Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Out With A Bang

This is my promised Kahr Arms CW9 review, which will also be my final article until I return from Afghanistan. The good news is that I'll be leaving on a high note.

My friend James and I argued a lot over my carrying a S&W 442. I loved my 442 because it was so small and light that it wasn't a pain to carry. I could easily conceal it under just a t-shirt in an IWB holster. James's counterpoint was that I only had five rounds of rather anemic .38+p on board and that it takes an eternity to light off the second shot because of muzzle rise. Then one day I went to a local big-box gun dealer and saw a Kahr CW9 in the gun case and just out of curiosity, I asked to see it. It was very small and very light. Strikingly light. Then I pulled the trigger and fell in love. It had the same long, smooth pull as my 442, but several pounds lighter. Add in that the CW9 has a 7 round magazine (8 with one in the pipe), and it didn't take long for me to make the trade.

As of this writing, I have about 350 rounds through the CW9 with no failures of any kind. It has been a fantastic carry piece, and I love it. The only hitch has been that one of the extra mags I bought (Kahr brand, not some cheap knockoff like Pro Mag) does not drop free. That's fine because I have two mags that do drop free and when I carry an autoloader, I typically only carry one extra magazine.

On to business, the first time I took the CW out, I practiced from 10 yards on a steel plate rack. I dropped one shot on the very first magazine I fired, but then went on to hit every time, and only missed when I rushed a shot. The gun is accurate. Sometimes I needed to adjust the nut behind the trigger though. I can draw from concealment and fire a volley of three or four and keep them all inside 4" from 10-15 yards. It handles fast too. There's some muzzle flip, but very little felt recoil. My M&P9c might be a bit quicker, but doesn't carry as nice. Oh, and I put about 50 rounds of Hornady XTP 124gr JHP through it without a hitch. I will feed it some 147gr Winchester Ranger STX tomorrow and see what happens. I'm guessing it will continue to be as reliable as an anvil.

On that note, I've been carrying my CW9 since I put the Kahr-recommended 200 rounds of "break-in" through it. It carries just as easily as my 442, if not a little easier. My shirt was forever being caught on the rubber grip of my 442 as I got in and out of cars or stood up out of chairs. The hard plastic grip of the CW doesn't do that, and it is easier to hide because it doesn't have that lump in the middle where the cylinder goes.

I will probably go back to the M&P for winter carry just because I get four more rounds in each magazine, but the CW is much thinner. The CW has a longer grip that accommodates my whole hand, but is about half an inch shorter down the slide. For a skinny kid, the CW makes more sense, and is really easy to put in the waistband every day. And that's what you want--a gun that you won't leave at home or in the glovebox because it's a pain to carry.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the CW. I would absolutely recommend it, especially given its very low sticker price. Mine was marked $440, but I got nearly $300 in trade from my 442. If you shop around, you can probably find one for around $400. Maybe less. Mags are a little pricey, especially since they only hold 7 rounds (8rd mags are available, but stick out under the grip).

I'm looking forward to shooting this thing a few more times before I strip it down for long term storage. Best of luck to my meager audience over the next year. Plan on seeing an owner's review of the 2011 Mustang GT when I get back.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Coming Soon: Kahr Arms CW9 Review!

I traded off my trusty S&W 442 for a Kahr Arms CW9 this morning. I should get some range time tonight, and quite a bit over the weekend. Coincidentally, my steel plate rack should be in this afternoon, so I may turn the little guy loose on that this weekend. Oh, and the Justin Timberlake vid is here because Kahr's tag line is "Thin Is Sexy". We'll see. I'm a Christina Hendricks fan myself.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Check Out My Brazilian!

Yesterday I picked up a Taurus PT92 AFS (the shiny one) as a training stand-in for the much more expensive Beretta M9. I would have picked up a blued one, but they didn't have one in stock and the price was right anyway.

First off, Taurus builds the PT92 on old Beretta tooling they bought in the early 90s. The biggest difference is that the Taurus's safety is frame-mounted and has three positions: safe, fire, and decock. The Beretta's safety is mounted high on the slide and isn't as handy to use. The Beretta offers a better fit and finish, as I'll explain later, but the Taurus is several hundred dollars cheaper. Yesterday before dark, James and I headed out to give the PT92 AFS a good wringing out. 500 rounds later, I reached a conclusion.

My PT92 AFS came with two 17 round magazines, and that's about it. No plastic case or loading tool or any fancy extras that other makers give you, but again, that is reflected in the price. There are some tool marks on the inside, but not bad. The trigger was shockingly good. The double action pull was slick and nice. The single action pull was light and pretty crisp, which made for some tight groups at the range. From 25 yards, I could make repeated hits on my zombie target's 4" square scoring zone target made from printer paper and a thick sharpie. Accuracy was really quite good. Also, because this is an all steel, large-frame 9mm handgun, there is very little felt recoil. It handles FAST. Not through cleverness or science and math, but simply because they used 44 tons of stainless steel in this gun. It really started to grow on me by the second or third magazine.

But there were hints of Taurus's sordid quality control history. The issue was the magazine release, which hadn't been fully screwed into place. Just like the Beretta mag release button, one side is a nut and the other is threaded. You simply screw it in to lock it down. It had been screwed in, but was left one rotation short of being fully in place. That meant that under recoil, the button would shift downward and prevent the mag from being ejected when the button was pressed. When we got back to civilization, it took about five minutes to fix this, but it shouldn't have been an issue in the first place. On the range, this issue was annoying. On the street, this could have been fatal.

Additionally, Taurus has retrofit its 15 round PT92 mags to hold 17 rounds by changing the follower. And it hasn't really worked. It was hard to get past 15 rounds, and one mag held 17 while the other could only get to 16 before giving up. I'd rather just have 15 round mags that worked a little better. I had two occasions where the slide wasn't held open at the last round, but that could have been an ammo issue too, as I had some REALLY crappy NATO-knockoff stuff that had sleepy primers. I also had one double feed out of the 500 rounds expended. This was a mag problem and not a gun problem, so I'll let that go.

Over all, the PT92 series is a great Beretta knockoff. There are still some hiccups, but they are not huge issues. The mag button was a quick fix, and the mags worked, but I did order some Beretta brand mags from CDNN, and might relegate my factory mags to range use only. Mechanical function was outstanding. The only malfunction in 500 rounds was a double feed, which can't be blamed on the gun. It fired 115-124gr FMJs from three different manufacturers without issue. This gun is accurate and I think it is one of the fastest handling guns I've used. The only gun I can shoot any faster is the M&P9, and it wasn't a lot faster.

