1 July 02
By contrast, sales information from friends in South Africa:
“We rarely see S&W pistols here at all. The P-99 made a brief appearance but did not do well. Among other things, the rear sights all wobble in their dovetail slots.
SA 1911s are hardier than Kimbers, as you noted, but the 1911 crowd here has dwindled considerably over the past few years.
Ruger autoloaders are functional in the short term, but we can’t keep them running. Not a popular pistol here.
Rich people here all have Glocks, mostly G23s. H&K USPs are also popular when you can find them. The best selling cheap guns are the Norinco Tokarev clones in 7.62×25 and 9mmP and Taurus compact revolvers in 38Spl. Russian Baikal pistols are also good sellers in the low-end market. Stout, like most Russian stuff.
Mossberg shotguns also do well. By contrast, Remington 870s and 11-87s are so expensive that we can’t move them. We don’t even see Benelli or Beretta autoloading shotguns.
Military autoloading rifles are difficult to obtain and own here. Zastava and CZ rifles sell well, followed by Howa, Ruger, and Winchester, all bolt guns. Top calibers are 30-06, 270 and 308. Rifles in 223 caliber are shunned by everyone here, except the military.
Eldorado Starfire is the most popular high-performance pistol ammunition here. Winchester, Cor-Bon, and Federal are all extremely popular (especially Cor-Bon) but only sporadically available and prohibitively expensive.
Most popular pistol calibers are 9mm and 40S&W, with 40S&W steadily gaining ground. The 357SIG has been here only a short time but is already claiming significant market share. At the bottom end are the 7.62×25 and 38spl. The popularity of the 45ACP has now diminished to the point where it is no longer a significant pistol caliber.”
4 July 02
Some responses on unsighted shooting:
“Point shooting is like the increasing use of red dot sights. People are looking for a way to become a good shot, without the most vital element: PRACTICE. It takes practice to hit reliably, not some newly renamed ‘system’ or wonder-gadget.”
“After the pistol passes mid-chest, the sights are visible and, consciously or unconsciously, the shooter will reference the sights and the pistol to the target. The person with the best and most consistent response built into their muscle memory has the advantage.”
“All I can say is that the trend toward unsighted fire is invariably self-limiting.”
“I too practice sighted fire, but when under stress, I will use gross sighting across the top of the slide.”
Comment: My esteemed colleague Ron Avery put it best: “The body points. The eye verifies.”
4 July 02
Gun sales in the Philippines:
“Over here in Manila, gun sales are still ruled by systems that chamber readily available rounds and that are popular enough to have an adequate supply of parts and magazines. Neither Kimbers nor Springfield Armory 1911s are seen much here. They are both priced out of the market. Same with Benelli shotguns. On the other hand, Mossberg and Remington shotguns both enjoy brisk local patronage.
Glocks sell well (in spite of the high price), as do Hi-Powers, Jerichos and CZ’s. With the 1911 crowd, Para-Ordnance and parts guns, built from Caspian components, sell well. H&K USPs are not seen here, because parts and magazines are nearly impossible to find.
Beretta 92Fs and SIG 226s are available but don’t move. People here have small hands, and double-column magazine pistols, particularly the aforementioned, are not popular for that reason.
Top cartridge choices are still 45ACP, and 9mm. The 40S&W has made scant inroads here. Same with the 357SIG. Ammunition supply for both is poor.
Italian ammunition rules the shotgun community. American equivalent costs twice as much. In pistol ammunition, Cor-Bon, WW Ranger, SXT, and PMC Starfire are popular with the 9mm crowd. Remington Golden Sabre and Federal Hydra-Shok are the preference of the 45ACP people. All of the above is routinely carried, but none is ever test fired, because the cost is so high.
Legitimate gun retailers complain bitterly about the difficulty they encounter importing guns from the USA and Europe. Thus, many dealers have to go through a third party of dubious legality and reliability. This practice boosts costs greatly.
The warriors among us find a way, as do true warriors everywhere.”
