There’s a problem in many shoot/no-shoot scenarios and CQB training. Students’ minds are not learning effective target discrimination, largely due to a lack of appropriate training tools. Most training relies on repetitive paper targets. The same bad guys. The same good guys. The same hostages, poses, clothing, and weapons. Students learn to react to an image that is imprinted on their minds, instead of using their minds to think, analyze, and identify. This is not effective target processing.
This is why T.Rex Arms has developed the Chameleon Variable Threat System.These fully randomized humanoid paper targets ensure that students will never see the same target twice. Effectively identifying threats based on visual criteria is a skill that every armed citizen needs to master, whether civilian, military, or law enforcement. The Chameleon is the next generation of target identification training for Live-Fire and Simunition scenarios.
The Chameleon targets are generated using 3D models and a customized animation rig for realistic poses, objects, and textures, supporting an incredibly wide array of randomized target variables:
Thousands of unique poses depicting specific body language, weapon manipulations, hostage takers, hostages, neutral poses, non-weapon actions, traps, and threats.
Dozens of clothing styles with infinite color variations and insignia, and random glasses, hats, and mask combinations, as well as various law enforcement uniforms.
Thousands of combinations of hair and beard styles, with infinite hair colors and lengths.
Custom tattoo library, skin aging, and infinite body types and skin tones.
Parametrically-driven facial features and facial expression system.
A large library of realistically detailed long guns, handguns, melee weapons, tools, non-weapon items, body armor, bomb vests, etc.
Randomized camera angles from the front, back, and side, adding further variations to the pose library.
For each category of target, we are rendering tens of thousands of unique images, making it impossible to memorize the targets in a shoot house. Every target is a completely different image of a unique person that will need to be analyzed every time. The variety of options available allow trainers to set up any scenario, and the highly detailed characteristics of targets allow for additional training opportunities such as graded after-action reports, suspect descriptions, weapon identification, and more.
On top of each unique target image we’ve placed a simple two-part scoring zone which is invisible at distance. These hitboxes are calculated in true 3D space to take actual vital organs and skeletal systems into account, and are occluded by the target’s own limbs and held objects. The final product is printed on standard 24” x 36” matte 20lb paper, with additional 3” and 5” utility targets for other drills, and with corner target description text so trainers can easily find the targets they need for a given scenario.
Tubes of threat and non-threat targets can be ordered from www.trex-arms.com, or the Chameleon Software can be used to generate large custom orders. Custom orders can be made up of any percentages of any target type, threat category, and camera angle.
Contact [email protected] for more information about customized targets, and how to use them to combat training complacency.
Do we appreciate our American Bill of Rights? It’s a unique document, ratified in 1791 as the first amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It was written because of an ongoing argument about the character of man.
The Federalists believed American politicians were respectable and reliable leaders – and always would be. They believed our government would never mess with rights given by God. They were convinced a Bill of Rights was an unnecessary addition to our Constitution. But the wiser Antifederalists knew political corruption was a reality. So they insisted on a Bill of Rights, to protect all future Americans from government overreach. Thomas Jefferson explained it like this: “In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.”
Thanks to the Bill of Rights, it is impossible for American politicians to deprive Americans of their right to own personal weapons – unless those politicians willfully break the law. In a vain attempt to end gun violence, the panic-stricken American media demands that Congress defy the Constitution and disarm free Americans. So will American politicians become unthinking slaves of shifting public emotion? Or will they stand firm on their oaths of office and defend the Constitution?
Today’s Fearful Majority
Judge Andrew Napolitano has written nine books on the US Constitution. He realizes that if US legislators cave to pressure and pass Red Flag gun confiscation laws, “No liberty — speech, press, religion, association, self-defense, privacy, travel, property ownership — would be safe from the reach of a fearful majority.”
He also explains why the Supreme Court ruled twice that citizens can own the same weapons the government has: “Because the Second Amendment was not written to protect the right to shoot deer. It was written to protect the right to shoot at tyrants and their agents when they have stolen liberty or property from the people.”
This truth should be enough to stop every gun confiscation law. But it’s not. In the wake of violent acts, the media screams, “Do something!” and the voters amplify the screaming. Thanks to a perfect storm of voter fear, misinformation, and media pressure, the politicians begin to tremble.
Hoisting the Red Flag of Pragmatism
Over the din of chaos, the Left offers a brilliant pragmatic solution to reassure nervous gun owners: America just needs to disarm mentally unstable gun owners before they harm themselves or others.
This sounds so practical. It sounds like good governance and public safety. Fearful politicians think it sounds like a judicious solution. But it is not judicious. It is illegal. As Constitutional Law professor Kris Kobach points out, Red Flag laws commonly violate the law in four ways:
1. The law would allow confiscation based on the testimony of one unrelated person.
Frivolous accusations can be made against any gun owner for reasons of spite or political bitterness. An angry ex-boyfriend or college roommate could have an innocent citizen disarmed on fraudulent charges.
2. The law would enable the seizure of guns without any hearing at all.
This is a clear denial of due process. The Fourth Amendment makes clear that a person’s liberty and property (including his liberty to own and use firearms) are secured by due process.
3. The law would permit a very low standard of proof.
Even at the formal hearing, the standard of proving the gun owner’s deficiencies is far below the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal trials. This is not due process of law.
