Thursday, December 27, 2012

The AWB of 2013

Dianne Feinstein holding an AR15 rifle
Dianne Feinstein recently released high level details of her new proposed "assault weapons ban" (AWB) on her website.  As expected, she has rewarmed the original 1994 law for which she was partially responsible but also made some critical changes.

Here are a few of the details.
  • Ban the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:  
  • 120 specifically named firearms- Certain other semi-automatic rifle, handguns, shotguns that can accept detachable magazines and have one military characteristic 
  • Semi-automatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds
This is considerably more restrictive than the original ban of 1994.  She is banning the the sale of both semi-automatic handguns and rifles that accept detachable magazines and have one "military characteristic".  She hasn't defined the list of "military characteristics" yet, however it has changed from the list used in 1994.  The list will likely include a pistol grip, detachable magazine or calibers such as 9mm, 45 ACP, .223/5.56, 7.62x39, etc.  If that is the case pistols like the Glock, S&W M&P, Beretta M9, etc. would be banned as well as most modern semi-automatic rifles.

She's also gone the extra step of identifying firearms yet to be designed that might skirt the intent of the law.  She added firearms that have fixed magazines (aka non-removeable) that hold over 10 rounds to the bill.  For example, Glock could make a pistol with a non-removeable magazine that could be loaded through the top with stripper clips and held 19 rounds.  This would have been legal under the 1994 law, but not under the proposed 2013 law.

This law could in fact ban most modern handguns and rifles.

The law also makes the sale or transfer of banned firearms illegal.  You will never be able to sell or trade your banned firearms.  It has not specified yet, however we can assume that if you're unable to transfer your banned firearms they will likely be destroyed once you die.

But it gets worse:
  • Moving from a 2 military characteristic test (1994 law) to a 1 military characteristic test 
  • Eliminating "easy to remove" bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the military characteristics list 
  • Bans firearms with thumbhole stocks and bullet buttons
By moving to a 1 characteristic test they can ban all rifles with a pistol grip.  There is no more need for using bayonet lugs or flash suppressors as characteristics since all it takes is one - the pistol grip or detachable magazine to ban a firearm.

She also specifically bans thumbhole stocks and bullet buttons as potential work-a-rounds to the law.  Under the 1994 law manufacturers could still make rifles that had many of the same features as a banned firearm by using a thumbhole stock.  This new law is designed to prevent any work-a-rounds.  AR15's, AK's, Mini-14's, M1A's, even the Remington 750 Woodmaster deer rifle and the Browning BAR deer rifle could be banned under this law because they have a detachable magazine.  Yes, they may be coming after your semi-automatic deer rifles this time.  The website claims "900 specifically named firearms" would be excluded from the law, but we've not see that list.  Heck, the Ruger 10/22 may be included in the ban for all we know.

But wait, we're not done yet.
  • Grandfathering of legally owned firearms possessed on the day of enactment
That sounds good, right?  We're still not done yet.
  • Requires that grandfathered firearms be registered under the National Firearms Act (NFA) 
  • Background check through the FBI is required  
  • Type and serial number of the firearm will be kept by the government 
  • Positive identification of owners including pictures and finger prints will be required 
  • Certification by your local law enforcement (signature) stating you may own the firearms in their jurisdiction 
  • Dedicate funding to the ATF to implement registration
The new law would allow us to keep our banned firearms but we would have to register them under the NFA (National Firearms Act).  There are a few problems with this.

First - she's calling it what it is - REGISTRATION.  Registration is the first step to confiscation and may be argued is unconstitutional.  That will have to be decided by the courts should the law pass.

The NFA has 9 examiners and I believe they've been approved for a total of 12.  Right now there is a 8 month wait to get a firearm registered under the NFA and that's with only a few thousand registrations a month being processed. Under this law literally MILLIONS of registrations would hit within weeks.

Who's paying for this?  Are we going to borrow more money from China to register our guns or will Obama simply print more money to cover the expenses?  New databases will have to be built, the FBI will be SLAMMED with background checks and processing of finger prints, local LEO's will be inundated with requests for approvals/signatures.  Do they plan to pay the states to hire full time staff to process these millions of requests?

Some states do not allow citizens to own NFA firearms.  Will citizens of such states have to turn in their firearms?

If you want to take your NFA registered AR15 to a rifle class out of state, or if you want to take it on a hunting trip out of state, you won't be able to simply throw it in the trunk and go.  NFA firearms can not be legally moved across state lines without the owner filing a 5320.20 form with the ATF.  It can take 4 months or more to get approval to transport your NFA firearm across state lines.  Given there will be considerably more requests for 5320.20's, you can expect that 4 months to turn into 8 months or more.  The ATF might actually be required to start charging for processing to keep up with the incredible costs of doing all this paperwork.

In short, if this law passes most modern handguns and rifles will likely be banned.  You will have to register your Glock and M&P with the NFA if you want to keep it.  If you want to travel out of state with your handgun or rifle you will have to file a request with the ATF and wait months for approval or risk being in violation of the NFA and being arrested.  Such an arrest would cause you to lose your gun rights forever.  If you have a collection of firearms as an investment, your investment will be lost as you will not be able to transfer or sell any banned firearm.

Please, act now to protect your rights.  If you sit silent and allow this bill to pass, you will forever lose your rights to this new law.  Please follow this link which will take you to the Congressional website where you can send a letter to your representatives and the President quickly and easily. - Write your Representatives

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Capitalizing on the Carnage

Tweet from Piers Morgan of CNN
I recently published a video that addressed the issue of gun control in the wake of the horrible events at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  In this video I mentioned how it disgusted me that advocates of gun control quickly moved to capitalize on the deaths of children to push their political agendas forward.

A recent CNN article confirms that this is in fact the strategy of anti-gun forces.  Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, made the following comments in an interview with CNN.
"Look, when this kind of thing happens, we have to make the case in that very short window -- what went wrong, why it went wrong, how you can fix it -- in a way that motivates Congress to do what it should.  With something as terrible as this is, involving children, the window is open a little wider than it has been before.  I think my back of the envelope is usually about a month.  But after the series of mass shootings and the gravity of this one, I think we may have a little more time."
Anti-gun forces know that they must strike while emotions are high to capitalize on irrational thought driven by these emotions.  They know that once the hysteria subsides and cooler heads prevail, people aren't as willing to surrender their Constitutional freedoms.  This is why you see people like Dianne Feinstein racing to the first camera she can find to promote her most recent gun grab proposal.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Those were the words of former Obama administration Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who was alluding to using the nation’s economic crisis to justify huge expansion in the federal government.

