2 Dec 11
During a Defensive Shotgun Course here in CA this week, a student brought a copy of Mossberg’s 930SPX Police Shotgun. It is a gas-operated auto-loader. First one I’ve had in a Course. It ran fine, digesting buckshot and slugs smoothly.
I love the sights! Fast and rugged.
Recoil was manageable, similar to that of a Remington 11-87.
The student who brought it did not have a sling installed, and I couldn’t see where one would attach it anyway. Attachment points would have to be added.
It is similar to Mossberg’s now-out-of-production 9200A1 “Jungle Gun,” and it has the same problem!
In order to get the shotgun into “Transport Mode” (tube charged, chamber empty, hammer down, manual safety “off”), one charges the magazine tube then drops the hammer on an empty chamber (after manually checking the chamber). Easy enough!
But, after a round has been chambered, it is impossible to get that round out of the chamber and subsequently close the bolt of an empty chamber, without voiding the entire magazine tube!
This means, in order to get the shotgun from “Engagement Mode” back to “Carry/Transport Mode,” the entire magazine tube must be completely voided and then straightaway completely recharged.
This bit of superfluous fumbling is a deal-buster!
The gun otherwise runs fine, and duck-hunters will likely not be inconvenienced, but, for one, I don’t want to own a copy for any serious purpose.
The student who brought the 930 promptly grew weary of all the requiem fumbling and abandoned it for a Remington 870, which ran fine for the duration.
Gun designers and gun-company presidents need to “get out” now and then!
6 Dec 11
These telling comments from a close friend and, like me, an independent instructor/consultant:
“I just finished my 2011 training year. This is my tenth year of doing this.
When I started a decade ago, hardware consisted of 1/3 1911s, 1/3 Glocks, and 1/3 a smattering of S&Ws, Berettas, SIGs, et al.
Today, 1911s are rare. We usually have one or two, but that’s it. Everyone else brings striker-fired, polymer-framed pistols, mostly 9mm, Glocks, XDs, and M&Ps, in about equal proportion. Kahrs remain popular as back-ups, as do S&W, 5-shot, snubby revolvers. Old-style S&W autoloaders, Berettas, and SIGs are now rarely seen!
Last week, a student came to Class after a two-year lapse. He had G23. Said he, ‘I don’t know why I resisted so long. Compared with my Colt Commander, my G23 is the same size, same weight loaded, and carries twice the ammunition!’
Leather holsters are nearly extinct. Kydex rules now!
A decade ago, I taught primarily competitive IPSC shooters. My classes back then could have been called ‘Street Fighting Applications for an IPSC Skillset.’
The next wave was new concealed-carry-permit-holders. They were mostly novice shooters, but motivated. Then, we started seeing first-time gun-buyers who watched enough network news to be scared. All motivated, but very inexperienced.
Today, we’re seeing many family members of police officers, police officers themselves, and active-duty soldiers and Marines. We’re even beginning to see formally anti-gun types who have, at long-last, have been compelled to repent of their former arrogant stupidity!
I’m amazed at the number of wives, sons, and daughters of cops and local politicians we’re seeing in classes. Even these folks are now nervous enough to ‘farm-out’ their family for competent training.
I suspect that 2012 will be intense!”
Comment: My experience over the last decade has been similar. “Enlightened self-interest” is a good thing and always rears its head during trying times!
As always, the resourceful, enterprising, and unpretentious will prevail, while the willfully naive, vain, and clueless will perish.
History is replete with examples. We’ve see all this before!
7 Dec 11
Serious Rifle Evolution:
Observations from an Instructor and friend:
“What, in the Year 2000, was considered by many a marginal choice for a serious, fighting longarm is now central to most personal-security agendas!
As you recall, I was a student at your Urban Rifle Course in South FL in 1999. Our Class’s armamentarium spanned Springfield M1As, to FALs, to Kalashnikovs, to ARs, to Ruger Mini-14s. All ARs had ‘carrying-handles.’ Most had the old-style triangular forend. None had rails. Most had long barrels. And, everyone was using iron sights, with the exception of one deputy who had a jerry-rig-mounted, early-edition, heads-up display, electro-optical sight.
No co-axial flashlights. Slings were little more than butt-and-muzzle-attached carry straps. No single-points, no chest-carry quick-adjustables.
Our student with the dot-sight did more than fairly well, but took much gentle ribbing for his fancy, albeit fragile, rig.
