The All Blacks could play England at Twickenham on November 4.

BENOIT TESSIER

The All Blacks could play England at Twickenham on November 4.

OPINION: “Show us the money” is likely to be the message in a bottle delivered across the oceans to England rugby’s hierarchy about the potential of a tantalising November test against the All Blacks.  

Right now England need New Zealand more than the All Blacks need Eddie Jones. It’s that position of negotiating strength that allows NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew to sit back and demand what he has always craved from the English RFU – a cash cow revenue-sharing test at Twickenham.

Tew declined to comment on Wednesday but appears to have counterpart Ian Ritchie over a barrel when it comes to staging a heavyweight showdown between the All Blacks and England one year earlier than scheduled.

Eddie Jones at Twickenham, where the England Rugby Union hopes to lure the All Blacks.

HENRY BROWNE/REUTERS

Eddie Jones at Twickenham, where the England Rugby Union hopes to lure the All Blacks.

In a British and Irish Lions year, the All Blacks don’t need another difficult test added to a schedule that already includes a full scale Rugby Championship followed by matches against France, Scotland and Wales on the end of season tour.

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The All Blacks, No 1 team in the world, hold the mantle Jones so desperately desires. It now comes down to how much England, the world’s richest union, are willing to pay for the chance to knock the All Blacks off their perch and give credence to their transformation. Stealing the No 1 ranking otherwise is but a fanciful dream.

Bottom line, that means England’s RFU probably needs to agree to a revenue-sharing arrangement that would see NZ Rugby walk away with £3 million (NZ$5.3m) from the one-off fixture.

Reports from London’s Daily Mail suggested the All Blacks could take home around £2m (NZ$3.5m) for a match commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Barbarians on the same proposed November 4 date, which sits outside the designated test window.

A game against the Barbarians is an easy sell. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen could rest many of his big guns, and still keep Tew happy by filling coffers further after a bumper Lions tour.

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That money filters through the New Zealand game. And as Aaron Cruden, Steven Luatua, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, James Lowe and Charlie Faumuina among others prepare to leave these shores, it only helps in the on-going fight to retain key players.

The upshot is England must make it worth NZ Rugby’s while to swap the Baabaas for a match-up between the world’s two best teams that would near sell out Twickenham overnight. 

Now the potential for the test everyone in world rugby is gagging for has emerged, pressure will come on Ritchie to deliver.

Before now Ritchie has been less than sympathetic over the southern hemisphere nations – particularly the All Blacks – being squeezed out of profits due to their small stadia. Not long ago he scoffed: “Go build a bigger stadium.”

But to give Eddie what he wants, Ritchie knows it will be on NZ Rugby’s terms or not at all.

Jones doesn’t want to go into the World Cup having only faced the All Blacks once – in 2018. He knows the only way to truly measure how far his men have come is to test them against the best. And now his boss seemingly has the opportunity to make that happen.  

The danger for Ritchie is should he agree to a revenue-sharing arrangement the precedent will be set. From then on, any test between England and the All Blacks agreed outside the June and November test windows will come with a similar, hefty price tag.

NZ Rugby has long been keen to maximise the All Blacks’ earning power by agreeing to add on tests before northern tours. Last year they lost to Ireland in Chicago but still banked around $1 million, along with the benefits of looking after American-based commercial sponsors.

In 2014 it was the USA in Chicago; the year before Japan in Tokyo.

These arrangements contain many moving parts – commercial and rugby considerations just some.

But if Ritchie is willing to stump up the cash, world rugby may get its ultimate test. 

 – Stuff

It may be the only place in the world that will sell you guns at the airport instead of taking them away.

Travellers killing time at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport are curious as they duck into a shop with a gun rack on the wall and a cabinet full of pistols near the cash register.

Next to that are racks of kids’ T-shirts printed with “I Love AK.”

‘The Kalashnikov is Russia, and Russia is the Kalashnikov.’ Artyom Baranowsky

That’s AK-47, the famed Russian rapid-fire assault rifle that has made its manufacturer, Kalashnikov, a worldwide name. 

“Why not? I think it’s a good thing from Russia, good souvenir,” says Artyom Baranowsky, manager of the first Kalashnikov concept store in Russia.

Opened last summer, it sells Kalashnikov-branded products ranging from cellphone cases to bullet-shaped thermoses to mock rifles and pistols. They’re actual Kalashnikov weapons you can assemble and disassemble; some shoot low-power plastic pellets, others can’t shoot at all. The store’s not allowed to sell ammunition.

For Russians, the Kalashnikov is not just a brand, says Baranowsky. “It’s something in the legacy of every man in Russia. The Kalashnikov is Russia, and Russia is the Kalashnikov.”

A symbol of power, described by the average Russian as a weapon used to protect freedom, to make peace, not war, regardless of its deadly legacy. 

I LOVE AK

Kids t-shirts reading ‘I Love AK’ are hot sellers in the Kalashnikov concept store at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. Other souvenirs at the store include actual Kalashnikov guns and rifles — but not ammunition. (Susan Ormiston/CBC )

Baranowsky says he sells at least a pistol a day. He records the passport number of the customer, who’s required to put the item in their checked luggage.  

Impact of sanctions was ‘drastic’ at first

The store is one way Kalashnikov Concern is branching out to stay alive. 

The company was caught up in sanctions slapped on Russia by the U.S. and Canada in 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea. Canada barred any business or trade with Kalashnikov Concern and added its CEO to a list of individuals banned from entering Canada.

The U.S. had been the company’s biggest market, so the impact of sanctions was “drastic” at first as exports plummeted by nearly half, according to deputy CEO of sales and marketing Vladimir Dmitriev.

“As long as you are being cut from one of the most profitable and prosperous markets, you have to find some other strategy,” he told CBC News at Kalashnikov’s corporate offices in Moscow. “We found that answer in the diversification of the business itself.”

Dmitriev

Vladimir Dmitriev, deputy CEO of sales and marketing at Kalashnikov Concern, says western sanctions initially hurt the company but it has now rebounded. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

Dmitriev says export volume has now nearly doubled again, with new customers in 30 countries that do not support the sanctions. The factory in Izhevsk is hiring 1,700 additional staff. 

“A few years ago, it looked like Stalingrad,” Dmitriev says, referring to the city nearly destroyed in a Second World War battle.

