Friday, October 31, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
I was going to write a review of the Gerber ASEK/LMF knife, but I found an excellent review by Bob Galvin at http://www.policeone.com/police-products/duty-gear/knives/press-releases/120430/. I received this knife as a Christmas gift from my son and I have never owned a better knife for all around "chores". It is practically unbreakable, keeps a good edge and is short enough to use for prying and cutting and not have to worry about skewering yourself on accident. If you need a fixed blade knife, this is the one to have in your BOB or on your belt.
I don't think I could put it any better than Bob did, so with all due credit, here is his review:
Case Study: New Gerber LMF II Tactical Knife Proves Versatile Ally in the Field
No one will argue that a good quality knife must be standard equipment in military or tactical situations. The question becomes one of how well the knife being used can multi-task. Today's tactical knife isn't just a tool, but really an extension of its user. The knife must perform a variety of tasks superbly, efficiently and quickly. After all, time and human life are precious in the tactical world. This partly explains why the new LMF 2 Infantry Knife from Gerber Legendary Blades (Portland, Oregon) was designed. The bigger reason was that two years ago the U.S. Army came to Gerber asking for a "pilot's knife" to be made. Specifically, the Army wanted a survival knife for use among pilots involved in a helicopter crash. Up until then, existing survival knives, and even their sheaths, just weren't performing. To ensure that the new knife would perform, the Army issued a daunting list of 30 design criteria to be met for what it calls the "ASEK" (Aircrew Survival & Egress Knife). And, of course, the knife had to be affordable for any GI using it.
Heavy Buttcap Pierces Glass, Skulls; Is a Hammer
What the Army got was a knife that not only met its design criteria, but that is a durable, all-purpose tactical knife that makes survival a priority above all. Several design features make the LMF 2 a particularly staunch knife. The 5-inch stainless steel blade has a 3/16" thickness, and a Rockwell Hardness C Scale rating of 58. The blade also has a high length-of-arc to provide an increased cutting edge. As for the LMF 2's intended purpose of providing quick egress in a downed helicopter situation, there are holes drilled through the blade and handle to allow lashing a spear. But the more noticeable "egress" design feature of this knife is the unique buttcap. It is the heavy end of the knife, made of stainless steel, and, with a point at its end, capable of breaking 1" helicopter Plexiglass or even skulls. Also, the buttcap is physically separated from the knife's tang by handle substrate material. This design gives the buttcap terrific shock absorption when it's used as a hammer and electrically isolates the blade from the buttcap.
Still another bonus with the LMF 2 knife is a removable and replaceable carbide sharpener built right into the sheath. The sheath itself is easily detachable from the vest plate and can be used as a handle when using the buttcap to hammer.
Blade Sharpness Withstands Abuse
Just how important these performance features are for Gerber's new tactical knife can be seen in comments from soldiers using the LMF 2. A retired SEAL, who is presently an independent contractor in Iraq, for example, gave high marks to the new knife after he had several tactical officers conduct rigorous testing. "One classic story is of a sniper team in Iraq that used the knife to knock a hole through a solid brick wall to create a shooting lane to the intended target," the SEAL said. "While the job took a while to complete, using both ends of the weapon, minor damage to the blade incurred that was quickly fixed by the sharpener on the blade's sheath."
The LMF 2's buttcap also was put through its paces during this trial test. "The skull crusher is a favorite for every use, including minimum non-lethal force control of prisoners (arm bars or pressure holds), breaching vehicle windows and basic locks, and, of course, lethal hand-to-hand combat," the SEAL continued. He added that the knife's rubber-coated hand grip creates a secure hold on the blade during the worst conditions.
Blade durability was a highlight of the LMF 2's tour of duty so far in Iraq. "It (the blade) needed hardly any maintenance, and stayed sharp without having to take time out of my day to sharpen it," the SEAL reveals. Such accolades don't get any better when you consider that the LMF 2 was deployed in more than 60 training exercises and 130 world combat missions. Sometimes, a knife can be the best tool or weapon, if not the only one, a soldier has at a given moment. Perhaps the SEAL sums it up best: "I would hate to be on E&E without my LMF 2."
