6 May 08
2008 IALEFI Conference in Reno, NV:
I arrived on Range in Reno, NV yesterday afternoon, eager to shoot several new guns I’ve only handled up until now. Classes continue on the Range all week with lecture Classes going on simultaneously at the local Silver Legacy Hotel.
Ruger’s diminutive LCP is very functional and digests 380 ammunition with great enthusiasm. Smooth, flat, small, an slick, I like it! It’s a single-column, self-decocking seven-shooter. It makes a wonderful hide-out/back-up pistol. Comments were generally positive.
Sights are rudimentary and hard to see. Officers who have to qualify with back-up pistols may find sufficient accuracy difficult to attain. Gunsmiths will thus stay busy retrofitting the LCP with after-market sights!
The LCP has an external slide-lock lever, but the slide does not lock to the rear when the last round is fired. Magazine-release button is in the customary place on the left side of the frame.
Priced at under $400.00, Ruger will have difficulty making LCPs fast enough!
SIG’s P250, currently available only in 9mm with the “medium” frame, is a compact seventeen-shooter that runs well and is makes a wonderful concealed-carry pistol. My friends from SIG are already complaining that they can’t get enough copies to run an Armorer’s Class, so it will be a while before SIG is able to fill the pipeline!
The P250 is a DAO service pistol, designed to compete, price-wise, directly with Glock.
Action Target has produced yet another ingenious innovation: the “Dropper.” With this compact, collapsible system, The shooter shoots through a cardboard target in an effort to hit a steel plate positioned on the body mid-line, eight inches behind it. The shooter cannot actually see the steel plate, as it is concealed behind the cardboard target. When the plate is struck, the cardboard target falls forward, and the plate falls backward! This inexpensive, manual system does two important things: (1) It trains the shooter to keep after the target until he gets results, and (2) it trains the shooter to see the target with “X-ray vision.” That is, the shooter can’t perceive his ultimate target directly. He must estimate where it is, beneath the skin of the torso.
Seeing one’s target with X-ray vision is a discipline to which Dr Jim Williams introduced us all, and the “Dropper” enables one to actually exercise this critical skill.
11 May 08
More on the IALEFI Conference:
Bill Mathes of 21st Tactical featured his innovative RTI (Rapid-Transfer Interchange) holster system, whereby holsters can be rapidly attached and detached from the belt base or a base attached anywhere. Guns can be kept in holsters, even when the base remains on the belt.
The trend with weaponlights is to leave them attached to pistols and train with them constantly. I saw a wide variety of holsters designed to accommodate pistols with lights attached, and they are greatly improved from the originals. Insight lights are extremely popular. However, I really like Safariland’s RLS, as it goes on and comes off so fast and conveniently.
Firstlight’s line of lights are, of course, designed to be just as useful when not attached to pistols!
I was among the first to see and shoot Springfield Armory’s new XD/M pistol. Scheduled for an official debut at the NRA Show in KY next weekend, several of us got our hands on a copy at the SA booth. It was in 40S&W, and the size is virtually identical in dimensions to the existing XD, but it is a 17-shooter, vs the current 13-shooter. I’m not sure how they accommodated four additional rounds, but the grip is still comfortable and very ergonomic.
The XD/M also features variable grip-geometry. The grip can easily be sized up, or down, to accommodate a wide variety of hand sizes, much like S&W’s M&P, Beretta’s PX4, and SIG’s
It is not necessary to dry-fire the XD/M in order to field strip it. This is an important feature for many.
In short, the XD/M is substantially slicker, more ergonomic, more comfortable, and has significantly more magazine capacity than the existing XD, and it will be more expensive.
SA will continue production of the conventional XD, which is still a perfectly serviceable pistol.
The XD/M will now represent the premium line.
I like it!
13 May 08
Unloaded pistols in holsters:
Yesterday, in IN, I conducted a “Defensive Revolver Course.” My students, proficient Operators, all united in agreeing that we need to be competent with all commonly-used handguns. So, we spent a day exclusively with revolvers, both as main-guns and as back-up guns.
Of course, we run hot ranges, and I reminded all students not to holster empty, nor even partially-loaded, revolvers. We want all revolvers topped-off prior to being holstered. But, one circumstance is an exception: When rapidly transitioning from main-gun to back-up, we must “do something” with the main-gun, as most of us want both hands available as we continue fighting with the back-up pistol.
During the transition, the now-empty (or otherwise non-functional) main-gun can be (1) Jettisoned, (2) Returned to the holster, or (3) Retained in the strong-side hand (and perhaps even thence used as a club) as the back-up gun is simultaneously drawn via the support-side hand and subsequently put to use.
This latter option was employed with considerable success by several clever students, who showed us all that it is the fastest option of the three. However, it requires that the back-up pistol be readily accessible to the support-side hand and that it be fired one-handed.
