1 May 07
Comments on personal weapons management, from a pilot who is one of our students, currently stationed in Baghdad:
“I couldn’t help but to respond regarding this subject, as I am currently dealing with the same nonsense. I am here in the Green Zone as part of an aviation unit.
Base commanders have decreed that there are three conditions for personal firearms (rifles and pistols), Green, Amber, and Red.
While in the Green Zone, personal weapons must be ‘Green.’ We would call it ‘storage-mode,’ no magazine inserted, empty chamber. One may carry rifles and pistols and have a charged magazine or two with him, but they may never be inserted into magazine wells.
‘Amber’ we would call ‘transport-mode.’ Charged magazine inserted, but no round chambered. The only ones authorized to carry in Amber are Security Forces, and only when they are actually working as such. At all other times, they are expendable peons like the rest of us.
‘Red’ is what we would call ‘carry-mode,’ but it is only theoretical, as no one may have a weapon in that condition. Weapons are NEVER actually carried in ‘Red.’
At the chow hall, Ugandan security guards (who don’t speak English) check to ensure holstered pistols (which are all in storage-mode anyway) have the decocker (the call it a ‘safety’) down. There is a clearing barrel beside the entrance, but one is no longer mandated to ‘clear’ weapons upon entering. Such ‘clearing’ used to be a requirement, but there were so many NDs, the more-or-less continuous noise disturbed diners! In addition, since such NDs automatically give rise to Article 15 sanctions, too many troopers, after experiencing an ND, would simply drop their pistol and run away. Embarrassing!
Since my unit regularly flies over hostile territory, I make it a habit to go ‘Red’ with my M9 pistol prior to each flight. Unfortunately, I’m the only one who does! Other pilots laugh, saying, ‘I’ll just load it when I need it!’ However, there has never been any training with regard to going from Amber to Red, so such empty bravado is all theoretical, since they have only talked about it. None have ever actually done it!
Well, I recently had to have a chat with my desk-bound battalion commander with regard to this very subject. He stated that the threat level did not ‘justify’ having a loaded gun in the cockpit! He made it clear that none of us were authorized to ‘go Red’ until we’re shot down. He added, ‘All you have to do is just pull that thing, the ‘slide, right?… back, right?’ I concluded that no further discussion was necessary. I continue to, now surreptitiously, ‘go Red’ prior to each flight. As the Great Philosopher said, ‘There is nothing to be gained by arguing with idiots!’
It is truly a sad state of affairs that I’m an officer, wear the uniform, have an issued pistol, ammunition, magazines, but ‘… Oh, don’t load that gun. That would be unsafe!’
Back in the States (where I don’t draw combat pay) I carry, concealed, a fully-loaded pistol, just as you taught me, every waking hour, only to arrive in a ‘Combat Zone,’ draw ‘combat pay,’ and have to deal with this insanity!”
Comment: Desk-bound managers (masquerading as “leaders”), who, because they’ve never been exposed to competent small-arms training, don’t know what they don’t know, but unforgivably, don’t want to know what they don’t know, are smothering the life out of real warriors who want to enlighten others and advance the Art.
With “leaders” like these, we don’t need enemies!
“In this business, you find the enemy, then go after and destroy him. Everything else is rubbish!”
Eddie Rickenbacker, WWI Flying Ace
2 May 07
Same thing in Afghanistan, from a friend and student who is there now:
“No different here! I am also routinely instructed by Army gate guards to download my weapons as I return from Indian Country. Interestingly, European posts require no such silliness!
I have foolishly tried to reason with these young lads at the gate, because I spent twelve years wearing the same, Infantry uniform, including the First Gulf War, and, of course, carry every day as a Federal Officer back in the States.
I should know better! Says I, ‘I am expected to wander about with empty weapons?’ ‘Yes, sir, that’s the rule.’ is the mechanical reply.
As soon as we are through the gate, we stop, reload our guns, and then go merrily about our business. This has become SOP. However, I now make it a habit to bring some kind of gift for the overworked, unappreciated gents at the gate. Since then, my comings and goings have become a good deal smoother and vastly quicker.