‘It’s a rapid expansion for us — not only the width of products we are supplying but the quality of operations, and the sales model as well.’ – Vladimir Dmitriev

But now the 200-year-old gun factory is being totally rebuilt to contemporary standards. In 2014 the arms maker was reorganized into a public-private company (Concern), with 51 per cent being held by the state-owned Rostec, and 49 per cent held in private hands.

Kalashnikov is producing a modern AK for civilian use, due out later this year, with a military version to follow. It acquired a controlling stake in a company that makes unmanned aerial systems (drones) and another stake in a company that makes assault landing boats. Its Baikal brand makes hunting weapons and apparel. Kalashnikov has found new, ready markets, particularly in the Middle East, where it could build a new factory.

“It’s a rapid expansion for us — not only the width of products we are supplying but the quality of operations, and the sales model as well,” Dmitriev says. 

‘It’s a very famous gun’

The AK-47 assault rifle was developed in 1947 by Red Army soldier Mikhail Kalashnikov. Easier to use and more durable than its rivals, the AK (Avtomat Kalashnikov) was rapidly pumped out in factories in the former Soviet republics.

As new models were released in the 1970s, older AK models, still operational, were passed down the arms chain so that an estimated 60-100 million are still spread around battlefields and urban warfare zones, in the hands of mercenaries, insurgents and terrorists, as well as soldiers.

Artyom Baranowsky Manager Kalashnikov store

Artyom Baranowsky holds a popular pistol for sale at the airport store. ‘The Kalashnikov is Russia and Russia is the Kalashnikov,’ he says. (Susan Ormiston/CBC)

That this gun carries mythic status in Russia is obvious.

A central Moscow bar called Razvetka, or “intelligence service,” located directly across the street from FSB headquarters, sports two AK-47’s cast in metal as its door handles.

A 19th-century brewery built a live shooting gallery deep in its cellar where customers can try their hand at operating a Kalashnikov.

Manager Igor Fedyukin says since it opened 18 months ago, the place is attracting Russians but also tourists from around the world, including from Canada. 

“It’s a very famous gun, because of computer games and movies — Counter-Strike, Call of Duty,” Fedyukin says. “People are interested in how easy or how difficult it is to shoot a real Kalashnikov.” 

AK 47 door handles

A Moscow bar directly across from FSB headquarters (formerly the KGB) sports two AK-47’s cast in metal as its door handles. Its name Razvetka means ‘intelligence service.’ (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

The brand is even extending its reach into the U.S., where a Florida company has plans to manufacture a new Kalashnikov “Alfa” model beginning this year. Kalashnikov USA has licensing rights from the Russian arms maker, and will produce American-made assault rifles for the lucrative American market, getting around the import ban. 

Marketing the Kalashnikov name is proving to be an economic generator for the legendary Russian company.

“Kalashnikov is not just a small arms manufacturer anymore,” says Dmitriev.

“We’re trying to conquer some areas where we weren’t present before” he says, leaving unsaid the obvious conclusion that western sanctions, far from hurting Kalashnikov Concern, have reinvigorated the company, forcing it to refocus and push into new markets eager to buy up its brand.

“We’re still the good old Russian guys producing the good old Kalashnikovs, but now we are technologically profound.”

And savvy marketers. Kalashnikov concept stores are planned for other Russian cities and beyond. 

The 83-year-old farmer prosecuted for shooting a suspected diesel thief on his land told MailOnline today he wants his guns back ‘as soon as possible’ after being cleared in just 24 minutes.

In his first interview Ken Hugill thanked supporters who have donated £10,000 towards the £30,000 legal fees he was left with despite being found not guilty.

Mr Hugill faced 16 months of hell after he shot convicted burglar Richard Stables in the foot with a gun handed to him by his parents for a 21st birthday present and wept outside Hull Crown Court when he walked free on Friday.

Today he was ploughing some of his 60 acres ready to sow wheat having put the stress of the court case behind him.  

Speaking beside his tractor today, a Mr Hugill told MailOnline: ‘I hope to get my guns and ammunition back as soon as possible’.

Back to work:  Farmer Ken Hugill, 83, was back ploughing his fields today (pictured) after being cleared of shooting a suspected diesel thief and now he wants his guns back 'as soon as possible'

Back to work:  Farmer Ken Hugill, 83, was back ploughing his fields today (pictured) after being cleared of shooting a suspected diesel thief and now he wants his guns back ‘as soon as possible’

Farmer Kenneth Hugill, 83, was forced to fund his own £30,000 defence after he was cleared of GBH

Ordeal: Mr Hugill (left today) faced 16 months of hell after he shot a convicted burglar – but he was cleared in just 24 minutes by a jury at Hull Crown Court (right after walking free)

Stand-off: Richard Stables (pictured outside) claims he had stumbled on the farm and was not stealing diesel when Mr Hugill shot him near his farmhouse at 2am

Stand-off: Richard Stables (pictured outside) claims he had stumbled on the farm and was not stealing diesel when Mr Hugill shot him near his farmhouse at 2am

Since police seized his shotgun and rifle he has been unable to shoot rabbits on his farmland in the village of Wilberfoss, East Yorkshire.

He said: ‘Police took my .22 rifle, which I use to shoot rabbits, my double barrelled shotgun, my cartridges and licence when they came following the burglary. 

‘Before this happened I used to shoot about 400 rabbits a year on my land and on two or three neighbours’ land.

Fresh start: Today he was behind the wheel of his tractor today - he used his first print interview to thank supporters for paying £10,000 of his legal costs

Fresh start: Today he was behind the wheel of his tractor today – he used his first print interview to thank supporters for paying £10,000 of his legal costs

‘I have been shooting since I was less than 12 years old, and it has been part of my life on the farm.

‘I’m glad to get back to work and put the last 16 months behind me. Farming has been my life.’ 

The grandfather was charged with grievous bodily harm, and potentially faced a lengthy jail term, as he was said to have acted ‘recklessly’ in firing a shotgun without warning or calling for help.

The family criticised the Crown Prosecution Service and police, who took 15 hours to turn up at his Yorkshire farm and arrived with a squad of armed officers, forensic experts, an ambulance and a helicopter before arresting him and not the men who had been on his land. 

The jury heard he shot convicted burglar Richard Stables, 40, in the foot in November 2015. The farmer noticed a light outside at 2am and took his gun into the yard.

Father-of-three Mr Hugill has had hip and heart surgery, walks with a crutch and is hard of hearing, yet did not think twice about trying to catch criminals stealing diesel from his tank.

