2 Apr 01
From a friend in South Africa:
“Last Sunday morning, five thugs barged into a local shopping center (Port Elizabeth) armed with several pistols and one R5 rifle, which is a locally made copy of the Israeli Galil. They were trying to rob the supermarket, but in the process were confronted by an off-duty police officer.
The officer, despite the suspect’s rifle being in plain view, did not draw his own weapon and did not take cover. He stood in the open and verbally challenged them. Upon being thus challenged, the suspects went berserk and started shooting in every direction. Happily, they were as incompetent with weapons as they were at the art of armed robbery, and no one, including the officer, was hit.
The suspects then exited the store, hijacked a car, and sped off. Several blocks away they collided with a police van, and a running gun battle among local residences ensued. Two of the suspects were shot to death at the scene by police. The third escaped and is still at large. One bystander was hit by a ricochet. His wound was not serious. Over one hundred rounds were discharged before the incident ended.
Curiously, this shopping center has a large contingent of private ‘security guards,’ most of whom are armed. They are all uniformed and maintain a high profile. However, their ‘profile’ quickly changed when the shooting started! They were last seen fleeing like mice. Not one of them ever fired a shot or became involved in any way.
This particular shopping center is just around the corner from where I live, and my family and I are there quite often. One wonders what coming next. Anyway, that is life here.”
>Waiting too long to draw your gun and go to cover can be fatal. If you perceive a direct, lethal threat, that is what guns are for! Going into potentially injurious confrontations in condition white is a recipe for disaster. You have to have your head in the game!
>Counting on “security guards,” armed or otherwise, for protection is the province of naive fools. If you don’t provide your own protection, you won’t have any.
>Staying out of “the bad part of town” is good advice, but it is no guarantee of safety. A “bad part of town” is coming to a place near you!
6 Apr 01
This from a friend in South Africa who owns a local gunshop:
“Earlier this year, a woman came into our shop and bought a fighting knife. It was a cheap copy of a Spyderco. Over here, Cold Steel and Spyderco knives are extremely popular, but they are so expensive that a market has been created for cheap imitations. The imitations run one-fifth the price of the real thing.
This woman had never thought much about defending herself and did not own a gun, but security concerns worried her enough for her to take at least this small precaution. After her purchase, I gave her instruction in the defensive use of knives. Several weeks later she came back to our shop and bought a genuine Spyderco. Her timing, as it turns out, was elegant.
Two weeks ago she was in a small convenience store late in the evening. She was on her way home from work. When she returned to her car, she was confronted by an aggressive male much larger than herself. He grabbed her by the arm and forced her into her car at knife point. He then commanded her to drive to a secluded spot on the edge of town. She cooperated, as this man was threatening to kill her the entire time.
When the car stopped, he forced her out of the car and then forced her to lie down on her back in the grass. It was clear to her that she would be raped at the very least. Rape/mutilations and rape/murders are common crimes over here.
She complied, but, as soon as he put his knife down and started to open his trousers, she discretely retrieved and opened her own knife. He didn’t notice. As he attempted to straddle her (with his pants down), she made her move and used her Spyderco to cut him deeply along his inner thigh, from back to front.
He immediately started bleeding profusely. He stood up in a state of confused bewilderment, and the woman took advantage of his hesitation and ran back to her car. She got in and left immediately.
No word on what happened to the potential rapist, as she left him there. She indicated that she is now going to buy a pistol.”
>Sometimes we must wait for the window of opportunity to open, but don’t wait too long. Have a plan.
>When you are fighting for your life, you hold nothing back. To do less would be to undervalue your life. Strikes must be made with precision and extreme violence with the intent of inflicting crippling injury. However, unfocused attacks, no matter how forceful, are seldom successful. You can’t allow yourself to panic.
>When the tables have been turned, disengage and escape. No need to stick around or inflict additional injury when escape is available and likely to succeed.
10 Apr 01
Follow up from the attempted rape incident mentioned in my last:
“The lady I told you about came back in yesterday. She purchased a Taurus PT111 (Millennium) in 9mm. There are other guns available, but anything imported from a country with a strong currency (like the USA) is prohibitively expensive here. Now, she must wait a minimum of three months (probably much longer) to take possession. In the interim, she has no gun, and no legal way to possess one.”
Lesson: When governments make individual “rights” impossible to exercise, they have effectively denied those rights. The primary purpose of government-imposed “regulations” is “regulating” rights out of existence. Here is a perfect example.