4. The law would shift the burden of proof to the gun owner.
Once in place, the confiscation order becomes difficult to remove. To get his weapons back, the gun owner must prove he does not pose a threat to himself or others. Proving a negative is nearly impossible. A third violation of due process. Legislators considering a Red Flag law should also consider these points:
Every 13 seconds, Americans use firearms successfully to stop crimes against themselves or others.
The vast majority of mass shootings occur in gun-free zones.
Data from 1970 through 2017 shows that Red Flag laws have no significant effect on murder, suicide, mass-public-shooting fatalities, robbery, aggravated assault, or burglary. These laws do not save lives.
Our Founders deliberately armed every man age 18-45 in The US Congressional Militia Act of 1792. They would never have supported Red Flag laws… laws requiring Americans to inform on one another in order to strip basic rights from their neighbors.
The Founders knew that Constitutional rights are God-given rights. The Constitution only established them — it didn’t create them. As such, they cannot be touched by legislators. They cannot be infringed.
So what can you do? Engage the threat. Contact your legislators and tell them not to be bullied by the hysteria, virtue signaling, or polls. Tell them to vote against all Red Flag laws. Remind your local judges that they can’t issue a gun confiscation warrant on the basis of a Red Flag law; remind the sheriff or chief of police that he cannot order officers to confiscate an innocent citizen’s guns; and remind sheriff’s deputies or city policemen not to obey orders to confiscate fellow citizens’ guns on the basis of a Red Flag law.
They swore an oath to defend the Constitution. Tell them to keep their word.
 660 individual murders in Chicago in 2017. That’s nearly twice the number from mass shootings in the whole country and six or seven times the number murdered by random psychos mass-shooters.
 There are more privately owned guns in the United States than ever before and the number of murders has been declining for decades and has been at or near a multigenerational low for several years. About 100 deaths were the result of the random, psycho-killer shootings that dominated news coverage for days and weeks at a time. Mercifully, those are quite rare.
Government is complicated, and our modern political system can be confusing and hard to navigate. Everyone has a political opinion, but when it comes to actually effecting change, few people have the knowledge or resources to accomplish anything. And thanks to the confusing jargon and complicated political systems, few people even try. The political sphere becomes dominated by a class of perpetual politicians and policy wonks — a kind of specialized political priesthood. Then they start political organizations, expecting you to give them your money so they can fight your political battles for you. And so the average American’s political strategy has become Donate, Vote, and Complain. But is it possible for average citizens to make a political difference without the help of these big lobby groups?
Here’s how we did it.
Late in 2018, managers and owners at T.Rex Arms started talking about possible political action for the 2019 legislative session. Due to the makeup of the state House this year, we thought the climate would be favorable to 2nd Amendment action. Hiring an outside lobby group would be outrageously expensive, but we didn’t have many political connections or much political experience, so we had no idea how effective we could be on our own. Since I believed in the project, I offered to work as a lobbyist for a reduced rate in order to offset costs. The owners decided it was worth the money to try an experiment.
Six months later, on July 1st, 2019, our Tennessee Ammunition Tax Repeal went into law, saving taxpayers over $400,000 per year. Here are a few things we learned about how to be effective in politics:
1.Do Your Research
Any effective plan needs an objective. And to get an objective, you have to know the lay of the land. You’ll need a basic understanding of the current law and the political process, and a very good handle on the debate surrounding the particular issue you’re interested in fighting for. (Additionally, you need to have patience and good people skills.) All too often people see a problem in politics, try to change things without really understanding what they’re doing, and end up leaving the scene frustrated, friendless, and beaten. We didn’t want that to happen to us, so we began researching legislation that would make for a good fight.
At an early brainstorming meeting, David Botkin suggested getting rid of Tennessee’s antiquated ammunition tax. The tax was unconstitutional, had been passed in 1937, and was a burden to both retailers and buyers. They called it a “privilege tax”, as if it is a privilege to be able to buy ammunition; but the right to keep and bear arms (and, by extension, ammunition for those arms) is a constitutionally protected right. Just as it would be wrong to tax someone for their right to free speech, so it’s wrong to tax someone for their right to purchase arms and ammunition.
Another reason we liked the bill was that it was simple and straightforward. We knew it wouldn’t require complex legal wrangling or hours of explaining the concept to politicians. A legislator either supported the tax cut, or he didn’t.
Once we knew we wanted to push ahead with the bill, we began more serious research: calling retailers, finding out where the tax money went, and determining how much revenue was generated by the tax. As we researched, we built a list of talking points that we could show to legislators to convince them the idea was sound. We knew we had to muster our very best arguments so we could answer any questions and successfully refute our opposition. You want to know your bill so well that no one can surprise with an argument you haven’t thought of.
2. Find A Good Sponsor
After registering as a lobbyist and determining what our goals were, the next thing we needed to do was find a good legislator to sponsor our bill. With a part-time legislature, many reps will work a full-time job in addition to their elected position, so most of the legislation in state houses comes from think tanks that have time to research the issues.
While many politicians are smarmy and spineless, a lot of state legislatures also have some real statesmen — people who genuinely care about their constituents and the constitution. If you can find someone like that, they should be very eager to meet and work with sincere people who have similar goals.