He saw the silhouette of a Land Rover, which revved the engine and drove towards him and told the court: ‘I pulled the trigger because I thought the car was going to kill me’. 

Richard Stables, a convicted burglar, was hit in the foot and driven straight to hospital by his friend Adrian Barron, a seasoned criminal with convictions for burglary and violence.

Mr Stables suffered serious injuries but survived and gave evidence as a prosecution witness.

The grandfather, pictured cleaning the blades of his plough, was charged with grievous bodily harm, and potentially faced a lengthy jail term before being found not guilty

The grandfather, pictured cleaning the blades of his plough, was charged with grievous bodily harm, and potentially faced a lengthy jail term before being found not guilty

Father-of-three Mr Hugill has had hip and heart surgery, walks with a crutch and is hard of hearing, yet did not think twice about trying to catch criminals stealing diesel from his tanks (pictured)

Father-of-three Mr Hugill has had hip and heart surgery, walks with a crutch and is hard of hearing, yet did not think twice about trying to catch criminals stealing diesel from his tanks (pictured)

Response: Police took 15 hours to turn up at the Yorkshire farm and arrived with a squad of armed officers, forensic experts, an ambulance and a helicopter before arresting him not the men who had been his land

Response: Police took 15 hours to turn up at the Yorkshire farm and arrived with a squad of armed officers, forensic experts, an ambulance and a helicopter before arresting him not the men who had been his land

Despite the jury clearing Mr Hugill’s name in just 24 minutes, his joy was tainted by legal bills of more than £30,000. 

He faces needing a loan to pay them – but the public has already raise £10,000 in the past four days.

Mr Hugill said he’s been taken aback by the support he’s received and the offers of help to pay his legal costs.

‘I’ve never asked anybody for anything, but I have been more than amazed by people’s response.’

He has been contacted with messages of support from around the world, including USA, Zimbabwe, and New Zealand.

He said his instinct was ‘to protect myself’ when driven at by the car on the night of the diesel raid.

‘That car came at me and I couldn’t see because it was black-dark. I never saw any persons. I made my decision instantly’.

Back to work: Mr Hugill was back at work today but his case highlights how farmers should have the 'right to defend their property', his family says

Back to work: Mr Hugill was back at work today but his case highlights how farmers should have the ‘right to defend their property’, his family says

Keen shootyer Mr Hugill fired at a Land Rover, which revved the engine and drove towards him, and told the court: 'I pulled the trigger because I thought the car was going to kill me'

Keen shootyer Mr Hugill fired at a Land Rover, which revved the engine and drove towards him, and told the court: ‘I pulled the trigger because I thought the car was going to kill me’

Mr Hugill had no idea he had hit Mr Stables, who was driven to hospital by accomplice Adrian Barron, 44, a criminal with a history of burglary and violence.

The farmer immediately rang his son, who phoned 101 to tell police of the suspected theft. 

Officers were not told about a firearm being used. David Hugill said that at 5pm armed police arrived at the farm in Wilberfoss, East Yorkshire. ‘They told us they heard there were firearms and they were looking for hostages,’ he said. ‘We were very shocked.’

His son David, 50, was also ploughing today, criticised Humberside Police and the CPS’ handling of his father’s case. And said they handled it ‘not at all’ well.

‘They were very, very heavy handed, especially on the approach down to the farm on the evening when we returned from work, when we had at last 20 police vehicles there surrounding the game with armed police.’

David said that when he rang 101 to report the burglary he had been unaware a shot had been fired.

‘People have the right to defend their property when the police response is very slow.

‘The police are under resourced and the countryside is a wide area. You cannot protect every single farm throughout the country.’

Farmer Kenneth Hugill with his wife Sheila Hugill leaving Hull Crown Court, where the jury agreed he was acting in self-defence and was 'petrified' at the time

Farmer Kenneth Hugill with his wife Sheila Hugill leaving Hull Crown Court, where the jury agreed he was acting in self-defence and was ‘petrified’ at the time

Today Mr Hugill’s lawyer Richard Manning from O’Garra’s in Leeds said: ‘The Hugill family are very grateful for all the support that they have had from their family, their friends and their legal team, and those who have contributed to their crowd funding to assist towards their fees.

‘This has been a very traumatic period and they are very anxious to be able to go back to their regular life and hope never to have this experience again, for them and all that suffer similarly within the rural community’.

The farm diesel tanks were found to have been ‘tampered with’. David said it would have been ‘fairer’ if Mr Stables and Mr Barron had been charged. Mr Stables claimed they ended up outside the property after getting lost.

Judge David Tremberg said it was a case ‘the prosecution can’t overlook’ requiring ‘verdicts of a jury’. The CPS said it was in the public interest. Humberside detective Matt Hutchinson said the police response was ‘appropriate’.  

PUBLISHED: 16:38 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:38 13 March 2017

PIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

PIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

Archant

Our US expat pilot thought Germany would be a homecoming for him but the bureaucracy and regulation proved to be all too much

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

Following in the hallowed footsteps of my ancestors, I came to Germany from America to understand more about my roots and to embrace the only culture that “can get anything done”, words often heard from my grandfather when referencing the shining glories of the Fatherland.

What I did not consider while in America, even though the data was plainly evident in front of my face, was the fact that all of my German ancestors left Germany for some unexplained reason, and whatever that was, it was sufficient to warrant crossing the ocean to the west to come to the United States. Instead, I wandered east−with an aeroplane−thinking I would find something better.

The first indication that I might have had a moment of delusion came during some initial maintenance activities on the Cub, a hangover from equipment installation in the United States−all of which had been needed to operate in Europe in the first place. Attempting to handle the most basic of maintenance activities, I ran into the largest of roadblocks: a complex system of inane, obtuse, and poorly-thought-out regulations that rendered it all but impossible to find qualified assistance to troubleshoot and repair some issues with the airplane.

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

To make matters worse, if a person brings up ‘troubleshoot’ with reference to an engine, Germans are programmed to have a neurological reflex, standing at attention and barking “Overhaul it!” while suspending all further thought.

Early in the maintenance adventure, I walked into a nearby shop wishing to get my transponder checked, for prevention’s sake. The guy behind the desk asked the make and model of the aircraft, and proceeded to look into some reference materials, shout some orders, and then dial a number on the phone. I reminded him I needed a transponder verified, and asked if he wanted the make and model of the unit. No, he did not need it, and please shut up while I finish this call.

