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Feeding the Maybe Not-So-Tin-Foil-Hat Conspiracies

I have to agree with Glenn Reynolds that perhaps the greatest “achievement” of this Administration is making crazy conspiracy theories seem less crazy. This begs the question: what the US government needs 600,000 AK-47 magazines for? As Clayton notes, that seems awful excessive if your intention is only to arm Syrian rebels. Clayton speculates that perhaps the goal is to dry up the civilian supply to make them more expensive. Previously I’d say that was tin-foil hat territory, but with this crowd, I’m not so sure.

20 Responses to “Feeding the Maybe Not-So-Tin-Foil-Hat Conspiracies”

  1. Cormac says:

    Just because you’re wearing a tin-foil hat, doesn’t mean the .gov isn’t up to some crazy, scary stuff…

    • Countertop says:

      Yep. I totally think that’s the goal of these guys. And completely beleive it. Not quite sure why the NRA keeps denying it – except that the companies that would operate and bid for these contracts would be subject to MASSIVE consumer backlash. As they should be.

  2. Countertop says:

    On the other hand, assuming 6 mags per soldier, that’s only outfitting 100,000 soldiers. If we are trying to help a number of different central Asian and Middle Eastern allies who utilize lots of left over soviet weapons (or even SE Asian) to win over their support for expected actions against Russia, China, or even N. Korea, it really isn’t that much.

    • A basic load was typically seven mags.

      Also realize that mags aren’t serialized. Even in the US Army they go missing off the property book due to loss or destruction. In a third world country it will be far more common. You also often want multiple sets per soldier (one set in LBE, a second in a vehicle, for example). Finally you need a few sets for training purposes.

      So really you’re talking about organizing, training, and equipping something on the order of 25-50K personnel. A quick wiki search shows that there are five or six figures of FSA-affiliated fighters… Plus the US is in other parts of the world with assistance missions.

    • Sigivald says:

      Yup.

      And on the “civilian supply” part, notice it specifies new production steel magazines.

      So none of the plentiful polymer magazine supply would be affected at all.

      (The other important issue is that the AK, while popular, isn’t nearly as popular as the AR, as far as I know.

      Why “sabotage” the also-ran?

      Equally arguably, such a contract, if it made a serious dent in annual production [I don’t know how many AK mags are made in the US every year already…] would have the side effect of most likely increasing capacity in a way that would outlast the bid.

      Unlike ammunition, where the machines that make it in bulk are specialized and – IIRC – quite absurdly expensive due to lack of demand, well … metal AK magazines are just bent, welded sheet steel.

      It’s a hell of a lot easier to increase production of them.)

    • mike says:

      So wait. Evil 30-round assault magazines in the hands of law-abiding Americans is BAD, but those same magazines in the hands of people in the Middle East who would cheer our destruction is GOOD. Got it.

      So, along with police and the military, Al-Qaeda – er, Syrian “rebels” – are the “only ones” who can be trusted with 30-round standard-capacity magazines..

      Up is down. Black is white. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia. It’s just so hard to stay up to date sometimes.

  3. rightwingwacko says:

    Maybe it’s a good time to get into the business of manufacturing Magazines.

  4. MIkeJ says:

    Maybe Bracken was an optimist in “Foreign Enemies And Traitors”?

  5. Ian Argent says:

    Magazines are durable consumables. You don’t, or shouldn’t, anyway, have one unit of fire per rifleman and that’s it. Assuming a unit of fire is 6 mags (180 rounds seems a low, but I actually don’t know what the basic load for a rifleman is in US service), you want to have at least twice that back in the warehouses for the line troops to fill out paperwork in triplicate to requisition when they lose one in the line of duty; if not more.
    The US is trying to impose their philosophy on the post-US-withdrawal militaries they’re setting up (at least as much as possible), and logistics is a Big Deal to the US.

    That brings the headcount down to around 25K; assuming all are going to “allied” militaries.