Through some previous connections, we found an excellent sponsor for our ammo tax repeal in Representative Clay Doggett. As a previous sheriff’s deputy and member of the department’s SRT, he was fully in support of the bill ideologically, and was willing to carry it all the way.
3. Draft and Refine Your Legislation
Large lobbying organizations will have their own legal teams who can draft bills, but we didn’t have that. So we presented the idea to Clay, and he gave it to the House Legal team to draft into language consistent with Tennessee Code.
Initially, we had three bills we wanted to run. One died right out of the gate when we couldn’t find a sponsor for it. Another failed at this stage, because of a technicality with the language — no funny business, just a failure in our ability to communicate clearly and make good decisions. It was a hard lesson, but a good one.
Even if you get the state legal team to draft the bill, it is usually a good idea to get outside legal help to look it over before it goes into law. Unfortunately, even when they’re trying to do their best, there may be loopholes or issues that they don’t expect. Do all that you can on the front end to ensure that your language is perfect; if not, your bill might get a constitutional challenge or simply be destroyed by the committee process because it’s a poorly-written bill.
You can pay an outside lawyer for a thousand dollars or so, or you may find one who’s interested in helping you for free because they love the cause you’re working towards.
4. Fight For Your Legislation
Almost every bill that goes through the legislature will be a fight. The law is the way it is because someone wanted it that way, and they probably won’t want YOU to change it. Politics is war without bloodshed, and that’s what you need to prepare for.
In order to help your legislation gain momentum, you’ll need to get other legislators to co-sponsor the legislation, have constituents call their legislators, and actually “lobby” other representatives and senators — in other words, convince them your bill is a good one. This doesn’t require any special skills, per se: just set up meetings, talk to the legislators, and try to explain why your idea should become the law of the land. Then you need to work your bill through the committee process, keeping careful track of who will and won’t vote for your legislation.
Unfortunately, it often isn’t the elected officials who are the biggest problem. Instead, it’s the bureaucrats, the dreaded “fourth branch” of government, who are most likely to keep your bill from passing. These people hold appointed positions, and are often several layers removed from voters, meaning they have little reason to listen to what you have to say. And one of their main functions is to ensure that their department doesn’t get a budget cut — which means they’re almost always against any kind of true tax cut.
In fact, one of the most mind-boggling things about government agencies is the fact that they actually employ lobbyists themselves. The alphabet-soup bureaucrats spend your money on lobbyists to ensure that they continue to get as much of your money as they can, and continue to extend the scope of their duties and responsibility. Which means they will need more of — you guessed it — your money.
As you deal with politicians, bureaucrats, and other lobbyists, there are a few helpful principles to remember:
a. Don’t be petty. While we disagree with the national NRA, the state-level lobbyist was very helpful for us, sending out emails to help our bill and working to convince legislators that it should pass. “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11
b. Be patient. With legislators, opponents, bureaucrats, and everyone else. “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” – Proverbs 16:32
c. Pray. Ultimately, the Lord will determine if your bill passes or fails, and you have to give an account to Him for your actions, win or lose. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” – Psalm 127:1
5. State Politics Matter
Americans tend to be very focused on politics at the national level, with good reason. We have a crazy presidential election coming up, and an unpredictable president in power. Additionally, we’re losing a lot of freedoms at the national level, where we have absolutely no control over anything, and the federal government is way bigger than it should be. But that’s exactly why we can’t ignore state-level politics.
a. Battles won and lost at the local level are ammunition for the fights happening at the national level. Federal legislators will often look to state law to see if they can justify some new measure — whether good or bad.
b. National players tend to start in state legislatures. If we’re willing to work with them now, we can make allies for the future, and also force them to take hard stands to prove where they stand on issues.
c. Working on smaller issues at the state level will give you experience and opportunities to do more in the future. As scripture says, “He who is faithful with little will be set over much.” – Matthew 25:21
6. Almost Anyone Can Do This
Our ammo tax repeal was relatively tiny, but it proves that anyone can accomplish something in politics if they’re willing to dedicate time and money. Our political endeavor cost the company less than $11,000. Here’s the cost breakdown:
$7,605 – Lobbyist. $15/hr, three days a week for 14 weeks. $1,540 – Researcher. $15/hr, two days a week for 10 weeks. $530 – Parking (which is insanely expensive) $740 – Lobbying registration and taxes TOTAL:$10,415
If you could get people to volunteer, or put in fewer hours, you could easily do it for $3,000 or less. And though $10,500 may sound like a lot, most people could probably get a group of friends together and pool their money to reach that goal. For comparison, it’s less than eight NRA lifetime memberships. We didn’t use our media channels to create political pressure, and we didn’t build a huge grassroots network — we just developed relationships, served where we were able, and worked to be faithful with what we had. You can do the same. And with patient effort and some teamwork, you’ll actually be able to change something.
Just as we believe that all citizens must be ready to defend themselves and others from physical violence, we believe that every citizen has the duty to protect our constitution. These are your battles, and you can’t expect other people to do your work for you. The biggest reason our country is where it is today is because most Americans do nothing but complain, vote, and complain. So communicate with your elected officials. Make sure the enemies of freedom know you’re watching them, and the friends of freedom know that they have allies.
We’ll continue to monitor politics, get involved where we can, dedicating time and effort to make America a better, safer place. And we trust you’ll do the same.
Our most recent video on Suppressors has generated a lot of comments, and some folks have asked for a transcript so they can pull some of the data. I’m including that below, and adding links to some more information.