After an ordinary conversation in German, he advised me that while they have a mechanic certified for the PA-11, the repair station is not, so they could not help me. “Excuse me? I simply need a transponder checked. What is so hard about that?” “Ve are not zertified to verk on your airplane.” “Um, I need you to check the transponder. You’re not working on anything. You’re just checking that the signal is correct. Why the hell can’t you do that?” “Ve cannot help you!”

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

In the United States, a mechanic can work on any aircraft, there is no such thing as certification for specific makes and models. Perhaps Germany keeps aviation safe by prohibiting flying?

That started further adventures in finding other mechanical assistance and learning about Part 43, which is the section of regulation that governs maintenance on N-registered aircraft. American pilot-owners are permitted to perform quite a surprising number of activities themselves, up to and including removal of some significant aircraft parts.

When he saw this activity take place, I was warned by a prospective buyer of the flight school at which I was basing my aircraft that such things would be verboten when he takes over−and I must get my engine overhauled because, as he put it so eloquently, “it is f***ed”.

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

What this German failed to understand was that he was dealing with an American. We are the type of emotionally-fuelled, self-centred, ignorant, and sometimes violent culture that will fight to the death to preserve a dilapidated hovel of a mobile home, brandishing all eighty IQ points in the defence of one’s God-given right to private property. There was no way in hell I was going to put up with some pontificating, self-righteous autocrat who believed that the answer to all questions was a major overhaul.

There was also the matter that Germany completely sucked as a place to live. I had long held a profound disdain for much of the cultural stupidity that took place in the social circles of my childhood into young adulthood, the product of what I now understand to be cloistered, post-immigrant communities of German and Polish descendants, all basted with the worst facets of American thinking and baked in the oven of Rust Belt economic underperformance.

I merely viewed such foolishness as American short-sightedness as I yearned for the land of order, organisation, cleanliness, hard work, and fiscal solvency. It only took a few months to realise that just about everything I disliked about the social fabric of my youth−and most particularly the bulk of my family that I despise−was actually a composite picture of German cultural norms! Like a Twilight Zone episode that meets a horror movie, I woke up to the stark and horrifying reality that I laid out extraordinary sums of money to move to the one section of the planet that contains the highest concentration of the list of things I dislike the most.

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

Quietly, I began a fervent search for somewhere else to live. The rule was simple: aviation would be prioritised, for the sake of flying, and for the sake of photography and freedom. My wife and I also decided that proximity to a large city was overrated, and we should choose a site near a pleasant, small airport, in the countryside. That was all well and good, except there was a hangover from the days of National Socialism that stood in the way.

Back when Germany was the number one superpower on planet Earth, things were so utterly splendid that the German government felt it necessary to prevent people from committing the delusional act of leaving the utopian capital of fascism by imposing a tax of 96% on the gross proceeds of all asset sales related to outbound migration; the Reichsfluchtsteuer. As one would logically expect, selling one’s house, taking the proceeds in cash, and attempting to escape via airports was a bit of a problem, so the Nazis kindly required that all airports be manned for aircraft operations to take place in order to prevent anyone from leaving. To this day, the hangover is called ‘Information Service’.

Before I get labelled as politically incorrect, I have validated this story with many sources. I am not sure what is more disturbing: that it is correct, that Germans confirm it with a completely straight face without the slightest hint of displeasure, or that no one has actively fought an oppressive, inane, expensive, and silly regulation that harks back to repressing unfortunate souls fleeing for their lives. Instead, the Germanic tendency to accept things as they are kicks in, and the German aviation community continues to pay the fees, foregoes freedom, undermines aviation potential and submits to the grand system that achieves no more than bureaucracy and homage to deceased Nazi airport guards.

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

German airports still mandate an Information Service for all movements. There are no such things as blind calls in uncontrolled airspace. To make matters worse, I have had near collisions at German airports with Information Service, where the FISO chose not to tell me about things like two aircraft on left and right base, turning simultaneously on final.

Hampered by an obsessive need to stare at the moving map on my GPS, to avoid a fine for not flying precisely around the designated circuit, I have never felt less safe in the air. Even worse, my wife and I needed to be close enough to civilisation to have an airport with scheduled operating hours that included weekdays. If things were too remote and pleasant, the local airport would only be open on weekends, and that was not viable: Germany wasn’t going to work.

After a long and taxing search, I located what I understood to be a rental on Atlantic Airpark in western France. The entire process was mind-bending, particularly as I had not considered moving to France before, didn’t speak a word of the language, and would need to get a visa and figure out how to move within Europe. While I had done it enough in the USA, this was just something else.

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

In the middle of this process, I received a note that the owner of the house we were renting wished to come over to discuss something important. He then broke the news of what was then a love triangle overlaid with (I wish I was making this up) neo-Nazi activities.

There would be a separation from his wife, and she was demanding the house we were living in, so we were handed notice−which was legally binding due to the nature of the contract and who was moving in−and had three months to exit the property. For the record, the love triangle turned into a very convoluted love quartet over the next few months.

Unlike America, however, guns were not involved, both parties separated assets in an orderly manner, instead of spitefully spending it all on divorce lawyers so the other person couldn’t have it, and new paramours were paraded with abandon in front of former spouses. While Germany is an impossible place to live, it seems they know how to manage divorce efficiently whilst celebrating spiteful virility.

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

A few days later, the owner of the home in France decided to sell in lieu of renting. We ended up in a bit of a scramble, looking for a new place to live with the nearly impossible combination of short notice and exalted focus on aviation.

The search took us from Norway to Portugal and just about everywhere in between. We came close to opportunities ranging from a dusty Portuguese farm to a Danish island to a French chateau, and others, all falling out of the running for reasons ranging from suitability of housing, lack of heat, or someone else renting it first.

By pure chance, I searched for airports in Andorra, leading me to the nearest one in Spain, La Seu d’Urgell, which looked quite pretty from the air. I phoned to check on hangar space and got the hazy impression that I could displace someone with a suitably large enough pile of unmarked bank notes, so I started looking for housing in the area. What I found was quite splendid, and inexpensive to boot.

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

Curiously, the best housing was thirty minutes to the east. Wandering around Google Maps, I discovered an airport that was not on ICAO maps, La Cerdanya. Looking at the website and researching the area, it was incredibly beautiful and just about exactly what I wanted in life−at least from a distance. I phoned to inquire about hangar space. After finally connecting with the right person, I was told there was room for one airplane (later coming to know that my good fortune was due to a glider crash). My immediate reply was “I’ll take it”, and then set about the process of finding a place to live.

