Gun Shop Garbage

If you spend enough time in your local gun shop or range, you’ll probably hear and see what can only be described as some pretty whacky shit. You know what I’m talking about… the misinformed, talking about the incorrect, and doing the weirdest things. These days, I just let it go – but that doesn’t mean I don’t take note of some of best! Here’s a highlight reel from some of my most recent trips:

The Filipino 1911 Officer’s Model – 

This is by far the least egregious offense, and really is just a lesson in “you get what you pay for”. An older gentleman at my LGS brought his officer’s sized 1911 to get a once over by the gunsmith because it’s unreliable. Chief complaint: it won’t feed hollow points. My reaction: no surprise there. It’s a $400.00 Filipino 1911 that was hacked together that had a huge gap between the barrel ramp and frame feed ramp. This wouldn’t have bothered me at all, until he stated that it had run as well as “any Wilson or custom 1911 would”, and that “fancy” 1911s aren’t worth the money… there it is.

Avon as Lube (not the dirty kind)

This one also comes from my local shop, Fox Valley Firearms, and I will say this wasn’t witnessed by me. Thankfully. Apparently a customer brought their gun in due to mechanical issues. Upon further examination, an unusually “sweet” odor was detected coming from the action. Long story short, the guy was using his wife’s Avon body oil as a firearms lubricant. Uhh…

Micro Trijicon ACOG on Glock 19 

Don’t know how I could explain it any better than that. It was a micro ACOG on a Glock 19, supported by a plastic mount that clamped to the rail and extended over the top of the slide. I’m pretty sure it was one of those cheap NC Star mounts or something. Not that it didn’t work… maybe? But… very unconventional.

.357 = 7.62x39mm

No it doesn’t. This one… this guy nearly made me have a stroke. Not only was he attempting to “help” a new gun buyer, but he made claims about the background check being tied to concealed carry permits (they’re not… at all), one shot stopping power, “knock down power”. not needing to carry a reload, and most heinously, he compared his .357 magnum from a 2″ barrel to the performance of 7.62×39 from an AK. He told this woman that 7.62×39 fires a 123gr bullet at “around 1,700 fps” and said his Ruger SP101 fired a 125 gr bullet at “1,400 fps, so their basically the same thing”.

“My normal carry gun is a Smith 500”

No shit, this one is real. I have to admit I thought the guy was BS, but apparently he wasn’t lying – and for good reason. He’s an Alaskan bush pilot, so he shlepps around a S&W 500 VXR for bears. Pretty cool.


I’ve got loads more of weird gun shop/range happenings. I’m not telling you about these to be a dick, although that’s a little bit how this reads. I’m sharing this purely for entertainment and shenanigans. I’m sure you all have come across some pretty wacky happenings at your local shops and ranges too. Drop a comment and let me know some of the weirdest!

Until Victory.

-Z

Weird History: The Colt SCAR Type C

Since the invention of black powder, people have been developing better and better ways to launch flaming hot metal at each other: faster, farther, and more efficiently. The history of America could be told in chronological order by firearms development and actually would actually make quite a bit of sense, given the unique cultural importance of firearms in American history.

Names like Colt, Smith&Wesson, and John Browning are all household names, and all have a long and storied history in firearms development. Famous guns like the Single Action Army, M&P revolver series, and the 1911 and Auto-5 are known across the world as successful and historically significant weapons. But occasionally you get a flier or two; a gun that just doesn’t make it either due to poor design, bad marketing, or some other external force that prevents its success. Sometimes they’re just downright ugly.  Regardless of what prevented their success, these guns often become historical oddities or simply part of firearms history that never became mainstream. We’ll call these: weird guns in history.

This will be the first weapon in what I hope to be an ongoing series on this blog, examining unusual and/or historically significant guns that for whatever reason just didn’t become big players in history, or aren’t that well known. The first of the series is a very recent design, hailing primarily from the early 2000’s during the SOCOM SCAR rifle trials: the Colt SCAR Type C.

socomc.jpg

The Colt SCAR Type C – Note the unusual safety selector and visible pin in the gas block/front sight assembly. The safety is on “SAFE” in this picture.  

The Colt SCAR Type C was one of three primary submissions from Colt Defense during the early 2000’s SOCOM rifle trials. The success of the H&K 416 brought the idea of a short stroke piston AR into the forefront of military ordinance planner’s minds. At the time, the US Army owned the Technical Data Package (TDP) for the M4 series of weapons, and therefore any change to the platform would have to be done with their approval. US SOCOM wanted their own rifle/carbine that they could “own” and modify at their own approval, and therefore launched the SCAR (Special operations forces Combat Assault Rifle) program early during the War on Terror. They had perceived some short comings of the standard DI M4 carbine, and apparently believed that a short stroke piston gun would remedy them.

coltbolts

A series of Colt bolts coated in UCT (Universal Chem Tech) and standard phosphate finishes.

Because of governmental rules for soliciting contracts, open trials were ordered and several companies submitted their designs for what would eventually become known as the SCAR 16. Among others, Colt submitted three different designs, the Colt SCAR Type A-C (not very creatively named). Perhaps most interesting is the Type 3, which was probably the closest to what the SOCOM trial requested. It’s essentially a short stroke piston gun, with a UCT (Colt proprietary coating) coated BCG and fixed gas block. It also had a unique safety selector, which as you can see from the starboard side picture above, looks to be backward. That picture shows the weapon on “SAFE” not “AUTO”, because the safety moves like a 1911 safety: it pivots from the back, not the front like a traditional AR.

