Saturday, June 30, 2007

Something to keep you cool this summer

The Greatest Generation

This came through my network of e-mail forwarding intelligence gatherers. This gentleman appears to have it right. The 73 year old veteran was at a gathering where Ted "Ossifer, I'm not as think as you drunk I am" Kennedy and Hillary "I don't want socialized medicine, I just want your tax money to pay for it" Klinton were addressing Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Josh is down! Josh is down!

Well, I'm having a hard time these days, just getting through the hours till bedtime. My boy Josh, the South Park Pundit, has had some administrative issues, and his blog is offline right now.

Josh and I go back a ways; we used to work together at The Edge several years ago. Good times. He's one of those rare curious types who has a voracious appetite for information and learning, which means we got along right off the bat. Its all about the nomenclature, baby! He's young, but he's got a good, strong analytical mind, which is rare anymore. He's usually got something good to read up on posted on his brog, and most of the time I at least get a grin out of it, if not a real, live LOL.

Keep an eye out for his blog once he's back online. He's gotten his account settled up; matter of fact, he got it squared away several days ago. That means that rant that's coming is going to be epic. Keep an eye on it; it'll be worth it!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Its grillin' season!

I picked myself up a small gas grill over the weekend (I know you purists say its all about the charcoal, but its a pain in the ass and I like the heat control of gas much better) and have started back to grilling. When I was in San Diego, I grilled regularly. How could I not? Its grill weather 359 days a year there. That kind of great weather means friends getting together all the time, and gettin' some meat on the Wagon Queen Family Grillster was a required event. Lemme tell ya: my friends can cook and party like pros. I have to coin a phrase: gargantuan awesomeicality. I miss it. Bad. Even with the new grill, I still miss it. Bad. Bad as in lots. Lots and lots. Good times.

So I got this new little grill that's perfect for a couple steaks. Being out of practice, I forgot to grab the garlic bread. I don't remember the brand; its Mama-soemthinerother. Wrap it in foil, throw it on the grill for a few minutes, and mack deeply of its buttery garlic gargantuan awesomeicality. That'll be for next time. Now, being a new toy, I was getting out of control in what I wanted to do with it. After a while, I decided that it really wouldn't pay to spend $30 on dinner without having draft brews to go with it. Being devoid of a keg, I finally realized that I would be better served by going simple. I'm very, very glad I did.

Part of going simple is getting your hands into the work; getting dirty, so to speak. For a decent piece of steak, all you really need is some fresh ground sea salt (I used garlic sea salt for this, but I like using cloves of garlic from time to time, too), some fresh ground pepper, and a good extree viriginical olive oil; I very much prefer the first press EVOO's. They're worth the slight extra cost. Give the steak a good coat of EVOO, being sure to get the edges of the steak, too. Give it a bit of a rub to work the oil into the meat a little. Bust out the salt and pepper, and give it a good coat; you'll end up with a bit of a crust if your grill is hot enough. Once nice thing about the oil is that you don't have to oil the grill grate. You'll get minimal sticking, as well as great flavor.

Fire up your grill while the oil and seasoning gets happy on your steak and soaks in a little. Get the grill hot, and place your steak in the middle. Close the lid. Let it sear for a minute. Literally a minute; don't go much more than that or you'll rough up your meat, and so far its done nothing bad to you. Flip it over, and let it sear another minute. Now, here's where I really prefer gas: turn the heat down to between medium and low, depending on your grill. That's hard to do with charkle brickits; ya gotta wait 'em out. So you've got that thing on low heat. Don't leave it on more than a couple minutes or you're over cook it. Take that bad boy off the grill with tongs. Don't go pokin' holes in the steak with the fork; that's counter-meatative. Trust me on this: the less damage you do to the meat, the better it is. The best part of grill tongs is that they're nice and wide (most of the time; if yours aren't, invest in some quality tools!) so that you can pick the steak up in one go and set it on the plate. The less you bend it, the more juice it'll hold in. That's important. If you don't, the steak police will come beat you with tongs and barbecue sauce brushes. Don't risk it.

