Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hollywood Guns Exhibit at the NRA's National Firearms Museum

Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, I was coming back from Fairfax and stopped off at the NRA's National Firearms Museum, which I hadn't been to since just over four years ago.

(It being Rolling Thunder weekend, there were a bunch of folks in town to ride. Clearly.)

The core exhibits were about the same, though they upgraded both the info kiosks and the website -- the kiosks are now touchscreen and a lot easier to use, and a good portion of the collection is online and searchable, so you can theoretically use your mobile browser to get information on any given firearm, without having to run back and forth to the info kiosks.

You can see full set, National Firearms Museum, Fairfax, VA, 5/28/11, where I mostly tried to take photos of items I hadn't seen before.

Below, though, are photos from the special exhibit on Hollywood Guns, featuring real guns, rubber guns, and other props from famous movies.

By far, this is the best presentation of movie gun and poster:


It's the Reservoir Dogs poster, featuring Harvey Keitel's Mr. White's 9mm Smith & Wesson 639 and Steve Buscemi's Mr. Pink's 9mm Smith & Wesson 659, with the actual guns placed in the spots where they appear as held by the characters on the movie poster. Tres cool.


Next, Keyser Soze's Smith & Wesson 6906 from The Usual Suspects -- note, in the scene where it's used (and not by Kevin Spacey, as the card notes), it's held gangsta-style (sideways).


Tom Cruise's .45 Heckler & Koch USP from Michael Mann's Collateral. I still think the ending is bogus -- there's no way Jamie Foxx's taxi driver Max would have outshot Tom Cruise's hitman Vincent.


Sir Alec Guinness's Obi Wan Kenobi's lightsaber from Star Wars. This is the second lightsaber in the museum, with the first being Luke's lightsaber in the main collection (which I believe is misidentified on the site).


Javier Bardem/Anton Chigurh's suppressed 12 gauge Remington 11-87 semiautomatic shotgun from No Country for Old Men.


Johnny Depp's Thompson .45 submachine gun from Public Enemies.

Also, Christian Bale's Mauser Sporting Rifle and a Winchester Model 1907.


Die Hard guns, including Bruce Willis's MP-5 (converted from a HK-94) and Beretta 92 (also used by Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon and Alan Rickman's HK P7. Also seen: John Wayne's suppressed Mac-10 from McQ (which I haven't seen) and Denzel Washington's 9mm Browning Hi-Power from American Gangster (which I've only seen on basic cable).


Clint Eastwood's Remington 1858 New Army .44 revolver from Pale Rider, with cylinder-swapping goodness. (By the way, what happened to Sydney Penny?)


Andrew Dice Clay's .38 Smith & Wesson Model 38 from The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, which, thankfully, they are not rebooting (as far as I know).


Rubber Beretta 92FS from Lethal Weapon.


Clint Eastwood's .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29 from Dirty Harry.


Guns from The Departed, including Mark Wahlberg's Beretta 92FS, Jack Nicholson's 9mm Beretta 84, Matt Damon's .45 Sig Sauer P228, and Leonardo DiCaprio's .32 Walther PPK.

Also seen: Anton Chighur's suppressed 12 gauge shotgun from No Country for Old Men.


The Wild Bunch guns, including a A1 Browning belt-fed machine gun and a rubber model of William Holden's 9mm Star B.

Also seen: Baby Nambu from Letters From Iwo Jima.


Heath Ledger's sawed-off, cut-down Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun from The Dark Knight.


HK UMP .45 submachine gun from Terminator 3. (The NRA museum listing photo shows an MP5, though.)


And last, but not least, Nathan Filion's Malcolm Reynold's pistol from Serenity, a modified .38 Taurus revolver inside a brass shell.

There are a bunch of other movies that I didn't take, mostly Westerns. See the full set from the museum here: National Firearms Museum, Fairfax, VA, 5/28/11

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Mules, Porters and Bicycles: Low-Tech Solutions to Managing Soldiers' Loads

In the wake of a few articles about the proposed revival of the Army Animal Corps to help the troops in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan ("Army could ditch robots for mules"), I thought I would follow up on my earlier entry about logistics and reducing soldiers' loads. (See "Everything I Learned About Combat Resupply, I Learned From Video Games.")

Assuming that cargo-carrying pack robots might be more expensive and more trouble to maintain than they might be worth, what are other alternatives the military might use to help soldiers haul stuff around, that don't involve UAV's, exoskeletons, robot walkers or other high-tech solutions?

(For the purposes of this discussion, we will forego political correctness.)
  • Porters: Yes, okay Gunga Din:

    Human porters, unarmed and probably unarmored, could carry around food, water, ammo, and other consumables. They might be locals, third-country nationals, or in a compromise measure on immigration, illegal immigrants seeking a path to citizenship.

    Downside: Porters bleed and die when they get shot or blown up.

  • Bicycles: Not combat bicycles for riding, but more like two-wheeled cargo carts for pushing.

    It worked well enough for the Viet Cong on the Ho Chi Minh trail. Hell, if you want to get fancy, use the center post as a pintle mount for an M240 or M249.

    Downside: None that I can see, really.

  • Rolling Rucksack: You know how rolling suitcases with built in wheels and handles revolutionized business travel. Why not something similar with a rolling rucksack? A rolling rucksack with wheels large enough to handle typical mountain terrain would roll most of the time, and be luggable enough to hoist over and around obstacles.

    You could even do a jogging stroller modified to be a rolling gun rack:

The point of all this is, do we really need cyborgs, robots, and cybernetics, when all we're looking for is a solution to lifting up heavy things and putting them down?