2 July 03
I’ve been interested in walking canes, as a cane is something one can openly have with him in just about any circumstance, without garnering the attention of others. A number of my friends and colleagues routinely fly with canes now and carry them as they travel.
To that end, I now have a copy of Cold Steel’s City Stick. It is a stylish walking cane, but the handle is a metal knob, rather than a traditional arch. It is a formidable weapon! Like everything made by Cold Steel, it is extremely strong and well made.
I’ll be flying with it this month and gauge the reaction. I need to get used to waking with a cane. Wonderful way to be armed!
3 July 03
Saudi “Security Service” education, from a friend who is involved in contract training.
“Saudi ‘Security Service’ personnel all carry a S&W M10 revolver in 38Spl. On duty, it is carried unloaded. Speed loaders are forbidden (must watch out for that Western moral corruption). Madness, I know, but that is a direct order from the Saudi Ministry of Interior.
They also teach their personnel to fire warning shots (many of them), and, for the ultimate in lunacy, they shoot at the legs rather than center of visible mass. The foregoing is largely irrelevant anyway, because the men are all told that if they ever fire a shot from their revolver for any reason, they will go to prison. They are just ‘beans,’ and they know it. The Saudi government considers them utterly expendable.
Our ‘training’ course here in Virginia is seven days long. With religious breaks, it comes out to two days of actual training. Each student shoots a total of twenty-five actual rounds of ammunition. Upon graduation, none of them could fight their way out of a Riyadh whorehouse!”
Comment: This is yet another example of incompetence, elevated to an art form, complements of our Saudi “allies.” Anyone who thinks the Saudis would or could put up a credible fight is dreaming.
3 July 03
This is from a young military officer in the Israeli Army:
“Israeli military training is now focused exclusively on small unit tactics, urban warfare, and crowd control. We all hope that IDF’s current obsession with Intefada will not cause us to forget ‘combined arms’ skills we will need to fight Syrians, et al, in yet another conventional war. I doubt that the Syrians will keep us waiting much longer!
Our reputation for innovation and improvisation not withstanding, we are still teaching the ‘chamber empty’ method for carrying pistols. It an obsolete method left over from the 1940s, when many of the pistols carried by our nation’s founders were broken-down discards and were not drop-safe. I don’t know why we can’t finally shake this outdated practice, but it continues to be taught.
We are currently teaching both military and civilians gun carriers that ‘once he is down, keep him down.’ That is, we are to rapidly close and put two rounds in to the head of the wounded, would-be terrorist. We’ve decided that we only want to fight these bastards once!
The locally made Galil rifle has been relegated to rear-area defense. Front-line troops are carrying American M16s, most with optical sights. The Galil is a great rifle, but it suffers from a perceived weakness of the Kalashnikov system, namely the difficulty of attaching optics and all manner of other gadgets one sees, like a malignant fungus, growing on military rifles these days.
There is another reason: at the end of the day, it came down to ‘why should we continue to build these expensive weapons, when we can get M16s from the Americans for free?'”
Comment: The Israelis are great people, but they suffer from the safe species of self-deception we do. Specifically, that there is a mechanical device out there somewhere that will adequately substitute for common sense. Military rifles festooned with everything from television sets, to can openers, to hand warmers will not carry the day. Competent and dedicated riflemen, armed with plain-vanilla rifles (that don’t require batteries!), will!
3 July 03
It official at the LAPD:
“Below is the column Chief Bratton writes in our Police Protective League’s monthly paper, The Thin Blue Line. It arrived in my mail box a few minutes ago:
‘New Glock Weapons
We are currently preparing correspondence seeking the Police Commission’s approval for officers to carry Glock 9mm, 40 caliber, and 45 caliber firearms. This will be the first time that the Department has authorized the use of Glocks. Although the City won’t issue Glocks, officers will be able to purchase these firearms on their own and carry them on duty after receiving department training.’
When the chief puts it in The Thin Blue Line, it is as official as it gets.”