If you're okay with spending some cash on Beretta, Mec Gar, or C-Products mags (which are all pretty affordable--say $15-$20 each), then the Taurus is the gun to get. Especially if you're looking for a bargain-priced stock class competition gun. I can't wait to get a weekend off and take this thing up to the IDPA club.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Horse Sense

Picture stolen from Motortrend

As I was relaxing before work a couple of days ago, I went to the Ford website just to see what was what for 2011, hoping against hope that the Fiesta would be offered as a 3-door with a turbo. It wasn't. Just for grins, I clicked on the 2011 Mustang GT and started playing with the "build and price" feature. Then my life changed.

I'd heard from a guy at my unit who tunes up and races Mustangs that the 2011 was supposed to have 400hp and get better fuel economy than the 2010. "Yeah, right" I thought to my self. But it's all true. And it's relatively cheap. My spec'd up Mustang GT that I built in the computer (with optional Brembo 14" brakes, window louvers, and side scoops) cost $32,500 or so. But it gets better. I read some reviews from Motortrend, Edmunds, and Car & Driver. Motortrend hooked their test 'stang up to a dyno and found that the engine did not make the 412HP that Ford claim. No, it made 435HP. This year's GT weighs about 200lbs less than a Camaro SS, and nearly 400lbs less than a top spec Challenger. It still isn't a light car, less weight is better.

The shock came when I watched a review by Edmunds. The Mustang GT danced through the slalom at 67+ mph, and pulled .91G on a skid pad. These are numbers not far off from a Mazda Miata and Mini Cooper S. This year's GT might not handle like a shed! Ford has done away with hydraulic steering, which sucks power from the engine and makes it feel like an F-150. Instead, the 2011 is an electronic rig which the reviewers loved. The Mustang might be verging on "sports car" status. Add in an EPA rated 17/26mpg, and it starts to get REALLY appealing.

Oh, I'm still going to drive the other cars I wrote about here before I buy, but the Mustang just nudged its way back into the running. I like hot hatchbacks and nimble roadsters, but there's something inherently appealing to me about thundering along in a Mustang behind a massive V8. Way to go, Ford, and please continue to be the fly in GM's taxpayer-funded ointment.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I'm about 90 days out from going to Trashcanistan again, and oddly enough, it isn't a gun that I'm planning to blow my combat pay on. I really want a fast car, but to get something really fast, you have to pay quite a bit up front, and then continue paying for exotic engine oils, frequent maintenance that can only be done at a dealer, and tires that cost more than the gross national product of Paraguay. On top of that, I'm only 25, so the insurance man gets very nervous when I'm in the same place as a supercharger.

But let's examine my definition of "fast" for those of you who don't watch Top Gear constantly. The track has 12 turns and is 1.76 miles long. A Ferrari Enzo can do it in 1:19.0, a Lamborghini Murceliago can do it in 1:29.0, and an Audi S4 Quattro can do it in 1:30.9. A really good hot hatchback should do the track in the low 1:30s. Basically, to break the 1:30.0 mark, you have to spend about $60,000 on the car up front, plus all the high-dollar maintenance that such machines require down the road--let alone insurance costs.

So I've narrowed the field to three cars that I can afford, are cheap to own, and are reasonably fast according to the boys at Top Gear. Here they are in no particular order:

2004-2009 Honda S2000
237 hp@7800rpm, 162 ft/lb torque @ 6800rpm
Top Gear test track time: 1:37.4 (Very Wet--estimated 1:33.4 dry)

The S2000 is a much loved, simple, nimble roadster that is fun, cheap to run, and reliable. The only problem with this car is that American insurance companies don't like it because it is fast, cheap, reliable, and lots of middle-aged men wrap themselves around telephone poles in them. Insurance for me, as a third car for a married 25 year old male police officer is about $350/6 months for a $1000 comprehensive deductible and no collision coverage. That's sort of a lot, given that Honda doesn't make S2000s anymore, so you're paying lots of money to insure a second or third-hand car. I've found quite a few S2000s on the internet for $14,000 to $20,000 depending on year and miles. Not terribly expensive up front, but insurance might be a deal breaker.

Another slight against the S2000 is that all the power and torque comes at the very top of the rev range. Now, I haven't driven one, so I don't know how annoying it is, but my other two choices have more power more of the time. Also, I don't like convertibles, but I'd learn to live with it for such a nice little simple roadster.

2007-2010 Mini Cooper S John Cooper Works
208hp @ 6000rpm, 192 ft/lbs torque @ 1850-5600rpm
Top Gear time: 1:34.2

I have a friend with an older JCW that is supercharged (2007 and newer are turbo) and it is really, really nice. The interior is interesting and very comfortable. Also, it is quite fast and planted through the corners. The supercharger sounds great when you wind it up, but when you just want to drive somewhere like a normal person, it all settles down and you can just drive it like a small hatchback. I also think the Mini looks great. This car has four seats, and I can fit in the rear seats. You can fit stuff in the back as well.

The primary drawback to this car is that it is fairly rare, and is therefore appropriately expensive. A new one will start around $30,000, and good luck finding a used one--but you just might luck out like my buddy did. Also, Minis only run on premium gas, and a JCW will only get you about 25mpg if you drive like an undertaker.

2007-2010 VW Golf GTI
200hp @ 5100-6000rpm, 207 ft/lbs torque @ 1800-5000rpm
Top Gear time: 1:33.7

The GTI, like the Mini, has torque all across the rev range, and all that power is discreetly tucked away in the body of a 3-door hatchback. The Golf isn't as sharp looking as a Mini, and the interior isn't as interesting, but I will reserve judgment until I drive one. The best part is that this was faster around the TG track than a JCW, but is cheaper to buy and there are lots of them only a year or two old with around 20,000 miles on them for $17-$19,000. The GTI is just a bit bigger than a Mini, so the rear seats should be more useful, and it will hold a bit more stuff on your weekly run to the store. Also, the new GTI gets about 31mpg on the highway. New VWs get three years of free service from the dealer, and aren't a lot more expensive than a lightly used 2007 or 2008.