Guns are loud. They’ve been loud since their early development the 1400s, but after about 500 years of really loud guns, HP Maxim developed the first firearm silencer – at the same time that he was designing the first automobile mufflers – and he began selling them in 1902.
The tubular canister contains the expanding gasses leaving the barrel, and internal baffles slow them down so they leave the muzzle more slowly and quietly, just like a car muffler. But unlike a muffled car, a suppressed firearm is still very loud! The only reason to call this a silencer is because that’s what’s on Maxim’s 1909 patent; suppressor is a better name. Most “silenced” firearms still require hearing protection. That being said, it definitely makes it more pleasant to shoot. Less blast and recoil, and less noise for the neighbors.
So why doesn’t everyone have suppressors? Well, there are some pretty big legal hurdles to getting one. Thanks to the National Firearm Act of 1934, you have to fill out a considerable amount of paperwork, submit your photo and fingerprints to the federal government, buy a $200 tax stamp, and then, before you can have your suppressor, wait for the BATF to process that paperwork and add you a permanent firearm registry, which takes them 6 months to a year.
It’s almost quicker and easier to just move, to New Zealand, France, Norway, or any of the other countries where suppressors are just another over-the-counter accessory. Almost every European country restricts suppressors less than we do, even though they have way stricter firearms laws… so this begs the question. How did we freedom-loving Americans end up making this tiny metal tube as vilified and hard to get as a machine gun?
THOMPSON AND PROHIBITION
Let’s go back to 1916, when General John Thompson began developing a small machine gun for soldiers engaged in the brutal trench warfare of WWI. But by 1921, when Auto-Ordinance put the Thompson Submachine gun into production, WWI was over, and the finished product cost $200, which was outrageously expensive at the time. For context, pump action shotguns and lever action rifles cost 20 to 30 bucks, so it was very hard to find buyers… outside of Hollywood anyway.
The Tommy gun became ubiquitous on the silver screen. Gangster movies ruled the box office, and the Chicago typewriter ruled movie gangsters. In almost every film Cops and crooks engaged in drawn-out machine gun battles that demolished entire neighborhoods, but in real life, the Thompson was just barely selling. 15,000 Thompsons had been made in 1921, and Auto-ordinance didn’t sell through that stock until WWII was heating up almost two decades later.
But let’s get back to the 20s, when movies were defined by the Tommy Gun, and real life was defined by Prohibition, an entire decade of the Federal Government doubling down on bad laws that hurt private citizens and helped criminals.
The war on booze helped criminals like Al Capone get so incredibly wealthy that his goons could afford Thompsons and some of his gang definitely used them in commission of crimes, incredibly infamous crimes like the St Valentine’s Day massacre, where they killed seven members of a rival Chicago gang.
And the depression-era gangs that came after Prohibition were even more sensational. John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde all used automatic weapons to rob banks in the mid-thirties, and they sold hundreds of thousands of papers. The public loved and hated them, and the government decided it had to do something.
THE 1934 NFA BILL
In April of 1934, FDR’s Attorney General brought the National Firearms Act before Congress, and urged its immediate passage. It was a drastic bill, which claimed that it would prevent criminals from having or using dangerous guns, but of course, it was just a mess of red tape, oversight, and taxes that criminals would ignore, officials would misuse and regular citizens would fear.
For context, FDR’s administration was creating new government agencies right and left at this point, and radically expanding the scope and authority of existing agencies, especially the Department of Justice. His Attorney General, Homer Cummings, had a gigantic vision for the transformation of the federal government.
Fortunately, he wasn’t able to get everything on his 12 point program accomplished, but his National Firearms Act did pass, adding regulations to machine guns, sawed off shotguns, short-barreled rifles, and silencers. It’s a short bill, but the discussion of that legislation in congressional committee is very interesting. I’m linking to the transcript below so you can read it for yourself. It actually sounds very, very familiar. There are four points in particular that remind me of modern gun control efforts.
First, a false sense of urgency, driven by media misinformation and horrific fringe cases. In this case, the murders committed the barrow gang and the Dillinger gang. But in 1934 those gangs have already committed murder and are actively being hunted by lawmen with shoot-to-kill orders. This bill to make them MORE criminal had no effect on those cases, and even if it had been passed years prior, it still would have had no effect, since Dillinger stole his Thompsons from a police station, and Barrow stole his BARs from nation guard armory.
But, because those gangs were in the papers in the spring, new gun laws have to get pushed in the spring, and that resulted in some very Hastily-constructed legislation that was being very, very rushed. Which brings me to the second point:
Second, legislation enacted by technically-ignorant legislators. The original bill, as brought by the DOJ, is a trainwreck of firearm ignorance. One example, the bill’s original definition of machine gun is ANY gun that is fully automatic OR semi-automatic and holds more than 12 rounds, and none of the legislators questioned that language. Fortunately, there were a few experts there to offer testimony who caught some of those things. To be fair, some of those legislators were born during the civil war… but today’s politicians have no excuse for not understanding basic 20th century weapons tech.
The third thing the bill does is removes rights on false pretenses and unproven associations. For example, the Attorney general estimates that there are 500,000 armed criminals in the US, which may have been a good guess, but he does so while talking about the Thompson, and implies they are predominantly armed with Thompson submachine guns.
