The MK.17-M110- A stronger foundation for the SCAR

The MK.17-M110- A stronger foundation for the SCAR 

Drag racers always look to put the strongest motor in the lightest car. Light weight and big power leads to better performance. But often racers put motors in cars that were not designed for it. The engineering analysis of the manufacturer was for how the car was originally designed. These cars could be so overpowered that engine torque would overwhelm the frame to the point where the windshields would crack.

We find some similarities to the design of the SCAR®. The SCAR® was designed as a 5.56x45mm gun first. The 7.62×51 SCAR® Mk.17 shares a lot of the same materials and parts. The SCAR® Mk.17 was not the main effort, the SCAR® Mk.16 was. Since USSOCOM had a proven and well liked 5.56×45 gun already, the SCAR® Mk.16 was dropped. The SCAR® Mk.17 became the main effort. FN Herstal put a big motor in a small car and we went to war with it. I have been a fan of the gun ever since.

Since Handl Defense seeks to extract the maximum performance out of the system, just like racers do. We found some similarities in solutions to what drag racers would do to reduce flex. Why do you want to reduce flex and vibration in a gun? Let us start with more durability and accuracy. In a rifle, you have areas in the design that overall are more stable. If you remember your physics, these are nodes. The barrel extension is place of high stability in a SCAR® and therefore a node.

Areas that have less stability along an axis are called anti-nodes. Examples are the end of the barrel and places along the track of the operating group. These oscillating and flexing areas, like the barrel, are what cause harmonic vibrations. This effects accuracy in a negative manner. Rigidity reduces the amplitude of these vibrations and is therefore equivalent to mechanical accuracy. Discussions about barrel profile, tuning, timing, and dissipating the now increased frequency of the small oscillations will be for another time. But to better understand nodes and anti-nodes in an alloy, look at this video. https://youtu.be/CGiiSlMFFlI

Where does Handl Defense add extra rigidity in the SCAR®? All along the long axis of the platform. We also reduce torsional, longitudinal, and shear forces of the weapon as well. We do this in several ways.

First, is tighter fitment of the trigger module. Our trigger modules were originally designed to require press fit by rubber mallet. Once the trigger module was mated with the upper receiver and after a break period of about 100 rounds the two components would wear together in a way that would result in a long term tight fit. This tight fit kept the nodes and anti-nodes of the energy waves in effectively the same places. It also reduced the amplitude of these waves along the entire track of the operating group.

This design theory caused complaints in the early models of the SCAR25. The longitudinal tension was decreased in subsequent versions of the SCAR25 and MK.17-M110. Handl Defense still retains the stressed member concept in our current trigger modules. We are the only SCAR® trigger module producer who understands and applies these concepts.

Inversely from a tight-fitting set of components, a loose-fitting set of components will also adversely affect mechanical properties. Nodes and anti-nodes will change locations along the long axis of the firearm the more flex is introduced to the platform. Harmonic wave patterns can even superimpose on each other. Where these waves superimpose, a new pattern emerges with even greater amplitude known as constructive interference.

With the addition of the Handl Defense MK17-M110 series of trigger modules, we provide more structural rigidity to the platform. Handl Defense has provided substantial increases in the platforms compressive strength and torsional rigidity. Now we provide much stronger support for the entire chassis. This is important as the extrusion profile lends itself to vibration.

Another way we make the system more rigid is to use different materials. Imagine two objects of the same weight dropped from the same height on the same surface. These two objects are of the same size and shape, their only difference is the one has high elasticity and the other does not.

When the highly elastic one is dropped, it bounces and comes back almost as high as it was dropped from. What happened is the potential energy was converted into kinetic energy that was transmitted back into the ball due to elasticity.

When the inelastic ball is dropped, it drops on to the surface and does not bounce. This potential energy was converted to internal energy back into the ball and the surface. This is caused by the inelastic nature of the collision.

To simplify, elastic collisions maintain momentum (bounce/ vibrate) and inelastic collisions dissipate energy into the objects themselves. This is consistent with the conservation of momentum. Which means the energy must go somewhere. Into something else or back into itself. Materials that have a lower tensile strength will vibrate longer and with more amplitude (larger waves).

To understand the amount of energy that is dissipated into a material we need to understand Young’s modulus. Which on a basic level is stress divided by strain. Stress is the force applied to an area. Strain is the elongation of the material over the original length.

One way to measure strain is tensile strength measured in megapascals (mPa). A pascal is one newton per square meter, one megapascal is 1,000,000 pascals. One mega pascal (mPa) is 145 psi. The yield tensile of 7075-T6 Aluminum in the Mk.17-M110 is 500 mPa. The AZ 31 in the Mk.17-M110 MOD 2 is 220 mPa. The SCAR® upper receiver is a 6000 series material. The yield tensile of 6061-T6 is 145 mPa. With twice the stretch at failure of 7075-T6. The polymer we believe to be a urea formaldehyde, cellulose filled polymer with a probable mPa of about 55.

In OEM configuration, the SCAR® upper receiver takes all the forces of the cycle of operation on its own. The upper receiver is a homogenous extrusion with a tensile strength of about 145 mPa. It is also much stronger material than the trigger module. By the nature of the design there is no ability to transmit any of the operating forces to the polymer. When recoil waves pass through each other without being disturbed, and where they meet, the net amplitude is the sum of the two individual waves. This constructive interference is known to wreak havoc on sensitive optics. 

When a Handl Defense trigger module is mated to the SCAR® the trigger module fitment and material properties effect the upper receiver harmonics. It now has active resistance at the receiver end plate and barrel extension that will not allow for normal 7.62×51 recoil pattern amplitude in 6000 series Aluminum. This is cancelled by the much stronger 7075-T6 or AZ 31 trigger modules. The energy patterns are dampened by these materials. We specifically designed the MK.17 series of trigger modules to have destructive interference. Which means that energy waves moving through the trigger module and upper receiver are moving in very different patterns. This destructive interference allows for more nodes to develop along the pathway of the operating group. When the energy waves of the FN SCAR® upper receiver and the materials of Handl Defense trigger modules have opposite phases, they help cancel each other.

In the diagram below if wave A is recoil forces moving in the SCAR® upper receiver. Then wave B is recoil forces headed in the opposite direction. Since the material is homogenous there is no external interference. When these recoil waves meet they add to each other. This constructive interference is 3700 joules of energy for 7.62×51 instead of 1800 joules for 5.56×45 the SCAR receiver was orignally designed for.

The next diagram wave A represents the recoil forces in the upper receiver. Wave B represents recoil forces in a Handl Defense trigger module. Due to the stressed member concept specific to Handl Defense, recoil forces are transmitted into the trigger modules. Handl Defense trigger modules are made of very different materials, chosen for their higher tensile strengths. Recoil forces are transmitted in a different frequency. This different frequency results in destructive interference, reducing recoil forces transmitted throughout the platform and into sensitive accessories.

Understand Handl Defense came to these conclusions without any assistance from FN, USSOCOM, or NSWC Crane. We have never received input from any of those organizations, ever. We have sought our own solutions and forged our own pathway. We in effect did what the racers did, we reinforced the frame by providing stiffer support and selecting specific materials. We do what racers have always done, whatever it takes in the name of better performance.

A way forward in Syria

                                                                                                

A way forward in Syria

Recent events have shown the situation in Syria is still very volatile. ISIS is being continually pummeled by coalition airstrikes and US Special Operations. ISIS is on the verge of collapsing into fractured resistance. But, Syria still holds the potential to destabilize the middle east and the globe. The consequences of miscalculation in Syria will result in this proxy war developing into a regional war. This could easily escalate into a war of global powers directly engaged with each other.  I previously described how the situation in Syria is very similar to the Spanish civil war in the 1930’s. The Spanish Civil War set the conditions for World War II. A mismanaged Syrian Civil War would set the conditions for World War III.

There are ways forward, this is my opinion on how I think we should proceed. It is not going to be easy and the United States is not in control of critical aspects. We will need our global and regional allies. We need to be prepared to change our perspectives about the region. Concepts we have relied on in the region will need to change.  We will need to work with our adversaries.

We will also need skilled negotiators. For this reason, the American people are fortunate to have Donald Trump as President. The other Presidential option had a very adversarial position with Russia. Her penchant for aggression and flippant disregard for military advisors would have resulted in catastrophe in Syria, that would have had secondary effects in Europe. 

The first step is to assure Bashir Assad will no longer control the resulting Alawite state. The United States and the Global community should be uncompromising in this. The Assad regimes actions against his own people are inexcusable. He fits within mold of Milosevic and Hussein. His slaughter of democratic reformers started this conflict. His continued use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons were acts of genocide. He needs to be brought up on war crimes charges at the Hague.

The Russians needs to take the lead on replacing him. The United States or any other international body deposing him and replacing him will not have the needed credibility for the Alawite and other minorities in Syria itself. The global community needs to put all pressure possible on the Russians to replace him with an Alawite of their choosing.

Second step is to assure the destruction of ISIS. The savagery of the Syrian Civil War has been perpetuated by both sides. The Assad Regimes chemical weapons use still come in second to the genocidal fanatics of ISIS. ISIS is an example of the worst traits of humanity rolled into one organization. Ethnic cleansing, rape, torture, religious persecution, slavery, are all ISIS hallmarks. Due to their ability to conduct decentralized operations, ISIS present a global threat. Even after the centers of power for ISIS are eliminated, individual ISIS members will need to be perused globally.

The focus needs to be on ISIS. Other proxy groups, such as the Free Syrian Army, Al-Nusra and Hezbollah, still need to be transitioned in to political efforts or further persecuted into irrelevance.

Third step is to engage our regional allies in particular King Abdullah of Jordan. The Sunni nations the United States has historically supported, can provide a lot of help. In the open they can help provide a bulwark against the Shia groups and their primary supporter, Iran. In a discrete manner they can help restrict the ideology and funding of radicalized groups in the region.

One person stands out as key to the regional solution, King Abdullah of Jordan. He is a well respected in all circles. I have 5th SFG friends who have met him, and they are very impressed. He is a unique personality. He is a Sunni Hashemite Muslim king who can directly trace himself to the throne of Muhammed himself. His heritage traces directly to Muhammed’s great grand father. It could be argued that he has more right to the inheritance of Muhammed than even the house of Saud.

He is very pro-western king who has allowed for a parliament to be established in Jordan. He is respected by every capital in the region. He has history with both the Russians and Americans. He was trained in the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate school. He commanded the Jordanian Special Forces and lead against ISIS that were highly effective. He is not adversarial with Israel, furthering his ability to stabilize the region. His clout in the region is unparalleled. He is the key to forming a new, moderate middle east. The United States should provide every effort in supporting his rise as the key figure in the middle east.