5 July 03
On Glock grips, from a good friend and follow instructor:
“I recommend the ROBAR beavertail on the midsize Glocks (19/23/32). I have big hands, and the Glock slide bites me with annoying regularity, especially when the weapon is presented at high speed. I had Robbie Barrkman install a beavertail on both my G19 and G23. Along with resurfacing the entire grip (not reducing, that is a separate operation, suitable for people with small hands), a modest beavertail is added. Not only does the weapon look brand new, it looks as though it came that way, beavertail included, from the factory, slide bite is now gone and entire grip now features ROBAR’s rough surface. Good stuff I’d say.”
Comment: Friend, Robbie Barrkman is a great innovator. His famous modification to Glock grips make the pistol genuinely useable for people who would not be able to use it well otherwise. Good show, Robbie!
7 July 03
Shays’s Rebellion and the Second Amendment:
The series of conflicts that today are blended together into what historians call the French and Indian Wars in the mid-1700s convinced the French that their national interests in North America could be adequately defended by their Indian allies. Therefore, France, who at the time had the largest land army in Europe, sent no troops. The British, equally convinced that their Indian allies were duplicitous and unreliable, sent over troops by the boatload! The future of what would become the United States of America was thus decided. In the later half of the Eighteenth Century, French influence in North America dwindled, as British influence expanded.
Expanded too much, as it turns out. American colonists eventually threw off characteristically heavy-handed British rule. The Revolutionary War, which started at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts in 1776, essentially ended at Yorktown, Virginia in October of 1780, although an official peace treaty was not sighed until 1783, and hostilities did not end until 1818!
At War’s official end, having done his job, General George Washington retired to his farm in Virginia, having no further interest in military operations and even less in politics. He would probably have lived out his days there in quiet seclusion as a gentleman farmer were it not for a decorated Revolutionary War veteran in rural Massachusetts named Daniel Shays.
Under the Articles of Confederation, the only document that bound together the newly-independent thirteen (former) colonies, each colony was now, in essence, and independent country. In Massachusetts, politicians (then, as now) saw it as their duty to tax people to death while forging political alliances with powerful interests, all of which were located in Boston, the only big city in the colony. Led by Governor James Bowdoin, a campaign to foreclose on debtor farmers in rural Massachusetts in an effort to seize vast tracts of private land (which could then be doled out to political supporters) went on with scant notice outside the Massachusetts Colony itself. Rural towns everywhere pleaded with the Assembly in Boston to address their plight, but were ignored.
Massachusetts citizens began wondering why they had bothered to fight a war against the British. It struck them that the “Revolution” had failed them, that they had merely exchanged one tyrant for another. They had been led to believe that a democracy was a virtual guarantee against tyranny. Now, it was obvious that tyranny could exist, indeed flourish, even within a democracy. Rural areas could not muster enough votes to counter the vast reserve of votes in population centers, like Boston. In Boston, groups and constituencies could easily be bought and manipulated, so politicians seldom bothered to venture forth beyond the city limits (much as is the case today).
Daniel Shays and his wife Abigail were farmers in rural, western Massachusetts. Shays never allowed a portrait of himself to be painted, so we don’t know what he looked like. We do know his service during the War was characterized by conspicuous bravely and devotion to his country.
Seeing no sympathy in their plight emanating from Boston, armed insurgents in the Berkshire Hills and the Connecticut Valley, under the leadership of Daniel Shays and others, began in August of 1786 to forcibly prevent county courts from sitting to make judgments on foreclosures. In fact, in September of that year they forced the state Supreme Court at Springfield to adjourn before it could conduct any business. The Boston elite finally took notice, but, when they tried to enlist the help of the state militia, they found it of scant assistance as most of its members, particularly Revolutionary War veterans, sympathized with Shays and his followers.
Like most who participated in the 1786/87 Shays’s Rebellion in central and western Massachusetts, Shays was a noble and upright citizen, with no criminal history. None of this interested Bowdoin (who was not a veteran), and he ruthlessly used his influence with the press to portray Shays and his colleagues as sleazy, threadbare, trailer trash. That false portrayal still persists today.