The idea that anyone, anywhere, would carry firearms for serious, social interaction, yet do so with them in any condition other than ready to fire at a moment’s notice, is so stupid no ‘discussion’ appears necessary, at least among the sane. I know I am preaching to the choir, but it is frustrating nonetheless. Even in my own Stateside organization, we have grasseaters who insist, if a special agent is going to carry a gun in the office, he do it concealed. The message is clear, ‘Those things are frightening, and, if they must be around, at least make it so we grasseaters can pretend they don’t exist.’
Bureaucracies everywhere have a habit of attracting and nurturing herbivores. This would not be nearly the problem it is if they would just sit down and shut up, allowing those of us who stand ready to engage VCAs to do what we do. Sadly, who don’t lead the way, just get in the way!”
“They have given us into the hands of new, unhappy lords
Lords without anger and honor, who dare not carry their swords
They ‘fight’ by shuffling papers; they have bright, dead, alien eyes
They look at our labor with laughter as a tired man looks at flies
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than ancient wrongs
Their doors are shut in the evenings; and they know no songs”
The Secret People
Leaders select objectives, then direct others to achieve them.
Managers direct others to achieve objectives chosen by a third party.
Administrators direct others, using means selected by a third party, to achieve objectives chosen by a fourth party.
All three circumstances are part of an officer’s life, but real officers yearn only for the former. Unfortunately, many military “leaders” are little more than managers, and many of those have consciously chosen to reduce themselves to the level of permanent administrator, because it is safer for their careers than risking real decision-making. They know that they will only be held to account an act of commission, ie making a decision that has a poor result. They will never be held to account for an act of omission, ie refusing to making a decision, even when that also has a poor result. In such an environment, which is the safest posture for the “career officer?” Do nothing. Become an administrator.
The entire philosophy of any armed force should be to establish trust, well earned and deserved, at all levels. The foregoing encourages precisely the opposite, destroying trust and creating “leaders” who predictably dodge decisions by referring them “upstairs.” When routine, this practice promotes micro-management, which in turn degrades trust and slows tactical, decision-making loops. Over time, we find ourselves with a top-heavy, stilted, uninspired army, where those on the ground realize that they will not receive timely decisions from above, and that decisions that finally do come down will be long-since irrelevant to the actual situation before them. Troops, in turn, gradually begin to regard their officers, correctly, as disconnected, dithering buffoons who care not a whit for the Cause nor the troops. Accordingly, they surreptitiously disregard their officers and keep as much decision-making as possible away from them. They also withhold information. Isolated, delusional officer/administrators continue to strut about, thinking everything is swell, until something blows up in their faces. Then, the priority immediately switches to assigning blame!
Such a sterile, hyper-politicized, ponderous, disconnected army is no match for an inspired, committed, agile, flexible force, even one smaller and less technologically sophisticated, but with weapons that are apparently “good enough.” History is replete with examples!
All of Western Civilization had better look up and see what is happening, lest we become yet another example, and are unceremoniously relegated to the dustbin of history!
6 May 07
Hi-Viz pistol sights and trifocals!
This weekend, we has a student in a pistol class in OH who came to us wearing trifocals and carrying a G21. His pistol had the standard, Glock white-dot front sight.
He had great difficulty finding his front sight on various targets, and he was able to make little improvement. Finally, on Sunday, Vicki suggested he shoot her SIG239/DAK/9mm. It is set up with a light-gathering Hi-Viz front sight and a standard, SIG, rear night-sight. What a difference!
The green, Hi-Viz sight was easy for him to make out through his glasses, and he immediately realized a significant increase in hits, eventually passing our test.
The latest generation of Hi-Viz sights are much improved. Now imperious to solvents, ruggedized, and resistant to deforming due to heat, they are obviously a real boon to those of us with vision challenges.
They surely made a positive difference with this shooter!
970 407 0426
7 May 07
While staying at a farm here in OH, I shot a groundhog this afternoon. Range was fifty meters, and, once again, I used my EOTech-equipped RA/XCR and Cor-Bon 53gr DPX ammunition.
What was interesting about the incident was that fact that the property owner, looking through binoculars, was trying her best to help me see the hog in the tall grass. She pointed out a clump, and I mistook it for the animal’s head. Calculating where the largest portion of his body was, I held the dot on the appropriate spot and pressed off the shot. I hit the clump of grass, but there was no animal there!
