Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Damn Glock Thing

So, anyone who knows me, or has read my posts on WeTheArmed.com, knows I don't like Glock pistols.

There's a laundry list of things I don't like about Glocks. The grip angle is a problem for many people. The trigger safety bugs me, along with a disassembly procedure that requires dry-firing on a closed chamber. That has resulted in many negligent discharges and even deaths. Plus, Glocks are just ugly.

Of course, they are extremely popular guns. They're as simple as they come- point and shoot. There's no manual safety and they're reliable to a fault. They're inexpensive. Their popularity has created a huge and mostly inexpensive aftermarket for magazines, accessories, and upgrades. I even recommend Glocks as an option for new shooters, even though I'm not a fan. They're good guns for a lot of people.

Just not me.

A while back, my friend, Jason, who is a fellow Sig pistol lover, Glock hater, and who has an often strange "gun idea of the day," mentioned he was looking at Glocks for a pocket-carry gun. This opened my mind to Glocks for a few days. His "idea of the day" passed within 24 hours, and my thoughts about them passed shortly thereafter.

Then one night, I had a dream; a nightmare really.

I usually don't remember much about my dreams other than the general gist, but rarely details. I remembered a scary amount of this one.

I walked into Abilene Indoor Gun Range, plunked down an unknown amount of money, and they handed me a Glock. Don't remember choosing or thinking. I just gave them money and took it home. I remember what the empty magwell and empty chamber looked like when I cleared it. Then I started dry firing. I remember pulling the slide back just far enough to reset, which isn't far on a Glock. I just dry fired for a while. I don't remember the trigger biting me, like that stupid trigger safety always does on me. I don't remember the normal discomfort I usually feel with the grip. The next thing I remember is thinking it was a G23, then looking at the barrel and finding it was marked "9X19mm" and realizing it was a G19.

And then I woke up, in a sweat. This was a bad dream for me.

I haven't been able to shake it. I think if I could buy handguns in Arizona I would've gone and bought one by now, but luckily I have another month plus to try and shake it.

I'm thinking I might get one even when I get back to Texas. Reason is a couple things. One, I should be proficient with any gun I pick up. Glocks are different from real guns in the grip angle, which few other designs share. That's one of the things keeping me from one. But they're so damn common, I should be able to shoot one. The other reason is that in order to badmouth...I mean, intelligently critique a weapon, you need to know it, know it's strengths, shortcomings, etc.

To evaluate it, I'm not going to risk my life by carrying it. I just have so much muscle memory in DA/SA guns, and I carry such weapons on and off duty, I'm not willing to risk that. But I plan to target shoot with it. I'm even going to shoot it in IPSC matches, once I get through the Double Tap match. I'm practiced enough with my Sigs and Beretta, and I've paid too much to enter that match that I'm not going to change my gun two months out. But after that, I'm going to wring it out in action pistol competition.

I'm hoping I can get one, shoot the crap out of it and still hate it for one reason or another. If it has negative impacts on my real gun shooting, due to grip angle or trigger or whatever, that will be enough reason for me. I'm invested enough in my DA/SA's that I carry on and off duty, and shoot well, if a Glock takes away from that, I'll sell it in a heartbeat.

I just have to know.

Cav Arms Build Complete

I know it's been a while, but my plastic AR-15 is complete, and it looks good!

As you can read from earlier posts, I started with an OD Green Cavalry Arms lower receiver. I've documented the lower build, which was not without it's hardships.

Building the upper receiver had a whole new list of difficulties. I started by ordering a DPMS light profile 20" barrel. A deployment and a total of 7 months later, it was still backordered. I canceled the order with DPMS and ordered a similar Bushmaster barrel, which arrived in less than a month. It is a standard 20" barrel with a fixed A2 front sight post/gas block. It came with a rifle-length gas tube and black rifle length handguards. Basically, it was ready to install.

I also ordered an A2 upper receiver. It arrived long before the barrel, and I just stashed it away and forgot about it. Turns out it was an A1 upper(I checked the invoice, and it did indeed list an A2 upper. They sent the wrong one), and I had an A2 rear sight kit. All of it was ordered from Brownells. I kept the A1 upper, either to sell or for a future build, and ordered an A2 upper.

When the A2 upper arrived, installation of the rear sight kit wasn't hard, and didn't require all the special tools that some websites advocate. I did it with a punch set and a screw driver.