The first option is fast too, but the main-gun ends up on the deck where it may, or may not, be subsequently recovered. Acceptable in most domestic confrontations, but not a good idea when employed in a disaster scenario, where we can’t be quite so cavalier about “throwing away” critical (albeit currently unusable) equipment that can’t be readily replaced.
The middle option is the slowest of the three, but the main-gun is preserved on the body of the Operator and can nearly always be subsequently recovered, reloaded, and returned to service. However, in the interim, the Operator has an empty pistol in his holster. Inauspicious, but unavoidable in this scenario.
More than one student who employed the middle option forgot all about the fact that, at the end of the drill, their holstered main-gun was empty, and, as they launched into the subsequent drill, cheerlessly discovered that they were starting the gunfight with an empty pistol! Happily, they only made that mistake once!
Main-guns can usually go rapidly from the holster, to action, and then back to the holster. Indeed, even autoloaders in slide-lock can still be reholstered rapidly. Conversely, most back-up guns cannot be returned to their holsters quickly. Thus, when transitioning from back-up pistol to second back-up pistol or to a blade, the (now-empty) first back-up pistol must be (1) Jettisoned, or (2) Stuffed into a pocket. Again, in a disaster scenario, taking the extra time to shove the back-up into a pocket will surely be arguable.
14 May 08
The media is incapable of reporting the truth!
Earlier this month, the Chief of Police of Riverdale, UT unintentionally shot himself with his own pistol during a “training exercise.” I strongly suspect this “training exercise,” which mysteriously took place, not on a pistol range, but in a conference room, was part of a hastily-generated and transparently incredulous cover-story designed to make the entire incident look slightly less inexcusable than it actually is.
The press report phrased it, “… accidentally shot himself in an ankle while demonstrating how to dislodge a jammed handgun.” Of course, we’re never told for whose benefit this curious “demonstration” was intended.
The word “accidentally” is non-descriptive and inappropriate. The media would have us believe that modern pistols used by American police officers “accidentally” discharge themselves now and then, and there is apparently nothing that can be done about it! The fact is that the Chief first pointed the pistol at himself, and then pressed the trigger. That is the ONLY way one can injure himself with any reputable pistol I know of. We call it a “negligent discharge,” not an “accidental discharge.”
No, the Chief didn’t “accidentally” shoot himself! The shooting was probably unintentional, and it probably came as a surprise to all concerned (although, with such sloppy gun-handling apparently being the norm there, it shouldn’t have!), but the pistol in question didn’t discharge via some magical, mystical, unforeseeable alignment of the planets, nor did that bullet find its way to the Chief’s ankle after several, cosmic, high-speed, right-angle turns! The media would love for us to believe such rubbish, because their leftist political agenda earnestly desires that the American public continue to be morbidly afraid of guns and believe all guns are controlled by evil spirits!
The unvarnished truth is that (1) Modern pistols are relatively simple mechanical devices that will discharge only when sufficient pressure is applied to the trigger. (2) Unintentional injury results only when pistols are carelessly pointed in unsafe directions.
Thus, proper gun-handling always involves strict muzzle-consciousness and keeping one’s finger in a strong, “register” position until/unless two things are true at the same time: (1) Sights are on target, and (2) the decision to fire has been made.
Violators shoot themselves episodically, as we see. Again, we correctly identify such incidents as “negligent discharges.” No mystery, and no “accident,” here!
15 May 08
From an Instructor in SA:
“We are currently hard-pressed to move far more students than we can possibly train properly through our range in a short space of time. This has necessitated ‘conveyer-belt’ training. My immediate boss is understanding of my unhappiness over this and agrees that students need individual attention. Both of us are, however, under direct orders from the Chief of Police to get these guys’ tickets punched and out the door!
Yesterday, during an exercise, I issued a range instruction for shooters to unload. Whilst unloading, one of my learners, turned his pistol toward his own face and then looked directly down the barrel! His stated intention was to confirm that the chamber was empty. I’m sure it all seemed logical to him!
Needless to say, everything came to a halt whilst the unprofitable nature of this action was, once again, explained to him in graphic detail!
As always, when otherwise-dedicated trainers are forced to bow to expedient, but ill-advised, political will, we spend our time doing little more than running in place!”
Comment: We trainers have to care about the lives of our students more than does the administration, even the students themselves. Their lives are literally in our hands!
Conveyor-belt training is the result of an inadequate, indeed duplicitous, commitment to the safety of police officers and other citizens. It sometimes results from administrators, bureaucrats, and politicians underestimating, deliberately or through ignorance, the challenge at hand. It must never result from a lack of commitment on the part of us trainers!
15 May 08
Wisdom from Doc Gunn:
“Regardless of what kind of gun is being used, we need to stress to our students that they must favorably resolve their tactical challenge within the number of rounds they have readily at hand.
In days of old, duels were usually decided upon a single shot from each opponent. Each could hit or miss. When hit, each would either survive or die. Real bad boys, even after being hit, might re-challenge one-another when the matter remained unresolved, and both antagonists continued adamant in their respective positions.