The fourth step is to resolve the Kurdish – Turkish issues. The battles between the Turks and Kurds is a key obstacle for regional peace. The global community needs to intervene immediately in resolving the Kurdish problem.  Many Americans are very fond of the Kurds. They have shown themselves to be resilient fighters for decades. Unfortunately, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.

Kurdish rebel groups such as the PKK have conducted attacks inside Turkey which are considered “terrorism” by the Turks. The Turks have historically suppressed the Kurds, which is the largest minority group in Turkey. By the mid 1990’s over 350,000 Kurds had been displaced by the Turks. The eastern part of Turkey is dominated by Kurds. There is large support for the Kurds internationally. But the Turkish government, now more hardline under Erdogan will not be keen to give autonomy to the Kurds. But a look at the Anatolia borders drawn for Turkey in the 1920’s should be evaluated.

the fifth step is to discard Skyes-Picot borders for Syria and Iraq, then establish Kurdistan. After WW I, the French and British portioned the Ottoman Empire into the basic boundaries we see in the middle east today. To better fight Arab nationalism they broke up areas to control them along ethnic lines. As the colonial powers began to recede in the 1950’s, the countries of the middle east began to form. They held to these borders which did not reflect the ethnic realties of the region. 

In the Special Forces Warrant Officer course I developed a matrix to better understand the forces that drive societies from a revolutionary perspective. From Mao to Washington there are commonalties and wide disparities in why people take up arms in revolt. The Plumb Societal Matrix helps make this more classifiable.

A key element is the six levels of a society. Which in ascending order are: Individual, family, tribe, state, nation, and international movement. Each of these is a larger collection of the preceding level. Different ethnicities and governments favor different levels. For example, the Chinese operate on levels 2 and 5, family and nation. The United States operates on levels 1 and 5, individual and nation. This does not mean that China or the United States care only about these levels. But social norms and legal policy is driven at these levels. They are the societies centers of gravity.

In the Greater Middle East, they operate on levels 3 and 6, tribe and international movement. They care about the tribe and international movement you belong to.  Being Bani-Amur and Sunni or are Quda’a and Shia are more important than being Syrian or Iraqi. The individual means much less in these societies than in western ones. Which makes certain terror techniques understandable when you learn how they function on an ethnic level. It also explains why so often Western polices fail in the Middle East. Our policy is not on the same societal frequency.

Iraq and Syria do not exist as fully functional homogenous nation states. These nations borders do not reflect the realities of their central government’s ability to protect and influence the populace. Iraq has its own problems as well. The southern regions massive Shia populations are in effect an Iranian proxy. The northern region of Iraq is already Kurdish run and nearly autonomous.

It is my opinion that the western region of Syria should be partitioned into its own nation. This would extend North from Al Suwayda to Aleppo. This would include the Druze, Alawites, and other minorities which have normally fared well under Assad.

The Kurdish north-eastern part of Syria, centered around Al Hasakah, should be merged with Kurdish regions in the Iraqi north. This will put pressure on the international community and the Turkish government to resolve their own issues with the Kurds.

The Sunni majority which spreads from the Jordanian borders to Raqqah and across to Tikrit and Karbala should be annexed by Jordan. King Abdullah has the clout and heritage to rule the Sunni tribes of this region.

The Western Power drawn borders that exist today are not compatible with the current ethnic realties of the region. Until this is resolved there will always be strife and discontent. This task is daunting, but this is in my opinion the best pathway forward to resolving the greater regional crisis.

 

When the moment chooses you

 

When the moment chooses you

I heard something recently that was a passing statement. But a statement that was said with a conviction that it could only come from experience. The type of experience that sometimes people don’t survive. I know this person had lived through mortal danger to pass on this wisdom.

I do not name drop, I personally can’t stand it. Each man should be able to stand on his own merits. Even though I spent a long time in the Special Operations Community. I have never considered myself special. I am just too smart to fail and too dumb to quit, that is all I have. But, there are people in SOF that will absolutely humble you with their level of ability and dedication. They are the antipathy of the prima-donna athlete often revered in our media. They are people whose character will permanently strip away your ability to complain, forever.

The words came from someone I know, who I knew have lived to pass on the wisdom that was so clear in just a few words. This man, Travis, reminds me so much of my best friend Cameron. They both possess an aggression and confidence is often mistaken for recklessness. When the house of a man’s confidence is built with the bricks of accomplishment, these men have built fortresses. It is a common trait in Special Operators, they know they can get it done. It comes from being ready for whatever the world throws at you.

What Travis said was “to be ready when the moment chooses you”. In my military experiences, there were times when the situation forced itself on you. Where you had to dealt with it, you had to overcome it. The consequences meant shame, failure, or even death. No time outs, no stress cards, no deferring it to the chain of command, no passing the buck, it was fucking win or die. One false move and you collapse the booby-trapped cave. You have shoot them before they shoot you. You win or you die.

Law Enforcement and Medicine is the only other places in life I have seen that can parallel the crisis of combat. Where the situation is forced on you. Make no mistake it is a step down, but it is close. In these environments, lives hang in the balance of your decisions. It is an environment where ignorance is a fatal flaw and stupidity is lethal.  A place where you can do everything right and still fail. Where you can give all of yourself, and still people die. A place journalists, bureaucrats, and lawyers will never truly understand.

Some may know I am closely tied to both Medicine and Law Enforcement. My entire family is in Law Enforcement. My father is a famous SWAT sniper, my brother a detective, my mother a Sheriff Deputy, and even my most of my step family is in Law Enforcement. I have a cousin who is a paramedic that holds a pistol qualification record for an Ohio Law Enforcement Academy.  Many of the members of my 19th SFG ODA’s were in law enforcement. I am honored to count most of my friends and acquaintances from the LE community.

I am also closely tied to medicine. Some my friends and close business advisors I rely on at Handl Defense are also Doctors. Then when I am not developing weapons and relationships for Handl Defense, I also work as a Paramedic. My department is often regarded as the best Paramedics in the world. Where most programs require 833 hours of training and education, ours requires over 3000.  Our cardiac arrest survival rates are in the high 50% to low 60% range. We intubate critically ill patients in the high 90% range. We bring the ER to the patient. We are studied the world over as the model of pre-hospital lifesaving care. We have a lot more in common with SOMTC than NREMT-P.

One early morning  the situation chose me. I am dispatched to a Law Enforcement officer not breathing and pulseless. There is just enough time to really open my eyes and focus on the road and flip on the lights. It’s a cold, dark, and wet night the Northwest is known for. I am working with the newest guy in the department. For a second the thought creeps in. My father, my brother, my mother, my friend, the junior Bravo on 9115, is effectively dead on the ground. No time outs, no pause button, no deferring it to the doctors, no passing the buck, it was time to do what only we can do.

In what seems like a minute, I arrive. On his back, staring lifeless at the sky is a police officer. Exposed to the cold and wet of the early morning night only his cut away armor between him and the sopping pavement. A man in his 50’s, in a moment I knew he was a father and husband. He had been fighting with a criminal. Once the criminal was subdued, the officer sat down, and went into cardiac arrest.

The fervor of the firefighters doing CPR was readily apparent. We treat every one of our patients the same. But you can feel the intensity when its one of us who is dying. Every Firefighter and Paramedic consider Law Enforcement one of us, we are all part of the same team. The officers had seen him sit down and go into seizures. They quickly realized he was not breathing, started CPR, and delivered a shock by way of AED.  The firefighters delivered two of their own and CPR was still on going, I could sense he has a chance.

As the Medics, we have all the powerful tools. We deliver cardiac drugs and intubate patients. Intubation means we insert a breathing tube into someone’s lungs through their mouth. As some have heard, if you don’t have an airway you don’t have a patient. Without the ability to provide high concentrations of oxygen to a patient via an endotracheal tube, it can make survival less likely. Without the ability to offset rapidly progressing metabolic and respiratory acidosis cardiac function will not be restored. They will become too acidic and  tissues will begin to die and any survival chances rapidly decline. 

I will not go into the specifics of this particular situation but his care was incredibly complex for so many reasons. Initially, It looked like saving his life was not going to happen. It was a very bad situation that was not set up for success. In the back of my mind was Travis saying “be ready when the situation chooses you”.

Even though the odds were stacked against me, I knew where I was. I know I can get it done. It comes from being ready for whatever the world throws at me. I had to rely on understanding the problem mentally. I had to visualize what I could not see. This can only come from an in-depth understanding of your craft. Some times you have to do things by feel and not by sight. Although there was no way to see or directly verify on one procedure what I was doing, I knew where I was. The cold, wet, dark, and crisis all disappeared in the focus.

He began to show signs of life. He had a blood pressure. He wasn’t out of the woods just yet though. Even though we had gotten pulses back, he had very serious issues that still threatened his life. The specifics of this situation were dire, this situation is very infrequently survived  After we got him to the hospital it took 3 hours for Doctors to fully stabilize him.

As the doctors and nurses wheeled him on the bed down to the surgeon, I saw the officer’s son. He was image of the officer 20 years younger, himself a police officer on duty in another district. Sometimes the reality of what we do is instantly apparent.

Unless the entire team did their jobs, he had no chance. Not unlike SOF, in public safety even the new guys are capable of really good job. The collective sweat of 2 dozen people was spent on one man. This is part of what makes America great, that we know one life is worth all the effort. His fellow officers, the firefighters, the medics, and the doctors were ready when the situation chose us. One more walks among us because we were prepared for the worst.

 

many have the will to win, few have the will to properly prepare to win” – B. Knight

 

 

Post Election with Brass Tacs and Black Rifle Coffee Company

Throughout the Veteran Business Community there are many intelligent and bold leaders. Some in spaces that might not seem fertile ground for veterans. One fine example of this is Evan Hafer over at Black Rifle Coffee Company. He has singlehandedly wrested single batch roast to order coffees away from the condescending hipster elites and openly mocks them while doing so. I had the honor of serving in the same unit as Evan. I always found him to be a quintessential professional, yet with an open mind, and very outgoing personality. What is less known is Evan is a very proficient shooter. Even within our community, very proficient.

The BrassTacs is a blog (https://www.facebook.com/TheBrassTacs/) where Scott Lambin does extensive reviews on great American pastimes. Like firearms, Tim Kennedy beating people up, guns, home defense, Coke bottle gas masks, things that shoot, and machine guns. His articles are easy reads and cut to the point. I was considering writing an article on this very subject. But we would get caught up in some Warrant Officer bloviating on the Secretary of State’s  juxtaposition for supporting Shia geopolitical goals in the face of historical Sunni nation support. So without delay, here is Scott and the guys at BRCC on POTUS -Elects possible staff.

