1 Feb 05

More from the SHOT Show:

SIG displayed their 239, now available with the DAK trigger. Only in 9mm right now; 40S&W and 357SIG versions will be following shortly. Smart move on their part. They won’t be able to make them fast enough!

Good friend, Alex Robinson, at Robinson Arms had his new XCR on display. This is the rifle the Pentagon should go with! Aluminum and steel, it is light, short, modular, versatile. I’ll have a copy for testing shortly. I love my RA-96, but this is a leap forward. Available currently in 223 and 6.8mm; 308 later in the year. The plastic XM8 is a contender too. It is cheap to manufacture, because of its extensive use of plastic parts. However, the plastic used has a low melting point. When the rifle gets hot, parts will soften and deform. Replacing those parts with a higher melting point plastic or aluminum will drive up the cost. The XCR is superior in my opinion.

Alex believes, even though the Pentagon has no current plans for system-wide conversion to the 6.8mm cartridge, the civilian market alone will keep this caliber alive and well. Most manufacturers will be offering versions of their rifles in this chambering, if they haven’t already.

Action Target showed their “Turn/Swing” target holder. Priced nearly the same as a simple paper target holder. The system adds target turning and bobbing, all without electric power or compressed air. Great idea! They’ll do well with this.

EVERYONE is now making AR-15s! There must be twenty domestic manufacturers now making versions of this rifle. Most I never heard of until I saw their SHOT Show displays. DSA and RRA still make the best however.

There were many other booths I never got to see, as my stay in Las Vegas was abbreviated this time. My apologies to my many friends whom I missed seeing.



2 Feb 05

From a friend in the UK. He has attended several of our classes in CO. This is a good English citizen who realizes that he would be in serious trouble if he were to apply the lessons of self defense he has learned with us:

“We were hopeful here, following a number of incidents where UK citizens were victimized by armed robbers, that the government would make it less hazardous for a decent person to defend his life and home. Unfortunately, government officials have decided that the existing law is ‘adequate,’ but they have attempted to ‘clarify’ the situation with a pitiable ‘guidance document,’ which is just someone’s opinion and has no force of law.

I am sure you’ll find the guide laughable, as it indicates that you may ‘defend yourself,’ but with what? Current law prohibits you from owning any instrument that would permit you to do so with some hope of being effective. Be glad you live in Colorado. I wish I did.”



2 Feb 05

On the situation in SA:

“We are currently in ‘consultation’ with the South African Police ‘Service’ after they confiscated two black-powder replicas being flown to a customer in Cape Town. All this after we have repeatedly quoted to them their own law which clearly states that these items are NOT ‘firearms.’ Late Tuesday afternoon they released the package after sheepishly admitting their ‘oversight’ (apparently, they never make ‘mistakes’)

Bureaucrats wrote the law, but police officials don’t even bother reading it! They only know that the government wants them to harass and vilify gun owners at every opportunity. This little ‘oversight’ cost us an entire day’s business, lawyer’s fees, shipping costs, and there is no provision in the law for us to be compensated for our loss.”

Comment: What can’t be accomplished through legislation, is accomplished through bureaucratic tyranny. The “rule of law” has been supplanted by the rule of faceless, unreachable, unaccountable, permanently entrenched bureaucrats doing the bidding of leftist politicians who can’t forward their Marxist agenda any other way.

Fear the government that fears its citizens.



2 Feb 05

Comments on the British, from a friend working in Iraq:

“The vast majority of the Brits working in the Sandbox are thoroughly brainwashed with anti-gun propaganda, which I’m sure they’ve been hearing from childhood. When we return to our lodging, they cannot get rid of their guns fast enough! They refuse to keep loaded guns in quarters. They hate putting them on and can’t wait to take them off, and they never carry them with a round chambered. Probably just as well, as none of them can hit the ground with their hat!

They refer to Americans as ‘paranoid gun nuts’. Mouthing propaganda, they constantly make remarks about our infatuation, as a nation, with guns. Their walls are covered with photos of women, and ours have guns, ammunition, and gear hanging on them. Their free time is spent watching porno DVDs. Ours is spent cleaning weapons and scrounging additional ammo and gear. We have SAWs, M-4s, and pistols. They will only carry (unloaded) MP-5s!

One of my teammates, a former Marine, ran into some Marine friends. They asked what he needed and offered him some ordnance, which he readily accepted. Brits were furious! We aren’t ‘allowed’ to have that. We might ‘get in trouble.’ They called him ‘unprofessional’ and insisted that we had ‘no need’ for such things.

