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Habits of Highly Unsuccessful Firearms Technicians

By George E. Kontis, P.E.

I had started a new job with Ajaxx Gun Works and was meeting with the Engineering Director to discuss my first assignment. Based on my past experience as a product engineer, the Director entrusted me with a project to find the cause and correction for malfunctions on a new automatic rifle that were occurring during automatic fire.

Two firearms technicians had been assigned to work under my direction. The Director asked me to proceed to the range immediately as the technicians would have the guns and the test equipment ready. “Are these two guys any good?” I asked him. “Beener has been with Ajaxx nine years and Chumwell has been here twenty two. Chumwell is the steward of the technician’s union,” he responded. “They both have done a lot of testing. Chumwell has an excellent attendance record. He only missed work when he blew the end of his finger off during a test. He put his finger over an open pressure transducer hole in a cannon barrel. Chumwell noticed he had forgotten to put the transducer in and decided he could plug it with his finger. He’s learned a lot since then.” That really wasn’t the answer I was looking for, but it did speak volumes. I let it all go as I was eager to begin the tests.

At the test site I found only one technician and introduced myself to Chumwell. When I inquired the whereabouts of Beener I learned that he went to get fans. Silently I told myself that fans might be a good idea to cool the guns and move the testing along more quickly. On the table was a stack of guns thrown together in a heap. Nearby was a pile of linked ammunition. “This can’t be our ammo-- it’s linked.” I said. “These guns need loose ammo and delinking it will take a lot of our time.” Chumwell said somebody had forgotten to replenish their ammunition supply, but not to worry, because a couple of technicians who normally clean guns would be sent out to delink...

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