Let the steak rest. That means leave it on the plate and leave it be. Resist the temptation to molest your meat. Now's the time for the side dishes. I made two side dishes: salty buttered corn and Haji's Heart Stopping Baked Tater. Take a good sized spud and wash it good. Dirt is not tasty, so be rid of it. Take a knife and score it end to end. Make a couple X's on the ends, too. Now its time to get messy again. Take either butter or margarine (your choice; I actually prefer margarine, believe it or not) and rub that bad boy with it. The tater, foo'. Get a good coat on it, and dust that beastie with garlic salt. You can either wrap it in foil and grill or bake it, or throw it in the microwave. Both ways work; the micro is faster. If you bake it or grill it, add some onions in the foil with it. If you do it in the micro, put it in a micro-safe bowl. You'll see why shortly.

OK, so the tater is done cookin'. Throw it in a bowl, slice that thing up and spread it out. Add a good bit of butter, and top it with a handful of sharp cheddar. Other cheeses work, but the charp cheddar is my favorite. Throw it back in the micro and melt the cheese. Take it back out, and throw a fat blob of sour cream on top. Try not to faint from its gargantuan awesomeicality.

The corn is easy, but damn tasty. Cook it, drain it, butter it, salt the heck out of it. Try not to faint from its gargantuan awesomeicality. I'm tellin' ya, its simple but its so money and it don't even know it.

Like I said, its really, really simple, but simple is key here. Simple is not just good; its great. Now that grillin' season is here, I think I'm gonna have a lot more to add here. And I realize this post is useless without pics. ;)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nazis? I hate Illinois Nazis!

So I'm watching The History Channel, AKA the War and Destruction Channel, AKA Among the Very Best Channels on TV, when The Secret History of the KKK comes on. Like everything on THC, production value was excellent, and it was very well done. I'm sure the snotzie's didn't like it, but it seemed to me that it was a solid depiction of the events of history. Sure, it had an anti-hate slant to it, but that's OK with me. It made more sense that way. I used to watch that encephalitic moron Tom Metzker's cable access show "Race and Reason" back in the day. That seems to be about the best the neo nazis can do, which was equal parts comedy, relief, and dismay for me. I'd have loved to see some choice bits of "Race and Reason" to have made it into the History Channel; anything that helps the skinhead movement look as ridiculous as they are is a good thing.

The show brought up a couple questions in my mind, though. First and foremost, how is it that the snotzies were called the National Socialist German Workers' Party, and yet their ideology was anti-communist? I can see them hating Russians, I guess, but communism is just socialism without the intellectual honesty. There is no way to get to commie-ism without going through the Democratic Party...I mean...socialism. The Third Reich was clearly a socialist state, with a dicktaster...uh...dictator as its head. And yet the snotzis proclaimed that communism was not their friend. Current snotzies look at Hitler's administration at a model. Its no wonder it only worked one time in one particular place in the world: even the snotzies didn't have a grasp on what their ideology really was. Nice job picking your role models, guys. Great choice.

The second question that came to mind is this: what happens when you get your way? Say we end up segregated, Whites over here, Blacks over there, Hispanics over there someplace, and the Orientals happily living where they already do for the most part. The Orientals may have it right: islands have that whole beach thing going on, and I suspect that rum would be available ;). So there's this perfect separation of races; Cletus doesn't have to have niggers, kikes, zipperheads, or anyone other than his airian brothers in his neighborhood. The perfect race utopia, right? I guess so; since I'm white and I'll be living there, theoretically, I'm gonna need somebody to sweep the streets, wash my truck when I don't want to, and fill all those undesirable positions that are shown on Dirty Jobs. See where this is going yet? My education, skills, and talents will put me further up the ladder than ol' Cletus will be, and he'll be in the same position he always was.

Lemme spell it out for the thicker ones amongst us: your hate is nothing but a crutch. You complain about the Jews taking over everything and suppressing you, the proud white man that can only get a job where he has his name on his shirt. You complain about the black man getting preferential treatment through affirmative action and getting ahead of you. All you've done is let your hate get in the way of your progress. Ever wonder why the depictions of race haters are generally done with teeth missing, bad haircuts, and stained T-shirts? Because there's truth to it. Sure, you have that "uniform" of the tight jeans and suspenders that we all suspect was borrowed from Steve Urkel. Its obvious that there's not an educated person among you.

So you have hate. How has any of that made your life better? How has the quality of your life improved from this? What's been made better by all this? You spend so much time whining about other races not giving you your due that you've become exactly the same as generations of people on welfare. You spend all your time worrying about everybody else when you should be worrying about making yourself better. And ya know what? It works exactly the same with haters from every other race, too. You'll never amount to much of anything believing what you do. You'll never get over, never have more than you do. That's sad; you're so worried about somebody else that you're sacrificing your life to it.