Enter the world of high-capacity handguns, and suddenly the critical necessity for a single, carefully-delivered hit becomes muddled and loses its position of supreme relevance.
The purpose of additional rounds is to allow further, carefully-delivered, follow-up hits while giving the first one time to take effect. Indeed, if a VCA requires shooting, he probably needs to be shot several times in rapid succession. Assuming an uninterrupted threat, deliberate follow-up shots are surely well-advised, rather than idly standing by.
My point? Learn to successfully answer the challenge with the number of rounds readily at hand, rather than shooting carelessly and then naively depending upon time and your presumed capability to reload.”
Comment: Doc Gunn has an uncanny ability to make a subtle, but critical, point succinctly and in few words!
Yes, whether we have at our ready disposal five rounds or nineteen, we always need to shoot as if we had only one! Sloppy shooting, like sloppy thinking, is the province of those who are not destined to enjoy long lives!
16 May 08
News from Detonics:
At the NRA Convention in KY this weekend, Detonics is introducing new products. Now under the control of my long-time friend and colleague, Bruce Siddle, Detonics is, once again, bringing forth exciting innovations that will surely turn heads in our Industry.
I’m not there personally, but I’ve been on the phone with Bruce, and here is what I can tell you:
Detonics will continue to manufacture its signature, small 1911 pistol, the Combat Master. I carry my copy in a wonderful Lou Alessi shoulder-holster, and a better carry/back-up pistol would be hard to find.
Among new products is the DTX. It is a small, thin, light, polymer-frame, self-decocking autoloader, designed for concealed carry. It will compete directly with Kahr’s line-up for the huge, and growing, concealed-carry market.
In addition, Detonics is making the new Detonics/Novak line of 1911 pistols, with the participation of my long-time friend, colleague, and master pistolsmith, Wayne Novak. This product line will feature Wayne’s wonderful “Answer” back-strap, Novak sights, a durable ceramic coating, and will bear all tool-steel, machined parts. No MIM (metal/injection molding) nor castings. All made in America.
A Commander-size and a smaller Officer’s-size are available. For 1911-O-Philes, these pistols will top the list!
I’ll have copies of both the DTX and the D/N to test shortly. In the interim, Detonics is going to create quite a stir.
Good show, Bruce!
18 May 08
ND/injury, from a friend in TX:
“I was a student in a carbine class today when a fellow student put a pistol round (40S&W hardball from a G22) through his right leg. It entered near the crease at the front of the right hip and exited out the back of the leg six centimeters above the knee. He departed in an ambulance. Not much blood from either hole.
The student was transitioning from carbine to pistol. His normal draw was interrupted by his chest-mounted ammo pack. His reaction was to convulsively clamp down. The pistol functioned normally and ruined the rest of his day!
The chest-pack was a new piece of kit for this student, and he had never run with it before today. Adding it apparently changed everything!
I don’t know which style of ‘register’ position for his trigger finger he was employing, if any. Apparently, it did not suffice to keep his finger off the trigger!”
Comment: Familiarity will breed contempt/complacency! We handle loaded guns every day, and it is easy to forget the appalling, irreversible damage of which they’re capable.
New gear, when added to one’s repertoire, needs to be carefully integrated and tested at low speed, before going all out.
One common correction we make on the range is to remind students to keep their trigger finger in a strong, register position throughout the draw. Many want to position their finger in contact with the trigger during the draw. When the draw is subsequently interrupted, as in the foregoing, disaster awaits, as we see!
NDs can happen to any of us! Our Art is fraught with danger. Risks can be “managed,” but are never eliminated. No one enjoys a “risk-free” life!
19 May 08
Beta-Test on Ruger’s LCP, from a friend in TX:
“A wide variety of ammunition was fed through the gun, over 250 rounds, and the little Ruger performed without stoppages. Reliability doesn’t appear to be an issue.
My trigger gauge only goes up to eight pounds, and the LCP’s trigger is well in excess of that. You really have to want to shoot it!
The pistol is sleek, light, flat, compact, easy to breakdown for cleaning. Fit and finish are surely adequate. It is well suited as a back-up pistol and for rigorous, concealed carry.
Now, for the bad news:
After the trigger is pressed through, it can be let out a nominal 1/4 inch, and a noticeable ‘click’ can be felt and heard. When the trigger is re-pressed from this click, the hammer falls forward with no discharge. The trigger must be let all the way back to full extension and then re-pressed
if a subsequent shot is to go downrange.
The LCP only comes with one magazine. Additional ones must be ordered separately.
Sights are rudimentary, as you noted. The front sight is particularly difficult to distinguish from the slide from which it protrudes.”
Comment: On balance, the LCP looks to be an adequate back-up pistol, and it represents an improvement over the similar Kel-Tec 380.
I strongly recommend carrying two (or more) guns when one carries guns at all. The Kel-Tec 380, and now the LCP, make carrying two guns genuinely doable for many who have found the practice inconvenient up until now.