Yet, when they get in over their heads, they invariably bleat for us the save them.”

Comment: I’m sure Boadicea is turning over in her grave! I hope, for her sake, Britain is never invaded.



22 Feb 05

Safety Lesson, from a friend at a large, commercial range:

“At the end of class yesterday, a student approached me to ask if I’d test fire his pistol, a Kimber 1911 with a polymer frame. The fifth shot made hollow sound, and my face was sprayed with debris. The remaining rounds in the magazine, spring follower, and magazine base plate jettisoned out the bottom and landed at my feet. The polymer frame broke, back to front.

No significant injuries. Slight tattooing on my left hand where gasses vented. Several bits of brass in my face. Cause was a case rupture. Once I tapped the slide to the rear, a huge void was visible in the bottom of the fired case, which still stuck in the chamber.

Ammunition was from a local, commercial reloader. The student lost a pistol. The reloader lost a customer. I lost a pair of glasses, as the lenses are now pitted. Fortunately, I was wearing glasses and a baseball cap, as per DTI doctrine, so neither I, nor my student, suffered eye damage or brass particles in the forehead.”

Lesson: Wear safety glasses and baseball cap while shooting or anywhere shooting is taking place! This kind of thing happens more often than most people think.



3 Feb 05

From a friend and student who works as a trauma surgeon at a big hospital:

“This morning, a 39-year-old woman was brought in with three gunshot wounds. She was shot at close range by her estranged boyfriend. He used a Star PD (45ACP) loaded with 230gr hardball. He probably shot at her more than three times, but our examination of her revealed only five holes. She never lost consciousness and, in fact, joked with us most of the time we were working on her!

She was shot once in the left wrist (through and through), once high on the left shoulder (through and through), and once in the right chest (entry wound only, the bullet is still in her). All shots were from the front. She went to the apartment where she and her boyfriend had, until recently, been living together in order to retrieve clothing and other personal property. She was shot during her visit there.

The most serious of her wounds was the one in the chest, as it penetrated her chest wall and lung. As one would expect, she had a homothorax, but the amount of fluid didn’t amounted to much, and we therefore never bothered with a chest tube. Pneumothorax never developed. We did not recover the bullet, and it will probably remain where it is for the rest of her life.

We’ll keep her here overnight for observation and release her tomorrow, assuming nothing serious develops. Some permanent disability will likely result from her wrist and shoulder wounds, but otherwise she’ll be fine.”

Lesson: After being shot three times at close range by an assailant using a pistol chambered in 45ACP, this woman never lost consciousness (nor, apparently, her sense of humor), spent only one day in the hospital, and will be back to her normal routine tomorrow! This performance of pistol bullets is all too typical, even in the vaunted 45ACP caliber.

The lesson is clear. ALL PISTOL ROUNDS ARE PUNY. When we need to shoot someone with a pistol, we need to zipper them up the body midline and then quickly got off the line of force, aggressively repeating the drill as necessary. Of course, carry high-performance ammunition, but lower your expectations of your pistol and what it can do to protect your life. Accurate, surgical shooting is required. Multiple hits will probably be required. His “will to fight” must be destroyed, and it will take longer and require more hits than many are prepared to contemplate. Don’t stop in the middle of the fight. FINISH THE FIGHT!

Your life depends on it.



11 Feb 05

Steve Camp, Pete Taussig, along with Fred Blish and his staff, Vicki, and me, just completed two, consecutive Military Pistol Courses with the Marines at Camp Pendleton, the first this year.

My students are wonderful! They exuded a sharpness and resourcefulness that was nothing less than inspiring, and all were exceedingly decisive. This time, our student roster included a command sergeant major and a major general! Both humbled themselves and participated as ordinary students, asking no special recognition and taking their lumps, as well as picking up brass, just like everyone else. We were honored indeed to have them join us.

Beretta M9s mostly worked well. We broke a locking block on one, which immediately rendered the pistol nonfunctional. Each student went through close to one thousand rounds over two days. Many students brought Safariland security holsters, all of which worked well. Fast and secure. Many others had the Bianchi flap holster. Less secure and slow. Not much to recommend it.

The principle of the Hot Range was, once more, new to most students, but, as always, all thought it was a great idea and adapted to it immediately, including our general, who openly wondered why all Marine training ranges were not run this way routinely!