After a few agonising weeks, my wife and I found a glorious place to live close to the airport and leased it from the end of summer, in sufficient time for the angry middle-aged German divorcees to prepare their respective nests for salacious copulation. Less than a week before the nearly impossible plan involving moving across Europe and returning to fly the aircraft south, I learned how Germans don’t cause hangar rash on airplanes, they practice hangar smash.

I got a phone call that there was a “slight mishap” while ground handling the Cub, but “it’s airworthy”. Upon laying eyes on the carnage, I was greeted with a completely caved wingbow, amazed more that Germans would consider this airworthy yet demand complete overhaul at the slightest aberration when it is not their financial responsibility. In a mad dash, the damage was repaired in mere days before the move.

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

The terrestrial portion of my impossible moving plan worked quite well, whereas the aviation portion didn’t get off to the greatest start due to weather. Standing at the information desk, I filed my first flight plan in Europe, direct into France for the first time and across the entirety of the country, on a marginal weather day, without the aid of inflight weather services that I am used to on my iPad.

Using the standard European forecast system, the grading was yellow for a corridor south through the Rhine valley, southwest over the Continental Divide between the mountains to the west of the Rhine and the Jura Mountains to the south. From there, the plan was to head south through the Rhône valley and into the South of France. While the standard forecast and operational metrics indicated that things would be fine, I had an inadequate amount of information, by my standards, to back the plan up, and my instinct from crossing the United States many times told me that there would be a monkey wrench.

Taking off in Germany, it felt like I was sneaking out as a fugitive, flying on a breezy, cloudy day with sprinkles and an evil, menacing sky, over farmland of nearly perfect polygonal layout. Most would have noticed the beauty of vineyards and rolling farmland; I saw a sea of rules that could be broken with the stiffest of consequences. France couldn’t come soon enough.

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

I crossed near Wissenbourg into worsening visibility and precipitation, though still sufficiently VFR. At the behest of Langen Information, I called Strasbourg Information, wondering what linguistic horrors would await this portion of the trip. Germans had made it quite clear that the French would refuse to speak English on the radio and that it would be wise to learn some aeronautical French to fly in the land of francophony. In a symbolic gesture of breaking the rules, I didn’t bother to learn a single phrase, instead pulling up a cheat sheet on my iPad in case it was necessary.

My decision was to plead American ignorance and foolishness if it came down to it. Oddly, Strasbourg Information and every other ATCO and FISO in France spoke English without hesitation. Perhaps the French reticence to be accommodating to Germans has something to do with two unwelcome visits by the Wehrmacht in the early 20th century.

My first landing point was Colmar, France, where my first pleasant surprise was that I was cleared direct to land, no obsequious observance of imaginary lines on the map required; the second was a thirty per cent reduction in avgas prices. Vive la France!

PIL Mar17 Flight from GermanyPIL Mar17 Flight from Germany

From Colmar, the next intended stop was north of Lyon, though I wondered about the reality of the plan. Clouds and precipitation looked problematic in the surrounding terrain, despite an update to weather forecasts on the ground still allowing a VFR corridor. Opting to climb out over 5,000 foot mountains to the west of the airport due to precipitation to the south, I was greeted with a sea of clouds on the other side of varying layers and densities.

I turned south following the path of least cumulus resistance, eventually trying to go under the clouds, only to find that it was a recipe for controlled flight into terrain. I climbed back to 7,000 feet to weasel around some towering cumulus, always maintaining sight of the ground and an escape plan, even if it was to an ultralight field. Finally, faced with a wall of clouds and precipitation, I did something I had never done in my flying career: called information for some help to navigate around the weather. In the USA, for decades I either lacked a radio or had better live inflight weather backed by a national cellular data network. Here, I was reliant on more traditional methods.

I changed course to the northwest to avoid the bigger clouds and maintain sight of the ground, while Luxeil Approach quite kindly called area airports to confirm ceilings. Finding one with a 1,200 foot ceiling, I headed west, circled down, and ducked under the cloud deck until it got too low for my liking further south, turning to Gray to wait it out for two hours.

As the ceilings rose, I made it to Dole thirty minutes to the south, and waited another two hours for ceilings to lift. Similar to crossing the United States, I sat at the airport with fellow pilots who were waiting for destination minima to rise so they could make their flight on an IFR flight plan. If my Cub can’t make it, chances are IFR aircraft and business jets cannot either. I have lost track of the amount of times that has happened.

I finally made Valence for the night, only to find out that, in the capital of le Mistral, the local airport did not think providing tie-downs was a sensible plan. Improvising using cement blocks and extension cords, I weighted the plane down and feasted on some delightful French food before sleeping for the night.

The next day, le Mistral was raging, so much so that it lifted one of the aircraft tyres during refuelling. Lacking tie-downs, I decided it was best to get out as soon as possible as locals advised it would only get worse in the afternoon. Taking off mid-field, I was above circuit altitude after covering one thousand feet along the ground, and quickly turned south, with a 45 knot tailwind to accelerate my plans.

One of the negatives of French flying is airspace. Someone in Paris was playing with shape-making software, had a sponsored epileptic event, and then decided to publish the result as the national map of French airspace. It is the most convoluted thing I have seen, though it was nicely offset by French information services, as I was cleared through every control zone that I had requested thus far. That was, of course, until the morning with 45 knot winds, where I was handed to Orange Approach, cleared to only 1,700ft, and had the blissful joy of riding the rotors in the small hills with blowing dust and bent trees on the ground.

Eventually, I was permitted to turn westward, for which I was directed to climb to 3,300ft to overfly another active zone, though that was far more pleasant than scraping the ground during a hurricane. That leg culminated with learning about the existence of another wind, la Tramontane, which rages between the Pyrenees and Massif Central. The radio operator at Lezignan came out and walked the wing during taxi to prevent the airplane from tipping over.

The final flight leg into Spain was delightful, save for some nasty turbulence in the circuit, which was the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mountain winds. La Cerdanya is situated at 3,609ft MSL, in a valley with peaks rising as high as 9,500ft in the Pyrenees, along the border with France.

A happy refuge in Spain

What are my initial impressions of Spain? Home to a prolific governmental ineptitude coupled with Spaniards’ natural view that laws are suggestions; it is a delightful flamenco twirl of freedom, even if created by virtue of neglect and disorganisation.