19 May 08
At a Women’s Defensive Handgun Course in IN last weekend, our cadre or female students showed up with six-shot revolvers, five-shot snubbies, SIG 239/DAKs, and S&W M&P/Compacts.
All ran fine, and, as part of their training, each woman had the opportunity to shoot all the other guns there, plus a G19 and my SA/XD.
Interestingly, the most popular pistol among my female students was consistently the 9mm M&P/Compact, with the smallest of the grip options. All loved its trigger, its smooth, rounded-off profile, ergonomics, soft recoil, and most thought they could carry it concealed.
Least popular were the five-shot snubbies. Many like the small size, but, in actual use, sights are difficult to use, triggers are long and heavy, reserve of cartridges is very limited, and reloading is slow and maladroit. Most of the woman who brought snubbies said they were talked into buying them by clerks at gun shops.
At least one of my students purchased an M&P/Compact on the spot, right there at the gunshop/range where we were conducting the Course. Several more indicated they intended to follow her example.
Most gun manufacturers have, until relatively recently, overlooked the female/concealed-carry market. The exception is Kahr, which has gone after that market, with success, from the beginning.
I’m not sure S&W marketed the M&P realizing it would be so well received by women.
19 May 08
More rifle hazards, from another colleague:
“A recent student at one of our Carbine Courses nearly put a round through his own foot as his slung M-4 discharged a single round into the ground at his feet.
He was wearing a water-bladder on his back, as so many do these days, and the hose and rubber mouthpiece dangled down his chest, as is customary. His M-4 was also hanging in front of him from a single-point sling. Contrary to instructions, the manual safety was “off.”
He bent over to pick up an empty magazine lying on the ground. As he did, the rubber mouthpiece somehow got inside the trigger-guard of his rifle. As he stood back up, the mouthpiece put sufficient pressure on the trigger to persuade the rifle to discharge.
The student was taken completely by surprise! With an astonished expression on his face, he immediately put up his hands to show the rest of us that they were nowhere near the trigger.
It took us several minutes to figure out what had happened, and we’re even more insistent now that all slung rifles have their safety levers in the “on” position!”
Comment: A slung rifle is not the equivalent of a holstered pistol! Modern pistol holsters protect the trigger and trigger guard, so that, any time the pistol is fully seated in the holster, it cannot be made to fire.
No so with a rifle! A slung rifle is always free to move about and has an un-shielded trigger and trigger guard. Buttons, toggles, and other items of clothing, even mouthpieces (as we see in the foregoing), can put pressure on triggers and cause slung rifles to fire, absent any intention of the carrier. And, not all of these potential AD-generators can realistically be excluded/removed from our outer clothing.
The current military trend is to move gear from backpacks around to the front, where it is more convenient and accessible. Backpacks has thus become smaller, as “chest-packs” have become larger and more elaborate.
Thus, those of us who carry slung, loaded rifles need to pay particular attention to the status of the manual safety. Unhappy incidents like the one described above are nearly all preventable!
21 May 08
There is no doubt that big pistols run better, more reliably, and longer than do little ones! The smaller that manufacturers try to make pistols, in order to appeal to the burgeoning CCW market, the less reliable and durable they become.
It is not necessarily a bad thing. Small pistols fulfill a legitimate role, but owners must keep their expectations reasonable!
I have a copy of Rohrbaugh’s R9 pistol. It is ingeniously designed and beautifully made. Small, thin, and compact, it makes an attractive back-up pistol, or even a main-carry pistol for those of small stature. It is reliable for a pistol that size, but surely not as reliable as, for example, a G17 or SIG 226, and no where near as durable. It is what it is!
I suspect its useful life is well under 10,000 rounds, probably under 5,000 rounds. It is, frankly, unpleasant to shoot, and I’m confident that, during the remainder of my lifetime, I’ll fire far fewer than 500 rounds through it! Still, I recommend it for the role for which it was intended. I know few people who shoot enough to “wear-out” any pistol, fewer still who would want to shoot the R9 that much!
Same comments apply to Kel-Tec’s 380 and Ruger’s new LCP. I have a copy of the former, and I carry it as a back-up without reservation. It runs fine with Cor-Bon/DPX ammunition, and, while it is also unpleasant to shoot and has a limited lifetime of useful service, I still recommend it for the role it was designed to fulfill.
Kahr has just introduced their new PM45. I frankly don’t know how they are able to make a 45ACP pistol that small! My copy runs and runs!
Beretta is just now introducing their new PX4/Compact, in 9mm and 40S&W. First deliveries are scheduled for June. I’ve only seen photos, but, again, I don’t know how they are able to make pistols that small. I’ll have a copy to evaluate before long.
We don’t carry pistols because they’re effective. We carry pistols because they’re convenient, and manufacturers are doing their best to provide consumers with what we think we want, and we think we want small, short, flat, light, yet powerful, pistols that we can conveniently carry concealed.