Betterbilt’s Steel Rotator targets were, as before, immensely popular. When students become actively involved in relay races, duels, and other competitions, their intensity causes them to forget they are learning.

Once again, I encouraged them to carry pistols (and blades) always, concealed if necessary, any time they find themselves in dangerous places, worrying less about “propriety” and more about personal victory. I reminded them that the routine carrying of pistols conveys to the carrier a firm sense of purpose and of nobility and that the daily handling of dangerous weapons reinforces correct habits.

Training these wonderful Marines is a source of inspiration for all of us. We’ll keep doing it as long as we’re invited.


“When, because of negligence, cowardice, and laziness, drills were abandoned, the customary armor began to feel heavy since soldiers rarely wore it. Therefore, they petitioned the Emperor to set aside breastplates, mail, eventually helmets. He gave in. So, our soldiers fought Goths without protection for heart and head, and they were often beaten by archers.

Although there were many disasters which led to the loss of great cities, even then, no one dared suggest restoring armor to the infantry. They took their armor off, and when the armor came off, so, too, did their integrity.”

The foregoing was written by a Roman general in the Fifth Century AD. He saw firsthand what happens to a civilization when its defenders lose their sense of purpose and nobility. I pray what little my friends and I can accomplish forestalls, even reverses, that ruinous trend in this civilization.



13 Feb 05

Black Powder in SA:

“Since our ‘government’ has decided to make it all but impossible for decent people to own firearms, black powder gun sales are booming here!

BP guns are not defined as ‘firearms’ under the law and are thus essentially unregulated, much as is the case in the USA. I regularly sell Colt and Remington six-gun copies (Pietta, CVA, Uberti) to people who are utterly exasperated with the unending paperwork now required to own ‘real guns.’ Also popular are Hawken rifles (Ardesa, CVA, and Pedersoli). Ruger ‘Old Army’ stainless steel revolvers are extremely popular, but pricey.

Pyrodex is not available here, so we settle for ‘real’ black powder, which is abundant and inexpensive. Percussion caps are pricey, but available.

Many customers now regularly carry BP six-guns for self defense! Good people will always find a way to protect themselves. Hope you guys don’t come to this some day!

Comment: The greatest disservice a government can do is force decent citizens to become “criminals,” while employing real criminals as bureaucrats. Such governments merit neither loyalty nor respect.

“Who cannot govern himself has no right to govern others”



13 Feb 05

BP comments from a friend and instructor in TX:

“I frequently carry a SW M25-13 with 250 gr SWC over a case full of FFFg. At arm’s length, a single shot will literally set your adversary’s clothes on fire! The cloud of smoke will cause him to choke and gag (while burning). All that, even if you miss him! It killed just fine 150 years ago, and it still works today. Your SA friends are not undergunned!

Tell your SA friends to clean their guns with a 50/50 mixture of water and Simple Green. Then dry and oil them. We’ve been doing that down here for years with great success. Commercial BP gun solvents are just expensive hocus pocus. If you can’t get Simple Green, use Windex (w/o ammonia).”

Comment: Some of my physician students tell me we are currently living in a brief period of human history that future historians will call the “antibiotic bubble.” Likewise, I’ve heard from more than one Texan that “Smokeless propellants are just a passing fad!” We may live to see it!



15 Feb 05

Good habits prevent disasters. This from an LEO friend in SA:

“Before going to bed last night, I took my pistol (CZ-75, w/CB 9mm Powerball) out of the holster and performed my customary chamber check. I was surprised to find the manual safety ‘off.’ How it got in that position I have no idea. Had I not made a habit of checking the chamber a couple of times every day, who knows how long I would have walked around with a cocked pistol and no safety applied?

When I first used my new Comp-Tac holster and magazine carrier, you may remember that I promptly made a complete idiot out of myself by throwing away my magazine during a reloading demonstration, in front of our entire class of students. Kydex is so fast, that the magazine came rocketing our of the carrier faster than I was prepared to control it. I lent this same rig to a friend over the weekend, as he wanted to see how kydex compares with leather. On his first tactical magazine change, he also threw away his magazine. We had both been used to carrying pistols and magazines in leather rigs that have more inherent friction. In addition, the kydex carrier keeps magazines tight against the body, resulting in our index on the magazine being incorrect. The lesson here is to always train with the actual equipment that you regularly use and carry, unless, of course, you like surprises!”

