Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wasp class Amphibious Assault Ship

Above is the USS Wasp, the first of the Wasp-class Amphibious Assault Ships. These ships are designed to land forces on a hostile shore and support them. They are the largest such ships in the world and in many ways, are more powerful than the aircraft carriers of other nations and aircraft carriers from the past. The Wasp-class has the ability to launch surface craft from its rear well deck and can also launch helicopters and AV-8B Harrier II STOL aircraft from its flight deck. Sometimes the LHD will carry as many as 20 Harriers when it is configured as a "Harrier Carrier" with a narrower focus on close air support of ground forces.
The LHD launches LCACs (Landing Craft, Air-Cushioned - hovercraft) and LCUs (Landing Craft Utility) to ferry Marines and supplies to the store. They can also launch the AAVs (Amphibious Assault Vehicles). To further support operations on shore, every Wasp-class warship has a hospital with 600 patient beds and six operating rooms.

USS Wasp embarking a LCAC

The Wasp-class is descended from the earlier Tarawa-class. The main differences are that the Wasp is longer to fit the LCAC and does not have the 5 inch guns of the Tarawa-class. These ships are named after famous battles of the United States Marine Corps or for WWII aircraft carriers. The entire Wasp-class of eight ships was built at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Co. in Pascagoula, Mississippi, the USS Wasp being commissioned on July 30, 1989.

Landing Craft Utility in the well deck of the USS Essex

General characteristics
Class and type: amphibious assault ship
Displacement: Approx. 40,500 tons (41,150 metric tons) full load
Length: 844 ft (257 m)
Beam: 106 ft (32 m)
Propulsion: Two boilers, two geared steam turbines, two shafts, 70,000 shaft-horsepower (52 megawatt);
but two General Electric LM2500 geared gas turbines, two shafts on the USS Makin Island)
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h)

Complement: 104 officers, 1,004 enlisted
1,894 Marine Detachment

Armament: Two Rolling Airframe Missile launchers
Two Sea Sparrow missile launchers
Three 20 mm Phalanx CIWS systems (LHD 5-7 with two)
Four .50 BMG machine guns
Four 25 mmMk 38 chain guns (LHD 5-7 with three).
Aircraft carried: Actual mix depends upon the mission[1]

Standard Complement

6 AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft
4 AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter
12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters
4 CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters
3 UH-1N Huey helicopters
42 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters
Sea Control
20 AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft
6 SH-60F/HH-60H ASW helicopters

Denel NTW-20 20mm Rifle

Here we have the Denel NTW -20 from South Africa. This is an anti-material weapon mostly designed to destroy important military equipment like radars, aircraft, supply points, and vehicles. This rifle can be configured to fire the Semi-Armour Piercing High Explosive Incendiary (SAPHEI) 20×82mm rounds or the 14.5×114 mm Armour Piercing Incendiary (API). While the 20mm could be used as a "sniper rifle" against enemy personnel, it isn't really made for that. The 14.5mm is much better, with less recoil, increased range and decreased noise, but there are much more effective systems to use. The idea is that a small team of soldiers could cause much havoc behind enemy lines by destroying the equipment needed to fight a war.


One problem with this idea is that firing a gigantic gun like this is sure to draw some attention, primarily of the negative variety. While it has a range of at least 1500 meters, so do most mortars, which is what I would be firing in the direction of the massive report of this monster. So while it is a great weapon, the long term survivability of a team shooting it could be called into question. The weapon itself is absolutely huge, almost 6 and a half feet long and weighing 57 pounds without ammunition. It does break down into two backpacks, but in the real world those soldiers would also be carrying personal weapons, comm gear, armor, water, and food. So mobility is a bit of a problem.

Here is a video from Denel, it shows some of the amazing power this weapon can bring to bear. I don't know who came up with that lame, annoying music though.

Home Security System


1. Go to a secondhand store and buy a pair of men's used size 14-16 work boots.

2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns & Ammo Magazine.

