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Traction on Black Ice

I’ve been tackling Kimber’s latest take on the modern M1911A1, their Rapide (Black Ice) series, in 10mm Auto. Early signs show that it delivers as advertised, at least across the first 500 rounds anyway.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Getting a feel from some Black Ice

Since about mid-March, I have been working on a T&E on Kimber’s newest take on the M1911A1 platform– the Rapide (Black Ice). With a name familiar in Europe commonly used for a fast express train– and a popular Aston Martin model– the Rapide is billed by Kimber as a 1911 platform built for speed and is both competition and range ready.

The pistol is feature-rich including stepped cocking serrations, slide lightening cuts, a DLC coated barrel for extreme durability, extended magwell, and new V-Cut match-grade trigger. It also comes with Tru-Glo TFX Pro Day/Night sights and G10 grips. A 70-series gun with a 4.9-pound trigger pull on average, the variant I have been working with is a 10mm Auto, and I have to say, it is fetching.

The folder, btw, is a Case Gunstock in Curly Maple, which I think pairs well with the big Kimber. A blend of old and new.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Social distancing: Bayonet edition

As I have crates of old dirty bayonets lining my man cave, I decided to do a crash course on some common U.S. pokey things over in my column at Guns.com. 

Because nothing says social distancing like a rifle topped with a pokey thing.

Bringing a rifle to a sword fight

Matt Easton with Scholagladiatoria covers military bayonet/rifle fencing equipment that was common from about the 1850s through the 1930s, with, naturally, an emphasis on British kit.

You had to be a serious Tommy to suit up in one of these outfits back in the day.

British fencing musket as a properly-mustached sergeant looks on

The French also used much the same kit, as seen with this Pouli using his Berthier rifle in a fencing duel against a gendarme

The more slappy and less complicated U.S. M1912 Fencing Bayonet, for use with the M1903 Springfield

Of course, you can’t talk about British Tommies and bayonets without the mandatory mentioning of the venerable Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army fame.

Happy National Napping Day

Just in case you didn’t know, the Monday after Daylight Savings Time spring’s back is National Napping Day. In true LSOZI fashion, this is my take.

Marine Sgt. Robert Gwinn, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, takes a nap waiting for a helicopter to transport him back to base after a five-day recon patrol in the hills near Da Nang, Vietnam, 1969.

Official USMC photo by Gunnery Sergeant Bob Jordan via Marine Corps History Division

Official USMC photo by Gunnery Sergeant Bob Jordan via Marine Corps History Division

Of note, the likely exhausted Gwinn carries an aircrew/pilot’s survival knife and not a traditional K-Bar fighting knife. You can tell by the bolt-shaped pommel and sharpening stone pouch on the sheath.

As Gwinn’s patrol, according to the MCHD, “worked closely with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing pilots and aircrews,” he likely got the knife in trade. Below he is shown filling his canteen in another shot from the Corps Archives. That CAR-15 XM177, tho…

Robert Gwinn Fills His Canteens, 1969 1st Recon Danag Vietnam Marines CAR15 XM177

Bazooka Boy Scout

In this 1960s Army recruiting poster, we see PFC Vernon K. Haught, of the 82nd ABN Divison’s 325th Glider Rgt, around the final act of the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945, as he strolls in the snow-covered countryside near Ordimont, Belgium.

While the M1 2.36-inch Bazooka on his shoulder is likely his go-to should an errant Panzer poke its nose out of the woods, the thin-handled knife on the German army belt around his waist probably got a lot more daily use. The blade seems to be a Norwegian-style speiderkniv, or scout knife, of the kind commonly used by boy scouts in Western Europe at the time, differing from the beefier U.S.-style PAL or Western Cutlery-made fixed blade Boy Scout knives sold back home in the 1940s.

Also, note the M1 bayonet strapped to his leg.

After all, “Be Prepared.”

Glad I saved my $29…

As a kid in 1986– in an age where action heroes were shirtless, spoke with an Austrian accent or a mumble, and carried a big fixed blade– I downright pined for one of these $29.95 specials every time I browsed the gun mags of the day while camped out at the news rack of the local T.G.&Y.

Glad I wasn’t able to cut enough grass to afford both a wildly addictive Testors scale model habit, as well as my nascent knife wanderlust. That tang-less 420SS thing looks like pure junk-o. But hey, it had a compass!

Interesting pigsticker

This Mauser bayonet looks simple enough. For those familiar with such items, it looks like your basic M1935 knife-style bayo produced locally by Askari Fabrika turkije in Ankara for the Turkish military before WWII for their wide assortment of the 8mm Mauser M1893 and M1903 rifles.

Often using a mix of older M1913 bayonets and components with new elements as needed, these typically run about 15 inches long from tip to tip with a 10-inch grooved spear-point blade.

This example is labeled on one side “AS. FA.” for Askari Fabrika with serial number “145227” on the other and has a sheet steel scabbard and walnut panels.

What makes this bayo curious is that, sometime in the 1950s, it was modified by the NATO-allied Turks to fit an M1 Garand, of which the U.S. supplied some 300,000 through the Cold War.

As Uncle Sam did not send any bayos with said M1s, the Turks had to find a solution as best they could and both converted older Mauser bayonets as well as beginning production of a local copy of the U.S. M5 constructed by MKKE.

The more you know…

The Trooper

Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden poses with a British Pattern 1853 Cavalry Trooper’s Sword at the National Army Museum’s “Britain’s Greatest Battles” exhibit in March of 2013.

Source: National Army Museum  via Victorian Sword

Which of course, if you had a Trooper poster from the Maiden on your wall in the 1980s (like me) gives you a sense of nostalgia.

Ramrod to get a well deserved MoH

Born in 1975, Staff Sergeant David Bellavia loved show tunes and theatre before he found himself on his 29th birthday leading the “Ramrods” of Coy A, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment as the Big Red One made its way through Fallujah. You see, he was in charge as his sergeant major, company commander and executive officer had all been cut down by enemy fire.

Charging into a tough what could politely be called a persistent strong point in the form of a multi-story house during the city fighting that took place there, he started off with an M249 and ended fighting room-to-room with guys jumping out of closets and getting super CQB on him at bad breath distances. In the end, he ended up falling back on a Gerber Gator to get out of there.

“I have had better birthdays, for sure,” Bellavia later said.

I read his book, House to House: An Epic Memoir of War, then saw him speak at the Pritzker back in like 2009 and found his experience and the way he told it haunting.

The recipient of the Silver Star, SSG Bellavia, now 43, is set to the Iraq War’s first (living) Medal of Honor recipient.

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