Now that the election is over; whether you are shocked, appalled or happy maybe like most, a mixed bag of all aforementioned emotions. The BrassTacs was recently in Washington D.C and the level of #Butthurt that we witnessed was astonishing! Now that we have avoided the train wreck called another Clinton Presidency, where are we with those advising Donald J Trump; who will be 45th President of the United States of America. Love him or hate him he was the best option to in fact; #makeamericagreatagain. Particularly for our 2nd Amendment! Many of us has said it from the start. “Trump will do just fine so long as he has a trusted group of people surrounding him”. We have laid out a panel of heavy hitters; military, law enforcement and those that are not new to the D.C circus. One thing is certain! ANYONE will be better than what we have seen in the previous 8 years!

justicePresident Elect Trump shed light on the appointment of the Supreme Court Justice to replace Justice Scalia, he also released a list of twenty – some prospects. We know the importance; we know the vicarious predicament it puts our 2nd amendment in, should someone more liberal than Scalia be appointed. We would recommend the appointment of Ted Cruz to fill the big shoes of the late Antonin Scalia. Throughout the primaries Ted Cruz proved to have a clear head. He was rarely drug down the rabbit holes of slander and irrelevancy. Ted Cruz has the precise demeanor that our 2nd amendment needs to be upheld in a manner that protects all other rights!

 

 

dojOur pick to lead the Department of Justice is none other than Trey Gowdy! The Republican congressman from South Carolina that spear headed a plethora of investigations on Hillary Clinton (which was not a witch hunt). If you remember, Mr. Gowdy is the one who Hillary asked the infamous question about “What difference does it make, whether or not those responsible for inciting the terrorist attacks in Benghazi spontaneously, or deliberately”. Trey Gowdy is that of a relentless bulldog when he interviews anyone, not for precise political gain, but to bring justice to those that have broken the law. The level of integrity he would bring to the Justice department is one that in our opinion hasn’t been seen in quite some time. In short…Mr. Gowdy is like the honey badger…he just doesn’t give a fuck!

 

dvaWe have ALL said the name James Mattis in one way or the other! The retired Marine General will go down in history as one of the most feared and respected leaders of Global War On Terror. With an unsurpassed level of integrity General “Mad Dog” Mattis would clean house throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs. He has taken care of his Marines and other military personnel in combat. James Mattis’ fortitude has been tested, forged and has triumphed over the vast majority of the political heads on the battle field. Rest assured, that having someone with the experience and leadership overseeing the welfare of our warriors; accountability would be adhered to and Veterans would be taken care of!

 

generalPresident Elect Trump has repeatedly stated that he will repeal Obama Care with the promise of “something better” put into place. It is up to the Surgeon General to pull the trigger on the overhaul! We have yet to see what the alternative is. Dr. Ben Carson is the man to line item the broken medical plan that is currently law. Dr. Carson does not fly by the seat of his pants and is very calculated in his actions…kind of important when you’re a surgeon. Dr. Ben Carson understands the medical industry and the people it serves. Next to a national reciprocity conceal and carry law, Repealing Obama care is at a close second in terms of prioritization! Ben Carson is the one to shit can it!

 

 

dosSome would argue that the Secretary of State is one of the most crucial appointments that a POTUS can make. As important as international relationships can be, someone with a spine needs to be in charge of the department that forges those relationships. The past 8 years of SEC STATEs have been rollovers and have allowed just about every country to embarrass us in their countries and in ours. From bowing to apologizing, we have undoubtedly encouraged a weak stature on the international stage. Newt Gingrich has been in politics for quite some time. Starting in Georgia and moving up to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Not only a political powerhouse, Newt is also a businessman who can identify when we’re about to get bent over on trade and import/export deals…something that Kerry and Clinton couldn’t or wouldn’t  do. Everyone in the past 8 years opted to let our country get boned! Newt knows the inner workings of  Washington DC and would be a great asset in diplomacy.

 

dodWe have only begun to scratch the surface and there are plenty others that would be considered “Key” to making America great again. Who is going to lead our warfighters? Who will be the face of the greatest fighting force on the planet? This decision was a toss up between Mad Dog Mattis and who we thought would be better suited for the job. Lieutenant General Michael Flynn! The former director for the Defense Intelligence Agency and many others. General Flynn is also a battlefield leader during the Global War on Terror. Pick up a rock…now throw it in any direction, you more than likely hit someone with at least one deployment in support of the GWOT, but do they have the stature and clear head that Lt. General Flynn has?  He is not only a leader in GWOT Michael Flynn will cut through the bullshit, roll up his sleeves and get down to it! At one point he was projected as a possibility of President Elect Donald Trumps running mate for VPOTUS also, so with the long rolodex of contacts and institutional knowledge, Flynn would be the man for the job!

 

dhsFormer NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani experienced the ultimate gut wrenching experience on September 11th 2001 when those two planes flew into the Twin Towers. Having the worst terrorist attack take place in your city is something that I cannot fathom. Then Mayor Giuliani showed extraordinary fortitude in uniting the city and arguably the entire United States of America. He and President Bush conducted a series of public announcements encouraging EVERYONE to come together under such a tough time. Mayor Giuliani wasted no time in helping in draft up many effective plans for New York City to keep its citizens safer against the growing threat to more terrorist attacks and violent crimes. Mayor Giuliani flew both of his middle fingers up at the mafia during his tenure as the spearhead for New York City! Rudy Giuliani is our pick for Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. His track record has shown tenacity in standing up to dickheads that run the political and criminal machines and he has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth for fucks sake!

 

Although this is only a portion of the key personnel that will ultimately advise President Elect Trump to overwhelming success in the Oval office. We will leave the speculation of the other offices up to you. Do you have an opinion on them? If so we would like to hear your input! This is merely our opinion. Most of the guys at BRCC and The BrassTacs have decades of experience working with both administrations under Presidents Bush and Obama specifically the (DoD and DoS). We haven’t even gotten to the inaugurations and Portland is virtually burning to the ground and college kids are refusing to go to class until there is a re election! Hypothetically, would another election yield a different result? Why?

 

Handl Defense would like to thank BrassTacs and Black Rifle Coffee Company for this contribution. This is reposted here with their permission.

The Burden of the Free

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I spent my time since election day soaking in the significance, searching for a deeper meaning. The day after the election, I attended a Veterans Day celebration at my children’s school. For some reason, I choose not to wear my uniform. I wanted to be invisible, I wanted to see without being seen. I wanted to sense the feeling of this day. I had just fallen asleep hours before, knowing the grandest of human experiments, our Constitutional Republic has just received new life. What could I sense, what could I feel on this day?

I brewed a travel cup of Black Rifle Coffee Companies’ AK 47 (their best IMO) in my press at home. Jumped in the car, went down the hill, and slid into the assembly hall. I sat with other veterans of many other wars. Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, GWOT, and even WW II. There not many of us, but not one race, gender, or war was not represented.

The veterans sat, the teachers spoke, the children sang. Then they began to sing all the songs of each of the branches. When the “Halls of Montezuma” or the Marines Hymn, began all the Marines present tried their best Michael Bolton impersonation. Of course, this was to the shock, horror, and bewildered amusement of all present. God bless the Marines; they get esprit de corps like nobody else. They couldn’t give two shits what you think about it too.

Then the last song they played was “taps”. The long somber notes that sound so much like a musical go to sleep echoed softly in the hall. Then it hit me like a slap, Donnie Barger, today is about Donnie. Men like Donnie Barger died to give us this chance at renewing freedom. President Reagan said “Freedom is only one generation away from extinction…it must be fought for, protected and handed to our children, for them to do the same”. But without men, and increasingly women, who will lay it all on the line there is no action in these words.

Donnie Barger is an example of the best America has to offer. From the western hills of Virginia and raised on the plentiful venison which covers that area. He served in the 1st Ranger Battalion, and he had the devious streak all Batt Boys do. He became a Green Beret and was a phenomenal Team Sargent. I had the honor of serving with him on ODA 333 or “3X” as it is known. A family man, a kind and giving person, who would simply out work you. He was purely focused on taking care of the team and raising hell with the Taliban.

He eventually found Special Forces too restrictive, as the politicization, and conventional force mentality began to creep in. Once he told me I should quit what I was doing and try out for the ground branch of the CIA’s Special Activities Division. That the independence of movement and level of aggression that could be brought to the enemy was unmatched. That this is where the savage instinct could be truly unleashed.

The sting of the day when the call came that Donnie had died, is exactly where “taps” took me. I remember the bright sunny Virginia day when we took Donnie back home to lay his body to rest. The sound of “taps” playing softly in the background over the tears of Donnie’s family. Recently the Special Forces Regiment has lost even more brave men and it will continue to do so. 

Because these men have carried our load, borne our burden, paid our cost. So we must honor them by doing everything we can to insure their sacrifice is not in vain. IT IS WHAT WE OWE THEM, SECURE THE FREEDOM THEY NO LONGER HAVE.

The Freedom we nearly lost on November the 8th.  Anyone of us with a Top-Secret Clearance can testify to the crimes Hillary committed. All could see the graft, collusion, and overt corruption that was nearly enshrined as our permanent system of government. A bloodless coup that would have been epitome of Maoist cultural revolutionary practice. Never again would the common man or woman have a voice in the ever increasing have and have-not system of globalist pay for play governance.

We all knew the final check on government corruption, the second amendment of the constitution, was targeted for elimination. That chaos and destruction on a global scale were eventualities of a Clinton Presidency. We were so close to being Reagan’s “those who will tell stories of what it was like in America when men were free”.

If you are reading this you may have your own personal Donnie Barger, Tony Yost, or Danny Eggers. You might be a firearms enthusiast who knows how close we just came to losing it all.

Remember this from Lincoln “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

It is our task, it is our duty, to secure our freedoms for generations to come. To enshrine our rights permanently, so that no future generation could ever question their absolute validity. Our undying effort in this cause is what we owe for this chance the renewal of freedom has given us. 

Spanish and Syrian Civil Wars, precusors to global war?

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The Spanish Civil War as a historical precedent for Syria

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” -G. Santayana

Background

As the conscious thinker reflects on the geo-political situation in the world, he must always use historical perspective to color his thoughts. The uninitiated rarely understand that decisions in political capitals far away do directly affect their lives.  That global leader decisions do eventually manifest in lives of the common man.  That Political, Military, Economic, and Social destabilization which seems to be accelerating, will affect us all. The conscious man can prepare and anticipate when the waves that start on foreign shores impact on our lives. Fortune has always favored the prepared mind.

We face multiple historical parallels between the interwar period and the current global state of affairs. In particular the event which started everything on both timelines is the Great Depression (1929) and the Great Recession (2008). Both of these events were massive economic downturns exacerbated by pseudo-socialist economic policies of the left. The political reluctance to “suffer the hangover” and follow Keynesian economic polices instead, is putting the globe on the exact same path of the 1930’s.