I speak the language (hey, imagine that), have no Information Service to deal with, do not have to fly a straight line in the circuit−much less goose step on the tarmac−have unlimited landings for a small monthly fee, and basically can do whatever the hell I want. For that I am extremely happy at the latest adventure life has thrown at us.

Garrett Fisher is an author and aerial photographer, having photographed some of the most rugged and wild terrain in America from his 1949 Piper PA-11. He has published six aerial photography books covering the Colorado Rockies, Wyoming, high terrain in the Southeast, and the Outer Banks, with more US and European books in the pipeline.

He blogs regularly about his flights at www.garrettfisher.me.

You can read the provocative, strangely sardonic and icily arch psychodrama Elle in a number of contradictory ways. On one level, it’s a tonally alarming tale of sexual violence and dangerous roleplay from the director of Basic Instinct and Showgirls, the latter of which was cut by UK censors for potentially eroticising rape. On another, it’s a jaw-dropping showcase for Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert, cinema’s most fearless screen presence, who describes the film as a “human comedy” about “the empowerment of a woman” with a “post-feminist” heroine. If the definition of intelligence is the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts in your head at the same time, then Elle is a movie designed to make its audience feel very smart indeed.

Adapted from Philippe Djian’s novel Oh…, Verhoeven’s first French-language feature opens with the ambiguous shrieks and grunts of a violent assault – a bloody violation, glimpsed in fragments, to which the film will return obsessively in variously reconfigured forms. The attack by a masked intruder is grotesque, but the aftermath is weirdly placid, as Huppert’s businesswoman Michèle tidies up, bathes and casually orders sushi. “I fell off my bike,” she tells her ineffectual son when asked about her injuries. Later, she informs colleagues: “It’s over, it’s not worth a debate.”

Running a company that makes lurid, sexualised video games (“the orgasmic convulsions are way too timid”), Michèle turns a profit exploring and exploiting the dark fantasies of her consumers. But when obscene texts and videos suggest that her assailant is a workmate, she refuses to go to the police, haunted by memories of her monstrous father’s arrest years ago (“never again”). Toughened by the past, and refusing to be defined as a “victim” (a label she was denied as a child), Michèle changes her locks, learns about guns, and coolly sets about tracking her assailant. But to what end?

Verhoeven originally wanted to shoot Djian’s Paris-set novel in Boston or Chicago, with Nicole Kidman in the lead. But when neither cast nor financing were forthcoming, David Birke’s English-language script was translated back into French by Harold Manning, and Huppert made the role of Michèle her own. “I cannot believe that anybody in the USA could have done this and gotten away with it,” Verhoeven told Sight & Sound. Certainly no one other than Huppert could have made such bizarrely playful sense of such inflammatory material. In Huppert’s hands, Michèle may be always crashing in the same car, but at least she’s in the driver’s seat.

Like the sadomasochistic heroine of Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher, Michèle strives to orchestrate and control the narrative scenarios of her life and sexual identity. (“What role did she play?” asks a television documentary about her father’s crimes). In sharp contrast, the men around her are weak and enfeebled, from the husband of best friend Anna (Anne Consigny) whom Michèle jerks off into a wastepaper basket at work, to her son who is humiliatingly emasculated by his girlfriend, to her ex-husband, a struggling writer now pathetically dating a lithe, literate fan (“The bimbos with big tits never worried me, but the one who’s read The Second Sex will chew you up”).

Watch the trailer for Elle.

With cackling Buñuelian glee, Verhoeven unpicks these bourgeois lives (hilarious dinner parties from hell and feud-filled funerals abound) to which religious hypocrisy provides constant background noise. Stéphane Fontaine’s supple cinematography injects an uncharacteristic improvisational note, while the slithering strings and pulsing beats of Anne Dudley’s score amplify the voyeuristic nods to Rear Window. Yet Elle remains less a thriller than a (Bechdel test-passing) character study; a “mystery” in which the identity of the assailant is hardly hidden. No surprise that Verhoeven cites Renoir and Fellini, rather than Hitchcock or Chabrol, as his key influences.

“Shame isn’t a strong enough emotion to stop us doing anything,” declares Michèle, a phrase that resonates as Verhoeven tackles a narrative that is “twisted … sick, diseased”. From The 4th Man to Black Book, the Dutch director has proved himself a multilingual agent provocateur, delighting in making audiences feel uncomfortable, daring them to be outraged. Yet despite a trio of male writers, it is Huppert’s Michèle who dominates Elle, her steely resolve and indomitable presence somehow making her the author (or perhaps auteur) of her own story.

On the film I remain conflicted, but of Huppert I am in awe. She may not have won the Oscar but, frankly, she deserves every trophy going.

President Donald Trump has been a boon for angry women. He excites their troops and animates their causes, no matter how diffuse. In turn, they have turned him into a pinata, a uuuuge target for thwacking. With his coarse verbal machismo, he has become a greater-than-lifesize quarry for blaming “the man.”

This made it easy for feminists and certain other women to focus their fury on the president on International Women’s Day. But even Donald Trump being Donald Trump wasn’t a big enough a target for some of them on the global stage. They want to use the energy of despising the Donald to organize a “new wave of militant feminist struggle.”

Some politically unsavory women attempted to influence the direction of A Day Without a Woman here and across the world to expand the day to make war against the president’s “aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies,” as they explained to the London Guardian, and move it to a more inclusive agenda that is “at once anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-heterosexist and anti-neoliberal.” Have they left anybody out?

They might have added “anti-Israel,” since one of the authors of this manifesto is Rasmea Yousef Odeh, a Palestinian convicted of terrorism in Israel in 1970 for participating in two bombings, one of which killed two Israeli students who were innocently shopping for groceries in a Jerusalem market. She was sentenced to life imprisonment, but she served only 10 years and was released as part of a prisoner swap. She came to the United States and became an American citizen in 2004, which says a lot about the quality of vetting prospective immigrants. It’s part of “herstory,” we suppose.

Flourishing in the American democracy, Odeh was not discovered as having lied about her past for a decade. She was subsequently convicted of immigration fraud, but she won a new trial, set for later this year, with the explanation that the trial court did not consider that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. This disorder is commonly invoked by combat veterans suffering memories of horrors on the battlefield. (We can’t make this stuff up.)