On 25 January 1787, a poorly organized armed group, led by Shays, marched on the US arsenal at Springfield in an effort to break in and equip itself with modern, military arms. They were repulsed by a hastily-assembled state militia unit under the command of Major General William Shepard, who had arrived in the nick of time, as no federal units were available to protect the facility. Shepard used the arsenal’s cannons on the rebels and killed four. Five times that number were wounded. The assault subsequently fell apart, and the rebels fled in disarray.
They were pursued by General Benjamin Lincoln, leading another hastily-assembled army, to the town of Petersham. There, early in the morning of 4 February, Lincoln surprised Shays and his men, but the weather was so bad that a full-scale attack could not be mounted. Most of the rebels, including Shays himself, escaped.
On Tuesday, 27 February, Colonel John Ashley routed a group of insurgents, under the command of Perez Hamlin, near Sheffield, killing two and wounding thirty. A hundred prisoners were taken. The 27 February engagement is considered by most to have marked the end of the Rebellion. However, sporadic activity continued for months afterward before dying out altogether by the end of June. The Sheffield battlefield is today marked by a single, stone monument, the only reminder of Shays’s Rebellion to have survived to the present time.
Most of the rebels were promptly pardoned. A number in the leadership group were sentenced to be hanged, but, in the end, only two were. With an election coming up, Bowdoin was anxious to put it all behind him with a minimum of fanfare, knowing the Rebellion still garnered a good deal of sympathy. Bowdoin was soundly defeated anyway, and his successor, John Hancock, equally anxious to move on, pardoned nearly all who had not been pardoned before.
Daniel Shays fled Massachusetts and eventually settled in western New York, although he himself was pardoned by Hancock in June of 1788. He died in New York in 1825, then in his seventies, of natural causes, outliving both Bowdoin and Lincoln by many years. In New York, he was noted for his aversion to politics!
Shay’s Rebellion scared the snot out of the governors of the other twelve colonies and literally drove them to a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1788, something for which most had no enthusiasm previously. It also drove George Washington out of retirement and ultimately into the office of president. A strong, central, federal government was now seen as a crucial necessity. In fact, opponents of the new Constitution were incessantly accused of being sympathetic with Shays and his rebels.
However, in the middle of the convention, James Madison and Elbridge Gerry insisted on a Bill of Rights, fearing “Massachusetts-style” repression would be a consequence of a concentration of power at the national level. With Shays’s Rebellion still fresh in their collective memories, the notion instantly struck a resonant chord. In the end, it became obvious that a constitution, without amendments protecting individual rights, would not be ratified. In December of 1791, the new Constitution, with a Bill of Rights, was finally approved by all thirteen colonies (now states) and took effect.
Without Daniel Shays and his audacious Rebellion, there probably never would have been a Constitution Convention. The colonies would have remained disunited and would have been ultimately reabsorbed, one by one, back into the British Empire.
Without Daniel Shays, George Washington would have probably stayed in retirement and not become our first president.
Most importantly, without Daniel Shays, Thomas Jefferson probably never would have expressed the opinion that an occasional armed insurrection is healthy for a democracy. Armed protest against tyranny would probably not have thus imbedded itself so thoroughly into American democratic thought. Indeed, the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights precisely to support that conviction.
Without Shays, there would probably never have been a Whisky Rebellion (in western Pennsylvania in 1794), nor an American Civil War (seventy years later).
Comment: Like so many heroes of human history, Daniel Shays is scarcely known today. He was a quiet man of principle who never wanted to be a celebrity. Like most decent and honorable men, he was never attracted to politics. But, when history called upon him, he went forth boldly and did what clearly had to be done. Good show, Dan!
10 July 03
On weapons maintenance from a friend on active duty:
“On the release of the Army’s ‘official’ report of the ambush of the 507th Maintenance CO in Iraq, I am motivated to comment on the sorry state of individual weapons maintenance training within the Army. I’ve heard many comments about design improvements that are necessary within the M-16 system, but they are out there in the future. In the interim, we need to make this system work.
