2 Aug 10

Interesting comments from a friend in the Phillippines with regard to looming changes in the law and potential work-arounds:

“Even ‘practice’ ammunition here in 357SIG is expensive, and not nearly as available as is the case with other calibers. High-performance ammunition in 357SIG is really hard to find and preposterously expensive when one does find some.

Even so, I still intend to practice with my SIG 229 in 357SIG whenever possible, but the cost-ratio is: 50 rounds of 357 SIG to every 400 rounds of 9mm!

Why this precipitous discussion?

Our current legal climate here regarding civilian ownership of rifles is uncertain. We know Liberals in government want us all forcibly disarmed, much as is the case in your country, but currently no one is sure how they will go about it, nor how successful they’re likely to be.

In any event, a handgun that provides consistently excellent terminal effect, as well as the
ability to shoot flat out to 100m is suddenly something worth looking into!”


Data we have in the USA with regard to “active-murderer” events in schools, shopping centers, etc clearly indicate that most of these events were arrested via an officer, or non-LEO, using only a pistol. That may change as patrol rifles become more common, but it strikes me that challenges we’ll be facing at least in the near-future will likely continue to conform to that pattern.

That being the case, a flat-shooting, powerful pistol, that can easily reach out with lethal impact to fifty meters and beyond, without concern for “hold-over,” may become even more important than we’ve considered up until now.

For example, Cor-Bon’s 357SIG PowerBall cartridge is only 100 f/s shy of M1 Carbine velocity!

Not a bad choice for our long-range challenges.



3 Aug 10

Perspicacious comments from a friend in the Federal System, with regard to the high number of Mexican drug cartel big-shots curiously having been murdered of late:

“… the current Mexican ‘government’ has been caustically vocal about how the USA needs to even further reduce border security and, of course, ban private ownership of guns (to standing ovations by congressional Liberals) that they now cannot risk even one of these major cartel players (all of whom are named on countless outstanding felony warrants here) being captured and then extradited to the USA.

These drug lords possess way too much dangerous information about rampant political corruption in Mexico. It is far more convenient for them to just ‘go-away,’ and so they do.

Imagine that!”

Comment: The real reason corrupt politicians, there and here, want an end to private ownership of guns is so that irate and armed legitimate American citizens will stop shooting violent criminals (domestic and illegal), who do their bidding. Sleazy Constitutional crooks who lust after a frightened, indeed terrified, constituency, whose votes they can then easily buy and extort.

In fact, several of these political fornicaters are currently experiencing “light-of-day” issues themselves.

I’m sure it is only temporary!



3 Aug 10

Another friend and experienced Operator comments:

“Like you, I do not subscribe to the ‘Talisman System’ of self-defense. Victory ever-resides in the heart and mind of the Operator, not in his equipment.

Puerile belief in ‘superior’ guns, calibers, sighting systems, specific training techniques, etc reveals more about the naivete of the ‘believer’ than it does about intrinsic value of assorted gimmicks, gadgets, and dances he purports to so ardently believe in (and without which, victory is apparently out of the question).

As our colleague, Mas Ayoob, reminds us: When you seriously believe that a particular talisman will actually ward off evil spirits, get a rabbit’s foot. Compared with our other gear, it is less expensive, more convenient, much easier to learn how to use, and infinitely less dangerous!”


Only those who have the patience to learn to perform simple tasks perfectly, ever acquire the ability to perform difficult tasks easily.

The indolent and naive, of course, think it is “magic!”



4 Aug 10

From a US Navy submarine commander, on the subject of talismans:

“Casualty-generating disasters and emergencies happen when we are not only ‘not ready,’ but naively unready.

When the world breaks, the situation invariably spirals downward until a Leader grabs the bull by the balls and starts acting! What he does may not be perfect, but it gets people moving and acting in the same direction. Murphy says: ‘When a grease-fire is burning, all you’ve got is water-hoses…’ When you habitually carry knives, pistols, rifles, impact weapons, and restraints, then of course, they will be left behind, or broken, when needed.

In fact, Navy Doctors refer to this ‘Rule of Availability’ as it pertains to surgery: ‘When it’s not already sterilized and on the tray, you won’t need it anymore when it finally arrives!’

No special tools, nor magic wands, nor fairy-dust will instantly convert any of us to lustrous, magnificent warriors. We are what we are, and we’ll be the same klutzy nebbishes we’ve always been when compelled to fight for the lives we love.