14 Apr 01
“The Winter War” The Russian invasion of Finland, 1939-1940
Typical of Russia’s sad history, its 1917 revolution was violent and bloody. Not surprisingly, Russia’s subsequent flirtation with democracy had a short life. No sooner had the new democratic Russian administration been created, when Vladimir Ulyanov seized power, sweeping aside all vestiges of representative government. He was careful not to call himself “Czar,” but that is what he was, and everyone knew it. They had simply traded one czar for another.
Russians were traditionally fearful of Germans and their “Iron Chancellor.” So, in order to instill fear in his colleagues and the general population alike, Ulyanov started to call himself “Man of Iron.” In Russian, it translates to “Lenin.”
The revolution in Russia sent shock waves through the all aristocratic families of Europe. Visions of throngs of pitchfork-armed peasants storming castles scared kings and barons alike, as they had not been scared in a long time. “Gun control” was one of their knee-jerk reactions, and we’ve lived with it to this very day. Pitchforks were okay, but guns in the hands of “peasants” suddenly made aristocrats nervous.
Civil war erupted immediately with Lenin’s seizure of power. Lenin and his Bolsheviks (Communists) subsequently showed their countrymen and the entire world just how brutal and barbarous an army could be. Starting with the sadistic murder of Czar Nicholas, his wife, and all five of their children (assuring no Nicholas successor would ever claim title), he was successful in consolidating power, despite spirited opposition from the “White Russian” Army and its covert support from Britain and America. Lenin’s forces swarmed over a hundred ethnic lands, casually slaughtering all opposition. Lenin laughingly called his new empire, “A Prison of Nations,” but only in private. Its official title was “The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” In Russian, “soviet” translates to “council.”
By 1921, the fighting was over, and Lenin was firmly in command. However, he died mysteriously in 1924 at the age of fifty-four. He was immediately succeeded by a close supporter, forty-three-year-old Losef Djugashvili. Djugashvili, seeking to consolidate his shaky position, started calling himself, “Man of Steel,” upstaging Lenin’s nickname. The Russian translation is “Stalin.” Succeeding decades would reveal Joe Stalin to be the literal personification of evil, making other, better known, aggressive and brutal dictators, like Hitler, look positively enlightened by comparison.
Under Stalin, all private property was immediately confiscated by the state. Since that included privately owned farms, mass impoverishment followed. Millions starved to death. The Czars had flaunted their wealth. Hypocritical Communist leaders hid theirs, and a swift arrest by the dreaded NKVD (precursor of the KGB) and indefinite internment in a “reeducation” camp awaited all who dared suggest that the new USSR was not paradise on Earth.
Communism, of course, didn’t work then any more than it worked at any other time, and it soon became obvious to Communist leaders that an “amebic” foreign policy, where neighboring nations were successively invaded, stripped of valuables, and casually discarded was the only way to keep the empire going. As a result, numerous ethnic revolts between 1928 and 1935 had to be successively put down by Stalin. He and his regime survived, but Stalin’s rabid paranoia lead to the murder of tens of thousands of colleagues, friends, religious leaders, civil servants, industrial and military leaders, and their entire families, extending to cousins, nieces and nephews! Most were shot to death on the spot. Dreadful purges continued throughout the 1930s.
As the 1930s came to a close, it became obvious to world watchers that Hitler and Stalin were in a desperate race for control of Europe. Hitler and Stalin had signed a convenient but uneasy alliance in 1939, just in time to secure the conquest of Poland, but Stalin’s and Hitler’s hatred for each other would make any such agreement short lived. The NKVD followed Russian troops into Poland, and, as they had in Russia itself, promptly slaughtered and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of innocent (and conveniently disarmed) noncombatants. The Communist “style” was thus becoming well established, and it was feared by all, even more than that of the Nazis.
With Hitler firmly in control of Austria, Czechoslovakia, and most of Poland, Stalin frantically looked for matching conquests. He turned his attention west to Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Finland was the most sophisticated nation of the four and was the main objective of Stalin’s attention. Finland was one of the few neighboring nations that had not yet been absorbed by the amebic USSR. Stalin now demanded that Finns allow him to put air and navel bases on Finnish soil. Characteristically duplicitous Stalin was, of course, planning an invasion whether they yielded to his demands or not.
By November of 1939, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania had all readily yielded to every demand of Stalin. They offered no resistance. Finns, on the other hand, not only refused to allow Russians on their soil, but had mobilized on a national scale. Stalin was furious, but, like all bullies who face the prospect of a real fight, he was startled and a little frightened! Massacring rear-echelon and reserve troops and innocent civilians is one thing. Facing a well-armed, well organized, and determined army, even a small one, was something else. Stalin was concerned, but he had no choice. He could not afford to look “weak” on the world stage. Germans, British, and Americans were all watching. Tolerating an insolent snub from tiny Finland was out of the question, even with winter coming on.