He then talks at length about how incredibly prevalent machine guns are amongst the vast criminal classes, but then later he points out that only one company actually makes machine guns, and there have been very few sales, so banning it would not inconvenience very many voters, I mean citizens. Well, which is it?
Also, this bill groups weapons together with no good definitions or reasons. For example, because some gangsters have murdered each other with sawed-off shotguns, the Department of Justice assumes that a short-barreled rifle is equally likely to be used in a crime. Really? And because short shotguns have been used in crimes they can’t have legitimate uses?
Which reminds me, we were talking about silencers. The legislators do NOT talk about silencers – at all. There is no justification for including silencers in the NFA list whatsoever. Now, I’d always read that the reason for silencer restrictions was poaching. During the great depression, people were literally starving, and presumably the amount of out-of-season hunting had gone up. It’s generally accepted today that silencers were added to the NFA to stop poor folks from eating the king’s deer, but congress NEVER discusses this at all. In fact, the only time they even mention silencers is when they read the part of the bill that mentions restricting them. The Department Of Justice doesn’t mention if they’ve been used in crimes, how they work, what they do, what they might do, or ANYTHING. It’s just assumed that they should be lumped in with everything else and banned.
Well, not banned, of course. Just regulated. The fourth thing this bill does is sidestep the constitution and Second Amendment with sketchy loopholes. This the legislators DID discuss. And the attorney general did admit, when pressed, that a gun BAN would absolutely be unconstitutional. But this is not a ban, this is mere regulation. All you have to do is send in all your personal info, two sets of photos and fingerprints, get written permission from your chief of police or sheriff, wait for the Federal government to enter you and your purchase in a massive and permanent gun registry, and of course, buy that $200 tax stamp.
And it should be noted that the justification for a $200 tax is that the Thompson cost $200. That number is set by the worst selling, most expensive, and most statistically irrelevant gun on the market.
Remember that in 1934, that $200 was worth $3870 in 2019 money. This was not some small fee to help the Feds pay for maintaining that national gun registry, but a gigantic barrier to entry. A deliberately huge obstacle for anyone wanting any of the items on this list. This is the very middle of the great depression, and the Department of Justice has the audacity to suggest that a $200 tax on a $20 shotgun – a 1000% percent tax – somehow doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights to keep and bear arms. That a tax amounting to nearly a month’s wages (average 1934 net income: $3,125.42), doesn’t prevent law-abiding citizens from buying the tools to defend themselves from those 500,000 gangsters.
Ironically, the gangsters that started the machine gun panic that produced this bill were some of the few Americans who could actually afford to pay this tax. One Tommy gun plus one tax stamp was about the cost of a new car, which was nothing to Al Capone. And remember, this tax is supposedly being levied to prevent criminals from getting guns. Because if the Department of Justice learned anything from Capone it’s that gangsters are really, really good at following tax laws.
But worse than that, the original version of the National Firearms Act was written to “regulate” all handguns with the exact same restrictions as machine guns. At this point in the discussion this tax isn’t just for incredibly rare weapons like the Thompsons, it’s every single firearm on the market that’s not a long-barreled rifle or shotgun. We’re talking about A $200 tax on a $5 revolver.
Fortunately, that was a bridge too far for many of the legislators. They could see that this gigantic tax was ridiculously restrictive to the average voter, I mean citizen. And the idea of keeping people from getting the most common and most useful self-defense weapons, especially during a “crime wave,” would cost them a lot of votes. And possibly citizens. So, they removed handguns from the list, but everything else stayed, and in June of 1934 the NFA became law.
THE NFA TODAY
Fast forward 85 years until today. The NFA is still on the books, with a few minor changes over the decades, and it has definitely discouraged law-abiding citizens from buying the items on the list… but less so over time, since the American dollar has been significantly devalued. Today that $200 tax stamp is… let me do the math here … only $200 in 2019 money. Adding that to a $400 suppressor is a little less financially debilitating. And so BATF reports show that the purchase and registration of silencers has been on a pretty rapid increase in the last decade.
I’m guessing there are at least 1.5m NFA-registered suppressors on the books by mid-2019. For context, that means there’s more cans in America than electric cars, they’re louder, and they kill fewer people. (There are 1.1 million electric vehicles on the road, they’re 60-70db, and they cause 17-25 deaths per year. In contrast, there are 1.5 million registered suppressors, they’re 100-140db, and they are involved in 6-18 deaths per year).
The BATF has pursued an average of 44 silencer crimes per year for the last decade, and most of those are registration violations, not shootings. Even if all of these alleged crimes led to a conviction, which the majority don’t, and even if they all involved an NFA REGISTERED silencer, which the majority don’t, then the conviction rate of silencer owners would still only be 0.003%.
For context, 10 of our last 955 federal legislators have been convicted of felonies, so that’s a conviction rate of over 1%. Silencer owners are one of the most law-abiding demographics in the world, and silencers themselves are almost never involved in crimes.
And even the BATF noticed this. In early 2017 Associate Deputy Director Ronald Turk asked Congress to deregulate silencers because they incur a considerable amount of paperwork and are “very rarely used in criminal shootings.” Republican legislators prepared the Hearing Protection Act to do just that. But then in late 2017 a gunman murdered 58 people on the Vegas strip, and the Republicans suddenly pretended that they’d never heard of the Hearing Protection Act. The shooter didn’t own or use a silencer, but it was still the end of the discussion on deregulating silencers.