Bob Galvin is a Portland, Oregon freelance writer, based in Portland, Oregon, who writes about various law enforcement/tactical/military tools and technologies, and their applications.
Where it all went wrong-
America has always been an experiment in progress. Social, Economic, Legislative, lots of different things have been tried in our country. This is one of the things that has made us strong. However, I believe there was one huge national tragedy, one failed experiment, that has burdened America for more than 70 years. That experiment? FDR's "New Deal". Let's take a look at the New Deal and draw some parallels to today.
From Wikipedia- By March 4, nearly all banks in the country were closed by their governors, and Roosevelt kept them all closed until he could pass new legislation. On March 9, Roosevelt sent to Congress the Emergency Banking Act, drafted in large part by Hoover's Administration; the act was passed and signed into law the same day. It provided for a system of reopening sound banks under Treasury supervision, with federal loans available if needed. Three-quarters of the banks in the Federal Reserve System reopened within the next three days. Billions of dollars in "hoarded" currency and gold flowed back into them within a month, thus stabilizing the banking system. During all of 1933, 4,004 small local banks were permanently closed and were merged into larger banks. (Their depositors eventually received 85 cents on the dollar of their deposits.) Anti-New Deal economists Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz said, "The 'cure' came close to being worse than the disease." To avoid future "cures" the Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in June, which insured deposits for up to $5,000. The establishment of the FDIC virtually ended the era of "runs" on banks.
Sound familiar? The Federal Government bailing out banks? The New Deal set a dangerous precedent. If something doesn't work, Uncle Sam will step in and fix it. The Welfare State for businesses. Not to mention, it was small depositors who got burned. If the Fed determined your bank did not fit their model, they simply closed it down, and as a consequence, stole 15% of your saved money as a penalty for being stupid enough to trust a small local bank. Seems to me the Fed was creating a system of banks beholden to Uncle Sam. With smaller, less controllable, local banks out of the picture, and larger banks being propped up with Federal money, the Fed could now dictate the rules to these banks.
Oh my God! The Fed is making a move to control banking again? Apparently they didn't feel it worked well enough when FDR did it, because the current administration just did the same thing. Even going so far as to force stable banks to take bailout money. But wait, it gets better (or worse)!
From Wikipedia- In March and April in a series of Acts of Congress and executive orders Roosevelt and Congress suspended the gold standard for United States currency. Under the gold standard, the Federal Reserve was prevented from lowering interest rates and was instead forced to raise rates to protect the dollar. Actions to suspend the gold standard included Executive Order 6073, the Emergency Banking Act, Executive Order 6102, Executive Order 6111, the 1933 Banking Act and House Joint Resolution 192. Anyone holding significant amounts of gold coinage was mandated to exchange it for the existing fixed price of US dollars, after which the US would no longer pay gold on demand for the dollar, and gold would no longer be considered valid legal tender for debts in private and public contracts. The dollar was allowed to float freely on foreign exchange markets with no guaranteed price in gold, only to be fixed again at a significantly lower level a year later with the passage of the Gold Reserve Act in 1934. Markets immediately responded well to the suspension, although it was assumed to be temporary.
Wow, we are getting screwed. Quite a realization. Surely there is a bright spot, right? Surely since our government is expecting us to make sacrifices to help the economy, we can be assured that they are doing everything they can to keep a lid on their spending? Think again, monkey-boy!
From Wikipedia- The Economy Act, drafted by Budget Director Lewis Douglas was passed on March 14, 1933. The act proposed to balance the "regular" (non-emergency) federal budget by cutting the salaries of government employees and cutting pensions to veterans by forty percent. It saved $500 million per year and reassured deficit hawks such as Douglas that the new President was fiscally conservative. Roosevelt argued there were two budgets: the "regular" federal budget, which he balanced, and the "emergency budget," which was needed to defeat the depression; it was imbalanced on a temporary basis.
Wow, this sucks so far. Our government, who we elected, is putting the screws to us pretty hard. They shut down our local banks, and stole 15% of our savings while doing it. They took away the guarantee that printed money was worth something. They have banking in their pocket. They are artificially stimulating the economy via interest rates and they are lying to us about having a balanced budget. How much worse could it get? Grab you ankles America, here comes daddy!