3. Put a few giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines.

4. Leave note on your door that reads:


Bigun, Duke & I went for more ammo and beer. Be back in an hour. Don't mess with the pit bulls cause they attacked the mailman this morning and messed him up bad. I don't think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of em in the house. Better wait outside.


I found this on the blog,, by Kellene Bishop all credit to her.

I thought it was pretty hilarious.

Why you should buy a decent gun

This a Lorcin .380 ACP. Notice that the slide has completely split in half. The pistol was reportedly under 200 rounds. Now it is true that any pistol can have catastrophic malfunction, and I've seen plenty of pictures of Glocks and Springfield XDs that have gone ka-boom. But when you think that a gun is a machine designed to harness a small explosion.
And do it a lot. So it really is best to buy a gun you feel that you can trust your life to. It is a lot better to save up another 150 to 250 and buy a mid level used gun like a Ruger, Glock, or even though I don't care for them, a Smith & Wesson.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Military Technology- Simon Breaching Munition

One problem faced by soldiers in urban combat is doors. They are everywhere, and you have to get through them. Most are locked and many are heavy enough to stand up to repeated kicks and hammer blows. And that doesn't even touch on the fact that they may be booby trapped.

Enter the Simon from from Rafael in Israel. It is a rifle grenade designed to blow doors clean off their hinges. It has a range of 30 meters and weighs a pound and a half and is about 2.5 feet long. Unlike many other rifle grenades, the Simon can be fired with a regular bullet. Most rifle grenades from years past had to be fired with a special blank cartridge. This meant the user had to keep loose blanks or an extra magazine loaded with blanks. Then, when the grenade was needed he would have to clear the chamber and load the blank, mount the grenade and fire. It would be easy under stress to forget to clear the live round from the chamber. And you do not want that to happen. It could ruin the rifle, the grenade, your day, and maybe your face.

The Simon has a standoff rod that, when fired at the door, causes the impact fuse to detonate. The blast wave of the Simon is large and powerful enough to knock the door inside the room and unlike some other breaching methods, it is not necessary to aim for hinges or locks. The Simon is also in service with the US Army as the M100 Rifle Grenade Entry Munition and was awarded as one of the top 10 best inventions of 2005.

Bet your life

Camoflaged Weapons

Well the poll time has ended and I left it up for more than a month without realizing that I misspelled "modern". Oh well. I don't get paid for this, you know.

64% think that camouflaging a weapon should be the personal choice of its user and 11% think that firearms shouldn't be camouflaged at all. The other 23% are with me and think that modern small arms should all wear some camo. My reasoning is that if you are going to wear camouflage it is silly to have your weapon stick out. Don't believe that? Check these out.

Look at how much more the weapon stands out from the background.
Another thing to consider is that many elite units like the Army Special Forces, SEAL teams and SAS often do camouflage their weapons. And if they do it, everyone should right? ; ) Also, modern "paints" like Duracoat are very good at protecting a weapon from scratches and the elements. Surface rust can begin to form in a day or two on unprotected surfaces. God knows what happens when soldiers get salt water on a gun. I shudder to think.
Nightvision can also make blued and parkerized weapons shine like they are glowing.
Proof you say?
The weapon on the the top is painted, I believe with bowflage, and the lower is a plain AR-15. Notice that the parkered aluminum is very visible. Modern weapons have significant amounts of plastic, and it does not take any more money or time to make them in colors that blend well like olive drab and coyote brown. For those of us who are not paid to be shot at, this is not as vital an issue to be sure. And some people just don't like the aesthetics of camouflaged guns. To each his own. And I've seen some pretty awful paint jobs. But I dare you to look at these and say that they look bad or wouldn't be an improvement over the old standard.

Or you could go this route.