No point in going with second-best, when you have a choice. My philosophy is to get the best weapons available and then train hard with them, but also train with ‘weapons-of-opportunity.’

Like you, I carry heavy blades on both sides, because I’ve found, in an emergency, that I am always in a confined space and invariably laying on the one I want!

My guns are simple, reliable, and tested, but none are ‘perfect,’ even my Glocks!

Even so, in my next emergency there is every chance that I will not be able to make use of any of it, or it will all fail. Everything will fail! Flooding, for example, tends to be an attention-grabbing event aboard a submarine deep under water, and, when commanding the only team on location with the stuff needed to keep seawater out, it is less than reassuring when they all bleat that their equipment doesn’t work the way they practiced with it…!

In the realm of handgun and long-gun manipulation, I am sure others are faster, stronger, more capable, more accurate. Thus, when it’s my time to take a stand, my opponent(s) will likely be better-equipped, faster, stronger, and more accurate. I should probably focus on recruiting an honor guard. Second-worst scenario: a hit to my heart, giving me mere seconds before collapse. So, I must use the brief time I have well, and fast. Third-worse scenario: I act first and fast. I never let them catch their breath. They don’t get traction, but one of them might still get in a lucky shot.

I prefer common weapons, common methods, and common training, so I can always operate whatever I have, and whatever I pick up.
I am just a man, father, and Operator, who is determined to take his attackers with him. I will likely not live through it. Death, of course, comes for us all, but I’ll never give up, nor give in.

I am not fast, nor agile, but I am deadly accurate, determined, reasonably competent, and I won’t hesitate! I will fight to the end, knowing the end is there, but occurs only when I can no longer make my body respond.

As Col Dave Grossman points out: A gunfight is like a wager, where you bet $100.00. When you win, all you get is your money back. When you lose, you lose everything! So, even in the best-case scenario, you’re just back where you started.

Sometimes, you might be able to actually use some of the daily load you walk around with, assuming you carry it all, all the time… maybe!

You want a talisman? It should be a winning attitude, and consistent practice!”

Comment: Don’t spend your valuable time looking for an excuse to lose. Find a way to win!

“As ruthless as needed, for as long as necessary”

G Patton



9 Aug 10

“I ain’t frettin’ ‘bout hell ‘til the time arrives
Never want to, as long as I am well
Never want to strife
To be good
To be bad
What the hell
I’m glad
I’m alive!”

Last stanza of I Got Plenty of Nothin’, from George Gershwin’s, Porgy and Bess, 1935, originally sung by Lawrence M Tibbett

“Doc” Holliday

In the late 1800s, Georgia dentist, John H (“Doc”) Holliday migrated to TX, and eventually to AZ, convinced that a dry climate might mitigate his tuberculosis (then known as “consumption,” because its victims, progressively frail and gaunt, appeared in the process of being devoured from the inside).

Holliday’s parents were well-off and provided him with a classic education, including dental school. I’m sure he had dreams of a “normal” life. Those dreams were, of course, dashed when he learned of his virulent illness. Constant coughing made the commercial practice of dentistry (in those days consisting almost exclusively of extractions) mostly impossible, so Holliday eventually became, for all intents and purposes, an itinerant gambler.

During that time, tuberculosis, like pneumonia, represented a death-sentence. Most of its victims died young, and, like Holliday, were alcoholics. Most were also, like Holliday, addicted to demotic pain-killers of the period, such as laudanum (heroin, suspended in ethyl alcohol). Holliday did die at the relatively young age of thirty-six, although he looked decades older. He lived through many gun battles in the interim, but all that time, he knew his condition was incurable, and terminal. Owing to his frailty, Doc routinely carried a cane.

In the American West in the late 1800s, an “honest” poker game was hard to find, and those, like Holliday, who consistency “did well” at cards were usually expert at surreptitiously “tilting the odds in their favor,” to put it politely! Who won regularly also understandably made few friends! Holliday garnered a well-earned reputation for being volatile, unapologetic, utterly fearless, and extremely dangerous, rarely backing down from any dispute.

During the famous OK Corral Gunfight in Tombstone, AZ, on 26 Oct 1881, Holliday, standing with the Earp brothers (Wyatt Earp being just about the only friend Holliday had), shot and killed Tom Mclaury, using Virgil Earp’s double-barrel shotgun (00 Bk) which Wyatt had given him just before the confrontation.