The point of all this is: Don’t expect your “little gun” to run as well, nor as long, as big guns in the same caliber.
Expectations need to be reasonable. Remember, and resign yourself to the fact, that all that convenience comes at a price!
21 May 08
Sage comments on rifle UDs, from a colleague and LEO Instructor in FL:
“We’ve had several rifle UDs here, under similar circumstances.
The issue has two faces. The first is cluttered gear on the front of the vest getting inside the trigger guard, exactly as you described. The second is less obvious. Officers who have experienced UDs are all top-shelf. They, and we, were pretty sure they had consciously placed their rifle’s manual safety lever in the “on” position prior to slinging.
After considerable research, I discovered that the AR-15 manual safety lever can inadvertently, unintentionally by pushed “off” via rubbing on gear/protrusions on the front of the vest, the self-same gear that can put unintended pressure on the trigger. The problem is mainly confined to single-point slings that allow the rifle to “dangle.”
Hard edges of flat objects, like spare magazines, are the main culprit. One bends over or hunches his shoulders forward, then straightens back up. When there is something for the manual safety lever to catch on, it will pull the lever down.
Some of our SWAT and K9 guys, of necessity, continue to use one-point slings. But, everyone else has been switched over to two-point slings. Either way, all have now been made aware of this issue and have arranged gear in an effort to lessen the problem. And, everyone, when carrying a rifle, can now be seen confirming the position of the manual safety lever on a regular basis, particularly after vigorous movement.”
Comment: As we see, the issue described in the foregoing is exacerbated when one is wearing a “tactical,” load-bearing vest, with “gear-clutter,” hooks, snaps, loops, straps, buttons, and pouches. All that stuff may be helpful in every other aspect, but each is eminently capable of putting untended pressure on rifle safety levers and triggers.
There is no absolute solution to this issue! Now that risk factors have been identified, they can be attenuated, but never eliminated altogether. Significant risk always attaches to carrying loaded rifles around. However, in some circumstances, even greater risk attaches to not carrying loaded rifles. There is no absolute safety, only relative risk! When you run hot rifle ranges, as we do, everyone needs to understand the concept of “relative risk.”
Accordingly, we don’t run “safe” ranges. All our ranges are “dangerous!”
21 May 08
How we, here in the USA, take too much for granted! This from a friend in SA:
“With our restrictive licensing laws, anyone here is lucky to legally own even one pistol, much less two! Carrying a back-up pistol, even for police, is out of the question. Keep in mind, our homicide rate here is hundreds of times what yours is. We don’t carry guns for the novelty value, nor to amuse ourselves!
My advice to students here: Buy the biggest, highest-capacity pistol you can reasonably carry concealed. Avoid compact versions. You don’t want a pistol with a ‘limited life,’ nor do you want one that keeps breaking. You’ll be defenseless while it is getting fixed! Particularly avoid after-market enlarged/extended controls. Finding holsters in which pistols so equipped will fit is virtually impossible.
Glocks and CZs represent the best choices over here. Reliable and high-capacity, these guns will get a competent Operator through most gunfights, even against VCAs armed with rifles. Magazines are plentiful, reloading is fast, and spare parts are easy to find. Local gunsmiths can almost always fix them and get them back up and running quickly.
Revolvers are surely functional, but do you really want the only gun you can own for serious purposes to be limited to five or six shots? Small, 380Autos have the same, low-capacity problem, and 380Auto hardball (all that is available here) is a notoriously poor fight-stopper.
Caliber is important too. 9mm is best. There is a lot of 9mm ammo here, and, even in remote places, one can usually find some. High-performance ammunition, like Cor-Bon DPX, is available only in 9mm. 45ACP is much less available and so expensive, few can afford to shoot it. Forget 40S&W, 357SIG, and 45GAP! All are unavailable here, at any price.
You Americans need to appreciate and embrace your System, that allows you to own and carry more than just one gun. Rally against all who would take that right from you!”
Comment: Where you stand depends on where you sit! Wherever you find yourself, you need to focus on making the best of it. True Operators, like my friend above, are never “lost.”
As we see, folks in SA are confined to harsh choices, and their very lives depend daily upon (1) good skills, (2) stout heart, and (3) good equipment.
It’s a grim world. Stay dangerous!
22 May 08
Illegal immigration in SA, from a friend there:
“It’s pretty bad here. Illegal immigrants, coming down from the north, are rounded up by locals, bound, doused with petrol, and then set on fire. They’ve been thus murdered, by the hundreds. Of course, that includes only those who managed to get through the wilderness without being eaten. Many never make it through lion country! Angry locals accuse them of taking jobs away.
You can’t blame illegals for trying to get into SA. They’re starving to death where they are, disease-ridden hell-holes like Zimbabwe, Angola, and Nigeria, indeed all of West Africa.
