1 July 09
Comments on current developments, from an active consumer and Instructor:
“I am starting to see the feeding-frenzy subside, albeit only slightly.
Inventories of military rifles and serious handguns are improving. There are actually ARs, SIG 556s, XCRs, FALs, M1As and other good rifles, along with SIG, Glock, SA, Kahr, S&W, Beretta, and other serious handguns on shelves of gun stores. However, the best are usually still gone within a day or two of arriving.
Ammunition continues to be tight, but supplies of 223, 9mm, and 40S&W are starting to fill the pipeline. Last week, I was actually able to order (and receive) a case each of 9mm and 40S&W. I have the best luck with big internet retailers by putting my name on an e-mail ‘product-notification list.’ Supplies still sell-out fast, but it does improve one’s chances!
For the hand-loader, brass, bullets, and powder are still tight, but supplies are improving over a few months ago. However, primers are still unavailable.
I have doubts with regard to how long this current intermission will last. The next high-profile terrorist event will predictably kick it back up to where it was, or worse.
My advice is to get what you can, now! Don’t wait for better prices. And, don’t just buy by the case. Don’t hesitate to scarf-up several boxes, when that is all that is available.”
Comment: The thin, mostly imaginary, veneer we laughingly call “Civilization” is wearing ever thinner by the day!
Foolish, indeed naive, optimism that surrounded the current Administration is rapidly evaporating, as reality, desperately ignored by the media, keeps rearing its ugly head!
“Printing our way to prosperity” is failing, as all but idiots knew it would.
I’m afraid there is precious little about which to be optimistic. Only the stupid and willfully blind are failing to prepare!
3 July 09
In an effort to routinely carry on me all items I think I need, I’ve been slowly migrating from traditional, denim blue-jeans to Operator clothing, particularly trousers.
I’ve carried concealed pistols my entire adult life, in addition to blades, flashlight, weapon-light, OC, belt-badge, spare magazine, and backup pistol. Recently, I’ve become persuaded that I ought to have, in addition, a rubber tourniquet as well as at least one IBD.
My CCC vest holds much stuff, and I’m thankful for it, but there was no more room there, nor on my belt, for an IBD and tourniquet.
511, Woolrich, and others make excellent lines of tactical clothing, that look like everyday wear. However, EOTec is the brand that as ascended to the top of my List.
I have several pair of EOTac Operator Trousers, even one pair that masquerades as blue-jeans, and I’ve found them comfortable, robust, low-profile, and with pockets in which I can carry everything I need with me on a daily basis.
I am anything but style-conscious, but I do like maintaining a low, personal profile, while still having on my person critical items of life-saving equipment.
EOTac fills the bill, in spades. Recommended!
10 July 09
Optics mounted atop M4 “carrying-handle”
At an Urban Rifle Course in CO last week, a student brought an M4 with the standard carrying handle. Atop the handle, and anchored only by a single screw, was an EOTech Optic. Another student brought an M4 with an ACOG similarly plunked on top of the carrying-handle.
Neither set-up was satisfactory. Both optics were too high for any kind of cheek-weld, and the screw holding the EOTech came loose constantly. In addition, this set-up is so flimsy that a consistent zero could not be maintained.
Optics on M4s and other ARs need a flat-top configuration and need to be anchored to an integral rail in order to be low enough, and sturdy enough, to run in a serious environment.
Attempting to mount sights on top of the carrying handle is a poor idea, any way it is attempted, as these two students unhappily discovered.
11 July 09
The current state of police training, from a friend who trains at state level:
“I just finished teaching our Firearms Instructor Update to a number of small departments. We update/audit/QC state-certified instructors. These are troops responsible for maintaining qualifications and training within their own departments.
I can’t tell you how many times I heard, ‘Well, our department gives us neither time nor ammunition to train, so we only do the minimum (which is the same as nothing).’
I reminded them all that, if they are waiting for someone to give them something they need, and then use that as an excuse not to train, they are failing their profession and the officers who depend on them. Some costs are just going to be ‘out of pocket.’
We instructors are the ones that have a license to correct bad tactics/habits, no matter how much brass, or how many stripes, are on the sleeve. Too many see themselves are merely ‘qual-callers.’
We run a stress-course. Nobody wants to be the first, and, when poor performance rears its ugly hear, oh the wretched excuses we hear!
The good thing is that most walk away, acknowledging that they need to train more, inspire more, and dither less!”
Comment: Competent training cannot come too soon to our troopers!
We only have to look south to see what is coming our way, ready or not!
Don’t wait. Train competently. Train hard. Train now.
Your life depends on it!
12 July 09
Indoor range fire, from a friend in TX:
“We experienced a range fire at a popular, commercial, indoor range last week during a pistol match. To say the fire got out of control fast would be an under-statement!