Joe GI goes to the range and fires his 40-round qualifier, has a couple of stoppages (usually due to a broken part, poor lubrication, or a bad magazine), applies an immediate action drill (or takes an ‘alibi’) and logically concludes that this is all ‘normal.’ Well, it is not! Properly maintained, M-16s will fire hundreds of rounds consecutively without a hint of a stoppage. Broken parts and bad magazines need to be replaced on the spot, but they typically aren’t, and substandard performance thus continues to be tolerated.
The other problem is: as a range expedient, we routinely over-lubricate weapons. The first thing that happens when soldiers get to the range is that a drill sergeant takes a big bottle of CLP and drowns each bolt and chamber in it. Young, impressionable soldiers thus learn that the weapon must have more oil that a car engine to work effectively. This ‘solution’ may work great on a range, but go to a desert and then try it (as many soldiers did!). Mix all that oil together with airborne grit and dust, and weapon will stop working in a New York minute.
Soldiers need to be trained to maintain and lubricate weapons correctly, keep dust covers closed and magazines in the magazine well, and then not to accept individual weapons functioning poorly as ‘normal.’ ”
Comment: Well said, my friend. I hope the right people are listening.
10 July 03
Letter to Justice O’Connor from an attorney:
“Dear Justice O”Connor:
In your University of Michigan Law School affirmative action decision, you have decreed that the government can pursue a fashionable, though ephemeral and nebulous, social policy by discriminating against me and my progeny on the basis of race.
The outcome of this case naturally was welcomed by the nation’s elites. It is comforting and guilt assuaging, and its burdens are borne by others. Even the most doltish offspring of judges, academics, editors, government officials, business executives, etc, will always be admitted to the most prestigious institutions. The bright and hard working offspring of poor Asians and lower class Caucasians are the ones disadvantaged. Largely invisible and voiceless, they are ignored in decisions and the processes leading to them. Nothing has changed since the days that the same institutions had quotas limiting the number of Jews they would admit. The goal then also was to maintain the time’s voguish concept of diversity.
The reciprocal of your ruling that the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment (and I cannot help but wonder what other constitutional protections) are no longer available to me is the forfeiture by the government of any legitimate claim to loyalty, citizenship, or other obligations from me. I do not consent to a government with the power to deny the equal protection of its laws to any of its citizens for any purpose, irrespective of how laudable and praiseworthy its goal may appear to be. Many conscientious citizens will, I believe, resist and subvert such a government when, as, and how they can.”
Comment: The high court has decreed that racism is okay, so long as the trendy group benefits, and the “out of favor” group is punished. It is now just fine, according to the Supreme Court, to deny a person an opportunity solely because of the color of his skin. Now, watch each and every ethnic and religious group scramble to separate itself from the main body of Americans, as they all compete for “victim” status. It is a lawless decision. I, for one, am really worried about what these social activists will do with the Second Amendment and the rest of the Constitution!
13 July 03
Victims as Heroes?
Statistically, the most dangerous occupation in the world today is that of being a farmer in South Africa. Three of every one thousand will be murdered this year. Most victims will first surrender meekly to their home’s invaders. They will then be tied up and tortured unmercifully before ultimately being shot or slashed to death. It is “ethnic cleansing,” of course, but it is currently being ignored by the rest of the world. Crocodile tears are (at least in public) shed by officials, but nothing is being done to address the “problem.” The entire Jewish population of Nazi Germany in the 1930s went through something similar. No one cared about them either.
In our cowardly unwillingness to face such historical events squarely, we, as a civilization, have waxed delusional. Instead of reminding every citizen that he or she must take reasonable precautions to avoid criminal victimization, we have, instead, elevated the moral standing of victims to that of sainthood!
We are, for example, assured by grass-eating bureaucrats, even police chiefs, that the female victim who was first beaten bloody then suffocated and strangled to death with her own underwear is somehow morally superior to the woman who sits in the police station and calmly explains to officers why she found it necessary to shoot to death a rape/burglary suspect in her own kitchen.