It’s a small step from this kind of xenophobia to full-blown genocide, as occurred in Rwanda several years ago, and as had occurred periodically in Africa for centuries. We all naively thought these spasmodic pogroms were a thing of the past. How foolish we were!
Sure, the Army has been sent in, but the ‘army’ of today is incompetent, like nearly every other government institution here. Many troopers tacitly support this kind of cruelty anyway. Among the rest of us, there is a desperate scramble for guns and ammunition right now.
This is South Africa, not twenty years ago, but now! The myth of the ‘great miracle’ of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ is fading fast. Of course, it never really existed, except in the minds of naive liberals, both here and in the USA.
I am heartbroken by what has become of my Country.”
Comment: Me too!
25 May 08
At a Course in PA this weekend, Mike Shovel from Cor-Bon was on hand, once more, with blocks of gelatin for ballistic testing.
I was curious about the performance of my 45ACP carry-load, 185gr DPX, launched from my Kahr PM45, Kahr’s smallest 45ACP pistol. I fired six rounds in rapid succession. All six penetrated four layers of denim, then thirteen inches of gelatin, all stopping, fully expanded (to ninety-caliber) within a inch of each other. I was concerned about expansion of the DPX bullet through such a short barrel. Not any more! Velocity was just over 1,000 f/s
Similar result with 9mm, 115 gr, DPX, launched from my Rohrbaugh R9 pistol. Twelve inches of penetration, with full expansion. The R9’s short barrel, even when combined with denim, did not denigrate performance. Velocity was just over 1,100 f/s
One final note: A student shooting a G29 (10mm) was interested in the performance of his carry-load, a “high-performance” conventional brass/lead hollow-point. It chronographed at only 970 f/s, and then failed to expand at all after plugging up with denim. The bullet subsequently penetrated twenty-six inches of gelatin and kept going! Profoundly poor performance from a round that I, and the shooter, thought would do much better. Not impressive! He consumed the balance of his inventory of the stuff in training, getting rid of it all.
29 May 08
Perspective from an LEO friend in SA:
“The term, ‘Apartheid,’ was first introduced during the 1948 election campaign by DF Malan’s Herenigde Nasionale Party (HNP, for ‘Reunited National Party’). The opposing United Party actually gained the majority of votes in the general election that year, but, due to manipulation of the geographical boundaries (you would call it ‘Gerrymandering’), the HNP won and took power.
In 1951, the HNP and Afrikaner Party merged to form the National Party, which became synonymous with the term ‘Apartheid.’ The Apartheid Era saw the forced removal of people from their homes, as well as what we would call ‘terror-tactics,’ routinely employed by the government to keep the population, all races, in line.
With the end of the Apartheid Era, we ostensibly re-united with the rest of Africa and the world. Unhappily, reality, as always, is neither as clear, nor as wonderful, as the theory. ‘Enlightened’ elected officials and bureaucrats have since shown themselves to be every bit as racist, tyrannical, and power-mad as the worse of the Apartheid Era! Elitists have elevated themselves into permanent power and riches at the expense of the populace and the future of the nation.
In Cape Town alone, we have recently seen the forced, brutish displacement of 20,000 people from their homes. In most instances, these people had come here legally (albeit recently) and were positively contributing in their communities. Many had established businesses and were raising families. However, locals, with the tacit encouragement of the government, looked upon these new arrivals as a threat to their livelihoods in our extremely limited job market. They also took issue with the fact they were marrying into local families.
Of course, a tourist entering Cape Town today will not see any of the violent images portrayed so vividly on local television. In fact, one wouldn’t even know that anything of the sort was even happening here unless he saw the news. The truth of the matter, however, is that we have had a plague of violent, forced removals. People have been herded into ‘camps,’ and there has been much violence perpetrated upon these poor people on the mere grounds that they are recent arrivals.
Wait! This all sounds like ‘Apartheid’ to me! In fact, it sounds a lot like Nazi Germany in 1935! And, these brutal, violent acts are being perpetrated by the very people who so piously fought to overthrow the former, Apartheid system in the first place. ‘Xenophobia,’ ‘ Apartheid,’ ‘tribalism,’ whatever you call it, South Africa is taking a step, no, a leap, backwards into anarchy!”
Comment: “The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the Revolution!”
Interesting the way pious, self-righteous revolutionaries, in no time, are transformed into the very overbearing, narcissistic despots they once professed to hate! Human nature hasn’t changed much in 6,000 years!
31 May 08
NTI, 2008, is winding down tonight with our banquet and benediction. It was held here in Harrisburg, PA at the West Shore Range Facility, as it has been the past few years.
Half the exercises were live-fire, and half were scenario-based (force-on-force). Challenges this year were, once again, unique, imaginative, and required critical thinking and precise, aggressive action. I love this event! It concerns itself with software, rather than hardware, which is why it is largely ignored by gun rags.
The NTI requires a vast amount of work by Skip Gochenour and his Crew, and we all thank them for continuing to do this important work for the benefit of all of us.
