Kevin Baker has some video that will really make our opponents wet themselves, including a kid firing a German MP40. The MP40 is a highly tame submachine gun. Appropriate for letting the kids try.
… all I want is my M14:
Thanks to Les Jones for taking the video, and he has many more, including some of the women who are a lot cuter than I am. I’m not kidding when I say it’s brutal. Probably the most uncomfortable full auto I shot. Even the BAR was a walk in the park by comparison. You’ll notice my flinch when I drop the hammer on an empty chamber.
After arriving into the Knoxville area around 1AM last night, and not being totally sure of what kind of event Lucky Gunner had in store for us, I arrived to the event this morning not knowing quite what to expect. Turns out Lucky Gunner got us into an invitational machine gun shoot event known as Bullet Fest, and I think it worked quite well. I quite enjoyed myself for the first day, getting to shoot a wide variety of machine guns. As far as entertainment events, there were World War II and Civil War re-enactors present, and some of them brought fun toys like a half track all decked out in machine guns, and two World War II era tanks shooting live ammunition. You can tell this type of event is basically an excuse for rich guys to bring out their favorite toys. The organizer was getting frustrated with one of the tanks turned loose on the range, and wanted to get him out of there, but he was having a good old time. I guess if you own a tank, there’s not much opportunity to drive around a ranges smashing cars and shooting live ammunition, so you get as much in as you can. The Knox County Sheriff’s department also brought their UH-1 “Huey” helicopter and landed it in a parking spot for the amusement of spectators. That was pretty neat too, though I’m probably not the only one who is disappointing they didn’t rake downrange with machine gun fire from the helo. Turns out they only use the Huey for search and rescue.
Anyway, back to the important stuff, machine guns. What did I shoot?
- M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, or BAR. Anyone who’s a World War II history buff knows of this weapon. I had figured being a 30-06 full auto, it would be murderous to shoot, but given the gun’s weight, the recoil is quite manageable. I have a lot of respect for the guys that slugged these things around Europe. At 22 pounds, I’d hate to be that guy.
- M1919 Browning Machine Gun, .30 caliber. This is a water cooled model, and runs about 40 grand if you want one for yourself. Before I shot it, a round cooked off in the chamber indicating the water reservoir was empty. I had heard you can piss in the water reservoir in a pinch, but happily, a jug was handy. I was supposed to limit myself on ammo, but got a bit carried away. They had to tap me on the shoulder to get me to stop. I feel bad about that. But damn, it was a lot of fun.
- MP40 9mm submachine gun, predecessor to the MP5, of World War II vintage on the German side. I would have believed this gun was firing blanks. It’s highly controllable with very little recoil or muzzle climb.
- M3 submachine gun, .45ACP. Much like its German counterpart, highly controllable and tame. A joy to shoot.
- M14 battle rifle, 7.62x51mm NATO. This is a gun that should never be used except on semi-auto. Full auto fire is brutal and essentially spray and pray. An AK-47 is considerably more controllable.
- HK91 battle rifle. More controllable than the M14, but still pretty brutal on full auto.
- AK-47, the real thing. More controllable than I would have thought. The cyclic rate is slow enough the muzzle has time to come back down under its own weight. You don’t have to fight it as much as I would have thought.
- M16A1. You would think from firing an AR that the M16 would be relatively tame. It’s quite controllable, but it definitely pushes back a bit more than you would think.
Tomorrow Kriss is going to let us demo some of their new toys. They have representatives that have flown all the way from Switzerland. I didn’t even know they were a Swiss company, but it looks like they are. The Kriss is Swiss technology.
I thank Lucky Gunner for generously supplying us with ammunition and putting all this together. It’s not every day when beautiful women come up, hand you a menu of ammunition that’s available, and bring you whatever you want to the firing line.
Met up with Traction Control tonight over at Ready, Aim Fire in Bristol. He rented an MP-5 submachine gun. Got to shoot a magazine through it. The house MP-5 was in some dire need of cleaning and some fresh magazine springs, but any time I get to shoot a submachine gun I think “Man, we really need to get rid of that Hughes thing.” Full auto is a lot of fun even when it’s not running as well as it could, and sometimes submachine guns can be finicky.
Two notables tonight are that I got to shoot my Webley Mark IV for the first time, and I enjoyed it. Much less recoil than I would have thought, but that’s probably because it’s a rather heavy pistol firing a relatively anemic round. That crossbar safety has to go though. It’s rough to switch, and a general pain in the ass. It gets in the way of the enjoyment of the pistol. Eventually I think I need to find a Webley that hasn’t been mutilated for the sake of being legally importable.
I also got to shoot my Glock for the first time in a length of time I’m embarrassed to admit. I compete with air guns and .22s these days, so not much trigger time on the Glock. The problem is, my club has a lot of stupid restrictions on how many rounds you can put in your magazine, and drawing from a holster, so I can’t really practice self-defense shooting there. I don’t end up practicing self-defense shooting as much as I really need to for carrying a pistol around in public. That’s not to say I shot badly. Getting trigger time, any trigger time, keeps your skills from totally going to s**t, but I was shooting better practical pistol two years ago than I am now.