The drawback to the Golf is the sort of bland styling. It isn't offensive, it just isn't really anything. It's a bit of an off-the-rack business suit. But that could be a good thing because it probably won't draw any extra attention when you're dive-bombing backroads at full speed. The JCW Mini will beat a GTI in a sprint to 60mph, and it looks better, but right now the GTI is at the top of my list.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mushroom Hunting With the CZ-82

I got 75 rounds through my CZ-82 today while I was mushroom hunting and all was pretty well. My wife managed to get it to fail to feed twice, with the round making it about halfway into the chamber both times. I'm thinking it was probably due to the "Liberace hold" which slowed the slide enough to just barely dump the empty case. It never went wrong in my hands, so I have to think it was just a difference in grip.

The double action trigger is long and light, which is always nice. The single action pull is....long and light, but shorter than the DA and also a bit lighter. I was expecting pretty good accuracy, and I was not disappointed. The P64 in 9x18 is very accurate but its small stature make it a little hard to get all of its potential out. The CZ-82 is big enough to be tame and not take chunks out of your hand if your grip is high and firm like mine. It is big enough to be pleasant to shoot, but small enough to be carried all day pretty comfortably. All in all, it is fantastic value for money, and is really a generally very good firearm.

Being a commie-era gun, the CZ-82 isn't without its quirks. The generous plastic grips fit my hand perfectly and feel great with a one-handed stance. But they totally block the mag release, which is annoying. I can get around that problem by slightly cocking the gun to the left in my hand when I go to change mags, but I think I'll just swap out grip panels at some point. I believe they are generally compatible with CZ-83 grips, and the CZ-83 is still in production, and can be special ordered in 9x18 (it's normally a .380ACP).
Above: the oversize thumb rest that blocks the mag release.

A guy might be able to carry a CZ-82 tucked inside the waistband, but it is a bit of a stretch for me since I'm skinny, but even I could get it done if I had a cover shirt or a jacket. The thing is that if I'm going to wear a cover shirt, I'll carry my M&P9C which holds the same number of rounds, is smaller, lighter, has less felt-recoil, and is more powerful. The P64 is considerably smaller and nicer to carry.

But back on the positive, the sights are big and easy to find at speed. Also, the feed ramp is nicely polished, and it was very reliable when my wife wasn't shooting. It even fed a Silver Bear 94gr hollow point, but to be fair, I only tried the one, so I can't say for sure that it will always feed them. And to brag a bit, I was able to launch that hollow point into a 6"x8" steel....thing at the range from about 25 yards.

Over all, I'm impressed and will try to get a whole lot more rounds out of this thing and do any necessary updates. Might want to pick one of these up if you would like a sort of "my first centerfire" training pistol. Ammo is affordable right now and the pistol is damn near cheap.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

.....with extreme prejudice...

I finally got a 911 call that required me to use my issued firearm. Yes, I had to shoot a sick raccoon that was stuck in some dude's trash can. Well, to be perfectly honest, another officer showed up and used his .22LR revolver so I wouldn't have to uncork my "Glock Foddy"so close to occupied homes. The thing that struck me was that the raccoon required TWO shots to the head before it quit squirming. I called my boss and asked if I could carry something for dispatching rodents and he said that most guys do, I just have to conform to manner of conveyance laws. No problem. I then started thinking about something other than a .22 that wouldn't be much louder. Because I know way too much useless crap about guns, I immediately thought of a Makarov (the real one--the Russian or Bulgarian Pistolet Makarova). J&G surplus had some Bulgarian PMs, but they were at the very top of my price range of $300 (J&G wants $269 +S&H, which isn't bad at all). Then I cruised by AIM Surplus and found CZ-82s:

AIM has CZ-82s, chambered in 9x18 Makarov, with two 12rd mags (where legal) and a holster for $219.95 with shipping included! I got on the phone to see if AIM had my local FFL's information, and they didn't. A couple of short phone calls later, my FFL had sent in his info and I placed my order. Hopefully the gun will be in later today. I'm just waiting on the brown truck of happiness.

The CZ 82 was probably the first eastern bloc pistol to have ambidextrous controls and sights big enough for even human eyes to see them. The '82 is a little smaller than a Glock 19, but is big enough to soak up pretty much all the recoil from the middling 9x18mm round. Recoil from my PPK-sized P64 is pretty brisk and more than a couple of mags will leave you with "railroad tracks" down the back of your thumb if you have a high grip like me. The CZ 82 (and 83) have pinned barrels and are blowback operated. This makes them very accurate, and most owners report great triggers and fantastic reliability.

Oddly, I've read a lot of reviews online that say the CZ-82 is "too big" for concealed carry, but the CZ-83, which is exactly the same size, is great for carry. I will report on this as soon as I get mine. I have a couple of days off, so I should be able to get a range report done by the weekend. Once I get the '82 cleaned up and test fired, I'll be ready to terminate sickly rodents with extreme prejudice. It also may accompany me on a mushroom hunting expedition planned for this week. I loves me some morels! Nothing like fried morels and a new gun!

Stay tuned!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chicks Dig SCARS

I got back from drill and was cruising the interwebs when I saw that J&G Sales has "blemished" FN SCAR-Ls for $2399. If you recall, that's the same price as the "base model" Bushmaster ACR 5.56x45, which was very graciously being sold UNDER MSRP by AIM Surplus. Since the neutered ACR is essentially a SCAR that costs $1000 extra, you might as well get the SCAR. Oh, and the $2399 SCAR does have a folding and telescoping stock, which the $2399 "base model" ACR does not. If I were about to sink $2400 into a rifle, guess which one I'd have.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Obsession : S&W

As I was going in to the office tonight, I mentioned that I collect older S&W revolvers to my boss. He then said that he had a "Colt Highway Patrolman" .357 Magnum that he would like to sell or trade. I'm hoping he meant a S&W Highway Patrolman (Colt made the Trooper, which was sort of similar in its 1970s incarnations). Below is a picture of the S&W Model 28 Highway Patrolman. It's a 4" barrel on an N-frame. With these facts swirling through my Gun Nut brain, I am now trying to put together a trade on my Ruger Blackhawk and some AR-15 magazines. Hopefully by the end of the week, I'll have another S&W badge in the gun case.

I'm not sure why I'm drawn to older S&Ws, but I am. Smith never really made a *great* semi-auto until the M&P series, but S&W has been making some sweet wheelguns for some time. I think the ones from the 1950s to the 1970s were probably the best, and those are the ones I like the most, but I'll take whatever S&W I can get. I love the 64-4 I got as surplus from J&G Sales for the pittance of $250.

