It’s a knife, but for your gun…

Ah the old reliable Bayonet, Rifle, M7. The most common M16/AR15/M4-series pigsticker there is with literally “millions and millions sold” to borrow a phrase from the burger joint.

The two shown are GI surplus BOC-marked weapons denoting they were made by the Bauer Ordnance Co of Detriot, Michigan, who was the most prolific M7 maker of the Vietnam-era, filling an order for 1,835,392 in FY1969 according to noted bayonet authority Gary Cunningham.

For those curious, the specs on the M7– which is still in current military use though is supplemented by the M9 (by the Army since 1989) and OKC-3S (by the Marines since 2003)– are a 6.75-inch blade length, 11.875-inch overall length, and a .880-inch/22.4mm muzzle ring diameter to be able to clear the standard NATO 22mm rifle grenade attachment.

The PVH code on the standard green M8A1 scabbards these bayos came with means they were among the 4 million made by the Pennsylvania Working Home for the Blind between 1965-1970 for Vietnam-era M7s.

The rifles, of course, are a couple of my PSA builds, which are not Vietnam-era, lol.

More on picking out a bayo of your own for your black rifle in my column at

Not your average Grease Gun

Ian with Forgotten Weapons takes a close look at an SMG used for clandestine operations by the OSS — as well as a booby trap attachment for the same.

While the M3 was a simple .45ACP burp gun popular with the late-war regular GI’s of the day and designed as a cheap and easy replacement for the much more complex Thompson, the gun in Ian’s hands was made for use in more covert operations. Specifically, for an assassination team behind the lines in German-occupied Europe.

The war ended before this specimen could be used, leaving it in collector-grade condition including its wire mesh screened over-barrel suppressor.

As for the booby trap trigger device, stick around and check that little dirty trick out separately.

Happy 100th to the most forgotten service

This week is the 100th birthday of one of the most unsung of the U.S.’s seven uniformed services– the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.

USS Albatross, or as NOAA thinks of her now, Albatross I

Dating back to the Coast & Geodetic Survey and United States Fish Commission which used seconded Navy ships for its blue water work (see former Warship Wednesday alumni, the USC&GSS Pathfinder and USS Albatross) and Army officers for land surveys (the first commander of the Corps was an Army colonel from the intelligence branch), the force today amounts to some 400 uniformed officers who operate the agency’s dozen ships (some as large as frigates) and half-dozen aircraft including two converted P-3 Orions used as Hurricane Hunters.

NOAA Ship (NOAAS) Albatross IV

They are the smallest of the U.S. uniformed services and, while they have a provision for a single O-9, the branch typically exists with a RADM as a senior officer. They wear Navy dress blues and dress whites and Coast Guard working uniforms, all with NOAA devices. Since 2013, they have conducted their 18-week OCS at the USCGA in New London, Conn.

NOAA 42 “Kermit” (N42RF) is a Lockheed WP-3D Orion used by the service for the past quarter-century.

The corps was born in battle.

From NOAA:

With America’s entry into the World War I, a commissioned service of the C&GS was formed on May 22, 1917 to ensure the rapid assimilation of C&GS technical skills for defense purposes. During World War II, officers and civilians of the C&GS produced nautical and aeronautical charts, provided critical geospatial information to artillery units, and conducted reconnaissance surveys.

Continuing in the tradition of their C&GS predecessors, NOAA Corps officers continue to play a vital role in the acquisition and analysis of environmental data that aid NOAA and other agencies in meeting the national security, economic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century. NOAA Corps officers command ships that scan the seafloor for potential hazards to shipping, monitor oceanographic and atmospheric conditions, and study ocean resources. They also pilot NOAA’s highly specialized aircraft that collect environmental and geographic data necessary for weather and flood prediction, nautical charting, disaster response, and resource management.

As noted by John Hopewell of the Washington Post’s Weather Gang:

There are two clear advantages of having nearly 400 uniformed specialists. Unlike civilians, they can be moved rapidly from project to project and — in the case of war — can be deployed quickly to support the military itself.

In fact, that’s why the NOAA Corps was established as a commissioned officer group 100 years ago. If one of the officers is captured by an enemy, they could not be executed as a spy — something their civilian predecessors risked.

The corps operates and maintains much of NOAA’s hardware, including Hurricane Hunter aircraft fisheries ships (but not satellites). They conduct special missions after disasters, such as the 2016 blizzard or the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, to gather data and provide support. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the corps surveyed the seafloors of New York City and Virginia channels and ports for hazards.

Masters of the Desert

Pathfinders attached to the British Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade hone their long-range patrolling skills, both mounted and on the ground, in the arid plains of Aqaba Governorate in southern Jordan on Exercise Olive Grove.

A Pathfinders soldier covers the rear of an observation post while his colleague searches for targets. MoD Crown Copyright. Note the HK 416s and the very U.S. SF looking kit, including contractor caps.

Pathfinders, mounted in a Coyote and Jackal patrol vehicles, stop to confer during a long range desert patrol on Exercise Olive Grove. Photo: MoD Crown Copyright

A Pathfinder photographs targets from an observation post in the mountainous deserts of Jordan on Exercise Olive Grove. Photo: MoD Crown Copyright

Like all pathfinders, “the unit is an advance force, trained in specialist airborne insertion techniques and capable of conducting offensive action tasks at very short notice. Soldiers are trained to operate behind enemy lines in small, self-sufficient patrols finding and relaying vital information back to Brigade HQ to enable it to plan and execute missions.”