Polyethylene (PE) foam had been applied to downrange walls for sound abatement, and it had, over a year, much accumulated unburned powder impregnated into it.
Most pistol cartridges are inefficient. A significant percentage of powdered propellant contained within the case never burns, but is rather ejected, unburned, from the muzzle, along with the bullet. It remains highly flammable wherever it accumulates.
A small flame spontaneously erupted on the floor, in a crack where unburnt propellant had accumulated. An ember went airborne and made contact with the PE foam on the wall. Ten seconds passed from the moment of ignition of the powder on the floor to ignition of the entire PE-foamed wall. Within fifteen seconds, flames raced across the foam-covered ceiling to the opposite wall, also covered in powder-impregnated PE foam!
A volume of heavy, black smoke immediately filled the range. It was noxious and blinding! One shooter did locate, and attempt to use, a large, dry-agent extinguisher. However, this extinguisher proved useless, as the fire was already out of control.
This range had removed all PE foam some time ago, because of fire danger. But, range ‘management’ changed a few months later, and someone made the decision to put foam back on walls and ceiling.
No one was hurt, but the range and building are extensively damaged.”
Comment: Foam may be marketed as “non-flammable,” but that status changes when it is impregnated with unburnt propellant!
Unburnt propellant needs to be regularly removed from indoor ranges. When it is allowed to accumulate, disaster awaits, as we see!
13 July 09
Why we routinely carry at least one spare pistol magazine, from a friend in FL:
“Yesterday, while attending a music program at an open-air amphitheater, I shifted in my seat and experienced a catastrophic failure of the magazine inserted in my G27, which I was carrying concealed in an IWB holster.
The magazine base-cap broke and fell off. The magazine spring and follower immediately fell out, along with several rounds. The rest of the rounds remained within the magazine shell, still locked in the pistol’s magazine well.
Happily, the only two people aware of the problem were me and my oldest daughter, who was sitting directly behind me. As discreetly as possible, I removed the shell, and remaining loose rounds from the pistol, and, with my wife’s assistance, recovered the spring and follower, all as I remained seated, trying to look as normal as possible.
My G27 stayed in the holster. With the shell and loose rounds cleared from the magazine well, I quietly inserted my spare magazine. Ultimately, only two people, besides me, knew what had happened.
We enjoyed the rest of the concert and returned home without further incident.”
Lesson: Always carry at least one spare magazine, not only so that you can reload, but also so that you can get your pistol back into service when the magazine that is already in it, breaks!
“We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water”
Nehemiah, Chapter 4, Verse 23b
14 July 09
Sales trends, from a large retailer in the Midwest:
“Gun sales have moderated but are still strong. Ammunition remains in short supply, particularly 380Auto!
Snubbie revolvers remain our top seller! Likewise, small 380s (Kahr, Ruger, SIG, and Kel-Tec) sell as fast as we can get them in!
We’re selling lots of G17s and G21s, S&W M&Ps, and XDMs to local cops. The Department recently gave up on their long-issued G22s. G22s with the issued, mounted weapon-light ran fine, but, with some other brands of weapon-lights, they don’t run well at all. The Department finally decided to move away from the G22 altogether. They now issue G17s and G21s. M&Ps and XDs are also approved (9mm and 45ACP) for carry when personally procured.”
Comment: Owing to current political trends, domestic and worldwide, there are more American gun-owners than ever before. A small percentage will even seek training!
16 July 09
On Glock magazines, from a friend overseas:
“… what I failed to do was drop-test a loaded magazine (with the after-market base-cap) on a hard surface.
So, here I am stopping my vehicle and getting out to relieve myself at the side of the road, and my spare magazine falls out, hitting the asphalt. The base plate spontaneously sprung loose, and rounds scattered! And, there I am, trying to police them up all over the road, with a lot of people driving by looking at me strangely. At least no one stopped to help!
I’ve used the standard Glock (OEM) base-plate ever since.
Jimmy had the same thing happen to him in a dark basement during an operation in Mindanao. He related that policing up loose rounds using a flashlight, when he was supposed to be in ‘low-profile mode,’ was far from entertaining!”
Comment: After-market base-caps for Glock magazines, like most after-market additions, are not recommended.
Precious few of those advocating such things have ever been around violent death, and even fewer seem to grasp how confused, dirty, crude, dangerous, and terrifying real life becomes… with overwhelming speed!
You need simple stuff that works, not complicated “wonder-gadgets” that are marketed on the dubious premise that they provide you with some ill-defined, but none-the-less insurmountable, advantage.
How many men are dead because they had too many options?
16 July 09
New book by my friend and colleague, Mike Conti:
Some time ago, Mike Conti wrote: Police Pistolcraft, where he pointed out to all of us the necessity of looking at the requirements of the job of policing and letting those requirements, and history, drive our firearms training.
