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M9, relieved

The Beretta M9 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier variant has been used to conduct over 100,000 wreath-laying ceremonies and has been carried by NCO Sentinels on 279,850 Guard changes. It has been replaced by the new Sig Sauer M17 Tomb variant.

In this video, Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) received brand new ceremonial M17 Pistols replacing the M9. The pistols were specially made to uphold standards of the Sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

More on the new Sig in my column at

The Doughboy knuckle-sandwich

Via the U.S. Army Ordnance Training and Heritage Center:

This Model 1918 Mark I trench knife was made in France by Au Lion in 1918 for use by US troops during World War I. The US also produced these knives during the war, but having a French contract allowed for expedited distribution to US troops already overseas. The knife has a 6.75” doubled edged steel blade and a bronze handle with cast spikes on each of the knuckles, and a distinctive 4-sided nut on the end. Stamped in the handle: U.S.1918. On the opposite side, engraved in the ricasso: [Au Lion logo] / AU LION. The Model 1918 Mark I knives were also distributed during World War II, though often modified, for example removing the knuckles.

Nice to see blued steel is back

Ruger is offering a variant of their classic SP101 small frame double-action revolver for those who eschew the gun’s normal stainless configurations.

The new five-round wheel gun is manufactured from alloy steel, and features a 2.25-inch barrel, fixed rear sight and ramped front sight. Chambered in .357 Magnum and weighing in at 26-ounces, Chris Killoy, Ruger president & CEO said in a statement the company has fielded numerous customer requests for the new model, which is manufactured in their New Hampshire plant.

More in my column at

One generation removed from Mr. Lincoln’s Corps

Marine Lt. Wendell Cushing Neville (far left, with sword) presents the Marine Guard detachment aboard the 2nd-class battleship/armored cruiser USS Maine (ACR-1), circa 1895. Note the Springfield M1884 “Trapdoor” single-shot .45-70 rifles with the same musket-style bayonet that Napoleon would recognize, kepi headgear, leather M1864 knapsacks and “U.S.M.C” marked haversacks.

All in all, not too different from the same Marine Corps that walked the decks for Dahlgren, Farragut, and Porter.

Note the ages of these regulars. You can bet they were rather salty. From the Wendell C. Neville Collection (COLL/2985) in the Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections.

Neville (USNA 1890), of note, would later receive a MOH for his work in Mexico, lead the much better-equipped 5th Marines at Belleau Wood, and become the 14th Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1929.

Maine would later be sunk in Havana Harbor in 1898, sparking the Spanish-American War.

What’s a pongo and how low can you go?

From The Observation Post, a great military blog covering the SADF.

This extremely low flying South African Air Force Harvard was flown as a ‘dare’ to the pilot by the South African ‘pongo’ (army) personnel about to be buzzed. ‘Pongo’ is a derogatory term used by other arms of the forces, such as the Navy or the Air Force to describe the Army – comes from the British army tradition of saying .. “where the pong (smell) goes – the army goes”

It gets worse.

Head on over for more background.

SA finally does a Croatian Centimeter

Springfield Armory on last week announced they were adding a pair of 10mm offerings to their popular XD(M) line of handguns.

Teased for the past two years, the new 10mm installment to the XD series features a full-sized pistol with either a 4.5- or 5.25-inch Melonite finished match-grade hammer-forged barrel with fully supported chambers.

Both variants include “Mega-Lock” grip texturing (bye bye “Grip Zone!”) with three interchangeable backstraps and a 15+1 magazine capacity. When it comes to sights, the 4.5-inch model has a low-profile combat rear paired with a fiber optic front, while the 5.25 variant runs a fully adjustable target rear with a fiber optic front.

Springer is pretty serious about them, showing off a 10K round (and mega boring) reliability test using some pretty high-dollar ammo, and have a $652 MSRP on the shorter version. Plus through the end of the year SA has a deal where you get three extra mags (in addition to the pair that comes with the gun) and a carrying case for free once you register for the warranty.

Still, a Glock 20 runs in the same price neighborhood, so that is gonna be a tough sell.

More in my column at

F-35B supercut, RN edition

The below ~4 minutes show what’s it like to fly an F-35 off the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth with some great photography that displays, if nothing else, that the RN’s combat camera guys are on point.

Yokosuka Sasebo 横須賀 佐世保

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