There is a rarely covered event from 1936 to 1939 that was the direct precursor to World War II. This is the Spanish Civil War. The similarities to Syria, while not a perfect match, in my opinion are striking. In the Spanish Civil War there was political suppression that led to rebellion. Reprisals and atrocities against unarmed combatants. International volunteers to fight on the side of the “oppressed”. This was followed by massive majorities of the global powers fighting by proxy. Most importantly the western democracies, whose feeble leaders typified by Neville Chamberlain, acted without conviction or courage. This unprincipled leadership emboldened aggression. By showing a lack of courage with halfhearted measures exacerbated the suffering, but then they compounded the damage by offering strategic concessions to the aggressors.

In this article, I will layout how the situation is very similar to our current involvement in Syria. Although simplified, the players in the Spanish Civil War have very similar modern representatives in Syria. That things are unfolding in a way that is eerily similar to the Spanish Civil War. That we need to recognize that emboldened aggressors, and weak western leadership, may very well plunge us into the same abyss of 1939-1945.

The Players

The Republicans who contrary to modern American Republicans, were socialists, leftists and progressives. A formative violent suppression by the ruling class against a workers’ rebellion in 1934 fostered dissent that was the base of Republican power. In February of 1936 they formed the Popular Front which promised large scale reforms in contrast to the will of the Spanish land owners, who exerted disproportionate control. The Republicans represented the majority of the population and were very cohesive in ideology. Although they were different groups and factions, they all wanted the old order of the Spanish hierarchy gone.  

The Sunni based insurgent groups are the modern equivalent of the Republicans. In this group is also the Kurds and Free Syrian Army groups. Strategically they strive to overthrow the Syrian government or annex portions of Syrian territory. This key goal among these groups is why they are aligned. All of them want the Assad Government gone. The Sunni groups mostly came together after a violent suppression of their political aims by the Assad regime. Although the Sunni groups are aligned, they have dramatically different end states in mind. They are very different groups individually and are often fighting each other. This fighting is common between break away Syrian Army elements and the Al-Nusura Front, also ISIS and the Kurds are commonly fighting each other. But all of these elements are anti Shia and anti-Assad, this is what binds them.  They are supported by the United States, EU, Turkey, Sunni nations, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The Nationalists were the wealthy Spanish landowners, the military establishment, the business class, bound by the common thread of the Catholic Church. In the have’s and have not’s, the Nationalists were the have’s. Spain was a country were wealth disparity was steadily growing. The Nationalist controlled all aspects of society. From education to the economy the nationalists set policy, and with the military at their back, they acted with impunity. They were led by General Franco.

The Assad Regime is the modern equivalent of the Nationalists. They are in effect are the mirror image of the role the Nationalist played in Spain. They control everything in Syria and have going back several generations. The Alawite minority has ruled over the Sunni majority with minimal Sunni representation. Many of the smaller ethnic minorities also supported the Assad regime as they feared the Sunni majority. The Assad Regime is also supported by Hezbollah and Shia based groups to include the Iranian Government. Most importantly the Assad regime is backed by Russia. The Russians view Syria like the United States views Israel, their primary ally in the Middle East. 

Germany found in the Spanish Nationalists an opportunity to support another group of authoritarians.  While not a national socialist regime like the Germans, the Nationalists were led by General Franco. The military strongman that Hitler saw himself as was reflected in General Franco. The Germans also were in the military buildup prior to World War II. This was an opportunity to get their forces directly and indirectly involved in combat operations. This was to provide critical military operational experience to the German military. Strategically, this gave the Germans the opportunity to test the will and resolve of the western powers.

Russia plays a very similar role to the Germans. Putin is a far smarter and experienced leader than Hitler. He also lacks the psychological disorders of a genocidal egomaniac. Their support of the Assad regime is historical in nature. I often describe Syria is to Russia as Israel is the United States. The Russians have supported Syria for well over 50 years. The Russians, much like the Germans in Spain, have already provided financial, logistical, advisory, and combat support to the Syrians. Like the Germans, the Russians are using the Syrian situation to test the resolve of the western powers.

Western Powers this group of countries are the same now as in the 1930’s. In the 1930’s this group of countries which included Great Britain, France, Mexico, and to a smaller degree the United States. These countries openly supported the democratically elected socialist Spanish Republican movement. They were also literary, social, and volunteer movements within these countries that actively supported the plight of the Spanish Republicans. Then as now, these countries support the democratic aims of the people. One key element is that in 1930’s Great Britian was the global power led by Neville Chamberlain. Now the United States is the global power led by Barack Obama. The parallels between the countries and their leaders is strikingly similar.

Global Environment there are also very striking similarities between the global situation in the 1930’s and the 2010’s. Then as now the global economy had yet to recover from a global economic crash. The Great Depression which started on Black Monday in October 1929 is mirror for the current “Great Recession” of 2008. Then as now, Keynesian economic policies mixed with a lack of political leadership created a lasting malaise. Politically in the Western Powers, then as now, there is a reluctance to engage in military actions needed to prevent expanding violence. Then as now, belligerent nations are forming formidable military powers in Asia and Europe in the face of the Western Powers projecting weakness.

The Events

The Genesis of Genocide

The Spanish Civil war started in earnest when the Republicans we democratically elected. There were multiple events that led up to the election, such as violent suppression of labor movements, and economic troubles. General Franco led the most notorious of these in Asturias. There continued to be governmental mismanagement and strife that eventually resulted in the Republicans taking control in February 1936. There were many rumors that the Republicans were going to take retaliatory actions against the nationalists. By July of 1936 Nationalist military leaders had rebelled but failed to consolidate power. Both sides rapidly consolidated power in their respective regions.

The Syrian Civil War started when the underrepresented Sunni groups were protesting for reforms, Assad responded with violent suppression. Soon thereafter Sunni groups broke away from the military and formed the Free Syrian Army and other Sunni Groups. Many of these Sunni groups end up becoming elements within ISIS and the Al-Nusra front. Like the Republicans in Spain, they were a coalition of groups that were consolidated on removing the historical power structure. The Alwiates, Shia, and other minority groups consolidated on the other side. These minorities have long feared the Sunni majority.

Elements within all of these groups have shown little reservation in conducting combat operations without the slightest regard to civilian casualties. In many cases savage treatment of the enemy and civilians is the preferred technique. ISIS is willing to execute, rape, and torture anyone. Not to be outdone the Assad regime uses all types of weapons on targets without civilian considerations. The “Barrel Bombs” being dropped into neighborhoods or the devastation being levied against Aleppo, are primary examples.

The Spanish Civil War had its fair share of suppression of populations, executions, and the overt targeting of civilian populations. In Spain there were constant attacks on non-combatants and execution of prisoners by both sides. The nationalists estimated 1 million people were killed in the fighting. Current estimates are that 250,000 to 500,000 people have died so far in Syria.

How The Foreign Powers Got Involved

In Spain, when the Nationalists revolt stalled outside of Madrid, fighting became a static battle of attrition. The Nationalists realized they were outnumbered and did not have control of national assets. They needed external support. Franco being a General he found very willing support in National Socialist powers Germany and Italy. Hitler and Mussolini both fashioned themselves as militant leaders. In Franco they saw a mirror image of themselves. More importantly, they saw an opportunity to test new military technologies and techniques.  They would be able to refine tactics and equipment prior to their expansionary adventures. In particular they would have an opportunity to fight against Soviet and British supported forces. The two nations primarily targeted in Germany’s expansion.

The Republicans soon found themselves facing German and Italian equipment and even troops supporting the Nationalists. They instantly reached out to foreign powers as well. The Soviets and Western powers instantly offered their support. While the Soviets were willing to offer weapons and equipment, the Western powers, led by the United Kingdom, offered various lower levels of support. In particular the United Kingdom, who was fully committed to the policy of appeasement, their lack of support reinforced Hitler’s opinion of the British weakness.  Many people did volunteer from the western powers to fight for the Republicans.

In Syria, like the Spanish Republicans, The Sunni groups are not only indigenous Syrians, but also international volunteers to fight on their behalf. Groups like the Kurds, Free Syrian Army, and ISIS are bolstered by foreign fighters. In particular the Sunni groups are funded, equipped, and armed by Sunni nations and the United States.

How Situations Escalate

In the Spanish Civil war at certain times, many of the nations did get directly involved. This applies mostly to the Germans, but the others to some degree get involved. In Syria today, the Russians are very directly involved in combat operations supporting the Assad regime. These escalations are a direct result of the supported faction losing ground and the supporting nation having to make up the capability gaps. It was very routine for the Germans, their air force in particular, to engage in direct combat operations. In the Spanish Civil War, the Western powers, and Russia to a lesser degree, knew that having combat forces directly engaged was a recipe for disaster. They did their best to have no direct engagement with German or Italian troops. With World War I a recent memory, the Western powers were very reluctant to get directly involved.

This is one of the stark differences between the Spanish Civil War and the Syrian Civil War. The western powers now are keen to have direct combat engagement. Our level of direct involvement with Sunni forces and its duration will not be discussed here. But, what I will say is that when you have opposing armed forces augmenting the proxy forces fighting each other, it is a recipe for disaster. How will the Russains escalate their posture when a F18 drops a JDAM on an Assad military unit that has embedded Spetnaz. How will the President Obama and possibly Hillary Clinton as she will escalate his policies, act when bodies of Green Berets or Navy SEALs are shipped home. We have advisors embedded with Free Syrian Army units. The same kind of units that are being bombed by Russian SU-24’s. Every day there are close calls between Russian and NATO forces.

President Obamas calls to bomb the Syrian Air Force should be a cause for great alarm for its recklessness. The Syrian Air Force uses the exact same aircraft as the Russian Air Force, and they are co-located on the same bases. One mistake and he will have just started World War III. This would end up being a war without clearly defined strategic goals. Against and enemy who has been rapidly advancing its C3I, small arms, doctrine, and Air Defense systems. Other than advancing a recently accelerated support for Sunni nations and their strategic goals, there is no foreseeable positive strategic end state for even a limited conventional engagement with the Russian military.

When the Western Powers Balked

During the Spanish Civil War, once Germany and Italy got involved, the tide of battle shifted in the Nationalists favor. With the Luftwaffe and German Falschrimjagers taking on active roles in the fighting the Republicans were steadily being driven back. The Soviets still were very supportive with equipment. The Western Powers supported with volunteers and political support.  But it eventually became apparent that without direct support that the republicans were going to lose. Neville Chamberlain utterly failed to recognize that the Germans saw Spain as nothing else other than a dry run to practice their combat techniques. The Germans also saw it as an opportunity to gauge the resolve of the Western Powers and the Soviets. 

Hitler clearly recognized that the Western Powers lacked actual political fortitude for combat. That his primary adversary was going to be the Soviets. The Spanish Civil War made this very clear.

The same thing is happening right now. President Obama has shown the lack of resolve in any combat operations unless it supports a Sunni objective.  The United State has shown it will fire cruise missiles at Houthi rebels, bomb Assad’s troops, and overthrow Q’uaddafi. The United States and the Western Powers failed to act in the Ukraine. This was clearly telegraphed by Obama’s the amateur red line in Syria comment. The making of a threat, without the slightest indication of the resolve to follow it through, green lighted the Unconventional Warfare campaign to seize the Crimea.

