Category Archives: weapons

Beretta adds optics cut to APX Carry

Beretta this week announced a new installment to its APX series of modular striker-fired pistols, the svelte new optics-ready APX A1 9mm.

The company’s design philosophy of the APX A1 Carry was to develop a pistol that was easily concealed with its single-stack, sub-compact, and thin grip design that makes it essentially invisible, no matter the clothes you wear or whether you carry inside or outside the waistband.

And it comes in four colors at a price of $449

More in my column at Guns.com. 

Lost Magazines on the Beach, and We aren’t talking Cosmo

The National Park Service’s Gulf Island National Seashore– which includes a number of coastal defense positions and Third Period forts (Barrancas and Pickens) around Pensacola, Florida as well as Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island off Gulfport– has closed a section of Perdido Key.

The reason? Almost 200 19th century shells, some still live.

Via NPS: 

Following Hurricane Ida, military munitions were discovered near the far end of the seashore’s Perdido Key Area. This event has resulted in a temporary closure of the area, with an abundance of caution should there be additional undiscovered munitions still buried.

The area where the munitions were found is closed and marked with signs. Visitors walking or boating in this area are prohibited from entering. Staff will be monitoring and patrolling the area regularly.

“The park continues to monitor the area for newly discovered munitions and will secure the site(s) should any be found in the future,” said Darrell Echols, GUIS Superintendent. “Our goal is to ensure that the area is safe for the visitors and staff, and that cultural resources are protected.”

More than 190 cannonballs were detonated in September within park boundaries with help from other federal agencies. No more unexploded ordnances have been identified. Munitions found within national park boundaries are considered cultural artifacts and are protected by law. It is illegal for the public to harm, deface, damage, or remove these items.

It’s a shame that some of the shells weren’t saved, as surely not all were live, but I guess the NPS has enough on hand for their exhibits. Plus, if they would have said some weren’t dangerous, you can bet the would-be collectors would be sifting Perdido Key until all the Sea Oats were gone and the key itself washed away.

However, as someone who has grown up in the shadow of Vicksburg, Port Gibson, and the Battle of Mobile Bay battlefields, I can vouch that there are hundreds of old shells on mantles across the Gulf South– many still with fuzes.

Not saying it’s the safest thing in the world, and I wouldn’t recommend it, just making a statement that they are more common than you think.

Kimber’s Shark in the Micro 9 Pool

Since the Sig Sauer P365 came out in 2017, which gave the booming concealed carry market a 10+1 capacity 9mm that wasn’t much bigger than a 6+1 .380 blowback, seemingly everyone else is trying to catch up. You’ve seen the Taurus GX4, Ruger MAX, S&W Shield Plus, and Springfield Armory Hellcat all hit the shelves, which were basically the same thing only with different branding.

Now there is the Kimber R7 Mako, which allows a 13+1 capacity, has an optics cut and TruGlo Tritium night sights standard, and excellent– for a striker-fired gun– trigger and ergos.

Plus, rather than a brutal utilitarian look familiar to the rest of the competition, the smooth lines and laser-cut texturing of the Mako just seems, well, kinda pretty.

My thoughts after spending the past few weeks with the R7 Mako after the jump over to Guns.com. 

Scout Car Wandering Around SC

80 Years Ago Today:

Established in 1913 and associated with the New Jersey Army National Guard (unofficially carrying the lineage of the Civil War-era 1st New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry) after the Dick Act replaced state militia units, the 102nd Cavalry Regiment was taken into federal service for the Punitive Expedition against Villa in 1916 then shipped over to France where it served (sans horses, broken up into MP, field artillery, and train headquarters troops for the 29th Infantry Division) in the Meuse-Argonne/Alsace in 1918.

Interbellum, the 102nd was reformed in 1921 and assigned to the 21st (National Guard) Cavalry Division along will all the other horse cav in the Northeast. This association ended in 1937 with the general disbanding of most of the Army’s and Guard’s mounted units and, in 1940, the 102nd became gently mechanized.

Inducted into federal service on 6 January 1941, the unit was broken up into a couple of different cavalry reconnaissance squadrons (mechanized) and shipped out for England where they landed at Normandy and fought across Northwest Europe under Major General Leonard Gerow’s Fifth Corps.

Today, the 102nd is still mechanized, as a recon unit for the 50th IBCT, 42nd “Rainbow” Infantry Division, and is still part of the NJANG, although they don’t roll in WMC Scout Cars anymore.

Happy 495, Beretta

As noted by Beretta:

“In 1526, Mastro Bartolomeo Beretta (1490-1565/68) of Gardone Val Trompia, Brescia, Italy, received 296 ducats as payment for 185 arquebus barrels sold to the Arsenal of Venice. Although there is a history of Beretta products’ production in the 1500s, this particular moment in our history is the first documented sale of Beretta products in the known world, and it is the foundational point from which our company began its commanding presence in the firearms manufacturing industry.”

Now close to the 500-year mark, Beretta is known for more than just their barrels.

S&W Waves Goodbye to Massachusetts After 169 Years

Citing “the changing business climate for firearms manufacturing in Massachusetts,” Smith & Wesson said they are relocating their historic headquarters to a more pro-gun climate.

The move, announced Thursday, would see S&W’s headquarters and “significant elements of its operations” including 750 jobs move from Springfield, Massachusetts, to Maryville, Tennessee, by 2023. While the famed American gun maker has been based in Springfield since 1852, company officials say it is time for a change.

“This has been an extremely difficult and emotional decision for us, but after an exhaustive and thorough analysis, for the continued health and strength of our iconic company, we feel that we have been left with no other alternative,” said Mark Smith, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

More in my column at Guns.com. 