In the former case, the (dead) victim is lauded as a “role model.” Taking no precautions and then meekly surrendering to criminal violence, while doing nothing to protect yourself, is today touted as one’s ultimate civic duty.
In the latter case, the woman is mercilessly rebuked for “taking the law into her own hands,” and “trying to do our job.” Newspaper editors and media anchors predictably join the feeding frenzy. Of course, when the police arrive too late, the mayor meekly explains that, “Police can’t be everywhere now, can they?” Therefore, the only way she can gain their approval is by being a “good victim.”
Ultimately, self deception, even when encouraged by “mainstream” society, is still delusional. As warriors, we must always look down upon our enemy with disdain, never up at him in fear. We must never doubt our own magnificence and thus our right to defend ourselves (by any means necessary) even when that notion is disparaged by the weakling majority. We must not cut our conscience to fit this year’s fashion! A man more right than ten of his neighbors makes a “majority of one.”
13 July 03
“Six years ago a friend and his wife were having dinner with a local police officer and another couple. They didn’t know the officer well, but were happy to join him at his table when he invited them to do so. Dinner involved much wine drinking by all parties. Abruptly, the police officer pulled out a pistol (from concealment) and placed its muzzle to the head of the other male diner and held it there, as he continued to talk as if nothing had happened.
Everyone froze, except for the police officer, who continued talking. After a minute or two, he put the pistol away, and the four other diners all made expedient excuses and left the table, quickly exiting the restaurant as soon as they could. Everyone went home, and nothing ever came of the incident, legally or otherwise.
Sitting at dinner last night (six years later), after hearing the foregoing for the first time, I asked my friend (who has since become a lawyer and is currently the Public Defender for our county) if he wishes he would have done anything differently that night. I volunteered that a forcible disarm might have been in order, since I assume that, if someone pulls a gun and puts it to someone’s head, that he intends to use it.
In true lawyerly fashion, my friend went on, ad nauseam, about how he could not possibly know this person’s intent and that his actions, though threatening, were probably just his way of ‘crying out for help.’
I begged the question and then asked him: ‘If I had been the one threatened with a gun, and I had violently disarmed the perpetrator and subsequently shot him dead in order to end the threat and preserve my life and the lives of the other innocent people there, would you defend my actions in court?’ His response was, once again, wavering. He said he didn’t think defensive deadly force was ever really justified, that violent crime is not really a matter of personal choice on the part of the criminal, and that all crime, no matter how barbarous or cruel, is a direct result of ‘chemical imbalances.’
With these people, there is always some cockeyed rationale for behavior that is unacceptable. The criminal always gets a pass. Decent people, who don’t commit crimes, are always blamed. They are so paralyzed by evil that their only response is to deny its existence.”
Comment: We tell our students to make decisions based on suspect capabilities, not suspect intent. People who try to guess at a threatening person’s “intent” are already most of the way toward victimization.
A friend, who is an assistant district attorney, was recently in court prosecuting a defendant on a criminal charge. The judge asked if the Public Defender was ready to proceed, looking in the direction of the defendant’s table.
My friend jumped up and said, “Excuse me, your honor, the attorney at the other table is not the ‘Public Defender.’ He is the ‘Court-Appointed Representative of Indigent Defendants!’ ” There was a long pause. He continued, “I, sir, am the ‘Public Defender!’ ”
15 July 03
The latest on Homeland “Security” from a student who works at a military arsenal:
“Those assigned to ‘security’ have been instructed to carry their M9 (Beretta 92F) pistols with an empty chamber. When I expressed concern and confusion over this procedure, our colonel said that it was ‘safer to have the weapons with an empty chamber, because of the (obviously poor) level of training of the security force.’ When I was asked why we were not better trained, I was told that the Army ‘doesn’t have the time or resources,’ (nor, obviously, the interest)!