The Finnish/Russian border was an immense, rugged forest with only a few roads and logging trails. It was November. The soil was slush. The full blast of winter would come in December, freezing everything solid and reducing daylight to only a few hours each day. Relentless darkness broken only by brief, timid, and cloudy twilight would go on until spring. Faced with this predicament, Meretsklov, the Russian general in charge, suggested to Stalin that the invasion of Finland be postponed until spring or at least until midwinter when frozen ground would support his tanks. He was contemptuously rebuffed and ordered to proceed without delay. It was a fatal mistake!
When the Finns decided to resist, they endowed the “Grand Old Man” of the Finnish Army, Marshal Baron Carl Gustav Mannerheim, with complete control of Finnish military resistance. At the age of seventy-two, Mannerheim was an experienced and crusty soldier and aristocrat with a seething contempt for Stalin and his Communists. He had fought to free his country from Russians once before, and he was ready to fight them again. Mannerheim literally mobilized his entire nation! Women, old men, and teenage boys were inducted into and integrated with existing military units. Like the Israelis a generation later, he told his nation that they were in a fight for their very lives and the life of their country, and they would hold nothing back.
With negotiations broken off, the Russian invasion began on 30 Nov 1939, with Soviet bombers striking Finnish cities, and Soviet warships shelling coastal towns. The tiny Finnish Navy and Air Force could do little to interfere. By the time the ground invasion stated later the same day, Russian troops were advancing in total darkness.
The Soviet advance bogged down almost immediately. Supply lines broke down in the darkness and cold, and tanks and motorized vehicles, slogging through the slush and mud, started running out of gas. White uniformed Finnish ski troops lilted effortlessly in and out of Russian columns. Like silent ghosts, they appeared out of nowhere. The Finns then sprayed rows of stacked up Russian troops with their domestically made Soumi submachine guns, inflicting multiple casualties. As abruptly as they had materialized, they vanished into the forested darkness. Russians, not equipped with skies, could not pursue them, nor could they respond in any effective way. Finnish ski troops disappeared before the Russians could bring their machine guns into play or even unsling their rifles.
The forest was so thick, navigation by the stars was all but impossible, and tanks could not maneuver except on roads, and there were precious few of those. In the dark, tanks were useless anyway. Russian units that left roads and trails became separated and eventually lost. Most became disoriented and eventually froze to death. Most main trails and roads had been blocked with felled trees. Clearing them often took days. But, the few open trails were invariably narrow and repeatedly led the Russians into well camouflaged, Finnish ambushes. Finnish machine guns then raked drawn-out Russian infantry columns. Nearly all fighting took place in total darkness. Large Finnish units kept appearing where they were not supposed to be! Russian casualties rapidly mounted. Most could not be evacuated and quickly froze to death. Horses, used to draw wagons, were killed and eaten by cold and starving Russian troops, effectively immobilizing most Russian artillery.
By Christmas, the entire Russian offensive had ground to a halt. Most units were out of fuel, out of food, out of ammunition, and freezing to death. Stalin’s methods were coming back to haunt him! Every one of his officers who had displayed any initiative in the past ten years had been either imprisoned or shot. The ones who were left wouldn’t make any decision without the concurrence of the ever-present political commissars, but it was the political commissars who always broke and ran first! Stalin’s army was paralyzed.
Stalin angrily fired Meretsklov and replaced him with Timoshenko. Timoshenko, with no less than twenty-four fresh divisions, renewed the offensive, but fared no better than Meretsklov. The new forces instantly became bogged down. The war was an effective stalemate. Finns were not strong enough to eject the Russians outright, and the Russians were losing people so fast that they had to do something.
A truce was negotiated. While soldiers froze and starved, the two sides bargained. Stalin knew he was not in a position of strength, but Finns knew the Russian assault would begin anew in the spring, and British and American help was unlikely. In the end, Finland ceded several bases, but was not, as a whole, annexed into the Soviet Union. It’s citizens were spared the horrors that would have been inflicted by the NKVD. Finland retained its independence. A Russian general was later heard to comment bitterly, “The amount of territory ceded was barely enough for us to bury our dead!”