7 July 02
We just completed a pistol course in WA. We had the usual mixture of Glocks and others. All guns worked well except two.
One student had a Taurus PT 111 Millennium in 9mm. The pistol itself had great difficulty digesting any of the ammunition fed to it, even hardball. Its reliability was not satisfactory. In addition, the rear sight is plunked on top of the slide and held in place by a single screw, which came loose every few rounds. The student then found himself looking at a sideways rear sight! Very poor design. This pistol is not recommended. The student just informed me that he is getting rid of it and getting a Glock, Good move!
Another student had an IMI “Baby” Desert Eagle in 9mm. The rear sight on this pistol is at least anchored in a crosscut, dovetail slot. However, it was loose in the slot and kept drifting to the left. I used a brass hammer to pound it back to center several times. Very frustrating for the student, who was struggling with the principles of marksmanship and, of course, simultaneously having to learn the routine for the two-stage decocking lever. He too is switching to a Glock.
Competent pistol shooting is difficult enough without having to contend with poorly designed/poorly executed pistols. Here are two I’d be happy never to see again.
10 July 02
From Winston Churchill:
“If you will not fight when you can easily win, without bloodshed, and if you still will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly, you may well come to the moment when you will have no choice but to fight with the odds against you, and you have only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, simply because it is better to perish as warriors than to live as slaves.”
Lesson: We must be always prepared, and willing, to fight, if for no other reason than to keep morons from inheriting the Earth!
14 July 02
From a friend in Capetown:
“I’ve just returned from my yearly hunt with an interesting tale to tell:
I used a Lee-Enfield 303, zeroed to 200m (iron sights). We hunted in the Karoo Desert, where you’ve hunted also. I took four Springbok, all but one were snap shots at close range (under 100m). All the close shots were through the middle of the animal. I was puzzled at my shot placement, which was further to the rear than the normal heart/lung/spine area for which I usually aim.
Eventually, I figured out what was going on. When we train together, we always train to shoot center mass on our “human” targets. When taking snap shots, I spontaneously aimed for center mass on the bucks. Good thing my rifle wasn’t an autoloader. I might have “zippered” them!”
Training comes through!
18 July 02
The Easter Uprising, Dublin, Ireland, 24-28 Apr 1916
St Patrick converted primitive, pagan Irish tribal society to Roman Catholicism in the mid 400s AD. At that time, Romanized British considered Irish, Scots, and Welsh backwoods hicks, hardly deserving of serious notice (interestingly, much if what we know of the Roman Empire and all world history preceding it is the result of documents painstakingly preserved by Irish clerics). However, the close proximity of all three areas progressively garnered earnest cognizance on the part of British kings. Ireland was the last to be forced under the British umbrella, and was to be the most resistant.
In 1541, English King Henry VIII abruptly declared himself to be (also) the King of Ireland, precipitously annexing the entire island, which had been heretofore more or less autonomous. Henry also effectively kicked the Catholic Church out of England, replacing it with the “Church of England,” which he controlled, an act that simultaneously angered and frightened Catholics in all of Europe, particularly those in Ireland. Following him, Edward, VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I all consolidated British control of Ireland. Elizabeth, like her father (Henry VIII), tried to gradually displace Roman Catholicism with Protestantism, regarding Catholics as difficult to control, prone to rebellion, and more loyal to Church and Pope than to the British Crown. Irish Catholics defiantly displayed no interest in being “converted.” As a result, Elizabeth ultimately outlawed all Catholic religious services and executed a number of Catholic priests and bishops, putting in motion a centuries-long, anti-British enmity in Ireland, which still exists today.
