2 Oct 00
I’m here at the IALEFI (International Association of Law Enforcement firearms Instructors) Convention in Tampa, FL. New information:
>Glock is no longer shipping guns to dealers in the State of Maryland. There is much confusion over that state’s new gun regulations, and Glock has given up trying to understand them. Other manufacturers will probably follow.
>Remington has “fixed” the problem with there new, locking manual safety on the 870 and 1100/1187. The manual safety cannot now be “locked” on without the key, according to them. The Remington rep assured all of us that the new contraption is confined to “civilian sales” and will not be installed on “law enforcement” guns. So nice to see how much they care about our safety. Everyone else’s is of apparently no importance at all.
>Both the Remington and Federal ammo reps indicated that the most popular 9mm loading is now the 125gr, eclipsing the 115gr. The 147gr is now all but a dead issue. Only a few hold outs still use it.
>At the S&W booth, there were no Sigmas on display. S&W has put all its emphasis on the P99 series (more on that below). Sigma pistols will soon be out of production all together.
>I got a chance to handle the FN 49 pistol. Self-decocking with a heavy, but smooth, trigger pull. Big and clunky.
>Here is the deal on the S&W P99: There are now four models, P99, P99QA (Quick Action), P990, and the SW99NJ. The “NJ” model was designed exclusively for the NJSP and is not currently available for sale to other customers.
The original P99 is the one I’ve had experience with. It has the decocking “button” on the top, left, rear of the slide. The trigger can be staged, but if one refrains from doing that, he probably won’t have an AD. The Walther version is carbon steel. All S&W P99s are stainless steel, with a “Melonite” coating (similar to the “Tennifer” process on Glcoks)
The P990 is self-decocking, with a smooth, but not too heavy, trigger pull. This is the gun NJSP should have selected. The trigger cannot be staged. It’s the best of the lot. Field stripping does not require pulling the trigger, as it does with the Glock. This is a pistol I can recommend.
The P99QA stays cocked. The trigger pull is short and light, and there is no manual decocking. The trigger cannot be staged. Similar to a Glock with a “competition” trigger. Too light for defensive carry.
Not surprisingly, the SW99NJ combines all the worst features into one package! It cannot be decocked, but the trigger can be staged. And, once staged, the trigger cannot be returned to its forward position (without reciprocating the slide). This gun is going to generate, for years to come, multitudinous ADs within the NJSP. On the side of the slide is etched, “Caution-decock feature removed” The trigger is way too light for a duty gun, and, when officers try to stage the trigger (which they will, despite efforts to stop it) they will AD with great regularity.
I secured a copy of NJSP’s self-serving “justification” paper for selecting the SW99NJ. They really need to talk to someone who knows something about guns!
>Finally, I handled several of S&W’s “Scandium” revolvers. Scandium is an alloying element for aluminum. It makes aluminum flexible and less likely to crack. Very light!
4 Oct 00
From an LEO friend in Maryland:
“Confirming that Glock is no longer doing business in the state of Maryland. Neither are any of the other handgun manufacturers, including Browning and even Beretta, which is a Maryland-based company.
Maryland now requires all manufactures shipping a handgun to the state to provide the State Police with a cartridge casing fired from the weapon, so that it can be ‘scanned’ (whatever that means) into the State’s computer system. Under this system, all shell casings recovered at a crime scene are then ‘compared by computer’ with all of the recorded casings on file. There is no indication if this has ever been tried or would even work. It is also widely know that, after the gun has been fired a few times, the original cases would provide no useable evidence anyway.
The real reason behind Governor Glendings new law was to do exactly what has been done. Stop the sale of handguns in Maryland, except, of course, to him and his bodyguard staff. We’re all so glad that he, at least, is well armed and still safe.”
4 Oct 00
This from Carl F Starke, president of C&R Ammunition:
“Read about your Friend in a large PD who has been experiencing a problem with the lead free frangible ammunition. Although I do agree that lead free primers have a failure rate in the field, I have to mention that although the frangible bullet is tricky to load, we at C&R ammo have not experienced any problem as long as the loading is with new brass! We do not reload because of the different lengths that any and all manufactures of brass have! Because of this, crimping becomes a problem in that some of the loadings will have a good crimp, some will be over crimped, and then, some will have no crimp at all which sounds like your friend is experiencing! Believe me we learned this the hard way!!!”
