Monday, June 30, 2014

MK12 Type Rifle for SHTF

From a reader:

Your thoughts on an MK12 for home defense or TEOTWAWKI?

In the words of professional wrestler, Daniel Bryan; YES! YES! YES!

For my readers, the MK12 is a version of the AR15 rifle. It seems to cut the difference between a Squad Designated Marksman (SDM) rifle and a RECCE rifle. Unlike the RECCE, the MK12 has been adopted as an official rifle for certain military specialty groups, and has official specifications. Like the RECCE, the specifications are quite wide-ranging.

The MK12 can have an A1, A2, or even a carbine stock. It has an 18" match grade stainless steel heavy barrel, and a match trigger.It is topped with a scope of variable magnification. Some people top the scope with a piggyback red dot.

The MK12 is a fantastic platform for precision. It suffers (as does the SDM, M16, etc.) a bit in close-quarters battle due to length, and optic. However, it is still a superb rifle.

If your choice is the MK12, you have an excellent option for home defense, SHTF, and many orther applications.

Friday, June 27, 2014

M4 for SHTF

From a reader:

Would you recommend an M4 for a SHTF rifle? If so, or if not; why?
Also, what’s the main difference between an M4 and a RECCE that you talk about?

Really good questions. I've addressed one, albeit indirectly, before. But since it was indirectly, and since you asked so nicely, and since others might have the same question, let's tackle it!

Would you recommend an M4 for a SHTF rifle? If so, or if not; why?
In short, YES. 
Of the M4 variants, I'd prefer an M4 SOPMOD variant, as it offers a free-floated barrel. Optic is up to you, but an ACOG would be really hard to beat, and an Aimpoint would be a distinct second.An ELCAN would be frikkin' sweet, too... and I hear they are almost as tough as an ACOG.

If you are building one, and want quality while keeping price in mind, get a 16" barrel with the M4 profile... you can do more with it in terms of flash hiders or brakes, with less worry about legalities of a short barrel. Also, I'd suggest a free-float rail... like a Samson.

Only drawback with an M4 compared to a RECCE would be accuracy.
There is also a bit of lost velocity with a 14.5" barrel when compared to a 16" barrel.

Also, what’s the main difference between an M4 and a RECCE that you talk about?
Minor differences, especially between the M4 SOPMOD variant. Main technical difference would be barrel profile: the M4 profile barrel has slim parts cut into it. The RECCE barrel is a heavy barrel, by default.

Either rifle would be fine in most SHTF scenarios. Both are fun to shoot. And you can put whatever optic you prefer on either, as well.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Not Worth the Trouble

Every few months, I get the urge to take up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Then, I see all the drama online or am reminded of it by a friend who trains BJJ... then my urge subsides pretty quick.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Myth of Rape Culture

As time passes, we hear more and more of the myth that is named "rape culture." At its core, it is the teaching that "sexual violence is deemed to be so pervasive that all women live in constant danger from all men." (Link to quote)

When a person objectively looks at all data, and not cherry-picked tidbits, the picture becomes very clear: there is no rape culture in America. The vast majority of men never rape anyone, and never even get accused of it.

When analyzed objectively, a very few people commit the vast majority of rapes. There are also a lot of rapes accused toward people close to the false victim - indicating a lot of women are falsely accusing friends and lovers of rapes that never happened.

It's not about "teaching men not to rape." That is the most asinine statement I've read in years. The vast majority of men know not to, whether they were "taught" not to rape or not. The ones who rape will likely do so regardless of what or how they are taught. And they will do so over and over.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Little More on Faith and Works

From a reader:

Why do you espouse the Noahide Laws? Why not just proclaim Christ?

Good question... but one that shows you didn't read what I wrote. Maybe you skimmed it?

  1. Salvation is by God's grace through faith in Him. 
  2. The evidence of salvation is "fruits" or "good works" - these are defined by "Love God" and "Love your Neighbor." These good works are also defined by keeping God's commands - Decalogue and/or Noahide and/or Mosaic Law (for Jews only).

From this, it is easy to see that Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the Apostles actually preached the Noahide Laws. Salvation by God's grace and through Faith, as demonstrated by simple guidelines of a Godly way to live.