Odeh joins others with notorious resumes to attempt to infuse new energy into the feminist movement. Her sister-signers of the International Women’s Day manifesto include Angela Davis, the Stalinist queen of the Black Panthers who was tried in 1972 for buying the guns that were used in a courtroom shootout that ended in the death of the judge. After she was acquitted, she ran twice as the vice presidential candidate of the Communist Party USA. She was cheered at the Women’s March on Washington against Donald Trump the day after his inauguration, along with Madonna and Gloria Steinem, calling for “resistance on the ground, resistance in the classroom (and) resistance on the job.”

Perhaps the most radical recommendation for celebrating International Women’s Day was proposed by Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of the Canadian prime minister, who dared adding “the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are.” She created an avalanche of criticism on social media.

The American contingent calling for A Day Without a Woman demonstrations urges women to play hooky from their jobs to draw attention to women in the workplace. But it actually reflects the class divisions that have always divided the women’s movement in the United States. Playing hooky from the job demonstrates the widening gap between college-educated women and women working at lower-paying jobs, between those who “lean in” with an assertive pose of authority and those who “lean in” with an aching back.

Staying home from the job naturally falls hardest on women dependent on a regular paycheck who cannot risk opting out. Three school districts in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina shut down on A Day Without a Woman because there weren’t enough teachers and support staff. Working mothers could not depend on the schools to occupy their children for part of the day, while their affluent “lean in” sisters enjoyed a day off. A day care worker in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where classes were cancelled, said, “If I don’t work, they don’t work, and if they can’t work, they don’t get paid.”

The organizers of A Day Without a Woman urged women taking the day off to avoid shopping with kind, thoughtful exceptions shopping at “small, women-and minority-owned business.” This sets apart — segregates, you might say — the owner of that little shop around the corner. So much for Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of judging “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Organizers mock not only King’s dream but also the American dream. It was just this out-of-touch elitism that got Donald Trump elected, with millions of working women’s votes. He didn’t have to feel the pain of an Election Day without a woman.

Write to Suzanne Fields at [email protected] Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” To find out more about Suzanne Fields and read her past columns, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

25-year-old Ms. Hope Usang, has been arrested after being linked to arms leased out to robbers in Cross River State.

The female armourer was arrested alongside 21 others by the Cross River State Police Command, after a robbery victim, Paschal Bisong of Ekpeyong Effiok street in Calabar Municipality, laid a complaint.

The Cross River State Police Commissioner, Hafiz Inuwa, who spoke to newsmen said his men swung into action immediately, arresting Emmanuel Edet-Etim and Idoreyin Usa, who confessed they got their arms from Usang.

“In our efforts to build a safe Cross River, we must not tolerate any form of arms proliferation. On February 24, following a report by one Paschal Bisong of a robbery attack, my men swung into action, leading to the arrest of two suspects, Emmanuel Edet-Etim and Idoreyin Usa.

“The suspects confessed that one Hope Usang supplied them with arms for the robbery. When my men stormed Usang’s house, they recovered three revolvers, four rounds of ammunition, one pistol, one locally-made pistol among others” he said.

Usang, who spoke to a Vanguard correspondent, claimed the  gun belonged to her boyfriend who is a student;

The guns belong to my boyfriend, a student. I never knew that he was keeping some guns in my house.”

However when asked to name her boyfriend, she refused.

The State’s Police Commissioner further disclosed that the arrested suspects will be charged to court for robbery, r*pe, kidnapping, murder, cultism, illegal possession of fire arms among others.

Source: Naijaloaded



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By Todd Burgreen, American Handgunner

What is it about the 1911 which keeps it so adored and desired by so many shooters? Surely more modern designs featuring higher capacity and new materials can eclipse it?

Don’t bet on it. Don’t discount the 1911 design as only holding its position due whimsical nostalgia or other forms of emotional attachment. The business of a fighting handgun is too grim and serious to allow for emotion to sway so many. Yes, the 1911 has been superseded as a duty weapon in our military and police ranks, but take note elite units and personnel with a vote often revert to the 1911. Mr. Browning certainly got it right.

From my experience using various 1911 designs and modern double stack polymers, the 1911 points more naturally and provides better accuracy in general terms. Do I exclusively carry a 1911? No, in fact I probably don’t do so 50 percent of the time. However the practical advantage of higher capacity guns weighing less, being more simple and with proven track records of out-of-the box performance, only holds me so long before I’m tempted back by the 1911. No matter how much I think I’ve gotten past the siren song of the 1911, I’m lured back repeatedly — without regret.

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Dan Wesson ECO is an Officer-sized 1911, which many consider the ultimate combination for concealed carry.

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Dan Wesson ECO was evaluated with numerous ammunition types including Black Hills, Hornady, Federal and Winchester. The ECO performed flawlessly with all.

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Trijicon tritium night sights compliment the DW ECO ability to perform in lowlight situations. The ECO sights have two different tritium colors; this shows attention to detail by allowing a user to better orientate the sights correctly in low light situations. The Match barrel’s integral feed ramp is also visible in the photo.

The ECO

My latest case of 1911 “reversion syndrome” is centered on the Dan Wesson Elite Carry Officer (ECO). Interestingly, the ECO is offered in both .45 ACP and 9MM. The Dan Wesson ECO is a 1911 benefitting from nearly a century of refinement. While the association between the 9MM cartridge and the 1911 platform is not as natural as the .45 ACP, we should not let prejudices block us from exploring what it offers. The Dan Wesson ECO represents portability, reliability, controllability and lethality. These are poster child traits in a personal defense handgun.

The ECO is an Officer-sized 1911. The Officer-sized 1911 was created with ease of carry in mind, with the Dan Wesson ECO following this path exceptionally well. The ECO is an ideal candidate for concealed carry and as long as you do your part there’s little chance it will print under cover garment. Even the back of the ECO’s mainspring is reduced slightly to further accentuate concealability. The Match-grade 3.5″ barrel features an integral ramp and flared bull barrel profile negating the need for a bushing. This allows for the ECO to be slightly more compact and easier to disassemble.

The 3.5″ barrel is thought of by many as being the effective minimum for blending accurate shooting with concealment. The ECO measures a total of 7.25″ long and 5″ high. The ECO uses an anodized aluminum frame and mainspring housing for an unloaded weight of 25 ounces. The Dan Wesson 1911’s are “Made in the USA” at Dan Wesson’s Norwich, New York facility.

The ECO emerges out of the box with many features more associated with custom 1911’s. An undercut trigger guard is the first. On the smaller 1911 Officer frame, such as the ECO, this assists with a higher, vastly more comfortable grip. Further supporting this attention on ergonomics is the 25LPI stippling pattern found on the front strap and mainspring housing. Slim G10 grip panels further accentuates the grip experience.