4 Oct 00
This from a LEO friend in South Africa. I work with this officer and his agency regularly. He is one of a handful dedicated heroes, without whom no decent training would ever take place:
“We just completed two weeks of scenario training with our new recruits. We use paintball guns in a battery of roll-playing exercises. We included high-risk vehicle stops, confronting EDPs, and arrest and search.
After the first few exercises, trainees became very aware that they could be shot! They learned that cover is a grand ally and sought it without delay, and they learned to use it effectively.
However, many then became ‘locked’ into the first article of cover they found. Bad guys would subsequently outflank and shoot them with ease. We then had to teach them the subtle art of being ‘aggressively mobile,’ using multiple covered positions and moving so swiftly that they became nearly impossible to hit. Combined with superior shooting skills, being aggressively mobile makes one a formidable opponent indeed
I am confident we are teaching them valuable skills. Down here, they’ll need them!”
5 Oct 00
From a friend in the contract training business:
“During the course, one of the LEOs was complaining he couldn’t pull the trigger on his issued Glock 22. So, one of our instructors (a Glock armorer) disassembled the gun and found it was so packed with powder residue, dirt, and lint that the trigger would no longer work. Of course, our armorer cleaned it out, and the gun was promptly cured of its problem.
This officer was issued the Glock in 1993, and the gun had never been serviced or examined by an armorer since! The department never sent anyone to armorer school, and they didn’t (and still don’t) have any scheduled, preventive maintenance. For seven years, the officer field striped and cleaned, but that is all.
This event was a rude awakening for the entire class and a valuable lesson. One of the most reliable handguns made can still be rendered inert by lack of maintenance.”
7 Oct 00
On frangible ammunition from a friend who is a range officer with a large PD:
“There is a primer problem, which seems to be inherent with lead-free primer technology. It’s a shelf-life issue that can be mitigated by buying small lots of ammunition frequently. Departments that are locked into an annual bid process might not have that option easily to hand.
There is also a problem with the durability of the bullet itself. For example, when firing our M-16s in full-auto, the bullets break off at the case mouth and cause a mess.
Of all the products available, I like C&R the best. They seem to take extra care in production.
The increased cost is more than offset by the savings in indoor range operation. With lead-free, there is no need for expensive HEPA air filters, testing of employees for lead levels, disposal of wash water as hazardous waste, or periodic ‘mining’ of the lead by individuals wearing respirators and disposable Tyvek suits. In addition, lead-free ranges can return us to the days when you could shoot during the day then sweep up and have a banquet in the same room that evening.”
7 Oct 00
Not everyone uses high-performance ammunition. This is from a friend who sells ammunition (among others things) to police departments:
“The Department of Corrections for the state of _______, which is a massive machine, carries S&W M10s. Their DUTY LOAD is 158-grain roundnose, lead (unjacketed). I thought we had bid good riddance to that garbage years ago. However, it was explained to me that, ‘A hollowpoint bullet may kill an internee. We intend to just wound them.’ This, of course, from a bean-counting bureaucrat who is never personally exposed to danger and who couldn’t distinguish a pistol from a toaster.
On many occasions I’ve tried to convince them that the safety of their employees would be compromised far less if they changed out to high-performance ammunition. They won’t hear it. The people who do the purchasing don’t even carry guns, have no understanding of ballistic performance, and care far more about keeping their jobs than they do about doing them. No heroes there!”
Where are the heroes when you need them?
9 Oct 00
I don’t advocate the weak-side index finger being wrapped around the front of the trigger guard in any kind of pistol shooing, but the practice is particularly ill-advised in defensive shooting. Confirming this is a friend who is a range officer with a large PD:
“We see shooters with the index finger of the support hand curled around the front of the trigger guard all the time. Like you, we discourage the practice, but many trainees, having read the gun rags, have their own ideas.
One day I was viewing some video of our SWAT guys going through a building search. I found it worth noting that, among those who use the above grasping method, the support trigger finger was pulling the trigger guard back (and consequently pulling the muzzle down) as the firing-hand index finger was pressing the trigger. I now understood why they frequently had low hits on their targets. Not surprisingly, the low-hit problem became more acute as the stress level went up.
Another subtlety I observed on the same film:
Every time one of them turned his head to look, for example, around a corner, he would involuntarily blink his eyes. Thus, we should always scan twice, when possible. Mom and Dad probably didn’t really know why they told us to look twice before crossing the street, but, as it turns out, it was sage advice.”