VIRGINIA BEACH SHOOTING AND RESPONSE
And just a few weeks ago, a disgruntled city employee murdered 12 of his colleagues in their Virginia Beach government building. Details on the shooter and the shooting are extremely sparse, but he allegedly had a silencer on one of his two guns. The official BATF report didn’t mention it, but local Police Chief did, once. If there was a silencer, it was already banned in that entire city, and in that gun-free building, but never mind that.
Bob Menendez, the senior Senator from NJ, has immediately introduced a new bill that would ban suppressors entirely. And by the way, Bob Menendez is not one of the felons; the Department Of Justice dropped all the charges of fraud and bribery that he was indicted on, so he can keep making laws, and let’s just focus on his bill.
It’s not a regulatory bill this time – it’s a full ban plus a giant tax bill to pay for the buyback and confiscation of almost all 1.5 million registered legal suppressors. Cops and former cops can keep theirs. It’s not very well thought-out law, but they’ve gotta push it now while Virginia Beach is still in the headlines!
And remember how 1920s Hollywood made America believe that gangsters and G-men were just constantly shooting up neighborhoods with infinite Tommy guns? In the same way, modern Hollywood has made America believe that silencers are… silent. Perfect for stealthy shootings in public places. According to the movies, Silencers are so stealthy that you can have a full-on gunfight in a crowd without anyone even noticing.
In reality, guns are really, really loud, and most suppressors can only quiet them down to really loud. Out of all of these very effective cans, this is the only one I’d ever use without hearing protection. That’s .22 long rifle. It’s already pretty quiet even without the can because it’s a tiny bullet with not much propellant. It’s the classic assassin gun if you are assassinating rabbits. Everything else on the table here is painfully loud. Jackhammer loud. A jackhammer is not a good ninja assassin stealth weapon. Also, when the can captures most of the blast, it also captures most of the heat. It gets very hot very fast, hot enough to scorch and burn: not great for assassins on the move.
And ultimately, very few gun crimes would benefit from being slightly quieter, as demonstrated by the fact that silencer crime is so incredibly rare. Don’t tell anyone this, but DIY silencers are cheaper and easier to get than even Hollywood thinks, and criminals STILL almost never use them. But I guess legislators would rather watch movies than read crime reports, and Hollywood has made the silencer a magical tool of movie murderers for decades.
It doesn’t matter what the actual statistics are, it doesn’t matter what reality is, it doesn’t matter that a deputy director of the BATF recommended suppressors be deregulated – one single event with an alleged suppressor can validate hundreds of fictional stereotypes and create a national emergency.
President Trump Administration’s has already stopped the Supreme court from considering an important case on Suppressor ownership.
Kettler Versus United States had been appealed to the Supreme Court and was on its way to being heard this month, when the Department of Justice sent a letter, making the case that the Second Amendment does NOT protect silencers, so don’t even hear this case. The reasons were primarily two preceding cases: United States versus Miller, and District of Columbia versus Heller.
US v. Miller was 1939 case involving a short-barreled shotgun. The supreme Court did uphold and affirm that the right to keep and bear arms COULD NOT be infringed by the government. Period. They further recognized that the entire purpose of the Second Amendment is to make sure that a citizen’s militia would have the military arms necessary to resist invasion and tyranny.
However, they ruled that it is totally OK to infringe on the ownership of sawed off shotguns because the Second Amendment only protects military weapons. Since no military of the time was using shorty shotguns, they’re not a military item and thus not protected by the Second Amendment.
Now I’m not a lawyer, but since suppressors ARE heavily used by many militaries, wouldn’t a logical application of US v. Miller mean that Suppressors ARE protected by the 2nd amendment?
Then there’s DC v. Heller, which ALSO affirms the Second Amendment but then states that “the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes.” I don’t recall seeing that caveat in the actual bill of rights, but anyhow, there’s a whole bunch of suppressors possessed by military guys plus another 1.5 million possessed by law-abiding civilians, and according to the BATF, 99.997% of the time that’s for lawful purposes. How many million suppressors do we the people need to own before they become “typical?” And with only 44 crimes per year, how are lawful purposes NOT typical?
And remember, very very few of those few of those 44 prosecuted crimes are violence with silencer – lots of them are just bad guys caught with unregistered silencer, or in the case of Kettler V. US, good guy arrested with unregistered silencer after a paperwork misunderstanding.
How many of these alleged 44 crimes per year are innocent paperwork mistakes that get good guys thrown in prison? We don’t know, but we know that when it DOES happen, it’s because 85 years ago the Department Of Justice added suppressors to the NFA with no justification whatsoever. And today, the fact that the NFA gets innocent men classified as criminals is cited as a justification to keep it on the books.
Most these silencers crimes are crimes in the same way that Prohibition suddenly defined almost 50% of Americans as criminals. But at least the government recognized that prohibition had been a mistake… after thirteen years. Thirteen years of increased murder, increased taxes, increased drinking, skyrocketing corruption, incredible hypocrisy, and, 10,000 deaths caused by deliberate federal poisoning efforts.