I Dig Oddball European Semi-Autos

As you know, I go all giggly for curious European autoloaders. For example, I give you this fine spaghetti pistola of Mr. Giuseppe Nicola Galesi that I recently came across at GDC:

Based in Brescia, Italy, Galesi was in operation from about the mid-1920s to about the mid-1960s, where the GCA of 1968 likely cut off their exports to the U.S. and forced it out of the market.

The above specimen is a Model 9, a little 8/7/6+1 shot pocket gun based on Browning’s Model 1910 that was made in .22 LR, .32 ACP, and .380 ACP cal. Using synthetic grips, they were offered in blued and chromed models with a 3.25-inch barrel, a frame-mounted manual safety, and basic fixed sights.

More on the Galesi firm, here.

Autumn Forge ’78

NATO’s Historian just posted this, which is awesome for fans of Cold War gear and equipment.

A documentary presented by Robert MacNeil from NATO headquarters in Brussels and showing a 1978 combined NATO exercise, “Autumn Forge”, that took place in September 1978 in the Federal Republic of Germany, testing the capacity for rapid reinforcements to NATO’s central front in Europe, the most vulnerable area the Alliance has to defend.

Chapters

00:00 Introduction

06:23 Day One

11:49 Day Two

18:07 Day Three

22:42 Day Four

25:50 Epilogue

SACEUR, U.S. Army General Alexander M. Haig, placed great emphasis on improving the “Three Rs” – Readiness, Rationalisation, and Reinforcement – in order to counter-balance the growing military capabilities of the Warsaw Pact. One of SHAPE’s major tasks during this period was to study how to improve the command and control and flexibility of NATO forces in Europe. In 1975, Gen. Haig also introduced a major new NATO exercise program called Autumn Forge, whose best-known element was the REFORGER (Return of Forces to Germany) series. These exercises brought together national and NATO exercises improved their training value and annually tested the ability of the Alliance’s North American members to reinforce Europe rapidly.

On FN’s Tactical Plinker

A few weeks ago, FN debuted a more “tactical” minded .22LR pop gun. Sure, sure, the company, through its Browning spinoffs, has been making rimfire handguns for generations but those preceding guns were all meant for Bullseye-type shooting. Sadly, Bullseye has been losing steam for decades and everything today is more, well, tactical, especially for those under 50.

Enter the FN 502.

I’ve been kicking it around for a couple of weeks and have 300 or so rounds through it both suppressed and unsuppressed as well as with and without a micro red dot installed. I have to admit, it is fun.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Dutch Harbor: Fast Forward 80 Years

Earlier this month, USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756), a shiny new 420-foot Legend-class National Security Cutter (named in honor of the organizer of the United States Life-Saving Service and the General Superintendent of the Life-Saving Service from 1878–1915), along with sistership Berthoff, kept a close eye on a four-ship Chinese Navy task force that came within 43 miles of the Alaskan coast. 

Last week, Kimball made another international connection along the shores of the 49th State when, in a less tense interaction, she steamed alongside JS Kashima (TV-3508), an officer training ship of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. A 4,050-ton vessel, the 469-foot Kashima is about the size of a frigate and is a good mirror to Kimball, armed with a single 76mm OTO and a set of ASW torpedo tubes.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and the Japan Naval Training Vessel Kashima transit together during a maritime exercise near Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2021. (USCG photo)

Via U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Alaska:

The Kimball crew and the JMSDF crew, aboard the Naval Training Vessel Kashima, operated alongside one another in the Aleutian Island chain to exchange visual communications, followed by honors, as their respective crews lined their ship’s rails for a uniform salute.

This display of maritime cooperation and mutual respect emphasizes both the United States’ and Japan’s continued commitment to one another and to partnership at sea.

“The Kimball crew welcomed the opportunity to meet the Kashima and conduct a professional exercise at sea,” said Capt. Thomas D’Arcy, the Kimball’s commanding officer. “Seeing the crews aboard the Kimball and the Kashima line the rails for the passing of honors illustrates the spirit of collaboration between the U.S. Coast Guard and Japan’s maritime forces. The exercise, movements and communications between our vessels were expertly executed and the salutes exchanged exemplify the strength of our relationship with Japan as a key partner.”

Over the past year, the U.S. and Japan have increasingly strengthened their relationship in the maritime domain through the shared mission set of the JMSDF and the U.S. Coast Guard. This includes search and rescue collaboration with the 14th Coast Guard District in Hawaii and the Japanese Coast Guard Training Ship Kajima, as well as exercises between the Japanese Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Cutters Kimball, Munro and Bertholf near the Ogasawara Islands and in the North Pacific, respectively.

The first joint exercise between the Kashima crew and a Coast Guard crew occurred in the Bering Sea last September in the form of a personnel exchange with the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley.

The Kashima is one of four training ships that belong to the JMSDF and is used to train new officers. About 110 newly-commissioned officers and more than 300 crewmembers are aboard the ship for its nearly two-month journey from Hiroshima to Alaska, up to the Arctic and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, then back to Japan.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and the Japan Naval Training Vessel Kashima transit together during a maritime exercise near Dutch Harbor, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2021. (USCG photo)

Of course, June 2022, only about nine months from now, will be the 80th anniversary of the Japanese push against Dutch Harbor as a sideshow to the Battle of Midway, which shows just how much things can change in that amount of time. In another irony, of course, sharp naval historians will recognize that a previous “Kashima” on the Japanese naval list was a Katori-class light cruiser of WWII fame that also spent some time steaming under U.S. escort. 

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