My, how the pressure of a couple of wars and the ingenuity of meeting demands have changed things!
There has been evolutions in pistols, no question. But watching serious rifles has been like watching a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis!”
Comment: Yes, yesterday’s “state-of-the-art” weapon platforms are today’s museum exhibits!
Evolution is currently moving forward at a fast pace. We all have to keep up!
Anyone interested in a “fair fight?”
12 Dec 11
NYPD, after requesting of Kahr Arms that they dramatically increase the trigger pull-weight of their Kahr-9 Pistol (a nominal seven pounds to thirteen pounds!), is now ordering its officers not to carry Kahr Pistols.
This all came about as a result of a number of recent NDs (no fatalities, but some resulting in personal injury, all self-inflicted) on the part of NYPD officers with Kahr pistols.
The Kahr-9 is an extremely popular concealed-carry/backup pistol, because of its high quality, reliability, and compactness. For regular concealed carry, it is hard to beat. I own and habitually carry several. Like most modern pistols, Kahrs are drop-safe.
But, as with all guns, you have to keep fingers off the trigger during those times when you don’t want it to discharge!
A thirteen-pound trigger on a pistol that small would make it virtually impossible to use for any serious purpose by many officers, particularly those with small hands and limited hand-strength.
In general gun-commerce, Kahr could not give away such a pistol!
Once again, personal carelessness and poor training are being excused/covered-up by shifting blame to gun manufacturers.
Once again, truth is the first casualty when embarrassing events take place within police departments!
Once again, the Second Amendment is blamed, by politicians and the media, for all the ills to which flesh is heir!
“Same routine- same results! Loosely translated: ‘When you keep doing the same old thing, you’ll keep getting the same old results!’”
13 Dec 11
From a friend and colleague:
“Just finished teaching a Police Firearms Instructor Class for my department. I had twenty-two students, from every corner of our state. All my students were working police officers, with many years experience. We were housed and fed at our State Police Academy, whose classroom and range facilities we also used.
Spending time at our Academy brought to light something that I have always known, but had failed to sink-in until now: Of two-hundred students and instructors on campus, virtually none are armed in any way. The only place individual possession of firearms is permitted is on the range itself, and, even then, all guns must be transported, to and from the range, in locked cases!
Even instructors are prohibited from carrying, and even bringing a gun on campus. This, in spite of the fact that Instructors are all sworn, badge-carrying, working police officers, and the fact that our campus is “open,” with virtually no security of any kind.
So, we have a campus full of cops, and not one able to defend him/herself. A small group of armed terrorists could effortlessly take over the whole place, and hold everyone hostage!
In view of the foregoing, a few, like me, contemptuously ignore these stupid rules (and the bureaucratic gasbags who make them) and carry anyway.”
Comment: This pitiable state of affairs is all too common, even at federal training facilities.
Bureaucratic “administrators,” scared to death of career-ending accidents, and simultaneously unconcerned about anyone’s real security, love to brag in their CVs about their wonderful “safety record.”
Sure, gun-accidents are easily prevented by simply disarming everyone, no matter how conspicuous the threat. Disarmed officers thus become little more than a gaggle of coal-mine canaries, but individual lives are apparently of scant importance when careers are at risk, eh?
Such universal disarmament is thus routinely practiced at police academies, departments, federal facilities, even within the Army and Marines, and even when they are stationed in hostile, foreign combat zones!
A complete break-down of trust is at the core of this dangerous and pathetic trend. Universally paranoid bureaucrats and politicians, all scared to death of armed subordinates, seek to manufacture victims, rather than Operators, all their hollow, flowery rhetoric to the contrary.
“Where there is trust, no proof is necessary. Where there is none, no proof is possible!”
14 Dec 11
Police Training Update, from an LEO friend in IL:
“With regard to your last Quip, we at the Illinois State Police Academy find this practice dishonorable and repugnant! I assure you that the entire Staff at our Academy, as well as all outside LEO Instructors and LEO students, are always armed, on and off campus, and are expected to be!
Whatever state academy your last Quip describes needs to get in the real world!”
Comment: Oh, how I concur!
Illinois is currently the only state without some kind of provision for non-LEOs to carry concealed, although many do anyway. However, it is refreshing to see that the Director of their State Police Academy is fearless enough to buck the current gun-phobic/armed-LEO-phobic trend.