It's this desire to quickly capitalize politically on the carnage that has motivated President Obama to tap Joe Biden for creating a proposal in the next 30 days, by January, that outlines what gun control measures he believes can be pushed through Congress.  It's no coincidence that President Obama has chosen such a short window, he too knows that to successfully pull off a gun grab he must act quickly while emotions are high.  It takes 30 days to get a light bulb replaced in the White House due to government inefficiency yet we're going to see a committee formed and a recommendation made in the next 2-4 weeks regarding our Constitutional rights.  I don't find that to be very comforting, do you?

Some criticized my comments that anti-gunners "almost look forward to such events".  Given the comments and subsequent actions of anti-gun forces in the last few days, I'm confident my comments hit the proverbial nail on the head.  They clearly look forward to these events and are set to capitalize on them by executing plans of action they've apparently given considerable thought to.

Write your Congressmen and Senators.  We must act swiftly to prevent our government from passing sweeping anti-gun laws.  Right now they feel they have the numbers on their side to go so far as confiscation of semi-auto rifles and magazines that hold over 10 rounds of ammunition.  We must remind them that if they pass another 1994 style anti-gun law, or worse, that we'll once again vote them out of office just as we did after the Clinton "Assault Weapons Ban".  Act now or forever lose your Constitutional rights.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guns and Crime

Take a Deep Breath, and Think This Through

In the wake of the horrible criminal act where so many precious lives were lost at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, several emotions immediately ran through my mind. The first and foremost was how much I love my family. When you are a parent you evolve to a point where your feelings, wants and concerns fail to exist in the same level of

previous priorities and your life revolves around the safety and well being of your children. Sadness for the parents that must endure the unthinkable pain of losing their children was the first thing to hit after hugging my own.

In the firearms community I saw posts, videos, comments, statements and request for prayers for the families immediately affected by this heinous criminal act. Out of respect for those involved, the normal chatter, banter and cheerfulness was essentially halted.

Unfortunately, as has been demonstrated in the past, those hell-bent on destroying the Second Amendment were up front and brazen in calling for bans on everything that has a trigger, suspending the Second Amendment, wishing for a painful death for those in the National Rifle Association and gun owners in general, and wishing harm towards them and their children. Real Classy.

In a time for families to reflect and grieve and for communities to heal, the rhetoric was flowing full speed ahead with no compassion for the victims or the million of innocents not involved in any way. Any defense of this foolishness was immediately met with more rhetoric asking how anyone could be so heartless to have the nerve to defend lawful firearms ownership “……at a time like this….”

So I ask; how long do those of us who wish to mourn properly and respectfully, allow everything we believe in to be torn to shreds around us before it is the right time to defend ourselves? After all, the “fight” is being brought to us, not the other way around. The fact that there is a heated debate on lawful firearms ownership falls at the feet of those heartless enough to believe the right time to have this debate is immediately following such an act.

I have been listening to one incorrect report after another being reported as breaking news and corrected later in the fine print. The factual details are still unknown but forward they move in their lust for “breaking news.” Being FIRST has become more important than being CORRECT in the media today. I have listened to “Experts” explain how certain firearms and ammunition function that is absolutely WRONG while no one corrects them. I have listened to political hacks beat the drums of war to ban the ownership of firearms that they do not understand but their hired security carries to allow them the defense and protection they are hungrily working to strip from everyone else. I have listened to the people who are supposed to be intellectuals and scholars try to make a case that the solution to an evil mad man victimizing innocent people is to further disarm the rest of the innocent people.

I can stand quiet no longer. While there is no “time limit” to heal and grieve for the gun grabbers before jumping at every tragedy like a school of sharks to blood soaked water, there is also no accepted “time limit” to defend what we know to be right. It is a fight they want and have chosen, and if a physical fight how many times would we allow ourselves to be punched in the throat before it is acceptable to raise our hands to defend ourselves?

We do not have a “Gun Problem” in this country. We have had guns in plentiful numbers in the United States for well over a Century and horrific events like we have all just experienced do not happen with any regularity. When they do, it is not a gun that creates the difference between intentions of a deranged lunatic following through or not. No guns were used in the bombing in Oklahoma City yet the objective to kill and injure innocents was no less tragic. No guns were used in the school bombing in Bath Township, Michigan where 45 people were killed and 58 more wounded but the maniac who perpetrated the event was successful in his will do harm and kill innocents. We have a problem with evil people committing evil acts against innocents. Disarming the innocents is NOT the way to deal with any problem.

Solutions that float from different communities include people taking more responsibility to defend themselves and their loved ones. Evil does not make an appointment and being prepared at all times is a common way of life for many people. Unfortunately it is lambasted by those opposed to firearms as being “too dangerous” or “Paranoid”. We are told that those who carry a firearm on a daily basis, and train with it are “…asking for trouble….” This is because those parroting the propaganda they hear are so far from their own comfort level in actually having to admit there are Evil people lurking among us it is easier to put their head in the sand and pretend they will never be subjected to such horrible acts. Since they wish to live in a fairytale world the only way to justify their blindness is to demand we all do the same.

If having a firearm and the ability to protect your family is asking for trouble and is “paranoid” because it seldom happens, is having a fire extinguisher in your home and running fire drills also “paranoid” and asking for a fire? I doubt most people have been burned out of their home yet it is good practice to be prepared. If having a firearm and training with it to protect your family is “paranoid” and asking for trouble, is having a spare tire in your vehicle and learning to use a tire-iron and jack being “paranoid” and asking for a flat tire? I bet most people have never had a flat, yet almost every vehicle has this security measure as standard equipment. This whole “paranoid” argument is a way for those who will not face reality to justify the simple fact that THEY are not prepared nor are they even comfortable understanding what so many of us already know to be fact. Be it a spare tire, a fire extinguisher or a firearm, it is just a tool to help in an emergency situation. A situation you hope to never have to deal with but will be better prepared to rise to the occasion should it occur. Taking the spare tire and fire extinguisher away only makes you far more vulnerable than having them available in the unlikely event you will need them and it is the same thing with a firearm.

