1970s double stack 9mm with great ergonomics. The Colonel liked everything there was about the CZ, except its caliber, deeming it too low-powered. After reading an article Cooper wrote about the CZ and its perceived limitations, two like-minded gunmakers, Tom Dornaus and Mike Dixon, reworked the basically public domain design, stretching it out to a 10-shot doublestack magazine holding .45 ACP.
This gun in hand, they went to talk to the Colonel.
Read the rest in my column GUNS.com at
Sure, it looks like a smooth little semi-auto mouse gun but, as with many things in this crazy world, under it’s sleekness hides some strangeness. First, it’s not a pee-shooter, but rather a 5-shot .45 ACP hardballer. Second, its not semi-auto at all but rather more of a pump-action. It’s the Semmerling LM-4, and though it may look like a swan to some, at its heart it’s still one odd little duck.
Since the beginning of modern time, there have been rough handed individuals whose services are retained by certain quiet branches of the government to maintain a fragile system of covert operations. These individuals are sent to exotic places, meet interesting people, and occasionally have to fight for their lives to make it back home.
In the 1970s, a small shadowy company in the Boston area by the name of the Semmerling Corporation began producing a compact little gun for the special purpose of arming such individuals. The primary tenants of the pistol was that it be a small and durable as possible, with absolute reliability but crucially pack a decent punch—no mouse guns, as the gun was to allow a covert agent working deep cover, to have a concealed firearm to engage in violence if they could not otherwise extract themselves from the situation.
Read the rest in my column at GUNS.com
Here at LSOZI, we are going to take out every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week.
- Christopher Eger
Warship Wednesday, May 22
Here we see the New Mexico class battleship USS Mississippi (BB-41) in about 1918. The Mighty Miss had a career much longer than most other WWI-era battleships and gave good service for over forty years.
Laid down just a few months after the start of WWI in Europe, she was commissioned 18 December 1917 some eight months after the entry of the US into the Great War. Built as a oil-fired ship (most other warships of the era were coal burners), her WWI career was spent largely in US waters, a fleet in being along the US East Coast should the High Seas Fleet of Kaiser Wilhelm ever make a sortie to New York. In 1931 she was overhauled and modernized, spending almost all of the time period from 1919-1941 in the Pacific.
She would have been at Pearl Harbor more than likely alongside her sisters New Mexico and Idaho, but all three ships were sent to the Atlantic in June 1941 to help enforce the neutrality patrol against Nazi U-Boats. Once the Japanese struck in the Pacific however, Mississippi and her sisters were sent racing back to the Pacific. For the first several months of the war she protected convoys up and down the West Coast as California braced for invasion. In 1943 she helped protect the landings in the Aleutian Islands. After conducting shore bombardments in Peleiu, Makin Island, Kwajalein, and others, she found herself in the last Battleship vs Battleship action– the Battle of Suriago Strait. There, Mississippi herself fired the final salvo in history by a battleship against other warships– contributing to the sinking of Japanese battleship Yamashiro.
(Again with the camouflage. During WWII her armament of anti-aircraft guns steadily increased)
More shore bombardments in the Philippines and Okinawa took place before she witnessed the surrender of Japan in Tokyo Bay, winning a total of eight battle stars. In 1946, while most of the rest of the pre-1938 US battleships were laid up and/or scrapped, Mississippi was reclassified from BB-41 to AG-128 (auxiliary, gunnery training/guided missile ship) and spent the next decade as a platform for development of surface to air and surface to surface missiles. For this her rear turrets were removed to give a platform of missile launchers. Without her, the RIM-2 Terrier and Petrel missiles would never have been adopted.
Stricken in 1956, at the time she was the last pre-WWII battleship in active service with the US Navy. Of the 12 WWII era US dreadnoughts, only three of the Iowa class were on active duty when Mississippi was decommissioned. The other 9 much newer North Carolina, SoDak, Alaska, and Iowa-class battleships and battle cruisers all being laid up in red lead row as members of the mothball fleet. Within a few years all of these except the Iowas would be pulled from mothballs and sent either to live the rest of their lives as museum ships, or broken up.