Weird, right? I have no idea what would have prompted Colt to do that, or use a fixed, non-adjustable gags block. It wouldn’t have taken a crystal ball to figure out that SOCOM would want to easily suppress these guns, and an adjustable, more user-servicable gas block would have probably been a better idea. It’s my opinion that had Colt had the LE901-16S or M.A.R.C.901 series of rifles at the time of the trials, they probably would have stood a much better change at winning the contract. Ultimately US SOCOM chose the FN SCAR, to be made in two varieties, the Light and Heavy, in 5.56 NATO and 7.62 NATO, respectively. The Colt 901 from a government standpoint may have actually made more sense in that it can use one receiver and use the magwell block to accommodate both 5.56 and 7.62 magazines, simply requiring the swap of an upper receiver group.

By all accounts the SCAR Type C was a well built rifle, that used several commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts, to include the VLTOR stock. If compared to today’s piston offerings, the Type C would be very competitive if offered at the right price. The UTC coated BCG, FDE color, and Colt roll mark would almost guarantee to sell, if only the gas block was adjusted and a normal safety selector used. But maybe that’s just me wishing I could actually buy one of these for the collection.

If you want loads more information on the Colt SCAR Type A-C and the SOCOM rifle trials in general, check out Small Arms Defense Journal or Chris Bartocci’s YouTube Channel on the subject here.

Remember: if you can’t be safe, be deadly.

Until Victory.

-Z

 

 

 

The Beretta APX – Hideous.

Holy hell.

Recently Buds Gun Shop made the pre-order available for the new Beretta APX. My understanding is the APX has been in development for some time and has been more available in the European market over the past year or so before coming to our shores. It’s really another flavor of the day pistol, bearing the same features that we’ve seen for the past 20+ years: polymer frame, striker fired, 17 round magazine, Browning tilting barrel design, etc.

But the one thing that stands out to me? It’s ugly as sin.

apxIt’s almost like they tried to make it look like some sort of Aliens prop pistol reject. I guess the huge slide “serrations” are maybe what are really getting me, but being mated to what looks like a Steyr frame’s aborted brother certainly isn’t helping. I recently sent a picture to a friend of mine, who remarked that everything Beretta has put out since the Nano has been aesthetically horrendous, which I’m inclined to agree with. The ARX? Kind of cool, but let’s be honest: it does look like a fish. At least they still make beautiful and functional shotguns.

I’ll be honest, I don’t own an APX, and don’t really have any plan to. I’m sure it’s a fine pistol but… I just don’t think I could be seen toting one of these when I usually carry a Government Model 1911. Maybe the beauty is in its operation, but I guess that’s for another day.

More info on the APX can be found here:

http://www.berettadefensetechnologies.com/pistols/apx-pistol

Until Victory.

Beating a Dead Horse

coltblue

Breaking News :

Since around Feb. 24th, 2017, rumors having been flying around the internet about “bad days” at Colt Manufacturing. Beginning around then, members of 1911Forum.com started posting cryptic messages about substantial layoffs at Colt. Some of the posters apparently had inside knowledge about what is/was going on there due to knowing people who actually work at the plant and confirmed that Colt is going through some very rough times. On Feb. 28th, Brent Turchi, the director of Colt Custom Shop, confirmed that he had been laid off by Colt’s Manufacturing.

However, to those familiar with basic economics and Colt’s “unique” business history this shouldn’t really be surprising. Following Colt Defense’s most recent 2015 bankruptcy, Colt in its entirety, to include the civilian Colt Manufacturing, has seemed to be floundering.

In late 2015/early 2016, Colt changed their distribution model, ordering their dealers to stock at least $100,000.00 of inventory or lose their status as a Colt dealer. In response…. Colt lost a lot of dealers. Fast forward a few months from there and Colt had inventory pouring out of their asses and had an untold amount of product stuck in distribution outlets. In fact, Colt Manufacturing was rumored to have sold guns at a loss just to generate some of their capitol back. I myself benefitted from this, and snatched up a Colt M45 Marine for a screaming deal.

It’s important to note that Colt Manufacturing (civilian) and Colt Defense are separate entities, along with Colt Canada and other subsidiaries. However, neither of the Colt names having been doing very well, and frankly their problems aren’t new. Ever since the mid 1950’s Colt has been setting itself up for failure. Rumors have even been circulating that Colt Canada and some of their other advanced facilities/projects like Colt SWORD are all going under or struggling.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on where you stand) Colt is a name that’s “too big to die”. Every time Colt fails, a new group of investors snatches it up and drains the company dry for any profit they can make. Even if that means licensing out the Colt name to other companies to make a substandard product (looking at you, “Colt” Expanse), or even selling of their own tooling and machinery. It’s really a shame that such a storied American company be treated so poorly and repeatedly run through the ringer for the sake of a few extra dollars.

But that’s capitalism, folks. I wish the best to the employees at Colt, and hope that their senior management can get their heads out of their asses. But I’m not holding my breath. The gun bubble is finally coming to a collapse, and I suspect that Colt won’t be it’s last victim. Olympic Arms was the first causality, and there will be more down the road. It’s really just  a matter of how severe. Today’s modern firearms manufacturer needs to be responsive to customers, innovative, and above all: have a fantastic marketing department (I’m only half joking). Hopefully these failures will serve as a wake-up call to the industry that they can no longer keep serving up luke warm ideas that lack innovation or invention. To survive, the gun industry will have to get off it’s laurels, roll up its sleeves, and go back to actual work.

Until Victory.