However, the bullet impact did cause the real groundhog, who was actually six feet behind the clump of grass, to stand up, finally revealing his position. I immediately saw him through the EOTech screen. I already had the trigger reset. He stood up, facing me, for a second and a half, which, as it turned out, was one-half second too long! My bullet struck him in the middle of the neck and blew out a ragged hole as it exited.
The point is that the EOTech, because it has such a wide field of view, permitted me to detect the unexpected appearance of the target AS I was still looking through it. Had I been using a high-magnification scope, or even iron sights, I probably never would have seen the elusive groundhog.
Before long, I’m going to have a copy of Aimpoint’s new Micro, and I plan on comparing it with my existing EOTech. However, after today, I appreciate EOTech’s design even more than before.
8 May 07
Battery-powered optics, from an LEO friend and Range Officer:
“I’ve had an EOTech on my duty-AR for over a year. It has run just fine all that time, serving me well. During a range exercise last week, the illuminated reticle my EOTech started blinking, indicating low power. I routinely carry spare batteries, so I popped in two new ones. To my dismay, the sight would now not even turn on!
On the way home, I was deciding how to ship my EOTech back to the factory for repair, figuring it was inevitable. However, when I got home I decided to check all my batteries. The original two were a year old, and, sure enough, on my battery tester they showed themselves to be nearly dead. Not surprising. What was surprising was that nearly all my spares tested mostly dead also, including the two with which I had replaced the original two!
Bottom line was that my entire supply of ‘spare’ batteries was stone dead, and I never suspected it! Such a simple thing could have had serious ramifications under the right circumstances. I learned, and we all should know, that, just because batteries are not being used doesn’t mean they are retaining power. Old batteries, even when still in the original packing, may be just as dead as batteries that have been in constant use.”
Lesson: TEST; DON’T GUESS! It has been said that the next great world conflagration will be won by the civilization with the best battery technology. I suspect that is profoundly true. Batteries are the weak point of all powered optics, and one must know, not just hope, that “spare” batteries are good to go. “Old” batteries are bad news, even when they’ve done nothing but sit on a shelf!
I am persuaded that many of the “problems” that have been reported with EOTechs and Aimpoints are actually battery related.
8 May 07
Important tactical lessons, from my instructors in SA:
“We conducted in-service, force-on-force training with our patrol officers yesterday. We set up high-risk vehicle stop scenarios, ranging from high-jackings, to stolen vehicles, to armed-robbery suspects. Students were given information as would have been received by radio dispatch, and thus had some insight into what they were facing.
It was a humbling experience for most! Here are important lesson all learned and some had to relearn:
(1) AS ONE GETS CLOSER TO THE THREAT, OPTIONS PROGRESSIVELY DRY UP! Smart officers stayed back and behind cover as they gathered information. Foolish ones broke cover and timidly approached dangerous suspects. Most died within two or three meters of the bad guy(s). The obvious lesson: STAY BACK. STAY COVERED. PRESERVE YOUR OPTIONS.
(2) PANIC IS A LUXURY ENJOYED (at least for a short time) ONLY BY LOSERS. Panicked officers promptly forgot their training, forgot their sights, and fired wildly, hitting nothing they wanted to hit but succeeding in hitting a great many objects they didn’t want to hit! The lesson is: DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO PANIC. USE YOUR SIGHTS. AIM YOUR SHOTS. HIT YOUR TARGET AND NOTHING ELSE. If there must be a gunfight, let’s end it quickly and decisively!
(3) IN ORDER TO WORK EFFECTIVELY TOGETHER, WE MUST COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY. Clearly, many of our officers had seldom worked as part of a team. Team brevity codes and well-drilled SOPs made the difference between a coordinated, synergistic team effort and a group of confused officers that resembled a gaggle of stray chickens!
Most kinds of training does not fry brain-cells as does force-on-force exercises. It is tedious and time consuming, but few other forms of training so plainly reveal our weak points!”