The cost of the Finland Campaign in terms of lives was staggering. Finns sustained losses to be sure, but the Russians lost close to a half million men, not to mentioned uncounted tons of captured and abandoned equipment. In one accounting, thirty-two Finnish soldiers held off a force of over four-thousand Russian infantrymen. By the end of the failed communist attack, four hundred Soviets lay dead and the rest in disorginized retreat. Only four Finns survived, but they held the line.
However, painful lessons learned in Finland were not lost on the Russians and were put to good use against the Germans at Stalingrad:
For one thing, Stalin stopped shooting every general who lost a battle! Meretsklov was not only spared, but he was retained in the army. Other officers saw this as a sign that they could, once again, show some initiative without fear of facing a firing squad.
The Red Army instituted cold-weather training and started equipping its troops with adequate equipment and clothing for low temperatures. The timing of this move couldn’t have been better, as the Russians would be facing German troops in cold weather in just three years, at Stalingrad.
Heavy, ponderous tanks were scrapped in favor of the light and nimble T-34, which could maneuver in terrain inaccessible to heaver tanks.
Russian infantry units turned in their Moisin-Nagant, bolt-action rifles and were reissued submachine guns. Easy to manufacture and maintain, submachine guns could be produced in great numbers quickly. The pistol ammunition they used was also easy to make in vast quantities. For fighting in urban areas, like Stalingrad, submachine gun equipped Russian infantry was extremely effective against bolt-action rifle equipped German infantry.
Had the Russians not fought the Finns in 1939-40 and learned the important lessons they did, they would probably not have been able to stop the Germans during the Eastern Campaign. Had the Germans been successful on the Eastern Front, the Normandy Invasion would probably never have taken place, and World history would have been considerably different!
>World leaders who are more worried about their own “image” and “place in history” than they are about the day-to-day welfare of their nation invariably make calamitous errors, leading to untold misery and suffering.
>Standing up to a bully, even when the odds are greatly in his favor, will invariable unnerve him and cause him to become confused. Never underestimate your enemy, but never overestimate him either.
>A nation where everyone, soldier and citizen alike, is armed and competent, is nearly impossible for anyone to conquer. A nation or riflemen is a force to be reckoned with!
23 Apr 01
I had the opportunity to shoot a Glock 32 last weekend. It’s the same size externally as the G19 and G23, but it’s in 357SIG caliber. I like it so much that I’m carrying it now in my Elderton IWB holster. I’m using Cor-Bon 125gr HPs. They are bracing!
No feeding problems, even with the 13-shot LEO magazines. Bottleneck cartridges are notorious for nose-diving, but Glock seems to have eliminated that problem.
Recoil is actually less than most 40s, but the muzzle blast is exciting, as noted above. Muzzle flash at night is minimal, no more than with most 9mms.
Having the equivalent of a 14-shot 357mg is a good deal. Even with Clinton Clips, it’s still a good deal.
I’ve heretofore been carrying a G36 in 45ACP. Side by side, the two don’t look much different, but I can surely feel the additional width of the G32 as I carry it.
If one must carry a pistol, the G32 is going to be hard to beat!
24 Apr 01
From an LEO friend and student in the Southeast:
“I attended a firearms training session with several members of a local law enforcement agency last week. They were all wearing Royal Robbins trousers, which featured a large loop above the right, rear pocket. One individual had a glob of keys attached to the loop via a clip. The glob of keys was directly to the rear of his holster. His pistol was Glock, and it was in some species of retention holster.
As we were all standing at the firing line, that officer’s weapon discharged in the holster! His pants were torn up as a result, but the bullet missed him (not by much!). He was shaken but not hurt. The bullet buried itself in the ground.
When the shot went off, I immediately turned to look at him, as he was right next to me. I saw that his strong hand was on the rear of the pistol with the thumb and forefinger circling the rear of the slide; ie: he was not using his master grip (firing grip) to reholster.
1) His keys flipped up as he reholstered, and one got in the trigger guard. It then pushed the trigger back as the gun was thrust into the holster.
2) His nonstandard grip on the gun allowed his little finger to inadvertently slip into the trigger guard as he reholstered.
Whichever the cause, there are two lessons for me from the incident:
1) Keep your holster area clear of loose objects like key rings
2) Handle your pistol only in a correct, master grip. The master grip provides maximum control over the pistol and all fingers automatically go where they are supposed to be.”