16 Dec 11
In May of this year, a colonel in the Canadian Army had a negligent discharge of his M4. The event took place in garrison in Afghanistan. No injuries, nor significant property damage.
Nonetheless, the colonel was court-martialed as a result, forced to retire, and pay a small fine. Without hesitation, he came forward, pleaded guilty, offering no dubious rationalization. He stepped up to the plate, took personal responsibility for his carelessness, and accepted his punishment without whining, wincing, nor excuse-making.
What is the world coming to:
No laughable rationalization?
No blaming the gun?
No never-ending litany of feeble, demeaning excuses (my underwear are too tight; the sun was in my eyes; my mother didn’t breast-feed me as a child; ad nauseam)?
Maybe personal honor and dignity aren’t dead after all. Perhaps our Pentagon, alphabet-soup federal agencies, ex-Governor John Corzine, and the entire BHO Administration could all take a lesson, eh?
“The father of all error is the character-flaw of personal vanity. It is therefore incumbent upon every man of honor, who values his own dignity, to repent of error the moment it is discovered, fearing no external censure so much at that of his own conscience”
17 Dec 11
Reply to the last Quip:
“My aging father is a retired Army Officer, and you could have plugged his name in here! I was always comfortable around him and his friends, because there was, to a man, strength of character that one could literally feel.
Your Quip understandably congers-up a visceral reaction!”
“Thanks for your note and comments and for sharing your experiences. We are indeed blessed to have known such men!
Even when confronted with injustice, Men of Honor don’t whine, rationalize, nor try to shift blame. They unhesitatingly step forward and take full, personal responsibility. They are true Gentlemen, and whining is beneath them, as is all other forms of boorish behavior.
Unfortunately, today such men are rare, as you noted.
Conversely, the current trend is for politicians, bureaucrats, even military officers, to predictably lapse into flamboyant denial! When finally confronted with the truth, without-fail they snivel, make feeble excuses, and blame everyone but themselves. Personal responsibility is neither practiced, nor regarded as a critical virtue any more, even at top levels of government, even by the President himself.
For one, I find such behavior of the part of those sworn to serve revolting, cowardly, nauseating, and, when tolerated (indeed encouraged!), symptomatic of a civilization in decline.
Today, as you observed, who insist on leading from the front, and by personal example, are often weeded-out in favor of the sleazy, seedy, sluttish, and ‘ambitious-for-all-the-wrong-reasons.’”
“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one, any day
I’d rather you walk with me than merely ‘tell’ the way
The eye is a better student, and more willing, than the ear
I find your council confusing,
… but your example is always clear!”
19 Dec 11
An anti-gun lobby-group, called “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” on a recent recruiting drive, contacted a high-profile friend with this question:
“Do you feel convicted, violent felons should be able to have guns?”
The real title of this gaggle of hypocrites is, of course, “Mayors Against All Guns, Except Ours” After relaying the question to me, my reply was:
I “feel” just fine, thank you. Now, I’ll tell you what I think:
Of course not, but, correctly phrased, the question is: “Do you think it should be illegal for convicted, violent felons to possess guns?”
The answer: “That’s already illegal!”
And, it’s also already illegal for minors to possess guns, and it is already illegal for anyone to commit violent crimes, with or without guns. Those acts have always been illegal!
Are we now to make all these acts, which are illegal now, “even more” illegal?
My reply to politicians who decry acts of armed violence is, “Then, get after the criminals, Sir! You have a police department, the County Sheriff, the State Police, the FBI, and a dozen other alphabet-soup federal agencies. What are the all doing right now?”
But, no! Anti-gun politicians have no interest in real criminals. They only want to punish all of us who have never committed a crime, like you and me. It is only us, not criminals, who concern these political gasbags, and who are exclusively singled-out for punishment. Our only “crime” is failing to support them politically.
When big-city mayors suggest new punishments for innocent gun-owners, I severely doubt their professed motivation, and I profoundly question their personal integrity. In their hyper-paranoia, I sincerely believe their only true agenda, and earnest wet-dream, is concentration camps and gulags for political opponents.
As long as good and decent people, like you and me, audaciously exercise our inalienable right to keep and bear arms, that dream is threatened, thank God!
23 Dec 11
From a friend in UT:
“Yesterday, while waiting at a cash register, I got into a conversation with an agent from the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).
The subject was emergency food storage. At one point he said, with a seamy grin, ‘I love all these people who stockpile food. I have weapons, and I can get anything I need from them!”