Lesson: Good habits save us when misfortune rears its ugly head. Professional gunmen don’t have accidents, because we are practiced and competent.

If you train with equipment, and under circumstances, different from what you actually use, you’re kidding yourself! One of the purposes of training is to discover and correct flaws in routine and equipment. If, on the other hand, your only goal in training is to “look good,” such corrections will never happen, and your “training” will thus be little more than a waste of time. Only the shallow and self-centered are consumed with “looking good.”

“Male dictum interpretando facias acrius”

(Justifying a bad practice only makes it worse)




15 Feb 05

From one of our instructors who is a physician:

“The latest issue of JAMA contains two ‘scholarly’ articles. The first, GUN STORAGE PRACTICES AND RISK OF YOUTH SUICIDE AND UNINTENTIONAL FIREARM INJURIES. The second is an editorial comment on the first. Nothing you haven’t heard before, but the level of ignorance and arrogance among self-proclaimed ‘experts’ is astounding:

Recommended storage practices (keeping guns locked, unloaded, storing ammunition locked, and in a separate location), the authors state, cut down on the number of teenager firearm suicides with family guns. They admit, however, that the study did not determine if this meant merely the postponement of suicide (as we all know, preventing persons of any age from killing themselves, if they are determined to die, is nigh impossible). They also sheepishly admit ‘limitations to our study’ are so many and serious as to make the reader wonder why they even bothered with the study to begin with, or how such shoddy ‘research’ ever saw the light of day!

As just one example, they never bothered determining how the weapon used in the suicide was stored. But, they were happy to declare, unequivocally, that there is more danger to members of a household simply from the presence of guns than there is from criminal attack.

I liked the editorial comment, ‘However, locking away firearms from children and adolescents MAY (emphasis added) also limit access to the firearms by their adult owners. Many households keep firearms for protection against potentially violent intruders, and surveys indicate that firearms are OFTEN (emphasis added) used for this purpose. Consequently, families may perceive that keeping a gun for protection and protecting their children from firearm injury are equally important.’ No shit!

The author goes on to state that physicians (even if their ignorance of guns is equal to that of the author) should routinely determine if there are guns in their patients’ homes, and, if so, should teach those patients proper storage practices.”

Comment: The blind, anti-gun agenda of this segment of the medical community is well known, and, as usual, on this subject, they are utterly incapable of any species of objectivity. They will happily publish flawed research, as long as it supports their anti-gun bias. They see guns in the hands of decent people (“patients,” they call them), not as a threat to teenagers, but as a threat to themselves.



18 Feb 05

New address for sending items overseas:

M/Gy/Sgt Mitchell has rotated home. He has expressed great thanks, on behalf of all deployed Marines, for the generosity of my friends, instructors, and students, who have supplied our guys for essential items.

The baton has now been passed to:

Captain Ryan L Anderson, USMC
MWSS 371 Engineer Operations Company
Unit 43041
FPO AP 96426-3041

The items still in desperate need are:

Cold Steel, Emerson knives, fixed and folding
White socks
Dry lube, Hoppe’s, Outer’s, Remington
9mm and 223 Boresnake
Beretta OEM 92F normal-capacity magazines
Leatherman tools, “Wave” and “Crunch”
Surefire flashlights
LED “soft” lights (Map lights)

There may be other items to add to the list. I’ll be updating it shortly, but, if you have packages ready to send, Capt Anderson will see that the items get to the guys who need them.

Thanks to everyone.



18 Feb 05

Update of items and packaging:

My friends in Country have told me today that the

Leatherman “Charge XTi”

is particularly prized over there, because it comes standard with crimpers, which are used constantly by engineers, infantry, and others when setting explosive charges. They need to blow stuff up constantly, and this tool is extremely useful.

One additional tip, don’t use duct tape on the outside of packages. USPO doesn’t like it. Makes them suspicious about your package.

More as info reaches me.



18 Feb 05

A friend sent me the current Army Rifle Qualification Test, administered prior to deployment.

All shooting is done at 25m. Shooters never charge their own magazines or even handle ammunition. Shooter are handed four, 30-rnd magazines, with only ten rounds in each. They have four minutes to fire forty rounds, or six seconds per shot, from a prone position. Any shot that cuts color on a paper silhouette counts as a “hit.” Even at that, “passing” is 65% hits. This is “training” for the “finest army in the world?”