9 May 07
The recent break-up of a plot to gun down unsuspecting American soldiers at Ft Dix, NJ, once again, has many thinking about personal preparedness. The conspicuously obvious solution is that every American officer and staff NCO needs to carry a loaded pistol, on base and off, every waking minute of the day. This will insure armed and competent men and women will always be nearby when a security emergency erupts, and it will serve notice to all who intend us harm that we mean business and that we’re not all “good, little victims.”
Of course, there are risks inherent with the concept of treating staff NCOs and officers like adults. But, there are also risks in continuing to maintain large concentrations of easily-identified, unarmed, defenseless American soldiers in vulnerable places, where existing security forces can be easily overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, the current command structure has made the term, “Armed Forces,” the latest oxymoron!
In any setting, we must maintain our own personal, individual state of readiness. Don’t feel like putting on your gun or wearing attire that can conceal it? Don’t want to be bothered putting your rifle in the trunk? Is your TTGSW kit in your car? Where is your blade, flashlight? Worried about violating some stupid decree intended to insure that you are a perpetually helpless, frightened victim?
These decisions are yours, and your very life depends on them. Unfortunately, some (legal) risk always attaches to maintaining a reasonable state of personal readiness, but it pales in comparison to being unprepared. “Authorities” and politicians are surely not going to tell you any of this! Don’t expect someone you don’t even know to care about you more than you care about yourself. You are on your own. Be ready. Getting murdered is no fun!
14 May 07
S&W Sigma Pistol
At a Defensive Handgun Course in IN last weekend, one student brought a Sigma pistol in 9mm. It lasted into the second day. Then, at the eight-hundred-round mark, it broke. The slide seized into the retracted position and could not be persuaded to go forward. We had to pull it off the line. It was replaced with a G19, which ran fine for the duration.
We don’t see many Sigmas any more, but we are seeing lots of M&Ps, and all run fine, rivaling Glocks and SIGs. We, in fact, had two M&Ps in this class, and both were trouble-free.
At last check, the Sigma was still officially “in-production,” but I believe its days are numbered.
In fact, in the training community, the Sigma has now achieved “throw-away” status. That is, I recommended that this student not get his Sigma “fixed,” but instead pitch it and replace it with an M&P, Glock, SIG, or H&K. Sigmas are really not worth fixing!
14 May 07
Typical grasseater “advice,” from a friend and student who is a college professor:
“In the wake of the VA Tech shootings, our administration arranged a meeting with faculty/staff/students and members of the local PD to talk about our ‘official’ campus response to an active-shooter incident. I attended, because I was interested in what they would say about any of us actively defending ourselves. I wasn’t disappointed!
We were advised to ‘remain calm’ at least a hundred times. Then, we’re told we should ‘negotiate’ with the homicidal maniac. Finally, we’re advised never to try to overpower a dangerous felon unless ‘all other options have been exhausted,’ in other words, until it is long past any chance of success.
When asked for comment, I raised my hand and said, ‘… so you’re advising us to do nothing but sheepishly beg for our lives and pray we’re not murdered. Is that correct?’ My question was never answered, and I was never called upon again.
As you know, in contemptuous defiance of their stupid rules, I carry on campus every day. It is obvious to me that neither the police nor the university administration wants to think about this issue in any serious way. They perfunctorily go through the usual hollow motions in a vane attempt to justify their existence, but, in the end, do nothing. They devote infinitely more mental energy to glamorizing their office decor than they ever will to anyone’s safety!
In the interim, per your advice I’ve unilaterally taken personal and unapologetic responsibility for my own safety, and have equipped and trained myself accordingly!”
Comment: I suspect such pointless meetings are taking place in academia nationwide, and there is little doubt they all have the same result! Fearful, vain, sissified college administrators dance around this issue but predictably refuse to look at any solution that does not embrace the same contemptible cowardice they themselves have personally adopted as a lifestyle.
18 May 07
At an Urban Rifle Course in IN this week, we had two military M1 Carbines, an assortment of ARs, a Mini-14, a DSA/FAL, an H&K 308, and a SA Socom.