So Prohibition was ended. The NFA, on the other hand, apparently cannot be rescinded, or even questioned by the courts. Because regardless of reality, politicians just don’t like cans. Why do our politicians seem hell-bent on demonizing silencers right now? I think HL Menken figured it out. He lived through the 20s and had a front row seat to the entire prohibition debacle, and he wrote that “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
Now, let’s be honest. Suppressors CAN make criminals more deadly. There absolutely are certain situations in which a quieter weapon would give a murderer an advantage. And putting a can on a firearm reduces the recoil and makes it more comfortable to shoot. It makes the gun more controllable, which criminals would benefit from, but only because everyone can benefit from this.
When SWAT teams breach houses with explosives and then run in with suppressed weapons, the cans aren’t for stealth. They make it easier to for the cops to control their weapons, use them safely, maintain environmental awareness in enclosed spaces or darkness, communicate with one another better, and be more effective in their work. It’s not just about quiet.
There’s a whole bunch of upsides to letting private citizens have suppressors. In a home-defense situation, I want some of those same advantages that the SWAT guys want. And when you’re on the range, they’re great. They’re not hearing safe, but they are far less damaging. I have to wear hearing protection (shoot), but the people sitting over there don’t have to. And things are much quieter for the neighbors. This even catches a bunch of carbon and lead so it can be disposed of properly. Everybody benefits.
And there’s also a lot of upsides to letting private companies develop suppressors for a wider market. This is the CGS Siren, a 22 suppressor made of carbon fiber, with aluminum baffles. A very specialized new carbon weave and resin makes this can incredibly light, and it handles heat well. Also, it doesn’t have the same resonance of a metallic can, which is cool.
It’s only in the last few years that the market for cans has grown enough to support some new R&D, like 3d printed suppressors made out of titanium, or materials from the aerospace industry like Inconel. But it’s happening in very small and very slow steps, partly because the market is forcibly kept small, and partly because it takes so incredibly long to actually get your own cans. Would you buy a cutting edge piece of tech like this if you knew that you couldn’t use it for six months or a year?
The NFA tax and BATF waiting list put a big damper on research and development that could benefit not just suppressors, but could help bring new manufacturing technologies and material science to a whole bunch of new areas. Scientific progress and technical achievements are always driven by crosspollination and overlap when someone takes a piece of technology developed for one area and bring it to another area or to a wider market or mixes two inventions together.
Remember that the original Maxim Silencer was invented in conjunction with car mufflers, and Maxim’s research on the two separate products benefited the opposite. And this is the Maxim 9, a SilencerCo product that is a pistol and suppressor that have been designed around one another. This is a very interesting platform, which could be the stepping stone to the handgun of the future, but it was also a super expensive and risky move which, at this point, is just as likely to kill SilencerCo as a company.
The small businesses that make cans today have gone out on a limb to bring new innovations to this hundred year old invention. And it’s frustrating to have all this research and experimentation with high tech materials, and new fluid dynamics simulations being artificially limited by completely arbitrary rules and regulations.
But the real impact of these arbitrary rules is far more sinister. When politicians debate silencers and do this hypothetical cost-benefit analysis of whether an unknown percentage of criminals having quieter guns outweighs an unknown percentage of gun-owners having hearing loss – that completely misses the point. This conflict isn’t about imaginary assassins having magic weapons vs. firearm hobbyists having fun toys, it’s about control.
And before you say “think of the children,” let me tell you that I’m not making this video because I just got a new suppressor. I’m making this video because my wife and I just had our third child (and we only had to wait 9 months, faster than some BATF paperwork). We are very much thinking about our children and about protecting our children’s future.
The real cost-benefit analysis is this: do we want our kids to live in a world where criminals MIGHT find it easier to obtain suppressors, or a world where the government WILL arbitrarily punish law-abiding citizens for having them? Where our representatives increase the power of the state and decrease the power of their constituents on a whim? Where freedoms get randomly and erratically banned because politicians just personally don’t like them?
And remember that we’re not even talking about a weapon. We’re talking about an accessory, specifically the accessory that has been used in fewer crimes than any other firearms accessory in the history of gunpowder. We’re talking about banning the accessory that offers the least useful benefit to violent criminals, and significant health benefits to lawful users. We’re talking a ban that will inconvenience the most law-abiding group of peoples in the country and have no effect on actual murderers.
And more importantly, both this potential ban AND the current NFA restrictions set a bad legal precedent. These restrictions do significant damage to our nation’s attitude towards the second amendment. Here at T.Rex Arms, we agree with the underlying presupposition of US V. Miller: The Second Amendment is all about giving military capacity to individual private citizens.
We agree with our nation’s founders, who firmly believed that ALL men are endowed by their Creator with rights and responsibilities, and the right to self-defense is undeniable. The responsibility to protect yourself, your family, and your country is non-negotiable.
Now, this little metal tube doesn’t actually have a big effect on the protection of the country. But laws that ban this little metal tube sure do. In 1934, Congress was very cautious about violating the Second Amendment and looked for an end run around it. Today, its members are perfectly willing to throw out the entire bill of rights that they have sworn to uphold.
We need hold them to their oaths of office. The good news is, it’s not the 20s anymore. Er, not the 1920s. We don’t have to be educated by Hollywood anymore. We don’t have to wait for the newspapers to tell us what’s going on. We don’t have to let elected officials tell us what to think. We have more access to data, more access to the truth, and greater ability to proclaim that truth, even in long boring videos like this. We can push back against lies, quislings, and traitors, and we have to. We have to push back against efforts to hobble, cripple and diminish the power and freedom of the people.