Targets are, as always, three-dimensional mannequins, all dressed, and all either representing threats or not. Threats include pistols, longarms, bombs, blades, flammable liquids, and bludgeons. Targets and “non-targets” are always mixed in with each other, and non-targets always constitute the majority. Targets are reactive and fall when hit in the central zone. Some are standing. Others are sitting, kneeling, and prone. Some are facing you. Others are facing obliquely or are facing away. Hands are not always immediately visible. Some targets must be hit multiple times, and some use cover. Talking with non-targets often yields useful information.
This trip, I was armed with my SA/XD 40S&W, Kahr PM45 as a back-up (both in Comp-Tac holsters), and my S&W Scandium 38Spl Snubby in my Rusty Sherrick shoulder-holster as a second back-up. In addition, I carried three Cold Steel blades (Vaquero Grande, Six-inch Ti-Lite, and Culloden neck-knife), Fox OC, and a Cold-Steel “Sharkie.” I’m currently using a Comp-Tac leather gunbelt, and, of course, a Concealed-Carry Clothiers vest. I shot Cor-Bon DPX ammunition through all three pistols on all live-fire drills. My XD is equipped with a LaserMax, which I used at the NTI for the first time. My flashlight is a Firstlight Tomahawk LE. All equipment ran fine!
I started in the “Fine Arts Museum,” where I was obliged to rescue my young niece during an armed robbery. This event was at the 360-degree range, and I went in alone. I rescued my niece right away, but I was subsequently compelled to carry her with me as I looked frantically through a labyrinth of corridors and rooms for an exit. All my shooting was one-handed! Ranges were all under five meters.
My LaserMax was amazingly fast, and, in one instance, enabled me to successfully shoot a target to my immediate right from a radically angulated wrist. The LaserMax’s on/off switches are not conducive to rapid on/off manipulation, so I left it on most of the time. In one instance, I accomplished a precise, brain-stem shot on a target holding a bomb. I was able to drive the laser dot up his body midline and onto his head so fast that I saw the bullet hole instantly appear on the exact spot where the dot was. I found the laser extremely useful!
I had to be cautious about extending the pistol while moving. In close environments, the pistol must stay retracted except when shooting. And, I had to aggressively stay in motion. Remain in one place too long, and you’ll quickly be flanked and overwhelmed.
I mistakenly shot a security guard. He had a pistol in his hand, and I finally saw the “Security” spelled across his T-shirt just after my third round hit him. I was going too fast!
Next, I found myself at a outdoor “Family Picnic.” I was between two picnic table crowded with relatives. Suddenly three armed thugs threatened us all. I dropped my food, drew my pistol while moving, and gunned down all three. I reverted to my regular sights.
After getting everyone down and behind cover, I then had to run to a car, retrieve a rifle, load it, and, using the car as cover, engage a target 120M away and a second one fifty meters distant. The second target could not be seen until I got to the car.
You have to use cover skillfully and move quickly. When covering long distances, as was necessary here, you need to run in a zig-zag pattern. It is usually less risky to shoot around the side of your cover, rather than over the top.
The next drill was at the “ATSA Medical Center.” Again, I had to pick up my niece and, in the attempt, blundered into an armed-robbery, in progress. Once again, the laser was extremely fast, ane, when combined with explosive movement, which keeps bad-guys guessing, I was able to neutralize VCAs and move aggressively to complete the rescue of my niece, who was being held hostage. I executed a precise brain-stem shot on the hostage-taker, once again with intense speed. The laser allows you to keep both eyes open (which one should endeavor to do anyway, but which is difficult for some), and you always know where the muzzle is tracking.
At the “Carpet Shop,” I had to rescue my entire family who were there waiting for me but found themselves accosted by armed arsonists who were trying to burn the place down. In this drill, you don’t have any of your own equipment. You are unarmed when entering, and are compelled to use a strange weapon, this time it was a lever-action 44Mg carbine. The building is dark, so you are also compelled to use a dim, bulky flashlight.
The first person I encountered was someone identifying himself as the store owner. He had a pistol in his belt. I tried, in vain, to get information from him, so I took his pistol from him (which turned out to be unloaded and worthless) and ordered him to run out the front of the store. I was not about to let him behind me, still armed!
I then entered a series of darkened rooms, engaged several VCAs with the carbine, and then emerged out the back of the store and engaged the arsonist who was holding a road flair and a can of gasoline.
The Winchester Carbine has a cross-bolt, manual safety of the worst kind! When in the “on” position, the hammer will fall normally, but the gun will not fire. So, you don’t know if you have an empty chamber, dud round, or the safety is “on.” This genera of manual safety is obviously a death-trap and should never be put on any serious weapon. I confirmed that fact, the hard way!
I then checked into the “Roach Motel!” Having just gotten off an airplane, my guns and ammunition (in boxes) were in my suitcase. As soon as I got to my room, I started charging magazines. I heard angry voices coming from the room next door, in broken English. When I had three rounds on one, I loaded and holstered my pistol and promptly started charging the second magazine. When I get only the fourth round into that one, my room started filling with smoke!