Installing the barrel wasn't hard, either. I borrowed a can of lithium grease from Josh at Abilene Indoor Gun Range, where I do most of my gun related business. Great guys. I sprayed the receiver threads with grease, installed the barrel and torqued the barrel nut to spec with a cheap torque wrench. I left the black handguards in the closet and installed a set of OD Green Cavalry Arms rifle length handguards to give it that two-tone look.

With the upper complete, I had to install the bolt carrier group, which I had ordered months before. Standard, cheap BCG. It went in just fine, but somewhere along the line I had forgotten to get a charging handle. I cannibalized it from my M4gery (which is now known as Tactibeast- that's another post) to test the rifle.

First time I took the gun out was on a trip with my sister and her boyfriend. I shot it first to make sure it functioned safely, but then both of them shot it and enjoyed it, even without a forward assist. That's another part I forgot to order. Along with the flash hider, but that is going to be permanently cannibalized from the Tactibeast.

At the end of the day, here's a bad picture of the rifle.

Update Time

I haven't updated this in a while. I've been giving false hope to those who click on the signature line link I have on WeTheArmed.com. I say this is the place where I post all the crap no one wants to read. I have a ton of crap no one wants to read that I haven't posted here.

I completed the CavArms build, and I'll post updates to that. I've picked up my Silencerco .22Sparrow suppressor, which I haven't posted about. I've also submitted a Form 1 for a Short Barreled Rifle chambered in .300AAC Blackout, the build of which will become it's own set of posts.

I've got some other crap for no one to read, and I'm actually going to change the name of the blog to reflect that. Look for more in the future.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Sacrifice of Service

After three years as an Active Duty member of the greatest military this planet has ever seen, I've had an epiphany about the sacrifices we actually make.

There is much talk about how much service members sacrifice. It's become almost a cliche when praising those who choose to serve in the military. It's played out in common parlance. It means little anymore in everyday conversation. We just say it.

But the sacrifice is real, though it's not what we normally think of, indeed what I thought of when I heard the phrase. Until recently.

Normally, we think about the serviceman giving his life for his country, and the unique freedom she provides. We are all willing to sacrifice our lives. That's actually what the contract says when we sign up. It clearly states that we are willing to risk life, limb, disfigurement, health, etc to serve in the armed forces. We all know that as consenting adults when we join. We all sign our names saying we are WILLING to make that sacrifice, however remote that possibility is. The Department of Defense is working daily to automate warfare and remove humans from combat. When soldiers must physically engage in combat, work is being done to make them less vulnerable to all types of enemy actions. If all that fails, we have amazing battlefield medical abilities, and very few soldiers wounded in combat die of their wounds. As a result, we have the most effective and resilient military that has ever operated on Earth.

Even in the current conflict in the Middle East, it is relatively rare for a life to actually be lost. For the number of service members in theater, a miniscule amount actually die in combat. That is not to say that the lives lost are insignificant. They are the greatest heroes of my generation, and indeed make the ultimate sacrifice for what they believe in. I've been honored to airlift one of them on the first leg of his journey home. However, few if any of us who sign on the line believe we will actually give our lives in the line of duty. We all know we'll give some, but while we plan ahead for the possibility, no one expects to give all.

So for the majority of us, who aren't killed, or even injured in combat, the real sacrifice comes in things we give up in our lifestyles. Even when we live on United States soil between deployments, we have to lead our lives differently from those we vowed to protect. I've known this from before I was commissioned. I wasn't looking for jobs the way my college peers were. I also didn't have an option in where I would work or what I would do. The Air Force told me where I would go, where I would live, and what job I would have.

Since I entered active duty, I've lived in five residences in four different cities, in three states in two and a half years. I'm told when and where I may travel, where I may live, how I can ride a bicycle. The Air Force dictates virtually every aspect of my life, on and off duty.

I may not carry a gun to or from work for self defense, even though I'm licensed to do so in over half the states of The Union. I may not drive my truck without a seatbelt (not that I would) nor may I ride any two-wheeled conveyance, be it motorcycle or bike, without every conceivable safety device available. Again, I would do those things anyway, but I don't have the option not to.

If I saw a medication advertised on TV, I have to check with the Air Force before I take it. If I want to go visit my family on the weekend- only if Uncle Sam approves. I want to get married? Go ask Big Blue if it's ok.