Victoria Cross: John Duncan Grant

John Duncan Grant was born in Roorkee, India. In 1904 he was a lieutenant in the 8th Gurkha Rifles of the British Indian Army. On July 6 he was a par t of the Armed Mission to Tibet he led a storming party up the nearly vertical face of the Gyantse Fortress. There was almost no cover and the defenders were hurling stones down onto the soldiers. Only one man could attempt the assent at a time and they were forced to crawl on their hands and knees. Despite being wounded, Grant and a Halvidar (Sergeant) finally reached the top, but were forced to retreat. Later they breached the defensive curtain while being covered by rifle fire from the rest of the squad.

Grant had a long and distinguished military career, retiring at the rank of Colonel.. He received the Distinguished Service Order and was made a Companion of the Bath.

Just look at this place. Can you imagine trying to get to the top when people inside were trying to prevent it? A rock the size of an apple would be as deadly as a rifle bullet from up there. And I am willing to bet they had a lot of rocks.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Where do criminals get guns?

Well according to this, most if them get them from ummm, extra-legal ways.
Look at this, only 19% of firearms used by Federal prisoners were bought from licensed dealers (I am including gun shows, were 99% of buyers go through a FBI background check)
At least some of these guys were not convicted felons at the time of their arrest, so we can assume the system has a less than 15% failure rate. Not too bad for government work. Another thing that is left out of this is the "straw sale" were a person legally barred from buying a firearm gets someone else to buy it for them. There is not a whole lot that can be done to stop such sales, unfortunately. Gun dealers I know have seen a lot of them, and worked with Law Enforcement to have the perpetrator arrested. Nice fact: straw sales are very often done by the convict's mom. For real. Another point to think about when looking at this information is that some of these upstanding gents were no doubt lying. I don't know about the other 6%, but I do think its safe to say they didn't get them legally.

Before you ask - I don't have any documentation to back up this graph. We here at Homemade Defense don't do that kind of shit. Pay here is low.

Who lets someone borrow a gun? "Hey Cletus, lemme see that shotgun, the wife's been cheatin' again"
I mean really.

So, "gun control" advocates, gun grabbers, and the dedicated professionals at the ATF, focus on the largest part of this that you can impact. Dealers and Fences. If it can be proved that you stole a gun, you should receive a heavy prison sentence. Like 10-15 years. The whole point is that legal guns in the hands of adults in this country make up a very small portion of gun violence, and as that is the case, law enforcement and those great folks who feel the need to save the rest of us should direct almost all their efforts towards illegal guns, not legal ones. How about unannounced searches of the homes of those on probation or parole for firearms offences? How about a PSA? Give a gun to a felon, do his time for him? Something like that?

Vela Incident

On September 22, 1979, the United States surveillance satellite Vela Hotel 6911 observed a double flash at 00:23 GMT. The flash was detected at approximately 47 degrees South, 40 degrees East. This area is between The Prince George Islands of South Africa and Bouvet Island, which is owned by Norway, but is very small and totally uninhabited.

In the weeks and months that followed, elevated levels of iodine 131, which is a short half life product nuclear fission, were discovered in the thyroid glands of sheep in Tasmania and Victoria , directly where the prevailing wind patterns would distribute the fallout. However, US Air Force planes searched the area in the days following the flash and were unable to find any traces of radiation. It is noted that the low pressure area that surrounded the suspected test area was not searched by the Air Force.

Some have said that the Vela Incident was the result of a meteorite impact. These impacts, such as the Tungusta Event in Siberia in 1908, do generate explosions that are similar in some ways to a nuclear detonation. They can range from the low kilotons to the multiple megaton level, such as the Tungusta Event. However, they do not produce the distinctive "double flash" of a nuclear weapon.

Others have stated that the satellite was past its functional service life and was fooled by the impact of a micrometeorite and the resulting dust reflected light at the satellite. However, the scientists that worked on the Vela Hotel program and Los Alamos Labs have stated that they believe that the satellite was functioning correctly and reported the flash as it had been designed to do.