Marines do a superior KD course, but, for both the Army and the Marines, that is where the training stops. No hot ranges. No hot scenarios. No animimated targets. No integration of rifle and pistol, or rifle and knife skills. Few opportunities to shoot in anything but a sterile, stilted environment, where targets remain motionless until it is convenient for shooters to leisurely engage them, and everyone there only cares about getting their ticket punched and leaving as soon as possible. Even at that, few soldiers or Marines are exposed to live fire exercises more than once or twice a year.

This situation needs improvement now. Far too much time is spent handling unloaded (“safe”) guns. Much more time needs to be spent handing loaded (“dangerous”) guns. The morbid and ubiquitous fear of guns that currently pervades all branches of the military, must give way to confidence, born of correct gun handling. “Target” marksmanship must give way to “Combat” marksmanship. Regular, continuous, live-fire drills need to be the order of the day. We can probably substitute a few for the current battery of “sensitivity” lessons! All officers and staff NCOs should be carrying loaded pistols all the time, the way it was proudly done 125 years ago. Who knows? The practice may convey some urgency to their office.

In short, we need to stop playing around and get serious about purposeful training in fight-winning skills. World history is not waiting for us! We did not descend from fearful men. We must be heroes, whether we like it or not! ‘Difficulty’ is an excuse history never accepts.

A Roman observer put it this way:

“Think thou that these magnificent, victorious Legionaries became what they are through some arbitrary stroke of fortune? Nay! They do not sit around congratulating themselves in the wake of every victory. Nay! They spend every moment refining and improving their craft. Without apology, they pursue excellence. Each one knows and understands that he alone stands between the Empire and oblivion. Watch them! Indeed, they appear to have been born with weapons in their hands!”

Amen! Amen!



20 Feb 05

When “improvements” do little to “improve.” This from a friend and veteran gunman in OK.

“I’ve always been a proponent of the basic, 1911 as a carry pistol. Yes, I like Glocks, SIGs, Kahrs, and others too, but the look and feel of a 1911 is still the standard by which I judge most other pistols.

I may have reached new extremes in this belief! Several years ago I acquired a WW I ‘veteran’ 1911, a Colt, manufactured in 1918, with all appropriate military markings. Heaven knows where this pistol has been and whom it has protected these past eighty-seven years! After allowing it to gather dust in a safe for several years, I recently had new sights (big enough for my tired eyes) installed, along with a new GI barrel.

It’s still more WW I than anything. Runs flawlessly! Comfortable in the holster and more than accurate enough for any serious purpose. Contrary to contemporary belief, the lack of a lowered/flared ejection port, full-length spring guide, front slide serrations, extended controls, long ejector, external extractor, and other stylish gizmos do not hamper it’s abilities in the least. It sits in its Kydex IWB holster, and, when my hand hits it, its like shaking hands with an old comrade!”

Comment: We’re showing our age, old friend! Old ideas like these are dying, I’m told, and you and I will probably die with them. However, isn’t is interesting that, in its original form, this old pistol still works just fine. The old workhorse you now own will probably find its place at the side of some young warrior long after both of us are little more than a faint memory!



22 Feb 05

On 19 Feb 45, US Marines invaded the Island of Iwo Jima. I was born that same day. Here are some comments from a lad that was only twenty and found himself of Iwo’s shores that morning. Today, he is eighty:

“On the island, whether in contact or standing by, my rifle was always ready. A round was always in the chamber. Even after fighting ended, each man was required to have his weapon with him and loaded, everywhere he went. Most of us carried pistols as well, and they were always loaded too. Those who didn’t have a Garand, had a M1 Carbine or a Thompson. All of us had knives.

There was no ‘Green Zone’ on Iwo. It was a dangerous place all the time I was there. We would have considered running around unarmed or with an unloaded rifle or pistol to be tantamount to suicide! I can’t understand what is going on today. Must we apologize for being ready?”

Comment: The anti-gun crowd can take a lot of credit for the “guns are icky” attitude that can be currently seen in every branch of the Service. This old veteran knows better! Most of us do too.



24 Feb 05

An article was recently written about police off-duty carry, in the wake of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004, signed into law by President Bush on 22 July 04. It amounts to a nationwide concealed carry permit for all police officers, current and retired. Of course, we’ve all been doing it anyway, but this makes it official.