Like the Romans before them, the British had scant patience with insurrections. The official policy was that all revolts were to be put down immediately and violently, violently enough to serve as a warning for others to refrain from joining in. Regardless, (as Elizabeth had feared) indigenous Irish Catholics revolted more or less continuously. Revolts were generally poorly organized and always failed, and they brought upon all Irish increasingly burdensome British subjugation. Following Elizabeth, James I seized vast tracts of Irish land and gave it to loyal, Protestant friends, setting up an Irish Protestant majority, at least among the local ruling class. Local, indigenous Catholics found themselves making up a permanent underclass. Oliver Cromwell, who came to power in England in the 1640s was a staunch Puritan (Protestant) and a talented general. He thoroughly and unequivocally put down the last major Irish revolt in 1649. As late as 1790s, suspected Irish rebels were routinely flogged, hanged in public (by the dozens), tortured, and burned.
However, Irish ex-patriots, driven to America and continental Europe by the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, provided financial fuel and moral support necessary to keep the anti-British, “Republican” movement alive and growing in Ireland. Even so, in Ireland itself things only got worse for the Catholic minority. By the beginning of the Twentieth Century, a Catholic in Ireland could neither purchase nor inherit land, could not hold public office, could not become educated, could not own or bear weapons, could practice his religion only in secret, and had little choice but to work his entire life as an indentured servant for a British landlord, who regarded him and his family as little more than livestock. In the spring of 1916, not surprisingly, the pot boiled over once more!
As all of Europe was conflagrated in WWI, the German Kaiser considered his support of Irish rebels to be a good idea, as large numbers of British troops would eventually be required to put down the (latest) revolt. Working with systematized Irish operatives, now well organized into secret military fraternities such as the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) and Sinn Fein (loosely translated: “We, Ourselves”) the Kaiser arranged for several boatloads of small arms to be smuggled into Ireland.
One such shipment was to arrive on Good Friday (21 Apr 1916), and the uprising was then scheduled to commence the following Easter Sunday (23 Apr 1916). However, British intelligence had broken German codes, and the shipment was discovered and intercepted. The ship was scuttled, and thousands of captured Russian rifles and machineguns ended up on the bottom of the ocean instead of in the hands of Irish revolutionaries. Notwithstanding, on schedule the IRB abruptly changed its name to the IRA (Irish Republican Army), declared all of Ireland to be independent from Britain, and elected Padraic Pearse its commander in chief. Pearse was a naive, quixotic poet with no military experience. Few of his IRA fighters had ever even handled, much less fired, a military rifle. The odds were not good. In a conversation with a friend on Easter Sunday, one of Pearse’s colleagues, James Connolly confronted a friend and said, “Bill, we’re going out to be slaughtered.” His friend replied, “Is there no hope at all?” Connolly smiled and said, “None whatever!” Connolly was absolutely correct.
The “revolution” got off to a rocky start (on Monday, a day late) and never garnered any presence outside the City of Dublin. As Connolly had feared, revolutionaries were hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned from the beginning. Several buildings were seized, and costly house-to-house fighting took place in various parts of the city over the next week. The rebels had several initial victories but, like inexperienced fighters everywhere, failed to follow up and consolidate their gains. Easily filtering through porous and casual IRA defensive lines, newly arriving British forces quickly turned the tide. British artillery, which Pearse naively thought would never be used, rapidly reduced rebel strongholds to rubble.
One British unit rushed to the scene were a group of middle-aged Irish veterans of the British Army with the colorful title, Georgious Rex (King George). Their nickname was the “The Gorgeous Wrecks!” They arrived in the battle zone with empty rifles and no ammunition! A good number were shot down before they realized this was a real war and that they weren’t just playing.
Several broom-handle Mauser pistols were used to great effect by the rebels. Nicknamed, “Peter the Painter,” a single Mauser held up and entire British infantry company for hours, inflicting substantial casualties. The new German Luger pistol was also favored among IRA fighters, but its lack of reliability quickly made it unpopular. In fact, the widespread use of German weapons, and the supposed connection between the IRA and Germany, was one ingredient which caused the British to treat captured IRA fighters so harshly.