The best evidence suggests that it was indeed Holliday who actually precipitated the fight, by goading an adolescent and naive Billy Clanton. It is probable that Holliday never expected to live through the fight, nor is it likely he wanted to! However, as it turned out, Doc, Wyatt, and Ike Clanton were the only three to come through it unscathed, with the exception of a grazing wound to Doc’s right thigh.

After the lethal “Vendetta” that followed the OK Corral fight, neither the Earps, nor Doc, ever returned to Tombstone.

Doc finally expired, of natural causes, in a Glenwood Springs, CO hotel room, in November of 1887 during the advanced stages of his disease. He is said to have uttered “This is ridiculous” (or words to that effect) as he was sitting on his bed looking at his bare feet, moments before he died.

“Ridiculous” in the sense that, after surviving so many lethal confrontations, that he really didn’t want to survive, he was, after all, destined to die quietly (with his boot off) from the dreadful disease that had haunted him for the entire duration of his short, but colorful, life!


“Don’t get into poker games with those who can’t afford to lose, nor into gunfights with those who can!”

Bret Maverick (played by James Garner) in his“Advice to Poker Players,” from the 1960s TV Series, Maverick

“Life is short… shorter for some than others”

Capt August (“Gus”) McCrae (played by Robert Duvall) in the television adaption of Larry McMurtry’s 1985 epic novel, Lonesome Dove



12 Aug 10

M855A1/EPR (for “Enhanced Performance Round”)

The Pentagon’s seemingly endless search for a “lead-free” 223 bullet is close (we are told) to seeing a conclusion.

The current candidate for the title of “magic bullet” is the M855A1/EPR.

The new 62gr, boat-tail bullet features a hard-steel, conical penetrator up-front, bonded to a copper slug/base, surrounded by a conventional, bore-riding, brass jacket. I contains no lead nor bismuth.

We are told that velocity has been “increased,” but no specifics are provided. Chamber-pressure has also been “increased,” but, again, no specifics. The 5.56X45 is already a high-pressure round, even among other common military, rifle cartridges. One wonders, of course, if all this “increased” pressure will generate over-heating and even more broken M4 bolts and extractors! Again, those issues are curiously not commented on in the official press-release.

And, “match accuracy” is apparently another new feature. Simultaneously dubious and irrelevant, that curious claim is also made devoid of any specifics.

Much as is the case with the current M855, the new bullet, upon impact in soft tissue, neither yaws, nor expands, nor fragments (however, their own press-release clearly illustrates the M855A1 fragmenting upon striking auto-glass). Yet, we are assured that its performance on soft targets actually exceeds that of 7.62X51 (again, with no specifics, nor with any explanation with regard to how they came up with that improbable claim).

Oh, please!

Whatever credibility they may have had surely dies with that absurd contention.

With this latest generation of hard penetrator, the M855A1 may finally address the legendary poor penetration that has plagued all iterations of the 5.56X45, since the 1960s. Only time will tell. The last attempt (M855) was profoundly unsuccessful, despite similar, incredulous claims.

The only real goal of this development program is apparently to produce a lead-free bullet, in response to screams of protest from assorted groups of professing “environmentalists”. The M855A1 is the result, and apparently the best we’re going to do!

Finally, the M855A1 is a good deal more expensive than is any other iteration of the 5.56X45. But, once more, we don’t get to know exactly how much more, and, assuming history is any guide, the real figure will be at least three times the “estimate” anyway!

To their credit, Marines, apparently weary of waiting on the Army to make up its mind, have rejected the M855A1 and gone with the more conventional “Bear-Claw” bullet. The (currently) official designation is “SOST,” for “Special Operations Science and Technology” (formally, the MK318/MOD0). It features a commercially-available lead-core, hunting bullet. Penetration continues to be poor, but terminal effect on soft tissue, due to traditional expansion, is surely improved. Of course, it wouldn’t have to be very good to be better than the M855!

I well remember hearing essentially this same unrealistically optimistic puffery when I was in OCS in 1967, so I hope you can understand my skepticism and my continuous doubting of the personal integrity of people who recited, almost verbatim, all these same lies, over forty years ago!

Again, the 5.56X45 is what it is: a 150m round with poor penetration, at all ranges.

Oh, that program directors would listen less to strident screams of “environmentalists,” and more to their own troopers who are doing their damndest to kill the enemy at the cyclic rate!



17 Aug 10

Not too much hypocrisy!