Surprised, I responded, ‘You took an oath to uphold our Constitution and the laws of our State, yet just now openly admitted that you fully plan on casually murdering your friends and neighbors, using state-issued firearms, and then pillaging their belongings, because you think, during an emergency, they’ll be helpless and unable to resist you. Did I get that right?’
He stammered and said, ‘Well… I didn’t plan on stealing from anyone I knew.’
I added, ‘You need to have a serious conversation with yourself, Bud! With all due respect, your argument falls far short of persuasive.’
‘Are you armed right now?’ I continued.
‘Well, no. I don’t carry very often,’ was his response, now obviously embarrassed.
Said I, ‘Well, Skippy, I do! And, I know many people who stockpile food. Without exception, all are, like me, heavily armed, all the time. In addition, I believe they will have no compunction with enthusiastically defending themselves and their families against naive, unprepared predators, a group you’ve just identified yourself as being a part of!
You, an employee of the state no less, have voluntarily confessed your willingness to use your issued weapons to steal food from innocent Americans, murdering them when necessary.’
We separated without further conversation.
It struck me that this well-dressed man, clean cut, and otherwise polite, could so casually admit that he is a closet murderer and thief!
I occasionally run into other such gun-shop commandos who immodestly proclaim their intention to murder, loot, and pillage during a national or regional crisis. I suspect most, like the state employee above, haven’t thought it through. None seem so cock-sure, when confronted with the obvious implications of their hypocritical bravado.”
Big talk is easy when you don’t have to back it up. Making nonchalant, exaggerated statements in public about how you intend to employ gratuitous violence, in any scenario, is seldom in your best interests. Later on, in a court of law, you’ll mightily regret ever having said such things.
You might regret it even sooner!
“I’ve known many who claim to yearn for a fight, when the enemy is far away. Precious few continue to so yearn when the enemy gets close!”
26 Dec 11
Ringgolds’s “Flying” Artillery:
Prior to Sam Ringgold, field artillery pieces were transported about battlefields with agonizing clumsiness on large carriages slowly towed by teams of oxen. In fact, had Napoleon’s artillery been only slightly faster to move and deploy, the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 would likely have turned out differently!
At the same time, and across the Atlantic in the young United States, artillery was garnering much attention within the maturing US Army. One of its best and brightest advocates was Captain Sam Ringgold, West Point Graduate and son of a Maryland Congressman. Ringgold, fearlessly, and almost singlehandedly, rewrote the book on the subject, oddly enough, with scant opposition from those up the food-chain. Unlike the case in Europe, at the time there weren’t sufficient vested interests in keeping things as they were to get in the way of Ringgold’s radical updating.
In the early 1840s, Ringgold essentially married artillery with cavalry. He streamlined gun carriages (or caissons), giving them two, big wheels and long tongues, and towing them with teams of horses, instead of oxen. Of course, Ringgold’s “Flying Artillery” was best suited to the lightest pieces, so he selected bronze, six-pounders.
Then, he relentlessly drilled his crews, with mobility, speed, and accuracy being simultaneous goals. They could stop, set up (un-limber) and be firing within less than a minute. Each gun could fire a round every ten seconds. Unheard-of at the time! By the same token, they could pack-up (limber-up), and be back on the move in an instant, long before opposing batteries could locate them and even begin to return fire.
Ringgold’s timing could not have been better!
Since Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, and subsequently endured its own Civil War, ending in Santa Anna’s emerging as de-facto dictator in 1835, white settlers had poured into Texas (then a remote territory claimed alternately by Spain, Mexico, and the United States). White settlers, and local Mexicans alike, actively resisted Santa Anna’s rule, setting the stage for the Mexican War.
The Battle of the Alamo, Fannin’s slaughter at Goliad, and Sam Houston’s subsequent lopsided defeat of the carelessly arrogant Santa Anna at San Jacinto in Texas in 1836, gave Texas at least temporary independence from all claims of Mexico. However, newly-independent Texans immediately sought annexation into the United States, having scant faith in Santa Anna’s promises, nor, for that matter, in Houston’s assurances. Texans had a staunch ally in President Polk, and in 1845, Texas became a State, despite the slavery issue, which muddied the waters. However, nearly everyone knew annexation meant imminent hostilities with Mexico!