The Socom went down halfway through the first day with extraction problems. The frustrated shooter substituted a full-sized M1A, which ran fine for the duration. The front and rear sights on the H&K are only separated by ten inches, and, not surprisingly, the shooter was unable to hit anything, although the rifle otherwise ran fine. He substituted an H&K-93 (which has a normal separation of front and rear sights) and he suddenly began hitting targets. All ARs ran fine as did the FAL and Mini-14. Three were equipped with EOTechs, and they also worked normally for the duration. One M1 Carbine went down with a loose rear sight.
One AR had a cloth shroud over the extendable stock tube. It interfered with the operation of the charging handle and several times prevented a round from being chambered. I’m not sure what this shroud’s function is supposed to be, but it did little more than get in the way.
The loose rear sight on the M1 Carbine had been epoxied in place. The “glue-job” didn’t last long. They never do!
Front and rear iron sights on the H&K, which are deliberately placed close to each other, would appear to be a contradiction! Why would anyone set up a rifle like that?
Comment: Tactical plans are rather like casserole recipes, except that:
(1) You don’t get to know all the ingredients
(2) You don’t get to know when dinner will be served, and
(3) You don’t get to know who will show up, expecting to eat
Therefore, unreliable, prone-to-breakage, maladroit, poorly-designed rifles and accessories are a poor choice when “dinner” is so unpredictable! You are best advised to stick with rugged, well-designed, simple, reliable equipment that will serve you well, regardless of anyone else’s dining plans.
18 May 07
Excellent comments on serious rifles, from a Riflesmith:
“There are many acceptable serious rifles currently available, Robinson Arms, DSA, Krebs, S&W, et al. However:
Even the best need to be broken in. Extraction and feeding problems are not atypical with a brand-new rifle. Getting it hot with rapid fire helps immensely in getting parts rubbed-in to working clearances. In addition, high-volume drills, such as you do in your Urban Rifle Program, will probably cause anything that is going to break, to break. Two-hundred rounds is a reasonable, initial break-in. Our fighting rifles are actually in their best condition when they are not new anymore. The most reliable are well worn.
The Stoner System certainly has its faults, but, if kept simple, it can work well. Parts availability for the AR-15 is unsurpassed and probably will be for at least the next decade or two. This may emerge as an important consideration in coming years.”
Comment: Serious rifles need to be run, and run often. Shooter and rifle must work together smoothly. Every real American needs a reliable, military rifle, or two. Get them while they’re hot!
21 May 07
At an Advanced Defensive Handgun Course in IN last weekend, my good friend Steve Camp, manufacturer of the “Safe Direction” ballistic containment system, put on a live demonstration of his product. In attendance were all of my students and students from a class conducted by friend and colleague, Mas Ayoob, who was simultaneously doing an LFI Class on the same range.
Steve asked one of my instructors to shoot the pad at contact range, but in his pistol my instructor had hardball, range ammunition. I offered to shoot it instead, with my Detonics (45ACP), which I use for my back-up pistol. It was loaded with 185gr Cor-Bon DPX.
I shot the Safe Direction pad, a brand-new one, right out of the box. The pad was placed on top of a folding table in the middle of our outdoor range. I fired one round; then fired a second just a moment later, right into the hole made by the first. I wanted to see if Safe Direction would contain both. It did, quite handily, demonstrating to me that this product is something everyone who carries a pistol should own.
In addition, there was no backface depression in the table. The table was not deformed nor harmed in any way.
Experience has shown that the most likely time a gun handler will experience an ND is within two seconds of his last ND! Your ballistic containment system must be able to safely absorb multiple impacts without bouncing out of position. Safe Direction comes through in spades, on both counts.
21 May 07
On dangerous dogs, from a friend in the dog-training business:
“I am often asked about the best strategy when one is confronted by a menacing dog that is not restrained. The only universal verbal command most dogs (with any kind of training) will understand is ‘Sit!’
Last weekend I had the opportunity to put this theory to the test. While walking through my residential neighborhood, a pit bull charged me from across the street, bearing his teeth, barking, and growling all the while. I moved behind a parked car and drew my pistol. I yelled ‘Sit’ twice. The dog immediately stopped and sat down!
Shortly thereafter, its owner came out his front door with a leash to take his dog back inside. He laughed, referring his dog as a ‘good boy.’ He barely acknowledged my presence, much less apologized. I didn’t let the idiot know how close his dimpled darling came to getting his head blown off!”
