Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Went fishing yesterday. nice thing about living here is that you can hop on your mountain bike, pedal across town and be waist deep in primo fishing waters in about twenty minutes. Usually when I’m doing that sort of thing I take one of the Glocks and tuck it into a UM84 holster and attach it to my belt with a pistol lanyard. This way, if I slip on the slick river rocks and take a swim, I dont lose my gun. Which, actually, is exactly what happened. As I was trying to wade back to the shore, the current (which was rather strong) pushed me off balance and I was up to my neck in the river. Not a big deal, I can swim and the water wasnt deep. But…everything from the neck down was soaked. Thats the nice thing about the Glock…it gets completely submerged under water and all you have to do is shake the water out of it, tuck it back in the wet holster, and it’ll be fine. I’d say ‘Try that with your 1911 some time’ but most folks would blanch at the thought of dunking their 1911 under wtaer and then leaving it in a wet holster for a few hours.

No worries, mate…it’s a Glock.

Scene from the neighborhood

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The other side of the sign says:


I’ve been in there and its a pretty good little surplus place run by a True Believer. How true a believer? Well, he’ll take payment in pre-65 coinage as well as any interesting trades that will give him a leg up on the apocalypse. Nice guy with some cool stuff.

.22 Kits

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The topic of .22 conversion kits still seems to be bouncing around, so lets explore that some more.

Pretty much any military arm, at some point, had a .22 caliber training version. Sometimes a dedicated gun, sometimes a conversion kit, but the reasons were always the same – economy and ease of training.

Nowadays, with .308 being around $0.45 per round, .223 not far behind it, and even 9mm being around $0.25, the notion of being able to practice at $0.05 per round seems pretty attractive. This isnt going to be an all-encompassing list, and it will surely have some personal bias in it, so, as always, your mileage may vary.

Seems like everyone has an AR of some type these days so lets start there. The earliest AR conversions that Ive found were the military (Air Force, I think) conversion kits (M231). I’ve no experience with them, and I’ve only seen a few out in the wild. Colt made a very nice conversion kit back in the 80’s and 90’s but it was hampered by a 10-round magazine. Much, much later, aftermarket mags would become available that held more rounds. Ciener conversions seem to be the style that is most popular. Everyone seems to have copied Ciener’s design but, unlike Ciener’s actual product, everyone else’s seems to work just fine. Ciener has something of a reputation, deserved or undeserved I cannot say, for a bad product and worse customer service. Maybe he’s a standup guy with bad people skills..beats me. However, I have had 2 of his kits that I purchased used that never worked right, and the local PD has a kit they use that is also hit-n-miss. I’ve had some people tell me their Ciener kits work great, and I’ve had others tell me otherwise. I’ll err on the side of caution and give Ciener a pass. What you do is entirely up to you. What .22 kit do I recommend for the AR? If you can find a Colt one and a couple higher-cap mags, that’d be a great choice. Otherwise, I have a CMMG conversion that I like a lot. I shoot mostly Federal bulk out of it and it works great. Im sure there are some other kits out there (Spike’s, etc) that are just as good, but I can only tell you what I’ve shot and my experience with it.

Note that the bullet diameter of a .22 LR and a .223 isnt identical. The .22 LR is going to rattle down your bore a bit. This means your accuracy is going to be pretty sketchy. I use .22 kits for gun handling practice, so accuracy is very relative. When I’m practicing with the AR mu aim is to bring the gun up, get a sight picture, flip the safety off, and get a round off where the sights are pointed in as brief a time as possible. Or I’ll be practicing transitioning to weak-side and doing the same. Or shooting from different positions. My target is usually a steel plate about the size of a cafeteria tray at 50 yards so pinpoint accuracy isnt really needed. If you want the most accurate .22 kit possible for your AR you’ll need to get a dedicated .22 upper. Its a nice way to go, but for my needs a conversion kit is just fine.

For .308, we have the PTR-91 series of HK clones. HK made a .22 conversion kit for the semiauto HK91 and the full auto G3. The G3 conversion kits are easier to find and can be found at places like Cheaper Than Dirt. The bad news is theyre about $500. The good news is they are genuine HK, work great, and are worth the money in the long run. Spare mags for the conversion kits were a bit tough to locate but aftermarket plastic ones are now available. The HK kit uses a replacement bolt, mags and a barrel liner. There are some minor functional differences when you use the G3 kit in a semi-auto, but they are easily mitigated. With the high cost of .308 these days, shooting .22 makes the $500 kit pay for itself pretty quickly. And the quality? Oy vey! It comes in a lovely fitted wooden case…HK may suck, and they may hate you, but they do make some really cool stuff from time to time.