What's worst of all? For most haters, nothing will change. That being said, I guess that gives me license to use you guys as a source of comedy whenever it suits my purposes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I've been a member of the NRA for quite a long time, probably more than 20 years. In that time, I've seen a lot of both good and bad happen to gun owners. Clinton's gun ban, as well as the town of Kennesaw GA passing an ordinance that every home must have a gun in it. We all know that nothing happened to the crime rate while my AR was illegal. Care to take a guess at what the crime rate in Kennesaw has been since that ordinance was passed?

In that time, and in light of current pending legislation where the NRA and the Dumbocrats have agreed in principle, I wonder if the NRA is the best choice to invest in the defense of our gun rights. The Assault Weapon Ban was passed on their watch. Lots of other minor things have happened in the past 20+ years as well, and that fact has many gun owners, especially the ones who take the purpose of the 2nd Amendmentseriously, wondering if the NRA has their best interests at heart. They wonder if the NRA is worth the investment in defense of own rights. They wonder if the NRA is looking out for them, since they don't shoot an expensive side by side shotgun or a blued steel and walnut Pre-64 Winchester Model 70 in .30-06 or .270. It has appeared in the past that the shooters of military-style weapons, which are what the 2nd Amendment was meant specifically for, are sacrificial lambs in terms of legislative politics. I'm not sure that's true.

Let's face it: up until gun owners got out and voted the bums out, and really made the Dumbocrats bleed about a dozen years ago, the NRA was fighting a defensive fight. They took the offensive from time to time, but most of their time and money got spent fighting the restrictions that the legislature that the Dumbocrats controlled for about 30 years came up with. It was rare that there was pro gun legislation to get behind, and by the time it got through the process, there were so many other riders attached that most of the time they couldn't continue to back the law.

The NRA is the big dog of the gun lobby. There are over 3 million members, which gives the NRA quite a lot of political clout. Now that some of the most anti-gun legislators have been voted out, primarily by gun owners, the rest of congress and the senate are listening to what the NRA lobbyists have to say. They may not do what gun owners want all the time, but they may refrain from doing what we don't want them to do. Out of respect or fear...who cares. Get 'em doing what we want.

So the question now is, does the NRA have all gun owner's rights equally in mind? I'm not sure I'm completely sold on the NRA being the standard bearer for all weapons equally. I can't point to anything off the top of my head that makes me say that, but its a gun feeling that I can't shake. Perhaps its because the hunting arms are easier to defend, or at least they were. Now that the hunting groups are coming under increased fire as well, things may be evening out. That said, now that the NRA can go on the offensive on occasion, so they should have the chance to try to get some good black rifle legislation passed. I'll back 'em all the way and back if they make that happen.

Are they the best choice for defending your rights with your hard earned ducats? I'd like to examine that a little bit. The implied question here is "are there better choices to give your money to?". Wow...I finally get to use something I learned in College: opportunity cost. Since you do not have unlimited funds to spread evenly amongst all the possible choices, you as the individual donator (donateist?) must choose where your funds are going to be spent. That's opportunity cost: doing one thing with your money means the opportunity cost of that action is that you can't use that same money somewhere else. There are lots of other gun groups to join, in national, state, and local forms. Here's the thing, though: none of them come close to rivaling the NRA in membership. There may be a couple of them that have a few million members, but the NRA is the beast. They're also one of the oldest, if not the oldest, which means they have their lobbying efforts down to a science.

If you have the funds to join several groups, then by all means, do so. If you're a gun owner and you're not doing something to defend your rights, then you're being a tick on the rest of the gun owners that are. I'm not saying you must be a member, but with membership fees at a paltry $35 a year, there's not much reason not to join up. As long as the NRA is the big dog on the porch, I see little reason to avoid being a member. While other groups will surely be working hard to preserve your rights, being a member of the biggest organization going really makes the most sense and puts the most effort out.