Drawing from holster, using my iPhone shot timer, I was getting somewhere between 1.5 seconds and 2.5 seconds between buzzer and aimed shot on target. At least I think. It’s hard to tell on a busy range which shot registered was yours, so it comes down to “I know I’m not that fast, but I’m pretty sure I’m not that slow.” Overall, out of the holster I’m in an area of about the size of a DVD container at 25 feet. That’s decent, but I did pull one shot pretty far off, which I’m a bit appalled by. I’m also unhappy that on about a 1/4 of my draws I had a grip that caused the slide to scrape against the web of my hand. No bloodshed from a slide cut, but not comfortable either. Whatever mojo Todd Jarrett imparted with his instruction has definitely departed due to lack of practice. That seems like it was a long time ago. Hopefully I’ll get out to a few practice shoots this season and top my skills back up.
Who knows. Maybe one day my club will come into the gun culture of the 21st century and we’ll have some practical shooting, or steel plate shooting where I can get some more practice in under time pressure and from a ready stance or from the holster.
This IPSC like stage with submachine guns looks like a hell of a lot of fun. Seems the winning strategy is to have a drum mag of some kind. The folks with .22LR submachine guns seem to do well just mowing down the bowling pins:
UPDATE: Sorry folks, I didn’t realize it was set to auto play. Next time that happens let me know. I will never intentionally set up anything to auto play on this blog. If you see it, it’s a mistake.
This will be the concluding post for Full Auto Day. If there’s one thing that I’ve tried to feature in this series, it’s ordinary people having fun shooting machine guns and assault rifles, as happens in various locations around the United States every year. Why does anyone need a machine gun? Because machine guns are really friggin fun! I’ve never seen anyone who wasn’t intrinsically hoplophobic, or recoil shy, shoot a machine gun and not walk away with a big shit eating grin on their face. I’ve shot my friend Jason’s M11 dozens of times, and I still get a big smile on my face every time I send a mag full of 9mm downrange. When I first tried a suppressed H&K MP5 submachine gun, I briefly for a moment considered whether it might be a good idea to sell my car to buy one. Unfortunately, the MP5 wouldn’t be very good at getting me to work, so that idea was quickly abandoned.
So that brings me to the reason that machine gun shooting is becoming increasingly the domain of the privileged few because of the stratospheric prices on registered machine guns.; Congressman William J. Hughes, who, as I nicely added to his Wikipedia Entry, is responsible for banning civilian possession of machine guns not already lawfully registered prior to May 19, 1986, despite there being virtually no history of crime being committed with legally owned machine guns in the United States. Why’d he do it? Because he’s another gun hating asshole from New Jersey (I hope he googles his name and manages to read that too). If you want to see more information, take a look at Dave Hardy’s 1986 Cumberland Law Review article about the FOPA, or Gun Law News’ summary of the FOPA.
Because I’m really wanting to have way more full auto fun than I can currently have, I’m quite eager to be rid of the Hughes Amendment. Unfortunately, the NRA has largely given up on machine guns. As much as I wish they didn’t, the sad truth is current political climate isn’t conductive to accomplishing anything on this ground. Over the next few years we’ll be lucky just to fight off more semi-auto bans. We’re also probably not going to have much luck in the courts in this regard either. So what to do? Well, we have to keep chipping away bit by bit, until we change the political climate to the point where it’s feasible to get rid of it. In the mean time, I think it’s important that we figure out ways to present machine gun ownership and shooting in a positive light to the general public.
But if the Democrats want a fight, we can always do to them what they did to us. If those slippery bastards try to close the “gun show loophole” or other such crap, why not slip a repeal of the Hughes Amendment in right before debate closes, and pass it on a questionable voice vote. It’s a little low, sure, but what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If you can’t defeat a bill, adding a little “f*ck you” amendment is always a nice touch.
Well, I hope everyone liked today’s Full Auto Day. I’ll maybe do special interest features like this in the future. Stay tuned!
I don’t really like commies much, but I sure do love the guns they produced. The Russians learned very quickly at the hands of both the Finns and the Germans how deadly effective submachines guns could be in combat. The Russians needed to develop their own submachine gun pretty quickly, and of a simple enough pattern to be easily manufactured. Luckily, George Shpagin was able to come up with a design that worked, and worked well.
The PPSh41 is a blowback operated submachine gun that fires from an open bolt. Chambered in 7.62x25mm. It accepts a 34 round box or 71 round drum magaine, and has a cyclic rate of fire of 900 rounds per minute. Earlier models had select fire capability, but later models were full auto only. The model here is showing with the drum mag. The Soviets discovered drum mags were too cumbersome to use, and not reliable enough under combat conditions, so in 1942 they developed a box magazine.
That’s quite a burst. I believe there are a fair number of these that are transferrable out there.
Can’t find a real AK-47 here to shoot? Try Cambodia:
You can impress the dudes by already knowing how to handle a Kalashnikov. You can even shoot RPGs for the right price. Just don’t be a chode and blow up a cow, ok?
There hasn’t been a truly innovative 45 caliber submachine gun produced, that can think of, since the Thompson. The folks at Transformational Defense Industries (TDI), have come up with a really novel one, that I just must own, but can’t, thanks to the Hughes Amendment.
Here’s a video of it straight from SHOT 2007:
The Robinson Arms XCR rocking out on full auto:
Damn you Congressman Hughes! Damn you!