However, by Friday, 28 Apr 1916, it was mostly over. All rebel leaders were dead or wounded. A dispirited Pearse decided to surrender rather than endure more pointless casualties and destruction of the city. The total casualty figure was three thousand, mostly noncombatants. Dublin’s center was burned and blasted to pieces. As captured IRA fighters were lead away, the city’s residents, Catholic and Protestant alike, assembled to shout insults and throw garbage at them.
Secret, military trials were held immediately, and, in a style more typical of Bolsheviks than English, all IRA leaders, including Pearse, were “convicted,” immediately taken out, lined up, and shot. A large number of suspected sympathizers were also rounded up and shot on the spot, without any kind of trial. Many more were jailed for months, again without trial. The British tried to hush all this up, but the news leaked out. In a similar way, the British had harshly subjugated hapless Dutch settlers in South Africa sixteen years earlier, but the hush-up campaign there had been successful. Not so in Ireland. IRA leaders may have been incompetent military planners, but they were adept at manipulating world opinion.
Thus, it turned out to be an unhappy victory for the British Crown. They won the battle but ultimately lost the war. The executions of Pearse and the rest of the IRA leaders generated great sympathy for the Irish independence movement. World opinion shifted in favor of the Irish.
In the ensuing, brief “War of Independence” for the first time in history bagpipes were played AGAINST a British military unit. I happened during the short Battle of Crosmaglen in 1920, where a small band of Irish irregulars known as the 3rd West Cork Volunteers ambushed a British company maneuvering in the southern Irish countryside. During the battle, Florian Begley, a Volunteer, who was a veteran of a Scottish Regiment during the Boer War (and a piper of some renown both in Scotland and Ireland), jumped onto a small hillside and began playing Irish rebel tunes on his pipes. This not only confused the British, who had never before heard the instrument played against them, it rallied the Volunteers who then routed the British. Local Irish romantically consider the “Battle of Crosmaglen” to be a turning point in the war that would ultimately bring an end to British rule in what was to become the Republic of Ireland. However, most consider the Easter Uprising four years earlier, even though it was a military defeat, to be the critical turning point.
The British, not wanting another public-relations disaster, finally granted independence to Southern Ireland in 1921. Northern Ireland remained a British colony. The urge to reunite the two Irelands continues to be a contentious issue to this day.
Even when you’re fighting for someone, expect neither support nor sympathy. Most people will side with the winner, whomever it turns out to be. No one loves a loser!
World opinion is a powerful manipulator of public policy, but only among nations, like the USA and the UK, who care about it. Adverse world opinion can easily turn a military victory into a public-relations catastrophe. Cover-ups only make it worse.
Many “military” organizations only play at preparation. If soldiers only train with empty weapons, who will think to bring ammunition when the real war starts? Who will know how to fight with and live with a loaded weapon?
Accurate fire, even from a pistol, can ruin the best of military plans! Competent gunmen, who hit what they aim at, are priceless!
23 July 02
From a friend setting up his new Benelli Super-90 shotgun for defensive purposes:
“I was able to have my gunsmith shorten the stock by an inch and a half without interfering with the recoil mechanism. I got a nicely centered, four inch group (Foster slugs) at fifty meters, about as tight a group as I and the Benelli are capable of (ghost-ring sights). I then fired one slug offhand at twenty-five meters. It hit dead-center. At seventy-five meters, slugs printed two inches low. Six inches low at one hundred meters.
I then patterned Federal 00 buckshot through the same shotgun at twenty-five, twenty, fifteen, ten, and seven meters. All rounds cycled normally. I got a twelve-inch diameter pattern (centered) at twenty meters. Eighteen inches (low) at twenty-five. My conclusion is that twenty meters is going to be the practical range limit of my shotgun with 00 buckshot. With slugs, I am comfortable taking a shot at a standing human out to seventy-five meters, but no further.”
Lessons: Stocks on most commercial shotguns are fine for some kinds of hunting, but are too long for defensive purposes. When used for defensive purposes, most shotgun stocks need to be shortened at least an inch, even if the gun is to be used by an averaged-sized male. It is also helpful to generously round off the top edge of the butt pad, so that it does not interfere with rapid mounting.