Accordingly, in 1846 a no-nonsense General Zachary Taylor, under orders from Polk, moved forces to the Mexican border. On the other side, Mexico’s Army was bigger than America’s, by several times, and much more experienced, and they were confident of victory against Taylor’s, by comparison, small force. But, Taylor’s trump-card was Ringgold’s three “flying” batteries of four guns each!
At Palo Alto, near present-day Brownsville, TX, on 8 May 1846 (Friday), Ringgold got his chance, and he capitalized on it, in spades! Horrified Mexican infantry and cavalry were mercilessly shredded by grape-shot and canister-shot, which most had never heard of, delivered with surgical precision via Ringgold’s batteries, which precipitously appeared out of nowhere! Victory was complete and lopsided. Mexican forces pulled back, but were pursued and ultimately shot to pieces. American casualties were light, but included Ringgold himself. Mortally wounded, he died three days later.
Ringgold was subsequently memorialized in county, city, and street names, from Pennsylvania to Louisiana.
The lesson of mobile artillery was not lost on young Lieutenant US Grant, who, during the battle, saw for himself the future of land warfare!
Santa Anna, enjoying luxurious ostracism in Cuba, came back, with his customary delusions of Napoleonic grandeur, to, once again, lead his “Grande Armee,” but to no avail. He allowed personal animosity for Taylor to cloud his judgement. While Winfield Scott’s ingenious amphibious landing at Vera Cruze threatened Mexico City proper, Santa Anna foolishly chased a retreating Taylor who was not in a position to threaten anything vital to Mexico. Santa Anna’s troops were lured into a trap at Buena Vista in northern Mexico and annihilated. Ringgold’s artillery, even without him, played a pivotal role. What few Mexicans survived, precipitously retreated, never looking back. Santa Anna, now minus a leg lost in battle, survived, but, disgraced for the last time, was forced out of the political arena. He died in obscurity in Mexico in 1876.
The Mexican war ended with the capture of Mexico City by Americans, and the Mexican government subsequently being forced to permanently cede all “Northern Territories,” which included Texas.
After ignominious defeat during the Mexican War, Mexico progressively descended into third-world status, from which it has never recovered.
Ringgold, yet another unsung hero, was able to see what few others could, found himself in a position to make real changes, and fearlessly, unhesitatingly went forward. It is innovative heroes like these that no nation can survive without, and it is a System like ours that allows such visionaries to move forward and flourish, as they can nowhere else!
“Happy is the army where ill-timed boldness occurs frequently. Blunders are annoying weeds, but their occasional eruption indicates richness in the soil.”
“Words are always stronger than the lying, crushing weight of the world, stronger than racks and wheels which the cowardly invent to crush the miracle of personality.”
29 Dec 11
“Experience runs a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other!”
ND at the PD! From an LEO friend and student with a medium-sized, local PD:
“Today, we had the first ND at our PD Headquarters Building that anyone can remember.
It was all recorded on video. Our officer came in from her shift carrying her M4. Prior to placing it in a locker, she removed the magazine and then, without hesitation nor so much as a glance in the direction the muzzle was pointed, pulled the trigger. Chamber was never checked. Manual safety was obviously ‘off.’
The single, errant round (Hornady 75gr TAP) penetrated an interior wall, entered our restroom, and demolished itself on a porcelain sink. No one was in the restroom at the time. No personal injury. Sink is toast, but thank heaven, the bullet did not come out the other side!
She subsequently stated that she was ‘making her weapon safe.’ When asked when she had chambered the round and why the manual safety was ‘off’, she stated she ‘… had no idea.’
In a feeble effort at rationalization, she stated that such accidents are ‘normal,’ and that ‘every officer’ experiences them! In reply, our Chief asked her, ‘… then we can fully expect you to continue to have such NDs as long as you work here, eh?’
He continued, ‘Please feel free to seek employment at one of these departments where such things, as you describe, are considered ‘normal,’ but you can’t work at this one any longer…’
She is unemployed, as of today!”
Comment: Now that we have rifles routinely in our System, and in the hands of patrol officers on a daily basis, mayors and chiefs will, and should, display a progressively decreasing tolerance for NDs.
Correct SOPs have to be thoroughly taught to each officer, and adherence to them must be unequivocally insisted upon. Sloppy thinking generates sloppy results, and, in the case of NDs, sometimes fatal results!
There are two kinds of pain: The pain of discipline, and the pain of regret. We can avoid one, but never both!