For the Glocks, we just got the Tactical Solutions .22 conversion. You can read about it a few posts back. So far, we’re pretty pleased with it. There are a couple other conversions for the Glock out there these days and after researching them, the missus proclaimed that this was the one we were going to get. Looks like she picked a winner. We had a heck of a wait to get one from a dealer since demand is so darn high, but after about five months one finally came through. Again, not cheap, but worth it for affordable practice and keeping perishable skills up to date.

We dont have conversions for the 1911’s because, frankly, they’re a tertiary level of handgun for us. We shoot, and will carry, the 9mm probably more than we will the 1911 .45’s so we dont really need a .22 kit for them. However, if youre a 1911 dinosaur fan there are kits out there as well. Probably, and im just guessing here, the best would be the Colt kits that were made decades ago. The nice thing about them is that they used the ‘floating chamber’ system to approximate .45 recoil. And it worked…sorta. Ruger makes their 22/45 which, while having no resemblance to a 1911 in any way does mimic the grip angle and control location/functions so that may be a viable way to practice.

Other conversions? Well, if you choose to walk in harms way with the AK or the Mini-14 there are conversion kits available for you too…bad news is that theyre made by Ciener. However, if you shoot the AK or Sig, there are .22 caliber version of those rifles to be had. Uzi made a .22 kit for their carbines. CZ has a conversion kit for their excellent CZ-75 series of pistols.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no readily available conversion kits or .22 trainers for the FAL, M1A, Garand (although why you’d show up to the apocalypse with one is beyond me), HK 93, HK 94, Valmet, or AR-180. Interestingly, there are conversions for the 98 Mauser that turn up from time to time as well as full size .22LR Mauser rifles. There were, naturally, .22 conversion for the SMLE, Mosin, Springfield, etc, but they are rare enough to be collectors items…

Since Ruger is trying to be responsive to customer needs these days, you’d think someone in their R&D department would come up with a .22 conversion kit for their Mini-14. Or perhaps a conversion for their P-series of doorstops pistols. (I kid, I kid…I actually have a grudging respect for those P-series…about as robust and durable as a granite boulder.)

When you cant get a conversion, you can get a .22 trainer version of your gun. There are .22 AR’s, AK’s, Sig’s, 1911’s, etc, etc. Keep in mind that almost universally they will not be the same size and weight as ‘the real thing’. This means your handling experience may not be as authentic compared to if you were using a kit.

There you have it. Less-than-everything you wanted to know about conversions. In a nutshell:
CMMG or Colt for your AR
Avoid Ciener
Tactical Solution for your Glock
HK for your HK/PTR-91

One last thing, always check..some kits prefer certain types of ammo. If it prefers filet mignon ammo you may be better off with the kit that prefers ground round ammo. Happy shooting.

Sentry guns

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

More signs of the times:

Farm Thieves Target Grapes, and Even Bees
Thieves target North Texas ambulances

Darn… if only there was some sort of automated armed sentry system you could deploy to keep the thieves outta your fiels and outta your ambulance bay. You know, something like these:

Well, as it turns out, here’s how to build your own sentry gun.
Personally, I’d be really reluctant to strap a 10/22 and a 50-round drum to something like this…but it would be handy with something less than lethal like paintball gun or the like. More likely it would be useful with some sort of high-intensity searchlight mounted on it to track targets for the human operators. But, I suppose if youre confident in your programming and you havent seen 2001: A Space Odyssey you can trust your programming skills to not get yourself killed.

Economy musings

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Being prepared requires, for good or bad, that you maintain a certain amount of awareness about what goes on around you. Sure, this is meant literally…as in making sure no one is standing behind you at an ATM, etc. But it also means being aware of what is going on around you on a larger, broader scale. To me, that means having to stay on top of the news. Not parked in front of the computer 24 hours a day hitting the ‘refresh’ button every thirty seconds….just taking a few minutes a couple times a day to view US and, especially, non-US news sources to see whats going on in the world. The problem with this is that, as a wise man once said, when all you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. Meaning, when you’re gearing up for the end of the world every news item looks like a portent of the apocalypse.