I have worked for a couple companies that have made a similar mistake: they have a disagreement with a vendor, and decide to drop them. The question that doesn't get answered is "Great. Now what? What are we going to replace the hole you just put in the inventory with?" Ya gotta bring something in, because you just caused a headache for yourself. If you haven't, you probably didn't need to carry that line in the first place. That's not the case here: ya gotta replace the nothing with something. I suppose the bottom line is, if you're a gun owner, join the NRA. If you can't do that for whatever reason, give your support to another group. Now is the time for gun owners to stand tall. Things are not likely to get better without a lot of work, but they can get worse in a heart beat. Do something.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sometimes I miss the old days

Sometimes there's a reason to feel nostalgic. In many ways, technology and the like are far better now than they've ever been. Advancements have been made in many of my favorite areas: food, beer, electronics (can't afford it, but I think its cool), gear, and firearms, among others. There's even a Coke Zero now, and it doesn't taste like ass. There are cars out there now that can be had new for $15,000 (I know it won't have much on it, but it'll have wheels and a seat) that can go 30 miles on a tank of gas. The art of the carne asada burrito with sour cream and cheese added has been perfected for less than a fiver. Not here, mind you, because Messican food doesn't exist here, but they have 'em in California. I've had 'em, I know its true. 'Course, here we've mastered the $15 half rack of ribs to go. Its not the same, but it must do. The gas piston AR can be had for about what a high end DI gun goes for (I know, HK uppers sell for between $2500 and $5000, but since they'll never sell them on the civi market it doesn't count).

All these advancements were shown to pale in comparison to one Ol' Skoo' way of doing things: the epic summer blockbuster at a single screen theater. I remember seeing Hunt for Red October at a BIG single screen theatre in La Mesa. That place is a Good Guys stereo store now, and it hurts to see it. That old theatre had the ginormous screen, the Voice of the Theatre audio was a great experience. The seats were like the first class seats on a cross country flight. I don't think they had cup holders-its been a while-but the seats were thick, wide and had legroom in spades. I will grant that stadium seating is pretty cool, but the seats are smaller, closer together, and its easier to hear the bung hole behind you on his stupid cell phone.

Back in the day, that screen was about a story tall. If you were in the front row, the screen was so large that all you saw was Sean Connery's nostrils. Not even the plural; just one, really. I'd have loved to see POTC: The End of the World on that screen. I saw it last weekend at our local theatre. Its a nice place; well cared for, nicely decorated, fairly comfortable, and supremely expensive. But its just not the same with that little screen. The sound is probably even better, but it all pales in comparison to that huge single screen. What a pity.

The fact is movies have gotten so expensive to make that single screen theatres are just not efficient enough anymore. That's why there's a 4567-plex theatre in the malls now, with chairs smaller than a bucket and screens the size of a piece of paper turned sideways. The ticket is $15 and a bag of popcorn and a drink is $ tax. And, because of those exorbitant costs, we end up with stuff like The Hills Have Eyes 2. That means that the summer blockbuster and the single screen theatre will never happen again. That is, unfortunately, technology costing us one of the greater experiences that used to be available. And that truely is a pity.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Dragon Skin: more marketing than fact

I've been skeptical of Dragon Skin armor for quite some time, mainly, that only one company was doing it. Armor has been around long enough that pretty much everything has been tried, excepting new materials that haven't been invented yet. What that means, basically, is that if Dragon Skin worked like TV like Future Weapons (which should be called Current Weapons, but that's another post) shows claim it does, there would be other companies making a similar product. What about patents, I hear you say? Have you looked into how much money Armor Holdings brings in per year? If this stuff worked, they'd own DS. Believe me, they have enough capital to buy any armor company in the world. Matter of fact, I would wager that the ones you've heard of are Armor Holdings companies.

Of course you don't believe me because you've called DS "The Greatest Thing in Armor Since Excalibur Was Forged" on a forum somewhere, and this is your Scared Cow...uh...Sacred Cow. Now that the testing info is coming out, you don't have to believe me. Believe an expert instead!

Flexible Rifle Resistant Armor Vs. Monolith Hard Plate Inserts

There is a raging debate as to which is superior against high powered rifle rounds, the flexible Dragon Skin (DS) body armor, or

the Interceptor Body Armor (IBA). There have been claims that the military has purposely failed DS because they didn't invent it,

and there are also numerous videos on the Pinnacle Armor web site and other places as well demonstrating the amazing performance of DS.

The debate has heated to the point where a major news media show "NBC Dateline" has seen fit to get involved , and that has caused Congress to call for a hearing on the matter all to make sure that our troops are getting the best equipment available especially as it relates to life saving equipment.

This is a very complicated subject and for the most part it boils down to testing to determine superior performance, but what kind of testing and how should it be performed to ascertain side by side comparative data? We have seen the demonstrations on Pinnacle's website, some video clips on the Army testing, and we have seen NBC's Dateline arrange what appeared to be independent testing. So what does it all mean?