Comment: Injuries from dog attacks are at least as common as injuries from VCAs, and all of us should have a plan we can smoothly execute when such attacks occur. Getting bitten is no fun!
21 May 07
Shooting in LA:
“Last night, we responded to a gang-related shooting that turned into a homicide, as the victim was DRT. Victim was easily identified as a gang-member, as his gang name was tattooed across his torso.
He was walking through a parking lot when he came face-to-face with a member of a rival gang. The deceased was well know to us, and his reputation was that he always carried at 1911 pistol in 45ACP. Rival gang-member quickly pulls his own pistol (G22) and shoots, seriously wounding the victim. Range is less than three meters. The shooter then runs to an awaiting car and starts his escape. Victim’s brother comes out of nowhere, takes the 1911 from the soon-to-be-deceased, runs after the now-accelerating vehicle, and fires at it until empty. No one in the vehicle was hit.
We found one live 40S&W round and one live 45ACP round at the scene, both hardball. In addition, we found numerous expended shell cases in both calibers. Our detectives concluded that both shooters racked the slides of their autoloading pistols before firing, even though both pistols already had a round chambered. Such idiocy is not surprising, since these imbeciles garner all their firearms training from watching TV.
Whenever we view surveillance videos of armed robberies committed by this trash, we are ever horrified at the suspects’ poor gun-handling and utter lack of proficiency. Here is yet another example.”
Comment: Much as we righteously despise Hollywood’s leftist twits, maybe they’re actually doing us a favor! Their arrogant and willful ignorance of our Art insures that cretins who vacuously take in the sewage they pump over the wire will, at the critical moment, be no match for us!
23 May 07
IALEFI, San Antonio, TX
I’m here at the IALEFI Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX. I had a chance today and yesterday to sample some of the many wonderful classes, and I assisted my friend and colleague, Henk Iverson, as he presented his excellent CQB Class.
I also attended friend and colleague, John Krupa’s class on the tactical use of DSA’s wonderful FAL Rifle. John remorselessly put us all through our paces, and I learned a great deal about the FAL’s gas regulation system, something with which all owners of these rifles should be familiar. One student had his rifle set up with a 1.5X ACOG, rear-mounted on the top rail. I used it in several exercises, as I waned to compare it with my forward-mounted EOTech and Aimpoint.
I was mightily disappointed! Eye alignment with the ACOG is so critical, I kept losing the image as I fired multiple shots. I was compelled to continuously moved my face around, trying desperately to recapture the downrange image. Much time was thus squandered just trying to stay in the scope and on target. I don’t like close-eye-relief optics, and the ACOG cannot be forward-mounted.
In any event, I continue to believe that EOTechs and Aimpoints, when forward-mounted, are vastly superior for our kind of shooting.
24 May 07
Comments on ACOG, from a LEO friend in TN:
“ACOG’s TA11 is vastly superior to the TA31 that you used in San Antonio. TA11’s eye relief is longer, but magnification is greater too. I get good service from my copy, but it is mounted on a 223 AR, not a 308 FAL!
For close work, nothing beats an EOTech or Aimpoint. But, when the range is beyond one hundred meters, magnified optics come into their own. As you noted, they don’t make you shoot better, but they do enable you to see better, making out important details not discernable otherwise.
Both EOTech and Aimpoint now offer optional magnification, but the feature adds considerable bulk, involves close eye relief, and thus would seem to negate the very features we admire.”
Comment: You can’t have it both ways. Choose your seat and sit down!
25 May 07
Sage advice on powered rifle optics, from an old-time friend and colleague:
“I’m persuaded powered optics are valuable when you get them out of your face and incessantly plan around battery failure. Correctly-adjusted iron sights must always be present and readily available to be seamlessly pressed into service.
Best power source is AA batteries. Under nearly any circumstance, you can kick down a door, locate a TV remote, replace your dead batteries, then rejoin the fight. Such ‘Exigent-Acquisition’ is neither taught nor thought about much in this country, but we need to start!”
Comment: “Foraging” for critical supplies is indeed a lost art in Western Civilization, particularly in our military culture, but it will surely enjoy an enthusiastic renaissance under the right circumstances!