Current frontrunner for being the catalyst that throws the world into chaos is the current economic crisis that is dominating the news. I was rereading some of my earlier (like 2003) posts and I pretty much said that the big threats that would be coming would more likely be economic than terroristic. I might have been right on that one. This debt ceiling debacle is dominating the headlines and the way people carry on you would think we’re going to devolve into a Mad Max-ian dystopia if we don’t borrow more money that we cant afford to pay back.

I’m not sure I’m all that concerned. Raised or not, there’s going to be unpleasant economic consequences either way. They won’t appear overnight, and they won’t appear as grand and dramatic sudden changes, but the consequences will exist nonetheless. (I’m reminded of Rand’s statement “You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality”) Higher taxes, unemployment, currency valuation issues, etc, etc. It’s looking like a choice between a death by a thousand cuts or a death by two thousand cuts. Really, there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it so I’m simply going to follow it just out of curiosity to see how it turns out, and instead focus on mitigating, if possible, the consequences.

A trip through CostCo the other day showed that prices continue to rise on many items and on the items that are ‘holding the line’ you can see tricks to keep prices static. My ice cream costs the same, but now it’s 1.5 quarts instead of a half gallon…same size container though, so you dont notice. Toilet paper that used to be 500 sheets to a roll? 400 sheets. Same price. Five pound bag of sugar? Four pounds. It’s subtle, and you may not notice it, but these are the tricks and gimmicks going on at the moment to keep you from noticing that prices are going up. More than ever, you need to do the math at the supermarket these days and see just how much youre paying per unit/pound/ounce/gallon.

I’ve mentioned it before, go read The Alpha Strategy. It makes the argument, much better than I can, that one of the most sensible things you can do is to stock up (heavily) on things that you’ll always need and will likely be more expensive later. I was rereading some posts from 2004 and apparently back then I was buying 7.62×39 for $90 a case of 1000. That warm, nostalgic, ‘gosh I wish I had stocked up’ feeling that youre having right now when I talk about $90/1000 ammo? Imagine that exact same feeling about disposable razors, toilet paper, sugar, socks and car tires.

I started this post about having to stay aware of things by watching/reading the news and, as usual, it evolved into something else. Well, writing is an organic process…you never know where it’s going to end up.

Tactical Solutions .22 kit for Glock

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The .22 conversion kit for the Glock has arrived. Most .22 conversions usually have you replace the slide of your pistol. The slide that is used as a replacement is often of a lighter alloy than the original slide…the .22 usually doesnt generate enough recoil normally to move a massive steel slide like a centerfire cartridge will. However, with a little ingenuity and engineering you can not only get a slide of ‘normal’ mass to operate, you can even do a fairly accurate simulation of recoil as well. (The Colt .22 conversions utilized a ‘floating chamber’ to achieve this effect.) The conversion kit we picked up is made by Tactical Solutions. We picked up their kit designed for use on full-size 9/40 frames. Also picked up two spare mags for a total of three 15-shot mags. As an aside, TS also offers a threaded barrel for the conversion which might be kinda handy if you have a suppressor.

First thing you notice is that if you didnt know better youd swear the TS slide was a genuine OEM Glock slide…heft, shape, color and everything else are identical to the Glock slide. It even has Glock factory sights on it. Obviously theres some internal differences but outwardly you wouldnt be able to tell the difference between the two except by the markings. Unlike many conversion, the slide is steel rather than aluminum, zinc or other lightweight alloy.

The conversion has no locking mechanism…operation is pretty much straight blowback, unlock the centerfire versions which lock up on the hood of the ejection port.

Assembly to the frame of your Glock is about what you expect…just like fieldstripping your gun normally. I havent weighed the conversion slide to see if theres a weight discrepency but if there is it isnt terribly noticeable. EDIT: Its about 4 ounces lighter.

So how’s it shoot? Not bad. The instructions call for MiniMags, Blazer, and Federal Automatch ammo. Having none of that on hand I went with Remington and Federal bulk. Personally, I have been disappointed with the performance of Remington .22 in the past and this was no different. Remington, to me, has become the bottom of the barrel for ammo…their cartridge cases are usually the worst for inconsistency and their rimfire ammo gives my semiautos more headaches than any other brand. It’s okay for revolvers and bolt guns butI’ll continue to stockpile Fed bulk and you should too. (Although I do keep a small stash of CCI Stingers around because they work best in my Beretta 21A.)