When Evil rears its ugly head there are few warnings but there are also a few things we know for fact. They almost always perpetuate their acts in areas they are unlikely to meet resistance. Of all the horrible acts of violence in recent history the vast majority (if not all) are in places designated as “Gun Free Zones.” These should be redesignated as “Victim Disarmament Zones” because the only thing known is there will be no one who can stand up to this Evil and have no choice but to let the bad guy(s) run their course and determine who will live or die, when it will stop, and how. The Evil doers pay no attention to the laws (this should be obvious) and are allowed by our own laws to have their way with their intended victims at their discretion. As sick and twisted as it is to many of us, this is just further proof of those with their head in the sand pretending they are “safe” by placing a sign on a door and not having to confront Evil if and when it should rear its ugly head. When this argument is made the propaganda flows like a river with talk about “The Wild West” and “Untrained Individuals taking unsafe shots and possibly injuring an innocent.” The years of legal CCW records shows that EVERY community where CCW is allowed has a lower crime than their restrictive counterparts and there is absolutely no “Wild West” scenarios happening. The second part about someone accidently injuring an innocent is equally foolish. If I have a choice between an Evil person shooting women, children and honest men at will, until THEY decide they have a body-count they are satisfied with, or someone stepping up to stop the attack with equal force and accidently injuring someone in the process, I will happily take the ability for resistance. Anyone with a functioning brain in that situation surely would.

The real crux we have is not firearms, but the inability to be truthful and accept the responsibility to protect ourselves. We have become so afraid as a society to face the facts and replace them with fantasy it has become the norm. Until people educate themselves and accept the uncomfortable truth and learn to deal with it, nothing will change. Gun laws, restrictions and “gun free zones” only affect those who do not perpetuate the problems while the Evil men are allowed to create their own scenarios, at will. Firearms are firearms; there are no “good vs. bad” guns. A good guy with the largest firearm to protect and defend his or her family will be no problem while the Evil man or woman with any tool at their disposal is a threat. Taking away the firearms of a good man accomplishes absolutely nothing except to make the world a more dangerous place for the Evil men who do not follow any laws.

As long as Evil is allowed to roam the Earth the necessity for self defense will be of the utmost importance.

Article by Jeff Zimba

Friday, November 30, 2012

Time for Silence

KRISS .45 ACP SBR with Defiance Suppressor
I've been shooting since I was around 12 years old.  Today I have what my doctor calls "serious hearing loss".  I technically need hearing aides but being only 44 years old I'm reluctant to do what my doctor suggests because of vanity.

There's no cure for hearing loss, the only remedy are devices that make hearing a bit easier.  That's why preventing hearing loss is critical.  In the case of sportsmen like me that means always being diligent to wear proper hearing protection and to always have several sets with me in the car, gear bag and on the reloading bench -- for easy access.

However, many sportsmen don't always wear hearing protection.  While hunting many, if not most, hunters don't wear hearing protection so they can hear whats going on around them.  They figure, as I once did, that a few shots from a shotgun, rifle or handgun won't be so bad.  Unfortunately for me and countless others we are very-very wrong.

Hearing loss can occur at 85db of sound.  A typical conversion takes place at around 60db.  Headphones on an iPod set to max volume can generate about 100db of sound, enough to cause permanent hearing loss.  A clap of thunder that's close by can generate 120db, more than enough to cause hearing loss.  A gun shot creates anywhere from 140-190db depending on the type of weapon.  Obviously exposure to firearm discharges can cause extreme hearing loss in short order if proper hearing protection isn't used.

How many times have you had "ears" on while shooting a rifle and the seal on the headphones was broken slightly by your face being pressed against the stock?  When you fired you probably noticed a ringing in your ear where the seal was slightly broken.  How many times have you had ear plugs in and fired a round only to realize the ear plug wasn't properly seated and the sound of the report was uncomfortable?  How many times have you gone to the range and your buddy was a little quick on the trigger and fired a round before you had your ears completely on?  Even with hearing protection you can still have incidents where you unintentionally ring your ears and cause permanent hearing loss.  These incidents add up over the years to where you wind up like me, with a constant ringing in my ears that I can hear over my cat purring, who is lying at my feet as I type this.

When the NFA was enacted it regulated short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, machine guns, destructive devices, any other weapon and suppressors.  Despite the fact suppressors weren't commonly used by criminals, they were still added to the list of regulated items because the do-gooders in Congress didn't feel we should be trusted with such things.

To this day suppressors are rarely used in crime.  As a matter of fact, I can't recall the last time a national news story related to gun violence reported a suppressor being used.  Some may argue that's because the NFA laws are working.  People who hold this opinion obviously know nothing about how simple suppressors are to make.  If a criminal possesses an IQ above their own shoe size they would realize an illegal suppressor can be fashioned literally in minutes from a 2 liter bottle or with a little more effort a bicycle pump.  They are simple devices to make and despite such devices being very crude they are still effective at muting the report of a firearm.  That means there is little interest by criminals to use such devices so regulating them so heavily becomes even more asinine.

It's worth mentioning that using a suppressor in the commission of a crime carries a mandatory 30 year federal sentence, more than many people get for murder or rape.  There are only about 30 federal prosecutions related to illegal suppressor ownership per year and around 200 prosecutions by states each year.  These are typically possession charges and the people prosecuted aren't involved in other types of crimes, their only crime was being dumb enough to make a suppressor for fun not realizing they were breaking a very serious law.  Doing things like what you see in this video, which to you may seem harmless, can land you in federal prison for a minimum of 10 years or a maximum of 30 years.

It's also worth mention that many presumably less free countries in Europe that more heavily regulate private ownership of firearms have no restrictions what-so-ever on the use of suppressors.  In many places outside of the US it's considered rude to discharge a non-suppressed firearm.

There are efforts underway by the NRA and other organizations such as the American Silencer Association (ASA) to make suppressors easier to acquire for average shooters and also to make them legal for hunters.  Many states already allow suppressors to be legally used for hunting of all game animals.  To me such initiatives are derived from common sense and shooters across the country should get behind such movements.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ignorance and Elitism: the root of gun control

Statue outside of U.N. building in NYC
On the evening of 10-16-2012 we saw a glimpse into the future of a potential second term for President Obama. One filled with ignorance and elitism. I don’t say that lightly so please allow me to explain, in detail.