These telling comments from a colleague:

“While reading your comments about the ostensibly ‘lead-free’ M855A1/EPR round, I was reminded of a student I recently had in a Tactical Shooting Class.

He is an investigator in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Federal EPA. I brought up during the Course that he and his fellow EPA Agents surely used lead-free ammo.

He abruptly changed the subject!”

Comment: Good imitation of Congress and the current administration, “Do as we say, not as we do!”



17 Aug 10

Board of Regents, UC

I’m supporting Steve Bosley!

Steve Bosley is currently on the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado. He is running for re-election statewide, and will be on the November ballot.

Steve and his family are my students. He is the right guy for the job.

Steve is the one who sponsored the resolution to get rid of that disgusting Ward Churchill.

Steve supports, and fights for, concealed carry on campus.

Steve has been down the road a few times. He has a business background, and he known BS when he sees it!

Bosley’s Democrat opponent is a leftist law professor and “community organizer,” who hates guns. Imagine that!

We need to keep Steve on the job!

Steve’s Web Page is http://bosleyourcuregent.com/



18 Aug 10

Flash Suppressor:

Friends at FSG Machining in WA have created an excellent, new flash-suppressor, called the FSG Halon

Threaded for M13x1 LH, the FSG Halon brings updated flash suppression to the excellent Steyr AUG Rifles (A1,A2,and A3), as well as to MSAR Rifles with metric threads.

Effective flash suppression is critical to all serious rifles chambered for high-pressure cartridges. Many rifles come with suppressors that are only marginally effective.

The Halon is highly effective!

Web page is at www.fsgmachining.com




18 Aug 10

Fighting in motion, from eminent martial-artist, and my friend, Richard L Wigginton

“John Wesley Hardin never thought about being injured, nor killed. If nothing else, he was absolutely fearless. His full focus was always on killing his opponent, even when his opponent’s iron was already in hand. He rarely failed!

He is credited with, among other things, inventing the shoulder-holster.

Hardin was a master of “tai-sabaki,” Japanese for “body-displacement” (although I’m sure Hardin never heard of the term). He was able to draw and aim while simultaneously moving laterally.

The technique served him well through multiple gunfights. In fact, his ability to gracefully fight with a handgun from virtually any position, always using motion to his advantage, enabled him to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat more than once.

Hardin was murdered in August of 1895, shot in the back of the head, much as “Wild Bill” Hickok had been, nineteen years earlier, and also Jesse James, thirteen years earlier.

Hardin’s killer (John Selman) correctly considered him far too dangerous to confront head-on, much as had been the case with both Hickok’s and James’ killers!

When he died, Hardin was fifty-eight, and in poor health. Hickok was thirty-nine, but, owing to his poor health, looked much older. James was only thirty-five.”

Comment: Back in the 1980s, I was first introduced to tai-sabaki by another renowned martial-artist, Bob Duggan. To my discredit, I failed to straightaway recognize its inherent advantages when fighting with guns. Duggan patiently worked with me anyway. Later, I saw my error and embraced the technique, and have been refining and advocating my version ever since.

Until recently, I was unaware that it was Hardin who predated us both! Duggan may have been, but never mentioned it.

Skip Gochenour and his ATSA have been well aware of it for some time, and it was Skip who coined the expression, “Get off the line of force!” and “Get off the ‘X!’” My contribution: “Get your feet out of cement!” is far less elegant!

A heavy price, in blood, pain, trauma, and mental illness, has been paid, in full, for virtually every fighting technique we teach today, and which many of us take for granted.

In our generation, we do our best to continue to advance our Art, but only because we’re able to take advantage of countless lessons from the past, provided by the likes of Hardin, Hickok, James, and innumerable others.

Hardly saints, but neither frauds nor pretenders either, these were straight-up guys, and, during their colorful, but short, lives, they assured their place in history.

Few of us will be able to say the same!



23 Aug 10

Muzzle-Brakes and Flash-Suppressors:

Most military rifles come from the factory these days with either a muzzle-brake or a flash-suppressor already installed.

Some jurisdictions attempt to heavily regulate “flash-suppressors,” but idiots who write such laws and ordinances, and charlatans who vote on them, of course, don’t know what they’re talking about, so wording is typically porous, and such restrictions are thus easily circumventable and otherwise (like most gun laws) impossible to enforce with any species of consistency. Accordingly, “flash-suppressors” are sometimes regulated. “Muzzle-Brakes” and “compensators” seldom are.