9 Oct 00
Problem with S&B ammo again:
“A student shooting an AR-15 had a ka-boom with factory S&B ammo. The bottom of magazine blew out, dumping rounds, spring, and follower on the ground. The shooter was startled but unhurt. I wish I could say the same for his rifle. The bolt was damaged, and the magazine well was bulged. The lower receiver is history, which means he will have to get a new rifle.
When we retracted the bolt, we recovered a spent casing from the chamber in good condition. It appears to have fired normally. However, the next round in the magazine detonated when the chambered round fired, and that is what caused the damage.
It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that!”
We’ve had chambered cases rupture and leak gas into the received with similar results. I don’t know how the above incident could have happened, but I, for one, won’t be giving it a second opportunity!
10 Oct 00
Magersfontein, South Africa, December 1899:
When the crusty president of the Transvaal, Paul Kruger, told the British to remove their troops from the Transvaal border and turn back their reinforcements, saying, “… or with great regret I’ll be compelled to regard your actions as a declaration or war,” his warning was greeted back in England with contemptuous disdain and laughter. Transvaal was not even a third-rate military power. They had a lot of nerve challenging the mighty British Empire!
However, the laughter abruptly stopped when Kruger’s mounted “commandos” suddenly swept into British-controlled Natal, easily seizing key towns and casually brushing aside British defenders. The second Anglo-Boer War within twenty years had begun in earnest!
Back at the Cape, newly arriving British troops were told the whole “misunderstanding” would be over in a few weeks. Neither side had machine guns nor automatic rifles, but they did have artillery and rifle-armed infantry. The British soon learned, to their sorrow, how devastatingly effective Boer farmers could be with their Mauser M95 rifles and their uncanny individual marksmanship, refined from many years of hunting big game on the African plane.
Like Daniel Morgan’s Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolution, Boer marksman were trained to immediately identify and pick off enemy officers and NCOs at the beginning of every battle. Leaderless enemy formations would then disintegrate and lose both momentum and cohesiveness. That is exactly what happened at Magerfontein.
At Magerfontein, the British planned a crushing charge at daybreak into Boer positions at the base of a line of hills, lead by the vaunted Black Watch and other elite units of the Scottish Highlanders. During the Napoleonic wars, the extraordinarily successful Russian General, Suvorov, who had repeatedly outwitted the cream of French field commanders, in his famous book, The Science of Victory, influenced an entire generation of European generals to believe that “speed and violence,” particularly the use of shock infantry troops in bayonet attacks, was the key to victory in land battle. Indeed it was, until, a mere fifteen years later, the advent of machine guns and other automatic weapons would usher in an end to the age of infantry charges. However, tactical beliefs die slowly. Even many years later in WWII, Japanese infantry units during the Pacific Campaign still relied upon “Bonzi” charges, until they finally and reluctantly conceded that the tactic was ineffective against American firepower.
However, at Magerfontein the British would learn that the tactic was also ineffective against expert marksman who were dug in and who were using rapid-fire Mauser rifles which could be reloaded and returned to action more or less instantaneously after the last round was fired. In addition, the British also discovered that massed artillery preparations were highly overrated.
With the assurance that the entire Boer contingent had be decimated by artillery fire, the Black Watch confidently advanced in the early morning of 11 Dec 1899. Suddenly, it looked as if, “someone turned on a million lights,” as the entire Boer line, apparently unaffected by the artillery preparation, erupted in rifle fire. One of the last words out of the mouth of General “Red Mick” Wauchope leading the Black Watch was, “This is fighting, lads!”
They didn’t fight for long! Highlander formations precipitously disintegrated into a disorganized rout. British losses were staggering. Most were shot in the back. Christmas parties all over England and Scotland were canceled that year!
The bitterness of Black Watch survivors toward British field commander, Methuen, would last for decades. Said one many years later, “We were led into a butcher’s shop and bloody well left there!”
Methuen was sacked. The entire British effort had to go back to square one. The Anglo-Boer War would drag on for several more years, not weeks!”
>Think, don’t “feel.” Always ask yourself, “How can I use this information to improve my situation?” Never ask yourself, “How does this information make me feel?” Those who are enslaved by their emotions and “feelings” are perpetual losers. They are universally regarded as weaklings, and are thus consistently selected for victimization. They only care about “feeling good,” and they are deathly afraid of “feeling bad.” They therefore always act exclusively according to that interest.