His new book, The Officer’s Guide to Police Pistolcraft, has just hit the market. It is a thorough treatment of contemporary police pistol training, and Mike is the probably one person most qualified to write it!
A copy should be in the hands of every young police officer!
See it at www.sabergroup.com
21 July 09
From a friend in NM:
“For twelve years, our local sheriff’s office has repeatedly assured those in our neighborhood that this vagrant, and occasional B&E/assault suspect, was ‘harmless’ and represented no threat to anyone. The sesame-street image was promoted in the face of dozens burglaries, most involving violent entry, of which he was suspected. He verbally threatened to shoot at least two homeowners when he encountered them during break-ins.
Local media laughingly labeled him ‘The Cookie Bandit,’ owing to his proclivity for stealing food, as well as other, more valuable, items.
Last week, he finally shot someone fatally, one or our deputies who approached him, pursuant to yet another complaint. Both the officer and the suspect were fatally wounded during an exchange of gunfire.
It was only a matter of time!
Subsequently, NM State Police have identified this “Cookie Bandit.” He is a murder suspect who has been wanted since 1972 for a double-homicide in Canada and is suspected of a number of other murders in CA, WA, and OR.
It looks as if our ‘harmless vagrant’ was actually a serial murderer!”
Comment: No good comes from naively converting violent criminals into amiable cartoon characters!
“World’s Dumbest Crooks,” and other media-generated sewage, hardly qualifying as “news,” but concocted solely to boost ratings, encourage potential victims of violent crime to look upon VCAs as benignant morons who don’t represent any real threat.
Only fools believe that, and only fools willfully decline to honestly confront the vicious, wanton brutality of which these habitual criminals are capable.
Ignorance can be cured. Conversely, willful naivety is a sign of an unstable mind!
“A sound mind can be neither bought nor borrowed, and yet unsound ones are bought and sold every day!”
22 July 09
From a friend an CA:
“Yesterday, I attended an informal military rifle match. Most shooters and observers were veterans, and many were working LEOs.
An elderly gentleman, shooting a Garand with which we was piteously unfamiliar, got a hand inserted into the receiver just as he inadvertently released the bolt, which had been locked to the rear. The bolt slammed forward on his hand and cut it significantly. Once extracted, the hand bled profusely, and the gentleman’s reaction was disbelief, followed by slow-motion panic (dithering)!
With all the LEOs there, many with their families, not one had a trauma kit! I, a non-LEO, had mine, which I religiously have with me ever since I took your Tactical Treatment of Gunshot Wounds Course.
I got to the injured party, settled him down, and quickly applied an IBD to his lacerated hand. Bleeding stopped immediately, and the whole bloody extravaganza came to a quiet end, as quickly as it had begun! He was carried away by an ambulance shortly thereafter.
All around me were persuaded that I must be an itinerant surgeon, and wondered where I got my marvelous trauma kit.
I assured them that even non-doctors are allowed to possess IBDs!”
Comment: “When it’s least expected, you’re elected!”
Unpreparedness, like cheap insurance, never seems a significant issue, until it is too late!
Trauma kits, like guns, need to be carried constantly. You don’t get to make an appointment for emergencies, as we see!
24 July 09
Only in the UK!
A police officer and “Police Firearms Instructor” in the UK, during a 2007 “gun safety” lecture/demonstration, shot and seriously injured an attendee who was sitting in the audience!
Litigation is still ongoing.
The gun involved was a S&W M29 (44Mg). As with the Japanese, all firearms knowledge in the UK comes from police, and everyone else, naively watching American gangster movies. In news reports there were innumerable references to “Dirty Harry.” Clueless journalists (who weren’t there) jubilantly described the victim as being “blown halfway across the room.” These guys really need to get out now and then!
“Dummy rounds” provided for demonstrative purposes turned out to be real rounds, not that anyone in the UK could tell the difference. Not a single journalist has ever even asked why this officer pointed the gun at the victim in the first place. Even that basic component of safe gun-handling is apparently lost on the gun-phobic British.
In classic “Who, me?” fashion, the deputy chief constable is quoted as saying, “’Whatever the individual actions involved in the shooting… Thames Valley Police has always accepted that the incident should never have happened.” Nice to see Detective Obvious right on top of this!
Watching gun-handling in the UK is painful, like watching toddlers playing with guns! They don’t have a clue, but their historic haughtiness prevents them from humbly seeking any species of competent training. The once-proficient British Gun Culture is long-since dead and buried!
My British ancestors were proud, omnipotent, accomplished warriors. Their pathetic descendants are clueless, frightened sheep! Of their entire classic warrior repertoire, all that remains is… arrogance!