Before I do, a brief review of the previous assault weapon ban is in order. The name is quiet misleading, and purposefully so. The intention of the initial bill, which was law from 1994-2004, was to confuse people with invented terms such as ‘assault weapons’ and ‘deadly features’. The hope was, by using evil sounding terminology and showing scary pictures, semi-automatic weapons and what were ‘standard capacity’ magazines (now referred to as high capacity magazines) could be banned.

The ruse worked and the bill became law. The result? Weapons were banned simply because of the way they looked. Magazines with over 10 rounds were banned. For the law abiding gun owner, it was a nightmare. For the criminals? Business as usual.

In 2004 the bill sunsetted, meaning it expired. Much contention about the sunset clause abounds. Would the bill have passed had the NRA not slipped it in? Probably not, but the NRA made a gamble with our Rights and gave them up, in the hopes the bill would sunset 10 years later. As it turned out, it did. At what cost? For those who won’t recall, at the height of the ban, a Glock 17 round magazine with 17 round capacity would sell for $125. That’s just one example.

Ten years of invented terminology has also permeated the landscape and phrases like “high capacity” and “assault weapon” are in common use. The mental impacts of that ten year period cannot be understated. Many people think the phrase assault weapon means a weapon that is fully automatic, which is simply not true. That leads us to where ignorance comes into play.

Ignorance. Make no mistake, the President has access to the data, he isn’t ignorant. He knows that ‘assault weapons’ aren’t the problem. Neither are inexpensive firearms. He is, however, counting on the general public and their ignorance to achieve his goals. Terms like “assault weapons” and AK-47 will be bantered about over and over, attempting to scare people and play on their ignorance.

YOU will need to take up the fight. Inform your friends, family and coworkers about what the ill termed ‘assault weapon’ really is. It’s simply a semi-automatic weapon that appears to be more ‘deadly’ than it’s hunting equivalent.

Elitism. This is where the meat and potatoes are found. We can clearly see it in comments like those from tonight’s debate. He tries to disparage inexpensive firearms as somehow being a “criminals choice”. Again, those who would disarm you are playing on the ignorance of the public.

Criminals don’t legally acquire guns. Generally they steal them. Why would a criminal steal a less expensive item, over the more expensive one? It’s absurd.

What they really don’t want are the Plebeians having a means of self defense. You see, when a person has it in their ability to defend themselves, it generally leads to an improved sense of self-worth, well-being and their becoming more independent. That doesn’t exactly square with a subservient and ignorant populace. It also doesn’t bode well for forms of government such as socialism or communism.

When someone says we need to get rid of “cheap guns”, as the President did tonight, what they really mean is “We don’t want poor people being able to defend themselves”. In todays age of technology, even the most inexpensive firearm is not dangerous. Sure it may not function with the reliability one may want, but it’s better than a pointy stick or baseball bat.

In the second Presidential debate of 2012 Barrack Obama may have just handed the election to Mitt Romney. It’s ironic really. Mitt Romney, while governor of Massachusetts, signed a permanent assault weapons ban. We can look back and know that Mitt Romney wasn’t ignorant when he signed that bill. In the eyes of gun owners, a few short years ago, Mitt Romney shared the same company as Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein. Now, as a Presidential candidate, he opposes some of the very bills he signed off on.

While it is uncertain how Mitt Romney will actually deal with any firearms related bills should he win, we can now say with certainty what Barack Obama WILL do.

“Part of it is seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced. “ –Barack Obama 10-16-12

Keep in mind, Congress is needed for another assault weapons ban. No matter which of them wins, we need to make sure that PRO firearm Congressmen and Women are in office to prevent a bill from ever reaching the Presidents desk, no matter who it is. Given Mitt Romneys history and decades of being anti-gun, we can’t put all our faith in his recent change in positions:

“Yeah, I'm not in favor of new pieces of legislation on -- on guns and taking guns away or making certain guns illegal.” – Mitt Romney 10-16-2012

Our vigilance is needed, not just for the next month but for the next 4 years and beyond. Those who would wish to strip us of our Rights won’t rest. I also ask you to continue to remember we have a Right to self defense and Right to keep and bear arms, independent of the Second Amendment. Feel free to see my previous articles on Rights found in the article entitled “Enemies Within”.

©2012 -Permission is granted to reprint or repost this article provided it is used in full, with links intact and the content is not altered, including this section.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Poodle Killer Myth

No U.S. military service rifle caliber has been more controversial than the 5.56x45mm cartridge.  Since it's adoption in the 1960's, Soldiers and civilians have both circulated the myth that the 5.56 round was designed to wound the enemy and not kill them.  The logic behind this claim is that wounding the enemy puts a strain on their logistical systems with the added bonus that it requires other enemy soldiers to carry off their wounded brethren thus lessening the number of combatants on the field of battle.

The only problem with this myth is that it is just that, a myth.

The U.S. military has never published any documents, requirements or doctrines stating a desire to adopt a rifle cartridge designed to only wound the enemy.  Of course the military views wounding as better than no hit at all, and taking an enemy combatant out of the fight they view as a good thing.  But they have never built a doctrine around the concept of wounding being the desired result of a gunshot wound.

The 5.56mm cartridge was designed to kill not wound or maim.

I believe the root of the myth comes from countless horror stories told by both civilians and Soldiers about the 5.56mm's failure to neutralize a target.  In 2003 the U.S. Army conducted a study that found the 5.56mm was actually quite acceptable for combat duty.  This is a quote from the study that I think carries a lot of weight.
In the end, “footpounds of energy” is misleading, “stopping power” is a myth, and the “oneshot drop” is a rare possibility dependent more on the statistics of hit placement than weapon and ammunition selection.  Effectiveness ultimately equates to the potential of the weapons system to eliminate its target as a militarily relevant threat.
I agree with this statement.  Shot placement will be the largest deciding factor in how effective a gun shot would will be in terms of dispatching the enemy.  The horror stories about the ineffectiveness of the 5.56mm can be traced back to either unsubstantiated rumors and myths or to poor shot placement.

It's also worth noting how the 5.56mm stacked up against the .308 in the testing.  For CQB type combat the 5.56mm actually kept pace with the 7.62x51(.308) in terms of close range effectiveness.

It's interesting to note that when the U.S. military adopted the .308 to replace the 30-06, similar horror stories circulated.  The .308 was deemed to be inferior to the 30-06 by many Soliders.  Slowly these rumors faded, and their demise was hastened with the adoption of the 5.56x45mm only a few short years later.