From Wikipedia- Roosevelt was keenly interested in farm issues and believed that true prosperity would not return until farming was prosperous. Many different programs were directed at farmers. The first hundred days produced a federal program to raise farm incomes by raising the prices farmers received, which was achieved by reducting total farm output. The Agricultural Adjustment Act, created the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) in May 1933. The act reflected the demands of leaders of major farm organizations, especially the Farm Bureau, and reflected debates among Roosevelt's farm advisers such as Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, Rexford Tugwell, Lewis C. Gray and George Peek. The AAA used a system of "domestic allotments," setting total output of corn, cotton, dairy products, hogs, rice, tobacco, and wheat. The farmers themselves had a voice in the process of using government to benefit their incomes. The AAA paid land owners subsidies for leaving some of their land idle with funds provided by a new tax on food processing. The goal was to force up farm prices to the point of "parity," an index based on 1910-1912 prices. To meet 1933 goals some growing cotton was plowed up, and little pigs killed. The idea was that the less produced, the higher the price, and the farmer would benefit. Farm incomes increased significantly in the first three years of the New Deal, as prices for commodities rose. One legal historian says that consumers bore the brunt of higher food prices and were "horrified with its policy of enforced scarcity." A Gallup Poll printed in the Washington Post revealed that a majority of the American public opposed the AAA.
Now, in case you think I am just another "FDR Hater", I will give the New Deal it's props. Here are the good things:
Creation of jobs and rural development through programs such as the CCC, REA, WPA, Forest Service and TVA. People needed work, and FDR found it. My Grandfather was a CCC firewatcher in the Kisatchie Nation Forest during the Great Depression. Electricity came to areas of the country that desperately needed it. Real, tangible, concrete improvement in the way of dams, roads, schools and National Parks were built.
The repeal of Prohibition. Why America was ever so stupid as to let morality overwhelm the ability to collect taxes on our vices escapes me. FDR saw the light. Legal booze flowed again, and we collected the taxes.
Set minimum wage, maximum work week and limits on child labor. As much as I hate government interference is any kind of economics, it was truly needed in these areas. With 25% unemployment, the American worker had nothing to bargain with against management. Evening the playing field was in order.
However, in the grand scheme of things, this grab for power by the government has had dire consequences for America. Government regulation, deregulation, price manipulation, interest rate variation and a general sense that Uncle Sam should control the economy have led every successive administration to apply their version of control to our economy. What you see in the markets is not real. Prices are driven by speculation. Commodities such as gas and oil are sold on "futures". This does not take into account real world economic situations, but instead leaves the American consumer vulnerable to the whims and worries of investors. This is why gas prices increase every time the "President" of Iran breaks wind.
I don't have an easy fix. No one does. However, I think that it is our duty as Americans to be informed and whenever possible to call out our government for it's attempts at fascism (and/or socialism). When I went to school, someone told me that our government was "of the people, by the people and for the people". I think we need to remind Uncle Sam who he works for.
Friday, October 24, 2008
he is enslaved politically; conversely, man’s political freedom is illusory if he is dependent for his economic needs on the State- This is why Socialism is a failed experiment. Putting heavier political burdens (taxes) on those who earn more saps their will and desire to excel. Why work harder if the government is just going to take it away. And conversely, State mandated handouts (welfare) create an environment where hard work is not rewarded, so why work hard? If all Americans are to be given an equal chance as well as an enticement to succeed, we have to stop the silliness of punished those who do succeed and rewarding those who put forth no effort.
Friday, October 10, 2008
A non-perishable asset that has only increased in value over the last 50 years, ammo might be as good as gold (literally) if things go bad.
Reasons for price increases in ammo-
Ammunition, like any commodity, is affected by supply and demand. In the last few years, scarcity of raw materials such as brass, lead and steel have led to price increases in almost any type of ammunition. In addition, the use of ammunition by the US military for the Global War on Terror has depleted stockpiles of surplus ammo and uses practically all new production of certain calibers. With raw materials growing more scarce, conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere continuing, and the fluctuation cost of fuel for transporting ammo, the value should continue to increase in the coming years.