It gets better: We have been told that we are no longer going to be allowed to carry high-performance, hollowpoint ammunition in our M9s. This same idiot colonel is recommending hardball. I, once more, asked about lack of immediate incapacitation and the simultaneous risk of overpenentration, as our facility has many tanks filled with toxic chemicals. The colonel admitted that he had not even thought about the overpenentration issue, then insisted that hardball was still ‘the best way to go.’ I pointed out that no civilian police agency carries hardball anymore. The colonel expressed surprise, but would still not be moved by facts.
Finally, we have been told that our shotguns are being returned to the armory, because ‘all we need here is small arms.’ I reminded the colonel that shotguns ARE ‘small arms.’
So, we now have lightly-armed, marginally-trained ‘security’ officers, firing ineffective, non-expanding ammunition in a supposedly critical military facility with tanks full of acids and explosive gases!
Again, the difference between the high-sounding, presidential rhetoric on Homeland ‘Security’ and the pathetic reality down here where the rubber meets the road it stark and frightening. In a real attack, most of us would be killed in the first minute. We are nothing but cannon fodder!”
Comment: Here is another example. We in the USA have elevated self-deception to an art form! I blame politicians, of course, including our current Commander in Chief, for naively believing what he is being told by his gaggle of atta-boy generals instead of seeing for himself. However, the real villain in this story is the colonel mentioned above, and thousands like him. He may be a West Point pretty boy, but he is also a pathetic coward! He knows full well his ‘security’ is a joke and the lives of his men are at risk, but he is so comfortable he doesn’t want anything to ever change. He has a chance to be a hero, but he would rather be an atta-boy. Shame on him!
16 July 03
The Dangers of Chronic Self-deception: Mussolini’s “Invasion” of British-held Egypt, December 1940:
At the dawn of World War II, Benito Mussolini wistfully thought of himself as the modern incarnation of Julius Caesar. His ill-fated and pointless invasion of Greece in November of 1940 was already in full retreat, but he still longed for the center of the world stage for which he was convinced he was destined, particularly since Hitler, whom he considered a garish, but vulgar barbarian, seemed to be on a roll in western Europe.
Since his 1936 invasion of Ethiopia had been a one-sided success, Mussolini decided that an invasion of Egypt from his bases in Libya would also be an easy victory and would, most importantly, get his name back on the front page. After all, British troops in Egypt had only armored cars, while his troops had tanks, and the desert was too hot for the British anyway.
Unhappily, the real situation on the ground was far different from Mussolini’s “pretend” version. In spite of numerous warnings from his field commander, General Graziani, about the substantial risks associated with going into Egypt, Mussolini continued in his dream world. If he had gone to Libya and seen the stark truth for himself, Mussolini would have personally witnessed the low moral, the broken-down logistics system that could never sustain any kind of invasion, and the utter lack of transport vehicles with which to get his troops to the front. His “army” in Libya was a joke! However, in the end, Graziani’s warnings were brushed aside.
It turned out to be the shortest “invasion” in the history of modern warfare. By the time Mussolini’s troops arrived, via foot march, at the Egyptian border, they were already starving and dying of thirst. Italian crews jumped out of their tanks and ran for the rear as soon as they saw the first contingent of British armored cars. Within weeks, nearly all Italian troops and tanks had been captured by the British. All surrendered with great enthusiasm. Few shots were fired. The whole “invasion” penetrated Egypt by only a few meters!
A German soldier was heard to comment to his British captors, “Next time, it’s your turn to have the Italians!”
Comment: The foregoing is surely not unique in human history. At present, many of our national leaders suffer from the “Mussolini Syndrome.” Concerned only with their own personal, political ambitions, they would rather “pretend” than face facts. They would rather listen to the soothing lies of their atta-boy subordinates than see for themselves what is really happening.
However, egoistic politicians can only pretend so long. Reality has a bad habit of crashing through the rhetoric veneer (as we see from the foregoing). That is when politicians also have to be good a finger pointing.
Heroes don’t allow themselves to wallow in self-deception. They tell the truth, even when it is ugly and unpopular, and the shallow and self-centered hearers would rather “pretend.” At the national level, there is currently a famine in the hero department!