27 May 07
As I watched several “news” programs this Memorial-Day Morning, I heard all about Rosie, Donald, Paris, Pamela, American Idol, et al. This sewage was, as usual, foisted upon us as “headlines,” these unimportant people who don’t matter ( nothing they do matters) were talked about endlessly as ten-year-old file footage of some starlets’s cleavage ran on and on, while real news from Iraq and comments upon our brave fallen were consigned to a moment or two, just before the commercial.
News networks, in their lust for ratings, have moved the gossip column to the front page! Hollywood chitchat is now predictably the lead story, with real news pushed to the rear, on those rare occasions where it is mentioned at all. This modern generation of “journalists,” ignoring what few of their viewers have a modicum of intelligence, blatantly appeal to the lowest, most depraved, most insignificant, most featherbrained emotions ponderable.
They are a disgrace to their profession! They don’t even deserve the title of “journalist.” No wonder the rest of the world regards American media news as trivial garbage. It is!
30 May 07
Gelatin Ballistic Testing:
Last weekend in PA, Mike Shovel of Cor-Bon was nice enough to stop by during our Pistol Class and put on a terminal ballistics demonstration, as he has done several times in the past.
We fired into large blocks of ballistic gelatin 357SIG, 45ACP, 40S&W, and 223, in Cor-Bon DPX as well as Federal Hydra-Shok and Speer Gold Dot. All bullets had to first penetrate four layers of denim. In some cases, bullets had to, in addition, penetrate a “car-door,” which was simulated by two layers of sheet steel, separated by a two-inch air gap.
Once again, four layers of denim greatly frustrated conventional, brass/lead hollow-point pistol ammunition, particularly Hydra-Shok, greatly subduing expansion and actually increasing penetration.
No conventional hollow-point ammunition was able to penetrate the car door. Some didn’t even make it through the first layer. None made it through the second layer.
On the other hand, DPX expanded uniformly, despite the denim, and easily penetrated the car door. This kind of consistently superior performance is the reason I carry DPX daily in my pistols. Velocities were as advertised, 1350 f/s for the 357SIG (from my SIG/229/DAK), 1200 f/s for the 40S&W (from a student’s G22), and 1050 f/s for the 45ACP (from my short-barreled Detonics).
DPX 223 53gr expanded perfectly when fired out of an eleven-inch barrel, penetrating fifteen inches of gelatin. The bullet looked exactly like the one I extracted from a pig I shot in FL last fall. However, when I shot the same round from my XCR, with its sixteen-inch barrel, the bullet expanded so violently, the petals broke off as the bullet was propagated through the media, leaving only a perfect, copper cylinder when the missile finally stopped. Our chronograph showed velocity to be just under 3000 f/s. When I fired 62gr DPX from my XCR, expansion was, once again, perfect, with a velocity of 2800 f/s. I concluded that the DPX bullet can be launched at too great a velocity. Ideal velocity will generate consistent expansion, but still leave the bullet in one piece. In 223, I’m thus switching from the 53gr DPX to the 62gr DPX for my sixteen-inch rifles.
223, 55gr hardball uniformly failed the car-door test, penetrating the first layer of steel, but invariably failing to penetrate the second. Conversely, DPX 223, in both bullet weights, went through both steel layers and still penetrated twelve inches of gelatin, every time.
Finally I fired seven rounds of 357SIG DPX through my SIG/229/DAK into a denim-clad, gelatin block. I fired as fast as I could stay on target, with all seven rounds launched within two seconds. I wanted to see if penetration depth would see wide variation, with the last rounds penetrating more deeply than the first. Not so! All seven round stopped within an inch of each other, after twelve inches of penetration. All seven expanded perfectly, despite the denim, and, when recovered, all seven were facing forward.
I conclude that any reputable, high-performance, hollow-point pistol ammunition will expand after entering bare flesh, but few expand consistently after first penetrating several layers of clothing, and none, save DPX, will reliably penetrate car doors.
In 223, I believe 53gr DPX to a good choice with short-barreled rifles, but 62gr DPX is conclusively the way to go with sixteen-inch and longer-barreled rifles.