Otherwise it will be the 1920s, the worst parts of the 1920s, all over again.
Look closely at the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence. “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Without honor between men, no civilization can hold together. George III provoked this war by treacherously violating his own word of honor, making it a worthless thing. By signing this Declaration, America’s Founders were renewing the proper definition of honor, and modeling it with their lives. They pledged their word of honor to fight together for independence in a way every other signer could rely on. Furthermore, they understood oath-breaking, dishonesty, breach of contract, and lying to be sins against the God Who defines honor, and Who defines the terms of all human government. British politicians had been replacing these definitions with cheap human imitations of honor with fake political grandeur and rule by tyranny. George III placed “his will alone” above all law and order in the American colonies. The Founders wanted to restore God’s sovereign authority to the affairs of life and government so they could live in true freedom. After the Founders finished signing their names, Sam Adams stood and solemnly summarized what they had just done. “We have this day,” he said, “restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun; let His kingdom come.”
“The Second World War took place not so much because no one won the First, but because the Versailles Treaty did not acknowledge this truth.” Paul Johnson, British Historian
One hundred years ago today in Versailles, France, a weary group of some sixty diplomats signed a 240-page “Treaty of Peace” which formally ended World War I. The terms were so complex, and composed in so much anger, that virtually no signer was happy with the final document. Nor were their represented nations. Military hostilities may have ended that day, but resentments began to simmer, and would approach a boiling point not too many years in the future. As Pat Buchanan summed it up, the treaty “had created not only an unjust but an unsustainable peace.” One political cartoonist of 1919 made the eerie prediction that infants born at the time would be cannon fodder for a new war in 1940, thanks to the disastrous terms of the treaty signed in 1919. He was right. World War II erupted right on schedule and mowed down some 25 million young soldiers, and another 80 million civilians. That war involved all those nations which signed the treaty and led to the slaughter of the Jews and tens of millions of Christians, the devastation of Europe, Stalinization of half the continent, the fall of China to Maoist madness, and half a century of Cold War.
What can be learned from the errors of Versailles?
1. Pride and childish bickering can lead to serious, long-term, kinetic war. The same vices can lead to useless peace treaties which make no peace. Then the same vices create new wars.
2. The details of treaties which bind nations to policy positions are always religious. Justice is a religious concept, and the rules of jurisprudence are always based on someone’s morality. The general thrust of the treaty was “War is bad and we must punish those Germans for starting the war we willingly joined to fight.” One war-guilt clause forced the Germans to pay out some $400 billion in reparations, which took them more than 90 years to complete. This debt did not prevent them from embarking on a new war in the 1930s.
3. The religious content of all treaties can shape the religious identity of nations. Versailles was a game-changing document. The great historian Paul Johnson said “at Versailles, the 20th century was set on its course. And its course was set on the basis of 3 great overriding principles that threw out all of the traditions of Christendom, perhaps forever.”
Johnson identifies those principles as bureaucracy, pluralism, and faith in contemporaneity. What this means is that the peace delegations were not looking for moral solutions from the foundations of Christianity. They were looking for modern solutions to problems of anger, conflict, and disagreement. They were looking for modern schemes to manage the childish bickering going on between proud nations. The architects of the treaty believed that new-fangled ideas of scientific social engineering, managed by secular governments, would solve all modern problems. These 3 principles were ideas which had consequences. The incredible repression and violence seen throughout the 20th century’s secular regimes brought in fresh opportunities for unending global war.
Buying a Sidecar can be tricky, with dozens of weapon systems and customization options to choose between. What’s a shirt guard, exactly? Which way should the extra magazine face? And what handguns are cross-compatible?
In this video, T.Rex Arms COO David Noor explains the customization options available for our Sidecar Appendix Holster, including issues with compatibility, different handgun types, and what shirt guards are for.
Analog image intensifier tubes used in night vision devices have gotten pretty advanced over the years, but the underlying tech hasn’t changed since the 1930s. Digital sensors have been improving at an almost indescribable rate, but still lag behind in basic light sensitivity. How do they match up today? When will analog tubes be replaced? Is there more to consider than sensitivity?
We compared a Gen3 White Phosphor PVS-14 to a modified Sony a7sII to find out, testing under a variety of conditions and looking at a bunch of different factors. In our next video on Digital Night Vision, we’ll be looking at some cheaper, newer options, so stay tuned…
One of my more unique firearms is my 13.7 SCAR 17. Chopped and pin and welded by Parker Mountain Machine and Tool in NH. It features the Midwest Industries extended rail and a Geissele two stage Super SCAR trigger. While I’m not a HUGE fan of the SCAR platform, it’s my primary .308 gun right now. I run the Aimpoint T2 on this one since it’s more for running and gunning. I have another SCAR 17 I’ll detail in another post which is setup as a DMR with a Leupold MK8 CQBSS.
The T2 is on an absolute co-witness Scalarworks mount since the receiver on the SCAR is a bit taller than a standard AR.
It’s suppressed with a Surefire RC2 7.62 Mini. Which is the same size as a the 5.56 RC2. So not… super mini. I’ll be hanging onto this rifle for a while.