From a practical stance, here in the middle west, a .357 mag goes a long way. We don't have particularly large predators. Sure, there's the occasional mountain lion, but a .357 mag hollow point or soft point of most any weight would make short work of such a critter. The Model 28 was made as a working man's gun that was to be quick from the holster, balanced, and powerful. It's a natural choice as a trail gun (maybe a tad heavy...) or camping companion. Or it could just be another S&W for your collection.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thinking Positive

After my rage about Bushmaster ruining the ACR subsided, I found something that gave me hope regarding the shooting world:

Yes, the Kel-Tec PMR-30. It's a .22 Magnum that holds 30 rounds in a gun that weighs about as much as a single atom of hydrogen. It uses an odd "hybrid" blowback/locked breech recoil system that doesn't make any sense to me, and it is obviously shaped like the FiveseveN from FN, and may in fact be a mechanical work of art meant to satirize the FiveseveN. Stay tuned because I'm going to go all Harry Plinkett on the 5.7x28mm some time next week.

Anyway, rumor is that KT will have this gun in .22LR by the end of the year. I saw the PMR-30 in CDNN's latest catalog marked $299. Consider that the lowest end Walther P22, Ruger MK.III, and Browning Buckmark all start around that figure, and the Kel Tec becomes the bargain of the decade. It is prettier, lighter, and holds THREE TIMES as much ammo, so you won't get stuck buying a bunch of expensive and finicky 10rd magazines.

Kel Tec does have some quality control skeletons in their closet. That's a problem when you carry one for defense, but the PMR-30 was clearly (or at least clear to me) meant to be a hiking pistol or range toy. I'm very excited about this pistol, and plan to pick one up either just before I ship out or after I get back. The $300 price tag is certainly competitive. Kel Tec seemed to have gun nuts in mind with this one. Lots of ammo on deck, relatively cheap, lightweight, has a rather rare single-action trigger, more rails than the Santa Fe line, and makes fun of FN. Perfect.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Piling on the ACR one last time

I was cruising the internet this morning trying to decide between an M&P9L and M&P40, and looked at ammo at AIM surplus to help me figure it out. On the front page I saw that they had ACR basic models in stock and were selling them for $2399, which is about 300 under MSRP. Props to AIM for being an awesome distributor and cutting us some slack, but I have to twist the knife in Shrubmaster one last time.

The $2399 version has no telescoping/folding stock. For about $2200, you could get an LWRC M6A2, which does have a telescoping stock. Or TWO M4LEPs from CMMG. I have a feeling that hardcore Modern Warfare 2 fans will probably be the only ones who buy the ACR, especially this version which offers literally no advantage over a piston-op AR, and one could make the case that the lack of a telescoping stock actually makes it worse.

I'm only infuriated because I had been counting on the ACR being faithful to the Masada design, and sticking to the $1500 price tag that Magpul had promised. I really wanted one, but it ain't gonna happen for one quarter of what my 4x4 truck cost. However, I'm looking closer and closer at an MSAR.

My condolences to fellow Masada fans. Maybe next time....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Gun Nut Goes Too Far....Maybe

Okay, so maybe I was a little rough with Bushmaster over the ACR. The truth is that I've wanted one since I saw it on Future Weapons about two years ago. Unimpressed with piston-op ARs I'd seen in the gun rags, I was looking for something new and interesting. I *almost* bought a Sig-556, but then the reviews on it were so-so. Throw in a proprietary trigger that isn't very good, and it looked like I could spend $1350 in better ways, and I ended up with an M&P15 which was well under $1000. But the ACR (Masada at the time) used AR triggers, so if the stock one wasn't what you wanted, there were already lots of affordable replacements in production. Add in that the Masada used cheap and plentiful M-16/AR15 barrels, you could have it in whatever length you wanted in seconds.

According to some vague postings on the interwebs, which I know is a fantastic source of information, the ACR no longer accurately reflects what Magpul was trying to accomplish. The current ACR uses proprietary barrels, and if I read the article right, it also uses proprietary triggers, so good luck customizing either of those things without spending MORE money with Bushmaster. As if $3061 wasn't enough. I also read that there is no longer an option for an AK-47 lower that took cheap AK mags. Originally, converting your ACR to 7.62x39 and shooting cheap steel case commie ammo would only require spending the cash on a barrel, bolt, and plastic magazine well. The original design was brilliant! And it isn't like Magpul was pulling these ideas out of a hat. They had working prototypes that had these features. Bushmaster has just decided that these revolutionary features---features that would justify spending the money on the rifle---were not necessary. In short, it would appear that Bushmaster has re-engineered the ACR to be not as good, but more expensive, and at the same time made it so you have to keep spending money with Bushmaster if you want to achieve what Magpul said they could do for the pittance of $1500.

Maybe $1500 was not a good estimate. Maybe injection-molded plastic parts cost a lot more to make than I think they do. Certainly start-up costs have to be covered and they'd need a lot of stuff to start making ACRs. But as Magpul had it designed, the ACR could have been built with a lot of stuff that Bushmaster already had lying around. That certainly would have kept costs down. Or at least I think it would have.

At any rate, the ACR is still at least interesting, even if it isn't revolutionary anymore. If prices do ever drop down below $2000, I'd at least think about getting one. But right now it looks like the SCAR-L is going to be more affordable--which is shocking because FN hates civilians almost as much as H&K does.

And while we're on the subject of expensive 5.56 toys, the MSAR and FS2000 both used to retail at or above $2000, which I think is about the ceiling for 5.56 prices. For me anyway. But those two guns offer meaningful departures from the AR platform, while still using cheap AR mags. Now that MSAR E4s are down to $1400, I'd think about one. FN still wants around $2000 for their bullpup though. They're definitely worth it if you need a short 5.56 but can't get an SBR.