With the frequency of our deployments, our lives are interrupted constantly. I don't have a family yet, and for that I am lucky, since I have no one to be separated from. Those who have spouses and children literally miss out on raising their families in order to protect them.

Those of us who are single aren't without inconveniences. I cannot have a pet, because I'm not home enough to care for one. I can't attend a concert, shooting match, or wedding for over half of a calendar year, due to my unit's one-to-one deployment schedule. I'm just hoping I can be my best friend's Best Man when his wedding finally happens. I can't even order things online if they'll take more than a few days for shipping. I am on call 24/7/365. I have to leave my favorite hobby- target shooting- at home for months at a time to do my job in foreign lands. It could easily be years if I am assigned to an overseas base.

When Big Blue says it's time to move, it tells me how much crap I'm allowed to take with me. My gun safe is going to take a chunk out of that allowance, even empty. It is far from empty. I cannot stockpile ammo the way I'd like to. I can't make big home improvements the way I'd love to knowing I'm just going to sell the place in a few years, and move on.

We even give up some of our rights under the Constitution, the document we swear a solemn oath to defend, in order to protect her. I did not attend the Tea Party protest in my town this year, because I'm not allowed to exercise my rights under the First Amendment while in uniform, and it was held during duty hours. I cannot keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment while on duty, unless my duties require being armed.

Of course, even after all these sacrifices, I, for one, love my job enough to make them. I love my country enough to make them. The benefits we enjoy are more than enough compensation for what we give up. I would do my job, my duty, for much less. I am paid very well, and I have great benefits. This job, these skills I am accumulating will surely put me in a competitive position for many jobs after my time in the military. Many out there agree with me. After all, I've only been in for three years, but I work with many people who have over twenty years in service to our country. I recently attended the retirement ceremony for a man with 24 years in the Air Force. His oldest child wasn't even as old as his military career. I cannot imagine how much he and his family sacrificed for their country.

It was a truly revealing moment when I realized the Sacrifice we make as members of the military are not just the willingness to give our lives in defense of the Constitution. The real sacrifice is the things we give up for the privilege of serving and protecting her.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Finished Cavalry Arms Lower

I finally finished the CavArms Lower, with a little 5/64" pin needed to hold the buffer retainer down. Since the Cav Arms Lower Receiver doesn't have a buffer tube, it needs a little pin to hold the buffer retainer down in it's hole. I learned this the hard way, but I think I made a last minute save and did it the right way.

Of course, I had to buy 36 of the pins from Brownell's, so I have plenty of spares.

I've function tested it, but I haven't shot it yet.

As of right now, I have everything to build it except the lightweight barrel from DPMS, which is still backordered. Can't do much without that.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Complete Lower

I got a package from Midway on Friday. It had a bunch of reloading stuff, along with a DPMS Lower Parts Kit, a carbine buffer and buffer spring.

Installing the LPK was interesting. The Cav-15 Lower Receiver is very tight in all tolerances. Every part fits very tightly. I lubed everything with Slipstream Lube as I installed it, and the trigger group wasn't too hard.

Some of the parts weren't used, or installed differently because it's a CAV-15 lower. The Selector detent and spring have to go in from the top, instead of with the pistol grip. That part was tough, since I had to install the spring and detent, hold them down with a punch, and try to get the selector in there. This is where that extra tight tolerance became troublesome. I got it almost lined up, then tapped it with a nylon mallet to get it in. It worked, but I smashed my thumb in the process. Pretty nasty.

I also discovered that you need a pin, which isn't included in either the LPK or with the Lower, to hold the buffer retaining pin in its hole, because there's no buffer tube to do that. I'll have to get one of those next week, since I'm on vacation this week.

The upper fits very tightly in the lower as well. I almost have everything I need to finish the upper, except the barrel. I just found out my barrel is backordered a month or two from DPMS, so that could seriously delay the build. Don't know what I'm going to do about that.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Parts

Just got the stripped upper receiver. That takes the list to Upper, Lower, Bolt Carrier Group, gas tube, and barrel nut.

Next part expected to arrive is the DPMS Light Contour Barrel with A2 Gas Block. 20" long, chambered in 5.56mm with a 1:9 twist. That should be getting here any day now.

After payday, I'll click "checkout" on the upper and lower parts kits plus a few tools for assembly.

After that, all I should need are the handguards. And some spray paint.