If you’ve been watching the News, then you have already heard about Scott and Jean Adams. The Adams’ are globe-trotting yachters who were hijacked off the coast of Oman over the weekend. US warships are now tracking the hijacked boat.
The Adams’ are experienced yachters, and were well aware of the pirate threat. They broke away from the group of other yachts they were travelling with and decided to go it alone.
Then they were hijacked.
Americans complain about the exorbitant cost of our military. I am reminded on a weekly basis that someone’s taxes pay my salary, and that my job exists to defend the right of all Americans to act like the spoiled, enabled brats that many of them are. Some people assume that they can do whatever they want just because they are Americans. After all, they are paying for it, aren’t they?
Someone please tell me how much it costs to have Navy vessels track your hijacked yacht around the ocean? I’m trying to calculate the mean of a daring high-seas rescue, and plot it against how much the average yachter pays toward the “national defense” each year.
Don’t mistake my sarcasm – I am not begrudging the Adams’ right to protection. However, the circumstances under which they were hijacked show a certain level of irresponsibility. They would not have broken away from the pack if they really believed that they weren’t safe, or that someone would come to save their asses.
For the average middle-class American, it might feel a bit like a kick in the groin to know that they are paying into a “Globe-Trotting Yachters Defense Fund”.
If you are a globe-trotting yachter, there are some simple measures you can take to protect your ass. First, consider hiring a little personal security. If you’re going to float around the coasts of third world countries, bring some protection with you. Second, buy a fucking machine gun. If you are going to cruise the ocean with nothing to protect you but what you can carry, at least do yourself the service of having this minimal degree of protection.
I understand that the average globe-trotting yachter probably knows very little about machine guns. Fortunately, I am here to help!
A Word on Firepower
When I say “machine gun” I am not referring to an assault rifle. I am talking about an air-cooled, medium-caliber, belt fed weapon like the venerable M60, or the M240B. If you are an infantry platoon, your machine guns are your most casualty producing weapons. Few things in this world sound sexier than a belt fed weapon spraying death at people who want to kill you.
An assault rifle is a fine thing, and I recommend having at least one as a back-up. However, when pirates are approaching your vessel at speed you will have a few minutes at most with which to defend yourself. How you spend those minutes will determine how you spend the rest of your life.
What to Buy?
There are many fine weapons available with which to perforate a pirate. Just yesterday I laid eyes on a vintage MG42. As a means to an end, there are few things more fearsome than an MG42. Unfortunately, the 8mm Mauser cartridge is not as prolific as it was during the height of the Reich.
There are the Russian options. RPDs, RPKs and PKMs. RPDs/RPKs don’t have the ass you’re looking for. PKMs do, but getting your hands on a good one might involve trading chickens with some of the people you are looking to defend yourself against. Furthermore, you run the risk of being stuck with a cheap Chinese clone (Type 80). Just say no.
Then there is the M240B. She’s a heavy bitch, about 30 lbs, but for the purpose of yacht defense you will want to pintle-mount it anyway. Put her somewhere high, preferably with a clear 360 degree line-of-sight. The “240” is exceptionally reliable – 26,000 Mean Rounds Between Failure – and when things get “Life or Death” serious, reliability counts.
The M240 uses the NATO standard 7.62 x 51mm round. When fired at unarmored human targets inside of 1,000 meters, if you hit them, you kill them. When fired at human targets wearing body armor, if you hit ’em you still pretty much fucking kill them.
So I bought a Machine Gun, Now What?
Basic maintenance will be a part of your daily routine. Because you intend to use this weapon in a marine environment, you will want to inspect it daily for rust and keep it covered when not in operation. You will need to oil it periodically to protect it from corrosion. Tear-down and cleaning are a simple procedure, which you can master in an hour with proper instruction.
Familiarize yourself with your weapon system. Treat it like you would treat your penis. Know how the gas regulator works, and what the settings mean. Older models will have only one setting. Newer ones have three. You will want to leave it on the most open setting. Also, make sure that your weapon comes with a spare barrel. Make sure to zero both the primary and the spare.
Next, buy ammo! Look for cans marked with DODIC A131. That means a 4-to-1 ratio of ball to tracer. M82 tracer burnout happens at 900 meters. You will be able to watch your tracers and adjust fire accordingly.
You’ll want to carry at least a few thousand rounds. Keep no less than two hundred rounds (preferably four hundred) belted and ready to go in an ammo can on your weapon mount. You will also want some sort of optics – if not mounted, then at least nearby. Either a pair of strong binos or a sniper’s spotting scope. You want to make sure you have Positive Identification of your enemy before you open up on them. If you see a boat full of skinnies carrying weapons, it’s a safe bet they aren’t on a joyride.
When Shit Hits the Fan
Ok, so you’ve got a machine gun mounted on the top of your yacht. You are now the envy of your fellow boat people. Your neighbors want to be you, their wives want to bed you. Cool. What the fuck do you do when pirates actually try to hijack your boat?
Keep in mind, you will have only a few minutes before they are on you. They have guns as well – and you can’t control how many, or of what type – so you have to be as persuasive as possible!
STEP 1: You have spotted one or more watercraft closing on your vessel. Head for your machine gun! Once you get PID with your optics – By jove! There are skinnies with guns! – it’s time to rock and roll!
Open your ammo can and lay the belt across the feed tray. Put the weapon from SAFE to FIRE, take aim and squeeze!
Hold down the trigger for 3 to 5 seconds. Don’t be stingy, it isn’t a sniper rifle! Machine guns are area-effect weapons. Walk the rounds toward your target in a zig-zag pattern using your tracers and visible round impact.
You have now pulled your dick out. If you are going to ward off those pirates, they have to know you intend to do more than wave it around. You are going to fuck them in their faces! Pause, and give them to the count of five to turn back. If three-to-five seconds of cyclic fire isn’t enough to make them immediately reassess the situation, then kill them.
STEP 2: Cyclic fire is awesome. Unfortunately, machine guns get hot. You will burn through your starter belt in no time. The gun will get hot as fuck, and you run the risk of rounds cooking off on their own. After you have assessed that the pirates are still coming, you will switch to a Sustained rate of fire.
Each time you squeeze the trigger, say the words “Die, motherfucker!” In the time it takes you to say this, you will have fired a 5-7 round burst. Pause for 3-4 seconds and say it again when you squeeze the trigger. Firing at a sustained rate, you will conserve ammo, while still delivering enough lead down-range to keep the enemy’s head down. You will be able to adjust fire between bursts and you will extend the life of your barrel.
The official swap-out for a Sustained rate is 10 minutes. If shit gets really hairy and you’re firing longer bursts, (Say, 10-15 rounds) you’ll have to change out every 2 minutes. Of course, depending on how fast the enemy is moving and how much stand-off you get before engaging them, two minutes is a long fucking time.
STEP 3: You will want to train your wife and any travelling companions how to operate as an assistant gunner. They should know the proper procedure for barrel swaps. They will be responsible for linking up belts and keeping the pig fed. In the instance you are wounded or killed, they will have to take over operation of the gun.
Pirates are dangerous people. However, they are bullies who prey on weak or unsuspecting targets. There are no guarantees in life, but chances are good that spraying them with death will dissuade them from attacking your yacht. Once they have sustained a few casualties, and their boats begin to leak, their attention will likely shift to more immediate concerns.