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Campfire Chat

October 6, 2019

Do you have a recommendation for an AR pistol, off the shelf?

I don’t, sorry. All of ours are custom builds, and all but one were built by me, from various parts. Sorry. I would say though, a mil-spec trigger, 1:7 barrel twist, chrome-lined (1st choice), or chrome-moly (2nd choice). Not stainless. A lot of guys like stainless, but they seem to wear a lot faster. If you’re a trainer, and that’s part of your business expenses, that’s fine, but if you don’t know when—or if—if you’ll be able to replace the barrel, getting maximal usage life out of a barrel is important. If you’re not running full-auto, a chrome-lined barrel is going to last, basically forever, and almost certainly outlast you. I’ve burned out one barrel, on a private owned gun, and it was one I bought used, with no idea of the original owner’s round count. We put well over 15K rounds through it, in addition to handing it to students to use during classes, when their guns went down for whatever reason, and a simple immediate action wouldn’t solve the problem.

Beyond that? Whatever your heart desires, within reason…

All of ours are 10.5” barrels. All but one have variable optics on them (two have 1-8x, one has 1-6x). My nine-year old daughter’s AR pistol has an EoTech on it, because it’s easier for her to grasp how to aim with it thus far, and she’s not really shooting much beyond 200 yards, so….Hers is also the only one without a white light mounted on it. Mine also has an IR laser. When I finally manage to afford NODs for my wife, hers will get one as well.


Hi I love the Patreon channel.  I was reading your article on “Drones”.  Great points on drones but I agree with you on your assertion you would get night vision first.  What is your opinion on affordable night vision?  Never had the opportunity to “appropriate”/ liberate some NV.  What is your opinion?

My PVS-14a were almost $5K, several years ago (like, the better part of a decade now…). They were also hand select, and have crystal clarity.

I’ve looked at a lot of NVG options since then, for an alternate/back-up pair/pair for the wife. I’ve looked at a pair of PVS-7s. -7s are really almost obsolete, CONUS, but….they’re far, far better than getting kicked in the dick, and with effort, you can find a good pair for around $1K. I’ve seen -14s for $1500, but every pair like that I’ve seen has had major blemishes, to the point of visual distraction.

So, my opinion is, cut out the Starbucks habit, drop Netflix, and set aside whatever you can afford each month, hidden from your spouse and yourself, until you can afford to buy a decent set of -14s….


I’ve noticed some ranch properties building family compounds in our area. You’ll see a small cleared patch of land with several homes, spaced about a 100 yards apart in a semi-circle. Near the center, a hay / farm building with a small corral adjacent to it. I’m sure it is parents with their children located nearby to save on cost of property purchasing and helping each other out. Each home has an outdoor sodium pole light mounted high, providing security – task lighting. Pretty neat set up, as long as everybody gets along with each other. A good way to keep an eye on Grandpa / Grandma without having to pay for a home or convenience apartment and everybody gets their privacy..

Thanks for the post – you are missed, but we know Life gets in the way, you keep putting the foot in front of the other.

I suspect you are going to see an increasing return to the village model, especially in rural settings. In urban settings, it can be tougher, because of cost. In suburban settings, it can be damned tough as well, but in rural settings, especially places with no or lax code enforcement, building good housing close together like that, with multiple households on the same “lot,” is absolutely doable. It’s a great idea. You get the benefits of cohousing, without the drawbacks of being underneath each other in your personal private spaces.

A Pattern Language discusses this in depth, with numerous entries on how to layout and develop this type of village arrangement.


Patreon articles today:

1st Tier, a look into a new book recommendation, with notes from Chapter One, on living and rebuilding after emergencies.

2nd Tier, a discussion of the use of range cards and sector sketches for a training aid. These get mentioned a lot in “tactical” prepper circles, but most people who mention them seem to understand neither the doctrinal applications of these tools, nor how they can be utilized, in our context, as a specific training aid for terrain appreciation.

Also, in the 2nd Tier, the Training Journals entries.


Doctor Bailey (if he sees this, he’ll know who he is). The email you have provided me is apparently not allowing me to return emails to you, from any source. You need to check your SPAM folders, and probably go ahead and email me with an alternate address. Sorry for the inconvenience, Doc.

From → Uncategorized

  1. For your readers who need evidence that the USA is in serious decline:

  2. LowKey permalink

    Regarding chrome lined vs stainless barrels, what have your experiences shown you regarding nitrated barrels?
    I’ve a few double chrome lined (SAW standards) 12 inch barrels from Centurion Arms, but I tend to buy nitrated barrels now. Cost is a factor, but I also have to weigh in the claims from the engineering types. Materials technology does sometimes genuinely improve, but it’s also hard to know until the “newest thing” has been beaten to death and ragged out by the high round count crowd…which, sadly is not me.

    Now, I’d rather be a shooter with 100K rounds of practice behind me armed with a weapon with a SS barrel vs being someone with 1K rounds of practice and a barrel made of unobtainium. Skill wins out. But all other things being equal, it would be nice to know how materials science as applies to in barrels pans out.

  3. Vagus permalink

    Seriously asking since you use them; What’s the point of AR pistols? The only advantage I see is a high round count, at the expense of quite a lot of muzzle velocity? It never seemed worth it to me, asking in case I’m missing something.

    • tropicthunder81 permalink

      1. Good for short to intermediate ranges
      2. Easier to shoot accurately beyond point blank range compared to a standard handgun / pistol.
      3. 556 has more power than 9mm in same barrel lengths.

  4. LowKey permalink

    One more question…
    NVG or Thermals?
    The price on thermals has dropped quite a bit over the last few years.
    Now IIRC, thermals can’t see through glass (windows, ect) or be used to read maps, but they do make people “pop” out of the background, unlike NV where a good job of camouflage by daylight does just as well by night when viewed through NV.
    Of course a set up that merged the two would be best, but DARPA isn’t funding my purchases.

  5. Garry F. Owen, Trooper permalink

    Got to spend a great weekend at Old Salem in Winston Salem, NC. Couldn’t help but think about an application of the Moravian’s methodology in a smaller scale for the upcoming spiciness. The community owned the basic property, while families could own their own homes. Skills and trades were encouraged, and the educational system supported them. Common worldview, mutual support for families and individuals, interactions with “strangers” on their terms are just some of the takeaways.

  6. KJE permalink

    For AR pistols off the shelf, try Midwest Industries, look at their Tactical Response model

    You still will need a red dot optic and maybe a 3x magnifier, but based on barrel length this isn’t going to be the long distance shooter.

  7. anonymous permalink

    Thank you for the book recommendation (A Pattern Language), it sounds like a great resource.

  8. Mas Casa permalink

    John, I am also considering buying AR pistols in order to have weapons commonality for my wife and daughter. They find the 10-11″ pistols much easier to manage, despite their being physically fit. Can you recommend any brands or components based on your experience?

    We know skills are more important than gear, but the ladies will train more if they have something better suited to them.

    Thanks for making us all smarter over the years

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