Enter Acts 15:19-20 -
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. ..."
The Apostles made it clear. The understood parts of these "commands" were to believe in and love God (Noahide Code 1); refrain from blasphemy (NC2), murder (NC3), and theft (NC4). It was also a given that each country they were in had established laws and courts for justice. Therefore, the apostles determined, under the guiding Hand of God, that the only other needed regulations were Noahide Code 5 & 6 - prohibition of inhumanity toward food animals and sexual immorality.

Enter Galatians 2:11-14 -
But when [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to [Peter] in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
 Here again, Paul made it clear that adherence to all of the Laws of Moses were not needed for Gentile Christians. Instead, just the fundamentals. 

Enter Jesus Himself in Matthew 19:17
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.
To be fair, Jesus was speaking of the Ten Commandments. However, we have talked before about the overlap between the Ten Commandments and the Noahide Code. They are virtually the same. 


Monday, June 23, 2014

Good Suggestions

Recently, I conducted a Black Belt test for a couple of my students. I asked all members of the panel to submit to me any suggestions they might have for future tests... I'm always looking to improve. Here was an email from one, (and my responses in italics):

1. Instructor has to sit on the sideline and can only offer encouragement. Other than that, the instructor is not part of the testing process.
Then who calls out what techniques shall be done?

2. Testees will have an assortment of ukes available. All techniques are demonstrated on all ukes and all techniques are performed on both sides.
It would be nice to have enough students to do this. We had two potential ukes (aside from the examinees themselves) available that day, one of whom suffers from severe migraines and asthma and had to withdraw before the test was complete.

3. Exercises happen BEFORE board gets seated.
Board members are welcome to join the examinees in the physical endurance portion. *Two* of them did. 
What would be the purpose, then of demonstrating the physical fitness portion? The idea is to have witnesses.

4. Ages of testees are announced prior to testing.
My bad entirely. I totally forgot your organization's requirements for Black Belt, as they are of no consequence to me. 

5. Testees will have to name the techniques they are performing if the technique wasn’t specifically requested by a member of the board of examiners.
Again, see part 1. Would be easier to have a moderator call out the required techniques.

6. I’d like to see some striking/kicking attacks and defenses. I would like to see at least 1 karate kata integrated into the process.
striking/kicking response: we did this during the first 30 minutes of the self defense portion. 
karate kata response: I teach jiu-jitsu. If I was teaching them karate (which I am fully qualified and competent to do), then you would have seen multiple kata.
Moving forward, I intend to adopt (at least somewhat) a variation on the Gracie University's "Blue Belt Qualification Drills" - this should provide a kata-like demonstration. 

7. I would like to see more judo integrated, especially throwing techniques and standing immobilization/finishing techniques out of a throw.
Throw response: We have 8 throws in our curriculum. They were all presented. We teach practical jiu-jitsu for self defense, not Judo for sport. I was hoping that was made clear throughout the exam.
Standing immobilization response: This is a sparring and live response based jiu-jitsu, not the wristlock stuff that went out of style with the foundation of Judo. I was hoping that was made clear throughout the exam.

8. Since Kosen Jiu Jitsu is a self defense system, I’d like to see more standing finishing techniques.
Because it is a self defense system, we stick to reality. The standing arm lock presented is about the only realistic option. There are others, but our distance management and clinch curriculum addresses those while giving the student a very simple response path to multiple attack possibilities. 

9. I would like to see some weapons training, both offensive and defensive. Firearms are, of course, included in the definition of weapons, but not the only weapon included in the training. If firearms are to be included as a weapon of choice, there needs to be some type of documentation for the training.
It was stated, we teach required knife defenses to 1st Dan black belts. Before then, we simply give the student some fundamentals (like distance management) that work against a wide variety of attacks - weapons included. It is my opinion, as well as the opinion of many others, that successful defenses against edged or projectile weapons is not a clean environment, and will likely end in the death of one or both parties. 
Oh, and I'm the only one of whom I require firearms training. 

10. Board members should be familiar with the art they are testing in.
Agreed... but that would have precluded you, too, my friend.  :)


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy Anniversary

To me, that is.

No, it's not my wedding anniversary - that's in July (16 years this year).
It's my blog anniversary. This blog is 5 years old today.