Loading up a few mags with the Remingtons produced a few failures to fire (typical in a rimfire since the distribution of priming compound isn’t exactly a science) and more than a few failures to extract. Im attributing the FTE to it being a new ‘gun’ and the extractor might need to break in a bit. Switching over to Fed bulk gave much more reliable ignition and only a couple FTE. The conversion itself performed great…slide locked back on last shot, slide lock released the slide the way it was supposed to, and groups were quite nice. Recoil was, as expected, not the same as with the centerfire ammo but to me that isnt a big deal. I see this kit as being used mostly for gun handling drills rather than accuracy drills. What I mean by that is that I see its major use as practicing one-hand/weak hand draw/shoot drills, practicing draw-and-snap-sight-picture drills, practicing transition drills from longarm to pistol and vice versa, and that sort of thing…for which this kit excels.

Is it cheap? Holy Crom, no. If you dont shop around you’ll pay almost as much as you would for a used police trade-in Glock. Is it worth the money? It depends on how seriously you take your shooting and how much you shoot. The .22 ammo recommended is around four cents per round. Thats $40/1000. Whats cheap factory reloads costing these days? $12/50? Thats about 24 cents each. Or a 6:1 ratio. Meaning that you can shoot six mags of .22 for the price of one mag of .40. Or, to put it in better terms, you can practice one day per week with .40 or you can practice six days a week with .22. We got the kit for our own use, but we’ll be doing a demo for the local police department since theyre budget is tight and they could use an alternative for cheap practice drills.

What I really love, love, love is that I can now slap the .22 conversion into my PTR-91 or AR-15, put the Glock .22 conversion in my holster, head to the range and do longgun/pistol transition drills, from behind cover, weak hand, etc, etc, all day long for about $20.

Conclusion? Yeah, its a great kit. Seems to do everything it’s supposed to. Is it the best? Beats me, I;ve only tried this one but having tried it I think if anyone bought one theyd be quite pleased.

Article – ‘Bullet Tax’ Proposed By Mayoral Candidate

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

BALTIMORE — A mayoral candidate’s plan to reduce violence in Baltimore includes a “bullet tax” that he said will increase the cost of committing a crime.

Otis Rolley said he would, if elected, propose a $1 per bullet tax on all bullet purchases in the city.

The stupid…it burns!

This isnt the first time some brainless politician (but I repeat myself) has come up with such an amazingly stupid idea. Pat Moynihan, I believe, wanted to tax the crap outta .22, .25 and .32 pistol ammo back in the 90’s since they were what were used in many crime guns of the time.

On a national level, as you may know, theres already an excise tax on guns and ammo. In addition, if you want fun guns like SBR’s, full autos, sawed-off shotguns, etc, theres a further tax penalty.

For me, reloading my own ammo, in addition to saving money, gives me a bit of a headstart on avoiding these sorts of issues. The bottleneck, of course, is primers…I can make my own bullets, and in a pinch I might be able to even make my own black powder, but making my own primers just is not in the cards (although it can be done with more than a small amount of difficulty and a large helping of unreliability.) I suppose some pipe-bomb-on-a-stick muzzleloading flintlock would put you completely off the radar in terms of self-sufficiency…cast your own balls, make your own powder, make your own flints…, and while a rocklock beats an empty hand, I think I’d rather just stock up on primers and smokeless powder.

Anyway, its an interesting avenue to take since making something prohibitively expensive can work just as effectively as a total ban. And , yes, the proposed legislation mentioned in the article is local to that city, and it is likely that the ammo is acquired the same way the guns are – illegally – and thus the only ones inconvenienced will be legitimate shooters and retailers.

Movie – Contagion

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Although bird flu is no longer the catalyst-of-the-moment for the end of the world, that hasnt stopped filmmakers from coming up with a new movie on the subject:

If youre going to watch a movie about this sort of thing, I recommend ‘Carrier‘, which was much more apocalyptic and quite a bit darker than most movies of this genre. (And by ‘dark’ I dont mean violent or bloody…any idiot can slosh buckets of blood in front of a camera, I mean ‘dark’ in the sense that it deals more with the dark side of human nature and the descent into ….uncivility?…and corruption.)

But, as fanciful and unrealistic as movies like these can be, they are useful…they get a person thinking about things they may not have thought about before or thinking about them in a way they may not have thought about them before. This is one reason that I think ’survival fiction’ and ‘zombie apocalypse’ movies/books have a legitimate place in one’s library of resources…it makes you think.