The 5.56mm cartridge is a fine service rifle cartridge that excels at close to medium range combat.  It is not well suited to long distance engagements which is why the U.S. military has moved back to the .308 for DMR's (Designated Marksman Rifle) in the wide open spaces of the Middle East.  For a survival rifle you would be hard pressed to find a more suitable caliber than the 5.56x45mm.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fighting with Averages

I often see people throw around averages when discussing preparations for self defense.  Many cite averages to justify their choice for a defensive arm.  Revolver guys will use averages to justify their choice of a 5 or 6 shot handgun.  Sub-compact guys will also cite averages to justify their choice of a handgun with limited capacity.

I recently posted a review of the Springfield XD-S .45 ACP sub-compact handgun on the Military Arms Channel.  I mention in the review that the XD-S only carries 5 rounds of .45 ACP and I would rather have the handgun chambered for 9mm so I could have a couple of extra rounds.

A viewer to the channel raised the argument that 5 round was ample because the average gunfight only requires 2-3 rounds to be fired.  Here is the posters comment:
I'm not as concerned as others about magazine capacity because most gunfights last only 2-3 rounds. And like Col. Jeff Cooper used to say: "If you can't do the job with 2-3 rounds, then you have no buisness carrying a pistol in the first place.
I have a problem with planning your self defense strategy around averages.  If the average number of shots fired to end a fight is 3 rounds, that means some gunfights required more rounds to be fired and some required fewer to be fired.  It's safe to say that in that average more than one gunfight required more than 5 rounds to be fired.

What happens if you encounter two or more armed thugs with your 5 shot pistol?  Do the averages say you will need to fire 2-3 rounds at each assailant?  We don't know.  Most who cite the averages for gunfight statistics have no idea how the data for the averages were collected or what types of shootings they included.

The FBI is the source of the 2-3 shots fired average.  The data is collected from police shootings, not civilian shootings.  There is a difference.

Many training organizations have collected their own data based on training done with paintball guns, soft air guns and with Simunitions.  Gabe Suarez has this to say about what he's seen in training.
Defenders will fire their weapons until the threat disappears. That means that until the role player falls down (simulating effective hits delivered), or runs away (removing the target), the good guy will keep firing. The concept of school solutions, controlled pairs, or otherwise artificially limiting the number of shots (as one does in a firing string on the range) does not hold up even in guys who’ve been extensively trained to do it.
 This is how things typically go in a real world civilian gunfight.  The good guy gets scared, pulls their weapon and proceeds to shoot until there is no more threat.  The bad guy will do one of two things, stand and fight or flee.  With semi-auto pistols shots get fired very quickly.  Hit probabilities are relatively low, regardless of how extensively you've been trained.  That means the person with the most rounds in their magazine has a decided advantage.  The more attackers there are, the more rounds the defender will need.

Some will argue that having spare magazines will remedy the issue of only having a few rounds in the pistol.  Suarez, and others, note that changing magazines in a gunfight rarely goes like it does on the range in practice.  Stress changes everything.  Fine motor skills go out the window and gross motor skills become labored.  Many times the defender will run out of ammo and not notice until they've pulled the trigger several times on an empty handgun.  They're focused on the fight, not the condition of their weapon.  Suarez elaborates:
When a training gun stops firing (due to running out of pellets), the shooter is still in the fight and still trying to shoot his enemy as well as trying to not be hit by him. We see them continue to try to work the trigger for one or two times before there is a realization that there has been a stoppage (malfunction or empty gun). This is followed by a visual examination of the gun, and only then is remedial action taken. 
This can take upwards of a second and a half before anything is even attempted to fix the gun, and then the additional time needed to reload. Thus the idea that one can read the gun’s feel and immediately realize a need to speed load simply does not hold up. Running out of ammo is usually a fight ender if there has been a failure to stop, or there are multiple adversaries at hand.
The fact is you will fire more rounds than you think you might in a gunfight.  Being forced to reload your weapon adds an avoidable failure point.  Having more rounds in the magazine does increase your effectiveness in a fight.

When planning for self defense I recommend you think beyond averages.  I view averages as bare minimums because they don't take into account the extremes you're likely to encounter in a fight.  I do carry sub-compacts with limited magazines capacities, but I only do so for short trips or as a back-up weapon to a larger handgun.  When I go to the store, I'll throw a XD-S or Shield in my pocket if I'm in a hurry.  When I leave town or plan on being out for the day traveling around, I will bring my Glock 19.  If I know I'm going into a bad area, I will most certainly bring my Glock 19.

The use of small pistols like the XD-S, LCP, Shield, Kahr's, Nano, etc. is a compromise.  I understand that when I reach for a sub-compact I'm committing to living with the compromise I've just made.   Ideally, I would never leave the house without one or more handguns with at least one carrying 15+ rounds.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

US made IWI Tavor

Rumors of a US made Tavor have been circulating since SHOT Show 2012 when Michael Kassnar made an appearance with what he said was a working prototype of the Israeli bullpup rifle.  Not much was known about this prototype other than it was promised to appear sometime in 2012.

This past weekend I attended the Bullpup Shoot in Park City, Kentucky.  The event was held at the incredible Rockcastle Shooting Center and is hosted by the BullpupForum.  To my surprise, Michael Kassnar from IWI was present at the event and yes, he had the Tavor with him to give folks a chance to see it and to shoot it.  That's right, we got to go loud with the Tavor!

2012 is drawing to a close and the Tavor isn't going to hit before years end, however plans to introduce the much anticipated rifle to US shooters continue to move forward.  IWI has purchased the old Charles Daley facilities and has setup manufacturing there.  Michael tells us that employees have been hired and production is ready to begin.  May of 2013 is the new release date for the rifle, but don't hold your breath folks.  These things can take a while and often times dates slip.  However, I'm more confident than ever that the Tavor is destine to hit gun stores across America in the near future.

I learned a lot of good information about the Tavor that wasn't previously known about the proposed US variant.  There will be differences between it and the Israel and Canadian rifles.

The Tavor takes a slightly different approach to the bullpup concept than other designs such as the AUG however it also has some similarities.

The ejection and charging handle can be changed from right to left hand configuration by swapping a few parts like the bolt, non-reciprocationg charging handle, and other small parts.  Unlike the AUG, this is more involved and IWI tells me that it is best done by an armorer.