In our view not a lot has been determined other than the DS Level 4 armor hasn't passed First Article Testing required by the Army.

We have constructed an analysis of the various tests people have seen, and why they are not conclusive in determining which armor system is best for the Army.

Beginning with Pinnacle Armor's website please draw your attention to the video titled, The History Channel Test Lab. It's located in the lower left corner of the page.

Dragon Skin Videos

When you view this video there are two separate tests. Referring to the first one where the Fresno Police take their shots against Dragon Skin using 7.62mm x 39mm ammunition allegedly brought in from Iraq. There were no identifying marks on the ammunition to prove they were armor piercing, no shrapnel recovered to prove it either, just a mention that it was steel cased and that it was real military ammunition. The ammunition was then referred to as military ball rounds, which indicates a soft core of lead. Nevertheless even if it was a mild steel core 7.62mm x 39mm rifle round with a steel jacket it would be representative of one of the most common threats, and it travels at about 2300 Ft./Sec., and represents some of the easiest military rifle rounds to defeat. With a full coverage DS vest it's easy to stop that many rounds, and I would say that with equal coverage using a hard plate version the performance would be relatively similar and at a lighter weight. The rest of the test involves 9mm ammunition being fired into ceramic rubble, previously defeated rounds, and the final backing material representative of a typical soft armor vest . Plus the test was conducted on a moving fixture at only a 90 degree angle to the target (this is important as we will show later in this analysis). This test really looks impressive, but in reality it's not, it's typical of today's armor, with the only real advantages being flexibility, and increased square area of coverage without gaps, which we agree are great features, but at a weight penalty that may or may not be acceptable to the various end users that would consider DS.

The second part of the test discusses the biggest threat to American troops called IED's, and the havoc these threats have caused in Iraq. The Hollywood stunt fabricators were called in to devise a method of creating a "realistic" IED threat using a fabricated air gun, launching manufactured shrapnel at about 900 Ft./Sec.. This was the worst test of all. The manufacturer was quoted by the narrator as not knowing what would happen, when in fact it was a known commodity the whole time. Any ballistic expert would have no problem predicting that steel shrapnel traveling at 900 Ft./Sec. would never get through a level 3 or 4 DS armor or hard plate armor like the IBA system, and in no way was the air gun even close to representing what a real IED can do in the battle field. Some of these IED's in fact have been known to penetrate Abram's tanks as quoted by numerous sources within the military.

The problem here is that these "testing shows" are designed to show Dragon Skin off in a positively amazing light to those who don't know the facts about ballistic testing.

In the video titled Discovery Channel Future Weapons the narrator and the hairless man firing the weapons made numerous comments about how awesome the AK-47 was, and how much punch it possesses, but in fact again there is no actual qualification of the round. Even if it were an API version (the worst of the AK-47 threats), which travels around 2500 - 2600 Ft./Sec. it doesn't matter, clearly plate technology is on par if the sizes were the same at a fraction of the cost. Once again the only real advantage proven is the flexibility and square area coverage, which we all agree is a fantastic thing, but says nothing as to whether or not it's a superior body armor. Another suspect issue is the distance at which they fire the rifles rounds, in almost every instance that we can see it's from about 20 feet. Typically it takes a rifle round nearly 50 feet to achieve a true spin, and up until that point it tends to wobble, and this very much plays into showing off performance you wont see at the ballistic testing laboratory.

There is also one video running around that shows off the newest level 5 plate, and a demostration that is supposed to show how it compares to steel plate and level 3 or 4 ceramic hard plates. There is no direct comparison of a level 5 Dragon Skin flexible insert and a Level 5 hard ceramic insert.

This is the theme in all the videos; moving test fixtures, unqualified rounds, distances that are an advantage to the armor performing better, comparative testing for fragments and other threats that really aren't comparative. No one is saying that DS isn't a great idea, and in the level 3 threat DS has probably proven all it needs to in order to be adopted by the police, SWAT, and "special ops" missions, but what about the big Army?

Military Testing

Go here to see video footage of Dragon Skin being tested in a real laboratory with a stationary test fixture with armor clearly being

tested in the areas where the Interceptor Body Armor would be tested against the APM2, the Army's projectile of choice. There were reportedly

many penetrations on various environmentally conditioned vest units. Clearly the video showed Mr. Murray Neal witnessing a clean hole in DS right in front of him with no excuses.