At every turn of a card, you have a choice. You can deal with the new information rationally and use it logically to plan your next move, or, like the British in Africa, you can “feel” your way to calamity. You have a choice: You can use the information to improve your play, or you can use it to alter your mood. You can think your way to victory, or you can wallow in a fantasyland where everything that makes you feel bad is displayed on an imaginary scoreboard, labeled “How I feel right now!”
“Feeling good about yourself” is something which must be earned; earned over the long haul. Instant “good feelings” are fleeting. If you chase them, the way an addict chases his next fix, you’re blunder into one disaster after another. Runaway emotions are like fire. If you don’t put it out, it will burn itself out!
>Artillerymen consistently overestimate the effectiveness of their bombardments. Ultimately, enemy soldiers must be located, closed with, and killed one at a time. Masterful leadership may render enemy armies irrelevant but, when the fight starts, competent riflemen are still the key to victory, even today-especially today!
15 Oct 00
Duck plugs installed in law-enforcement shotguns!
A student attending a Rifle/Shotgun Course we conducted in Nevada this weekend brought a newly-purchased Mossberg pump shotgun. It featured a four-shot magazine tube, an eighteen-inch barrel, and a law-enforcement, plastic forend.
As the student attempted to charge the magazine tube, he discovered that it only allowed two rounds to be inserted. There was obviously a duck plug in the tube! We were unable to remove the duck plug, so the student had to struggle with a plugged magazine tube for the rest of the Program. We advised him to get the shotgun to a competent gunsmith at his earliest opportunity and have the plug removed.
Another student brought a Winchester pump shotgun which also had a duck plug installed. That one we were able to remove and pitch into the nearest garbage can.
We all wondered why a law-enforcement shotgun would be shipped with a duck plug in the magazine tube, which could not be readily removed. The least they could have done would have been to include the duck plug in the package but separate from the shotgun itself, on the slim chance that some grasseater would actually want it. We concluded that manufacturers are all scared to death that they might produce a weapon which could actually be effectually used for personal defense.
16 Oct 00
From a friend in the Philippines:
“Late last night, a friend called to say that she heard noises in her back yard as well as on the roof of her house. She sounded really scared. I went over to her house. Happily, no intruders were found.
Over here, meth is a popular fix and the crimes committed by its users are neither pretty nor petty.
Curiously, everyone in that house looks at armed civilians as paranoid and trigger happy. Isn’t it interesting therefore that they called me and not the cops. It’s easy to be a grasseater until some misfits decide you’re on the lunch menu. A lesson we continue to see ignored by the majority of the world.”
Lesson: Grasseaters are, of necessity, hypocrites.
18 Oct 00
This from a friend and student who just attended a video-simulator training session with a federal LE agency. It was the first time he had been exposed to video simulators:
“I noted a tendency to shoot high, when I did not pay enough attention to my sights. When I acquired a correct sight picture, focused on the front sight, and unfailingly reset the trigger, centered, cloverleaf multiple impacts, exactly where I wanted them, were produced with monotonous regularity. Where have I heard that before? It can’t be overemphasized: correctly resetting the trigger produced significant improvements in speed and accuracy, when I disciplined myself to do it consistently.
In one notable video scenario, I was behind a robbery suspect who was backing out of a storeroom and had a revolver in one hand and a flashlight in the other. I already had my sidearm drawn. I pointed it in his direction, and verbally challenged him. The startled suspect slowly turned around with flashlight and revolver held up. Then, he turned to his strong side as if to place the gun down. I moved and repeated the verbal command. He persisted and continued to turn, so that his gun was blocked from my view. I fired at that moment, and he went down in a hail of bullets.
LAPD wrote the script, and it was considered a ‘no-shoot,’ as the suspect was ostensibly complying. However, I disagreed and contended that he was not complying to my command to stop. I thus concluded that I was in grave danger and responded appropriately. I’d do it again, with no apology. After consultation, my instructors agreed.
I especially liked the shotgun. I was getting multiple hits in the same times given for multiple hits with the handgun. I love shotguns!”
Lesson: An enthusiastic application of basic defensive skills is the ticket to victory. A precision, disciplined, lethal response will take attackers down and out of the fight faster than anything else.
However, none of that is particularly helpful if a person is confused about his or her own right to life. An unapologetic determination to protect one’s life in all circumstances is at the core of competent firearms training.