But, here come gun-phobic worrywarts, so concerned that someone will actually be armed when he needs to be. “You can (be armed), but should you?” he fearfully asks. He then goes on about the “risk/benefit analysis” of the idea, as if “being dead” were a viable option!

Here are his questions, and my characteristically sarcastic responses:

“1. Does your former agency provide retired officers with testing that will allow you to achieve qualified status?”

Of course not, and they probably never will! The last thing any bureaucracy will do is take steps to help its individual people. Screw them! I’m carrying anyway. If I wait for those fossils to actually make a decision, I’ll be on Social Security.

“2. Are you familiar with the laws of the state(s) you’re traveling to?”

No, and neither is the attorney general of that state, or any other state. Gun laws, as written, are so incomprehensible, no one understands them. “Becoming familiar” with them would consume the rest of my lifetime and then some. Once again, you can worry about all that crap of you can just carry.

“3. Can you resist the temptations of a police-like response?”

Oh, please!

“4. Are your mental and physical skills adequate for reacting properly?”

If I’m not ready by this point in my career, there is no hope.

“5. Can you overcome a treacherous tactical disadvantage?”

And your point? Would my “tactical situation” be improved by my being unarmed?

“6. Can you defend your shooting decisions without the benefits of immunity under the law and without your agency’s support?”

I have no idea, but at least I’ll be alive to try, won’t I?

This is silly. If you’re that afraid of guns, you probably shouldn’t own one. Life, lived correctly, involves great daring and risks taken every day. People consumed by fear don’t get much living done.



26 Feb 05

Just finished the first day of friend Tom Givens’ annual “Polite Society” gathering in Memphis, TN. This is an NTI, on a reduced scale, but many friends were there, and the shooting exercises were wonderful.

There was a battery of standard drills, involving support-hand shooting and reloading. All exercises were done in reduced light on Tom’s indoor range. Tactical exercises involved a house/rescue problem, a restaurant problem, where you had to keep under control a hysterical dinner partner and simultaneously engage several armed attackers, and a vehicle exercise, where you had to shoot several armed criminals while seated in your car. As at the NTI, targets were all mannequins, fully dressed, and visibly armed (or not). All were reactive and went down when hit. Great stuff! Great opportunity to simultaneously integrate verbal skills, movement, use of cover, and shooting skills in a single exercise. Good show, Tom!

As always, I was tempted to shoot too fast and to deal ineffectively with tunnel vision. I overcame these speed bumps in some cases. I faltered in others. We all need to do this kind of thing more often!

Friend, Paul Gomez, lectured us on the subject of the AK-47. Paul’s knowledge of this system is virtually unlimited, and I learned a number of things I’m going to steal from him. His handling repertoire is smooth and efficient, and, like me, he is a staunch advocate of hot ranges. The vaunted Kalashnikov System will be with us for a long time, and all need to be familiar with it.

Friend, Skip Gochenour, who has investigated more homicides than any other person I know, talked with us about VCAs (Violent Criminal Actors). He made sure we all understood the important difference between “instrumental violence” and “expressive violence,” the latter being, by far, the more pernicious of the two. When we do, most of us lie in an effort to avoid embarrassment. Expressively violent criminals learn to use lies as a weapon, in an effort to persuade their victims to suspend reality long enough to open themselves to victimization. Many expressively violent actors don’t expect to survive for long. On the other hand, instrumentally violent actors fully expect to victimize people and remain themselves unhurt. Thus, their plan is easily disrupted when it becomes obvious you are willing to fight and able to fight effectively. With him, it’s nothing personal; just business. With expressively violent actors, it’s always personal!

We learned that the less intimidating the weapon used by the violent offender, the more likely he is to use it. He is much more likely to use a bludgeon than a knife and more likely to use a knife than he is a gun. Skip cautioned us, “A lot of people are willing to harm you. Few among that number are willing to fight you.” When it becomes obvious there is going to be a fight, most instrumentally violent criminals quickly lose interest. Expressively violent criminals go forward anyway!

A good friend in the Federal System lectured the class on goings on overseas. He indicated that the M-4 is not perfect but works fine, that none of us practice nearly enough, and that, in actual life-threatening circumstances, you’ll be relying heavily upon drilled-in moves. Most times pistols need to be used, it is against unexpected threats which are at close range. He warned us all to stay armed constantly and always to be mentally prepared and fully willing to act with extreme and precise violence in the defense of our own lives. He has had to do it a number of times himself. A sobering reminder!

