Pit bulls and Other Feral Dogs
(Editor’s Note. Steve Lamascus wants to keep his focus on his “Guns” column, so over the next six months we will be looking at ways to defend oneself against wildlife, with guns and other survival tools.)
Defense Against Wildlife, Part 1
It was a sight TFG Editor-In-Chief Chester Moore will never forget.
A snarling, enraged pit bull busted forth from the brush and headed right at him.
“A guttural growl and intense, focused eyes told me this dog was out for blood, in particular mine. I was at my deer lease before the season to repair a stand with no rifle in tow. For a second panic set in, until I realized I had the .45 my concealed handgun permit allowed me to carry,” he said.
“I quickly drew it, clicked off the safety, aimed at the dog and fired. It stopped, spun around and walked back into the brush. I pondered following it to put an end to the threat once and for all but decided to enter the lease from another location and avoid trouble until I was better armed.”
Looking back, Moore has no doubt he would have ended up another statistic had he not possessed the handgun the state of Texas grants us as licensed, responsible citizen the right to carry.
There is much discussion on concealed handguns as protection from human predators, but what about threats of the animal kind?
Protecting ones life and family is equally important whether the threat comes from a parolee or a feral dog and if you look at the numbers the latter and their kind are a real and growing threat.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are 4.5 million people bitten by dogs each year, 20 percent of which require medical attention. In 2006 alone, more than 31,000 underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of dog bites.
Pits and other potentially aggressive breeds are often used for fighting and for use as catch dogs in hog hunting. Fighting dogs not deemed worthy are either killed or dumped onto the public and some catch dogs get loose and become feral.
“The area I hunted at the time of the charge was known for people dumping off dogs and a lot of them were pits. Another hunter on my lease was charged up a tree by a pit and it stayed under the tree for a while and finally left. It was a different animal than the one that came after me. I have nothing against the breed but let’s be honest if you had a choice of being charged by a poodle or big pit bull which would you chose?”
Moore said he would argue a person has a better chance fending of a thug with a switchblade than a strong, aggressive dog, hell-bent on destruction.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of large dog, you could get hurt and feral dogs do form packs. In fact, my friend Kenneth Pigg and I had to retreat to our trucks looking at a piece of property way back in 2000 because of a pack of feral dogs that looked were essentially a bunch of mutts. There are lots of stores like this out there and tens of thousands of feral dogs in Texas.”
But how are we to defend ourselves? If you do a Google search you find all kinds of methods offered to fend off attacking dogs, bears and other dangerous animals.
One article entitled, “Defending Yourself Against Animal Attacks” recommends using pepper spray and says, “Even if you are carrying a gun with you, do not try to shoot at the animal.”
“If I had taken this advice I might not be here and at the very least would have scars with me the rest of my life,” Moore said.
The concealed carry debate has been virtually solely focused on prevention of criminal attacks but there are other equally dangerous threats lurking out there. Dog, bear, mountain lion and even coyote attacks are on the increase in urban areas throughout the country.
“And for those of us who frequent the woods and wild lands, the chances of a dangerous animal encounter are even greater as I know from my experience. As a staff we will be looking at different scenarios through the end of year and some of them are downright frightening to consider. It is best to be prepared,” Moore said.
Although you might carry your concealed handgun religiously at the gas station, mall and other public venues, think seriously about toting it in the woods as well. You might not get carjacked but a pack of feral dogs might just size you up and it is best to respond with proper firepower, not a flesh and bone.
—BY STAN SKINNER
TACTICAL GEAR REVIEW
The AR15 vs. AK47 argument will continue for decades. The AR15 side of the argument boasts of precision, accuracy, modularity, and ergonomics. The AK47 crowd will cite ruggedness and dependability in their favor.
However, some manufactures embrace this debate in an effort to find the ultimate compromise. One of these is CMMG. Their AR platform MK47 Mutant design has caused a bit of a stir.