Instantly, I put the second magazine into its holder, grabbed my suitcase (which contained the rest of my ammunition, and two more guns), exited my room and started making my way down the hallway to an exit. The hallway was also filling with smoke! In the process, I had to gun-down one VCA holding a hostage and one charging target. A janitor, holding a grease-gun, nearly got shot!
The key is aggressive movement! You have to make decisions quickly and move assertively. You can’t dwell on every detail. These isn’t time!
The last, live-fire drill is the “Skills Demonstration,” where each participant is required to draw and fire on single and multiple VCAs at various distances. I found that I was not able to draw and fire quickly and still turn on the laser, so I reverted to standard sights, which, of course, worked fine. The pressure-switch used by Crimson Trace may be faster, and next time, I’ll try it.
The temptation in all such “Square-Range” drills is “relaxing too soon!” You have to discipline yourself to reload, move, scan, and seek cover with every drill.
When shooting a three-dimensional target from an oblique angle, you have to adjust your aiming point to insure penetration to the center of the torso. From years of shooting two-dimensional, paper targets, one is always tempted to aim for the center of the chest, or the center of the nose (in the case of a brain-stem shot). When you make that mistake on a oblique target (standing human), your bullet will skid through his chest muscles, or blow off his nose, but will not penetrate through to the center of the torso, nor to the brain-stem. You always have to view your target with x-ray vision!
My Firstlight Tomahawk flashlight can be locked-out, so it will not turn on inadvertently, and, as one would expect, reactivating the controls can be accomplished quickly. My copy is mounted on a belt carrier, which is immensely convenient, but I found it necessary to lock the flashlight off when moving aggressively through buildings, as it can easily get turned on accidentally.
In ATSA Village, each of us participated in five, individual drills. We were all armed with five-shot revolvers and Simmunitions:
While in a flea-market, a bomber comes through the door, blows himself up, and simultaneously the lights go out! Of course, we had flashlights, and I was able to disorient several suspects with my Tomahawk’s strobe feature. However, in such circumstances, you have to stay in motion, even when it means leaving the relative safety of cover. I stayed in one place too long and was outflanked. You have to keep them guessing!
I went to the court-house just in time to witness another suicide bomber blow himself up. By the time I figured out what was happening, it was too late! Other participants were able to see it coming.
When I went to the human-resources office to renew my CCW Permit, I witnessed two lesbians applying for a marriage licence. As they did, the estranged boyfriend of one of them came in, saw them, and became enraged. I tried to exit, while assisting a disabled person do the same, but he would not let us past him. I decided to disengage and retreat to the back of the office where there was some cover, all the while trying to protect the disabled women.
The VCA then turned his attention to the two women. He punched one, knocking her down. He then grabbed the other, and, dragging her with him, left. I did not go after him. Some participants did attempt a rescue, but I decided that I did have enough information to insert myself any more than I already had.
In a shopping mall, I was accosted by an aggressive pan-handler. I escalated verbally, but could not disengage. When he grabbed me, I palm-heeled him in the jaw in an attempt to knock him out. It distracted him log enough for me to break away.
At a local clinic, as a nurse was taking my blood-pressure, I witnessed a suspicious man taking bottles of drugs from a shelf. When he saw me, he motioned for me to be quiet. I called the nurse’s attention to him, and asked her if she knew him. She became frightened and indicated that he was stealing the drugs. I got her behind me and the two of us behind a corner, drew my revolver, and announced a verbal challenge. I positioned my pistol so that he could not see it, and I simultaneously used the corner for cover. All he wanted to do was exit, and I was more than happy to let him!
The local Sheriff responded to most of our calls and, of course asked lots of questions. Many participants volunteered way too much information and thus painted themselves into a corner.
The best system to use it this:
When you are a witness and nothing more, answer questions posed by police, but don’t volunteer information, particularly about yourself, and don’ answer questions that weren’t asked. The moment you become a “suspect,” politely indicate you want to talk with your lawyer and then immediately stop answering questions, ending the conversation completely.
When asked, “are you okay,” and you believe you are, always answer, “I don’t know.” Never say you are okay, even when you have no reason to think you are anything else.
Actors in ATSA Village work to strain whatever coping mechanism you’re accustomed to using. When what you’re doing is working well, they’ll alter the exercise so that it doesn’t work, forcing you to tweak your plan. They do their best to provide you with a worthy challenge!
The NTI is always a humbling, exciting, painful, often-dismaying, learning experience. It does not attract ego-maniacs nor pretenders who seek only shallow accolades. It attracts serious Operators and Gunmen who want to carry their skills to the next level and thus fearlessly enter the various drills, prepared to learn important lessons through both success and failure.
It is not to be missed! Go to http://www.teddytactical.com/index.htm