Tom Givens used details from the 1986 FBI shooting in FL to drive home several important tactical and philosophical points:

“Don’t go looking for someone, not expecting to find him.” In other words, be careful what you wish for. A number of agents involved in this incident were woefully unprepared, because they really didn’t think they would encounter bad guys that day. When the shooting started, there was no time to ‘get ready.’”

“During a lethal encounter, you’re going to lose a percentage of your skills. If your skills are poor to begin with, you may lose most of them. If you are extremely skilled, when you lose some, there will still be plenty left! Being ‘excessively skillful’ thus has real advantages!”

“Keep fighting, in spite of injuries. These days, most of what is wrong with you can ultimately be fixed. So long as you keep moving, stay in the fight, and remain conscious, you’ll probably be fine. That is why we have doctors and ERs. If, while the fight is still on, you pause to think about your injuries instead of your business, momentum is lost, along with whatever tactical advantage you may have had!”

“You’re on your own! You will have to fight without help, and you’ll have to fight with only what you have on you or with you. Many die wishing they had been better prepared!”

As always, great stuff, Tom!

Friend, Dr Larry Pyzik, talked to us about terminal effect of handgun bullets. Excellent revue of human anatomy, from the side and back as well as the front. Larry reminded us all that shooting along the body midline needs to include the neck, right up to the chin. Many of us, he said, mistakenly stop zippering upwards when we reach the center of the chest.

Head shots with a pistol are much less likely to be effective than are neck shots. He agreed with Tom and most of the rest of us that pistol bullets need to both expand AND penetrate adequately, but that all are marginally adequate and none can realistically be expected to stop a fight any where near instantly.

More tomorrow!



27 Feb 05

On the second day of the Polite Society meeting:

Today, master pistolsmith and good friend, Jim Garthwaite, talked with us about 1911s and Glocks. He observed that many current 1911 iterations have an external extractor, considered by many a great improvement to the original Browning design. Jim is not so sure! It is external extractors that blow completely off the gun when a case splits and gas leaks back to the bolt face. Jim prefers the primal Browning design, but reminded us that the extractor and its channel in the slide must be kept clean, so the extractor can flex normally. On that note, the extractor itself must be machined from tool steel. Many are currently MIM (Metal Injection Molding) parts. MIM extractors break often and are not recommended. After-market parts, particularly spring kits, are also not recommended, for either system. Installing lighter-than-normal springs, especially hammer springs, is a practice particularly discouraged.

Jim also reminded us to thoroughly test pistols, with duty ammunition, before carrying them for serious purposes. Feeding problems, even with these two otherwise fine systems, are not uncommon.

Bill Aprill’s excellent disarm class was also on today’s agenda. Bill distresses the necessity of deflecting the muzzle first, then attacking the offender, eventually separating him from the gun.

Friend, Steve Moses talked about rifle and shotgun accessories. Steve likes Aimpoints and EOTech sights. He also likes coaxial-mounted lights but otherwise, like me, keeps his weapons simple.

He warned us all not to mix slugs and buckshot within a shotgun magazines tube (called a “Dutch Load”), as few people are able to keep the mix straight in their minds during a fight. Foster slugs don’t normally penetrate soft body armor. Brennicki slugs do!

… and it was all over this afternoon. Our sincere thanks to Tom Givens for hosting this wonderful event. As with the NTI, the “Polite Society” gathering has become an important learning/research event.



28 Feb 05

I nearly forgot the mention the excellent class on vehicle defense, presented by my good friend, Dave Blinder. Dave stressed that commercial vehicles today are surely more easily penetrated by bullets than were cars manufactured just a few years ago. However, a moving vehicle is still nearly bulletproof. When attacked while driving, keeping the vehicle in motion thus has great advantages. Stopping the vehicle is contraindicated. Stopping and getting out is even worse. Leaving open space ahead while in traffic is a life-saving habit.

A routine must be developed for entry and exit, as these are the moments when personal attack is most likely. A few moments routinely spent in reconnaissance is time well spent. Keeping windows up, doors locked, and the sunroof closed also pays dividends.

Seatbelts are both a benefit and a curse. They need to come off quickly prior to opening a door.
Don’t let your gas tank get below one half. Spend extra money on maintenance in order in insure you won’t break down at an unhappy time and place. Vehicles, like guns, need to be well maintained. Carry a cell phone constantly.

Good show, Dave, and good reminders for all of us.