The stainless steel slide and other parts are coated in Dan Wesson’s ceramic-based Duty-Coat finish providing great resistance to wear. The ECO’s recoil spring set up is rather unique for a 1911, too. Dan Wesson uses a solid, one piece guide rod and a flat recoil spring rated for 15,000 rounds in .45 ACP (let alone 9MM); not 500 rounds like most 1911 recoil systems. This recoil system also gives the benefit of smooth slide travel for easier operation and less felt recoil.

An Ed Brown Tactical Thumb Safety and high ride grip safety is used with the ECO. A textured slide stop and mag catch round out the DW ECO package. I think the Dan Wesson ECO is a damn fine looking handgun. “ECO” is tastefully inscribed on the black slide, with the G10 grips offsetting the dark frame and slide with a lighter color pattern.

Dan Wesson delivers the ECO with two 8-round capacity magazines. Kudos should be given to Dan Wesson supplying two magazines versus only one compared to some other 1911 manufacturers. Eight plus one rounds of 9MM represents good capacity for an Officer-sized 1911. Contrasting colored rear and front Trijicon tritium night sights are fitted to the ECO. The different color tritium sights aids in determining which sight is the rear and which is the front during blacked-out conditions. For daylight, a white ring on the forward post around the tritium vial aids in focusing the shooters eye on the front sight when working fast and up close. The rear sight allows for the front sight to be centered with space around it to better gauge an accurate shot at distance. The DW ECO represents an emerging trend emphasizing sights conducive to precise aiming at distance as well as close up rapid work.

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Dan Wesson ECO disassembled to illustrate coned barrel making for deletion of a barrel bushing. The unique recoil spring found in the ECO smoothes-out recoil impulse as well as offering longer life typical of 1911 recoil springs.

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The Dan Wesson ECO is not only aesthetically appealing, but very effective coming with two 8-round magazines from the factory.

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A small sampling of the available holsters for use with the Dan Wesson ECO.

Shooting

I used Black Hills, Hornady, Speer, Winchester and Federal 9MM ammunition with the ECO. Loads fired spanned 115-grains to 147-grains with hollow points and FMJ bullet profiles. The slim G10 grips found on the ECO pleasantly surprised me in giving a better feel to the Officer-sized 1911 frame compared to previous experience with other similar sized 1911’s. The DW G10 grips are designed in a way giving better handling due to the grips “swelling” in radius filling the hand better then blending in sveltely with the frame. The ECO’s ergonomics and handling characteristics are quickly appreciated and make you understand why the 1911 is a legend. I experienced no malfunctions with the Dan Wesson ECO while firing over 350 rounds during range visits to Echo Valley Training Center.

The Dan Wesson ECO was initially tested by verifying sight zero and then proceeding to fire several magazines rapidly at various steel man targets. This quickly shows if any reliability issues exist, and none showed up. The ECO is advertised as having a match grade barrel and the accuracy did not disappoint, regularly producing 2″-3″ groups at 25 yards. This rivals some full-size Match 1911’s and is a credit to DW fitting together a tight yet reliable handgun.

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This photo right at the shot shows recoil was negligible with the 25 ounce Dan Wesson ECO 9MM, further supported by 1911 ergonomics allowing for fast accurate multiple shots on target.

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The ECO 9MM is a 1911 of a different sort thanks to the chambering and nuanced tweaks performed by Dan Wesson.

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Accuracy with the Dan Wesson ECO 9MM 1911 showed its match barrel, tight lock-up and attention to detail when assembled.

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The ECO proved a solid performer with a variety of ammunition tested in terms of bullet weight and profile as well as premium personal defense and bulk types.

Carrying

Flexibility is the key to effective carry practices, with Inside-the-Waistband (IWB), Yaqui slides, belt slide, side-of-back, and shoulder holsters all a part of a concealed carry practitioners repertoire. The ECO fits right in. Quality holsters, magazine carriers and gun belts are not to be underestimated in importance for effective carry. A Galco Royal Guard IWB and CDM Double Mag case was used primarily with the DW ECO. My thoughts were this is how I usually carry and how I should train with the Dan Wesson ECO. Other holsters from DeSantis, Comp-Tac Victory Gear and BlackHawk were also tried out on a more limited basis.

All are comfortable, but the Comp-Tac paddle holster is a viable option if weather and dress allows. The for me, the Comp-Tac paddle holster remains secure on the belt and the ECO is retained with a pressure point around the trigger guard. Its open top design allows quick access. Remember the defender is reacting to an attack and must overcome the reactionary curve. The paddle allows a user flexibility in putting on and taking off the holster without having to “undress.” That’s handy.

The short Officer’s-grip frame and relative light weight of the ECO makes recoil more of a factor versus a full size 1911, especially when chambered in .45 ACP. The ability to have an ECO in 9MM is an important consideration not to be taken lightly. Ego or preconceived notions should not be blindly adhered to in choosing a personal defense weapon.

The Dan Wesson ECO’s performance has revived my interest in the compact 1911 as a viable concealed carry handgun. The 9MM chambering came to be appreciated as well in the 1911 ECO. For me, the reduced size and weight of the ECO is beneficial for concealed carry compared to a full sized 1911. There are many other handguns available on the market, but in my opinion none exceed the capability of the naturally handling reliable 1911. The Dan Wesson 9MM ECO’s performance combined with 1911 nostalgia is difficult to resist when pondering a concealed carry handgun.

SPECIFICATIONS DAN WESSON ECO 9MM 1911

Magazine Capacity: 8 +1
Weight: 1.560 lbs
Overall Length: 7.25 inches
Barrel Length: 3.5 inches
Height: 5.0 inches
Sights: Fixed Night Sights
MSRP: $1623

Thanks to American Handgunner for this post. Click here to visit AmericanHandgunner.com.

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For many years, Latinos were few and far between in basketball. That began to change at the NBA level in the early 2000’s, and it didn’t take long for college basketball to follow suit. Today, Hispanic’s have fully entrenched themselves on the college hardwood, especially at the Division-I level. And now that it’s tournament time on the college schedule, here are the Latino players who have been making headlines this season.

Image: Mike Rodriguez

Southern Illinois’ Mike Rodriguez (1) heads to the basket game against Loyola Chicago in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference men’s tournament Friday, March 3, 2017, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)