The Pinnacle Armor representative was probably afforded the opportunity to examine the bullet before it was hand loaded. The military tests differently than the NIJ for police body armor and for good reason, armor and other types of military equipment are subjected to grueling conditions in the field, and need to be either easily repaired or maintained and/or proven not to be susceptible to failure under the toughest conditions. This part of the market development can't be faked or jazzed up by movie or TV guys, this is real, and the laboratory only touched the surface of some of the weaknesses of the current model of DS with respect to facing level 4 threats.

Let me explain what I mean. The NIJ has developed a whole different test protocol for testing scalar armor. The reason is simple, the tiles pivot and move as armor bends around the body, and are adhered into place with adhesive coated fabrics. The tiles tend to open a bit as it makes the bend around the body, and this has led the NIJ to test at high angles of incidence. Soft body armor is tested twice on each panel at a 30 degree angle, and scalar armor in order to pass the standard must defeat additional rounds at extreme angles i.e. 30, 45, and even 60 degrees. They also are allowed to position the armor so you don't impact an area where the tiles overlap. This NIJ protocol should include a curvolinear clay filled torso box so that the armor is tested in the manner that it is worn, and precise positioning so the weakest point is impacted on every shot. Scalar armor systems are only as strong as the weakest link.

The Level 3 threat is typically less problematic than the level 4 APM2, and that's why we have seen a level 3 pass and a First Article Test (FAT) failure. The Army knows the weak spots, and they are going to test them. Review the illustration below to see our point:

Ray Segment "A" represents the path of a bullet at a test laboratory that is perpendicular to the backing box. The Dragon Skin armor is sitting flat, and we are illustrating a side view of how each tile is overlapped, and the fact that these tiles do not sit flat. They are angled against the 90 degree strike represented in ray segment "A". This angle gives a great advantage to the armor.

Ray segment "B" represents the corrected angle of attack with respect to the angle the tile actually sits when flat as depicted by angle "C".

Angle D is a reference point depicting a 90 degree angle to the backing box and parallel to ray segment "A".

Understanding the above pictorial representation lends an understanding of why you don't test this type of armor flat, and why you don't shoot at a 90 degree angle with respect to the backing box if you want to see how the armor performs at a true 0 degree obliquity at the weakest point.

When you flex the armor around the body the tile angles are exacerbated, and thus the importance of determining real 90 degree angles with respect to the test specifications is paramount. This means that you must adjust the backing box so that the tile is at the true angle of incidence called for in the specification with respect to the test barrel, and aimed at the exact weakest spots on every shot. Failure to do this will eliminate the possibility of evaluating a scalar armor design's efficacy. The Army wants to know this, and they will test scalar like this, it's that simple. If it can't pass at the weakest point, or after tough environmental conditioning tests that the Army requires then why should it be adopted as the best the armor for the Army?

NBC Testing

We have reviewed the date line testing in Germany, and could not see any testing that addressed the issues above with respect to how the tiles sit on a flat block of clay. It all appeared to be 90 degrees to the test box. To do a side by side test you would mount the interceptor body armor and then swivel the clay box to a 30 degree angle on every shot, but honestly since it is DS that has the weak points, all shots should have hit the weakest point, and at the best angle to create real 90 degree perpendicular shots with respect to the tile instead of the test box. So in effect this was not side by side testing unless they did some of the shot sequences as described above, but didn't actually show them on the broadcast.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day this isn't a debate for the military and Congress to resolve, nor is it a an issue of which is better IBA or DS.

IBA in it's current form has passed First Article Testing, DS hasn't.

DS costs about 1800.00 dollars to manufacturer and is on sale for 5000.00 USD. If DS passes First Article Testing there are other consideration; Second Article Testing, weight, competitive bidding, and setting a manufacturer up to meet strict defense contractor QC guidelines and specifications. This takes a lot of time, and in the interim the question has been posed, "are the troops receiving inferior body armor"? They are receiving armor that has passed very tough testing, is serviceable in the field, and saves lives, and has passed (FAT). I agree that DS and other armors in the pipeline will replace IBA, as IBA is definitely coming to the end of it's generational life, but if we had adopted DS when Mr. Neal thought it was ready, we wouldn't be looking at some of the improvements he has made as a direct result of failures, and I would imagine that there will be more improvements as well before this controversy is decided.