As for me, yeah, I'll think about an ACR, but only in a few years if the price drops dramatically. $3000 is just way too much to spend on a toy gun. I'm not a super duper Modern Warfare 2 operator. I don't spend my weekends running secret ops against communists in Paraguay. If I get a rifle like this, the closest it will get to combat is wasting zombie-shaped cardboard targets. It might even go camping with me and fend off a 40lb coyote. Maybe. Then again, my $450 AK-74 does that pretty well already. And for $3061, I could get about 21,600 rounds for my AK. Or I could get a used motorcycle. Or put a downpayment on a house. Has Bushmaster gone too far?....or have I?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bushmaster To Release Cutting Edge Rifle; Shoots Self in Foot

Hitler and I apparently had the same reaction upon learning that the Bushmaster/Remington/Magpul ACR is now going to cost $3061 in civilian hands with a 1/9 NON CHROME-LINED BARREL. For some perspective, you can get a fantastic LWRC M6A2 for about $2000. The FN Scar, which would have been the ACR's primary competitor, has an MSRP around $2400 for the 5.56mm model and $2900 for the 7.62x51 variant.

I have been waiting with baited breath for several years for Remington to release the ACR, which started life as the Magpul Masada. Magpul said they would try to keep the price around $1500, which I would have gladly paid. That's about what you'd pay for a souped-up, top-shelf piston powered AR15. What Bushmaster and Remington have effectively done is take a cutting-edge design from Magpul, then build it down to a price (why else would you NOT line the barrel and chamber with chrome?), then give it a price tag that would make H&K fanboys flinch. Remington (who now owns the infamous Bushmaster name) had the recipe for a great weapon system that I think could have edged the AR out of the law-enforcement and personal defense niche. As it existed at Magpul, the ACR was revolutionary. Now it is just another piston operated 5.56, but priced at about twice what the competition charges. And marketed under a name that is known for cutting corners on their AR15s.

Congrats Remington/Bushmaster. You've officially shot yourselves in the foot.

Prove me wrong.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

FAIL: My Final Experiences With the AR-24

Let's start with the positive. The AR-24, Tangfolio (EAA Witness) and CZ 75B are all fine weapons with excellent ergonomics, a solid feel, and lots of options for how to deploy them (Traditional DA/SA or cocked and locked). I should also add that every review I've ever read of the above listed firearms has been either good or great. In fact, there are some very rabid CZ fans out there that will probably be plotting elaborate revenge after this column is complete.

My specific AR-24 has been nothing but trouble since I traded in my 3rd Gen Glock 17 for it about this time last year. I fell in love with the ergonomics, and loved the idea of a single action 9mm with 1911-like ergonomics for such a low price. Add in the fact that it takes cheap and plentiful EAA Witness 9mm magazines (which now come in 16 and 18 rounds in free states), and I thought I would be getting a great trail/competition gun. The fit and finish was very good. The frame/slide fit is excellent. The trigger was decent, but I thought I could tune it up a bit with just a bit of polishing.

From the start, the AR-24 had a really bad habit of failing to extract about 1 in 25 rounds, which is abysmal. Over the last year, I put in an 18lb recoil spring, a stronger extractor spring, and finally an extractor from an EAA Witness. Now it only fails about once every 150rds, but it was pretty dirty at that point (which shouldn't really make a difference). In an effort to reduce the trigger pull, I clipped ONE coil off the hammer spring, and polished the engagement surfaces on the sear and hammer. Now it produces light hammer strikes and doesn't reliably set off rounds with hard primers (i.e. the cheap stuff from overseas). I have a replacement factory tension spring on the way. As soon as it's here, it's getting a deep cleaning and is going on the chopping block. I refuse to own anything that behaves like this. Yeah, it will be working fine, but it's the principle of the thing.

My M&P 9C, on the other hand, has been reliable as a wood-burning stove, and I can shoot about 50% with it from 50 yards unsupported. Just today I shot 15 rounds from 50 yards and 7 hit the 8.5"x11" target, with 5 of those rounds striking within about 4" of each other, roughly centered on the paper. The rest I strung out vertically and over-shot my paper. Not bad for a 3.5 barrel with a run-of-the-mill gun nut behind the trigger. Oh, and I was using 124gr S&B cheap-o ammo.

That's how it ought to be. Yeah, no matter how tight quality controls get, a stinker will inevitably squeak though. I'm not mad at Armalite (the importer) or Sarsmilaz (the actual maker). I could have sent it off to Armalite (at my expense) and they may or may not have had it running again and who knows how long it would take to get it back. Armalite has been a little busy, what with Obamamania just a few months ago. I was especially hesitant to sent it back when I knew the problem was with the extractor, and the money I put into a new extractor, extractor spring, and recoil spring would roughly have covered the shipping costs to get it to Armalite.

I still would recommend an EAA Witness (which is about $100 cheaper than the Armalite, and $150 less than the CZ). I have a friend with a Witness .45 and he likes it, and he carried a CZ-97B for a number of years as a duty gun as well. Still shoots the CZ in competition as of the last time I saw him. My situation is sort of like the guys who experience a Glock "Kaboom!" (google Glock + Kaboom images). Well, not exactly. Glock Kabooms are usually experienced by guys who ignore Glock's warning that the chamber does not support the cartridge and +P ammo or handloads can and will create an explosion. It's a freak occurrence to get a bad gun from a reputable maker. Gratuitous Glock Bashing (I carry a Glock at work):

On the bright side again, I'll let you know what I replace the AR-24 with since I'll be without a service-sized 9mm. Leaning toward an M&P9L right now, but we'll see, since I'll be overseas again soon. I may just sell it and buy something shiny for my wife. Hey, Dan Wesson makes a very shiny 10mm 1911.....

Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Gun Nut Lives

Obligatory rock video. The Cars rocked!

Yep, I'm still alive and blogging. I've been insanely busy at work, and thus my gun-nuttery has been put on the back burner. However, I have some days off coming up, and some projects I'm working on for FLGN. Curiously, my number of followers has increased since I slacked off, so I guess I'll try to get some new and useful stuff up here by the middle of next week.

I recently replaced the extractor on my problematic AR-24 with one from an EAA Witness, and a test fire is due here pretty soon. I may try to take it out tomorrow if the road crews can get the five inches of snow cleared by the afternoon. I'm anxious to get out there because my record of shots between FTE's was 99. I'll be bringing 150rds and wringing that sucker out good. Once it's fixed, it's going bye-bye and I'll be adopting a new M&P40--if my boss will let me carry it. Otherwise it'll be an M&P9L. So that's two things in the works.

Also, I'm working on a treatise on personal security based on various works by the big names in shooting, as well as my recent professional experiences. Here's a sneak-peek: LOCK YOUR DOORS.

Keep 'em in the 10-ring.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Here We Go Again...