Mississippi herself was scrapped without ceremony at the end of 1956, just shy of her 40th birthday. Today knick knacks of the ship sail beneath the sea with the modern Virgina-class submarine USS Mississippi, after being carried for a while by a large nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser of the same name while her bell and silver set are on display in her home state.
Displacement: 32,000 long tons (32,500 t)
Length: 624 ft (190 m)
Beam: 97.4 ft (29.7 m)
Draft: 30 ft (9.1 m)
Speed: 21 kn (24 mph; 39 km/h)
Complement: 55 officers, 1,026 enlisted
12 × 14 in (360 mm) guns,
14 × 5 in (130 mm)/51 cal guns
4 × 3 in (76 mm) guns, and
2 × 21 in (530 mm) torpedo tubes
Belt: 8–13.5 in (203–343 mm)
Barbettes: 13 in (330 mm)
Turret face: 18 in (457 mm)
Turret sides: 9–10 in (229–254 mm)
Turret top: 5 in (127 mm)
Turret rear 9 in (229 mm)
Conning tower: 11.5 in (292 mm)
Decks: 3.5 in (89 mm)
If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO)
They are possibly one of the best sources of naval lore http://www.warship.org/naval.htm
The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.
Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.
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In the 1950s cars were made out of steel, cigarettes were a food group, and men scraped the hair from their face with a straight razor. That decade where Elvis was thin and everybody liked Ike was also the golden age of the battle rifle.
In 1953, the infant NATO military alliance adopted the US-developed 7.62×51mm T65E3 cartridge as its standard rifle round. This round was destined to replace the US .30-06 fired by the M1 Garand, the British .303 of the Commonwealth Armies, the 8mm Mauser of the West German Army and others. It brought to the table a shorter length round that still had the power of the cartridges it replaced—but with less recoil. This led to a number of so-called battle rifle designs, ending the 70-year reign of the bolt-action rifle in military service. and Guns.com is looking at five classics, many of which are still around today:
Read the rest at GUNs.com
(The m14 in the hands of the soldier above in Afghanistan is likely as old as his father, but is still trucking. Classics are like that)
Cody Wilson, maverick firearms geek behind the printable gun craze is back in hot water again. This time its for the design of his new single shot (single use) Liberator pistol. The thing is, he didn’t even sell it, he gave it away. This brought the ire not of the ATF, FBI, or some other law enforcement organization– but instead, the State Department.
After all the original Liberator was designed as a throwaway ‘gun to get a gun’ that could be dropped to resistance fighters behind enemy lines during World War Two. It seems that some overseas governments may be scared of letting this genie get out of the bottle.
As crazy as it sounds, this is for real.
Read the rest in my article in Firearms Talk.com
It’s hard to imagine today but for over 150-years the UK firearms arsenal at Enfield armed the world. Their 3-band rifles were the go-to gun of the US Civil War and their Short Magazine Lee Enfield bolt guns kept London from having the street signs redone in German through two world wars. Then in 1985, everything went pear-shaped.
In 1954, RSAF Enfield and BSA began production of the 7.62x51mm NATO caliber L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle for the British military to replace their long-serving stocks of Short Magazine Lee Enfield Rifles, a design that had lasted the Brits for nearly 70 years. The L1A1 was a version of the Belgian FN FAL rifle, set up in semi-auto and using SAE or ‘inch-pattern’ templates rather than metric. It proved a hard serving rifle and saw use in the Suez, Malaysia, Aden, Northern Ireland and the Falklands as well as being adopted by close allies Canada, Australia, and New Zealand among others. However by the late 1970s, the L1A1 was a bit long in the tooth, and well, a bit long overall (45-inchs) as well. With most of NATO at the time already using smaller, 5.56mm-chambered rifles such as the M16, FAMAS, and HK33, the UK decided to get on the smaller caliber/smaller weapon bandwagon.