“Muzzle-brakes” on rifles do two useful things that are not available with a flat-crown muzzle. They (1) reduce recoil and muzzle-rise, and (2) protect the barrel from damage when the muzzle become plugged with dirt.

With an autoloading, military rifle, the first benefit is important. Excessive recoil and accompanying muzzle-rise lengthens the time between aimed shots, making the rifle less effective when used in life-threatening situations. Of course, when the rifle in question is used only for non-serious, recreational purposes, the whole subject is mostly a non-issue.

Recoil and muzzle-rise with 223 rifles is low to begin with, so recoil-reduction is a legitimate issue mostly with heavier calibers.

The second benefit is also significant. When an Operator stumbles and inadvertently “bayonets” muddy ground with his rifle, and the muzzle thus becomes plugged with mud and debris, and then firing the rifle becomes urgently necessary immediately afterward, a muzzle-brake-equipped rifle can probably still be safely fired, as offending detritus is usually just blown sideways, and a dangerous pressure build-up is thus avoided. Under the same circumstances, a rifle with a flat-crown muzzle will likely experience a “banana-ed” muzzle, surely ruining the barrel and likely injuring the shooter in the process.

Suppression of muzzle-flash (to one degree or another) is a side-benefit, a mostly unintentional by-product, of some muzzle-brake designs. However, other muzzle-brakes actually exacerbate muzzle-flash, as well as ground-disturbance when the rifle is fired from the prone position.

Most muzzle-brakes vent gasses directly to the side, making it surpassingly unpleasant to stand next to the shooter!

“Flash-suppressors” are designed specifically to (1) reduce observable muzzle-flash, and (2) reduce muzzle-disturbance, thus trimming-down the dust-cloud associated with shooting from the prone position.

As a side-benefit, most flash-suppressors also attenuate recoil and muzzle-rise to some degree, but not as much as do muzzle-brakes.

In addition, flash-suppressors will also prevent damage resulting from plugged muzzles in much the same way muzzle-brakes do.

I strongly recommend flash-suppressors on military rifles (with the exception of those cambered for low-pressure cartridges like the M1 Carbine). Without them, all flat-crown 223 rifles, for example, will predictably generate a disconcerting fireball with every round! In fact, the only legitimate reason to opt for a muzzle-brake over a flash-suppressor is if local laws prevent you from having the latter. However, I’ll always take any muzzle-brake over a flat-crown muzzle!

“Birdcage” flash-suppressors are common with ARs, as is the NATO/A2. They work well.

However, the commercial Phantom, Vortex, Wraith, and FSG Halon all work significantly better and are what I have on most of my rifles.



24 Aug 10

Follow-up on muzzle-brakes and flash-suppressors, from corespondents around the Country:

From friends in NJ:

“NJ bans ‘flash-suppressors,’ along with threaded muzzles, but ostensibly allows permanently-attached ‘muzzle-brakes.’

Thus, ‘NJ-versions’ of semi-auto rifles are invariably equipped with machined-in-place or welded/brazed ‘muzzle brakes’ and feature conventional buttstocks, or phony fixed-versions of what appears to be collapsible buttstocks. Some manufacturers, such as SIG and DPMS, do ship rifles to NJ, but, in order to play it safe, only with flat-crowns.

As you might imagine, neither NJ police officers, nor prosecutors, can tell the difference between technically illegal ‘flash-suppressors’ and technically legal ‘muzzle-brakes.’ Their ‘solution’ to this quandary is simply to arrest anyone with a rifle with any kind of device on the muzzle!

Much frustration and $10,000.00 later, the hapless citizen may be cleared by the downstream criminal-justice apparatus, but the experience still represents a significant ‘reward’ for doing one’s best to be law-abiding. In NJ, no good deed goes unpunished!!

As with many complex issues of life in NJ, a rifle owner has to choose the least-bad of several bad options, or perhaps keep other rifles with good friends on the west side of the Delaware River!”

From friends in NY:

“With the sunset of the federal ‘assault-weapons’ ban, gun-owners in states (like NJ and NY) which prohibit rifles with ‘flash suppressors,’ are confused.

During the ten years the Clinton federal ban was in effect, ATF actually examined and tested muzzle-attachments and subsequently issued official ‘rulings’ as to whether they were ‘muzzle-brakes’ (and thus outside the ban) or ‘flash-suppressors,’ which counted as one of the ‘evil-features’ that converted an otherwise ‘good gun’ into a ‘bad gun.’