Chambering an AR15 in 7.62x39mm isn’t anything new. But the problem with doing such in a mil-spec lower configuration is that the magazines have a very poor reputation for reliability due to trying to modify a straight feed magazine designed for 5.56mm when the 7.62x39mm casing has much more taper. CMMG addressed this by designing an all-new AR15 lower receiver that accepts AK47 magazines. The trigger group and stock remain mil-spec AR15, but the lower has an obvious void in the magazine well where you rock in the AK47 magazines. Since the magazine catch of the AK47 magazines are different than AR15 mags the release is also modified to mimic the AK style paddle, however it is nice and large on the Mutant and plenty easy to activate. Yet there still is not a way to have the bolt hold open when the magazine is empty so there will still be an ominous click of the hammer after the last round ejects and leaves the rifle empty.
The next development on the Mutant is the upgraded bolt. Once you mill out enough steel in a mil-spec 5.56mm boltface to accept a 7.62x39mm cartridge it doesn’t leave much material. CMMG addressed this shortcoming by using a shortened .308 AR10 bolt. This leaves plenty of bulk to have strength to last a lifetime of surplus Russian rounds. And since it’s shorter you don’t have a longer pull on the charging handle, just a little more girth in the chamber.
I opted to test the MK47 K version, the “K” standing for “short” with the 10” barrel. This was manufactured and transferred as a pistol, then after a few weeks of testing it I found it worthy to “manufacture” into a Short Barreled Rifle. After turning in my Form 1, paying a $200 infringement stamp, and waiting four months for approval the ATF finally gave me permission to replace the pistol buffer tube with a stock. My primary reason in doing this is because I love to suppress my firearms and a suppressor’s length added to a 16” barrel makes a very long and unwieldy firearm. Also, AK47s are notorious for being difficult to properly suppress and this was the easiest way to be able to shoot lots of inexpensive 7.62x39mm ammunition quietly.
At the range I knew my first upgrade would be the trigger. It’s my own fault for being spoiled with Geisseles and LaRue’s MBTs. But the included mil-spec trigger was very heavy weighing over 8 pounds and not what I expected from a rifle retailing for $1,500. However once that was out of the way I put several hundred rounds of surplus steel ammunition from Tula and Wolf through the rifle in a variety of magazines including surplus steel, Magpul, and even Tapco. After about 500 rounds of a suppressed fire through the shortened 10” barrel on the MK47 K the bolt started to get sluggish from all the black carbon caked up from the dirty ammo. After a simple wipe down the bolt was ready to roll again. My guess is you could probably get by with 1,500 rounds without issue if you weren’t using a suppressor that causes the extra blowback.
Accuracy was impressive considering the cheap ammunition used. With the EOTech MRDS I was getting 2.5” groups at 100 yards. Shooting standing from 140 yards I was easily keeping every round on a 6” RSR hostage head plate. I find that very acceptable for 7.62x39mm surplus ammo. Another key feature that makes the MK47 superior to the AK47 is the keymod mounting system on the fore end. It is very easy to attach any keymod accessories such as the Elzetta CQB light.
The only fault I found in the Mutant MK47 K was that the QD sling stud holes in the fore end were not designed to be used on a rifle with such a thick chamber area therefore it didn’t allow clearance for the QD stud to be inserted. After speaking with CMMG at this past SHOT show they informed me that they were going to modify the QD issue and only other problem they have encountered with their fully auto demo machine guns was that the bolt-on gas blocks had come loose after several thousand rounds of fully automatic fire. But since we lowly subjects are unable to convert our arms into machine guns due to government infringements I doubt we will ever witness that issue.
The MK47 comes in 11 variations with different rail, barrel length, pistol and SBR options. If you want an AR15 that shoots a heavier load, can use inexpensive surplus ammunition and popular magazines, and is easy to accessorize, you’ll want to give the Mutant a good look.
—BY DUSTIN ELLERMANN