Two Vela Hotel Satellites

Simply put, most evidence leads one to believe that the event was a secret nuclear test.
If we are to accept that as true, the next question was who did it? The top suspects are South Africa, Israel, India, and France. All had nuclear weapons programs at the time.
India is usually discounted, because although they are a nuclear nation, and performed a test in 1974, the test location was very far from their territory and the Indian Navy did not have a large presence there at the time. France comes into play because the site was not too far from the French Kergulen Islands and the French had a history of atmospheric tests in the South Pacific.Therefore, some have postulated that the event was a test of a French Neutron Bomb. Israel is the hardest of the four to say yes or no about, because the position of the Israeli Government has always been to neither confirm nor deny their nuclear program and capabilities. The most likely culprit is the Republic of South Africa. The incident took place very close to their territory and they were known to have nuclear program at the time. However, some have said that the South Africans could not have produced a weapon by that time and that all possible nuclear weapons from South Africa have been accounted for.

Several books have been written about the event, and most allege that it was a joint Israeli-South African test, designed to be small enough to escape detection. In 1994, Dieter Gerhardt ,a former South African Naval officer and convicted Soviet spy after his release from prison in South Africa, said:

"Although I was not directly involved in planning or carrying out the operation, I learned unofficially that the flash was produced by an Israeli-South African test, code-named Operation Phoenix. The explosion was clean and was not supposed to be detected. But they were not as smart as they thought, and the weather changed – so the Americans were able to pick it up."

Now for full disclosure: This is all rumor and conjecture and there are a lot of people who state that not only was there no nuclear explosion, there was no event at all, and it was all a result of faulty equipment. But that is no fun.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Underground Soviet Submarine Base

I don't have a lot of information on this site, but damn is it cool. I mean, Bond-villain cool.
It is a disused Soviet-era submarine base, in the Ukrainian city of Balaclava. The base was operational until 1993, and is open for tourists today. It was designed to be a hardened site, resistant to nuclear attack. Although, to look at its construction, I doubt it would.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rare Weapons - Stoner 63

The Stoner 63 was designed by the one of the most loved (by some) of all firearms designers, Eugene Stoner, who is most famous for bringing us the AR-15 series of weapons. The Stoner 63 was one of the first weapons to be designed with modularity in mind. From the outset, it was intended as a weapon that would fill the roles of a rifle, carbine, automatic rifle, and light machine gun.
The original prototype was called the M69W, because the receiver is actually turned upside down in the AR and LMG configurations and M69W reads the same upside down. Clever.

The Stoner 63 was ultimately made in 8 different versions although it was often produced as a system with all the barrels, stocks, pistol grip/trigger groups and everything else in the photo above.The main idea was for the weapon's receiver to be invertible to allow it different modes of feeding. As a rifle or carbine, it was fed from the bottom mounted, 30 round, detachable box magazine. In Automatic rifle or Bren gun configuration, it fed from the same type of mag, top mounted. Then the machine gun variant was used its own proprietary disintegrating metal links. Drums and plastic boxes were used, with a 100 to 200 round capacity. Unlike the AR-15, the 63 is operated by a gas piston, which increases weight and felt recoil, but makes the weapon operate cleaner, cooler, and somewhat more reliably.

Automatic Rifle "Bren gun" configuration

If you are not familiar with military small arms you might be thinking to yourself, why the hell is the magazine coming out of the top of the gun? To answer that we go back to WWII. The best of the magazine fed light machine guns or automatic rifles was a Czech design used by the British and Commonwealth forces known as the Bren gun. There are several advantages to the top down magazine system. Namely, you can mount a larger magazine and still go prone. Also the magazine gains some reliability by feeding with gravity instead of working against it. Usually the sights are offset to the right so you can see them clearly.