17 July 03
Latest from SIG:
I just got off the phone with friends at SIG. Their new “Glock-like” (self-decocking) trigger that I described after seeing it at the IALEFI Conference in Orlando, FL in June is now officially on the market. It is called the “K-Trigger,” after its designer, who has an unpronounceable, German name that starts with a “K.”
It will be offered as an option on the 226 and 229 (which will probably be called the 226K and the 229K). Single-column pistols, like the 239 will not be eligible for the new trigger for another year, as modifications need to be done to the inside of the frame. In addition, the new trigger will not be available as a retrofit, as, again, the frame needs to be modified.
The K-Trigger is short and a smooth, consistent 6.6lbs. Link is shallow, similar to a Glock trigger. Hammer spur is gone (along with the decocking lever), and the system can be used in conjunction with either a regular or a short trigger.
The traditional SIG self-decocking system featured a long trigger pull at a constant, eleven pounds. It was, and is, called (appropriately) a “flat revolver.” That system will continue to be produced, although the “K” trigger, in my opinion, will quickly supersede it. In fact, the K-trigger will also supersede SIG’s manually decocking system.
SIG is now taking police department orders. The K-Trigger will be available to the general market in 2004.
I regard this new trigger as a genuine improvement, and I predict SIG, like H&K, will rapidly make this their new standard.
17 July 03
More from SIG:
Law-enforcement orders for pistols in 9mm have dwindled to a trickle. In fact, the 228, once SIG’s flagship, is now all but out of production. The only big department that still issues it is the NJSP.
In addition, pistols chambered for 45ACP are no more popular than those chambered for 9mm. Although the popularity of the 45ACP does not seem to be diminishing at the same rate as that of the 9mm, it is surely not increasing either. Most 45ACP fans end up with a 1911 clone from Kimber, SA, or S&W.
The vast majority of police orders are for pistols chambered for 40S&W, although the 357SIG is now coming on strong and indeed starting to pull up alongside the popularity of the 40. Those two calibers are what everyone wants now. One big reason is that these pistols can be easily converted from one caliber to another, a big attraction for chiefs of police who are trying to make all their officers happy.
Neither the 9mm nor the 45ACP is in any danger of dying out, but both have surely been pushed to the side!
18 July 03
The Problem with Fanny Packs, from an LEO Friend in the Midwest:
“One of our day-shift officers (who should have retired long ago) carries a pistol a fanny pack. It is (or was) his preferred method of carrying off duty, although I don’t know if he carries concealed regularly (I surely hope not!).
Yesterday, he inadvertently left his fanny pack, with loaded gun and a spare magazine, in the back seat of one of our marked beat cars. Thanks heaven, the 3-11 officer, just coming on duty, found it while doing a vehicle inspection at the beginning of his shift, just prior to spending his day transporting for probation and parole.
Our chief definitely failed to see the humor in this bit of carelessness! The officer (now suspended) has a hearing on Monday.”
Lessons: A rigorous inspection of patrol vehicles at the beginning of each shift cannot be overemphasized. Many of us are far too casual with regard to this critical procedure.
Many of us, including me, use fanny packs. They are convenient to be sure. However, as with a gun in a handbag, fanny packs are a poor way to carry. The problem is, as we see from the foregoing, it is just too easy to inadvertently leave it laying around where in can be easily stolen or where we forget all about it and ultimately leave it there.
If you’re going to carry concealed, the best way is where the gun out of sight and secure on your body.
19 July 03
A NY trigger saves a life, from an LEO friend and student in SA:
“I’ve resisted the idea of the NY trigger, but, after a recent ND with my G26 (a finger inadvertently entered the trigger guard as I was picking it up) I installed one on the same G26. That was several weeks ago. I carry this gun as a back-up to my issue Z88 (Beretta 92 clone). Off duty, I carry the G26 only.