3 Para dropped it like it was hot in Olive Grove.

Major Rick Lewin, Officer Commanding of C Company, 3 Para told said:

    What we’re trying to do is demonstrate the way we operate and give the Jordanians an opportunity to decide if they like that. Simultaneously, our soldiers are doing precisely the same thing, they’re watching the Jordanians whose shooting on the range is incredibly accurate, and also they were moving through the cover incredibly efficiently and quickly, so this is very much going both ways all the way through.

Interested in the Coyote above? The Supacat-designed/Lockheed-Martin built Coyote tactical support vehicle, (TSV) light, is based on a 6×6 derivative of the Jackal 2 and supports the go-anywhere, high-mobility Jackals across the harsh Afghanistan terrain.

Inside the CMP, and the word on M1s coming back from overseas and possible 1911s…

To see just what the non-profit has on the shelf, I visited the Civilian Marksmanship’s South operations in Anniston. Co-located near the Anniston Army Depot — which is actually in nearby Bynum — and stores much of the Army’s stockpile of guns and items not needed for current operations, the CMP has a series of warehouses dotting the rolling hills of the area.

Unfortunately, most of them are nearly empty.

While now-retired CMP boss Orest Michaels told me back in 2010 the organization had 125,000 M1 rifles on hand including complete rifles, stripped receivers, and welded drill rifles, the group is coy about just what the numbers are today after several years of brisk sales and surging interest in U.S. martial rifles.

As Jim Townsend, CMP’s business development officer, walked me through a tour of their largest warehouse, he swept his arms over a large expanse of empty floor space and said, “When I first started here, this whole side of the building was full of M1s.” Repurposed crates that once contained M1s returning from allies in Greece and Denmark now hold everything but.

Repurposed crates that once contained M1s returning from allies in Greece and Denmark now hold everything but.

Why keep the empty space?

Check out my column at for the answer.

King Kong and Khe Sanh, 50 years ago

A U.S. Marine shows a message written on the back of his flak vest at the Khe Sanh combat base in Vietnam on Feb. 21, 1968 during the Vietnam War. The quote reads, “Caution: Being a Marine in Khe Sanh may be hazardous to your health.” Khe Sanh had been subject to increased rocket and artillery attacks from the North Vietnamese troops in the area. (AP Photo/Rick Merron)

Michael B. Taft, an ironworker and dairy farmer, was an infantryman in A Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines from 1966 to 1967. He spent some time in a place called Khe Sanh. He tells his story in a gripping account at the NY Times entitled “A Patrol Called King Kong”

Astride the old French colonial Route 9 and just six miles east of Laos, the Khe Sanh Special Forces base sat on a plateau in a valley, deep within the Annamite Mountains. Immediately north of the plateau and hundreds of feet below, the spectacular, fast-moving Quang Tri River had cut a deep gorge on its way to the South China Sea at Dong Ha. To the west sat a mass of 3,000-foot hills, both an extraordinary spectacular beauty and a forbidding terrain of dense, triple-canopy forest growing in laterite soil. It would also soon be the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting of the war.

More here

The Philippine Arsenal has been kicking it as of late

In 1967 the Armed Forces of the Philippines built the Government Arsenal, DND, in Camp Luna in Lamao, Limay, Province of Bataan, about 120 km from Manila by land, 70 km from Subic Naval Station and 90 km from Clark Air Force Station. The factory by 1971 was producing small arms ammunition for the AFP and today cranks out 5.56mm (M855, M193, Blank ammo); Cal. .45 M1911 ball, 7.62mm (linked & loose), Cal .30 M1 (the PI still has over 35,000 M1 Garands issued) and Cal. M2, 9mm parabellum.

However, since 2011, the Arsenal has also been modding and refurbing the PI’s legacy firearm inventory, much of it WWII surplus.

The main rifle of the AFP is the M16/M4 in a number of variants. Between 1974-1986, a local company, Elisco Tool Manufacturing Co.made 150,000 M16A1s for the Philippine Government under license from Colt. As part of the license agreement, in addition to the TDP Colt provided technical assistance to establish the manufacturing line.

The AFP also used locally made M7 bayonets, marked with the country crest. More info on those here

In 1983, the company picked up ArmaLite’s remaining production line at a fire auction and started making AR-18s, though not for PI military use.

These M16A1s have been the backbone of the AFP for 40 years, and have seen much use in rough conditions. To augment the aging 5.56 eaters, 56,843 new Remington R4 (semi-auto only M4s) have been acquired in the past few years with DND doing in-house upgrades on them including installing slings, Troy flip-up backup iron sights (BUIS) and EOTech optics.

But wait, there’s more!

They have also been reworking old Elisco Colts into two new versions for use by police and military forces:

Worn out AFP M16A1s. Note they are largely “in the white” and you have some obvious handguard issues

They become the new 16″ Mid Length Carbine

Or the SDMR

Note the Israeli style slings. Also, odds are the OD green as well as the 16-inch barrels, and M4 style collapsable stock are more welcome in the jungle environment than black A1 “Mattel” furniture and 20-inch barrel.

Note the old Elisco Tool markings

Old 1911A1s are getting similar treatment.

WWI?WWII-era M1911A1s, the newest of which was made in 1945. You can bet the ones taped together have long since lost their internals, cannibalized to keep other pistols working.

Speaking of new, the serial number on the pre-owned Ithaca is in the 1945 run.


It’s a shame as those old 1911s were collectible war vets, but you have to admit these upgrades are night and day differences. You work with what you have I guess, although it could be argued they could have sold the WWII era guns on the milsurp market and bought brand new PI-made Rock Island/Armscor 1911s, but hey…

Then there is the Arsenal’s M3 Grease Gun updates for the PI Marines:

Philippines modified M3 on the range– note suppressor. That’s just good clean fun there


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