19 Oct 00
“One of our officers had a gun accident recently. He carried a two-shot, over/under derringer (38 special) in a pocket of his patrol car’s sunshade. He indicated that he chose this option, because the gun is out of sight and readily obtainable if he were assaulted in his car where seat belts and a ballistic vest make it difficult to reach his regular sidearm quickly.
He was responding to a hot call when the derringer fell from the visor and landed, hammer first, on the back of the slide of his holstered Glock 23. The derringer discharged precipitously.
The round went through his shirt, impacted his vest, skipped along his chest, weaving in and out of his shirt a couple of times and missed his chin by only a couple of inches. It ultimately exited the car through the roof and was not recovered.
We now have a new hole in our patrol vehicle, but our officer was not hurt. The derringer in question, needless to say, has been pulled from service.”
Lesson: All reputable defensive handguns are “drop safe,” but some (not so reputable) handguns are not. In the latter category are many small, sub caliber, pot metal guns intended for deep concealment. Because of incidents like the one described above, I strongly recommend that any defensive handgun you have in your life be drop safe. Kahr, SIG, S&W, Glock and several other reputable manufacturers make small, defensive handguns which are drop safe and are chambered for adequate calibers. If you want a small gun, go with one of those, not with cheap trash.
19 Oct 00
From my friend in the Philippines:
“In our legislature, one of the staunchest opponents of bills that would allow citizens to be legally armed, just underwent a gun safety seminar in order to renew his own firearms license! This is a man belonging to a block of politicians that says ‘civilian ownership of guns is the hallmark of a barbarous uncivilized society.'”
Lesson: Politicians are the same wherever you go!
24 Oct 00
Training “accident.” This is from the 21 Oct 00 issue of the LA Times:
“A police officer in suburban Oceanside accidentally shot another officer on Friday during an informal training session. Two training officers were providing instruction to a rookie in a deserted parking lot. The officer whose shot caused the injury said he believed his sidearm was unloaded.
The wounded officer was playing the part of an enraged motorist and was running toward the rookie officer. He was shot just above the right knee and is listed in fair condition.
In 1993 an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy shot another during a similar, ‘informal’ training session. That wound proved fatal, and the Orange County Board subsequently settled out of court with the officer’s widow for five million dollars.”
>Training sessions with functional weapons involving inexperienced people carry with them significant risk of accidental shooting incidents like the one described above. Plastic, “drone” placebos are commonly available and should be used instead of functional weapons if possible.
>The officer who did the shooting jerked his trigger, and his shot subsequently impacted low and left. This is typical performance for trigger jerkers. NYPD’s SOP9 study shows many, similar shootings where the person shot was hit low and right in the abdomen or in the right leg. Thus, trigger jerkers normally produce nonfatal wounds.
24 Oct 00
From a friend with the Capetown Traffic Police:
“The CZ is our staple diet around here. We have found on the new model CZs that the trigger pin is sometimes not flared properly and will pop out under heavy use, usually at a bad time!
My police-issue CZ is now pushing 100,000 rounds and is showing some signs of wear on the right side of the slide rail. It is now also starting to rattle ever so slightly, but it is still perfectly serviceable. Of course, we shoot wimpy hardball exclusively (not by choice!)
We have had a couple of Tanfogs blowing barrels under heavy use. I think the Tanfog has lost something in the copying process.”
30 Oct 00
I visited with a friend who is a major gun retailer this afternoon:
>Of all his rental handguns (which really take a beating, day in and day out), the ones which holds up best are the Ruger pistols! They have experienced less parts breakage than even the Glocks. They are maladroit, but they do hold up.
>The hot-selling 1911 clone is definitely the Kimber (in its various iterations), outselling all others by a wide margin.
>Kahrs continue to be strong, particularly the P9 (with the plastic frame). They are difficult to keep in stock.
>Glock 19s and 23s are still the best selling Glocks. The 36 is starting to show some popularity, but customer acceptance has not been widely enthusiastic as was expected. I’ve been carrying a 36 for several months now, and I really like it. It is a good deal slimmer and easier to carry than a 19.
>For the first time I handled a Carbon-15 223 rifle. It’s made by Professional Ordnance of Lake Havasu City, AZ. It resembles an AR-15, but it is very light and short. It takes AR-15 magazines and comes with a P-rail but no sights! If it holds up, it could be a real contender for the title of “Preferred Patrol Rifle.”