In that time:
Over 2100 articles published.
Over 90,000 page views.
January 2012 was my all time high with 4500 page views.
July 2009 was my all time low with just over 500 page views.
Since January 2010, the blog has averaged over 2000 page views per month. 

Most referrals:
Gun Blog Black List

Most visited pages:
Shooting Jacket Product Review
Appleseed Suggestions - Shooting the AQT
Appleseed and the Tube Feed

Countries that visit the most:
USA (60K+ views)
Russia (5K views)
France (2500 views)

Browsers used most:
Firefox (24K+)
IE (23K+)
Chrome (17K+)


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ending it All

Earlier this month, my cousin passed away at age 23. Not sure if this is mentioned in any article anywhere, but the cause of death was self-inflicted hanging. For those keeping score, our nearest common ancestor was my grandmother, his great-grandmother, Edna McDaniel.

If you read that last linked article, you'll be curious about something - yes, Drew was in jail at the time of my grandmother's passing. I understand the charges were drug-related.

No, he wasn't perfect.

Jail time
Made his wife have an abortion, then called it a miscarriage.
(Funny story - had a twitterstalker think I was talking about him when I was indeed talking about my cousin. But that's how folks like that do - they want to think it's all about themselves)
To be fair, later, his ex had another abortion (the child was Drew's by all accounts) against Drew's wishes. Supposedly, this influenced his decision to end things.

Someone asked me if his committing suicide would keep him from Heaven. There is no verse in the Bible to indicate that. The only unpardonable sin is rejection of God.

It has been asked if he took the coward's way out with suicide. That can be argued, and I wouldn't argue hard against that. Still, one time I read that suicide is a person admitting that their burden has been too great to bear. I know that in jiu-jitsu, we tap to indicate submission.

I'd never kill myself; but in light of that perspective, I can almost understand the motive.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

More Delta Shenanigans

Flew Delta last week. Yep, they screwed up.
Nope - wasn't my decision to fly them.

Flew out Monday. No errors on my end, but my boss' flight was inexplicably delayed, then cancelled. He was supposed to arrive Monday at 11:00 am in Madison, WI. He actually arrived after 8:00 pm.

Flew back Friday.
Was supposed to be back by noon. Arrived in Nashville at 10:00 pm.
That was a total of four delays.
One plane was declared mechanically unsound to fly. More on this below!***
One plane was inexplicably delayed... twice.
Another flight (this one to Knoxville from Detroit) - right next to my final leg - was simply cancelled.
Folks from the cancelled Knoxville flight were told (at the gate) that their luggage would be transferred to the Nashville flight. The pilot later advised us (after we were in the plane and taxiing down the runway) that their bags were not going to arrive in Nashville.

The broken plane:
We were in Madison, WI, awaiting a flight to Detroit.
After we were seated, the intermittent delays began. After a couple of them, the pilot explained there was a maintenance light indicating a situation that needed to be checked. After a few more 10-minute delays, the pilot announced we would not be taking this plane to Detroit, and that he had confirmed that a new plane would be brought to the terminal.
We disembarked.
After more than 90 minutes of delay, a new plane was ready at the terminal, and we were invited on again. It was clearly and literally a new plane - looked much newer and less used than the prior plane. Plus, I watched them take the old plane away and move the new plane into place.
The pilot actually told us on the loudspeaker that it was the same plane, just with a fixed issue.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Fat Good For You

Finally, the news is becoming mainstream.
Time magazine has an article on "Fat is Good For You."


Friday, June 13, 2014

Ups & Downs

Earning one's black belt is one of the happiest days of a person's life. It is the public recognition of hours of blood, sweat, and tears. It is a grueling challenge. It is a time to demonstrate one's abilities.

Earning one's black belt is also one of the more disappointing days in a person's life.
"Is this all there is to it?"
The new Shodan realizes the mystique is gone.

Earning one's black belt is the beginning of one's true martial arts career. Now you are ready to explore you in the martial arts.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

What Does it Mean?

Back on the 31st of May, I examined two students for Shodan - 1st degree Black Belt.

Some myths:
  • A black belt is invincible.
  • A black belt knows everything about the art.
  • A black belt is a master. 
  • A black belt is worthless in a fight. 
  • A black belt means nothing with regards to self defense. 
  • Just anybody can get a black belt.
Black belts are not invincible, nor do they know everything about the art. Black belts are not necessarily masters of their art. A black belt simply means that one has a thorough understanding of the fundamentals. In short, the Shodan is now ready to start his specialty in the martial arts. 