Above, you will see a Smith & Wesson 3906. J&G Sales has a few for $350 in very good condition, and dammit, I need one. Let me explain why.

The 3906 was born in the late 1980s, and was nearly D.O.A. thanks to the influx of mega-capacity "Wundernines" with plastic frames. The 3906 is about at anachronistic as they get. It was made from enough steel to make a Volvo station wagon, and features a low-capacity single-stack magazine (eight or nine rounds, depending on manufacturer). It seems like engineers looked at the future of handguns and decided that lightweight polymers and magazine capacities reaching toward 20 round were NOT the wave of the future, and built a gun that everyone else had been making a version of since dirt was new. That's not to say they didn't do a good job. The 3906 is very solidly built, has a slim grip, and developed a reputation for accuracy and dependability during its short life (it was discontinued in 1991 after unimpressive sales numbers rolled in).

To sum it all up, it is a classic. The presenters on my favorite T.V. show, Top Gear, say that to be a classic, a car has to be two of three things : interesting, rare, or beautiful. The S&W 3906 is all of those things. And now it is fairly cheap as well. I think it would make a great utility piece, or bowling pin gun. Mainly, I just need more S&W classics in my safe. I may not pick one up soon, and I may step up to the 5906, which was a double-stack version of the 3906 that held 15 rounds (17rd mags are now available, though the 5906 has also gone out of production). I've always wanted a single-stack 9mm, and the 3906 may be just the thing. You just can't have too much stuff with a S&W stamped on the slide.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AK-74: Day Two

I got up a bit early and got the AK shot from the 70 and 100 yard lines today and came up with some more important observations. First, shooting an AK while blaring Led Zeppelin's "Misty Mountain Hop" is about as close to being cool as I will ever come. Second, you'll want to buy an AK sight adjustment tool for your AK if you get one. They're cheap and available from lots of vendors. All of the zeroing of an AK is done at the front sight post, then the rear sight leaf can be used for quick range adjustments by selecting the corresponding number. The rear sight leaf on the Tantal is very, very optimistically graduated out to "10", which I would assume is 1000 meters, or just over half a mile. If I had been a communist dictator in the 1970s, I'd have said to graduate the sights to 300 meters at 50 meter intervals and call it good.

Anyway, I started off at 70 yards using the "S" setting, which stands for...something. I shot clean over my zombie's head by about 8" while holding dead center on his chest. Alarming to say the least! So I moved the rear sight leaf to the "2" mark, which probably means 200 meters. Then I was bout 4" high from point of aim and slightly right. I was holding dead center of the chest and the rounds were making great groups in the neck area, trending slightly to the right of center. The story was the same at 100 yards. Shooting across the hood of my truck like a man, I was able to get groups about the size of the palm of my hand. That's pretty good for an unstable position in a 20mph North wind that could make Sasquatch want to go back indoors. I think this thing is capable of pretty decent accuracy--perhaps nudging into AR territory--but I'd better reserve my judgment until I can sit down on a nice day and shoot it off some bags.

Clean-up is a pretty easy job after 90 rounds. It breaks down into four giant pieces in about ten seconds, but there is a catch. The rear of the receiver is higher than the bore, so you have to clean the bore by pushing the rod in from the front. This pushes all the soot and misery from your Russian surplus ammo back into the non-chrome-lined chamber, so pay attention and clean the chamber when you're done with the bore. It isn't more work, just sort of a bass-ackwards way of doing things, which is one of the endearing features of the AK series.

This gun is just a hoot to blast away with. Despite the sights being way off, I was still able to drop rounds on a cardboard zombie from 210 yards while shooting out of my truck window because it was very cold outside. I bought this gun as a toy, and I'm very happy with it. If you're thinking of getting one for varmint hunting or any kind of serious work, it has some...issues.

First, if you want to fit an optic, you'll have to get a very expensive picatinny rail rig from Texas Weapon Systems. That or take an ax or Dremel or milling machine to a picatinny rail handguard set because the Tantal has very unique quasi-free floating handguard set. Second, you're on drugs if you think you can reload an AK as fast as you can an AR. Yes, you can train to come close, but the rock-in system of mag changes just isn't as efficient as slapping in an AR mag. Be prepared to do some training to get up to speed. That said, if I were going overseas I might think about the non-neutered Wz.88 Tantal just because of the awesome recoil characteristics. Or I might get a full-auto AR in 5.45x39mm.

Anyway, pictures to come when I get back home.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Freedom Got An AK

I got my AK this morning and 600 rounds of Russian surplus 5.45x39mm. I then loaded up my mags and headed to the family farm for some R&R.

First things first, it's a Polish Tantal imported by Century Arms, so it is a mash-up of original commie parts and new American parts. The biggest difference is that the barrel, made by Green Mountain, is NOT chrome lined. This is important because the cheap surplus 5.45 on the market right now is corrosive, so without the chrome lining, you really need to make an effort to clean the rifle as soon as you're done firing. I solve this problem by soaking the action in CLP before going to the range, and then soaking it again when I'm done. This keeps all the filth from getting too attached to the metal and I can just wipe most of it off without much effort. You need to get that barrel clean because a small rust spot in there will ruin the accuracy, and this AK is actually pretty accurate. The trigger may be American because it is very good for an AK. There is some slop in it, but it is smooth and light.

Starting with the outside, it appears to have a fresh, thick parkerized finish. The muzzle brake is held on with a detent pin, and is removable, revealing threads so you could add a suppressor if you live in a free state. The Tantal features a thumb-safety that is totally useless. It works if you're flipping it from Fire to Safe, but Safe to Fire has to be done old school by flipping the dust cover down. You can use the thumb safety for the switch from safe to fire, but it is an unnatural motion and very stiff to move. My Tantal has a black plastic (probably Tapco) pistol grip and wooden handguards. The folding stock is pretty solid, but has a tiny bit of side-to-side wobble. I've seen an ACE folder for an AK that had no wobble at all, but it cost about as much as my AK.

I ripped off 90 rounds in probably five minutes, which got the handguards smoking, despite the arctic temperatures outside. I set up a cardboard zombie at about 50 yards and used the "S" setting on the sights, which I presume to mean "battle sight zero" which should be pretty close to dead on from 25 yards to about 300. The American made barrel performed pretty well. I kept most everything on the zombie from standing and kneeling. I was firing at a very brisk rate since it was cold and this thing is a blast to shoot. There isn't so much "recoil" as just a bit of wobble when you fire. The same sort of wobble you get from firing a .22 quickly. I was absolutely stunned at the lack of recoil. It really is great fun. And pretty cheap to shoot, with 1080rd cans of Russian surplus ammo going for $129-$159 + S&H.