Barack Obama, just like Neville Chamberlain is clearly projecting a lack of consistency, clarity, and resolve. His geo-political ineptitude is frequently outmaneuvered and often blatantly disregarded by belligerents.   The Ukraine today is like the Sudetenland of the 1930’s, an example of just how far a belligerent can go without an effective response. Then as now, the west projects weakness. Weakness invites further aggression.

How the Spanish Civil War set the conditions for World War II

The weakness projected by the west during the Spanish Civil War laid the foundation for World War II. There were considerable displays of appeasement by the Western Powers. They started by surrendering the other territories without cost or consequence. These were attempts to get the Germans in particular, to stop supporting Franco and the Nationalists in Spain. Germany never stopped their efforts and basically got two for one. They had shifted the balance of power in Spain so that Franco would win. Then they were given other concessions to stop supporting an effort effectively assured of victory.

This steeled Hitler’s opinion that the Western Powers were foolish and weak. He could then focus his efforts on the Soviets as they had actually shown some resolve in Spain. Hitler always looked at the Soviets as his primary enemy. This assessment was accurate, the Western Powers were shown to be ineffective in the Spring of 1940, while the Soviets slugged it out with the Germans for 6 years.

The Western Powers, who held significant military advantages, showed they lacked resolve, and could be fractured. Instead of forcing the Germans and Nationalists to the bargaining table, their half measures resulted in green lighting Hitler’s genocidal rampage across Europe.

Today in Syria we face the exact same scenario. We can accelerate our combat efforts and risk a limited to all-out war with Russia. It is also pretty clear there is no really good foreseeable outcome in combat operations against Russia. We could do what the Western Powers did, appease then withdrawal. This is almost certain an invitation for further aggression. When viewed in the light of the Sunni vs. Shia split, Western Powers withdrawing would result in a destabilization that would result in a regional war that would have global consequences. In my opinion, the only way forward is to get the Sunni and Shia factions, nations, and supporters to the table. The United States and Russia would act as brokers of the deal. While this outcome would most likely destroy the old Sykes-Picot framework that has been the foundation of the region. It is time to recognize the Middle East is not, nor ever has been, based on British colonial constructs. That only by rearranging the region based on their belief systems is the only answer to the regional woes. Any other answer leads to war and history is clearly telling us this.

Putin’s role in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest volley into Syria reinvigorates the epic East/West struggle for Middle East control. The natural resource rich region once again is center stage of geopolitical struggles aimed at maximizing area influence.

The board has been reset and the pieces are carefully set. In his mind, Putin is the hero this time and swoops in to save the world. I can see the propaganda shot now: Camo-clad warrior Putin, hanging off the side of a Russian gunships, shirt less with a bloodied spear, fresh from Crimea no doubt.  Cue Wagner Ride of the Valkyrie: Vladimir is on the way to save Syria.

Putin himself telegraphed his intent in June 2015, blaming a morally bankrupt for not being able to accomplish the mission. In a statement of self-aggrandizement Putin said: “Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.” Putin sees Russia as the defender of traditional values, dismissing the US like a washed-up has been.  Eyeing warmer waters at the time, Putin was stacking the deck in efforts to set the change for his triumphant return.

Fresh off his maskirovka masterful campaign in Crimea, Putin continues his full contact passive/aggressive choreography on the world stage. His Syrian land grab delivers what Russia failed to accomplish in Afghanistan, a secure, warm water port and forward operating base closer to international shipping lanes. In earlier versions of The Great Game, Russia danced with Great Britain for control of the same areas under dispute today. Russia was geographically isolated from Europe and unable to expand further north or east, could on move to Central Asia for natural resources, commerce and population. For all intents and purposes, Russia is running the blockade that hemmed them in during the Cold War and the tragedy that broke up the USSR. Russia is redrawing borders and Europe needs to be more concerned.

Map1 shows the Afghan, Pakistan, USSR, Iranian and Indian borders circa 1979. The Iranian Revolution was in full tilt at the time, throwing the US Middle East plan into disarray.  With their nemesis wounded, the Soviet Union jumped at the chance to expand their Central Asian influence and reach the Arabian Sea. Not unlike today, a weakened US in the Middle East seemed like an easy target.

PutinRussia

 

Russia has been working to dominate Mediterranean sea lanes. In February, they announced a ten year deal with Cyprus for two ports and two airbases. Their naval bases in Syria provide Russia with plenty of regional presence from where they can observe and react to potential threats or even disrupt international shipping lanes, specifically oil transportation. This has been their intent since the early 18th century, when they sent their Naval fleet into Beirut, Lebanon. During the Cold War, the USSR supplied weapons to Syria by way of Czechoslovakia. Having such a large naval and air presence in the region gives Russia the unprecedented ability to choke off the West’s access to natural resources such as gas aind oil, something that Russia has shown a penchant for using against their adversaries in the past.

Russia’s agenda will be to safeguard and expand Russian bases, ensure Bashar Al Assad survives and to expand its operational footprint over Syria in order to mitigate American regional influence.

Putin’s allies on the ground: Iran, Hezbollah and Syria are giddy as schoolgirls, anticipating a tremendous display of righteous destruction. The net is electric with support. Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nisrallah, spent 3 hours on the terrorist al-Manar TV program extolling the newly arrived Russian weapon systems and shit talking the US regional impotence, calling Washington’s efforts in the area a “devastating failure”, adding, “The failure of America and the international coalition to bring defeat to Daesh was one of the reasons which called or pushed Russia to also come, and to get directly involved.”

The Russian land grab comes on the heels of the still emerging international embarrassment of the US military’s stinging loss of their second group of special trained “moderate” rebel forces. As of Friday, the fledgling group surrendered a major portion of their fighters and weapons to Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra Front moments after arriving in Syria. The first group of US trained fighters only made it a week in country before being compromised and hunted down by other “moderate” rebels, likely the same Al Nusra Front.

The truth is that there are no “moderate” rebel factions in Syria. Any moderates with means have fled. Islamic State, Daesh, continues to pillage the ungoverned (read:unprotected) areas of Iraq and Syria. As a result of the US allied bombing campaign, IS no longer parades targets of opportunity with newly acquired military hardware like before. It’s caused Daesh to shift tactics and avoid large, major battles.  IS leadership has hunkered down in the security vacuum and either plans to melt away or is planning a cunning counter offensive. The most likely course of action is a comprehensive plan of smaller hit and run tactics on isolated Syrian government outposts, something the Russians look to counter.

Although largely viewed as ineffectual, the US air campaign accomplished the major tack of stemming the IS advance and fixing them regionally. However, without ground troops to coordinate precise targeting actions and clearing operations, the effort is at a stalemate. To eliminate Daesh, the US may need to work with Russia, at least to deconflict air operations. Conveniently, the Russians have moved headquarter elements into Baghdad, Iraq, perhaps in anticipation of such a relationship. The US will need to be mindful that alienated Iraqi Sunnis gave them hell in Iraq, prior to forming ISIS. Working exclusively with the Shi’a, Russians and Syrian Alawhite minorities to target Sunnis may not go over well with other Sunni alliance members, Saudia Arabia, GCC, Turkey and Iraqi moderates.

The entire Middle East is a proving ground for new military tech. US military commanders are concerned and have expressed their astonishment with how fast Russia has been able to close the technology gap. Decreased funding, years of hemorrhaging tech secrets to cyberattacks and lackluster engineering results have allowed China and Russia to nearly pull even with US capabilities. In certain categories, Russian capability may now exceed that of the US. They definitely have more nuclear weapons.

The US had no effective early warning that Russian fighter jets were on their way to Syria until they were spotted on the ground. Russian pilots were able to maneuver 24 attack jets in a tight formation with their cargo aircraft in order to mask the radar signature of the smaller craft with the size of the larger An-124. In order to maximize range, the smaller jets either re-fueled mid-flight or stopped over in Iran to re-fuel. Either way, the US was blind to such a large movement. Not an encouraging sign for our ability to provide early warning or detect imminent threats.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Eurasiageopolitical.jpg

 

Europe should be concerned with this also, with several Russian airbases located so close to European borders and Putin’s demonstrated will and skill with huge denial and deception operations.

Overall, the effect Russia could have regionally in the Middle East will decrease any accomplishments the US intended. The deployment of Russian troops in Syria will end up helping Islamic State as Russian assets have been sent to areas where they are most likely to fight other groups opposed to IS, i.e. US backed Syrian rebels. This should be a major concern for any “friendly” elements the US might have on the ground. The principal disagreement the US has with Russia is Assad. The Russians see him as a part of the solution and the US see Bashar al Assad as the main problem.

Additionally, Israel needs to be concerned because it brings a better armed enemy force to its doorstep. Now that Russia is validating the Iranian forces and providing top cover for them, Hezbollah, Quds force and other anti-Israeli factions are now on the Israeli border. The likelihood that Israel will be able to continue bombing Syrian forces resupplying Hezbollah is in doubt now. Russia will likely be protecting those troops now. Which presents obvious problems for Israel and the US. The advanced surface to air missile systems and radar capabilities will prevent the Israeli air force from taking off undetected. Early Syrian and Iran warning from the Russians eliminate any Israeli surprise attack option.

One thing is for certain, Putin has been able to strengthen his position by diverting attention  away from the bullying of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea while simultaneously embarrassing the US by saying “We have to go to Syria in order to fight terrorism because you can’t handle it on your own”.

The US is in a position of limited options: work with the new Putin coalition (joining with Iran, Syria and Russia), continue mission with what they have on hand(limited moderate rebel factions that truth be told hate democracy) and only de-conflicting as necessary, or reinvent their foreign policy and regional capacities. Cue the music, Putin’s coming to the party.

Handl Defense would like to thank Grey Cell for their contribution.

http://www.greycell-live.com/

Vortex Razor HD II vs Leupold Mk. 6 1-6

mk6-razor                                                                                           Vortex RAZOR HD II vs. LEUPOLD MK.6

The Vortex RAZOR HD II was tested head to head with what I consider the gold standard of the short to intermediate range variable power scopes, the LEUPOLD MK.6. I chose to not use the MK. 8 in this comparison  due primarily to the expense and design features put it in a different class than the RAZOR HD II.

The MK.6 fits with in the Razor’s class both in price and features. LEUPOLD in particular has capitalized off of the relationship with the military and has many lifetime customers just from winning the M24/M40 and the more recent XM2010 optic contract. This allegiance will follow the products into law enforcement, competitive, and recreational circles. This gives the LEUPOLD Mk.6 a certain advantage with credibility and familiarity. In order to make headway against established products with faithful followings, a product must at least meet and exceed the performance of the competition. In this environment the Vortex RAZOR HD II enters as high quality optic with good flexibility and comparable cost. The optics were evaluated on the following criteria: aesthetics, optic/reticule clarity, field of view, reticle, functionality, features, and cost. The scale with be graded with ten points maximum.