    Just as much ado about nothing as the big ammo purchases, IMO.

    • Geodkyt says:

      Exactly.

      The last I checked, the “book” basic load for Army or Marines is still 7 mags @ 210 rounds, but I didn’t know any infantryman who ONLY carried 7 mags. Even in the late Cold War, pre-P-Mag days, we averaged 10 mags on body, and probably a full set left with our “issue” web gear (nice and clean, just the way it was issued, so we could turn it in the same way!) for anyone who had been in long enough to figure a thing or two out. . .

      • Geodkyt says:

        Oh, and the company supply sergeant had a bunch of mags in stock at company level, not counting already issued mags. In peacetime.

        we had enough mags available to us that we had ZERO problems qualifying the entire company out of the “spare” mags (admittedly, they had to be reloaded two or three times throughout the day).

        600,000 mags is NOTHING on a military scale.

  6. Ian Argent says:

    Just as Republican administrations get EVERYTHING they do looked at through the lens of “OMG -CISM!” (pick your -ism, sex- race-, what have you) by their opponents, even for quite silly things, we need to be cautious of looking at everything the current administration does through the lens of “OMG COMING FOR MA GUNS!” Among other things, it distracts from being able to rally the troops when THEY ARE coming for our guns

  7. beatbox says:

    Oh please. Look, let’s say you are the US gov’t. You KNOW that you will be giving military aid in the somewhat near future to some foreign interest (not just Syria). Given the current political situation, that would likely be in the Middle East or in Africa.

    Now if you are the procurement guy looking for a mega-purchase to drive costs down…what type of magazines would you buy? AK of course.

    Besides, who is even talking about AKs now that we have the evil ARs?

  8. beatbox says:

    And anyone else notice that Cramer’s blog has been more tin-foil and homophobic lately?

    • Yeah, that’s why I did the math and suggested that the count seemed a bit high for the Syrian insurgents. (They don’t have a fair number AK magazines already? Are they single loading?)

  9. Ken says:

    Have you considered another possibility? The obama tyranny may be arming the “syrian rebels” aka al-Qaeda for the express purpose of a major terrorist attack on the USA, followed an the inevitable state of emergency and genocide of gun owners.

  10. Jake says:

    I think the thing everybody seems to be missing here is amply illustrated by the fact that, rather than simply dismissing the conspiracy theory explanation out of hand as “ridiculous” or “unbelievable”, everybody is instead pointing out either a reasonable explanation for it or reasons why it wouldn’t work.

    IOW, recent .gov actions mean that we can no longer simply dismiss such theories as “tin-foil hat territory”. We’re having to stop and actually think about it, first.

    Which is, I think, Sebastian’s actual point.

  11. aerodawg says:

    This admin is a bunch of thugs and crooks, but this conspiracy theory really is off base. Working around DoD maybe I can provide a little clarity.

    The bid is being solicited by Army Contracting Command (ACC). A subset of the responsibilities of ACC is managing Foreign Military Sales (FMS). I guarantee this is an allied nation buying supplies through the FMS system. This kind of stuff happens all the time. The foreign nation funds an account with Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam makes the buy using DoD procurement processes, using the foreign funds, and the gear gets shipped off to East Buttcrackistan.

    Dig long enough and hard enough and you can find contracts where the DoD has “bought” all sorts of eastern bloc gear, MI-17s, MI-24s, T-72s, etc etc etc…

    • Geodkyt says:

      Also, the wording of the synopsis indicates to me that this is an RFP to order up to these number of magazines, over an unspecified timeframe (probably no more than two or three years, based on current acquisitions SOP).

      It’s also nice, for FMS purposes on small durable consumeables like these, to have a bunch on hand for future needs. If a new ally needs a bunch all of a sudden because a new war breaks out, it’s a little late to toss out procurement RFPs for stuff that requires new manufacture over and above current production. . .

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