When it's fired from the left side (right hand configuration) the brass deflector sends spent cases forward, it's flying at around the 2 o'clock position. There is no chance of it hitting your face and you won't be required to change the position of your head on the stock to avoid being hit with ejected brass.

The rifle uses standard STANAG magazines.  I'm told it works with most popular magazines including the PMAG, Lancer 5, Troy and USGI mags.

Mag release is a trigger like device in front of the magazine. It's very easy to use. My concern is that a sling or mag pouch might cause an unintentional mag release, but I've not confirmed this as I had neither a sling or chest rig available.

The bolt release is brilliantly simple.  You simply push the new mag in, push up with your thumb (already in position) and boom, the bolt rides home with a new round.

The trigger pack is tiny and sits just behind the magazine well. It can stay in the rifle when you remove the bolt. It requires two pins to be pushed out (captive) to drop the trigger pack from the rifle for maintenance.

The flip up sights are integrated into the 1913 rail. The front sight has tritium.  The sights can be folded down into the rail and optics may be mounted over them.  If you don't like the back-up sights that come with the Tavor, you can install your own.

The front handguard is removable and rails can be installed.

It will be released as a 5.56x45 plus a 9mm conversion kit will be immediately available as well.  End users can change calibers themselves, no armorer is required.

The barrel is a quick release barrel.  A simple allen wrench type tool is used to quickly release the barrel.  Additional barrels of varying length will be available for the rifle.

It will have QD mounts front and rear and on both sides.

The rifle weighs 7.2lbs empty.

The Tavor has a decent trigger, not your typical bullpup mushy, creepy trigger.  It's not a match trigger, but it is a solid military trigger.  Unlike the AUG and the FS2000, the trigger components of the Tavor are metal and I believe this lends to the more crisp feel of the trigger.

Recoil is about what you would expect. The balance of the rifle is nearly perfect, you can keep this rifle shouldered and in the ready position much longer and more comfortably than a rifle like the M4.

The suggested retail price for the Tavor is projected to be $1900.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

National Concealed Carry legislation

It’s time to take national reciprocity to task and make sure we get what we really want.

For decades we’ve heard the drum beats from some over the “need” for a national concealed carry reciprocity law, no matter what. In their blind pursuit for falling at the feet (and sword) of a massive federal bureaucracy, they have been zealous of getting anything, at any cost, without regard to the consequences.

From the debacle known as LEOSA (Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act), where certain pro-carry advocates threw average citizens under the bus by deluding them into thinking it would somehow further their cause to allow off duty and retired LEO’s national carry without requiring the same for everyone. The two class tier of citizens played out exactly as expected. The average gun owner was left out in the cold (and defenseless) for decades. As predicted, once one side got what they wanted, the rest were thrown to the wolves.

Today we have two separate bills pending in the Senate. The same “give me anything” crowd is rushing head long into an even worse debacle. Even if it means placing the States subservient to the federal government, specifically the Attorney General and presumably the BATF, in their Don Quixote like quest for anything they can get.

There is hope, one of the two bills, S.2213 is 180 degrees from previous pieces of ill-gotten legislation. S.2213 leaves full control over how a State issues and sets their concealed carry laws and regulations. It would be up to the individual to make sure they didn’t run afoul of another States law, which may or may not be stricter. This is similar to how things currently work between States with reciprocity agreements already in place and would not allow any meddling federal agencies control over the States.

If there was ever a chance for a nationwide reciprocity that didn’t involve more federal red-tape or encroachments, this is it. It is actually possible for a 2/3 majority in the Senate and House that would trump any potential veto from the President. It is also an election year, time to put some feet to the fire, this could even be attached to other must pass bills as well.

Again it must be stressed that S.2213 is the bill to support. Make that crystal clear! The other bill would give control of States Rights over to a massive federal bureaucracy and give them the power to issue standards and minimums. The other bill must not be allowed to be passed. States such as AZ, VT, AK and others that have Constitutional Carry (no license or permit required) could be forced into national requirements requiring new licensing and registrations.

I urge you to share this information with your friends, family and fellow gun owners. Please contact your Senators, there are already 34 co-sponsors to this bill. Stop a federal power grab and educate those who may be well intentioned, yet misinformed.

You can contact the Capital Hill switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask for your Representative and Senators offices. Also consider thanking the author of S.2213, Senator John Thune.


©2012 -Permission is granted to reprint or repost this article provided it is used in full, with links intact and the content is not altered, including this section.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Enemies within

As I was considering what to write about this week, I came across a blaring statement of ignorance about the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the second amendment.

To start, we'll just take a look at this specific excerpt: “This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of.” I will include the entire "in context" explanation by the editor of Recoil Magazine below and I believe after reading this, you'll find it even more repugnant.

The need to justify a 'legitimate purpose' to own a firearm is absurd on it's face. The furtherance of that by means of a "sporting application" flies in the face of history and all logic.

We must dispel the lie that is referred to as "sporting purposes".

First and foremost, people have a Right to defend themselves. Period. There are no sporting purposes to self defense. The Right to defend yourself is unlimited. You have as much of a Right to defend yourself against 1 assailant as you do a dozen or one hundred.

Today the most effectual means of self defense are firearms. Tomorrow it may be a light saber or laser firing weapon. You have the Right to defend yourself. You may believe that Right comes from your belief in that The Creator has bestowed that upon you or perhaps you view it as a natural Earthly right or simply because of the second amendment to the Constitution.

Regardless of where and how you believe you have that Right it is something we all have.

As Samuel Adams said: “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.” Simply put, you have it and no man (or woman) has the authority to rightfully take that from you.

So we can clearly see, "sporting purposes" is a classic strawman argument. The enemies of Freedom, Liberty and self defense cannot argue with reason and logic, so they lie and they create false definitions and dichotomies to try and justify their indefensible positions to disarm us and leave us defenseless in the face of criminals, terrorists and tyrants.

While a classic revolver may be sufficient to stop a lone criminal, a standard (deemed 'high' by our enemies) capacity pistol may be better suited to dark alley confrontation with a few adversaries.

Likewise a riot or civil unrest situation such as the LA Riots (where shop owners used AK-47's to defend themselves) to the events in the south during hurricane Katrina where citizens used everything from bats to handguns and so called "assault" rifles to defend themselves and their neighborhoods.