Stoner LMG with right side feed and short fluted barrel

The belt fed version is the most interesting in my opinion, it is one of the first belt-fed, intermediate caliber light machine guns ever made. For light infantry or special operations troops, this was an important step. In 1963, the M1919 Browning and BAR were still in use.
Not even hard asses can carry either one of those very far without wishing it were lighter. And while the 5.56mm gives up some power and range, you can carry about three times as much. For small units, operating far from resupply, this could be vital. If you look at photos of the Navy SEALs from Vietnam, some times you will see a group and they are all carrying multiple belts of 5.56mm, so that they can achieve high volumes of fire to offset being a small group. Unlike earlier weapons used by US forces, the 63 had a quick change barrel. A machine gun's barrel can be made completely useless if it is fired too fast, for too long. The amount of firing necessary to accomplish this is probably less than you would think.

Rifle configuration, note the gas tube is now above the barrel

The Stoner 63A in the hands of a US Navy SEAL in Vietnam

While the Stoner 63 was evaluated and used by the Marines, SEALs, and US Army Special Forces in Vietnam, no large scale orders were made for it and it has largely faded into obscurity. About 4,000 were made, and some reportedly stayed in service until being replaced by the M249 SAW in the mid 1980's. Today probably less than 50 are in existence. The carbine and rifle versions were fairly heavy because they had the reinforced receiver needed for the LMG version. The design was fairly complex, and is said to need a good deal of maintenance to stay reliable in the Southeast Asian jungles. it ended up that, as a carbine or rifle, it was heavier than the M16, and it was not as powerful as the 7.62mm M60 machine gun. All that being said, it was a revolutionary design, in my opinion at least as good as the AR-15. (Keep in mind the AR-15 has been upgraded and tweaked for many years now.)

Today, Robinson Arms Company makes a similar (looking) weapon, a semi auto rifle, carbine, or Bren type called the M96. However, they are more than $1500.00, so I won't be getting one.
(unless one of you nice folks wants to make a contribution)

The Stoner 63 Family


I didn't misspell this, I just posted it.
Spellcheck, folks.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Dogs of War

Make sure to get your dog a gas mask. (From WWI)

I think it is awesome that the dogs have their own armor vests, Ensuring your camo matches is important as well

US Marine and his doberman check out a cave on Iwo Jima


Did they send me anything?

I thing this is really expecting too much
There had better be something really tasty down there.

Boberg XR-9

Anyone who has carried a pistol can attest that it is really much easier to wear a pistol if it is fairly small and light. All sorts of ways to decrease a pistol's overall size have been tried throughout the years but this is a new one.

The concept of the XR-9 pistol is to provide the ballistics (penetration and terminal effects) of the full-size pistol in sub-compact pistol, suitable for concealed carry. The XR-9 was initially designed in 2004 and is in its third prototype as of now. Boberg Engineering developed a method of lengthening the barrel by changing the feed mechanism. Unlike most semi auto pistols, the XR-9's design extends the barrel further back into the slide and places its breech area and chamber above the magazine, instead of being located in front of the magazine.

Look at the photo below and note the feed claws that grip the topmost cartridge in the magazine. In autoloading, the claws pull it back and up for loading into the breach. Boberg used a "push- pull" system similar to the one that was used on the Gabbet-Fairfax Mars pistols of the early 20th Century. A related system is used in some older type belt fed machine guns such as the Maxim, Browning and PK. Boberg claims the XR-9 can provide an increase of muzzle energy of about 25% compared to pocket pistols of the same size and caliber.

Look at the feed claws gripping the cartridge before pulling it back and up for loading into the breech

The Boberg XR-9's trigger is double action only (DAO) and it is hammer-fired. The action is short recoil operated. The two-stage "pull-push" feed system centers around the claw-shaped loader, which to the slide on a pivot. When the slide is cycled the the claw pulls the cartridge rearwards from the magazine and at the end of recoil stroke, claws are lifted to place the cartridge to feed position. On the closing stroke of the slide, cartridge is pushed into the barrel chamber, and the feed claws are lowered to grip on the following round in the magazine.

The XR-9's barrel is about 1.2inches longer than the Kahr PM9, with an approximately even overall length