I bought this gun as a range toy, and boy does it do a good job at it. It's cheap to buy at $429+S&H+ transfer fee. Mags are cheap, ammo is cheap, and it can be fired with the stock folded or extended. If I were looking at go-to-war gear, I'd look to an M4 or AR-15 clone first. If I could have a full-auto, pure-bred Wz.88 Tantal, I'd think hard about that for the control it would offer under F/A fire. But one of those would probably fetch close to $20,000 plus the thousands of dollars in tax stamps for owning a full-auto firearm. There are better guns for work, but this one does fun pretty well. More to come, and pictures when I get back home to my camera.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Looks like they've either made it better or MUCH worse. I grew up with the A-Team, so you better not screw it up, Hollywood!

I love it when a plan comes together.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Concealed Means Concealed

I've only been carrying concealed about 10 days, but I already had some kinks to work out in the way I carry my hog leg. The most important thing I've learned is the difference a holster can make. In a lot of states you MUST use a holster to carry legally. Even in states where a holster isn't required, it's still the smart thing to do. Just ask Plexico Burress.

The difference a holster can make became abundantly clear when I tried to carry my P64 in an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. Thankfully, I never got out of my driveway before I discovered that the finger rest at the bottom of the magazine was getting caught under my shirt as I sat down and pulling it upward when I got out of the truck. The P64 was pulling itself out from concealment as I moved around, which isn't cool because displaying your concealed carry piece is against the law. Concealed means concealed. Note the problematic finger groove below.

Then I tried carrying my M&P9C today in exactly the same position (just above my wallet, most people call it the "4 O'Clock position"). No problem. Now let me show you why this was surprising:

The M&P9C (Left) is much wider than the P64. Thickness is a problem with a concealed carry gun, especially if you are tall and skinny like me. I can get away with the M&P9C though. The P64 should be easy to conceal, but the $5 holster I have it in doesn't do a good job of holding it against my body and keeping the magazine's finger rest from getting stuck on my shirt. James uses a Desantis Tuck This (or Tuck This II, not sure) and he doesn't have this problem. He also carries in a different spot, but that shouldn't really matter since the problematic finger groove has equal access to his shirt.

The reason I can conceal the M&P9C so much easier is that I use a Desantis Tuck This, which was only $30 or so, but is infinitely better at holding the gun up against my body and spreading out the "print" across a much wider area without looking lumpy.

P64 at left, M&P9C right.

My point here is that you might want to spend a little more on your holster to make your life easier. I'll be ordering a Desantis Tuck This for my P64 on my next order from Midway. I think I've also made the case as to why you should do some dry runs with your CC rig before you go in public. A tiny bit of forethought will go a long way toward keeping you out of trouble.

Before I go, I'd like to remind you that even if your holster clips onto your waistband, you should also wear a belt! The belt will help steady and secure the gun, and keep you from drawing your Galco when you meant to draw your Glock. Avoid nylon belts, as they expand with temperature and moisture. Get a decent $20-ish leather belt that fits you properly. Higher end belts are great if you have the money. I've got my eye on a $160 shark skin belt. I may settle for horsehide though, as they're considerably cheaper, but resist weather just as well.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Police Dream

I'm going to test for a position with a small town police department this weekend. I stand a good chance of getting the job, what with me being in excellent physical condition and being college educated. It doesn't pay much, but it's what I want to do. At least until I find work as a highly paid mercenary or win the lottery. Anyway, this job opportunity is solid gold for me as a gun nut. Not because I plan on using my gun, or even want to. The last time this town lost a police officer was in the mid 1920s, and I think he was hit by a steam engine (I'm not kidding). It's solid gold because now when my wife asks "Why do you need ANOTHER gun?" I can say "But honey, I need it for work!". Perfect!

For a handgun , I would prefer an M&P40. I'm not a fan of the 40S&W, but I've spoken to the Chief about it, and it is their S.O.P. to carry 40S&W. They issue Glocks, but the Chief said he could make an exception as long as the unit armorer approved (this is a 3-man police department, and they have an armorer). I shoot Glocks well, but I'm faster and more confident with the superbly ergonomic M&P.

James and I have been arguing at length over what I should carry for a long gun. As I've written several times here, it is foolhardy NOT to go for the long gun when violence is expected. Now, this is a very rural town with a population under 2000. If I need a big gun it will be either for killing wounded animals, or blasting away at bank robbers (it happened in 2001 or 2002-- our Chief of Police had his eye shot out by 1920s-style bank robbers). I have three ideas in the running. First, a Benelli M2 Tactical with a standard stock.
I've also beaten this dead horse quite a bit. It doesn't get any more versatile than a 12ga shotgun. And this is one of the fastest semi-autos available to people who can't afford an AA12. Yeah, a pump (like my Benelli Nova) would get the job done, but this is just slicker. And nearly $1000.

Another absurdly priced gun on my list is a DSA FAL Paratrooper (OSW model shown with 13" barrel not available in Iowa).Because I live in Iowa, I'd have to have the 16" barrel, or the ATF will lock me up forever. And I'm not built for prison. Anyway, the 16" barrel version measures 27" with the stock folded, making it very compact and easy to store. I'd have it set up largely as shown...which would cost about $3000. I cringed too. This isn't really any better than an AR-10 now that Magpul is making 20rd AR-10 mags for a VERY reasonable $20 each. AR-10 mags used to run around $45 each, and FAL mags were $15-$25 each.

Another one I'm looking at is the DPMS LR-AP4 in .308. Slap an EOTech 512AA on there and I'm done. This one goes into the running because I can have one more or less built-to-order for $1700. They're only around $1000 for a base model. They're good rifles, so I hear. The best part here is that this operates exactly like my AR-15 and the M16/M4 series rifles I've been shooting for almost 10 years now--this one's just been stuck in the copier at 125%. I could also nearly afford to shoot it because the AR action is very gentle on brass so I could reload the empties and plink on my days off. Maybe one day there will be cheap 7.62x51 NATO surplus again. I won't hold my breath.