ATF has now suspended such testing, because there is no longer any reason for them to do it, and states like NY and NJ neither do their own testing, nor issue their own ‘rulings.’ So, law-abiding citizens of these states, purchasing what the manufacturer calls a ‘muzzle-brake,’ will still be in legal jeopardy when a zealous, anti-gun prosecutor decides, on the basis of no evidence, the device in question is, in fact, a ‘flash-suppressor’ and the rifle to which it is attached is thus an ‘assault weapon.’ In NY, simple possession of such ‘assault weapons’ is a felony!

Goodness and decency are always targets of paranoid NY politicians, who are neither.”

From a domestic manufacturer of military rifles:

“Muzzle-brakes work by directing gases against surfaces which push the barrel forward and down, directly opposing recoil forces and muzzle-climb associated with discharge.

We sell these mainly in states where ‘flash-suppressors’ are not allowed by state law.

However, some devices that are ‘hybrids.’ They attenuate muzzle-climb and recoil, but also suppress flash. The NATO/A2 ‘flash-hider’ is an example of a hybrid. Local laws and ordinances typically do not adequately address these, and their legal status in some states is thus in apparently permanent limbo.”

From another manufacturer:

“Modern muzzle-brakes, many now called ‘compensators,’ are constructed with a closed front end, just a hole for the bullet to exit, and numerous small slots or openings around the circumference of an enlarged portion of barrel near the muzzle.

The fatal flaw with this design is that there are no large openings for dirt and small rocks to exit sideways when the muzzle has been inadvertently inserted into a mud-puddle and the rifle subsequently fired!

Soviet-style muzzle-brakes have large, rectangular openings in the side for just that reason.

Russians aren’t so dumb!”

Comment: Once again, military rifles chambered for high-pressure calibers, like 5.56×45 (223) need a flash-suppressor. A wad of flame, resembling a flash-bulb going off, will be generated with every shot otherwise.

Those unfortunate enough to live in NY, NJ, CA, and a few other jurisdictions where “flash-suppressors,” no matter how ill-defined, are illegal, will have to come up with their own solutions.

Who get into fights in low light, and use rifles with bright muzzle-flashes, will likely not live long enough to see daylight!



24 Aug 10

Hydraulic recoil buffer for ARs, from an LEO:

“I just experienced the catastrophic failure of my AR/SBR (short-barreled rifle).

Being modern and trendy, I had replaced the factory buffer with a hydraulic ‘recoil-reducing’ buffer. I was assured this would cure all cycling problems normally associated with short-barreled rifles, none of which I had personally experienced.

Well, within 1k rounds, my rifle went down completely! The hydraulic ‘head’ on this wonder-buffer sheered-off completely and subsequently jammed the action.

When I replaced it with the one-piece buffer that came with the gun, normal operation resumed!

Fortunately, I didn’t ‘discover’ this problem during a real gunfight!”

Comment: As Doc Gunn is fond of saying, “The enemy of ‘good’ is ‘better.’” Be extremely cautious about “fixing” things that already work!



26 Aug 10


From critical incidents world-wide, it is painfully obvious that “hostage/kidnap incidents” seldom have happy endings!

Whether being held for ransom by local bandits/insurgents, being taken hostage by a desperado during a bank robbery, or any other scenario where your personal freedom is usurped, and you find yourself under the control of violent criminals, you will likely not live through it!

Hostages are rescued, unhurt, from such desperate circumstances only a small percentage of the time, and I suspect even fewer will survive in the future as the entire world situation continues to grow ever more dangerous and barbarous.

During kidnapings, even after ransom has been paid, hostages are almost always permanently maimed/mutilated/traumatized. Most don’t live through it, and are never seen again.

And, when you’re physically restrained, confined, blindfolded, isolated, and weakened through starvation, dehydration, and physical abuse, options incrementally evaporate.

How does one avoid becoming a hostage:

(1) Lower your personal profile. Be a “gray-man.” Don’t appear to be “important.” Don’t hang around with “important” people. Don’t stand next to “important” people when they’re photographed. Don’t be interviewed on TV, don’t give speeches to large groups, and don’t get your photo published in newspapers/magazines. Having a face, physical appearance, and status that is well known and immediately recognizable carries with it enormous risk, especially now!

(2) Minimize your time in airports, banks, political events, and foreign countries.