Of note, there is one characteristic that will not be tested, durability. Other than aggressive range use, these optics will not be tested for their ability to absorb damage and function normally. This may sway the decision of some prospective buyers. The optics were all tested on the same platforms, multiple AR-15’s and a FN SCAR 17S. The SCAR 17s was equipped with a 16 inch 1 in 12 twist barrel, utilizing a Handl Defense MK17-M110 MOD2 lower and Magpul PMAGs. Both Optics were secured in the same manner, a quick detach ADM mount. The AR’s were of various designs to include Noveske, LMT, POF, and others with various barrel lengths and twist rates.

Aesthetics
The LEUPOLD MK.6 is a straight forward simplistic and no frills optic. Simple and effective are the mainstays of the design. Everything about the optic says LEUPOLD, from the color of black to shape of the knobs. The lines of the design are smooth and the knobs and controls are well spaced for easy manipulation. The machining and finish is high quality. The size of the optic does not overwhelm the weapon you place it on. Either on an AR or SCAR it looks the part and fits seamlessly with any of the current designs.

The Vortex RAZOR HD II follows the sleek profile of the LEUPOLD MK.6 but with a modern and aggressive look. The Flat Dark Earth color gives a striking purpose built appearance. Right out of the box, the RAZOR HD II looks like it belongs on a modern battle rifle. It has many of the purpose built looking aspects, like the aggressive knurling notches on the illumination dial. It equals and even exceeds the well machined and finished look of the LEUPOLD MK.6. I do not say this lightly, the Vortex RAZOR HD II is the prettiest Optic in its class, and it looks right at home on a SCAR H. It can look a little overwhelming on a short barreled AR at times. It does have a sleek minimalist and rugged utilitarian look. The overall impression of the design aesthetics of the RAZOR HD II is elevated above all others in its class.

CONCLUSION: The LEUPOLD MK.6 fit and finish is on par or superior to any competitor in its class. 
The RAZOR HD II is aesthetically superior to other scopes in its class.
GRADES: LEUPOLD MK.6 8 points and RAZOR HD II 10 points.

Optic/reticule clarity
The LEUPOLD MK.6 has exceptionally clear glass that allows excellent clear lenses that transmit good amounts of light in all conditions from bright to low light. The CMR-W reticle is clear at all power magnifications. The red dot horseshoe itself is clear and sharp at all power intensities, except at the highest power levels. It does not overwhelm your vision in low light with low to even mid power settings. It is extremely effective in any condition. The lens did not fog in cool rainy conditions. When the reticle was illuminated the illumination would not be visible is the shooter was off center from the gun.

The Vortex RAZOR HD II also has very good lenses and has high quality light transmission in all conditions on par with the LEUPOLD MK.6. The RAZOR HD II has just slightly less light is transmitted in the lower light conditions. The Vortex RAZOR HD II is every part the equal of the LEUPOLD MK.6. There is no over flash from the dot itself. The reflection onto the focal plane is almost always a completely clear crisp dot until the highest power levels. The red dot is day time bright and does not overwhelm in low light conditions. The edges of the reticle are always crystal clear and sharply defined. It allows easy two eyes open operation of the optic.

CONCLUSION: the Vortex RAZOR HD II is on par with the LEUPOLD MK.6. There is a slight amount of
better low light transmission with the LEUPOLD MK.6 but not enough to make a distinct difference.
Both optics do a great job with red dot illumination.
GRADES: LEUPOLD MK.6 8.25 points, RAZOR 8.25 points

Reticle
The base JM-1 BDC reticle of the RAZOR HD II was compared to the CMR-W reticle in 7.62 in the LEUPOLD MK.6. The LEUPOLD MK.6 is offered with 3 reticle options; CMR-W 5.56, CMR-W 7.62, TMR-D (mill dot). The CMR-W in 7.62 has 20 MIL stadia line along the horizontal plane and a 5 MOA (inside) to 7.5 MOA (outside) horseshoe around the center dot. The CMR also has windage/distance holdovers in lower portion of the scope. If that was not enough information to provide there is also a 5 MIL graduated stadia line on top of the left horizontal line. This line is for those who want to determine distance in meters by dividing the target in size in millimeters by the number of MIL. The reticle is easy and quick to use and requires little effort to make accurate shots at distances beyond 600 meters for properly experienced shooters, who understand how to properly make adjustments and calibrate their equipment. This is regardless of Mils or MOA, yards or meters.

The JM-1 BDC reticle has very little information immediately available to the shooter. There is just the horizontal and vertical lines with a few unmarked stadia lines. The directions do show that the distances from the thick so thinner portion of the horizontal lines is 15 MOA. The distances between the smaller stadia lines 2.4, 5.6, 9.5, and 14.6 MOA respectively are not marked on the vertical line. Those MOA marks correlate to 300, 400, 500, and 600 yard distances for the very broad application of all 5.56 rounds 55 gr to 77 gr. With the subtraction of 15 yards per stadia line it gives the point of impact for 7.62 from 168 to the 175 grain weights. None of this information is marked on the reticle.

What also is of great importance is that the scope must be zeroed at 200 yards for the reticle to be accurate. This takes advantage of the fact that 5.56 reaches max ord at about 115 meters. That at 25 meters and 200 meters the round is at the roughly the same height above the ground. Most targets for most shooters are going to fall within that range. I am sure that many have zeroed this optic at 100 meters or yards and had issues with using it accurately. There is no markings or mil stadia to determine distances of known sized targets. Also considering the stadia are set for yards there is no way that shooters who work in meters can use them precisely. Of note the SCAR 17 is 7.62×51 and the JM-1 is not recommended for 7.62×51 guns. 

CONCLUSION: The JM-1 BDC is designed to be used by a broad swath of shooters to be quickly and
generally accurate with a wide range of rifles with a various assortment of projectile weights, calibers,
and twist rates. The reticle allows for little to no flexibility. There was effectively no information
marked on the reticle itself, which presents challenges for the inexperienced shooters shooting over
200 yards, and for those who use multiple weapons systems. It was not designed for those who need
to be precise with their specific platform. The LEUPOLD MK.6 CMR-W is that type of reticle. Not only
does it allow for the shooter to be precise when he needs to be it allows for him to make rapid shots
at distance with the ability to account for unknown distances to target and winds. The LEUPOLD MK.6
CMR-W was far superior at mid to long range especially when winds were present.
GRADES: LEUPOLD MK.6 9.5 points, RAZOR HD II 6.0 points

Field of View
The eye box behind the RAZOR HD II is one of the largest I have seen. It is so large that not being properly indexed behind the scope still gives a clear view of the reticle. This even is even if off the center axis or too far back on the gun. There is a deep eye relief that allows the shooter a lot of room to set the the best variable power optics for quick target acquisition I have tested. The LEUPOLD Mk.6 has very good sized eye box in its own right. It is great scope, well built, and very capable. But the eye box of the RAZOR HD II is superior to the LEUPOLD Mk.6.

Reflex use is where the RAZOR HD II shines. For targets from 5 meters to 50 meters the large eye piece and eye box allow the shooter to quickly engage targets. The RAZOR HD II is quite possibly the best in class at short range work. I find it superior to both the LEUPOLD Mk. 6 and even the US OPTIC SRc 8 I had on hand. The LEUPOLD Mk.6 is also very capable in short range work as the 2 MOA horseshoe it allows the shooter to make quick reflex shots in lower power. Yet, the LEUPOLD Mk.6 is still obviously a step behind the RAZOR HD II. The smaller eye box which becomes apparent if the shooter is slightly off axis of the scope, keeps it behind the RAZOR HD II.

The Razor HD II is only held back by the reticle in my opinion, which became obvious during distance use. The LEUPOLD CMR-W 7.62 reticle provided index marks to adjust for winds and distances without making adjustments to the scope. With even mild 5-7 mph winds that would gust to 10 mph, shots could be placed on steel targets past 400 meters without needing to adjust the scope. This was much more difficult with the JM-1 BDC. This was amplified that during shooting unknown distance targets could be milled for distance then accurate shots taken without adjusting the LEUPOLD Mk. 6.

CONCLUSION: the Vortex RAZOR HD II is the more effective close to mid-range scope. The LEUPOLD
Mk.6 is the more capable mid-range to long range optic. Both scopes performed very well in close
range use but the RAZOR HD II is obviously the better choice in reflex shooting, because of the
immense eye box. The LEUPOLD MK.6 was superior at mid to long range especially when winds were
present, primarily because of the reticle.
GRADES: LEUPOLD Mk.6 9.25 points, RAZOR HD II 8.75 points

Functionality
The functionality of each of the optics was tested for use with gloved and ungloved hands. All functions were also conducted in low to no light conditions to see how easy the optics could be manipulated by memory and feel. When accessing the elevation and windage adjustments, they were conducted with tools and without tools.

The LEUPOLD MK.6 is well designed scope and has no glaring faults in its functionality. All controls are easy to manipulate with bare or gloved hands. This did not change when the optic was tested in low light situations. The variable power selection ring rotates easily and has hard stop at maximum and minimum power. It can be done with the support hand without breaking the ready position. I did find the contact with the ring was reduced in gloves. The access to the battery compartment was not an issue and could be done by hand or multi-tool. But it was a bit different than most other designs. There is not a threaded lid with o-ring on the battery compartment. The Mk.6 design has a hinged door with push latch. I do not know if there was specific purpose for this.

No serious issues arise with the adjustments to the elevation and windage knobs, but they could have been better. Even though they were kind of small, the knurling on the caps was good for use with bare hands and was not difficult to use with gloves. The turrets small size did allow for less surface contact. These turrets have a kind of soft feel to them but they are stiff. You will feel the knurling dig into your bare hand when you manipulate them. The rings also require you to use a locking button to turn then which is only on the zero side of the ring. It can be hard to find and might require breaking away for the ready position to find it. The caps are not secured to the scope itself, after being removed for internal adjustment. This is not normally an issue but I would like to see this be addressed for use in low light or red light conditions.

The RAZOR HD II is easily manipulated in gloved and bare hands. The high quality knurling makes itself known regardless of the situation. The battery compartment is accessible with a simple tool, such as a dime or multi-tool, in gloved or bare hands, with minimal effort. The variable power selection ring is easy to grip but requires effort to manipulate. I consider it too stiff for quick changes without dropping the gun away from the ready position. The incorporation of a throw lever I would consider mandatory for anyone who might use the RAZOR HD II on a battle rifle or in 3 gun competition. The illumination intensity selection is a novel idea, requiring pulling the knob laterally then adjusting between settings or off. It trades off security over speed, I found it a good set up regardless.

Nether optic come standard with any type of quick throw device. The LEUPOLD Mk.6 has a small tab to power. I would like to see the incorporation of a quick throw lever, especially considering the relative stiffness in the RAZOR HD II variable power selector ring.