Similarly, there have been too many "McDojos" that promote any kid that hangs around for 18 months to black belt. These folks most certainly are worthless in a self defense situation or fight. However, for the classic systems, and a few modern systems, we know better.

A black belt in my dojo means a minimum of 350 hours on the mat. Our fundamental curriculum is based heavily on the Gracie Combatives. Anybody who doubts the effectiveness of these techniques is fooling nobody... not even themselves.

A black belt in my dojo also faces one of the most difficult tests around. There is no doubt in the mind of the candidate, or the audience, or the examination panel, or the instructor. 


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Well Deserved

3 mile run (31 minutes!)
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 lunges
100 arm locks (top)
100 arm locks (bottom)

All fundamental, intermediate, and advanced techniques.

Sparring, sparring, and more sparring.

At the end, two new black belts:

Back row (the panel of examiners):
Jordan Newman (4th Dan), Al Smith (5th Dan), Rox Brown (5th Dan), Jimmy Jackson (10th Dan), Larry Beard (9th Dan), Patricia Hill (8th Dan).

Front row:
Sarah Caum (new 1st Dan!), me (6th Dan), Michael Miner (new 1st Dan).


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

Praise Where Due

I am thankful for my job.

Between January of 2013 and April of 2014, we had the following *unexpected* expenses:

New roof - deductible = $2000
New water heater = $1200
Car repairs = $2500
New HVAC unit = $5100
Medical bills for the kids = $2400
New refrigerator = $900

Despite all that, our bank account actually had $1000 more in it in April of 2014 than it had in January of 2013. And we hadn't even received our tax refund yet at that point, either!

Make no mistake, I work hard at my job. I am a top performer (not all my counterparts earn the same as I do). But I also enjoy the work I do. I'd even stay on if I won the lottery tomorrow.
But, also make no mistake in this: as a matter of historical fact, in 17 years in the sales profession, I've out-earned my immediate supervisors more often than not.

So I offer thanks to God above for equipping me with the skills and opportunities. I also offer thanks to my employer for letting me make a lot of money for them.


Friday, June 6, 2014

TV & Internet Review

Several months ago, my family decided to upgrade our internet. We had been using a wireless service from TDS Telecom with download speeds of 1.5 Mbps. We had upgraded to that back in 2004 or 2005 and it had served us well until my son got a laptop and a tablet for Christmas and his birthday, respectively. He enjoys watching Youtube videos of Minecraft, and this would hamper other internet users' ability to watch Netflix, work, etc.

So upgrade we did.

Funny part: the nice Customer Service Associate at TDS pointed out she hadn't upgraded anybody from our plan in four years or more!

The Associate also informed me of TDS' relatively new TV service. It is fiber-optic (as opposed to their former partnership with Dish TV). After learning more, we decided to give it a try.

The TV service has far more High-Definition channels than Comcast had in our area. It also has far more regular channels than Comcast offered. The channels themselves were also more desirable (the kids love Disney XD).

The internet is blazing fast! My computer (from which I type this entry) can only download at 72 Mbps. It is constantly reading 72 Mbps wireless access, even though TDS "only" promised 50 Mbps with our plan (their fastest option). My work computer can download as fast as 128 Mbps, and it has always indicated it was receiving at that speed. We never have slow-downs - even if everyone is downloading TV, movies, Netflix, Youtube, WWE Network, etc. - all at the same time!

All of this, and the price was only $6 per month more than we had been paying for the internet and TV service prior. Oh, and the kicker? My company reimburses me for internet & fax line as they are used in the course of my job... so my "out-of-pocket" expenses actually DROPPED from ~$90/month to about $40/month!

I'd say that's a win, no matter which way you slice it.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Two-Sports Man

From a reader:

You mention your study of jiu-jitsu many times on the blog. But, from conversations with martial artists we both know, it would seem you are quite adept - to say the least - at forms (“kata”). What gives?
- Don

Hi, Don!
Thanks for writing. The simplest answer is this: at the time of this writing, I hold a 5th Dan in Wado-Ryu karate and 1st Dan in Kenpo karate.