(3) When entering any building or vehicle, immediately identify all exits and potential exits. Sit close to one. Always have an exit/escape plan!

(4) Be alert and aware. Get out and away at the first sign of criminal activity. When friends hesitate, leave them behind. When told to “stay put” by “authorities,” get out! A single person running away is not a priority for most organized hostage-takers. They’re far more interested in capturing the main herd of indecisive, trembling “cash-cows.”

(5) Be self-contained. Always have cash, credit-cards, blades, and guns on your person. Have a rifle, magazines, and a trauma kit in your car.

(6) Be willing, and fully prepared, to shoot your way out, immediately! This may well be your only viable option, and, the longer you wait, the weaker you become. Your captors are least effective and least organized at the point of capture. Options disappear rapidly the longer the event goes on. Once you’re under their control, they are trained, experienced, and equipped to hold you for a long time.

(7) Don’t wait to be rescued. Be constantly looking for opportunities to avoid/escape/evade. Act at the critical moment. Depending on circumstances, rescuers may not be on their way at all, and the ones who do show up may (1) not be particularly helpful (as in Mumbai). In fact, they may (2) even be in on it (as in Beslan), or (3) just bungling buffoons (as in Manilla). The entire System may be overwhelmed and paralyzed, and coldly indifferent political forces, even in this country, may well consider you “expendable” and may already have written you off.

(8) It can’t be said too often: You’re on your own!



31 Aug 10

Test your gear, particularly afer you’ve “tweaked’ it. This from an LEO friend and colleague:

“Like you, I like ky-dex holsters, particularly those made by Comp-Tac, Brian Hoffner, and Tim Wegner. Occasionally, however, they require maintenance.

This morning, I noticed one of the screws had worked loose on my IWB C/TAC Holster. I
grabbed the allen-wrench, kindly supplied by Comp-Tac, tightened the screw that was loose, tightened the others while I was at it, placed the holster inside my belt, holstered my pistol, and glibly headed off for work.

All was well until I had to use the restroom. I unhappily discovered that my holster wanted my pistol more than I did. It refused to let my pistol go! Yes, I had inadvertently over-tightened the screws.

Fortunately, I was not confronted with this issue during a tactical episode!

Of course, I soon had the matter resolved, but it was a lesson, well-learned!”


(1) Don’t work on your equipment when you are distracted. Pay attention to what you’re doing!

(2) Test your gear! When you make a change in your equipment, double, and triple-check the

We are blessed with a current generation of tactical equipment that is so well-made and reliable that we get lazy, and take flawless dependability for granted.

Do so at your peril!



31 Aug 10

Next Generation Arms

A small company in Post Falls, ID, called Next Generation Arms, is currently manufacturing an AR, which looks like most other ARs, except that all surfaces are treated (I’m not sure if “coated” or “plated” is the most correct term) with ceramic armor.

Historically, ceramic coatings have adhered well to neither steel nor aluminum, and have thus been largely overlooked by gunmakers. But, the folks at NGA are persuaded that they have solved the knotty adhesion problem.

The upshot is that they recommend no conventional lubrication ever be used on their rifle. It is designed to run completely dry!

I have a copy that I will be using over the next few months. It is called the NGA/MP168, and it is basically an M4. My copy has, as is my preference, a BFG Vickers sling, ARMS flip-up iron sights, Surefire Weaponlight (mounted forward and on the right side), and an Aimpoint H1 on a Larue Quick-Release mount w/ “medium” riser, also forward-mounted (co-witnessed with the iron sights when they are deployed).

I like to think of myself as an enlightened trainer, and I therefore try not to be overly-cynical and negative with regard to new products and new ways of looking at our Art. Up until now, “dry” weapons were something that I would not expect to run well, but this new coating and the engineering process necessary to combine it with the AR Platform, may well compel me to change my mind, or to “move forward,” if you prefer.

There are many fine companies currently making ARs and other wonderful military rifles, and they all deserve enormous credit for pushing forward in a market already crowded with superlative products. I am privileged to know most CEOs personably, and am proud to count them among my friends.

NGA’s product represents a significant departure from conventional thinking.

I am anxious to put it to the test!

More later.

“‘Faith’ doesn’t make good science. Curiosity does!”

Professor Jacob Barnhardt (played by Sam Jaffe) to “Klaatu,” (played by Michael Rennie) in the 1951 science-fiction classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still