Read the rest in my column at GUNS.com
ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 14, 2013) An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is the first aircraft carrier to successfully catapult launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter/Released)
Thought historically tight-lipped about all things military, one thing the Russians have never kept secret is existence of their robust special operations, or spetsnaz, community, which they have fostered for many generations. These operators fielded the finest hardware found East of Berlin and, going back to the 1980s, the Soviets had an itch for a long-range suppressed rifle and scratched it with a Shaft and a Thread Cutter, so to speak.
Formed in the 1950s from lessons learned fighting the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany, the spetsnaz (a Russian acronym for special purpose) units were bad hombres and by the later Soviet era, spetsnaz troops (roughly the commie version of the special forces/ranger type units) were a huge part of the Motherland’s military machine. At the height of the Cold War, the Soviets had no less than 14 army and 2 naval brigades of these troops compared to the sole US Army Ranger regiment and five Special Forces groups.
These groups in general, by the nature of their role on the battlefield, have long sought out suppressed weapons and on both sides of the curtain, most got by with regular issue guns with fitted external suppressors. By the early 1980s, they wanted something better and that is where the VSS and AS came in.
Read the Rest in my column at GUNS.com
A pretty good article written by a California National Guard Captain who experienced the sharp, woodland camo tip of the 1992 LA Riots is up over at Breitbart
From the article, “Flyers urging violence against law enforcement in service of the “insurrection” were commonplace during the riots. The flyers were written and printed by Communist organizations—which seemed ironic, given the fall of the Berlin Wall only two-and-a-half years before. Strangely enough, the El Salvadoran Communist guerrilla group FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front) has an ongoing presence in Los Angeles, where they participate in the city’s annual May Day parade, carrying their red banners.
On May 3, with the military taking a lower profile, gang members began to show more defiance. Rumors were flying around that the military had no ammunition or wasn’t allowed to shoot. We were very concerned about what might happen the next night when Mayor Tom Bradley was expected to lift the nighttime curfew.
As fate would have it, a gang member wannabe tried to run over a team of Guardsmen at a checkpoint. On his third pass to try to kill the soldiers, they fired 10 rounds at the tires of the onrushing car. He pressed on towards the checkpoint. So, the soldiers shifted fire, killing him with two bullets to the head and one in the shoulder. The next morning, the gang members wouldn’t even look us in the eye as we made a limited number of patrols. They knew the Guard could shoot to kill.”
Read the rest here
“Ana Montes has been locked up for a decade with some of the most frightening women in America. Once a highly decorated U.S. intelligence analyst with a two-bedroom co-op in Cleveland Park, Montes today lives in a two-bunk cell in the highest-security women’s prison in the nation. Her neighbors have included a former homemaker who strangled a pregnant woman to get her baby, a longtime nurse who killed four patients with massive injections of adrenaline, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, the Charles Manson groupie who tried to assassinate President Ford.
But hard time in the Lizzie Borden ward of a Texas prison hasn’t softened the former Defense Department wunderkind. Years after she was caught spying for Cuba, Montes remains defiant. “Prison is one of the last places I would have ever chosen to be in, but some things in life are worth going to prison for,” Montes writes in a 14-page handwritten letter to a relative. “Or worth doing and then killing yourself before you have to spend too much time in prison.”
Like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen before her, Ana Montes blindsided the intelligence community with brazen acts of treason. By day, she was a buttoned-down GS-14 in a Defense Intelligence Agency cubicle. By night, she was on the clock for Fidel Castro, listening to coded messages over shortwave radio, passing encrypted files to handlers in crowded restaurants and slipping undetected into Cuba wearing a wig and clutching a phony passport.
Montes spied for 17 years, patiently, methodically. She passed along so many secrets about her colleagues — and the advanced eavesdropping platforms that American spooks had covertly installed in Cuba — that intelligence experts consider her among the most harmful spies in recent memory. But Montes, now 56, did not deceive just her nation and her colleagues. She also betrayed her brother Tito, an FBI special agent; her former boyfriend Roger Corneretto, an intelligence officer for the Pentagon specializing in Cuba; and her sister, Lucy, a 28-year veteran of the FBI who has won awards for helping to unmask Cuban spies.”