One more point that I think is worthy of consideration. Hypothetically if a group of contractors collaborated and came up with a plane that met Air Force standards according to them, and if Congress bought them and delivered them to the Air Force, and they were told this is your airplane for the next ten years to defend this country without consulted or allowing the Air Force to test the plane during development, what do you think the Air Force would say, of course this wouldn't happen. So why should the Army have no say in what they are going to adopt as their infantry armor concept for the next 10 - 20 years. It is unrealistic to say the Army shouldn't have a big voice in what is going to be worn by the troops they train. The "video shows" and media hype has really undermined the effort to develop and procure new armor for our soldiers, and has caused a loss of confidence for the purpose of one manufacturer to try and land the richest body armor tender in military history, and that's very sad.

We are in the process of arranging testing of some of our designs with the military this summer and the one thing I want to leave all the readers with is a simple fact, "we are not a body armor manufacturer"; we sell components and arrange manufacturing, we are consultants, and intellectual property developers. So in theory Pinnacle Armor could actual be a customer of ours, although I doubt that the circumstances would come about to cause this to happen, but in theory any manufacturer of armor is potentially our customer for our new flexible rifle resistant armor. So although we have a look of a competitor, we are more about , consulting, and material & component sales. We are not as biased on this issue as some people involved.

Congress needs to look proactive or they lose votes, and an office that pays very well, NBC needs to sell advertising, Pinnacle wants to win the most lucrative military body armor contract ever tendered, and me, well I just want to make a good living doing what I have been doing since 1983, designing and developing armor systems and successfully bringing new concepts to market. The manufacturing part is no longer in our purview, but I did it for 12 years and invented the whole concept behind Dragon Skin, and that's a fact all backed by records you can't fake.

I invite anyone who has questions to contact me at your convenience.

Allan D. Bain

More articles regarding the politics of Dragon Skin can be found here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The problem with Frankenguns: why parts guns fail under hard use

I recently had an online conversation with a very experienced shooter regarding his thoughts as to why "parts guns" fail in tactical carbine classes. This individual shoots 2-5 classes a year on his own dime. That doesn't count SWAT training, instructor classes, patrol rifle classes, in services, and other training he gets from his job in law enforcement. He shoots A LOT, under pressure. I trust his opinion. Here's the gist of what he theorized is the reason that parts guns, and factory guns from "tier two" manufacturers ( the commercial AR's on the market that are widely distributed) fail in hard use.

There are people all over the net arguing that their Bushmaster/Rock River/DPMS/stripped lower parts gun is "just as good" as the Kool Aid Brands. Here's why they're not: Mil Spec doesn't just mean parts interchangeability. It means "as spec'd by the government". Only suppliers to the government (Colt, LMT and FN) get a very expensive document called the Technical Data Package (TDP). These are the exact blue prints for a given model. What is suspected to happen with other brands is that they have obtained a gun that they believe to be in spec, and they reverse engineer the rifle to make their version. They're not making the guns off of the TDP; if they were, there'd be no such thing as a commercial spec receiver extension (buffer tube).

Its entirely possible for a rifle that's been built from parts from many different sources to run like a champ. That's unusual, in terms of hard use. A rifle may be able to shoot five thousand rounds per year with no problems. However, take that same rifle and subject it to a five day carbine course where you may shoot a thousand rounds a day, and you're subjecting it to much, much more stress. This is where rifles fail, and the parts breakage can't be narrowed to just one part or set of parts. Everything has been seen to break in classes if you've seen enough of them. This is exactly what the more high volume trainers will tell you; they've been saying it in classes, interviews, and magazine articles for years. For whatever reason, shooters have not been listening. They keep saying "My Brand Whatever rifle is every bit as good as" or "just as good as" or "the same thing cheaper as" the true Mil Spec guns are. The simple fact is, there is no proof for this. How many times do you need to see different pictures of "Brand Whatever" bolts that are broken before its enough? How many spring sets or pins or hammers or gas tubes and carrier keys coming loose have to be shown before the truth becomes obvious?

Here's the bottom line: if you really want a gun to stand up and run, you increase your chances DRAMATICALLY by going with a true Mil Spec gun. Sure, a Colt is hard to find and expensive. They seem to run at least $1200. LMT's are typically a bit more...but oh, so worth it. If I had an LMT to put up against Schwaggie, the difference would be striking. Cycle the bolt on an LMT. Then do the same thing to a commercial AR. You'll feel a very, very big difference in smoothness. Why is that? Blueprints. Yeah, it matters.