29 July 09
My nine-year-old granddaughter had a great time shooting several handguns yesterday. It is not the first time for her, but her hands are still far too small for most serious pistols.
She liked the trigger on my Kahr PM45, but recoil was too heavy for her, and she only fired three rounds from it before handing it back to me.
She really liked the small Kahr P380! It fits her hand, and recoil was manageable. Trigger is extremely useable, and our only limitation was the fact that we quickly ran out of ammunition!
Like the Kahr P380, she liked the size and light weight of my S&W 340PD (five-shot snubby revolver), but its trigger is too heavy for her small hands. She needed two fingers.
What was most interesting was the way she took to my SIG P250/Compact 9mm! It is equipped with the smallest of the three frames available, and she was able to reach and press the trigger easily. She gracefully fired round after round, hitting with every one.
I had mixed feelings about the 250’s trigger when I first started using it, but, after seeing this nine-year-old’s rapid progress, I’m starting to like it. Smooth, steady, seamless, with a distinct (albeit deep) reset, there are no surprises, no inconsistencies. And, of course, no manual safety and no decocking lever.
The P250 was the one pistol she wanted to shoot the most, and one-hundred rounds later, she still wanted to shoot it more!
As a utility, defensive pistol that nearly anyone can be taught to manage well and shoot well, the P250 is hard to beat!
30 July 09
Addendum to “Cookie-Bandit” story. It gets worse!
Two officers were involved. The murdered deputy’s partner left her service pistol in the beat-car and did not have it, nor any other gun, with her when the two arrived at the location a short time later where the suspect was confronted!
The deputy who was ultimately murdered, surprised to learn of his partner’s impotent status, quickly gave her his backup pistol (type unknown, may have been a 1911 with a manual safety), with which she was “unfamiliar.”
Right on cue, the suspect appeared and was immediately confronted and arrested. He allowed himself to be handcuffed behind his back, but then reached for a secreted revolver in his waistband and, still handcuffed, started firing at the two deputies. The first deputy was hit in the strong-side hand and, with the second shot, in the groin. The second shot was to prove fatal, as it perforated his femoral artery. He died at a nearby hospital several hours later.
His female partner was uninjured and attempted to fire at the suspect with her borrowed pistol, but was “unable to work the gun.” She fired no shots. In a panic, she handed the gun to her now fatally-wounded partner, who grasped it in his support-side hand and immediately shot the suspect in the head, twice. Suspect was DRT!
Comment: With “partners” like this, you don’t need enemies!
“Police” is not what we do. “Police” is what we are! It is our calling, not just our job. Who are not serious about this profession, and their place in it, need to find other work, sometime before they get themselves, or their partners, killed.
We call dangerous criminals VCAs for a reason. Give them an edge at your peril!
31 July 09
The problem with “institutionalized incompetence,” from a friend with a PD in the Midwest:
“One of our patrol lieutenants falls into the same category as the incompetent NM female officer you described.
The first time, he unholstered his pistol and laid it in the doorway of the hotel room where we went in to confront a delirious suspect. When another officer discovered it laying there, our lieutenant said he put it there ‘because he didn’t want the suspect to grab his gun!’ Of course, by the time our lieutenant even got there, the suspect had already surrendered, been taken into custody, and removed from the scene.
In the second incident, several months later, this same lieutenant went to assist a neighboring jurisdiction with an armed suspect in an apartment. When he finally arrived, another officer at scene noticed there was no pistol in our lieutenant’s holster. Our lieutenant responded that he left it locked in his vehicle, ‘… so the suspect wouldn’t get it.’ Once again, the incident had been resolved long before he ever showed up.
This lieutenant, even when a patrolman, was always last to arrive on any call where there is even a hint of violence. It was invariably long-since over when he finally got there. Sometimes, he didn’t arrive at all.
Our department issues good, level-two, security holsters. This guy is just a loafer, coward, and pathologically afraid of guns. He is altogether unsuited to police work and never should have been hired in the first place, much less promoted. Because of his position within the department, his chronic incompetence puts all our lives in peril, every day!
As in the NM incident, it is only a matter of time before the lines cross. Our chief readily concedes there is a ‘problem’ with this officer, but, for political reasons, continues to do nothing.”
Comment: All too common in American public service.
When the incompetent/unqualified are elected/promoted to important positions, for invariantly political reasons, public safety is fatally compromised. Unhappily, promoting bungling buffoons for political gain is a grand American tradition, and politicians, of course, couldn’t care less about innocent people who are predictably hurt and injustice that is ever propagated, nor do their media stooges.
But, we do!
Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police need to be extremely adept at saying “no” to political promotions and hiring, and equally accomplished at firing, instead of promoting, the demonstrably incompetent/unqualified/inadequate.
If not, when cashing their paycheck, they should be arrested for armed robbery!