When adjusting shotgun sights, slugs should zero at fifty meters. Thus set up, slugs will print a half-inch high at twenty-five meters and will be dead-on at closer ranges. Thus, for all practical purposes a fifty-meter zero IS simultaneously a twenty-five meter zero.
With most defensive shotguns, twenty meters is the practical range limit when using 00 buckshot. With smaller sized buckshot, the range limit is even closer.
A slug-shooting shotgun does not come close to duplicating the capabilities of a rifle, despite all the miraculous stories one may hear. Slugs are reasonably accurate from most shotguns out to seventy-five meters. Accurate shots at further ranges are mostly wishful thinking. Rifled shotgun bores, combined with sabot slugs, can extend that range, but rifled shotguns are unserviceable with buckshot.
Hans Vang (Vang-Comp), and Irv Stone (Bar-Sto) both make shotgun barrels that, through various internal modifications, extend useable 00 buckshot range from twenty meters to thirty meters, a respectable improvement! The Wad Wizard device, which screws into internal threads at the shotgun’s muzzle, performs an identical function. Highly recommended for defensive shotguns.
24 July 02
NYPD and the G17/19
NYPD started converting the entire department from revolvers to 9mm Glock pistols in 1994. S&W and some other brands of autoloaders are also allowed, but the G19 has emerged as the pistol most carried by NYPD officers at present. Current ammunition is the Speed 124gr Gold Dot.
NYPD Range staff started complaining about a freakish malfunction of the G19 several years ago, and the issue has finally garnered the attention of both the NYPD brass and Glock. It happens with extreme infrequency and is nearly impossible to recreate, but NYPD has coined the term, “Phase-Three Stoppage” to describe it.
As represented, a fired case rim sticks under the extractor, and the case mouth simultaneously lodges at the mouth of the barrel hood. The standard, Tap-Rack-Bang drill will not dislodge it, and the slide cannot be manually moved in either direction. I’ve seen similar stoppages (not just with Glocks, but with nearly every other pistol) but I can usually move the slide. However, I have seen case rims stuck under the extractor so tightly that I had to poke them out from underneath (through the magazine well) with a Dejammer. So, I’m not sure I fully understand what is happening in NY, but it has become an “item.”
As with most big city PDs, individual weapon maintenance is poor and poorly supervised. Issue Glock pistols work remarkable well in spite of that, but deficient individual maintenance may still be a contributing factor.
Not wanting to lose the account, Glock has established a permanent presence at NYPD’s City Island range facility. As officers come to qualify, they are replacing extractors and regrinding ejection ports in a desperate attempt to solve the problem. Other “fixes” may emerge before it is all over. I personally doubt that anything can be done that will guarantee the problem will never occur again.
My opinion is that NYPD will not abandon the Glock pistol. I’ve seen fired cases eject, flip around, fall back into the ejection port, and then jam into the chamber backwards. That is another extremely rare phenomenon, and it indeed takes the pistol out of action in the short term. If you spend enough time on the range, you’ll see them all! You can worry yourself to death about such things, or you can accept the fact that freak events are going to happen (albeit rarely) no matter how well a product is engineered and tested.
That is why all police officers should (1) practice regular and competent individual weapon maintenance and (2) routinely carry second guns.
25 July 02
Incident in Indiana. This is from a friend close to the victims in this case. One of the perpetrators was just sentenced to death:
“The gang invaded a rural, farm home, ransacked the house, then tied the three victims and left them in the barn. Five miles down the road, one of the perpetrators suggested that they could all be identified by the bound victims.
They all returned. The one sentenced to death today went back to barn by himself. He tortured the three victims (still bound), including shooting them in the eyes with a nailgun. All three were ultimately shot in the head with a gun and died at the scene.”
Don’t let them tie you up! No matter what the circumstances, you must commit to fighting your way through. Giving up all your options puts you at their mercy. As we can see, merciful people are not often found among today’s criminals!