You have the Right to decide how best to defend yourself. After all you don't have a Right to something if someone can put all sorts of absurd conditions or restrictions on it.

While not it's current position the United States Supreme Court has ruled in the past (when it held true to the Constitution and not to public opinion or politics) that a 'right restricted is a right denied'.

While H&K's MP7A1 may be better suited to repel a foreign military invasion or government turned tyrannical, that certainly doesn't make it something a "civvie" shouldn't own.

Quite the opposite in fact if you actually support the second amendment: "Necessary to the security of a free state". They certainly aren't talking about a deer rifle for hunting or handgun for self defense against a random thief or rapist.

Which ever firearm(s) you decide is (are) appropriate to protect and defend yourself, your family and your country is ultimately up to you. You have that RIGHT and when it comes to Rights, please refer to the founding fathers and how they felt about them.

As I mentioned earlier, here is the attempt by 'Recoil Magazine" to justify their position:

“Like we mentioned before, the MP7A1 is unavailable to civilians and for good reason. We all know that’s technology no civvies should ever get to lay their hands on. This is a purpose-built weapon with no sporting applications to speak of. It is made to put down scumbags, and that’s it. Mike Cabrera of Heckler & Koch Law Enforcement Sales and veteran law enforcement officer with SWAT unit experience points out that this is a gun that you do not want in the wrong, slimy hands. It comes with semi-automatic and full-auto firing modes only. Its overall size places it between a handgun and submachine gun. Its assault rifle capabilities and small size make this a serious weapon that should not be taken lightly.”

I would urge you, if you have a subscription to recoil magazine to cancel it. Don't support a company or organization that doesn't support your Rights. This isn't a random contributor, it is the editorial staff and by default the official position of Recoil Magazine. They also had time to backpedal or correct their original statement, instead they really let their position shine through.

The enemies of freedom are numerous enough, we don't need them within the gates as well.


©2012 -Permission is granted to reprint or repost this article provided it is used in full, with links intact and the content is not altered, including this section.

Editors Note:  Prometheus is a member of the MAC family and has been a contributor to our efforts since the beginning.

UPDATE:  9/11/2012

RECOIL Magazine issued an apology two days ago.  Today on 9/11 they "Liked" this comment made by one of their readers on the RECOIL Magazine Facebook page.

It would seem that the anti-2nd Amendment views of their editor are not his views alone.  Someone in charge of their Facebook page made mistake of pouring fuel on the fire by "liking" this comment which mirrors the opinion of the original article that got RECOIL into this mess to begin with.  Apparently their apology was a ruse to try and silence the outcry by the firearms community.

To make matters even worse, when people started pointing this out to others on their Facebook page and tempers once against flared, RECOIL Magazine removed the Like in an apparent effort to conceal their views once again.

UPDATE:  9/12/2012

H&K has issued a statement that contradicts RECOIL Magazines version of events.  H&K is denying they made the comments about the MP7A1 not being suitable for civilian ownership.  It seems the only people left holding the bag here is RECOIL Magazine and their efforts to blame a sponsor (H&K) for their own anti-gun comments has backfired on them.
"Some readers have misinterpreted a recent feature story in RECOIL magazine as a reflection of HK policy. Heckler & Koch has a long presence in the US civilian market and throughout that time has been an ardent and passionate supporter of the Second Amendment and the American civilian shooter. This will always be the case. The contents, opinions, and statements expressed in that feature story are those of the writer, not Heckler and Koch’s. Additionally, the writer and RECOIL magazine have issued a clarification and apology for the ill-chosen words used in the story.

The HK MP7A1 4.6 mm Personal Defense Weapon mentioned in the story is a selective-fire product (capable of "full automatic” fire) and is currently restricted to military and law enforcement agencies by BATF. HK-USA has previously researched introducing similar commercial products, chambered in 4.6 mm, but it was determined that the final product would not have enough appeal or be legally feasible.

— Heckler & Koch USA"

UPDATE:  9/13/2012

Jerry Tsai has stepped down.  He released the following statement on the RECOIL website.

It is with deep sorrow that I announce I am stepping down as editor of Recoil, effective immediately. 
It is very difficult for me to walk away from something I helped create, something that I loved doing, and something I firmly believed would appeal to a fresh new generation of gun enthusiasts, but I accept that the comments in my story in the current issue have made my position as editor of Recoil untenable. 
With that said, Recoil is bigger than any one person, and if my departure will allow Recoil to continue to grow and engage gun enthusiasts, then stepping down as editor is clearly the right thing for me to do. 
I accept I made mistakes, and I apologize unreservedly for calling Recoil’s support for Second Amendment rights into question. 
While I understand the passions aroused over this incident, the deeply hurtful words from some of my fellow gun enthusiasts have been painful to endure. I hope now we can all move on. 
Finally, I would like to thank all those who have supported me over the past few days. These are the people who know me to be at heart a passionate gun enthusiast whose dream was to make something bold and new in firearms media. 
Jerry Tsai

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Speed and simplicity: Striker fired pistols

FN Browning 1900 Pistol
Many today think that striker fired pistols are "new" and "next generation" when in reality it's old technology.  Some of the earliest examples of semi-automatic handguns used strikers vs. the traditional hammer for cartridge ignition.  Take the FN Browning 1900 as an example. The FN 1900 was the first commercially successful auto-loading pistol and it featured a striker firing system.  The pistol was sleek, snag free and was well suited for the task of concealed carry.

When the Glock 17 came onto the scene some thought it was the most advanced handgun of the time, and it may well have been.  But nothing about the Glock was really new.  The polymer frame and striker ignition had been done before by HK with their VP70 handgun.  The VP70 broke new ground with its innovative polymer frame and striker firing, however it was not what I would consider a commercial success in the US.  It was originally designed as a police/military weapon and was a machine pistol that was capable of full-automatic fire with the stock affixed.  The trigger pull on the VP70 was abysmal and measured 16+ lbs on examples I have examined.

HK VP70 9mm pistol
Glock took design elements of other pistols, modified them and rolled them up into their Glock 17 pistol.  Apparently Glock got it right because the G17 went on to become one of the most prolific handguns of the 20th century.  In the United States the Glock rivals the popularity of the 1911, which is pretty amazing.  The majority of police departments in the US have at one time used the Glock pistol in 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP.

Why has the Glock become so popular?  What is it about the design that appeals to so many shooters?