CONCLUSION: the Vortex RAZOR HD II is slightly above the LEUPOLD MK.6 Mk6, in relation to
functionality. The RAZOR HD II turret adjustments are easier, more solid, and secure feeling. The Mk.6
was easier to manipulate the variable power adjustment ring. Other than these two marked
differences there was not much separating the two in functionality. Other than the need to break
away from the ready position to make variable power adjustments, the RAZOR HD II is without issue.
GRADES: LEUPOLD MK.6 8 points, RAZOR HD II 8.5 points

Features
Each of these optics have different features that set them apart from each other. These design details reflect the philosophy of each the companies. These details are the manifestations of the collective experiences and fundamental concepts that guide each of the companies towards producing a low to mid variable power optic with reflex sight capability.

One of feature I always consider in a scope that is intended for a carbine or battle rifle is weight. Of course we always want things to weigh as light as possible without losing durability. The RAZOR HD II weighs 25 ounces, it feels solid and strong. Knowing it is made of T-6061 aluminum should reassure shooters to its durability. The down side to this is that being almost 2 pounds in weight, it can make the rifles feel top heavy. This is very noticeable when mounted to one of the lighter short barrel AR’s. The LEUPOLD Mk.6 comes in at 17 ounces but somehow feels even lighter. It was much less likely to make the rifles it was mounted to feel top heavy. It did not have the same solid feel as the RAZOR HD II but the LEUPOLD Mk.6 is obviously a high quality scope.

The turrets on the RAZOR HD II are one of its best features. Be it the illumination dial or the windage and elevation dials, the turrets have a precise feel to them. The turrets are captured easily in gloved or bare hands and have precise, positive clicks between positions. I truly like the feel of the movement and the design of the RAZOR HD II turrets. The turret on the LEUPOLD Mk.6 on the other hand were not as easy to work with. The elevation turret requires pushing a release button then moving the turret. The button is only in one location and can get “lost” especially in low light or no light situations. There is not solid clicking during movement of the LEUPOLD Mk.6 turrets. I think this could play havoc on shooters who might use the optic in low or no light situations. This normally requires breaking away from the ready position to make accurate adjustments.

The illumination switch on the RAZOR HD II is aggressively knurled pull to turn, push to lock dial. I like the idea of being able to lock the illumination in place but I do wonder if under duress that it might be another step in order to engage a target accurately. This did not come up during testing but was just an observation. The illumination dial has nice precise feeling clicks and movement. I really like the function of this dial, the mechanical function of this dial should be incorporated into all vortex dials. The illumination dial on the LEUPOLD is much more vague feeling. The Illumination dial on the LUEPOLD Mk.6 has far less aggressive knurling and found to be a problem when shooting in gloves when the optics was wet. This was a common problem with the turrets on the Leupold Mk.6, they are not manipulated well when wet, while wearing gloves. This was not an issue with the RAZOR HD II. The RAZOR HD II utilizes a second focal plane for its reticle. This might explain part of the simplistic nature of the JM-1 BDC. The LEUPOLD Mk.6 uses a first focal plane and provides the shooter with more options to use the optic. This is substantial advantage for the LEUPOLD Mk.6 and might be the determining factor in the purchase for many advanced shooters.

CONCLUSION: The RAZOR HD II has some really nice design items, the Illumination dial and turrets set
it apart, as they are superior to the items found on the LEUPOLD Mk.6. These two functions enhance
the RAZOR HD II’s ability to function in a dynamic environment. The RAZOR HD II is a durable and
tough design. Users that are expecting to use their weapons in rugged environments will gravitate
towards it. The LUEPOLD Mk.6 is a first focal plane scope and it is the strength of the design. Couple
this with the multiple options in reticles they serve the design well. These two optics have strengths
the other does not. The LEUPOLD is lighter and first focal plane, the RAZOR HD II has much better
turrets and illumination dial. Based on this information I find certain shooter will buy one optic over
the other based on these features. Both have shortcomings and neither has a serious advantage over
the other. The fact the LEUPOLD Mk.6 is first focal plane scope puts it ahead.
GRADES: LEUPOLD Mk.6 8.0 points, RAZOR HD II 7.5

Cost
One of, if not the most important factor in the majority of shooters decision making process is cost. Many optics, no matter how innovative, often are priced outside of the parameters of the average
shooter. The cost is by far the most prohibitive aspect and greatest restriction on the majority of shooters. Optics Planet and other reputable sites was used as the basis for cost comparisons. 

The LEUPOLD MK.6 is $1999 to $2439 for an average of $2219
The RAZOR HD II is $1399 to $1899 for an average of $1649
The RAZOR HD II is on average $570 cheaper.

CONCLUSION: The RAZOR HD II is $570 on average lower in cost than the LEUPOLD MK.6. This is
almost 25% less expensive. That is a significant cost saving that could very easily sway many shooters
to the RAZOR. The RAZOR HD II is the one of the best values on the market. If cost is a very important
factor for the shooter, the RAZOR’s value might be worth the maximum of 10 points. The LEUPOLD
MK.6 is not the most expensive in its class, but it is also not near the lowest in cost.
GRADES: LEUPOLD MK.6 7.25 points, RAZOR HD II 9.25 points

Grading total of 70 total possible points
LUEPOLD 58.25
RAZOR: 58.25

CONCLUSION: The RAZOR HD II and LEUPOLD Mk.6 I find to be similar in capability, but each scope has
very distinct strengths the other scope does not. The LEUPOLD Mk.6 has multiple options in reticle
choices, which are more precise and informative options. Every advantage the LEUPOLD has stems
from the fact it is a first focal plane scope with a detailed mil delineated reticle with windage
references. The RAZOR HD II is the equal or superior to the LEUPOLD in every other aspect. The RAZOR
is superior in reflex shooting, appearance, fit and finish, functionality, and cost. If the RAZOR was
offered with more reticle options and was built in the first focal plane. The RAZOR HD II would have
ran away with the evaluation. The RAZOR would then need to be evaluated against scopes that are
outside of its class such as the far more expensive US OPTICS SR 8c and the LEUPOLD Mk.8 CQBSS.

 

Jeff Kirkham of Readyman reviews the Handl Defense Mk.17-AK

kirkham shoots the AK scar

Since its inception Army Special Forces has been considered the pre-eminent unconventional warfare force in the world. Army Special Forces are commonly known as the “Green Berets”. These detachments of men are small teams whose tactical actions have strategic implications. In the 1950’s SF teams known as ODA’s, have always had a mission to operate far behind Communist lines. Many of these men had done the same mission in the OSS fighting the Nazi’s in the low countries and France.

The ability to fight in the enemies back yard. To get him turn inward when he should be looking outward. To cause your enemy to spend critical time and resources to protect his supply lines. To strike fear in him by killing him where he rests. To live among the enemy, to sap his strength, his will to fight, and kill him is the ultimate reason for the Green Berets.

Sun Tzu says one of the enemies’ supplies is worth three of yours. In order to fight in land controlled by the enemy, resupply is the most critical concern. To feed, fuel, and arm your force from your enemy is a critical capability. The ability to use the ammunition found locally is one of, if not the most limiting constraints for US SOF operating in a denied area.

In Handl Defense’s quest to provide the small arms solutions for today’s special operator it is critical to understand how these weapons will be used. I fully understand the aspects of planning and executing Unconventional Warfare. But it would be foolish to not reach out to the Special Operations community. The breadth and depth of experience of the current generation of Special Operations Warfighters might be unparalleled in American history.

When it comes to the AK47 and its use for Special Operations, there are none more experienced and knowledgeable that Jeff Kirkham. Jeff Kirkham and I attended the Veterans Business Alliance conference in Salt Lake City. This was the perfect opportunity for him to get some trigger time on the Handl Defense Mk.17-AK.

Jeff Kirkham is a 28 year special forces vet. He was part of a DoD CT unit that facilitated US interests in GWOT. He was an SF Weapon Sargent and Team Sargent. He is also the president of Readyman which is an online and live training company, that specializes in emergency preparedness. He also is the owner and inventor of the RATS tourniquet. He has patents across multiple disciplines that include medicine, ballistics, and explosives. He wrote the Stackpole 14th edition combat field leaders guide and small unit leaders planning guide.

This is why I sought him out. Jeff Kirkham and I have served in some of the same special operations units in the past. I have always known him to have a vast amount of knowledge on many subjects. There are some who will read this article and know who Jeff is and what he has done. He is a leading advocate of the AK platform. This is why I could think of no better person to have the first evaluation of the Mk.17-AK from Handl Defense.

Frank Plumb: What did you think of the Handl Defense Mk.17-AK when you first saw it?
JK: it is a lighter and less bulky version of the FN SCAR® which is what got me initially really interested. I am always looking to shed weight from equipment. From the moment I touched it, I knew Handl Defense had obviously spent a lot of time making the system lighter.

Frank Plumb: How did the weapon feel when you first fired it?
JK: A truly surprising lack of recoil, by comparison to SCAR® recoil, non-existent. It felt very much in line with the XCR. It shoots as soft as a long barrel AR-15. It shoots without any muzzle rise and a very slight right deflection. It was surprisingly very flat with minimal muzzle flip. Overall the recoil is less or inline with a standard AK.

Frank Plumb: How does the weapon feel by comparison to a standard FN SCAR 17®?
JK: Less front and back thrashing during the cycle of fire with much better balance. It is not even close in feel, balance, and shot to shot stability. It is simply much better.

Frank Plumb: How does the weapon feel when compared to an AK 47?
JK: The FN SCAR stock I found to be the main difference between the two. The AK styles of stocks allow for a better cheek well.

Frank Plumb: What features stand out to you about this weapon?
JK: It was very easy to reload because of the sloping magazine well. It really does help feed the magazine. It was a very well thought out feature that makes feeding fresh magazines much easier.

Frank Plumb: Did you notice the Handl Defense incorporated features to help dissipate heat. Did you notice their effects?
JK: Yes, I noticed the gun runs much more cool than a standard SCAR and even much more than the AK. At over 200 rounds I could easily grasp the front of the gun with bare hands.

Frank Plumb: The Handl Defense conversion kits allow the shooter to go from 5.56×45, to 300 BLK, to 7.62×39, to 7.62×51. How do you think this will affect Special Operations Forces?
JK: I think that we will be able to expand our capability but eventually figure out what works best for us as teams in certain environments. Guys will be able to tailor everything to their needs.

Frank Plumb: How do you think this will affect the commercial gun market?
JK: I think that this will have a serious following in the emergency preparedness crowd. It will allow more people to really access more capability. Once all the caliber conversions come out it will allow the user to access the majority of ammunition found in the world.