Not just for TEOTWAWKI-
In the event of a world changing catastrophe, ammo will become excellent bartering material, but you don't need global or national disaster to profit from ammunition sales. Purchasing ammunition now and holding it for 4 or 5 years, then selling it on the open market should yield a profit. Who would buy your ammo? Lots of people. Other Survivalists, collectors, active shooters and hunters. Putting an ad in your local paper, or on Craigslist, or better yet, putting a note on the bulletin board of your local sporting goods store should yield interested local buyers. A post to one of many Internet forums can also yield a buyer, but you may have to deal with the cost and trouble of shipping.
What should I buy?
Common calibers that can be bought in bulk are 9mm, .45 ACP, .223/5.56mm, 7.62x39mm, .308/7.62x51mm and .22 Rimfire. Any of these are excellent for resale (keep in mind that your return on investment for .22 Rimfire will not be as large as the other calibers, cost of manufacture is still pretty low). Also consider some of the typical American hunting calibers such as .30/06, .243, .270. 7mm and .30/30. American handgun calibers such as .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .40, and .380 are also options.
How much do I get?
Well, as much as you can afford and store safely. Ammo is typically sold by the box (50 rounds for pistol ammo or 20 rounds for rifle), but this is an expensive way to buy it. Look for a wholesaler such as Cheaper Than Dirt which can provide quantities of 500 or 1000 rounds. Expect to spend $100-$250 for 500 rounds of any given caliber and $200 to $500 for 1000. Price depends on caliber and manufacturer. Lower cost brands such as Wolf offer steel cases instead of brass, butting down on initial cost, but these rounds may not sell as well as brass cased rounds. 500 rounds of Wolf steel cased .223 is running around $150 right now, while 200 rounds of Remington UMC brass cased is about $115. That makes the Wolf .30 cents a round and the Winchester .58 cents a round. When you look at buying in quantity, that price can make a huge difference!
Here are a few examples of pricing:
9mm Luger, Wolf Military Classic, 115-Grain Full Metal Jacket Bullet, 1130 fps, 1000 Rounds $189.16
9mm Luger Magtech Sport Shooting Handgun Cartridge, 115-Grain FMJ Bullet, 1135 fps, 250 Rounds $58.99
.223 Remington, Wolf, 55 Grain Copper Full Metal Jacket, 3,241 fps, 1000 rounds $267.92
.223 Remington, Remington UMC, 45 Grain Jacketed Hollow Point, 3,550 fps, 200 rounds $114.80
Will my wife let me stack it in the dining room?
No. Probably not. As with any bulky Survival type item, storage is always an issue. Here are my suggestions for storing large quantities of ammo:
1. Keep in dry.
This means storing it climate controlled if possible. Your garage, an unused closet or storage room are your best bets. If you store it in n out door shed, I suggest using sealable military ammo cans for storage and adding a moisture absorbing desiccant pack. Also, Keep it off the ground as much as possible. I use small pieces of 1x2 placed under the ammo cans to keep it off the floor. Check the exterior of your storage cans regularly for any signs of trouble, and once yearly, open the can, check the contents, clean any rust or corrosion and replace the desiccant pack.
2. Keep it in the original container.
It will be important for resale to be able to show what caliber and type the ammo is and who made it. In addition, some of the storage containers that come from the factory are perfect for long term storage. Eastern European ammo frequently comes in a "Sardine Can", which is a sealed container that can keep ammo dry and clean for years. I have personally fired Yugoslavian 8mm ammo from the 1950's that was stored in this type of can with a 0% failure to fire rate.
3. Be aware of the risk of fire.
If you have a house fire and the fire department arrives to the sight of 1000 rounds of .308 ammo cooking off, they will withdraw to a safe distance and watch quietly as your house burns to the ground. Keep your ammo stacked against an exterior wall, away from any sources of heat. And, of course, take the proper fire prevention measures in your home including alarms and fire extinguishers. In addition, take special care in storing any tracer or incendiary ammo, as it can degrade over time and become unstable.
Be a Smart Shopper!
Don't buy the first stuff you come across. Do your homework, after all, what better use is there for the Internet. Break everything down into Price Per Round. Make sure you know before hand if the ammo is brass or steel cased, who made it, and when. Factor in the cost of shipping to your Price Per Round. Ask around and find out what everyone is shooting so you can sell your stock at some point. And, as with anything, Caveat Emptor!