Sure enough, earlier this week I confronted a kapmes-wielding drunk (a “kapmes” is a long handled machete, common here) who was threatening me and several others standing in the area. I drew my G26 and, after picking up the front sight, I warned to suspect verbally several times. No response.
I started to press off the first shot, but, just as I hit the link, I saw the suspect dropping his weapon and putting his hands up. I immediately got my trigger finger back into register. When help arrived, we arrested the drunk.
That NY trigger definitely saved his life. No doubt!”
Comment: Of course I don’t know all the details, but the foregoing is one of the reasons I recommend the NY trigger to most of my students who carry Glocks. I have a NY trigger installed on all my Glocks.
I’ve surely seen pistol triggers that were too heavy for practical, defensive purposes, but an eight-pound break with a six pound take-up is not too much of an encumbrance for most shooters.
22 July 03
Poor Marks for S&W from a Friend and Student:
“After your glowing report on the new S&W 1911 that you shot at the recent IALEFI Convention in Orlando, FL, I went yesterday to a big gun store with which we are both familiar. I had every intention of purchasing one. They had a copy under the counter. The clerk, who is a good friend, just rolled his eyes and handed it to me.
What a disappointment!
The plastic butt pad on the Wilson magazine (supplied with the pistol) promptly fell off as soon as I picked it up. The feed ramp is the roughest I have ever seen on a 1911, I mean serious, easily visible, uneven, ridges. The trigger is heavy and gritty.
Worst of all, the manual safety lever has a clear and distinct “false on” position, short of the true “on” position. This isn’t just a hesitation or a rough spot. It is a definite “false stop.” Moreover, it took all the strength I could muster with both my thumbs to force the safety lever up to the true “on” position.
A good gunsmith could, I’m sure, easily fix all the problems I saw, but how did this gun ever get out the door? I had a boyish hope we might finally have a gun from this manufacturer that was ready for duty, right out of the box.
With all due respect, my friend, you need to look at more than one before you write glowing reports!”
Comment: My friend is right, of course. I obviously spoke too soon. Poor quality control has been S&W’s nemesis for decades, and it appears to have reared its ugly head once more, just as the company was emerging from its self-imposed public relations disaster.
It is so frustrating. We all want this grand old American company to succeed! But, with issues as described in the foregoing, success will continue to elude them.
28 July 03
Heartening comments from a friend in the FRG (Germany):
“Please accept my personal apology that my country, or rather our ‘leadership’ hasn’t supported the USA in fighting for liberty. Many here are likewise inclined.. It’s shameful indeed, having enjoyed the USA’s protection against Communism for the last fifty years, and now, when we have the chance, giving nothing in return. Unfortunately, our country is going down the road with the Socialist-Greens for three more years.”
Comment: There are still many good people in the world. Unhappily, good people are not attracted to politics!
28 July 03
City Stick flies!
I just flew via several major airports carrying my Cold Steel City Stick. I went right through security with no problem. I was asked only once, “Do you need this to walk?” I politely replied in the affirmative.
30 July 03
From a friend with the NJSP:
“Several of my colleagues and I have been sent to ‘protect bridges’ between NJ and NY. Our brass decided that one, maybe two, troopers per bridge is adequate, in spite of the fact that thousands of vehicles drive over every hour. Joining us are members of the NJ National Guard, usually two and a Humvee.
Keeping in mind what you said about the National Guard in airports, I made it a point to ask the members of one NG detail deployed at a bridge about the supply of ammunition they had for their M-16s. You guessed it! They had no ammunition; none on them; none in their Humvee. They didn’t even have magazines, just empty rifles.
We asked them what they had been instructed to do if things went in the toilet. Their response was, ‘Our commander told us that, if there is a riot or terrorist attack, we are to run back to our Humvee and lock ourselves in!’
Needless to say, we consider them to be nothing but excess baggage.”
Comment: It is bad enough that we have cowards in the command structure of the NG who obviously look upon their guardsmen as completely and utterly expendable. The real crime is that they demand that soldier themselves become cowards too. “Contemptible” is not a strong enough word!