I would venture to say that reliability is the primary motivation behind the Glocks popularity.  The handgun is, if nothing else, reliable.  However I believe the recipe for Glock success also lies in its striker firing system which features a consistent 5.5lbs trigger pull.

But there's something else.

The one thing that separates the Glock from the other two pistols mentioned in this article is the fact it lacks a manual safety.  Calm down my loyal Glock groupies, I didn't say the pistol lacked safeties -- I merely stated the fact that Glock's lack a manual safety (please follow the link if you need clarification as to what defines a "manual safety").

Two of my Glock 17 pistols
The relatively light trigger pull coupled with the lack of a manual safety makes the Glock one of the quickest handguns into a fight.  Lets face it, the more operations you add to readying your pistol under stress only serves to increase the probably Mr. Murphy will make an appearance at your moment of truth.  Something as simple as brushing off a safety is easily accomplished on a one way range, but when you put that same shooter on a two way range where bullets are coming back at them, all of a sudden the most trivial task becomes a likely failure point.

At first the Glock was decried as being unsafe or even dangerous.  It's true, it does have a higher incident of unintended discharges by LEO's and others that carry them for defensive purposes.  However, I view these negligent discharges as being attributable to lack of training.  Why do I say that?  Because the Glock will not fire unless the trigger is pulled.  Since the Glock is incapable of pulling its own trigger that means someone pulled the trigger if the gun goes "boom" when the operator wasn't expecting it.

It is this simplicity and reliability that draws me towards the Glock for daily carry.  With a good holster that covers the trigger and ample range time, the Glock is not only safe but one of the fastest pistols into a fight you can buy.

Walther PPQ 9mm pistol
I say "one of" because Glocks success has spawned a whole cornucopia of pistols from competitors that mirror the Glocks successful recipe.  Some have copied the recipe to such a degree that they found themselves in court facing Glocks rather aggressive attorneys that enforce their patents with vigor.  However, many companies have found ways around Glocks patents and brought pistols to market that closely mimic Glocks functionality.  Handguns such as the M&P, SR9, XD, Steyr A1, Walter PPQ, Caracal, FNS, etc.

I've always favored a consistent trigger pull over a double action trigger pull.  That's why I carried the 1911 for so many years before jumping on the Glock bandwagon.  I moved to Glock many years ago before competitive products came to market.  At this point I have a couple of decades of Glock shooting under my belt so it makes sense for me to continue using what I'm familiar with. However, if I were to buy my first defensive handgun today I would lean heavily towards the S&W M&P 9mm.

In the end I find modern polymer framed striker fired pistols to be the ultimate defensive handguns as  they are the epitome of speed, reliability and ease of use.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The infamous Mil-Spec

M4 style AR15 rifle
Every group has a vocal cadre that demand compliance to their closely held beliefs as defined by their collective.  In the AR-15 realm we have the mil-spec advocates.   These folks have their short list of approved manufacturers and the moment a new company dares to come into existence they pounce to question every minute detail about the materials and processes used to manufacture the interlopers new wares.
Often times the criticisms leveled against the manufacturers’ products will be centered on compliance to military specifications.  Ironically, most who cite the military specifications for rifles such as the AR15/M16 have never read the actual specifications nor even know where to find them.  They instead resort to parroting what they’ve read on Internet discussion forums.
What are military specifications (mil-spec)?  Simple, they’re standards established by the General Accountability Office (GAO) for defining essential technical requirements of purchased materiel for the military or for substantially modified commercial items to be used by the military.  These standards have been established to guarantee interoperability, commonality, reliability and cost of ownership to ease the strain on logistics systems.
What mil-specs aren’t are a guarantee the product defined is the absolute best that it can be in terms of materials used or processes used for manufacturing.  In the case of the AR15/M16 many of the specifications were established in the 1960’s and 1970’s long before various alloys were developed or even before CNC machining was in common use.
Buffer tubes
Take the buffer tube (receiver extension) of the AR15 rifle as an example.  The military standard tube will have a diameter of 1.148”.  The commercial buffer tube will have a diameter of 1.168”.  The threads will be slightly smaller in diameter on the commercial tube (1.170’ vs 1.185”) as well.  Some commercial tubes will have welded end caps where mil-spec tubes will consist of one piece.
Is the thinner mil-spec tube stronger than the thicker commercial tube?  I guess that depends on what tests are conducted.  In a real world application would a commercial tube be any more likely to fail if exposed to the same stresses as a mil-spec tube?  Everything I can find would indicate no, the mil-spec tube isn’t necessarily more durable or able to withstand significantly more stress than the commercial variant.  
So why do we have mil-spec on buffer tubes?  Simple.  If we go back to the definition of what mil-spec is we’ll find in this case it has to do with interoperability and compatibility.    A Soldier should be able to remove a buttstock from one M4A1 and drop it onto another M4A1 without having to worry about compatibility.  That’s it.
Another example would be the use of Carpenters 158 steel in the construction of AR15/M16 bolts.  Carpenters 158 is the mil-spec standard material for manufacturing a bolt, but is it the best material available?  Lewis Tool & Machine (LMT) thinks that Aermet is vastly superior (2.5 times stronger) to Carpenters 158.  Their Enhanced Bolt, which is designed to remedy failures associated with the mil-spec standard M16 bolt, seems to be a popular item.  This goes back to the specifications written for the M16 being drafted in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Better materials now exist yet the mil-spec standards haven’t been modified.
All the mil-spec advocates will claim the use of Carpenters 158 is a must.  They’ll cite the infamous “Chart” hosted by as their holy scripture on the subject, yet in reality Carpenters 158 is a minimum standard and nothing more.

If you’re new to AR15’s and don’t know what to look for when buying a rifle from one of the 50+ makers of AR’s out there today, stick with mil-spec standards to get started.  Or, do your research and find out where deviating from the military specifications can be a good thing.
There are some specifications you don’t want to deviate too far from such as MP/HP testing of bolts and barrels that assure quality and durability.  Staked nuts on the gas key are a good thing as well.  Having .154” diameter pins for the fire control group is another good thing (Colt used larger holes at one time).  M4 feed ramps on a carbine are a bonus as they improve feeding reliability.
I don't completely discount military specifications for the AR15 or think they're totally irrelevant to the civilian legal AR15.  What I do believe is that they're a bare minimum standard for quality and interchangeability and nothing more.