This is what I plan to blow your taxpayer dollars on. Well, if I get the job.

Contradicting Myself Again

I'm about to do something that irks me to no end--bloviate about the war from my nice, safe house here in the US. What brings this on is that some soldiers, congressmen, and gun nuts are up in arms about the supposed fragility of the M4 and M16 series rifle. I have a lot of experience with the M16A2, and am getting to know the M4A3 professionally. I have my own neutered civilian version of it, the M&P15 carbine, but we got issued M4A3s in my 'guard unit last summer. So far, everyone likes them. Most of us liked the M16A2 too.

Any Counterstrike ninja or internet commando will tell you that the M16/M4 (hereafter M4 for brevity) is fragile and requires constant, intricate maintenance to operate in inclement conditions. A lot of the guys in my unit five years ago when we deployed were fretting about it, even though the only people who experienced malfunctions were office rats who insisted that running them dry made them easier to clean (which meant turning them in faster, which meant more downtime). I always ran my M16A2 with a good coat of CLP, and it never did me wrong.

Overseas, I had occasion to see the M16A2 (and M240B) used in combat when my squad got cornered by a slightly larger force, and the result was an hour long gunfight that ended with all of the good guys alive, and a number of bad guys with a severe case of lead poisoning. But I admit we were lucky. Tactically, we were in bad shape--surrounded on three sides with our backs to a 500ft shear cliff. We had the high ground and plenty of cover provided by the stone and concrete skeleton of a half-built school building. The bad guys were also disorganized, and not terribly motivated, as the attack slowed considerably as soon as our SAW and M240B started laying down fire. So I do have some experience with the M16A2 in combat. Everyone who fired had their weapon work just fine. I only expended about six rounds before taking up a spot marking targets for the M240, but several guys ended up shooting four or five magazines. Our SAW spent 300 rounds, and the M240 spent about 350 over the course of 45 minutes to an hour. This against a hailstorm from probably 18 AK47s, at least 3 RPG launchers (we found the tailfins from 11 rockets all together), an RPK, and two PKMs. Well aimed fire, and judicious use of machineguns on high-priority targets won the day.

Then I find this story of a couple of very unfortunate service members who were killed when their M4s and SAWs quit working. I am sincerely sorry for their loss, and extend my condolences to their friends and families. This is not something to make light of, and it isn't terribly fair of me to armchair quarterback this like I'm about to do, but I think I have a point, and I think my point could save lives.

The following quote makes my case: "My weapon was overheating," McKaig said, according to Cubbison's report. "I had shot about 12 magazines by this point already and it had only been about a half hour or so into the fight. I couldn't charge my weapon and put another round in because it was too hot, so I got mad and threw my weapon down."

He had fired 360 rounds in thirty minutes! Our standard combat load was 210 rounds! I'd like to know how many of those 360 rounds hit anything at all. One SAW had fired 600 rounds in 30 minutes! That's just too much shooting with NO effect at all. I wasn't there, and I don't know how heavy the incoming fire was, but if you are shooting that much with no effect, you need to either move to flank, or break contact. I know how hard it is to stop pulling the trigger when tracers flicker and pop over your shoulder--I've been there and done that. But that sort of fire is just plain excessive, and would probably have overheated a piston-driven M4 like an H&K416, which is what a lot of SOCOM guys and internet commandos are pushing for.

They say direct-impingement guns like the current M4 run too dirty and too hot, and cause jams, cook-offs, and other malfunctions. My case is that while piston-driven guns keep the dirt and heat away from the bolt, they still get hot and dirty. The heat and dirt just accumulate in different places. And shooting 360 rounds in 30 minutes will make anything way too hot, especially when you consider that some places in Afghanistan are 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit most of the year.

What would have kept these guns in the fight, and what may have saved these brave young men's lives is leadership that took control of their team's fires. Standing there blasting away with no effect may make you feel better, but it won't win the fight. What do you do if you do win the fight with no casualties, but shoot off all your ammo? How do you defend your patrol base until supplies reach you? How do you fight off a second wave if everyone is blowing their whole allotment of ammo in the first 30 minutes of the fight?

Is the M4 perfect? No. I actually like the idea of the Remington ACR a lot more. I also like the SCAR and SCAR-H. Is the M4 a death trap? Is it a detriment to our troops? I hardly think so. Yes, you have to maintain and lube it. Yes, it gets hot. But if you as a trooper train hard and control your adrenaline--and therefore your trigger finger--you'll stand a better chance. If you are a team leader, it is your responsibility to direct your team's fires and that includes rates of fire. If your SAW gunner is ripping through belts too fast, it's your job to say something. I know how hard it is to do these things under fire, but training will help, and keeping things like this in your mind will help a lot more.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

An Open Letter to Ford

I'm a Ford man by birth, but when I get back from my deployment next year, I'll probably not be buying a Ford. Why? Because they don't make the car I want. Mitsubishi and MINI (BMW) each make a car that makes me want to rush out and sell a kidney--the (2009) Lancer Ralliart, and Cooper S respectively. They're both small, fun cars with favorable power-to-weight ratios, reasonable fuel economy, and shocking practicality. Ford, listen carefully and you could still get my business.

Ford, you have the recipe. In fact, it may already exist in your top secret testing labs.
This is what I want. Yeah, go ahead an de-tune it a bit, and maybe relax the boy-racer fender flares (but don't lose them entirely). Keep the ridiculous wing. This particular Ford Fiesta 3-door was blown up north of 800HP. I'll settle for about 210-240HP with that 5-speed all-wheel-drive transmission. Price it around $24,000-$26,000 and you're in the running with an Impreza WRX, Lancer Ralliart, Golf GTI, and Mini Cooper S. But I have faith, Ford. I think you can do it better. Please, for the love of Carol Shelby, release a turbo'd up AWD manual transmission Fiesta. You're already burying Government Motors. Now throw the last shovelful of dirt on their shallow, taxpayer-financed grave.

Oh, and see if you can sweet-talk Mazda out of a 2.3L 4cyl turbo from their Speed3, and put that motor in a Ford Ranger Edge. Think about it. People love to off-road in Rangers because of their light weight and ruggedness. Now imagine making it lighter and more powerful than ANYTHING GM, Toyota, Dodge, or anyone else can offer the American redneck...err truck enthusiast.

Thank you for your time, Ford. Now go out there and give GM another reason to start bawling for a handout.