Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing

It’s not every day that you get to meet a public figure who has had an impact on your life. If you have read through the Survival section, you will see a photograph of me with Royce Gracie taken at a Brazilian Ju Jitsu seminar. I’ve gotten to meet pioneers in the firearms industry through my work with the US Army and Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing. It would have been great to meet Desmond Doss but he passed away before I knew who he was. So imagine my surprise in 2010 when I got an email by a person saying they are Oleg Volk.

The person on the other end of the email wanted to meet up for a photographic (and firearm) shoot in Tennessee. My end of the deal was to bring some of my ballistic gelatin blocks to be shot with various guns and then shot again with his camera. One of the features of my ballistic gelatin blocks that distinguish them from other peoples gelatin blocks—my gelatin blocks are clear. There is a way I make this happen and its not by accident. So somehow Oleg heard about my work and wanted to see if I was interested in a collaboration.

I was on the fence politically in 2000. I grew up in a Republican household and was raised in a very conservative manner by my parents. It didn’t seem right to me that protestors of the G-8 summit had gotten beaten the year before, though I don’t necessarily agree with most or all of the movements that they represent. So that’s when I started to think: “If we have a 1st Amendment, why are they getting beaten for exercising it?” There is a gray area in most areas of life. This made me start to think more deeply about politics and human nature in general. Around that time, I discovered which speaks to the importance of owning real guns—IE ones that are good for sport but also good for killing people if they are trying to kill you. Effective guns, I think he calls them on the website.

Americans and most Western Europeans have been fortunate in the last 50 years to have not been subject to part of the norm of human history—warfare and political oppression.

Some of the most exciting conversations that I have is when I get the chance to talk with people who have lived through political repression or warfare. There are “bad days” in the US and then there are bad days as experienced in places like Bosnia, Columbia and Nicaragua in the recent past. The woman who cuts my hair in Jacksonville, Florida is from Bosnia. They were evidently wealthy because they were able to travel all over the world, before the war started in the 1990s. She told me a piece of advice about politics that one should never forget: “first they take your money and then they are going to kill you.”

Courtesy: Oleg Volk

At left is an image of the Sten SMG which was used by Allied and resistance forces against the Nazis in Europe. The point of is that guns allow good people to defend themselves. If they are scary-looking guns, that’s probably ok too—the cosmetic features of a gun and minutiae like full-auto capability are simply reasons given by the uninformed and insincere for banning firearms. After visiting this website for a while, I walked away with a much better understanding of human rights, the Founding Fathers and the purpose of the Second Amendment.

When I got the chance to meet Oleg Volk, the decision was an easy one. I went on annual leave, made my gelatin and packed my truck for Tennessee.

In all, I’ve done two photo shoots with Oleg. Both times were a blast. He’s obviously got friends all over the place and through the firearms industry. Lots of them are clients of Oleg who are owners of firearm and accessory manufacturing businesses. Like the Kel-Tec PMR30 (serial # 00001) that I’m shooting above—there are lots of great new firearms and accessories to try out. What follows are a small sampling of the work that was done during this shoot. Please be advised that all of the photos here, except for the surprise at the end, are not the full resolution images that you can get from Oleg.

7.5” of penetration and massive structural failure of the slug. Test your ammunition before you make it part of your personal protection plan.

Few things leave me speechless. This photo is one of them. Notice the characteristic ‘T’ for ‘Trophy Bonded Bear Claw’ stamped on the base of the bullet. This cartridge is discontinued by Federal, but it is a strong performer out of a .223REM rifle, if you are still able to locate a box or two.

55gr Barnes Triple-Shok hollowpoint (top); 55gr Federal Premium Trophy Bonded Bear Claw (bottom) “When you care enough, you send (two of) the very best”

A bare gelatin block just prior to being shot. Ballistic gelatin is not the most ‘photogenic’ object imaginable … subtle variations in how you make the photograph can result in big differences in the overall quality of the finished product.

The ‘formerly Evil’ Black Talon in 9x19mm Luger. Here it is demonstrating how it has a wounding pattern that is fundamentally the same as any other JHP of that caliber, weight and velocity range.

I do have to tip my hat to Winchester for designing the jacket such that sharp ‘talons’ are formed in the expanded bullet. This gives such a bullet a theoretical edge over a smoother bullet at the low velocity range encountered at the deepest point of penetration

The FN 5.7x28mm cartridge. One of the better Personal Defense Weapon (PDW)cartridges. It is enough gun to prevent an adversary from continuing an attack on you … with recoil light enough so that - anyone - can shoot it accurately.

Coming soon to a theatre of war near you ...

The Brass Fetcher himself. Here, I’m firing my PS90 rifle from FN. The barrel length is 16.0” from the factory for legal compliance … but you can enjoy (almost) the full spirit of the gun by registering the weapon as a short-barreled rifle and attaching the P90 barrel to reduce the overall length substantially.

As time progresses, I expect that the PDW will become a bigger player in the US civilian firearms market. Our needs for personal defense may soon extend beyond the performance easily obtainable with a handgun … but without the eye sore and hassle of carrying rifles on a regular basis.

This what a 108 MB image looks like.

PDWs such as the FN PS90, HK MP7, Knights Armament PDW and the Mini-Uzi are all very suitable go-betweens between a handgun and a carbine sized rifle. What needs to change are the laws keeping these guns out of the reach of law-abiding citizens and also, the perception that the open carry of weapons is somehow unacceptable in a civilized society.

PDWs allow for more precise shooting than handguns, with a larger magazine capacity and the ability to penetrate soft body armor an added bonus.