I’ll add a third:
Install NY triggers on your Glocks. I have a NY trigger on all my Glocks, and I’ve never regretted it
26 Apr 01
I’ve just received a Remington 11-87 and an M1 Carbine from my good friend Robbie Barrkman at Robar in Phoenix. On both guns he applied NP3 to the internal parts and Roguard to the exterior. NP3 is an electroless nickel process with teflon mixed in. It comes out to a dull, gray finish that is hard, slick and self-lubricating. Roguard is a polymer coating. It comes out black, but it could probably be done in any color. It too is slick and durable.
Both treatments provide extreme corrosion protection, and the actions of both guns are a good deal smoother than before the treatment. The M1 Carbine magazines are particularly smooth and no longer bind. Both guns will get a workout in classes in the coming months.
I’ve had guns treated with both processes before, but I’m convinced that the Roguard-on-the-outside-NP3-on-the-inside method is the best way to go for a defensive weapon. We ought to call it “RGONPI.” What the world needs now- another acronym!
Robbie is a good guy and a good friend. His attention to detail and devotion to quality are second to none. Highly recommended.
26 Apr 01
This is from a close friend who does a lot of 1911 shooting:
“When I reload my Kimber Mini with a full-length, Colt magazine, it runs up too far, blocking the slide. In another of my Kimber Minis the ejector extends far enough forward so as to prevent the magazine from going up too far. Is this a problem with all mini-1911s? Can it be fixed?”
The extended-magazine-that-goes-too-far-up problem is common with all cut-down 1911s. So common In fact, I recommend that full-length magazines not be used with mini-pistols, especially as a reload, just for that reason. I suspect, that, if shoved hard enough, the magazine would go up too far on both your pistols.
My advice is to stick with the magazines that came with the pistol and use them exclusively, particularly for reloads. Those extra rounds mean very little if the gun doesn’t work.
30 Apr 01
News from South Africa:
“South Africa is bracing itself for the same kind of organized (and government sanctioned) home/farm invasions that is presently taking place in Zimbabwe.
Mpumalanga is the first target. Farmers’ unions have warned that it will become extremely dangerous there. The big difference here, of course, is that most farmers are armed, at least for the moment. New gun laws are designed, of course, to change all that.
Police and army personnel (the laughable ‘home guard’) have been placed ‘on alert’ (a contradiction of terms).
Our President Mbeki is also in trouble. There has been a ‘high-level coup attempt,’ coming from within the ANC, and probably organized from the UK (MI 6).
Yes, this is AFRICA at its best. We all ‘enjoy’ living on the edge, because the middle is much too safe and crowded!
30 Apr 01
Replies to the last quip from students and colleagues:
“Cut-down and full-size magazines don’t mix! If a speed reload is done under stress, and the slide is locked open, the magazine will over travel every time.”
“True with the Colt Officer model too. On an enthusiastic reload, you can drive them so far up that you will need four hands and pliers to free the magazine.”
“The same thing happens with Glocks.”
“A BIG problem using full-size magazines in small-frame pistols will occur when reloading from slide lock. If the magazine is inserted smartly, it will go too high and bend a long ejector upwards, LOCKING the slide to the rear. The problem can go as far as breaking off the ejector.”
“The same thing occurs when a S&W 5906 magazine is used in a Marlin Camp 9.”
“The problem can be mitigated by reloading only with the slide or bolt closed, but of course that’s not a realistic option under stress.”
“Wilson sells a +1 magazine for compacts that has a stop designed to prevent over insertion. In hundreds of reloads I’ve had no problems.”
“The mini-1911 in 45ACP was a gun invented to fill a ‘need’ that doesn’t exist.”
“I often observe the reverse problem. Students try reload a full-sized 1911 with a magazine designed for a mini and end up chambering thin air. All the tap-racks in the world don’t help!”
“Glock 26/27/33 magazines are all too short to manipulate with any degree of certainty under stress. I found that I constantly bobbled my reloads with the G26 magazines. Consequently, I’ve gone back to a Glock 19.”
“The 1911 is called the 1911 because it was designed in 1911. It was fine then, and if you are almost one hundred years old yourself, it’s probably still fine for you. Carry it while you are driving your Model T Ford. If, however, you are involved in the business of protecting yourself, get a modern firearm and get serious.”
Sage advice. Every path has its flaws. We need to be serious about our craft and avoid situations and equipment that fairly invites disaster.
30 Apr 01
From a friend. Good marks for Glock:
“Received G22 and 23 back from factory today. Fast turn-around. I shipped to them 4/16! Packing list indicates ‘warranty’ on both and no shipping charges due. This is incredible. Both guns are several years old and well-used. I expected normal gun-smithing charges plus shipping. Is this typical?”