Frank Plumb: The Handl Defense Mk.17-AK features a Carbon Fiber hand guard, what are your thoughts on Carbon Fiber being used in modern firearms?
JK: As long as it is robust enough and light with less bulk its just fine by me

Frank Plumb: The Handl Defense Mk.17-AK allow the shooter to put the charging handle on either side. Is this an advantage? Which side do you prefer to put your charging handle on and why?
JK: Yes I run mine on the right as opposed to the left. Left side is faster but not everything is about speed. For example, I had an afghan commando puncture a lung with a charging handle while fast roping with his charging handle on the left. There is also concerns with IMT and CQB when a charging handle faces the shooter it can be knocked out of battery or injure the shooter. I think charging handles are meant to be on the right side of the gun.

Frank Plumb: What is your opinion of the SCAR® What is the opinion of the SCAR® from those in SOF that you have dealt with?
JK: In my opinion the SCAR H is way too bulky with bad ergonomics. I think a few elements should be revisited. Things like front of the gun, the chamber design and buttstock assembly could have been much better. I can’t help but think about the design by committee instead of the design by combatant approach. Basically guys in the units at the top levels don’t use it. It’s gradual fall from favor is not by accident.

Frank Plumb: Do you see Handl Defense’s efforts to enhance the SCAR® changing the mind of those who use it professionally.
JK: Absolutely, it is better balanced and runs cooler, why wouldn’t they?

Frank Plumb: How do you see the Handl Defense MK.17-AK being used by Special Operations Forces?
JK: SF and any unit doing advisor activities using during them during TSCP missions.

Frank Plumb: What are final thoughts on the Handl Defense Mk.17-AK
JK: I think it has great potential. It can show the 7.62×39 as viable round. I think HD has done some really cool things with this. The lack of heat in the system is astounding. I really think it is going to open some people eyes with what you are doing.

The Handl Defense Mk.17-AK conversion kit is intended to assist the Special Operator conducting Unconventional Warfare missions. By starting with the FN SCAR® as the foundation Handl defense has been able to extract more performance out of the 7.62×39 cartridge. Our initial testing for accuracy has our variant shooting in the 1.5 MOA range with hand loaded ammunition and our match barrel. We feel it is even possible to gain more accuracy from this system.

The Handl Defense Mk.17-AK also allows for the user to utilize standard issue lights, lasers, and other sighting systems that the AK system does not easily allow for. There will be minimal change over from current manual of arms TTP’s. No longer will US Special Operations Warfighters have to sacrifice our small arms technological advantages to use our enemies ammunition.

It is designed to be an enhancement to a current system already in place with USSOCOM. While this program is intended for military applications first, upon procurement into USSOCOM and other organizations, allows for the eventual release of this system to commercial buyers.

Readers should understand that much of the new technology associated with the Handl Defense Mk.17-AK and the other caliber variants Handl Defense offers are proprietary and Patent Pending. Handl Defense as a policy, does not discuss the particulars of our technologies and intellectual property.

But these technologies reduce recoil on the SCAR® platform up to 40% and nearly doubled the cook-off around counts. So we will not keep them from the commercial market. We are currently in discussions with strategic partners to help bring these technologies to other platforms. So it might not even be on the SCAR® where these technologies are first seen in the commercial market.

We are committed to bringing the Special Operations Warfighter solutions needed to maximize his effectiveness. Having been there and done that, we will leave no doubt that Handl Defense is dedicated to help our brotherhood. We think and act on a different level. We have brought a new level of refinement and capability to an already potent system. In the near future we expect to bring these enhancements to you.

 

What is at stake in this Presidential Election?

What is at Stake this Election

Often times life is so hectic that it is hard to gain perspective beyond the daily grind. Deadlines, commitments, and schedules dominate our day. So when we actually get the chance to pull our head up and look around we are inundated with information. While any individual with a sliver of awareness will know, media is subjective. That any story told, especially by todays media, will be more opinion than fact.

It can be very hard to tell how these stories and perspectives will affect your life. Tales of corruption and ambiguous dealings, how does it affect you in your personal daily life? With America making a choice as to who will be the next President, what is really at stake in this election?

Often times as an SF Warrant Officer, it was my job to explain how the Strategic Goals of the COCOM directly affect the team on the ground. I would explain how the actions of one person can actually shift international policy. It was often met with skepticism, until it was explained, how an ODA is a strategic asset. SFODA’s are designed to be placed in positions to effect global outcomes. Shoot the wrong guy or offending a strategic partner can have cascading and long lasting effects.

But one might ask, how can one person can affect global relations? The Colombian Prostitution Scandal in 2012 is a fine example. One person’s lack of ethics affected international relations with a key partner nation and US Governmental policy on an international level. Notice the now mandatory, trafficking in human persons online training for DoD. Make no mistake, this crossed the desk of the President of the United States. I am quite sure that it effected everyone in the chain of command negatively.

The inverse of this is also true, national level policy decisions can affect you in your everyday life. They can affect you a lot more than you know. Devaluation of the US Dollar by way of Quantitative Easing means your trips to the grocery store just got more expensive. Alterations in interest rates now mean your mortgage just got more expensive. These two added together means you are waiting another year or two extra to buy that new car. Or you will delay saving for your children’s education.

Presidential decisions have depth and duration in their effects. In this election one choice has a history of being successful real estate tycoon. While part showman and brasher than most would like, he has shown a penchant for understanding the plight of the everyday person. I feel he accurately realizes that as the American worker suffers, so does the country. He also sees that as the American worker thrives so does the country. He has an understanding of how the guy on the ground makes the whole thing go. While he has been able to do this in business, it remains to be seen if this can be done in politics. I consider business harder than politics, so I wouldn’t bet against him.

In this election one quantity is a relative unknown, the other is not. The DC establishment candidate has an atrocious record. This person has also reached the end of their primary battle in the most deplorable manner. The overt corruption and fixing of the entire primary system for that party was just recently put on full display. Instead of ostracizing the guilty, they are rehired elsewhere and sheltered. Then with their spouse applying pressure on the US Attorney General, who has authority over the FBI, produced a lack of charges in the most obvious violations of USC 18 sec 793, sec 798, and sec 1001, in history.

This lack of accountability and competency is not new for this person. This person’s life in public office as well as private endeavors, is colored with similar events. Acquitting rapists, destroying legal files while under investigation, Real Estate Scandals, Domestic Policy failures, ineffective terms as a US Senator, a disastrous global destabilization as Secretary of State, culminating in the death of four Americans, to include an ambassador, at Benghazi, allowing for the rise of ISIS to become a global threat, while antagonizing China and Russia. This person’s foreign policy was recently described as “chaos, death, and destruction”.

That death and destruction is not limited to outside the United States. You may know of Vince Foster, Mary Mahoney, and Ron Brown who were witnesses having died during investigation of this person. But there are 35 people who have died under odd or mysterious circumstances in association with this person. This does not include the 12 bodyguards and military attachés who have died while working or after working with them as well.

So this unaccountable, corrupt, incompetent, ineffective, that mysterious deaths of key witnesses seem to keep recurring around, also has an international foundation. An international foundation that seems to sell access and placement for money into sensitive government positions. It does not matter who you are or what you support. Hang gays from light poles and beat women, but want to influence US policy, just send a check. Want to sit on an intelligence committee to gain information relevant to your personal business, just wire your donation today.

Now this person, with this history, could possibly be President. The next President of the United States faces major Political, Economic, Security, and Social challenges. The precarious positions we face in all four of those criteria is a bad I as I can ever remember.

Regardless of who wins the Presidency they will face massive political headwinds. This country is as divided as it has ever been. We consistently call ourselves “conservatives” or “liberals”. We divide our states into the blue and red. This could easily be transposed into Blue and Grey. Red and Blue states have different economies, social structure, customs and political values. The Red states will be even further rejected and suppressed under their yoke.

The next President is going to select as many as four supreme court justices. If the DC establishment candidate gets in, the final check on government corruption is gone. The 2nd amendment is that final check on government corruption. The calls for “Australia style confiscations” would also probability result in civil disobedience, if not open insurrection. I fear the response to those who would defy her will receive the most violent response by our government against its people in our history. Again only deepening the split between left and right in this country. Possibly resulting in a revolt or cessation movement.

Once again as in the 1860’s protectionism and free trade are a major economic sticking point. The wealthy, which have overwhelmingly supported the DC establishment candidate, profit immensely from free trade agreements. Free trade agreements like TPP and NAFTA, drive costly domestic wages down which is exacerbated by unrestricted immigration. Unrestricted immigration will lead to more people than work, again suppressing wages. Enacting TPP will begin the end of the American Middle Class, and further devastate American production capability.

Our national debt is nearly 20 trillion dollars. That is 20 million, million dollars. That is almost $60,000 per person and $130,000 per tax payer that is owed. Now understand someone owns that debt. Someone holds the note and therefore leverage until they are paid off. Without a massive explosion in productivity and profits, we will be bankrupt and default on our debt in the next few years. Much of this debt is short term notes and not long term treasury bonds. If we took every penny everyone in the USA made in a year and paid it against the debt it would take 2 years of our entire GDP to eliminate the debt accumulated predominately over the last 8 years.

US economic instability means global economic instability. The US Dollar is still the world reserve currency. Our economy tanks again, as our GDP increasing 1.2% indicates, the global economy comes undone as well. When economies falter, wars start. Militarily strong countries take from the weak. China and Russia have both begun expansionist programs and have claimed territory that was not theirs. This is also compounded by the fact that since the DC establishment candidate was Secretary of State we have ceded our positions of strength while being antagonistic towards China and Russia. We are viewed as leaderless and weak throughout most of the world.

With an influx of migrants from the greater middle east with no clear way to validate their origins or actual intent we invite chaos. Paris, Nice, Brussels, and Orlando will become the rule not the exceptions. We underestimate the ability for Islamic Terrorists to conduct attacks that have social and political effects on the United States. Under the DC Establishment candidate, who will continue the current failed policies, they will only become worse.

While these are the primary issues facing our next president, there are many more. Race relations are in tatters. Law Enforcement is under attack. The rule of law does not apply to all. Plainly written aspects of the Constitution are routinely ignored by judges. The Media is utterly corrupted. The Military is social test tube instead of fighting force. American Infrastructure is crumbling. List goes on and on.

In face of this crisis, we have a choice, and that choice has consequences. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The future of, if not the very existence of western democracy hangs in the balance. Will the experiment for a Constitutional Republic implode under its own debt, to be replaced by a capitalist monarchy? Will America be where the wealthy insiders live under one set of rules and the rest of us under another? Will the Constitution maintain its rightful place or continue to be legislated into irrelevance?

We have two choices. While many are instantly screaming “there are other choices”, no there are not. There are only two people who can be president, everything else is a distraction. Unless things change, there will only be a continuation of the chaos, death, and destruction. We have the DC Establishment or the Braggadocios Real Estate Tycoon. You should know which way I am voting, because everything, and I mean everything is riding on it.